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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Levi Lusko » Levi Lusko - Using Scripture Memorization to Pierce the Shadows

Levi Lusko - Using Scripture Memorization to Pierce the Shadows

Levi Lusko - Using Scripture Memorization to Pierce the Shadows
TOPICS: Northern Lights, God's Word

If you do have a Bible, turn with me to the Book of James. That's in the New Testament, Book of James. If you have YouVersion and you can pick what version, we're going to be in the New King James version. So you want to make your way to James, chapter 1, the New King James version. And normally, we say if you don't have your Bible with you, we're going to put them on the screen. But today, we're not going to put the verses on the screen. So I want you to have your own Bible. If you have a phone you can Google James 1, New King James version. Even if you don't have the Bible with you or downloaded on your device, you can Google that crap, man. Not that the Bible is crap, but the search is that crap. That googling. You there? You get to James chapter 1? Yeah. All right:

James, a bond servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. To the 12 tribes, which are scattered abroad, greetings. My brethren, count it all joy, when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach. But let him ask in faith with no doubting. For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. For he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. Let the lowly brother glory in his exaltation, but the rich in his humiliation. Because as a flower of the field, he will pass away. For no sooner has the sun risen with a burning heat, then it withers the grass. Its flower falls, and its beautiful appearance perishes. So the rich man also, will fade away in his pursuits.

Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when has been approved he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those who love him. And let no one say when he is tempted, "I'm tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin. And sin, when it is full grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of his own will, he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore, lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness, the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he's like a man observing his face in a mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it and is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, but does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the father is this to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly, a man with gold rings and fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You, sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or "Sit here at my footstool," have you not shown partiality among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen my beloved brethren, has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? If you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. You do well. But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever shall keep the whole law and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. For he who said do not commit adultery also said, do not murder.

Now, if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak. And so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. What does it profit, my brethren? If someone says, he has faith, but does not have works, can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, depart in peace. Be warmed and filled. But you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

But someone will say, well you have faith, and I have works. Show me your faith without your works. And I will show you my faith by my works. You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble. But do you want to know, o foolish man, that faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead? Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by faith his works were made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled. Abraham believed God. And it was accounted to him for righteousness. And he was called the friend of God. You see then, that a man is justified by works and not by faith only.

Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he's a perfect man, able also, to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits and horses mouths, that they may obey us. And we turn their whole body. Look also, at ships. Although they are so large and driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so, the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

See how great a forest, a little fire kindles. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members, that it defiles the whole body, sets on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea is tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil full of deadly poison. With it, we bless our God and father. And with it, we curse men who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives or a grapevine, bear figs? Thus, no spring yields both salt water and fresh.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct, that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom did not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits without partiality and without hypocrisy.

Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure, that war in your members you lust and do not have? You murder, and covet, and cannot obtain. You fight and war, yet you do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive. Because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore, wants to be a friend of the world, makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the scripture says in vain, the spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously? But he gives more grace.

Therefore he says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil. And he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners. And purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament, and mourn, and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you're not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one law giver who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

Come now, you who say, today or tomorrow, we shall go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell and make a profit. Whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or do that. But now, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. Come now, you rich. Weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches are corrupted. And your garments are moth eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded. And their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire.

Indeed, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out. And the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury. You have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the just. He does not resist you. Therefore, be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the Earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the judge is standing at the door. My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed, we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord, that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful. But above all, my brethren, do not swear either by heaven or by Earth or with any other oath. But let your yes be yes and your no no, lest you fall into judgment. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing Psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church. And let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick. And the Lord will raise him up.

And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another. And pray for one another, that you may be healed The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. And he prayed earnestly, that it would not rain. And it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again. And the heavens gave rain. And the earth produced its fruit. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his ways will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

This is God's words. And the title of the message I want to preach to you is Using Scripture Memorization to Pierce the Shadows, Using Scripture Memorization to Pierce the Shadows. Back in 2021, I preached a sermon in a part of a series that was about what we can do until Jesus comes back. It was like 10 things to do until Jesus comes back was the outline, or something like that. And one of them was the power of scripture memorization, that to get our hearts ready for Jesus to come back, because behold the judge is sitting at the door, it would be great to have a bunch of scripture hidden. And I used this line. I said, "So many of us, we know more Drake lyrics than we do Bible verses. And if we're followers of Jesus, it's not right, right"?

