Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Why the SCOTUS decision means we must start memorizing our Bibles in earnest, NOW

 I never like to exhort without offering a solution. Thanks to commenters and Facebook friends, here are two FREE systems to help memorize His word.

UPDATE: Memorizing Scripture: two systems to help you- ScriptureTyper and Scripture Memory System 

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On June 26, 2015, Christians got a wake-up call. That was the day that the Supreme Court of the United States decided, extant from law or precedent, that homosexual 'marriage' should be the law of the land in all 50 states.

The news hit like a tsunami. The reactions ranged from ones of outrage and perplexity among Christians, to reactions of ebullience from homosexuals and those who applaud them.

The ramification of this decision from the highest court in the land will take time to fully reveal itself. However, initial impacts are not good. Almost immediately a polyamorous triad applied for a marriage certificate in Montana. More ominously, just as immediately, a newspaper editor declared that he will not publish letters to the editor expressing an opinion in opposition to gay marriage. Most portentously,

Christian Colleges' Right to Deny Married Housing for Gay Couples Is 'on the Edge of the Indefensible,' Rep. Barry Lynn Asserts
Americans United for Separation of Church and State announced Monday the launch of an "aggressive" initiative to combat any state or federal legislation, or court ruling seeking to protect religious objectors of same-sex marriage from government consequence for living according to their religious convictions. ... In the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on June 26 that it is unconstitutional for states to refuse issuing same-sex couples marriage licenses, the organization expects Christian conservatives to respond by introducing a plethora of bills, executive orders, regulatory and policy changes that are "designed to resist the Supreme Court's ruling."
You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (Deuteronomy 11:18).

What it's saying is that the gay mafia will put to the legal test the notion that Christian colleges cannot and should not deny same-sex couples' co-habitation at such a college. And if you're wondering why a homosexual would even bother to enroll in a Christian college, never mind bring his or her partner and spend good money fighting to live together, it's because homosexuals are disciplined, organized, and are fervently effective witnesses for satan. They go to the hostile places to witness for their demonic truths.

In the week or so since the SCOTUS ruling allowing homosexual marriage, some have begun to think about whether it is time for civil disobedience. Churches are drawing up policies and legal language articulating their position on whether their pastor will perform a homosexual wedding. Church treasurers are going over the bookkeeping accounts to see where they would stand if stripped of their tax-exempt status. Street preachers are settling in their mind how far to take submission to civil law versus speaking to what we have heard and seen, as Acts 4:18-20 says.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly ... (Colossians 3:16a)

The Banner of Truth posted a sobering article noting that the time for civil disobedience has come. They wrote that despite the clear commands of the Bible to submit to civil authorities, there are limits to that submission.
Yet the Bible itself sets limits to the submission believers owe the civil order. When some of the Old Testament kings of Israel and Judah practiced idolatry, the holy prophets, such as Isaiah and Jeremiah stood against them. In the New Testament, when the unbelieving Jewish leadership told the apostles to quit preaching the gospel, they had to disobey this unrighteous order. Listen to Acts 4:18-20:

And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.  (Psalm 40:8)

But that isn't the point of this article.

I'm worried about a greater danger. There is another ramification of the SCOTUS ruling where a confluence of events have conspired to put Christians at a disadvantage in the battle.

What?! you say? Through Christ we can do all things? Even David, seemingly defenseless against the giant Goliath, was victorious?! How can Christians now be at a disadvantage?

I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.  (Psalm 119:16)

Our battle is not against flesh and blood.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God... (Ephesians 6:10-17)

Christians are unarmed and unready for the battle because we have failed to put on the whole armor. We were warned, Paul did a good job there. But we did not heed. We have become biblically illiterate, and during a time in which bibles are seen as hate material and are increasingly being forbidden from many public places. Perhaps to be made illegal some time soon. So now we are missing an important component of the battle armor:

THE SWORD OF THE SPIRIT, THE WORD OF GOD.

