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Time for a Great Quote from Michael Yaconelli: on Spiritual Growth

“Spiritual growth is not running faster…Spiritual growth happens when we slow our activities down. If we want to meet Jesus, we can’t do it on the run. If we want to stay on the road of faith, we have to hit the brakes, pull over to a rest area, and stop. Christianity is not about inviting Jesus to speed through life with us; it’s about noticing Jesus sitting at the rest stop.” (from Yaconelli’s book Messy Spirituality: God’s Annoying Love for Imperfect Peoplei).

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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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.
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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,
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you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
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He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.

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

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When they were but few in number,
few indeed, and strangers in it,
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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:
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“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;
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and he sent a man before them—
Joseph, sold as a slave.
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They bruised his feet with shackles,
his neck was put in irons,
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till what he foretold came to pass,
till the word of the Lord proved him true.
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The king sent and released him,
the ruler of peoples set him free.
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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.
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The Lord made his people very fruitful;
he made them too numerous for their foes,
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whose hearts he turned to hate his people,
to conspire against his servants.
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He sent Moses his servant,
and Aaron, whom he had chosen.
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They performed his signs among them,
his wonders in the land of Ham.
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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;
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they ate up every green thing in their land,
ate up the produce of their soil.
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Then he struck down all the firstborn in their land,
the firstfruits of all their manhood.
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He brought out Israel, laden with silver and gold,
and from among their tribes no one faltered.
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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.
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They asked, and he brought them quail;
he fed them well with the bread of heaven.
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He opened the rock, and water gushed out;
it flowed like a river in the desert.

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For he remembered his holy promise
given to his servant Abraham.
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He brought out his people with rejoicing,
his chosen ones with shouts of joy;
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he gave them the lands of the nations,
and they fell heir to what others had toiled for—
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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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What on Earth Are We to Do about Unbelief? (Part 9a of 10)

FirefoxScreenSnapz689Do you ever feel like giving up?  No?  (You probably lie about other things as well).  I look at the world around me, and I get a bit discouraged.  Unbelief is rampant.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is ignored or critiqued.  What’s a believer in Jesus to do?

Jude, the half-brother of the Lord Jesus, wrote a one-chapter letter precisely answering that question!  We’ve seen so far in our study that in the face of the world’s unbelief, we are to keep ourselves strong in the faith (vv. 1-4).  But the Christian faith is being attacked — and we need to be aware of those attacks (vv. 3-4).  The Christian is to be ready to do battle for Christian truths (vv. 3-4), acknowledging the fact that the God who delivers is also a God who destroys (vv. 5-7)!  There are many dangers in false teaching that we must realize (vv. 8-10), for those teachers are simply repeating the errors of history (v. 11).  We’ve also seen (seventhly), that we should understand that false teachers have nothing to offer (vv. 12-13).  Eighthly, we saw that false teachers inevitably lead to ungodly living (vv. 14-16).

Let’s look at a ninth part of our response to unbelief in our world and it is this —
Step #9a-  We must Take Responsibility for Our Own Spiritual Lives! (vv. 17-23).

17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

What are we to do about unbelief on earth?  We’ve seen a number of steps that we can take.FirefoxScreenSnapz719  But what about ourselves?  What about our own spiritual growth?  Again Jude reminds us of the false teachers in verses 17-19.  He uses the expression “scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.”  They are divisive people who follow mere natural instincts and don’t have the Spirit.  So, obviously, to properly pursue our own spiritual lives means not making the same mistakes as these false teachers.  We must not scoff at the things of God, nor follow our own ungodly desires.  We must not follow our natural instincts.  And we must “have the Spirit” in our lives.

But Jude goes on to positive admonitions about our own spiritual lives.  We are to “build ourselves up in our most holy faith,” for example (v. 20).   Spiritual growth does not happen automatically.  We FirefoxScreenSnapz721don’t become spiritually mature by osmosis (simply sitting “under the sound of the Word,” as some of the older generation used to say).  We are to build ourselves up.  It is not enough just to fight false teaching.  We must invest energy in growing ourselves up!

Jude also uses the enigmatic expression “and praying in the Holy Spirit” (v. 20).  What does he mean by that command?  There is no real context to dogmatically determine what he means, but it seems unlikely that he is referring to the supernatural gift of speaking in languages one has not learned.  Perhaps his point is praying in such as way that we maximize our cooperation with the ministries of the Holy Spirit to us (illumination, conviction of sin, leading, etc.).  (to be continued)
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“The reason why many are still troubled, still seeking, still making little forward progress is because they haven’t yet come to the end of themselves. We’re still trying to give orders, and interfering with God’s work within us. ”
― A.W. Tozer

 

Questions:

1.  What is one factor that keeps you from growing in the Lord as you should?

2.  Name one practical step you can take to combat that hindrance in your life ________________________

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Posted by on July 13, 2014 in unbelief

 

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