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The 1 Habit More Important than Quiet Time? {Memorize the Mount: Free Sermon on the Mount Memory Booklet}

A Holy Experience

Who memorizes God in the age of Google?

For a week, longer, I wake with these fears choking hard.

Fears pushing me into the pit.

And it comes while I struggle to get out of bed, comes early as the light pries back the dark, words we’ve been committing to heart — and I murmur them, hold onto them like a lifeline tossed:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the… ”

And I smooth out the bedsheets and everything calms, His Word stilling my storm…

That is what we are: Blessed. Blessed. Blessed.

I’m learning by heart the heart of God and this is what calms my heart. I run my hand down the coverlet and there are no wrinkles left.

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The old Beatitudes print that I found at the back of a thrift store, it hangs on the wall in the hall. The frame’s all chipped, but the glass reflects all this light.

I’ve been writing the Sermon on the Mount verses on the chalkboard by the farmtable. The whole tribe says it together loud and messy before we leave the table and after we stack the  pile of licked clean plates.

We make Memorize the Mount booklets — Matthew 5-6 & 7 — only 2-3 verses a week, — 2 0r 3 truth kernels at a time —  and we carry them around in our pockets.

Because the thing is: Will I meditate on His Word or my worries?

Memorize the Mount — this is what pulls out of the pit.

Memorize the Mount — and memorize the way up, the way higher up and deeper into Christ.

Memorize the Mount and mount up on wings.

On the front porch by the swing, the juncos eat corn kernels, 2 or 3 at a time and then fly. 

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As I cut out the Mount verses to make up our memorization booklets… I read the dates when we will memorize these 2 verses, those three.

On Week 10: March 5th – that’s the week of Dad’s birthday and the snow might be melting and we’ll be memorizing, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven…”

And Week 37: Sep 10th — that will be the kid’s first full week back to school, this is will be what’s up on the chalkboard to memorize: “Therefore do not be anxious…”

And when the leaves are falling off the trees in late October, and we’ll be thinking of thanksgiving, I realize we’ll be memorizing: “…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him.”

And that whole intimidating year that came knocking on January 1st full of expectations and I had no idea how to rise to it? That I’ve been scared to answer? That whole year looks different when I see it through the assurance of His Word. I can only keep pace with it all when I keep company with Christ day in and day out.

This is how you make the calendar for the year — you set Christ at the center.

You mark time by every word that proceeds from His mouth.

This is the resolution the new year needs — a revolution. A turning every day to Christ.

When I wash that stack of dishes, I say it quietly, turning the plate slowly in hand, a prayer… “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

I could keep turning too…

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What does John Piper say about memorizing Scripture? “I wish I could persuade everyone to do this.”

Maybe it it could even be this?

Time memorizing Scriptures is perhaps more important than quiet time — because when we fill our hearts with His Word, we can fill all of our hours with His Word —  and “quiet time” can then become all of our time.

The wind from the north, it settles down quiet as the sun rises.

After breakfast, we say it again in unison: “Blessed are… blessed are… blessed are…

What the heart knows by heart is what the heart knows … and the beat of those “blesseds,” it like a heart beat of its own —

Steady and calm and strong.


This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night,

so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it;

for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”  ~Joshua 1:8, NASB

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How to Make a Memory Commitment Booklet:

— committing His Words to heart & heart to Him

1. Download & Print the Sermon on the Mount Memory Cards:

Click here to print cards: Just 2-3 Verses a Week

2. Print and either have comb bound (cards are formatted to give space for comb binding), for ease of flipping cards, propping at the sink, etc.

3.
Alternatively, cut and paste into a booklet like a pocket Moleskine

4.
Tick off  little square boxes for each day of memory heart commitment

5.
Find a partner to recite to — have them sign each week on the allotted line
(only *two to three short * verses a week – the verses are in the ESV version & take a bit to load. Thank you for grace!)

The link for the Memorize the Mount Booklet Cover can be downloaded right here.

{You can join us in community on facebook for encouragement — and I’ll be posting audio updates and encouragements throughout the year on the Facebook page and here on the blog with link-ups so you can share your own memorization– consider joining us?}

Why Memorize Scripture?


{RSS and email readers: Click here to listen to Mr. Piper’s compelling clip}

In making to-do lists to run our lives, why not make time to let God’s Word revolutionize our lives? Because making time to memorize His Word is putting the first things first.

If we fail to keep His Word in mind, we may simply fail. In the age of Google, who still memorizes God? Are we losing a way of life… and losing our way?

