Getting Right Thoughts from the Bible – Part 3
Scripture Memorization and Meditation
August 15 2021 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Psalm 119:48)
A. Psalm 119:48 My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes. God’s laws, and His words in this Book called the Bible
B. Scripture meditation is so mocked and ignored by the normal Christian
1. They believe they are too busy [which it isn’t – this generation is enslaved to all the wrong activities]
2. Modern Christians see Scripture meditation as just one more thing they have to do
3. So they don’t want to do it
C. Yet it is such a powerful a tool if you want to have a sound mind, and a strong heart
1. Like dynamite for a hard heart, and like a plunger on a clogged mind
2. And boy do we need some serious work on our thinking – so full of rubbish! Think of hour many thousands of hours of stupid videos and confusion, and numbing down people are going through
3. We need something better on our minds!
D. Scripture Meditation is a Lost Art
1. Professional counsellors get €250 an hour to try and help people fix what they don’t believe exists – their soul
2. But God GAVE you a Book, that is in your hands, and probably on your smartphone, that can fix what is broken inside your mind and heart
3. God gave you His words – we call them Scripture – spoken by God
4. And they were meant to NOT be only in a Book, but in every mind and heart!
5. Through two key activities: Memorization and Meditation of what God has said
E. Meditation is commanded by God (Joshua 1:8)
1. Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night… It is not a suggestion!
2. There are at least two dozen examples of people in Scripture who show us the benefit of Meditating on Scripture in the midst of very busy schedules, and troublesome times!
F. So, What’s On YOUR Mind?
G. Let’s take back what RTE and Netflix and youtube has stolen, and try and get the words of THIS Book back on all our minds!
A. What is the Right Kind of Meditation?
1. It is the organized storing away of truth, deep in our heart so that we can think on it when we need it (Psalm 119:11; Philippians 4:8)
a. “Thy word” – God’s words – all 791,328 words are God’s words
b. “Have I hid in mine heart” – memorized and meditated on until it sank deep into my heart
c. Like hiding away dishes in cupboards, or forks and spoons in a drawer – they are there, just organised and stored away in the proper places to get at when needed
d. Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
1) That is what is in the Bible
2) The context of 4:8 is protecting your heart and mind… Look at 4:7, And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
2. Scripture meditation is NOT the emptying of the mind, but the filling of it – enough to shift all the rubbish BACK (most of what you put into your mind STAYS there – you just need to push it out of the front)
a. Meditation in today’s culture is most of the time identified as something different than Christianity. The practice of meditation is usually associated with yoga, transcendental meditation, relaxation therapy, or the New Age Movement.
1) “Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” --Bruce Lee
2) “During the late nights, try to walk in the empty streets with an empty mind! The Light of wisdom will soon accompany you!” --Mehmet Murat Ilda
3) “The undisturbed mind is like the calm body water reflecting the brilliance of the moon. Empty the mind and you will realize the undisturbed mind.” --Yagyu Jubei Mitsuyoshi, an ancient Japanese Samurai
4) “An empty mind is not the devil's home but an empty mind is the home of the Buddha.” --Anandmurti Gurumaa, a self-realised master teacher of “enlightenment”
5) “Meditation gives you an opportunity to come to know your invisible self. It allows you to empty yourself of the endless hyperactivity of your mind, and to attain calmness. It teaches you to be peaceful, to remove stress, to receive answers where confusion previously reigned” --Wayne Dyer, a popular self-development teacher
6) “Empty your mind, stop thinking about anything, [and] simply be.” - Paulo Coehlo, a director, actor and writer
b. The kind of meditation taught in Scripture differs from those guys in several ways:
1) While some advocate a kind of meditation in which one empties their mind, Christian meditation involves filling your mind with God and with absolute truth.
2) For some people, meditation is an attempt to achieve complete mental rest, but biblical meditation requires constructive mental activity that rebuilds what life has broken.
3) Worldly meditation tries to get people to use visualization techniques to create your own reality.
c. But Christians do the exact opposite
1) WE meditate on things that are true (Philippians 4:8).
2) We are content with our reality until God shows us how to change it the right way
3) And we seek to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit instead of what WE lust for in this world!
B. Meditation means:
1. Meditation goes beyond hearing the Bible, reading it, and studying it.
2. It means ponder, consider, utter, groan, and muse about something you are thinking about in your heart and mind.
3. When you are contemplating, ruminating, pondering, musing, and reflecting on something while everything else around you is busy, you are actually meditating. (Like when your eyes are distant while someone is talking to you…)
4. In plain terms, it means to carefully run something through your mind, over and over again until you understand it and can trust it. Until you have looked at it from all directions. Until it affects you. Until it builds you up.
