Knowing and Growing

11-10-13 032

Prodigal: Howdy! We were just waiting for you.

Me: Thanks for waiting! I have so many things to do but I did not forget you.

Prodigal: Good because I wanted you to meet my friend. He had questions about what does it mean to be a Christian?

Me: Well today I have an explanation from James Gills who talks about the Christian walk.

Maturity in Christ often has little to do with a person’s physical age. In 1 John 2, John differentiates between three specific stages of the spiritual maturation process in which agreement plays a vital role. The first state is for those who are new in the Lord. He expounds, “I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name” (1 John 2:12).

Adolescent Christians comprise the second stage, “I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one” (v.13). The third stage is that of a mature Christian adult, “I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning” (v. 14).

John speaks of the “little child” as one who knows the basics of faith. He simply understands that his sins have been forgiven. All future spiritual growth must be built upon this important foundation. “Young men” are those with more experience who have overcome the wicked one- and how do they overcome the wicked one? By abiding in God’s Word. The Word is the source of their strength. The path of spiritual victory is to live by the power of the Spirit attending the daily intake of God’s Word. We must meditate on it, believe it, savor it, embrace it, treasure it, hide it in our hearts, and obey it. The Word of God is God’s voice to our souls and it is attended with the same power that God evidenced in the creation of the world in Genesis 1. This “life in the Word” is a vital element of spiritual growth. Finally, John says the criteria for spiritual fathers is that they know God. Note carefully that fathers are secure and selfless enough to “grow others up.” This perhaps is the greatest need in the Church today.

After reviewing this week, I find myself focusing on the third stage of mature Christian adult. I needed one of those this week. I have a long list of things to accomplish before the end of the month. I am writing this and it will be with God’s grace that it is all accomplished. So I have found myself overwhelmed with the list of things to do. What is often my response to being overwhelmed. I will withdrawal from people. Praise the Lord that my friends have figured out how not to be offended by this behavior! This has been me this week and I take ownership. I did have a talk with a good mature friend this week and God just used her to show how this list of things to do can distract me from Gods people. I praise her for that and for God using her. My point is that it doesn’t matter today what stage you are. We all need to continue to work on our growth. We all need to continue to read his Word and seek his guidance. Does this mean that I am perfect now. Of course not. I am just going to try and keep working on myself with God’s grace and patience.

Romans 9:37 Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Jennifer Van Allen,

11-09-14 037

Me: Thanks for inviting me out to eat Prodigal!

Prodigal: Your welcome, I thought we could sit back, enjoy, and discuss life.

Me: Well I was reading about Americans view on life and I wanted to share it.

Prodigal: Go ahead

Catherine Marshall decided to sum up the American philosophy for us. I decided to share with you today.

Man is inherently good.

Individual man can carve out his own salvation with the help of education and society through progressively better government.

Reality and the values worth searching for lie in the material world that science is steadily teaching us to analyze, catalogue, and measure. While we would not deny the existence of inner values, we relegate them to second place.

The purpose of life is happiness. And happiness we define in terms of enjoyable activity, friends, and the accumulation of material objects.

The pain and evil of life-such as ignorance, poverty, selfishness, hatred, greed, lust for power-are caused by factors in the external world. Therefore the cure lies in the reforming of human institutions and the bettering of environmental conditions.

As science and technology remove poverty and lift from us the burden of physical existence, we shall automatically become finer persons, seeing for ourselves the value of living by the Golden Rule.

In time, the rest of the world will appreciate our demonstration that the American way of life is best. They will seek for themselves the good life of freedom and prosperity. This will be the greatest impetus toward an end of global conflict.

The way to get along with people is to beware of religious dictums and dogma. The ideal is to be a nice person and to live by the Creed of Tolerance. Thus we offend few people. We live and let live. This is the American way.

So did you read that. Sounds like us Americans doesn’t it. Pretty much covers what we think and what we live by. Looks like if we really try at this then it would work. Think about how many solutions that it would solve.

Well let me add one more thing. This was originally written in 1960. That is right, America had this world view back 50 years ago. Now read this again with the thought of how American has tried to push these issues in the past 50 years. Lets compare the results of 50 years of this philosophy.

According to the World Health Organization, since 1968 there has been a 10 to 20 percent increase in depression
Teenage suicide has tripled since 1950.
Since 1988 alone the increase in antidepressant medication being prescribed is 400%. That is not an error yes FOUR HUNDRED percent.

So you have a choice. You can keep thinking that this is the answer, even after 50 years of this being around or maybe there is a different answer.
I know the answer. It happens to be in a book that is called the bible. This has been around for thousands of years and guess what. It is working. Christian have a decrease in divorce rate, in depression, suicide and report increase in happiness.

So follow Jesus or just another American? I am going to take Jesus!

Proverbs 10:28 The prospect of the righteousness is joy, but the hope of the wicked come to nothing.

Jennifer Van Allen,

Roads that Lead to the Gospel

12-02-14 130Roa

Me: Prodigal, nice sweater!

Prodigal: Yeah it got cold and I didn’t want to catch a cold so I had to bundle up.

Me: I am glad you decided to meet me even though it is cold outside.

Prodigal: Well I enjoy your company so I showed up.

Me: I have been reading about Ravi Zacharias and I wanted to share some of his background.

Prodigal: I have heard of him and would like to know so please begin.

Ravi, who was born in India, starts out by talking about his history of his family.

As the years have gone by, we have made a study of when the gospel first made inroads into our family. On both my mother’s and father’s sides, five and six generations ago, the first believers came from the highest caste of the Hindu priesthood. The first to come to the Lord was a woman. She was intrigued by the message brought to her village by missionaries and continued to seek them out, in spite of her family’s terrible displeasure. But one day, as she was about to leave the missionary compound in order to be home before her family found out where she had been, the doors of the compound were shut because a cholera epidemic had broken out in the village. She had to remain with the missionaries for several weeks until the time of quarantine was past. By that time, she had committed her life to the Lord. The walls of a closed compound were the means of bringing her face to face with Jesus Christ.

So a cholera epidemic was involved in allowing one of the worlds leading apologetics family to break away from the Hindu caste. God used suffering to bring about his good. God guided this woman to visit when she was suppose to at the right time. This then allowed God to bring a change in her heart. Where is God guiding you? Follow Him…trust me it is for a reason.

Psalm 31:3
For You are my rock and fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.

Jennifer Van Allen