Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Memorize (and Remember) More Scripture!

Whenever I am actively memorizing scripture things begin to happen!

  • My prayers seem to include more scripture as a reminder to myself of God's promises and His will.
  • Songs make me think of verses and verses make me think of songs.
  • The worship meeting comes more alive as men share and I think of verses that go along with their ideas.
  • I find myself speaking scripture more often when talking with others.
  • Reading scripture makes more sense as I come across the passages I've studied and memorized in the midst of my regular reading.
Photo Credit: Daniel Johnson

I've started and stopped memorizing several times in my life. As a child I memorized for Sunday School, camps, VBS, our in-church memory program called Bible Memory Association, and our children's club called "Happy Hour", to get prizes. Those are the verses have stuck with me all my life. They are familiar and somewhat King Jamesy as that was what I first memorized in.

At around 16, I switched to the New American Standard Bible (that we called the "Naz-bee") and have done my English my memory work in that ever since. 

Before we moved to the mission field, I made an effort to learn more verses in English so that when I learned Spanish I would know what the verses meant. It turned out to be a very good idea because it was easier to memorize in Spanish what I already knew in English.

As a missionary, I began seriously memorizing verses with several women, in Spanish and, to my surprise, our extended prayer times changed as we prayed scripture to God. I hadn't expected that to happen.

When we moved back to the states, I lapsed for a while. Then one year I was studying the Wisdom of God and decided to memorize verses about that. When I injured both Achilles tendons one summer, my stretching exercises were a good time to review my verses. But after I quit the stretching, I quit reviewing and soon discovered I didn't remember many of the verses and grew discouraged. I didn't want to blame it on an aging brain!

Then a young woman I was discipling and I decided to each memorize one verse a week and hold each other accountable. That's when I decided to use BibleMemory, an app that helps keep track of the verses I'm memorizing and helps me set the review time by how well I do in the review. That was March 2017 and I've kept it up. At first I was sporadic in my review, but looking back at my history graph I see that I have only missed four days of review this year. 



I have to admit that I am inordinately proud when I reach a new level by earning points for memorization and review and keep track of my rank which has steadily improved. They even have "badges" that one can earn and I work to do that as well. Sure, I'm a grandma, but motivating prizes are still a good thing!

I currently have 162 verses memorized and I have my app set so that I review them all every month. (Longer than that and I start forgetting all but the most familiar!) It only takes me about 10 minutes each morning and the app tells me what verses I need to review each day.

Recently a group of us prayed daily for Muslims around the world during their month of Ramadan and we also read out loud together the New Testament (about the size of the Quran which they are to read through). I loved seeing the passages I had memorized in their larger context.

No one at BibleMemory has asked me to write about their app, but it has been such a help to me that I wanted to share it again! Remember, review is the key to truly hiding things in your heart, and this has been the "secret" to my recent success.

For more ideas about verse memorization for you and your kids see these articles:
A Memory Plan for Kids that my son and daughter in law used for several years





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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

How to Attract Teenagers

I have a friend who extroverted, laid back, bold, a little sarcastic (in a good way), and generous. When her kids were in public high school and in college she wanted their friends at her house so she could know them, so she had an open house policy. LoriAnn says, "Our house was open to everyone. We'd rather them at our house [that way we could be] watching what's going on instead of at someone else's house with no one home."



The open home with plenty of food was where the kids wanted to be, even though some of her kids' friends had parents who were doctors and had huge homes. LoriAnn and her husband couldn't compete with that, but "We always kept drinks in the fridge, a stack of frozen pizzas and every snack/junk food you could think of. The kids would help themselves." 

Referring to the expense, LoriAnn says, "Did it cost? Yes. Was it worth it? Every penny. And I would do it again."

Her kids, two daughters and a son, are also outgoing and invited lots of friends over. How did she cope when she arrived home from work to fix dinner for a tableful? "Everyone has to pitch in. Don't have anything fancy for dinner. Have a couple of kids in charge of making, maybe, brownies. Someone setting the table. Someone in charge of drinks. They help out where it's needed. When it's a group effort, everyone has a good time."

They weren't shy about their faith. LoriAnn laughs, "All the kids would say to the newbies who came, 'Don't eat yet. No one has prayed.'" They knew this was how it was in the Smith household.

Some advice she has is to really get to know your kids' friends. "One thing I always told all three of my kids' friends was that they had to friend me on Facebook. You should have seen their faces! But they knew I was serious, so they did." As LoriAnn got to know them better she would sometimes talk to one or another to tell them that something she saw was inappropriate. Because of her love for them, "They would take it from me."

How do you get started? Not everyone has the same personality or will have the same rapport with teens, but LoriAnn says, "Maybe start by telling your kids they can each invite one friend over for dinner. Just bite the bullet and do it. You will never regret it!"

LoriAnn tells about the lasting results. "To this day some of the kids will come around. They will talk about how they learned to set a table. How to cook. Saw a real family. Most of my kids' friends call me Mama Smith to this day. I guess it wasn't all bad!"





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