Tag Archives: Growth

Surrendered Faith

People say we are all made in the image of God. That was true in the beginning, but then came sin that distorted the image. From Adam on, all are born with this birth defect that is only healed in Christ.

I wish I could learn everything with ease and readily cooperate with God’s Spirit as He works to make in me that image made new through Christ. I must admit that some days are a struggle when I fail to remember the old me is dead, and live in the new creature Christ quickened in me. One thing I have noticed, in hard times that come, God’s presence in it makes the truth of who He is most evident to me. In those times, I learn of Him, and with greater surrender to the seed He is growing in me, desiring to be a faithful image bearer in Christ, more of me looks more like Him day by day.

As He changes me, I find greater ease in responding as He desires to the challenges found on the path of life. Never has that been more true than now, as I watch my dear husband fight a cancer that is out for his life. The peace I have in this season has me rested in my God who instructed me to trust His Word of promise:

Acts 17:24-26 “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.”

This cancer is not in control. God is. He gives life and breath and all things to us, having determined our appointed times, setting in place the boundaries of our habitation. Nothing can move the boundaries set by God one second before the time appointed by Him, except our failure to trust and follow Him. Sin kills.

Our only care is to live each day, trusting in God, and making the most of the life and breath and all things He so graciously gives, while surrendering to His healing of our birth defect, making us to bear His image more clearly each day. I am grateful for the good and the hard, where God reveals Himself; and for Jesus, who paid the price of sin so I can be healed; and for His Spirit that heals the Image in me. Surrendered faith in God quickens for life more abundant and full.

FREEDOM! For ages 13 and up.

Hello! Over the past few years I have developed the habit of writing a birthday letter for my grandchildren, encouraging them to be, and to be all God wants them to be. Since I also have several readers who are young, I like to share some with them, to encourage them. But even the mature in Christ can use a reminder of these things, to check ourselves and realize where we are in life, so 13 and up, read on; and be encouraged.

~*~

Thirteen! Wow. It is hard to believe that you are entering the glorious teen years. So much growth, freedom, and fun to be had if you face these years with realization of the power you have going for you. Here is the power I want you to possess as you head toward being an adult.

Growth – this is the beginning of turning the corner from “kid” to “adult”. You are not an adult yet, you still have much to learn; and you need to trust and seek God for it and you need to trust your parents to have your best interests at heart as they nurture you through this time.

But this is the time when you need to begin to realize and discover just who and what you want to be when you grow up, and I am not just talking occupation. Yes, it is important for you to more fully discover your likes and dislikes, talents, abilities and giftedness, so you can discover the areas of the workforce that you are interested in pursuing. But I am talking about what kind of person do you want to be? How do you want others to see you?

Do you want to be known as a person of integrity? Grow in the knowledge of what truth and righteousness really are. Today’s world would tell you that there is no real truth and no right or wrong; that truth and righteousness is dependent on each person’s viewpoint. So if you make someone mad, they can rightly hurt you according to their truth in the moment.

That seems a harsh and silly example, but you would be surprised at the number of people who think that way. People are at such a point in our time because they deny God and His ways as being a reality. To know truth, live righteously and be a person of integrity, grow in the knowledge of God and His ways, and you will succeed.

Spirit-fruit2You need to begin now to give real focus to discovering the attributes you want to possess, learn what each requires, and begin to make those your own: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, mercy, compassion, trustworthiness, truthfulness, etc. I challenge you to choose one attribute to work on each month, learn what God has to say about it, talk to others you see that trait in, and begin to possess these for yourself.

You may have to revisit a desired attribute many times throughout your life to check yourself and adjust to repossess lost ground, but if you will develop this habit of growth, you will become all you want to be. So, who are you, and who do you want to be? This is your main goal for life during your teen years, to become the adult you really want to be.

Freedom – there is greater freedom to be had as you progress through your teen years, which will make you feel powerful, and there is a power to express in possessing and maintaining this freedom. With greater freedom there is greater responsibility if you want to maintain your right to be free.

