Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise.

Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise.

let-memory-heap-fuel-on-the-altar-of-praiseWe are at the beginning of a new year, 2017, and at the beginning of a new sermon series: “Praise and Worship!” In my spirit I sense we will be on this topic for a while as we usher in 2017 on the best foundation we could ever lay down! The Bible is really one complete inspired Word of God to show us how to worship. God created us for communion. He created us to worship Him.

The book of Psalm has many verses referring to praise and worship. I love the heart of the writers in this book. They speak out how they are feeling; good or bad, and allow you to see their human side. Then they pour out their praise to God for Who He is.

Psalm 9:1 – 20 NLT

Psalm 9:1 – 2 NLT

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart;
    I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.
I will be filled with joy because of you.
    I will sing praises to your name, O Most High.

 

“I will praise…” This phrase is stating what someone will do. It is a declaration

The word Praise is translated: H3034

ידה

yâdâh

yaw-daw’

literally to use (that is, hold out) the hand; physically to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); – cast (out), (make) confess (-ion), praise, shoot, (give) thank (-ful, -s, -sgiving). Strongs Hebrew and Greek Lexicon

It is a hand extended out to revere or worship God. When someone extends a hand, like a hand shake, they are saying: “I accept you.” “I make a covenant with you” (shaking hands in agreement). One may say that the hand is an extension of the heart. Praise should come naturally to a believer.

“I will praise You, Lord, with all my heart…” The heart joins in with the praising, it can’t help it. “With all my heart…” expresses the psalmist’s deep devotion and commitment. This is what is called in the New Testament “making melody in the heart,” or “singing with grace in the heart.”

Eph. 5:19 NLT

Singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.

It is not mere mental singing, but vocal singing, the heart joining in; for the word here used for praise is to confess, to speak out, to declare openly the praises of God in the public congregation, as David elsewhere determines to do.

Psa 111:1 NLT

Praise the Lord!

I will thank the Lord with all my heart

as I meet with his godly people.

Our whole heart should be engaged in every part of divine service and worship, whether in preaching or in hearing, or in prayer, or in singing of praise. Sometimes our hearts are far from God in worship and divided between God and what is going on in this world. That is why we need to pray the prayer of the Psalmist in

Psalm 86:11 NLT

Teach me your ways, O Lord,

that I may live according to your truth!

Grant me purity of heart,

so that I may honor you.

Lord teach us to praise and worship You with all of our heart, not just lip service, or quickly spoken and then forgotten.

There is a new song by Kalley Heiligenthal that speaks of God’s praise to be ever on our lips:

Ever Be

(Kalley Heiligenthal)

Your love is devoted like a ring of solid gold

Like a vow that is tested like a covenant of old

Your love is enduring through the winter rain

And beyond the horizon with mercy for today

Faithful you have been

faithful you will be

you pledge yourself to me and its why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You Father the orphan

Your kindness makes us whole

And you shoulder our weakness

 and your strength becomes our own

Now you’re making me like you

Clothing me in white

Bringing beauty from ashes

For You will have Your bride

free of all her guilt and rid of all her shame

and known by her true name and that’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

And that’s why I sing

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

You will be praised You will be praised

With angels and saints we sing worthy are You Lord

We should always be ready to praise the Lord with our lips with thankful hearts for Who God is! He will be praised even if you don’t praise Him. He can command the rocks to cry out His glory. No way is a rock going to take my job of praising God for ever and ever.

“I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done.” “I will tell…” This is stating that all the stories of all that God has done from generation to generation will be spoken from the praiser’s lips. If they are not remembered, a generation might easily depart from the Lord. We have to tell. We have to declare the good works of the Lord.

Having trouble getting your praise on? Remind yourself who God is and what He has done in your life. Remind yourself of His promises in His Word! Let memory heap fuel on the altar of praise. Once you get the fire lit, it is easy to keep it going by thanking God of all the marvelous things he has done in your life.

“I will be filled with joy because of You…” King James version states; “I will be glad and rejoice in thee..” Gladness and rejoicing is joy manifested!

Glad is translated: “brighten up, gleesome, chirp, joy, make merriment. The word rejoice means: “ to jump for joy, that is, exult: – be joyful, rejoice, triumph.”

Whoot Whoot! We are to be filled with God’s joy because of all the marvelous things God has done for us. We are to allow Joy to be manifested in us to the point of jumping up and down and rejoicing in praise to His mighty works!!!