And my wife, hearing that line, goes man, I'm going to memorize a new verse. So she was about to have a birthday. And she said in this year, she was 40. She's been open about her age. So I'm not breaking any new here. She said, "I'm 40, Psalm 40, I'm going to memorize Psalm 40". I was so impressed. She actually did it one time on our podcast. Someone said something about Bible verses. She said all of Psalm 40. And I was like, wow, that's longer than any scripture I've ever memorized. And I know a lot of verses from over the years, that I have either memorized intentionally or just through repetition or clinging to in hard times. But I'd never really given myself over to anything like that.

And just listening to her, it was so inspiring. Then we went to Miami. And while we were in Miami, we got invited by our friends Rich and DawnChere Wilkerson to come to an event they were doing. It was called VOUS Girl. And me and Rich were like the only two guys in the whole room. It was a women's night. And DawnChere Wilkerson gave this unbelievable message. And halfway through her message, she told a story about this woman here on the screen Fanny Crosby. An absolute monster of a woman of God, who never got to see in her entire life. That's because right after she was born, it was discovered she had an infection of some sort in her eyes. And the doctor was out of town.

And so, they had this other guy, who was traveling through. He said he was a doctor, but was guilty of all kinds of malpractice. And he told them to do something for her eyesight that could help her. And because they followed this doctor's advice, she completely lost 100% of vision in both eyes, never could see. And she gave her life to Christ and gave herself over to study scripture. And because she couldn't like you or me, sit down and open a Bible to read it, she could only hang onto it as much as someone else would say to her. And see, she so clung to the words being given to her, she memorized as much of God's word as she could.

In fact, she went on in her lifetime to memorize the entire Pentateuch, that's the entire book of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. She memorized in totality, all four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as well as the entirety of the Book of Proverbs, the Song of Solomon, and had worked her way through a number of the Psalms before she went home to be with Jesus. And having so much of God's word in her heart so unlocked her calling because she was an absolute phenom when it came to melody. And she could get melodies stuck in her head. And then because she had such a vast treasure of God's word at her disposal, she was able to weave scripture into hymns, into worship songs for the church. And in the course of her life, she wrote 8,000, excuse me, 8,000 different hymns, sometimes composing as many as six or seven hymns in a single day.

And this spirit of worship so marked her life that she never developed a victim's mentality. I mean, think about how easy it would be to literally know the name of the person responsible for you living your life blind. And yet, she never had a trace of thoughts of revenge towards this person. She was at age 8, sitting down writing a poem one day. And her poem was sort of a way of her reflecting her spirit of forgiveness that she held in her heart. And I want to read a line of it. She wrote, "How many blessings I enjoy that other people don't, to weep and sigh because I'm blind, I cannot. And I won't".

At age 8, she focused more on what she had been given than what had been taken away from her. Someone once said, but Fanny, come on, be honest. If we could wave a wand over you and you had your vision back, you would want that. So all this, what I have in Christ is better, and her response was this. "If I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind. For when I die, the first face I ever will see will be the face of my blessed Savior". And so, we're sitting, listening to this. And Jennie had already been kind of scheming and planning. It was the end of 2022. She was kind of thinking about what she was going to do.

And so she said, I'm going to try and memorize a whole book of the Bible next year. Do you want to go with me? And I like to think of was Fanny. And I had never undertaken anything like that. And so, I said, I did. And I'm telling you something, that decision, what we picked was the Book of James. And we started in earnest in February. And it's been the last 7 months that after I had my quiet time before my work day begins, I'll just give a little bit over to it, just a little bit at a time, like a little ant, grabbing one grain of sand, one grain of sand. And so what I just tried to show you was not my attempt to flex on you by any means. In fact, I didn't memorize it with the intention of it ever being something I would do in a sermon. But I'm telling you something. It's like, the big idea, you know how like there's big ideas to sermons sometimes?

