Grow Up – 4

Let’s talk about the young adult stage of life.

Ephesians 4:15 – . . . may grow up into Him . . . the Head . . .

Think for a moment.  What are the basic achievements of the young adult?  Basic education is at or near its end.  Marriage may have occurred, perhaps even parenthood.  Responsibilities have dramatically escalated, as well as one’s level of independence.  Expectations for the young adult’s life have likewise risen to new levels.  The same is true for the young adult Christian.  I am NOT talking about a young adult who is a Christian, but a Christian who has grown to young adulthood in Christ. 

In Hebrews 5:14, we read that “strong meat belongs to those who are of full age, who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern between good and evil.”  There is so much to see in that verse that speaks to this writing.  Let’s look at the key words.

  • “strong meat” – this is not for baby Christians, or for children, juvenile Christians, or even young adult Christians
  • “belongs” – if something belongs to you, it is your rightful possession
  • “who are of full age” – this speaks to a level of spiritual maturity that indicates high levels of growth
  • “who by reason of use” – this is not a place one comes to on occasion, but regularly
  • “have their senses exercised” – imagine living a life in which one is required to be led by the Spirit, but being so fully developed and matured in the things of God that even the physical senses discern between good and evil

In the natural world, being a young adult can be an exciting time.  You can freely make independent decisions, even on major issues.  You are probably as physically strong, agile, and fast as you will ever be.  Your brain is highly functional, quickly trained, and still gaining massive knowledge.  You have your own credit score, to build up or destroy.  That last statement may seem out of place, but it is not.  Think about it.  As a young adult Christian, you face major life decisions.  The young adult Christian can serve the body of Christ with great energy while carrying out his daily life responsibilities.  And I did mention a “credit score.”  By the time one has grown spiritually to become a young adult Christian, one has begun to earn the trust of those around him.  He has had the opportunity to demonstrate faithfulness and obedience to the Word of God.  in the realm of the spirit, that is what one can call “developing a credit score.”  Young adult Christianity is one’s greatest opportunity to earn trust and respect, build proven character, and fight the good fight of faith with the fervor and zeal of a young warrior.  Are you ready?

Manna for Today – Matthew 18:19-20; Deuteronomy 32:30; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 14:7; Isaiah 55:11

Grow Up – 3

Is there a “puberty” for Christians?   Think before you respond.

Ephesians 4:15 – . . . may grow up into Him . . . the Head . . .

I know this is a topic most Christians have NEVER had come to their thinking.  But stop for a moment and think.  I’m about to write some things that some could say are offensive, but they are not.  This is simple truth.  The Scriptures cannot lie.  They declare that Jesus was tempted “in all points like as we are.”  I did not write that statement.  It is in the Bible.  Jesus was tempted, drawn away of His own desires, and enticed.  I know those words will shock some believers, but the Word is true.  At some point in the life of Jesus, He went through biological puberty.  He grew up, His voice changed, He started growing a beard.  That is the norm for every human being, barring some physiological issue.  That means there were hormonal changes in His body.  While some of us have lived long enough to probably forget much about our own trip through puberty, it still happened. 

In the spiritual realm, there are parallels.  While baby and very young Christians seem to have a never-ending inquisitiveness, they come to a place where they feel like they know enough to make major decisions on their own, perhaps even believing they’re ready to launch into some arena of ministry as the leader.  In 51 years of ministry, I’ve seen it happen more often than I like to imagine.  When Christians as this stage choose to break out on their own, operating without guidance or counsel, choosing to move far more quickly that wisdom dictates, many get hurt, and in some circles, it would be said they “crash and burn.”  Dear reader, that is such a sad place for any young believer to find themselves.  At the very point in their lives when the dynamics of their walk with the Lord can take a turn into the greatest manifestations of Holy Ghost, they can co easily find themselves distracted from their necessary focus, following the wrong path, engaged in dangerous thinking and actions,  and either greatly delaying their growth in the Lord or bringing it to a complete halt.  Young people at this stage of their walk with Jesus desperately need the wisdom, counsel, and guidance of the Lord in their lives, even moreso than when they were babes.

Growing up into Jesus is a process.  It is not two major steps from the new birth to leading a ministry and holding the respect of people you have served for years.  It is not a series of events demonstrated in a few powerful ministry services, marked by certain manifestations of Holy Spirit that suddenly earmarks one for a life of leadership in ministry and training others.  If you know any “juvenile” Christians, love them, pray for them, build a trusting relationship with them, and help them continue to grow.  If you ARE a “juvenile” Christian, seek out what I’ve just described, and whatever you do, don’t stunt your growth.