“I will sing praises to Your name, O Most High.” The psalmist often connects joy with praises, as one leads to the other!

The word praises is translated differently here then it was in the previous verse. Praises in the Hebrew is:

“H2167

זמר

zâmar

zaw-mar’

A primitive root (perhaps identical with H2168 through the idea of striking with the fingers); properly to touch the strings or parts of a musical instrument, that is, play upon it; to make music, accompanied by the voice; hence to celebrate in song and music: – give praise, sing forth praises, psalms.

It shows it is more then a thought or a suggestion. It is stating I will sing, I will play my instrument, I will use my voice in praise to declare God’s name and lift Him to the highest of heights, to the glory of his name, his being, and perfections, as displayed in his marvelous works, and in the revelation of his word, and especially in His Son; and under the character of the “most high” God, the supreme Being over all creatures, angels and men.

Psa 7:17 NLT

I will thank the LORD because He is just; I will sing praise to the name of the LORD Most High.

I love “I will” statements from the Bible. It shows stability. Again, it is a declaration stating I will do this no matter what comes my way! Saying or singing these statement out loud does something in your spirit. It becomes a solid foundation that you can rely on when trouble comes.

No matter what… I will sing praise to the name of the LORD!!!

Are you holding back any part of your heart from God? God wants to pour His Spirit into ALL of your heart, not a portion.

I pray you enter into God’s presence as you praise Him daily.

 

Your sister in Christ,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.KrisBelfils.WordPress.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com 

 

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The Kingdom of Heaven Parables

The Kingdom of Heaven Parables

Parables; The Kingdom of HeavenWe have been looking at the Parables of Jesus. Today I want to look at those that pertain to the Kingdom of Heaven.

What do we know about God’s Kingdom? The Kingdom of God in heaven, and the Kingdom of God on earth? We can learn a lot by looking at these parables and understand the description Jesus gave. What did Jesus say about the Kingdom of God? Is it pomp and circumstance? Is it only for the rich? Is it only for the perfect people? The most important thing we need to know about the Kingdom of God is how to get there, but today I want to share with you what Jesus taught.

Jesus used common scenes from everyday life to teach new truths about the Kingdom of God. The amazing thing is that we can experience these truths here on earth to prepare us for that glorious day when Jesus comes to take His own to Heaven with Him. I am looking forward to that glorious day, are you?

Let’s begin in Matthew 13 and also one is found in Mark 4. In these parables Jesus would start with the saying, “The Kingdom of God is…” or “The Kingdom of Heaven is…” and then He would tell a story.

1. The Parable of the the Wheat and Tares

We looked at this parable earlier. It is the first of seven parables concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 13:24 – 30 NKJV

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

Then Jesus explained the parable…

Matthew 13: 36 – 43 NKJV

Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

God has sown seeds in the soil of our hearts. What type of soil are you? We need to always have soil that receives the truth from the Word of God. This is Kingdom mindedness!  We have to remember that growth starts small and in time, the seeds will mature into a strong, healthy plant.

Jesus wants us to be this kind of person. Seeds don’t have a choice as to what kind of soil they fall on, but we have a choice as to what kind of soil we will be for the seed. We can choose to respond to the gospel. When trials come, we can choose to stick with the gospel, or to fall away. When life gets boring or worrisome, we can choose whether to bear fruit for the kingdom. That’s the kind of message Jesus gives us.

I believe there are wheat and tares in this world and in every church. So many issues in this world where the wrong is right and the right is wrong. Homosexuality and transgenderism, marijuana legalized, hatred, self-absorption and so much more are infiltrating our lives and the church. Either we believe the Bible or we don’t, there is no in between. Are you wheat or a tare? We can’t be suede by the world. We have to stand and believe the Word of God as the only truth, if not we are a tare and will be burned up at harvest time.

2. The Parable of the Growing Seed

Mark 4:26 – 29 NKJV

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

This story is all about growth. The seed sown into the good and honest heart brings forth fruit with patience; and this fruit daily increases, even though we know not how the Word and Spirit work that brings the increase; and then Christ the husbandman, at the time of the harvest, gathers in this good seed into the kingdom of heaven. Again, let us be the good soil and grow and yield to Christ. We should always be growing in Christ. If you are not, ask God why and He will show you. You might be neglecting your relationship with Him, you might be feeding yourself with other things instead of God. There will be a harvest, a gathering of the wheat to be stored in barns, or heaven. Allow yourself to grow in Christ and be a part of this harvest.