Here's my big idea. The Bible is amazing. And it's really, really, really helpful to have it hidden in your heart. That's like, my big novel takeaway truth. It has changed my heart and changed my life to have a large section of it, I mean, large from my standards. Fanny's like, oh yeah, well, that's cute. That's cute. You got the Book of James. Way to go, slugger. One of these days, right? But for me, it's been so incredibly helpful. And as we were praying through what we would communicate in August and this theme of the Northern Lights, which we'll talk more about it in the days to come, you know, this, they call it the Aurora Borealis. Which is only what you call it if you're in the north.

If you're in the south, there's the Southern Lights, which is Aurora Australis. It has a different name down there. But if you've seen, if you've been so fortunate to see it, to see the glowing lights in the sky and the shimmering and the shaking and the cascading splendor of it, then you have been to a dark place. You don't get to see the Northern Lights, except for if you've been to dark places. And where we're going to anchor our hearts in these messages for these weeks this summer is in Isaiah Chapter 45:3 verse 3, which is God speaking. He says, "I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name am the God of Israel".

And I just love, I love that the Aurora Borealis this treasure of a wicked of a dark place, this secret that comes only when you get to a place of darkness is so much like what God wants to speak into and breathe into our hearts. You've got to go out of your way to see those Northern Lights. You have to prioritize being in lonely places, in dark places. Because you don't see them. You don't see them in Florida. There's no Northern Lights over Disney World. I mean, like 1989, I think there was a time when it just went gangbusters. But for the most part, you don't see them at the equator. You have to go to the extremes. You have to get out of your way. So there's a benefit then, to being in those dark places.

A little bit of science, just as we kind of begin, and we'll talk more about it and unlock it a little bit. But some of the science behind the Auroras is phenomenal. It actually begins with the sun, this average-sized star that we spend every year orbiting around, that is 14 million degrees Fahrenheit, at its corona, which is its crown, which is its hottest part of it. And it's so hot, I mean, you can't even fathom 14 million degrees. But it's 93 million miles away. And yet, that's how we get our warm summer. And yet, they're so violent, the reactions and the storms and the solar flares and all of these things happening in such intense heat, that there are literally like nuclear bomb-sized reactions going off on the sun regularly.

And when they happen on a large scale, we refer to those as solar storms. Because out of these reactions, out of these explosions and detonations in this heat, can come ejections, ejections of coronal mass. And you can have literally a million tons of plasma, which is the fourth state of matter, which is basically gas that has an electric charge running through it. A million tons, even just in a second, can come off the sun in one of these eruptions. And solar winds can take it away from the surface of the sun at 5 million miles an hour. And going that fast, all of this matter that's come from the sun because of these solar storms that break out, they get to Earth, even though it's 93 million miles, it only takes them 18 hours to get here, if you can believe that.

And yet, thanks be to God. They don't hit the Earth, for the most part. They can't. Because God has so designed our planet with this molten iron core, that it produces a magnetic field as it spins and wobbles on its axis around this perfectly designed solar system, in through the Perseids every August. So we can lift our eyes and just see shooting stars through the sky, which is us going through space debris that's burning up on entry into our atmosphere. But as this, imagine, now we're back to the million tons of plasma making its way, all of this that would hit the Earth, it's stopped in its tracks by what they call a magnetic shield, a magnetic field.

So you have all this iron core spinning around molten. And so, it produces this field, which is why you open up a compass, which has a magnet inside of it. And where does it point? North. Does it? Because what happens when you take a North Pole of a magnet and a North Pole of a magnet and try and push them together? They repel each other. But if you flip it around and take the South Pole of a magnet and touch it to the North Pole of a magnet, what happens? They attract. So I don't want to get too technical. But when you open your compass, you're actually pointing towards the South Pole of our planet, not the North. We just named it badly. But that's a different sermon for a different day. But all of this million tons of plasma in these solar winds, they get towards the earth. But they can't go to it. They don't get through to us because the magnetic field pushes them away.

