This is a devotional thought by OSWM, a Watchman serving behind the walls at a west coast prison.
Though I knew it was a possibility, I did not plan or expect to be sent to prison. One morning I went to court – that evening, I was in jail. I contend there was a miscarriage of justice. I share this to lay a foundation for the premise of this article, which is: It is important to have the Word of God “hidden in your heart” (Psa. 119:11) because we never know when we may not have access to computers, smart devices, or Study Bibles. Such was the case for me.
I have been a student of the Bible for many years. For more than 20 years, I have relied heavily on computer software and internet searches to assist with my studies. This is an efficient way to research, find verses, and prepare lessons. Then one day, I found myself in jail, without access to many comforts or study aids. It took a week to have access to a print Bible, and that Bible did not have study notes, maps, a concordance, or any of the tools I am accustomed to using every day.
Incarceration has been a real shock for me – it is for many. The experience has reminded me of this basic principle: We will face moments when we need hope, comfort, and answers. In moments when we have mere seconds to be a witness by sharing a powerful verse, it is good – no – it is necessary we have Scripture well planted in our hearts.
Sometimes there is no time to look up a verse. Sometimes, as in my case, it was not possible. I am thankful that my spiritual journey started before the computer age. I am grateful that I was encouraged to hold a printed Bible, flip through the pages, and know where the books are located. In those early years, I enjoyed searching for verses, looking up answers in various reference books, and committing important passages to memory.
Like most of us, as Bible technology became available, I became more dependent on technology to do the work. I am now keenly aware of how vulnerable I was as I became more tethered to technology to effectively accomplish the work God gave me to do.
We live at a time when the pace of civil unrest, intolerance, and religious persecution is significantly increasing. Additionally, Scripture notes that in the last days, there will be “perplexities” in the sky, adding that “the earth will be shaken” (Luke 21:25-28). Solar flares, power disruptions, volcanic activity, and earthquakes are certainly within the realm of possibility. Any one of those events could interrupt the internet and suspend our access to technology. We see Christian broadcasts, websites, and social media feeds targeted by big tech and the Leftist elite.
The pressure is increasing and will only continue to multiply. Before the Tribulation begins, spiritual warfare will be at intense levels, and Christian messages will be all but silenced on the air and over the internet. Bible apps and programs will become “hate speech.” If history is any indication, simply quoting the Bible could eventually become a crime; it’s all part of the end times scenario Jesus described.
Watchmen, Paul commends us to preach, teach, and witness “in season and out” (2 Tim. 4:2). To safeguard our continued effectiveness in ministry and be ready, we must commit Scripture to memory. We must be prepared to persuade (Luke 14:23) and provide compelling answers for the “hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).
Below are suggested verses to memorize. May God bless you as you strive to be “equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16).
Verses on witnessing/salvation
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).
- “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)
- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
- “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).
- “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ” (Romans 10:17).
- “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—” (John 1:12)
- “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
- “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—” (Ephesians 2:8)
- “For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:10-11).
- “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20).
- “and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which He put to death their hostility” (Ephesians 2:16).
- “and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:20).
Verses on Prayer
- “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:4-6).
- “Pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
- “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one’” (Matthew 6:9-13).
- “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise” (James 5:13).
- “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
- “The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand” (Revelation 8:4).
- “Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress,and He hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).
- “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing” (1 Timothy 2:8).
- “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
Verses on the Authority of Scripture
- “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
- “I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).
- “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
- “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).
- “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).
- “Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve You” (Psalm 119:89-91).
- “Do not treat prophecies with contempt” (1 Thessalonians 5:20).
- “For the word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does” (Psalm 33:4).
Verses on Forgiveness
- “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
- “You, Lord, are forgiving and good,abounding in love to all who call to You” (Psalm 86:5).
- “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3).
- “Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:3)
- “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of His name” (1 John 2:12).
- “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
- “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person, someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).
Verses on the Rapture
- “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
- “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
- “That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken, and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken, and the other left. Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:39b-42).
- “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-6).
- “And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work, but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).
- “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all” (Luke 17:26-27).
- “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
Fulfilled Prophecies (which give confidence that future prophecies will be fulfilled as foretold)
- “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
- “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for meone who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).
- “I told them, ‘If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not, keep it.’ So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—the handsome price at which they valued me! So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them to the potter at the house of the Lord” (Zechariah 11:12-13).
- “Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (Zechariah 9:9).
- Isaiah 53. Excerpt: “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,and by His wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
- “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).
- “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).
Verses on Christian Living/Being a Watchman
- “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, speak to your people and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not heed the warning and the sword comes and takes their life, their blood will be on their own head. Since they heard the sound of the trumpet but did not heed the warning, their blood will be on their own head. If they had heeded the warning, they would have saved themselves’” (Ezekiel 33:1-5).
- “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
- “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
- “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age’” (Matthew 28:18-20).
- “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13).
- “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
- “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns Me before others will be disowned before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9).
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