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Verse for Today

"I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye." Psalm 32:8

Monday, February 25, 2013

4 Obstacles to Discipleship

According to extensive Barna studies, self-identified evangelical Christians face four obstacles to spiritual growth/discipleship.

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1. Commitment ~ Only 18% admit they’re committed to their spiritual growth.

2. Repentance ~ Few admit to being deeply sorry for their sins.

3. Activity ~ Most confuse church activity with spiritual depth.

4. Spiritual Community ~Few are involved in relationships that hold them accountable.

I’ve searched my soul and found I’m weak in some areas listed above. What about you?

If we want our world impacted by Christ, we need to be:
     ~Determined and deliberate about becoming more like Christ.
     ~Aware of how our sins separate us from God’s purposes.
     ~More concerned with overcoming our sins that participating in church programs.
     ~Invested in the lives of others who will also invest in our lives.

Please join me in praying through these obstacles and taking steps to overcome them.

It’s important that we do these things so we can obey Christ's important command in Matthew 28:19-20.

Resource: 4 Aspects of Spiritual Growth

About Gail
Gail Purath has been married to her best friend for 41 years, has two married children and seven grandchildren. Her blog Bible Love Notes( features one-minute devotions each weekday.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sit at Jesus' Feet

 By Amanda T. (read her blog here)

Martha was a “restless will, hurried to and fro.” She was busy, but by her busyness, she missed out on what Jesus said was “that good part.” That good part which Mary chose: simply sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening, learning, but otherwise, doing nothing!!!! (see Luke 10:38-42*)
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Often, as single girls, we dream of “Martha lives” as we observe what we perceive as dull nothingness. Whether we desire to be an adoring bride, a mother, a pastor’s wife, a girls’ counselor, or a “busy bee,” we cannot move beyond our single, seemingly stagnant years.

In her Bible study book, Living With Passion and Purpose, Elizabeth George reflected how Jesus spent thirty years before ministering for three years, concluding, “He shows us that, if we desire ministries to others, we must start with preparation . . . and then wait for God to provide the opportunities.”

As single girls, we might have many hopes and dreams for ministry. But . . . now . . . as we live our single years in our parents’ homes without the busyness previously mentioned, we should be content to “sit at Jesus’ feet” and learn and prepare. We have no clue what plans God has for us, but we can learn what God’s Word says. We can gird our armor and spiritually equip ourselves for what lies ahead. As busy brides, mothers, wives, and counselors, we will not always have an hour or two to dive into God’s Word – but we do now.

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Instead of frustrating our lives with dreams of busyness, why don’t we relax in the time God has given us and sit at His feet, absorbing His Word? Why don’t we learn as much as we can? Let us not throw away “that good part” that we have now and waste it on dreams and frivolous things.

*“Now it came to pass, as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

About Amanda:

Amanda is a homeschool graduate living with her parents and eleven siblings in Louisiana. Their family sings together, sharing God’s love through music in churches and nursing homes. Until God shows her a different path, she enjoys teaching piano and music theory, hymn-arranging, photography, writing, spending time with her siblings, and home economics. In the past few years, Proverbs 3:5-7 has been a passage that God has used in her life, showing her how vital it is to trust Him in any issue. You may visit her blog:

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Separate Life (Part Two)

By Erika T.

{continued from last week}

So, how can we abandon the fleshly desires and live according to the will of God?  Romans 12:2  says “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” The verse could not be clearer: before we can live according to God’s will, we need to stop conforming to and “fitting in” this world. The first step is to no longer be like those who belong in this world. I have noticed that when I watch movies and television programs or if I listen to secular songs, something changes in my mind. Even if I am careful to only watch or listen to “clean” things (even with no open or insinuated sin) there is a mentality, a worldly point of view that begins to infiltrate my way of thinking. Before I know it, I suddenly know who the stars of the moment are, what a double entendre refers to, why parodies of the latest movie are funny . . . and I cannot remember last week’s memory verse. I do not know how it happens, but I start to believe certain sins are not so bad. Adultery becomes normal and a half-lie, justifiable. My world, once so white, begins to take on a gray tone so light I barely notice it. But gray tones blur the lines between white and black. Watch out! Conformity to this world comes slowly, subtle and silent, but it’s fatal to Christian life.

The verse also gives a contrast: “…be ye transformed”. This is not just about being different from the world; we need to change our thinking to God’s way and know what His will is. It is a turnaround in our mentality: leaving the world’s knowledge and being molded to have God’s thoughts, to know what His perfect and acceptable will is. How can I think like God if I am soaking in things that have nothing to do with Him? To change our way of thinking, we must surround ourselves only with things related to Him, which takes us to the next verse.

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” How does my life measure up? Is the content of that movie true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report (that means, having a good reputation), does it have any virtue (anything just plain good), is it worthy of praise? Are the songs I listen to true, just and pure? Could I describe my conversations with others as good? How about honest? Is my favorite topic of conversation worthy of praise? Will my activities give me a good reputation? Or are they the same as any unbeliever’s might be? If I focus on thinking only what this verse approves, I will probably feel limited. However, as I surround myself with things that please God and my mind is transformed, my thinking will be shaped to be more like His. Suddenly, knowing what the good and acceptable and perfect will of God is will not be so difficult.

