Sunday, June 18, 2017

God gave...The Father (Part 2)

As previously discussed I will speak briefly to the person of God the Father within the Godhead, also known as the Trinity.  Please remember that this is a series so if something needs clarification, look to previous posts in this series or hold on and it will likely become clear as we move forward.  We will begin by remembering what the Nicene Creed states about God the Father.

We believe in one God, The Father Almighty

Please allow me briefly to point out again that we are speaking of one God.  He is one in essence and three in persons.  That is the overarching nature of the Trinity.  My goal going forward is to help make clear the persons of the Trinity; never to create a notion of three God's.

God The Father

The beautiful thing about our God and what makes him different from other Gods is this idea of Fatherhood.  No other God call us His children.  No other God promises forgiveness of and redemption from our sinful rebellion against Him through the sacrifice of His own Son.  No other God gives a new nature that no longer desires to rebel against Him.  No other God then, puts His Spirit inside of us, giving us gifts to help us in this life and empowering us to use them successfully.

Though God does have a certain love for his "children of creation" (i.e. all of mankind), He does these things for those who are His children by faith alone(John 1:12-13).

We are privileged to call Almighty God Abba! Father because, as true believers, we have received the Spirit of adoption.  The Spirit by whom we are led, bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God and thus fellow heirs with Christ.  However, adoption into the family of God comes with a responsibility. That responsibility is that we suffer with Christ in order that we may also be glorified with Christ(Romans 8:14-17).

We know that we can trust our Heavenly Father because our Savior, His Son, trusts Him entirely. Jesus taught us to pray "Our Father who art in Heaven"(Matthew 6:9-13).  All that the Son, Jesus, spoke and did was by the will of the Father and because He sees Him do it first(John 5:19-20, 8:28).  He trusted His Father completely and so can we.


God's word teaches us that we are not separated from God by some great span or chasm.  No God condescended to provide knowledge of Himself to us in our languages, using figures of speech, and genres that we could relate to.

In the Old Testament He appeared to man as The Angel of the Lord to David(1 Chronicles 21:16), a burning bush to Moses(Exodus 3:1-2), a pillar of fire(Exodus 13:21) and a cloud on the mountain to the children of Israel(Exodus 16:19), as a whisper to Elijah(1 Kings 19:12), and as a whirlwind to Job(Job 38:1).  There are many other Old Testament examples of God coming down and revealing Himself to His people.

The Father's Greatest Gift of Love

In the New Testament, God the Father tops all of the Old Testament examples by sending His Son as God in the flesh.  In fact, His greatest condescension was in the incarnation when God the Father sent His Son in human form to dwell among us, live perfectly in our stead, and ultimately die as our substitute receiving the punishment of God's wrath for our sins.  Then he raised Him from the dead verify Christ's deity and the validity of all that He accomplished.

Let's just say that Jesus was the greatest gift of love that the Father ever gave us.(Romans 5:8)

After this,  Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father and sent the third person of the Trinity, Holy Spirit.  More on the Son and the Spirit soon.

Let it suffice to say that God the Father cares very much for His creation and even more for His children.  He is not out of reach.  And no matter how far you think you have run or fallen, you are never out of His reach.

Coming up, we will speak to the subject of God the Creator and discuss further the details of His love for His creation and the magnificence of his creative power and how He is not only the beginning, but also the middle and the end of all things.

Please continue with me on this journey as we learn Coram Deo (before the very face of God).

Much love,

Josh



Sunday, June 4, 2017

God Gave.....Himself (Part 1)

IN THE BEGINNING...



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Before time began......God was!


Ok. So maybe this would be considered a bit obnoxious by some, what with the huge lettering and all.  But the fact is, He is a...

BIG GOD!

Alright. I think I have made my point.  Maybe someone might think, "If we are speaking to what God gave us, why not start with Creation?"  That is a reasonable question.  But what we often forget is that before creation God gave us himself, by simply being.  In all of His glory, might, and trinitarian splendor.  It is to the trinitarian nature of God that I want to speak here because, who He is makes all the difference in how we understand what He gives us.

