Friday, February 3, 2017

5 Things that Produce Success

With his arms loaded down with bags Hubby walked in the door.  I was working at the computer and turned around to ask if he had a funny story where he tried to remember something.

“No … oh yeah I can.  I just remembered that I forgot your Pepsi.”

Putting the bags on the table he turned around grabbed his hat and started to head out the door. 

“Hon … aren’t you forgetting something?”  I said laughingly. 

“What?”  He glanced over his shoulders to where I was looking and picked up the forgotten item.

Later when he returned home I asked my husband why he forgot a little fifty cent can of soda.  He simply said, “I didn’t write it down.”  In my ears I heard what he said, but in my heart I thought, “It wasn’t important enough to remember.”

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Don't miss out on this week's challenge (below).
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Camp Favor 

It’s funny … the things we remember, isn’t it?  The older we get the more excuses we use as to why there was a memory lapse. People accept our apologies and look on the deficiency comically.  My question is if age has to do with forgetting, why does it happen to people no matter their stage in life? 

A few years back (okay stay focused, this is about memory) when I began teaching, some of my students were on church Bible Quiz teams.  During study hall or lunch periods they tested one another on large passages of scripture.  It reminded me of the times I did the same pumping oodles of verses into my brain using flashcards I had made out of hundreds of index cards. 

My motivation for memorizing scripture wasn’t based on studying to show myself approved to gain favor from God. I wanted to gain favor from my parents by earning enough points so I could go to summer camp for free.  

Come to find out I was pretty good at memorizing what was required for several summers, but things began slipping my mind once school rolled around in the fall.  Sadly by the time I finished high school I had forgotten that memorizing scripture did as it promised, giving me success and finding favor with the Lord. 

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Over the years I've learned to study the Bible for different reasons, but mainly because I really like doing research into God's world.
 
When I’m diving into the Word of God I go about it with the purpose of gaining understanding about what I’m supposed to do with what I’ve learned.  If I listen to a message I don’t just listen and move on to something else. I listen to it over and over, taking notes, soaking in what God is trying to show me through that particular speaker.

At times in my Bible studies I’ll read a passage and break it down word-by-word gathering insight into what and why that scripture was so important for God to put it in His Word.  I look intently at it and meditate on what I’ve read.  Sometimes I stay on a passage or even one verse for days, because I know there’s more to what God is trying to convey to the reader.   

There is another really important reason why believer’s need to put scripture into our memory banks.  The Apostle and brother of Jesus gives five things that link our memorization of scripture to the success we’ll need in fulfilling our life vision and journey here on Earth.  He spells it out in the first chapter of the book of James.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” (James 1:22-25 NIV)

Every one of us (with some exceptions) looks in a mirror each day for a number of reasons.  The first thing in the morning we stretch and yawn dragging ourselves out of bed. 
 
With sleepy eyes we saunter down the hallway making our way to the bathroom.  Leaning over the sink we stare into the mirror to see what’s happened overnight, as if by some miracle we’d look twenty years younger. 

We do a quick review to see what we have to adjust and get about the business of cleaning up before putting on a face and running a comb through our hair.  One last glance before awarding our appearance a medal of approval, we leave the “essentials” room and go about the rest of our morning not giving thought to what we’ve just witnessed in the mirror.  Maybe that’s a good thing!
 
Fly By Reading 

James uses the analogy of a mirror to reflect on what we’ve just seen, but instead of doing a once over with the Word of God, he says we are to really focus on what is before us.  How many times have you read a verse and within minutes forgotten it?  If you can’t remember what you read how can you possibly act on it or pull it out of your memory bank in times of distress, difficulty or need?

When we were kids my mother would always open the Bible to a specific passage and lay it on the kitchen table for us to read before we left for school.  I was always in a hurry so I did a quick glance and flew out the door.  Those “fly by readings” did nothing for me, because seconds later I couldn’t even tell you what I read, let alone share it with someone else that day.

Now when I read the Bible I get caught up in the research finding out information of the time period, asking who is the message being directed to and why it’s important to me as a believer.  When mom placed the Bible in front of me I simply read it but didn’t study what it meant.  Not knowing what it meant prevented me from being a doer of the Word.  You can’t do what you don’t understand or know.

Review, Remember, Do What You Learned  

James 1:25 makes it plain that the man who reads (looks intently) into the Bible (law) and continues to do it (reviews it in his mind), not forgetting what he’s heard (remembering) the person will be blessed in order to succeed.

If Christians want to be blessed by God we have to remember to do these things.  This is where memorizing the Bible is so important.  Seriously, if we’re in the middle of a crisis who has the time to look for a Bible to research what God has to say about a situation.   

