God causes the growth

Ugly Christmas sweaters at church

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (AMP) I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was causing the growth. So neither is the one who plants nor the one who waters anything, but [only] God who causes the growth.

Today my oldest son turns seventeen. He will be a senior in just a few short months. Last week we went to watch him wrestle for state (his first time making it to the qualifiers after four years of trying). He had to step out after the second round due to a possible concussion. Ari fought two really tough competitors. In his first match, the guy was a senior and had placed second the year before, and was undefeated so far this year. Ari lost that round. In his second match, Ari and the other wrestler collided right off the start, head first. Then they pulled back and did it again. It was a tough one, it looked like a brawl from the stands. When done, Ari had a mark under his eye and it was starting to swell. The other kids head gear had got him. Since he woke up with a head ache the next day they took him out. It was a little disappointing for him, but he said he is looking forward to doing it again next year.

So today I am reflecting on how we got here. On this day after thirty two hours in labor, and twelve days after his due date, Ari was born weighing eight pounds and twelve ounces. He was (and still is) beautiful. We had some struggle moments when he was a baby and in his toddler years, really we should have known he was going to be strong willed when he spent the full forty two weeks in the womb. There are some really great moments too. We taught him a few words in sign language before he started talking. He could tells us he wanted to eat, some milk, if he wanted more or if he had enough food. Meal times were when we got to sit together, since I worked full time. It was not until he was almost four that he would be able to stay with me all day.

Then he started going to school, kindergarten. That was my very first parent/teacher conference about behavior. I got to have one of those, within the first nine weeks of school, every year for seven more years. There was one year the principal called me so much that I would make a sigh before I answered the phone. On top of all of this he was a straight “A” student!

When Ari got into eighth grade, he tried out for wrestling and fell in love with the sport. We tried putting him in soccer, in baseball and football. He did not enjoy them, but we knew he needed an outlet. He was passionate about wrestling though. Guess what? I have not been called in for a parent/teacher conference in four years!! I love wrestling. I will take him every where to train. I will get him to any club that had it going on. I will hire a personal trainer to teach him foot work.

What is also amazing is that he honors and respects his parents. He will get up from what he is doing in his room and help me with things around the house, happily. At church, he puts the signs out and makes sure the duplication process for the CDs is ready to go. He hands out the CDs after service. We sit down every school morning, along with his brother, and we read a devotional and pray before they walk out the door. What is most important is that he not only does these things because we ask, but he sees his parents do them. He sees us spending time in the Word daily. He sees us serving in the church. When we do service projects in the community, I do not drop them off, we serve together.

What is most important is that he not only does these things because we ask, but he sees his parents do them. He sees us spending time in the Word daily. He sees us serving in the church. When we do service projects in the community, I do not drop them off, we serve together.

In my beginning verse, it says that I get to plant the seed. From what you read above you would think that now I have the perfect son. He still has his moments. He still can be rude, disrespectful and a jerk. Actually two weeks ago we got into a really big discussion on how his communication needed to be improved. He had all electronics taken away for two days (that included his cell phone). Then when he got it back, he binge played on his XBox and came out of his hole an emotional wreck. Fun stuff, right?! Like him, there are days that I lash out at the people I love too. He needed grace in that moment.

He still needs our guidance. Ultimately though, he is God’s. He will be leaving home in a few years to start his life on his own. I pray that we have laid a good foundation for him. I pray he grows. I want him to grow and mature in God. I want him to succeed. Although we may want them to, my goal is that he will not NEED me (it would be selfish of me if I did not do this). I need to point him to Christ. I need to show him where real growth and success comes from. Before a match we thank God that it is through His strength that Ari gets his power source. Ari has done his part in weight training, practicing endurance and learning technique. Now he can rest, and not feel anxious, in how God puts it all together through him when he wrestles. What a difference that perspective has made in his wrestling this year.

If you know how that feels hit the like button on this post. Let me know your struggles and celebrate the successes with you. If you need prayer you can message me at amanda@desiringformore.org.

Deeper Worship

Last night I was talking to our youth about going deeper about the things of the Holy Spirit. We talked about God not being bound to our three dimensional world. That there is so much more to this life that we cannot see because we like to confine ourselves to feelings. However, God did create us as a tri-une beings like He is. We are made up of body, soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit. He is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (AMP) You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being].

We got in the discussion about loving God and out of that love for God is why we worship. I explained that I had to grow and mature in why and how I worship. This type of love that Deuteronomy talks about, and what Jesus talked about in Mark 12:30, is grown out of a relationship with God. Relationships take work. Unfortunately, when relationships do not go our way or we feel like the effort is not worth the relationship. We can “fall out of love” with that individual. Some people “fall out of love” with God. Couples use that excuse all the time why they divorce, they just “fell out of love” with each other. As I have grown in my relationship, the type of growth like it talks about John 15, my love for God has also grown. My worship in turn has gotten deeper. My care about who is standing in the room during corporate worship, what I look like, has also matured. This is not about them, this is about Him!

Some people “fall out of love” with God.

John 4:24-25 (TPT) From here on, worshiping the Father will not be a matter of the right place but with the right heart. For God is a Spirit, and he longs to have sincere worshipers who worship and adore him in the realm of the Spirit and in truth.

There is a difference in what happens when you worship in the spirit. We can sing songs, we can read our Word, but we also have the gift, a gift that has to be received of the Holy Spirit (different from the spirit that is drawn to Christ, but of the same). Jesus says in Acts 1:8a (NKJV), “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.” Then in Acts 2:1-4 (NKJV) “When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Romans 8:26-27 (NKJV) Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

1 Corinthians 14:3-4 (NKJV) But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.

When we speak forth the Word of God we prophesy. Prophesying is not this spooky things about telling of future events, that is prophecy. That is a whole other gift of the spirit that we can dive into later, because some have abused this gift and made the things of God look foolish. But to prophesy is grounded in the Word of God. When I pray in tongues, or worship in the spirit, that is for me. It says in verse two that God hears what I say in the spirit directly. It says my prayer language is heard by God’s ears Himself. So when I worship in the spirit, oh there is fire that runs through my bones! I cannot get that until the Holy Spirit has come “upon me.” There is a different level out there if you are open to it.

I like to explain it this way about the power of what the Holy Spirit that can come upon you can do. I take the story from 2 Kings 6:15-17 (AMP) The servant of the man of God got up early and went out, and behold, there was an army with horses and chariots encircling the city. Elisha’s servant said to him, “Oh no, my master! What are we to do?”  Elisha answered, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  Then Elisha prayed and said, “Lord, please, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servants eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire surrounding Elisha. There is more going on than our three dimensional view can understand.

When I had the Holy Spirit come upon me, the power was confidence. Confidence in who I was as a child of God. I no longer had to be in extreme highs and extreme lows with my relationship with God. This does not mean I understand all things. No, and I am not meant to. It does mean that I can now worship Him on a different level. I worship in Spirit and in truth. The truth being grounded in His Word and no longer my feelings. Oh, how I wish you could feel my passion for this type of worship! This kind fills you with joy all the day long. This gets you excited to be up in the morning. This gives you a passion to prophesy, exhorting and edifying His church! I will leave you with one verse, it is one of my favorites to use when we get scared to step a little deeper with God: 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 (MSG) Dear, dear Corinthians, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

Take advantage of your prayer language, use it in worship. If you do not have one and you want to know more about this Holy Spirit that comes upon us I would love to help. You can email me at amanda@desiringformore.org. Go deeper this year!