Daily Archives: August 22, 2022

Have You Grown As A Believer?

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Have You Grown As A Believer?

woman writing in a notebook

 

Brenda Williams – Partner Care Specialist, cbn.com

My pastor often suggests that we take a look at our lives as believers to see how much we have grown in the Lord, or if have we grown at all? Have our lives changed much since coming to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior?

As I recalled the last 20 years, most of the time I seriously pursued the Lord with all my heart and I saw significant growth and change. My prayers were being answered, His joy and indescribable peace was in me. This doesn’t mean that everything was rosy, in fact there were some difficult times, but I knew the Lord was there and that He would help me. Yet, there were also times when for some reason or another, I let “little foxes” creep in (see Song of Songs 2:15) and I wasn’t pursuing the Lord with the same diligence as before. When there were difficulties, I felt uncertain, my faith wavered, my emotions were unsettled, and I wondered, “God, where are You? Don’t You see I need help here?”

Then I read in 1 Corinthians 5:6-7,

A little leaven leavens the whole lump [of dough] (NKJV).

In the Old Testament, leaven was yeast—the raising agent in bread dough. Christ is our daily bread; He is sufficient to meet the needs of our heart—no additives. I knew that due to disobedience, lack of diligence in the Word and prayer, I had let leaven in. Leaven in our lives can be many things: distractions, conversations, what our eyes see or ears hear, relationships or unbalanced priorities, or anything displeasing to Him. They all make an impact on our life and our relationship with Christ, which is the most important relationship we will ever have.

In our journey to Christian maturity, we are always discovering the ways of our amazing God and His will for our lives. His ways and His will are often entirely different than our own but we know His way is always the very best way! I praise God that at any moment we can change our focus, repent of the leaven, and pursue the One who loves us most. His plan for us is far better than anything we could plan for ourselves. By turning again to Him, our peace and faith are restored, our conscience is clear, and we have strong confidence in knowing He is here. He is the One who keeps us growing.

Saying Yes (When We Want to Say No)

When we choose to trust God instead of our feelings, blessings follow.

Jonah 3:1-10Jonah 4:1-11

The book of Jonah doesn’t end the way we might expect. From the belly of a fish, Jonah recommitted himself to the Lord’s purpose. But later, he admitted he didn’t want the job—and the Lord chastised his selfishness. You see, Jonah was sent to the Ninevites, who were a threat to the Jewish people. The reluctant prophet was afraid that if these enemies repented, his merciful God would not destroy them. Jonah confessed he wanted to see the Ninevites wiped out: “Therefore in order to forestall [their salvation] I fled to Tarshish” (Jonah 4:2 NASB 1995).

Sometimes we resist God’s will because we dislike the probable outcome of obedience. Or like Jonah, we focus on our own desires and comfort and lose sight of what’s really important. But our feelings about what might happen are not a reason to resist God’s plan. If the Lord calls us to act, He will take care of the results. Our job is to obey.

What selfish desire is keeping you from obeying the Lord? Maybe you are too angry with your spouse to work on your marriage or too hurt to welcome back a repentant friend. But Christians are not to be ruled by feelings. Obedience is what’s required, and its blessings may surprise you.

Bible in One Year: Jeremiah 46-48

Streams in the Desert – August 22

  • 202222 Aug

And the rest, some on boards, some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass that they escaped all safe to land (Acts 27:44).

The marvelous story of Paul’s voyage to Rome, with its trials and triumphs, is a fine pattern of the lights and shades of the way of faith all through the story of human life. The remarkable feature of it is the hard and narrow places which we find intermingled with God’s most extraordinary interpositions and providences.

It is the common idea that the pathway of faith is strewn with flowers, and that when God interposes in the life of His people, He does it on a scale so grand that He lifts us quite out of the plane of difficulties. The actual fact, however, is that the real experience is quite contrary. The story of the Bible is one of alternate trial and triumph in the case of everyone of the cloud of witnesses from Abel down to the latest martyr.

Paul, more than anyone else, was an example of how much a child of God can suffer without being crushed or broken in spirit. On account of his testifying in Damascus, he was hunted down by persecutors and obliged to fly for his life. but we behold no heavenly chariot transporting the holy apostle amid thunderbolts of flame from the reach of his foes, but “through a window in a basket,” was he let down over the walls of Damascus and so escaped their hands. In an old clothes basket, like a bundle of laundry, or groceries, the servant of Jesus Christ was dropped from the window and ignominiously fled from the hate of his foes.

Again we find him left for months in the lonely dungeons; we find him telling of his watchings, his fastings, and his desertion by friends, of his brutal and shameful beatings, and here even after God has promised to deliver him, we see him for days left to toss upon a stormy sea, obliged to stand guard over the treacherous seaman, and at last when the deliverance comes, there is no heavenly galley sailing from the skies to take off the noble prisoner; there is no angel form walking along the waters and stilling the raging breakers; there is no supernatural sign of the transcendent miracle that is being wrought; but one is compelled to seize a spar, another a floating plank, another to climb on a fragment of the wreck, another to strike out and swim for his life.

Here is God’s pattern for our own lives. Here is a Gospel of help for people that have to live in this every day world with real and ordinary surroundings, and a thousand practical conditions which have to be met in a thoroughly practical way.

God’s promises and God’s providences do not lift us out of the plane of common sense and commonplace trial, but it is through these very things that faith is perfected, and that God loves to interweave the golden threads of His love along the warp and woof of our every day experience.
–Hard Places in the Way of Faith

Toward a Good Harvest

  GALATIANS 6:1-10

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

—  Galatians 6:7

Our theme this month has been about discerning God’s will as we seek to honor and obey him. In our text for today Paul warns us not to deceive ourselves. We should not think more of ourselves than we ought, and we should be faithful in carrying each other’s burdens.

This means caring for one another and doing good to all people, not taking pride in our own position of strength or health in any area. If we have health and strength and we are in a position to help someone, we need to realize that God is the one who has given us that position—so that we may honor him in doing good. If we begin thinking that we have earned that position for ourselves, we are in danger—because God will not be mocked.

Again we are challenged to beware of the path we take in life. We will reap what we sow, so we should sow what is good and true. Paul describes two ways of living. Either we will seek to please our own sinful nature and reap destruction, or we will seek to please the Spirit of God.

In Christ, God has provided the way to eternal life. And because we are given full life in Christ, we can strive to do good to all people. We can love our neighbors by doing good as we have opportunities. And opportunities abound, so we can do good all of the time.

Father in heaven, help us to sow what is good and true, that we can contribute to a harvest that honors you. Give us your wisdom. In Jesus, Amen.