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Tag Archives: growth

Stay Spiritually Fit and Healthy — Until You Are Dead! Part 10 (Conclusion)

We’ve been looking at the little epistle to Titus, asking how we can get and stay spiritually healthy. Let’s summarize what we have seen:

Knowing who we are in Christ and having a clear sense of our purpose in life is the beginning. We also must have confidence in the character of God and a commitment to communicating the truth about Him to others (Ch. 1).  We also learn from chapter 1 that we need spiritual leaders in our churches who meet certain criteria — and we are to co-operate with them as they lead us in serving the Lord!  Chapter 1 also taught us that we are to avoid spiritually negative influences (false teachers). Such deceptive, disruptive people need to be rebuked by God’s leaders.

Chapter 2 of Titus gives specific guidance to several groups of believers if they wish to be “sound” in the faith. Behaving ourselves will minimize criticism from outsiders and will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive. Chapter 2 also teaches about God’s saving, teaching, waiting, purifying, and encouraging grace. Which I need. And I suspect you do too.

How we treat others is one theme in chapter 3. We are to be subject to authorities and not be grouchy Christians!  We are also reminded in chapter 3 of our B.C. condition (before conversion) — and it quite humbling! We further learn in chapter 3 that we are to avoid certain topics and people — for such arguments are wasting our precious time on planet earth!  And in our last post, we learned that we need our co-workers’ companionship as we do the work of the Lord.

I want to be spiritually sound and healthy.  And I’m sure you do too.  What is required of us is that we take specific steps (illustrated here in Titus) to move in that direction.  As one radio preacher used to put it, “Lord, may we grow in grace that we may not groan in disgrace!”  Amen.

Friends: I just did a 40 minute webinar with my son Brian on “Seven Mistakes Writers Make.” You can see it below!

 

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2018 in spiritual health

 

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Time for a Great Quote: A.W. Tozer on Christian Growth!

screen-shot-2017-01-13-at-5-06-50-amThis is one of my favorite Tozer quotes.  A couple of questions occur to me.

1. Am I an honest man?
2. Is my Bible open?
3. Am I asking God the Holy Spirit to speak to me through God’s Word?
4. Do I want to stay “just as I am” or change to become a little bit more like Christ?
5. Am I ready to take notes on what God tells me through His Word?
6. Have I become accustomed to complaining about the faults and foibles of OTHERS instead of asking how I need to change?
7. Do I have the courage to show the notes that I take about myself to someone else who loves me and will pray for me and for my growth?

What questions occur to you?

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2017 in christian life

 

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Time for a Great Commercial (nothing hidden!)

Don’t you hate it when you find out about hidden fees, the small print, warranties that don’t cover exactly what you needed covered?  Here’s a great commercial from Ally Bank:

It makes me wonder — Do we hide aspects of the Christian faith from those we are trying to win to Jesus?

Here are five questions that occur to me that might be areas that we HIDE from unbelievers:

  1.  We might not make it clear that trusting Jesus as Savior means giving up one’s efforts to save oneself.

  2.  We might hide the fact — or fail to model it ourselves — that we are now no longer our own authority.  The Bible, the Word of God, is our final authority.

  3.  We might not emphasize enough that we are now SLAVES of Christ — and we are to live to do His bidding!

  4.  We might fail to explain that this fallen world is not our home.  We look forward to the New Heavens and Earth.

  5.  We might cover over the fact that we are the aroma of Christ to those who believe, but the stench of death to those who don’t (2 Cor. 2:14-17)!

    Your thoughts?

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2017 in the Christian life

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 105)

Psalm 105

1 Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 6.35.10 AM
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
2
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
3
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
4
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.

5
Remember the wonders he has done,
his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,
6
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
7
He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.

8Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 6.25.33 AM
He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
9
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
10
He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant:
11
“To you I will give the land of Canaan
as the portion you Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 8.08.42 AMwill inherit.”

12
When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
13
they wandered from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another.
14
He allowed no one to oppress them;
for their sake he rebuked kings:
15
“Do not touch my anointed ones;
do my prophets no harm.”

16
He called down famine on the land
and destroyed all their supplies of food;
17
and he sent a man before them—
Joseph, sold as a slave.
18
They bruised his feet with shackles,
his neck was put in irons,
19
till what he foretold came to pass,
till the word of the Lord proved him true.
20
The king sent and released him,
the ruler of peoples set him free.
21
He made him master of his household,
ruler over all he possessed,
22
to instruct his princes as he pleased
and teach his elders wisdom.

23
Then Israel entered Egypt;
Jacob resided as a foreigner in the land of Ham.
24
The Lord made his people very fruitful;
he made them too numerous for their foes,
25
whose hearts he turned to hate his people,
to conspire against his servants.
26
He sent Moses his servant,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
27
They performed his signs among them,
his wonders in the land of Ham.
28
He sent darkness and made the land dark—
for had they not rebelled against his words?
29
He turned their waters into blood,
causing their fish to die.
30
Their land teemed with frogs,
which went up into the bedrooms of their rulers.
31
He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,
and gnats throughout their country.
32
He turned their rain into hail,
with lightning throughout their land;
33
he struck down their vines and fig trees
and shattered the trees of their country.
34
He spoke, and the locusts came,
grasshoppers without number;
35
they ate up every green thing in their land,
ate up the produce of their soil.
36
Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land,
the firstfruits of all their manhood.
37
He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold,
and from among their tribes no one faltered.
38
Egypt was glad when they left,
because dread of Israel had fallen on them.

