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Growing in Faith Intro

The more you know about someone of good character, the stronger your faith in them becomes. From learning about the armour of protection God has provided for us, to exploring how to develop a daily time with Him, Growing in Faith looks at different ways of getting to know God better.  As you experience God and His faithfulness, your faith will grow deep in the knowledge of His love.

*faithful- true to one’s word, promises, vows.  that may be relied upon, trusted, or believed.

2 Thessalonians 3:3
But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.

2 Peter 3:18
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Ephesians 3:17
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Inside “Growing In Faith” you will find:

  • Fellowship– growing by spending time with others who share your faith.
  • Time With God– setting aside time to spend with God.
  • Our Armour– putting on the armour of protection God has given us.
  • Music– how music builds our faith!
  • Media– available to help us in our faith journey.
  • Journaling– a great way to encourage our growing in faith.

Related articles:

Starving Faith/Black Jack

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Fellowship

 

One of the ways God helps us to grow in our faith and in the understanding of His love for us is through other people.  He tells us to gather together to exhort (encourage) one another (Hebrews 10:25) in Jesus.  There have been times in my life when the encouragement of others meant more than you can imagine.  Growing in faith takes effort.  The love and support of God’s family helps us with that effort. 

One place to find that family is in a church.  If you don’t currently have a church family, you may wish to look for one.   Don’t be discouraged if you don’t find a church that meets your needs right away.  It is okay to visit different churches until you find one where you feel at home.  Pray and ask the Lord to give you guidance.   Once you find a church, be bold and join a small group or bible study.  This will allow you to develop relationships one on one. 

If church is not a possibility, be certain and find another form of Christian fellowship.  There are various men’s and womens groups, as well as community and individual bible studies.  Even one person with whom you can share your faith will make a huge difference.  While the Lord is always with us, He also created us to need one another.  I Corinthians 12:20-26 describes the Christian family as a body being made up of many parts.  Now that you are part of that body, you need the rest of the body, and it needs you. 

As a side note*
Often I hear people say that they don’t go to church because Christians are hypocrites.  Fact is, the Father is perfect, His children are not.  Each of us has our wounds, our hopes, our fears and experiences that affect the way we behave.  Don’t let that rob you of the joy you will find as you come together with others who are living in Christ.  God can use even our imperfections to cause growth in us and those around us.  We can love and be loved, forgive and be forgiven, and learn to rely on our Lord for comfort when others disappoint us.  He has given us one other for that very purpose.

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Time With God

To grow in faith we need to spend time with God.  As we spend time with Him, listening to His voice, reading His word, and pouring our hearts out before Him, our faith and trust will grow.  

Spending time with God can seem like a daunting task when you are first getting to know Him.  If this is true for you, here are some tips that may be helpful as you get started.  They are adapted from what I learned many years ago as I attended bible studies and meetings.  Rest assured that as you spend time with God, you will develop your own unique way of being with Him. 

Psalm 62:8
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.

  • Talking to God does not have to be a formal affair.  Remember, He wants to spend time with you.  He doesn’t have rules on what you say or how you say it.  It is okay to share from your heart.  He knows your heart anyway.  You are safe with Him.  He is your “refuge”.

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God:  . . . . . .

  • Some call this a “quiet time” because it is helpful to designate a quiet time and place where there are no distractions.  If we don’t schedule a time to be still, we can be robbed of our time with the One who loves us most.

Psalm 5:3
My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

  • Spending time with God in the morning can be a great way to start the day.  It gives strength and focus for the day ahead.   It helps us remember we are not alone.
  • Don’t, however let a busy morning prevent you from spending time with the Lord.  There have been times in my life when my time with God was while taking a morning walk.  I stuck a note card with a scripture on it in my pocket, and walked and talked and prayed all at the same time. At other times, the only quiet I had was after the kids were in bed and the dishes were done, or on the drive to work in the morning.  If you don’t have time in the morning, set another time that works for you.
  • Sometimes you may not feel like taking time to talk to God.  So many things cry for our attention.  Yet when it is a simple matter of choice, we need to discipline ourselves no matter how we feel.  Eventually, time spent with God becomes a habit.  More importantly, we begin to look forward to our time with Him.  As with any relationship,time spent together is important if we want that relationship to grow. 
  • If there is a period of time where you skip talking to the Lord, don’t be too embarrassed to start up again.  He is there waiting to hear from you.  He knows your heart.  He understands.

Ephesians 6:13 
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

  • Ask God to guide your time with Him. Pray for His protection over yourself and your family, right now and throughout the day. Put on your armour (see “Our Armour”) if you haven’t done so already.

