Category: Growth and Faith

The Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual Disciplines are the things we do in order to put ourselves in a position to grow.
They are not rituals.
They are not mantra
They are not secrets

If a person desires to grow in His spiritual life, he will seek ways to provide fertile ground for true growth.
1. Daily Prayer
2. Daily Bible reading/study
3. An openness to the Holy Spirit

Many people develop habits in relation to the things they do in seeking spiritual growth. When something merely becomes a habit, it loses it’s freshness and becomes just a routine. We easily grow tired of routines. They become boring and can be a source of dread.

The key to keeping this from happening is to eliminate the legalism involved.  No one is holding you to a schedule. It is a good thing you have adopted in an effort to be regular and devoted to what you think you need to do in order to grow spiritually. It’s not bad to do that but it does tend to lesson their importance.

Vary your routine. Vary your time spent. Vary the order in which you do them. And, do not feel guilty if one day you are unable to have your “quiet time” as you usually do. Sometimes life gets in the way. If you have a set time for your quiet time and you oversleep, it may just be that you needed the extra sleep. Or, another family member may need your attention at the time you are involved in prayer.

All of this is not to say your quiet time is not important or can be minimized. It is to say, do not be a slave to what you think you should be doing as a committed disciple of Christ.

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A Ministry of John W. Griffin

Our growth toward the perfection of Jesus Christ

Our Sanctification

My Logo

The logo which I use to illustrate our sanctification shows that once we were saved, our life began a new process in which the Holy Spirit begins to grow us in our new life in Christ.

The blue arrow angled upward illustrates that we are moving ever closer to the image of Jesus Christ. We will never reach that goal but you are somewhere on this line in your spiritual growth.

Some people stop this process by returning to old habits and attitudes that are not spiritually oriented. These people are what the Apostle Paul called Carnal Christians. They are still in their baby (selfish) stage and some stay at that stage for the rest of their lives.

Does the person who falls from that sanctification lose their salvation? Most Baptists believe that once a person is really saved, he is always saved. There are many denominations that believe a person can lose their salvation by willfully turning away and/or denying Christ.

The important thing is not once saved, always saved but once saved!

 

Bad Days

In 2 Corinthians 1:8, Paul writes, “We were completely overwhelmed, the burden was more than we could bear, I feared I would never live through it”

Do you ever have days like that? I do – not often, but every once in a while I have a day when nothing goes right. I have trouble getting along with others, my finances get low, my car breaks down, I feel bad and I just want to stay in bed and sleep all day. Everybody has them.

We pray for our loving Father to make it better, but even our prayers seem to get caught somewhere near the ceiling. These are the days when we really doubt that God cares and neither does anybody else.

In a devotional called “Facts of the Matter” by Dwight Hill, he says that the thing that compounds these troubles are those he calls, “Teflon Christians” who seem impervious to these kind of problems. They seem to be able to smile and excuse their troubles easily. Don’t you just hate that?

The real fact of the matter is, there is no one totally impervious to this kind of trouble. In fact most people go through seasons of depressing times. Granted, a lot of what we feel comes about by chemistry. Whatever those “feel good” hormones are, there are just times when they hide somewhere in the folds of our gray matter and fail us when we need them most.

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Prayer Part 4 – The Prayer of Thanksgiving

I Thess 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Believe or not, that could also be thanking God for the unwelcomed circumstances that come to us. There are times when we may not feel thankful. There may be a circumstance in your life that you feel God unjustly allows in your life. How can we be thankful in those times?

There is a word in the following passage that is our clue.
Habakkuk 3:17-19 (KJV)

17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet, I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.
Did you spot the word? It is the single, simple word YET in verse 18 that sets apart the thankful heart and honors God the most.

It is easy to be thankful in the good times. But it is faith that enables us to thank God also in the tough times.

Notice I am not thankful FOR the tough times of life. The word in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 does not say “FOR everything give thanks”. It says “IN everything give thanks”. In fact it is easy to be resentful about some of them. They are the times we are not happy.

So, what makes it possible to be thankful in the tough times?

As we are praying and recounting all of our blessings, we can also acknowledge that God is worthy of our praise even in the bad times.

In a post elsewhere in this website called “Life under the Circumstances”, is the idea that God engineers bad times according to His overall plan for our life. If we are willing to accept that God may be using us to accomplish something special, it can change our whole attitude about them. We may never understand what that something special may be but it is by faith that I can pray, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord!”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Can you believe that promise?

Prayer Part 3 – Supplication, Petition & Intercession

Man in prayerSeeking His Will

Keep me from deceitful ways; be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws.
I hold fast to your statutes,
O LORD; do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
Ps 119:29-32

Supplication is for those things of which I am aware and conscious of the need in my own life. Seldom is it material although they sometimes are. Usually however, they are more of “attitude” than “material”. When I am aware that my love and seeking Him are lacking, I ask for more desire for Him.

Sometimes I develop a negative attitude toward another person that I know is not a Godly attitude. My deliberate prayer for that person begins to soften and become more Christ-like.

Sometimes I feel I am becoming resentful for an event or circumstance that I am in. My prayer then should be to seek what God is trying to teach me through that.

Intercession
My supplication and petition also reaches into my intercession for others. When the Holy Spirit brings to my mind a need or needs in others, it is a signal for me to include them in my prayers. I have friends and even acquaintances of which I am aware that are dealing with great burdens.
Then there are those whom the Spirit brings to my mind that have problems of which I am not even aware. Yet, the Holy Spirit brings them to mind even during my prayer time. I know that is His signal that I am to intercede even if I don’t know the nature of their need.
It is a great comfort for me to be the intercedent for people I hardly know, yet having been brought to my mind by the Holy Spirit I am aware that they have a need and I don’t even need to know what it is. If God grants, I may learn later what that need was but He doesn’t really owe me that.

 

 

Prayer Part 1

Prayer Part 1 – Empty yourself of yourself

Do you know what it means to empty yourself? It means whatever you think of yourself, deny it. If you think of yourself as a good person, deny it. If you think of yourself as a loving person, deny it. If you think of yourself as spiritual, deny it.

The fact is, that as a Christian, you are no longer anything positive of yourself. That is the only way to give yourself over to the completeness of the Holy Spirit in you. If any man be in Christ, he is a new person, old things are passed away, all things have become new. (2 Cor. 5:17)

We cannot please God in the flesh

Romans 8:8-9 (KJV)
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

The first prayer of my daily prayer life should be to deny any good thing in me as anything other than what the Holy Spirit is in me. Why? Because whatever good feelings about who or what I am is still a source of pride. Pride is sin.

Pray for effectiveness and fervency in your prayer. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16 The prayer that pleases God is the prayer that is fervent. What is a fervent prayer? It is a prayer from the heart, not from memory, not from feelings, not from what I’ve written down but, because I want God to hear and answer.

Too many times I pray because I like to hear myself be humble before God. That also is a point of pride.

The prayer that God hears and answers is that which is prompted by the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 (NIV)  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express  I don’t completely understand that but I believe it because God’s word says it.

Next: Confession in Prayer