Pastor’s ponderings

A few weeks ago, I was walking through a store and stopped at a rack of books to see what was there.  Contained within its shelves was a book for children entitled, “77 Memory Verses Every Kid Should Know.”  This got me to thinking – do I know 77 different Bible verses?  Do you?  I’m sure there are several that are well-known to many: “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16), “In the beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1), “The Lord is my shepherd…” (Psalm 23), “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth…” (Gen 1:1), and “Put on the whole armor of God…” (Eph 6:11), just to name a few.  But 77?  Do we really take the time to memorize that much of God’s Word?

            Someone once said during a Bible study that nearly every situation we encounter in life can be found in the Bible; that there are people and their stories contained therein that directly parallel what we are going through, and if we only took the time to read our Bibles more frequently, we would be amazed at what we encounter.  I suppose that is why Paul wrote to his protégé, Timothy, and declared, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:16-17, NRSV).

            I have heard this passage quoted by many people over the years.  It’s another of those verses that we like to memorize.  Yet, the irony is I often hear it used in quite an offensive way; we use it more in the mode of an attack, more often in the context of reproof and correction, than we do in teaching and training in righteousness.  Is this what God intended these most holy of words to be used for? 

            This past week during Vacation Bible School, the children memorized the theme verse for the week.  It comes from Romans 14:19 and says, “So let’s strive for the things that bring peace and the things that build each other up” (CEB).  How different the approach, right?  A strong contrast between what the world teaches us and what God’s word instructs us.  While the world teaches us to memorize facts and figures to go on the offense and attack one another, The Bible teaches us to memorize God’s word in such a way as to bring peace, support, encouragement, grace, compassion, and love.  It’s about building community, not finding ways to tear one another down.

            So, perhaps we all need to ponder, what is God’s word calling you to learn today?  What verses are you being led to memorize and undertake as the foundation of your faith?  I pray they are ones that “bring peace…and build each other up,” for God knows our world seems to need it now more than ever.

                                                            Always pondering,

                                                            Pastor Steve

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