We know God wills us to be holy. This is not only a command, as in 1 Peter 1:16, it is also a call. In 1 Corinthians 1:2 the apostle speaks to “…them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,” In giving us both these verses, God makes it very clear that being holy is not simply our position, it is something to be practiced. We should live like the saints we are.

The purpose of our Christian life can be summarized in 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” The verse clearly gives us a basic guideline for everything we do during the day. Will my plans for this afternoon glorify God? How will God be glorified if I go there?  If I dress like this or talk like that, will I be glorifying to God? Eating and drinking are basic, everyday activities; this verse teaches us that even the most common things in life can glorify God. The question is: do I use my time to glorify Him or to satisfy the desires of my flesh?

As you probably know, holiness is separation. A verse that states it simply is Hebrews 13:13. “Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.” Being holy means abandoning the world with its humor, its entertainment, its worldview and its politics. Holiness is not simply separation from the world, however. It is also going out unto Him. If we abandon worldly ideas and activities, it is to take up the ideas and activities of the Lord. We will not just leave the world’s songs, dress, movies, politics and jokes. We will have Christ! Of course, He will give us many things to replace the false joys we lost, but best of all, we will know Him more, we will worship Him more, and we will love Him more.

The following verses express how far we are from the goal, but encourage us not to give up in the battle for holiness. Philippians 3:12-14, “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” No Christian is perfect. Saying, “I’m not perfect. I’m not spiritual.” appears to be an easy way out; however the apostle clearly informs us that acknowledging this is not reason enough to surrender. We have not yet reached the goal, but “Holiness unto the Lord” is exactly why we were apprehended (seized) by the Him! Each day we can learn more and come closer to the goal for which our Lord Jesus Christ saved us. 

About Erika:
I'm Erika Simone, a missionary kid who loves to sing, read and write. I've lived in Mexico since 1992, and I love the missionary life! God saved me at the age of seven and I've been learning more about Him ever since. He is so very gracious in my life, I cannot describe how wonderful it is to know His love. If you want to read more of my writing I have a blog in English ( )  that I have put on hold recently and a blog in Spanish ( ) where I still post three times a week. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Separate Life (Part One)

 By Erika T. (read her blog here)

I see something in my generation which concerns me very much: a lack of holiness.

1 Peter 1:16 gives a very clear commandment to each Christian: “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” It seems impossible - and from the human standpoint, it is. However, when God asks us to do something, He also gives us the strength to obey.

Several verses show us how to live a holy life, a life separate from the world (Remember the saying: “It’s not about living as close to the world as you can, but about living as far from the world as you can”). I’d like to explain a little about how we can apply these verses to our lives, so we can live as God desires and asks.

First, I would like to notice Ephesians 5:3, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints”. I wonder at the carelessness in our conversations. I have heard young people casually mention many sins and sometimes even joke about them . . . and we are expected to laugh! Are we not believers? Does God not call us “holy”? Such banter is not right. In fact, according to Ephesians 5: 11 & 12, it is embarrassing (At least, it should be)! “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.”

1 Thessalonians 5:22 states, Abstain from all appearance of evil.” This verse mentions that evil exists in many different appearances or forms. Therefore, we are not simply required to abstain from “obvious” sins. The commandment is a bit more general: “all appearance.” According to the dictionary, “to abstain” means to deprive yourself of something. So, if I listen to songs that speak of any type of sin, am I abstaining from all evil? When I watch a movie in which sin is represented, or perhaps is only insinuated, am I abstaining from all evil? God asks me to avoid all forms of evil. Thoughts, movies, books, songs, conversations, magazines or television programs that contain even a little bit of sin have some form of evil. Am I willing to obey the command of God (notice: not suggestion) and abstain from every form of evil?

Romans 8:7 & 8 mentions something drastic, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” This verse made me think of the motivation for us to watch unclean movies, listen to impure songs and read pages that display sin. Why do we? Because we want to. If we did not, others could not talk us into it or “make” us do it. We are simply following the will of our flesh. But that is a problem. We are believers; we are here to serve God. When we follow our own fleshly will, we not only dishonor God, we act as God’s enemy! How could I possibly be content acting like God is my enemy in order to cater to my whims? If I, as a Christian, live according to the desires of my flesh, I cannot please God. It is that simple.

So, how can we abandon the fleshly desires and live according to the will of God?
. . . come back tomorrow to read the answers!

About Erika:
I'm Erika Simone, a missionary kid who loves to sing, read and write. I've lived in Mexico since 1992, and I love the missionary life! God saved me at the age of seven and I've been learning more about Him ever since. He is so very gracious in my life, I cannot describe how wonderful it is to know His love. If you want to read more of my writing I have a blog in English ( )  that I have put on hold recently and a blog in Spanish ( ) where I still post three times a week. 

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