“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”
-2 John 1:7
I recently attended a homeschool expo that comes to our area every year, and one of the most intriguing classes I attended throughout the course of our trip was given by a former police officer and Army veteran. Though the class was aimed primarily at illustrating how to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11), he did find time in his hour to share with us how difficult it was, even as a police officer, to distinguish between counterfeit money and the real thing. He said that one time he finally decided just to ask the people at the Treasury Department how they can tell the difference when both look so similar, and was amazed by their simple response: “We just study the original.” The truth is, even though they often look completely authentic, when you’ve spent hours and hours studying the real thing you’re not going to be fooled by a counterfeit very easily.
The same is true in our walk with God. As John reminded us in his second epistle, “many deceivers are entered into the world” and it’s absolutely necessary that we learn how to “discern between the righteous and the wicked” (Malachi 3:18). In the same way that a piece of currency is paralleled with the original to test its authenticity, so we must compare whatever we hear with the doctrine of Christ and see if it lines up to the Holy Scriptures (2 John 1:9). Of course we may not always have the opportunity to flip through the pages of the Bible looking for an answer, and that’s why we are reminded time and time again of the importance of hiding the Word of God in our hearts (Joshua 1:8; Deuteronomy 6:6). If it lines up with what God has said, you can take it to the bank every time.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”
-2 Timothy 2:15
In a world where there seem to be more counterfeits than true believers, it’s more important now than ever before that we know how to tell which is which. The Word of God gives us those answers, and all we have to do is bring “into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:5) Of course, I’ve always been told that another way to identify a counterfeit bill is by holding it up to the light, but I’ll save that for another post.
My family has been in the Bible Bee for the last two years. I highly recommend it to everybody. Although the Bible Bee age groups are from seven through eighteen years, there is no reason why somebody older than that should not try to memorize the verses.
The Bible has some great rewards for keeping God's word. For example, Joshua 1:7 says to keep it so that you may propsper. Psalm 119:11 says, "Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee." John 14:21 says that Jesus will manifest himself unto us. John 15:10 says that we will receive God's love. There are many other promises, but the greatest to me has been to know God more and more.
So try to get somebody else to memorize the verses with you and make a memorization team. The list from the Bible Bee will be released on June 1 this year. God bless you as you study and memorize and pray these verses back to God.
National Bible Bee, Memorizing
When we started Memverse we had always hoped that the day would eventually come when you no longer had to type in the memory verse but could simply recite it. That day is gradually coming closer with this feature in the next version of Google Chrome:
One of the new features is added support for the HTML5 speech input API. This means that you’ll be able to talk to your computer and Chrome can interpret it. Those who have become accustomed to doing this on Android and other mobile devices will love this. More importantly, it’s an HTML5 spec that any developer will be able to take advantage of, not just Google.
If you’re running Chrome 11, you can try it out here. It works very well. You speak, and the browser is able to transcribe what you say. No Flash, no plug-in. Yep. Awesome.
I think we're still a few years away but it will be exciting. Reciting your bible verses out loud is a great way to entrench them in your memory.
speech recognition, reciting, Chrome
We've added a new page (under the 'Home' tab) which allows you to search for memory verses. It only searches bible verses that have already been entered in Memverse by another user so if you don't find a verse you're looking for it's probably because it hasn't yet been entered. If you would like to restrict the search results to a single translation, just add your bible translation. For instance, search for "In the beginning NIV" and the search will return only NIV versions of Genesis 1 (plus a whole host of other verses that include the word 'beginning').
This is also a quick way to add verses if you can already remember a fragment of the verse you're looking for.
We recently released a few new features on Memverse. We're doing our best to maintain a simple look and feel so you might not have noticed some of them.
Print or Display Selected Memory Verses
At the bottom of the "My Verses" page you now have the option to either print (by creating an Adobe PDF) or display memory verses that you have selected using the checkboxes in the first column. This is very useful if you have similar memory passages that you'd like to print for comparison. It's also helpful if you only need to print some of your newer verses.
