Wednesday, February 19, 2014

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The Journey Is Important

          Growing up spiritually is not something that just happens over night, or the minute that you are born again through faith in Christ.  It is a process that takes place as we spend time listening to the voice of the Lord in His Word, yielding ourselves to be taught by Him. As we learn to apply His thoughts, words and deeds in our own life, He is molding us step by step, more and more into His image by the power of His Holy Spirit.   Each individual believer begins this journey as a “spiritual” baby in the Lord.  Sad to say, some stay infants and never really start to take the baby steps that would at least help us become spiritual toddlers. We will never reach full maturity – completion (sinlessness in love in our glorified bodies in the new world when we see Him face to face) while we are on this Earth, but if we truly want to taste and see the goodness of the Lord, we must first be willing to draw near to Him that we may be taught by Him.  He has promised to continue the perfecting of us, molding us into new creations, as we yield ourselves to Him. 

          You know Jesus, our Savior and Lord, is also our true example of what God had originally designed us to be.  When He was but a child of perhaps about 12 years old, His parents took Him into the city. During their trip back home, they discovered that He was not with them.  They eventually found Him discussing the scriptures with the elders in the synagogue.  When His parents conveyed the anxiety He had caused them because they did not know where He was, He said He thought that surely they would have known that He would be about doing the will of His Father.  What had He been doing?  The Word tells us that He was discussing the Scriptures with such wisdom and knowledge, in spite of His tender young age, that He amazed even the elders as they listened to Him.  This incident demonstrated that He was already well versed in the scriptures; however it wasn’t that He knew the words alone, but that His knowledge of them was filled with power from above.  He was the Word made manifest to us in the flesh.  By example, He showed us the importance of being equipped properly for our journey of growing in faith, for faith comes by hearing the Word of God.  If He, the Son of God, studied and stored the Word of God within Him, how much more important is it that we ourselves should follow His example in so doing?  Who of us, when going on a journey, would choose to embark on that journey without first being properly equipped?

          My own spiritual growth has not always been an uninterrupted journey.  Neither have I always purposely made sure that I was well equipped for the journey.  I was very blessed in that my parents made sure that I was in church where I could receive the nurture and admonition of the Lord by hearing and feeding upon God’s Word as a little child.  I know messages about Hell these days are not considered to be very popular; however, I remember hearing about the reality of both Heaven and Hell even at the tender age of four years old.  Jesus was real, Heaven was real, and Satan and Hell were real.  I knew, even in my young heart, that Heaven was where I wanted to go because it was a wonderful place to be. I knew that I would actually get to be with Jesus when I did go to Heaven.  I knew that the Devil was an awful being, one that I didn’t want to have anything to do with. 

          Just going to church was not my only access to knowledge about Jesus.  Someone, I believe it was my parents, gave me a book of Bible stories that became my favorite book even before I could read.  The pictures in it spoke volumes to me.  Two of those pictures became embedded in my memory like a slide show that would be run and rerun throughout the coming years of my life.  One of the pictures illustrated the loving tenderness that Jesus showed when He said, “Suffer the little children to come unto me.”  I could just imagine myself on His lap and how wonderful it would be to be so near to Him and hear His gentle voice.  Another picture was the one illustrating “I stand at the door and knock.”  I didn’t understand, until years later, that He was standing at the door of my heart waiting for me to open it up and ask Him to come in to be my personal Savior and Lord.  When I did ask Him to come into my heart, that picture would loom into my memory and I would realize, more than once, the true significance of Him waiting patiently for me to invite Him to come in.  Later too, it would help to make even more real how the Holy Spirit came into my heart and thus the Lord would never leave me or forsake me, and would be in me and with me to help, teach, and guide me throughout my life. Without knowing it, I was learning Scriptures through the pictures and stories that went with them. 

          As a little girl, going to vacation Bible School also played an important part in helping me to grow in faith.  Memorizing scriptures and hearing the stories of the Bible played a valuable part in planting the seeds of faith and trust not only in Jesus, but also in the Bible as the true Word of God.  The songs we learned filled my heart with the joy and love of the Lord.  In later years, I would learn just why those songs were so different from other music; God inhabits the praises of His people.  Praising the Lord in song is another way of drawing nearer to God.  He has promised us as we draw near to Him, He will draw nearer to us.  By our thoughts, words, and deeds we are choosing to draw nearer to Him or go further away from Him.  He is always with me, but sometimes I walk away from Him or ignore Him entirely.  He is not the one that leaves me; I’m the one that leaves Him.  Thank the Lord; He never gives up on me.  His mercy, forgiveness, and unconditional love are without limits or boundaries.

          Our Daddy worked long hard hours.  But one of the sweetest memories I have of him was how he would often come in to wrap me in my covers and say prayers at night.  It was usually the child’s prayer that went like this:


“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

God bless..(Mama, Daddy and continuing on with all the names

of family and other loved ones). Amen.”


At times, I remember thinking about the part-“if I should die before I wake.”  I don’t recall being afraid of the dying part because it would mean that I would go to be with Jesus.  Oh, if only we could always have the faith of a little child to take Him at His Word and not doubt!  We also said prayers at the dinner time.  During those years, we still had the blessing of praying the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning of each school day.  At some of the schools that I attended, I even had Bible time to learn lessons and scriptures.  Of course, we further learned to pray in church.  Seeds were being planted, and I was being taught the value of talking with God in prayer.  It was another “tool” that I was given to be properly equipped for my journey of growing spiritually.


          As I have continued on in my journey, I have learned and experienced for myself why the Scriptures are such an invaluable tool to equip myself as a believer for my personal journey of faith in the Lord.  There is a part in the Bible that speaks about the importance of making sure that the storehouse is always kept full to guard against times of famine.  At first glance, this seems to speak of earthly food and other necessary goods.  But then upon reflection, it could just as easily refer to spiritual “food”.  You know Jesus said that man does not live by bread alone but by every word from the mouth of the Lord.  The scriptures, inspired by the Holy Spirit from the beginning of time, are meant to lead and guide us into all truth.  The Lord tells us that His Word is given for our instruction, correction that we should be made fit and equipped for all good works.  If we are not rooted and grounded in His Word, we will be easily tossed around and will believe any lie instead of the truth.

          Continuing the journey of life is meant to be our preparation for the best part of our life in eternity, when we will truly be made complete and whole as we were originally designed by God to be.  It is that process of learning to grow up in the Lord, being transformed by the word by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It is as He says ‘renewing our mind by the washing of the water of the word’ that we might be made more and more into His image.  He gives us a new heart that would hunger and thirst after Him and long to become all that is pleasing in His sight.  This is what the Bible calls The Great Salvation Plan in Chapter 2 verse 3 from Hebrews, which prepares us for our eternal life with the Lord when we are restored to a glorified body in the new world on the new Earth.  As He, Jesus is, so shall we be.    Choose this day to walk with the Lord through the gift of the Holy Spirit, our Comforter and guide.  O taste and see that the Lord is good as you journey through the word of God becoming properly equipped for each new day.  “Jesus loves me (and you), this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”      



                                                                             Virginia Rahn


                                                                             Nov. 1, 2010

                                                                             (Revised Feb. 13, 2014)


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