So what do they do? They go to where the poles are the weakest, where the magnetic field is the weakest at the poles. That's the only spot of entry where it can actually really get through on a typical day. And there, you have the electrons and the protons coming into our atmosphere and interacting and creating dynamic change because of the nitrogen and the oxygen that's in our atmosphere. And the result of it is photons. And photons release light, as they are changed in their state in the sky. And if it's dark, that means green. That means blue. That means pink. That means browns. That means the shimmering show in the sky that people, for a very long time, have tried to figure out.

The leading theory in Norway was for a long time that it was the road to Asgard being revealed. And that's how Thor is going to get us back to dad. And they're like, oh gosh, Thor is up to something today. And in Finland, the prevailing theory was that whenever they showed up, that meant that Michael the Archangel and Beelzebub were duking it out in the sky. And it was the contrails left from their cosmic angelic demonic fight. It turns out it's much weirder. The sun was just belching. I mean, just who knew? And so that's how it happens. And we can predict it because of the 18 hours when there's a solar flare and a winds coming, you can kind of, with some degree of certainty, track such things, and know they're probably likely to be here and get to a place where you have your best possible chance of seeing them, the treasures of darkness.

And one of the treasures that is waiting for you if you get to a place where you're open to God revealing himself to you, will come through your prioritizing a memorization and a valuing of scripture as a treasure. And I really do believe, this can help you pierce the shadows in your life. Now, what's going to follow is literally from my journal. I sat down with my journal and just wrote down some things that I've noticed and observed that have helped me to pierce the shadows as a result of having more of God's word available to me without having to have the Bible in front of me. And this could be a whole lot longer of a sermon. Because actually, there's an entire chapter in the Bible dedicated to what I'm trying to do in the sermon.

And it's the longest chapter in the Bible, Psalm 119 176 verses broken down into 22 beautiful stanzas that each begin with the 22 letters in the correct order of the Hebrew alphabet. It would be as though you wrote this beautiful treatise of a poem. And each of the paragraphs began with A, B, C, D, all the way to our 26 letters. Well, the Hebrew alphabet has 22. And so, the 22 stanzas all begin with those letters that correspond to the Hebrew alphabet. And each stanza has as its aim and its intent, to help you and I understand and discover what can happen if we learn to esteem God's word, to value God's word, and to so choose to value it that through repetition and intentional focus and practice, we would hide it in our hearts like the treasure that it is...

And I've just, honestly, I'm just more embarrassed how little I know of God's word, compared to how important it is and how long I've been following Jesus. My family has been watching rewatching the Batman movies lately. We got to Batman Forever, Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones. I know every line in that movie. I swear to you, I could repeat the entirety of that movie to you. And my takeaway from that was, thank God for Christopher Nolan who saved Batman, and how little that has helped and enhanced my life, to have those words tucked away, and yet how powerful and how strengthening it is. So here's my seven takeaways from having more of God's word hidden in my heart, that has been like the Auroras opened up over me.

Number one, benefit is likeness to Jesus. We got to start here. We want to be like Jesus. That's the goal. Literally, the purpose of our Christian life, we've been brought in by the Holy Spirit. If we've trusted Christ for his finished work on the cross, his Resurrection, and then in the Christian life, our goal is to become like him and to have that image of God that we were given at creation fully expressed and realized. It's always going to be imperfect. It's always on this earth, anyhow. We're going to still need more work. We're all going to be works in progress, all the way there. But our goal is to become like Jesus.

Well, here's a very practical way that you can be more like Jesus. Hide God's word in your heart, and memorize it. Jesus constantly quoted scripture. In fact, throughout his earthly ministry, he quoted from 24 different books of the Old Testament, all in, 180 times. And we can say with some reliable degree of certainty what his favorite book of the Bible, the Book of Psalms. He quoted from the Psalms more than he quoted from any other book. And so, Jesus's life was based on God's word. Literally, he would stop at times and go, whoa, I can't do that. It's not God's plan yet. And then he would do something. Why did you do that? Because I have to fulfill the righteousness. He let God's work set the pace for his life. And he was able to do so no matter where he was, because it was hidden in his heart.