Filter Your Memory Verses
I really like this new feature on the "My Verses" page. There is a small magnifying glass on the right of the browser window. Click on it and a box will open which allows you to filter your memory verses by any of the columns on the page. For instance, if you type in a tag name, it will show you all your memory verses with that tag. Type in a date and it will show you all the verses for that date. Type in 'Learning' and it will show you all the verses that are still classified as 'Learning'.
Search the Blog
You might have noticed the new "Blog Search" page. It's still in its early form but you can now search the blog. This is the first step in a broader effort to implement a global search option on Memverse. For those of you who are interested, we are now running our own Sphinx search server. Hopefully, in the future you will be able to search for verses by phrase. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments on your experience with the search tool. There are thousands of configuration options.
Finally, we are aware of some of the issues with the QuickMem page. Thanks to those of you who have helped with the debugging. We're hoping to get them resolved as soon as possible. The software that we released today will clear up some, but probably not all of the issues. If you haven't done so already, upgrade your browser to the latest version. Every update gives you better performance at no cost.
filtering, search, print, display, blog
One of our very talented members, Dakota Lynch, kindly made a video tutorial for those starting out on Memverse. There is a link to it under the 'Learn' menu as well. This is a great way to introduce people to Memverse as it nicely captures how to get started and what to expect. There's a chance that you'll pick up a new tip or two even if you've been using Memverse for a while now.
We are going to take a short break from our usual good cheer to draw your attention to a sobering observation after two years of involvement with Memverse: it is not easy to maintain the discipline of bible memorization.
- 75% of people who sign up on Memverse do not make it to the end of the first month.
- Another 25% of those who remain have dropped out by the end of the second month.
- Each month thereafter, another 10-12% of people do not keep up their memorizing.
- Even after a year of memorizing, the churn rate is still roughly 10% each month.
Of the ~400 people who signed up for Memverse in January 2011, there were less than 70 still active by the end of February. By the end of the year, there will likely be less than 30 of the original group of 400.
So why are we still optimistic? These numbers are not quite as dire as they seem at first blush and, in fact, are typical of free services which are easily tried and just as easily abandoned. We also realize that many of the 400 people who signed up in January never added their first verse. Over the next year, we are planning to make the 'first five minute' experience more engaging and less confusing. (If you have ideas, we'd love to hear from you, especially those of you who recently signed up and can still remember what it was like.)
One factor that surprised us: while we feel as though we've made fairly significant improvements over the past two years, the numbers are very consistent and predictable. Even once people have integrated Memverse into their daily lives, each month 10% of them just decide to stop using it. In my case, I've come to realize the danger of being "choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures" as I go on my way (Luke 8:14-15). Luke is correct, it requires perseverance to produce a crop.
Our conclusion: Memorizing God's word requires a mental commitment fully powered by the grace of the Spirit.
Find a friend to keep you accountable. Set reasonable goals that you can achieve. And pray. In all things. Continually.
We'll see you on March 1st, 2012 for our third birthday.
Hi. A few years back I picked out a key verse to memorize from every chapter of the New Testament. I want to share the list with the Memverse family. On January 1st, 2012, I hope, Lord willing, to organize an active support group of people who want to memorize these 260 exciting verses in one year. Feel free to get a head start memorizing some now, or simply familiarize yourself with the verses waiting for the start of the support group. This blog consists of the daily email devotionals I send out based on these verses. I look forward to any feedback or thoughts you have as we interact with the daily Scripture and each other’s thoughts.
