While growing up, each of my children participated in various scripture memorization activities at home, in the church, during youth programs, and through Bible quizzing. It was a practice I encouraged because I find evidence of it mentioned in the Bible.
“Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads” (Deuteronomy 11:18, CSB).
“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds. . .” (Deuteronomy 11:18, NIV).
“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11, ESV).
“I have hidden your word in my heart. . .” (Psalm 119:11, NIV).
I’ve added bold emphasis to the verses and shared two passages, each from two different Bible versions. I think it is clear to imprint, fix, store, or hide words in the heart is talking of memorizing. Beginning at a young age, I assisted my children in scripture memorization.
One day my youngest son, Jake, enthusiastically shared, “Mom, we are learning my favorite verse.”
“Oh, what verse is that? Do you know it already?”
“Yeah, but I don’t remember the numbers. I know it’s in James.” He proceeded to rattle off the portion he knew, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
I was struck, thinking that was an odd verse for one so young to claim as his favorite verse. But maybe it had something to do with a recent experiment we had regarding condensation on windows. I was mentally letting the thought go presuming it was his current memory verse and almost chuckled that next week or next month he would have a different favorite.
My thoughts had barely shifted back to the present, when Jake said, “Mom when I die, I want that verse on my tombstone.” I had an awful sensation, what seven-year-old plans his epitaph for a grave marker? Out of my own discomfort, I recall asking him if he knew what the verse meant despite his obvious contextualization. He briefly elaborated the meaning and then repeated, “I want that verse on my tombstone.”
I told him, “Honey, I will probably die before you if we both live to the average age.” Inwardly, I was attempting to move on from this subject because of whatever was going on in the spiritual realms. However, my persistent son would not let go of the matter until I consented that if he died before me, James 4:14 was to be put on his marker. . . and so it is.
Through the years that topic was never brought up or talked about again. I forgot all about it amongst other silly things children do and say. The memory flooded back in, fourteen years later, with stark reality, “Life. . . It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
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Are you wondering, “Why share this story now? Christmas is a celebratory time.”
In preparation to write a post, I came across some sketchy notes of my story above. It immediately struck me that Mary must have lived with the reality of just how brief and vapor-like life is. After she saw Jesus hanging on a cross, the son she carried in her womb, he was only 33 in the prime of life, and his ministry just beginning. Mary was likely ravaged with shock and grief. What mother wouldn’t be?
Hallelujah! That’s not the end of their story. We celebrate Christmas due to the reason Jesus came. He came to pay for the wages of sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23, CSB).
Christmas IS when we remember and celebrate that God left Heaven to reside with us in the form of man to later atone for the sins of all humanity.
Yes, celebrate! If you’ve repented and trusted Christ for salvation, celebrate your eternal freedom. If you have not, I urge you don’t delay repent now. You don’t know what tomorrow may bring—life is like a vapor.
Father God, thank You for setting in motion a plan for restoring a relationship with us. We who have mocked, insulted, dishonored, and defied You. Forgive us oh Lord. Cleanse and purify us. Thank You, Jesus, for paying my sin debt. I now live in freedom because of what You did. You are good and gracious. Holy Spirit, help me live in a way that will bring glory and honor to God every day. Amen.
I am a follower of Jesus Christ, grandmother, great-grandmother, foster care parent, and trauma survivor. I enjoy sipping tea, writing devotionals, prayers, short stories, and unburdening my heart to the Lord. Check the About page if you want to read more of my story.
Would you like to know more about the afterlife and how you can be assured of eternity in Heaven? Check the Questions page.
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