Why I’m Doing This

As I did with the About page in this blog’s very first post, I think it would be good to paste the Why page in this one, so without further ado…

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Why

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When someone hears that I’m in the process of becoming the first person in known human history to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE, I’m sure the first thing that comes to their mind is “Whew, glad God didn’t call ME to do that!” and then a very close second, “WHY ON EARTH would anyone want to DO that?!”

My initial response would be that it’s definitely nothing “on earth” that’s motivating me to do this, that’s for sure.  For reasons not totally known to me, God has laid this calling upon my heart.  In my humble opinion, it would’ve seemed (key word) far better to have picked and empowered someone who WASN’T the biggest sinner I know, the biggest sinner I’ve EVER known, and probably the biggest sinner YOU’VE ever known.  Yet I think the likely answer is found in 1 Timothy 1:16 – “And yet for this reason I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost [sinner, verse 15], Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”  I wish I could say that my life mirrors the Apostle Paul’s in EVERY way, even as His mirrored the Lord probably more than any other human (1 Corinthians 11:1), but this is definitely one which qualifies, that the more of the Bible I memorize, the more and more (and more and more and more) I realize and come to see first that I am such a sinner, a “filthy rag” if there ever was one (Isaiah 6:5 & 64:6), and then the Word within redirects my mind to dwell not on my sin but on His perfection and purity and righteousness which has not only become mine through the power and working of the Word but which I have literally become in the utter miracle of transformation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).

The first reason is that I couldn’t and can’t think of ANYTHING which would bring the Lord Jesus more pleasure and delight than for someone to memorize every word of His “love letter” to humanity and then quote His own words back to Him.  I discuss this concept much more in-depth on the home page and in my Overview video but the gist is this:  think how it would make you  feel if you wrote a love letter to the love of your life and at some point in the future that person quoted it back to you by heart, from memory.  Enough said.

The second reason goes hand-in-hand with the first:  as a very unique “love You” and “thank You” gift back to the Lord for who He is and all that He has done and continues to do for us!

The third reason goes hand-in-hand with the second, to give this gift back to the Lord not just from me but from and on behalf of all believers in general and in specific all who support this effort and future outflowing ministries however they’re comfortably able.  Under that umbrella of all believers, I specifically want this to be a special source of blessing and comfort and inspiration for believers who are permitted to worship and carry out their faith in various countries around the world, yet do so anyway.  That’s the spirit!  It’s the least I can do since they have provided so much inspiration for me my whole life, ever since I was a child and from time to time missionaries who have devoted their lives to smuggling in and handing out Bibles in various communist-controlled countries with religiously repressive regimes so the “house Christians” can study and teach and share the Word.  On that day when I recite the ENTIRE BIBLE from memory in front of the entire world (literally, thanks to thanks to YouTube.com/BibleMemory and BibleMemory.ORG) I will be thinking very specifically of all the “house Christians” around the world who I know will be many, many, many rows “ahead of me” in heaven since they have paid a much bigger price to practice their faith.

The fourth reason I’m pursuing this history-making goal is one of the other few ways an aspect of my life can be compared with beloved Paul’s:  just as his heartfelt, passionate, all-consuming pursuit in life was to preach the gospel, mine is to memorize the Bible, so respectfully paraphrasing 1 Corinthians 9:16, “woe is me if I do NOT” memorize the Bible.”  Because, having tasted it, I’d be utterly miserable if I didn’t EAT (memorize) ALL of it!

The fifth reason but one of the most important on an ongoing basis is that when I started memorizing my very first entire book (James) the Bible, as I stored more and more of it – verse upon verse, chapter upon chapter – in my mind, started revealing to my mind’s eye a very specific MEMORY METHOD which has made it both much easier and, yes, even more FUN to memorize and recite Scripture.  I’ll know when that process is complete or at least complete enough  to share with others, to roll out to the public and that will be one of the main focus points in the future, for years and Lord-willing decades to come so I’m looking forward to that with enormous anticipation; right now I’d say that it’s around 75% complete so probably sometime later this year.  I won’t know for sure until I start teaching it to others but my very strong sense/hunch/expectation is that it will prove to be universal in nature, meaning that it will be of benefit to virtually ANYONE (though probably to a different degree/extent for each person since we’re all different in certain ways but 95% similar in terms of how the human mind and body work, etc. – more about this in future posts… if you’d like to automatically be notified by email when new ones are published, simply click on the grey “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or at the top to the right of that “Overview” video and consider it done!  Your inbox – and life – will never be the same.  The Bible and therefore this Bible-borne memory method and process have absolutely revolutionized my life and I’m sure it will bear similar fruit and you will reap similar rewards in yours!

The sixth reason is something which has been near and dear to my heart since I was a child:  nationwide and indeed worldwide spiritual revival.  I’ve literally been praying for the Lord to bring that about virtually my entire life and I’m 100% sure that such will occur.  But I’m 1,000% certain that it will ONLY occur IF/WHEN a sufficient percentage of believers, of the Church, of Christ’s body on earth (Colossians 1:24; Ephesians 5:25-30) get “gobs and gobs” of the Good Book, God’s Word, “richly DWELLING WITHIN” them (Colossians 3:16) and “hidden in [their] heart” (Psalm 119:11) and “binge” on big “bites” of the Bible, because it’s the Bible  which sanctifies and cleanses us (John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26; Psalm 119:9), the Bible is the “mirror” (James 1:21-25) which, when “looked intently” into, “performs its work” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) in “transforming us into the [Lord’s] image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18), from one level of glory to another to another, and increases our faith (Romans 10:17) to the point that we go through life “seeing the unseen” (Hebrews 11:27) such that, to bring it beautifully full circle, “we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen” (2 Corinthians 4:18).  And that, my friend, is the very picture indeed definition of spiritual revival.  And it all stems from and is kindled and lit on fire by the Bible.  The world is perhaps spiritually drier than it has ever been in the past 2,000 years… sounds like the perfect time for a spiritual fire to ignite and spread and do its purifying and winnowing work so we will wondrously be revived, be “refined by fire” (1 Peter 1:7).

The seventh reason is probably the least weighty but nonetheless noteworthy:  frankly, I’m dying  to see exactly what would happen when the unimaginably, incomprehensibly powerful Word of God is placed IN FULL, IN ITS ENTIRETY, into ONE mind/vessel.  In a previously-published post, I noted several ways in which the Word and the Lord are inextricably linked, and surely enough, just as Colossians 2:3 says of the Lord Jesus, “in whom are hidden ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”, there’s no doubt in my mind that this similarly applies to the Bible.  What would happen, what could occur if the totality of it were to be stored in a single human mind.  A finite mind filled and overflowing with the infinite Word.  We’ll all find out soon enough but I am certain that it will produce not just amazing but historic  results, things that our finite minds can’t even imagine in advance.  Like I said, not the weightiest reason but I can hardly wait to find out!

And last but definitely not least, the eighth reason I’m memorizing the ENTIRE BIBLE is that, as discussed in-depth in that same previously-published post, it has proven to be the best HEALTHCARE PLAN ever!  I’ll bet that the majority of even CHRISTIANS think that the Bible is very powerful in the spiritual realm but doesn’t extend to the physical.  WRONG!  Why can I say that so confidently?  Not just because I haven’t had to go to a doctor or hospital my ENTIRE ADULT LIFE and have enjoyed tremendous health after memorizing Bible verses since I was a child and that has been even more the case now that I’ve memorized several entire books of the Bible en route to all 66 as I like to say… but not just because of that first-hand experience but infinitely more so because the Bible itself testifies to this truth!  Don’t believe me?  Here’s a verse I’ve never heard a single other person or preacher or teacher discuss and of which most even mature believers probably aren’t even aware which absolutely STUNS me since it is one of the most clear and directly-applicable-in-the-tangible/physical-realm I’ve come across in the entire Bible.  I’ll be the vast majority of believers DO know, HAVE heard and even memorized, ARE aware of Proverbs 4:23 (“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”) – but NOT the verse RIGHT BEFORE it, Proverbs 4:22, and brace yourself because it’s a game-changer, life-changer, true gem:  “For they [referring back to the “my words” of verse 20, i.e., the Bible] are LIFE to those who find them, and HEALTH to ALL their WHOLE BODY.”  You can refer back to that previously-published post for a very in-depth analysis of this verse but suffice it to say that it, that God (it’s HIS Word and words) says as clear as day that the Bible’s power and efficacy is NOT limited to the spiritual or emotional/mental realms (verses 23-27) but indeed extends all the way to the PHYSICAL realm:  “life”, “health”, “body”.  And not JUST the body of those who “find” His words, the Bible, but “ALL their WHOLE body.”  Amazing.  Simply amazing.  Stunning.  Powerful.  And I can attest first-hand that it is indeed TRUE/REAL.  And while reading is good and studying is even better, I don’t think anyone will disagree that Bible MEMORIZING the Bible, that Bible MEMORY is the BEST way to “find” His words.  Why?  Because it most fully and ongoingly (to coin a word =) gets the Word and words of God Himself, the Bible, INTO a person’s mind and thus (verse 23) LIFE and experience.

One of the things I love and appreciate and am most  awed about the Bible is that it has so many verses (as I’m finding out in dramatic fashion =) and just ONE of them can literally and absolutely change and REVOLUTIONIZE a life.  And at the end of the day as they say, THAT, in a single blurb, is WHY I’m doing this, why I’m dedicating the rest of my life to memorizing the entire Bible.  Not just for the massive benefit and benefits it will and has already produced in my life but also because I know it will do so in the lives of countless others and the best “love/thank-You” gift I can give back to the Lord Jesus Christ which would bring Him the most pleasure.  And as that childhood song says, “that’s what it’s all about!”

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
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YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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Happy Easter!  Because He Lives

I just want to wish everyone a Happy Easter, which commemorates the day that Jesus rose again from the dead after having just died for the sins of humanity two days prior – on that very first Good Friday which seemed anything but  at the time but proved to be good indeed – so that ANYONE who believes in Him and that saving work on Calvary’s cross will receive eternal life – a message which has ALWAYS held crucial urgency but in a sense perhaps even more so in the middle of a fierce and deadly pandemic.

More on that in a forthcoming post but how strange it was for virtually all churches nationwide and a massive number around the globe to be closed, shuttered on any Sunday but especially Easter.  But thanks to what occurred on that very first one, our joy and hope and victory and character and constant conquering are NOT dependent on man but on God and that the body of Christ isn’t limited by the physical realm, it exceeds it such that believers worldwide were indeed able to celebrate His resurrection in full, even though it did feel strange – hopefully it’ll be that last time that happens but for those who might’ve missed it, Franklin Graham – president of Samaritan’s Purse and probably more well-known as the son of Billy, now with the Lord for two years, seems like yesterday – preached from New York’s famed Central Park where they are running a pop-up hospital and saving lives (physically and no doubt spiritually, too) and that was a big blessing as was Michael W. Smith’s musical service of worship, so here’s a video of that I found on YouTube.

If ANYONE reading this has not come to know the love, joy, and perpetual peace which can be yours as a result of that very first Easter weekend, please don’t hesitate to contact me via the comment form below and I or a Bible-loving church in your area will be thrilled to answer any questions you might have in this most crucial of matters in the universe.  Yep, even infinitely more important and consequential than a pandemic.

And because of that truth, we can still say…

Happy Easter!  Because He lives.

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
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YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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VIDEO:  Books #5-6 en route to ALL 66!

The more of the Bible I memorize, the more I want  to memorize.

The more of the Bible I memorize, the more I’m able  to memorize due to the miraculous multiplication of mental/intellectual capacity as discussed in detail on the home page.

What do these to add up to?  This:  more than ever I deeply desire to memorize  the ENTIRE BIBLE and then dedicate the rest of my life to Educating, Encouraging, and EMPOWERING OTHERS to do likewise!

