“I am the vine; and you are the branches. if you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV
This verse has so much to say about our walk with God. Who God is and how he sees his awesome plan for us. God is the one who made us and we are a part of him. We were never meant to be apart from him. Our need of him is so very important in every aspect of our lives. If we want to be all we can be, we will need to cooperate with him. He does know what is best. He has great plans for us. To be people for himself that will bear much fruit, this fruit is the traits and characteristics that will further his kingdom. We will be loving, peaceable, joyful, long-suffering, gentle, good, meek, temperate, and faithful. These are the fruits he desires to see in us. He uses the example of a grape vine for good reasons. If God is a grape vine then we are connected to him and will produce his fruits. Grape vines produce grapes. We can not decide on our own to produce something other than grapes, like tomatoes. We are to be more like him every day. He decides what we need to be and what is best for all. We also need to be connected to him. He is our power source. If we do what we want and not what he has asked us to do we will be weak, and ineffective. We need to spend time with him. A relationship with him is very important. Anyone you ever have a relationship with is important to you. You spend time with them, share, talk about the good and the bad together and become closer together all the time. Another thing about a grape vine is to be connected every day. If you are not connected to his vine, you are disconnected. If you are disconnected you will die. It may be a slow miserable death, but with no nutrients you will die. When a vine dies it is burnt up and cast away.. You don’t want to be cast off or dead do you? You are not going to be very productive if you are dead. As I was reading my Bible today I was in Deuteronomy. The Israelites had just spent 40 years wandering around in the wilderness and the whole time God was providing for them. They were brought out of Egypt in such a mighty way. Even when they faced their first struggles God was strong. Splitting the Red Sea so they walked right through, in the mud, no. They walked on solid, dry, ground. He provided water when they needed it, and food for many thousand men, women and children. They demanded meat and God sent quail. Their clothes and shoes held up for forty years and never wore out. During this time they married and had families. He kept them safe and strong. Because there was as many people after the forty years as when they began and the previous generation had all died in the wilderness. Only Joshua and Caleb remained from the original bunch. When they came into the promised land God fought for them. No matter how big or how strong their enemies were, they did not stand a chance. But he warned them to leave certain people alone. Because he had already blessed them, such as Esaus family and Lot’s family. Those who God has blessed shall remain blessed.
Do yo want to be one of God’s blessed people?
“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” Genesis 1:3 NIV
This one short phrase says so much. In the very beginning All was dark and there was nothing. When God said this He was well aware of our need for him. In the beginning he walked in the garden with the man and woman, sharing all he had with them. It was never about us, but everything He can do for us. He made a perfect garden, far better than any man could create. The animals he created are so beautiful and so unique, but every one of them has a purpose in this world. They are made just for the environment they live in. Whether it is warm or cold. Flat or rocky, wet or dry. I do not know how you can look at some of these wonders and not think about their creator. Jesus is the light of the world and God is light, in him there is no darkness. Without him there would be nothing. Contrary to many so called wise men, who say, “ the earth just happened in all its unique perfection and purpose.” That is so far from anything that has ever happened before and so hard to prove. We all know man is not perfect but guessing at life is hard to believe. The light of the world spoke and things happened. Amazing and wonderful things happened. Their ability for greatness and wisdom are so evident. Everything was taken into consideration. How would the plants be watered? What would we eat? In the very beginning the world was perfect. Man didn’t need clothes because the climate was moderate. Everyone, including animals ate plants and there was no death. Everything they could ever want or need was included. God has called us to be his light to the world. We are anxiously awaiting Jesus,s great return. But he is waiting for his church to stand up and be this light and be victorious. He has called us to be salt, the flavor and purifier this world needs. So many people have become complacent, thinking that the world will just get worse and it’s too late. But Jesus said continue to tell the world about him until he comes again in his glory. Tomorrow you just might change someone’s way of thinking by the love you share and they will be saved. If we just give up, who knows how many people could be saved. It can be something very simple that finally gets through to them, so continue to speak hope and love. So many people don’t know that they are loved and are important. We should never stop being light because this is a dark time. Even some who call themselves Christians just do not know the hope set before us.
What can you do to be light?