Jesus tells us in John 5:26 that "For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself."

Self-Sufficiency

A.W. Tozer expounds on this in Ch. 6 of his book, "Knowledge of the Holy" when he states,
"Whatever God is, and all that God is, He is in Himself.  All life is in and from God, whether it be the lowest form of unconscious life or the highly self-conscious, intelligent life of a seraph. No creature has life in itself; all life is a gift from God.  
The life of God, conversely, is not a gift from another.  Were there another from whom God could receive the gift of life, or indeed any gift whatsoever, that other would be God in fact.  An elementary but correct way to think of God is as the One who contains all, who gives all that is given, but who Himself can receive nothing that He has not first given.
To admit the existence of a need in God is to admit incompleteness in the divine being. Need is a creature-word and cannot be spoken of the Creator.  God has a voluntary relation to everything He has made, but He has no necessary relation to anything outside of Himself.  His interest in His creatures arises from  His sovereign good pleasure, not from any need those creatures can supply nor from any completeness they can bring to Him who is complete in Himself." 
The Apostle Paul tells us in Acts 17:24-25 that 
"The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything." 
Hopefully these references give a clear understanding of the undeniable self-sufficiency of God. He came from nothing.  He exists in and of Himself.  He needs nothing.  He is completely fulfilled in Himself.  And through this trinitarian nature, He is the only God capable of understanding and giving love to another because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have lived in a perfectly loving relationship with each other for all of eternity.  No other religion in the world believes in a trinitarian God because no other religion in the world believes in the God of the Bible.

So What Is This Trinity?

I actually want to take part of this series and speak to the nature of the Trinity, the best I know how.  I believe it is important to give time to this because the rest of the series is about the who, what, where, when, and how of this trinitarian God.  He is seen throughout scripture and will be referenced in three distinct persons throughout this series.


The Nicene Creed was written at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.  It is not just some document or set of phrases designed to express some nice thoughts about Christian beliefs.  It was created to answer heresies that denied this very biblical doctrine of the Trinity and the person and deity of Christ.  It fleshes out nicely the basics of each person of the Trinity.

So my intent is to include it hear and then include each section as I briefly speak to who each person of the Trinity is.  I do intend them to be three separate and brief posts that will hopefully peak and hold your interest in this discussion.  If you are at all interested in delving deeper into your understanding of who God is, what He has done for you,  and what your purpose in this life is, please stick with me.

So, without further adieu, here is the Nicene Creed proclaiming the glorious nature of the Trinity:


We believe in one God, The Father Almighty
Maker of heaven and earth
And of all things visible and invisible

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God,
begotten of his Father before all worlds
God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,
begotten, not made, 
being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; 
who for us and for our salvation came down from heaven, 
and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary
and was made man; and was crucified under Pontius Pilot;
he suffered and was buried; 
and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures
and ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father;
and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the living and the dead;
whose kingdom shall have no end

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, 
who proceeds from the Father and the Son;
who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified; 
who spoke by the prophets;
and we  believe in one holy catholic and apostolic church;
we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins;
and we look for the resurrection of the dead, 
and the life of the world to come

AMEN!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Journey of Knowledge: Knowing and Being Known

Knowing God


One of the most important things we can do to lead our hearts into adoration and praise of our Creator and Father, Savior and Lord, Comforter and Counselor; is to remember the many things he has given to us and consequently, done for us.  In doing so we discover who God is.  As we begin to think on these things, we develop a theology.

Oh I know many a preacher and fellow Christian has mocked theologians and downplayed theology as if it is the high-falutin mumbo-jumbo of Christianity.  But theology is nothing more than the study and understanding of who God is.  

