Real Spiritual Success: How do we make spiritual progress?

Count Zinzendorf founded the “Guild of the Grain of Mustard Seed,” and, as a result, the Moravian Church was born. This servant of God proved a fundamental biblical principle—size never determines power! Compared to others, you may or may not have much. However, when the two cardinal virtues of faith and prayer are applied, the condition of real spiritual success and growth are created. Remember, doubt and fear are the twin foes of faith. Faith always involves three clear steps: it asks, it accepts, and it appropriates.

Samuel Ward reminds us that “Faith finds its luster in action, and not just in notion. It enters our hearts and not just our heads. This is the difference between one who reads about pleasant rivers and high mountains and one who travels to visit them. What a difference there is between understanding the notion of sweetness, and actually tasting the honey or sugar…it is possible for a man to have a gift from God and not the use of it. Among all the gifts of God, there is nothing more useful than faith…Allow faith to do her perfect work in you, and to form Christ in your heart. Do not allow yourself to be delayed in the power of fear and doubt.”

Sick Day

It’s always a bummer when someone in the family has to miss church because he or she is sick. It is even more of a bummer when EVERYONE in the family is sick and has to miss. This happened in my family earlier this year. So, instead of doing the usual “sick on the couch and watch movies all day” routine, I announced to my four-year-old daughter that since we couldn’t be at church, we could play church! She loved the idea! Here’s what we did:

  • She told me she was going to be me and I was going to be Pastor Knight.
  • While she gathered her stuffed animals to be a part of our congregation, I gathered some materials for our service: my Bible, one of her storybook Bibles (I highly recommend The Jesus Storybook Bible), and a music CD.
  • My daughter arranged all of her stuffed animals and got them all “Bibles” (whatever books she had).
  • We read, we prayed, we sang songs, we read a lesson from her Bible, and we even passed around an offering plate. J Then, we sang the closing song that we typically sing at church.

My daughter had a great time, and it was so neat to see her perspective of our Sunday services through this type of role play. I think it is also a great way to get her excited about the things of God! She loves pretend play at this age, and to integrate pretend play with truth is a great way to engage her.

You can make it very simple. There are so many great resources available for teaching children God’s Word (The Jesus Storybook Bible and The Gospel Story Bible are two that we have enjoyed). There are also so many sing-along children’s CDs! We sang “Father Abraham” and used body motions to go along with the song. You don’t have to be a musician or singer! Just play the CD and sing from your heart.

Most importantly, as you are playing with your children and incorporating Christ as part of that play, remember that you are making memories for you and your children and this is part of teaching His words “…when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up” (Deut.6:7).

Memories on a Budget

There is a blessing in staying home and depending solely on one income; however, it is tough. We have tried to become better stewards of our income—not perfectly, but striving each day to do better. We are constantly reminding ourselves that God is sovereign and He will provide.

When I think about making memories, we have learned that even on a limited income, we are able to create memories that last for a lifetime.   As we watch our sweet baby girl Olivia reach out to us to meet her needs of milk, a hug, or simply to be close to us, we realize that we are making memories that will last a lifetime. This time has reminded us of our need to keep our eyes on the Lord and faithfully seek Him (Matt.6:33). We stand in awe of how the Lord is faithful to His own (Ps.105).

So, rather than focusing on doubt and the fear of not knowing how the next bill will get paid, we focus on the love, peace, and joy we have in our relationship with our Lord God. Through this, we are able to encourage each other and be creative in making memories—a special homemade dish, loving notes in my husband’s lunch, or time spent with our extended family and friends. All of these things, and much more, have provided us with a way to see past the daily struggles and rest in God’s grace for our family.

We are challenged and amazed at how the Lord is teaching and guiding us in finding biblical solutions to our finances. Our memories are not necessarily in things that we’ve purchased, but in experiences that grow us as people, as a family, and as Christians.

Romans 8:28—And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Family Memories

Even though Robert and I come from very different family backgrounds, we both have the same kinds of family memories. I remember the many times my family packed up the cooler with mom’s fried chicken, boiled eggs, potato salad, and delicious watermelon to go to on a picnic at one of the county parks. Robert says he remembers not so much the recurring events, but the special ones, like the time the family rented a cabin in the woods or the time he and his sister spent three weeks with relatives in Detroit.

Memories form in our minds for lots of different reasons. Sometimes it’s because someone planned to make an event memorable, but sometimes it’s the unexpected disaster or fortune that could never have been planned. Some memories grow with the retelling. Some memories hide themselves as simple routines or habits, only to be recovered years later through some triggering event or comment.

Nevertheless, memories can be created on purpose. It seems to us that good relationships should include intentional memory making. You don’t need to spend money or even go outside your home to make a memory. Here are some ideas:

  • Go do the unexpected, big deal thing (like an unplanned road trip).
  • Start a tradition around Christmas, Easter, or some other important date.
  • Choose to be consistent about something really important, even in the face of uncooperative children or spouse (like reading through the Bible for devotions).
  • Read aloud (or let someone else via an audio book).
  • Take pictures, and then let the kids make scrapbooks (physical or electronic).
  • Treat your children differently in tangible ways that say, “I see your uniqueness and rejoice in it.”


Our list is just a place to start. The idea is that we can create family memories if we just take the time to work at it. It is important not to stress over how well we have done this in the past. Let’s trust God to give us the grace to make our family’s life a joyful, Christ-filled experience.