There Are No Shortcuts to Spiritual Maturity

 
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“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Philippians 1:6 NLT, second edition)

It takes years for us to grow to adulthood, and it takes a full season for fruit to mature and ripen. The same is true for the fruit of the Spirit. The development of Christ-like character cannot be rushed. Spiritual growth, like physical growth, takes time.

Billy Graham associate Lane Adams once compared the process of spiritual growth to the strategy the Allies used in World War II to liberate islands in the South Pacific. First they would “soften up” an island, weakening the resistance by shelling the enemy strongholds with bombs from offshore ships.

Next, a small group of Marines would invade the island and establish a “beachhead”—a tiny fragment of the island that they could control. Once the beachhead was secured, they would begin the long process of liberating the rest of the island, one bit of territory at a time.

Eventually the entire island would be brought under control, but not without some costly battles.

Adams drew this parallel: Before Christ invades our lives at conversion, he sometimes has to “soften us up” by allowing problems we can’t handle. While some open their lives to Christ the first time he knocks on the door, most of us are resistant and defensive. Our pre-conversion experience is Jesus saying, “Behold! I stand at the door and bomb!”

The moment you open yourself to Christ, God gets a “beachhead” in your life. You may think you have surrendered all your life to him, but the truth is, there’s a lot to your life that you aren’t even aware of. You can only give God as much of you as you understand at that moment. That’s okay.

Once Christ is given a beachhead, he begins the campaign to take over more and more territory until all of your life is completely his. There will be struggles and battles, but the outcome will never be in doubt. God has promised that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).

PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>

Talk It Over

  • Describe your pre-conversion experience with the Lord. What did he allow to happen in your life that was meant to soften you up? How did you respond?
  • What are the areas that you have not yet surrendered to the Lord?
  • What kind of fruit do you want God to produce in your life?

Health Food Devotional

God Has Promised You Long Life

 

With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. (Ps. 91:16)

We used to have divine healing services every Saturday night in our church, and Grandma Jeffcoat would be carried in. Sometimes she would have a spell, and we would think she was dead. Then somehow she would start breathing again. Those were some experiences! That went on for about six months. We can get faith into people by teaching them, but we also need to get them into services where God is manifesting Himself. One Saturday night, Grandma Jeffcoat was at the service, and as we came to the close, I had a little quick vision about her. I saw her out of her chair dancing. I looked over at her and told her it was her time. I walked down off the platform, laid hands on her, and prayed. At the moment, nothing happened, but ten minutes later, she let out a yell, jumped out of the chair, and started dancing. She was healed! Several years later, my wife and I stopped by to visit her when she was ninety-one years old. Her daughter said that she was away visiting some people and that she was always busy running around. Grandma Jeffcoat’s doctor had just examined her and said that he had never seen anything quite like it before. Her heart was perfect, and there wasn’t a thing wrong with her! The doctor was fifty-five and said that he wished he was in as good a condition as she was! Grandma Jeffcoat died when she was ninety-three, without sickness and disease! She just fell asleep in Jesus. I’m so glad I didn’t let her die of that cancer. Confession:

I will live a long life on the earth. And I will die without sickness and disease.

Source: Health Food Devotions by Kenneth E. Hagin. Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications

Emotions

Don’t Let Your Emotions Vote

by Joyce Meyer

Do not be misled, my beloved brethren.
—James 1:16If we desire to walk after the Spirit, all our actions must be governed by God’s principles. In the realm of the Spirit, there is a precise standard of right and wrong, and how we feel does not alter that standard.

If doing the right thing requires a “yes” from us, then it must be “yes” whether we feel excited or discouraged. If it is “no,” then it is “no.” A principled life is enormously different from an emotional life. When an emotional person feels thrilled or happy, he may undertake what he ordinarily would not do. But when he feels cold and emotionless or melancholy, he will not fulfill his duty, because his feelings refuse to cooperate.

All who desire to be truly spiritual must conduct themselves daily according to godly principles. A good sign to show you’re growing and maturing in Christ is when you consistently obey, even when you don’t feel like it.