If you want to receive these daily devotionals in your email inbox, or if you want to send private feedback, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Testament One Year Challenge
Matthew 1:21; 2:11; 3:8; 4:19; 5:16; 6:24; 7:21; 8:3; 9:36; 10:28; 11:28; 12:12; 13:44; 14:30; 15:8; 16:26; 17:23; 18:35; 19:6; 20:34; 21:13; 22:29; 23:28; 24:24; 25:23; 26:41; 27:4; 28:19
Mark 1:35; 2:17; 3:11; 4:20; 5:34; 6:42; 7:7; 8:29; 9:24; 10:45; 11:24; 12:44; 13:11; 14:36; 15:39; 16:6
Luke 1:35; 2:11; 3:22; 4:18; 5:8; 6:46; 7:47; 8:14; 9:23; 10:2; 11:13; 12:33; 13:24; 14:33; 15:7; 16:15; 17:32; 18:7; 19:8; 20:21; 21:36; 22:32; 23:34; 24:26
John 1:12; 2:17; 3:30; 4:24; 5:39; 6:63; 7:38; 8:36; 9:25; 10:10; 11:25; 12:32; 13:35; 14:21; 15:7; 16:33; 17:26; 18:11; 19:15; 20:21; 21:17
Acts 1:8; 2:38; 3:6; 4:12; 5:20; 6:8; 7:53; 8:35; 9:16; 10:34; 11:18; 12:23; 13:2; 14:15; 15:8; 16:31; 17:31; 18:10; 19:15; 20:24; 21:13; 22:16; 23:11; 24:16; 25:11; 26:18; 27:23; 28:31
Romans 1:16; 2:4; 3:20; 4:20; 5:8; 6:23; 7:24; 8:28; 9:16; 10:9; 11:33; 12:2; 13:8; 14:8; 15:5; 16:19
1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:9; 3:13; 4:20; 5:12; 6:20; 7:9; 8:6; 9:27; 10:31: 11:1; 12:3; 13:13: 14:25; 15:10; 16:9
2 Corinthians 1:4; 2:14; 3:18; 4:5; 5:21; 6:14; 7:10; 8:9; 9:8; 10:4; 11:14; 12:9; 13:5
Galatians 1:9; 2:20; 3:3; 4:7; 5:13; 6:14;
Ephesians 1:7; 2:10; 3:20; 4:11; 5:33; 6:11;
Philippians 1:21; 2:13; 3:8; 4:19;
Colossians 1:15; 2:6; 3:13; 4:2;
1 Thessalonians 1:3; 2:9; 3:13; 4:17; 5:18;
2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2:4; 3:3;
1 Timothy 1:15; 2:8; 3:2; 4:12; 5:17; 6:10;
2 Timothy 1:7; 2:15; 3:16; 4:7;
Titus 1:16; 2:14; 3:5
Hebrews 1:8; 2:18; 3:12; 4:12; 5:7; 6:10; 7:25; 8:12; 9:14; 10:23; 11:6; 12:1; 13:8
James 1:12; 2:19; 3:10; 4:7; 5:20;
1 Peter 1:15; 2:24; 3:15; 4:19; 5:6;
2 Peter 1:3; 2:9; 3:9
1 John 1:9; 2:17; 3:16; 4:19; 5:12
2 John 1:11;
3 John 1:4
Revelation 1:8; 2:4; 3:8; 4:11; 5:9; 6:9; 7:14; 8:13; 9:20; 10:6; 11:3; 12:11; 13:8; 14:11; 15:4; 16:15; 17:14; 18:4; 19:7; 20:15; 21:4; 22:17
New Testament One Year Challenge
Well, we couldn't hold off on upgrading the website framework any longer! You will notice a few minor changes:
One of the biggest reasons to upgrade was for a snappier, more responsive feel. You will especially notice this in the feedback you get when you are memorizing. It had always bothered me that I never knew whether the feedback had been updated (as I toggled backwards and forwards between 'Christ Jesus' and 'Jesus Christ'). For those of you on very slow connections, that should now be clearer as we've added a little icon that shows when the feedback is complete. For the rest of you, you will notice that the feedback comes much quicker now.
I do not have a tremendous fondness for Facebook but they now represent a quarter of all page views on the web and are the biggest source of new users for Memverse. You will notice that the blog pages now have Facebook 'Like' buttons. Over time we will roll out social buttons on some of the other pages which will enable you to push a link directly to your Facebook news feed. It's a great way to promote Memverse. One minor thing to note for now: it's better to click through to the blog post and click the like button on the actual post page. The 'Like' button on the blog front page is just a general link to the Memverse blog. For those of you who don't eat, breathe and sleep social networking, clicking on one of these buttons will push out a news item on your Facebook page.
upgrade, Rails 3.0, social buttons
I have read many verses and have had thoughts and meditations about them that I've wanted to share with everyone, but there was never an appropriate place to post them. I decided to make a home for them (and for everyone else's meditations, too, of course), and here it is!
