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Abide 10 – Memorization Will Help You Renew Your Life  

Day 1 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

Introduction As you follow Jesus, you’ll face many difficulties still! This surprises many, causes major confusion, and various questions. However, Jesus did not promise his children an easy life, saying, Matthew 7:14 (ESV) For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. He was clear about what one could expect in this world; troubles (see John 15:18-21; 16:33).  

The apostles agreed from experience! When Paul and Barnabas returned from a missionary trip, they said, Acts 14:22 (NIV) We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. Even as God’s treasured possession, you’ll wrestle with your own brokenness within, while being outwardly attacked by temptations and opposition.  

In 2 Corinthians 11:23-29, Paul listed many hardships that he encountered. Very few people have experienced the challenges and pain of Paul. Still, he didn’t use these as excuses. Instead, he expected to grow through his suffering, even declaring from prison, Philippians 3:10 (NIV) I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.   No surrendering or quitting for Paul! In fact, be inspired by his resolve to keep going, Philippians 3:12 (NIV) Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. This passion is why he could effectively challenge the Philippian believers to do the same, Philippians 2:12 (NIV) … as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.   What made it possible for Paul and the Philippians to persevere in faith despite such trials and troubles?  

Why it is Possible to Persevere and Grow in the Faith  

First: God’s Spirit is living in us   The truth is, you have more going for you than what will come against you. Consider this incredible passage, Romans 8:31-32 (NIV2011) What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  

A massive gift that God has given to his children is the Holy Spirit, to live inside of them. This is an incredible blessing for ALL who are followers of the Way. It’s a significant part of your salvation, not to be ignored. This blessing, the Spirit, gives you strength on the inside, helping you to keep growing in maturity. Who wouldn’t want this help? Or as Paul describes it, Ephesians 3:16 (NIV) I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.  

The Holy Spirit is also a gift from God, freely given by a generous Father. As Jesus declared, Luke 11:13 (NIV) If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?  

Second: we have God’s Word, the Bible   As God announced through his prophet, Isaiah 55:11 (NIV) … so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  

Ultimately, your words express your wishes and desires. But God’s Word(s) accomplish exactly what they are sent out for. Wow! Praise God!  

Third: we have the ability to feed our spirit/souls on his specific words to us In previous lessons, you’ve seen the need for “rhema” words, specific words from God to you. As the Holy Spirit speaks these into your inner being, you’ll encounter life. Or as John notes, John 6:63 (NIV) The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.  

You have the ability and responsibility to spiritually EAT. God won’t force you to do this. The ‘word’ that the Bible uses to describe such eating or feeding is “meditating.” Consider what it says in Psalm 1, and the promise given to those who meditate, Psalm 1:2-3 (NIV) but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.  

In meditation, you weigh, prayerfully think about, listen or ‘chew’ on the Bible. This is VERY different than what Eastern religions do, as here you’re meditating on the actual words of the living God!  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What 3 reasons are given for why you can persevere?

3. How can the Holy Spirit help you persevere?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Listen in prayer about this question – “Holy Spirit, are there any patterns or examples of where I have given up in my life? What are they?” Write down what you receive.

2. Humbly ask someone that you live or work with – “do you feel that I am the type of person that perseveres, that approaches life with the ability to endure?”

3. Write out a prayer to God, asking him to help you grow in perseverance. Be specific if the first two questions revealed any examples or patterns of giving up.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 19:1-12.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 2 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) Memorization is an Extension of Meditation  

As you saw in Day 1, the psalmist said to meditate on God’s law - day and night. The same instructions were given to Joshua, by God, Joshua 1:8 (NIV) Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; 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. Now wouldn’t it be foolish to ignore the advice of God, about how true success is experienced?  

Of course, not allowing God’s Word to depart from your mouth has much to do with meditation. In fact, the idea of every believer owning their own Bible wasn’t even possible until the 15th century. In 1439 Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and for the first time in history the mass production of books was made possible. Put another way, the ability to print large numbers of books, newspapers, etc. is a relatively new creation!  

