Talk about a weighty post!

Pun fun aside, I’ve been thin my whole life… with two exceptions.  The first was when I was promoted to a cushy desk job; it wasn’t the fact that I literally sat at a desk the entire shift in that new role so much as the fact that said shifts lasted 10-12 hours, virtually the whole waking day.  Leaving no room for exercise.  Enough said.

Then one morning I noticed that my suit pants had gotten a bit too tight for my taste and weighed myself and it was “go time!”  Having resigned from that job and gone into business for myself weeks before, I availed myself of that newfound freedom of schedule and hit the many walking paths in the area (or the treadmill when the weather was wavering) for two or three hours every day but Sundays and, wa-la, got back down to my high school weight again.  Whew, close call.

But then it happened again.  Just recently.  That’s right, the second exception was when the trying-to-taper-but-still-going-as-I-write-this pandemic hit early last year (2020) and pretty much everything was shuttered, total lockdown for what turned into many months and I put the previous poundage back on but here’s the thing:  like before, it kinda “crept up” on me, like the frog which starts out in a pot of lukewarm water which only very slowly comes to a boil.

And it hit me that this is exactly how it is with the Christian life!  More often than not, sin “creeps up” on a believer and previously-gained ground is given back very subtly.

Another perfect parallel:  for a second time in my life I now know what it feels like to take “two steps forward, one step back” when it comes to weight management.  What it’s like to “give gained ground back” and how important and more efficient it is to (a) be aware  of that ever-present (pesky!) potential and (b) prevent  it.

  • “Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished [i.e., in you, i.e., the ground gained spiritually], but that you may receive a full reward.” (2 John 8)

And back to the physical realm, I’ve learned for the second time that the best way to do this is to weigh myself every week or so (versus never  like before).  And that’s  true in the spiritual realm, too!

  • “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Corinthians 13:5a; see also, 2 Peter 1:10)  [Spiritually speaking, the verse above says to WATCH oneself while this verse says to WEIGH oneself.]

In the physical realm I’ve taken to doing so on Saturdays, and while I’m thankful for the progress so far (around 50% of the “pandemic pounds” have been worked off) that still leaves the other half and it hit me just now on this lovely November Saturday evening that I could always just set my (analog) bathroom scale to a default setting of -15 (versus 0) and, wa-la, that would do the trick, problem solved!  But only in my mind.  Yes, it would feel good but wouldn’t actually do  any good.

This is very obvious in the physical realm but sadly it’s exactly what countless people do spiritually in trying to take a “shortcut” to salvation/heaven, to find a different route than Christ and perhaps the biggest example of this is the massive rise we’ve all seen in “virtue signaling” in recent years in particular.  As I find myself saying more and more often to those who ask, don’t let yourself get “triggered” when you observe people doing that but instead simply see it for what it actually is.  Self-righteousness.  Nothing more and nothing less.  It’s a way human nature tries to make a person feel better about one’s spiritual state / soteriological situation, spurred on by the sense of eternity God Himself has set in the human heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11) but unless a person goes through Christ (John 14:6) it’s literally no different  than if one were to set the default on their bathroom scale to -15.

Truly, totally ineffective.

Why try to do for oneself (with guaranteed failure) what Christ has already done for us (with infinite success)?

Why merely feel  good about one’s spiritual state very temporarily versus actually being  in good shape for all eternity?

I choose the latter.

I choose Christ.

Unlike the computer on which I’m currently typing, when it comes to salvation/heaven there are no shortcuts.  Or as the famous tagline in Porsche ads would put it, there is no substitute.

The solution is found in Christ alone.

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Inaudible… But Very Loud!

As we all know, the wind is intangible… but definitely not silent!

A few months ago a very rare, no, unheard-of  tornado (and a DUAL tornado at that!) came within mere feet of my humble abode.  At 9:00 p.m. no less.  (If you want to experience something truly ethereal, have a double-tornado pass right in front of your bedroom window at night, in pitch darkness.  It wasn’t scary, but was one of the most interesting moments and events of my entire life.)  But it doesn’t take something even a tenth of that to know that the wind isn’t silent.  Hence the common term “howling wind” we’ve all heard hundreds of times.

No, the wind definitely isn’t always silent… and neither is the Holy Spirit!

Inaudible?  Yes.  For He speaks through the Bible.  I.e., the Bible “does His talking for Him” – the Bible is the Holy Spirit’s voice as it were.

Intangible?  Yes.  The Holy Spirit is a, um, s-p-i-r-i-t and therefore, by definition and nature, inherently intangible.

Yet I find that the Holy Spirit is often quite LOUDIf we truly take the time and wield the wisdom to simply listen for His gentle yet unmistakable and indeed inescapable leading and frequent proddings.  Which are every bit as tangible as when we feel the wind blow on our faces or bodies.

This has probably been the number one area of life about which the Lord through the Bible has been teaching and convicting then empowering me in my daily life, in my day-to-day walk with Him.

Things like music and TV and radio and hobbies aren’t (necessarily) bad in and of themselves (and when managed properly can indeed be very positive, reap great results) – bunless they come before or interfere with the things of God including and in many ways especially the free-will capacity we give the Holy Spirit to get through to us on an ongoing basis.

Believe me, He is very, very, very, very willing and ready to do just that, but will never, ever violate a person’s free will (definitely more on that in a future post, some very powerful takeaways) so it’s up to each of us to voluntarily “make way”, to “make a clear path” for His inaudible-but-loud communications to our hearts/minds.

  • “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it … so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)
  • “And suddenly a noise like a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2:2)

Yes, the Holy Spirit is like the wind.  And – as you’ll see for yourself, with your own eyes, in the coming months and years via this website and related YouTube ChannelBible memory is like a wind tunnel.

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Quick Thought:  Only One

I think it’s safe to say that virtually every believer is well aware that it’s wrong, indeed dangerous and even deadly, to judge (condemn, criticize) others.

But why?  Because God says so in the Bible, quite (crystal) clearly.  But why does He say so, what’s behind that truth?

Another truth, as is ever the case with God and His Word, the Bible.

It’s because HE is the Judge… the ONLY judge on the planet.

