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Pulling the Bible’s “Mnemonic Triggers”

Copyright © 20211

by
Jim Kerwin

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Title image for 'Pulling the Bible's 'Mnemonic Triggers'When you found that Old Testament quotation
in the New Testament this morning,
did you pull the “mnemonic trigger”?
If not, you probably missed a blessing!2

Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that mnemonic3 isn’t an adjective that rolls off the tongue or that comes up in casual conversation. Neither is its related noun, mnemonics, which means a technique of improving memory. But I think I can promise that if we can understand these unfamiliar words, the concept of a “mnemonic trigger” will become a useful and powerful tool in our Scripture reading and Bible study.

It might help us fix these two unusual words in memory if we take a quick trip down Memory Lane to visit the name which gave birth to both words. The ancient [continue reading…]

Pedaling as Fast as I Can!

30 January 2021

Title image 'Pedaling as Fast as I Can!' using a photo of an old Volkswagen 'bug' in the backgroundIf “speed kills,” then VW bug owners should live a long time!1

Denise and I celebrated our 49th wedding anniversary yesterday, and I am reminded that when we got married we owned a high-mileage black 1965 VW “bug” as our first car. Though loved by economy-minded VW owners, that model more than deserved its nickname of “gutless wonder.” Did you ever get stuck on an uphill freeway on-ramp behind a “bug” that was reciting “I think I can, I think I can” as it strained up the incline? If you did, you probably got close enough to read the bumper sticker that only a VW bug owner could fully appreciate:

DON’T HONK!
I’M [continue reading…]

I Once Was a Stranger

Alternate title:
Jehovah Tsidkenu

Robert Murray M’Cheyne
(1813-1843)

“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.
In His days Judah will be saved,
And Israel will dwell securely;
And this is His name by which He will be called,
The LORD our righteousness
(יְהוָה צִדְקֵנוּ / Yahweh ṣidəqēnû / Jehovah Tsidkenu).’”

—Jeremiah 23:5-6 nasb

I once was a stranger to grace and to God,
I knew not my danger, and felt not my load;
Though friends spoke in rapture of Christ on the tree,
Jehovah Tsidkenu was nothing to me.

I oft read with pleasure, to sooth or engage,
Isaiah´s wild measure [continue reading…]

There Is a Name I Love to Hear

Frederick Whitfield
(1829-1904)

We love because He first loved us.
—1 John 4:19—

There is a name I love to hear,
I love to speak its worth;
It sounds like music in mine ear,
The sweetest name on earth.

Chorus:1
O, how I love Jesus!
O, how I love Jesus!
O, how I love Jesus
Because He first loved me!

It tells me of a Savior’s love
Who died to set me free,
It tells me of His precious blood,
The sinner’s perfect plea.

It tells me of a Father’s smile [continue reading…]

Ebed-Melech

Amos R. Wells
(1862-1933)

10Then the king commanded Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, saying, “Take thirty men from here under your authority and bring up Jeremiah the prophet from the cistern before he dies.” 11So Ebed-melech took the men under his authority and went into the king's palace to a place beneath the storeroom and took from there worn-out clothes and worn-out rags and let them down by ropes into the cistern to Jeremiah. 12Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, “Now put these worn-out clothes and rags under your armpits under the ropes”; and Jeremiah did so.

Jeremiah 38:10-12 nasb

Hail to thoughtful Ebed-melech,
Ebed-melech, bold and kind —
Slave, well worthy to be freeman,
Royal heart and ready mind!
Where a cowardly king was feeble,
He was quick to dare and do,
Pitiful to Jeremiah,
Strong to [continue reading…]

Hark, the Voice of Jesus Calling

Daniel March
(1816–1909)

Hark, the voice of Jesus calling,
“Who will go and work today?
Fields are ripe and harvests waiting,
Who will bear the sheaves away?”
Long and loud the Master calls us,
Rich reward He offers free;
Who will answer, gladly saying,
“Here am I, send me, send me”?

If you cannot [continue reading…]

Lord, Speak to Me

Original title:
A Worker’s Prayer

Frances Ridley Havergal
(1836-1879)

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone;
As Thou hast sought, so let me seek
Thy erring children, lost and lone.

O lead me, Lord, that I may lead [continue reading…]

Reading, Writing, and Reigning

Copyright © 2020, 20211

by
Jim Kerwin

Simple text title graphic for 'Reading, Writing, Reigning'

Several times a year I drive down a long stretch of highway in my home state of Virginia. While traveling westward on this road, I pass a church which hardly ever changes the message on its marquee. It nearly always proclaims that congregation’s motto:

Training for Reigning

Even though that probably doesn’t leave much to the imagination as to the typical content of their preaching and teaching (I’m guessing topics like prosperity, positive confession, and “living like a king’s kid”), it always makes me wonder if they teach anything about God’s minimum [continue reading…]

If Thou But Suffer God to Guide Thee

(a.k.a. If You Will Only Let God Guide You)

Georg Neumark
(1621-1681)
translated by
Catherine Winkworth
(1827-1878)

If thou but suffer God to guide thee
And hope in Him through all thy ways,
He’ll give thee strength, whate’er betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days.
Who trust in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the rock that [continue reading…]

The Great Christmas Commission

19 December 2020

Dear Friend,

On December 25th we celebrate missions. Missions!? You probably thought I’d say, “Christmas” or “Jesus’ birth” or even “the Incarnation.” All of those are valid an­swers, of course. But have you ever thought about all of those as very im­por­tant sub-topics under the topic of mis­­sions, specifically the Great Com­­mission?

Title image showing earth's atmosphere from space, with the sky bearing the title 'The Great Christmas CommissionThe One who said, “Go” was sent.1

The Great Commission? Isn’t that the man­date Jesus gave His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20? That’s when they became full-fledged apostles, right? “Apostle” — apóstolos in Greek — is just the noun form of the Greek verb apostéllō,2 to send some­one out, to send a message. So the word apostle means nothing more — and nothing less! — than [continue reading…]

A Song of Joy at Dawn

Paul Gerhardt
(1607-1676)
translated by
Catherine Winkworth
(1827-1878)

All my heart this night rejoices,
As I hear,
Far and near,
Sweetest angel voices;
“Christ is born,” their choirs are singing,
Till the air
Everywhere
Now with joy is ringing.

For it dawns — the promised morrow [continue reading…]

A Carol

Martin Luther
(1483-1546)
“Written for his little son Hans”
translated by
Catherine Winkworth
(1827-1878)

“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.”

Luke 2:10

The Angel’s Proclamation:

From heaven above to earth I come
To bear good news to every home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring,
Whereof I now will say and sing:

To you this night is born [continue reading…]

We Love Him for He First Loved Us

Gerhard Tersteegen
(1697-1769)
translated by
Catherine Winkworth
(1827-1878)

Thou fairest Child Divine,
In yonder manger laid,
In whom is God Himself well pleased,
By whom were all things made,
On me art Thou bestow’d;
How can such wonders be!
The dearest that the Father hath
He gives me here in Thee!

I was a foe to God,
I fought in Satan’s host,
I trifled [continue reading…]

God with Us

Paul Gerhardt
(1607-1676)
translated by
Catherine Winkworth
(1827-1878)

Blessèd Jesus! This
Thy lowly manger is
The Paradise where oft my soul would feed;
Here is the place, my Lord,
Where lies the Eternal Word
Clothed with our flesh, made like to us indeed.

For He whose mighty sway
The winds and seas obey, [continue reading…]