Everyone who professes faith in any God is a theologian in that they all have an understanding of who that God is.  The question is, "Are they a good theologian or a bad theologian?"  And on what God is their theology centered?  For Christians this theology must be based in the word of God and that God must be the author of that scripture.

I want to give credit where it is due.  This concept and question have their origins for my part, in the teachings of and specifically a book written by Dr. R.C. Sproul, a world-renowned theologian and the founder of Ligonier ministries.   His book is entitled, "Everyone is a Theologian".  I confess I have not read the book, but I have listened to him speak on it, listened to him teach enough in general, and read another book in which he makes the same point to have an idea what he is getting at.  

This is not a new idea and Dr. Sproul would be the first to admit that this idea does not originate with him.  It goes all the way back to the New Testament.  I am striving however, to take us on a journey through theology or "the study of God" by considering what He has given us and consequently done for us.   And I want to do it, by simply scanning scripture and looking for the many blessings He has poured out on us.

What Do We Know or Not Know?


Image result for biblical ignoranceMany have some clue about something that the bible says about God.  Some might even believe that the OT and NT somehow go together, even if they are not all together sure how.   Many Americans however, are disturbingly illiterate when it comes to the bible.

Image result for biblical ignorance Here you will find an article discussing biblical illiteracy among Americans, many of which profess to be evangelical Christians.  Concerningly, it suggests that fewer than half of all Americans can name the four Gospels and 60% of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments.

It also states, among other things, that, 82% of Americans believe that "God helps those who help themselves" is a bible verse, 12% of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife, and over fifty percent of graduating high school seniors in a study thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.  To top it all off, a considerable amount of respondents to one poll thought that The Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.

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It is important to note that while many of these stat's are generally found among the American secular population, similar studies show that biblical illiteracy of this nature is prevalent among the church as well.  You may think this is ridiculous or you may be shocked to find yourself realizing some serious bible ignorance of your own.  I have been there myself.  These stats are based on fairly rudimentary biblical knowledge.

I shared these stats with a professing unbeliever who stated, "I actually knew the answer to all of those stats because I have actually read your bible."  This person had read it and it wasn't even his! This simply reinforces the fact that reading the bible gives you much knowledge that you should be able to understand without great difficulty however, by itself it will not change the heart.  The word of God must be applied to the heart of man by the Holy Spirit in order for regeneration(a heart change) to take place.

However, if you are a true convert to Christianity, you should quickly discover some of these basic truths.  And, you should hunger and thirst for biblical knowledge more often than not.  Trust me, the more you study, the more you realize how much you don't know; not because it is difficult to know or somehow unavailable, but because the opportunities for learning more from scripture are endless.  This is true of all of us however, what you must know for salvation is clear in scripture for even the most basic of Christians.

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The truth is that ignorance is extremely dangerous as a follower of Christ.  We are subject to all kinds of false teaching and deception.  Knowledge of the word of God not only gives us the necessary weapons to defeat the enemy in the many battles we will face, but it allows us to remember continually the sweetness of what Christ did for us, who we are in Him, and what He wants to do through us.  

We must not be careless and lazy in our pursuit of the knowledge of God.  He gave everything for us.  Should we not give everything for Him?


The Sweetness of Discovery!

Even if you consider yourself to be a pretty well read Christian as it relates to the bible, have you ever journeyed from beginning to end and gotten an overview of all that God has given us?  Have you ever really spent time considering not just what He did for us yesterday, but what he has been doing from the beginning; even from eternity past?  

There are many Christians, even academic theologians who do not properly understand that the OT and NT are not separate stories, nor are they speaking of two different natures of God, i.e. God of wrath(OT) and God of Love(NT).  

The bible is one grand narrative; a beautiful love story from beginning to end full of love and wrath, grace and judgement, mercy and punishment, war and peace; but the Creator of the universe is the God of that whole story.  

He is self-sufficient, all knowing, and all powerful.  He needs nothing, is surprised by nothing, and in his sovereignty, is in control over everything.