Example: if you want the freedom of going places with friends, prove yourself to be a responsible person who can be trusted to remain the person you want to be while out with others who will try to sway you to be what they want. One way to make this easy on yourself is to choose friendships with people who want the same things you want as a person. Another person who wants to be known as a person of integrity will not tempt you to lie to your parents so that you can do something you know they will not approve of, nor will you tempt them to be something you, yourself, do not want to be.

Freedom is not free! It takes work and commitment and knowing when to take a stand for what is right so you can maintain the freedom you have. Power over yourself, your desires, and your situations is required for true freedom to be yours.

Fun – if you begin today to develop as a person: becoming the person you want to truly be when you grow up, discovering good likes and talents, abilities, and your giftedness from God; and if you will live as a person who appreciates and understands true freedom is worth taking a stand to maintain, you will find fun in life that is worth having.

Looking for fun that is worth having and that you don’t have to hide from your parents will lead to a life worth living. You will not be easily snared WALK-WITH-GODby the evils of life: drugs, alcohol, sexual sin, etc. But you will find yourself a leader among your peers, helping them to desire to be better people, living in freedom, and having fun worth their time and energy.

All these things make for a life worth living that honors our God who is worthy of serving by being His light in the earth. Making these things your own personal journey in life will protect your relationship with God, protecting you from being drawn away from Him to things that rob you of the joy of knowing Him and His presence with you.

If you ever do walk away from these things I am giving you today, all you have to do is begin anew to practice this power you have. Possess the person you want to be, walk in the freedom that is free indeed, not being dictated by anything or anyone who would lead you away from who you are and want to be, and have a life of fun that is worth having.

Grandpa and I love you dearly and you are constant in our prayers. We desire the best for you, and that best is always God and His ways. Look to Him to direct you and you will find the best you can be in Him, with freedom that is true and eternal, living a fun life that the world cannot understand but longs to possess. It is all yours to possess. Go get it!

Love you dearly and daily,

Meeme and Grandpa

Rejoicing Comes in the Fellowship of His Sufferings: Part 5

Delightful Obedience

“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:3-6).

Jesus came to do the Father’s will. He made it clear in my perception of things that this was His greatest delight and ultimate goal, to please the Father and accomplish His purposes. When we come to this place in our walk with the Christ, we enter into His delight found in accomplishing the Father’s will and fulfilling His purpose.

Obedience is not a choice for the true believer. It is the ultimate sign, the proof of sincere and eternal relationship through Christ. When we receive Christ, He places His Spirit within us. His Spirit, like Father and Son, will not say one thing while doing another. That is the spirit of hypocrisy.

When we are in true relationship with the Father through the Christ, His Spirit comes to make us one with them in thought, intent and action. Though we may fall on occasion, we will quickly rise up as soon as we realize it, dust ourselves off with the brush of repentance and turn to walk in fellowship with Him through obedience again.

The amplified version can be a challenge to read, but remove the brackets and note the beauty of fellowship: “And this is how we may discern daily, by experience, that we are coming to know Him—to perceive, recognize, understand, and become better acquainted with Him: if we keep, bear in mind, observe, practice His teachings, His precepts, and His commandments.”

Can it be any clearer in showing the importance of our coming into agreement with His ways as sign-proof that we walk in relationship with Him? If that is not enough, look again at the next sentence, minus the brackets: “Whoever says, ‘I know Him, I perceive, recognize, understand, and am acquainted with Him,’ but fails to keep and obey His commandments and teachings is a liar, and the Truth of the Gospel is not in him.”

There are whole people groups that believe it does not matter what they do Monday through Saturday as long as they are set apart and sanctified to Him on Sunday. This passage blows that philosophy out of the water, as that old saying goes. It does not float. It does not flow with the stream of God’s righteousness. It sinks to the bottom with the sludge and slime.