3. The Parable of the Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:31 – 32 NKJV

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

Here Jesus described the kingdom not just as a seed, but as the smallest seed. Jesus is not describing a kingdom that arrives in a blaze of glory—he is describing a kingdom that begins very small. This is not what the Jews expected, but this is the kingdom that Jesus said was near. The kingdom is a story about gradual growth.

This is a story of not despising small beginnings. It is a story about faith in God to bring the growth! It also is a story of growing your fire or zeal for the Lord.

Mustard Seed:  Thayer Definition:  mustard, the name of a plant which in oriental countries grows from a very small seed and attains to the height of a tree, 10 feet (3 m) and more; hence a very small quantity of a thing is likened to a mustard seed, and also a thing which grows to a remarkable size.

What can a small mustard seed accomplish? It seems too small to have any worth or value. But, a mustard seed is very fiery in smell and taste. When you plant it, it grows into a huge tree full of more fiery small seeds. This is an example of our faith and growth and what we can accomplish when we are on fire for God and spreading the good news to others. More and more people come to know God and are set ablaze for Him all by one person stepping out of their comfort zone.

4. The Parable of the Leaven

Matthew 13:33 NKJV

Another parable He spoke to them: “The Kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.”

When yeast is first mixed into bread dough, it is not very noticeable, but a small amount eventually produces a large result. The kingdom begins small and inconspicuous, but it grows large. In the parable of the wheat, it also produces a crop for harvest.

The small beginning of the kingdom would have surprised Jesus’ listeners. They were hoping that a Messiah would lead the Jewish people to a great victory over the Romans. They were hoping to become an independent nation, with the power of David’s kingdom and the wealth of Solomon’s. But Jesus was announcing that the kingdom must begin in a very small way.

These parables describe a long, slow growth process for the kingdom. The kingdom of God is not just a seed, and it is not just a fully grown plant. It is the entire story—something small that grows into something large.

You might think you are very small or inconspicuous. What can you accomplish? God sees you differently. He sees your potential and you and Him together will accomplish much. Allow the seed to grow, or the yeast to enlarge the dough. Be ready for a big harvest because it is coming!

5. The Parable of the Hidden Treasure

Matthew 13:44 NKJV

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

This is a powerful story because the man went to great lengths to obtain and keep the hidden treasure he found. It cost him all that he had. He realized what he had was nothing compared to the hidden treasure he found.

This is a parable of the hidden treasure we find in Jesus and the Kingdom of God. To others, they only see a barren field when it comes to knowing God, but to those who have found this hidden treasure, it means everything.

Psalm 119:72 GW

The teachings that come from your mouth are worth more to me than thousands in gold or silver.

Matthew 6:20 NKJV

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Luke 12:33 NKJV

Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys.

Nothing compares to the treasure we have in Jesus, and eternal life, the incorruptible inheritance, riches of glory, treasure in heaven; Christ, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and all the riches of grace and glory; even more so the Gospel, which is a treasure consisting of rich truths, comparable to gold, silver, and precious stones; of the most valuable blessings, and of exceeding great, and precious promises; and reveals the riches of God, of Christ, and of the other world; and is a treasure unsearchable, solid, satisfying, and lasting: this is said to hide in a field. (John Gill’s Expository of the Whole Gospel)

6. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price.

Matthew 13:45 – 46 NKJV

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

A pearl is a result of an injury suffered by a living organism, such as an oyster. It could be a grain of sand or parasite intruder. Out of much suffering, an object of beauty is produced. The offending particle becomes a pearl of great worth.

We can see the pearl can represent a few things. First, it represents Christ, who came and offended many and suffered much for our sake. He is a pearl of great price and we should go to great lengths to seek and find Him.

Second, the pearl can be you and I. We have experienced much suffering and pain in this life. But God can make beauty from ashes, and joy for mourning. When we allow Christ to be Lord of our life, He makes what was ugly and worthless, beautiful from glory to glory just like a pearl is formed layer upon layer of nacre, also known as mother-of-pearl, coat the grain of sand until the iridescent gem is formed. Cultured pearls are made in the same way. The only difference is that instead of accidental circumstances, a “pearl farmer” embeds a grain of sand into the mollusk.

God is making all of us a pearl of great price. Don’t be surprised by your trials. They are forming you into something beautiful for God’s glory.

