Tag Archives: spiritual growth

Living Stones

There’s a scripture I’ve read over many times and haven’t given much thought to until today. It’s 1 Peter 2:5 that says, “And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple” (NLT). If you think about what stones are and how they are used, a lot jumps out at you. Stones are movable, shapable, polishable and usable. These are all things God wants to do in our lives so that He can use us for His purposes. We all have a role to play in building His church of living stones. I don’t think it was by accident Peter used the term stone. In fact, it was divinely inspired.

Think about what David picked up and used to slay the giant. It was a stone, five smooth ones to be exact. What did the Israelites take out of the Jordan river to build an altar to God so people would remember what He did? Stones. What was the Temple in the Old Testament built out of? You guessed it, stones. The Bible uses stones for many things. If you think about them as people, we’ll that’s the same things God wants to do with us as living stones. We are to be giant slayers, reminding people of all God has done and we are the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

The thing that all these stones had in common is that they were able to be used and given a purpose. Sometimes God has to shape us before He can place us exactly where we’ll be the most effective. Sometimes that means parts of our lives will be knocked off so we’ll fit. Sometimes we will have our rough edges sanded off so we’re smooth. No matter what, we must submit to God and His purposes so we can reach our potential. Otherwise we will be stuck in the ground going nowhere. Today, ask God how He wants to use you as a living stone and see what He does.

Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Producing Better Fruit

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

Brian Tracy is one of the world’s leading motivational speakers for sales people. He has written several books, and is known internationally. One of the things he teaches is the Law of Correspondence. It says that your outer world will always be a reflection of your inner world. That means that your actions are driven by what’s going on inside of you. If there is chaos in your mind and heart, your actions will reflect that and your life will be crazy on the outside too. Our lives produce fruit that is a reflection of what’s going on in our heart.

In Matthew 12:33 Jesus said, “To have good fruit you must have a healthy tree; if you have a poor tree, you will have bad fruit. A tree is known by the kind of fruit it bears” (GNB). Every one of us bear fruit in our lives. The question is, is it good fruit or bad fruit? Our fruit is a reflection of our spiritual health. What goes on in our spirit man reflects in the fruit we bear. To have better fruit, we have to work on our spiritual health.

In my garden, I’ve noticed that the quality of the vegetables it produces is in relation to how much water it receives. When I forget to water it, there will be little to nothing being produced. What is produced during those times is undersized and not very tasty. When I add water, the plants will look differently almost over night. They will bloom quickly and produce a better harvest. It has to be constantly tended to if it is going to continuously bear good fruit.

If we fail to continuously water our spirit with the water that comes from God’s Word, we risk the same thing. Our fruit will be small and tasteless. It will reflect a dry spirit. We must take time to feed our spirit through reading God’s Word and spending time in prayer. If we are ever to escape a chaotic life end the fruit it bears, we are going to have to make time to focus on what’s going on inside of us. In time, our lives will bloom and produce the fruit that’s tasty to others and God.

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Protecting Our Relationship With God

I get the opportunity to talk to different people all the time. Inevitably someone wants to ask me relationship questions. I’m not a trained counselor or anything like that, but as I listen to these stories, there’s a constant thread through all of them. The problems they’re experiencing are a result of a lot of little things that have crept in and gone unchecked. Also, they haven’t done things to protect the relationship. When that happens, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back ends up happening and it gets the blame. The truth is it was several small, basic things that added up.

Just like any relationship, we have to make sure that we do the small, basic things in our relationship with Christ. We need to set parameters and protect it. We live in a connected world where everything seems to be vying for your attention. If we allow little things to distract us and keep us from praying or reading our Bible or going to church, it will become difficult to have that relationship that God wants to have with us. We must protect that time. We must make it sacred so that nothing and no one comes between us and God.

I’m reading the Bible book Song of Songs (Solomon) in the Passion translation. They’ve taken it and put in red letters the parts that are allegorically from God. Chapter 2:15 says this to us from God, “You must catch the troubling foxes, those sly little foxes that hinder our relationship. For they raid our budding vineyard of love to ruin what I’ve planted within you. Will you catch them and remove them for me? We will do it together” (TPT). God is asking us to protect our relationship with Him. I also love that just like any other relationship, it’s not just one side’s responsibility. We need to work together with God to remove the obstacles in our relationship so it can grow.

Photo by S Alb on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Beyond The Horizon

While watching the recent lunar eclipse online, I learned some new things from the astrophysics who were giving a play by play. One of the things was that from the time you see the sun touch the horizon, until it goes down, you are not really seeing the sun. You are actually seeing a reflection of the sun that has already dipped below the horizon. Because of air density and the curvature of the earth, it creates a mirage that reflects an image of the sun back above the horizon. So when you’re watching a sunset with the sun going below the horizon, you’re actually looking beyond the horizon.

I think that’s pretty cool because until that point, i thought we could only see as far as the horizon. When you read Hebrews 11, you read about the great heroes of our faith. They were the men and women who trusted God without seeing what He was talking about. That’s really what faith is. If you could see what you believe in, it’s not really faith. Trusting God is following where He leads before there is anything there to see. It’s truly looking beyond your visual limitations and seeing into the future.