  • “Do not speak against one another, brethren.  He who speaks against a brother, or judges his brother, speaks against the law, and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge of it.  There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11-12)

(For those who might think that jurists – the human judges in our courtrooms – are an exception, not so, since their authority is merely lent, simply delegated to them by God; see Romans 13:1).

But in comparison, I think far fewer people realize that this very same principle applies to a “control issue”.  Trying to be “in control” – in most cases, all of the time, in every situation.

While I could (literally) write a book about the bevy of bad results such brings about in the human realm, the spiritual consequences are even far bigger, far worse, far-reaching.

Why?  Because control belongs to God and God alone.

  • “… He [Christ] is the blessed and only Sovereign…” (1 Timothy 6:15)

Ergo, it’s every bit as crucial and biblical to avoid “trying to control” others as it is to avoid judging others.  And every bit as dangerous to fail in that endeavor.

The only form of “control” we can rightly possess is self-control, and of course that’s so good because it’s the fruit of, produced by, the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

I wrote about this in greater depth in an early post on this blog but I love the parallel of those two applications of this “only one” principle as set forth in the two verses highlighted above.

When it comes to things like judging or controlling others, it’s always best, beneficial, biblical to “render… to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21; Mark 12:17)

With few if any real exceptions, we don’t like it when others seek to usurp or violate our “space”.

Neither does God.

Lord, may we wisely leave “judging” and “being in control” to You and You alone.  For there is indeed “only one” Judge and “only one” Sovereign:  You.  Grow in us instead a servant’s heart of humility and sweet-spirited submissiveness and love.

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The “Big Lie”

Like the rest of us, you’re probably hearing that phrase being thrown around seemingly nonstop these days.  For the past almost-year since the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

People politically-left use it to describe the efforts and claims of former president Donald Trump and his allies that the election was “stolen”, “rigged” or a variant thereof.

People on the political right say that the “Big Lie” is  the “Big Lie”.

They’re both wrong.

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay, way, way, way off.  Not even close!  Because the ACTUAL “Big Lie” – the biggest and most common and most dangerous and deadly and, very unfortunately, most successful, most believed lie, is the one the devil and his minions and the sinful, fallen flesh of humankind tell virtually every lost soul:  that they’re on the path to Heaven when they’re actually on the road which leads to Hell.

The devil and his minions have placed big signs every few feet along that road to hell which have four oversized words written on them:  “This way to Heaven”  – even though they know that nothing could be further from the truth since there’s only ONE path that truly leads to Heaven.  The one which goes straight through the immaculate womb and rugged Cross and empty tomb.  (I’m copyrighting that because if I ever write a book on the life of Jesus, that’ll be the title:  From Immaculate Womb to Empty Tomb 🙂 )

But thankfully, God is faithful to grant clear vision of the truth to every person who accepts whatever amount of the truth about Him and His plan of salvation, the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-8, among many other passages… throughout the entire Bible actually but this Chapter is perhaps the clearest and easiest-to-understand of them all), that they’ve received up to that point.  For example, Romans 1:20 and Psalm 19:1-6 couldn’t communicate any more crystal-clearly that nature reveals a certain amount of facts, of truth, about God; so if anyone accepts what nature, for instance, reveals about God, He will always be faithful to send them more truth, to take them to the next level of understanding about Him and human sin and salvation/redemption which is the path that leads to (drum roll, please) Heaven!  For all eternity.

But, heart-breakingly, billions upon billions of people who have passed through this life – down to the present day and hour and minute – have opted to put their faith in, say, self-righteousness to get them to Heaven.  Wrong way (as the common traffic sign says).  Wrong path.  Wrong answer.  (Insert the “buzzer” sound effect from “Family Feud” here.)  Because not a single one of us is good enough to “earn” our way to Heaven.  “No not one.”

Some of you might be saying, “But DJ Bible, I go to church every Sunday.  Twice!  And mid-week, too!”  To which I reply, “Good for you!  That’s a very good thing… but it won’t get a person even a single inch closer to Heaven in and of itself.”

Others have opted to not have any faith at all in or about God and  instead have chosen to be atheists.  I pray for them as a group regularly, that they’ll see the light before it’s too late, before they find themselves – their real  self, their soul – standing before a certain throne of judgment.  Not of forgiveness or mercy for it would be too late.  But it isn’t too late yet!  Hence my regular prayers for that group and others.  I genuinely love atheists.  And agnostics.  And even the ever-smirking self-righteous like the Pharisees of Jesus’s time.  Because God loves them.  Every. Single. One. Of. Them.  Every bit as much as He loves His own children, for His love is infinite and immutable, continual, constant, cannot change even one iota ever toward anyone.  Because it’s literally who He is.

  • “… God IS love…” (1 John 4:8)

But please don’t mistake that, as many do, to mean He therefore couldn’t and wouldn’t ever send someone to hell for all eternity.

He, in the Bible, makes it explicitly clear that He most certainly can and will… IF a person hasn’t chosen the aforementioned path that really does lead to Heaven.  Or as 2 Thessalonians 2:10 puts it, who “did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”

  • “If we are faithless, He remains faithful [i.e., to Himself, per the next phrase]; for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)

All of which brings us to perhaps the scariest portion of the Bible; just listen to what Jesus Himself said (super-scoldingly, brimming with righteous, justified anger but all in love for them, for their souls) to a group of Pharisees who were the “religious” leaders of that era:

  • “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'” (Matthew 7:21-23, at the very end of the famous-for-centuries and much-beloved “Sermon on the Mount”)

You see, it’s not about what a person says but rather what a person “does”, what they “practice” in life, what characterizes  their lives overall.  (You can read more about this specific aspect in a past post.)

Furthermore, when it comes to getting into Heaven, what counts isn’t whether or not you know Christ but rather whether or not He  knows you.  Not whether I know Him bur whether He knows me.

Further still, note how strong, how powerful self-deception, self-deceit, self-delusion can be.  It’s clear by their statement that the Pharisees were absolutely, 100% “certain” they were headed for Heaven.