5. It is a very SANE exercise: A soldier in Vietnam was captured and placed in a 4 foot by 4 foot by 4 foot box underground for 30 days to break him. After 30 days, he was very weak and in bad health but he was smiling as they demanded him to tell where his troop was hiding. Later, all the men in the prisoner camp asked him how did he withstand the loneliness and depression. He responded that he just spent the last 30 days disassembling and reassembling his old Harley Davidson motorcycle, nut by bolt and piece by piece – in his mind.
6. It is different than just memorizing it
a. Memorizing Scripture has one purpose: to plant a verse or passage of Scripture so firmly in your mind that you can recall it whenever needed. You can see it in your mind’s eye.
b. Meditation on Scripture has a different purpose: to explore a verse or passage of Scripture until you discover the meaning and depth of what God said!
c. One records what God said in your mind – the other understands what God said in your heart.
C. Meditation is NOT for Monks, Mystics or Theologians - But for Victorious Christians
1. Reading the Bible is the beginning of a journey to a changed life - a godly life that many Christians have never found – simply because they only put out the least amount of effort: attend church, and carry their Bibles, and pray every once in a while!
2. It is a way of slowing things down enough to THINK before you speak, and compare what God has already said in the Bible with what is going on in your heart, and making decisions based upon God’s truth instead of feelings
D. How it works - "Return on Investment" (John 15:7)
1. John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
2. Spend 10 minutes a day, thinking out loud about one powerful Scripture verse for one week
3. After that week, it is planted in your mind, and starts growing and producing fruit
4. It will do the following things:
a. It will replace lies you always believed – because THIS is THE truth
b. It will give faith and hope and assurance (Romans 10:17) …faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
c. It will convict me, of sin in me (Jeremiah 17:9,10) The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
d. It will result in you and me spending quality time with our Creator - fellowship
e. It will become a mighty weapon at your fingertips against sin and temptation because you have it ready at hand and can quote it with strong faith – just as Jesus did in Matthew 4
f. It will give you Good success (Joshua 1:8) “…for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
5. Not bad for just 1 hour of your time in a week
E. So, Why should I take time and quietly Meditate on
Here 10 reasons to meditate on God’s Word:
1. To know the Words of Scripture more thoroughly and intimately (Psalm 119)
a. To Understand what God has said (Psa 119:130) The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.
b. Psa 119:98 Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they are ever with me.
c. Psa 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
d. Psa 119:100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.
2. To know God more (Isaiah 1:3)
a. Isa 1:3 The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know [ME], my people doth not consider [PONDER THEIR GOD].
3. To remember God’s love and compassion and care for His people (Psalm 48:9)
a. Psa 48:9 We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
4. To be fruitful and successful as a believer (Joshua 1:8; John 15:1-11)
5. To have depth of my faith (Romans 11:33)
a. Rom 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
6. To Conquer Satan’s Strongholds in Me (2Cor 10:5)
a. 2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
7. To Fight Sin in Me (Psalm 119:11)
a. Psalm 119:11, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
b. Ephesians 6:17, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”
c. One of the ways you and I can experience more spiritual victories is to do as Jesus did—memorize Scripture so that it’s available for the Holy Spirit to take and ignite when it is needed the most.
8. To help me Obey God – to do what God says do
a. Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein…
b. James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
c. You will fight God constantly until you have been convinced that He is right
d. And only meditating and questioning, and pondering His words and laws and commands will convince you
9. To Pray Better – knowing the will of God makes it easy to pray
10. And to Change My Mind! Make it clean and right with God! Renew it daily!
A. Start with MEMORIZATION (Deuteronomy 11:18)
1. You have to memorize Scripture to be able to meditate on it
2. The main issue with memorizing Scripture is not a lack of memory, but a lack of motivation.
a. If you know your birthday, and your address and can remember the names of family, friends, then you can memorize Scripture.
b. The question becomes whether you are willing to discipline yourself to do it.
c. A Christian does what is right – not what is easy!
3. Deuteronomy 11:18 Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. [SOME THINGS YOU CAN SEE IN YOUR MIND]
4. So, Choose one verse of Scripture to memorize
a. How do you choose?
1) From your reading (1Sam 16:7, for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.)
