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  • The Powerful Word of God

    “But no man can tame the tongue.
    It is an unruly evil,
    full of deadly poison."
    (James 3:8)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    The power of the spoken word is enormous and difficult to fully comprehend. The personal impact of our own speech is that “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned,” and the eternal effects of what we say to others are often just as drastic (Matt. 12:37). According to Solomon in Proverbs 18:21, death and life themselves are in the power of the tongue, meaning our words can either be used as a tool to accomplish “what is good for necessary edification,” or as a deadly weapon that sows seeds of doubt and discouragement (Eph. 4:29).

    Unfortunately, using our words to tear down isn’t something that requires special training. Our human nature is to speak before we think, a tendency we must be intentional about overcoming by instead “exercising ourselves toward Godliness” (1 Tim. 4:7). Our goal as Christians should be that our “speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt,” something most people will acknowledge is easier said than done (Col. 4:6).

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  • Unscripted Bricks

    “Truly God is good.”
    (Psalm 73:1)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    For most people, each new year begins with a long list of resolutions for change. We determine to alter the way we look, the way we act, and the way we spend our time. Personally, I’ve never been the type to head into January with more than a few New Year’s resolutions, but I almost always begin my year with a general idea of things I’d like to do differently.

    Unfortunately, research shows that only about 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals. I’ve personally been among the other 92% quite often, and so I can say from experience that this failure isn’t usually due to the resolution being unattainable; most of the time, it’s a simple lack of commitment on my part.

    So if most New Year’s resolutions don’t reflect an unwavering commitment to change, why is our culture seemingly obsessed with them this time of year? Continue reading

  • Lessons from a Christmas Carol

    In Dickens’ classic Christmas Carol, Scrooge spies two wretched children in the skirts of the Spirit of Christmas Present. Scrooge asks the spirit, “Are they yours?”

    Article by Jim Woychuk Jim Woychuk

    'They are Man's,' said the Spirit….This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.

    Doom born of Ignorance. If Dickens read our news and walked our streets, he would see that doom coming to pass. Ignorance of God’s ways, of God’s Word, of God Himself is bludgeoning our culture into a slow-motion train-wreck frightful to behold.

    Hosea saw a similar doom born of ignorance 2700 years ago:

    There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land…My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…. Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children…They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the LORD. (Hos. 4:1, 6; 5:4)

    We joke about ignorant people or dismiss ignorance as inconsequential, but in fact ignorance decimates! “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hos. 4:6). Nations, cities, families, men and women, boys and girls, wither and perish by ignorance.

    In such desperate times, Hosea offers healing and hope:

    Come, and let us return to the LORD; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.

    When we store God’s Word in our heart, we “pursue the knowledge of the LORD.” Let us be careful to know Him, not just about Him, lest we fall into error of those unwilling to come to Him (John 5:39-40). God’s Word reveals who God is, what He is like what He may be depended on to do and say. Preaching to Cornelius, Peter said, “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).

    To believe on Him and receive forgiveness is the best educational answer to the worst moral and spiritual ignorance. And in us, as in Scrooge in Dickens’ Carol, knowledge of Christ leads to repentance, forgiveness, life, and joy.

    Scrooge was better than his word…Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them… Ever afterwards… it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Bless Us, Every One!

  • Gems in the Trenches

    Article by Laura Laura Raborn

    What if we had been born with a pre-installed verbatim copy of all 1,189 chapters of the Bible? No forgetfulness, no need for memory books, flashcards, or systematic review. Just instant access to His Word:

    • in our minds as we conversed with family, friends, coworkers,
    • in our hearts as we weighed decisions and combated worldly lies, and
    • in our speech as we interacted with the unbelieving world.

    All these long-range advantages of Scripture memorization come about as God’s Word permeates our lives like a dye tablet dropped in boiling water. But the fact is, we don’t enjoy all the advantages of Scripture-saturation without serious effort to meditate and remember. Because God’s Word is not pre-installed, memorization takes hard work.

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  • Parasites

    "And this I speak for your own profit;
    not that I may cast a snare upon you,
    but for that which is comely,
    and that ye may attend upon the Lord
    without distraction.”
    (1 Corinthians 7:35)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    According to the World Health Organization, malaria kills approximately 781,000 people annually, making it one of the most lethal diseases on our planet. It all starts when a mosquito, no more than a centimeter or so in length, taps into your bloodstream and feasts on stolen nutrients while you're occupied with other things.

