Friday, March 22, 2013

Measurement of Growth

“Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God,
as in fact you are living. Now we ask you in the name of the Lord Jesus
 to do this more and more.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1 (NIV)

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When our son was growing up, we had a ritual we followed. We had received a paper measuring device that we attached to the doorpost in his room. Periodically, we would have him stand up against it and mark his height on the paper. When I grew up, parents did this right on a wall in a corner or on the doorpost itself. As I now watch old western movies, I see places where families did this very same practice. It speaks of their love for their children.

God gives us signs of our growth as we mature in Christ. He allows events to occur in our lives that draws us closer to Him. James tells us to “consider it pure joy . . . whenever you face trials.” He continues to explain that those trials allow us to become mature in our faith.

God allows rough times to enter our lives for His own reasons. Primarily, He wants us to grow closer to Him. Then, later on, we may have the opportunity to comfort another person as they face a similar hardship. Or, God may use that trial as a benchmark to remind us when we endure a future trial.

As we grow in Christ, we find we are not as impressed with the trappings of this world.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013



“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory,
 are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory,
 which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)

“. . . we, who with unveiled faces. . .” In Old Testament times, the people could not look directly on the face of God because of His being holy. Because Jesus rent the veil between the holy and the holiest of holy places in the Temple, we can look directly into God’s face.

“. . . all reflect the Lord’s glory. . .” Paul reminds the Corinthian believers that he and they reflect Jesus’ glory. This is a strong statement. Can we imagine if someone told us we are a mirror image of the Lord?

“. . . are being transformed into his likeness. . .” He tells the church that they being changed to resemble Jesus. Are we 21st Century Christians being changes into His likeness or that of the world’s?

“. . . with ever-increasing glory. . .” This altering of the people is dynamic. Paul had experienced this changing in himself- first in his heart, then in how he lived. Here he describes this phenomenon as a progression.

“. . . which comes from the Lord. . .” He identifies the source of this process. It originates with the Lord. If we communicate with God on a daily basis, we have the privilege of hearing from Him when we need to.

“. . . who is the Spirit.” Paul explains that God works through the Holy Spirit in order for this transformation to be evident.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bearing Fruit

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“This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit  
showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
John 15:8 (NIV)
Jesus speaks here of our bearing fruit. He tells us that it is for God’s glory. Let’s think about those two statements.

We tell others more than we realize when they meet us. They notice our behavior and our attitude as we interact with them. They watch as we go through trials, noting how we respond.

I once heard of some sisters acting out at their father’s calling hours. Their aunt, who told me the story, was embarrassed by the display. Looking back, I can not put into words what was described to me.

I have a friend who took a spinster lady from our then church into our home when she needed a place to stay due to her health. The older woman went to the hospital, had surgery and did not do well after that. My friend maintained contact with the lady’s out of town family, as well as the woman’s lawyer. Not one time did I hear any complaining word from my friend.

My friend displayed Jesus to the house guest, to her out of town family, to the lady's attorney, and to the people of the church.  I learned a lot from my friend about showing God’s love to others.

Back in the early 1970’s, I read something by E. Stanley Jones that has stayed with me ever since. He told of a Christian’s witness being apparent to others. He said that doctors and morticians can tell if those they work with are Christians. He further said that they base their decision on how accepting the people receive harsh news-the knowledge of a terminal illness, theirs or a loved one’s,-or the loss of a loved one.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...