Thursday, January 4, 2018

Memorizing Scripture, Barbed wire, Persecution, and Jesus

Memorizing a chapter of the Bible a month might have been a little optimistic for a New Year's goal. Four days into the year, I'm already a little behind.

I know how to memorize. The problem isn't my understanding of the technique nor my ability. It's my reliability

Every morning, I've reviewed my verses and made a stab at memorizing them. I've quoted them a few times throughout the day. 

What I haven't done is soak in their truth, and that's the reason they haven't "stuck."

This morning, I reviewed the first twelve verses of John 1, because that's how much I planned to have memorized by today. The second time I read them through, the third verse came alive.

"All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." (John 1:3) nasb

All things. 

The image of barbed wire instantly popped into my head. Yes. I know it was odd. Barbed wire? Does Jesus even care about barbed wire??? 

I pondered that a moment and read the verse again. If all things came into being by Him, and Scripture says it did, does that mean barbed wire came into being by Jesus? I guess it does. (He made the person who invented it, of course, as well as the mind out of which the invention came.) 

Barbed wire is on my mind these days because I haven't finished building my fence yet. Does Jesus care about the fencing wire so prevalent in the Southern US? Yes, in multiple ways. He cares about the people who build the fences and stretch the wire. Those sharp barbs provide security and protection for animals, and their owners, about whom our Lord cares. 

Did Jesus die for barbed wire? No, but He knows about it. 

The second thing that came into mind is a part of the world that's dear to me. Recent governmental decisions there have broken my heart. I've prayed at length about the situation and begged everyone who will listen to join me in intercession. Occasionally, my prayers have sounded a little accusatory, as if I thought God had overlooked the events that give me such pause. 

"What about there, Lord? It's a mess right now," I asked. (Okay. I kinda demanded.) 

All things.

Those two simple words resonated in my heart. Governments are established by God and have their authority with the permission of God. (Romans 13:1) He moves the heart of the king like channels of water. (Prov 21:1) 

He knows.

He knows about the corruption in the government, the crack-down on religious freedom, and the persecution of believers. He knows about my friends who have to flee for their lives. 

Nothing has escaped his notice. Nothing will be wasted. 

It wasn't the answer I wanted. My desire was for God to roll up His sleeves and wade into the battle. I wanted God to do things MY way, instead of His own. It's a problem as old as creation. We want our way instead of His. 

This morning, the barbed wire pondering led, in a round about way, to "nevertheless" about a few things. "Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done." (Luke 22:42)

That simple act of surrender brought me to the place I needed to be with Scripture memory, and the verses came alive. "The light shined in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it" made perfect sense. The efforts of believers hadn't been wasted in that beautiful place of persecution. Light had shined, but the darkness didn't comprehend, exactly as John 1 said.

The importance of Scripture memory is not in the act of repeating words until we can say them by rote. The value comes when we allow the Word of God to invade our hearts, reveal truth to us, and change us. That's what happened for me this morning. 

Today, let's choose one verse and allow it to invade us until the truth becomes such a part of us that we see things God's way and surrender to His will. Let it marinate our hearts and saturate us with Him. 

"Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done." Luke 22:42

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." 2 Timothy 3:16 nlt
In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Maggie and the Relentless Search