Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Practice Of Pondering

Hey Friend,
Last week I challenged you to choose people over pixels, Creation over cyber-space and now this week I would like to take a look at scripture over surfing and scrolling.  Remember, it's all in finding a balance.
Even as a child, I was a voracious reader.  Perhaps being an only child contributed to my being able to get so caught up in a book that I would barely take time to eat.  I devoured books and loved to let my imagination run wild.  Another offshoot of reading a lot, I believe, is that I learned to read very quickly while still retaining comprehension of what I had just read.
I remember in school...the teacher would give us a section to read out of our books silently in class.  She would tell us to close our books to signal that we were done.  As you might imagine, I would read the section lickity split and be sitting there twiddling my thumbs wondering what in the world was taking everyone so long?
The down side of my speedy reading is that I tend to skim just about everything...the newspaper, books, magazines, devotionals and yes...even scripture.  If I have read/heard a scripture many times, I am guilty of really skimming past it.  Jean Fleming in her book "Pursue The Intentional Life", challenges readers to practice the art of pondering.
I would like to take the pondering one step further and challenge you to make the scripture personal...claim it as your own!!
One way to make it personal is to insert your name into the scripture or use the words "I" and "me".
Example:  "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."  (John 8:36)
Ponder:  "So if the Son sets me free, I will be free indeed."
Remember when your mom told you to really chew your food?  I encourage you to really chew on scripture.  Break it down word by word and let it roll around in your mind for awhile.  Claim its truth for yourself.  Personalize it. 
Mary, mother of Jesus, was good at pondering God's words to her through the angel Gabriel.  The Bible says: But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)
Scripture itself compels us to ponder:  "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing songs with gratitude in your hearts to God."  (Colossians 3:16)
Let = allow in (allow the word of Christ in)
Dwell = meditate upon (no skimming or speed reading)
Sing = recite what you've learned
Oh, if only we let the word of Christ dwell richly in us.  If only we gave His Word plenty of room in our lives?!
So when do we ponder the Word?
David says, "The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes."  (Psalm 119:95)
But his [man's] delight is in the word of the Lord, and on his word he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:2)
So why do we ponder the Word?
Revelation 1:3 says there is a special blessing for those who read God's word.
"The secret of joy is the practice of meditation - that is the way to have this joy of the Lord.  We must meditate upon Him, upon what He is, what He has done, His love to us and upon God's care for us who are His people."  (Martyn LLoyd-Jones)
"The secret to joy is meditating on God's care - not on earth's snares."  (Ann Voskamp)
So how do we ponder the Word?
One summer when I was not teaching I put together what I call a First-Aid or Emergency Kit of scriptures.  I actually wrote down scriptures that spoke to me during certain trials and tribulations in my life.  I included scriptures that spoke to my "hot buttons" or Achilles heel.  I wrote each verse individually on brightly colored index cards and laminated them (teachers laminate everything). 
If I was really organized I would group them according to topic ie: grace, guilt, worry, hope, anxiety, etc.  I hole punched them and put them on a round ring so that I can remove a certain scripture and tape it on my bathroom mirror if I feel like I need that extra reminder. 
Hide God's word in your heart.  Memorize it.  Study it.
The day is going to come when you will need the sword of scripture.
Don't be like me...don't skim scripture.  Ponder it.  Chew on it.  Take it line by line and word by word if you have to.  Read it in context.  Who was talking to whom?  What was the context or situation?  Then personalize it and claim it!
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!  How vast is the sum of them!  Were I to count them they would outnumber the grains of sand.
(Psalm 139:17-18)
How I pray that God's words and thoughts would be precious to me like the way they were to David.  Notice his use of exclamation marks (which are not widely used in the Bible).  How I pray that I would slow down and drink in God's word and really and truly ponder it in my heart the way Mary did. 
Will you join me in practicing the art of pondering God's Holy word?  Would you share ways you've been able to personalize and claim scripture as your own?  I would love to hear from you!
In His love,
ps.  As we look forward to celebrating Independence Day, may we all personally thank someone who has served or who is serving in our armed forces so that we may enjoy the freedoms that we have.  Extend that thanks to the spouses of service men and women too - who hold down the fort at home.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!
Dear Service men and women (and their families),
May the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.  (Numbers 6: 24-26)


  1. Such a wonderful post! I too, am a speed reader. Over the past several years, I have been learning the art of pondering. I have index cards on my bedside table with scriptures written on them to pray and study. It has been a process and sometimes I still black slide and speed read. When I take the time to study, dissect, enter my name, it is amazing! Thanks for the great reminder! Blessings!

