1. I'm memorizing verses that I wouldn't have otherwise. Not because I don't love these verses, but because my Scripture memory goal for 2014 is to memorize Philippians. I'm almost done with chapter one! :) For me, memorizing three verses of Philippians each week is plenty. As I've coached my little girl to memorize her weekly Awana verses, I've been blessed that those verses have become hidden in my heart too, because I wouldn't have otherwise attempted to memorize these on top of my Philippians verses.
2. It causes both of us to grow in the knowledge of the Lord. (2 Peter 3:18) As we both mediate on a verse to get the wording and phrasing straight, the Lord is so faithful to teach us more about Him and His will for us. For instance, when we were learning her "By faith" verses from Hebrews 11, I was able to explain to her what faith was and why the "Hero's of Faith" talked about in her memory verses, were great examples of faith.
3. It drives me to explain words and concepts, I otherwise would have thought were too advanced for her. When she had to memorize Hebrews 11:7, while she was very familiar with the story of Noah's Ark, the verse was not self-explanatory because of some of the phrasing. Consider what this would sound like to a five-year-old: "By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household." Concerning events as yet unseen? In reverent fear? Constructed?
The Story of Noah by Pastor Chuck Smith w/ Audio CD (We love this one!)
Memorize with Understanding
For me it is so important when I memorize that I memorize with understanding. I want to understand the meaning of what I'm memorizing. If some part of a verse isn't clear, I do a Bible word search at Blue letter Bible. Then, additionally, I might read or listen to some of the excellent commentaries available at Blue Letter Bible or Precept Austin.
So when my daughter is learning her memory verses, it is equally important to me that she know what she is hiding in her heart--that she has an understanding of each verse she recites for her Sparks leader. For each verse we start I always check for understanding, and then clarify any areas if needed. Checking for understanding is the easy part. It's the clarifying part that can be tricky at times. God was faithful to give me the words to help boil down the advanced concepts of Hebrews 11:7 for my little girl so she could understand. Here's how I explained it:
By faith Noah : Noah believed and trusted in God and His Word. If God said it, Noah believed it. He took God at His Word, just as the Roman Centurion took Jesus at His Word when Jesus said He'd come heal the servant. The centurion believed in God's Word so much that he said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed." (Matthew 8:8)
being warned by God: Why do we get warnings? To protect us from bad things that could happen to us. We might see a warning sign that a floor is wet so we don't slip and get hurt. We might see a shark warning at a beach to protect swimmers. Red traffic lights warn cars that they need to stop until the light turns green because ignoring a red light can lead to a bad accident. God warned Noah to protect him from something? What?
concerning events as yet unseen: This is what the warning from God was about, to protect Noah about events no one had ever seen. An event is something that happens. What had not yet happened that God was warning Noah about? It had never rained. (Genesis 2:5) No one had ever seen a drop of rain fall from the sky, much less a flood of any kind. (Genesis 7:4,12)
in reverent fear constructed an ark: If you revere someone you respect them. You trust them. If we were at home having lunch, not knowing a big fire had broke out in the neighborhood down the street. If firefighters came to our door telling us to evacuate because it wasn't safe to stay here, "in reverent fear" we'd leave our house immediately. We wouldn't just sit here and keep enjoying our lunch and just go about our day and blow off their warning. No. "In reverent fear" we'd get out of our house as fast as possible.
Likewise, because Noah respected and trusted God, when God told Noah a flood was coming and to build an ark, "in reverent fear [Noah]constructed an ark." This means because Noah believed and trusted God--and took His warning seriously, when God told Noah to build an ark, Noah didn't slap it together any old way, or look at God's directions for building the ark and moan "Ugh! That will take too long! I'll just do it my way." No. "In reverent fear [Noah]constructed an ark." Noah built the ark exactly as God said to do because Noah knew if God said a flood was coming it was coming and he wasn't about to take any shortcuts in building the ark. Building it God's way meant the ark would be roomy to fit Noah's family, all the animals, and all the food. But more that just not being cramped, building it God's way ensured that Noah's ark was watertight to prevent catastrophe for Noah's family during the flood.
for the saving of his household: It was Noah's reverent fear of God and His warning of the flood that moved Noah to build the ark exactly as God wanted him to, no matter what, because Noah understood ultimately the reason for all his hard work on the ark was "for the saving of his household." This project was literally a life or death project. And not just Noah's life--but the lives of his entire household! (Not to mention all the animals.) A lot was at stake here. Perhaps that is why Noah choose to do everything according to what God commanded him to do. (Genesis 6:22) Noah knew if he did things God's way, he was sure not to fail.Smart man.
4. Each verse we memorize is making us thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:17) and supplying us with all we need for life and godliness. Because of just those two benefits alone, I know every minute we spend learning, reviewing, and reciting her verses is guaranteed time well spent. While my girl is just finishing up kindergarten this month, I know before I know it she will be all grown up. So, until then, I want to help make her thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:17) and supply her with all she needs for life and godliness by helping her hide as much of God's Word in her heart as possible. Not in a burdensome way, of course. I never want memorizing God's Word, for my girl, to be a burden. I want it to be a joy. I am always seeking to make it fun, and only giving her what she can realistically handle--not imposing unrealistic expectations.
It is my hope that our discipline to memorize a new verse each week now will become a lifelong habit for her that she'll continue long after she's grown and living out on her own with a husband and children of her own. Until then, it's encouraging to know that verse by verse God is making us thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:17). And oh, how we need that! And not only that, but supplying us with all we need for life and godliness. Awesome!
Awanas wraps up this week til the Fall. But I do not want my daughter to stop this all important habit of hiding His Word in her heart, simply because it is summer. Next week, I'll share our plans for memorizing Scripture this summer. God bless your week!
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