You see Jesus and the disciples just walking around. And he's quoting the Old Testament from memory. How did that happen? Well, Mary and Joseph were a part of that. They were teaching him God's word, bringing him to synagogue. The Bible says, that ever since he was a little boy, he made it his habit and custom to be together with God's people on the day of the week where they came together for instruction from scripture. And then they would recite it. Because God's word said as you walk around, leaving church, you should be talking about what you learn. You should be remembering it and memorizing it. Jesus made God's word a regular part of his life. And he prioritized it. And so if we want to be like him, we should as well.

Secondly: what going to happen if you prioritize scripture reading to pierce the shadows? You'll have uninterrupted access to tools for trials and temptations, uninterrupted access. We live in an era, where we're, like, I was talking with a friend the other day. Because I was like, well, what do you use when you write books? And then we were talking about Microsoft Word versus Pages we were talking about Dropbox versus Google Drive. And at some point in the conversation, the statement was made, I don't need to know it, because I can always find it. I can always Google. It I can always pull out my YouVersion. And there's almost this mentality, I have my brain in my pocket now.

And so what do I need to memorize or learn anything? Because I can always ask Alexa, how many teaspoons there are in a cup. And there's some definite drawbacks that come from that. And if you don't have anything stored for offline viewing, because some of us have been in hikes where we should have downloaded the map, but we didn't. And we're like, dang, I'm a little internet-dependent. But let me ask you a question. How is Jonah able to quote from the Book of Psalms while he's in the belly of the whale? And what happens when you get into predicaments, when you don't have time to look in the concordance and find a chapter and verse, and you're like oh, dang, I don't even know where to begin here, you need to have it hidden in you for it to come out of you.

Jesus faced 40 days in the wilderness. And every time the devil attacked him, do you know what he used? The sword of the spirit, which is the word of God, responding to the devil. Fool, it is written. I'm not going to do what you're telling me to do, because this is what the Bible says. And he was quoting the scripture. Why would he do that? Because it's the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. You are in a battle constantly, facing battles. The enemy is coming against you. Work, it's a battle. Your battle is not against flesh and blood. It's against spiritual principalities and powers and in heavenly places. And the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. They are mighty for pulling down strongholds in Jesus's name.

But you can't use the thoughts and opinions of people and react with the world wisdom and win those battles that you're facing. You need to have a weapon. You need to have a sword. And you need to have that ready for offline viewing even, when your soul is in Airplane mode, that you have it hidden in your heart so you have access to the weapons, but also the tools. Scripture says that God's word is a hammer. It's a toolbox. It's an armory. And we need to have those different tools and be ready with them and be good with them, so that in season and out, we can use them.

Proverbs 7, "Bind them on your fingers. Write them on the tablet of your heart. Let my commandments be kept by you and live. Keep my law as the apple of your eye". Can we really say we prioritize it, we value it, we esteem it, if we have more Taylor Swift memorized than we do David and Paul and Esther and these words that came from the mouth of God? Because this is a book written by God. It's his breath on a page. And it can save your soul, and no other words can do that. We need uninterrupted access in those dark moments. And if you found yourself in a cave, if you found yourself in a car accident in a ditch, we need to have the ability, with God's word in our heart, for it to come out.

Number three: I love God's word because you find in it, a recalibration of your inner compass, recalibration of your inner compass. There's a sense in which there's always the need to be grounded, always the need. We get all emotional. We get all in our feelings. We get all triggered or whatever you want to say. And there's just something about God's word that just brings us back to True North. This brings us back to base. It brings us back to being comfortable in our own skin as he made us to be.

God's word, when I would... whether I was on a hike or whatever I was, I would just take the time and just begin to speak God's word, speaking it over my life. I would always get to the end of it and just take note of how I felt in that moment. I felt more calm, I felt tranquility, I felt a greater sense of peace. Because I'm reminding myself when I speak God's word, who I am, who I really am, where I'm going. Because we get all bothered by what's happened in this little thing. And oh, they forgot us. And they snubbed us. And they betrayed. But that's all little stuff compared to eternity, compared to forever. And when we get our bearings once again and the sense and the majesty and the scope, and we're seated in heavenly places, and our God goes before us, and he's using these hard times to hone us and to shape us, it causes you to see like OK, hold on.