    1. Kathleen,
      Just like you said...it is a process. I often back slide and fall into old habits of speed reading. At least now when I do, it sends up a red flag that I need to slow down and be more intentional. So glad you stopped by Kathleen!
      Blessings to you,

  2. Hi Bev,

    I also look up the Hebrew or the Greek definition of the words of the scripture that stands out, and also read other versions to see how the sentences are phrased. If applicable, I also research the Jewish background of particular feasts, ceremonies, cultural practices. For example, I looked up the prodigal son because it spoke to me so loudly of the runaway son and also the father's actions. I found a site with just that theme. The site tied together the parable of the women and the lost coin and the lost sheep, along with the prodigal son. Then it brought me to the professor of Ken Bailey, and his understanding of the customs of the Middle East from living there for many years. He has some very deep and yet very understandable lectures. Very rich, profound and gave me a heart understanding of me being a prodigal, and the love of Abba God. I can't do it with everything, just where I feel led to dig deep. I also keep (in streaks) a journal of how Jesus talks to me through scripture and go back and revisit them. I may stay camped for a while on a particular scripture when I'm going through a season of it speaking to me.

    Then I do have times where I have a restlessness and can't seem to read and concentrate, just skim. I'm in that period right now. So, I now have come to realize through your post, I need to settle down and read and not skim even if it is just a couple of verses, and ponder those.

    Thank you for this very timely reminder. Your posts just do that to me!

    BTW, what did you teach?



    1. Hi Joanne,
      Been thinking of you...I, too, love to look up the Hebrew or Greek definition of certain words because so much can get lost or slightly twisted in the translation. I like reading from the Amplified version which sheds a little more light on each scripture. Like you said, understanding the Middle East culture and the Jewish culture at the time has given me an appreciation of how much they use symbolism and visual word pictures and parables to illustrate their point.

      Like you, sometimes I really can sink my teeth in and then there are other times that I slip back into old habits of skimming and speed reading. Since I have found myself in one of those seasons, that is what prompted me to write this post. Most of the time I am lecturing myself and letting others listen in lol. I need reminders too!!

      FYI...I was an assistant teacher for 3 years in the third grade in a private school and then taught preschool - 3 and 4 year olds in a Christian preschool for several years until my surgeries put me on injured reserve and enabled me to start my blog.

      Blessings and ((Hugs)) to you my friend,

  3. Bev- This is such an encouragement to seek the only truth that will truly set us free. Your message is beautifully written and I'm so glad I stopped by. Thank you for sharing His word and your gift here!

    1. Karen,
      Welcome...so glad you stopped by. You made my 4th!! What better day to celebrate the truth that can truly set you free!

  4. I love the personalize and claim it part! I need to remember that more often. It is awesome when a verse you have read 1000 times suddenly jumps out at you in a new way. :)

    1. You are exactly right...it is amazing how, thanks to the Holy Spirit working in and through us, we can read a verse we've read 1000 times before and suddenly have a new "ah ha" moment. I constantly have to challenge myself to personalize and claim scripture...

  5. I am also a voracious speedy reader who doesn't absorb much either. For a long time I often felt at a loss as to what to do in my quiet time. I find myself only being able read small bits of the Bible when I'm in a time of wanting to "ponder" or absorb the Word. It used to make me feel like I wasn't doing enough. Now, I know it's quality, not quantity, that's so important. Thanks for this post.

  6. Karla,
    If it helps to know...I am often a "one a day" ponderer...meaning that for me, choosing one verse of scripture that really speaks to me and meditating on it for the day, works best for me. Taking the Bible in small bits is just fine. Sometimes God calls us to larger segments or chapters and sometimes one powerful verse will just stand out. As you said it's quality over quantity!
    Blessings to you friend,

  7. This post was needed as I continue to struggle with my morning tim in His word. I'm not fully sure why. For the most part, it may be an inability to focus these days. But I don't want to miss out or skip time with Him. I think I'm guilty of trying too hard and then I get frustrated that it isn't clearer to me. So many things. I do want to let His word dwell richly in me. Thanks for this, Bev. And thank you for what you shared at the end of your post. Touched my heart to read.
    Much love and (((hugs))),

    1. Beth,
      Just so you know, I write many of my posts to myself. This was written, in a sense, to encourage me in my quiet time with God because I get SO distracted. My Bible sits, right now, on the table beside my favorite chair with a pen stuck in the part I was reading and somehow got distracted from?? Sometimes I try too hard too instead of just being still and waiting on what the Lord might have to say to me. Know you are not alone!! I meant my ps. from the bottom of my heart!!
      With love and ((hugs)),


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