Score another one for the “Big Lie”.  Those men, those souls were like countless other people before and since whose human heart has definitively convinced them that they too are headed for Heaven,  But as the Bible also makes crystal clear about said human heart:

  • “The [i.e., human, fallen] heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”  Or as the King James Version puts it, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked:  who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

I’m sorry to say that I know this to be true firsthand.  Thankfully the Bible – and especially Bible memory and recitation and meditation – can and does and will transform the human heart/mind (c.f., Romans 12:1-2) so I’m very, very, very grateful for that but all of us, all of our hearts and minds and souls start out life in the very same boat as described in Jeremiah 17:9 and – still enveloped by fallen, sinful flesh until the day we physically die – that battle never goes very far away in this life, on this side of eternity (c.f., Romans 7:14-25 and Galatians 5:16-26, and note that word “practice” in verse 21 of this latter passage… like I said in that past post, it’s all about “practice”!) – even for the most spiritually mature, which I feel very safe in saying was the Apostle Paul [who physically penned those words] since he was undoubtedly the fullest imitator of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1) the world has ever known (and, not coincidentally, probably suffered more than any other human has other than Jesus Himself, but perhaps more about that in a future post) (see also 1 Peter 4:1-2definitely  more about that  in a future post, very powerful and empowering  and relieving and freeing/liberating!).

Getting back to this present  post’s primary passage in Matthew 7, note that those Pharisees were putting all of their weight and dependence and faith in (admittedly very impressive but equally insufficient-to-get-to-Heaven) deeds  rather than having an actual relationship  with God.  (Meaning a good, active, ongoing and ever-growing relationship, as technically everyone  has a relationship with God… some good, some bad; some functional, some dysfunctional; some peaceful, some hostile; some effective, some ineffective; some sufficient, some insufficient.)

And the fifth and final fact from this bit of our beloved Bible I’ll note is that two-word phrase “narrow gate” here in Matthew 7:13, both of which are repeated in verse 14.  The picture painted by Jesus is that of a turnstile.

Ever gone with your family to the airport or amusement park or many other places and tried to all go through the turnstile at the same time, together?  To say that doesn’t work very well is an understatement.  Because it doesn’t work at all.

Does.  Not.  Work.

And that’s EXACTLY how it is with Heaven, too!  It’s entirely an individual  thing.  Nobody, absolutely nobody can enter as part of a group or family or couple or even denomination.  Strictly “one at a time ” as the signs on turnstiles blare.

Good, spiritually-mature and doctrinally-correct families can certainly be a huge help in terms of (post-salvation) spiritual growth, but not salvation itself; no, that’s a decision which each one of us must come to, must make entirely on our own, individually, from our own heart.

The previous post on this blog was about 9/11 (20th anniversary).  I’ll end this one by begging any of you who haven’t yet come to that point, who haven’t yet made that decision of salvation through faith in Christ and specifically His becoming a human (Philippians 2:5-11) via the immaculate conception by the Holy Spirit; His perfect, sinless life (how would you like to have been Mary’s other children… talk about sibling issues, yikes, always having to be compared or live up to an older brother who was perfect – truly  perfect, not like some who just think they are, but I digress 😉 ); and His death, burial, and resurrection.

THAT, my dear friends, is THE path, the RIGHT path that does indeed lead to, which will indeed take you to Heaven when your time here on earth comes to an end.

And harkening back to 9/11, please don’t make the potentially eternally-dreadful mistake of “putting off the matter” for another day or until another time.  Because just think about those thousands of people who woke up on September 11, 2001, and went to work at their office in the World Trade Center or Pentagon as usual, just like every other day, or hopped on an airplane as many of them had so many times before.

Very often, death doesn’t give a one-year or one-week or one-day or even one-second notice.  Much better, much wiser to plan ahead in this most important matter.  And for the many of you reading this who no doubt already have, how crucial it is to lovingly tell those in your inner circle or whose paths you cross about this.

I feel compelled to end this post by reiterating something I emblazoned on the BibleMemory.ORG Home page and also said in the Overview video on the Home and Videos pages:  in my view, in my perspective, I’m the biggest sinner I know, I’m the biggest sinner I’ve ever known, and I’m the biggest sinner you’ve probably ever known, at least that’s the way I see it, since memorizing a lot of Bible verses and indeed entire books opens one’s eyes very widely so as to see these two things (among countless others) very clearly:  how righteous and perfect God is, and how sinful and unrighteous and imperfect we are in and of ourselves, apart from Christ – “who knew no sin [became] sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21, one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible, one of my favorite statements ever made by pen or tongue).  Harkening back one last time to those Pharisees in Matthew 7… it’s not about me, it’s not about you, it’s not about us, it’s all about Him!

And praise the Lord for that.

Thankfully this “Big Truth” totally trumps, utterly outweighs the real  ”Big Lie”, which the devil is constantly throwing out, hoping to snag and drag as many unsuspecting people as possible with him to an eternity in hell.  (Misery loves company, eh?)  Let’s rededicate ourselves, right now, to thwarting those plans of his by lovingly and humbly and powerfully and confidently communicating – by our lives/deeds, then our words – to as many people as possible starting with those in our inner circles, the “Big Truth”.

In fact, now when someone so much as says that phrase “the Big Lie” you have a perfect reply!  Talk about an open door!

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REPRINT:  It’s That Time of Year Again:  9/11

The following is a reprint of a past post:

September 11.

This is a date and that was a day which we will never forget.  September 11, 2001.  9/11.  It doesn’t matter how it’s written, it still causes a tingle to run up my neck every time.  The tragedy.  The sorrow.  The loss.  The massive and senseless, needless loss of people who were simply going to work like they had thousands of days before or merely catching a flight that morning.

But also the heroism and bravery of our fellow Americans.  The first responders.  The amazing passengers on United Flight 93 who almost saved themselves but definitely saved the country from an even more horrific outcome that day since those hijackers were planning to fly that plane into the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

And that reminds me of a great Bible verse, Romans 8:28 – “And we KNOW that God causes ALL things to work together for GOOD to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  There are many ways which that proved true in a big-picture, overarching kind of way… but also and even down to the nitty-gritty.  Did you ever think that a 30-minute DELAY on a runway would be a good  thing?  Indeed, just the opposite:  that’s likely near the top of the list of things that cause people to curse aloud.  But just think about how gracious God was in letting that particular plane – United 93 – on that particular runway at that particular airport on that particular day get delayed for take-off for a solid half-hour, which in turn allowed those brave passengers to receive the phone conversations and realize what fate awaited their plane unless they rose up and fought back, to save their own lives but otherwise at least the lives of their fellow man on the ground in Washington, DC.  As you’ll hear me say regularly in future posts and one in particular, there is NO SUCH THING as a “coincidence” in life.  None whatsoever.  And this is a good and indeed historic example of that.  (Most of us probably thought we’d NEVER give thanks for a 30-minute delay in traffic, eh?)

