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Tag: spiritual growth

Are You in Bootcamp?

I’ve been receiving edevotions from Christian Womanhood and ran across one that made me think. You can sign up here if you’re interested in receiving them. Today’s devotion compared the Christian life with bootcamp. Here’s an excerpt:

“He loves us enough to stretch us farther than we think we can grow in wisdom and knowledge, grace and truth. He tests us each and every day, revealing our weaknesses, challenging our decision to live for Christ, testing our sincerity.

 He does all of this out of love, knowing that “…our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Corinthians 4:17).  He wants us to graduate from boot camp as mature, confident soldiers, able to stand before the Lord at the Judgment Seat and hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:23b).
My neighbor knew for a long time that he wanted to be in the Army. He knew when he signed up that boot camp was not going to be fun. He anticipated the fact that the officers were going to be very tough and that life was going to be difficult for a while. He knew all of this, yet he looked forward to joining the Army. He wanted to be a soldier.  If you are serious about serving God, you will pay a price to serve Him. Just like boot camp separates the men from the boys, Jesus Christ will bring trials into your life to make sure you really, really, want to be used by Him.”
She went on to say that by choice we are in God’s army and that our trials here on Earth are a sort of bootcamp that prepare us for our service to our Lord in Heaven. Not many make the choice, but the ones that do, stand out as true servants of God. As I look back on the past 20+ years, I see many hard times that some have said we “brought on ourselves.” I guess I have to agree with them. We did bring it on ourselves – by enlisting in God’s army and following our High Commander’s orders. If my son, who’s going to Afghanistan, experiences battle and is injured, would you say to him, “He brought it on himself?” Of course not! You will honor him as someone who put himself in harm’s way for the good of his country. He will have counted the cost. Our personal cost was great in our service for our King, but they were worth it – He was worth it. We didn’t know how much pain and heartache we’d encounter in His service when we signed up, but that doesn’t negate our offering to the One who made the ultimate sacrifice for us. What are you doing that shows you enlisted in His army?  James 2:18 “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

Job’s Friends – Part 3

Continued from 2.7.09 posting, Job’s Friends Part 2.

Then there are the other ones – the ones who think they know and judge us as unworthy because obviously we have failed – just look at the children. They don’t accept genetics, physical and mental disabilities, prior experiences or hurts as being a factor in any of their behavior or their slow spiritual growth. After all, the Bible is accessible to everyone – they are without excuse. The children just need to be taught the Word and they’ll be fine. If they’re not, then it must be the parent’s fault. They don’t realize how far they’ve come nor have the ability to consider how far they will go in the future. They only see a small snapshot in the child’s life that isn’t so great. We have a sardonic saying around our house, “Just give them the Bible.” I don’t mean to make light of the fact that the Word is all sufficient and all we need. It is my standard. It is what I base my very being on. But I also know that people are flesh and blood. I know that our thought processes are a product of our past, our experiences, the influences around us, etc. Not all of us arrived to understanding at the same point in life or in the same way. Spiritual growth for everyone happens at different rates and through different means. I’m sure not once these “Job’s Friends” ever considered that it might have been their unloving attitude toward these children that caused them to reject our faith and practice and go to the world to seek acceptance. For after all – the world WILL accept them, only to turn around try to destroy them.

In contrast, while speaking to a director of a children’s home today, I received some heart-felt encouragement. Just before hanging up, he said, “Sister, you have nothing to hang your head about, you have done all you can in teaching him how to live for God.” Now, this man just met me over the phone today for the first time. Why is it he can offer such words of encouragement, but my “Job’s friends” can’t? We as Christians need to learn how to be compassionate and encouraging, lifting up instead of putting down. This man has seen many families despair over their children’s choices and knows these parents have been faithful and true. Another director told me that he has asked others where the largest group of children come from that are placed in their children’s homes. The answer? Pastor’s adopted kids. So, that tells me two things…there are other pastor’s families out there that adopt AND that many of their children have behavior difficulties that become too great for them once they get older. So we’re not alone in this ministry, and our experiences aren’t that different from other ministry families. Even if every ministry family failed to bring an adopted child to the point in their life where they loved and served God with their life, at least they cared enough to try. God doesn’t call us to perfection, but obedience – He’ll take care of the results. Someone said once that if we’re not part of the cure, we’re part of the problem. I think he was right. To be continued….

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