Manna for Today – Matthew 18:19-20; Deuteronomy 32:30; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 14:7; Isaiah 55:11

Grow Up – 2

Let the growing up into Him begin.

Ephesians 4:15 – . . . may grow up into Him . . . the Head . . .

From before the foundation of the world your name was written in heaven.  It was from that point forward that the anointing Father had for you was planned for your mother’s womb.  There is a divine purpose for you, and the anointing given you at the moment of your conception is intended.  Unless the Lord reveals that divine purpose to someone before you are born, those who know the Lord and the Word of God will recognize it in you as you grow up and mature.  But regardless of when it is revealed, that anointing that could be called your “conception anointing” is there to teach you how to walk in it to the fullest.

In the natural world, when a baby is born, it needs complete care.  While someone may be 45-years of age when they are born again, in the spiritual arena, the same is still true.  Yet sadly, in the church today, that truth seems to be either unknown, or overlooked, either purposefully or recklessly.  A natural infant needs to be guarded, held, protected, kept warm, clothed, fed, and clean.  The same is true for a spiritual infant.  A babe in Christ needs contact with believers who know how to guard, hold, and protect them, especially through intercession.  They need people filled with the Holy Ghost and fire to keep them warm and clothed.  They need people who are rich in the Word to keep them fed with the rich milk of the Word and clean from the creeping corruptions of the world. 

When a baby is born, and for years to follow, the child has no understanding of the kinds of decisions he needs to make.  The number of selections in life is far broader than his mind can conceive, and many things will be placed before him that are totally foreign to him.  The same is true for the spiritual babe and the early formative time of his growth in Christ.  Just as what we call a toddler needs to be watched, not to prevent them from learning and experiencing life, but to protect them from the potential dangers in that life, so a child of God in early development should  be watched.  They do not need to be released to blindly make decisions.  The young believer needs people in his life who have proven their trustworthiness to him and their love for him.  That builds for the young believer a foundation upon which to rest memories of learning and confidence in his future decision-making moments.  No one wants to fall, not even beginning toddlers.  Yet they do.  But when a toddler falls, there is no condemnation.  In fact, those who love the toddler expect him to fall, make provision for it, lift him up when he does, and encourage him to try again.  But they do not put burdens on him to carry in those experiences.

Manna for Today – Matthew 18:19-20; Deuteronomy 32:30; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 14:7; Isaiah 55:11

Grow Up – 1

Our growth into Christ should never cease.

Ephesians 4:15 – . . . may grow up into Him . . . the Head . . .

Let’s begin today by coming to a clear and simple understanding of one’s need to grow.  What can a baby do for itself in its mother’s womb?  Nothing.  It must grow, from the point of conception to its time of birth.  What can an infant do for itself after birth?  Nothing. It must grow, from its time of birth until its full maturity.  And when the physical body has reached its full physical maturity, what must it continue to do?  It must continue to grow, producing new cell growth for every element of the body until it dies.  In short, if there is life, growth must take place.  If there is no growth in the body, it will cease to function.  It will die.

And what of the mind (the soulish realm)?  When one’s mind, will, intellect, and emotions cease to grow, to develop, to actively engage daily life, it is by default entering into the act of dying.  And what of the human spirit?  The same can be applied to it, too.  From the moment of the new birth, that moment when you become a new creature in Jesus Christ, growth begins.  We must be partakers of the milk of the Word that we may grow thereby.  We must grow and mature to become recipients of the meat of the Word that belongs to those who by reason of use have exercised their senses to discern between good and evil.  We likewise need to engage in praying in the Spirit so we can build ourselves up (grow up) on our most holy faith. 

The bottom line of what we have seen thus far is this; if you’re not growing, you’re dying.  When does a tree stop growing?  Never, unless it is dying, and even then, there are parts of the tree that will struggle to live.  Does the Scripture not declare that we are “trees of righteousness?”  As “trees of righteousness,” we should never stop growing.  And even when some of us do, there is something in us that will continue to fight for life in order to fulfill the divine directive of “bearing much fruit.”

Bearing in mind our words thus far, allow me to ask a few simple questions.  Are you growing?  You know the answer.  Be honest with yourself.  Are you bearing fruit?  Be honest.  Are you bearing “much” fruit?  Be honest.  What are you doing that produces growth in your life?  Do you know what to do to keep growing?  If you don’t know, do you know where to find the answers?  If you know you need to make changes, do you know what those changes are?  These are answer every believer needs to know for him/herself.  Stay tuned.  There’s more to come.

