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  • Walking in the Spirit

    “If we live in the Spirit,
    let us also walk in the Spirit.”
    (Galatians 5:25)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    If you’re anything like me, the biggest day-to-day struggle we often face isn’t usually a temptation to commit outright sin; it’s our tendency to forget about God, to spend hours at a time caught up in the business of life, school and work without giving much thought to things of eternal importance.

    What I find most interesting about this particular passage of Scripture is the exact sequence of events Paul outlines for us: because we already live in the Spirit, we should also walk in the Spirit.

    At first glance this almost seemed backwards to me. If being saved means we live in the Spirit, wouldn’t walking in the Spirit be somewhat inevitable? Apparently not. Continue reading

  • Memorizing In Season And Out of Season

    "Preach the word!
    Be ready in season and out of season.
    Convince, rebuke, exhort,
    with all longsuffering and teaching.”
    (2 Timothy 4:2)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    If you've been memorizing Scripture for any significant length of time, then chances are you have faced a lack of motivation at some point along the way. Perhaps you started with a zeal you thought was unquenchable, but as time went on your memory work began to feel more like a chore than an enjoyable part of your walk with God. Suddenly you found yourself dreading learning new passages of Scripture, and feeling inconvenienced when it was time to review older verses. Without even realizing it, Scripture memorization gradually became just another item on your to-do list that you were eager to check off each day.

    If this sounds familiar, know that you're not alone. I think every Christian will eventually encounter this obstacle, whether it be related to a commitment to Scripture memorization, or even other spiritual disciplines like general Bible study or maintaining a healthy prayer life. As with almost every spiritual trial we will face, however, what matters most is not necessarily the battle itself, but how we choose to fight it.

    It seems apparent that the apostle Paul was himself very familiar with discouragement, as he instructed Timothy to be faithful in his ministry "in season and out of season." There were to be times when preaching the Gospel would be easy for young Timothy, and perhaps even the popular thing to do, while on other occasions it would prove to be very difficult and costly. There would be days when his zeal for Christ was strong, and there would also be seasons of discouragement and doubt. What mattered most is that Timothy was committed enough to his faith to be obedient on the mountains as well as in the valleys of his life.

    Simply put, the devil doesn't want anyone memorizing Scripture. His job of tempting us to sin is made much more difficult when we're always armed with the "living and powerful" sword of the Spirit (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17), and he is also aware of the potential the Word has to transform the lives of those we encounter on a daily basis. Don't be surprised, then, when memory work doesn't always seem fun and exciting. "Do not think it strange" when you face the fiery trial of a busy schedule and a lack of motivation (1 Pet. 4:12). Just remember that you have "put your hand to the plow" (Luke 9:62), and resolve to stand firm both "in season and out of season."

  • Meditations on God's Strength

    "And lest I should be exalted
    above measure by the abundance of the revelations,
    a thorn in the flesh was given to me,
    a messenger of Satan to buffet me,
    lest I be exalted above measure."
    (2 Corinthians 12:7)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    As we study the Scriptures, it's often tempting to view the men and women of the Bible as "super-saints" who lived high above the struggles of daily life we face today. We admire the faithfulness of Joseph, the strength of Samson, and the courage of David, often failing to realize that they, too, were made to walk "through the valley of the shadow of death" (Ps. 23:4). What makes their life stories so inspiring is not that they never fell, but that they got back up and were never "utterly cast down" (Ps. 37:24).

    Of course the apostle Paul knew much better than most what it meant to "endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (2 Tim. 2:3). In his own words, "Five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked . . .", and the list goes on (2 Cor. 11:24-25). On an even more personal level, Paul reveals in today's Scripture that he was afflicted by a "thorn in the flesh" in which he eventually learned to "take pleasure", knowing that the strength of God was perfected in his own weakness (2 Cor. 12:10).

    But how exactly is God's strength perfected in our weakness? It's not that His strength is in any way dependent upon our relative powerlessness; in the words of a North Carolina pastor, it's simply that God cannot show you His limitless nature unless He first shows you your limited nature.

    It was this realization (along with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) that moved Paul to continue, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake" (v. 10). Again, Paul was not superhuman. Being beaten was still a painful experience. Prison was never a pleasant place. As far as we know, his "thorn in the flesh" was an affliction he endured for the rest of his life. It's not that he enjoyed suffering, but his love for God and firm belief in grace instilled within his heart a willingness to suffer for the One who suffered and died for him.

  • Why People Memorize

    "And whatever you do, do it heartily,
    as to the Lord and not to men.”
    (Colossians 3:23)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    I've come to realize over the last several months that most people who memorize Scripture do so for slightly different reasons. Some people memorize because they want to "make their way prosperous and have good success", an opportunity God offered Joshua if he kept the Word of God constantly on his lips (Josh. 1:8). Others memorize because they want to effectively resist temptation as Jesus did during His time in the desert (Matt. 4:1-11), and some simply because they find memory work to be an enjoyable way of spending their free time. All of these reasons are perfectly valid, and I'm always excited to meet people who regularly take time out of their day to treasure up Scripture in their hearts, regardless of what their motivation might be. Continue reading

  • Reaping What You Sow

    "Do not be deceived,
    God is not mocked;
    for whatever a man sows,
    that he will aso reap."
    (Galatians 6:7)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    The principle of reaping what you sow is one that applies to every aspect of our lives. Just as science tells us that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, even the intangible investments of time we make on a daily basis have very real and inevitable consequences. As Paul continued in verse 8 of this same passage, "he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."

