Revive Me, Week 33– A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord
Grow Through Change
In my personal life I’m in the midst of four major changes. Change is a natural part of life. I know this fact but I’m a chicken. I wrestle with fear, insecurity, and just saying goodbye to what used to be. While I may be the only chicken, I know I’m not the only one facing change.
Our Nation Changes. From the leadership to the values it upholds, our nation is not the same as it used to be. I imagine we have more changes to come.
Our Church Families Change. The kingdom will stand (Dan. 2:44) but the makeup of each body fluctuates. Neal and I were just discussing all the changes that have occurred in the ten years we’ve been here. Several members have gone on to their reward, various leaders have come and gone, and dear families have moved away.
Our Homes Change. Children come into the home and then before you know it, children leave the home. Aging parents or others may need to live in your home.
Even Our Bodies Change. Aging. Enough said.
While the items I mentioned aren’t all negative, they are definitely changes. How can we face them gracefully?
- Remember the One who never changes. “For I am the Lord; I do not change” (Mal. 3:6). His promises stand regardless of shifting circumstances (2 Pet. 1:1-4). His love for us is constant (Rom. 8:37-39).
- Turn the changes into a challenge. Who doesn’t love a good challenge? It can be invigorating and life-giving. When fear threatens, remember that growth comes from being stretched. Facing challenges builds strength and confidence through Jesus Christ our Lord (Phil. 4:13).
- See the Blessings. Those who have experienced change will probably tell you that some good came about as a result (James 1:2-4).
- See the Opportunities. Times of change can be the perfect time to try new things, to test yourself, to walk through open doors that you’ve been hesitant to before. God has work for us always (Eph. 2:10).
Suggestions for the Week:
- To prepare for changes in our nation, pray for courage. We all need to stand up for what’s right and shine for Christ regardless of threats, persecution, or personal cost.
- For changes in the church family, pay attention to who could use some love. New members? Recent widows? Help those who are most affected cope by being their source of encouragement.
- In your own family, thank God for any who might be in your care now. It is always a blessing. Open your heart to those who may need your care. Don’t be hesitant to let go and let God (*pointing to myself big time here).
- Concerning your body, keep up with time. Work to keep it in good condition so you can serve to the best of your ability. Exercise more, make better food choices, drink plenty of water, and don’t become crotchety.
Read it. Memorize it. Live it.
This quarter at the Bear Valley Bible Institute International, I’m teaching “Personal Spiritual Growth” in the Women’s Program. There are 24 wonderful women in the class. One of their recent assignments was to write a 6-page paper about growing their faith. Not only did I learn a lot while grading their papers, but it also gave me additional insight into their good and tender hearts.
I asked the ladies if any of them would be willing to share what they considered to be their best thoughts from their paper with you. Here is what I received:
- “Sometimes it is easy to be down on ourselves. That really is where Satan would like to keep us. He would like to keep reminding us that we are not worthy of the love of our Savior. Some are defeated because of thoughts like this. But we only have to remember Paul’s story to know what a lie this is. He shows us right here how unworthy he feels and really, all of the terrible things he did that might make us agree with him. But the love of Jesus and His grace is for all of us!” —Abigail Warnes
- “Now that we know we have baggage, we must focus on making a conscious effort in training ourselves to change this behavior and eliminate the baggage. You can do this by replacing these thoughts with scripture, spending time helping someone else, or focusing on how these situations may glorify God. Romans 8:28 shows us that all things work together for those who love the Lord. Over time these things seem to be less important, and it may even motivate you to mend past relationships. A verse that personally helped me is Romans 12:21, “Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” It showed me that by replacing these negative thoughts with positive ones and actively doing for others instead of being self-absorbed, God will give us that peace that surpasses understanding in Phil 4:7. I honestly believe once we begin doing these, that’s when we find the true joy and the past has no relevance in the present.” —Bonnie Saldana
- “If you aren’t growing spiritually, your mind is still on the fleshly and you are dead (Romans 8:5,6). God can use anyone’s situation, but He uses you to the fullest when you let go of the past.” —Christa Bassett
- “There are many flashing lights in this world that can pull us towards them, but if we are focused on becoming mature in our faith we can overcome those desires and know that what the Lord provides for us is enough (Matthew 6:33). Our worldly passions can lead us to many undesirable attitudes about “THINGS,” so when we can get these desires under control, we can soar to a higher spiritual calling rather than to the desires and riches of this world (1 Timothy 6:17).” —Monica R. Gibson
- “Another way to become spiritually mature is to train ourselves to know right from wrong (Hebrews 5:14). We are bombarded every day by what other people believe to be truth–in schools, on TV, in magazines, on the radio, on the internet, in books written by scholarly men, by scientists, the list could go on. What source are we using to determine truth? If we rely on others to tell us what is true, we leave ourselves vulnerable to false teaching (Gal. 1:6-9). The Bereans gladly searched the Scriptures daily to make sure what they were hearing was accurate (Acts 17:11). We need to behave as the Bereans, and be eager to search the Scriptures daily to train ourselves on what is truth and what is error (2 Tim. 3:16,17). This is the only way we will be able to stand on solid ground when we are presented with having to defend the truth.” —Carol Melton
- “Though putting on the nature of God takes effort, it is rewarding. He makes provisions for us in our struggles. Like the story of the house swept clean of demons, we must replace the bad with something good. ‘Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart’ (2 Tim 2:22).” —Brenda Woolery
“The past can weigh us down and has the ability to hold us back from growing. Sometimes it can be hard to forgive ourselves from our past. Paul certainly struggled with this. He states, ‘Even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief’ (1 Tim 1:13). It can become a ball and chain around our leg stopping us from running the race as we should.” —Tracy Threlfall
- “You can’t grow in your faith if you’re still living in the past. Being stuck in the past can keep you from moving on toward spiritual maturity. Your faith will grow as you see that knowing Jesus is the most important thing in life.” —Laura Jensen
- “When we are baptized, ALL our sins are washed away. God remembers them no more! From that point on, when we stumble, we ask forgiveness and He removes those sins also. We are told in Colossians 1:13,14, ‘He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and has transferred us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.’ If God can do that, why can’t we forgive ourselves? I believe Satan puts doubt in our minds and makes us recall memories in order to confuse us and draw our minds away from God. James 4:7 tells us, ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you’ (ESV). 1 Peter 5:8 says, ‘Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.’ If we can keep doubt in perspective, we will know it comes from the devil. And if we keep our focus on God, we can resist the devil’s attempts to discourage us.” —Brenda Stow