    Spiritually speaking, we often encounter “parasites” of a different kind which attempt to steal our thoughts, time and affection. Things inherently sinful as defined by Scripture are naturally among the first things we list as harmful, but oftentimes the things which hinder us most are those daily distractions that consume our time and energy — usually while things of even greater importance are neglected.
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  • Remembering Redemption

    "He will turn again,
    He will have compassion upon us;
    He will subdue our iniquities;
    and Thou wilt cast all their sins
    into the depths of the sea."
    (Micah 7:19)

    As Christians, we often speak of God's "sea of forgetfulness." We rejoice in the grace and forgiveness of God, and for very good reason. Aside from the fact that He "hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities," we can take comfort in knowing the Master of creation is on our side and counts us as beloved children whom He has "bought with a price" (Ps. 103:10; Rom. 8:31; 1 Cor. 7:23).

    Simply put, our redemption is an invaluable gift and one that we should keep in constant view. Our attitudes and actions should be influenced above all else by the realization that we are among "they which are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Rev. 21:27).

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  • Pure Praise

    "Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
    And into His courts with praise.
    Be thankful to Him, and bless His name."
    (Psalm 100:4)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    At its very core, praise is thankfulness to God in action. My recent Bible studies have led me to conclude there are at least three key elements to effective praise, which I'll share below. As always, feel free to comment at the bottom of this post with your thoughts and any favorite Scriptures on praising God.

    Realization
    The first step toward praise and true worship is realizing that "every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning" (James 1:17). Good luck is not to credit for the everyday blessings of life we so often take for granted. The "perfect gifts" of family, laughter, and warm memories of days gone by are priceless treasures that point directly to the immeasurable "riches of His goodness" (Rom. 2:4).

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  • Preparing for Affliction

    "Unless thy law had been my delights,
    I should then have perished in mine affliction."
    (Psalm 119:92)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    In his first epistle, the apostle Peter reminds us to "think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you" (4:12). Verses like this make it especially clear that walking with God does not exempt anyone from hardship, and that it rains "on the just and on the unjust" (Matt. 5:45). In fact, 2 Timothy 3:12 reveals that a unique type of persecution will be encountered by "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus."

    According to his own testimony, the single most important ingredient to the Psalmist's (likely David) survival of affliction was the Word of God, wherein he delighted greatly and meditated constantly (Ps. 119:47; 1:2). Because of this, he avoided the tragedy of "perishing in his affliction" and learned to thrive spiritually even while walking "through the valley of the shadow of death" (Ps. 23:4). Continue reading

  • The Mind of Christ

    “And when He had removed him,
    He raised up unto them David to be their king;
    to whom also he gave testimony, and said,
    I have found David the son of Jesse,
    a man after mine own heart,
    which shall fulfil all my will.”
    (Acts 13:22)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    A good friend of mine once told me that to be lonely is to be like Christ. Not only was this a timely word of encouragement at that point in my life, but it caused me to think about Christ-likeness in a whole new way. So often the terms “godliness” and “holiness” are used interchangeably, creating the impression that to be like God requires nothing more than simply doing the right things. But true godliness affects not only the things we do; it transforms the way we think and even how we feel. After all, as Paul wrote, “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor. 2:14). The implication is that in order to “receive the things of the Spirit of God” we must allow God to make us unnatural by imparting to us “the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16; Rom. 12:2).

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  • Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Memory

    "I will delight myself in Thy statutes:
    I will not forget Thy word."
    (Psalm 119:16)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    If you're anything like me, Scripture memorization is not something that comes easily on most days. Aside from simply making time to spend in God's Word amidst my otherwise busy schedule, the process of learning a new verse word-for-word, along with the reference, is something that's inherently difficult. It demands intense concentration and unwavering discipline, both of which go against the grain of our human nature that is prone to laziness and impatience. Even beyond the difficulty of learning a new passage of Scripture for the first time, ensuring those verses are permanently stored in one's long-term memory calls for regular review that requires an equal level of commitment.

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