Scripture Memory

1 Timothy 4:7b-8
“…Discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

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So, I guess I’ll leave my Wages Due topic for a while to teach on a topic dear to my heart – Scripture Memory.

Truly, God’s Word is powerful in a way no other word is. It truly is living and active and we should be storing it in our hearts that we would not sin against our Heavenly Father.

Over the years, I have used many different methods to memorize scripture with my children. My kids and I have primarily memorized whole chapters (or almost whole chapters), including Matthew 7, Psalm 139, Ephesians 6, Titus 2 and Colossians 3.

Additionally, our children have been involved in the AWANA ministry off and on since our oldest daughter, Emily, was a 3 year old little Cubbie. In fact, the first verses I memorized intentionally would have been with her. I can still remember A is for All – all have sinned and C is for Christ – Christ died for us, because of AWANA Cubbies.

But, as a woman, I have struggled to maintain a personal commitment to scripture memory on my own apart from my children. This is where Sweet Journey by Teri Maxwell really helped me to see my own need to memorize for myself.

Then, my sister told me about a great website and iPhone app called Scripture Typer which has really, really blessed me. I have entered there many new verses to learn as well as many old ones I have memorized before so I can keep them fresh in my mind. Without consistent review, I do forget that stored up word. Yet, it is still in there and either way I am still so thankful for the verses I studied even 10 years ago because God truly does bring them to my mind when I need them.

This brings me to today. My younger daughter Noelle has been memorizing character trait definitions along with accompanying Bible verses with her class at church. The 1 Timothy 4 verse at the top is what she is to recite at church this Sunday morning. As we have been reviewing it together, I see all the more the need for discipline in my everyday life, including scripture memory.

I am teaching Sunday School right now and leading the students in a study of Psalm 139 including its memorization. When Noelle was not yet 5 years old, she (along with her older brother and sister) had memorized it and recited it at church. Here’s a link to the video. I pray it would bless you. (By the way, Noelle still remembers much of it even though we have rarely reviewed it over the last 5 years). Be encouraged.

Psalm 139 recitation at church

What are you working on memorizing?
Have you found any helpful methods or programs you’d like to share?

Wages Due, Part Four

Psalm 103:8-13
8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

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This morning join me in praising God that He does not deal with me according to my sins. That His love is steadfast. That His steadfast love is as great as the heavens are high above the earth.
And yet He is as full of justice as He is love. So He sent His own Son to remove my transgressions from me. That by His Son my transgressions have been removed from me as far as the east is from the west.
Thank you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
TWIG

Wages Due, Part Three

Let’s look one more time at Romans 4:3-5
“For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,”

Abraham BELIEVED God and it was counted to him as righteousness.

What did his belief entail? Action. His belief resulted in what Paul calls the “obedience of faith” (Romans 16:26).
His faith resulted in action. Our faith, too, must result in action.

You say you believe? You do well. Even the demons believe, and shudder.

When you believe in God, you will hear from Him, by His Word and by His Holy Spirit and He will show you what He desires from you. By faith in Him, you will indeed be led to follow His law, but that law-following will be driven by faith in the one true God.

To make sure we are all on the same page –
1. None of us can EARN our salvation by our deeds.
2. Everyone is SAVED by faith, not by works.
3. Our faith will result in WORKS motivated by FAITH.

Interestingly, I still haven’t even gotten to my big ‘aha’ in reading Romans 4:4-5. But, before I could get there, we had to go through these other foundational ideas.

Back on the idea of wages and earning, I was thinking about how many Christians live their lives as though they can EARN, MERIT, WORK for God’s favor. This is why it’s so important to understand that our salvation is by our faith, but every time I say that, I just cannot help to think of Romans 6:23. Here it is:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Do you see it? Does it jump out at you like it did to me? Did you catch it?

What are our wages due? What do we deserve? What are we really earning? Death. Truly. The wages of our sin, past, present and future is DEATH. That is what I am due. That is what I deserve. That is what I have earned. Death.

But God has given me the GIFT of eternal life by the blood of Jesus, who paid my debt by His death on the cross. This is a gift. It is NOT what I am due. Remember, Romans 4:4-5 “Now to the one who WORKS, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.”

Do you see how offensive us trying to work to merit our salvation must be to God? Every day I choose to wake up and thank God for His GIFT, it humbles me. In my flesh, I deserve death, yet thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. His gift of salvation, by His gift of faith, in His Son whom He sent as a gift.

Thank you, Father, for giving me that which I did not deserve. Thank you for showing your love for me in that while I was still a sinner, Christ died for me, the ungodly.

TWIG

Yes, there might be more. I’ve been doing a whole word study on ‘wages.’ Stay tuned for that!

Wages Due, Part Two

Yesterday I looked at Romans 4:3-5. Let’s read that again.

3 “For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness”

Wow. So Abraham BELIEVED God and what did he earn from that? He earned righteousness. How did he earn that? By BELIEVING God.

Here is one place where, as I see it, the ‘Christian world’ is really stumbling today. We are all mixed up about what ‘works’ are. We hear ‘faith without works is dead’ (James 2:17) and think we need to do something to earn, to deserve, to merit our salvation

That is not it at all.

Once again, we have got to study the whole context of a passage. Read on after that James 2:17 to the following verses.

James 2:18-25
18 “But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?
22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works;
23 and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God.
24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.”

I think the root issue is that there is a confusion in our minds between “works of the law” and “works of faith.”

If I told you that you had to be circumcised, keep the Ten Commandments, and not eat anything unclean and you obeyed me to the best of your human ability, you might think that DOING these things would earn you entrance into Heaven. No!

You could help every orphan, every little old lady, every blind beggar, every disabled veteran, every single time for the rest of your life, and you would never be good enough to deserve God’s favor. Never.

Do any of you think of offering your son as a sacrifice to God as a *good deed*? No?

How about circumcision? Do any of you think of circumcision as a good work? No?

Me neither. No. Abraham offered Isaac up to God by faith. Circumcision, as well, was given as a work driven by faith. It was ‘faith with shoe leather.’ It was an outward symbol of an inward conversion of the heart. An outward symbol of inward faith.

Abraham believed God and it was credited Him as righteousness. His deeds were not what saved him, but they were evidence of his faith. If we copy his DEEDS, but not his FAITH, we are still lost.

If you say you have faith, but are not living and walking by faith, I would question the genuineness of that faith. Remember, Abraham’s faith was completed by his deeds.

Do you believe in Him who justifies the UNgodly?

What impact is that faith having on your everyday life?

What is God calling you to do by faith?

How are you living as though you can earn salvation by your works?

Part three – tomorrow, God willing. Stay tuned.

TWIG