Manna for Today – 1 Corinthians 12:18-23; Philippians 4:13; Luke 2:52; 1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:14;     Jude 20; John 12:24; John 15:8

It’s a Body Thing – 3

Here’s some solid Christian sense we need to learn and heed.

Amos 3:3 – How can two walk together except they be agreed?

The eye and the ear are not interchangeable.  Yes, they certainly can work and functions together well, but they are not interchangeable.  The hand and the feet are not interchangeable.  Yes, they certainly can work and functions together well, but they are not interchangeable.  The limbs of the human body are in no way interchangeable with the organs of the human body.  And among the organs of the body, each one has its own unique and completely necessary function, and none of them are interchangeable.  Even the fingers of the body are not interchangeable. 

Now carry that thinking over in its relationship to the body of Christ.  Each member of the body of Christ is completely unique.  One person may be working in the same function as another member of the body, but they are not interchangeable.  Each member of the body has a specific God-assigned place and role in the church.  Each member of the body is anointed for specific service, and in order to function at your highest potential, you need to be functioning in the arena in which you were anointed to function.

It’s well past the time that the body of Christ should be coming together and moving in the same direction rather than finding personal reasons to separate.  We’ve experienced far too much denominationalism, political intrigue and intervention into church affairs, the dominating and destroying fear that has risen  through COVID in the past two years, and a Christian community that has chosen to be dominated by human intellects and economies instead of living delivered from it all through Biblical wisdom and God’s economics.

I know of but only one solution.  The believer MUST put God first in all things and make Him final authority in all things.  That means we must return to the authority of God’s Word.  The five-fold ministry, and especially pastors, MUST put the Word of God at a higher priority than anything else in their ministry.  If God said it, that settles it.  God’s covenant must take priority over any and everything else.  If God said it, that settles it.  The scheme of using selective verses to prove one’s point MUST be replaced with the use of “all Scripture” to prove God’s point.  When what God says is lifted above all else, and He is given first place and final authority in everything, He will confirm His Word with signs following.  If what is being preached is not Biblically sound, and if it is not being confirmed by the power of God, then what is being preached must change.  I will repeat it once again.  The church MUST put the Word of God in FIRST PLACE and give it FINAL AUTHORITY in ALL THINGS.  Then, and ONLY then will the body of Christ be able to come together in the unity of the Spirit as one body.

Manna for Today – Matthew 18:19-20; Deuteronomy 32:30; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 14:7; Isaiah 55:11

It’s a Body Thing – 2

There’s a place you fit.  That’s where you are your best.

Amos 3:3 – How can two walk together except they be agreed?

I’m sure you heard people say that things like marriage and friendship “is a two-way street.”  Well, my friend, that is really not the case.  A partnership in business, a team of athletes, a church congregation, and especially a marriage are NOT two-way streets.  They are all one-way streets.  On any two way streets, the traffic will be in opposition to each other.  That is why they call it on-coming, or opposing traffic.  Take a moment to think about what I’m saying.  On a football team, you don’t see one part of the team moving up field while the other part of the team moves down field.  If they’re on the same team, both offensive and defensive teams face the same direction.  In a business partnership, each member of the organization should be moving in the same direction to manufacture a top-quality product, attract, please, and retain customers, to keep the organization profitable.  A church membership should be following the same leadership carrying forth with the same vision and mission, though each person may be doing different things.  And in a marriage, both spouses MUST travel in the same direction to make a successful marriage, to raise children, and to enjoy a life together.

Here’s a mental picture for you.  Imagine that you have come to a fork in the road.  There are two diverging paths.  Can you take them both?  Of course not.  You’re only one person.  Wherever one part of your goes, the whole of you must go.  Part of you cannot go one way and the rest of you another.  Now apply that same picture to the body of Christ.  Sadly, in our world today, there are members of the body of the body of Christ scattered all around, and many of them are helpless to move because they’re not connected to legs and feet.  Other parts cannot serve for they are not connected to arms and hands.  This is not the image of the body of Christ our God had in mind when the church of Jesus Christ was birthed.  The Scriptures tell us clearly that before Jesus comes for His church, the body of Christ would come to the unity of the faith, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.  The Word cannot fail.  It must be so.  We are told in the Word that the church for which Jesus is coming is without spot, wrinkle, or blemish.  That must certainly mean He is coming for a church that is not divided, not going in two directions, but all in the same direction, and that is pursuing Jesus at all costs to His fullness.  It’s time we came together.  It’s not about what we think; it’s about what God says.

Manna for Today – Matthew 18:19-20; Deuteronomy 32:30; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 14:7; Isaiah 55:11

It’s a Body Thing – 1

Do we really understand the power we have in the BODY of Christ?

