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  • 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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  • Staying Organized

    “ Let all things be done decently and in order.”
    (1 Corinthians 14:40)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    One piece of advice I find myself giving especially often is to approach Scripture memorization intentionally and systematically. Of course the word "memorization" itself can seem somewhat intimidating at times, and talking about approaching it in a systematic way can make a lifetime commitment to hiding God's Word in your heart sound all the more daunting. But as Benjamin Franklin once said, if you fail to plan you are planning to fail — a principle that applies just as much to Scripture memorization as it does to any other aspect of our lives.

    As you memorize Scripture, be purposeful about systemizing each of the following aspects of your memory routine: Continue reading

  • Many Wonderful Works

    "Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk;
    for I lift up my soul unto Thee."
    (Ps. 143:8)

    FlowerPerhaps the most significant role of the Word of God is that it inerrantly reveals to us the nature of its Author. Although Creation points to a Creator (Ps. 19:1) and our conscience bears witness that "sin is a reproach" (Prov. 14:34), apart from the Scriptures we have no "knowledge of salvation" and are unable "to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (Luke 1:77; 1 Tim. 2:4). As N. A. Woychuk points out in Thus Says the Lord, "There is only one way to heaven, but there are many secret paths that lead to hell." The only way to avoid these "secret paths" of destruction is to know "know Him that is true . . . even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life" (1 John 5:20).
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  • Knowledge Precedes Obedience

    "Teach me, O Lord, the way of Thy statutes;
    And I shall keep it unto the end.
    Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy law;
    Yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.”
    (Psalm 119:33-34)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    It goes without saying that obedience to God's Word is impossible for those who are unaware of what it has to say. Aside from the basic law of God which is written in the heart (Rom. 2:15), the "special revelation" from God that is found in Scripture must be intentionally studied before it can be obeyed (Rom. 10:14-17). Simply put, conformity to the image of Christ does not happen by accident; it is always the result of the Holy Spirit's work in the life of a believer (Gal. 5:22-23), as well as the believer's own diligence in studying the Word of God and doing his best to be a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only (Jam. 1:22).

    I believe this principle of knowledge preceding obedience goes a long way in explaining our culture's obvious downward spiral into sin, and its general disinterest in spiritual things. To put it bluntly, most Americans are Biblically illiterate. Here are a few statistics I came across recently that I believe illustrate this point: Continue reading

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