We will very shortly be upgrading the website to a more recent version of the framework software (Ruby on Rails 3.0). You probably won't notice much difference but it is a very big change that has required months of work. We're very close to being able to deploy the new version. Unfortunately, as happened this morning, there is a chance that as we test the new framework, the current site will come crashing down. We're hoping to minimize the outages as much as possible but if you see cryptic error messages and can't login, it's because we're stuck halfway down the upgrade path. Sometimes it's difficult at that point to know whether to try to revert back or keep pushing forward.
Update: our hosting company has decided to upgrade the entire server now so there is a small chance Memverse will disappear for a short while. Fear not, we'll be back.
We are an incredibly blessed people. Despite the corruption we often see in our local and Federal government, the vast majority of us live in countries where religious freedom is granted to every citizen regardless of their race or creed, and face little persecution from those around us for what we believe in. In fact, my recent polls showed that 71% of the visitors to my blog have more than 10 Bibles in their home and that most read It actively throughout their week. It would seem, based on these statistics, that we should be the most Godly generation ever to walk the face of the earth, and yet it appears we have allowed this abundance of spiritual blessings to water down our faith rather than strengthen it. In other words, instead of truly appreciating what God has given us, too often we take those things for granted and become complacent in our walk with God.
“…for unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”
The more God gives us, the more He expects in return. If He gives us free access to His Word, then we haven’t the slightest excuse not to memorize and obey it (Joshua 1:8). If He gives us freedom of speech, then we should be all the more willing to share the Gospel with others (Mark 16:15). If we are blessed with financial resources, then ministering to the poor and needy should come naturally (Proverbs 14:31). Unfortunately, many times we use our virtually unlimited access to the Bible as an excuse to leave it on the shelf, our freedom of speech to justify keeping our mouth shut, and financial resources as a means to cut ourselves off from the needy rather than reaching out to them. As sad as it may be, what was intended to draw us closer to God has actually pushed us further away from Him in many respects.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:18
Throughout the days ahead, let each of us make a conscious effort to thank God for each and every blessing we receive from His hand. When you’re tempted to put off your Bible reading until later in the day, remember the tens of thousands of people who were willing to lay down their life just to advance Its message. When you’d rather sleep in than go to church, think of those in countries such as Africa and Asia who faithfully walk miles in each direction just to attend Sunday services. When it would be easier to shut up than speak up, recall the words of God in 1 Samuel 2:30, “…them that honour me I will honour.” When we start taking note of the countless blessings that come our way every single day, sitting back and doing nothing for the Kingdom of God will hardly be possible. After all, thankfulness is the perfect cure for complacency.
Have you recently joined memverse? We would love to hear from you. What led you to memverse? What are you currently memorizing? What do you want to memorize in the future? Do you have any memorizing tips or Scripture testimony or insights to share with us? Are you in a memorizing group offline in addition to this online tool?
Speaking of groups, I would also love to hear from new groups on memverse. Does anyone have an all-church Scripture memory program going? How did your group get started? Do you have additional goals other than just memorizing together? Is your group open for others to join?
If you have been on memverse a while and have not yet had a chance to introduce yourself and/or your group, we would love to hear from and encourage you as well.
getting to know you
Another wonderful gem from www.gracegems.org. This post is inspired by both the new Prayer Request post, Praying for One Another, and Phil Walker's devotional on Mark 1:35 (scroll down to posts from 02/01/11) ~ "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed."
The primary goal of the Christian is to be Christ-like, right? So we must follow His example in all things…including prayer.
Thomas Brooks, an English Puritan, said, "The best Christian is he who is the greatest monopolizer of time for private prayer."
(James Smith, "Sunny Subjects for All Seasons" 1858)
"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
How important is a spirit of prayer! It is . . .
the proof of regeneration,
the manifestation of grace in our hearts, and
the evidence our title to mansions in the skies!
