By Aaron E. Ziebarth, Executive Director
Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68
During our final week of camp I took some of our summer staff on a weekly outing – hiking on the Tuscarora Trail followed by ice cream. As we departed camp I shared an overview of the evening.
1) Get together with a partner.
2) Work on memorizing a verse together.
3) Share verses that you had previously memorized with each other.
We arrived at the trail and began hiking. After about an hour staff pairs began arriving at the high rocks overview. We invited them to find a spot to sit and enjoy the beautiful view.
After everyone arrived we began reviewing Scripture. In popcorn style different voices proclaimed the Scripture that God brought to mind. Those who weren’t sharing listened intently until God moved inside of them, and then they recited His truth.
The sun set and darkness started setting in, yet we continued to listen to His truth. There is something powerful about God’s Word when it is spoken. It seems to connect with one’s heart at a deeper level when it is shared by memory. These “heart-hidden” words had ministered deeply to the souls of staff members to the extent that they chose to memorize them. This comes through in the recitation. Some verses had been memorized this summer, some when they were young children, and other verses at different periods in between.
Prior to closing our time in prayer, the Lord led me to share these words:
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
As staff members boarded the bus, comment after comment affirmed, “That was so life-giving!” It is just like Peter said, “You have the words of eternal life.”
Our bus ride was filled with singing. Our intended location had closed early, so we headed to a local McDonalds for one or two items off the value menu. The manager was pleased to have us sing.
The following morning I asked a few staff members to share verses they remembered reciting. Following are a few (in no particular order):
2 Timothy 2:8-9
1 John 4:7-8
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
1 Samuel 2:9
Would you like to reap the benefits of memorizing God’s Word? Just e-mail me at [email protected] and I will send some simple suggestions that will help you develop a habit.