Past Blogs

"Repent Much, Love Much"

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“Repent Much, Love Much”

 

Luke 7:44-47 “Then He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman?  I came into your house. You did not give Me any water for My feet, but she wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give Me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing My feet.  You did not put oil on My head, but she has poured perfume on My feet.  Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — for she loved much.  But he who has been forgiven little loves little.’” (NIV)

 

This was a hard teaching for me.  I can talk Christ, study Christ, do Christ, but “loving much” is my Achilles heel.  Loving much is being on watch 24/7 for who God has placed me in front of to love.  Love is not a once a quarter small group ministry time, but who God puts in my life every day to love.  I must hear, watch, and obey God’s opportunities to love.  Galatians 5:6 says it well: “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision (sign of being Jewish) nor uncircumcision has any value.  The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

 

   How about you?  Are you developing a heart of love that sees the hearts, feelings, and wounds of those around you?  How has God led you to respond?  Are there any Scriptures that equip you for the challenge?  Click here to join in the conversation or share a Scripture or thought on this area.  Click here to read the entire teaching.


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"Dying to Live"

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John 13:38 “Then Jesus answered, "Will you really lay down your life for me?  I tell you the truth, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times! (NIV)  God stopped me in my tracks during this quiet time Scripture.  I wanted to say “yeeow,” of course I am, where you go, I go, but God just answered, REALLY!  God started the movie reel of my life which caused me to step back and say REALLY?  Really that?  Really what?  But Lord you don’t know how Really good I am.  Lordship is tough, but through God’s sanctifying work it is fabulous.  I must only be willing to hear and see, so I can confess, trust, and step into the empowering work of the Holy Spirit.  It is only then that I will see the wonderment of God’s hand in my life.  Romans 12:1 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship.”; Philippians 3:7 “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.”; Colossians 3:3 “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Let go and let God. 

 

   Join the conversation.  Where are you clinging to the ways of this world and not God?  How has God led you to respond?  Are there any Scriptures that equip you for the challenge?  Click here to read the entire teaching.


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"Glory Me"

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John 8:50 “I am not seeking glory for Myself; but there is One who seeks it, and He is the judge.”

 

    “Glory Me” is an easy read, but a hard to live teaching.  Every turn of my life naturally craves recognition and success.  This is a natural human trait that appears impossible to change, unless you allow God’s mission to consume your life.  When I wrote my book, I was asked what success would be.   Once I locked into the truth that one person’s salvation or the transformation of one Christian’s life was all that would make it a success, it become more about God and not about me.  I try to pray into all situations and activities to allow God’s work to be performed for His glory.  John 8:54 guides me well in this: “Jesus replied, ‘If I glorify Myself, My glory means nothing.  My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the One who glorifies Me.’” (NIV)

 

   How about you?  Where does God need to gain a greater hold on your life?  What Scriptures have better equipped you to seek only His glory and not what the world craves?  Click here to join in the conversation and share Scripture or thoughts on this area.  (Click here to read entire devotion).


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"Stagnation or Transformation"

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Ephesians 2:22 “And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” (NIV)

 

    Is Jesus building you into a dwelling where God lives and flourishes or does your God occasionally come out of hiding to attend church with you?  Is God the Lord of your life, so that your life with Him is constantly experiencing increasing portions of Him?  “Stagnation or Transformation” shares a vital principle for making this happen. 

 

   Becoming God’s dwelling became a powerful reality in my life when I started to not just hear God and make applications, but when I allowed God to change me and use me.  God made little progress in this area until 2 Corinthians 4:10-12 became a living reality in my life: “We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that His life may be revealed in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.” 