Amos 3:3 – How can two walk together except they be agreed?


Let me start today by saying I am a faith preacher.  Calling myself that can create some problems for me from time to time.  I know that from experience.  But nevertheless, I am what I am, I’ve seen God work in more supernatural ways that I can innumerate, and I’m not about to change now.  God doesn’t change, I know that.  And because I know that, I know His Word is absolutely true; no flaws, no shortcomings, no failures in fulfillment, never a lie.  What God has said about the body of Christ is true.  And knowing all this leaves absolutely no doubt in my mind as to why Satan works so hard to create dissension, schism, division, and disharmony within the body of Christ.  What saddens me so much is that the body of Christ seems to accommodate Satan’s actions so well.  I don’t know all the reasons, but I do know that a lack of knowledge of God’s Word is one of the leading causes.  I know, too, that it is possible that many members of the Lord’s body have become so enticed by deceptive words, actions, and images that they don’t see the need for true unity within the body.  And some have even fallen prey to the thinking that they need to be in positions of power, no matter the cost. 

Dear reader, God’s Word is still true.  Whatever God has said about you is true.  Whatever He has said about His church is true.  Whatever He has said about His body is true.  And there are things about the body of Christ that the Word indicates takes it above and beyond what the individual can do.  In the next few days, this will be the point of our study and discussion.  Open your heart to what the Lord is saying to us.  Find a way to discover or uncover that which the Lord has placed in you.  He put it there for a functional purpose and divine outcome.  What He has put in you will work when you put it to work according to His will.  But doing it alone is NOT a part of His will for your life.  Not one of us lives or dies to himself.  If the Head cannot say to the foot, “I have no need of you,” then the Lord has a divine need for each of us as a part of His Masterplan.  We’re in this together, and it is only together that we will that we will accomplish the fullness of His plan.  And dear one, WE WILL ACCOMPLISH IT!  His Word declares it, for it will not return to Him void, but will accomplish all He desires, and prosper in the think He sent it to do.  Let’s get together.

Manna for Today – Matthew 18:19-20; Deuteronomy 32:30; 1 Corinthians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 12:21; Romans 14:7; Isaiah 55:11

The Rod of Correction – 4

Correction can come as a stern, strong voice, or a gentle, guiding touch.

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness if bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

On the military drill field, correction may come as a stern, strong voice.  At that point, it may be given as an order, an absolute directive.  It comes when the soldier is incorrect in posture, stance, or responsiveness, among other things.  In an art class in which sculpting is the focus, it may come with a word, but more likely a gentle, guiding touch.  When forming the proper curvature of the human face, or the delicate positioning of the human hand, sudden, powerful movements may be far more destructive that the gentle touch.  The manner in which proper correction is administered is largely dependent on whether you are forming a soldier for combat, or a statue of a soldier for display.  Correction can take on many forms.  It can be done by . . .

  • Example – showing the right way by modeling it; being a living example of the correct way
  • Speaking – using the correct words to paint the correct verbal picture of the correct action or process
  • Guiding – placing the hands of the corrector on the hands of the corrected to steady them, guide them, and show them what is likely the softer skills of creation, especially in arts with musical instruments, painting with oil, water colors, pastels, or use of different artistic materials such as chalk, charcoal, pencil, or pen and ink.

As one grows in wisdom and skill, speaking may be the predominant manner.  To the new, unschooled practitioner, example or guiding may be the preferred manner.  But the summary of all I’m saying is this.  Punishment may be forced on someone.  Someone could even be frightened into what appears to be discipline, but is simply someone choosing to bow to the force or intimidation from someone else.  But correction, true correction is modeled through example, verbalized through clearly understood words, or the gentle touch of guiding hands.  And if it will genuinely be the “rod of correction” set forth in the Scriptures, whether by exemplary action, spoken word, or guiding hand, it will be in complete alignment with the Word of God.  The “rod” and “staff” of Psalm 23:4 is the Word of God, and in that passage, the “rod” and “staff” are said to be comforting tools. 

There are many hurting in the body of Christ today, especially after the past two years of chaos that has shaken and even shackled so many.  Yes, there are people that are being won to Christ every day, and I pray that number dramatically increases.  They will desperately need discipling, and for them that means giving them the teaching and tools they need to become disciples.  But there are many who already know Jesus, but have turned from Him.  I don’t know how many of them will seek to return to Jesus, but they will desperately need correction.  Are we ready to provide the correction they need?