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masters business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 NIV
“…and again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise are futile. 1 Corinthians 3:20 NIV
It is so sad that many so called wise men and women can be so lost in their self centered thinking that they would not even consider something so much bigger and better than themselves exists. Something that could actually benefit them. Well I know no friend who will ever mean more to me than Jesus. His words are not only true, but I have never seen any fail. Something in the back of my mind plays his words over and over in my mind knowing I can never find a mistake. He can predict things that will happen a hundred years from now in the future with precise accuracy. Things that are even humanly impossible. He can say this and that will happen even if they make no sense and they somehow come to pass. He loves to make some events so impossible that we as humans can see that unless someone so completely not human steps in they could never happen yet they do. Why can we not see? God is still in control over them. That’s the irony that some just can’t get. They see themselves as important and wise but they are just clanging cymbals. And some may even have their eyes opened but most will die in their own sin. They will face the Lord after it is too late and bow before him just to spend eternity in torment. We are the ones who could say something that could change their thinking. If they only opened their eyes and realized that we only share because we really care. There is nothing self serving in sharing the good news of Jesus. Those that do it really do care. We may be a true friend by trying to share but even we are not perfect. It is easy to throw up your hands and say, “Oh well, I tried!” You just don’t deserve it anyway. They do deserve it but they just can’t see beyond themselves. They are the big picture and there is no room for anything else. I do understand. I have been so deceived in my thinking that I truly saw myself as being right even though it was warped thinking. It happens and pride is the root. In hindsight it is so easy to see but at the time, blindness happens. The more sin happens the more it takes hold and the enemy can begin to pull the wool over your eyes . It can start slowly but can continue growing as you feed it. More sin, less sight. I would say that someone that walks close to the Lord and does amazing things with God’s help. They could never walk away from him. Well anyone can lose their faith. I’ve seen it happen. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you, but you can leave him. He is a perfect gentleman never staying where he is not wanted. Just look at the state of the world. He says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” If we continue to walk as closely as we can and do everything we can to keep that connection open I know he will too. But sin unchecked can creep in slowly. It can start with simple loneliness. Seeking acceptance and love in the wrong place and with the wrong people. A little sin here or there and we are right where we never wanted to be.
Are you thinking too wise in your own eyes?
“I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3 NIV
How much God does love us. Every day as I set out to write I seek God’s will for what to write about. So yesterday I felt led to write about his great love for us and how much he has done for us. I felt so overwhelmed by his goodness and just couldn’t come up with the words to express my feelings. Some days I just don’t have it. I can’t write and feel inadequate. But after spending time seeking him and remembering that it isn’t me that has any power to get it done, I relax. Our God loves us and we can see this through his words. In the very beginning he had a perfect plan to shower us with everything good and give us a perfect life with himself to share it. He made our amazing universe. Billions of stars and billions of galaxies. He doesn’t do things part way but in great abundance. A world that could sustain us and keep us safe and happy, but one that we could never get bored with. We could spend forever discovering it’s beauty and greatness. He made a garden that was more beautiful than any since. And he made man in his own image with everything needed to make us mighty and wise. It was very good to a perfect God. There was nothing evil. He also gave us free will to chose and we let that control us. We wanted what was good but let ourselves get in the way of what was great. “For no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived, the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 God still wanted man after he was banished from the garden and he had to make a way for us to be together again. His own son would come to earth as a poor helpless baby, giving up his place in glory. He would live a perfect life and freely give his life to be killed in a horrible way, just to save us. We did not deserve it, and we could never earn it. We were bought at such an exorbitant price and that price was God’s very own son. Now we could be free. Our salvation made it possible for God to see us as perfect again. We would no longer die but live with him in perfection forever. No, everything he does is to help us become perfect. He is in no hurry, but patiently and lovingly he will continue to work on us. We were never created for a mediocre life but a very good and awesome life. To be all that we can be. We have to sacrifice our desires for the one who knows better than us, what we really need. We need to love sacrificially. Loving God, our neighbor and even those we don’t want to love. Those that might not deserve it,. The more we give, the more he gives. It’s a win win situation.
How many want to be all you can be?
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful because he cannot disown himself .” 2 Timothy 2:13 NIV
We are flawed and sinful. But God is perfect. He cannot sin, it’s not his nature. We can trust that he will be faithful to do all that he promises. His promises are so good that it seems too good to be true. At one time I knew of his promises and believed they were true, but I had doubts. But now I have such a good relationship with him and I know him. He has proven true time and time again throughout the years. Being 61 years old he has always taken good care of me. I still have pain, heartaches and trials but I know he is there with me through it all and is helping and encouraging me through it all. He also teaches me so much about his ways through it. I no longer just believe, I have seen with my own heart his goodness for myself and he is faithful. Lately I have been so easily touched by him. I hear a song or someone says something good about God, and I get all choked up. I just get so blessed because he’s not just good he’s awesome. You can get to know him better for yourself. He promises as we seek more of him he will give it. But we need to make the first move to get to know him better. Pray! To get to know anyone better you need to talk to them. Read God’s word! We need to read all about him. His ways and his character. Why he does what he does. You can only get to know him by reading about him every day. You can read the same things over and over and always get something different out of it. That’s why the word is alive. The spirit shows you something different each time. Listen to praise music! Hearing others sing about how great he is rubs off. I hear myself singing in my sleep and I do sleep peacefully. Go to church! Being around other Christians and hearing them talk about his goodness inspires and relationships are strong. Pray and intercede for others! Praying for others needs encourages you when you hear answers to their prayers. He will also take care of your needs. I have come so far in my walk with him in just a short time. I find myself excited for each new day of his blessings. He is so very good.