Learn not to ask yourself how you feel about things, but instead ask yourself if doing or not doing something is right for you. You may know that you need to do something, but you don’t feel like doing it at all. You can wish you felt like it, but wishing does no good. You must live by principle and simply choose to do what you know is right. There may be a certain thing you want to do badly. It might be a purchase you want to make that you know is too expensive. Your feelings vote “yes,” but your heart says “no.” Tell your feelings they don’t get to vote. They are too immature to vote and will never vote for what is best for you in the long run.

We don’t allow people to vote in political elections until they are eighteen, because we assume they would be too immature to know what they are doing. Why not look at your emotions the same way?

They have always been a part of you, but they are very immature. They are without wisdom and cannot be trusted to do the right thing, so just don’t let them vote. We mature but our emotions don’t, and if they are left unchecked, our lives will be a series of unfinished and disappointing ventures.

Trust in Him Pray and ask God to help you trust Him more than you trust your emotions.


From the book Trusting God Day by Day by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2012 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

LOVE: The High Road

Feb 13 pic6// Lynette Hagin

“Love . . . is patient and kind. . . .
Love (God’s love in us) . . . is ever ready
to believe the best of every person.”
—1 Corinthians 13:4–5, 7 (Amplified)

It is so important that we learn to practice love in our lives on a daily basis. Many people refer to First Corinthians 13 as “the love chapter.” Too often, we want to skip over reading that part of the Bible. I admit I have felt that way at times, but the Lord continues to lead me to read it. In fact, whenever my husband and I perform a marriage ceremony, I always read this portion of chapter 13 to the bride and groom:

1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-7 (Amplified)

4 Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily.

5 It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].

6 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail.

7 Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

Put It Into Practice
If we would practice this passage daily, we could live peaceful, productive lives. The problem is, our flesh often gets in the way. Instead of ignoring injustices that are done to us, we want to get even; instead of walking in love, we want to repay evil for evil.

One of the things I witnessed in the life of my father-in-law, Kenneth E. Hagin, was that he not only taught about the love walk, he truly lived it. He never considered getting even. At times, my husband and I got exasperated when we heard others criticize and say hurtful things about our family or ministry. Sometimes we expressed our feelings to my father-in-law, but he would tell us, “Don’t ever stoop to their level; always walk the high road.” I’m forever grateful for his example and for his being straightforward with us. I still hear those words ringing in my ears when I’m tempted to take the low road and return evil for evil.

The test of walking in love is not something we pass one time and never have to experience again. The fact is, our love walk will be tested continually. Sometimes it seems as if I experience those kinds of tests on a daily basis!

Learn to Talk It Out
Life is too short to live in constant turmoil in your home. This holds true regarding your relationships with friends as well. When strife arises in our relationships, we can deal wisely with it and keep First Corinthians 13:4-7 as our foundation.

We can learn something about this from the Apostle Paul. The church at Corinth was suffering from such strife within it that he had to remind the members, “Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Cor. 13:11). I believe we should adopt as our family motto, “Be of one mind. Live in peace.”

In order to live out that instruction from Paul, we must learn to communicate effectively with others, beginning with our spouses and children. Communication is often the most difficult skill to master, because we can experience so many different emotions when we are sharing our thoughts and feelings. Paul talked about this in Ephesians 4:26-27: “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: neither give place to the devil.” “Be angry and sin not” sounds like a contradictory statement, but it isn’t. The Lord knows that anger is one of the emotions we experience in life, yet He tells us, “Although you may be feeling angry, do not sin.” What exactly does that mean?

You may experience angry feelings, but don’t use those feelings to get even. In the midst of anger, you might say words that you may not really mean, but those cutting words will forever ring in the ears of the recipient.

Take the High Road
When we choose the high road, love, it causes peace to reign in our relationships and in our lives.