 

   How about you?  Where does God need to gain a greater hold on your life?  What Scriptures have better equipped you to see as Jesus sees and not as the world sees?  Click here to join in the conversation and share Scripture or thoughts on this area.  (Click here to read entire devotion)


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"Conflicts for Transformation"

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2 Timothy 2:23 “Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” (NIV)

 

   Conflict is difficult to handle.  There’s a right and a wrong, and by golly I am right!  Right!!  I struggle with conflict because in conflict my eyes move from Jesus to the situation at hand.  The better response in conflict is that my eyes become Jesus’ eyes for what is happening or occurring in the conflict.  Like superman our vision should see the person’s heart, circumstances surrounding the conflict, and the hopes at play in the conflict’s drama.

 

   I pray that God will cultivate more of Jesus’ life in mine.  Let me respond to conflict as Jesus responded to the invalid in John 5:7 who said, “‘Sir,’ the invalid replied, ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.  While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.’” (NIV)  Jesus could have seen the invalid as a beggar, a lazy man, or someone invisible to society; but instead He gave a helping hand.  I pray that I have the eyes to see, the heart to respond, and the faith and will to obey.

 

   How about you?  How can you see as Jesus sees?  What Scriptures have better equipped you to see as Jesus sees and not as the world sees?  Click here to join in the conversation and share Scripture or thoughts on this area.  (Click here to read entire devotion)


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"Delighting in Afflictions"

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Psalm 119:71 “It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” (NIV)

 

  One of the areas that has been toughest for God’s sanctifying work in my life has been my natural responses to those things I do not want in my life.  Life is good and then out of nowhere I am clobbered with an affliction that is totally unwarranted or unnecessary.  These quickly take me down.  The big afflictions cause me to step back giving God a chance to get a grip on my emotions, while little things just cause me to lose it.

 

   I am trying to allow God to take hold of these areas by more fervently understanding and seeking God’s character.  I am praying and seeking to enjoin God before the battles instead of only when I am in the middle of the battle.  2 Peter 1:5-8 challenges me towards this end, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

   How about you?  How do you allow Christ to shine during affliction?  How is God taking you above the fray instead of being like a car stuck in snow that is spinning its wheels?  What Scriptures have better equipped you for the afflictions of life?  Click her to join in the conversation and share Scripture or thoughts on this area.  (Click here to read entire devotion)


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"Breath to Eternity"

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2 Corinthians 4:18 “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (NIV)

 

  A common condition with Christians is a pre-occupation with life, which is not necessarily a bad thing to be pre-occupied with!  The challenge is how do you live in this world when we are not of this world?  What should your life look like as a Christian when the grime of life is blinding your ability to see?  God calls you to live with your eyes fixed on Him.  Not looking back or fearing the future, but by faith, trusting God’s promises.

 

   I tend to want to walk away without getting my hands dirty.  I also become pre-occupied with the offense and not the opportunity in God’s kingdom.  I find that when I focus on the person, the needs, and the outside environment I find I can keep my heart and mind in God’s kingdom and not the kingdom of this world.  Hebrews 7:18-19 points me to Jesus and not law, “The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.” (NIV) 

   Join the conversation.  Where is your life being chewed up?  How has God led you to respond?  Are there any Scriptures that equip you for the challenge?  Click here to read the entire teaching.


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"Dealing with Conflict"

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Psalm 37:3a “Trust in the LORD and do good.” (NIV)

 

   Christians often miss out on God by their expectations.  Are your expectations from God that He is there to serve you and meet your needs?  Do you expect God to get you out of every type of trouble?  Is your God like a vending machine at your beckon call?  Do not get me wrong, God does answer prayers, performs miracles, heals, and desires to take you into an abundant, fruitful life, but within a vibrant relationship with Christ as Lord of your life.  Matthew 6:33 says it this way, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

 

   Think about parents with children.  They certainly do provide for kids needs, often lavish undeserved gifts, and provide opportunities for great joy.  This is great, but a parents’ focus is more concerned about their development, health, character, salvation, spiritual growth, and how they contribute to this world and the kingdom of God.  This focus does not make you a bad parent, but a parent that is providing what is best for your children.  The same is true for God.  God’s family is all in this world with you as His instruments for growing the kingdom of God.  As Christians we must learn to look beyond ourselves to God’s work and desires for all around you.

