Faith Building

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The New Year does bring with it thoughts and dreams of renewal, revitalization and resolution.  We seek to enhance the areas of our lives that are lagging and add to our lives those things that are lacking.  It’s this time of year that our hearts and minds turn to rebirth of body, mind and soul.

Some might feel that their physical health is right where they want it.  Some may be happy with their mental health.  There is no one who can say that their faith walk is perfect.  Sanctification is all about our continuous growth in our faith walk.

I don’t subscribe to a “one-size-fits-all” concept of growing in faith, but there are steps that can be helpful to each follower of Jesus.  These include:

  • Reading the Word

Each day spend time in the Word of God.  For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (I Corinthians 1:18).  The Bible is God’s Word to us.  Isn’t it obvious that if we want to grow in faith in the Lord, the best way is by listening to Him speak to us?  Dr. Luther found the Psalms to be especially helpful.  Use a devotional, such as, “Portal of Prayers” or Lutheran Hour Ministries, “Daily Devotion” that can be received via email.

  • Daily Prayer

Reading the Scriptures and praying go hand-in-hand.  God speaks to us through His Word and we speak to Him through our prayers.  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:5-7).  When praying include these four elements in your daily prayers:

  • Praise of the Lord.  Praise Him for His creation.  Praise Him for the gift of Jesus.  Praise Him for His will, which is always for your best interest.
  • Repent of your sin.  No one is perfect, but God is forgiving.  Realize that you have not loved the Lord or your neighbors as you love yourself.  Pour out your heart to the Lord.  Give Him your brokenness and receive with joy His forgiveness and the new life it brings.
  • Give thanks.  Thanks the Lord for His many blessings.  Thank Him for the spiritual blessings of faith and forgiveness.  Thank Him for new life and the promise of eternal life.  Thank Him for His earthly blessings, such as family and friends, food and drink, work and play.
  • Make requests.  Ask the Lord for those things you need in life.  Include both spiritual and physical needs.  Ask for what you want, but be prepare to receive what the Lord knows you need.  When making requests for material things always pray for God’s will to be done.
  • Regular Worship

The Lord established His Church to be that place where His people gather around His Word and Sacraments, growing together in faith, hope and love.  You are a member of the Lord’s family!  Be active! And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near (Hebrews 10:24-25).

  • Christian Friends

It’s true that “birds of a feather flock together.”  Being engaged with Christian friends not only be an encouragement for you, but a mutual development will occur.  “Iron sharpens iron,” says the proverb.  REACHGroups offer a natural way to connect with Christian friends for study of the Word, mutual care and fellowship.  St. Paul understood this when he wrote to the Christians in Rome, For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you—that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine (Romans 1:11-12).

  • Embrace a Mission

There are so many faith-based missions designed to assist people in need.  Embrace one.  Use your time and talents to make a difference.  Some use their talents to make quilts for the underprivileged.  Some serve meals at the rescue mission.  Some visit shut-ins.  Some teach Sunday School.  Some take mission trips to foreign lands.  The church can help you find a mission to serve with your time and talents.  So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness (Romans 12:5-8).

  • Give

God has entrusted to us resources to be used not just “on” us, but “through” us.  God uses us to distribute His gifts.  We are called to manage the Lord’s resources, not hoard them.  Supporting the Lord’s Church is a joy for His people.  The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.  As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever” (II Corinthians 9:6-9).


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