Meditating on Scripture

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In the sermon today, we heard an important reminder from Joshua 1:8 —

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.

I gave several suggestions to help you meditate on scripture that I’ve listed again here:

  • Listen to a sermon.  Send time listening to God’s word being taught and discuss it with your family or small group.
  • Post scripture.  Write scripture on cards and place them in places where you spend a lot of time during the day so that you are reminded of scripture throughout the day.  Post them in your car, by the kitchen sink, at your desk, in your wallet.
  • Talk about scripture.  When you are with family or friends, enjoying a meal or on a walk, read a verse of scripture.  Take turns reflecting on the verse together.
  • Listen to scripture.  There are lots of great ways to listen to scripture.  You can listen to verses being dramatically read at a number of online sites including Bible Gateway.  Listen to songs with the words taken directly from scripture from groups such as Seeds Family Worship, Sons of Korah (Psalms) and Forever Grateful Music.  Another great site with musical and visual art to help people meditate on scripture is The Verses Project.  Calvary Kids has put the book of James to music and teaches through a chapter each year on Wednesday nights. It’s a great way to learn scripture along with your kids.
  • Select scripture randomly.  If you don’t know where to start, let God direct you. Choose a random number between 1 and 66 (or use an online site) and read the book of the bible that corresponds to that number.  For example, 15 would be the book of Ezra.  Ask the question, “Why would God have chosen this passage for me today?”
  • Discuss scripture.  Ask your family, friends or small group these questions, “If you were to hang a scripture verse on the outside of your door for everyone who passes by to see, what scripture verse would you want to hang up and why?”  “If you were going to hang a Bible verse on the front door facing inside so you would read it before you left the house, what would that scripture verse be and why?”
  • Memorize scripture.  Don’t outgrow the power of memorizing scripture.  Our verses for this series, Joshua 1:8-9, were some of the first verses I memorized as an adult. It’s a great place to start.  Try memorizing a verse every day for a week and see what happens.

Meditating on scripture — it’s challenging, but it’s simple.

Blessings,

Jim

Psalm 84 Exam

If you have been working through Psalm 84 with me, thank you.

Are you ready for the final exam?  Below, are the first letters of each word in Psalm 84 from the 1984 NIV translation to see if you can make it all the way through.  I think you will be surprised at how well you do.

I hope it is an encouragement to you that we memorized an entire Psalm of the Bible together in (approximately) one month!

PSALM 84:

HLIYDP, OLA!

MSY, EF, FTCOTL; MHAMFCOFTLG.

ETSHFAHATSANFH, WSMHHY–

APNYA, OLA, MKAMG.

BATWDIYH; TAEPY.

BATWSIIY, YHSTHOP.

ATPTTVOB, TMIAPOS; TARACIWP.

TGFSTS, TEABGIZ.

HMP, OLGA; LTM,OGOJ.

LUOS, OG; LWFOYAO.

BIODIYCTATE; IWRBADITHOMGTDITTOTW.

FTLGIASAAS; TLBFAH; NGTDHWFTWWIB.

OLA, BITMWTIY.

All is well,

Lisa

Memorization Idea

Can you rearrange these words into part of Psalm 84?

If you have been working on the verses this week, hopefully some key words helped you pick up on the fact that it is Psalm 84:11.  When you rearrange them, verse 11 reads:

Different tools work for different people.  If you are a more visual learner, this is another great way to memorize scripture.  I simply wrote out the words on individual cards and mixed them up.  Then I had to put them in the right order.

One thing I really like about this method is that all the words are right in front of you, so you don’t have to try to pull them out of thin air.  In the process of getting them into the right order, it helped me to learn the verse.

For kids, another great idea someone sent me is to tape the words to blocks to help their little hands manipulate the words.  Then they can make towers or trains with the words to form the verses.

Keep going, we are almost there!

All is well,

Lisa

The Sons of Korah

The Psalms are the Bible’s songbook but in modern times we primarily read them, and it is easy to forget that they were intended to be sung… perhaps even to help the Israelites memorize them.

