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It Takes Perseverance To Run A Race

*Run Race To Win

Read this and other devotions by Cheryl Zelenka on her blog http://facingtrials.com

Perseverance helps one to overcome the greatest difficulties in life. Without a steadfast tenacity to press forward through challenging obstacles, conflicts, and unexpected problems we would never get anywhere or accomplish much. The problem with giving up without a fight is that we are told to run our spiritual race as “one intent on obtaining the prize.” Continue reading “It Takes Perseverance To Run A Race”

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Light Shines In the Dark Skies Of The Wilderness

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Sometimes, if you want to see the stars in all their glory… you have to go out into the wilderness and face the dark. The stars remain during the day but we can’t see them. Only when darkness falls do we see their magnificent splendor.  Continue reading “Light Shines In the Dark Skies Of The Wilderness”

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God’s Instruction and Spiritual Maturity

*Spiritual Maturity

Read more devotions by Cheryl Zelenka at http://facingtrials.com

We begin our education from the moment of birth or even before birth, for we learn to recognize the beating of our mother’s heart while yet within her womb. In order to survive, we acquire information and learn what we can about it, then make intelligent applications. Our knowledge comes by self-discovery and through instruction.

 “I have taught you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in right paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life.” Proverbs 4:11-13 (NKJV)

In our early years we crawl to get around but it is not long before we take our first baby steps. Assuredly, all babies fall down numerous times before mastering the ability to walk effectively. A tenacious perseverance to get back up and try again helps us in mastering each new challenge we face.

As Christians, we should adopt this same tenacity to persevere, but in our spiritual walk with Christ. He asks very little of us, just a forward movement. Baby steps are fine for a time but spiritual maturity does bring forth a more coordinated and developed walk. Sadly, some believers set aside very little time to seek out Godly instruction and end up crawling their entire spiritual journey.

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (NKJV)

With time, children increase their coordination in the physical world and grow more comfortable with their bodies. They learn to skip, jump, and run. They accept instruction from others and learn how to move in a new and wonderful gait.

God does expect His children to accept instruction and grow up, both physically and spiritually. Our measure of Godly obedience will largely determine the depth of our spiritual maturity. Sadly, the human race is a rebellion one, so there are many Christian infants in wrinkled and gray haired bodies.

These spiritual infants have not read much of the living Word, nor are they greatly concerned about seeking out Godly instruction. They are satisfied with having others feed their spiritual food to them, but a weekly sermon from some Pastor is not enough substance for any spiritual growth. They remain greatly undernourished and spiritually weak. They refuse to be weaned off their spiritual milk. They decide to let others eat a more substantial spiritual diet since their flesh calls them to other distractions.

In our physical world adults do not crawl to work dragging baby bottles of milk behind them. We would laugh at such a sight. Why then do we think nothing of remaining an infant in our spiritual life?

Maturity comes in many ways and one is through applying our hearts to knowledge and instruction. We have so many available resources and ought to take advantage of every one. But once again, the immature in Christ neglect fellowship time with God, which therefore stunts their spiritual growth.

To open your ears to knowledge is to live life with a passionate intent to listen for, and consider, new ideas and information. With a sincere desire to learn, our hearing and our spirit will sharpen automatically with incredible focus. This enables us to gain the necessary knowledge we need to navigate life and victoriously handle the challenges it hands us.

Everyone starts their spiritual journey crawling and yes, some wander along the entire way on their hands and knees. Kingdoms journey is not an easy one, so their unwillingness to seek out instruction and knowledge makes for an even more challenging climb. They are greatly hampered by their malnourishment and the uncomfortable posture they have embraced.

Thankfully, some of these infants do make it to Kingdoms door. Other believers who are healthier and stronger spirituality (for they are better equipped from their daily feeding upon God’s word) end their race upright and still running. They are the ones who hear God say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. Many treasures have been laid up in your eternal home.”

Of course the most important thing is to finish the race. Giving up and quitting will not get anyone into heaven, and malnourished infants find the uphill climb incredibly difficult to complete. They are more susceptible to doubt and fear since they have not planted much of God’s Word in their hearts.

How we enter the Kingdom of God is up to us. I predict the lessons learned and the talents used on earth will be perfected in heaven and used to continue our praise for God. We all must stand before the throne of God and He will reward each of us for our good works. Gaining a heart of knowledge that is open to instruction will be recognized.

Therefore my dear reader, are you ready for a change in your spiritual diet? Will you throw out your baby bottle of milk and accept some solid food today? Do you have a sincere desire to search out scriptures that instruct and guide? Can you put on an attitude of diligence? Will you seek God with a heart bent on attaining and applying the instruction He will so faithfully and lovingly provide?

DURING YOUR QUIET TIME CONSIDER THE EXHORTATIONS FOUND WITHIN THESE SCRIPTURES AND QUOTE.

“My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother;

For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck.” Proverbs 1:8-9 (NKJV)

“Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.Proverbs 19:20 (NKJV)

“Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction.” Proverbs 16:20-21 (NIV)

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” Hebrews 5:12 (NKJV)

“Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.” 1 Corinthians 14:20 (NKJV)

Five minutes after you die you’ll know how you should have lived.”    ~ Leonard Ravenhill   http://www.heprayed.com/quotes/

This devotion is in my soon to be published book FACING ADVERSITY WITH WISDOM, PRAISE, AND PROMISES.   Be sure to visit Amazon and leave a book review for my other books. THANKS!

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Are You A Lukewarm Christian?

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This is an excerpt from my book DIVINE INTERRUPTIONS: A BIBLE STUDY THROUGH THE BOOK OF JOB (Available on Amazon).

“Think of a hot tub with lukewarm water. In complacency, we will sit and try to enjoy the soak, even when the water is not warm enough to really enjoy. We don’t want to be bothered with getting out of the tub to fix the heating problem. Instead, we are content with a mediocre experience.

However, IF the tub is too hot and uncomfortable, we won’t hesitate to jump out. Our DISCOMFORT gets our ATTENTION and we spring forth into action.

Why do we seek God’s face more fervently during times of affliction? We are supposed to commune with Him and sing His praises in good times as well as in bad times.

Take a minute to reflect and then ask yourself if it takes affliction to get your attention. Are you content to sit in a lukewarm hot tub with a lukewarm Christian walk? Or, do you want to be an “On Fire Christian,” moving ahead for HIS purpose and praising Him in the middle of personal trials?”

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God provides us with this warning….

So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,[a] I will vomit you out of My mouth.”   Revelation 3:16 (NKJV)