This is a follow up to my second assignment in the WordPress Blogging 101 class. We were to create a blog to a specific audience. My aim was to those who need hope. That is what I heard growing up….well, actually, mom always said “you have to have faith.” I think faith and hope mean the same….or do they? Well, according to one great blog, it says they are sort of the same, one means now: faith is in the present. Hope is the future, we hope for better things. But what I learned in this blog, is that we need both, and the one thing we must have, is LOVE! But I digress….
We do our best to attend church every Sunday (we travel full-time so sometimes we miss), we do a short Bible Study nearly every morning and I try to read a few chapters of my Bible every morning…first thing! We also pray before we attend church that our worship will be pleasing to God, but also, for Him to give us a Word (or sermon) we really need. Usually, we are blown away by how pertinent the service is. And today is no exception.
The title of the sermon was “Growing up in Christ.” Since I’ve been a Christian for decades, I wasn’t sure I would learn much….but indeed, I learned A LOT and all that I needed to know why I still have so many struggles in life. If you read my last blog, you’d think I had it all together and was living happily ever after. Well, let’s just say I have peace and joy in my heart all the time, but sometimes it isn’t apparent. And now I know why….I’m still an immature Christian. So without preaching, here is what I needed to know today and these are snippets from the sermon:
From Hebrews 6:1 and this is the context of what I needed today. I’m using a version I normally don’t use, but I did like it best in The Living Bible: “Let us stop going over the same old ground again and again, always teaching those first lessons about Christ. Let us go on instead to other things and become mature in our understanding, as strong Christians ought to be. Surely we don’t need to speak further about the foolishness of trying to be saved by being good, or about the necessity of faith in God…”
Growing old just happens, but “growing up” or becoming mature is an option! Our maturity is based upon our attitudes, and as John Maxwell famously quoted, “Attitude is based up altitude.” Ouch, I thought I had a good attitude…but I have been lacking….
One of my favorite little books of the Bible is the Book of James. I was blessed to teach the teens in our church years ago from this book. And I’ve done two Bible studies as well as I read it at least once every year (and have now for 11 years). So today, it was pointed out it is a great book to learn what maturity really looks like. Ouch, again. So many verses are in my head…now I pray they will be in my heart and more importantly, in my actions.
So here are five things quickly, and as the sermon went, fill in the blank:
Maturity is _______
1) Positive. From James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds….” I KNOW this! Right? I think I am positive all the time…well, maybe most of the time….except maybe not when someone crashes into our truck that pulled our home around and it is totaled….
2) Caring for others. From James 2:8 “If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing right….'” Oh, I’ve got this one! Yep, I love everyone, except that guy who crashed into our truck….Oops.
3) Controlling ones tongue. Ok, I have to quote more than the one scripture because there are some great word pictures here…and it is impossible to control our tongues. So there, I’m OK because I sure was mad when our truck was wrecked, and after all, I at least didn’t use curse words. I have overcome that much with my tongue. And actually, he was an old man, so I wasn’t really mean to him, I just told him he ruined our
lives home….And I did get really upset dealing with the insurance company after the old man admitted it was his fault and the police put it in their report….but the insurance company didn’t seem to care it wasn’t just a truck, it moved our home and we needed to move it in two days….sorry, I’m digressing again….From James 3:3-9.
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
4) Living as a peacemaker not a trouble maker. From James 4:4 “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” Remember, I have peace and joy in my heart. I know I have this one…I even took a Bible study course on being a Peacemaker. That’s me all right…well, except when I had some trouble with the insurance company that day….Did I mention it was just this past May? Yes, May 2, 2015….
5) Patient. From James 5:7 “Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.” AND James 5:11 “As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered (or been patient). You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” Oh, no!!! I wanted and needed an answer on May 2, 2015 (it was a Saturday) that the insurance company would contract for a tow company to tow our home, that we had JUST sold to it’s new owner on May 4, 2015 in Maryland. We were in Virginia and since our residence is Florida, that really makes insurance companies crazy. I don’t even want to relive our day on Monday when it took forever to find the right person up the management chain to get the authority to order the tow truck.
So my husband and I tried so hard to live up to our standards as Christians and on this day (and a few more later on in the month) we failed miserably. But here is the HOPE! The lesson continued, what does it take to become mature? Given in reverse order, and I’ll let you look up the scripture verses if you want to learn more:
4) It’s not automatic! That’s for sure…. (Hebrews 5:12-13)
3) It’s a life long process! Oh, good, I still have time. (Proverbs 8:5 and 2 Peter 3:18)
2) It takes discipline! Well, I have been known to be a disciplined person….so more hope! (1 Timothy 4:7b)
1) Finally, maturity requires a commitment! (Galatians 5:24)
So how the sermon ended was based upon a military term, “About face” or repent and start over!
And now for my journey to bridle my tongue. So far, in two days I’ve succeeded!