Jumat, 31 Agustus 2012

Regaining Your Cutting Edge

Vincent Van Gogh

Regaining Your Cutting Edge
Bayless Conley

Over the next several devotionals, I want to focus your attention on something that affects every Christian at one time or another:  Losing our spiritual edge.

God wants us to stay spiritually sharp.  Consider Ecclesiastes 10:10,If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success.

God is using this analogy to illustrate a very important truth:  If you lose your edge spiritually, you lose your effectiveness as well.

Maybe you feel that way today.  Though you are exerting strenuous effort, you are making little progress in your spiritual life.  God wants you to go forward.  He wants you to progress and not become stagnant in your spiritual life.

I have a friend whose father was a logger many years ago.  It was a time when they cut all the timber by hand with just an ax.

One day his father shared about the way he would operate.  After he chopped down a tree, he would sit on the stump of the tree he had just chopped down, take out a file he kept on his belt, and he would sharpen the edge of the ax.  He would sit there until the ax was very sharp again, then he would go after the next tree.

Each time he chopped down a tree he would do exactly the same thing.  But he said most of the other guys didt do that.  They just wanted to keep going, never stopping to sharpen their axes.

Without fail, he said, he always got more done than they did, and he used a lot less effort.  They had to exercise more strength, yet they got less done.

Over the next several days, we will look at what it takes to regain that spiritual edge.

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God 

Praying for Change
Dr. Charles Stanley

Hanging above the door in our house, my mother's favorite plaque constantly reminded us, "Prayer changes things." From an early age, I witnessed this powerful truth through her example. She'd tell me about some difficulties she was facing and then have me pray about them with her. And later, she'd always be sure to give God the glory when sharing the awesome news that He had answered those prayers.

Indeed, this is our confidence: Anything we pray for that aligns with the Father's plan will be granted. And the more time we spend with Him, the more we'll come to understand His will and how to pray for it.

Remember, prayer doesn't change God's mind, but it does transform the believer's heart. Some requests are granted immediately, simply because we asked with the realization that our Father loves to give us good gifts. Other requests may require time or certain divine preparations before they can be given. We, meanwhile, must simply be diligent to persevere in prayer.

Whatever the Lord's response or timing, we trust that He has only the very best in store for His children. That means we might not receive exactly what we're asking for, but something even better. Such is God's great pleasure, for He alone perfectly knows each heart's desire and wishes to fulfill it.

Our most powerful tool for shaping the world and lives around us is always available. Prayer lets us witness God's hand in any situation. And as we give attention, time, and perseverance to conversation with Him, we find no limit to what He can achieve in people's hearts and circumstances.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org.

PITN: The Grape Harvest

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