Amazing Feats of Memory

Perhaps you wish you had a better memory..

SimonSurely, recalling facts for a test would be nice. Reading something and remembering every single fact on the page would be super! A name, along with the face, would never slip from your tongue misspoken. And maybe, just maybe, you would never have that thought that is on the tip of your tongue or in the corner of your mind stay unbidden at the appropriate time.

According to an interview I listened to last night (while on the way home from church),

“Everybody seems to have pretty much the same kind of paper in their head to write on, but some people organize it better than others or organize it for different things.”
~Barry Gordon M.D.and co-author of the book Intelligent Memory 

This was an interesting approach to understanding memory. You can read the transcript at a favored fact based radio show called, “Something You Should Know.”

When I play Trivial Pursuit, my kids note how I seem to pull an answer out of the file cabinet of useless facts stored in my mind. Where do these memories come from? How did I acquire them? Then, how in the world do I sift through all the useless boxes of storage and pull out an answer…

Then struggle with remembering why I came into a room, or where my reading glasses are… Why?

One of the answers is that we pick up on those things that are interesting to us and those facts never seem to fade.

I know a man who has memorized the entire King James Bible, and another man who has eidetic (some call it photographic) memory and from a particular bible he can tell you where every scripture physically shows up on a page.

Then we have all seen the videos of people who can remember entire lists that are just introduced to them.

We even played a card game where a shuffled deck is laid face down and then your opportunity allowed you to turn over two at a time, and when you find a match then you kept the two cards… It required a fluid memory to keep what card was face down in which position as it was turned over by you or a competitor.

And who could forget the hit game of 1978 – Simon

This same kind of memory is like your incidental memory that allows you to put your keys down on the kitchen cabinet and never worry about remembering where you put them. This moment of memory is filed away close to hand to grab it quickly.

Remember how you used to rehearse your speech before you stood up before your classmates, who are often you harshest critic.

There is something fluid about knowing your material, and being able to take your message multiple directions. But this requires preparation of self before the message can be presented.

Yet Jesus even said to take no conscious thought of your answer before others. (Matthew 10:19 for example)

You must read, study, ask questions, and know the answers before you stand in front of a crowd for open questions. Not only this, but there are times when all of your knowledge makes a sudden shift in space and you grasp something you never had the opportunity of knowing, or understanding, a microsecond before.

For Better IdeaFord used to advertise the better idea that comes to light as simple as a light bulb gets turned on.

Think about this.

In Matthew 16, Jesus is having a conversation with his disciples. “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” Various answers. Buzzzz. All wrong.

Then he asks them pointedly, “Who do YOU say that I am?”

No answer.

Then Peters blurts out an answer, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”

It’s almost like this thought came out of the blue. There was no way he studied for this revelation. It was just there. Spoken. Aloud. Ready to be judged by the listener and the modern day reader.

“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”

Two things happened here.

1. Peters name is seldom spoken in relation to what he was born with. He was probably always Simon when beckoned by parents or friends. Bar-Jonah simply means “Son of Jonah”.  And Jesus changes his name!

2. The answer was revealed, not out of his own thoughts and study, but put into his mind directly from God.

Here’s a concept about memory. It’s breakable. It’s not always perfect. It’s the building block of our identity. Without a good memory we are probably a simpleton barely getting by, day by day.

But when God puts a thought into your brain and you utter it – well, you are creating a new memory that was never there before.

You see, the blessings came from Peter speaking what was revealed to him, and that nugget of truth became the entire foundation for the church. Jesus is the Son of God, the Christ.

There is something special about this kind of memory!


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