Sunday, January 17, 2010

Nothing to boast about ...

"People need more than bread for their life; REAL LIFE comes by feeding on EVERY WORD of the LORD."
Deuteronomy 8:3
On our sister's retreat in early August, my sister Ruthanne shared with me that she had been memorizing certain Bible passages; in fact, she had successfully memorized SEVERAL entire books of the Bible. My sister and I share a lot in common actually. Both of us have absolutely NO SENSE of direction ~ in other words, we are ALWAYS LOST when we are driving (which is both hysterical and annoying at the same time!). We also have TERRIBLE memories! So when she told me about what she had been doing, I was really challenged to give this memorization thing an all-out effort.

I reached a milestone yesterday, so I thought I would share about it. The first two chapters of Ephesians are now firmly in place in my memory! I have had a lot of fun while working on this project, and I hope to continue on with chapter three ~ but I am taking a small break in order to memorize Philippians 2:5-11. Pastor Jim has asked us to memorize that passage as a congregation because he has been teaching about the humility of Christ, and having "the mind of Christ," and these verses in Philippians are so perfect for that.

So would you like to hear some statistics about Ephesians chapters one and two? Well, there are 23 verses (545 words) in chapter one, and 22 verses (596 words) in chapter two ... so 45 total verses, 1141 total words. The most effective means of memorization for ME was to write out the verse I was working on, and then write it again, and then again ... over and over with pencil and paper ...

It took 17 weeks to complete these two chapters ... little more than 2-3 verses per week. But that's what worked for me! I reviewed "old" verses on the weekends, trying to keep them in perspective, and I took most of the month of December off from memorizing. I just had too much else that was distracting me. And there were times when I was really discouraged and I would get stuck on a verse ... for days! I just COULD NOT remember the words. But the good part about getting stuck was that I got a chance to really really think over the meaning of that particular bothersome verse ... and God would always use that mental block to teach me something wonderful.

One of my favorite verses from these two chapters is Ephesians 1:10 ~ "And this is His plan: At the right time He will bring everything TOGETHER under the authority of Christ, everything in heaven and on earth." As well as vv 22-23 of chapter one ~ "And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and he gave him this authority for the benefit of the church. And the church is his body; it is filled by Christ, who fills EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE with His presence."

And I'll tell you something else ... when I sit down at the table with a blank piece of paper and my pencil and start writing out these chapters, or portions of them, I am filled with such peace and joy that is difficult for me to describe. I am no longer afraid of failing at this project, but am very thankful that the Lord has been with me and has blessed the effort ... I have nothing at all to boast about ... but I do have a greater confidence of God's presence in my life and I am so thankful for that.
"For the word of God is full of LIVING POWER.
It is sharper than the sharpest knife,
cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires.
It exposes us for what we really are.
Nothing in all creation can hide from Him.
Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes.
This is the God to whom we must explain all that we have done."
Hebrews 4:12-13


sabrina said...

Congratulations on the first 2 chapters Mom! Great job!

Ruthanne said...

I'm happy to hear that you are continuing with this! I finished Colossians, but the last chapter took me months, and I still stumble when I say it. It was mostly a salutation from Paul at the end of his letter and didn't have as much meaning to me. I started James - which is a hard hitter! It is much easier to memorize than Paul's writing. But I find that I have so much in my brain that I have to constantly go back and review or I lose what I have learned. Frustrating!! But it has to be beneficial at the same time! I just need to plug along! Love you!

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runraerun said...

Aunt Carol, About 2 and half years ago I also started memorizing books of the Bible. The H.S. was really convicting me to memorize Scripture but I was always getting delayed b/c I never knew what to memorize next. So I was searching for ideas and came across a way to memorize books of the bible and one of the reasons for memorizing books rather than just verses is so that you always know what verse to memorize next. I, too, started with Ephesians. So far I have memorized Eph, 1 John and am almost finished with 1 Peter. As I'm sure you would say, it is only by God's strength and grace that I have been able to do it. I also find that I must review the books I have learned or I start stumbling through. Be encouraged! You can do it!

Mom Jones said...

Rachel ... how very nice to hear from you! :) Wow! Two and a half years of memorizing Scripture ~ that's wonderful and encouraging to hear about! And I totally agree ... it's nice to have direction. I took a small break in memorizing Ephesians because we had been asked to memorize Philippians 2:5-11. I decided to begin at verse one of chapter two instead of verse 5, so I just about have that committed to memory and then I'm going to return to ... Ephesians chapter 3! :) It's nice looking at your beautiful pictures on Facebook. It's wonderful to see how much God has blessed your life and how obviously happy you are!