Why that first part, why do I want to memorize the entire Bible, the whole of God’s Word, of God’s graciously given “user manual for life” and “love letter” to us?  Several reasons:

  • to give back to the Lord the best “love/thank You” gift I could think of or ever imagine:  reciting His “love letter” to us BACK TO HIM (as also discussed in-depth on the home page) for all He does and who He is!  He is worthy.  Of this and so much more.  (Revelation 4:11)
  • to keep myself, my life, free from sin, to destroy its power and decrease its presence in an ongoing way.  (Psalm 119:11; John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26)
  • to be transformed more and more into the image and likeness of Christ.  (2 Corinthians 3:18 and James 1:22-25)
  • to let the Bible complete  the process of revealing to my mind’s eye a specific, tangible, and incredibly effective method by which to memorize and permanently retain  Scripture – and ANYTHING ELSE as it turns out – which also makes memorization EASY and FUN, so I can HELP OTHERS DO LIKEWISE!

Why that second part and what I just mentioned, why Educate, Encourage, and EMPOWER others to memorize and recite Scripture?  Again, multiple reasons:

  • so others can experience the indescribable joy, mental/intellectual increase, and countless other benefits which I have experienced firsthand as a direct result of Bible memory on a regular, systematic basis.  (Psalm 19:7-9 and Colossians 3:16-17 among countless other verses)
  • so my lifelong prayer for a nationwide and indeed worldwide spiritual revival will (finally!) occur – I’m 100% convinced that this WILL happen, but I’m 1,000% convinced that it will ONLY happen when enough of His children, Christians, believers, INTERNALIZE, INGEST, CONSUME His Holy Word, the Bible!  1,000%.  Ergo, if I can be used of Him to so EMPOWER others. it will be the honor and privilege and pleasure of my entire life.  And from the minute He called me to do this, I told Him that I would – gladly, eagerly, exuberantly – but that HE would have to provide the ongoing means to actually make it a reality, i.e., that I would dedicate the rest of my life (literally) to this on a full-time basis but that He would have to then provide funding for the basic necessities of life like food and shelter (I can’t finish memorizing the entire Bible then help others do likewise if I can’t eat or have a roof over my head).

Which brings me to the present juncture.

I have indeed been pouring my life savings into this effort and website and future ministry and that has almost run out so after seeking the Lord’s leading and guidance and wisdom in the matter of how to keep this going to fruition, in the coming weeks I will largely be focused on giving various churches and ministries (“Foundational Partners”) and individual Lord-led like-minded Bible-loving believers (“Bible Memory Ambassadors”) the opportunity to TEAM with me, to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me, to accomplish this Prince of Peace-pleasing, Spirit-spearheading, God-given goal.  I will of course start memorizing “book #7 of 66” and keep reciting the six already memorized on a regular rotation (a book a day or so) and then, as the Lord provides sufficient funding I’ll focus full-time on finishing memorizing the ENTIRE Bible, all 66 books, and creating an online “curriculum” which will Educate, Encourage, and quite literally EMPOWER people to do likewise and in turn for THEM to Educate, Encourage, and Empower others to do likewise, and so on, and so on, and so on, and eventually there will be enough Bible-richly-indwelt people (Colossians 3:16) on the planet to GUARANTEE a worldwide spiritual revival, a Bible/Spirit-fueled self-fulfilling prophecy as it were.

If YOU feel called by God and would like to help make this happen, to literally MAKE HISTORY together, the three best ways are to SPONSOR it by making a donation by clicking on the “Donate” button below or at the top-right or bottom-left of this page, to SHARE this website with your friends, family, followers, fellow congregation members, and even co-workers by word-of-mouth and/or on your social media platform(s), and last but definitely not least, to SUPPLICATE (pray) that God will use this however HE desires and wring every drop of glory and honor and pleasure from it as He sees fit – you can also add your name to my Prayer Requests Email List in help-out item “4.” at the top-right or bottom-right of this page.

With all of that said and without further ado, it is such a thrill to share with you the videos of my reciting the books of Philemon (#5 for me) and Titus (#6 en route to ALL 66) – I hope they will be a tremendous source of elation and inspiration and motivation for you.  To God be the glory!  Always and forever.

 

    VIDEO:  Reciting the entire book of TITUS from memory
    VIDEO:  Reciting the entire book of PHILEMON from memory

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
.

YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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.
.
And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

.
.
And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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Quick Thought:  Tax Time Makes for a Great Parallel

Each year around this time some of us receive a rebate from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

But they aren’t really  giving you money.  Rather, they’re simply giving you BACK a (small) portion of that which YOU have ALREADY given to them!

And that’s EXACTLY how it is with us and God!

You see, we don’t really  give to Him.  Rather, we’re simply giving Him BACK a (woefully small) portion of that which HE has ALREADY given to us!

“Or who has FIRST given to God that it may be paid BACK to him again?” (Romans 11:35)

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
.

YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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.
.
And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

.
.
And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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VIDEO:  Book #4 memorized – en route to ALL 66!

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to say that the Lord has graciously granted me to finished memorizing then reciting on video the book of 2 Peter.

4 books done, 62 to go!

It was a rich blessing.  Full of warnings, yes, but by far the biggest blessing so far from this book has been the first several verses, where it makes crystal clear the qualities which, if present, consistent and increasing in our lives, we can be infinitely certain that our faith is genuine and indeed saving, and that a future, an eternity in heaven with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and all other believers awaits us – what an amazing thought, what incredible motivation for and in this  life on earth in the meantime!

Thank You, Lord, for writing yet another book of Your precious and powerful Word upon my heart.  Thank you that according to Your promise, Your statement of fact in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, I already know that it will “perform its work” in me.  Grant me to be faithful not just to recite it regularly so as not to lose what You have so generously given, but also to obey it.  Be greatly pleased, Lord, and receive my humble thanks for this historic work which for reasons not fully known You’ve chosen to do in and through me.  Make me a more and more faithful ambassador of Yours in general and of Your Word, the Bible, in specific.  Amen.

 

    VIDEO:  Reciting the entire book of 2 PETER from memory

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
.

YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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Quick Thought:  It’s Not About You, It’s About OTHERS!

I don’t mind “tough” decisions, at all, but I just LOVE really easy ones.  Slam dunks.  No-brainers.

My favorite of all time is 2 Corinthians 5:21 – God’s plan of salvation for Christ to “be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

What a deal!  What an offer!  He’ll place my sinfulness onto Himself and place His righteousness onto me?  Beyond irresistible.  Who could ever say no to that?!  Exchange an eternity in hell for an eternity in heaven?  SIGN.  ME.  UP.

But salvation is a one-time thing, so the no-brainer which I find myself focusing on far more in my day-to-day life is this:  “And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; later echoed in James 4:9-10)

Or as Charles Spurgeon used to put it, every person has a choice of “being humble or being humbled.”  So true!  And the choice couldn’t be easier.

Even on the human level, while many people (rather rightfully) resist the self-exaltation of another, I’ve never  come across EVEN ONE person who has resisted the self-humbling of another.  It’s both the right, righteous, biblical path, and  the path of least resistance… NO-BRAINER!

Sign.  Me.  Up.

Easier said than done, and indeed needful of the Holy Spirit to bring about (Galatians 5:22-23) but the Bible is the best way.  Reading it.  Studying it.  And especially memorizing (ingesting, internalizing) it.

When I look back on my life, on my faith journey so far, less so now but overall I think that pride has been my biggest potential pitfall, my most massive mistake, and I can remember as though it were this morning the very day and indeed minute when this inescapable choice confronted me in a very real and tangible way, and my eyes were finally opened to not only how EASY that choice is but also how utterly blissful once made.  It’s a process which will continue until I reach the shores of a certain crystal sea, but even in that very first nanosecond I felt like I traveled a THOUSAND MILES in terms of relief and release and happiness, peace, patience, and pure joy.

I ended the previous post by saying, “When it comes to sinit’s not about others, it’s about YOU!”  I’ll end this one by saying, “When it comes to honor and exaltationit’s not about you, it’s about OTHERS!

Make this your go-to interpersonal perspective and position, and you’ll never run short of joy.  I guarantee it.

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Quick Thought:  It’s Not About Others, It’s About YOU!

When people learn that I’m already well on the way to memorizing  the ENTIRE BIBLE and have dedicated the rest of my life and all of my life savings to this, many (mistakenly) make the assumption that I’m some sort of super-saint.  Nothing could be further from the facts because the truth is that the more I memorize Scripture, the more I see, the more I realize just how sinful  I am and have been.  Thankfully it doesn’t stop  there.  Rather, it proceeds to erode and eradicate each sin which comes into view… ping, ping, ping.  Like cans set up by a sharpshooting prodigy with a new BB gun.

But then it proceeds to reveal MORE things in my life which aren’t in line with Scripture, but flips that script, too, and “performs its work” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) in “transforming us into the image of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).  And on and on it goes.  This process won’t end on this side of eternity.  The Bible is so amazing:  it not only identifies but also eradicates the sin in our lives.

Anyway, I understand why so many come to that conclusion and I have to confess that every once in a while I find myself turning my gaze from my own sin, sins, sinning, sinfulness and onto things exhibited in the lives of others, but before letting that linger for long I’m reminded of a passage in the Bible which I first read when I was a child and it has always stuck with me.

It’s in the last chapter of one of my “favorite” books:  John 21:22.  It’s very well-known, I’m sure you’d heard and/or read it many times.  It’s the third time that Jesus manifested Himself after His resurrection.  He’s eating with the disciples and afterward asks Peter – three times, much to the latter’s chagrin (perhaps due to the repetition [like when someone asks YOU the SAME THING multiple times] or the fact that it reminded him of the equal number of times he denied knowing Jesus on the night of His crucifixion) – if he loves Him, and Peter affirms that he does, and Jesus tells him to shepherd His sheep.  Peter then starts asking Jesus about John and the Lord basically tells him to “forget about the other guy” because when it comes to sin (in that case, specifically about betraying Christ) or who’s doing what or how much to further the kingdom of heaven, it’s not about others, it’s about YOU!

For years now, whenever I see something in someone else that doesn’t seem right, I don’t even let my mind “go there” and instead automatically turn it right back to focusing on how much I’VE sinned and how much room for growth and improvement there is in MY life… and it absolutely revolutionized it.  A much happier path to walk along in life.  When it comes to praise, focus on others.  When it comes to a need for improvement or growth, focus on yourself.  It’s not only far more joyful but effective and productive.

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
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YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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The Stages of Spiritual Growth (Good, Better, Best)

The best-known location of the spiritual growth continuum is probably 1 John 2:12-14:  little children > young men > fathers.

But another one I’ve discovered in recent years and just love is this:

“Remember Jesus” > “Consider Jesus” > “Fixing our eyes on Jesus”     (in 1 Timothy 2:8, Hebrews 3:1, and Hebrews 12:2)

(If I were in alliteration mode I might say “meet, meditate, metamorphose”)  (I especially love that last one, PERFECT word since here’s the meaning per the Merriam-Webster dictionary:  “to change into a different form especially by supernatural means; to change strikingly the appearance or character” – that’s EXACTLY how it is in the Christian life!)

I discussed these in a prior post but didn’t point out the poignant and palpable progression  of these three.  (I guess I am  in alliteration mode after all! =)

When I first confessed Christ as my Savior, as THE Savior, as the ONLY Savior (1 Timothy 2:5), it was as though, from a personal experiential standpoint, after not really  being an inherent part of my life much less  MY LIFE (Colossians 3:4; Galatians 2:20), I “remembered” Jesus.  From those countless sanctuary sermons, Sunday school lessons and youth group events.  All of that accumulated knowledge about Him and His Word which flames the fuse  of faith (Romans 10:17) came back in a big way but this time came to life.  (Literally.)

Thereafter I found that I “considered” Jesus regularly, consistently, without the elongated spells signified by spiritual silence as it were.  I found myself thinking about Him all throughout the day.  This was coupled with (produced by) a greater and greater presence of the Bible (the “sword  of the Spirit” – Ephesians 6:17 – which He wields so well, like a doctor’s scalpel) in my life and mindspace, which fans the flames  of faith.

Now that has gone to a whole other, more intense, even more consistent level such that NOT thinking about Him and His Word has become the exception, not the rule anymore.  The script has flipped.  And I couldn’t be more thrilled.  Or more grateful.

