Posts Tagged ‘Bible Memorization’


“2014 Resolutions” – Dec 29

December 29, 2013

“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.”  1 Corinthians 13:13-14:1

A year is an effective measurement of time.  It is long enough to accomplish difficult tasks and make marked improvements.  Yet, it is short enough that you can actually remember its beginning.  This makes a year the perfect period of time for resolution making.

Goal setting has become a necessity for me.  I am not a free-spirit.  I can’t afford to be a free-spirit.  I am not naturally talented; I have never been the bright student; nor have people whispered of my gifts while watching me.  Very few things, other than lethargy, have ever come easy for me.

I am a grinder.  I have been blessed with some tenacity.  I have learned that I can accomplish most goals once I incorporate that objective into my routine.  However, no goal will ever be accomplished if you don’t have a reasonable and rational strategy to achieve it.  I have found that if you have enough time, a goal is achievable, and you have a good strategy, then you can usually accomplish it if you are willing to grind away.  This video sums up my approach to the difficult things I hope to accomplish.

Welcome to the Grind

Here are my goals and strategies for 2014:

(I did not read the books that I had hoped to read this last year.  There are few things more edifying to me than reading so I want to be intentional about making time to read.)


Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan
Extravagant Grace – Barbara Duguid
Religious Affections – Jonathan Edwards
Think – John Piper
Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
Hole in our Holiness – Kevin DeYoung
The Cross of Christ – John Stott
Business for the Glory of God – Wayne Grudem
Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 1 – John Calvin
No Argument for God – John Wilkinson
(My goal is to read the works of one dead author for every live one.)

The Greater Journey – David McCullough
Flags of Our Fathers – James Bradley
Jean Jacques Rousseau – Leo Damrosch

Robert Frost – Selected Poems

The Last of the Mohicans – James Fenimore Cooper
The Nutmeg of Consolation – Patrick O’Brian
Renegade – Ted Dekker
Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

Read my Bible every day – stay on my reading plan; all other reading will be suspended until I am caught up.
Make book time greater than TV time.
Read some portion of a book daily.
Read a poem every other day.

(I wanted to memorize Romans 8 last year; I blogged about in “Will You Train with Me”.   I struggled when I got up to 23 verses and then gave up.  So, I want to give it another run this year.)

Goal – Memorize all of Romans 8

Memorization Strategy:
Recite the passage on the way to work.
Recite the passage on the way home from work.
Use ScriptureTyper.  (Kindly recommended by Shawn Martin at Shawn’s Journal )

(I feel like the most lacking area of my spiritual life is prayer.  Therefore, I want to take a year and focus on communing with God.  I want prayer to constant and as natural as breathing.)

Goal – Be a man of prayer.

Spiritual Discipline Strategy:
Set aside time every day for a minimum of 15 minutes in prayer.
Have my prayer journal by my bedside.
Ask for prayer requests from my family.
Intentionally slow my decision making to allow for prayer.

(Writing has become a blessing beyond my expectation.  I am humbled that after a door of ministry as a pastor was closed that an avenue in blogging would open.  I am so very thankful to all who have shown the kindness to read my writing.)

Write 325 blog posts (currently at 420 posts);
Increase to 3,000 followers (currently at 2,127)

I would like to write a book… but not ready to make that a goal.  I keep it as a dream for now.

Writing Strategy:
Write concisely; keep blog posts between 800-900.
Write a devotional blog every two days.
Respond within three days to comments.
Read WordPress blogs daily.
Follow the advice of C.S. Lewis:  “In writing. Don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the thing you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us a thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please will you do my job for me.””  C.S. Lewis’ Letters to Children

(I really don’t want to pack 14 extra pounds around the Boise Ironman course or up the second summit of the 4 Summit Challenge.)

Goal – 186 lbs by June; currently 200 lbs

Weight Strategy:
Ordered P90X3
Continue triathlon training
Eat less than 2,000 calories a day; loaded app to track food consumption.


