Carlene's Corner – Time For Growth

Time and Growth

It seems the older I become, the harder it is to keep up with time and to remember dates. The days, months, and years just seem to mesh together. One way I’ve discovered to remember dates is by association with special events that have happened. For instance, I remember the year my mother passed away because it was the year before our first grandchild was born. I remember the year my dad passed away because it was the year Ted and I made a mission trip to the Philippines.

My  mother-in-law remembered events by associating them with Ted’s service in the Navy. She would say, “That happened when Teddy (she was the only one allowed to call him Teddy) was in the Navy.”

Often, when I’m with friends and family, they begin to talk about people and events of the past.

Someone will say, “Don’t you remember?” When I say “No,” they offer different descriptions, locations, names, unusual happenings, etc. to try to jog my memory. Sometimes that works and I can remember.

Pictures are great to help me remember. I can take out our wedding picture album and the events of the entire day unfold in my memory. Looking at family pictures from time to time shows me the growth of our family and helps me remember some of the many exciting events that have taken place.  

In January 1993, after twenty great years of serving at the Bill Rice Ranch, the Lord led us back to our roots here in Trenton, Georgia, to continue Silent Word Ministries. That was seventeen years ago. Our grandson, Dakota Allen, was only a few months old. Last November he celebrated his 17th birthday and got his driver’s license.

These two pictures show visible growth of our grandson and are a marker I use for remembering this special ministry decision in our lives.

The relocation of our ministry was a step of faith and a new beginning. It was just the Lord,Ted, and me starting over.  We began in a small two-car garage. During these seventeen years the Lord has given us the facilities we have today. What began with just two people has grown to a team of twelve families for the purpose of reaching deaf people worldwide with the Gospel. We often say, “To God be the glory, great things He hath done.”

When I look at the people and the buildings that God has provided, it is a visible sign of growth and a reminder of the passing of time in our ministry.

Looking at Dakota’s baby picture and then his 17th birthday picture, physical growth and change are obvious. Time has made a difference. From SWM’s humble beginning in 1993 to the present-day facilities, again physical growth and change are obvious. I wonder, is there obvious growth and change in our Christian lives?

When is your spiritual birthday? How old are you in the Lord? Since the time you were born into God’s family, have you matured? Can others see growth and change in your Christian life? Many Christians grow old physically but do not produce spiritual growth. Just as it takes proper diet and exercise to grow physically,  the Bible has a formula for maturing spiritually.

The book of Peter tells us how to grow spiritually. “…giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity”  (II Peter 1:5-7). The result is found in verse 8, “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” As Ted often says, “No one can grow spiritually without the Word of God – No one!” (I Peter 2:2).

Simply stated, after we are saved, we are to work hard to add to our faith, moral purity, knowledge of God and the Bible, self-control, patience, right living, kindness and love. When this is the growth pattern of our spiritual lives, it will become obvious to others that we are maturing as Christians.

Physical growth and change can be seen. Spiritual growth and change can also be seen. What are others seeing in your life?

This is written because I care…Carlene

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