Tag Archives: Christian growth

Spirit and Life

“The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life (John 6:63*).”

Thank You, Lord, that Your Spirit gives us life. You are the Vine. We are the branches. We draw our nourishment from You. (John 15:4-5) Depending on my own thinking and doing what looks good to me has never benefited anyone. I see that more as I trust You more.

Jesus, You said Your words are spirit and life. I want to fill up on Your words. But I see that if I want to partake of the life they give, I must also put those words into practice, doing what You say and persevering in that. [“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”–Matthew 7:24-27*  (Emphasis mine.)]

So if I find out what You said, write it down, and even memorize it, I can still miss out on the life You want me to have. To enjoy Your abundant life, I need to do what You say—obey You. I need the power of the Holy Spirit working in me to do that. And that is just what You promised!

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13*).

Oh thank You, Lord, that Your Holy Spirit helps me today to feed on Your Word and do what it says. Amen.

(*Scripture quotes are New Living Translation.)

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A Spirit of Power

In the New King James Version, 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” It is almost the same in the New Living Translation: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

Yes! God has given me His Holy Spirit. He, being the third Person of the Holy Trinity, certainly is full of power and love, and He works in me to get my wild thoughts under control and to take my upside down thinking patterns and set them right.

Because this Spirit of power, love, and a sound mind (or self-discipline) lives in me, I can:
 Do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
 Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
 Keep my eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
 Keep my mind stayed on God, trusting in Him. (Isaiah 26:3)
 Go into each day with courage and confidence. (Joshua 1:9)
 Bring glory and honor to God every day. (Isaiah 61:3)
 Consider the interests of others as more important than my own.(Philippians 2:4)
 Develop the humility of Christ in thoughts and attitudes.(Philippians 2:5)

Ephesians 5:18, Amplified Bible: “…Ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.”

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Search for Treasure

God is the giver of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. They come from Him (Proverbs 2:6). I need to tune my ears to wisdom and concentrate on understanding, cry out in prayer for insight and ask for understanding. I’ll seek and search for them as the treasures that they are (Proverbs 2:2-4). That’s how I’ll prepare my heart to receive God’s Word, His communication to me. I’ll understand what it means to fear the Lord and will gain knowledge of God (Proverbs 2:5).

Then the wicked one won’t have a chance to snatch away what is sown in my heart. Nor will my heart become stony, preventing my roots from growing deep in love and truth. Likewise weeds of worldly cares and riches won’t have opportunity to crowd out knowledge of God and His ways, which would make me unfruitful in His kingdom. (Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23)

Dear Father, giver of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, grant me these things that I may learn to fear You and be fruitful in Your kingdom. Amen.

(Image from FreeImages.com/kristian stokholm

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Purpose

An article in my daily devotional booklet made me think about the purposes God has for my life. I used to spend most of my time (even as a Christ-follower) trying to run from difficulties, get people-approval, and make life comfortable and happy for me. But now I recognize that as the world’s way of life, not God’s way. His way is to love Him with all I am, keep His kingdom first, and love others—especially those who belong to His family. I think about the following verses (quoted from the New Living Translation):

Galatians 2:20: “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
From 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “…You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price….”

Since God bought me with such a high price, and now I belong to Him, I need to spend the remaining moments (or if God permits, years) of my life loving and serving God and bringing glory to Him.

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Yes, I Can!

Yes, I can obey God’s Word! I’m through telling myself the “I can’t” lie. Sometimes, when I would read a Scripture portion or verse, I would say internally, “God says to do  _________, but I really can’t. So I’ll just skip that part and look for something I can do. For example, I would read Philippians 4:8 (“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.”). Then I’d think, Well, yes, but you know I’ve tried to think on these good things, and I really can’t. Other thoughts always take over. Then my mind runs wild, and I fall back into a negative outlook.

    I repent. No more “I can’t.” No more excuses. I will choose to listen to the truth that by the power of the Holy Spirit I can obey God. I will choose life, not death. (Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.”)
(Scripture quotes are New King James.)

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Hope Amid Anxiety

In addition to this blog, I have started a second blog called “Journey toward Wholeness” in which I share about my experience in dealing with a 4-month bout with anxiety problems. This is a re-blog of my first post there:

From “Journey Toward Wholeness,” https://journey1617.wordpress.com/

“In this blog, I ‘m sharing mostly about the battle I faced when medication problems threw me into a bout with anxiety late last year.  Because many people struggle with depression/anxiety, I’m hoping these accounts of my feelings, thoughts, and the help God has given me may benefit someone. [I’ll continue the “Tricia’s Journal Jots Blog” with general posts.]

I’ve had difficulty with depression and anxiety for much of my life. (They often go together.) For me, medicine, counseling, and other therapies have helped. God is to be praised for all the help I received because He is behind it all. He is the source of every good thing. I have tried at times to function without the medicine, hoping that extra Bible reading or more prayer would take care of my problems. But I couldn’t do it. Speaking from experience, I can say that drawing near to God is a wonderful thing, but getting chemical imbalances corrected with medicine can also make a big difference.

I remarked once that God could just heal me, and I wouldn’t need medicine. My pastor reminded me that God could heal my eyes too, and I wouldn’t need glasses, but that wasn’t God’s priority work in my life right now. So I decided to thank God that medicines have been developed to help with the problems I have. I’m also very thankful for the many people who prayed for me and loved me through this most recent struggle.

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Gather Scattered Thoughts

How many times my thoughts stray from focus during the day! I find myself going over and over conversations or actions, thinking about what I should or shouldn’t have said or done. Or sometimes I’m planning what I’ll do if such and such happens or if so and so does this or that.

But I have hope. Since I’m in Christ, old things have passed away (died), and new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17). I have received the Holy Spirit who gives me power to put off the old and put on the new. When I catch myself thinking the old way, I can say to myself,

“No, self. Focus on the task at hand. If it doesn’t take much thought (comb hair, vacuum), think about the Scripture you meditated on this morning or heaven or Jesus or God’s attributes or other wonderful things.”

Then as I begin to focus on the good things and let go of the scattered thoughts, I will be obeying  God’s Word by renewing my mind. (See Romans 12:2 and James 1:22.)

 

Photo Credit:

(Photo by Paula Satijn, “Mirror.” Found in Flickr Creative Commons, https://www.flickr.com/photos/paulasatijn/79850464800/)

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