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3 Practical Ways to Continue Growing Spiritually

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But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)

Hello! How are you friends? What fall events have you had a chance to enjoy this month? Football games, harvest festivals, pumpkin patch, homecomings, retreats, craft shows…

I had the sheer pleasure to see Priscilla Shirer this weekend in Amarillo thanks to the encouragement of a sweet friend. As you know, I am still picking up some major pieces of life that recently shattered. My first instinct was to decline because the earthly “to do” list is quite lengthy with a double graveside service to plan, a stack of bills to sort through for my dad and sister, an estate sale to advertise, vehicles and properties to maintain and clean, and oh yeah-the legal stuff to handle. You might say I had a defensive attitude because I was letting worldly distractions hinder my submission to attend. But God said, “GO-sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what I need you to hear through the voice of Priscilla.”

One of the beautiful messages Priscilla so eloquently delivered was that of spiritual maturity. (My passion and desire for all to obtain, including myself.) She brought several things to mind and spurred me on in several ways for my personal growth and for the Refining Ministry in the days ahead.

So, today I would like to give you 3 practical ways to continually mature in your spiritual walk. They will sound so simple but putting it into action routinely can be challenging. (BTW-This is why Refining exists-to keep you and us on track.)

Are you ready?

  1. Read God’s Word. If you want a relationship that will flourish, you have to know Him. There is no better way to become familiar with His attributes than spending time in Scripture.
  2. Find a way to be encouraged by someone on a higher level of spiritual maturity. How you might ask? Get in a Bible study, find a mentor, commit to an accountability partner, read solid Christian author’s work, listen to sermons, follow artists that spur on your worship, etc. You can’t get to the next level without being exposed to what that looks like.
  3. Pray. Make time for it. Don’t really know how–just do it. God only cares about the posture you bring when praying, not some eloquent fluffy words.

Basic-Simple-Foundation! That’s it. Oh yeah, I hear you–but there is so much more!! Yes, you are right but if you overload yourself with “all the good things” which can benefit, you may paralyze yourself from doing the solid foundational things which are detrimental to your continual growth.

Set yourself up for success. Get good at the foundational so they become part of your DNA and you will not depart from them. Then remember, everything else is icing, sprinkles, yummy sauce, cherries, etc.

The Refining Ministry believes in these foundational skills so much that it is why we provide an outlet for you to grow through our weekly online studies. Our format is simple: one chapter once a week with accountability sheets to help you dissect and unpack Scripture based on the personal message God has directly for you. I would encourage you to join us on a Monday night for one hour beginning at 6:00 pm CST. For more details and/or the link, email us at refiningjourney@gmail.com.

Last but not least!!! Here is a TOPPING for you. There is a FREE Bible Journaling conference this week which actually begins in a couple of days. The conference has a multitude of speakers and lots of fun giveaways. Plus, it is from the comfort of your home or wherever you may be. You can pick and choose what to attend. I have enjoyed it over the years and I think you will be blessed as well this year.

You can register here:  free Bible Journaling conference 

Prayer Life, Part 2

Hear this, you elders; listen, all who live in the land. Has anything like this ever happened in your days or in the days of your ancestors? Joel 1:2 (NIV)

Happy Sunday friends! How’s your year been so far? Do you set goals and resolutions every January? Are you planning to make some changes in 2021?

This weekend I began studying Joel. As the writer expands upon the locust plague, he speaks of a God of justice as well as a Lord of mercy. Joel clearly denotes the judgment of sin as dreadful and overpowering punishment much like the devastation of wild locust. Yet, the author tells of a mighty God who is willing to forgive and restore anyone who will turn from their disobedience and declare Him as their sovereign Lord.

How often do we catch this vision of God? A father who stands ready to receive us if we will call on Him. The highest of strength and power who is King over all that has, does, and will exist. A Lord who is abounding in grace. A God who is compassionate and relational. Creator of all, who extends salvation through His son in order to call us His sons and daughters.