Do you know the one who is always faithful?
“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures for eternal life, which the son of man will give you. For on him God the father has placed his seal of approval.” John 6:27 NIV
Why do we feel that we need to strive for all we need. We have a loving Heavenly Father who knows what we really need and wants to give it to us. He does a really good job of supplying needs for billions of people every day. All he asks is that we love him first and best. He wants a real relationship with us. He has also asked us to love others. We don’t need to worry or demand what we want. God has promised to give us our daily needs. This world has created people who are consumed with their needs or wants. To have more than everyone else. We are very self centered and self absorbed. Do we really need just to be happy? I have met homeless and poor people who are very content and thankful for what they have. I also knew a very wealthy man who lived poorly because it was more than what he needed. I don’t need a big fancy car, fancy clothes or a mansion. I have all I need and that makes me happy. Just having more does not make you happy. Things will not make your life. We should be going after things that truly bring happiness like peace and joy. God gives that freely to those who seek him. These are not worldly things but things that he has told us in his word that we need. First and foremost is a relationship with the one who has everything we need and can give us eternal life. This should be our top goal because everything comes from him. Then if we follow his commands and his ways he will meet our needs. There is something so rewarding about caring for others. Loving others is fulfilling. As we help to meet the needs of others we receive love in return and our needs are surprisingly being met. I am still so amazed every time I shower that my shampoo is always enough and never runs out. It has been that way for months. Praise God. Miraculously I don’t need much. There is so much joy in not thinking about it but seeing God provide. Do you know that God, the creator of the universe, has told us that Jesus has his stamp of approval and that he will be our everything. I can tell you how great Jesus is but who am I? God, the main guy, now he is everything and has everything. He wants us to know his son. He has given everything to him and he wants to give everything to us.
Do you want to strive or know the one who has everything you need?
“Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” Exodus 33: 18-19 NIV
The glory of the Lord is a great and powerful thing but not everyone can see it. I know I was 50 before my eyes were actually open so I could see how awesome God is. It wasn’t until I searched for all of him that my eyes were opened fully and I was in awe. Before then I did know the Lord, but I just knew of him. There was no power or awe in my life and it was a real struggle to do the right things. Now that my eyes are opened I am so in love and am in awe of all his attributes. He overwhelms me all the time with how good and merciful he is. I also get so emotional in a minutes time when people tell me something God has done. My heart yells, “Ya, that’s my God, isn’t he awesome.” It’s like the proud feeling you get when someone is bragging about your child or spouse, someone you love so very much. But God is unbelievably good. I see him do special things everyday in my life and I am just one of his kids. Wow. Another thing he tells us is that not everyone gets his grace and mercy and compassion in their lives. He is God and he will do what he will do and there is no one or nothing that has any right to question his motives. But if you read his words and believe in Jesus Christ as your savior. Then you know like I do that he does show favor to his own children. If you are one of his family you know he gives blessings to us all of the time and enjoys doting over us. The more time I spend with him in prayer, reading his word, singing praises and all the other things I do to get to know him better, the more I fall in love with him. It brings so much peace and joy just knowing how much he loves me. I’m so glad I was born into a good Christian family and got to know him while I was young. But not so many people are so lucky. I did not have some of the struggles and difficulties others have had. I had a very good life so far. That is why I have a desire to let others know how easy it is to have that joy and peace I have found.
Don’t you want to be one of his kids he dotes over?
‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.’ Genesis 28:17 NIV
Heaven for a Christian is your final reward. For a life lived for the Lord. We don’t have to fear death. We are going home to a wonderful family. A father who loves us more than we can ever imagine. Relatives and friends who died earlier will be waiting. Maybe you lost a child at birth or had a miscarriage, you’ll get to meet them. People whose lives were changed because of you. I once heard of a doctor talking to a dying patient. What do you think is waiting on the other side, the patient asked. The doctor went to the door and opened it. In came a big shaggy dog all excited, almost knocked over the doctor. He explained, ‘my dog was waiting outside.’. He didn’t know what was going on inside but he knew his master, who he loved greatly, was in there and he couldn’t wait to be reunited with him. Do you know what’s awaiting you when you pass through that door? There is forever after, when you cease to exist in this life. It’s not knowing what’s on the other side but, who is on the other side. I can’t wait to see my master. Can you? Who is your master? If you don’t know Jesus, and he gladly wants to get to know you and for you to know him. He is the most awesome, loving one you will ever meet. If you know him you don’t need to worry. He loved you before you were ever born. He knows how many hairs are on your head. He knows all about you and he is standing before you with his arms open wide, saying, ,‘welcome home.’ He doesn’t expect anything from you but love. If you don’t know him it’s easy to get to know him. Then you will know who is waiting for you. He anxiously waits for you to ask him to be your Lord and savior. All he asks is that you believe in him and his son Jesus Christ. Believe that he died for you and that he was raised to life again. The best gift you will ever receive is Jesus Christ. Accept that simple gift today by asking him into your life, and to forgive every sin you have committed, and for him to help you live a life devoted to him. If you believe that with your heart, you are now a child of the King. Get to know him by speaking to him like a long lost friend. He loves you so much and wants to have a relationship with you. Get a Bible and begin to read about the God who loves all his children equally.
Are you ready to see God?
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it.” Jeremiah 17:9 NIV
I’ve heard it said many times, “just follow your heart.” Is that really good advice? The heart can be wrong. Remember we are fallen, sinful people. Our hearts are only as good as the stuff we put in them. Out of the heart the mouth speaks and it’s not all good. Maybe you were raised by an abusive alcoholic and knew hate. Or you have been belittled as a child and bullied. To the point that you hate yourself and don’t feel love or that you could ever love. Maybe you are tormented by thoughts of suicide. No hope and tired of hurting. No we can not understand everyone’s heart because we haven’t walked a mile in their shoes. But God can. He knows everyone and everything they’ve done and been through. He still loves them very much. They matter to him and he doesn’t want to see them hurting . If we seek to do the will of God he can and will show us how to help. The most important thing I have learned from the church I go to is to help people, especially the marginalized. Find a need and fill it. In doing that you are doing what Christ would do if he was here on earth. We are his hands and feet. He knows who needs help and he will show that to someone who cares. People need so many things. Food, a safe and warm bed, clothes for their family, a friend, sometimes it’s more complicated if the are addicted or homeless. But there are always ways to help them. Jesus is in the business of meeting needs. He wants us to be the same way. He also wants us to fuel our hearts with all good things to help us have good hearts. Things like praying, reading the Bible, and other positive and uplifting things like singing praises and listening to good music. Or watching good movies and programs. If the stuff getting into our hearts is good and wholesome, our hearts will be also. Have a desire to love others. Be deliberate in what you do and say. You can make a big difference in the world around you. You can make an impact.
What can you do or say to help?
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last- and so that whatever you ask in my name the father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15:16 NIV
God made this world to have people who would love him. People he could have a relationship with. He chooses us. If he does not choose you, you will never believe in him. He does not choose everyone. Some people will reject him no matter what he does. They are spiritually blind and God has not opened their eyes. We are a messed up people. Without him we can do no good thing. We are cursed with an awful sin nature from birth. We will all sin and think more of ourselves than anyone else. But some of us he believes in. I was born into a wonderful Christian family and my grandfather was a Baptist minister. It was a church going family. From the time I was born I was in church. It was part of my life. I accepted Christ into my heart when my kindergarten teacher approached me one day. It was during recess that I said the sinners prayer. I will never forget that day. Some people don’t hear about the Lord till later on in life. He calls us to himself to be his children. He wants us to bear fruit. The fruit that he speaks of is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, temperance and faith. These are characteristics that he shows and he wants us to grow and share these characteristics with others and help them to learn of his love for everyone. He wants us to have faith. He tells us to come to him in the name of his son, Jesus, and ask anything and it will be done for us. He wants to do so much for us. He wants to give us the best life we could ever have. But he wants us to love him and follow his commandments. To love others. Not just anyone can do that. He knows that. Even though he will help, not everyone will do that. Many will follow the world and its ways. To be just like everyone else. I don’t want to be like everyone else. I want to be different. I want to be promised forever with him when I die. I will not feel guilty that I was chosen. I will never take that for granted either. I will, however, continue to pray for others that their eyes will be opened too. He has said that everyone may come to him.
You are welcome but will you come?