So how did people receive the Bible before that? The scrolls would be in the tabernacle or temple or in someone’s home, and God’s Word was transmitted to people orally through memorization. That’s why it says, “Don’t let it depart from your MOUTH.” Or as you read in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 30:14 (NIV) The word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.  

This is why memorization is an extension of meditation. In meditation, you “chew” on the same passage carefully, over and over. In memorization, you continue this until you can repeat it from memory. Of course, this doesn’t replace the need for prayer. The Bible says, “pray without ceasing,” and, “meditate day and night.” In fact, memorization and meditation will often lead you to prayer. To further highlight one’s need for memorization, here’s a story from Pastor Ray Duerksen, about its impact in his life:  

Many years ago, I thought very negatively, and I would often mutter to myself: ‘I quit.’ What I didn’t realize was that my thinking was self-fulfilling – I wanted to quit! I didn’t actually quit, because I had gained a fear of the Lord – but I FELT like quitting! And we all know that how you FEEL often determines your responses! But over a period of time, I noticed that I didn’t have those same thoughts anymore. And it has already lasted for two to three decades! I often wondered what had changed in me. Did God just do something miraculously in me, so that I was suddenly this positive and persevering person? Well, about that same time, totally unrelated I thought, I sensed I was to memorize verses in the Bible. So I did: 750 verses or so. It wasn’t until years later, while meditating and praying on my deck early in the morning, that the Holy Spirit revealed to me WHY my emotions changed! My thinking had been changed through memorization. Even a character trait that stubbornly resisted my attempts to change it, was conquered through memorization.”  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What is the difference between meditation and memorization?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Would you say that you read the Bible quickly or that you meditate on it?

2. What is your own personal journey with memorization? Write it down. If you’ve never memorized, write down the reasons why.

3. Review John 15:5-6, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 5:8, John 10:27, James 1:22. 4. Memorize Psalm 1:1-2.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 19:13-30.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 3 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) Benefits Of Meditation and Memorization  

Benefit 1: it changes our perspective, motivating us to reorder our priorities  

This is the most important reason for meditation and memorization. The Bible commands followers of Jesus to store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth. And the key for storing up treasures in the right place is your perspective. Put another way, if you have an eternal perspective, it will shape your priorities – where you’ll invest your time, talents, prayers, and money.  

The best way to get this correct perspective is to think about and meditate on eternal matters. Or in Paul’s words, Colossians 3:2 (NIV) Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. He also said, Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind …  

Of course, this proper perspective will only be more clear in your mind if you memorize verses that relate to eternity (these will be introduced in Abide 11). Here is one example, Psalm 39:4 (NIV) Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. Memorizing and meditating on such passages will help you resist the temptations of the world as you’ll begin to see that this world is not ultimate reality – it is, as C.S. Lewis put it, the “shadowlands” of the real thing coming.  

Benefit 2: it transforms our behaviors, making us successful  

There’s a very BIG reason why people cannot change their thoughts, emotions, attitudes, behaviors, and their speech! For sure, you have to PUT OFF all sinful practices and habits, but also PUT ON or CLOTHE yourself with the thoughts, emotions, attitudes, behaviors, and speech that were demonstrated by Jesus. This is actually one of the goals for the life of a follower of Jesus, as Paul affirms, Galatians 4:19 (NIV) My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.  

This includes adding traits such as: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, goodness, self-control, love, and so on! They’re also referred to as the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). But the question is this: “How do you PUT ON Jesus’ character?” Many believers try and try, but they just can’t change. Why? It’s usually because they’re thinking about the wrong things!  

Your character will be transformed by first renewing your mind. That’s where the war is being waged for men, women, teens, and children. Consider this longer passage and the challenge at the end, to take every thought captive,

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV) For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.   And how do you take captive your thoughts? By intentionally thinking on the right things – that’s how. And this is exactly where memorization will help you immensely!  

The apostle Paul knew the value of how minds are shaped, saying, Philippians 4:8 (NIV) Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What 2 benefits of meditation and memorization are mentioned in today’s reading?