2) From preaching (you hear something that helps you, make it part of your thinking and believing by memorizing it)
3) From recommendations – somebody has a life verse that really excites you, memorize it yourself!
b. Just choose something!
c. Write it out on a Note card – word for word… Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
5. Carry the Scripture with you
a. Don’t leave your verses behind – take them with you
b. In your wallet, purse, in the car, at the breakfast table, in an envelope
c. You need to plan on this set of cards growing!
6. Rehearse it over and over
a. Psalm 119:16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.
b. It takes effort to memorise something – do whatever it takes!
c. Read out-loud, to yourself (Josh 1:8... shall not depart out of thy mouth)
d. Speak it out-loud to yourself - Listen to it over and over – repeat it over and over
7. Remember every word (Matthew 4:4)
a. When memorizing do not lower your standard and get only a few words right.
b. Make sure you are memorizing every word and can recite it word for word.
c. Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
d. Memorize it word for word and learn the reference, too. “John 8:31”
8. Find an accountability partner to help you in your quest to scriptural memory. Memorize with your husband, or your wife
B. MEDITATE on What You Memorized – just one Scripture at a time…
1. Memorization puts God’s words into your MIND and MEMORY
2. Meditation plants it deep in your heart
a. Deuteronomy 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart [NOT JUST YOUR MIND]
3. Ponder each word, ENGRAVING them in your heart
a. Anchoring your mind to what God said, not to what the world says, or what your HEART says!
4. The more you ponder, the more you will see in a verse – LIKE looking at rocks
5. How do you ponder?
b. Ask yourself questions about the verse
1) Who was Paul speaking to? Christians
2) What is the word he uses in the verse that should get our attention? KNOW
3) How many things in my life is God working together for good? Everything
4) What does God ask of me? To love Him, and to trust Him implicitly
5) Why does God call us “the called”? Because we are called to live and endure whatever we have to, for His perfect purpose!
c. Ask GOD what He means by what He said – He knows what He meant! There is always MORE to what God means than you think!
d. Test what it is saying
1) Does it say what I think it is saying?
2) Do I understand everything? Not always
3) Have I read the surrounding verses to understand context?
e. Believe each truth you discover – let them take root in place of fear, anger, doubts
f. Apply it to your life’s circumstances right now
g. Obey each command you find – to believe, and know and trust God!
Keep pondering throughout the
day - Allow yourself to think about
it long after you have moved on and gotten busy doing other things
(Psalm 119:97) O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.
6. It has such benefits! Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
C. Add Scriptures Each Week – don’t be like your first car, starting and stopping!
1. Memorize verses that speak to you where you are at right now.
a. Do you have a history of anger, addictions, worldliness, and things you are ashamed of? Memorize verses like 2Corinthians 5:17, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
b. Are you a stay at home mom, with young children at your feet? Meditate on verses about the peace God provides even in the midst of storms.
c. Are you a work outside the home mom who never feels like she’s good enough? Meditate on verses about the overwhelming love of God.
2. As you read your Bible, start noticing helpful passages of Scripture (Psalm 119:18) Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.
a. The Holy Spirit will guide you to what you need every time you read your Bible
b. If you’ve been struggling with your thought life, read and memorize Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
c. If discouraged... memorize John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
d. If anxious, panicky, struggling with worry… memorize Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
e. If angry… (Ephesians 4:31,32)
1) Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
2) Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
f. If bored… memorize Eccl 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
g. If tempted… memorize 1Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
h. There are 1,000’s more powerful Scriptures!
3. Have you noticed that every Sunday, we as a church attempt to memorize just one Scripture verse! If you have even just tried to memorize them, you should have hundreds stored away in your heart that you could refresh and start using in your life!
D. Review what you remember from past Scriptures
1. Keep your little pack of Scripture cards with you
2. And review them often
E. Enjoy when the Lord brings something up again in your thoughts
F. And seek for a fresh Scripture memorial when it has been lacking in your thoughts
A. There are hours and hours of instruction in this Bible on changing our minds with Scripture. Dozens and dozens of examples of people who were transformed by the truths in this Book
B. Don’t ignore what God has given you today. The longer you go with your old mind and old way of thinking, the harder it will be to change
C. That’s why God commands us to memorize AND meditate on these words
D. Store away of truth, deep in our heart (Psalm 119:11) - Fill your mind with God’s thoughts
1. Plant a verse or passage of Scripture so firmly in your mind that you can recall it whenever needed. Memorization.
2. Explore a verse or passage of Scripture until you discover the meaning and depth of what God said! Meditation
E. There is a great Return on Investment… Because you are investing God’s truth and His thoughts into your mind and heart
F. And it will change your life – guaranteed!