Posts Tagged ‘growth’

  

“My child, never forget the things I have taught you.” (Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬ NLT)

As I stood by the bathroom counter, I watched as my youngest teenage son lathered up his face, as I taught him. He wiped off the foam in sections so he won’t one day grow a beard that edges up underneath his eyelids, just like I told him. He gently pulled the sharp edges of the new razor across his face, not too soft or too hard and cut himself, as I instructed him. Then with a final rinse, we both looked into the mirror at a job well done. 

Having been a Youth Pastor, Substitute School Teacher, and a Little League Coach for quite a few years, I have noticed an alarming trend: Children being raised by absentee parents. Barring the exasperated single parent that works multiple jobs just to make ends meet, there are still too many children with present parents that rarely interact with their children, thus depriving precious young minds of needed wisdom and reinforced self-esteems. 

It’s not hard to find where they are turning for role models and life advice; those great pillars of genuine knowledge like Facebook, Instagram, the locker room, or whatever worthless Hollywood icon is opening their mouth to sound wise because they once portrayed a smart person in a movie. It’s no wonder that crime, suicide, drug use, violence, and pregnancy is continuously rising in this segment of American society! 

Children need parents and good role models to mold them into solid, virtuous adults. If you have a child, please pour as much of yourself into them. You’ll only get one shot to watch them grow! There was probably many things I needed to do today, but none more important than teaching my son how to become a man. Do right by your kids! You are loved today! 

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Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth.” (Psalms‬ ‭2‬:‭10‬ NKJV)

At age 74, Benjamin Fred Roll had been able to get his arms around pretty much everything life presented him: World War II battlefields, Appalachian oil fields, and the raising of eight children. But one thing kept eluding him: passing the California bar exam. Thirteen times, Roll, a retired lieutenant colonel and real estate agent, failed the grueling three-day test. But on the 14th try, he was successful!

Growing in God is not a simple or short process. To try the Christ Life without Christ’s teachings is a failure waiting to happen. God has given us teachings and capable teachers to help know who He is, what He desires from our life, and what lies ahead for the faithful followers. While it will be difficult to understand all of it, it is of the utmost importance that we do not fail in developing our discipleship habits!

As you get ready to welcome the weekend and an upcoming new year, set goals to achieve at this time of life. But among all of them, desire to know God better so that you can experience a greater and fuller life in His presence! You are loved today!

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So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to God.” (1 Peter‬ ‭4‬:‭19‬ NLT)

As I was commuting down I-30 yesterday listening to the news on the radio, it was a veritable grocery list of human suffering: Ebola virus may be in Texas; ISIS terrorists still butchering people; bad winter coming; people still fighting in Ferguson, MO… It makes me want to grab a bag of chocolate donuts and lose myself in Netflix so I can forget about it! Who needs to suffer?!

The surprising answer is: You Do. Crises of faith serves to make us stronger, much more than warm fuzzy moments. In an article at christiancourier.com (read the whole article, The Value of Human Suffering), we see that one thing is certain: many who have passed through the crucible of suffering will acknowledge that they have found themselves infinitely better for the experience—bitter though it may have been. Robert Browning Hamilton memorialized it this way:

I walked a mile with Pleasure
She chatted all the way,
But left me none the wiser
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne’er a word said she;
But oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!

If you are finding yourself stewing away in Life’s crockpot, it will strike you as strange to think that suffering could please God. God does NOT desire for you to hurt, but to grow. Because we rarely grow the simple way, we force ourselves into tight spots. Stop griping and start growing! You’ve made it this far, He’ll see you through to a better end! You are loved!

In those days, you lived in this world without God and without hope.” (Ephesians 2:12 NLT)

My friend, Tracey Hutson, is a just one of many that I’ve pastored whose life is a true picture of the value of living the Christ Life. After years of drug addiction and spending time in prison, where Tracey first found Christ, God led him to our church. Today, Tracey is a Deacon, Teacher, and improved Father and Husband. He is a changed man!

The key to this verse is the past tense term “in those days”. Paul is signifying to us that once we begin our personal journey with Christ, we must allow our life to be changing, and then continuing to change as long as we live. As we do so, then the quality of our life changes, improving for the better, which only God can accomplish for us.

If your life isn’t continually changing, becoming godlier, then you’re not on the path of the Christ Life, no matter how you think otherwise. It’s not just praying a prayer or a singular experience, but it is a daily commitment to die to self and live as God leads. Let your life be marked by the different person you’ve become! You are loved today!

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You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12 NLT)

According to christianpost.com, an alarming amount of churchgoers & Pastors cannot adequately define “Christian maturity”. Their findings were:

Some defined it as having a relationship with Jesus (21 percent), following rules and being obedient (15 percent), living a moral lifestyle (14 percent), possessing concern about others (13 percent), being involved in spiritual disciplines (13 percent), applying the Bible (12 percent), being spiritual or having belief (8 percent), sharing their faith with others (6 percent), and being involved in church activities (5 percent).
About one-fifth of self-described Christians did not offer an opinion.”

With a lack of understanding comes an ignorance of how we could measure our faith or even know that we are succeeding. The writer of Hebrews saw this, especially in those that had been in church for quite some time, which can still be seen today.

Choose today not to be one of those! Study your Bible! If your Church does not offer a meaningful study, many can be found online or at your local Christian bookstore. You were made to grow & be loved! Keep at it!

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