It was the winter of 1950/51. I was in the 10th grade in Central High School in Jackson, MS. As a teenager, age 15, in attending the Saturday evening “Youth for Christ” rallies, in my search to find peace with God, I was helped to find from the Bible how to have a faith relationship with Jesus Christ. It changed my life and the Bible has been a major functioning factor throughout my life.
Early on after that, I got my hands on a little, thin packet, titled “B rations.” It was short for “Bible Rations.” It contained a printout of several verses suggested for memorizing. I memorized them and was “hooked.” Then I ordered the “Navigator Topical Memory System.” It contained several Bible verses in various categories or topics on individual cards – they came in a packet that fit in my shirt pocket – which I carried around with me and worked at memorizing … verse by verse.
One of those passages I learned early on: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. … Your word have I treasured in my heart that I may not sin against You.” [Psalm 119: 9, 11]
Two simple principles were suggested by the Navigators for the project.
- In memorizing the verses, each time in going over them, repeat the reference (the location in the Bible) … “fore and aft,” “before and after” each verse. Thus, in learning … right along with the verse … where it is located. (Thus, eliminating comments such as “I know that verse, but I don’t know where it is in the Bible.”
- And in reviewing each memorized verse or passage, “Review!” Review! “Review!” A comparison was made to that of dragging a stick through the soil at the same “groove”, the entrenched line in the soil becomes deeper, thus more rooted in our hearts.
A great example of how God can speak through His Word as we memorize it …
When Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, first began memorizing Scripture, he was not yet in the family of God. His job was driving a “forklift” in a lumber yard. When going over his verses as he worked, he came across John 5:24, which provides these words of Jesus: “Truly, Truly, I say to you , he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me, has eternal life and does come into judgment but has passed from death into life.” Dawson prayed in his heart: “God, I don’t know what this eternal life is, but whatever it is, I want it!”
And something else was developing from these simple principles. In repeating the verses being memorized, is the scripture being memorizing, anyone so doing is “meditating” on the meaning of each verse … increasing the likelihood that God can speak to us in each verse we memorize.
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path [the lifestyle] of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” [Psalm 1:1,2] [Underlining mine]
With the above explanation serving as background, most of those 100 or so verses that I memorized 65 years ago (some longer ago) serve as the foundation of my life to this very day!
I remember a sense of urging, of leading from above – and with my radio experiences and platform – of recording some “public service announcements” (PSA’s), each of which begin: “65 years ago, I memorized from the bible, the word of God, this verse …” [or “…these verses …”]
Every radio station daily uses PSA’s, often they are in the form of advertising … or transitioning from one program to another.
So far, I have recorded 50 of them saying them by memory … with the intention of recording at least 50 more in the future. In seeking the reaction and input of St. Louis Bott Radio staffer of 30 years or so, Dave Powell, offered good input that I will include in recording the next group of PSAs.
Of the 50 PSA’s that I have recorded – only 30 seconds each – 10 of them can be listened to from this part of our ministry website … www.haroldhendrick.com.
Of course, my motivation on this project is to obey God … and to get His Word into the hearts of many people … one of two verses at a time. “Navigator Topical Memory Systems” can be ordered by clicking on https://www.navpress.com/p/topical-memory-system/9781576839973
Joan and I just ordered Navigator Topical Memory System packets for each grandchild! We love them that much !!!
You can hear one … or all ten … of these “65 years Ago…” PSA’s by clicking below. I think that longtime friend Rich Bott, President of Bott Radio Network [www.bottradionetwork.com] is going to air them on all 120 stations of the network. Thus, the word of God will be going out on the Network in one more way … and the word of God will not return void!
Links to matters related to this important theme …
To hear … “’Navigator’ staffer Brett Clark tells moving stories about his ministry. As a teen, I memorized their “Topical Memory System.” Those bible verses continue to guide my life to this day!” … click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2020/04/20/navigator-staffer-brett-clark-tells-moving-stories-about-his-ministry-as-a-teen-i-memorized-their-topical-memory-system-those-bible-verses-continue-to-guide-my/
To hear … [As told by Brett Clark of the Navigators, ministry partner of Pearl Harbor survivor Jim Downing] “With bombs falling on him at 1941 Pearl Harbor, Navigator Jim Downing prayed: ‘I’ll be with you in a minute, Lord!’” [In 2017 Jim Downing died at age 104 ½, ministering the Word until his death. He is listed in the Guinness’ Book of Records as the world’s oldest man to write a book]… click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2019/05/14/with-bombs-falling-on-him-at-1941-pearl-harbor-navigator-jim-downing-prayed-ill-be-with-you-in-a-minute-lord/
To hear … “Missionary to students Mort Whitman and HHH talk about impact on us of the ‘Navigator Topical Memory System’” … click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2015/06/29/student-missionary-mort-whitman-and-hhh-talk-about-impact-on-us-of-navigator-topical-memory-system/ and …
To hear … “Mort Whitman regarding the Chinese Communist University professor healed of cancer saying, ‘It must have been Jesus!’” … click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2015/05/25/mort-whitman-re-chinese-communist-university-prof-healed-of-cancer-saying-it-must-have-been-jesus/
To hear … “Jim McNiel, known as the ‘Walking Bible,’ amid laughs, regarding the joys of memorizing, applying, living out the Bible´”… click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2018/11/12/jim-mcniel-the-walking-bible-amid-laughs-re-joys-of-memorizing-applying-living-out-the-bible/
To hear … “Baptist Press Senior Editor Art Toalston; in midlife became passionate regarding Bible memory & meditation” … click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2016/07/03/baptist-press-senior-editor-art-
To hear … “St. Louis businessman Pat Bradley was an alcoholic that led to his divorce. Enter Jesus into his life! He began www.crisisaid.org, helping the needy, hungry and those trapped in the ‘sex slavery’ worldwide” … [Had a drinking problem early in life like Navigator founder Dawson Trotman] … click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2020/04/01/st-louis-businessman-pat-bradley-was-an-alcoholic-that-led-to-his-divorce-enter-jesus-into-his-life-he-began-www-crisisaid-org-helping-the-needy-hungry-and-those-trapped-in-the-sex-tra/
To hear … “Deidre Pujols [wife of major league baseball great Albert Pujols] regarding her fight against worldwide human sex trafficking. [2nd radio segment]. See www.strikeoutslavery.com and www.opengateintl.org” … click on … https://haroldhendrick.com/2020/03/26/deidre-mrs-hall-of-fame-baseball-great-albert-pujols-regarding-her-fight-against-sex-human-trafficking-worldwide-2nd-radio-segment-see-www-strikeoutslavery-com-and-www-opengat/