And indeed, as recently noted in the past, despite all the tragic loss and destruction and devastation which occurred that day, I thank God for 9/11.  For that bravery and selflessness and self-sacrifice demonstrated so beautifully and courageously by those first responders in New York and Washington and our military heroes at NORAD and civil servants at several FAA centers in the east and those countless “average” citizens like me who dropped to the knee and cried out to God for mercy and grace and healing for a country which has always tasted so generously of His grace but has put that at risk in recent decades by turning its back on Him in many ways, reminding Him (for MY sake, NOT His) of the truth in James 5:11 – that He is by nature “full of compassion, and is merciful” and surely enough He doled both out in spades and has kept our nation free of big attacks these past 18 years since.  (Indeed, and interestingly beyond words, I prayed that prayer right at 10:30 a.m. ET, as the TV screen was showing the collapse of the second World Trade Center tower – and as it turns out that was the exact END of the active devastation.)

So on this day which will indeed never be forgotten, which like December 7 sixty years before will “live in infamy”, I thank God for all of those things, for bringing us through that horror and demonstrating His mercy and compassion yet again, just like that verse says.  May He continue to be on our side but as Abraham Lincoln so wisely put it, “my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”  Amen.  Lord, please pour out that compassion particularly on those directly affected, who still feel the sting of the loss of friends and/or family.  For those now-adults who were children who lost one or both parents, forever altering the course and nature of their lives.  For those former first responders who still suffer the dreadful effects of cancer and other diseases to this day as a result of that  day.  For Lisa Beamer and surviving relatives of those courageous passengers on Flight 93 whom You used to lessen and dull the full brunt of that day.  May each of us serve as Your fingers and feet to them through our prayers on their behalf, donating to their respective charities, or simply showing kindness to strangers, who more likely than not were affected by that day even if by two or four or six degrees of separation.  And most of all, Lord, please keep using that day and the memory of it to remind the masses that only ONE THING in life really matters, and that’s the decision we make regarding the life to come, regarding our eternal destination.  May not a single person reading this take another step or spend another night without first making sure that this is a settled matter, by putting their faith in Your immaculate conception, perfect life, then Your death, burial, and resurrection to cover and pay the price for OUR sins and thus allow us to enjoy a relationship of peace with God, not hostility.

Please make that a pressing priority.  Please don’t delay even one more day.  Because, as so dramatically demonstrated on 9/11/01, “tomorrow” is guaranteed to nobody.  TODAY “is the day of salvation’ … NOW is ‘the acceptable time'” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

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Quick Thought:  “D’oh!”

Last night for dinner I had a big bowl of salad.

Score:  +1
Overall:  +1

But I paired it with a half-loaf of freshly-baked French bread.

Score:  -1
Overall:  0

Gained ground given right back … I should’ve remembered this past post!

In the physical realm but even far more in the spiritual realm, how important it is indeed to maintain  the ground we gain.

  • “Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished [i.e., in you, i.e., the spiritual ground you’ve gained], but that you may receive a full reward.” (2 John 8)

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Quick Thought:  Context Can Change Everything!

By the way, near the end of yesterday’s walk, I was reminded of another important truth:  the determinative nature of context.

The spectacular scenic route referenced in the just-published previous post was the one I opted for yesterday and for one 30-minute stretch, airplanes from the next-door airport fly right over your head at such a low altitude (since they’re literally just taking off) that you can feel the power of their engines’ thrust and almost feel like you could touch them if you jumped really high.  (As if that weren’t enough, all of this takes place right by a wide river and several stunningly beautiful edifices… like I said, spectacular!)

It’s a very busy airport (which makes local walkers and joggers and bicyclists very happy… travelers?  Not so much) with planes taking off on cue every 30-60 seconds and one thing which always amazes me is that they don’t fall right out of the sky, into the river below.  My head is fully aware of the power of engine thrust and that this is what keeps multi-ton pieces of metal in the air but to my eyes what makes it so amazing that they don’t fall down is that they appear  to be moving far too slowly.

Because I see them against a very big sky in the background.

Context can change everything!

And that’s exactly how it is with the Bible, too!  The context  of a given passage can completely change one’s initial, verbiage-only perception.

The words are essential but to properly understand what God is actually saying  in His Word, it’s absolutely crucial to consider the context.

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Quick Thought:  True Health

As you know from reading past posts, I’m a huge fan of exercise and especially the hours/miles-long walks I take 3-5 times a week.  For the spectacular scenery on especially one of my various, rotating routes, yes, but most of all by far for the focused fellowship and prayer so conducive to such a setting (outdoors, surrounded by nature, etc.).

I’ve made many more exceptions during the ongoing pandemic of the past year but otherwise have long been a big fan of eating  healthily, too, and while that’s a great thing (since one’s body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 6:19) I was reminded anew during yesterday’s walk of a crucial principle:  that as good and healthy and important as it is to carefully manage what goes into one’s mouth, it’s infinitely more important to be aware of and manage what comes out of  it.

  • “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.” (Matthew 15:11)

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So Clean!

I just brushed my teeth and swished some serious mouthwash and my entire mouth feels so clean, don’t you just love that feeling?!

I do.

But it only lasts for a short while.  Second-grade science class made crystal clear to us all that as soon as we’re done brushing our teeth, the plaque process restarts immediately and before long, that super-clean, super-fresh feeling fades.

Endless cycle.

And that’s exactly how it is with the Christian life!

We read (or better yet, study or memorize!) the Bible and pray and confess our sins and feel so “clean” and “fresh” spiritually  and indeed emotionally.  But before long the “sin process” restarts and attacks not our mouth but rather our heart and mind.  (And definitely our tongue!  James 3.)

It would be FANTASTIC if there were a toothpaste which lasted, which sustained its cleansing effect forever, permanently.  Fantastic… and fantastical  since, after some many centuries of success-less trying, that’s almost certainly “not gonna happen.”  But I’m thrilled to tell you that said forecast does not apply spiritually!  Because “Thy word [i.e., the Bible] I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin…” (Psalm 119:11).  Unfortunately but as we all know to be reality:  (a) nobody can memorize and recite Scripture (or even just read it) 24 hours a day (thus giving the sin process its toehold, its cue to restart anew) and (b) comparatively few people – even mature believers – memorize Scripture on a regular, systematic basis at all.