In which stage of spiritual growth do YOU find yourself today?  That’s the second most important  question in life.  One huge help in my journey has been to regularly “take inventory” of my mindspace, of the actual thoughts which enter and exit or linger in my mind each day.  I’ll elaborate on this in a future post (see item “3.” in the Side Panel or very bottom of this page if you’d like to automatically be notified by email whenever a new post is published) but for the purposes of this one, the main thing is to truly and straightforwardly evaluate  the nature and duration and especially object  of your thoughts that day or hour or week.  If the Lord and Heavenly Father and Holy Spirit and the Bible top that list in both quality and quantity, in both essence and extent, in both degree and duration, you can be sure – no, “certain” – that you’re on exactly the right path (2 Peter 1:8).  Otherwise, not (1:9).  But we’ll never knowunless we regularly (“all the more diligent”) self-administer that test, unless we consistently complete that self-examination (1:10; also 2 Corinthians 13:5).

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the most  important question in life, and that’s whether we have a relationship with the Lord at all.  That’s the very beginning, the genesis (no pun intended), the starting line spiritually, and only then can the race (1 Corinthians 9:24; Galatians 5:7; 2 Timothy 4:7; and to bring it full circle for this post, Hebrews 12:1) of the Christian life begin.  Like when they fire that blank gun at the start of most track events.  It’s an obstacle course at times (2 Timothy 3:12) but well worth it (Romans 8:18; James 1:2-4) as you seek to remember” then “consider” then “fix your eyes” on Jesus.

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
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YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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The (Positive) Purpose of (Awful) Anxiety

In a recent post I focused on God’s loving sovereignty, which – if focused upon – will render anxiety in one’s daily life virtually nonexistent.  No joke, no exaggeration.

This will be a running theme in this online journal/blog, for that very reason, because it IS so utterly bedrock and beneficial and blessing in nature, which rears its beautiful and heaven-borne head literally every single day of my life.

For this entry/post, I’ll focus on just one aspect of that.

Anxiety is unhealthy, wrong, unbiblical, sin.  Understatements all.  In fact, not just detrimental to one’s mental and emotional health but also physical:  it’s a long-known scientific certainty that stress (a.k.a. anxiety, worrying, fretting, obsessing) is not just direly damaging and indeed deadly to the human body but I believe it’s at the very root  of ALL disorders.  More on that in a future post(s) but for now I think we all agree that anxiety is bad.

But per that prior post, God routinely uses  something that’s bad and indeed even sin for our benefit and upbuilding and strengthening and good.  It was true regarding Pharaoh – perhaps the perfect personification of pride and evil and wickedness and a (major, massive) “control issue” – as seen in the crystal clear conclusion of Romans 9:17, and true regarding “ALL things” as stated just a handful of verses earlier (Romans 8:28).  And so it is with anxiety.

It is indeed bad, sinful – but the initial tinge  of anxiety is a magnificent manifestation of God’s grace!  Like when we barely brush up against a hot oven or sizzling saucepan on the stovetop.  Meaning, I firmly believe that God, in His great and ongoing grace, gives us an alert when we’re about to veer off-course, like a highway guardrail, a wonderful “warning system” which He has created for and placed within  us.  Because He knows the default position of the human heart.  Of every  human heart – from Pharaoh and Adolf Hitler to Billy Graham and John MacArthur and even the beloved Apostle Paul himself (hard to believe?  Just go back another chapter, to Romans 7:18, and you’ll see this stunning self-summary by that super-saint:  “For I know that NOTHING GOOD dwells in me, that is, in my flesh”… if that was true about him, how much more so you and me and the entirety of humanity?) – as succinctly stated in Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked/sick…”

Indeed.

God, who created us, who even knows the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7; Matthew 10:30), knew our default position and how given we would be to anxiety, which is nothing more than the human reaction to the inherent knowledge that we are not in control.  And that, like nothing else, makes a person nervous, unsure, anxious.  So how generous of Him to also create a built-in warning system to alert us, to flash emotional messages to our minds like “danger ahead” and “starting to veer off-course” – in the form of the initial onset or tinge of anxiety.

Please don’t despise it.  USE it!  By viewing it as a loving and advance reminder from God to you, to avoid the cliff of trying to “take control” and instead acknowledge and affirm the infinityfold fact that HE is in control, always and in all things.  The HE is sovereign – and loving.  What more could a person possibly need or want?!

Answer:  nothing.  Not a thing.  Not a thing beyond that  is needed to experience a life of perpetual bliss and peace and comfort and joy.  Every day.  Every hour.

So the next time you feel the first foray of anxiety into your life, into your mind, flip the script and simply remind your mind  that it’s a GOOD thing that we’re NOT in control, that God IS – since He knows us better than we could ever know ourselves (and therefore what will truly make us happy) and since He loves  us more than we could ever love ourselves – so WE DON’T NEED TO BE!  Think of it as God’s literally reaching down from heaven and snatching that burden OFF OF OUR SHOULDERS and ONTO HIS.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest… for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you shall find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is EASY and My load is LIGHT.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

The ONLY thing we need to do is to LET HIM!

“Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)

He’s able, He’s willing, and He’s ready.  Are you?

Make this a practice, an ongoing “thing” and activity in your day-to-day life and I GUARANTEE that your level of happiness and joy and peace and love will steadily increase.  And you can quote me on that.

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
.

YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

.
.
.
And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

.
.
And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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The Choice Is Ours

Ever since I put my faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone for my eternal salvation, I’ve hated sin.  100%.  I wish I could say I’ve also avoided  it 100% but of course that would be a lie worthy of the devil himself.  But even the most black-and-white, zero-grey-areas person I’ve ever heard of, the Apostle John, acknowledges in 1 John 2:1 that such is altogether unavoidable on this side of heaven, but that it will become less and less prevalent, less and less present in the life of every true believer, as also stated so succinctly yet crystal-clearly in Proverbs 4:18.  Ergo, I don’t dwell on past sins but rather on the present pursuit of righteousness.  But while I may not be able to avoid sin altogether in this life, I find that I have grown to hate it more with each passing year and exponentially so after starting this journey of Bible memory on a regular, systematic basis.

And under the umbrella of sin in general, there are three which I’d say I’ve come to hate even more than the others:  one is a lack of truth… in ANY way, shape or form; another is waste… of time, of talent, of opportunity, of money or food; and the third chart-topper would probably be unthankfulness.  A lack of gratitude.

Today, as I write this, I am once again reminded (and amazed, stunned) at just how good, at just how effective  the Lord is in being able to make  us thankful.

You see, the other day I noticed that the water from my faucet tasted strange even though I always use a filter.  First time that’s ever happened but I figured “no bigee, I’ll just drink bottled water until they fix it” which was hunky dory – until I ran out after three days (I drink a lot  of water each day =).  And the thought hit me:  what if it DOESN’T get fixed, what if it’s just the “new normal”, water that tastes so bad that even a filter doesn’t dent the distaste?  As you know, I’ve committed my entire life savings to this project and website so can’t afford to just start buying  water on a regular basis.  Nope, I’m stuck with a faucet and filter for fulfilling that human need.  I’m sure this probably seems like such a small matter to most people but it’s pretty big to me.  It’s not as though I can just go without drinking water.  Something’s gotta give!

Then just this morning I figured I’d give it another try and much to my mouth’s relief, the filtered faucet water tasted good again… hallelu!  Matter resolved.  And I’ve been thanking Him for that all day.

And this little episode of my life has been a great reminder of a spiritual truth:  if we don’t thank God regularly, He has an uncanny way of MAKING us thankful, of bringing that about!

I mean, I thank Him a lot… but I can’t remember the last time I thanked Him for drinkable water.  Yet now, after these past few days, I literally can’t thank Him enough.

Interestingly, I thank Him regularly for salvation and spiritual growth and for literally writing His Word on my heart and soul and mind – and all of that has continued apace.  And I thank Him regularly for the stellar, literally perfect physical health He’s granted my entire life (a result of God’s grace but also, under that umbrella, of regular Bible memory no doubt) and that too just keeps right on going (so far! =).  And it makes me wonder if, in addition to overarching grace and regular Bible memory and recitation, this is also due to the fact that I do indeed thank  Him for these things regularly.

I find that my reaction to the Bible is extremely positive, pure joy, 99.9% of the time.  But I’ve come across a handful of passages that make my blood boil.  Pure anger.  Like when those merchants were selling their wares in the temple as described in John 2:13-17.  (I’m greatly comforted by the fact that the Lord had the exact same reaction… talk about good company!)  And there are a handful of passages which have not only angered but befuddled me, as in “What on earth  was that guy thinking?!  Who would ever  behave like that?”

And one passage in particular:  Luke 17:11-19.  It’s a well-known story.  Jesus, on His way to Jerusalem, entered a certain village and came across ten lepers.  They “raised their voices” and begged for mercy, for healing, and our compassionate and merciful Lord (James 5:11) did just that!  These ten lepers – the outcasts whom even the outcasts  shunned – just had that major, major, major life-revolutionizing matter taken off of their shoulders, yet ONLY ONE of them THANKED Jesus.

As much as I might try, I simply cannot, I’m simply unable to fathom that, to even imagine  that.  Just thinking  about that makes me angry.  Then it’s as though I can hear Nathan himself saying, “Thou art the man.”  Straight out of 2 Samuel 12:7.  You see, not only can I fathom and imagine that kind of cringe-worthy conduct, that brand of baneful behavior, there are times I find that I’ve been indulging  in it unawares.

Ingratitude.  Ungratefulness.  Unthankfulness.  Yet it’s absolutely amazing how the Lord never lets me do so for very long before “stepping in” and “working” events which will snap me out of that big-time.

I can’t even remember the last time I had thanked Him for drinkable water.  And now I’ve probably done so a hundred  times today.  Funny how that works, eh?

So let’s focus, from this day forward, on active gratitude.  On thanking Him for things big and small.  Constantly.  Not just because it’s right and biblical…

  • “in everything GIVE THANKS” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
  • “always GIVING THANKS for all things” (Ephesians 5:20)
  • “in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING” (Philippians 4:6)
  • “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, GIVING THANKS” (Colossians 3:17)

… but below that blessed umbrella, even on a human level, also because of what it very likely may spare us in the future.  In other words, I find that gratefulness is very similar to humility in that we can either humble ourselves  or BE humbled by God (Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; James 4:10Philippians 2:10).  So also, we can either THANK the Lord regularly, or He’ll undoubtedly GIVE US a reason to do so after going through a trial or some sort of tribulation.  How many times have we suffered in life simply because we weren’t thankful.

Let’s call it preventive gratitude.  May we be wise to adopt a focus and attitude of gratitude, every day.  May we be like that one former leper, not the other nine.  It will no doubt spare us from needless heartache in the future.  The choice is ours.

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
.

YouTube.com/BibleMemory

.
And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

.
.
.
And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

.
.
And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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.

The Choice

Just a few weeks ago we celebrated Christmas.  Probably my favorite time of the entire year.  (Other than  the weather. =)  And my favorite holiday along with Easter and Thanksgiving and Independence Day.  (Interesting how they all share a common thread, eh?)

Anyway, back to Christmas, the main thing is of course the fact that it commemorates Jesus’ supremely sacrificial self-humbling in voluntarily setting aside the comforts of Heaven and coming down to Earth to become a man (Philippians 2:5-11) [and even lower than that to become “sin  on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21)].  As my favorite song of the season says, “Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.”  Indeed.  But my second  favorite part (definitely not unrelated to the first) is the great music, all those great songs celebrating and aiding us in celebrating that most momentous of marvelous occasions in all of history (His-story).

Yes, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing  is my favorite with Joy to the World  very high on that list, but one written much more recently has also made it into my “Top 10” and that’s When Love Came Down  by Point of Grace.

It literally brings tears of pure joy to my eyes virtually every time I hear it.  And for the purposes of this post, I’d like to highlight a single line from this song (end of second verse):  “There’s a choice we must make each and every day.”

Every year (having also just celebrated New Year’s Day), every month, every week, and yes every day and even every hour and minute, i.e., continually.