US OWI WWII poster, series "Nature of the Enemy,"
response to Nazi religious book & religious material burnings
Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. (Proverbs 22:17-18)

Biblical illiteracy is at an all-time high. People don't study the word, they don't know what is in the word, they don't care. They twist the word ("Don't judge!") and thanks to football, they are just as likely to know the verse that a person can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, as they are to believe that Cleanliness is next to Godliness, and God helps those who help themselves. Neither of the last two are even in the bible.

Less than a year ago Ed Stetzer wrote in Christianity Today that "It's obvious: We are living in a post-biblically literate culture."

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21).

And now we're caught with our pants down and our mouths hanging open. I'm not talking about thoughtful writing on theological blogs or online religious news outlet articles. In those scenarios an author has time to look up a verse. I am talking about the all-important hide-in-your-heart, wide swathes of the word, to have at the mental ready when out and about. The battle, when it comes to you, will be abrupt. You might be at the Big Box Store checkout line and the lady behind you might see your cross necklace and says, "Hey! You're a Christian, why do you hate gays so much?" If you say grace at the employee cafeteria table, you might be heckled. Out of nowhere you might be involved in something and you'll WISH you had that verse you know would compassionately speak to the situation, it's on the tip of your tongue... but now you just can't remember...

And soon, very soon, it might even become illegal to publicly carry a bible, or worse, even to own one. Holding Biblical religious material may become illegal in the United States at some point. Don't think it can't happen here. Irrational hostility against Christians and Christianity has already started, as noted by the news articles posted above. Bibles and/or verses and/or Bible study are all being banned at some private homes, schools, colleges, hotels (Gideon Bibles) in the United States- before SCOTUS June 26...

So if Bibles become forbidden or illegal what then? [crickets]
Source: Voice of the Martyrs.

What happened to Wednesday night Bible Drills? To using the Bible as the basis for Sunday School Curriculum? To personal Bible study? Gone. Gone. Gone.

Pastors do everything BUT preach the word, busy families shuttle kids to every kind of practice BUT family devotionals. Taking time to study the Bible and not books about the bible is simply unheard of. And we will pay for that.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. (Hosea 4:6)

Look at what happened to the church at Ephesus. Sometime between 60 and 62AD, Paul wrote to the saints at that church, saying

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers
, (Ephesians 1:16-17).

Paul was effusive and enthusiastic in praising them for their faith and love.

The next time we hear of the Ephesian church it is in Revelation, written about 95-96 AD.

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent (Revelation 2:4-5)

Jesus praises the Ephesians for their enduring patience, good works, and hatred of evil. But it counted for nothing, nothing, because they had lost their first love. Their good works counted for nothing, their patience counted for nothing, not even their pure doctrine counted. They had abandoned their first love, THAT was what mattered. What was that love? Jesus. What keeps that love aflame? Being with Him in His word. The Head of the Church said "I have this against you..." And it took less than 40 years for that church to lose their love.

What was Jesus' command for a remedy?

Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. (Revelation 2:5)

1. Remember
2. Repent
3. Do the works you did at first

What were those works? The very ones Paul commended 40 years earlier and the very same works which characterized the early church; devotion to prayer, worship and rich bible study.

Without the sword of the Lord, we are defenseless against the wiles of the devil. And that is no good place to be. Today people won't read the Bible. Soon it may be that they can't read the Bible.

So here is my exhortation:

Personally read and study the bible. Not a devotional or a book or a curriculum or a study. THE BIBLE.

Make an effort to memorize verses. I fail miserably at this, so I am preaching to myself. We don't know how long it will be until we are banned from carrying or displaying religious material in public, nor how long it will be until we are prohibited from even owning a bible, but it is hard is to fan the flames of faith without His word as the bellows. Have it ready in your heart and mind. Some of the verses urging us to do just that are listed on this essay from top to bottom.

Be diligent about studying with your children. Not just studying, memorizing. We do not know how long the Lord will tarry, but the next generation must have the Word at the ready in their hearts and minds in order to witness because access to biblical material may be too risky to obtain. Our mind may be all that we can carry.

Think about starting a memorization Bible Drill program at your church or homeschool group or after-school club. This one in Ohio is typical. There is one in just about every state, with levels that progressively lead to age-appropriate competitions. It can be modified for adults, like this one in Georgia.

