Friday, June 01, 2007

Let Your Mind Dwell On These Things

"Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence or if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8

In college, I learned from a friend, Serena, who was discipling me how to memorize Scripture. At first, I breezed right through the first part of the Topical Memory System within a few weeks. It took me almost 3 years to finish the remaining 30 verses. That meant 10 verses a year, and then keeping up with reviewing the ones I already memorized. I agonized that it took me so long to get what took most people about 6 months to finish. It's been 25 years, and I still have them word perfect. I think that is good retention.

I was also learning how to meditate on God's Word. There are different methods, including using music. I memorized and meditated on Proverbs 3:1-4 with my very own melody about 20 years ago. It'll never make the top 40, but I can still sing it. During quiet times, I still "chew" on God's Word using personalization, visualization, repetative emphasis, questions and my personal favorite, the Loyola method. The Loyola method was invented by a Catholic monk to use all of your senses in placing yourself in the Bible story that you are reading. I walk my women's groups through it when we study the Book of Ruth, and they don't even know it.

My life has changed a lot over the years. But the verses in my heart have remained the same, and often the Holy Spirit comforts me with them during times of stress. It's more than head knowledge to me, it's about experiencing God's presence during the times that I review the verses. Sometimes, people and places come back to me as I review them as well. There is that verse I memorized on Kamiak Butte during a time alone with God. There are those verses that Krista checked me on as we walked on the Washington State University campus, the verses I memorized while pouring out my heart to God in my car as a single woman in Seattle, the verse that I memorized on the plane home after Dennis proposed to me...on the path going up the side of the hill I walked the way home from work, a feild dotted with blue bachelor button flowers...on the path by Monterey Bay Aquarium...the trail in the park by the Chatahoochee River...the Cherry Creek Reservoir...with Keiko on a walk a few summers the coffee shop a mile from my house. When we were single, Dennis had the audacity to take the cards of whatever I was memorizing and make me repeat it back for him. I was embarassed at how slow I was to get them right. He married me anyway.

I've stopped worrying about how long it takes for me to go through the process. I've been learning to enjoy the journey of Scripture memory and meditation, because wherever I am, He meets me at the same spot: in His home, my heart.

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