Manna for Today – Joshua 1:8; Proverbs 4:20-23; Isaiah 55:11; Romans 3:4; Psalm 119:105 & 130; Proverbs 13:24; John 8:31-32; Psalm 23

The Rod of Correction – 3

Oh, how I love the art of correction when using the “rod of correction.”

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness if bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Today, let’s look closely at the true “rod of correction.”  Just what is “correction.”  First, who needs correction.  Anyone who is doing something “incorrectly” needs correction.  If the person simply does not know HOW to do something, they don’t need correction, they need instruction.  It is when one is doing something incorrectly that they need correction.  If the person is doing something incorrectly simply out or ignorance or by mistake, they need correction.  If they are deliberately doing something wrong, they need to be stopped from the error, perhaps removed from the position in which they commit(ed) the error, and dealt with in a manner appropriate to the infraction.  There may, in fact, be some penalty that must be applied, and if discipline is needed, it will ultimately be up to the person who erred to apply the discipline.

But correction goes beyond instruction or paying penalty, and when properly received, makes discipline (self-discipline) an even more effective part of life.  Imagine asking someone for directions to travel to some place.  You receive directions, but you get off course.  You need to correct your course.  You don’t need to be punished, and you may not need instruction in map or compass reading.  You simply need correction to get back on course.  I met a Christian brother many years ago who was an airline pilot whose regular flight was New York to Los Angeles and back twice each week.  He told me that from take-off to landing for a non-stop flight, the majority of the flight was actually “off course.”  He went on to say that the majority of his “in-flight work” was spent making course corrections.  It was that constant application of course corrections that enabled them to reach the desired destination. 

Life is like the work of that airline pilot.  Someone can teach us, instruct us, and point is in the right direction in life.  But life is rarely a straight line.  There are hills, mountains, valleys, curves, and turns.  At times there might even be detours.  Through it all, Holy Spirit is seeking be lead and guide us in our daily steps that we might arrive at the destination where we need to be.  And it is in our humanity that we so often find ourselves straying from the course, missing a turn, or perhaps taking the wrong route at a fork in the road.  It is in those times that we stand in great need of correction.  It can come in the form of simple words, or it may even mean having someone take hold of your hand for the purpose of guiding process or direction.  We’ll speak more tomorrow.

Manna for Today – Joshua 1:8; Proverbs 4:20-23; Isaiah 55:11; Romans 3:4; Psalm 119:105 & 130; Proverbs 13:24

The Rod of Correction – 2

Proper perception of the “rod of correction”

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness if bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

In our discussion on “The Rod of Correction,” I want to talk about another term that is often used, not only in church discussion, but in the world as well.  It is the word, “discipline.”  I can tell you for a certainty that what most people call discipline is not the “rod of correction.”  Let’s look at that more closely. 

Take time to consider the word “discipline.”  It comes from the root word “disciple.”  Keeping that in mind, consider what Jesus called a disciple.  A “disciple of Christ” is considered to be someone who believes on Jesus and continues steadfastly in His Word.  Take a moment and read John 8:31-32.  It says, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”  If we will know how Jesus defines disciple, here it is.  Jesus was speaking to people who “believed on Him.”  To those who met that qualification, Jesus said, “If you continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed.”  It cannot be made any clearer. 

At no point it that description of a “disciple of Christ” do we see a disciple being someone who is forced, pressured, or in any way coerced into following Jesus.  It was then, and is now, a person who chooses of his/her own accord to believe on Jesus.  Then having made the decision to believe on Jesus, he/she makes an additional decision to read, study, learn, meditate upon and walk in obedience to the Word of God.  Once again, this is not forced on them in any way.  It is purely a decision and choice of their free will. 

All this points to one thing.  I often hear people say, “God is in control.”  That is true of SOME things, but not all things.  And one of the things of which God is NOT in control is YOU.  If you are a true “disciple of Christ,” God is in charge, but you are in control.  Just stop for a moment and think.  On Sunday morning, Christians all over the world awake.  Some decide to go to church service, some do not.  Who makes that decision?  Not God.  If God was in control, every Christian would be serving the Lord in some way.  And who makes the decision to turn right or left on the way to church?  It is the driver of the car, and God is NOT driving the car.  Are you beginning to see the point?  The true “disciple of Christ” may be completely submitted to the will of Father, but the one in control of those decisions to obey is NOT God.  It is the person making the decisions.  You see, the discipline is different from the “rod of correction.”

Manna for Today – Joshua 1:8; Proverbs 4:20-23; Isaiah 55:11; Romans 3:4; Psalm 119:105 & 130; Proverbs 13:24