1 Peter 1:1-13 My mother died last year, and I received a small inheritance of $1,000. This inheritance has already been spent. Imagine having an inheritance that never disappears. I had a friend who wanted to leave her precious antiques to her daughter. Some of these antiques dated back to before the Revolution. They were priceless. Her daughter, however, said she did not want these pieces of furniture. I have heard stories where people received the contents of their mother or father's home, and in the process of cleaning the homes to sell them, they found thousands of dollars tucked in mattresses and cracks in walls. I have seen items given to sons and daughters by their beloved departed that have been allowed to mildew, dry rot and become worthless. If these people had taken care of those things they inherited, they probably could have sold them for a good price. read more
All Stories in Spiritual Growth
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James 5:1-20 Much research is being done to find cures for diseases like AIDS and cancer. These are diseases that so far have no cure-all. These are also diseases that are affected by the strength of our immune system. This passage in James gives a cure-all for ill health, but few avail themselves of this cure. James lists four things in this passage that will help bring healing to our bodies:
1. Call for the elders.
2. Let them anoint you with oil and pray with faith for you.
3. Confess your faults one to another so you may be healed.
4. Pray for one another that you may be healed. read more
Psalm 118:19-29 No matter what each day holds for us, we can rejoice in it. But you may say, "I don't feel like rejoicing." Often when a new day dawns, our bodies don't want to get up and greet the day with cheerfulness because we just simply may not feel good. Our souls, however, can always rejoice in the Lord. When we greet the day with gratefulness instead of grumbling, we will set the sails of the ship of our lives to receive the wind of the Holy Spirit. read more
James 2:18-3:18 There are two kinds of wisdom we can experience here on earth. We can experience the wisdom of this world or heavenly wisdom. Earlier in this letter James tells us that if any man lack wisdom, he should ask God, and God will grant him wisdom. The kind of wisdom God gives is described as follows: "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy" (James 3:17). read more
James 1:19-2:17 This passage in James talks about the speed we need to set to cruise in the Spirit. We have a cruise setting on our car. When we set it at the right speed, we are able to take our foot off the gas peddle and the car will continue at the right speed. James tells us exactly what speed we should set our hearing, speaking and anger to allow the Spirit to go forward at a great cruise level as we travel the road of life. He says, "So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God" (James 1:19-20). read more
James 1:1-18 I saw a bumper sticker that said "Good God; Bad Devil." This is a statement most Christians should understand, but often we give God credit for doing bad things in our lives. We have to recognize that God is not evil, neither can He tempt us with evil. Whatever God does or allows in our lives will always be good. The author of sickness, confusion, disease, misery and strife is the devil. James makes it very clear in his letter that God cannot tempt us with evil. Only the devil tempts us with evil. James says, "Do not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (vv. 16-17, KJV). read more
Hebrews 11:32-12:13 These heroes of the faith pressed forward to the goal, and they received the gold. As we see by the lives mentioned in this passage of Hebrews 11, many were martyred and tortured for their faith. How did they get through these great trials of faith, which are even more precious to the Lord than gold? The answer is simple: They kept their focus on the Provider, not the problem. We read in Hebrews 12:2, "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." read more
Hebrews 11:17-31 As we continue our travels through the Book of Hebrews, underline or circle the phrases looking at or looking towards. Faith always looks at the eternal rather than the temporal. We can see the temporal, but we cannot usually see the eternal. In this chapter we see more stories from the Hall of Faith, and each story has one thing in common. These heroes of our faith were able to see the unseen by faith. We see the faith of Moses in the following passages: "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible" (vv. 24-27, KJV). read more
Hebrews 11:1-16 We recently purchased some beautiful oil paintings painted by some Israeli art students. These students were temporarily in the United States selling their paintings to earn money for their art school in Jerusalem. They went door to door and also had a few shows in the U.S. The paintings were not framed, but we had the promise of these students that a fellow student would call us who could give us a good price on framing the pictures for us. We waited and waited for this call. Meanwhile our beautiful pictures were gathering dust while they were stored under our bed. No one knew we had such beautiful paintings because they were not framed yet and we could not display them on our walls. read more