Share-Your-Story Friday. Richie from MS

Rip and his Mama

Does your jaw drop in amazement sometimes at the wonder of God’s timing? Mine does, especially when I think back to the time in my life about 10 years ago when I started memorizing books of the Bible.

I had spent the previous 20 years in a struggle with alcohol and had drifted away from church and anyone “church like”. I had never read the Bible, much less memorized any of it. I was headed down a dark lonely road without any hope of turning back. Or so I thought.

About that time on God’s master calendar, I was invited by a good friend to attend a Bible study. I went out of respect for my friend, but not necessarily because I was excited about the Bible. The teacher was someone I had never heard of, Janet Pope. As it turned out, she had written a book that had just been published about scripture memory. Not that I was excited about the topic, but to learn more about my instructor, I purchased a copy.

Between the time I started the class and the time I read the book, an event happened in my life that caused me to cry out for deliverance from my drinking problem. Maybe I will share that story another day, but the bottom line is, God heard my cry and delivered me. At that point I was in a very humble and fragile state and in desperate need of godly guidance.

It was then that I started reading His Word in My Heart. About halfway through, I felt a very strong prompting to actually attempt to memorize some scripture myself. By divine design, I just happened to begin with James.

For the next 4 months my mind was focused night and day on the practical wisdom in that book related to persevering, taming my tongue, drawing near to God, fleeing from the devil, having joy in trials, being a doer of the Word. These were the thoughts I was clinging to while God transitioned me from darkness to light.

That was the beginning of a whole new way of life for me, memorizing God’s word and seeking to know Him. In addition to James, over the ten years since then, I went on to memorize 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 2 Timothy, Philippians, The Sermon on the Mount, and Colossians. I am different now, transformed by the renewing power of the scripture that is inside my head on a daily basis.

His timing was perfect.

22 comments to Share-Your-Story Friday. Richie from MS

  • This is a beautiful story of redemption. We have a rescuer who saves us from ourselves and gives us more than we could ever deserve. He gives us himself!

  • Richie Malone

    Janet, God didn’t wait until I cleaned myself up to consider me worthy of rescuing. No, I was slimy and grimy and in a dark pit when I recognized that my ability to crawl out was no match for the forces against me. Jesus Christ was my only hope. When I acknowledged that, He latched on to my filthy hands and pulled me out. By His grace alone can we be set free to receive his abundance.

  • Ethan

    Richie, thank you for sharing your story. I am so thankful for your life, your awesome story, and your availability to let God use you in so many ways. You are that light Jesus talked about in Matthew 5:15-16. Thank you for letting your light shine bright every day. Press on.

  • Richie Malone

    Ethan, your words of encouragement are precious to me. We all have stories of how Christ has impacted our lives. I admit that it is scary for me to put myself out there and be put on display for possible judgement and ridicule, but the cost of keeping quiet could be much greater if there is one person out there who can relate to my story and is looking for hope.

  • Layla

    Amazing words of encouragement from the fount of ALL blessings and our great redeemer! I’m so encouraged and lifted up by your testimony and will pray that your words here will deeply impact others. I know that’s your heart’s desire.
    Love the blog JANET!

  • Richie Malone

    Layla, thanks for being the kind of friend who knows my heart’s desire! Praise God for his redemption and for his good and perfect gifts to us in the form of fellow sojourners along the Way. The way you seek His face inspires me!

  • Donna Whittle

    Richie, I know your story and except for a few changes, it’s mine too. I am thrilled that you and I walk this same walk together! Jesus is so alive!I am working on James now and I know that it was written so long ago for me!! I love you. Thanks for sharing. Don’t you love this blog!!!

  • Penny Lovitt

    Richie, Thank you for sharing your sweet story. It is so encouraging.

  • Richie Malone

    Donna, talk about a sojourner! There is something powerfully comforting just knowing we aren’t the only ones who have walked a dark path and then been ransomed by the Light of the world. So proud of you for learning James! Love that we were brought together by our common pursuit of Jesus Christ and the truth of his Word. And, yes, this blog site has the potential to make a huge impact! Love you, my friend!

  • Susan Turner

    Who knew? Richie, the girl you are describing is certainly not the girl that I now know. You are truly a fragrant aroma of Christ to me!! Thank you for sharing. We are all slimy and grimy before Christ gets a hold of us. Love you my friend!!