If you think of theology that way, rather than thinking of it as some academic study about God that is for doctoral students in seminary, I promise you will discover life-giving truths about the loving and generous nature of God.  I am not talking about the rose-colored glasses approach that picks and chooses which parts to believe and pay attention to.  I mean discovering all of who God is.
He is not only love, He is also wrath; not just a forgiving Savior but a righteous and just judge; and while he is all knowing and always in control, he still allows us to be a part of His plan through the obedience of prayer, evangelism, and living a life worthy of the gospel.
No matter how well read you are, there is always a fresh discovery to be made.  Sometimes it is old knowledge renewed, but it is made all the sweeter in your remembrance.  Sometimes whether new or old, truth is applied to your life in such a way as to make it come alive in ways you never thought possible.

God is loving and personal; and he wants you to know and understand who he is and consequently, who you are.  What amazes me most is that in knowing God, you become known by Him!(Galatians 4:9, 1 Corinthians 8:3)  

Join Me!

It has been a while since I have written here but I find that when I blog, it helps me to dig deeper and stay more faithfully plugged in to His word and all that it has to teach me.  For this reason, it is important enough to me to try to blog regularly even while going to school and working.  Lord willing I will be able to be consistent.  I pray it is as much a blessing to those who read it as it is to me as I write it.

So will you come with me?  Will you journey on a series that will give an overview of the goodness of God to His creation, most especially humanity?  

Along the way, we will likely consider the importance of bible study, which is the means by which we discover all that we need to know about who God is to us and who we are to God.

I confess, I have an idea of what we will discover, but I fully expect to be freshly reminded, excited, and renewed by the truths that scripture reveals about the only God whom is worthy of worship on this earth today.

I hope you will join me.

Sincerely,

Josh


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Prayer for the President

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Father in heaven,

I praise you that you alone are God.  You created the heavens and the earth and you are sovereignly in control of the universe and all who live in it.  Nothing happens without your knowledge or consent.  Your word tells us that you know the beginning from the end and that in you we live and move and have our being.  All your ways are perfect and everything that you do is done from a heart of love for your creation and those who will live with you for all eternity.  It is in this understanding of who you are that I rest and feel comfortable to come boldly before you in repentance and petition.

Father, I come to you in order to pray for our President and our nation.  I confess that I have not done this consistently or well.  I have stood in judgement over former President's criticizing without having included you in the process.  I know that you have given me a voice as a citizen of this great democratic republic that I may speak freely and openly, expressing approval or disapproval of this government that is for the people and by the people.  

However, I also understand that as a professing believer in the Lord Jesus Chris, I have a responsibility to do this in as loving and constructive a way as possible, always striving to express patience and hope even as I express my concerns and disagreements. I have not done this as well as I should and thus I have potentially undermined my ability to speak into the culture regarding the Christians responsibility to keep hope alive, not grumble and criticize unconstructively, and to pray fervently.  For this I repent and ask you to work in my heart and remain in your word in a way that causes me to bring you greater glory as I engage with the culture regarding political and social concerns.

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And so I come before you now to pray for our current President Donald Trump.  Lord, I confess that I do not understand why he is in office.  For certain he was not what anyone expected and so far he has done far to much to affirm the concerns that were express by so many during the election process.  He has appeared hasty, bombastic, and irrational too often.  I disagree with much that he has said and done in the past and presently.  We all know his flaws and the many mistakes he as made.  None better than you Lord.  

But he has also made or indicated that he will make some decisions that are in accordance with what your word requires regarding abortion and sexuality.  I praise you for this Lord.  As a Christian I believe that all Christians should celebrate that which glorifies your will for this earth and all of humanity.  He also brings a strength of decision making and a lack of fear of political posturing and pressure that is much needed if difficult decisions will be made.  However, much wisdom and patience is still required on his part even as he strives to be steadfast and true to his campaign promises. 