One of the main goals and purposes of BibleMemory.ORG is to change that second part!  Such that even though the first hurdle (i.e., doing so every minute of the day) will obviously remain intact for the rest of our physical lives, I am absolutely certain that the Lord is going to lead many millions of Christians to the point that they’re reciting or meditating on the Bible at least once every hour.

Memorizing and reciting Scripture is like brushing one’s mind and heart and spirit and soul.  That’s right:  just as brushing our teeth restores a clean and fresh feeling to our mouth, so also the Bible – if ingested – restores the soul…

  • “The law of the Lord [i.e., the Bible] is perfect, restoring the soul” (Psalm 19:7a)

… and cleans and purifies and sanctifies the entire person…

  • “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word [i.e., the Bible] is truth.” (John 17:17, NKJV)

… and actually and literally causes  spiritual growth.

  • “like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word [i.e., the Bible], that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2)

How many of us would even THINK ABOUT, even CONSIDER going an entire day without brushing our teeth?

Yet how many go an entire week or month or (gasp!) year without memorizing and reciting Scripture?

With your help and by God’s good grace and great power, that’s about to change!  What a wonderful world it will be when we see millions of people memorizing and meditating on Scripture many times throughout each day!  May it be so.

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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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Talk About Two Beautiful Bridges!

Jesus is the “bridge” between God and humanity.

  • “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5)

(Talk about bridging the gap!  And an infinite one at that.)

The Bible is the “bridge” between Jesus and humanity, between Him and us.  Because it’s by the Bible we learn about and (literally) come to know Him in a very personal, real, tangible way.

How would we know about His amazing-beyond-comprehension-much-less-human-description humility but for the Bible?  (Philippians 2:3-11)

How would we know about His heart for the Father and humanity, His genuine love for people, but for the Bible?  (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – you can leaf to literally any  page and you’ll see this on clear display)

How would we know about His immaculate conception, remarkable birth (in a manger, an animal feeding trough; a singing heavenly host of angels; magi; trying to be killed by the king of the land)?  And perfect, sin-free, flawless life?  And excruciating but infinitely propitiating death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead and seating at the right hand of the Father in heaven and sending of the Holy Spirit so we wouldn’t be stuck with the unwinnable, lose-lose battle versus sin and the flesh and the evil one?

The Bible is the greatest tangible gift, tangible thing in the universe.  And the most powerful by far.  What a gift… yet how many of us take it for granted?

If there were a well of water which, when drunk from, made the drinker look ten or twenty years younger or pounds lighter, who among us wouldn’t be PANTING FOR AND LAPPING UP THAT WATER each and every day?!

  • “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so my soul pants for Thee, O God.” (Psalm 42:1)

But it’s even more amazing than that, because God didn’t just give us such a well (the Bible), He gave us such a well in our home, right where we live, such that virtually ANYONE can access that life-giving, health-enhancing, righteousness-restoring well:  it’s no mistake, rather, it’s an unmistakable  demonstration of God’s grace that the Bible is THE MOST prolific and easily-accessible book in human history.

Yet, sadly, many of us take it for granted.  Such power, such life-yielding and health-wielding capacity there for the receiving, yet somehow we time-to-time take it for granted.

May those times of laxity and spiritual lethargy end today, at this very moment… or at least be fewer and farther between (as we used to say as children) “startinnnnnnnnnng NOW!”

Our life will be so enriched by that.  Spiritually but also physically.  In the next life but also the present one.

  • “… godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8)
  • “For they [the “my words” of verse 20, i.e., God’s words, i.e., the Bible] are life to those who find them, and health to all their whole body.” (Proverbs 4:22)

Like I penned at the end of the previous post:  May we drink daily – and diligently – from that cup.

What a gift!  What a remarkable, indescribable, gigantic gift of God’s grace.  The precious Bible.

(Indeed, only something so  sweet could motivate such a sorry sinner as I to memorize  its every verse, chapter, and book!)

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Quick Thought:  De-fense!  De-fense!  De-fense!

I just watched a basketball game and noticed how many times a team played stellar, suffocating defense which invariably lead to a fast break and easy bucket for them.  A dunk, lay-up, or uncontested three-pointer.

And it hit me that this is EXACTLY how it is in the Christian life!

Personal righteousness, personal purity, spiritual growth, spiritual maturity – i.e., “offense” – begins with strong DEFENSE!

The Word of God, the Bible, in general and Bible memory in specific is a great place to start!  A fantastic, powerful spiritual tool, a wonderful weapon.

  • “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)

Because “by it”, the Bible, comes  spiritual growth.

  • “like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word [i.e., the Bible], that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2)

I strongly encourage you to add it to your daily spiritual arsenal, and you’ll see stellar de-fense, de-fense, de-fense turn into productive, unstoppable of-fense, of-fense, of-fense before your very eyes.

And those “easy buckets” are usually what spur us on to further growth, to keep  growing, to not  grow weary in our spiritual journey.  Just like a basketball player who scores a dunk or (in my case 🙂 ) lay-up or three-pointer which remarkably re-energizes and re-motivates all over again, like when the game started.

And it all begins with the Bible.

Always.

May we drink daily from that cup.  May we long for that magnificent, miraculous “milk” of the Word which garners growth.

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Speaking of Brushing Teeth…

Just yesterday I published the previous post and discussed brushing one’s teeth (and brain) and just now, the very next morning, after doing just that I ate a handful of blueberries and have two further thoughts/verses to share with you which I think you’ll find not only very interesting but also extremely helpful and useful and applicable in your everyday life.

The first thought is that blueberries are soooo good.  Downright delicious in the opinion of my own taste buds but not just good  but, as a matter of scientific fact, good for you.  They are one of if not THE best, most healthy food one can eat.  Ever since leaving my job to follow God’s calling to full-time spiritual, Bible-based ministry, I haven’t been able to afford this nutritious and delicious but usually-expensive  food very often, but with summer’s arriving that changed and I’ve been eating them all week… and loving every minute of that (well, almost every minute – more on that in a minute).  The first thought/verse which came to mind was how the Bible, when directly addressing the topic of food, says that they’re all good (due to Who created them) but my lifelong experience with blueberries makes clear that some are even better than others.