And that ongoing test (pop quiz) is not of the multiple choice variety but rather “true or false”, “A or B”.  It’s this:

God or money (Matthew 6:24, in the heart of the Sermon on the Mount).  God or pleasure (2 Timothy 3:4).  God or the world (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16).  God or self (Luke 14:26-27; Matthew 16:24).

On one side of the (massive) chasm is God and the things of God like the Bible and prayer and worship and fellowship.

On the other side is self and pleasure and money and all the world system has to offer.

The human heart, fallen flesh, will always opt for the latter, its default position.  But I have found that the Bible is able to transform one’s mind and thus life (Romans 12:1-2) – reading it, better yet studying it, but best by far memorizing  and reciting and meditating on and in all of the three cases obeying it.  The Bible CHANGES our “default” setting!

And those verses make it crystal clear how dramatically indeed diametrically indeed direly different the results and consequences of that two-options decision confronting us continually are.  Joy or sorrow.  True success or failure.  Victory or defeat.  Life or death.  (Literally.)

The Bible in general and Bible memory on a regular, systematic (verse-by-verse, book-by-beautiful-book) basis in specific has totally transformed and revolutionized my mind.  Far from perfect.  (Still.)  (Always!  At least on this  side of eternity.)  But massive improvement in mind, spirit, soul – intentions, attentions, affections, aspirations – and even body (health, per Proverbs 4:22, so true!).

There is indeed “a choice we must make each and every day.”  You know an example of someone who chose poorly, who DIDN’T make the right decision?  His name is Demas, and even most Christians wouldn’t know that name because he plays a very small – yet stunningly sobering – role in the Bible.  By way of background, he was one of the Apostle Paul’s closest “fellow workers” – made clear by the fact that Paul mentions him by name at the end of not one but two  New Testament books (letters/epistles), Colossians and Philemon.  But later on, as (physical) death was starting to knock on Paul’s door, he mentions him in a third (his final) book, writing this:  “for Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica” (2 Timothy 4:10).  Can you believe that?!  It blows my mind every single time.  Someone who worked and lived and breathed month after month, week after week, day after day, hour after hour beside the greatest non-Deitic person in human history (i.e., other than the Lord Jesus Himself) one day concluded that the world was more desirable than the things of God.  This should be a huge warning, a rip-roaring red flag to each and every one of us who begins to think that WE could never turn our back much less lose our love for the Lord and the Bible and the things of Him.  Just ask the church of the Laodiceans mentioned in Revelation 3:15-18.  Or, albeit on a much more temporary basis, just ask Peter, as discussed in-depth in a prior post.  If it can happen to Demas, to someone surrounded by and special to the greatest non-Deitic person ever to walk the face of the earth, and if it can happen to Peter, even if just temporarily, then it can absolutely happen to you and me if we’re not careful to correctly navigate “the choice” which is ours daily, never letting a sure-to-sink-us sense of self-sufficiency creep in. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

You know a great example of someone who made the RIGHT if not (initially) easy choice?  Moses, “choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:25-26)

Verse 27 goes on to say, “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is unseen.”

And that, my friend, is the essence of faith and the only ultimately good thing in this world, in this life.  As SEEING the UNSEEN.  Few four-word phrases have fixed my focus forward and upward like this one has.  As seeing the unseen.

You see, the human heart and mind and body will naturally gravitate to things that can be seen, that are visible.  But faith does – enables us to do – the exact OPPOSITE.  It’s a lot like that famous quote by one of the greatest and quite arguably THE greatest hockey player of all time, who credited his unbelievable success to the fact that “other players skate to where the puck is; I skate to where the puck is going to be.”

The key to being “great” in the Christian life and indeed life itself is to look “not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are NOT seen.”  (I’d love to take credit for that quote but nope, it was written by the beloved Apostle Paul superintended by the Holy Spirit – 2 Corinthians 4:18)  Not the things that are but the things that are to come.

And the results?  The amazing results?  Going back to Hebrews 11 – every bit as applicable today as then:  “who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong [perhaps my favorite five-word phrase!]…” (Hebrews 11:33-34)

Moses “left Egypt” and likewise we would be wise to evacuate the world system by outright rejecting all it has to offer, “the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life” (1 John 2:16).  The “passing pleasures of sin.” (Hebrews 11:25)  “Wanton pleasure.” (James 5:5)

In other words, instead of living for OUR wants and desires, we would be wise to live for His (Matthew 16:24-26).  Instead of living for OUR will, we would be wise and much better off living for His – following the perfect example set by our Lord Jesus when…

To the Father said the Son,
“Not MY will but THINE be done!” (Luke 22:42 – the Bible has it ALL!  Even great poetry… much more on this in a future post)

Summing all of this up, this is the overarching way I view it:  in life, we can either go for the icing or the cake.  Go for the icing and we’ll get neither.  Go for the cake  and we’ll get BOTH!

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33, KJV)

The choice.  Or as I like to call it… the no-brainer.  The ultimate win/win.

Yes, we CAN “have it all” – if the order and priority of our choice is right.  With a new year now underway, may we choose each and every day to live for the CAKE, and the icing will follow… like those TV ads for Meineke and Men’s Wearhouse say, “I guarantee it.”  And infinitely more importantly, God  guarantees it… give it a try and He’ll show  you why!

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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Quick Thought:  Father Knows Best

Thanks to the explosion of cable television channels, shows from decades ago are readily available to entirely new generations.  Including one titled Father Knows Best.

While the producers of that show probably didn’t realize it, they actually affirmed one of the most basic but bedrock  biblical doctrines.

As punctiliously and properly propounded in a previous post, NOTHING can escape even the INFINITE CENTER of God’s loving sovereignty.  Nothing that happens to or affects you.  Nothing that happens to or impacts me.  Not a single thing that happens in the universe.  Or as Philippians 2:10 would phrase it, nothing that happens to “those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth” – and that covers everyone.  Past, present, and future.  (I.e., everyone who has ever lived currently resides in one of those three places.  It’s similar to when Paul used the phrase “in season and out of season” in 2 Timothy 4:2 – in that case there are only two  times of the year and he covered them both/all.  Just like he did in Colossians 1:16 where he writes that Christ created “all things” and then emphasizes that even more by using the phrase “visible and invisible”.)

NOTHING happens for or inures to a believer’s bad, to a disciple’s detriment, only ever for and to our good, better and best – the only question is whether we realize  and in faith appropriate  that fact, that truth of God’s loving sovereignty and this promise which applies to every believer as crystal-clearly set forth in many passages including Romans 8:28 and its not-nearly-so-well-known partner 9:17 and the two “beautiful biblical bookends” of the human-experience spectrum of Proverbs 16:33 and 21:1 per that prior post.

Because along with being loving and sovereign, God our Father is also omniscient.  In terms of the universe and also regarding the very smallest “nooks and crannies” of our individual lives.  What we “are able” to handle (1 Corinthians 10:13), how the ever-varying vicissitudes of life will impact us, and how He can “weave” all of those together to produce a stunningly beautiful, complete, “perfect” end result for us and for His glory.

Father knows best indeed!

He knows best, so we can rest.  And live a truly worry-free, anxiety-free, depression-free, complaint-free life!  Not just in theory but experience.  Not just in perception but reality and actuality.

Second only to salvation itself, I find myself thanking Him most – and most often (i.e., in essence and  extent) – for His loving sovereignty.  What a great thing.  What a gift.  What a gold mine for daily living!

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“The Main Thing is Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing”

That’s a famous quote.  I read years ago that it was the motto of the French Foreign Legion but Google doesn’t indicate such but in any case I’m going to use it in a different way for this post.

Our lives have so many moving parts.  Getting to your job on time, performing well, picking up your kids from school, going home and getting dinner ready, getting ready for bed, then getting up the next morning and doing it all over again.  And again.  And again.  Ad infinitum.

Oh yeah, and the thousand other  things which arise anew each day, each week, each month and must be addressed, often immediately.  And on and on and on it goes.

But amid all the fun and sometimes chaos of one’s usual daily routine, I just want to humbly remind all of us – especially myself – to keep the main thing the main thing, and actually in this life it’s not just the main thing, it’s the ONLY thing that really  counts.

Eternity.  The life to come.

Nothing else compares.  Not jobs, not hobbies, and not even family.  That’s right, not even family.  As the Lord Jesus Himself clearly stated:

  • “ANYONE who loves their father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:37-39)
  • “If ANYONE comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

The entire Bible makes it crystal clear that He said this in relative  (no pun intended =) not absolute  terms, meaning that God of course doesn’t want us to hate ANYONE but absolutely to hate everyone – including our very own life… especially  our very own life – and everything IN COMPARISON TO our love for and devotion to Him.

Is family important?  Exceedingly.  How about one’s job?  Very.  How about even one’s hobbies or pastimes?  Yes.  But the Bible’s and Jesus’ succinct point here is that COMPARED TO eternity, ALL of these things are meaningless.  In other words, the ONLY thing that really matters in this life is what actions we take and decisions we make regarding the life to come.

It’s so EASY to find our focus wandering away from Him and onto these other “moving parts” in our daily lives.  Away from the vertical and onto the horizontal.  Away from the spiritual and onto the physical.  Away from the things which are unseen and onto the things which are seen (2 Corinthians 4:18).  Away from the intangible things that cannot be shaken and onto the tangible things that can (Hebrews 12:27-29).  Away from God and onto man.  Away from matters of eternity and onto the matters of this very temporary life, which the Bible rightly compares to a mere breath of air on a cold morning (James 4:14).

How important it is – EVERY DAY, every HOUR – to keep putting our focus and priority BACK ONTO God and the Bible and eternity, because the human mind, per its “default” setting, will just naturally wander away from such.  While Bible memory is the best and most effective tool for this, simply reminding each other regularly is a close second.

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
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YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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VIDEO:  Books #1-3 en route to ALL 66!

I suppose any  day would be fantastic for this post but I can’t think of a better one than New Year’s Day, January 1.

Words can’t even begin  to adequately express just how humbling it is to be able to have made these videos nor how exciting it is to post them, to share this with you and all future readers of this online journal, this blog.

I can honestly say that when I first went to memorize James 1:1 – the very first verse of the very first book I’ve memorized in its entirety – the task before me seemed skyscraper-like in size, so super-daunting.  And it was probably the least comfortable  thing I’ve ever done in my life.  At first.  But then the Bible, the Word of God, proceeded to “perform its work” in me, in my mind, just like 1 Thessalonians 2:13 says, and it literally began unfolding to my mind’s eye an actual and tangible and very specific method  for how to memorize and retain  Bible verses – and anything else for that matter.  Permanently.  (So far!  We’ll see if that remains the case a year and decade from now, but let’s just say I have a very strong hunch. =)

Don’t get me wrong, it’s definitely NOT as though it creates a so-called photographic memory in a person (I wish!), but it definitely DOES make the process much (much much much) easier and (believe it or not) even FUN, so I can hardly wait to share it with you.  I already know with 100% certainty that it will change, no, REVOLUTIONIZE  YOUR LIFE.  Every aspect thereof.  It’s impossible to say for sure but my best guess is that around 75% of such has been revealed to me so far, so I hope to be able to share it sometime in this coming year.  Stay tuned.  (And if you’d like to automatically be notified by email when future posts are published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top and you won’t miss out, you’ll be among the first to learn this life-changing, love-leavening, laughter-inducing, insight-increasing, wisdom-welling, brain-and-body-blessing, goodness-garnering, gentleness-generating, joy-jumping, faith-fortifying, patience-producing, principle-propagating, peace-proliferating, happiness-heightening, mind-meliorating memory method.)  [Whew! =]

Before officially launching this website, I thought that two main ingredients should be present:  for there to be a sufficient amount of material posted in this journal/blog, and a few videos of yours truly reciting entire books of the Bible so everyone could see with their own eyes just how serious about and committed to this calling I am.  To memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then recite it back to the Lord as a unique and indeed historic love/thank-You gift for all He does and especially who He is, and then to let Him use that in-front-of-the-entire-world event to launch several ministries as discussed in-depth in the Plan of Action on the home page.  The ENTIRE Bible.  Sixty-six books.  Still a long way to go, but one must start somewhere!  And I am so thrilled to have started with these three, and I’m including the “Overview” video here as well in case you’d like to watch that and/or share it with others who might be blessed by it.