I'm good, we're good, you're good. We can do this it. Recalibrates your inner compass. I love that Psalm 119 says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet, a light to my path". We need to stop. They say when you get lost, one of the first things you do is calm down, get your bearings, assess. What do you have? What's the right move? Don't just act in your panic state. And God's word is able to do that. "When you roam," Proverbs 6, "God's word will keep you. When you sleep, they will keep you". They lead you and keep you. They will "when you awake, speak with you, for the commandments of lamp and the law a light, reproofs of instruction, are the way of life".

I can't tell you, in the course of my life, like in yours, no doubt, where I've had me some scary 1 AMs, some fearful 2 AMs, some anxious 3 AMs. And I have absolutely loved taking note of how I'm feeling. Oh, that's interesting. James, a bond servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ to the 12 tribes. I have never made it to Chapter 3 one time. I have never made it to Chapter 3. Because somewhere around 2 and 1/2, I'm like, it all sort of diffuses and melts back down. And I feel like part of it, I don't have like any degree to be able to prove this to you is, our whole prefrontal cortex, our fight, flight, freeze response, that all is going on. And we get all locked up in there. And something that's locked in your memory, and I'm not talking about your working memory, like you crammed for a test for two days memory, and you're going to forget it by next Thursday.

But stuff that you've really, like for me, where I was working on James 1 and 2 was February and March, that stuff's in my Indiana Jones Ark of the Covenant storage. You know what I'm saying? And as long as I keep up on it, I can reasonably expect to hang on to it. And so, there's some different part of your brain that a long, memorized sequence taps you into, that after you come out of living in it for 15 to 17 minutes, for me, in this case, Fanny Crosby was probably the most peaceful, tranquil girl in the world. How long does it take Luke? You know, it's like the entirety of the genealogies, this girl sitting in the Pentateuch, the peace and the calm and the sense of we're good. There's just, there's something about it.

Number four: appreciation for the bigger picture and subtle nuances of scripture, The letters specifically, so let's talk Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, these were letters. And the way they would be received when they came into town, someone's like, oh my gosh, Paul wrote us a letter, Colossae. Everyone come in. Someone stood up and read the thing. And so the way it was originally received would have been like you guys sat there hearing this letter from James to Christians who are going through difficult circumstances, who need to be told, hey it's good. God's coming, he's got this, he hasn't forgotten about you.

Don't freak out, don't do anything stupid. And receiving it as a letter as such, you get different nuances. Because I've had bits in horses' mouths, and pray for the sick, and some hand-picked cherry picked pieces of it memorized for a very long time. But to see it and kind of sense the whole movement of the story, I feel like I'm getting both the 30,000 foot forest view, but then also I'm like, wait a minute. You use double-minded up there. You brought double-minded back around over here, this allusion to nature.

And then whenever he would say therefore and what he was establishing in this argument and sort of this way he wanted them to feel before he would bring it back around there, I just have a whole different level of appreciation, both for the supernatural aspect of God's spirit moving through the people who wrote it, but also the fact that God used the human agency of messed up broken normal people. James didn't believe in Jesus's entire earthly ministry and tried to talk him out of it and shut him down. He did not, in fact, believe his brother was the Messiah until he rose from the dead, which I, quite frankly, get. What would it take for you to believe your sibling is God incarnate, a resurrection at the very least? But I have a better appreciation for the artistry of his penmanship and what he wrote, but also how God used him.

Number five: a strengthening of your mental muscles. This is a power and a byproduct of scripture memorization that is transferable to other areas of your life. In fact, I'll just put it like I wrote down in my journal. I was like, I feel like I've gotten better at remembering things. I feel like I am better at memorizing things because I focused so much energy on doing what I can easily Google. I didn't need to do that. I have it in there. But I chose to do it.