  • “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude” (1 Timothy 4:4)

The second thought is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT and useful and beneficial and powerful principles in life, and that’s this:  timing is everything!

And that truth was reaffirmed for the zillionth time in my life this morning when I ate the aforementioned handful of blueberries this morning shortly after brushing my teeth.  And it brought to mind one of my all-time most applied Bible verses:

  • “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him.” (Proverbs 27:14)

TIMING is EVERYTHING!  And can single-handedly turn what would otherwise be a great  thing into a horrific  thing.

Everyone will agree that it’s a terrific thing to bless someone.  And all the more if that someone is a friend.  And all the more still if it’s done loudly and noticeably than, say, in a whisper which maybe or maybe not the friend but certainly nobody else would be able to hear.  What a blessing, right?  NOT IF THE TIMING IS BAD.  Bad timing turns a terrific thing into a terrible thing, a blessing into a curse.

As I often say, “It’s not just what you do, it’s when  you do it!

I strongly encourage you to consider this anytime you decide to do anything which involves others.  Don’t just ask yourself if the action is right/wise but also if the timing is.  I know for sure you’ll be very, very glad that you started applying this principle in your daily life.

Bringing that full circle for the purposes of this post, eating blueberries is terrific… unless it’s right after brushing one’s teeth as I found out the hard/distasteful way this morning.

Those were the two thoughts/verses I wanted to share with you in follow-up to the previous post published yesterday, but I’ll add and leave you for now with a third, overarching, non-blueberry-related thought:  one of the (incalculable, immeasurable) results/benefits of Bible memory on a regular, systematic basis – which is both the purpose and goal of BibleMemory.ORG – one of the countless results is that one who memorizes, who ingests  the Bible will begin to see God and the Bible in everything.  (In pop culture terms, like “the Seinfeld of Christianity” as it were. 🙂 )  Every day if not hour if not minute.  All day every day.  I’ve seen this firsthand after I started memorizing entire books of the Bible, and it’s a wonderful way to wind through life in joy-filled, fun fashion.  Just like the Bible self-testifies:

  • “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8)

Amen!

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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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Quick Thought:  Brush Your Brain

Every few years or so I get a kick out of pulling up TV commercials from the 1950’s and 70’s and 90’s to see just how much society has changed… like this:

… and it immediately hit me that Bible memory on a regular, systematic basis is like brushing one’s spiritual  breath.

And speaking of brushing, we wouldn’t even THINK about (that reminds me of a funny street sign I once saw which read, “Don’t even THINK about parking here”) starting or ending a day WITHOUT brushing our teeth; how much even more important is it to brush our brain, our mind, with the water of the Word.

Every day.  Every night.

  • “… meditate on it [the Bible] day and night…” (Joshua 1:8)
  • “… mediates [on the Bible] day and night…” (Psalm 1:2)

(At a minimum… preferably many times in between, too.)

  • “O how I love Thy law! [the Bible]  It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)

“Brush your breath with Dentyne” is cute… “Brush your brain  with the Bible” is crucial.

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Quick Thought:  Number One Wish

My number one wish in life, my foremost desire by far is simply to be like Christ.  I.e., to exhibit…

Compassion  (for all – 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Colossians 3:12)
Heart  (for the lost, for His children, for our heavenly Father and for His Word – the entire Bible 🙂 )
Righteousness  (via the working of the Word within and Holy Spirit – John 17:17, Psalm 19:7; Titus 3:5, Galatians 5:22-23)
Integrity  (in everything, big and small – Hebrews 13:18)
Selflessness/Self-sacrifice (best described in Philippians 2:3-11)
Truth  (John 14:6)

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Not For Nothin’!

I’ve never been a supplement kind of guy, opting instead to get my nutrition via a balanced diet, from the food I eat – but even I know that they’re not called “daily vitamins” for nothin’!

It’s because for maximum effectiveness they should be consumed daily.  And that’s exactly  how it is with the Bible, too!

For maximum effectiveness, it should be consumed every single day.

Why?  Because the “default setting” for fallen flesh is sinfulness.  Those who haven’t yet been redeemed and come to a saving knowledge of Christ are “dead” spiritually…

  • “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1)

… but even for believers it’s like going up the down  escalator:  our not-yet-transformed flesh is constantly trying to “pull down” our new inner man, our spirit, and even the greatest Christian of all time in my opinion, the Apostle Paul, struggled with and often lost the battle even though the war was won years before thanks to a certain occupied cross and empty tomb.

  • “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.” (Romans 7:18-19)

And make no mistake about it, it is indeed an all-out war.

  • “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to [at enmity with] one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. [Which harkens back perfectly to the just-cited Romans 7:18-19]” (Galatians 5:17)

A war which has indeed been won, yes, but – as discussed in-depth in a prior post – the Bible is crystal clear that what separates true believers (which Jesus famously referred to as “wheat”) and false ones (“chaff”) is whether a person practices righteousness or sin, so seems like a good idea to fight the battles versus “resting on one’s laurels” because it’s that consistent over-time demonstrated goodness which grants us much confidence in our salvation, that it’s genuine, which produces a strong sense of eternal security within.

So if we want to conquer the constant down-direction-by-default escalator called life, it’s a good idea to take one’s spiritual vitamins DAILY, too, for maximum effectiveness.  And those are, of course, the 31,102 verses in the Bible.  The “my words” of Proverbs 4:20, of which it’s revealed and confirmed just two verses later (also discussed in-depth in a prior post):

  • “they are life to those who find them, and health to all their whole body.” (Proverbs 4:22)

And while it’s healthy and good to read it, it’s even better to study it… and best of all to memorize, to truly ingest  it, to get it within you so it can stick around for a long, long time.

  • “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you” (Colossians 3:16) (note that it doesn’t say “dwell” but “RICHLY dwell”… and not in a vacuum or cupboard or drawer but “WITHIN you”)

Because that’s what’s most conducive for steady meditation.  And as I often say, in a tweak of the well-known Reader’s Digest section, meditation  is the best medication.