Psalm 100:4
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 

  • This can be a good way to begin.  Start by thanking God for the fact that you can spend time with Him.  Thank Him for the many blessings in your life.  Sing a song of praise or play music that helps you feel close to Him.  Even when we don’t feel like praising and giving thanks, when we do so out of obedience, our hearts are changed and our spirits are lifted.   

I John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

  • Clear the air with God.  Reflect on anything you may need to ask His forgiveness for.  Then do so.  He stands ready to forgive.  This allows time spent in His presence to be without the worry or guilt of sin. 

Philippians 4:6
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

  • God wants us to bring our requests to Him.  He cares about every detail of our lives.   Nothing is too small for God.  He is the one who numbers the very hairs on our head (Mathew 10:30). 

Romans 10:17
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

  • Spend time reading your bible. It tells of God’s great love and provision for us.  It contains His promises to us, our families, our lives.  It allows us to grow in faith.
  • Speak His Word out loud.  “Hear” it.  It has power.  It was by the spoken Word that God created the earth.
  • Talk to God about what you read and speak.  Keep a journal and write down what you are thinking and feeling  and what you hear God saying through His Word.  Write down any special promises or scriptures He is giving you. 
  • Don’t forget to “be still” and listen to what it is God is saying to you. 

A good way to end your time with the Lord is the same way you began it.  With thanksgiving and praise. 

Lest this should all seem too complicated, here is a summary:

  • Ask for God’s protection over you and your family now, and throughout the day.
  • Thank God for His blessings in your life.  Name some of them.
  • Praise Him with your own words or with other music.
  • Ask for His forgiveness.
  • Give Him your requests.
  • Read your bible.
  • Listen.  Write down what He says.
  • Thank Him for who He is and what He is doing in your life.

Related article:
Poem:
The Meadow

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Our Armour

Ephsians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints

We are modern day soldiers, warring against powers and principalities that would like us to stay in the darkness of this world.  Before we came to know God we were no threat to their darkness.  Now that we are part of God’s family, we have become children of light (Ephesians 5:8). And light drives darkness away.

Like any soldier in battle, we need to be properly equipped.  Without protection, those we war against,  (our enemy), has access to our most vulnerable parts.  But we have no reason to fear.  God has given us His Word and armour to protect us.  He is right beside us, our commander.  We have everything we need to stand. 

Putting on one’s armour can be like getting dressed.  Some days we get dressed quickly due to time constraints.  Other days we take our time, choosing carefully what we are going to wear, paying attention to every detail.  In either instance, we most certainly don’t want to leave the house without our clothes on!

Through the years I have learned an armour routine that works for me.  I would like to give an example of that routine for anyone who has never put their armour on before.  Of course, each of us develops our own routine as putting on our armour becomes part of every day.   

  • Lord, I put on the belt of truth which is Jesus.  Jesus, you are the way, the truth and the life, through whom we come to the Father. (John 14:6)  Be with me this day.  Lead me by Your Truth.
  • I pick up the sword of the spirit, which is your word. Let your word be alive in me.  It is quick and powerful, dividing between soul and spirit, bone and marrow, and discerns the thoughts and intents of my heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
  • I hold up the shield of faith which extinguishes the fiery darts of the enemy.  I place it in front of me, behind me, beside me and all around me.  Increase my faith Lord.   Surround me with faith in You.

  • I put on the breastplate of righteousness.  Forgive me Lord when I fail.  Call it to my attention that I may receive your forgiveness.  May I be in right standing with you.

  • Lord, I place the helmet of salvation on my head.  Protect my mind please Lord. Grant me wisdom as I walk through this day.  May my thoughts be your thoughts and my words be your words.  May I walk in the confidence of my salvation.

  • I put on my shoes Lord, shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.  Guide my steps by your peace.  Help me to be ready to share the peace of knowing you with others.

Thank you Lord, for Your armour.  May I we wear it well for You each day!

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Music

Psalm 9:11
Sing praises to the LORD, which dwelleth in Zion: declare among the people his doings.

Ephesians 5:19
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Isaiah 12:5
Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.

Colossians 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Psalm 22:3
But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.

Music is an important part of our spiritual growth. The above scriptures regarding music are just a small portion of many in the bible. Music allows us to praise God, giving thanks to the Lord by making a melody in our hearts. It touches our spirits. Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits our praises! And when God’s Spirit is present change happens in our hearts and we are healed. As we sing to and about Him, our faith grows.

 

Much of Christian music is based on scripture or has scripture in it.  If faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), listening to and singing songs that speak to our circumstances increases our faith, and touches places deep within.  It can calm our fears and bring us joy. It leads us into God’s presence. When we sing to the Lord it takes our eyes off of ourselves and lifts them upwards, towards Him whom we can trust.

