Tag Archives: growing in Christ

Valleys and Mountains of Experience

My daughter loves to sketch and paint. She has a lot of talent. Yes, I’m biased but you can look for yourself. Talent can get you so far in life, but experience is always necessary. God gives us all talents, but He also takes us through many experiences in life to grow us to properly use our talent.

In Exodus 18 and Deuteronomy 1, we read of the leader selection process in the Old Testament. Listed character traits include those who fear God, who are honest, who are wise, who are understanding, and who are EXPERIENCED. The wisdom and the understanding comes as we continue to fear God and walk with Him. The experiences of life, the dark valleys and high mountains of life that God leads us through, teach us and stretch us. It is through experience that we become more capable.

Each of us are leaders. We are created to be leaders. But we aren’t where we are meant to be in life, and we certainly aren’t the leaders we could be to those we lead. Allow God to use you where you are at right now. Keep your ears and eyes open. Ask for Him to use you. Don’t be selective. Allow the Spirit to lead you. Serve where He places you. Soak up the experience. Glean from what He has placed before you. God wants to teach you. He wants to raise you up. Don’t let yourself get in the way. To be a better leader in your home, at church, in your workplace, on the field, you need to humble yourself as a servant of Christ, and forever remember that He both qualifies you and places you. Always stay focused on Him; always point to Him.

“But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.” – Exodus 18:21 [NIV]

“Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.” – Deuteronomy 1:13 [ESV]

 

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Core Exercises

Yesterday’s appointment at the chiropractor wasn’t a fun one. Typically, one of my favorite times of the month is when I go in for my monthly alignment. Last month, something didn’t feel right. As the doctor and I discussed the situation from the previous appointment, he discovered that the other doctor never gave me the next step of exercises. I was faithfully doing the stretch exercises I was given long ago; however, I was supposed to receive core exercises thereafter, exercises that would get me to the next level. Without having the core exercises, my weak joint continues to give me great problems.

Just like I needed to go from the basic stretch exercises to core exercises, so we as followers of Christ, are not to just stay stuck on the basics of our faith. There is a time for spiritual milk, and then there’s a time when we are able to have solid food. If we stay milk drinkers, never attempting to take a bite of the solid food, we will never get to where we are meant to be, nor will we grow into who we are meant to be, because we will be stuck. Solid food is for the mature (Hebrews 5:14).

Remember friends, you are a child of God. By faith in Jesus Christ, not only are you a child of God, but you have the Spirit of God within you. That being said, you have the option to continue drinking the basics of Christianity, or to continue to grow. The Psalmist speaks about a desire for God, as he says, “Earnestly I seek You; I thirst for You, my whole being longs for You” (Psalm 63:1 NIV). This is the thirst we should always have in our walk. In 1 Peter 2:2, we read of the importance to long for, to crave pure spiritual milk. We can note that there is a time for milk, and a time for solid food (1 Corinthians 3:2). Today, consider where you are at with your walk. Ask the Spirit to reveal to you if you need a refreshing of spiritual milk, or if you should be moving on to some solid food. May He continue to break you, mold you, and continue to reveal Himself to you.

The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence REVIEW

I have been reading The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence by Eugene Peterson. I am grateful for the opportunity to review this new release from NavPress. I received this Bible free for review thanks to Tyndale House Publishers. I have read The Message (NavPress) twice and I have read the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale) as well, so I was eager to dig into the Message 100 to read this new version.

I am enjoying the chronological layout with the trusted paraphrase from Eugene Peterson. Reading in this order allows for a deeper understanding of the Bible, but written at a level that builds bridges for any reading level. It is a pure pleasure being able to sit and read God’s Word in the evening. During a recent message I preached, I recommended this new Bible, because I know that the Message paraphrase is a great translation to read along with a daily reading Bible. I always recommend having a few different translations to read for a deeper understanding. A chronological Bible is a blessing because it helps the reader to see things in an order that is not easy to understand when not in sequence.

The Message can be understood by any type of reader. This new Bible displays the verse numbers so you can look to your daily reading Bible for further study. As well, there is a guide to show where the books can be found as the order is chronological. The 100 readings are designed for a great progression through the books, without any loss to the message of the Gospel. The Bible allows for anyone to encounter Jesus and be moved by how He reveals Himself to us through His Word. There is plenty of room to write in the margins of this Bible as the Spirit leads.

themessage100.com

Change Your Life

It is very easy to change your clothes to appear different. Many people have clothing for different events and situations. We have our work clothing, our casual clothing, our dress clothing, etc. But changing your clothing does not change you. It only changes your appearance to make you more comfortable in your environment, to help you blend in, to keep you hot/cool, or to follow some dress code requirement at work or school.

In Joel we read the need to change your life. You cannot simply change the outer appearance and think you have accomplished what God was after. God wants your heart. God wants you to have a pure heart. You can easily change your clothing and attend church and think you’ve done what was required of you. Yet your heart could be without change—the outside was changed but the inside remained the same.

Today is the day to look deep within and ask yourself if there has been a change. Have you just changed clothing? Have you simply sought a “Christian” radio station and changed your appearance? Have you started to attend church every Sunday so you can say you went to church? Or have you changed? Do you see something different about yourself? Are you more joyful? Are you more hopeful? Are you more helpful? Are you nicer? Do you act with more compassion? Are you after truth? If you aren’t seeing one bit of change, chances are you have just changed your clothes.

“Change your life, not just your clothes.
Come back to God, your God.
And here’s why: God is kind and merciful.
He takes a deep breath, puts up with a lot,
This most patient God, extravagant in love,
always ready to cancel catastrophe.”
-Joel 2:13 [MSG]

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