  • Richie Malone

    Susan, thank goodness Jesus has an endless supply of heavy duty detergent for all of our slime and grime! No job too big or small for Him!

  • Richie Malone

    Penny, to steal a line from a friend, “It is my total joy”! As you know, when we have been set free and God hands us an opportunity on a silver platter to tell about it, we have to. There’s some reason He has set it up and there’s someone who needs to know about it. Thanks for your encouragement. Love you!

  • Sue Bond

    Richie, God Bless you for sharing your story and allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable. May the Lord continue to use you to encourage others that they, too, can seek Jesus for redemption from the darkest pit.
    Finish your race strong!

  • Sue Morton

    Richie, thank you for sharing your story! You have shared your story with me before and I again cried! They are tears of joy flowing from hearing how awesome our God works! Thank you for always pointing me and all those around you back to Christ our great loving redeemer, full of grace and mercy! Scripture memory has been the toughest spiritual discipline for me but I love it! It continues to produce the most fruit in my life by knowing and loving Jesus more!

  • Richie Malone

    Hi Sue Bond! Thank you for reading my story and for your encouragement. As Corrie Ten Boom said, “there is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still”. I will press on because I know that I was rescued so that I could tell about God’s faithfulness having experienced first hand. Thanks, Sue.

  • Richie Malone

    Hi Juicer Sue Morton! You are a memorizing champion! And how about your journaling and prayer regime that puts the angels to shame! Now you are a lady with discipline and one I want to model. See, that’s what I mean – when God knows we are seeking him, he puts us with people who inspire and encourage us and direct us to himself and his Word. No accident that my path crossed yours when it did, just like it was no coincidence that God introduced me to the concept of scripture memory at the same time he delivered me from alcohol. He’s good that way, isn’t he?!

  • Susan Davidson

    Richie, beautiful story of redemption. Of course I already knew it, but I love hearing it again and again. You and I kind of began our journey together. I’ll never forget our lunch at O’Charley’s and your courage to share your story and your heart with me. I cherish our friendship. You will always be a soul-sister, clapping-buddy, best friend, confidante, regular buddy and someone I can laugh hysterically with. Love you, my friend!

    • Richie Malone

      Susan D, thank you for your deep friendship. It was another miracle of God’s perfect timing, the way he set us up. Who knew I was continually sitting next to a person in church who was a stranger to me but had walked nearly the same path? Over time our polite exchanges turned to lunch and a divulging of our mutual rescues and many years later, here we are, divinely connected forever. Your love of and reliance on God’s word for your life and work inspires me, Susan. You are continually seeking Him and living it out. I know God smiles as he observes you and says “That’s my girl!”. Thank you for coming alongside me and counseling me with your knowledge of the Word as needed. I will never hear the word “Jubilee” again without thinking of you and laughing out loud! 🙂

  • Carmen Cole

    Dear Richie,
    Thank you for your courage to share your story. It is such a testimony of how God changes lives. My young adult son has been clean and sober for 3 years now. The turbulent years prior were some of the toughest my husband and I have endured thus far. Prayer and scripture is what got me through. I’m so grateful to God for leading me to Janet and scripture memorization. It has changed and deepened my walk with Him. I’m so glad for this blog. Blessings to you.

    • Richie Malone

      Hi Carmen:
      Thank you so much for writing your comment. It is very encouraging to me to hear from those who have been through similar situations, either personally or with loved ones. It is a connection that I know God arranges for our mutual benefit. Praise God for your son’s sobriety! We may never know on Earth how potent a mother’s prayers are. I know there were people standing in the gap for me and their prayers may be what turned the tide for me. As Janet has imparted to us, when the scripture is in us, then when storms come, we are prepared and can pull the Word out of our hearts immediately for wisdom. So glad you had God and his word to cling to during that turbulent time and that now you also have verses of praise to lift up in thanksgiving for deliverance! Thank you, Carmen!

  • Janine Albert

    Thanks for your meaningful and inspiring testimony to God’s perfect timing in your life, Richie! Your friendship is a treasure to me and your heart for Jesus and His Word encourages my faith. Big hugs from Florida!!

  • Richie Malone

    J9, my dear Florida friend! Thank you for your encouragement! God is always right on time, isn’t he? I mean, look at our friendship. It was born out of mutual desire to love our Maker more through his Word and He put us together to help each other do just that. The wisdom and maturity He has packed into your young mind is astounding! I know there’s hope for me, too! Love you, you little ultra-marathoner, you!