  • “This book of the law [i.e., the Bible] shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” (Joshua 1:8)

Indeed, Bible memory is the epitome of preventative  medicine.

  • “Thy word have I hidden in my heart, so that I may not sin against Thee.” (Psalm 119:11)

(Infinitely better than “an apple” but at least they got it right in the second half of that famous adage!)

Our great “daily vitamin”!  Our perfect “pill”!  May we not fail to take  it.

Every day.

  • “O how I love Thy law!  It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalm 119:97)

Amen to that!

Indeed, this is the whole purpose of BibleMemory.ORG – to “practice what I preach” and memorize the entire Bible… and then to Educate, Encourage, and Empower others to do likewise!  If YOU would like to help make that happen, to (literally) MAKE HISTORY together, simply click on the Donate button at the top of the Side Panel on the right and keep me and this history-making undertaking in your regular prayers – I’ll definitely be needing them!

In = Out

I remember my very first day in high school computer class.  The teacher started with an overview, by stating the overarching principle which regulates computers and programming…

“Garbage in, garbage out.”

He was of course referring to the fact that a computer’s (hardware) or program’s (software) output is only as good as the input.  What flows out is only as good as what was put in.

We understand this fully and immediately when it comes to computers but that’s also EXACTLY how it is with the human mind!

Like the famous public health ad campaign from yesteryear said, “You are what you eat!”  That’s not an untrue statement in terms of physical health but truer still is this:  “You are what you think!”  (We aren’t always what we think we are… but what we think, we are.)

  • “As a man thinks within himself, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7)

Which is why it’s so important, so utterly crucial that we properly manage what we think.

Every day.

Every hour.

Indeed, every minute.

For centuries, good parents have kept repeating the phrase to their children, “Mind your manners.”  That’s excellent advice… but this is even better:  Mind your mind!

Doing just that one thing throughout one’s life will guarantee a successful one.  Because literally everything in life flows from that, flows from one’s mind.

  • “Watch over [lit., guard] your mind with all  diligence, [why?] for from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 – NASB)
  • “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 – NKJV)

And in this case the New International Version probably puts it most plainly:

  • “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23 – NIV)

The fact that all we do and indeed all we are flows out of our mind single-handedly makes this continual command crucial to heed.  But wait, there’s more!

You see, that would be enough on its own, but the Bible makes another aspect of this matter crystal clear:  not only does our mind determine and indeed dictate our results and outcome in life, but it’s elevated to an even higher level since our mind is inherently, by default (another computer term… not surprising, since the human mind is the greatest of any computer ever created) evil and wicked and unhealthy…

  • “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 – NKJV)
  • “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 – NASB)

… and thus deserves to be at the very top of one’s “to do” list in life.

All of this is just one more benefit and reason that Bible memory, accordingly, should reside at the very top of that same list… because that’s HOW one properly and effectively “guards” one’s heart, one’s mind, one’s soul.  That’s how  mere mortals like you and me can overcome, overpower, conquer, vanquish the sin which initially controls our mind from birth, and to go even further and turn our mind into an unstoppable weapon  for good!  To transform something so “evil” and “wicked” and “sick” into something that’s wise and insightful and spiritual and happy (which collectively, as I often put it, is everybody’s W.I.S.H. in life) – just like the Bible guarantees will be the case for anyone and everyone who simply ingests  (memorizes) Scripture, who simply puts it into  oneself via Bible memory.

  • “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:7-8)

After having done that firsthand to the tune of six entire books of the Bible en route to all 66, I can confirm that this is true.  And with each book memorized, the Bible has continued to reveal more and more to my mind’s eye a very specific memory method, indeed an entirely different way of thinking, of learning, of processing information… it’s as though memorizing the Bible is “cracking the code of the human mind” so as to unleash its full power and potential [if you have any doubt about this, just take a look at my Videos page (BibleMemory.org/videos) or YouTube Channel (YouTube.com/BibleMemory) and you’ll see what I mean!] – and I can hardly wait for it to complete  that ongoing work (by book #10? #15? #20?  #66?) so I can share it with all of you, with the entire human race.  I already know that it will be an absolute and glorious game-changer.  Like few things in human history heretofore.

Stay tuned.

Quick Thought:  All-Sufficient

I walked by the branch of a small local bank the other day and a large sign in the front window said this:

Large enough to know how,
Small enough to know you.

That’s one of the better corporate slogans I’ve seen in a while and it immediately occurred to me, that’s exactly how it is with God, and specifically His omniscience:  “macro” enough to know all, “micro” enough to know us!

I can’t decide which of the two is more impressive:  it’s downright amazing that He knows literally everything… and it’s downright amazing that He cares so much that He desires, that He yearns  to know each and every one of us, personally, on an individual basis.

In Him we have it all, the best of both worlds:  His attributes extend to the “macro” such that He is infinitely able to protect and provide, yet they also extend to the “micro” such that He is infinitely able and willing and ready to protect and provide for us.

How great Thou art, O God!  How great Thou art – from the “macro” to the “micro” and everything in between… You are indeed all I need.

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About Burdens

As discussed in a past post, a year or two ago I sold my only vehicle so I could finish building this website entirely out of my own pocket when the original programmer bailed unexpectedly and without notice, so out with the car and in with walking and biking literally everywhere I go.

It was one of the best decisions and self-sacrifices of my life.  Z-E-R-O regrets.  (Though don’t ask my legs and feet, because at times they would probably give a different answer.)

All kidding aside, the extra exercise is good for my temporary temple of the Holy Spirit, my body, my soul’s house as it were, so I almost always love and embrace the anticipation of especially the extended  exercising, those three-to-five-days-a-week long walks or bike rides, often to the grocery store or post office or other errand destinations (Ephesians 5:16!).

I said “almost  always” because there are two exceptions:  one which I just discussed a few posts ago, and the second (as promised) is when I have to return  an item purchased a day or week before.

Thankfully that’s a very rare, very infrequent need.  But when such occurs I almost (almost) dread even the notion, even the concept, even the idea of having to carry a (usually) heavy or bulky item at the onset of that journey, versus just one-way, just on the way back  from the store.  (Just like that funny traffic sign I first saw when I was a kid:  instead of the standard “No Parking” it read “Don’t even THINK about parking here.”)