 7. The Parable of the Dragnet

 Matthew 13:47 – 50 NKJV

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away.  So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

The net is the Gospel of redeeming grace that sweeps across this world, from generation to generation, collecting all who will be collected. This net collects good and bad fish. But there will be a separation from the wicked from the just; the good and bad.

It is our job to bring in the fish, it will be the angels job to separate the just from the unjust. We gather and invite all to come, good and bad; the Angels, according to Christ’s word, are to separate the bad from the good, the tares from the wheat.

This parable and the first one we looked at are very similar. Both show there will be good and bad together and at the end they will be separated and the bad fish and the tares will be cast into the furnace where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. If we are not God’s wheat, then we must be Satan’s tares.

It is interesting how these two parables sandwich the rest of the Kingdom parables together. Ultimately there will be a judgement day where we all will have to account for what we have done, said, and thought.

Recap of the Kingdom of God

  1. Parable: Wheat and Tares – There will come a time where the tares will be separated from the wheat and be burned. Where those who know and live for God and those who don’t will be separated.
  2. Parable: Growing Seed – There will be a harvest of fully grown wheat. We will grow and be taken up to heaven for eternity.
  3. Parable: Mustard Seed – God uses small and insignificant things to accomplish much.
  4. Parable: Leaven – Something small has much affect and grows into something large.
  5. Parable: Hidden Treasure – We have a hidden treasure in the Word of God, Jesus!
  6. Parable: Peal of Great Price – Jesus paid a great price for our salvation, and He can make something beautiful out of your life, even when you think there is no value.
  7. Parable: The Dragnet – The bad fish will be separated from the good and thrown into the fiery furnace.

Take these Kingdom principle to heart. Be ever growing in Christ, and stay close to Him throughout your life. Realize you have much to offer for the Kingdom of God. Even if you think you are insignificant, God sees you as mighty and will have much affect for the Kingdom.

Jesus, the Pearl of Great price, went to great lengths to save you. Your life matters and He can make you forever beautiful. Don’t be deceived into thinking like the world thinks. Know God’s word, and stand on it. It is a sure foundation that will never change.

We are promised an eternal reward in Heaven if we don’t give up here on earth. Trust me, this world has nothing to offer you compared to eternity with the One Who saved you from burning in the lake of fire, which is hell. Nothing in this world is worth risking that.

From one Kingdom minded person to another,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.KrisBelfils.com

www.HopeFellowshipSpokane.com

www.KrisBelfils.Wordpress.com

Grow In Christ

If I were to ask you what God’s perfect will is for your life, what would be your answer? Monks have lived solitary lives to find out this answer. Theologians have searched and searched to find this answer. Have you ever wondered what God’s perfect will is for your life? I’m here to give you that answer!  It is not complex or unattainable, but very simple. God’s perfect will for your life is that He wants you to grow in Him. He wants you to be a flourishing plant that gives off much fruit and fragrance.

2Pe 3:18  (ASV) 

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

The word “grow” is also translated: “enlarge, increase, become greater” (Dictionary.com) This is what Christ wants for our lives. He wants us to grow, increase, enlarge, and become greater in our love and knowledge for Him. Not for knowledge sake, but to have the tools to become a mature Christian. He also wants to increase and bless us.

Psalm 115:14 – 15 (NKJV)

“May the Lord give you increase more and more. You and your children.”

CEV

“I pray that the LORD will let your family and your descendants always grow strong.”

There are some things we need to know that will help us grow straight and strong. One thing we need to remember is that it is natural to grow and increase. We all do it, even Jesus grew and increased with God and man.

Luke 2:52 (KJV)

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man..”

It is natural to increase…

Karissa, my youngest daughter, is growing up to be a lovely young lady and in time will become a beautiful woman of God. She is increasing. If we could take the time to watch a movie of her life we would see her as a baby in diapers and eventually toddling around on all fours. We would see pictures of when she started to walk, with her shoes untied, and hear her learn to talk, and grow into a young child. She would have school pics and vacation pictures showing the many stages through elementary school and through junior high and high school. She might go to college or grad school and find a wonderful job, maybe get married and have a family of her own.

It is natural to grow. It is healthy. It is not something Karissa tries hard to do, it just comes naturally. But….. what if she was still in diapers and toddling around on all fours at the age of fourteen? What if she still had her shoes untied and couldn’t talk like a fourteen year old? We would think something was wrong. We would see she was not growing correctly. It wouldn’t be natural to see Karissa sucking her thumb at the age of 30 or 40 would it? No, we see her increasing and growing in wisdom and stature, and in favor.