Having the passages already in your head and heart will cause the Holy Spirit to bring it to your remembrance so you won’t sin against God, but also He will teach you what to do in every instance.

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance
all things that I said to you.” (John 14:26 NKJV) 

“Thy (Your) word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin
against Thee (You).” (Psalm 119:11 NLKV)
 

Studies Show

Recent studies revealed that men do forget things more than women, but only because women generally have more on their “self-appointed” daily to-do lists. I’d imagine that bit of knowledge depends on the group they’re asking right? 

Today somewhere in this universe fifteen million people will unintentionally leave a cup of java or tea sitting while they tend to other things they’ve forgotten, like where they placed the car keys.  Even more will go shopping not remembering why they went, they’ll forget passcodes, misplace items, get distracted from doing something and make calls to their spouse for information on particulars they needed to recall.

This activity sounds normal and all valid when it comes to putting things to memory?  Surely if we can’t remember the little things that we do on a regular basis, taking on the challenge of memorizing the Bible is definitely out of our thinking abilities.  To be quite honest and truthful, that kind of philosophy is contrary to how we were designed by God. 

Committed to Memorizing

Believing people can’t remember long passages of scripture isn’t true.  He’s referred to as “The Walking Bible” in religious circles.  Eighty-five year old television evangelist Jack Van Impe has memorized over 14,000 verses in the Bible including the entire New Testament.  My husband and I even bought his book on how to do it … since then the book has vanished!  

Frankly, we generally do remember what’s important or things that we like.  It’s actually somewhat selective memory if you will.  As soon as an old song comes on the radio we instantly sing along knowing all the words (and even add a few more).  How many of us can practically retell a movie story line for line?  You know it’s true.  

My husband is the smartest person I know.  He remembers every phone number of friends, family and foe since he was a kid. Without hesitation he can spout off his driver’s license number (who remembers that?), all my personal info involving numbers and every license plate of anyone he briefly knew.  He even remembers the numbers of those no-call telemarketers! 

I can’t tell you how many times he’s quoted the labels of toothpaste tubes to me, and “who needs to know this” trivia from every walk of life.  It’s really freaky the weird stuff he remembers, but this same scholarly man leaves frozen food on top of the refrigerator.

As for me … I can’t get his cell phone number right for beans, and he’s had the same one for years and years.  What’s the problem?  We remember what we like or what we want to remember with no problem at all.  When I’m asked his number I turn to him and say, “Honey, what is it?”  Yet I can tell him exactly word-for-word conversations we had. (Go ahead … laugh!) 

So why do we have such difficulty remembering scripture?  Basically, we don’t think it’s a priority or aren’t interested in recalling things that take work.  A pastor of ours realized this about his spiritually sleeping flock and challenged the entire congregation to commit to memorizing the book of James. 

He didn’t rush any of us but every week had all those who committed scripture to memory rise and recite it together. When anyone came to a point where they couldn’t continue they just sat down. Those remaining kept quoting chapter by chapter.  
 
I finished chapter one and sat down, but I was so proud of my sister who surpassed me and remained standing a little longer.  I put entire chapters to memory before, mainly in Psalms but I did it.  My commitment would have to be more focused if I were to gain God’s blessings for success.


A Wrinkled Brain

Through research I learned that there is a bright side to this and have taken up the activity of memorizing verses once more.  Every time your brain remembers something it creates a wrinkle, the good kind … you know the hidden lines. 
 
Memorizing is a skill that actually can increase as we put more knowledge into our brain.  When we memorize scripture our brain muscles stretch causing us to be able to remember things in all areas of life, not just the Bible.

 
The Holy Spirit can only bring to our remembrance what we have put into our mind, so if it’s not in there don’t expect Him to miraculously give it to you.  It’s like asking God to help you pass a test when you haven’t even cracked open the book to study.  

In order for us to remember something we have to spend time thinking about it. Understanding Mary’s thoughts, she pondered in her heart the news about the birth of God’s Son Jesus.  Her obedience led God to grant her great favor for her life vision and journey. 

Meditate and Succeed 

To scripturally meditate doesn’t mean that one needs to sit in the lotus position with closed eyes, breathing deeply while making groaning noises.  Biblical meditation is to review in your mind, mull over, ponder and think continually on what you’ve already learned.  There is a spiritual purpose for this kind of meditation that brings earthly success and favor from God.

In the Old Testament we read where God gave Joshua (1:8) clear directions on what he needed to do to receive any favor from the Lord.  We are to follow the same procedure in order to fulfill our life vision. 

