Devotional: ‘Shooting Live Ammunition’        


Many years ago, there was a young man by the name of Roy who was serving in the military. One night Roy was invited to attend a Bible study. During the evening the leader of the group asked each man to share his favorite Bible verse and then a word of testimony concerning it. As Roy sat there listening to the others, he was filled with horror. He could not think of one single verse to share.

Then finally John 3:16 came to his mind. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” As the others continued, Roy recited the verse over and over in his mind, trying to remember all the parts and piece it together. Then suddenly he was brought back to reality as he heard the soldier beside him say, “For God so loved the world…” Roy had never felt so defeated in all his life. His turn was next and he did not know another verse of scripture. Roy sat there realizing that he had nothing to share for the Lord.

The Bible study ended and the men went back to their bunks. Roy went to sleep that night thinking, “I failed. I’m a fake.” Early the next morning he was suddenly awakened by an alarm being sounded, calling everyone to their battle station. It was December 6, 1941 and Roy’s ship, the West Virginia, along with all the other ships docked at Pearl Harbor, were being attacked by the Japanese.

Roy was a machine gunner-man, but unfortunately his gun, along with all the others, was loaded with blanks they used for practice. Roy stated that for the first 15 minutes of the battle, all they could do was shoot blanks at the enemy, hoping somehow the noise would scare them off. As the battle raged on, Roy thought about the night before and made a promise to God: if the Lord would spare his life, he would never again be a Christian shooting spiritual blanks. Roy Robertson did survive and stayed true to his promise. After the war, he became a part of the ‘Navigators’ ministry, known for its commitment to memorization of scripture, Bible study, and discipleship.


Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’” Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.  (Matthew 4:1-11 NLT)

I have found that one of the best ways for me to memorize scripture is to prayerfully study the Bible. As I spend time meditating upon a portion of scripture, I not only begin to memorize much of what it says, I also internalize what it means.

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