Tag Archive | growing in the faith

Romans 12:3 ” For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

Our Heavenly Father is both benevolent and altruistic when it comes to blessing us.  But we usually take that graciousness and turn it into prideful thinking.  “Look what gifts the Lord has given me!”    I Peter 4: 10-11 reminds us that we are to use those gifts to serve others, not flaunt them in front of people as trophies.  The Apostle Paul warns us here that’s it’s all about our state of mind when regarding our giftings… it’s all about gratitude, not attitude and humility, not vanity.

Psalm 51:10 ” Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

I listened to a song the other day…its title a declaration that a lot of us might not say with any conviction…”I am ready for the Storm.”  Now I realize that it’s not if but when trials will come into my life…but to proclaim that I’m ready for them gives me pause.  So how can I prepare?  The Psalmist here shows us that it’s the daily renewing of our heart and mind that will enable us to do this.  Our faith is renewed and given new life daily…ever-deepening, ever-increasing,  as we put more and more of our trust in the Lord.  This divine restoration is spoken of in Isaiah 40:31, ” But those who put their hope in the Lord will renew their strength.”  So I may not like it, but I can now say with certainty… Yes Lord, with Your help, I’m ready for the storm.

James 2:5 ” Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the Kingdom He promised those who love Him? “

Everyday there are common, ordinary people -just like yourself – that do extraordinary things in the name of Jesus.  These people may be poor when it comes to material things, but they are rich in the things of God.   The Lord is depending on ordinary people – like yourself – to do His work here on earth.  These are people who, in the world’s eyes, may not have much to offer, but they are rich in faith, with confidence in their salvation and eternal life…and with that kind of trust, they can move mountains.  For Luke 6:20 says, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.”   The Lord is looking for common, ordinary people to advance His Kingdom here on earth…are you in?

Lamentations 3:40-42 ” Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord. Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: ‘We have sinned and rebelled…’ “

Admitting we’re wrong and asking forgiveness is hard to do.  And when it comes to acknowledging our sin before God it gets even tougher.  It’s not that we’re deliberately rebelling against Him…of blatantly and conspicuously sinning for all to see.  No, it’s rather sins by omission that really mess us up.  These are secret sins that are easy to hide…things that only we may know about.  These sins of omission are things neglected and left undone in our lives…like regular time in the Word, or prayer.  Or they’re things we chose to turn a blind eye to…knowing the Lord wants us to act,  but choosing to be apathetic instead.  These sins of omission are disobedience at its best and need to be dealt with, for as time goes on, it becomes easier and easier to allow these sins to hide in our sub-conscience and justify them rather than admit they are wrong.

I Kings 17:14 ” For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.’ “

There was a great famine in the land due to a drought. The prophet Elijah had been instructed by the Lord to find a certain widow in Zarephath who would supply him with food.  But when Elijah found her and asked for bread,  she told him she had only enough flour and oil to feed herself and her son for the very last time.  Elijah then said to her, “Don’t be afraid.  Go home and do as you have said.  But make a small cake of bread for me first.” In other words, “Before you feed your loved ones, I want you to trust God and feed me first.”  Elijah was asking the widow to stretch her faith farther than it had ever been stretched before.  He was challenging her to put her faith in God for the family’s provisions…no matter how long the famine lasted.  He reassured her that by trusting God the jar of flour and jug of oil wouldn’t run dry…and they miraculously didn’t.   Oh, to have the faith of that widow!  Her eyes only saw a handful of flour and a dribble of oil left…but yet she bravely stepped out in faith, trusting God to provide for her family.

James 1:2-3 ” Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”

The only way you can become really good at something is to practice…whether it’s a sport, a musical instrument, or a newly discovered talent,  without practice, it’s just wishful thinking.  Today, this Scripture wants us to take a new and different attitude when faced with the trials in our lives.  It wants us to consider trials  as practice.  Every time we’re put to the test, we need to realized it’s a God-ordained crucible in which we are being purified.  In other words, trials equal refining…trials equal developing patience…trials equal suffering in the faith…trials are a chance to practice what we preach.

Hebrews 10:25 ” Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.”

God’s people need to be in circles…not rows.  Now, I’m not saying that you can’t obtain a tremendous amount of spiritual knowledge and wisdom from the Church Service you attend every Sunday.  But there’s something very special about small groups that meet in homes.  In Acts 2:42,  these small groups of Believers met for the purpose of teaching God’s Word, breaking bread, and prayer…and the modern-day small group hasn’t changed that much.  But unless you’ve been part of a small group, you don’t realize all the benefits there are.  When you’re part of a small group,  you make connections, and fellowship with like-minded people who become close friends.  In small group,  there’s the chance for openness and transparency to share each others burdens, while at the same time there’s accountability and follow-up.  If you aren’t already part of a small Bible group,  I strongly encourage you to take the step to join one.  For we all need to encourage and be encouraged by each other as we grow in our faith.