How can we show our love and appreciation for God?
For starters, we must spend time with Him daily by immersing ourselves in His Word. Reading the Bible daily has many benefits; one of which is to understand God’s instructions for our lives. If we don’t read it regularly, how can we understand what God expects of us?
We should pray often, and the main focus should be on benefits for others. If we spend most of our time praying for what we “want,” how is that loving our God?
Serve others. We must put our love into action. If we were to see someone in desperate need, and all we said to them was that we hope they receive help and that will be thinking of them, that is not acceptable. Words are cheap. “Faith without works is dead.” ~ James 2:17
Share our testimony. Who needs to hear our story? Look for opportunities to share your faith with those who need it… today.
According to theologian Charles W. Stanley, to become spiritually mature we must first acknowledge any detrimental thoughts, and then we must surrender this sin to the Lord. We must embrace God’s word. This is the path that leads to spiritual maturity.
Here are some steps we can take to gain spiritual maturity.
Read the Bible daily. How can we know what God wants for us in our life if we don’t read His Word daily? The book is our instructions for life. The Holy Bible is for following God and for avoiding pitfalls.
Put His Word into action. It’s one thing to gain knowledge. It’s another to actually put that knowledge into action. “Faith with action is lost.” ~ James 2:17
Commune with other believers. When we are around other believers, irons ends up sharpening iron.
Watch what we consume. That includes content on television, smart phones, etc. Garbage in, garbage out. If you wouldn’t watch the content with your grandmother, then think twice (or three times) about consuming it.
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The Lord’s Prayer Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus’ model for prayer, comes from the Book of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 9-13. Charles Stanley broke down the pattern for prayer that Jesus set as an example for all of us. First, we call on the Lord’s name (an invocation) and acknowledge that He is all powerful. Let His will be done.
Secondly, we bring our petitions to the Lord. Give us this day everything we need (our daily bread). We ask for forgiveness. We ask for help in forgiving others, and we ask for protection against temptation. One day at a time.
The final section, according to Stanley, is a doxology. We acknowledge His power over all the earth and our personal lives. He is Lord and Master and no one else.
Author Marshall Goldsmith wrote an excellent book a few years ago named Triggers – Creating the Behavior That Lasts. The first part of the book was kind of a slow read, and honestly, I wasn’t sure I was getting much out of it. But that changed with the second half of the best-selling book.
Goldsmith dived into the power of ‘active’ questions. Instead of asking yourself passive questions about your day or your accomplishments, or lack thereof, he recommended the need for active questions as well as doing this with an accountability partner.
The author arrived at a list of 22 action questions that his accountability partner would ask him at the end of day. These included:
Did I do my best to set clear goals?
Did I do my best to make progress towards goal achievement?
Did I do my best to be happy?
Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
Did I do my best to learn something new?
Did I do my best to be grateful for what I have?
Did I do my best to avoid proving I’m right when it’s not worth it?
Did I do my best to say or do something nice for [insert name]?
Did I do my best to exercise?
So, start today. Come up with 10 items and evaluate your performance based on “Did I do my best?” It may be a sobering test but life changing.
“The Lord reached down from above and took me; he pulled me from the deep water.” ~ 2 Samuels 22:17
Sometimes we bring about our own troubles. Recently I made the ‘mistake’ of posting my opinion on social media. It was an opinion some people didn’t agree with, and some of them disagreed with me harshly. I took the brunt of their criticism.
This was painful as it came from some people in the same industry from which I work. Some of the criticism came from people that I didn’t expect. If I had kept my mouth shut from the beginning, none of this would have happened, however I felt I was speaking out against something that is wrong. Something that needs to be corrected. It didn’t matter to them. They didn’t see the issue the same way I saw it.
Jesus was attacked many times. He was called a fraud. A deceiver. A liar. A coward. He was called every name in the book. He was tempted by others to save himself, or to lash back at his accusers. He did neither. Jesus kept this eyes focused on the Father. He persevered and he accomplished his mission, and the world was changed forever.
“The Lord will fight for you. You only need to be still” Exodus 14:14
When we are struggling with something in life, sometimes the best action is to do nothing. That’s right, take no physical action. Instead, turn the problem over to God. Surrender that problem to Him and say, “I can’t do this Lord. I’ve tried everything. I put it in your hands.”
“You will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory.” ~ 2 Chronicles 20:17
But for many problems, God instructs us to be still. He instructs us to have faith. Having faith oftentimes requires us to turn our struggles over to Him and “rest” assured in His strength that He will handle it.
Give it a try sometime soon, and see if His way is better than yours.
Author Vanessa Davis tells of the true story of losing her husband, Geoffrey, on their 15th wedding anniversary in the only commercial airline crash of 1997. Her life could have resulted in anger and defeat, but instead she explains how she overcame her tremendous grief to a life of triumph. This is her inspiring story.
What are we collecting? What are we working for? What are our top priorities? A good gauge is figuring out what we spend the majority of our free time on. That can be a tough pill to swallow, especially for those of us who are well intended but often don’t execute.
“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy, and where thieves don’t break in and steal.” ~ Matthew 6:19-20
We know that we don’t get into heaven via good works. But as Christians, it is our duty to honor God and honor our faith and act accordingly. Every day we should strive to make a difference. If we are just living for ourselves, what kind of Christian are we?
But Jesus told him “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ~ Matthew 4:4
Are you reading the Holy Bible every day? If not, make a point to start on one book of the Holy Bible and read through it in one week’s time. A book like Romans is a good starting point as there are many vital lessons for life presented there by Paul.
Another idea is with Proverbs. That book of the Old Testament has 31 chapters. There are, of course, 31 days in most months. One chapter a day for one month.
Are the words from the “mouth of God” worth 5 to 10 minutes of your time each day? Start today.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of God.” ~ Galatians 1:10
We all want to please God. As Christians we would certainly like to be considered servants of God. The hands and feet of Christ. But are we living that way? Are we more concerned about what others think or what God thinks?
I know that I’ve spent the majority of my life worrying way too much about what other people think of me and my actions. When our faith is strong and our vision is focused on the Eternal, we can more easily dismiss move past that flaw and live our lives without hindrances.
Whom do we want to please? The Maker of the universe or man?
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.” ~ Luke 21:34 [NIV version]
In this verse the Lord is warning us to be careful how we live our lives. If we aren’t mindful about this, we may get worn down by the anxieties of life. It’s happened to all of us at some point.
What is it that you are doing, or not doing, that is leading to anxiety? Are you spending too much time surfing the internet, scrolling through social media sites, or conversing/arguing with strangers online?
Maybe it is time to replace that activity with more time spent with God’s word.
I saw a great meme on Facebook. Don’t say God is silent when your bible is closed. Open the bible today, every day, and hear what God has to say in your life.
Sharpen your faith. Be careful how you spend the hours of your day.