“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your Word…I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against God. Psalm 119:9 & 11
These verses are two of the many carved into wooden signs along the trail through the woods on the PAYH 50 acre campus. It is much more than a “decoration on the beautiful campus God has provided, it is at the very heart of our program; a program carefully and lovingly honed over the years to turn out young men of moral character with a committed love for Jesus. In most cases young men graduate from the PAYH far different than when they entered. Few go back to crime, but our real goal far exceeds that outcome. It is our greatest desire that they leave here to serve the Lord and walk in His commands. We are quick to admit that it does not always happen, and that deeply saddens all of us. Yet we do not give up. The Lord encourages and facilitates perseverance in us all. As long as God keeps the PAYH open we will be committed to do what God wants us to do in the heart transformation of all the young men He sends our way.
This past week we were all thrilled over what God is doing in the life of one of our recent graduates (Frank). Our school headmaster took three of our current resident young men to attend Frank’s graduation from Basic Training in the Army. The three earned this trip by having perfect scores on their Scripture memory work over three months; no easy challenge. As they traveled to Ft. Jackson they discussed how they would be able to pick Frank out from 1092 graduates on the parade field. However, their concerns were quickly dispelled when they received the printed program and saw Frank was one of the five outstanding graduates. And then near the end of the program the MC announced that Private Frank Yates would lead the entire class of 1092 basic trainees in the memorized recitation of the Soldier’s Creed. Frank’s memory work discipline at the PAYH obviously was at work in the excelling performance of Frank among his fellow soldiers. Reading this report my eyes were as wet as my wife Glenda’s.
It is our premise, based on God’s Word itself, that if the knowledge of Scripture gets into the head of these young men, it may eventually reach their hearts. Therefore, Psalm 119:9 & 11! One of our other express missions is that our graduates might share Christ with others and be able to disciple them. God’s Word tells us that we should “always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us. Memorizing Scripture puts the answer on the tip of one’s tongue, that you might be “ready in season and out. I encourage you to make this one of your own personal goals, and as a parent to instill the discipline in your children while they are young, continuing it until they leave your home. There really is no more excellent exercise for their preparation to go out into the world. Just yesterday I conducted the Memorial Service of a dear friend who passed into glory this week at the age of 94. In his late 80s he memorized the first 16 chapters of Revelation. You cannot be too old to hide God’s Word in your heart, and you can begin very early in life. Happy the boy or girl who begins that mind and heart deposit while they are still young.
“Heavenly Father, Your Word illumines my pathway through life. May I treasure it enough to firmly root it in my memory and heart.
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