SALLY’S SAMPLER- A New Year’s Challenge by Sally Bair

The New Year has rushed in like a torrent. Am I ready for it? Are you? Have you made any New Year’s resolutions yet? Taken stock of the past year to see where you improved on or succeeded (or, heaven help us, failed) some of your goals? I’m here to share that I’ve done some of both.

Physically, I’ve managed to lose about 15 pounds simply by cutting carbs. My biggest failure, however, was in trying to drink more water. Oh, I know the benefits of drinking at least eight glasses a day, but still fail to do so. Socially, in spite of spending a hugely busy summer and fall marketing my books, I managed to keep up with a modicum of social activities. Actually, living in a complex of apartments, I find it easy to meet and greet others between my sit-down tasks of writing. Guess I won’t need to add new resolutions in that part of my life.

Mentally? I’ve decided I border on having Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD. My brain seems to work overtime day and night. Here I am already thinking ahead to restarting a writer’s editing group, teaching another series of classes in memoir writing, and expanding my speaking ministry. Besides thanking the Lord for my good health at age 82, sometimes I ask Him if He wants to keep me here on earth another 20 years! That would put me over 100 years, but I’m not complaining. Meanwhile, I’m starting to write yet another book.

How about spiritually? One big failure in my list of resolutions came through my laziness—or perhaps busyness—in rememorizing Bible verses. So for 2019 I’ve promised myself and the Lord that I’ll strive to learn three a week. Already I’ve made a plan, with input from the Holy Spirit’s nudging, and am three verses ahead. Yay! God is good.

Let me share my memorizing Scripture history with you. After high school graduation, I attended a Bible school for two years, which entailed lots of memorization. Fast forward about 30 years, during which time I spent too many years away from the influence of the Church and God’s Word, to the year I renewed my faith and took a two-year discipleship course with The Navigators. It, too, entailed lots of memory work, as did one more discipleship program I took later. I followed that by partnering with another believer whom I met weekly for a couple years to be accountable in keeping up with our memorization. Then she moved, which meant I moved away from our wonderful and profitable times together.

It’s past time for me to get moving and take advantage of my borderline ADD to help me refill my mind and heart with God’s holy and living Word. Here are a few good benefits of memorizing His Word, benefits I’ve discovered and you can too:

  • Helps us overcome worry. Did you know there are 365 places in the Bible that tell us to “fear not” or not to worry? That’s one for each day!
  • Gives us victory over sin. Psalm 119:11 says, “Your Word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Every time we’re tempted, we can easily pluck one of the verses we’ve memorized to pull us back on track, whether it’s a physical temptation or social one that can lead us to believe in non-Christian philosophies, etc.
  • Makes us confident about sharing our faith. From experience, I found this true many, many times. As I filled my mind with verses, they came to mind at the perfect times when I interacted with people.
  • Transforms our mind. The more Scripture we learn, the faster our mind conforms to God’s wisdom and helps us avoid negative thoughts.
  • Shows us what God’s will is for us. This works especially during times we’re forced to make instant decisions.
  • Helps us understand other Scripture.

If I can memorize at my age, you surely can. Good books are available to help you learn how to memorize God’s Word. I find Tim LaHaye’s book, How to Study the Bible for Yourself,” helpful. And nowadays you can find good material online. If you want more info, please let me know. I’ll be delighted to help you start on a new, life-changing habit. So I end my sampler with a challenge:

Will you resolve to memorize Scripture this year? You’ll be blessed out of your socks if you join me in this holy discipline.