All in Spiritual Growth

Watchman

Words are powerful. Words can ignite or extinguish relationships. Words generate global outcomes of war and peace. Words bring tears of emotion. But words can also make us laugh until our sides ache. Teachers’ words can establish everlasting motivation to live in the souls of students. Mighty prayers uttered in every language bring revival. Beautiful lyrics sung bring healing and joy. The precious gift of salvation resonates through sweet and simple word stories of Jesus Christ’s birth, death and resurrection. (John 3:16; John 14:6, Romans 10:9)

Stand Firm

Last year was one of the most difficult years of my life while enduring ongoing and worsening health issues surrounding my beloved husband and brother. Several months before the medical journeys began, God led me to a Bible study on spiritual warfare. I tried to wiggle my way out of it, but my Savior knew I was on the threshold of experiencing new types of brokenness and vulnerability—new enemy territory.

The Shepherds: Go and See

God interrupted the commonplace. The glory of God shattered darkness. A message from an angel broke the silence. The Savior, Christ the Lord, had been born! As shepherds in the field beheld the angel, their initial response was fear. But with the announcement of the birth of the awaited One, fear turned to determination. The shepherds said, Let’s go…and see...(Luke 2:15). They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the heralded baby lying in a manger.

A Christmas Puzzle: Day 2

The first step of puzzle assembly is finding and putting down the four corner pieces, 90 degree angles out. In our Christmas puzzle, the corner pieces represent God’s nature because the real Christmas story doesn’t begin with the angel’s appearance to Mary, but in the eternal plan of God.

Leaving your Legacy . . . Be Purposeful

Last page, last letter—the time has come. Paul gives his protégé, Timothy, a stirring charge. At the beginning of this letter he told him that he, Paul, was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher of the gospel (2 Timothy 1:11). Now he places his ministry of the gospel in Timothy’s hands. In effect, he endows his son in the faith with his legacy. He solemnly offers to Timothy, before God, what is tantamount to a binding oath. The Message translation is pretty onerous: I can’t impress this on you too strongly. God is looking over your shoulder.

Who Me?

I cannot even begin to guess how many times I have read this scripture. “But what about you?” he asked, “Who do you say I am?” This time, however, when I read it something hit me like a ton of bricks. Something that made it much more real.

What is Truth?

I have a pair of my mother’s scissor. Years ago she wrote on them in permanent pen “new.” What was true the day she wrote that word is no longer true. The scissors are old and dull. Some things that are true today may not be true tomorrow. But where can you and I find truth that will stand the test of time? What truth can you build your life upon that will never crumble beneath you?

Listening to the Greatest Voice

My friend has an interesting testimony of how she became a believer in Jesus. No one in her family was a Christian. A man began coming to their home once a week and reading his Bible to the family. He did nothing more than read, but the power of God’s Word transformed every person in that family. One by one they came to believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Listening 101

I heard the child ask his mother the same question five times, but the mother, who was looking at her cell phone, never answered. She wasn’t listening. I can’t point a finger. When my girls were young, I let many distractions keep me from listening to them. I can still be easily distracted when listening.

Are You Listening?

Do you know someone who doesn’t know how to listen? I became acquainted with a kind man who worked at a grocery store I frequented. Every time he saw me, he would stop what he was doing and head my way. For the next ten minutes (at least) he would tell me all about what he had been doing, about his family, or about anything that came to mind. He loved to talk, but he didn’t know how to listen. I once told my husband, “I know a lot about that man, but he knows nothing about me.”

Falling

I live in the Piney Woods of East Texas. Yep, you guessed it, surrounded by pine trees. The school district I attended from Kindergarten through graduation is even named Pine Tree Independent School District. I have to admit, I love the pine trees. I love walking in the woods, and I love the smell of these evergreens.

Drifting

I watched my husband and our daughter paddle out into the surf in a kayak. They moved through the water to look at the array of fish under them. At times they stopped paddling, but they did not stop moving. Sometimes they drifted further away from where they wanted to go. It required intentional effort to move in the right direction. To go where they wanted to go, they had to pursue it. Just drifting was not going to be enough.