And I feel like I'm just, man, I feel like I'm a bit snappier when it comes to remembering things. So I googled it... does memorizing a bunch of crap make you better at memorizing other crap? And I came across this page that said, yes. Your memory can get stronger, your memory can get healthier, your memory can become sharper, your memory can become more energetic. And you can develop a greater neurological flexibility, which then becomes, in subsequent days, easier the more you remember later. And I will say for me, I felt like the space shuttle leaving the earth, so much fuel getting off the ground. But I did feel like my mind was more ready, like, oh, I see what we're doing here. And I have found that to be the case in my life. And I like it.

Number six: reshaping of the substance of your life. Why should we give ourselves over to memorizing scripture to pierce the shadows? Because it will reshape the substance of your life. We, my dad and I, went fishing a while back in Valles Caldera in New Mexico, near Jemez. And they were telling us, I was interested that this whole plane was carved by a glacier, which is much like of course, Glacier National Park, and thinking about the forces of some massive thing, a mile high, moving through, just changing tundra, creating valleys, carving out rivers, literally leaving mountains in its wake. This is God's word, the effect that it has when it's given its proper place in your life.

Scripture says, "I will look on this one, who has a humble heart and trembles at my word". That's not like, oh yeah, God's word, oh yeah, the Bible, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, I know some verses. But when there's a sense of like whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, this came out of your mouth, I'm going to esteem it more than my necessary food. Man shall not live just by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. You cannot treat his word that way and not be different and then not have what your life looks like changed by it.

In fact, Isaiah, I love this. It says in Isaiah 55, we just read this last week in our Crown of the Year. "As the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways. My thoughts are higher than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so it is, with my word that goes out from my mouth, it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song before you. And all the trees of the field will clap their hands".

And then check this out, "Instead of the thornbush, we'll grow the pine tree. And instead of briers, the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed". Do you hear what he's saying? He's saying he's going to take the thorny and the useless and the poisonous and the uninhabitable parts of your life, and he's going to, as you allow the glacier of his word to move across the topography of your heart, the very substance of who you are is going to change. And now all of a sudden, you have pine trees. And you have plants that are good for fruit.

This is why Psalm 1 talks about the man who just does what his culture tells him to do. And he just talks like, Tik Tok talks and values what the world values. And it's the next Netflix show and the next whatever, cancel culture moment, outrage thing over here. And it says, he's just going to end up being like a scrubby sagebrush tumbleweed, gathered in the fall to be burned in the burn pile. But the man who treasures God's word like a river and plants himself there, this man's going to be like a tree with a rope swing with children swinging, frolicking with joy, full of fruit in every single season. His leaf shall not wither. What he does shall not fail. He's been changed. We can be changed from grace to grace and from glory to glory. It reshapes the very substance of your life.

And then within it, seventh and lastly, I'm a child of the 80s. So you have to put your Nintendo Entertainment System hat on to hear this. There are cheat codes for protection and blessing in the Bible. That's just how I feel about it. I remember the day when I was told in Super Mario 1, you could jump up on this thing and go over here. And all of a sudden, there's these pipes that can just warp you to level 5 and level 6 and level 7. And man, I was so excited about that. Because there's a cheat code. There's a hack. There's a better way to do this. There's a different way through this. The one who authored the system put in some Easter eggs that can optimize the system. And that is exactly what we have here. We have in this book, cheat codes. There's no other way to put it than that, for blessing and for protection.

In fact that's why in Joshua 1:8, we're told, "The Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night". Meditate, think cow. They eat, they swallow, they regurgitate, they chew some more. They eat, they swallow, they keep moving it from stomach to stomach to stomach. They're not just like oh yeah, just eat the Big Mac. It's the sense of I'm savoring, and I'm marinating it. And I'm getting everything out of this grass. All available nutrients, I'm getting. I'm chewing on the cud, meditating on God's word 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 good success.

