• Topic > Spiritual Growth

    An Ordinary Man

    William Carey was a sickly boy, born to a humble family nearby Northampton, England. His future did not look too bright. But God had plans for him. Against all odds, he moved to India, where he brought incredible social reforms and translated the Bible in several Indian languages. He loved God and people, and accomplished many things for God.

    David, son of Jesse, was an ordinary young man, the youngest in his family. He was seemingly an insignificant shepherd on the hills of Bethlehem (1 Samuel 16:11–12). Yet God saw David’s heart and had a plan for him. King Saul had…

    Transformed & Transforming

    Tani and Modupe grew up in Nigeria and went to the UK to study in the 1970s. Having been personally transformed by God’s grace, they never imagined that they would be used to transform one of the most deprived and segregated communities in England—Anfield in Liverpool. As Drs. Tani and Modupe Omideyi faithfully sought God and served their community, He restored hope to many. They lead a vibrant church and continue to run numerous community projects that have led to the transformation of countless lives.

    Manasseh changed his community, first for evil and then for good. Crowned king of Judah at…

    Walking in the Light

    Darkness descended on our forest village when the moon disappeared. Lightning slashed the skies, followed by a rainstorm and crackling thunder. Awake and afraid, as a child I imagined all kinds of grisly monsters about to pounce on me! By daybreak, however, the sounds vanished, the sun rose, and calm returned as birds jubilated in the sunshine. The contrast between the frightening darkness of the night and the joy of the daylight was remarkably sharp.

    The author of Hebrews recalls the time when the Israelites had an experience at Mount Sinai so dark and stormy they hid in fear (Exodus 20:18–19).…

    It’s Good to Ask

    My father has always had a directional sense I’ve envied. He’s just instinctively known where north, south, east, and west were. It’s like he was born with that sense. And he’s always been right. Until the night he wasn’t.

    That was the night my father got lost. He and my mother attended an event in an unfamiliar town and left after dark. He was convinced he knew the way back to the highway, but he didn’t. He got turned around, then confused, and ultimately frustrated. My mother reassured him, “I know it’s hard, but ask your phone for directions. It’s okay.”

    For…

    "And Every Virtue We Possess"

    Our Lord never “patches up” our natural virtues, that is, our natural traits, qualities, or characteristics. He completely remakes a person on the inside— “. . . put on the new man . . .” (Ephesians 4:24). In other words, see that your natural human life is putting on all that is in keeping with the new life. The life God places within us develops its own new virtues, not the virtues of the seed of Adam, but of Jesus Christ. Once God has begun the process of sanctification in your life, watch and see how God causes your confidence in your own natural virtues and power to wither away. He will continue until you learn to draw your life from the reservoir of the resurrection life of Jesus. Thank God if you are going through this drying-up experience!

    Deserter or Disciple?

    When God, by His Spirit through His Word, gives you a clear vision of His will, you must “walk in the light” of that vision (1 John 1:7). Even though your mind and soul may be thrilled by it, if you don’t “walk in the light” of it you will sink to a level of bondage never envisioned by our Lord. Mentally disobeying the “heavenly vision” (Acts 26:19) will make you a slave to ideas and views that are completely foreign to Jesus Christ. Don’t look at someone else and say, “Well, if he can have those views and prosper, why can’t I?” You have to “walk in the light” of the vision that has been given to you. Don’t compare yourself with others or judge them— that is between God and them.

    When God Says No

    When I was conscripted into the military at age 18, as all young Singaporean men are, I prayed desperately for an easy posting. A clerk or driver, perhaps. Not being particularly strong, I hoped to be spared the rigors of combat training. But one evening as I read my Bible, one verse leaped off the page: “My grace is sufficient for you . . .” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

    My heart dropped—but it shouldn’t have. God had answered my prayers. Even if I received a difficult assignment, He would provide for me.

    So I ended up as an armored infantryman, doing things I…

    Continuous Conversion

    These words of our Lord refer to our initial conversion, but we should continue to turn to God as children, being continuously converted every day of our lives. If we trust in our own abilities, instead of God’s, we produce consequences for which God will hold us responsible. When God through His sovereignty brings us into new situations, we should immediately make sure that our natural life submits to the spiritual, obeying the orders of the Spirit of God.

    Where the Battle is Won or Lost

    Our battles are first won or lost in the secret places of our will in God’s presence, never in full view of the world. The Spirit of God seizes me and I am compelled to get alone with God and fight the battle before Him. Until I do this, I will lose every time. The battle may take one minute or one year, but that will depend on me, not God. However long it takes, I must wrestle with it alone before God, and I must resolve to go through the hell of renunciation or rejection before Him. Nothing has any power over someone who has fought the battle before God and won there.

    The Drawing of the Father

    When God begins to draw me to Himself, the problem of my will comes in immediately. Will I react positively to the truth that God has revealed? Will I come to Him? To discuss or deliberate over spiritual matters when God calls is inappropriate and disrespectful to Him. When God speaks, never discuss it with anyone as if to decide what your response may be (see Galatians 1:15-16). Belief is not the result of an intellectual act, but the result of an act of my will whereby I deliberately commit myself.

    The Right Kind of Help

    And I, if I am lifted up . . . will draw all peoples to Myself —John 12:32

    Very few of us have any understanding of the reason why Jesus Christ died. If sympathy is all that human beings need, then the Cross …

    Following the Leader

    In the sky over our house, three fighter jets scream through the sky—flying in formation so close together they appear to be one. “Wow,” I say to my husband Dan. “Impressive,” he agrees. We live not far from an Air Force Base and it’s not unusual to see such sights.

    Every time these jets fly over, however, I have the same question: how can they fly so close together and not lose control? One obvious reason, I learned, is humility. Trusting that the lead pilot is traveling at precisely the correct speed and trajectory, the wing pilots surrender any desire to switch…

    The Focus Of Our Message

    I did not come to bring peace but a sword —Matthew 10:34

    Never be sympathetic with a person whose situation causes you to conclude that God is dealing harshly with him. God can be more tender than …

    Wrestling Before God

    Take up the whole armor of God . . . praying always . . . —Ephesians 6:13,18

    You must learn to wrestle against the things that hinder your communication with God, and wrestle in prayer for other people; but to wrestle with God in…

    Mirrors and Hearers

    When I emerged from my hotel in Kampala, Uganda, my hostess, who had come to pick me up for our seminar, looked at me with an amused grin. “What’s so funny?” I inquired. She laughed and asked, “Did you comb your hair?” It was my turn to laugh, for I had indeed forgotten to comb my hair. I had looked at my reflection in the hotel mirror. How come I took no notice of what I saw?

    In a practical analogy, James gives us a useful dimension to make our study of God’s Word more beneficial. We look in the mirror…

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