“But he who keeps and treasures His Word, who bears in mind His precepts, who observes His message in its entirety, truly in him has the love of and for God been perfected, completed, and reached maturity” (vs. 5, AMP). This verse instructs our obedience. Here we see that true obedience:

† Keeps His word as a treasure: Oh what joy it is to read and study God’s word as a treasure hunt and, finding nuggets of great worth, to hide it in one’s heart as resource for life and living; bounty that dictates and directs one’s path. Those who truly know Him are not afraid of His discipline, realizing that is what proves them to be His chosen child and it is what He does to make us more like Himself, the spitting image of our Father. These rejoice with understanding that His word is used by Him in the power of His Spirit to teach us, for “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). What joy it is to know that God cares how we think and that even the littlest of choices that direct our path with Him is important to Him. Treasure it and let that treasure supply and equip your adequacy as His beloved child. In doing so, we…

† Bear in mind His precepts: Every decision in life is brought under the microscope of His word. It is what we use in choosing life or death, good or evil, blessing or curse. His word is truth and will lead us to the truth of His will for us even in this day and age. It is not obsolete. It is a guiding light, a lamp to the feet of those who know how to treasure it and rightly use it.

† Who observes His message in its entirety: God can and does use a verse to give us direction, especially in situations that are not clearly defined in Holy text; but that one or two verse message from Him will always stand in agreement with the whole of His word. It will never lead us contrary to Him and His ways. This is why it is important that we know the whole.

I.e.: if you want to know what God’s word says about giving, you don’t just look at one verse and say, “That is it!” You look at all places in scripture that speak of giving and, reading it in context, pull it all together to get the full picture. Someone just looking at one verse may believe that they are required of God to give to their own harm and the harm of their family. A little digging and we find that God’s word says to give according to our means and what we are able to do without harming self and those we are tasked to care for.

Does that mean we never have to give sacrificially? No, but it does mean that God does not put us on the street while using our means to put another in a mansion. That is the world’s way, not Gods. God’s way uses the surplus of those who have to help those in any true, proven need and it does it in a way that does not keep the needy dependent on us, but that helps and even requires them to come up higher. God’s way requires all to grow to a place of no longer being needy, but being able to give.

“…truly in him has the love of and for God been perfected, completed, and reached maturity.”

When we get to the point in our walk with God that reading His word is no longer a chore, but a joy; coming to a place where even His words of discipline are a treasure to us that we hide in our hearts for use in directing our path, we come to a place of maturity in Him. Those who are mature in Him hear His voice calling us to dig deep and find the whole of His truth on the subjects of life.

“By this we may perceive, know, recognize, and be sure that we are in Him: Whoever says he abides in Him ought, as a personal debt to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself.”

We can have full assurance of our relationship with God and our eternal destination by the growth we have in us in this area of our Christian walk and faith.

Jesus knew the whole of the Word of God and how to use it. And He has given us His Spirit to teach us. What does John say at the God-breathed inspiration of His Spirit: “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him” (1 John 2:27).

It is good to have teachers. They are tasked with and help our spiritual growth and understanding. But the greatest joy of any teacher is when the student becomes the teacher, surpassing even them in their growth and understanding. That only happens as we realize that Jesus gave us His Spirit to be our teacher in His stead.

We can trust the Spirit to instruct us, and He often will use others to confirm our hearing Him. It is exciting when God teaches me something new to me, and then I hear that same teaching from behind the pulpit or out of the mouth of some teacher of His word that I know to be trustworthy.

Really, unless the Spirit helps us to learn, even understanding what is said to us by others who teach is impossible without Him. We should never go into an instructional setting without seeking the Spirit to teach us and help us discern truth.

Jesus, at the age of 12, sat with the teachers of His day and learned from them. Of course, He astounded them with the level of His understanding, but nonetheless, we know He had to grow His childlike mind in preparation for His glorious ministry as Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.”

We too are charged with growing and showing ourselves to be of Him through our growing wisdom and understanding and wise use of His precepts and commands. Child of God, if you are not growing in the power of His Spirit, you are not abiding with Him.

(Have a great weekend. See you back here next week.)