So without further ado, here are #1-3 of 66 – thank You, Lord, for making this a reality!  And thank you  for upholding me in your prayers in particular.  Because without His grace and enabling and your prayers and support, #4-66 wouldn’t be on-deck and just a matter of time.  Batter up.  But first I trust these initial three (which were recorded last spring in anticipation of launching this website today) will be of extreme blessing to you as we kick off a new year in which the Lord in general and the Bible in specific will truly revolutionize our lives.  A resolution of revolution.  Spiritual revolution and revival brought on by the Bible… talk about an easy prediction!  1 Thessalonians 2:13; Colossians 3:16; Psalm 19:7-11, 119:11.  Enjoy the videos.  Happy New Year!

 

    VIDEO:  OVERVIEW of this historic project
    VIDEO:  Reciting the entire book of HEBREWS from memory
    VIDEO:  Reciting the entire book of JAMES from memory
    VIDEO:  Reciting the entire book of 1 PETER from memory

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
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YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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Remember Me

I’ve figured out the MOST IMPORTANT action to do every single day, indeed every single hour (our finite lives can’t handle every minute, every second, but that’s what would truly be most appropriate) and that’s this:  to FOCUS on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:2 puts it like this:  “FIXING OUR EYES on JESUS, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Earlier in that very same book, Hebrews 3:1 puts it like this:  “CONSIDER JESUS”  (almost as though the next phrase could’ve been “Nuff said.”)

And 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 says not once but twice to “do this in remembrance of Me.”  But those first two verses and a third I’ll share in a minute make clear that this should not be relegated to once every month or few when we partake of corporate communion at church.  It should be constant.  Continual.

Just ask Peter.

Matthew 14:22-33 recounts that amazing event.  The twelve disciples got into the boat to cross the sea, to Gennesaret on the other side.  Jesus bade farewell (Mark 6:46) to the multi-thousand-strong multitude He had just (now-famously) fed with nothing more than two fish and five loaves of bread (another amazing event described in verses 14-21) then went “up to the mountain to pray alone” – clearly one of His very favorite locations and activities.  The wind picked up big-time as is common for a body of water around 700 feet below sea level loomed by a mountain nearly two miles high (that’s right, around TWICE the altitude of Denver, Colorado) and Mark 6:48 adds the tidbit that Jesus actually saw them struggling with the oars to keep from tipping over and sinking.

Jesus saw them.

And proceeded accordingly to not just save but comfort and teach them.  Verse 48 provides another tidbit, that He was planning on “just passing by”, to “just say hello” as we might put it today, knowing they’d be meeting Him on the other side of the sea shortly, safe and sound.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the bank of that body of water.  He saw that they were frightened.  His perspective is always perfect and in this case entirely understandable, too.  I mean, He had JUST FED MANY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE with nothing more than TWO FISH and FIVE LOAVES.  A true miracle, demonstrating His deity, that He was indeed God.  God in flesh appearing.  God with us.  Immanuel, as the hymns and Christmas carols echo.  So OF COURSE they wouldn’t freak out when they saw Him demonstrate mastery over another law of nature, walking on water, right?  WRONG!  Because as Mark 6:52 clearly concludes, they didn’t connect the dots:  “for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves” – so Jesus had to connect the dots for them.  A second time.  (Hmm, sound familiar?  It definitely rings a very strong bell for me right now!)

And in so doing, one of the most well-known events recorded in the Bible and for that matter in all of human history occurred.  Jesus told them to “stop fearing.”  He surely said it with a lot more compassion but it reminds me of when a parent might say to a child “Stop pouting” or “Quit your whining.”  It was definitely a rebuke which survives to this day:  “O you of little faith” (Matthew 14:31).  (Two thousand years later and we still  hear that being said regularly.  Amazing.)

Anyway, upon hearing that first statement to not be such scaredy-cats as we might put it today, true to form and nature Peter sought to take control of the situation (like when he later cut off someone’s ear, ewww, yuck, come on, Peter, come on, man!) and told the Lord, the God of all creation (Genesis 1:1,26; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2) to prove it to him.  (Again. =)  Jesus indulged him, knowing that He – and he – was about to make a point that would last forever.  Jesus, by His command, by His word, enabled Peter to WALK ON WATER.

Wow!  He’s so powerful and full of deity (Colossians 2:9) that not only could He walk on water but He could even enable a mere mortal to do likewise!

Matthew 14:29 says that Peter “walked on the water and came toward Jesus.”  Absolutely stunning, beyond amazing.  Then comes the next verse, then came Peter’s next action:  “But SEEING the wind [i.e., the effects of the wind, i.e., the whirling waves whipping up, the boat and his fellow disciples therein being tossed about, etc.], he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!'” (Matthew 14:30)

I’d like to make a few quick observations and then finish up with an application and that above-promised third verse.

First, that word “seeing” stand out to me.  First referring to Jesus (Mark 6:48) and then to Peter in the just-quoted Matthew 14:30.  Sight, insight, vision, understanding, wisdom, (or as a prior post poignantly put it) perspective is everything.

  • “The lamp of the body is the EYE; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23)
  • “Where there is no VISION, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV)
  • “Haughty EYES and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin” (Proverbs 21:4)
  • “And if your EYE causes you to stumble, pluck it out, and throw it from you.  It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the fiery hell.” (Matthew 18:9  – which is speaking figuratively in this case so please, no actual eye-plucking =) (conversely, there is a literally aspect to this in the Bible but it’s God  who orchestrates the plucking, not man…)
  • “The eye that mocks a father, and scorns a mother, the ravens of the valley will pick it out, and the young eagles will eat it.” (Proverbs 30:17)

I’d say the Bible does indeed put an enormous emphasis on eyes, insight, perspective, focus.  And circling back, things went south for Peter when he turned his eyes away from the Lord and onto the physical realm.  Away from the vertical and onto the horizontal.  BIG mistake, HUGE!  Bad judgment.  (Or as my dad and I would often exclaim while playing a game of strategy – usually backgammon, sometimes chess or a board game – and the other person made an error which would lead to sure defeat, “Bad move!”)

Second, when we do that, when we lower our gaze and focus from the heavenly to the worldly, THAT is precisely when fear creeps in.  “But seeing the wind, he BECAME AFRAID.”  Indeed.

Third, it wasn’t until AFTER he began to sink that Peter acknowledged his need for the Lord to save him.  Talk about ringing a bell, talk about hitting home – isn’t that exactly how we are?  Far too much of the time, we only acknowledge our need for the Lord when we begin to sink or falter or realize that we’re NOT in control.  I’ve found that it’s far wiser, far better to express our need for and utter dependence and reliance on Him BEFORE any of that happens.  It’s far better to thank Him not just for the “favorable” things that come our way but also for the “unfavorable” things that DON’T!  Not just for the presence of the positive but also the absence of the negative.  Right?  RIGHT!  What you’ll find is that the latter often only comes IN ORDER TO get our focus and our conscious, active dependence back ONTO HIM.  Meaning that if we practice the former, the latter won’t be called for, won’t be needed, because our focus is ALREADY (staying) on HIM!  Or as my mom would surely have put it when I was growing up, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  So true, even spiritually.  (I intend to do a future post on her other common sayings, too, I think you’ll find it to be a real blessing.)

Fourth, as referenced in the past, I absolutely LOVE the exclamation mark in the original!  I didn’t add that, it’s actually in the Bible.  Of which EVERY SINGLE sentence is equally divine (2 Timothy 3:16), equally living and active (Hebrews 4:12), living and abiding (1 Peter 1:23), infinitely important.  BUT BUT BUT for me personally, there’s just something special – NOT “better”, just special  to my heart – when the human author (often the supremely passionate Apostle Paul) and (get this) the Holy Spirit chose to use an exclamation point, opted for that emphaticness to coin a word.  Not emphasis, not that concept, but actually being emphatic… I love that!  [In the spirit of 1 John 4:8, anyone who doesn’t think that God and His Word are (perfectly) emotional must not be very familiar with either.]

But I’ve saved perhaps my favorite observation for last.

Fifth and finally, as alluded to above, Peter has certainly brought a lot of “guff” or derision upon himself:  by “testing” or seeking to instruct the Lord, by his pervasive impetuousness, by his apparent control issue, by denying the Lord Jesus not once, not twice, but three times – but he’s one of my favorite people in the Bible.  Not like Paul or David or Daniel or Abraham or Joseph, but probably the second  tier.  For three reasons.

  • He was chosen by the Lord to be such a major, massive part in the nascent Church.  Indeed, he was the primary human vessel for taking the Gospel to the Jews (like Paul to the Gentiles) and exhibited such great leadership (one of his great and very obvious traits) in those crucial early years of the Church, the very body of Christ.  Talk about a high calling!  Wow.  Wow.  For this alone he’d be among my favorites.  We, the present-day Church, no doubt drink from the fountain he helped found as it were.
  • He, by his own actions, has indeed brought quite a bit of derision upon himself:  along with said triple denial of Jesus or cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s servant (methinks the emotion of the moment affected his aim, I don’t think he was likely going for the ear) that has been most due to his near-drowning described in Matthew 14 and discussed in this post.  But I see that from a very different angle altogether.  As noted above, Jesus rightly rebuked him for having “little faith” – but what does that say about the rest of us, about everyone else?  If you saw Jesus walking on the water amid a horrific storm, would YOU have the faith to attempt to, you know, WALK ON WATER?!  I don’t think I would.  If I KNEW it were Jesus then yes, absolutely, but per Jeremiah 17:9 and frankly just common sense based on things we see on the news every day, the human heart, fallen flesh is “deceitful above ALL THINGS and DESPERATELY SICK” – so how could Peter be S-U-R-E that really was Jesus and not a figment of his imagination or a vision brought on by extreme stress, like, oh, I don’t know, trying NOT TO SINK AND DIE?  Just sayin’.  In 2001, three months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a woman named Andrea Yates sadly and very infamously drowned all five of her children in her bathtub – because she thought that’s what God wanted.  So again, how could Peter be absolutely certain that was really Jesus and not a machination of his inherently “desperately sick” and on top of that  very stressed human mind at that imperiled moment?  And if he were wrong, if it were just his imagination or a vision and not truly Jesus there telling him to “Come!” out on the water with Him, he would surely have died.  And not just died, but along with crucifixion or burning, probably the worst kind of death, drowning.  My point is that, compared to the rest of us, Peter exhibited ENORMOUS faith, like few people in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD.  Right up there with Abraham, who found himself in a similar situation when he heard God tell him to sacrifice his son, his ONLY son who was born by way of miracle when he was ONE HUNDRED YEARS old (Genesis 21:5), or as Hebrews 11:12 puts it, “as good as dead” in terms of fathering a child.  And now he hears a voice he believes is God telling him to kill, to sacrifice that child, that son on an altar – and HEEDS IT?  [For the record, those were very different times than now, in that God ONLY speaks to us “in His Son” (Hebrews 1:2) via His Word, the Bible, NOT an audible voice in our heads – but that doesn’t take away at all from the enormous amount of faith both of these men exhibited.]  In other words, while Peter has routinely been derided or mocked or roundly looked down upon for that near-drowning, the way I see it, how many of us  would’ve even had the faith to GET OUT OF THE BOAT AND ONTO THE WATER?  So while Peter’s faith was indeed “small” in God’s eyes, I think it’s now clear that it was gargantuan compared to the rest of us.  And for that demonstration of faith, to literally put his very life on the line in response to the Lord’s word/Word, he is among my favorite people in all of history.
  • He who was so impetuous and proud became so humble  that when he was crucified for the name of Christ, he is widely reported as requesting to be crucified UPSIDE-DOWN, feeling unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Christ.  I’ve always loved that.  To humbly and so accurately and rightly and properly perceive and view oneself in light of the greatness of the Lord Jesus.  I can use more leadership skills, I can use more faith, and I can certainly use more humility like those which Peter prominently demonstrated, and for that he is indeed in my personal “hall of fame” as it were.

