When we stand before God’s Judgement seat, we will have left our wardrobe behind - but our memory will still be intact! Hold on! We’re not there yet!
First, is there a better way of getting ready for the great event, a way which has so far escaped us? Yes, there is. Come with me and discover a secret:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!"
The Bible asks us to get ready by committing God’s words to memory:
KJV Proverbs 7:1 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
Here Solomon tells us Wisdom invites us to do memory work. Likewise the Psalmist says we should esteem God’s word hidden in the heart, as buried treasure:
KJV Psa 19:10 More to be desired are [the judgements of the LORD] than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward. 12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.
So, when do we get too old to do memory work? Should the over 55’s lament their lot with a sigh and a wish: “Yes, well, if I were twenty years younger I might rise to the challenge!”
Have I got news for you!! There’s no ceiling to God’s memory bank! For example, Samuel T. Spear, D.D. a 19th century American writer, tells how he began to systematically memorise the Bible at 74 years old. In a short time he was able to repeat from memory a substantial part of the entire New Testament. He said:
“I am not now sorry that about five years ago I resolved to do what during these years I had been seeking to do. My only regret is that the resolution was formed at so late a period. Had its date been much earlier, as it might have been, and as I now think it should have been, the benefit to me, as I have no doubt, would have been correspondingly greater. What I have gained in the way of mental relief and spiritual comfort from the process described I would not exchange for all the honour and wealth of this world.”
Well, you say, that’s all very well for special people with doctoral degrees, but lesser mortals like me can’t rise to such dizzy heights! Yes, you can!
Did you know the latest medical research tends to show that throughout our lives we grow new neurons in our brain by focused mental exercise. It’s called the science of Neurogenesis. Says Mike Logan
“Our brain is not physically fixed, it is constantly changing, losing some neurons, growing some neurons, making or deleting connections, and we can encourage that growth . . . . Thoughts are things. They are electrical and chemical activities that by their very existence are changing the physical structure of your brain. Although you can’t stop it (and you wouldn’t want to), you can have some control over it. The question then becomes, are you changing your brain for better or for worse?
According to James Adams a study published in a journal Science, researchers Elizabeth Gould and Charles Gross of Princeton's Department of Psychology showed that new neurons are continually being added to the cerebral cortex of adult monkeys. The cerebral cortex is the largest and most complex region of the brain and is the seat of high-level decision-making, thinking, and personality. Monkeys and humans are reputed to have fundamentally similar brains, so the research is likely to translate to humans. For more details, click here
In a recently published book ("Can’t Remember What I Forgot"”) Dr. Sue Halpern of Columbia University, reports on experiments done on mice. View the video which reports the research. The experiments tend to show we have potential to grow neurons and thus improve mental activity. She quotes research which asserts that growing older simply means we produce less brain cells, and less quickly.
With some basic memory training, you could in fact memorise the entire New Testament with comparitive ease. There is no such thing as a “bad memory,” only an untrained one!
One key advantage of memorising from the KJV, is that it was written for the illiterate as well as the learned, and in such a way as to impinge itself on the memory. Alliteration (repeated letters and syllables), balanced phrasing, and deliberate metric rhythm . . . all these tend to attach themselves to the memory as soon as they are heard.
Take one simple example at random, to illustrate how the structure of the Bible lends itself to being remembered:
KJV Psalm 95
1 O come, let us sing . ,
. . . let us make a joyful noise . .
2 Let us come before his presence . . .
3 For the LORD is a great God . .
6 O come, let us worship . .
. . . let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
7 For he is our God . . . .
Said the Psalmist,
Psa 119: 9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Are we hiding God’s Words in our hearts? What stops us doing some serious memory work on the Bible?
As we grow old together, unlike poor John Lennon, we have time to sing his song and smell the flowers!