Tour of Ontario Cycling – March
2014 Time Trial Goal – Age group top 10
2014 Road Race Goal – Age group top 20

Camel’s Back Duathlon (Long Course: 5K- 30K-5K) – May
2014 Goal – 1 hours 50 minutes; Age group top 3

Ironman 70.3 Boise – June 7
2014 Goal:  5 hours 30 minutes; Age group top 20

Spudman Triathlon Boise (Olympic) – July
2013 Finish – 2 hours 51 minutes 37 seconds
2014 Goal – 2 hours 45 minutes; Age group top 3

4 Summit Challenge – July 26
2014 Goal – 6 mph up second summit

Emmett’s Most Excellent Triathlon (Olympic)– August 9
2013 Finish – 2 hours 42 minutes 10 seconds
2014 Goal – 2 hours 35 minutes; Age group podium

Pedal for Patients (Century Ride) – August 23
2014 Goal – 20 mph average

Ontario Aquatic Triathlon (Sprint) – September
2013 Finish – 1 hour 7 minutes 3 seconds
2014 Goal – 59 minutes 59 seconds

Run for the Hills Half Marathon – October
Goal – 1 hour 58 minutes; Age group top 15

Athletic Strategy:
Follow training plan at 18 Week Half Ironman
Ride once a week with local cycling club.
Run once a week with Meet Me on Monday club.

The above list is what I came up with for 2014 and then I read Jon Bloom’s excellent blog on Desiring God entitled Your Most Courageous Resolution for 2014 .  I felt his challenge to “make 2014 a year where we pursue love with more intentionality than we ever have before”.  I looked at the above list of goals and strategies and realized that it was lacking a key category.

I have goals and strategies that I believe with help me pursue a love of God with intentionality.  However, I did not have goals or strategies to help me pursue a love of my neighbor.  I know how important loving my neighbor is.  Jon Bloom helped me to remember that I need to be intentional about the second greatest commandment.

I considered many possible goals to help me pursue a love for my neighbor.  In all honesty, I do not want to do any of them.  Most of the goals that come to mind also turn my stomach.  The above list of goals and strategies are all things I want to do.  In fact, I have already started in on all of them because I find enjoyment in every category.  Many of the goals in the “love your neighbor” category, represent sheer obligation.

I found myself questioning my obedience and asking God to change my personality.  I then remembered something that I had written… it is always odd when a past post  preaches to the present you.  I was reminded that I am who God created.  Allow me to introduce myself once again, “Hello my name is JD and I’m an introvert.”

God loves a cheerful giver.  That means that we need to be obedient to God’s commandments with a joyful heart and not out of sheer obligation.  I can grind out in obedience the actions of love for my neighbor but that will not be a pleasant smelling offering – to my neighbor or God.

God could change me into an extrovert but until then I am going to follow a reasonable and rational strategy to pursue a love for my neighbor that glorifies God.


Goal – That those who are in my life will experience the love of God.

Love Strategy:
Write; share with others what God has shown me in His word.
Encourage; write at least one note of encouragement per week.
Start a home Bible Study in January – actually invite people to it.

I conclude this list with advice from Julie Gillies in her blog How to Pray When You’re Setting Goals.  (Thanks to Julie Garro for posting the link on her Follow the Light blog)

“…goals that aren’t infused with and a result of prayer can lead to unnecessary frustration and disappointment…
My goals must = God’s goals.”

PRAYER: O Lord, not my will but your will be done.  Father, examine and transform my thoughts so that they align with your thoughts, make my desires to be your desires and cause my goals to come from a heart eager to do your will.  Make the goals that are pleasing to you succeed and remove that which does not glorify your name.  Give me wisdom to recognize the plans that I need to relinquish and those I need to change.  I pray for this coming year that your name will be hallowed; that your kingdom will come and your will be done; I pray that you will provide for all my needs.  Father, help me to forgive and keep me from temptation.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

NOTE:  Sorry for the length of this post. I realize that I am not off to a good start with my strategy of shorter posts:)


Memorizing Romans 8 – July 11 Update

July 11, 2013

Some of you will remember that I went public back in December about my goal of memorizing all of Romans 8 ( “WILL YOU TRAIN WITH ME? – Dec. 29th” ).