Yes, my beloved brothers and sisters, just that one factor singlehandedly flips the equation of the pending trek from elation to near-dread.  Leaving my home with my hands free of any items so I can just walk and jog unabated?  A-W-E-S-O-M-E!  I LOVE that thought and anticipation and activity.  Leaving my home with my hands full of, with having to be burdened by carrying some items?  Not so much.

And that’s exactly how it is in the Christian life!  The “walk” is so much more enjoyable without  a load, sans  burdens.  Which is why it’s so very crucial to divest ourselves of any and all burdens each and every day.  And hour… and minute  for that matter.  To reaffirm anew that we live not for ourselves but for the Lord, not for our own interests but for His.  And secondly, under  that overarching umbrella, the interests of others.  To realize – actively realize, to be actively aware – that we are no longer our own.  And that includes not just one’s body but also one’s burdens.  Not just one’s potential anxieties but also the prospective and perspective root cause of any anxiety.  What a great way to go through life!  No worries.  No anxiety.  No negativity needed.

And that, my friends, is (one aspect and application of) the power of the Bible ingested.  Via Bible memory  and recitation/meditation on a regular, systematic basis!

  • “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.  For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” (Matthew 11:28,30)
  • “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)  (… by…)
  • “casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)  (… because…)
  • “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)  (… and anyway/besides…)
  • “… which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span?” (Matthew 6:27)

Just like those long walks I take to do my errands after having sold my car a year or two ago, so also in the Christian walk:  much more merry and fun and yes easy (Jesus’s word) and anticipation-abounding and exceedingly enjoyable when carrying no burdens.

God has made clear that He’s not just willing but eager to take them, so it’s a no-brainer for us to indeed “cast” (literally, throw) onto Him not only our every anxiety but even the roots  of potential  anxieties which sprout in our lives from time to time.  (Job 5:7 proclaims the reality… 1 Peter 5:7 provides the remedy!)

New Shoe, Part Two

By experience, not design, this post is a follow-up to the previous one.

I made my maiden voyage in the aforementioned new sneakers today (a five-mile walk/jog combo) and OUCH, my feet and legs are KILLING me!

Blisters on left and right, feeling a new muscle in my calves I never knew was there… I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

Well it turns out that the new pair of shoes I had just worn for the first time were defective.  Defectively made.  Factory error.  Two, in fact:  they had an exaggerated flat-footed effect since the cushion inside was far too thin, and secondly it wasn’t secured such that is slipped around like a well-oiled eel while I was walking, thus causing the blisters while the former caused the new and very unwelcome sensation in my feet and calves.

And that’s when it hit me, this glorious thought, this tremendous truth:  thankfully God never makes a mistake when creating each of us!

No.  Factory.  Errors.  With.  God.  He makes each and every one of us exactly  as intended.  Which sometimes seems “defective” from a human perspective but is actually and absolutely perfect and precious in God’s view, in reality.  On which even Republicans and Democrats alike can agree, and indeed have.  Like Sarah Palin who famously had her fifth and final child despite knowing in advance that he had Down Syndrome.  And like the Kennedy family who even far more famously have fought fiercely for five decades (via Special Olympics) on behalf of those that some people might (wrongly) view as “defective” in mind or body but whom they (very rightly) have viewed as preciously, perfectly-made people whose minds or bodies are just different than most but they’re no worse, no less weighty, no less valuable.

And it’s this fact that each and every person has been created exactly as God intended and in His very image which makes it so self-destructive to view others – to view anyone – as “less than” or “inferior” or “defective” or anything but worthy of respect and love and care and kindness.  Not because of them so much as Who made  them.  Not because of a person’s beautiful outward physical image but rather that they were created in the image of God Himself.

The logical, intellectually-honest result of maintaining this perspective is enormous love and respect for others… as well as for oneself – i.e., genuine, sturdy, steady self-esteem.

  • “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness’ … And God created man in His own image” (Genesis 1:26-27)
  • “For Thou [i.e., God] didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well.  My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.  Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalm 139:13-16)

Yes, my friend, as I found out the uncomfortable way this week, shoe manufacturers make mistakes and errors and defects.  Thankfully – and infinitely more importantly – God never does.  So let us love and look out for others as much or even more than we do for ourselves…

  • “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (1 John 4:11)
  • “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4) …

and let us accept and love ourselves since God does…

  • “We love, because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)
  • “God so loved the world…” (John 3:16) …

in view of the fact that we are indeed “wonderfully made”… if the righteous, holy, perfect God can accept and love a sinner like me, then a sinner like me can and must accept and love others.  And that’s a very easy task when one is aware of Whose wonderful image in which they were created.  I.e., when looking at our fellow man, may we see the handiwork and indeed very image of God, and treat them accordingly.

  • “and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all  men, just as we also do for you; so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13)

Not out of political correctness but rather spiritual correctness.

Not because society says to but because God does.

Not because people are inherently worthy but because God is.

Not because people don’t make (a lot of) mistakes (I put myself at the top of that list) but rather because God doesn’t.

No.  Factory.  Errors.  With.  God.

Unlike a certain shoe manufacturer.

Quick Thought:  There’s a price.  But it’s worth it!

No sooner had I written the previous post that, yep, you guessed it, on the very next walk one of my shoes sprang a leak, developed “a hole in the sole” as that previously-published post put it.  So I just bought a new pair.  And it hit me that I always  have the exact same conundrum when replacing my shoes:  even though I usually wear the old ones down to the nitty-gritty, thus making it absolutely necessary to replace them, I still hate the notion of putting on the new pair that very first time – because I know that they’ll no longer be sparkling clean.  (Nor smell brand new. 🙁 ).  I know that just the act of wearing them is going to get them dirty, to kick off that unavoidable process.

But just as quickly as that initial thought hits me each time I replace my sneakers, this one immediately follows and even more strongly:  because walking or biking is my only means/mode of transportation since selling my only vehicle a year or two ago so I could finish building this website so anyone anywhere can track my progress each step of the way in memorizing the entire Bible, the follow-on thought each time is that I won’t be able to accomplish the things I need to – the things the Lord wants me to – unless  I replace the tattered old pair of shoes with new ones.

And that’s exactly the principle perfectly and precisely and picturesquely painted in Proverbs 14:4!

  • “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.”

New and shiny is good.  But used and productive is even better.