Light For The Journey

 
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When I heard that my band had been invited to play in the parade for Santa arriving at a local shopping centre in November, I was excited.  It sounded like a fun thing to be part of.  I was sure there would be a large crowd, with lots of excited children, and that the atmosphere would be one of joy and celebration.

All of this turned out to be true.  (And they had real reindeer!)

However, I didn’t foresee that it would also be one of my most stressful musical experiences ever.

We only saw the music we had to play around half an hour before the parade began, which wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t difficult so I thought we would cope.  It was only when we went outside to line up that we realised how dark it actually was.  There was no chance of us being able to see the music well enough to read it!

The only thing we could think of was to try and memorise the music!  I spent the fifteen minutes we had to wait running through it over and over again, playing quietly and trying desperately to train my fingers to remember the patterns of the notes.  It certainly sharpened my focus!  I didn’t even notice the drummer (who had no notes to memorise!) taking a photo of me as I desperately tried to cram it all into my brain!

band at gyle

In the end, it went ok.  Those fifteen minutes of frantic cramming had been enough… at least to get it into my short-term memory – don’t ask me to play it now!

It’s definitely not a strategy I’d recommend though!

Where am I going with this strange story?

Well, it led me to think about the benefits of memorising parts of the Bible – not in a panicked, last-minute-cramming-before-a-test kind of way, but in a thoughtful and intentional way.

So many times in life, we find ourselves in the dark.  We lack wisdom or direction, we’re beginning to feel overwhelmed by circumstances, or the voices around us are not speaking hope and truth.

What if we had God’s Word – God’s truth – inside us, to the point where it came to mind automatically?  What difference would that make?

From my experience, it makes a massive difference.

I remember a Bible verse I learned as a child once popping into my head completely out of the blue, around ten years later, at the moment I needed it most.

I remember sitting in hospital, worried about upcoming tests and potential diagnoses, reading Psalm 91 over and over again to the point where it is now permanently ingrained in my mind, and later knowing it giving me comfort and strength in other times of anxiety.

I know that when I use odd moments while I’m standing in line, or waiting for a bus, or even as I’m drifting off to sleep at night, to remind myself of verses from the Bible, it calms me.  It restores my perspective and reminds me of what’s really important.

It’s not just about learning the words.  It’s about absorbing the truth of the words and allowing it to change me.

We have a choice about what we fill our minds with, and Paul’s advice is:

Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

What can be better to fill our minds with than God’s Word?

And as we make that choice to fill our minds with truth, surely that is what is going to come out more and more in our words and actions.

I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  (Psalm 119:11 NLT)

Learning God’s Word prepares and equips us so that, no matter how dark and uncertain the path ahead, we can move forward knowing that he will strengthen us and guide us.

Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”  (Psalm 119:105 NLT)

If this is an area you’d like to work on this year, here are some links with encouragement, advice and resources:

You Can Memorize Scripture This Year- Andy Naselli– deals with three of the most common reasons Christians give for not memorising Scripture and gives some tips and resources for getting started

Grow Your Faith In The New Year: Memorize Scripture- Betsy de Cruz – post on the importance of memorising Scripture and a simple technique for committing a single verse to memory

Bible Memory Resources- Do Not Depart – links to lots of helpful articles and resources to learn various sections of Scripture

Do Not Depart also organises Bible memory challenges from time to time.  I have taken part in a few of these and found them to be really helpful.  I have appreciated the accountability and support of doing it in community.  Visit their blog to read about the latest memory challenge and find out how to sign up.

What about you?  What helps you to memorise Bible verses?  What benefits have you seen from doing it, or what have you found difficult?


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43 thoughts on “Light For The Journey

  1. I love this post, Lesley! Just this morning I was awake at 4 a.m. so I was reciting verses I’ve memorized (in my head; don’t want to scare the husband! ha). Thanks for sharing about Do Not Depart. And I’m headed off to look at the other links you shared.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We gave our trumpeter son a battery powered light for his stand for Christmas because of this very same dilemma with concerts. Thanks for the challenge to do our memorizing BEFORE we need the words, so that they will be available when we do need them!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great analogy! I find that the verses I often turn to are ones I memorized as a child, or ones I learned through song. I wish there were more verses put directly to music, because that is definitely the easiest way for me to memorize.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Katrina! I agree – I can learn song lyrics easier than anything else! It is hard to find songs with the words directly from Scripture that also have good music.

      Like

  4. Memorizing scripture is so important, even (maybe especially for) children. My mother-in-law often tells the story of her mother praying for her brother who had turned far away from God, that he would remember the scriptures he learned as a child. When he came back to God, he told his mother that he could not lay his head down on the pillow at night without those verses running through his head. His word will not return void.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing the story of your frantic music memorization. It does help to explain the need for becoming familiar with Scripture. I also try to hide God’s word in my heart. Blessings to you!

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  6. We need His Word in our hearts like we need food in our bodies to strengthen and sustain us, don’t we? I find this so true – “It’s not just about learning the words. It’s about absorbing the truth of the words and allowing it to change me.” Love and blessings to you, Lesley!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Scripture memory has been so important in my life. It really helps to have those needed scriptures come up when you really need them. I haven’t done much scripture memory lately so I need to get back into it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts the resources for memorizing scripture. Blessings to you! I’m your neighbor at #LMMLinkup!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Gayl! I definitely go through phases of memorising a lot and phases of doing less. It’s amazing how verses can come back to you just when you need them. Hope you find the resources helpful!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. YES. This point really grabs me: “It’s not just about learning the words. It’s about absorbing the truth of the words and allowing it to change me.” I’m glad you were able to play in the dark, and so grateful the light of Christ is in US, especially through His Word.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks so much for sharing my post, Lesley! I love that story about the parade! Playing in the dark! Yikes! But what a GREAT analogy you made. I wrote this week on memorizing longer passages, but I’m definitely going to check out some of those resources. I’d heard of Do Not Depart just last week…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh, I love this. Scripture memory is so important. I am currently memorizing Psalm 34 and go over some of the verses every evening before bed. I also just got cds of the entire Bible being read so I have been listening to scripture in the car. This is so important! Thanks for sharing. blessings, Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lesley, hi! I love your emphasis on thoughtful and intentional memorization and reflection on God’s Word. I find that all those verses I memorized in the King James Version as a child come to me in the night, word for word. I take great comfort and hope in them, they calm my soul, they remind me I am loved.

    And that He’s got whatever Has caused me to lose sleep.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s a lie that we can’t memorize verses. We memorize other things. Of course, we have an enemy who doesn’t want us to do that, so we have to fight the spiritual aspect of it and just commit His Word to memory. thanks for the push!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow, Lesley, that would have been really stressful! I’m so glad God enabled you to memorize the music so quickly. You must be gifted to be able to do that. 🙂

    For me, I’ve found that writing a verse down (for example, in a letter of encouragement) a number of times helps me internalize the verse and its meaning. It’s probably not the fastest way to memorize verses, especially since I don’t handwrite letters the way I once did. 😉

    Sometimes, I’ve written verses on a spiral index card pack and studied and memorized while walking on the treadmill. Thanks for sharing the links to help us be more intentional about this!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m glad you were able to memorize your music so fast, Lesley … just reading your story made me nervous for you! As for memorizing scripture, I learned quite a few verses as a child that have stayed with me over the years, and then more when my girls were in Awana. Many of those were were set to music, and even to this day, we’ll hear a phrase from one of them and immediately start singing the song. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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