There are many ways to include music in our daily lives.  I love to memorize the songs and hymns sung at church and other meetings. The radio allows for a combination of music, scripture and encouragement.  CD’s are great for in the car and around home.  The internet has resources to access favorite songs and artists.  Having faith filled music playing in your home can even change its atmosphere!

Make a decision to sing, aloud and in your spirit, and watch your faith grow as you make music an every day part of your walk with God.

***I must say that music has not always been a comfortable part of my walk with God. When I first started going to meetings where there was alot of singing, I would become uneasy. I spent more than one meeting with time in the ladies room after thinking “not another song!”. It was all a bit overwhelming. Yet as I was able to relax and join in, music became an invaluable part of my life. Following is an example:
After farming together for many years, my husband and his brother had decided to farm independently. This left my husband with a willing, but very new and inexperienced farm hand. ME! One of my jobs required that I drive a grain truck 30 miles or so up what seemed toto me to be an impossibly narrow road. It had many twists and turns, and no center line. I used to be terrified that I would meet another vehicle and not be able to see them, or that I wouldn’t be on my own side of the road if one came. That is where singing came in. I would leave the ranch, butterflies in my stomach, and begin singing at the top of my lungs a song I had recently learned. “I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. I WILL BE AFRAID. I WILL TRUST IN YOU. I WILL TRUST IN YOU”. As I sang, the fear would fade. The words began to take hold. They allowed me to trust God for my safety as I made each trip. Eventually that trust worked into my heart, and I no longer needed to sing that song because of my fears. At least not to make that trip in the truck. When I was facing another daunting task, I had my song to sing, until peace came and I was no longer afraid of what it was I was called to do.

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Media

The internet can be an amazing tool.   There are pod casts, web casts, web sites and social media.  There is access to any translation of bible that you wish to read.  Yet we must be wise in our use of the internet.   As you are on the internet, ask the Lord to give you discernment, which is the wisdom to know when something is not of Him.  If you sense something is not quite right, just click it off and move on to something that is.  Talk to others about sites that are helpful to them.  If there is something you don’t understand, speak with someone about it.  Consult God’s Word. 

Several years ago, when my husband and I moved three thousand miles from our family, I didn’t know anyone nor have any church family. Television became a source of “hearing the Word of God” for me. I found my favorite bible teachers and scheduled my ironing and putting on of make-up around them. As I listened, I received much encouragement in God’s love and plan for my life.

Radio can also be used for growth via its teaching programs and music.  Find a radio station that has music that you like.  Listen to it as you drive in your car.  Schedule a favorite teaching program into your day.  Find your favorite radio station on your computer while you work.  Leave it on softly when you can’t sleep at night. 

Used wisely, media can aide trememdously in our growth in God.

Romans 12:2 2 And 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.

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Journaling

A journal can be an important part of our faith walk.  On its pages we can write whatever is on our heart.  It is a safe place where we can talk to God. 

When we journal it helps us to focus on what we are thinking and feeling, sometimes when we don’t even know we are thinking or feeling it! When we look back on our writing, it serves as a record of answered prayer.  In its pages we are reminded of God’s presence and faithfulness in our lives.  We see how we have grown in faith, and where our faith still needs to grow.

Following are some journaling tips you may find helpful.

  • Set a time aside specifically to journal.  It can be helpful to encorporate journaling into your daily Time With God. 
  • In addition, or instead, journal when you are feeling overwhelmed: with joy or with challenging circumstances.  
  • Write as little or as much as you like.  Don’t put conditions on yourself as to how much you are expected to write.  It will vary from entry to entry.
  • Date your journal entries so that when you look back you know when they were written.
  • Conisder making your journal between just God and you.  Then you won’t have to be concerned with what someone else might think if they read it.  Keep it in a place where that won’t happen unless you want it to! 
  • If it is comfortable, write in your journal as if you are talking directly to God. 
  • Tell Him about your hopes, dreams, disappointments and triumphs.  
  • Give Him thanks for something good that has happened that day.
  • Find a scripture and reflect on what it means in your life.
  • When you are done talking to God, be still and write down what you think He might be saying to you.

Remember, our God is a good God, with a never ending supply of love and patience.  We don’t have to worry about what we say to Him, nor do we need to be afraid to hear what He might say to us. Your journaling time is a time where you can rest, speaking with the one who dearly loves you.  One who can’t wait to hear what it is you have to say.  One who will also speak to you.

Psalm 103:8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. (NIV)

Zephania 3:17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Jeremiah 31:3 . . . . . Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

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The Meadow