Since our 2020 experience, how do we see God? If we believe in an omnipotent God, why do we tend to become complacent and take Him for granted? I have asked myself, “Why don’t I pray more than I do?” Have we become blind to the consequences of fleshy living? Are our senses so dull that we have become immune to God’s warnings and pleas? Have we allowed the offerings of this world to dry up our joy as Joel talks about in Joel 1:12?

Joel’s message for me began in Joel 1:2 with the words “Hear this” and “listen”. It captured my attention to exam my reverence to God as my sovereign Lord and to turn away from my self-centeredness and sin. I saw glimpse of my own lukewarm behavior periodically, the kind of thinking and acts far from what God not only requires, but what He truly deserves. And again, I ask “why”?

As my heart cries out to God to restore my emphasis on Him, I feel the Lord asking me, “Who do you say I am?” How well can I accurately describe Him? This indescribable love who has longed for me, shown mercy in so many ways, sanitized my mistakes, transformed my sins for His good, and showered me with blessings beyond my understanding. He has created turning points in my spiritual journey to increase my faith and knowledge of Him and yet again is tugging on my heartstrings to draw closer to Him through a sincere focus on my prayer life.

What about you? Who do you say God is? How is your prayer life?

Please leave your comments, suggestions, and thoughts below. We are all in this together. Lets reach out and help each other in our journey. I look forward to hearing your insight.

To you, Lord, I call, for fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness and flames have burned up all the trees of the field. Even the wild animals pant for you; the streams of water have dried up and fire has devoured the pastures in the wilderness. Joel 1:19-20 (NIV)

Prayer Life, Part 1

Come walk with us as we focus on prayer through infographics.

The Lord has been placing this topic on my heart for quite sometime. I invite you to engage in this adventure as we learn more about strengthening our prayer life together.

May each post allow you time to reflect upon your prayer life and draw you closer to the heart of God.

BOOK REVIEW: Talking With God

Webb, A. (2017). Talking with God. New York: Waterbrook.

Summary:

The author is the founder and pastor of Embrace church. The book focuses on prayer and its purpose. Weber emphasizes the importance of building a relationship with God and defines prayer as simply carrying on a basic conversation. Many life experiences are used to support his stance. The author delivers the information as a practical guide to assist the reader in becoming comfortable and familiar with talking with God. Readers are given precise examples of conversations that are brief and honest throughout each chapter. His approach to delivering the content is organized into primarily three main sections: defining God, the reasons for prayer, how to pray when we experience seven different areas. Weber uses several personal stories to convey his point in the majority of the chapters. Each chapter begins with a quote from various people such as C.S. Lewis and Charles Spurgeon. The field notes have bible references although scripture is not prevailing throughout the book. The dominant message is “Just talk with God”.   

My $.02:

I grabbed this book to supplement my current writings when I saw that Craig Groeschel recommended it. There are three and a half pages of recommendations found at the beginning of the book. Weber is a humble writer and very transparent. He has several personal stories that touched my heart. My main take-away was a statement he made about most followers. The point was we do a lot of talking ABOUT God but not enough talking TO God. All of the dialogue examples italicized in the text were appropriate to give readers a good sense of how to carry on a conversation with God. They exemplified asking questions, praising, requesting, surrendering, etc. when chatting with the Lord.  I really enjoyed his honesty displayed in the illustrations of prayer. For instance, when Weber discusses the topic of extending grace, he addresses the lingering hurt. “God, I give this person over to you again today. I’m still hurting. Help me to extend grace. Jesus, I thought I was past the anger. Past the bitterness. Past these feelings. I need your grace because I have none to give.” Wow! Have you ever needed to say those words to God? I sure have! I appreciate the closing of the book. “Jesus, I want to know you. Jesus, I want to be with you. Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I want to talk with you for the rest of my life.”

Don’t just take my word for it: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30896358-talking-with-god

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