I have not been doing very well since April.  Actually, I fell completely off of the memorizing wagon.  I hit a 23 verse wall.  After taking a bit of a break, I am back at it or at least back to where I was in April..  Here is my latest test. (Romans 8 – July)

I am encouraged that the first 23 verses came back very rapidly.  That means the Word has been hidden away in the crevasses of my feeble brain.  I am looking forward to getting all 39 verses crammed in there.  I just hope my head does not pop in the process.

Open Bible with pen
Open Bible with pen (Photo credit: Ryk Neethling)

Memorizing Romans 8 – April 5 Update

April 5, 2013

Some of you will remember that I went public back in December about my goal of memorizing all of Romans 8 ( “WILL YOU TRAIN WITH ME? – Dec. 29th” ).  I thought that it was time for another update on my progress, which has not been much.  However, I have the first 23 verses down reasonably well.  Here is my latest test. (Romans 8 _1-23_)  I have found that it is helpful to recite and transcribe the passage to help it stick in my gray matter a little better.  Just as a note, transcribing from memory is much harder.  I can’t write or type as quick as I can speak so it sort of throws me off.  However, I want to be able to write Romans 8 as accurately as reciting it.  That is a work in progress.

Although the memorizing process has been slow and frustrating, this goal has already been so fruitful to my soul.  I am finding Romans 8 budding out in surprising areas of my life; in my thoughts, speech, and writing.  Romans 8 is becoming more of a lens by which I see the world.  I am looking forward to slogging along at my tortuous pace.  I don’t know I will get all 39 verses memorized but I have high expectations of the treasures that I will receive as I continue to mine and meditate upon the wonderfully precious words of God.

Open Bible with pen
Open Bible with pen (Photo credit: Ryk Neethling)

Memorizing Romans 8 – Jan. 30 Update

January 30, 2013

I have not done very well these last 20 days in my progress of memorizing all of Romans 8 ( “WILL YOU TRAIN WITH ME? – Dec. 29th” ) .  I have only added five more verses.  I got all out of whack with my memorizing times and sort of lost steam.  I have to admit that the reasoning behind making my public post is serving its purpose.  I was very tempted to bail on my goal this last week.  That is when I was reminded that the purpose of this exercise it to store up God’s word in my heart.  Hey, I got five more verses stored up.  I praise God for that.

Romans 8 vs 1-15 pg 2



Memorizing Romans 8 – Jan. 10 Update

January 10, 2013

I made the public declaration in my blog post “WILL YOU TRAIN WITH ME? – Dec. 29th” of my intention of memorizing all of Romans 8.  The following two photos are of my transcription from memory of the first eleven verses.

Romans 8 vs 1-9 (Jan 10 2013)

It is not perfect but getting there!

For anyone interested in memorizing the Bible, you should checkout It is a free service that sets you up on a schedule and tracks your progress.  I have not tried it yet, but it looks like it will be helpful.



December 29, 2012

“Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:7b-8

I posted this flyer on my personal Facebook site yesterday, with the glib comment, “Anyone want to join me?”


Later that evening, I was suffering in my basement on my bicycle.  I was listening to a John Piper sermon on my iPod as I pedaled to nowhere.  His teaching turned my mind to 1 Timothy 4:7-8 and the immensely valuable task of training for godliness.  I was pedaling furiously doing the futile task of converting energy into friction/heat for the specific purpose of conditioning my body.  Yet, there is no aspect of training for godliness that has a comparable futility to it – training for godliness is of value in every way.

I considered why I had posted that triathlon flyer with an invitation to join me. I believe I posted it for two primary purposes:

  1. Commit to the Task: I know myself; I can easily drop a goal when it starts to get tough or inconvenient. By going public, I create some accountability because I really want to do what I say I am going to do.  I am now committed to training and preparing for a triathlon in August of 2013; it is on my calendar.
  2. Encourage Others:  Last year was the first time I had ever completed a triathlon.  I have wanted to do one for about 15 years. I had wanted to a triathlon because it just looked hard to do and I wanted to be in the sort of shape that it takes to finish one. It took my nephew inviting me to join him to get me committed. I tend to be a rather reserved person. I get uncomfortable in situations that I am not familiar or not sure how everything works. The fact that my nephew was going to be there to show me the ropes helped me commit to the goal.

