I've sat here, in my fave comfy chair several early mornings this week (while my family still slumbers) to start a new chapter. A chapter of relevancy with application. When the two pastors of my church were tag team preaching this past Sunday; I was in my pew, my pen flying across my page, taking notes. This is how I always listen to a speaker. Feverishly writing what I do not want forget from them and from God.
At one point they did a little experiment. They sang and/or quoted different theme songs from television shows from the past. The first was as follows…”Da da da dun *snap snap* Da da da dun *snap snap* Da da da dun, Da da da dun, Da da da dun *snap snap*”. Name it.
If you guessed The Adam’s Family, you are correct. That is pretty much the only one I got right because I am more from the generation that can sing you the theme song from Saved by the Bell or Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire. Even though I did not know most of the rest of their examples, I got their message just the same.
Our brains retain what we repeat and allow to be repeated.
Now let’s move to the application…take a look at the book of James in my Bible. I have written beside and underlined a good portion of it because I just can't seem to get enough of it! For years I have claimed that it is my favorite book of the Bible, but do I really KNOW it? Could I quote it...or even give the general concept if needed? Since the answer is ‘No’, what have I done to change that? *sigh* The truth hurts sometimes doesn’t it? It is okay, we will learn from this. And we will be better for it.
Think of a theme song from a tv show from your past. If you can’t think of a theme song…try a catchy jingle from a commercial. Now try to sing it. Go ahead…I will wait. (At least I know my mom and aunts will follow my instruction. ;) Haha!) Do you remember waking up the morning after you first heard it and realizing that you know it word for word? Doubtful. Unless you are my husband who has the memory of an elephant. (Is that even the correct expression? How does one know what an elephant can remember. *shrugs shoulders* Moving on.) My guess is that you had heard it many times…and finally it stuck with you.
When you read a passage from the Bible, do you read it once and move on? Or do you really study it? Have you tried to complete a detailed a study guide on it? Do you write it and rewrite it to make it really stick? If your answer to those questions is yes, no, no, and no…please don’t feel bad. You are not alone. You are probably in the majority these days. But we are not called to be like everyone else. We are called to be a ‘peculiar people’. People who don't follow what is easy or common, but what is right and true. After all, aren't we called to be like our Father…not our brother.
When God reveals something to you from a fresh, new perspective, sometimes it can sting a bit. You might even feel like you are not doing enough. Or maybe that you are being looked at under a microscope or told my way is better. I do not profess to have ways better than any other. (Just so we are clear on that.) I write what God reveals to me. And 99% of the time it is something He is teaching me right along with you.
Sunday as I sat in church, I felt the nudge of God. (I prefer the nudge over the shove. The shove usually comes when I have ignored the nudge for a while. *grins and stares at floor kicking a fake rock*) Anyway, the nudge…he was telling me to renew my passion for His Word…on purpose. With purpose. If I can learn a theme song that will NOT in any way change my life because I mindlessly listened to it in the background…I can memorize God-inspired scripture if I set out to do so. Be intentional. Our brains retain a lot of things that we never tried to keep there. The Word of God though…it is supposed to be ‘hidden in our hearts’. Placed there intentionally.
I didn’t loose you did I? Haha. This exercise involves your mind only…and maybe a hand or two if you really get into it. ;) Let’s say you have a small child who needs to learn a Bible verse. How would you help them learn it? My guess is...lots of repetition. Maybe an arm movement here and there. Oh...and LOTS of facial expressions. You would probably pick out key words that you could act out with those facial expressions and wild arm movements.
I currently have a kindergartener who has to say a verse for school each Friday. During the week I act out the verses with her. I get silly and over-animated because I want it to really make an impression on her little six year old mind. Did you get that? I am making an effort to make a lasting impression because it is the word of God. Couldn't I make the same effort for myself?!
AWANA. How many of you attended as a child? Or raise of hands if you send your children now. Way back when I was little, I had a leader who, to this day, is still one of my favorite people. Her name is Linda. She was the type of Godly woman that people were drawn to. I was recently reconnected with her as we started to attend the same church. I was so happy to find out that she has not changed a bit. She is still the lovable, bubbly mom-figure that I remember her to be. God had a special purpose for her in my life and I am so thankful for her. Without her and my mom, I would not have memorized the scripture that I did. They’d act out my verse when I got stuck. (Linda would use lots of facial expressions…and it still makes me giggle!) They took time because they knew the importance of hiding scripture in your heart from a young age.
When it comes to my ability to memorize, I am nothing like my husband. When we were little, I kind of…in a nice sort of way…did not like him. Not as in a true dislike…as in a UGH, why is this so easy for you!?! You see the AWANA leaders literally had to come up with new things for him to do. Haha! He would get through his entire book, review it, do a written test…and all before I was even halfway through mine.*Ahem…nerd* Haha! The only hope that most of those boys his age had at winning high sections for the night was when he was doing his test. Whew…glad I wasn’t a boy. Now-a-days, I am so thankful for all of his memorization. I can call on him with my randomness…and he usually has an answer for me. Who knew I would marry that country boy with the big brown glasses? (Love you E-Rock!)
Anyway, back to my point. I promise I am going somewhere with this. If we retain so much needless ‘junk’ in our heads because we mindlessly allowed it to seep in…what if we actually, on purpose, used our mind for the purpose in which it was intended. What if we took a chunk of scripture and dove in. Head first. Learned all God had for us and really looked for a way to apply it in our days.
Once we have all we can get…move on to what God has next. I highly recommend getting a devotional book on a particular subject or book of the Bible. This way you are looking up verses and answering questions that help you to apply it. As you could’ve guessed…I am a huge fan of any of Max Lucado’s devotionals. He has several topical studies and also many book studies. (Just trying to help you off in the right direction if you are feeling overwhelmed by all of the options out there.)
What can you do today? Is there something you are facing that you could use some light spread on? Seek an answer. Ask God to lead you down His perfect path for you. Get excited to meet with God. He loves you more than you will EVER understand…so try to give Him a chance to give you revelation in your specific circumstance. He will blow your mind with how intimately He knows exactly what you need. Trust in that beloved. Don’t forget to spread it. Your ripple effect starts with a spoken or written word. You telling your story helps others believe God will do the same for them. Talk about Him often! I am sure He talks about you! =)
I would like to end today's post with my favorite quote spoken by Pastor Les on Sunday. "The only person who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper." *giggles* And I would like to add to that...even they don't like the process...but would like to skip right to the end result. Fresh. Clean. New.
Let's allow this word today to change us. So we can seek God with fresh fire. So we can cleanse our hearts from our old ways. And so we become that new creation that is spoken of in 2 Corinthians 5:17!
Words have power. Written words provide proof. You can read them, and reread them whenever you want. They can speak life to someone who needs encouragement. They can speak death to someone who is being deceived. The choice lies within you. How is it that you want people to remember you? Encourager...that is the gift that God has laid on my heart. To use my written, spoken, and/or sung words to lift people up. To be one link in their road to healing, restoration, joy. I have been without those things, and I claim them to be mine again. If you want me to seek God on a prayer for a specific situation...that is why I am here. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to pray God's Word of Life over you.