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  • A Transformed Heart

    “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life."
    (Proverbs 4:23)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    The condition of your heart will influence every decision you make in life. Whether you're deciding who to marry, what career to pursue, or where to spend your Friday nights, a dirty heart will result in a dirty life 100% of the time. It's for this reason that I always cringe when someone who's facing a major life decision is told "just follow your heart." Although I can't say going with your gut instinct is always a bad idea (common sense is a wonderful gift), I also know that "the heart is deceitful above all things" (Jer. 17:9). Adam's and Eve's sin in the Garden means that our own judgment is often skewed by the sins of pride and selfishness (Rom. 5:12), even if we don't realize it.

    But no matter how much I try to bypass human nature by taking all things to God in prayer, the fact of the matter, as we see in today's Scripture, is that every issue of life is affected by the condition of your heart. Continue reading

  • Checking the Price Tag

    "For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it?"
    (Luke 14:28)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    I'm often accused of being overly analytical. Whether you share this quality with me to the same extent or not, chances are you've learned to count the cost of major decisions before you make them. Have you ever bought a car without knowing about how many miles per gallon you could expect to receive? When is the last time you bought a pair of clothes without first checking the price tag? Maybe you simply bite your tongue on days when your boss is in a bad mood, knowing that speaking your mind would not be worth the loss of your job. You may not always recognize the detailed thought process that goes on behind the scenes, but chances are you are far more analytical than you think. Continue reading

  • Overcoming Complacency

    "Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction."
    (Psalm 119:92)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    Knowing the impact it has had on my own life, Scripture memorization is something I'm always eager to recommend. Due in part to my recently-expanded role in the ministry of SMF, I often find myself discussing the Word of God and the value of memorizing it with anyone who will listen. Of course most Christians I meet all but shout "amen" when I begin describing the necessity of Scripture memory, but finding someone who actively memorizes or is remotely interested in starting is more challenging than you might think.

    According to David in today's verse, the Word of God was an invaluable part of his life that prevented him from "perishing in his affliction."
    Continue reading

  • Hide it in Your Heart

    "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You."
    (Psalm 119:11)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    As someone who is passionate about memorizing Scripture, this is one verse I tend to quote especially often. Not only does it beautifully reflect David's own love for the Word of God, but it sets an example of memorization that we as Christians are called to follow today. David obviously understood that the transforming power of Scripture is greatest when we allow it to work from the inside out, rather than vice-versa.

    What I find most interesting about this verse, however, is the exact words David used when writing about his commitment to Scripture memory. Continue reading

  • A Beginner's Guide to Memorizing Scripture

    "And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown."
    (1 Corinthians 9:25)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    One of the most common obstacles in the way of potential memorizers seems to be a general uncertainty of where to begin. Aside from trying to pick just a few of the Bible's 31,102 verses to start with, many people are intimidated by the perceived complexity of an effective memory routine. It's only natural to wonder how many verses you should learn in your first week, or how often you should review them after that, but the first and most important step is simply deciding to begin. Fine-tuning the practical aspects of your commitment is an ongoing process that may never be fully complete.

    Just as we've each been gifted with a unique personality, it has been my observation that successful Scripture memory routines vary greatly from person to person. Continue reading

  • A Word Spoken in Due Season

    "A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in
    due season, how good it is!"
    (Proverbs 15:23)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    Chances are, at some point in each of our lives, we've been on the receiving end of "a word spoken in due season." Whether you were encouraged by the faithfulness of a friend who had the perfect word at the perfect moment, or were convicted by a sermon that said exactly what you needed to hear, few feelings are greater than knowing the God of the universe just made sure you received the exact message you were in need of at that moment. In my own experience, this realization of divine providence is often more encouraging than what was actually said in the first place.

    One of the countless benefits of memorizing Scripture, especially memorizing by topic, is that we're putting ourselves in a position to be used by God as the speaker of that word in due season. Continue reading

  • Faith Made Possible

    “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
    (Hebrews 11:6)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    Faith is unarguably one of the most crucial aspects of one’s walk with God. As we see in today’s Scripture, pleasing Him at all hinges on whether or not we’ve placed our “measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3) in the God of Creation, Who is described here as “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” And while it’s true that the object of our faith is far more important than its size, our trust in God should be as a mustard seed, “which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree.” (Matt. 13:32) Biblical faith may indeed start off small, but will grow rapidly when given proper attention. Continue reading

  • The Treaure of a Pure Conscience

    "For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God."
    (1 John 3:20-21)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    The longer I live for God, the more aware I become of the value of having a pure conscience before my heavenly Father. Just as Adam and Eve experienced a gut-wrenching sense of shame when they realized the weight of their disobedience in the Garden, few feelings are worse than knowing we have failed the one Who gave His life for our salvation.

    Of course as Paul wrote in Romans 3:23, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Notice that he didn't say we came short (past sense), but that even as Christians we continue to come short, failing to measure up to the holiness of our Creator. Continue reading

  • The Benefits of Topical Memorization

    "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear."
    (1 Peter 3:15)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    Knowing that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim. 3:16), I'm always excited to meet fellow Christians who have taken the time to commit any portion of God's Word to memory. Whether they can walk me down Romans road, recite the genealogy of Christ, or simply quote a favorite verse that has had a special impact on their own lives, I'm always mindful of the invaluable promise of God found in Isaiah 55:10-11,

    “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
    "So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it."

    Continue reading

  • A New Year's Revolution

    "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come."
    (1 Timothy 4:8)
    Article by Dakota Dakota Lynch

    Although I'm generally not the type of person who makes official New Year's resolutions, it's natural to view January 1 as the first page of a new chapter in our lives. When the holidays are officially over most of us return to the routines of daily life and decide, either intentionally or subconsciously, whether or not to maintain habits (good or bad) that we've developed over the years. Unfortunately, many of these resolutions are short-lived and leave us feeling discouraged by failure, either because we simply lacked the commitment to follow through or because our optimism in December led us to set unreasonable goals that all but doomed us to failure in the first place. Continue reading

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