Producing Fruit

“The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 3:10 NIV

Once we have accepted Christ as our savior we are just beginning. We are no longer powerless and weak. The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in our hearts and will be with us always. He is there to help us and to guide us. With his help you can do anything. You should join a good church, start reading the Bible, and pray regularly. These all help us get to know the God we serve. You want to grow your relationship. Any relationship takes work. Spending time getting to know Christ and his characteristics. When you get to know him you will want to keep his commands. While you are keeping his commands you will grow character and you will see fruit in your life. Fruit is: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and Faithfulness. If we don’t have fruit then we really aren’t changed. If there is no fruit then are we really saved? So many people say they are Christians but there is no fruit in there lives. Zero. But Christian means follower of Christ. Christ taught us to love and do good or show fruit. So to be a Christian you need to love and bear fruit. No fruit, no Jesus. It’s plain and simple. So do all you can to genuinely love others. Helping them in all their needs and encouraging them to be better people. This kind of fruit keeps growing in us and then in others. It never ends. Don’t be like the Pharisees. They knew the law and even made up some of their own but did not know Christ personally. They were not followers but wanted to be followed for who they were. They did not keep many of the laws themselves. They certainly did not love the less fortunate like Jesus did. He came to serve and they were too good to serve. A real servant serves not just those they like but serves those that can’t give anything in return. That’s true service.

Do you want to have fruit in your life?

How Far Will We Fall

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lamp stand from its place. Revelations 2:4-5 NIV

I just finished reading a great book about the church in the last days. Called ‘Salt and Light’. It showed how biblical prophecies of the last days can be interpreted and how we as Christians should stand strong and look to overcome the deceptions that will come. Satan still works to deceive even Christians. He will use anything he can to put doubt in our minds. His biggest area of attack is with our pride and our desires. So many things the world tells us we gotta have. Things are not necessarily bad but can take up so much of our time. Causing us to neglect our time with God. We really need to spend time every day with God to stay strong. If we do not take time to strengthen our spirits then we too risk being deceived. I have been there and it is a slippery slope. I never want the enemy to pull the wool over my eyes again. So many in the church are living defeated and ineffectual lives. Thinking they are just fine. The road to heaven is very narrow and few will stay strong till the end. The one thing you can use to judge where you are at is by the fruit in your life. They will know we are Christians by our love, but without plentiful fruit we are ineffective. Love, joy, peace, forbearance, goodness, kindness, and faithfulness. If these are not abundant in our lives we have cause for concern. Our church has so many different ministries for helping others. Out of our several satellite churches it takes continuous miracles to keep up with all the many needs of all the locations. We just keep stepping up the work as that day grows nearer. Each location has its own unique needs. The biggest thing we need to remember is to live at peace with all men. Don’t get dragged into conflict and turmoil if at all possible. Our reputations are more important now, more than ever. The world is where we reside but we are to be different. We are residents of Heaven first. Just passing through this world temporarily. The world says spend, spend, spend. We may be one of the richest countries and have more available to us than everyone else but we are also so far in debt that we will never see ourselves out of debt. The average household owes thousands but we live for today and worry how to pay for it tomorrow. We need wisdom so badly from God. We need to learn how to live within our means and learn how to save. Those who have learned how to give are blessed so much in their finances. It is a very good place to be.

What are you doing to stay strong?

God needs us

As part of my special needs class at church we love to sing. We recently learned a song we sing each week.’ I need you’.By Hezekiah Walker.  It tells us how important we are to God and how much he needs us to be his hands and feet serving people around us.

While we know God is all sufficient and he doesn’t need anything. He is able to do anything himself and does. He has given us the opportunity as his children to act like him on his behalf. To serve and love those around us. We are in essence his hands and feet to a lost and hurting world.

That doesn’t mean just overseas missionary work but to everyone we come in contact with. God accepts everyone, everyone whether black, white, red, yellow, or green matters to him. For all of us are sinners no one is perfect but he loves each and everyone of us. No matter what we have done. In his eyes we are either his children or future children of his.

He wants everyone to know him!

The song goes-

I need you, you need me; we’re all apart of God’s body.

Stand with me, agree with me; we’re all apart of God’s body.