Just as I train for a triathlon, I have tried to be intentional in my “training for godliness”.  This year I have had several goals in this “training”.  However, there is one goal that I have shared with very few people.  I never posted it on Facebook. In fact, I have told only one person outside of my immediate family. Yet, it is of supremely more value than competing in a silly triathlon. It is a goal that I have wanted to do for years and it is a task that will be hard for me to complete.

The Gutenberg Bible displayed by the United St...My goal is to memorize Romans 8 (the entire chapter).

I realize that for some memorizing whizzes out there that this goal isn’t all that ambitious but for me is seems a bit insurmountable. I don’t have a good memory; I forget people I should remember; I forget birth dates that I should remember; I have forgotten my address and telephone number. It is rather embarrassing to have to look at your own drivers license just to make sure you got your address right. I am the guy who always paraphrases the Bible, “You know… that one verse, I think it is in Philippians or maybe Ephesians, it says something like…”. That is me.

I really want to memorize the Bible.  I have always wanted to be able to quote scripture – accurately.  I know how important it is. We are told to mediate on God’s word day and night.  There have been times when I have gotten home from work and realized that I had not thought about God for over 10 hours. That is not good – that is not biblical.

I have tried many times to memorize scripture but eventually I lose interest and fall into my same old routine. Bible memorization is a list of failed attempts for me. I think that is why I have been apprehensive about announcing this goal.  It is highly likely that I will fail once again.

However, I realized that the reasons for announcing my athletic goal are the same reasons why I should announce my “godliness goal”.

  1. Commit to the Task:  I am in – Romans 8 here I come. My goal is that by December 31, 2013, Lord willing, I will post a video of me reciting all of Romans 8 from memory. By announcing this publicly, I am submitting myself to accountability from you all. I really want to do this. I want to wear Romans 8 as a garment this coming year. I want to mediate on it day and night. I want it to seep into my conversations and writing. I want Romans 8 engraved upon my heart. However, I need your help.  I need to be poked and prodded, coached and cajoled, cheered and sneered, into persevering to completing this goal.  I know it will be hard for me but it will be of supreme value to my soul.
  2. Encourage Others:  This is the main reason I wanted to announce this goal. I realize that there are many others who just need that little nudge to jump in. There is a whole list of reasons why we can’t do something. Let’s consider the list of why we should. Training in godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.  What are you training yourself in?  If you aren’t training yourself in anything, then you might as well join me. If you have wanted to memorize the Bible but have never gotten around to it, then you might as well join me. Why not do something harder than a couple of verses?  Do something that is challenging.  I am of the opinion that completing difficult tasks is great training for getting through this life.  This life has difficult stretches.  When we have done difficult things, what may have once seemed insurmountable doesn’t appear as daunting.  You know how to break it down.  Consider the treasure of having an entire chapter of the Bible locked away in your heart.  You never know when you may need to draw on that specifically treasure but you do know that it will be of supreme value to your soul.

People from 35 different countries have visited my blog site.  How awesome would it be to create a video of people with that many languages and dialects joining together to recite the same precious words in praise to the same one and true God?   That would be most glorifying.

Romans 8 – “Anyone want to join me?”

I hope that you will prayerfully consider joining me.  It will be good for us.  If you’re interested, please email me at

PRAYER: Father, I don’t know why I felt compelled to make this post.  You know the number of times I have almost deleted it. Lord, may you use it to encourage and motivate everyone you have specifically been pushing to write your word on their heart.  Father, thank you for giving me a desire to write your words on my heart.  Thank you for your word. It is a spring to my dry and parched soul.  Father, you have said that this training that I am embarking on will be of value to me in every way.  I am anxious to see what you have in store.  May you be glorified.   Amen

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