Note: It’s the second Wednesday of the month — an Encouraging Words Wednesday! After you’re done here, be sure to check out Renee Swope’s Encouraging Words over at Proverbs 31 Ministries and enter to win a Confident Heart Friendship Gift Pak.
“The only real word of encouragement comes from the Word of God.”
So says Rachael Carman. She’s a homeschool mother and an author and speaker for Apologia Educational Ministries.
The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, and that sword is heavy. We must build up our muscles in order to use it well, she says.
Wow! If we want our words to encourage others, we really need to be speaking God’s Words! And how can we speak them if they aren’t carved into memory?
A few years ago, I went through a season during which God constantly reminded me to hide His living, active Word in my heart and to speak His Word in prayer. No matter where I went, that was the message I heard over and over.
The first reminder came as I was preparing to teach a Sunday School class of preschoolers and Kindergarteners. We were learning about Jesus in the desert being tempted by the devil, and there it was: Jesus victoriously using God’s Word, the sword of the Spirit, to fight the enemy and his lies. The devil had to flee, remember?
Oh, I wish you could have seen the surprised faces when I drew my plastic sword to hook the kids’ attention! As a mother of two girls, I never imagined those little boys would have so much to say about swords. They were ready to fight!
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
The next reminder came during a women’s Bible study, Believing God, as author and speaker Beth Moore told us to be “armed and dangerous.”
That is, armed with God’s Word and dangerous to the devil.
Beth recounted a time when she was walking her dogs with her husband at his deer lease. A rattle snake reared its ugly head, ready to strike. In one very swift movement with his shotgun, Beth’s husband Keith immediately blew off the snake’s head. My apologies to any snake lovers that may be reading this, but what a vivid illustration of how God’s Word can crush the devil!
Finally, that fall at a church luncheon for women, another reminder came from keynote speaker Phyliss Masters, a retired missionary. Just 18 months before her husband was martyred, Phyliss had resolved to memorize God’s Word. She memorized one verse of Scripture a day, rehearsing and reviewing each verse for 49 days so that she would hide it in her heart for life. Phyliss had hundreds of Bible verses memorized at the time of her husband’s death, and she testifies that God’s Word proved itself quick and powerful over and over again.
My season of constantly being encouraged to memorize Scripture concluded just as Beth Moore kicked off her 2009 Siesta Scripture Memory Team. I participated, and I must say that it was just the accountability I needed! God’s Word changed my life that year, especially my prayer life. Praying God’s Word back to Him is powerful!
Beth didn’t coordinate a Scripture Memory Team for 2010, but God provided me accountability through a small group that my husband and I were in. Together, we have all committed nearly a dozen verses to memory — word-perfect and with the topics and references, too. It can be done! By the grace of God, it can be done!
This year I’ve been involved in Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Memory Team again, and this time around I pushed a few friends into joining along with me.
God not only licenses us to conceal and carry His Word as a weapon, but He also empowers us to use it, as 2 Timothy 3:16 says, for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.
May we always be quick on the draw!
If you are not already in the habit of memorizing Scripture, be encouraged. You can do it! And there are lots of ideas to motivate you and plenty of tools to help.
Here are a few of my favorite resources on Scripture memory:
1. Memorizing Scripture: Why and How by John Piper
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Bible Memorization by Ann Voskamp
3. Help in memorizing God’s Word: Verse Card Maker
4. Word Up! It’s the Writing on the Wall (a post of mine)
5. Resolution: To Pray Better for My Kids (also a post of mine)
If you are already memorizing Scripture but would like to stretch those muscles a little more, consider the challenge of committing entire books to memory! An Approach to Extended Scripture Memorization by Dr. Andrew Davis has great guidelines for exactly how to do this. I think I’m going to try it!
Don’t forget to check out Renee Swope’s Encouraging Words over at Proverbs 31 Ministries. You’ll be blessed!