Earlier this summer, my family and I went to Las Vegas and heard a friend named Vance Pitman preach at his church, Hope Church. (He’s amazing. Check out their website for lots of goodies.) That day, Vance just happened to be starting a new series with his congregation, challenging them to read through the whole book of Psalms by the first week of September.
While I do encourage you to do this, this is not the challenge I want to focus on.
During Vance’s sermon, he talked about how lately he had been having trouble sleeping. Instead of counting sheep (does anyone actually do that anymore?), he began to go through the alphabet. You may think, “Ok, that’s stupid.” Just hold on a second! Vance didn’t just go through the alphabet; he began assigning Bible verses to letters of which they started. It became a tool for verse memorization, and one that has become very helpful to me.
Growing up in a Biblically-saturated environment, memorizing Scripture is not a foreign concept to me. Whether it was in Awanas, Bible class, or Sunday school, I’ve memorized Scripture during several points in my life. However, I have failed to make Scripture memorization a high priority in my own personal Bible study. Why? Probably because I didn’t feel like putting in that kind of effort, which really is stupid because what if I’m in a situation, like many people face in different countries, where a Bible is nowhere to be found? What if I come across someone who has never heard the name of Jesus or knows nothing about the Bible, and I don’t have one on me? The Word has to be in us, engraved upon our hearts.
All this to say, I encourage you to join this challenge with me. I’ve only gotten a few letters so far, but I can already see the difference it’s making in my heart. I pray that this tactic will make it a little easier and maybe even more fun for you to memorize Scripture. I think we’ll be surprised with what all the Lord will do in our lives through this challenge. J
Just to give you an example of what I’ve been rambling about, here are the verses I have for letters A-E.
Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth…Take hold of instruction; do not let go. Guard her, for she is your life. (Prov. 4:5,13)
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You. (Ps. 63:3)
Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phi. 2:3-8)
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me. (Ps. 23:4)
Have fun and let the Lord do radical things to your heart and mind!