3. How does a person start to change their character? What often has to come first?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Ask God to show you a time when a perspective change really helped you out. Write this down. And thank him for guiding your thoughts (or using others to help you).

2. Spend some time in prayer over this question – “Jesus, what do I worry about, or stress over, that can be impacted by thinking about eternity instead?” Write this down.

3. Review Psalm 1:1-2. 4. Memorize Psalm 1:3-4.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 20:1-16.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 4 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2)

On Day 3, two benefits of meditation/memorization were introduced. Today, you’ll look at a third one.  

Benefit 3: it revives our emotions, making us emotionally whole   In some places, there is opposition to followers of the Way showing emotion. Further, for many, their faith is mainly a matter of the head and not the heart. However, there are at least three important purposes for your emotions:  

Purpose 1: we are to love and worship God with our emotions   Jesus instructs you to love God like this: Matthew 22:37 (NIV) Love the Lord your God with all your HEART and with all your SOUL and with all your MIND. Men and women are emotional beings – it’s a major part of who you are. You can also see in the Bible that God discourages lukewarmness in one’s faith (see Revelation 3:16). Real worship, on the other hand, taps into and uses emotions. That’s what music, singing, praise, and rejoicing are for! If you never or seldom experience emotion in your worship, something is wrong.  

Consider the words of David, Psalm 4:7 (NIV) You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. Or what Peter confirmed, 1 Peter 1:8 (NIV) Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.  

Then there’s the example of Jesus himself, which Luke describes, Luke 10:21 (NIV) At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.”  

The problem isn’t that most people use too MUCH emotion in worship – they use it too little! Of course, just as people have varying degrees of intellectual capacity (or IQ), they also have differences in emotional capacity (or EQ). But to employ virtually no emotion in one’s walk with God is an indication of needed growth.  

Purpose 2: we are to receive love in our emotions   Just as the love of a spouse was never intended to be a purely rational experience, in the same way, God’s love for you is to go beyond intellectual understanding. In fact, you were designed to EXPERIENCE God’s love! Don’t sell yourself short! It’s that good.   Purpose 3: emotions are for motivation, not for direction  

But here’s where many go wrong. Some use emotions for directional purposes and decision-making. They make choices based on what ‘feels’ right or good. That’s the wrong use of emotions. Instead, you’re not to be guided by your emotions in making decisions, but by your mind as it considers God’s Word. Paul makes this clear when he says, Romans 12:2 (NIV) be transformed by the renewing of your MIND. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. There it is!  

Your mind is to be guided by the Bible and the Spirit. And once the mind has made the proper decision about something, then emotion can be very helpful as a MOTIVATOR for doing the right thing. Put another way, emotions can move you to obedient actions!  

So, what does this all have to do with meditation and memorization? Well, if you store up verses in your mind about who God is, it will help you relate to him in your emotions as he really is. You will begin to think of him like that in your own journey, and that brings great enjoyment of his person and ways.  

By memorizing, you’ll confront where you’re emotionally broken, and healing occurs. For example, you can memorize the emotional expressions of the Bible and speak them to God and to others, until they start to transform your soul. One such example is, Psalm 103:1-2 (ESV) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What benefit of meditation and memorization is mentioned in today’s reading?

3. What are 3 important purposes for your emotions?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Would you say that you love God fully with your emotions? Invite God to speak to you about your “emotional journey” with him. Write down a summary of this part of your life.

2. Review Psalm 1:1-4. 3. Memorize Psalm 1:5-6.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 20:17-28.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 5 Renew the Mind (Romans 12:2) On Days 3 and 4, three benefits for meditation/memorization were noted. Today, you’ll learn about four more.  

Benefit 4: it helps us resist temptation, making us victorious  

Temptation is NOT fun! It’s tough! However, a great way to resist temptation is by committing to memory relevant verses from the Bible. Matthew 4 records three temptations that Satan brought against Jesus, and Jesus resisted all three by reciting the Bible from memory! Here’s how the psalmist described it, Psalm 119:11 (NIV) I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.  

