Tag Archives: Growth

4 Verses from Isaiah

Here are some of my favorite verses from the book of Isaiah:

Isaiah 25:1-3:  O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness. 2 For You have made a city into a heap, A fortified city into a ruin; A palace of strangers is a city no more, It will never be rebuilt. 3 Therefore a strong people will glorify You; Cities of ruthless nations will revere You.

Strength is not commonly associated with “religious” people.  A construction worker told me recently that Christians do not have a reputation as being “strong” in the construction workplace.  I like this verse because it affirms godliness as a strong characteristic.  That is why Paul says that bodily discipline is “only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things…”

BE Strong!

Isaiah 30:21: Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.

What an apt description of the working together of the Holy Spirit and our conscience. You know what is right, you do.  The issue isn’t what is right and what is wrong, the issue is:  Are you going to heed the voice?  Decide to obey.  Choose the right path.

Listen!

Isaiah 37:31 “The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward.

There is a marvelous principle of growth embedded in this verse.  The fruit that is produced by the tree is a by-product of two things:  The internal structure of the tree (identity) and the strength and vitality of the root structure (mindset).  If you want to produce the fruit, you must have the appropriate identity.  The Bible calls that being born of God, born from above.  Christ has made believers a new creation.  Secondly, that must be the new soil in which the mind lives. If you plant an apricot tree in rich soil, it will produce fruit.  It will not have to try to produce it, it will simply produce it.  If you are not producing the fruit, one of two things is wrong.  You have not been made into a new creation by Christ, or you are not sending your roots down into the soil of God’s revealed truth.

Take care of your garden.

Isaiah 49:16 “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me.

This verse has stuck with me for weeks now.  I can’t get over this picture of God loving me so much that He writes my name on His hand.  To be honest, I don’t know if I really believe this verse.  It is beyond my imagining that God would love me that much to perform this silly adolescent act.  This is what I did as a kid when I was so in love with Laura what’s her name in 4th grade.  That is what a lot of drunken sailors do when they get a tattoo with their girl’s name on their bicep, and then get it crossed out in the next port and replaced with a new one.  The picture here is one of sonship, God has adopted me as His son, and I can call Him Father.

Remember who you are!

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3 Ingredients for Growth

 I am interested in how people grow.  This is crucial information for individuals, married couples and parents.  I think there are at least 3 components that are critical to growth:

Appropriate Environment.  My wife has a book called the Sunset Guide to Plants (something like that, but I am in bed writing this post and I am not going to go find it to give you the right title – wait…Google), it’s actually called Western Garden Book. It gives you the types of plants that will thrive in your particular climate.  The premise being that plants that thrive in Washington don’t necessarily do well in the Southern California desert region we live in, no matter how much you like the plant.

Growth occurs when the appropriate environment is supplied.  Things like soil, moisture, sunlight all contribute to growth.  In the human realm the environment has to do with the people, places and challenges in which we surround ourselves.  So if you  want to grow look around and see what the climate is where you do your living.

Who are the people in your life?  Are they positive people? healthy people? People who have a strong life compass?  People who are ahead of you, that is older, more mature, stronger and wiser?  The people we are with tend to shape our minds and hearts.  They can encourage us or destroy us.  Make wise decisions about your associations.

Closely related are the places of your life.  These are homes, workplaces, church, clubs, hang-outs.  Do the places I go encourage me to grow?  If not, maybe a change is in order.  Maybe I am in the right place, I am just not invested in the program –  if that is the case then engage.

Are you challenged by your activities?  Challenge pushes us to move beyond complacency and try new things.  Last October I rode in the Tour de Perris, a century ride sponsored by the city of Perris to commemorate their centennial anniversary.  A century is the bicycle riders marathon, 100 miles on a bicycle.  This was challenging, and in order to accomplish it I surrounded myself with others who were like-minded and we put ourselves in a place (our bikes) to carry out the challenge.  We all grew as a result.

Appropriate Elements.  You have to feed plants the right things if they are to grow in a healthy manner.  In the same way, if you are going to grow you have to address the needs in your life and apply the appropriate nutrients to your life so that you will grow.  The human body needs food, water and rest.  The human spirit needs a healthy sense of identity, security, and purpose to grow.  The human body really grows and matures, then simply needs maintenance until death.  The healthy habits of childhood simply need to be repeated in the physical realm. At 52 I am no longer looking to grow physically.

My spirit continues to be in need of development and in order to grow I nurture my sense of security (faith and belief, trust), identity (my relational knowledge of God which is characterized as “son-ship”), and purpose (engaging in my place in the family of God, the kingdom).  When I focus on developing these three areas of my life, bad habits fall to the wayside and the fruit of God’s Spirit are displayed in me.  Some of the practices that encourage this are:  repentance, believing, trusting, humbling myself, submitting, obeying, resisting temptation, and immersing myself in truth.  Some of the things that serve as blocks are:  scepticism, self-righteousness, independence, unbelief, worry, temptation, the power of the lie.

Appropriate Energy.  These things do not happen just because.  I must invest energy in the process.  Developing relationships with the right people and placing myself in the right contexts and challenging myself to do greater things takes effort.  Working on my faith is just that, a godly work which takes time and effort.  Discipline and discernment compel me to find this new direction in life so that I may grow.

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