It’s important to express your love and appreciation for your family and friends on a continual basis. My husband and I make it a point to say “I love you” to each other many times a day, and I often say that to my children and grandchildren. We all need to be reassured of the love others have for us, and we need to reassure others of our love for them.

You may not have heard anyone say to you, “I love you,” very often in your childhood, and you may find it awkward to say those words yourself. But I encourage you that if you’ll start saying, “I love you,” to people you care about, each time you repeat those words, they will become easier to say and more natural to you.

You can begin right now by determining that every day, not just on special occasions, you will walk in love and express words of love to your family and friends.

By: Lynette Hagin.

Everything God Has Is Yours

Everything God Has Is Yours

by Joyce Meyer – posted June 13, 2015

Let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry.
Luke 15:23A well-known Bible story tells of a young man who left his father’s house to go out into the world and live life his own way. He wasted all his inheritance and finally ended up with a job feeding hogs and eating what they ate. He decided to return to his father’s house, realizing that he would have a better life as a servant to his father than living the way he was.His father saw him coming in the distance and immediately planned a party. He was extremely happy that his son had returned home. Everyone was enjoying the party, the music was loud, and the older son who was returning from working in the field heard it. He asked what was going on, and when he heard the news he became angry and refused to go to the party. His father pleaded with him, but he preferred to sulk. His bad attitude didn’t cause his father to stop the party, but it did keep him from entering in.

The older brother reminded his father that he had served and worked for him many years and never caused any trouble, and not once had anyone given him a party. His father replied that he could have had a party any time he wanted one, because everything his father had was always his. To me, this is a most amazing lesson and one that we cannot afford to miss. God loves us, and all that He has is ours as long as we belong to Him. He appreciates our work and effort to please Him, but if we refuse to enjoy the benefits of being a child of God, that is our fault, not His.

Love Yourself Today: Don’t refuse to celebrate and enjoy life…you’re a child of the King!


From the book Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2011 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

Humble Yourself and Be Exalted

Humble Yourself and Be Exalted

by Joyce Meyer – posted June 10, 2015

Therefore humble yourselves [demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation] under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you.
1 Peter 5:6The apostle Peter is a good example of a man who had to be humbled. In Matthew 26:31-35 we see that Peter thought more highly of himself than he should have. In this passage, we read that just before the crucifixion Jesus told His disciples they would all be offended and fall away from Him. In verse 33, Peter declared to the Lord that he would never do such a thing. In response, Jesus warned Peter that before that very night was over, his fears would cause him to deny Him three times; but Peter could not conceive that he would ever be that weak.

Peter really did not know himself, and many of us are the same way. We look at others and judge them, thinking, I would never do that. Then when we find ourselves in a similar situation, we do things we would have never believed possible. Peter needed to go through the experience of failing, of falling apart in the crisis hour. He had to see his weaknesses before he could bring them to the cross and find God’s strength.

Yes, Peter failed miserably. He denied Jesus three times. He fell apart in a crucial time, but the end result was good. The experience humbled him and brought him to the place where God could use him greatly. God can only use humble men and women. We must humble ourselves and He will exalt us (see 1 Peter 5:6).


From the book New Day, New You by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

Love Your Enemy

“Love Your Enemy” — by Corrie Ten Boom
“We feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” — [TLB]  Romans 5:5
It was in a church in Munich that I saw him – a balding, heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands.  People were filing out of the basement room where I had just spoken, moving along the rows of wooden chairs to the door at the rear. It was 1947, and I had come from Holland to defeated Germany with the message that God forgives.It was the truth they needed most to hear in that bitter, bombed-out land, and I gave them my favorite mental picture.  Maybe because the sea is never far from a Hollander’s mind, I like to think that that’s where forgiven sins were thrown.  “When we confess our sins,” I said, “God casts them into the deepest ocean, gone forever.  And even though I cannot find a Scripture for it, I believe God then places a sign out there that says, ‘NO FISHING ALLOWED.’”

The solemn faces stared back at me, not quite daring to believe. There were never questions after a talk in Germany in 1947.  People stood up in silence, in silence collected their wraps, in silence left the room.

