15 October 2013

Things to Memorize (A Habit for Day 15)

 Yesterday we talked about how the Israelites in the wilderness were really good at forgetting what God had done for them in the past, and how merciful He was to them in contrast to their pitiful complaints.  He was right there all the time, yet they couldn't see past their worries.

Thus today feels like a good day to talk about remembering (a gentler word for memorizing, really) the things that will help us keep holding onto Jesus' hand.

In my own experience, stress has a way of putting blinders over my eyes, so I forget how the Lord has helped me before.  I forget His promises, I forget to praise Him for the blessings I already have, I forget to ask for wisdom as I head toward what feels like disaster.

He's always there; I just need help remembering that.

It seems like the only things that readily come to mind are the ones I've spent time reviewing.  So for me personally, the only way the good things have a fighting chance of even entering my brain when I'm stressed is to have them memorized.

Lest you're afraid you won't be able to memorize anything, think for a second about all the things you know by heart.  Song lyrics from your favorite radio station?  The route to work?  The grocery store that has the best deal on avocados?  The names of your friends?

Maybe we could afford to put some additional focus on remembering the things of God, before we're too stressed to search for them, so they'll be as natural to us as the morning drive to work.

Here are some ideas of things to memorize (or at least think about often) to get you going.
  • Bible promises.  Keep them short if memorizing is hard work for you, or keep a journal where you write down in your own handwriting the most meaningful ones to you.  Then you can read a book straight through of promises you've claimed for yourself personally.  Trust me, it's hard to be discouraged after a few minutes of pure Bible promises!  Some of the most powerful are the shortest, so memorizing a few is doable for just about anybody.  Need wisdom?  James 1:5.  Need guidance?  Psalm 32:8.  Need hope?  Jeremiah 29:11.
  • Experiences you've had where God has clearly blessed your life.  Write them down in story form and share them with family or friends, if appropriate.  Write them down in list form, and keep the list where you have easy access to it and can review it when you're tempted to think God has left you alone.
  • Hymns.  Words are almost always more catchy if they come with a tune.  Choose some songs you already love.  You can also choose from different topics, such as praise, prayers for help or guidance, what Jesus did on the cross, the second coming, or heaven.  
Speaking of heaven, I used to feel a little bit like spending a lot of time thinking about heaven would be a sort of denial of the rough realities of this life.  As I've allowed myself to ponder and sing about heaven more, however, I've come to realize it does the opposite.  I can see my present realities with more clarity (which helps me make better decisions for the here and now), and the words about heaven give me the long-term determination to live in heaven's hope no matter what my outward circumstances.

I would thus encourage you to spend a lot of time especially reading and singing about the cross, as the only way you have a way out and a choice; and heaven, where that way out is ultimately leading you.

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1 comment:

  1. I am finding there is power in just reading and working on memorizing scripture, even when I'm not very successful at reciting it back word for word. The experience of spending time with the verse changes me. Thinking about the cross, and Jesus and heaven changes me too. It is a good kind of change, that makes the desert much easier to bear.


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