Come Follow Me: Stages of Maturity

This post is one of the entries from Jody’s upcoming book, “Come Follow Me,” a year-long devotional based on her popular video podcast of the same name, to be released in the fall of 2016 by Two Worlds Press. 

“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace,who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” ~ I Peter 5:10

Advancing through different stages of maturity is an ongoing theme in the scriptures.  The aged Apostle John, toward the end of his life and ministry, spoke to three distinct categories of believers: little children, young men, and fathers.(I John 2:12-14)  Little children need to know, and grow in the love of the Father.  Their focus needs to rest on all that was accomplished for them at salvation.  Young men, in need of endurance, must focus on overcoming the evil one; growing in all aspects unto Him, by the power of the Word of God abiding in them.  For fathers—it’s about knowing and being known by God.  Intimacy is the result of living  and walking from the life of the Indwelling Spirit.

God’s intention is to grow us through each of these stages as ‘sons’.  When He invites us into relationship, He desires to train us as ‘sons’.  He is also a God of the process, and takes up residence within—bearing His fruit through us.

Question: Do you see evidence of these three stages of believers around you?  Why is having all three around a sign of a spiritually healthy church?

Come Follow Me:  Be fruitful and Multiply

This post is one of the entries from Jody’s upcoming book, “Come Follow Me,” a year-long devotional based on her popular video podcast of the same name, to be released in the fall of 2016 by Two Worlds Press. 

“And the one on whom seed was shown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit, and brings forth, some a hundred-fold, some sixty, and some thirty.” ~ Matthew 13:23

The DNA of creation is to be fruitful and multiply.  Built into the design of every plant is the ability to both flower and bear fruit. Carried within each seed is the complete replication of itself. Creator God built into the design of all life the ability to reproduce in its own likeness.

“And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  And God blessed them; and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…” (Genesis 1:27-28)

This command was given two times in the Old Testament.  First, in the creation story, when God entrusted the stewardship of His creation to Adam and Eve.  Then,  God gave it a second time, following the flood, when “God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:1)

‘Be fruitful and multiply’ shows up in the New Testament as well.  In the Parable of the Talents and the Parable of the Minas ( Matthew 25:14-30,Luke 19:11-27), the Lord indicates that faithfulness in stewardship reaps an obedient harvest. In the Parable of the Soils, we are shown the obstacles to fruitfulness and the way to multiplication.  Then, the final words in the Gospel of Matthew: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Question: What talents has the Lord entrusted to you to ‘do business’ with until His return?

The Decline of the Eden State

Out of EdenWhat is the “Eden State”? It is a nation that believes the self-evident rights of its citizens are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These rights — privileges — were precisely the ones bestowed on the first humans. And we all know how that turned out. Perhaps we are on the precipice of a similar catastrophe.

No Surprise

The trajectory of American culture should come as no surprise. Futurists like Francis Schaeffer predicted with uncanny accuracy Continue reading The Decline of the Eden State

Respect for God

A. W. Tozer writeA_W_Tozers,

The God of the modern evangelical rarely astonishes anybody. He manages to stay pretty much within the constitution. Never breaks our bylaws. He’s a very well-behaved God and very denominational and very much one of us, and we ask Him to help us when we’re in trouble and look to Him to watch over us when we’re asleep. The God of the modern evangelical isn’t a God I could have much respect for. But when the Holy Ghost shows us God as He is, we admire Him to the point of wonder and delight.

Cycles Without End

“For as long as I can remember, there has been suffering on this earth. And for as long as I can remember, that suffering has been judged and opposed by force, which has only brought more suffering. Using the sword must have its place, but now we see that to live by it is to die by it, just as to live by wealth is to pay the price of that wealth. Both are cycles without end.”

I am reading a historical novel called AD 33, by Ted Dekker. It is the second of two novels (the first is AD 30) that follows the journey of a Bedouin woman named Mavia. She has a warrior companion, Saba, who speaks the words above. I am finding a fair amount of inspiration from this fictionalized account of the gospel. Undoubtedly, I’ll have more to say in the days ahead, but this excerpt speaks to me. As a follower of The Way, I have grieved over the cycle of violence and avarice that is increasing the more years I live. God grant me the grace to reject mammon and vengeance as my Master did.

Come Follow Me: Temptation

This post is one of the entries from Jody’s upcoming book, “Come Follow Me,” a year-long devotional based on her popular video podcast of the same name, to be released in the fall of 2016 by Two Worlds Press. 

“For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” ~ Hebrews 2:18

Just as the pillar of fire led the children of Israel through their time of testing in the wilderness, the Holy Spirit, following Jesus’ baptism, led Him to the wilderness to be tested.  Israel continually failed, putting God to the test, rather than being tested themselves.  I Corinthians  10:1-13 urges us to learn from their mistakes.  Jesus faced the tempter and triumphed over all the works of the devil, that we might learn from His victories. Forty days of fasting preceded the temptation.  That might seem to be the worst part to us.  But we learn a great truth from the perspective of the Son.  When the devil challenged Him to make bread for Himself, Jesus responds by saying, “”It is written, man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”(Matthew 4:4). For forty days, Jesus had been living on every word that came forth from the mouth of His Father.  He had been feasting.  The lifestyle of Jesus was to only do what He saw the Father doing, and to only say what He heard the Father speak (John 5:19,12:49).  So, the moment the devil began to speak, Jesus knew it was not the voice of His Father.  The temptation was not about bread alone, but who will give us directions.

Question: What has the Lord used in your life to prepare you to face a trial?

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