Tag Archives: grow

Power of Words

Our words are very powerful. The Bible tells us that our words can kill. We have a choice with regard to the words we speak. We can speak good words, uplifting words. We can speak bad words, words that tear down.

In my lifetime, I have been hurt many times by words. I am sure you can say the same thing. Words kept me from doing things I considered stepping out and doing. Words kept me from writing for many, many years. Words made me think less of myself. Recently, I have witnessed words tear down my child. As a parent, it’s painful to stand on the sidelines and watch it happen. My child, who I see as a great Barnabas to others, was on the receiving end of harsh words rather than encouraging ones. I saw my passionate, free-spirited, sensitive child wanting to quit, wanting to be far away. Despite working so hard, doing so great, beating personal records, sacrificing so much—it didn’t matter. Despite encouraging others to do their best—it didn’t matter. All of the positive accomplishments were blinded by the cruelness of a few.

We all have to face the wrath of some harsh words from time to time. They break us. The devil loves to use them to keep us from doing what will glorify our Father more. Remember today the importance of the words you speak. Do you want to build up or tear down? Do you want to encourage or discourage? Do you want to grow or destroy? Speak words of love. Speak words of truth. Speak words of grace. There is power in your words.

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” – Proverbs 18:21 [NIV]

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More Than a Story: Kingdom-Focused

[Matthew 13]

Contains EIGHT parables!! All of these parables speak about the kingdom of heaven.

  • Parable of the Sower
    • Readiness to hear and receive the Message of the kingdom of heaven.
  • Three parables about growth: Weeds, Mustard Seed, Yeast/Leaven
    • Parable of the Weeds – weeds among good seed, test between true disciples and others.
    • Parable of the Mustard Seed – seed into large tree
    • Parable of the Yeast – hidden in the flour till all leavened
    • Mustard Seed & Yeast speak about small beginnings. God’s work may appear unimpressive at first but appearances are deceptive. BE PATIENT. Little equals big when God is at work.
  • Three more parables: Hidden Treasure, Pearl of Great Value, Net
    • Parable of the Hidden Treasure shows wholehearted response to Kingdom of heaven—no sacrifice is too large and equals joy and fulfillment
    • The Parable of the Pearl of Great Value – when found sold all had and – similar to Hidden Treasure
    • The Parable of the Net – fish of every kind, sorted good in containers and threw out the bad
    • The Net is similar to the Weeds – sorting good & bad. The church will always be mixed until the final judgment.
  • Parable of the Householder / Master of the House – speaks of new treasures (the teaching of Jesus Christ) and old truths

Readiness

  • ready to hear and receive the Message (Parable of the Sower)
  • ready to give Jesus first place (Parable of the Hidden Treasure, Parable of the Pearl of Great Value)
  • ready for testing (Parable of the Weeds, Parable of the Net)

Faithfulness

  • faith to allow God to grow you into who He made you to be for greater things (Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Yeast)
  • faith to follow God’s leading and to adhere to God’s timing (Parable of the Mustard Seed, Parable of the Yeast)
  • faith to speak the Truth (Parable of the householder)

Bible Study Questions:

1) Looking at the Parable of the Weeds, why did the master want to wait for the harvest time to gather the weeds? What does this mean for us?

2) Let us consider leaven. In the Parable of the Leaven, the passage says that the woman puts a little leaven in the flour and then it all was leavened. She added some leaven and all was impacted. What does this mean for us?

3) The Parable of the Leaven speaks about inner growth, while the Parable of the Mustard Seed focuses on outside growth. Do you think one is more important than the other? Do you think they are related?

4) The Parable of the Hidden Treasure and the Parable of the Pearl of Great Value both talk about selling all that was owned for the field containing the treasure and the pearl. What is the risk in selling all you have? What might slow you down or keep you from doing this? What does this mean for us?

5) The Parable of the Net speaks about gathering fish of every kind. It also speaks about the net being full. What is the takeaway when looking at the gathering of the diverse fish? What are your thoughts on the net being full?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused

How Many People Does It Take to Change a Light Bulb?

How many people does it take to change a light bulb? Many people have heard this question asked as part of a joke. This morning I entered the kitchen and realized that it was a bit darker than usual. I looked to where the light usually comes from and noticed that there was a bulb in some cylindrical thing and it was out. I had no clue how to change this bulb or even where I could purchase a replacement bulb. Two months ago, I did not even know that under-the-cabinet lights existed.

It took me quite some time to remove the old bulb. Then I went over to my laptop and started to search for the numbers I found on the bulb. I got a lot of information, but I had to sift through things to make sure it was the correct information. Then it was off to the store and I was so confused when I found all of the different types of bulbs in the lighting supply aisle. There were so many bulbs that looked like the exact same bulb. I had to take the old bulb out and make comparisons. I had to read paperwork. I had to take my time to make the right choice. When I got to the cash register, I told the cashier that I was so nervous to install the bulbs. She could tell that I was in need of a confidence boost and she let me know that I would get the job done, and she even gave me some pointers. She was right!

We are often faced with situations that are new, things that are more grueling and more important than a simple light bulb. We are called to do things that are challenging. We are given work that seems nearly impossible. Some situations overwhelm us if we let them.

What do you do when you have your own light bulb to change? Your light bulb could be anything. You do the same thing you do with anything that comes your way in life.

Things to remember:

* Do not hide from the situation.
Hiding from the situation will not make it go away. Remember that you are a child of God (Galatians 3:26). God can do more than you ever could imagine (Ephesians 3:20). If God is for you, what can be against you? (Romans 8:31). Many times, you will find that the situation is a great test of faith which can result in spiritual growth that will help you to one day be complete (James 1:2-4).

* Take it one step at a time. There is usually no need to rush a situation. When Jesus was ministering on earth, notice that He wasn’t rushing around healing and feeding. He took steps. He took time. He left us an example of great patience and self-control. If we practice this behaviors, we are more likely to be successful. Remember that “the steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way” (Psalm 37:23 NASB).

* Prepare yourself. Do the research. Read. Learn. Grow. Even when I was changing the light bulb, God’s Word was in my head and heart. Spending time in His Word helps to provide us with what we need when we are facing tough situations. Seek Him for guidance. His Word provides instruction and encouragement (Romans 15:4).

* Do not be afraid to ask for help. Don’t let your pride get in the way. God wants us to be part of a community. We each have our own part to play. We each have different talents, different specialties. We are all given the command to love one another. Sometimes we do the giving, sometimes we do the receiving. We should always seek help from Him. But remember, there are times that we need to ask others for some assistance. People do not always know what is going on in your life and they cannot read your mind. Luke 11 gives us instruction on how to pray as it also tells us of a friend who helps another. The friend is knocking on the door and announcing the need. Sometimes we are the helping friend, sometimes we are the knocking friend.

* Surround yourself with positive people. Positive people will be encouraging. Positive people share, love, and can see the good in things. Proverbs 11:9 states, “With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor.” Words are powerful and if you are surrounded by negative people, in time it will start to become your way of life. Proverbs 17:22 says that “a joyful heart is good medicine” (NASB). When you are facing tough situations, it is wonderful to have some “good medicine” from some positive people.

Finally, show yourself some grace. God thinks you are worth it!