I hope that you have been blessed with a wonderful summer that included family, friends, and times of refreshing. This has certainly been part of our summer. 

I also hope that you will now turn your thoughts and prayers to how God can use us all to grow in Him and to accomplish His purposes.

Let me give you some suggestions concerning how you can grow into the likeness of Christ and serve Him with all your life.

First, determine to stay close to God. I try to accomplish this by deliberate acts of worship and growth. Four practices will bring us close to God – worship, service, Scripture, and prayer. When we yield our lives to God, we will stay close to God. Both the Old and New Testaments tell us to draw near to God and that God will in turn draw near to us. As you pray, ask God to fill you with His Spirit and declare your desire to be close to Him.

Second, seek to understand and obey Holy Scripture. This will involve reading Scripture and meditating on it. In the Hebrew Bible, the prophets begin with Joshua and end with Malachi. The first chapter of the prophets begins with a call for Joshua and the people of God to meditate on His Word. Malachi 4, the last chapter in the prophets, calls for the same kind of meditation.

The obvious implication is that in order to obey His commands we must meditate on His Word.

Third, look for every opportunity to share the hope that you have in Christ. We live in a lost world that needs Christ like never before. You will be instrumental in helping others to know Christ and to experience hope, peace, and joy that comes in knowing Him.

Doing these things will get you off to a good start in becoming like Christ and serving Him wholeheartedly.

-Dr. Waylon Bailey