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Why We Should Memorize the Verses of God

Jennifer Boles | Sep 12, 2020

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Jennifer Boles | Sep 12, 2020

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

I am richly blessed by my Baha’i sisters. Because of a recent conversation we had during our devotional time, God later reminded me of how and why on my journey, the memorization of Biblical scripture has been critical in my life. His Word, revealed to us in each of the sacred writings, is God’s love letter to us. Once we truly realize this, everything changes.

Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word has been written on my heart as I have prayed and meditated over passages, allowing them to sink in deep. Over the years, God has given me discernment in recognizing truth. Not my truth — His truth.

So, here’s the really cool part: Knowing scripture intimately through this memorization immediately allowed me to know the truth and validity of Baha’u’llah, the prophet and founder of the Baha’i Faith, because of the actual sacred words, and to inherently understand the progressive revelation of Baha’u’llah as the next divine messenger. 

In the Bible in Psalm 89:3-4, God says, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant, ‘I will establish your line forever and make your throne firm through all generations.”

Baha’u’llah wrote: “lf thou wilt observe with discriminating eyes, thou wilt behold them all abiding in the same tabernacle, soaring in the same heaven, seated upon the same throne, uttering the same speech, and proclaiming the same Faith. Such is the unity of those Essences of Being, those Luminaries of infinite and immeasurable splendour!”

This has not been an academic process for me. Rather, I can clearly see how God designed my own “progressive” journey to, “Come back home!”

The words, literally, are in some cases the same. 

In a prayer, Baha’u’llah wrote: “Create in me a pure heart, O my God, and renew a tranquil conscience within me, O my Hope! Through the spirit of power confirm Thou me in Thy Cause, O my Best-Beloved, and by the light of Thy glory reveal unto me Thy path, O Thou the Goal of my desire!

In Psalm 51:10-12, the Bible tells us: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

There are a myriad of verses, reflections, and prayers that parallel each other. The verses I’ve shared here are a handful that most poignantly bubbled up, allowing me to recognize and even hold both writings side by side to see the alignment — the continuation of the dispensation. Also, to feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit to move forward in this next step.

In a talk he gave in Paris in 1911, Abdu’l-Baha, the son of Baha’u’llah and his designator successor said: “The Holy Spirit it is which, through the mediation of the Prophets of God, teaches spiritual virtues to man and enables him to attain Eternal Life. All these blessings are brought to man by the Holy Spirit; therefore, we can understand that the Holy Spirit is the Intermediary between the Creator and the created. The light and heat of the sun cause the earth to be fruitful, and create life in all things that grow; and the Holy Spirit quickens the souls of men.”

And in John 14:26, Jesus tells us: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

Through memorization, God’s word was written on my heart, thus quickening His call to me. That feeling or prompting that something was not right with the manner, many times, in which the church was teaching or, “acting out,” the holy word, thus creating artificial holiness. Or, in some cases, allegiance through “discipleship” — not to God, but to the actual church — simultaneously excluding others who did not conform to its rules, laws, or membership. How many are turned away by this, or sadly, led astray?

In my heart, stirred the longing for the completeness to “come back home,” (Zechariah 1:3) and asking for the peace that surpassed all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and how the Holy Spirit reveals the secret things of the Lord. 

The Bible tells us:

“I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Hebrews 8:10

“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29

When I asked God again to honor my asking of Him, to always tell me the truth and show me His way, even now, show me, confirm for me, when to make this next move — there it was, the call.

Baha’u’llah said: “This is the Day in which the testimony of the Lord hath been fulfilled, the Day in which the Word of God hath been made manifest, and His evidence firmly established. His voice is calling you unto that which shall profit you, and enjoineth you to observe that which shall draw you nigh unto God, the Lord of Revelation.

Even now, as I have been further blessed by divine insight, and God’s love for me, He has shown me, through Christ, and now through and with Baha’u’llah, where I can finally let go of any chains I allowed to bind me.

As Saint Augustine said:

Therefore do not be disheartened, Peter; reply once, reply twice, reply a third time. The triple confession of your love is to regain what was lost three times by your fear. You must loose three times what you bound three times; untie by love that which your fear bound.

I must continue to move forward in freedom and in love. Baha’u’llah tells us: 

They that have forsaken their country for the purpose of teaching Our Cause—these shall the Faithful Spirit strengthen through its power. A company of Our chosen angels shall go forth with them, as bidden by Him Who is the Almighty, the All-Wise. How great the blessedness that awaiteth him that hath attained the honor of serving the Almighty!

I am ever reminded, through His word, and now specifically in Baha’u’llah and through the real-life walk-the-walk friendship and spiritual kinship of my sisters and brothers of the Baha’i community that God, in His ever forbearance and patience toward us, gently reminds us, deep within our hearts that God is love, and we belong to Him.

Abdu’l-Baha wrote

Know thou of a certainty that Love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings. Love is heaven’s kindly light, the Holy Spirit’s eternal breath that vivifieth the human soul. Love is the cause of God’s revelation unto man, the vital bond inherent, in accordance with the divine creation, in the realities of things. Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul.

Amen.

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Comments

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  • Foad Farhoumand
    Sep 13, 2020
    -
    Dear Jennifer, what a great story, and journey. Welcome, welcome, welcome to the Bahá’í community.
  • Sep 12, 2020
    -
    Great journey sister Jennifer and welcome to your global family
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