Start NOW. Today.

Don't go to battle without your sword. No good soldier would leave it dusty beside the campfire. No good policeman would go out without his gun, club, radio, handcuffs, etc. Don't leave yourself defenseless in these times, times in which persecution is knocking at the door and is even beginning. Memorize, memorize, memorize.

Because if you think it won't happen here I am sad to say it won't be long before you are proven wrong. And I do not believe I am being a scare-mongering inflammatory sky is falling nutcase about this.

Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.  (Amos 8:11)

Bible verse memorization has a two-fold purpose. It keeps the person memorizing them in a good and holy position so they may not sin against God, and it allows that person to witness on the spot or in places where bibles are forbidden or hard to come by, and to teach others to the truth of the Living God, coming again in glory to judge the quick and the dead.

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)


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Further Reading

Why is Bible memorization important?

Is Bible memorization important? Why?

Personal Bible study

Blog series: How to Study the Bible 

2 comments :

  1. I really appreciated this post, Elizabeth. What you said about reading books ABOUT the Bible and not THE Bible is an area where I believe a lot of deception takes place. I am very grateful that God gave me a great increase in desire to simply open His Word and begin reading it prior to any book written by a human. The power of this began to work very quickly in my life and I began to detect what was wrong in the Bible studies I had been attending with women at church. I am very thankful for resources like your blog which point me to solid, God-loving men who have sermons and books to help me understand the Bible when I need to go beyond what is in the text in front of me.

    Also, here is a very simple suggestion for memorizing Scripture that we saw demonstrated at a recent Teach Them Diligently homeschooling conference. All you need is a Bible, some index cards and an index card box plus about 5 minutes per day:

    https://simplycharlottemason.com/timesavers/memorysys/

    May we not go one day without being in the Word, Christians! Not that this will save us but BECAUSE He saved us!

    Melissa

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  2. Great warning Elizabeth. Biblical illiteracy IS at an all-time high and some who think they are Christians are not ready for the battle.

    The “Big Box” churches of Rick Warren, Perry Noble, Bill Hybels, Joel Osteen have completely undermined the Gospel of Jesus Christ and followers of these people are probably the most terrified right now. At least I hope they are.

    The WORST thing that has ever happened in the church is to have women placed in positions of authority, whether in the pulpit or running the show behind the scenes of a weak pastor. It makes sense that Satan would use this strategy first. Genesis 3:1-6. Eve was deceived first, then she convinced Adam to disobey God. Why change tactics eh? Christ gave the disciples the command to lead the church here on earth. The disciples were MEN, not women. Christ is the bridegroom, we are the bride. Christ is fully God, fully MAN, not woman, therefore having a woman be the head at the church played right into the devil’s plan and confusion ensued. More subtle was the introduction of a corrupt relationship of what a true marriage is – Man & Woman (Bridegroom/Bride). When you see a woman standing at the pulpit you see a player in Satan’s army – a principality of spiritual wickedness, at your service, literally. When women were allowed to stand where a man was rightfully supposed to stand and handle God’s Word in the church it was a hop, skip and a jump to launch the homosexuals into the pulpit.

    Now Satan is having a field day. His days are numbered. He and his demons know it won’t be long before they also will spend an eternity in hell away from God and they are only getting started. The battle is fierce and will get fiercer. Romans 13:12

    Israel's Unfaithfulness in Judges 2:11-23 clearly speaks to us today. How many times have the longsuffering and mercy from God shown us grace upon grace after we repeatedly abandon Him and follow other gods. The LORD says He “will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them.” That’s where we are at.

    YES, study Scripture and even if you specialize in one book or more, others who make up the body of Christ will specialize in another book(s). We are not alone in this, nor can we remain alone. Time to come together as true brothers & sisters in the body of Christ working together. One person specializes in Ephesians, another Galatians, another Judges, etc.

    Betty Davis couldn’t have said it better:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKHUGvde7KU

    As you have rightfully said Elizabeth -we were warned.

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