Satan hates followers of the Way! He does everything possible to rob you and to steal what has been planted in your heart. Or as Jesus taught, using a parable, Matthew 13:19 (NIV) When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. One of the best ways to avoid being robbed is to make sure that you have God’s Word hidden deep in your heart through memorization.  

Benefit 5: it sharpens our witness and ministry, making us fruitful   As Jesus ministered, he quoted twenty-four Old Testament books almost 180 times in the New Testament. Did you know that the moment a person starts following Jesus, they receive the mission to witness to others (to share God’s goodness) and to minister to others (to serve them)? Having Bible verses stored up in your heart will only increase your impact and success! If the Bible is powerful for you, it will be powerful for many others as well.  

Think of this command, given through Peter, 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. Obeying this command is easier if you have the Bible ready in your heart and mind.  

Benefit 6: it gives us spiritual understanding  

There are three ways in which you can receive wisdom and understanding.

First, you can receive it from others.

Second, you can ask for wisdom as you pray.

Third, you can meditate on and memorize God’s Word.

Here’s a great attitude to aim for, Psalm 119:15-16 (NIV) I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. And here’s a powerful prayer, Psalm 119:18 (ESV) Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.  

Benefit 7: it energizes our prayer life   Much of the Psalms are a collection of prayers. Some have called it the Bible’s prayer book. What’s fascinating, however, is that the book doesn’t begin with a prayer. Instead, it starts with a psalm on the value of meditation! This is because when you meditate on the Bible, you’ll begin to understand the mind of God. And if you have the mind of God, praying becomes much more lively and powerful!  

For Your Journal Reflecting and Reviewing (2 Timothy 2:7)

1. In your own journal, write down something that stood out to you from today’s reading.

2. What 4 benefits of meditation and memorization are mentioned in today’s reading?  

Life Application (James 1:22)

1. Some people suggest that they cannot memorize. This isn’t true, as everyone has certain things that they remember very well. Confess if you have believed this lie that, “you can’t.”

2. Ask 2 or 3 mature believers about their journey with memorization.

3. Review John 15:5-6, Romans 12:2, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Peter 5:8, John 10:27, James 1:22, Psalm 1.  

Bible Reading

1. Please read Matthew 20:29-34.

2. Write down 1 or 2 verses from the passage that stuck out to you.

3. Take time to quiet yourself before Jesus and meditate on the verses. Write down any thoughts that come to mind.  

Day 6 Final Steps Steps to Memorization  

Step 1: pray for a desire to memorize  

You may doubt that you can do this – particularly if you are older. But if you were offered $1000 for every verse you memorized in the next week, how many do you think you could memorize? Yet God says of his Word, Psalm 19:10-11 (NIV) They (laws) are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.  

Step 2: choose the Bible verses intentionally  

Don’t be random in the way you choose verses to memorize – be intentional about this. Even the verses throughout the Abide lessons have been carefully chosen. Of course, many will want to memorize passages like Psalm 23, which bring comfort and encouragement. This is both necessary and good. However, don’t stay stuck in the “comfort” category.  

For example, you are alive for a purpose and for an assignment which God has for you (Ephesians 2:10). And the most helpful verses for this are those that give you an eternal perspective, as mentioned previously.  

Step 3: start small  

Choose whatever is manageable for you. If you can only do a couple of verses for the week, that’s fine.   Begin with one verse and repeat it over and over until you can say it. Then do the same with the second verse, repeating it until you can say it. Next, if the verses link next to each other in the Bible, connect them as you review, so that you can say them together.  

Review these throughout your day whenever you have a moment. In the days following, keep reviewing them. Over the long term, if you memorized just 1 verse per week, after one year you would have 52 verses. If you continued this for 10 years, you’d be at 520 verses! That’s a lot, yet possible!  

Step 4: choose a tool to help  

This can include 3 x 5 index cards, or a spreadsheet, or a phone app such as “The Bible Memory” app.


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