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  • When Memorizing Isn't Fun Anymore

    Memorizing Scripture is one of the most worthwhile ways to spend time. By hiding God’s Word in your heart, you will be well-prepared for the day of adversity (Psa. 119:92), well-equipped to share the Gospel (Rom. 10:17), and well-guarded against sin (Psa. 119:11).

    But what do you do when the fire has gone out? Perhaps you can remember a time when memorizing Scripture was the highlight of your day. Your zeal for God’s Word was a bright flame that consumed your heart. But now, for some unexplainable reason, that flame has been reduced to an ember. The sad and simple truth is that you just don’t feel like memorizing anymore. Continue reading

  • When Life Doesn't Seem Wonderful

    In the classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey gives up his dream of traveling the world. He instead stays in the small town of Bedford Falls where he manages a small building and loan company. After years of selfless service to his friends and neighbors, George finds himself depressed and in great financial straits. As he ponders whether his life is worth living, news of George’s predicament spreads throughout the community. In a touching display of generosity, the entire community rallies around their friend and helps the one who has so often helped them. Ultimately, George Bailey enjoys a happy, musical ending surrounded by his family and friends.

    In some ways, George Bailey’s life looks a lot like the apostle Paul’s. Paul gave up what promised to be a successful career in Judaism, counting it “loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:8). His life was spent serving others “in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3). And like George Bailey, Paul eventually encountered his own time of great need.

    As he sat in a Roman prison writing what would be his last epistle, Paul sensed that the time of his departure was at hand (2 Tim. 4:6). If Paul’s life was a movie, this is when you might expect an entourage of close friends to suddenly appear and break into song. Instead, Paul writes that “all those in Asia have turned away from me” (1:15). Demas, a former partner in ministry, “loved this present world” and went his own way (4:10). Meanwhile, Crescens headed “for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia” (4:10). Alone and needing to be “filled with joy,” Paul urged young Timothy to come quickly and visit him (1:4; 4:21).

    The Christian life rarely resembles a Hollywood movie. Believers are not called to ease and relaxation, but to “endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2:3). Just like a “hardworking farmer” (2:6), our lives are not lived for today’s pleasures, but for tomorrow’s harvest. The work may at times be difficult and unglamorous, but in the end, we’ll be able to say with confidence, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (4:7-8).

  • Having Heart Trouble?

    “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1)

    John Bunyan’s little book, Heart’s Ease for Heart Trouble, begins with a chapter entitled “The Sovereign Cure for Heart Trouble.” There, Bunyan leads the reader to think deeply about Jesus’ words in John 14:1, “Let not your heart be troubled….” Jesus wanted His disciples’ hearts—our hearts—to be without care, to be untroubled (Matt. 6:34). But too often, the cares of this world weigh down our hearts. Even when we’ve captured Scripture in memory, we experience fainting fits and turbulence as our anxiety level rises, along with our blood pressure.

    At those moments, it’s time to take our own medicine. When my dad began to experience heart disease later in life, one doctor gave him a little vial of nitroglycerin tablets to take when he felt chest pains. Nitroglycerin, used in liquid form in explosives, has long been known to prevent chest pain and cardiac arrest when placed under the tongue. So Dad kept these tiny tablets in his pocket everywhere he went and used them as directed for years. But he had to take them out of his pocket and put them under his tongue for them to work!

    In the same way, memorizing Scripture is a fantastic discipline for everyone, but many times we need Jesus and His people to remind us to “take the medicine.” When fear or anxiety strike next, what biblical “pill” will you place under your tongue? What “key” of promise will you use to escape Doubting Castle and Giant Despair? Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

  • Got Peace?

    Life can be stressful. As the alarm sounds each morning, you wake up to find work, school, meal prep, and soccer practice all headed your way at top speed. Another day, another 16 hours of chaos.

    In the midst of this daily struggle, peace often feels like an idealistic fantasy. That's why the word "peace" often draws one's imagination to some secluded lake house or mountainside cabin. If peace exists, it must be far away from the reality that rules our ever-hectic lives. At least, that's what we tell ourselves. Yet in the midst of life's busyness, Scripture invites you to "let the peace of God rule in your hearts" (Col. 3:15).