God, your word makes it clear that President Trump is not in office by accident, but that it is a divine design which only you fully comprehend.  You have a plan and I trust it.  The man has clearly led a morally depraved lifestyle for most of his life but it is never too late for change.

I have heard that perhaps President Trump prayed the prayer of faith sometime in the last year.  If it was legitimate then I praise you for it..  His statements regarding repentance during the presidential race certainly would not indicate that he was a Christian in his heart of hearts but that any religious talk was just posturing.  If he is in fact a Christian, then he is a baby and I pray you will place true and healthy biblical influences in his life to help him grow in faith and practice.  If it is not legitimate then I pray that you will change his heart and draw him to you that he may lead as one who loves and fears you.

Regardless, I pray that you will guide him and all in his sphere of influence as members of the executive branch to make wise decisions that will move this country in a positive direction.  I pray that you will shut his mouth and redirect his heart when it comes to the need to defend himself via twitter or any other media outlet.  I pray that he would make wise, well thought out decisions and then let them speak for themselves as they are worked out.

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I pray for your people as citizens of this nation Lord, that they would submit themselves to your word, bringing their prayers and petitions to you on their knees first and foremost and then that they would express themselves in ways that only bring you glory.  I pray that anyone professing Christ as Savior and Lord would consider the impact of all that they say and do regarding this nation and our government as it reflects on you.  I pray the same for myself.

I pray that we would honor the government that you have placed us under in this country and consider all of the complicated facets of any legislation which affects people, from immigration reform and refugee status, to health care, to national security, to concerns regarding race, to abortion and issues of sexuality.  

I pray that we would pray quickly and speak slowly.  That we would allow many details to unfold before reacting and that we would strive to assume the best of intentions and exercise Christ-like love in every reaction and interaction that we express so that nothing would diminish our witness for the gospel of Christ.

Help my fellow Christian brothers and sisters and I to always remember that we are first and foremost citizens of a heavenly kingdom before we are citizens of this nation and we are to behave and think as such.  Please help us to remember that, though you give much freedom of word and action to the people of this world we are never fully autonomous, apart from heavenly influence.  

Help us to remember that you are ALWAYS in control and as citizens of heaven we have the privilege of bringing our concerns regarding our national citizenship and our President before our Heavenly King who rules all things and apart from whom we cannot survive as a people or a nation.

Lord have your way in this country and in our lives.  Bring glory to your name and help us to trust you, especially when we feel we cannot trust our human leadership.  Help us to keep hope alive and to encourage one another in prayer and in the word.  

May our President be your President and may he "make America great again" in a way which brings you glory through his leadership.

In Christ name I pray,

Amen


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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A New Adventure In Scripture Memory For A New Year! Won't You Join Me?

I originally posted this, this time last year, in hopes of making serious inroads into scripture memory for 2016.  However, February of 2016 our family became very fitness focused and while that was a positive thing for our family, it did lead to a lack of focus on spiritual growth as it relates to disciplines in the home.  Oh we went to church and did Sunday School but our efforts away from corporate worship were lacking.  

It is my sincere hope to strike an appropriate balance in 2017 and so this post applies to me and my family as much as anyone.  I hope you will find it informative and inspiring and choose to develop the discipline of Scripture Memory in your life this year.

As a side note, this years extended memory selection is Romans Ch. 5-8.  These are some of the richest passages in scripture and bring home the heart of the gospel like none other.  The individual weekly passages are also very rich and include several significant passages such as Psalm 103, Galatians 5:22-25, Psalm 91, & Isaiah 53:4-6  

Hey Everybody!  

I hope all are well.  I know my title may or may not be inspiring to some as it may sound much like a New Year's resolution.  It could certainly be taken that way.  I would be in denial if I did not acknowledge that in one sense, it is.  There is no getting around it.  It is at the very least a new New Year's idea or inspiration.  My hope, of course, is that it will be so much more.  There is a new tool out there that I want to introduce which is family friendly and could be very useful in growing in this skill set.  But first, a few thoughts.