I think Creator God knew we would need help to hide his word in our hearts when he told his people to combine scripture with music.  God also honored those who helped his people worship by recording their names in scripture for all of eternity.

Psalm 84 begins, “For the director of music.  According to gittith.  Of the Sons of Korah.  A Psalm.”   The Korahites, or the Sons of Korah, were a group of musicians who arranged and sang psalms when Israel gathered to worship, and are responsible for at least 13 Psalms.  Although we don’t know the author of this Psalm, we do know the musicians.

Today, musicians are again helping us to sing the ancient Psalms.  One popular version of Psalm 84 is the wonderful song “Better is One Day” by Chris Tomlin.

But, even better for trying to memorize Psalm 84 is the following version by the Australian band, The Sons of Korah.  Taking their name from the Old Testament artists, The Sons of Korah are “devoted to giving a fresh voice to the biblical psalms.”  On their website, they also write about the purpose of their music concluding “the psalms present a deep and rich spiritual well for prayer and worship. The psalms were originally written as songs and they were intended to be expressed musically.”

I hope you enjoy this beautiful adaption, and may it help you memorize Psalm 84 this week.

All is well,

Lisa

Psalm 84

This is our last week to finish up  Psalm 84.  Thankfully, the last three verses of the Psalm (verses 10-12) are pretty familiar.

It has been great to talk in hallways you, my fellow memorizers.  I appreciate the encouragement!

To help us finish strong, I’ll post lots of encouragement/ideas this week.

All is well,

Lisa

Life Interrupted

Well, this is what my wipe-off board I use for scripture memory has looked like for one month —

Other than a little water that splashed on it while doing dishes, not one word got erased. I had enough time to get the verses written out and then our lives were interrupted. As Jim’s dad’s health failed we had been living for several months knowing that his last breath could come at any moment. In the midst of uncertainty about the timing, we had to go on living. Then one day, the end was clearly in sight and everything was turned upside down. All our plans and appointments were canceled, and our best intentions – what else could you call the plan to memorize an entire Psalm in one month – suddenly were scrapped.

But, God wasn’t surprised. He used my best intentions to memorize a Psalm that had some, but little meaning, to weave it into a precious time in my life. The last few weeks of George’s life I went over to visit whenever I could even if just for a few minutes. Sometimes it was to give Nancy a break, sometimes to keep her company, and sometimes to spend time with a father-in-law who was always generous in love toward me.

As the end drew near and having a conversation was no longer possible, I started to read scripture with, or mostly just to him. I spent time reading various passages from the Bible but found that I loved to read Psalms to him. We read a variety of Psalms, but since I was trying to memorize Psalm 84 that made it into the mix more and more.

In the midst of room with a man who would soon be with the Lord, I read that a believer’s true longing is to be in the courts of the Lord, that a believer is blessed to reside in the Lord’s presence because he can worship Jesus continually, that the Lord sustains believers on their journey to his presence, and that when we arrive we will know that better is one day with Jesus than 1,000 days anywhere else.

So, the new normal of life is settling in and we are getting back to responsibilities and demands of family and ministry life. In his grace, I am back to memorizing Psalm 84 even if I am not doing it on my original timeline.  But now, I am doing it with a deeper appreciation for its meaning.

Since I didn’t have much time on verses 7-9, if you are still willing to memorize with me we’ll restart there and Lord willing we will finish our Psalm next week.

All is well,

Lisa

Psalm 84:7-9

If you are working on memorizing Psalm 84, we move on to the next three verses this week in order to make our goal of memorizing a whole Psalm in one month.

In the NIV, the verses read:

They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

Hear my prayer, O LORD God Almighty;

Listen to me, O God of Jacob.

Look upon our shield, O God;

look with favor on your anointed one.

Last week’s verses were a little tough for me but we’ll keep going while still reviewing the first six verses.

You can do it!

All is well,

Lisa

Psalm 84:4-6

If you are memorzing through Psalm 84 with me this month, our three verses for this week are Psalm 84:4-6:

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;

they are ever praising you.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,

they make it a place of springs;

the autumn rains also cover it with pools.