Archive | June 2013

A Call to Spiritual Growth

Hebrews 6-19

In Hebrews 5:11-14, the author seems frustrated over wanting to teach more about God but having an audience that seems stuck and unable to learn. What’s their problem? They won’t listen to what he says. In fact, the writer says that the people should be mature and able to teach others but remain like spiritual babies because they simply don’t put into action what they are taught.

Don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a baby that can only drink liquids and eat mushy food. Don’t you want to eat delicious, solid food?

Principles for Growth

Hebrews 6:1-20 provides instruction for going from the basics to more developed spiritual truths and thus to greater understanding of God.

  1. Seek to understand. For more advice on this process, see James 1:19-20.
  2. Teach. Teaching solidifies learning.
  3. Eat a healthy diet. Your body, mind & spirit are products of what you feed them.
  4. Go beyond basics. Basics provide a foundation on which to build.
  5. Move forward to further understanding. Green and growing or ripe and rotting.
  6. Soak up the rain. Lovingly care for the life that God gave you.
  7. Bear a good crop. Your life gives evidence of your faith.
  8. Know your purpose. No one was meant to live a lukewarm life.
  9. Keep loving others. God knows the love you share.
  10. Avoid dullness & indifference. See Philippians 3:14 for more on this idea.
  11. Stay faithful & patient. Wait for God to act and for His timing work.

What’s next?

Assess yourself in each of the above areas. What are you doing right? Where could you improve? Name specific ways you could improve such as attending a Bible study, seeking a mentor or praying scripture. Keep doing what’s working, and build on top of that. Consider any bad habits that may need removed. Remove the bad, and add in the good.

We cannot claim ignorance. God wants us to grow spiritually, and He tells us exactly how that can happen. Join me today in answering the call to spiritual growth. You won’t regret it!

DISCUSSION: What other principles for spiritual growth do you see in Hebrews 6:1-20?

What gives God pleasure?

adoptedEver thought about what delights God? Specifically, what gives God pleasure? Ephesians 1:3-5 gives us specifics on God’s sources of enjoyment.

God finds pleasure in…

  1. Blessing us… with every spiritual blessing simply because we belong to Him.
  2. Loving us… even before He made the world.
  3. Choosing us… to be holy & without fault.
  4. Adopting us… through His unchanging plan.
  5. Bringing us… to Himself through Christ.

How can we respond?

Wow! We sure are the focus of God’s delight & pleasure. That gives us tremendous reason to feel special as well as assured of our value to Him.

If we truly grasp just a little of this, our response can only be one of praise. When we realize that He purchased our freedom, forgave our sins, showered us with kindness, wisdom and understanding and that doing so GAVE HIM PLEASURE, praise flows naturally.

How are you responding to God’s pleasure over you today?

Love in Motion

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Ever felt stopped, stuck, unable to move? You know the days, ones where you feel like you’re in a miry pit and unable to be productive and certainly not think clearly. These are the days we find ourselves stuck between what our mind and body feel and what we know God desires of us, namely to love Him and others.

How can I love when I feel unlovable? How can I do something for others when I can barely get dressed? And how can I possibly do more than the bare minimum when my feet seem stuck in the mud?

Words scattered through Psalm 42 capture this feeling of despair so well…

My tears have been my food day and night…

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?

My soul is downcast within me…

I say to God my Rock, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?”

My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, “Where is your God?”

Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?

Love in Motion

Then God moves. His love becomes active within us, and we respond with natural motions that automatically reflect the existence of that love.

Let’s look between the lines of the despair in Psalm 42 and see the motion of God in a spirit crying out to Him…

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?

These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Therefore I will remember you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me — a prayer to the God of my life.

Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

 Love in Action

And as we respond to the motion of God within us, as praise naturally flows out of us, we being to change. Our actions then become deliberate choices to go beyond the minimum. We find the strength and courage to keep going even when discouragement seems to have a death grip.

And as His love in motion creates love in action through us, we find ourselves declaring with the writer of Psalm 117…

“Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth. For he loves us with unfailing love; the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!”

God’s love in motion within us turns into active love as we respond to His love and faithfulness. And suddenly we find ourselves loving God and loving others within the natural motions of life.

A Wise Woman Builds – June Application

11-1-12 A wise woman buildsRemember that our goal for studying the Proverbs 31 Woman was to have goals and standards that we can work toward to increasingly become godly women. This description should not be a heavy burden. Please never forget that.

June 2013 Application

This is a gentle reminder to always pursue deliberate application of God’s Word.

For June… Read through your notes from the first time you went through this series. What stands out to you from your personal notes?

May these monthly suggestions be gentle reminders of the potential we all have as Christian women.