I have posted a couple of times before regarding scripture memory.  Suffice it to say that I have developed a burden for it.  I have come to the serious conviction that it is an invaluable tool.  So many of the leaders that I respect are memorizing and quoting scripture almost every time I listen to them; leaders such as David Platt, John Piper, John MacAurthur and the many teachers at Ligonier ministries.  

If that were not enough, then I can look to the even more important and pertinent biblical examples such as Jesus, Peter, and Paul.  Christ defeated Satan during his time of temptation in the wilderness by quoting from Deuteronomy. Peter quoted from the Prophet Joel while preaching his first sermon at Pentecost in Acts 2.  Paul quoted and combined scripture all through his epistles. These men knew the scriptures.

Not An Easy Task!

In my last post entitled, "Successes and Failures in Scripture Memory",  I discussed some significant thoughts regarding the why's and benefits of scripture memory.  I also, admitted some struggles. These struggles have not ceased.  I do not want to imply or suggest that the process of scripture memory is always a cakewalk.  It can be discouraging, intimidating, and sometimes uninspiring. "How can that be?" you might ask.  It is the word of God after all.  I thought you found it so exciting Josh?  That is true however, the discipline of scripture memory is a discipline taken on by sinful, flawed human beings who's lives are full of distractions and who may fail to see the value in a particular scripture at a particular time.

It is for this very reason that we must be so intentional about not only memorization, but meditation. While I argue that it is much easier to meditate "on demand" if you already have it inside through memorization, I also readily acknowledge that the inspiration to memorize also sometimes comes through memorizing passages that already inspire us.  For instance, if John 3:16 is inspiring to you apart from the idea of memoriztion, then you might memorize it from the sheer joy the verse brings you rather than out of some sense of duty.  

By the same token, if I told you I was giving away $1,000 for every verse you memorized in the next week, I'll bet you would figure out how to get some verses commited to memory.  So in many ways, it is a question of....

Motivation

What inspires you?  What will make it worth your while to start moving in the right direction in this discipline?  It could be money, but let's face it, there are not too many people who are gonna pay you to memorize scripture.  

For me it has been the desire to be a godly father and husband as the spriritual leader of my home.  I have learned not only in theory, but in practice that the more I focus on matters of Christian growth, the better I become as a father and a husband.  Mind you, I have a long way to go, but that is why I think this is so important.  I also want to teach my children to do it, so I need to lead by example.

So that is the appeal I am going to make to you.  This will not be easy and the growth and skill development can be slow, but every success is a step in the right direction.  As they say, "practice makes perfect" and your spouse or children, or both are worth every effort.  That I can promise you.

So How Do We Do This?  What Is This New Tool

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As many of you know, my favorite tool is Fighter Verses.  While I have had the app for a couple of years, this past year has been my first real attempt at actually following the plan.  Out of 52 weeks, I would say I officially memorized about a third and some of those are not as readily accessible as I would like them to be.  There are many reasons for this, but none of them are very good excuses.  At the same time, there are other passages or verses that I memorized that were not officially part of their 52.  

There are a couple of reasons that I am excited for this year and that I want to inspire others to be as well. 

1.)  The Fighter Verses are designed to be a five year set.  What is quite exciting about this to me is that this five year concept resets this year!  That means we can start from the beginning and aim for five years of success.

Another aspect that invigorates me about this is that, when you get through five years, you have potentially memorized 520 passages usually containing at least but generally no more than two verses. That's over 1,000 verses in five years!  

What's more, is that half of the 520 passages are part of an extended memory collection that involves memorizing large chunks of scripture.  For instance, if we faithfully follow the extended collection during 2016, we will have the whole of the book of Philippians memorized.  2017 is Romans Ch. 5-8,  which is at the heart of a trememdous, theologically rich understanding of the gospel.  How awesome is that? 