    If you need a fresh dose of "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding" (Phil. 4:7), consider getting a copy of our Peace memory verse booklet (ESV, KJV, or NKJV). Over the course of 15 weeks, you'll memorize 32 verses to help you understand and enjoy the perfect peace of God. Devotionals and study questions are included for each verse, and an optional Scripture song CD is available for NKJV memorizers.

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  • Is Your Check Engine Light On?

    Few things in life are more unnerving than a check engine light. Isn't it amazing how a single light bulb carries the potential to ruin your whole day? Suddenly, a peaceful drive to the grocery store is replaced by a nerve-racking trip to the mechanic. What will they say? How much will it cost? Will I even make it there? These questions and more rush through your mind as you hope for the best. "After all," you tell yourself, "maybe it's just a bad sensor."

    As much as we all dread our car's check engine light, we all do the same thing when it comes on: go to the mechanic. You might be able to ignore a cracked mirror or a dented hood, but not engine issues. To ignore that warning on your dashboard is to risk making things worse or even breaking down.

    Just like the engine of a car, your heart is the driving force behind your thoughts, words, and actions.  Continue reading

  • Phone: ✓ Wallet: ✓ Keys: ✓

    There are certain things we don't leave home without. For most of us, it's a short list: phone, wallet, and keys. You check your pockets for them constantly and your heart skips a beat if something is missing. These items are simply too important to leave home without, so you look for them when they're lost and do a u-turn when they're forgotten.

    Just like your phone, wallet, and keys, God's Word is too important to forget. Continue reading

  • Crossroads: Preparing Your Children for Adulthood With Bible Memory

    Over the last four years, I’ve traveled to Christian conferences across the country. As I meet dozens of parents at these events, I often turn to their young children and ask if they can quote any Bible verses. As you might expect, John 3:16 and “Jesus wept” are among the most common responses — and for obvious reason. But when I ask if they can say any other verses, the response is nearly always the same: blank stares, sheepish grins, and a somewhat embarrassed parent.

    An unfortunate and unintended side effect of the digital age is that even classic memory verses like John 3:16 are hardly common knowledge among Christian young people. Sure, they understand biblical concepts like Creation, the worldwide flood, and salvation through Christ. But ask them to recite a verse to support any one of these beliefs, and you’ll likely encounter the same awkward silence I've come to expect.

    This might seem like a minor omission at first. After all, can’t we teach our children biblical principles without the hassle of memory work? Isn’t it enough that they believe the right things about God, even if they can’t trace those beliefs back to a chapter and verse? Continue reading

  • Seasons of Scripture Memory

    Spring: Fresh zeal and much planting mark springtime. For the memorizing Christian, this may be a renewed conviction that you need Scripture in your heart. Perhaps you have a new set of verses, a new goal, or a new friend to recite with. Energy is high and you plant verse seeds regularly and expectantly.

    Summer: Here you settle in. You tend and till the verses to accurate, confident recitations. These are good times hiding the Word as rhythm and system settle in. Zeal is not gone, but it’s overshadowed by routine. Memorizing is “what I do.” A few storms of busyness and distraction shake the verse blooms, but unless a complete drought of inconsistency sets in, most verses will survive. Continue reading

  • On your mark, get set, snooze?

    After a long week at work, few things sound better than sleeping in and enjoying a lazy Saturday. But imagine instead being awakened by the rude sound of your alarm clock. As you roll over and see the time -- 7:00 a.m. -- you groggily remember you were planning to exercise this morning.

    Your first instinct is to roll over and go back to sleep. But there's just one problem: you're supposed to meet your friend at the track by 8:00. Your lack of internal motivation to get up and exercise is suddenly overcome by external motivation and accountability. In simper terms, your desire to keep your word is stronger than your desire for more sleep. Continue reading

  • Too busy to memorize?

    Does the busyness of daily life feel overwhelming? If so, this might come as a surprise: research shows that Americans have more free time now than they did 50 years ago. Modern inventions and household appliances have simplified housework, and we work less overall than our parents and grandparents did.1

    So what gives? If we're technically less busy, why does everyday life feel so chaotic? According to one study, it's partially because being busy makes us feel important.After all, to tell a coworker that you have no weekend plans is rather embarrassing. So we fill our schedules with Facebook-worthy moments and then bemoan our lack of free time.

    "The ironic consequence of the ‘busy feeling’ is that we handle our to-do lists less well than if we weren’t so rushed."2 Can you relate? Continue reading

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