Pastor Chuck Swindoll once said, "I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding than memorizing scripture". No other single exercise pays greater spiritual dividends. Your prayer life will be strengthened. Your witnessing will be sharper and much more effective. Your attitudes and your outlook will begin to change. Your mind will become alert and observant. Your confidence and assurance will be enhanced. Your faith will be solidified. Dallas Willard, sort of a well known guru, the late Dallas Willard said on the subject of Bible memorization, that it is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. He said, in fact, if I had to choose between all of the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of fulfilling our minds with what it needs.

I like the language of cheat code. Because it's almost like absurd, how unfair it is to have the advantage of God's word guiding. The one who created the world, the one who in the end will reign as king forever, that he wrote a book and gave us all of these amazing things. And literally Peter says, "Everything necessary pertaining to life and godliness is here". It's in there. It's in the book. It's ready. It's a living dynamic book. That's not just going to be something that you're going to read. It's going to be something that's going to read you. Someone once said, the Bible has hands. It grabs hold of me. The Bible has a mouth that speaks to me. The Bible has feet. It runs after me. And Jesus, we know because of the New Testament, not only spoke the word of God and memorized the word of God, but is the word of God. And in opening ourselves up to scripture and God's breath on this page, we open ourselves up to being a part of his eternal story.

We're living in such a day of groping after anything. I'll smoke that. I'm hoping the next guest on Joe Rogan will have some illumination for us. And there's got to be aliens, there's got to be some cheat code out there. There's got to be someone, come tell us what the point of all of this is. Does anybody have truth? People are willing to listen to literally anybody say anything, if only just to give us some little echo of hope. Deuteronomy though says this, I love it. "This commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It's not somewhere up in heaven that you should say, who will ascend into heaven"? Is Elon Musk going to get us to Mars? Maybe then, we'll have our answers. Who will bring it back to us that we can hear it? Where's a cheat code? Where's what do I need to do?

He said, it's not "beyond the sea that you should say, who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us that we may hear it and do it"? Who's got a cheat code? He says then, "But the word is very near you in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it". Jesus said, "If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth. And the truth shall make you free," but only if you apply it. The power is in the application. God's word is kind of like a can of paint. You can walk around with a gallon can of paint, and your house isn't changing in color. The power comes, not when you have it in your hands, but when you apply it in your life.

And so heaven help us to value, to esteem, to regard your word, but to not just hear it, but to do it, to walk with you, to listen to you, to live out of the power of your word. If as we're praying, some part of this has touched your heart and you're just saying, God, I want to respond to you. I want to respond to your word. I've been flipping, I've been casual. I've got more lyrics and pop culture references and movie lines in my heart than I do your word. And I want to just... I do want to care more about your word. If that's you I'm describing, could you just raise up a hand? Let God know, let God see you.

Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus. It's honey, it's sweetness, it's light, it's life. And by your light, we see light. And Lord, when our last day comes and we're about to leave this world, nothing will comfort our hearts like your word. Nothing will mean more to us in those moments than you saying, in my father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am, you may be also. I am the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in me, though he dies, he will live. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me. Your rod, and your staff, they comfort me. Father, we're going to dwell in your house forever. And we believe goodness and mercy is going to follow after us every day of our lives. Bless these as they commit themselves to you and to your word.

You can put your hands down. I want to give an invitation if anybody today has not stepped from death to life, has not opened yourself up to the promise of heaven, to a savior who died for you on the cross, who rose from the dead, and who is right now, in this moment, prepared to save you, the Lord is a warrior, mighty in battle. The Lord is his name. And he will rush in to your salvation, to your plight, to your situation. But you must invite him. You must open your heart to him.

The Bible says, Jesus stands at the door of our hearts. And he knocks. He will not kick the door down and go SEAL Team Six on your life. You have to be willing to receive his grace. If that's you as we close this time together and you would say I'm ready to trust Jesus, as the spirit leads in your heart and life, I'm going to pray a prayer. And you can be included in this prayer. You can make it yours. Church, say it with us. Anybody trust in Christ for salvation or as a way of rededicating your life to God, maybe a prodigal son or daughter here today. Say this. Mean it in your heart.

Dear Lord, I confess that I'm a sinner. There's no excuse for that, but today I accept your love. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for me, to rise from the dead. Thank you for new life. I give you mine in Jesus' name.

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