Remember, we are only talking about a couple of verses per week.  Four if you aim to do both the extended and regular memory verse aspects. When you think about all of the other lyrics, stats and pieces of information that we commit to memory, useful or useless, 2-4 verses a week really isn't so outrageous.  Even if you don't do the extended collection, you still have 260 awesome passages of scripture commited to memory, many of which you will not fully appreciate until that moment when you really need them and are so glad to have them readily available.

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While the ministry that created this tool, Children Desiring God , has these scriptures available in a small three-ring flip style binder that you can sit on the counter as a reminder, they also have a terrific app for Apple or Android.  In this marvelous digital age in which we live, this app makes all the basics of the program available at your fingertips.  This includes a favorite feature of mine which is called My Verses.  In this part of the app, you can save verses outside of the program that you would like to work on memorizing.  You can organize them according to the order of priority by which you would like to work on them.


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2.)  The second reason is that Children Desiring God has come up with a whole new tool which brings a devotional style to the Fighter Verses concept.  These tools are pictured above.

As you can see, there are numerous tools available in the Fighter Verse study.  From discussion guide to Study guide, to a journal and or coloring book, everything you need to help keep you and your family focused on the current Fighter Verse passage is here.  It also develops the whole idea from plain jane memorization, to having a tool that helps you better understand the passage and meditate on it properly.

I hope to get some of these resources to use with my family. 

Combat Negativity

Now there will be those detractors who will argue that scripture memory can lead to a bunch of verses being memorized out of context and thus being applied out of context.  However, as many distractions as this world provides I will take any tools that I deem useful in keeping my family focused on the word.  Besides, a tool like this is designed to give you context; and help us as the parents to do what we should be doing anyway which is making God's word the center of all that we say and do.  I'm not saying I do that perfectly, just that it should be done that way.

As I have said before, there are also those who may argue that there is too much danger of this becoming a guilt-creating, legalistic idea and that it is enough to know concepts without committing much to memory.

I address this in the Succeses and Failures post that I linked to above.  If we are honest with ourselves about what scripture teaches and illustrates on the matter, we will realize that this is simply not a valid argument. 

I'll just provide two references here for your consideration, Colossians 3:16-17 and Psalm 119:11.  I would also point out that each instruction to internalize God's word is followed by a benefit to that action. 

Please do not let any thoughts like this hinder the possibilities of excellence in scripture memory that can be yours.  The benefits far outweigh the risks.

So Now What?

My goal is to continue sharing verses on FB as I have been and to continue challenging others to come along on this adventure.  But I can't do it for anyone else.  It takes great effort to accomplish it myself.  That effort applies as much to maintaining focus, if not more than it applies to the actual memorization of scripture.  

Make no mistake.  The enemy does NOT want this to happen because he understands that memorized scripture is a mighty weapon in the perverbial hand of the child of God which can strike him a devastating blow.  He does not want us to succeed.  That is why I would love to get more people involved in this concept.  I believe the accountability and togetherness will help to strengthen our efforts.  

The main goal of this post however, is to present tools and thought processes to facilitate the spiritual discipline of scripture memory.  I also want to encourage you, YOU CAN do this.  If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you are a child of the Most High God.  2 Peter 1:3 tells us that, 
"His divine power has given us everything we need pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us according to His own glory and excellence."  

This means that, He has already given us all that we need to pursue righteous living in Christ Jesus.  It also means that as we grow in knowledge of Him through study, memorization, and meditation on his word, we will continue to grow into the fullness of all that He has given us.

So let's do it!!!

I am posting this roughly one month before the New Year and will be shamelessly sharing it alot in hopes of impacting many with this idea as we approach the New Year.  Then I hope to start the New Year off right by engaging us further in this exciting discipline.

I pray you will feel inclined to join me on this EPIC adventure!!!!

See ya soon,

Josh