In honor of a beautiful May Day, I thought I'd invite you to join me on our deck for my morning tea with God and the dogs. All the necessary ingredients are visible on this table: my Bible, journal, devotional, notepaper (for scribbling snippets of thought), my tea and the Chuck-it. Yes, the Chuck-it is as important as anything else if I want to have peace enough to commune with God. As you can tell, Kincade was getting a bit impatient that the rhythm of throw-fetch-throw-fetch and repeat had been interrupted for me to take this picture. In fact, you can even see the shadow of the tennis ball by his front paw. Yep, he definitely thinks my mornings are his domain and his only.
I have to admit that in one way only is this a staged picture. The gray box in the corner isn't something I use in my daily devotionals. However, what I read in my devotional got me to thinking about it. The devotional talked about 'the venerable Bede' (whose name is always preceded by that adjective). This historian of the early church had memorized so much scripture it was like muscle memory to him. He didn't have to go searching through a concordance to find something that fit with his words, he knew the Word. A single word was enough to take him to a verse which made him think of another verse and so on.
So I got to thinking about this grey mottled box I've carried around since high school. I don't remember where I got it now--it has been almost 42 years since I became a follower of Jesus--but it is my Bible memory verse box. I was privileged to be taught by amazing Young Life leaders in my baby-days of faith and they were strong advocates of the Navigators memory program. Though my family wasn't poor by any stretch, for some reason I felt I couldn't (or at least didn't) ask for money to buy these small packets of memory verses, so I created my own on 3x5 cards. Memorized them then filed them in this box.
Most of the verses are memorized in the New American Standard Bible, with a sprinkling of The Living Bible thrown in. When I went to college, and got a degree in Biblical Studies, this was something of a hindrance because the translation used was RSV, and I had to re-memorize (as well as add) so many verses. But these earliest verses are the ones stuck in my brain. Stuck like glue. And I thank God for those leaders who drilled the importance of this practice into my head, and I praise God for the memory that isn't my doing but is simply a gift from Him. I say this again--this is not my doing but it's been to my benefit. Praise God.
I will admit, I do use a concordance. A whole lot. Usually I can't remember chapter and verse of the words that are running through my brain. And unfortunately, these days I use TNIV, so the concordance doesn't always match the word with the words I'm thinking.
Memorizing scripture is still as much of my time with Him as reading, praying or drinking tea (though I no longer add to this box). It's worth the effort and reaps a reward of heart and action: 'His word I have hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you!' And for that, I thank Sam, Kristi and all those others who started me in this practice so many years ago.