There are undoubtedly many applications we could draw from all of this.  But the strongest one in my view goes back to those first two verses quoted at the beginning of this post:  to KEEP our eyes, our FOCUS wholly, fully, and solely on the Lord Jesus Christ, and for everything else – our hobbies, jobs, friends, and even family and even ministry – underneath  that umbrella.

The hymnist famously wrote, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.”  Those two verses in Hebrews instruct us to KEEP our eyes upon Jesus.  In my firm view, NOTHING is so important as THAT.  Nothing.  And the very best way by far I’ve found to do so, to make that an actual and daily and indeed hourly reality in my life is Bible memory.  Makes perfect sense that the best way to keep our eyes, our focus, our minds on Jesus “the Word” (John 1:1-3,14) is to put the Word, the Bible, in our minds via memorization and regular recitation and mediation leading to obedience.  And I can hardly wait to share with you the method which the Bible itself has been revealing to my mind’s eye ever since this journey began as described on this website’s About page.  Because I already know the massive, indeed incalculable, indescribable benefits it will bring to your life – soul, mind, and even body (Proverbs 4:22; 1 Timothy 4:8, 6:6).  But in the meantime, let me just encourage you to actively focus more and more each day on the Lord Jesus Christ.  His Person.  His completed work and current ministries.  Like interceding (praying) for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25).  Advocating for us (1 John 2:1) like a defense attorney as discussed in a prior post.  Who is also the greatest shepherd ever, breaking our legs when we need that but lovingly carrying us on His shoulders while we heal.  He who died for us “while we were still helpless, at the right time” (Romans 5:6), He who “reconciles us to God” and “saves us” (Romans 5:10-11) so that instead of fearing and facing the Father’s righteous wrath we will experience “no condemnation” (Romans 8:1) but rather enjoy “peace with God” (Romans 5:1).  He is worthy of our constant attention and focus and worship and praise and thanksgiving and obedience.  “Times infinity” as we might’ve said as kids.

Lastly, that promised third verse, and I wanted to save this until now because not only is it the perfect “bow” with which to wrap up this post but it’s one of my very “favorite” verses in all the Bible.  Specifically, the first three words of this verse.  Three of the most succinct but beautiful and blessed words I dare say human language has ever written or heard.

Remember Jesus Christ” (2 Timothy 2:8).  It melts my heart every time I hear that.  Simple but far from simplistic.  Simple but, given all the distractions of life and especially modern-day life, far from easy, far from a cakewalk, far from automatic.  And while it’s crucial to “not forget” Jesus Christ – to not forget what He accomplished, what He did for us on the cross and in the grave and in His victory march through the abyss of permanently-bound demons to crash their short-lived and very ill-informed “victory” party which they quickly learned was anything but  (1 Peter 3:19; Ephesians 4:8-10; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Romans 16:20) – let each one of us go beyond  ”not forgetting” and be the very picture of active remembering.  Memorizing and reciting Scripture will absolutely accomplish this, but as a first step something which has been a huge help and indeed life-changer for me is when I got the idea to set a “reminder” in my Outlook (fittingly named in this regard, eh?) email app to “Remember Jesus Christ” just like this verse says, starting early in the morning and after I take some time – five minutes, ten minutes, sometimes just one minute, whatever I can at that time, at or just before the top of every hour of the waking day – I simply click the button to “snooze” for “1 hour” and so on.  Every day.  Every hour.  And thanks to Bible memory and recitation, usually multiple times throughout each hour but AT LEAST once an hour, every hour, and it has changed my life in a way which few other things have, probably second only to Bible memory itself.  Because as Peter famously found out, focusing on Jesus prevents the presence of fear and absence of faith.  And besides, He is worthy of no less.  The Lord Jesus Christ.  Amid our seemingly ever-increasingly busy and full lives, through 2 Timothy 2:8 He calls out to us each and every day, “Remember Me.”

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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Quick Thought:  “You’re So Good, You’re So Good…”

I don’t watch much TV, primarily due to a lack of time (after all, the ENTIRE BIBLE isn’t going to MEMORIZE ITSELF in my head =) but also a lack of desire since that time is so much better used, spent, “redeemed” (Ephesians 5:16) in other ways (e.g., reading and studying and especially memorizing the Bible, praying, worshiping the Lord Jesus, fellowshiping with other believers, sharing the Gospel with unbelievers, etc.) but I do  like to scan through the channels and check the news at the top of every few hours (i.e., main headlines) so as to remain a well-rounded, well-informed individual and citizen – a good idea in any case but especially so we can converse and connect even better with those with whom we interact in day-to-day life.

Anyway, I did that a few times earlier today and when scanning the channels, staying on each one for a few seconds to see if something new is being reported, in the few seconds my clicker had landed on CNN they were promoting some special about a 70’s singer they’re apparently planning to premiere on New Year’s Day.  I won’t be watching it, way too many other things to do, but in those few seconds they were playing a line from one of her songs which said “You’re no good, you’re no good, you’re no good.”  Not my cup of tea but it’s one of those “jingles” that don’t immediately want to evacuate one’s head after initially hearing it.  (Ugh.)  But the main theme of the New Testament book of James is a “checklist” for authentic, saving faith but a secondary  theme is “when ‘life’ hands you a lemon, make lemonade” so instead of evicting that jingle out of my head altogether I simply changed one letter and have been singing it to the Lord ever since, for the past few hours:  “You’re so good, You’re so good, You’re so good.”

I love it!  The world throws something neutral or in many cases even evil our way, but our Bible-basted brain brings forth benefit by turning it into something good, into praise or worship of God… take THAT, world system!

Already ready for its next  pitch.  Batter up!

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Merry Christmas!

Ah, Christmas.  My hands and feet definitely say “summer” but my mind and soul agree completely with the famous musical sobriquet that this is indeed “the most wonderful time of the year.”  But WHY?

Is it because of all the presents or decorations or universal good cheer?  Or not having to go to school or work?  Or (for some) (definitely not this guy) the snow?

No, in my view what makes Christmas so very merry and special is the fact that, unlike ANY other time, it and Easter see broad swaths of the entire globe focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ – the former on His birth, the latter on His death, burial and resurrection.  The former on the start of His humble human comingling with mere mortals, the latter on the end of that earthly journey.

What an amazing thought.  That even in these modern times when so much effort is being expended to keep God and especially Jesus and the Bible OUT of our daily lives (school, work, even our homes via a seemingly infinite number of distractions ever at our fingertips thanks to technological developments, one after another), the globe takes a few days (Good Friday would be the third) to focus on and remember Jesus.  Simply stunning.  And wonderful.  (Now if we can just get our collective act together the other  362 days. =)

Another thing that makes Christmas so special is that it commemorates the time that God became man so man can become like God (2 Corinthians 3:18) and spend all eternity with Him in His heavenly home when we depart this earth.  Born of a virgin in a lowly manger, the epitome of humility His first time – in stark contrast to His future second.  “No room for Him” (I guess some things never change) at the inn.  And so many times throughout His human existence (Matthew 8:20).  Especially on the cross, when even Peter denied even knowing Him – not once, not twice, but three times.  No room.

And WHY did He agree to such a mission?  Why would anyone leave the infinite comfort and righteousness of heaven, who would ever exchange that for the “groaning and suffering of the pains of childbirth” to which the whole of creation is subjected (Romans 8:22), for the “trouble” for which “man is born” (Job 5:7)?

Jesus would.

Jesus did.

At that very first Christmas.

And His motivation is clearly stated in 2 Corinthians 5:21, one of my very favorite verses in all the Bible:  “He who knew no sin [Jesus] became sin on OUR behalf, that WE might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  I doubt you’ll ever hear a Christmas sermon based on this verse, but in my humble view it’s what Christmas is all about.

Not the gifts we open on a (usually) cold winter’s morning near the end of each year, but “the free gift of God which is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Not the decorations which adorn our trees and homes and front yards, but that our very hearts, our very souls can be transformed and thus be cloaked by the “adornment… of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)  That we can adorn and cloak our hearts in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)

Not the freedom from having to go to school or work, but the freedom from having to sin. (Romans 6:4,14,17-18 … the whole chapter really … the whole book really =)

THAT’S what makes Christmas so special, so merry.  365 days a year.

Merry Christmas!

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If you’d like to follow along and automatically be notified when a new post or video is published, simply click on the “Follow Bible Memory” button in item “3.” at the very bottom of this page or in the Side Panel near the top!

And if you already have a Gmail, Google, YouTube, or Google+ account or email address (and if not, you can get one on the next screen), please also subscribe for FREE to the Bible Memory YouTube Channel – it’s super quick and easy, and you’ll automatically be notified whenever I post a new video on YouTube, too! And beyond that, what a statement it would make to the world if we Bible-loving believers were to make this THE MOST subscribed-to YouTube Channel, so after clicking the link below then the red YouTube “SUBSCRIBE” button on that Channel page (which opens in a new tab for your convenience so you won’t lose your place on this page), please encourage your friends and family to do likewise!
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YouTube.com/BibleMemory

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And if you think this would be a blessing to others, you can SHARE IT via your social media platforms by clicking on the corresponding icons:

You can do this by word-of-mouth and/or by sharing on your Social Media platforms with just a click!
(Please use these buttons since the ones at the very bottom and top-right of this particular page are not pre-populated)

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And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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Beautiful Biblical Bookends which, if Believed, will Bring Boundless Benefit to Your Being – Body, Mind, and Soul – Every Day for the Rest of Your Life!

If this online journal, this blog, were a movie, the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father and the Holy Spirit in general and the Bible in specific (just look at all the bold text up and down every page and you’ll see what I mean) would be the star.  I suppose I’d be an “actor in a supporting role” as the folks who give out the Oscars each year would say (don’t worry, I shan’t hold my breath for a nomination anytime soon =).  But my bike has certainly reached at least the status of major prop, since I bought it as my only means of transportation after selling my car this past summer so as to finish building this website.

So it’s with deep regret and heavy heart (hey, maybe I could  win an Oscar someday after all!) no just kidding, as you’re about to find out it’s with a heart of gratitude and immovable faith in God’s flawless, “fate”-discarding sovereignty that I tell you that my bike got stolen over the weekend.

I go in to buy a few groceries, I come back out to find NO BIKE.  (That turned out to be a very expensive loaf of bread, eh?)

The store has low prices so given the fact that my entire life savings is (quickly) being spent on this little project, that’s where I went, despite its being in a rough section of town.

Apparently even rougher than I had thought because apparently, in the maybe fifteen minutes I was inside the store, someone (probably a teenager, almost certainly a boy, so I’ll use “he” hereinafter) (a) spotted the bike at the bike rack, (b) used metal-cutters to clip the lock, and (c) fled.

The interesting thing is that when I first arrived at the store, I could hardly believe how desolate the sidewalk in front was, for the first time ever of the ones I had been there, but I very responsibly (as ever) locked the bike to the rack per my perpetual practice, not liking the fact that nary a person was on the sidewalk to keep an eye on things in general (usually the more crowds / sunlight, the better/safer) but never in a million years would I have thought there was a risk of it’s getting stolen in the few minutes I’d be inside the store.

Surprise!  More like SHOCK when I came bounding back out of the store, bread bags in hand, only to find that my only means of transportation was now serving its new master, a bike thief.

A low-down, no-good, dirty bike thief.  (Yes, I think I really could win an Oscar!)

All intermittent kidding aside, I did experience a few moments of shock.  Like when you KNOW that something SHOULD be in a specific, exact LOCATION but wah-lah, it isn’t.  Or when something SHOULD work a certain way but it doesn’t.  That kind of non-physical shock.

After a few minutes, I obviously had to confront and answer the question of “WHAT TO DO NOW?”

Should I call the police and file a report and press charges if they catch the kid who stole my bike, thus condemning him “having a record” (criminal record) for the rest of his life?  (Or at least until he’s no longer a juvenile, I have no idea how all of that works.)  It certainly would’ve been due.  It certainly would’ve been merited.  But isn’t that very same thing true about you and me spiritually, with regard to heaven or hell?  I’m not saying that pressing charges isn’t merited in certain cases.  I think it absolutely is.  Like if someone were to kill a loved one, I’d be the VERY FIRST person to have the book thrown at them (figuratively speaking, of course).  To have them locked up and the key thrown away.  “Forgive ’em, but fry ’em” might be fitting in some cases but when it comes to a material possession of ours getting stolen, I prefer to heed the amazing words of Matthew 5:39-40, from “the Sermon on the Mount”:  “But I say to you, do not resist him who is evil; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if anyone wants to sue you, and TAKE your shirt, let him have your COAT also.”

