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  • 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.

  • The Puritan Practice of Meditation

    "I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways."
    (Psalm 119:15)
    Article by Jim Woychuk Jim Woychuk

    Joel Beeke, in his essay on “The Puritan Practice of Meditation,” writes that “The Puritans devoted scores of pages to the benefits, excellencies, usefulness, advantages, or improvements of meditation.” Dr. Beeke lists some of the benefits as follows:

      1. Meditation helps us focus on the Triune God, to love and to enjoy Him in all His persons (1 John 4:8)—intellectually, spiritually, aesthetically.
      2. Meditation helps increase knowledge of sacred truth. It “takes the veil from the face of truth” (Prov. 4:2).
      3. Meditation is the “nurse of wisdom,” for it promotes the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:8).
      4. Meditation enlarges our faith by helping us to trust the God of promises in all our spiritual troubles and the God of providence in all our outward troubles.
      5. Meditation augments one’s affections. Watson called meditation “the bellows of the affections.” He said, “Meditation hatcheth good affections, as the hen her young ones by sitting on them; we light affection at this fire of meditation” (Ps. 39:3).
      6. Meditation fosters repentance and reformation of life (Ps. 119:59; Ez. 36:31).
      7. Meditation is a great friend to memory.
      8. Meditation helps us view worship as a discipline to be cultivated. It makes us prefer God’s house to our own.
      9. Meditation transfuses Scripture through the texture of the soul.
      10. Meditation is a great aid to prayer (Ps. 5:1). It tunes the instrument of prayer before prayer.
      11. Meditation helps us to hear and read the Word with real benefit. It makes the Word “full of life and energy to our souls.” William Bates wrote, “Hearing the word is like ingestion, and when we meditate upon the word that is digestion; and this digestion of the word by meditation produceth warm affections, zealous resolutions, and holy actions.”
      12. Meditation on the sacraments helps our “graces to be better and stronger.” It helps faith, hope, love, humility, and numerous spiritual comforts thrive in the soul.
      13. Meditation stresses the heinousness of sin. It “musters up all weapons, and gathers all forces of arguments for to presse our sins, and lay them heavy upon the heart,” wrote Fenner. Thomas Hooker said, “Meditation sharpens the sting and strength of corruption, that it pierceth more prevailingly.” It is a “strong antidote against sin” and “a cure of covetousness.”
      14. Meditation enables us to “discharge religious duties, because it conveys to the soul the lively sense and feeling of God’s goodness; so the soul is encouraged to duty.”
      15. Meditation helps prevent vain and sinful thoughts (Jer. 4:14; Matt. 12:35). It helps wean us from this present evil age.
      16. Meditation provides inner resources on which to draw (Ps. 77:10-12), including direction for daily life (Prov. 6:21-22).
      17. Meditation helps us persevere in faith; it keeps our hearts “savoury and spiritual in the midst of all our outward and worldly employments,” wrote William Bridge.
      18. Meditation is a mighty weapon to ward off Satan and temptation (Ps. 119:11,15; 1 John 2:14).
      19. Meditation provides relief in afflictions (Is. 49:15-17; Heb. 12:5).
      20. Meditation helps us benefit others with our spiritual fellowship and counsel (Ps. 66:16; 77:12;145:7).
      21. Meditation promotes gratitude for all the blessings showered upon us by God through His Son.
      22. Meditation glorifies God (Ps. 49:3).

    Source: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2015/03/13/22-benefits-of-meditating-on-scripture/

  • GSLAHE Expo 2015

    "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing."
    (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    The Greater St. Louis Area Home Educators Expo was something I looked forward to every year as a teenager. I was always edified, encouraged and entertained by lectures on topics like creation vs. evolution, Biblical history, and the civil war. In fact, it was in 2010 at the age of 16 that I was first introduced to the ministry and resources of Scripture Memory Fellowship. I remember being overwhelmed with excitement when I realized there are an abundance of tools available to streamline the process of Scripture memorization, as well as a strong community of believers who share an unshakable commitment to hiding God's Word in their hearts systematically.

    At this year's expo, I was blessed with the privilege of personally representing SMF as a curriculum exhibitor and workshop host - a dramatic role-reversal for me compared to just a few years ago. Continue reading

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