Prayer is . . .
the breath of the renewed soul,
the beating of the sanctified heart,
the effect of the life of God within us.
O that I had prayed more!
Prayer should become a habit with us--then everything would furnish us with matter for prayer. Prayer should mingle with our pleasures and our pains, with our labor and our rest. O for more prayer!
We should never do--what we cannot pray God to bless.
We should never go--where we cannot ask God to go with us.
If we would hold fast our profession,
if we would adorn the gospel,
if we would honor Jesus,
if we would enjoy our mercies,
if we would get good by our trials,
if we would see all things working together for good,
if we would conquer Satan,
if we would overcome the world,
if we would crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts
--we must pray!
Prayer, if it is believing prayer . . .
opens Heaven to us,
unveils the glorious face of God, and
brings down foretastes of the joys of paradise,
makes us a match for all our foes,
enables us patiently to carry every cross, and with perseverance to climb and pass over the loftiest hills we meet with on our heaven-bound pilgrimage!
Those who pray, will, by deriving strength from Heaven, by drawing down wisdom from above--withstand every storm, and shout God's praises at last.
Tempted Christian--pray, and you will overcome every temptation.
Troubled Christian--pray, and God will deliver you out of every trouble.
Perplexed Christian--pray, and God will make your way plain before your face.
Doubting Christian--pray, and God will disperse your doubts, and chase your fears away.
Trembling Christian--pray, and God will strengthen you with strength in the soul.
Sick Christian--pray, and God will make all your bed in your affliction.
Dying Christian--pray, and death will lose all its terrors, and you will gently fall asleep in Jesus.
Lost sinner--pray, for God who heard the publican and justified him, will hear you and save you.
O for the grace of prayer, that we may in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present our requests to God.
"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2
James Smith, Grace Gems, prayer
I don’t know about you, but this is a question I always have a difficult time answering. It seems God is constantly revealing to me the hidden treasures of His Word through the most unlikely verses, and so it’s not uncommon for my favorite Scripture to change on a monthly, or sometimes even a weekly, basis. With that said, rather than trying to pin down one verse and calling it my favorite, I want to give you a list of four verses that have proven especially influential in my own life.
“The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:”
While this verse doesn’t necessarily answer the question “Why me?” that we so often ask ourselves, it does clear up any misconception that it was because we were something special. In Israel’s case, they were not chosen because they had impressed God or because they were a great multitude of people; in our case, it wasn’t because we had earned God’s favor or because we had anything great to offer Him. It is for this reason that Paul wrote, “…by grace are ye saved.” (Ephesians 2:8)
“Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.”
Most of you don’t know this about me, but I come from a broken home. About three years ago my life was turned upside down, and yet this is a verse that brought comfort to me countless times when nothing else could. Whether you are without a father, a mother, a healer, or a friend, know today that God can be whatever it is you have need of (Philippians 4:19). He can be your helper in a way that nobody else ever could.
“Nevertheless the LORD thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the LORD thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the LORD thy God loved thee.”
It’s amazing to me when I look back over the most difficult times of my life and see how God was able to bring good out of a situation that seemed completely hopeless at the time. I know now that if I hadn’t experienced some of those trials I most likely wouldn’t even been saved today, and perhaps wouldn’t be here at all. God’s love for Israel moved Him to turn their curse into a blessing, and I know that, if you let Him, He’ll do the same for you.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
This is such a powerful verse, and it has held a special place in my heart for a long time. When I remember the bondage of sin that used to weigh me down and then consider the freedom I now have in Christ, a sense of joy fills my soul that couldn’t possibly be described in a blog post. When the devil, the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10), brings up our past sins to the Lord, I can imagine our heavenly Father answering, "Sin? I see no sin when I look on my child. He is without condemnation." Truly, there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.
So what about you? What Scriptures has God used to encourage, motivate, and uplift you when nothing else seemed to do the trick? Leave a comment and let me know, as I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to read your story. Whether it’s one verse or even a whole chapter, I always love reading how God speaks to others through verses I myself might have been overlooking.
getting to know you