39
He spread out a cloud as a covering,
and a fire to give light at night.
40
They asked, and he brought them quail;
he fed them well with the bread of heaven.
41
He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
it flowed like a river in the desert.

42
For he remembered his holy promise
given to his servant Abraham.
43
He brought out his people with rejoicing,
his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
44
he gave them the lands of the nations,
and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—
45
that they might keep his precepts
and observe his laws.

Praise the Lord.[a]

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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How are you doing with the medium stuff?

KeynoteScreenSnapz043  What is the “medium stuff” for you?  If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, are we not talking about the day-to-day living in joyful obedience, walking in this world as a salt-and-light follower of Jesus?

For me the “medium stuff” includes such items as:

(1) Making sure I’m staying in God’s Word every day.  It is my daily oxygen, my spiritual nourishment, the instrument that recalibrates my thinking and my priorities.

(2)  Treating people the way Jesus would treat them.  This involves showing His kindness, patience (that’s a tough one for me), and compassion (“Even on the highway, Lord?  C’mon!”)

(3)  Trying to keep a short account with God about my own sin, rebellion, laziness, lack of passion, etc.  For some inexplicable reason, many Christians think that confession applies only to that moment in time when we cross over from death to life, move out of the category of God’s enemies into the category of being His friends and co-workers with Christ.  In other words, when we first get saved.  No, confession should be a daily, life-long habit of the serious believer.

What practices are you following to take care of the “medium stuff”?

 
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Posted by on October 30, 2014 in christian life

 

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Wanna’ wallow in the middle? (time for a great cartoon)

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2014 in christian growth

 

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How Do I Get Spiritually Healthy (a study in Titus: Part 2)

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 7.35.33 AMI mentioned in our previous post that I’m now going to the gym.  “Going to the gym,” for me, means I have a close, personal encounter with a variety of machines.   I’m pretty sure these machines were used in the Korean War to extract all kinds of state secrets from Allied forces. They have names like “Glut Machine,” “Chest Press,” “Make You Wish You Were Dead,” etc.  I try to do two “sets” of 10 “reps” of exercises on each machine.  I can change the weights with each machine to challenge my body so I can feel “the burn.” “The Burn,” as I understand it, is when your calf muscles, or your biceps, or your eyelids start to feel like a bucket of Tabasco sauce has been poured into them so you have this “pleasant” sensation.  And can tell others, “Yep. I felt the BURN!”

My lovely wife Linda has been feeling “the burn” for several years now.  She has been spinning.  “Spinning” is riding a stationary bike that is bolted to the gym floor and goes nowhere. It’s kind of a metaphor for some of us in our Christian lives.

My wife has been “encouraging” me for quite a while to come to the gym with words of spousal inspiration:  “Honey, it’s dawned on me that there are over 30 pounds of you that I’m not legally married to.”  [She hasn’t really said that (although, technically, it would be true)].  She’s said positive things like, “You should really come to the gym!”  “Don’t you want to ride a bike bolted to the gym floor and go nowhere?”  “Don’t you love me?”  I have finally given in, am going to the gym almost every morning, and have felt “the burn” in places where I didn’t know I had nerves or synapses or neural transmitters.

Titus:  in need of some "reps"

Titus: in need of some “reps”

Which brings me to today’s post.  What about my spiritual life?  How do I know I’m spiritually healthy?  We’ve looked at some study questions on Titus 1:1-4 where we read:

“Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior, 4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.”

We suggested a few questions — Here are my answers to those questions.

1.  How does Paul see himself (v. 1)?  He sees himself as a servant of God and an apostle (a sent one) of Jesus Christ.
2.  What does Paul see as his responsibility toward God’s “elect” (v. 1)?Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 3.57.28 PM  Paul sees his job as furthering the faith and the knowledge of God’s elect so they will become more GODLY!
3.  In what two areas are God’s elect to grow (v. 1)?  In faith and in knowledge!
4.  How is eternal life shown to be a future hope (v. 2)?  It is referred to as “the HOPE of eternal life.”
5.  What do we learn about the character of God in verse 2?  Thankfully, we learn that the biblical God is one “who does not lie.”
6.  What is it that God promised before the beginning of time (v. 2)?  He promised eternal life.
7.  What exactly has been brought to light through the preaching of Paul (v. 3)?  Eternal life!

Basic Application:

Here’s some of what I’ve learned from these few verses.

I’ve learned that God cares a great deal about His “elect.”  He wants us to grow in both faith and in knowledge, but these growth areas ought to lead to godliness.  We belong to a non-lying God, whose promises can be trusted.  The eternal life that we have in Christ was promised before creation and has now been publicized by preaching.  Paul cares about his true son in the faith and wants God’s grace and peace to be abundant in his life. 

Question:

What have you learned from these few verses?

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in spiritual health

 

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CARTOON MONDAY! Making any hops?

Questions:
1. How do we judge whether we are making any spiritual “hops”?
2. How can you encourage your pastor or the one preaching in your church to stay encouraged as they ministry God’s Word?

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in cartoons, CHRISTIAN LIVING

 

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