Lets look at Luke 2:52 again:

Luke 2:52 (KJV)

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man..”

The word “Increased” is translated in the Greek as: “to drive forward, to advance (in amount, to grow; in time, to be well along): – increase, proceed, profit, 

So to increase you are moving forward and advancing physically, spiritually, and emotionally in all areas of life. It literally means you are profiting by God’s mighty hand. He is bringing the increase.

Think for a moment at what God has given you. Think of how He has changed you from last year to this year. Think of all the changes you’ve gone through physically at the age you are now. It all came about naturally. You are not the same person you were last year at this time. You are different. If you are a Christian, and are growing in Christ, you will have matured since last year. If not, there is something wrong because it is natural to grow and increase. If not, you need to see what is causing your growth in Christ to be stunted.

1 Thess. 3:12 (Amplified Bible)

“And may the Lord make you to increase and excel and overflow in love for one another and for all people, just as we also do for you,”

This verse is asking the Lord to increase and excel and overflow in love for one another. His kindness will help us grow in the areas we need it.

You might say; “Pastor Kris, how do I grow? How do I increase? How do I know I Am growing?” The Lord is kind and is always watching out for us. His kindness brings growth in our life. You will see clearer and understand things in life better. I always check my growth in Christ with my love level for Him and others. We will also look back and see we don’t think like we use to, or talk like we use to. We believe God will answer our prayers instead of giving up so quickly. If not, God, and His wonderful kindness, will help us to grow and become more like Him.

2 Pe 3:18

“Let the wonderful kindness and the understanding that come from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ help you to keep on growing. Praise Jesus now and forever! Amen.” 

It is the wonderful kindness and understanding of Jesus that helps us to grow. God knows what we need as individuals to bring about growth. He is constantly watching for weeds that might grow around the plant to make sure they are weeded out.

I like how the author from “A Friend’s Heart” wrote about character and growth: “Character is developed over time. It is an accumulation of choices. It’s like planting a garden. You decide what to put into it. You can plant seeds of patience, peace, love, and joy. You can tend the garden of your heart, uprooting the weeds of envy, anger, and fear. Whatever you cultivate will bear fruit. Whatever you weed out will make room for better things to grow. Character needs to be cultivated not only when the sun shines, but also in the rain. In all seasons, God is there to help you make the choices that build strong character; God is there to give you the strength to do your best no matter what the circumstances.”

“Character and gardens both reflect how much weeding was done in the growing season.”

(A Friend’s Heart,” Nelson Books  Copyright © 2006)

In the process of growth we have to be aware of:

1.  Growth blockers

a. Comparing yourself to others – Every plant grows at their own pace, that’s what makes it unique. You might think, “I should be further along than I am.” We don’t know the plan for our lives, only God does. Allow yourself to grow at the pace you are growing and not at someone else’s pace. Give yourself permission to relax and enjoy where you are in your growth. God will bring you through to be that wonderful creation He created.

b. Sin –This will stunt your growth and allow weeds (sin) to grow. When weeds grow they take away the nourishment from the soil around the flourishing plant and rob it of life. It literally chokes the life out of a plant. This is what sin does in our lives. It chokes any growth and dries up any nutrients, and leaves only dried up, brittle pieces that only God can restore.

c. Hanging around the wrong people – They will cause weeds to grow. The wrong people will influence you and stop you from growing. They will distract you from what God has called you to do. They will take away your destiny and stunt your growth. Hanging around with the wrong people, ungodly people, will change you to be more like them. If you want to be more like Jesus, you have to be strong in the people you choose to be close to you. You might think, “I can be a good influence on them!” But, if you are weak in character, and worried about what others think of you, you will be influenced by them instead. Be strong and cut off wrong relationships.

2.  Keep Your Soil Healthy:

a. Forgiving others quicklyUnforgiveness will block growth! The more you think about what others have done to you, the more it grows in you like a weed. If you want to grow, you must forgive others.

b. Give Love often – Eph 4:15 (KJV)  “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” Learn to love people right where they are in their growth. Love always builds people up, it never tears down. Anger always tears down and nothing good comes from being angry. It only puts people in bondage, including yourself.

c. Be teachableRemember that you don’t know everything, nor have you experienced everything.  If you think and act like you know everything people will think you are arrogant and not want to be around you. Being teachable will allow you to learn and experience more in life. Being teachable will open the door for more. More of God’s favor! More opportunities! More open doors.

