We’re off and running, Sweet Things! And 11,000 strong!!! Oh, how I pray that God will grant us the divine favor and indwelling power to keep it up month after month and finish 2013 in the multiple thousands. What joy He and we would have! For now, we take it step by step, one verse at a time. Don’t get caught up wondering how in the world you’re going to memorize 24 verses when you’re having a hard time memorizing the first one. That will sink your Scripture memory boat for sure.
I make you this promise based on my experience and the experience of many others: the more you memorize, the more you’ll get the hang of it. I was going to say that the more you memorize, the easier it gets but it’s not easy and that’s part of what makes it such a victory to celebrate with Jesus. I do believe I can tell you with confidence, however, that your tenth verse will very likely be easier to memorize than your first one. By that time, you’ve quit letting your nay-whining old nature tell you that you can’t do it and you shouldn’t have even tried. A big part of the battle in the first month is simply telling that self-destructive echo in our heads to shut its mouth. It’s replacing “I knew I couldn’t do it” with “Oh, yes I can. I can do all things through Christ.”
Persevere! Let’s not be quitters! God would rather us make it to the end of the year still stumbling over some words than throwing our hands up and quitting at the first imperfect recitation. Even if we don’t get our verses down perfectly, the pursuit itself is the very art of meditation. Nothing about it is a waste of time. Just think of how it helps to break the mental loop of rehearsed offenses. We’re going to be fixated on something. That’s how our minds often work. But we get to choose what.
So, right now say verse 1 out loud the very best you can.
Tremendous job. Now, let’s add our second one to it.
I totally love my verse this time around! It came up in my Scripture reading during my quiet time early Sunday morning. Here it goes:
Beth, Houston. All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children.” Isaiah 54:13 ESV
Isn’t that fabulous? I’m choosing this verse specifically so that I can turn it into intercessory prayer. Mind you, I’m not “claiming” it like I’d be apt to do with a promise more clearly obvious under the New Covenant. I’m reluctant to claim the fulfillment of a promise made straight to Israel for myself or people in my world unless I know that we have a coinciding New Covenant promise. I’d have to see consistency to pray it as one fervently counting on it. Isaiah 54:13 carries obvious elements that are very consistent with the promises of Christ to us. He promised that the Holy Spirit will teach us all things and He blatantly gave us His peace but where I’m asking God to do an Isaiah 54:13 work in my family is the emphasis on ALL my children. I want every single one of them to be students of Christ Jesus, to love His Word and His ways with a passion beyond the natural realm, and for His peace to be great upon them and contagious. If you’ll look in the Scripture’s context in Isaiah 54, especially in verses 11-17, you’ll see that V.13 is within the promises God made specifically to Israel and scheduled for fulfillment in a time yet to come. So, no, I’m not claiming it, so to speak, BUT, I am indeed asking for it. That’s fair game.
God is not obligated to say yes to promises like those in Isaiah 54 this side of His Kingdom’s full revelation but, as I persevere in prayer and faith, He will indeed hear me and I believe be pleased that I had the boldness to pray it. He is not blessed by our small, vision-bare petitions anyway. I’ve thought for a long time that God would rather hear His children voice outrageously large prayers of faith even if He has to say no on occasion than hear our pale, timid, tepid requests for things He’s already given us anyway. For instance, if we belong to Him in Christ, He is indeed going to “bless us” and “keep us.” So, I’m adding Isaiah 54:13 to my spiral and planning to reword it often into a request. I’m going to take the risk that He may indeed perform generational miracles with a family tree sprouted from the soil of disease and brokenness. Make us oaks of righteousness, Lord, for the display of Your splendor. (Isaiah 61:3)
This I know for sure: we often have not because we ask not. (James 4:2)
I love something else about Isaiah 54:13. I love that the word translated peace in English is the word “shalom” in Hebrew. The Hebrew word blows the doors off of our usual concept of peace. When I ask God for great peace to be upon my children, I have no interest in a trance-like state of passionless nirvana. I want God’s brand of peace: lively, vivacious. Here’s what the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament has to say about it:
“The general meaning behind the root š-l-m is of completion and fulfillment—of entering into a state of wholeness and unity, a restored relationship.”
It means to be intact, healthy, sound. It means wellness of soul. It conveys the idea of God prospering His child. He describes His peace like a river: moving and running. His peace is no pond. I read the verse first out of The NET Bible that sits open on my desk at home. Isaiah 54:13 is worded this way on its pages: “All your children will be followers of the LORD, and your children will enjoy great prosperity.” Right that moment I jotted the verse down in my journal and, under it, asked the Lord (with enough zeal to imprint it on the next page) to prosper my children and their children and their children and their children in the way that really matters: grant them lives that bear much fruit – I said MUCH FRUIT – for THIS is to our Father’s great glory. May they blatantly show themselves to be Christ’s disciples. (That’s John 15:8 and, if you haven’t memorized it yet, it is a must! Prioritize it early on in your year if God causes it to leap off the page with you.) With all my heart, I want God to use this lineage He is redeeming to prosper His Kingdom.
So I am really fired up about my verse for our next two weeks and hope to still be saying it and praying it for the next generations of this family line when I’m about to see Jesus. If you don’t already have a verse selected, you are welcome to share it and make it your own with Jesus. Choose any verse that He’s using to speak to you right now. Remember, that’s what will make it stick to your ribs. It needs to mean something to you!
Hit it, Girls! Remember! Only your names, cities, verses, references, and translations! You are stellar, Sisters. I love you so much.
Edited to add: Information on how to download your Android or iPhone application!
I know many of you have been asking if we are going to have an app this year for your smart phones, and we have both good news and bad news. The good news is YES, we ARE! We have created an app for both Android and iPhones. The bad news is, the Android app is ready for you, but if you would be so patient with us, we’ll have the iPhone app ready for you in about five or six days. Does that sound good?
So, excuse me while I get technical for just a minute!
For those of you that still have the old application on your phone (and this goes for both Android and iPhone users), you would most likely have received a notification about the availability of this new one, but if not, and you are currently using an android, simply click here to download the app. (This link is for Android users only.) Android users, if you’re having issues with this link (and it’s currently working fine on this end), you can search “Living Proof Ministries – Scripture Memory Team – 2013” in your phone under applications. (I have very little knowledge about Android phones, so forgive me if my wording is wrong.)
When the iPhone app is ready, I’ll update this post for those of you who would like to download it with all the instructions you’ll need. However, I do know upfront you’ll be able to find the app in the iTunes store via your phone or computer.
Once you have the application, it is very user friendly. You’ll be notified the 1st and 15th of every month with the new blog post that will land in your application (you will only be notified if you have turned on notifications for this specific app), you can share the post, and then you can also store your memory work in there. It will also act like your spiral. You may want to use both your spiral and the app to have on hand in case you lose one or the other!
I hope that helps! Doesn’t this make it so much more fun?