It is his will that every need be supplied, you are important to me; I need you to survive.

He wants everyone’s needs met and to do that he uses us, his imperfect children.

I pray for you, you pray for me, I love you and need you to survive .

I will not hurt you with words from my mouth, I love you and need you to survive.

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”   Matthew 25: 35&36 NIV

Each person has needs we can meet. Even if it’s just a kind word and a smile. Nobody is better than anyone else. It doesn’t matter where you live, how much money you have, your religion, your color, your education or lack thereof. We ALL matter.

We need to be willing to care about the well being of others, to put our neighbor first.

Which is the second most important commandment.

What can you do for a neighbor, someone you meet when you are out running errands. Even your own family can be overlooked when you are around them often.

We live in a violent and falling world. People are getting worse all the time. All week I have been hearing about the many pipe bombs sent to high profile figures and right now they are talking about a shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue. So much bad is happening all around the world.

It’s time people start making the news for doing good humanitarian things to make this a better planet not worse. Even if they don’t make the news they will change the lives of others for the best.

The Cross of Christ

This week I watched a movie that was so good. I strongly recommend Pure Flix as a provider of great faith based movies and family programming. I have seen so many good movies with a message. The one I watched this week was about how different lives are just threads in the beautiful tapestry God is designing.

You never know when our life will interact with another life that may have a divine purpose with far reaching ramifications. It showed the lives of several individuals going about their everyday lives but how they all were intermeshing to bring His will and ultimately salvation to lost and hurting lives far from him.

The main thing I took from the movie is something a man walking the streets with a large wooden cross asked to a local minister. “Do you believe in the cross of Christ?”

He said well of course, I’m a preacher. But it didn’t end there. It got him thinking and it did me to.

Growing up as a Christian in a Christian home I knew all about Christ. We went to church Sundays and Wednesdays, had Bible studies at my parents house one night a week. My parents worked with the college class so we were always getting together with them to do fun things.

I enjoyed being around my church friends. That was a big part of my life and who I was. But at other times it was business as usual. God didn’t affect much of my life. Oh I always tried to be good and knew God was important but it didn’t really change the way I lived.

As many of you know a severe stroke got my attention when I was only 45. Up till then I did what I wanted and when I wanted in regards to my life. That stroke was a wake up call from God. I almost died. Was I ready to meet God?

It was all different for me and tragedy often brings questions into our lives. What is life all about? What lies ahead? Our we ready? How have we run the race? I had to do a lot of seeking and I came up lacking greatly. I was not who I should be but God who is faithful, knows us, loves us, and gives us a do over.

The question that preacher heard hit him so hard that he asked it to his congregation.

“ Do you believe in the cross of Christ?”

Jesus, God’s son who had been with him since time began made a plan with his father. Thousands of years ago before we were ever born, although God for knew each one of us and loved us. They had to make a way for us to be together apart from sin. Yet we are all sinners, everyone.

Jesus would give up his right to be equal to God and come to earth as a helpless new born baby. He would be 100% man with all the failings we have, yet not sin, not even once. He would live a perfect life, with God’s help. Submitting to all authorities even to being hung on that cross to die as a hated criminal.

His perfect sacrifice, pure and blameless, would be just what we would need to be redeemed. By faith, only, we have been bought with a very high price. We don’t deserve it. We could never earn it. Still he did it for everyone who will believe.

How do I thank him for that gift properly? Everything I have ever done wrong in my life is washed away as if it never happened. I am far from perfect even though I try to do good. Do I really try to do his will for my life? Do I serve him and those around me?

Everyone I come in contact with is loved greatly by God. Who knows if I may divinely impact their lives, whether good or bad. Might I be the last Christian to leave an example of my fathers love in their lives. We are all the hands, feet, finances, and love of God in this world.

Do we draw others to him with our lives? He has promised to help us. To make our lives extra impactful for him. Not just an ordinary life, but one that truly matters to others. I always try to do his will. But do I pay that much attention to my every interaction with others.

I will now. It makes so much difference to those around me. I talk with difficulty, and my words may be few, but they need to be intentional. “God help me to always stay in control with my emotions by trusting that you are in control of what happens to me, good or bad.”