3.  Allow growth to happen

a. Let go of the past and reach for the future – Holding onto our past never brings growth, only torment. Your past is just that; “past!” Your past does not dictate your future. Allow God to heal your past and prepare you for your future, all at the same time during the present.

b. Let God pull the weeds out – Weeds are gathered and burned and that is what happens to the sin in our lives when we ask forgiveness. Christ’s blood takes it all away. It can be a painful process, but well worth it as time goes by. Getting rid of the “junk” in our life will make room for new growth. Too much clutter will prevent growth. If God is pricking your heart to get rid of some “garbage” you have been holding onto like sin, un-forgiveness, past regrets, shame, pain and hurt from people, allow Him to rake all the weeds out to clear up the good soil for new growth! It is well worth any pain the process might bring.

4.  Feed your spiritual body

We need to take care of ourselves.

a. Power Bars/Protein drinks – Body builders want to increase their muscle strength and growth. Muscles are made of protein and they need extra protein to grow bigger. A spiritual protein drink is spending time in prayer and Bible study. This will increase your spiritual muscle strength.

b. Eat right – Watch what you put into your spiritual body. Watch what you listen to, what you watch on TV, what you hear in conversations, and anything that will go into your body. Remember “Garbage in – Garbage out!” It is the same spiritually.

c. Get plenty of rest – Spend time resting in the Lord. Spend time fellowshipping with other Christians. Don’t get caught up in perfectionism, just relax and be. “Be still and know that I am God…” Be yourself and enjoy who you are. God did not create junk when He created you. He created potential and you have value.

d. Exercise often – Spend time worshipping the Lord. Listen to Praise and Worship music on a regular basis. The words will penetrate your spirit and you will benefit from it greatly. This allows your mind to focus on God and Who He is, and not your problems.

How to bear fruit

2 Peter gives us insight into what we are to add to our faith to bring fruitfulness from our growth.

2 Peter 1:5 – 8 (NKJV)

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren (useless) nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Add to Faith:

  1. Virtue
  2. Knowledge
  3. Self-control
  4. Perseverance
  5. Godliness
  6. Brotherly kindness
  7. Love

It is not enough to just have faith to grow in Christ. Virtue means: “Moral excellence; goodness; righteousness” (Dictionary.com) and a Synonym is integrity. To produce good fruit in your life, be a person of virtue and add to virtue “knowledge” of Who God is and what His word says. Follow it. Obey it. Ask God for wisdom to live your life right and to make good choices in all that you do. Add to knowledge; Self-control. We can have all the wisdom and virtue but if we lack self-control, it is all for nothing. Being able to control your desires and what you say or feel is important. Overindulging in anything is not good. We have to have self-control in what we eat, drink, how we talk to others, what we buy and how we spend our money. If we don’t, we will end up being morbidly obese, a drunkard, a person with no friends because of freely talking smack to others, and being in great debt with no money to pay our bills. Self-control takes discipline. It is dying to our flesh and walking in the Spirit of God. Add to self-control; perseverance. If we can’t persevere in life, we will never experience the reward of endurance. We will bolt at any that looks hard or uncomfortable. We need to add to perseverance; godliness. Some synonyms of godliness is “Holy, righteous, good” (Dictionary.com) Seriously, just focus on being like Jesus. We are all imperfect people. But striving to me more like Christ is the best role model and example there is. Don’t be a hypocrite and act godly but in your heart, and when you are by yourself, you do what you please. Pursue good things. To godliness add; brotherly kindness. It is easy to pursue being good and lack in kindness to others. God loved the world (people) so much that He gave His only Son to save the world (John 3:16). If God put people as a high priority, we should too. Be kind to others, even when they are being mean to you. God sees your heart and their heart all at the same time. Kindness goes a long way over being mean and harsh with people. Stay at peace with people and show kindness. Treat others as you would like to be treated, and add to kindness; love. This is what the world will know us by; love. They will know we are Christians by our love. Loving people will give you a more peace-filled life. You will not be in strife. Allow the love God has loved you with to pour out and love others. You will grow and be fruitful if you add all these wonderful character traits to you life.

Let us be a people who take care of ourselves, who show love towards one another, and strive to live a godly life. Allow yourself to grow in Christ. Let him mature your character, even if it is painful.

This is God’s perfect will for your life; To Grow In Christ!

From one growing plant to another,

Pastor Kris Belfils

www.krisbelfils.com

www.hopefellowshipspokane.com

www.krisbelfils.wordpress.com