 

How about you?  Where does God need to gain a greater hold on your life?  What Scriptures have better equipped you to see as Jesus sees and not as the world sees?  Click here to join in the conversation and share Scripture or thoughts on this area.  (Click here to read entire devotion)


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A Changed Lens

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John 9:2-3 “His disciples asked Him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"  "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” (NIV)

 

   As this man in this week’s devotion had the wrong lens, so many Christians have the wrong spiritual lens.  A Christian is described in 1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”  If that is who we are, then why do we live the way we do?  When asking that question of myself I find doing things contrary to God reflect my belief in God.  In other words the way I act reflects what I believe.  They saw a sinner in need of healing, while Jesus saw an opportunity for God to touch a man’s heart.  One of the things that has been most effective for me in changing my spiritual lens is to ask God to show me in my daily quiet time one area in Scripture where I fall short, and then pray for God’s work in that area.  Psalm 118:19 says, “Open for me the gates of righteousness; I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.”

 

   What are some of the things you do to see through the lens of Jesus and not the lens of the world?  Click her to join in the conversation and share Scripture or thoughts on this area.  (Click here to read entire devotion)


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Changed Lens

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Genesis 50:19-20 “But Joseph said to them (his brothers), ‘Don't be afraid.  Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.’” (NIV) 

 

   Joseph’s life is an amazing testimony of forgiveness.  He had so many reasons to be bitter, revengeful, slothful, and rebellious, yet he forgave, performed his best under poor situations, made no effort to get even, and went the extra mile to finish well.  What an example of Godly living.  What are some practical ways in Christ that help you respond correctly to bad conditions?  One way is to dwell on what God is doing and not on what has happened to you.  How about you.  How do you respond in God’s way instead of the flesh? 

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"Alive to Christ"

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John 3:29 "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice.  And so this joy of mine has been made full.” (NASB)

 

   John 3:29 challenged my desires and my faith.  I want all Christ has to offer while tightly holding onto everything I have.  My unwillingness to trust Christ reflects the very core of my belief in God.  My ability to follow Christ is bound in shackles as His life is run through the meat grinder of my life: My routines, responsibilities, family, work, money, time, activities, Facebook, smartphone, Instagram, hobbies, television, entertainment, sports, politics, etc. 

 

   If I want to be the friend that has full joy, then I must begin by not just hearing the Bridegroom’s voice, but making Him Lord through my obedience.  If I truly want that joy then I will consistently expose my life to Jesus’ truth in His Word and prayer, so He can confront all that is not of Him. 

 

   Where are you?  Each one of us has the same 1,440 minutes each day, yet we seem overwhelmed at giving 10 dedicated minutes to God each day (.007% of our day) much less a greater amount.  Does not our time reflect what we love, adore, worship, and follow?   Is God a pastime or your passion?  Is God an intruder in your life or your mover and shaker?  Do you end each day smiling at God’s work in you, or are you cutting more of God out of your life, so you can make more room for your things?  Let’s be Joshua 24:15 Christians, “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . .  But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."  Let God strip me bare, so I can be vulnerable to who He is, so I can experience all of Him.

 

 Join in the conversation.  If you have not read this week’s devotion click https://www.growinginchrist.net/Devotion/Index


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Introducing Growing in Christ Blog

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Greetings in the Lord,

 

   For ten years Growing in Christ has published a weekly devotion to challenge Christians to be faithful in their daily walk with Christ.  The devotions teach in a way that will help every believer take greater steps towards making Jesus Lord over every area of their life.

 

   Our devotions have been a one way conversation.  Our new blog concisely asks the questions each follower of Christ should be asking from the devotional teaching.  This will give followers the opportunity to enter the conversation by adding how following Jesus in this area can be better done, achieved, or just sharing Jesus stories of what God has done in those areas.  Come join the conversation to encourage all Christians in their walk with Christ!

 

Hebrew 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NIV)  


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