Hebrews 11:13 says, “These heroes all died still clinging to their faith, not even receiving all that had been promised them. But they saw beyond the horizon the fulfillment of their promises and gladly embraced it from afar” (TPT). What has God been asking you to do that’s beyond your current vision? It may be over the horizon, but if He’s asking you to move towards it. Trust the vision of what you truly can’t see at this moment, and start acting in faith. The life God has called us to is always beyond the horizon. It’s up to us to trust in what He can see more than what we can see.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Reopen The Wells

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

How do you respond to road blocks and set backs? Do you believe the non-scriptural platitudes that say, “God doesn’t close a door without opening a window”? Do you give up and just sit there? Maybe you look for another route and roll with the punches. Each of us respond in different ways when we’ve done the ground work for things in our lives only to have it stopped suddenly. I believe how we respond matters.

In Genesis 26, Abraham had already died and his son Isaac was a full grown man. Isaac planted crops and God blessed them. Whatever he did, God put His hand on it and made him successful. With that success came jealousy from others who were not as blessed. The Philistines went around and filled his wells with dirt, and their king made him uproot his family and move because of their jealousy.

When Isaac moved away to other places he had taken his flocks before, he realized what they had done. Isaac and his father had dug many wells throughout the land to give water to their family and flocks. Now, all those years of work had been undone. He could have looked for other wells that didn’t belong to him, but that wasn’t right. Genesis 26:18 says, “He reopened the wells his father had dug, which the Philistines had filled in after Abraham’s death. Isaac also restored the names Abraham had given them” (NLT).

When what you’ve worked for gets destroyed by someone else, don’t just walk away or give up. Put the work back into it and re-dig your wells. It’s going to take work. It’s going to take determination. Your desire to be successful and blessed has to be stronger than your desire to give up. Isaac didn’t quit or look for God to open a new well. He grabbed a shovel, started digging, and restored what the enemy had closed. That’s the response we should give to set backs and roadblocks in our lives.

Photo by Vladimir Kramer on Unsplash

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

God’s Consistency

I’ve been through times and situations where I’ve wondered where God was. When I’m neck deep in problems and my prayers don’t seem to be reaching Heaven, I start to think God doesn’t hear me, or worse, that He doesn’t care. Have you been there? It’s a rough place to be. There have been moments where I’ve been desperate that if God didn’t show up, I didn’t know how I was going to be able to go on. When I look back, I can see God’s hand and how He was growing my faith, but in those moments, I felt alone and that God had forgotten me. That’s a tough place to be emotionally and spiritually.

I have a friend who says, “God is the God of the eleventh hour and fifty-ninth minute.” It’s not that He doesn’t hear us, see us or know where we are. It’s that He has His own time table. I also believe that many times He uses people to answer our needs, but we aren’t always very responsive to His promptings. We usually wait to do what He asks us to do because we’re unsure we’re hearing Him correctly. If you can’t see Him moving, it doesn’t mean He doesn’t care or that He’s sitting back doing nothing while you’re going down.

I love Isaiah 40 because it reminds us of the greatness of God, especially when we’re doubting Him. Toward the end, He speaks to Israel, but the message is to us as well. Verses 27-28 say, “Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “ GOD has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? GOD doesn’t come and go. God lasts” (MSG). If you’re in one of those moments, take your eyes off your problems and look at the consistency of who God is. Remember that He’s there, He Sees you and He’s growing your faith.

Photo courtesy of Images by Chauvin on Instagram.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Trusting Our Anchor

One of the things I enjoy doing in my spare time is fishing. There’s something therapeutic about sitting on a boat and casting a line. Many times fish are under brush near shore. After we get the boat close enough, we drop an anchor in the water. When larger boats come cruising through, it creates large waves which can push our boat into the brush hanging over the water, or worse, it can run us into shallow water where there are stumps. While the waves may rock the boat and create some uneasiness, the anchor holds us in place and protects us from more damage.

In the same way, you and I have our hope in God. Life is full of uncertainties and our boat is often tossed about by the waves. There are times where we feel like the boat is going to flip over or that we will run aground. That’s why we need to trust in our anchor of hope. It is our lifeline that connects us to God. It is designed to hold us in place when all these things come through our lives and try to rock our faith. We must learn to trust it more than the waves because waves come and go, but our anchor is firm.

Hebrews 6:19 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for our lives. It is safe and sure, and goes through the curtain of the heavenly temple into the inner sanctuary” (GNT). Think about that image. Our anchor is a direct line to the very presence of God. When it is in use, it is unseen. It is not phased by what’s happening on the surface. When we trust in our anchor, we can have peace in the chaos and uncertainty of life. That hope grounds us in what is true and is eternal, and we will not be moved. If your boat is being rocked right now, grab ahold of that line that is connected to God’s presence and trust Him to hold you until the waters calm down.

Photo by Matthew Wheeler on Unsplash

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized