Posts Tagged ‘spiritual growth’

  

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” (Romans‬ ‭8:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

In 1998, tests on a scarab jewel that once belonged to King Tut proved that the glass it was made from was produced before the earliest Egyptian civilization. Curious for answers, scientists discovered an area in the Sahara Desert, near Libya, where mysterious shards of glass litter the sand. Scientists’ best guess was that a meteor, slamming into the desert, produced such heat that glass was formed.

Tragedy strikes every life. But it leaves behind something more than just pain and scars. Tragedy can also bring realignment of priorities, beautiful new relationships, and testimonies of how God cared for us through the dark valleys. And these same exquisite jewels that we gain from life’s slamming furnaces are what will get us through the next round of valleys that come our way. 

If you ever wonder if good can come out of a tough time, just look at an Egyptian scarab jewel. It’s beauty was made in an accidental furnace! And so will your life be! You are loved today! Find the beauty!

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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!

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Since you have taken off your old self…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.” (Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭9-10‬ NIV)

A 12-year veteran of police work, Carole Moore has served in patrol, forensics, crime prevention and criminal investigations, and has worked with other agencies. She shared in an OFFICER.com article of a rookie mistake where she left her radio off accidentally, resulting in missed calls for an emergency and a subsequent manhunt to find her. In spite of it, she went on to become a seasoned and decorated officer.

We are our own toughest critic. When I make a mistake, I can be pretty brutal on myself. Paul says that we are “being renewed in knowledge”, meaning that I progressively grow as I learn, and failures make very good lessons! So while I may fail, I’m not a failure as long as I’m learning, which means I’m actually making progress.

So cut yourself some slack today! Grow in God through grace, just as the Bible says. Although you’ll never be perfect this side of the pearly gates, you can daily become better at living the Christ Life! Be kind to yourself! You are loved!

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Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1 Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭2-3‬ NIV)

As I sit with my coffee typing this morning, my mind reflects on ALL kinds of stuff that I’ve encountered in 25+ years of ministry; some good, some not so much. Births, deaths, special events and sudden crises combined into years of preparation and study, all because my wife and I were willing to lead and serve God’s people, whenever and how ever necessary.

Spiritual leadership is more than pastoring though. It belongs to parents and church members also. When God gives you people that are watching and learning from your life, even without your knowledge, you become a discipler. It requires of us then to live a life worth following, just because we are willing.

As you come to church today, be ready to be led into God’s amazing presence and teaching by your leaders! If you have followers, even in your home, lead with distinction. Be willing to shepherd, even if the sheep get ornery! For those that get it, it’s always worth it! You are loved!

Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk…” (1 Peter 2:2, 5 NLT)

According to The Indian Times and YouTube, a father was jailed for letting his son, age 9, drive an F430 Ferrari with another child, age 6, riding shotgun. According to the report, the father, Muhammad Nizam, faces charges and possibly the seizure of the car for letting his son get behind the wheel, back in 2013. Oddly enough, the video is still up on YouTube, which is not a good thing!

Just as a 9-year old is not ready for a Ferrari, much less driving period, neither are we ready to tackle deep spiritual topics or lifestyle without first grasping the basics. We need to be faithful in the fundamental lessons of grace, holiness, forgiveness, and discipleship before we start tackling leadership, prophecy, cults, or other deep subjects. By learning Christianity 101, the Bible says we will then “grow into a full experience of salvation“, making us strong and unshakable!

So dust off your Bible, studying the life of Christ, spend time talking to God, and make sure you’re in church! Do the first things well and the “spiritual Ferrari” stuff will come naturally! Grow your faith! You are loved today!
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Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after this.” (Revelation 4:1 NLT)

Interesting food fact: A berry is defined as a fruit that possesses a fleshy interior and an outer skin, and it’s formed by the entirety of the ovary of the plant. That means that grapes, avocados, eggplants, bell peppers, tomatoes, and even chili peppers are botanically classified as berries, while blackberries and blueberries are not. Here I am in my 40’s and learning new things! Go figure!

Spiritually speaking, we are also able to learn new things about God and the spiritual journey, no matter age or experience. A higher state of mind and spiritual vision can only be achieved through the higher practice of personal character. If you live up to the highest and best that you know in the outer level of your life, God will continually say to you, ‘Friend, come up even higher.’ And God’s desire is to reveal more to us!

Don’t be afraid to admit ignorance nor to learn that you may be wrong, like a blackberry isn’t a berry! By learning more, we learn how to do the Christ Life better. Come to Church tomorrow and let your mind be expanded! You are loved!

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