And that’s when I saw him, working his way forward against the others.  One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat; the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones.  It came back with a rush:  the huge room with its harsh overhead lights; the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor; the shame of walking naked past this man.  I could see my sister’s frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment skin, Betsie, how thin you were!

The place was Ravensbruck, and the man who was making his way forward had been a guard – one of the most cruel guards.

Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out:  “A fine message, Fraulein!  How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!”

And I, who had spoken so glibly of forgiveness, fumbled in my pocketbook rather than take that hand.  He would not remember me, of course – how could he remember one prisoner among those thousands of women?But I remembered him and the leather crop swinging from his belt.  I was face-to-face with one of my captors, and my blood seemed to freeze.

“You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk,” he was saying.  “I was a guard there.”  No, he did not remember me.

“But since that time,” he went on, “I have become a Christian.  I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well, Fraulein.”  Again, the hand came out, “Will you forgive me?”

And I stood there –I whose sins had again and again to be forgiven – and could not forgive.  Betsie had died in that place – could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?It could not have been many seconds that he stood there – hand held out – but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it – I knew that.  The message that God forgives has a prior condition:  that we forgive those who have injured us.  “If you do not forgive men their trespasses,” Jesus says, “neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

I knew it not only as a commandment of God but as a daily experience.  Since the end of the war I had a home in Holland for victims of Nazi brutality.  Those who were able to forgive their former enemies were able also to return to the outside world and rebuild their lives, no matter what the physical scars.  Those who nursed their bitterness remained invalids.  It was as simple and as horrible as that.

And still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart.  But forgiveness is not an emotion – I knew that too.  Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.  “Jesus, help me!”  I prayed silently.  “I can lift my hand. I can do that much.  You supply the feeling.”

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me.  And as I did, an incredible thing took place.  The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands.And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.  “I forgive you, brother! I cried.  “With all my heart.” For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner.  I had never known God’s love so intensely as I did then.  But even so, I realized it was not my love.  I had tried, and did not have the power.  It was the power of the Holy Spirit as recorded in Romans 5:5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Note:  Scriptures [below] dealing with forgiveness:

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [atoning sacrifice] for our sins.” —  1 John 4:10“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”  —  Ephesians 1:7

Old Testament:

Psalm 51:1-17 — Our sinfulness [deserving of divine punishment] before a holy and just God, and His ready and available forgiveness – Note: Verse, 7

Psalm 130:1-5 — There is forgiveness with Creator God

New Testament:

Luke 15:10-32 — Christ parable of the Lost Son and the Loving Father — A story of forgiveness

John 8:1-11 — Christ forgives the woman caught in audultery and about to be stoned

Ephesians 1:7 — Forgiveness in the blood of Christ

Matthew 18:21-35 — Peter’s question about forgiveness & Christ’s Parable of the “Unmerciful Servant” and His teaching of the utter necessity of forgiveness.  Note: Verses, 34-35 — Also, note:  Forgiveness works to the favor and benefit of the one doing the forgiving.

Luke 11:1-13 — Christ teaches His disciples the “Lord’s Prayer.”  Please note, Verse, 11:4a

Matthew 6:1-15 — Christ’s teaching on the humble giving of charity; prayer and also the teaching of forgiveness. Note: Verses, 14-15

 

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [atoning sacrifice] for our sins.” —  1 John 4:10

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”  —  Ephesians 1:7

Christian Quotes

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Inspirational Bible Verses: Christian Quotes

by Josh Wiley

The Bible is a great place to look for inspiration. If you are reading this today, I assume you are in need of inspiration or are looking for some inspiring scriptures to send to someone in need. I pray that you find what you are looking for. If you need even more  Bible verses you might be interested in checking out this these  Bible verses by topic. You will find many topics of the Bible listed here with several verses and quotes about each topic.

Inspiration and Strength

Isaiah 41:10  fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Psalm 18:32-34  the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer  and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.