Christians are told to meditate, talk about and act on what we’ve learned day and night.  Our success depends on doing what God says according to His Will and plan.  It will keep us focused and on the path of the vision. 

Just reading the Bible won’t bring success.  God instructs Joshua that he has to do something; take action on what he’s learned.  We deceive ourselves if we think not acting on what we’ve been told to do will give us a prosperous and successful life.  It’s not going to happen. 

God knows what we truly believe in His word, because we only believe the parts we literally do.  Everything else is up for bartering and questioning in our minds.   

This Week’s Challenge:
Memorization for Success 

Each week we have a challenge for a reason. I don’t only want you to hear or read about what God says on a subject, it's my hope that you act on it believing success and favor will happen in your own life.   

Challenges help us to not only be a hearer of the word but also a doer, which will result in being blessed with God’s favor for life’s vision and journey.

“Your Word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”
(Psalm 119:105) 

Having God’s Word in our head and heart will shed light on each situation we encounter along our path. It will surround us with Daily Favor and strengthen our relationship with Him.  

Listen – Look/Read – Continue/Meditate
 Don’t Forget/Remember – Act/Do

Following the five step biblical procedure our challenge this week is to write our own memorization cards to help us remember to be diligent doers of the Word. 

Supplies Needed:  

Bible, two rubber bands, a package of regular or large lined index cards, pen, highlighter  

Instructions: 

1 - Cut the index cards in half making two cards for each. 

2 - On the lined side write out ten specific verses you have selected from your vision board. Put one verse per card.  Don’t print them out on your computer; write them, it increases brain activity for memorization. 

3 - Highlight key words that will trigger the verse in your mind when you see or hear them. 

4 - On the reverse blank side, write the scripture reference to that passage. 

5 - Secure memory verse cards with a rubber band and the blank cards in their own packet for the future.  Take these cards with you everywhere you go, drilling yourself on them throughout the day and before retiring to bed at night.   Having them this size makes it easy to carry in a pocket for a man, woman or child.

Write out as many additional verses you think you can memorize for the first week, adding to the scripture packet each week.  Include verses you already know to help boost your faith. 

Invite a friend, your spouse and/or family to take this challenge with you having them writing out their own memory verse cards.  Quiz one another during the week and be an encourager along the way. 

Before you know it, you’ll be quoting verses off the top of your head revealing that God’s Word is important enough to remember. 

Listen – Look/Read – Continue – Don’t Forget – Act
on what you’ve learned and be blessed with favor for success!

 
Thy Word (Is a Lamp unto My Feet)

If this article has encouraged or helped you, please consider sharing it by using the social media icons provided at the end of this post. 

Until next time, God’s Word shines light on favor!

Additional Strategies:
Using your memory verse cards try playing a memory game these four ways.  

1 - Place stacked cards scripture side down and quote the verse from the reference.  Place incorrect answers in a separate pile.  This will help you to know which ones you need to work on the most. 

2 - Place stacked cards reference side down and quote the verse. Place incorrect answers in a separate pile like the mentioned above. 

3 - Place stacked cards verse side down.  Have an additional player pick the card and only tell you the highlighted key words.  See if you can quote it and do the same as above with incorrect answers. 

4 - Lay out cards side by side on a table or floor. (Just like a children’s memory board game.)  Do the same with another player’s cards with each having the same amount of cards turned verse side down.  If players are learning the same verses only one stack is needed. 

Taking turns have each person quote a verse.  If they do it correctly the card is removed from the pile and placed on their side allowing them to take another turn. If incorrect it is returned to the position verse side down.  The one who quotes all their verses first or has the highest number of cards on their side wins the game. 

“My light shines favor for success.”
Jesus Christ 

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy. 

Note: Emphasis is given in some scriptures to show clarity or understanding and is not to take away from the inspirited Word of God. 

When used, the words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives. 

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

What’s New This Week: Click on the photo or link.

His Word in My Heart by Janet Pope on Daily Favor Blog

Memorizing Scripture for a Closer Walk with God
by Janet Pope 

Available in eBook but I wouldn’t recommend it due to formatting issues for the outline charts. 


Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. 
Scripture references are from the New King James Bible Version or as noted provided by Gateway Bible.
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.
 
How to memorize scripture, Jack Van Impe, 5 Things that Produce Success, Success, Meditate, Daily Favor Blog, Daily Favor Prayer, Testing, The Blessing of Favor, God's Favor, Scripture Memorization, Janet Pope, Thy Word Song. His Word in My Heart, Christian Camp, Bible Verse Challenge, Weekly Challenge