Peter is a man who loves God. He loves God with all his heart, mind and soul. Every morning upon rising, Peter diligently reads his bible, makes notes and throughout the day tries to make a conscious effort to meditated that which he has read. He especially liked the book of Psalms and did his best to memorise at least a few verses from it. In all aspects of life, Peter experiences trials and tribulations of life just like you and I.
There came a time when Peter became unwell. He got sick and needed to be admitted into a hospital for several operations. His family and friends gathered around him daily and they fasted and prayed. They interceded for him, asking God to please take away the sickness and the pain. Despite all their prayers, Peter did not get any better; in fact, he got worse and began drifting in and out of consciousness. However, all through his ordeal, in his mind Peter was alive and well. He kept telling himself, “I need to get up and read my bible; I need to find those words and verses to pray for healing and encouragement”.
Whenever he was conscious and strong for a short time, he struggled to physically pick up his Bible. When he did, he struggled to read it. As soon as he opened the pages, the words became a blur and because he was weak, his body got tired of trying to focus and he drifted either to sleep or un-consciousness. He tried this a few times and then he realised that no matter how hard he tried, it was just physically impossible.
Then during one of his conscious bouts, he thought, “my mind is still conscious and able” which means I can still speak to God, I can still pray. Ah! He was excited, and so with all the strength he could muster within his mind, he opened the eyes of his heart, the pathway to the richness that lies deep within its walls.
Heart now open, Peter starts to read with the eyes of his heart. He starts to read the words he had so diligently and patiently memorised over the years; words of healing, comfort, peace, deliverance and victory. As he reads, Peter started to speak to God. He whispered and presented God’s words and promises to him, bringing them to His remembrance; all on the wings of a prayer.
When trouble comes knocking at your door and you find yourself in situations such as Peter’s or even worse, what is your first reaction, what do you do? After all the screaming and crying is done, do you rush to get your hands on the nearest bible you can find, flick through the pages (or index) and find passages relevant to your situation and begin to declare God’s word over it? Or do you kneel down, or encourage your mind, spirit and soul to bring to remembrance the words of God hidden within the walls of your heart and start to pray them into your reality? Psalm 119:11 reads “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”
From this verse, we see that when we keep God’s words hidden within our hearts, it helps and guides us, letting us know when we are about to wander off from God’s path God; for the word within us, will be a witness to how we are living.
It will be quite a difficult tasks if it was left to us to decide or guess if we are sinning, have sinned or going to sin against God; especially when everyone’s interpretation of Right and wrong are as different as the night and day. Imagine this with me: Carol wants to take a piece of candy that does not belong to her, this will be stealing. Before she does this, she wonders, “Is this the right thing to do”? She is not sure because in the past she has taken candy that did not belong to her. However, since she became serious about God and following His word, she needs to know the right thing to do. And so she picks up her bible, and flips through the pages to find out what it says about taking candy that does not belong to her. :-).
Well that approach is will is not a practical way to live from day to day, because there will be times when Carol does not have her Bible to hand and she needs an answer right there and then. However, if Carol has the Word of God a stored within her heart, the Holy Spirit will bring her to remembrance of it and she will know that taking candy that does not belong to her is wrong. (I hope – for she has a choice!).
When we are diligent to keep God’s word within our hearts, we are able to live out the reality of Philippians 4:8, which reads “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” We will know what is true, honourable, right, pure and lovely and admirable to think and meditate on, daily and constantly.
The act of storing the bible within our hearts is not an easy task. It takes practice, diligence and perseverance. However here are a few tips that might help:
Using visual aids: example Index Cards
- Get a pack of Index cards such as used for presentation. Example below