How to Grow Like Jesus [Podcast]

Luke 2:52

As we look toward a new year, what better person could we find than Jesus as a model for growth? Jesus grew in all areas: intellectually, physically, spiritually, and socially.

His example shows us how to make this new year one in which we determine to grow–just as He did.

Following God’s Voice

“Following God’s Voice” —

Matthew 2:13-23 —

How do we know where God wants us to go? Where do we follow Him? Matthew records four God-given dreams Joseph had by which he led his young family. Each revelation required him to trust God’s ability to guide, provide, and protect. In these last days, as God has spoken to us through Jesus, we also should listen and be willing to follow wherever He leads us.

(c) 2008 Wayne Stiles

A Little Town—Bethlehem

When we listen to Christmas carols and look at Christmas cards, we often find them filled with sentimental terms such as “tidings,” “goodwill,” “noel,” “cheer” and “Merry Christmas.”

Scenes on the cards typically depict a newborn (who looks about two years old) with radiant beams from His holy face, oxen and donkeys bowing, with halos hovering above Jesus, Joseph and Mary.

A Little Town—Bethlehem

(Painting by Mattia Preti. Public domain.)

We call the baby’s bed a “manger,” not a feed trough. We label the scene a “nativity,” not a birth. We’ve even built a church over the cave where Christ was born!

We do all we can to take away the ignobility the Bible explicitly portrays. And what’s that? Christ’s birth represented humility in the truest sense of the word.

Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, Micah prophesied that One coming from eternity would bring the Jews back to their land and rule Israel with worldwide fame in the strength of the Lord (Micah 5:2-5). This mighty Messiah would come from the ignoble, little town of Ruth and David: Bethlehem (see Ruth 4:11, 22).

Why such unadorned humility? Because Jesus came the first time to live the life we should have lived and to die the death we should have died for our sins. The second coming of Christ is the one everyone wanted first. While Micah blended both advents into one prophesy, we understand the necessity of their separation (see Heb. 9:28).

We needed a Savior before we needed a King.

The words Phillips Brooks penned in 1868 after a Christmas Eve visit to Bethlehem remain so appropriate:

In thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light: the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

Going Places with God- A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the BibleLike This Post? Get the Whole Book!

This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible.
• These 90 devotional readings, each based on a specific place in the lands of the Bible, will help you apply the truths of God’s Word to your daily journey of faith.
• You’ll enjoy pertinent Scripture, inspirational quotes, photographs, maps, and a daily prayer.

After going places with God, you’ll never be the same.

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Why God’s Plan Seems so Slow [Podcast]

Mark 4:21-34

Sometimes God’s plan seems slow. The building of God’s kingdom seldom makes headlines. Furthermore, our weary struggle often seems futile. But Jesus reveals God’s program may seem to be slow and dragging, but actually it is storming the world by stealth.

In a visual age of instant everything, Jesus’ parables encourage patient and persistent faith toward a certain and overwhelming outcome.

Stormed by Stealth

“Stormed by Stealth”–
Mark 4:21-34 —

Sometimes God’s plan seems off-base. The building of God’s kingdom seldom makes headlines. Furthermore, our weary struggle often seems futile. But Jesus reveals God’s program may seem to be dragging, but actually it is storming the world by stealth. In a visual age of instant everything, Jesus’ parables encourage patient and persistent faith toward a certain and overwhelming outcome.

(c) 2008 Wayne Stiles

Removing the Barriers to Understanding the Bible [Podcast]

Mark 4:1-20

Have trouble applying the Bible? When we hear God’s Word, our barriers to living it out are several: Satan, affliction, and even prosperity.

Jesus challenges us to cultivate a heart that will hear the Word, accept it, and bear much fruit.

Soiled Again

Soiled Again” —


Mark 4:1-20 —


Have trouble applying the Bible? When we hear God’s Word, our barriers to living it out are several: Satan, affliction, and even prosperity. Jesus challenges us to cultivate a heart that will hear the Word, accept it, and bear much fruit.

(c) 2008 Wayne Stiles