Should I alert the store and see if they’d cover the cost, at least in part?

Should I just “chalk it up” to God’s sovereignty and look for ways He might intend to use it, for the reason(s) He allowed that to happen, for my only means of transportation to get heisted?

It’s not as though I couldn’t go back a day or week later and do one or both of those first two, but I knew almost immediately, in that split-second of decision time, that I was going with Option #3:  chalking it up to God’s sovereignty.

I suppose it’s possible for such to serve as a “crutch” or “cop-out” in some cases, but His sovereignty has probably been THE MAJOR aspect of Himself which He has been impressing on me since becoming a Christian in general and in recent years and indeed months in specific.  And isn’t it JUST LIKE the Lord to send a test on the very subject into my life?

I have a lot of areas still in need of improvement and lots of room for more growth.  Lots.  Lots and lots.  I definitely have my share of weaknesses, as you’ll surely see as this journey and journal unfold in the coming months and years (and probably already =).  But I can honestly say that an unbreakable, unshakable faith in God’s infinite and loving sovereignty isn’t one of them, that it’s probably the strongest area of my still-growing life.  So viewed in this light, I just HAD to choose that third of three immediate options.

That fully firm faith sprang forth into my life like a bigger beanstalk than “Jack” could ever have dreamt, based on the bulletproof bedrock of two verses which serve as beautiful biblical bookends on the matter of God’s sovereignty.  I’m sure I’ll discuss these again in the future since they have such a constant, continual presence and impact in my daily life but for now I’ll just say that ANY AND EVERY situation or occurrence in life – real or even hypothetical – absolutely falls within the sovereignty of God.  I’m not saying that NOTHING can escape God’s sovereignty and control; I’m saying that NOTHING can escape even the infinite CENTER  of God’s sovereignty and control.  It is infinite, and infinitely pervasive.  It is absolute, and captures absolutely every single thing in life.  Real and hypothetical.  Past, present, and future.  Everything.  From “random” to “rigged”!

  • “The lot is cast into the lap, but its EVERY decision is from THE LORD.” (Proverbs 16:33)
  • “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of THE LORD; HE turns it WHEREVER He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1)

In other words, God’s sovereignty has “all the bases” completely covered!  It encompasses the ENTIRE SPECTRUM of life!

On the one end of said spectrum are the things that happen in life, in our lives, to us, which seem RANDOM.  Like, oh, I don’t know, going into a grocery store for a few minutes to buy some bread and having your bike get stolen.  Or the stock market.  Or flipping a coin, or rolling dice… or casting lots.  You see, that was probably the ultimate example or illustration of “randomness” in biblical times, in Old Testament times when that verse was written.  It means that even things which seem random are TOTALLY (“every”) controlled and determined by the Lord!

What a massive blessing!  What a huge relief!  To know that NOTHING “random” EVER happens!  That EVERY SINGLE OCCURRENCE in our lives has definite and usually deep purpose and is in the center of God’s loving sovereignty.

On the other end of said spectrum are the things that happen in life, in our lives, to us, which seem RIGGED.  Like (again!) the stock market.  (Isn’t it funny how so many people are convinced it’s totally random and how many people are equally convinced it’s totally rigged?  They’re BOTH wrong!)  Or that boss or supervisor at work who seems to “have it in for you” and seems to always be trying to trip you up or set you up for failure or tries to get you fired or just make your life a living you-know-what.  Or perhaps a parent who seems to exert enormous control over your life.  But in Old Testament times, when that second verse was written, the ultimate example of that which was pre-determined or “rigged” or controlled by another was a king.  Read the books of Esther and 1 & 2 Samuel and Kings and Chronicles for countless illustrations.  He literally held the power of life and death in his pen (er, stylus?), in his little finger as we might say today.  Uber-powerful.  To us.  Yet that verse makes crystal clear that his heart, his mind, his emotions, his WILL is like a tiny trickle of water.  In fact, in the original language (Hebrew), that word “water” can be translated “water of the feet”, i.e., “urine”.  Isn’t that funny!  Someone like a boss or despot or king seeming to have so much control over us, in our lives, is like a mere trickle of urine compared to the awesome power and true control always wielded – and just as importantly, never yielded – by the Lord.

He shares control/sovereignty with nobody and nothing.

Double blessing!  Infinite relief!  Just to know that EVERYTHING from one end of life’s spectrum to the other is TOTALLY AND SOLELY controlled and determined by our loving Lord!

And, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, it is THIS infinite truth, this immutable fact, which enables one to truly obey 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and a second very similar verse we’ll discuss in a minute:  “In EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

We can (and must) literally be THANKFUL in EVERY single situation or occurrence in life because such resides squarely in God’s will and control and sovereignty.

This seems like the perfect time to share with you several items which comprise my perspective in this weekend’s bike-got-stolen matter:

  • At least it wasn’t stolen at gunpoint!  (Thank You, Lord)
  • At least it was stolen on a Saturday, giving me enough time to replace it before Monday (as discussed in previous posts, it’s now my only means of transportation, having sold my car last summer so I could finish building this website)  (Thank You, Lord)
  • At least it was stolen on a warmer and drier day than the past several, making the necessitated subsequent walk far more tenable  (Thank You, Lord)
  • With no bike anymore, I had to WALK home after this happened, and ALONG THE WAY a fellow pedestrian was within inches of getting hit by a fast-moving car when I pulled him back at (literally) the last second, thus saving him from certainly serious injury if not death – had my bike not been stolen, I wouldn’t have been there and that fellow might’ve been killed and slipped into eternity, probably in hell based on the odds Jesus Himself clearly set forth in Matthew 7:13-14, i.e., I was ONLY there to save him from death or at least grave injury BECAUSE my bike had just gotten stolen  (THANK YOU, LORD)
  • I was able to find the EXACT SAME bike I’ve grown to really, really like – and ON SALE to boot!  (Thank You for “lessening the blow/sting”, Lord!)
  • It’s very possible that I had grown to like it so much that I perhaps came close to clinging to something of this world (Philippians 3:7-8,20; 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4; Colossians 3:2; 2 Corinthians 4:18), to a mere material possession – but this incident certainly nipped that in the bud!  (Thank You, Lord)
  • It was a PERFECT opportunity to FULFILL Scripture (Romans 12:17-21; Matthew 5:38-41; 18:22-35; Colossians 3:12-15; among many others) which in my humble but firm view is the most important thing  we can do
  • I was able to pass a test in life, both humanly and spiritually  (THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Lord!  We both know that likely wouldn’t have been the case a few years or maybe even months ago so thank You for the growth You and Your Word, the Bible, have wrought, have brought about in my life on both a “big picture” and daily basis, just like You say in 1 Peter 2:2!)

And it’s that last one in particular which brings me to that second verse.

You see, it’s one thing to be able to give thanks “in” all things, but God’s loving sovereignty is so amazing and complete and all-encompassing and pervasive that we can even give thanks FOR all things.

“… always giving thanks FOR all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father” (Ephesians 5:20)

In other words, not just giving thanks in situations in general  but literally FOR every single thing that happens.  Because, based on God’s loving sovereignty, it WILL redound to our good, better, and best.  EVERY TIME.  WITHOUT EXCEPTION.  In some and even many and even the vast majority of cases, a person might not realize that, but it’s true.  And it’s how I live my life literally every minute of every day.

I’m pretty sure that the children of Israel didn’t view the rise and reign of Pharaoh as something for which to be THANKFUL.  But it was.  Why?  Because of what I’ve written here as confirmed so beautifully in Romans 9:17 – “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I raised you up, to DEMONSTRATE MY POWER in you, and that MY name might be proclaimed THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.'”

So whether it’s a supervisor or boss or king or ANYONE or ANYTHING in your life that seems to be causing you grief, please know that (a) God is INFINITELY SOVEREIGN in that situation and therefore (b) COULD HAVE PREVENTED IT had He wanted, had THAT been for your good, better, and best, but (c) LET IT HAPPEN because He KNEW (indeed, from eternity past) what would be BEST for you, and everyone else for that matter.  Only the omnipotent God could manage all of those crosscurrents.  Only the loving God would care to do so, would care for us SO MUCH that ONLY what’s truly BEST for us EVER happens!  Which is why we absolutely should “ALWAYS give thanks FOR all things” – because “we KNOW that ALL THINGS work together for GOOD to those who know God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Therefore, I can honestly say that even if I could go back in time to Saturday morning when deciding which store to buy that handful of groceries at, I wouldn’t.  I wouldn’t change a thing, I wouldn’t have done anything differently to have prevented that person from stealing my bike.  Why?  Because then I would’ve missed out on passing a fairly sizable test, not just a bike.  I.e., passing a test from God is infinitely more important and precious to me than any bike.  (Even that one which was PERFECT in every way for me.)  Because that fellow pedestrian would likely be mangled and, based on that car’s rate of speed, probably DEAD and therefore probably relegated to hell for all eternity.  And because I wouldn’t have such a PERFECT illustration to finish and crystallize the post I had already begun writing a week or more ago.

And I’ll conclude by sharing one last insight with you about this.

I can remember like yesterday an incident years ago (when I still had a car =) in which I “caught a red light” which was the FASTEST from green to red I had (or still have) EVER seen.  It was as though yellow didn’t even exist, as though it skipped right over that middle one.  While I can’t claim a flawless driving record, I do think it’s very important to obey ALL laws, so I slammed on the brakes – and grumbled about how blazing fast that light turned red, how I probably just wore an inch off of my tires… I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about, secondhand if not first.

But the most amazing thing happened next which I’ll never, ever, ever forget.  Never have and never will.  When the light turned green and I proceeded (slowly, with heart still pumping hard) and took the curve around 50 feet away from that traffic light, you won’t believe what I saw:  a very large tree had literally just fallen across the entire road.  Where I and my car quite likely would’ve been had that light NOT turned red, so blazing fast.  I had initially grumbled about something which probably SAVED MY LIFE.  And I can’t recall a SINGLE TIME I’ve questioned or doubted the Lord’s loving and unlimited sovereignty ever since, and that happened many years ago.  And just this ONE ASPECT of God has made my life a total joy, a total blast, all day every day.

Let’s look at it from a different angle.  Let’s say that my bike hadn’t  been stolen while I was inside that grocery store.  I of course would’ve ridden it back home as always.  So let’s say that on the way home, I got hit by a bus or car and suffered serious injury.  What would many of us surely be saying as we lay mangled in a hospital bed?  Probably something like, “Lord, why did You let that bus hit me?  You are omnipotent, You are sovereign – WHY DIDN’T YOU STEP IN AND PREVENT THAT FROM HAPPENING?”  Right?  Sound familiar?  But that’s EXACTLY what He did!  In this case, as always, He DID step in, in a very real, tangible way, to prevent something, anything, EVERYTHING which WOULDN’T be for my good, for your good, for our good.  He didn’t stretch forth His holy hand from heaven as in, say, Old Testament times, but he absolutely intervened directly via, yep, a bike thief.  God’s sovereignty is so infinite and pervasive that He often uses even the wicked, even the sins of others, to accomplish what’s best for US and what will bring Him the most glory.  That’s the whole point of Romans 9:17 quoted above.  God even uses animals – figurative and literal (2 Peter 2:16) – to bring about and make happen what’s best for US, what’s most beneficial for OUR lives.  The human mind almost always just looks at things based on what actually happened, not what might have.  But I’ve found that there’s tremendous perspective and wisdom gained by doing so, by looking at the proverbial “other side of a coin” so as to be grateful, to give Him thanks not just for what happens to us or in our lives but also what DOESN’T happen!  Not just for the presence of the positives but also for the absence of the negatives!

