By Emily Moore
Eating leftover meals for lunch or dinner is a great way to save money on groceries and save time preparing food after a busy day. There are countless ways to get creative with leftovers, like turning them into casseroles or soups. Nonetheless, the leftovers all get eaten after a few days, or your family gets tired of them and is ready for different meals. Sadly, leftovers don’t last long! As a soon-to-be wife, learning how to work with leftovers has definitely been on my mind. But I also started to think about how easily the idea of “living on leftovers” creeps into our spiritual diet.
Everyone experiences those seasons of life where you have such a full plate (pun intended) that feeding your soul becomes very difficult. It’s in these times that we often start trying to spiritually survive on leftovers. When a week has been stressful or exhausting, think about how a refreshing worship service on Sunday or one hour of mid-week Bible class will keep your soul full and thriving for the other five days of the week. But what happens when an evangelistic opportunity appears or when you’re hit with a conflicting decision or when you suddenly find yourself having doubts or temptations you’ve never before experienced? When these situations arise, it doesn’t take long to realize that leftovers aren’t enough. A fuzzy recollection of Bible verses here and there or a small excerpt from a sermon heard way back when will not be strong enough to sustain spiritual strength. Of course it is good and useful to remember those things, but just like babies mature and require more than a few ounces of milk, so we must continue to grow and ensure that our soul’s appetite grows with us (1 Peter 2:2).
As Christians, constant renewal, growth, and learning are essential to survival. Think about the idea of renewal in Romans 12:2…
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Renewal is a perpetual process; it takes time and intentionality. If you’ve been scraping by on spiritual leftovers, here are a few ideas for feeding your soul throughout the day:
- Pray everywhere (1 Thess. 5:17; Jam. 5:13)–At work, while driving, on your lunch break; you can also set reminders on your phone to pray for specific people.
- Sing (Psa. 13:6; Eph. 5:19)–Singing or listening to hymns in the car with the kiddos or by yourself is guaranteed to bring joy and encouragement to a new day.
- Listen to podcasts or an audio Bible (Psa. 1:1-2; 119:16)–A car ride, lunch break, or any free moment can be filled with the Word.
- Set aside time each day for in-depth Bible study (2 Tim. 2:15; Jam. 1:5)–Alone time with God and His Word is the heartiest meal for the soul.
**If you’d like suggestions for podcasts or Bible study tools, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Revive Me–A Year of Growing Stronger in the Lord, Week One
Rest Your Faith on the Power of God
What is the foundation of your faith? As you begin a brand new year of living for Christ, this basic question is crucial. Listen to Paul’s message to Christians:
And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with the superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God (1 Cor. 2:1-5).
The word “rest” here means “exist; be located in.” Paul warns Christians not to build their faith on the wisdom of men (including himself), but on the message of Christ. The wisdom of men may be persuasive, but it is powerless. If your faith feels a little weak or uncertain, perhaps you’ve neglected to spend enough time tapping into the right Source. Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you spend more time reading the good writings of men/ women than you do the Bible?
- Are your convictions based on what you’ve always been taught or from your own diligent study of the Word?
- When you listen to or read the messages of preachers, do you “search the Scriptures daily to see whether those things are so” (Acts 17:11)?
This may be the year your faith is tested like never before. Make sure you are building YOUR faith on the power of God.
Some suggestions for this week:
- Read 1 Cor. 1-3.
- In that text, note the contrast between the wisdom of men and the word of God. If you like to mark in your Bible, underline the words that describe the wisdom of men and circle the words that describe the word of God.
- Listen to sermons and read articles with discernment. Follow up by looking up the Scripture references that are used to make sure they aren’t taken out of context.
- Pray each day for desire to grow your faith in the Word.
- Consider memorizing Heb. 4:12.
Pray it. Memorize it. Live it.