What a heart knows by heart is what a heart really knows,” urges Dennis Lennon. And what the heart knows by heart is all that can calm the heart. Direct the heart. Strengthen the heart. What do our hearts really know? Will we who claim to be believers of the Word commit to shaping our lives with His Letters?

Committing the Holy to heart is the way we commune with the Holy Himself.

Scripture repetition is the way we daily revive our faith, the slow pumping of the Word of Life into the lungs with the breath of His Words.

And for the disciples of Christ, this Scripture Memorization isn’t a a one-time hurtle — but a life-long habit. A way of living to live the Way of Christ.

We want this to be a discipline we practice for the rest of our lives. Think marathon, not sprint.” writes Beth Moore. “Never — NOT ONCE — have I ever known anyone to get to the end of a Scripture memory commitment and say that it didn’t make any real difference. Not a single time.”

So this Commitment Booklet: committing our hearts to Him and His Words to heart.

Seven Ways of Highly Effective Bible Memorization*

1. Old before New

Always take the old paths. Begin each day by reviewing the memorized verses first before learning the next verse. The goal is retention not accumulation.

2. Rinse and Repeat

And again. The only way to retain learned verses is to review them again and again over an extended period of time. Everyday’s memorization rhythm: Rinse and repeat.

3. Location, Location, Location

Like the mantra in real estate is location, location, location, so it is for really remembering: memorize the location of each verse. Memorize each verse number and don’t skip it. This is paramount and makes it much easier to memorize long passages and not inadvertently skip verses when reciting whole chapters. Location!

4. Take a Mental Screen Shot

Use your mental point and shoot and take a brain “photograph” of the verse. Read each new verse several times, hiding one word at a time, burning each word into your mind like light onto film.

5. Preach it

To yourself. Speak your memory verses to yourself aloud. Preach it aloud to the soul that needs it the most — our own — and say each verse with emotion and feeling. Whispering it while driving, walking, working not only is an easy way of reviewing and memorizing, it’s fulfilling God’s call to meditate on His Word day and night. And saying each verse aloud is a way to work the words deep into our memory: His Words never return void.

6. Repeat it for 100

For 100 consecutive days repeat aloud your memory work — all the verses, or the chapter, or the whole book. This is painless and demands no extra time: do it first thing every morning while getting ready for the day — in the shower, getting dressed, making the bed etc. Repeat it for 100!

7. Sabbath Sanctuary to see the weeds

After your Repeat it for 100, take the last Sunday of every month and make a sabbath sanctuary to read through your memory work. This will help you to “see the weeds” — any mistakes that have crept into your recitation of longer projects/chapters/books. Soak in His Word on a Sabbath — pluck out some weeds. Commit your heart — and mind —- to Him again.

(*Ideas adapted from Dr. Andrew Davis)

“I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding… than memorizing Scripture… No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends…” ~Charles Swindoll

Learning the ART of Memorizing

Attend

Attend to the verse. Do whatever it takes to attend to the verse and work those brain muscles. If you have to act it out, draw it up, write it down, or tape it everywhere. Make up actions and sign-language to correspond with the verse. Listen it a recording of the book of Colossians on CD/MP3. Listen in the car, while doing dishes, going for a walk. For children: Draw the verse in pictures. Fill in the blank. Write it down several times. Close your eyes and see the words.Do whatever it takes to Attend.

Review to Renew

Repeat. Recite. Recap. Reiterate. And then…. Recite to an accountability partner weekly. Each day, take just five minutes to review verses learned last week. Learning is important…but reviewing is paramount to retention. Repeating God’s Word renews.

Tie

Tie Daily Memorizing to Daily Duties. Tie reciting to routines: when you brush teeth, comb hair, make the bed, use the time to savor His Sweet Word. Tie memorizing to meal times. Bind Scripture learning to laundry, labor and living. Tying daily memorizing to daily duties is the living of Deuteronomy 6:7: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” Tie His Word to your life. Tie.

So goes the ART of Memorizing. And our motivation to keep memorizing? “Guard my words as your most precious possession… ” Pr. 7:2 (LB) “Your promises to me are my hope. They give me strength in all my troubles; how they refresh and revive me!” (Ps. 119:49 LB)

Other memory projects online:
Memorizing Philippians by Easter (we considered this *brilliant* offering, but thought for some in our faith family, memorizing this many verses a week might be a hard start? We thought we could do two verses a week with Colossians with a schedule that covers a whole year.)

Beth Moore’s Siesta Scripture Books — just 2 verses a month

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Related Inspiration:
The Story of One Woman that will Motivate you to Memorize
Rather Memorize Colossians?
Last year’s project: Colossians in a Year: Just 2 Verses a Year

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To read the entire series of spiritual practices

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