This will probably blow your mind but it’s 100% true – not 90%, not 95% … 100% – that EVERY SINGLE thing which happens to you, which happens in your life, is for your BEST.  Without exception.  Such that you, your life, would be WORSE OFF if it HADN’T.  So instead of giving in to the very natural human tendency to doubt and thus disbelieve God’s sovereignty, let us not ask whether  something that occurs is for our best but rather HOW it’s for our best – and, like me in the case of my bike, you’ll almost always find MULTIPLE answers to that question.  One would be enough, but in these things, the more, the merrier.

So to the long list above we can add this:

  • Had the Lord, in His loving sovereignty, NOT allowed that thief to steal my bike in those few minutes I was inside the grocery store, it’s very possible that I would have gotten hit by a car or bus and been killed or lost a LOT more than just a bike, I could’ve lost an arm or leg, that happens every single day in virtually every single city, but what I have NO DOUBT about is that something very negative would’ve happened to me had my bike NOT been stolen and had I thus ridden it home.  And what ISN’T open to ANY speculation at all is that I’m much better off in any case as a result of my bike’s being stolen than I would’ve been otherwise, that such absolutely redounded to my good, better, and best even if I can’t say for sure the exact “bad” which would’ve happened, I KNOW that I would’ve been worse off.  But the Lord lovingly “stepped in” and intervened.  Like that straight-to-red traffic light years ago.  And like Pharaoh millenia before that.  So how could I NOT be utterly thankful  that my dear bike gotten stolen?!

Am I going to go around hoping  that its replacement bike gets stolen, too?  Definitely not.  But IF it does will I take it in stride and faith in the knowledge that because of God’s loving sovereignty ANYTHING that does or even could happen is for my GOOD – not just in some sort of after-the-fact, back-end kind of way but indeed from eternity past?  Absolutely.  The Lord lets everything happen for our, for your, for my good and benefit:  spiritually, emotionally, and even physically.  (E.g., I’m not writing this from a hospital bed. =)

The takeaway from all of this is a very easy, straightforward “rule” for life, a “rule” for living:  If it HAPPENS, never RESENT it, always THANK GOD that it DID!  I give you my word (and infinitely more importantly, GOD gives you HIS) that if you simply but truly believe in just this one aspect of God, His loving sovereignty, and adopt this “rule” each day, it will not just change but REVOLUTIONIZE  your life.

I hope that this pair of “beautiful biblical bookends” of Proverbs 16:33 and 21:1 will be as much of a massive, unmitigated, ongoing blessing in your life as it has been in mine.

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You’re NOT Alone!

This post is in the same vein as a recent one.  Maybe we’ll make it a recurring series.

Remember when we were kids (and ever since) when someone would express an opinion with which we agree and we’d say “Me too!” (at least before it took on an entirely different meaning starting in 2017) or “You and me both!” or “You’re not alone”?  Believe it or not, this sentiment has very deep roots in the Bible.

The Bible is clear that suffering/persecution goes hand-in-hand and indeed is part and parcel and inherently characteristic of the Christian life (2 Timothy 3:12; Hebrews 12:7-11).  But that’s not cause for doom and gloom but rather tremendous and unfettered joy since it also renders the crystal clear conclusion that suffering/persecution/tribulation also produces necessary benefits (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5; 2 Thessalonians 1:5) and anyway can’t even compare, “are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

All of that is very true — totally true, in both essence and extent — but God knows that in our human experience, suffering still isn’t easy (though the more one focuses on these truths and promises and perhaps particularly that last one, the easier it will be!) but thankfully He has given us some additional aids in the Bible to directly address this.  (As I always say… there’s a verse for that! =)

One of the strongest I’ve found which is such an amazing help is the fact that I, that we, that you are NOT alone!

I certainly wouldn’t recommend building a theology on the human adage that “misery loves company” due to the negative side of how it’s used or perceived but the other side of that coin is actually very biblical and thus infinitely valid and joy-inducing and profitable (2 Timothy 3:14-17, especially verse 16) and USEFUL (1 Timothy 1:8, an equally-acceptable translation of the word “good” which appears in most versions) and therefore not to be ignored, indeed we should be squeezing as much gain and benefit out of this truth as possible:  the fact of the matter is that there is considerable comfort in the knowledge that I, that we, that you are NOT alone!

That’s why the Bible says that temptation/trial/testing/suffering “is COMMON to man” (1 Corinthians 10:13) [one great illustration about how very common what we experience in life is:  almost EVERY TIME I type something into Google, their auto-full feature brings up EXACTLY what I’m searching for, right at the top, i.e., because so many other people have searched for that very same thing, done the exact same search… so now whenever you google something just think of this amazing, empowering verse!] and this:  “KNOWING that the SAME EXPERIENCES OF SUFFERING are being accomplished [undergone, experienced, fulfilled] by your brethren who are in the world.” (1 Peter 5:9)  And then a glorious echo of Romans 8:18 and Hebrews 12:11 in the very next verse:  “And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

While I wouldn’t wish such suffering on anyone (other than false teachers and the ilk who would lead people astray and try to take them to hell with them as vividly and dramatically discussed in 2 Peter 2 and Jude and most shockingly Galatians 1:9 where Paul literally says “let [false teachers] be accursed“), I have to say that just knowing that I’m NOT ALONE is a major and powerful motivation to “keep on keeping on”, to persevere and make lemonade out of every trial or suffering God allows into my life (one of the main applications of the book of James).  Because when we DON’T persevere, when we instead give into trial/temptation and sin, that not only has an effect on us (primarily) but on the whole body of Christ (secondarily), which is why the Bible gives clear guidelines and indeed commands for church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5; 1 Timothy 5:19-20), so may I never, ever contribute to weighing down the body of Christ, the Church, but rather may my actions and attitudes always be for its building UP.  May I do my part and live this earthly life in a manner conducive to purifying, not dirtying, the future bride of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

Like I said, major and powerful motivation. =)  I trust it will be for you, too.  Just to know that you are NOT alone!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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It Takes Two!

You might think the next two words of the title would be “to tango” – and given how bitterly divided society and politics have become, that would make a lot of sense.  And indeed I intend to address that in a future post but, as promised in the previous postthis one is about love.

The “two” refers to the fact that true love involves two actions.  Dual action required.

The vast majority of people think of love in terms of “lovey-dovey”, fondness, warmth.  And that’s certainly an important aspect and one side of the coin of true, biblical love, but did you know that the Bible actually puts the other side of the coin first when discussing this?

  • “Let love be without hypocrisy.  ABHOR what is EVIL; cling to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)

Hmm, very interesting.

First, it states that true love, pure love, is by definition without hypocrisy (which is what makes it true and pure) so that should be our goal, our pursuit.

Second, it reveals that true love STARTS WITH HATRED.  Specifically, hatred of that which is evil and wicked and wrong, anything which goes against, which isn’t in line with the Bible, with the nature of God as clearly revealed therein.  That includes hatred of sin and self (the flesh, i.e., one’s self but NOT oneself, more on this in a future post).  Hatred of the devil and his minions.  Hatred of falsehood, hating untruth of any kind which appears in any way, shape, or form.

Let’s look at just two great examples from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Himself and from the Spirit-propelled pen of the preeminent Apostles Paul and Peter:

  • “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea.  Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks!  For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7; see also 23:13-35[I love the multiple exclamation points used by our Lord, demonstrating such beautiful emotion and highlighting the utter importance of this grave warning against and to would-be stumbling blocks.  I also love the divine redundancy for the purpose of emphasis:  He didn’t just say a “millstone” around the neck, as sufficient and picturesque and graphic as that would’ve been; no, He said a “heavy millstone” to make the warning as utterly extreme as possible, highlighting to the max its importance.]
  • “As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.  ” (Galatians 1:9)
  • “But for those who disbelieve, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the very corner stone,’ and, ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense’; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word [Bible], and to this doom they were also appointed. … those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. … having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.  And in all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excess of dissipation, and they malign you; but they shall give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. … But these, like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong.  They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime.  They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children [the exact same word Paul used in Galatians 1:9] … These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved [more divine redundancy for the purpose of emphasis:  not just darkness but black darkness].  For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved.  For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first.  For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.  It has happened to them according to the true proverb, ‘A dog returns to its own vomit,’ and, ‘A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.'” … Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming?  For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.’  For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.  But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” (1 Peter 2:7-8; 3:16; 4:3-5; 2 Peter 2:12-14, 17-22; 3:3-7)

[I love everything about the Bible (which is why I’m dedicating the rest of my life, literally, to memorizing, to ingesting every word of it, every word of the Word) including the fact that it never “pulls any punches” – ever.  The passages echoed above are an excellent and effervescent example of that.  It always just “tells it like it is” and simply sets forth the truth and “lets the chips fall where they may” to put it in current-day vernacular.  I love that!]

Ergo, as exemplified so superbly by Peter and Paul and our Lord Jesus Himself, if we are to know and possess and demonstrate true love we must first HATE – that which is evil and wicked and wrong and unbiblical.

As a brief side note, this is a perfect parallel with salvation itself in that just as it’s impossible to genuinely put one’s faith in Christ to save one from his sins, by definition he must first admit his sin, sins, sinning, sinfulness, he must first admit his NEED for salvation, right?  Right.  This brings back beautiful memories from my childhood, when I first learned the gospel and how to share it with others in a super simple, straightforward way, the “ABC’s of salvation”:  Admit, Believe, Confess, remember that?

Just as A comes before B, just as admitting comes before believing, so also when it comes to true love, hating evil comes before truly being able to embrace good.

The latter seems to come much more easily, but if we want to develop a sense of true, biblical love in our lives, we cannot skip over or bypass the former.

Society attaches such a stigma to hatred and anger, doesn’t it.  But, as is so often the case, what society, what the world puts down, the Bible often lifts up.  What the world frowns upon, the Bible smiles at – ear to ear.

It’s absolutely crucial to understand that the Bible is very much against too much anger or displaced hatred, but I find that the world often tries to boil an issue down to just “A” or “B”, to make it a binary choice, when in fact the right answer is usually “C”!  The right answer is invariably somewhere between the two proffered extremes.  And so it is in this case:  it’s not about whether one should be angry but rather how much and when; it’s not about whether one should hate, but rather the object thereof.  Perhaps the best example of this is found in Ephesians 4:26-27 – “BE ANGRY, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.”

Anger must never be allowed to grow too much or last too long – think of it as best done in “small doses” – but is otherwise a crucial component of Christian living.  Indeed, did not Christ Himself demonstrate this too for us?

  • “And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.  And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” (John 2:14-15)

Yes, controlled and properly-directed anger and hatred must come first if one’s love is to be biblical, but likewise it must be followed by that second side of the coin in Romans 12:9, we must take the next step and “cling to what is good.”

I don’t think this needs much explanation or elaboration at all, but I’ll just note that the Greek word translated “cling” here is literally the word for “glue” – isn’t that interesting?  We’re called to GLUE OURSELVES to that which is good as set forth in the Bible.

So from now on, whenever you think of love – true love, biblical love, lasting and sustainable love – don’t forget that it takes two!  So let’s no longer ignore, let’s start exercising the muscles of righteous and controlled anger and hatred of all that is wrong and wicked and evil and ungodly and unbiblical and unjust – in “small but regular doses” – so that we can attain to and possess and gloriously give to God a love which is indeed “without hypocrisy” – He is due nothing less.

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And if you’d like to add YOUR name to my Prayer Request List, simply enter and confirm your email address in those two boxes below then click the red “Sign up for FREE” button!

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And if you’d like to MAKE HISTORY together and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with me as I seek to memorize the ENTIRE BIBLE and then use that as a platform for several outflowing ministries and become a true PARTNER with me in this endeavor in every sense of that word, simply click this Donate button and you’ll be taken to PayPal’s secure page – probably THE MOST trusted and secure processor on the planet.  And IF AND ONLY IF you’re comfortably able and feel led by the Lord to do so and want to become a MONTHLY PARTNER and thus provide even far better visibility for this burgeoning ministry, simply click the small “Make this a monthly donation” check-box on that PayPal page.  Thank you so much for your support and prayers, may God bless you richly!

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