About three years ago, I felt led by God to do two things: to place high priority on memorizing scripture and to read through the New Testament section by section, doing a deep study complete with cross referencing, word studies. I felt led to not move on from a section until I completely understood what is being said. Historically, I have the worst memory of anyone I know when it comes to memorizing. I was in a school play in junior high and had only three small lines and I practiced them for hours each day. I took three years of French and did a mini semester abroad in France and still can only say a few short phrases and can’t understand anything. I tried to impress my soon-to-be-wife (who was a German major) by taking a German class at the local community college so I could talk to her and I can only count to 3. I could always paraphrase scripture with the best of them, but don’t ask me where the verse is in the Bible. So, when I felt God leading me in this direction I assumed it was my own imagination. I fought doing this whole-heartedly for about two years. Those years were filled with starting and stopping and giving-up many times. I would even learn a verse for a day and a week later forget it. Then, earlier in 2019, God made it very clear that I needed to make Scripture study and memorization priority number one.
Starting in March 2019 I structured my entire day around time with God. I set my alarm everyday for 5:11AM (why not 10, I do not know) and started a bedtime routine with structure. I spend the last half hour of the night preparing for the morning so I can get up and get to my study time. By 5:35AM I have my Bible open and am reading and studying a passage while the water for my tea is boiling. At 6AM I am practicing scripture memorization and around 6:30 I go into a private room for prayer. Then the last half hour of the morning I do whatever I feel led to do before getting home at 8AM to make breakfast for my family. I figured if God wants me to do this He will make my brain be able to retain the scripture I’m memorizing.
Now as 2020 starts, I have 100 verses memorized from around 60 different passages. My prayer life has been transformed, my thinking is completely different, my thirst for more of God has increased, and I have been given a huge vision for my life that seems impossible and crazy. Thankfully, the increase in faith that has resulted keeps me pressing forward as I am being led. At first it didn’t make sense what God was directing me to do because my prayer was simply for financial stability and to be debt-free. I am an entrepreneur and have a large family that I am entrusted to care for. When business is slow we tend to barely scrape by, so my prayers tend to be for success and direction in business. To get a marching order from God to memorize Scripture and meditate on passages in the Bible seemed disconnected. My prayers were always in one area and for years the answer or command in another. Then I finally submitted to do what I was told to do.
I still have yet to receive the success or be debt-free and it seems my businesses are now doing worse than ever. At the same time, since about May, every bill has been paid, we have plenty of food, and our family keeps receiving premium grade items as gifts. Where is the money coming from? Like clockwork and without telling anyone our situation, sometimes 2 days before a bill is due and sometimes right when it is due, we get an envelope filled with money from random sources. We have one person who says God told them to keep buying us diapers. We have a number of people who God told them to babysit our kids for free so we can have dates. We have one person who fills our refrigerator and freezer with food. We have yet another who comes over once a week to help clean and supply our home with various items. All the while, repairs are being done on our home and gifts keep coming. I don’t have space to list everything, but it is overwhelming. Recently, I have built relationships with a number of homeless individuals and one was in shock when I told her she had made more than me the past few months as I was buying her breakfast.
Very important side note: I am not saying that if you follow these steps you will have the same results. I am simply encouraging all to seek God as your ultimate treasure. As a bonus, all that other stuff will follow naturally, but I pray that is not your motivation. (Matthew 6:33)
There are times that I have found myself tired and ashamed that I have to rely on everyone else to simply sustain my family. I often feel inadequate and like a failure. I realize then that this is pride and I bring it before God. In Hebrews 3, the writer issues a warning to not harden our hearts and complain as the Israelites did in the wilderness after leaving slavery in Egypt. Like them, I have been guided and all of my needs provided for each day. I am learning to trust and rely on God while in this valley so that I will stay true when elevated out of it. I give thanks in all things to God in the name of my Lord Jesus and I have peace because I know He is with me.
What I wanted for years was financial stability, flourishing, and success. What I needed was intimacy with God which can only come through surrender and a reprioritized life. The good Father always gives what is best. I know he wants those other things for me, but first things must be first.
We at WokenTruth challenge all to commit to simply memorizing one verse per week. Make this one thing your #1 priority for 2020 which we are calling the Year of Vision. Provided here are steps that helped me learn to memorize verses, and if I can do it anyone can. I pray this will lead to hunger and thirst for more, but in the meantime try this one thing. Every Monday, starting January 6, we will present the new verse to memorize with a short write-up on the verse. If you miss the first one, few, month, or even half a year, feel free to pick up wherever we are. We will also create a private group through our page on Facebook where individuals can dig deeper into the verse and surrounding passages along with a community of believers. I encourage anyone who wants to go deeper or simply wants to help others dig deeper to participate in that group. My prayer is that it will be used as one of God’s many sharpening tools and a refinery as we spur each other on to love and good works.
The Word of God is a powerful weapon that needs to be embedded in our hearts. Without it, people are easily deceived and led astray. When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness after fasting 40 days it was the Word of God, quoted word for word, that was His weapon. In the face of distorted truth, He answered with what was embedded in His heart so that He didn’t fall into sin (see Matthew 4: 1-11 & Psalm 119:11). There are many who distort the Word for their own selfish and lustful desires who are eager to lead people to destruction (see Romans 16:17-18 & 2 Corinthians 11:12-15). When people agree with the lies they are told, they forfeit their freedom and give themselves to slavery under a system of oppression (see Colossians 2:8). There are many within the church who are under such oppression. The Truth of the Word of God is a key to freedom (see John 8:31-32 & 2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Let us allow ourselves to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we may prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God (Romans 12:1-2 paraphrased).