    Extending this logic even further, nearly as important as what type of seed we sow is how we sow it. Consider the truth of Scripture in 2 Corinthians 9:6,

    "...He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."

    Continue reading

  • Meditating on Scripture - Part 2

    "And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates."
    (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    As we saw last week, one of the greatest benefits of memorizing Scripture is that it makes constant meditation on the Word of God possible. The pattern of success outlined in Psalm 1 and Joshua 1:8-9 is that delighting ourselves in the Scriptures inevitably leads to meditation, which in turn leads to fruitfulness and spiritual prosperity. Christians who hope to "walk in the light as He is in the light" must cherish in their hearts what David described as "a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (1 John 1:7; Ps. 119:105)

    But what exactly does it mean to meditate on Scripture? What are some practical steps that will take us from a knowledge of God's Word to an unquenchable love for truth? Continue reading

  • Meditating on Scripture - Part 1

    “But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.”
    (Psalm 1:2)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    The power of the human mind is difficult to understate. Even apart from its ability to retain vast amounts of information, the thoughts we entertain on a daily basis impact our lives much more than we often realize. In fact, Paul wrote in Romans 12:2 that our ability to "prove" (i.e. discern) the will of God depends on whether or not we've been "transformed by the renewing of our minds." And since it's indescribably important for a Christian to "understand what the will of the Lord is" (Eph. 5:17), it goes without saying that being successful on the battleground of our minds is equally as important.

    According to David, a necessary part of avoiding the "path of sinners" and the "seat of the scornful" is finding our delight in God's Word. Continue reading

  • When Lackluster Looms

    Article by Laura Laura Raborn

    “A thing worth doing is worth doing well.” Since you read this blog, I have a hunch you agree Scripture memorization is “worth doing.” But the part about doing it “well” – now that stings a little. Sure, some days we have lots of focus and some weeks we make great systematic progress. Then there are the other days. You know, the “not that verse again” review session, the “don’t care about that” new verse, and the “half-hearted and good-enough” attitude. If you’ve been there, read on.

    Thoroughness, accuracy, review, assimilation, concentration—elements of high quality memorization—sound like work. And they are. Good news, there are some tips below. But hold it just a minute please, practical skim-readers! Consider why long-term, deep-down memorization matters. Continue reading

  • Girding Up the Loins of Your Mind

    "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
    (1 Peter 1:13)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    I've never viewed myself as someone who has an above average memory. Meeting a new friend usually involves me warning them that I struggle with names, and I have a somewhat embarrassing tendency to forget most of what I fail to write down. I say this not only for the sake of honesty, but to be clear that successful Scripture memorization doesn't depend on extraordinary memory skills. After all, simply memorizing as many verses as you can in the shortest time possible isn't the point; it's to uniquely "acquaint ourselves with Him" through a fuller knowledge of the Word and, consequently, "be at peace" spiritually (Job 22:21).

    As the saying goes, those who aim at nothing will hit it every time - an observation that seems to be very much line with Peter's in today's Scripture. Continue reading

  • Keeping it Simple

    "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
    (2 Corinthians 11:3)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    As the only person in my family who regularly memorizes Scripture, it's especially important for me to stay as self-motivated as possible in my memory work. Knowing that no one I'm especially close to would hold me accountable if I started to slack off in this discipline, I've developed a number of different routines that act somewhat as safeguards against an unintentional hiatus from memorizing Scripture.

    The greatest problem I often encounter, however, is my own tendency to overcomplicate things. Being disciplined and relatively self-motivated is by no means a bad thing, but I can also take it to an extreme by creating a rigid set of rules that I cannot possibly live up to a consistent basis. For example, only a few months ago my daily to-do list looked something like this:

    • Complete my daily memorization session on memverse.com.
    • Review and recite 2-3 complete chapters.
    • Take an accuracy or reference recall test on memverse.com.
    • Listen to memory verses on my iPod for approximately 30 minutes during my commute to work.
    • Learn new verses.

    Obviously there is nothing wrong with a routine like this one, and I actually found it to be very effective most of the time. The problem was that anytime an especially busy schedule would keep me from completing every item on that to-do list, I would become discouraged and feel the need to make up the slack the next day. If this wasn't possible I would fall even further behind, become even more discouraged, and struggle to find motivation to keep going at all.

    Of course I'm not suggesting you abandon any tried and true routines in your own Scripture memorization. If you have found a certain technique to be successful, then by all means stick with it! After all, developing a systematic approach to Bible memorization is what Scripture Memory Fellowship is all about. Just remember not to complicate the process of "getting back on track" if ever that becomes necessary. If, for example, you had hoped to finish memorizing that new chapter weeks ago, don't link obedience to finishing it by tomorrow night; simply take a step in the right direction by learning a verse or two today, and then maintain a steady pace until you have finished.

    Although the enemy would like to keep us distracted by the gap between where we are and where we think we should be, resist the temptation to become discouraged and instead pray for perseverance - both in your Scripture memorization, and in all other aspects of your walk with God. Perhaps you'll find that gap to be smaller than you originally thought.

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