Christian, Stop Debating and Start Demonstrating

“He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” – Proverbs‬ ‭9:7-10‬ ‭

How often do we see believers getting caught up in debates with unbelievers? Is there any fruit in that? According to scripture, the answer is “no”. Unless a person has the fear of the Lord, which equates to an understanding of, and a belief in God’s just judgment and hell, and a reverence for His omnipotent wisdom, then they themselves have no wisdom. 

The truth is that non of us have any wisdom of ourselves, our world view is so limited and our minds, will’s, and emotions, are so easily manipulated, twisted, and confounded by the enemy who was by God’s own admittance, “the wisest creature God had created.” That means the devil is wiser then you, he is a lier, and a master deceiver. The devil will outsmart you every time, but he will never outsmart God. Therefore, to fear God will cause you to obey God, which will cause you to walk in His wisdom, which is the only wisdom that is wisdom because it’s the only wisdom that can outsmart the devil’s wisdom.

“Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made…”- Geneses‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.” – Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-7‬ ‭

So understanding this we can see that it is utterly pointless to try to instruct someone who does not fear the Lord and therefor honor His wisdom above their own. So believers, stop debating with unbelievers, they cannot know the truth until they have first come to know Him that is the truth. Don’t debate moral issues with people who do not have God who is the only moral standard. Don’t debate the deep truths of the bible with people who do not have the Holy Spirit of God, it is not yet open to them. Just give them the gospel, give them the good news, give them Jesus! 

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:1-2‬ ‭

Only once a person has truly had a real life changing, new creation, rebirth experience can they then walk in the humility to be instructed in the truth. Only after they have been made new and impossibly changed from what they thought they knew will the revelation of the reality that God’s ways are truly higher then their ways allow them to open up to the deeper wisdom of the way, the truth, and the life. Until then, you’re fighting a loosing fight. Trust God, He knows better. 

Stop debating and start demonstrating. You’re not demonstrating Jesus when you are debating Jesus. Show forth the good news and demonstrate the power of the the kingdom of God to set the captive free, transform lives, and do what cannot be explained or understood by the limited wisdom of man. No one can argue with your testimony, so stop debating Jesus and start demonstrating Jesus and you’ll see that the gospel  works on others when you show that it worked on you.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – ‭‭Revelation‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭

“But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭4:19-20‬ ‭

“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭17:5-10‬ 

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THE BATTLE OF THE WILL

img_5061“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.” – ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭57:15-16‬ ‭‬‬

Contrite: crushed to powder; destroyed
Humble: low, lowly, abase
Revive: quicken, restore to life
Heart: inner man, mind, will, emotions, character

As I understand the Scripture, GOD is looking for a people who ACKNOWLEDGE not in word alone, (but in action and deed) that HE IS GOD by a people who are destroyed in their own will, mind, and breath and lay low in disposition of character. In other words, NOT SELF-willed; but GOD-willed. Only this dead-willed people will our HOLY LORD GOD REVIVE! This is the BATTLE OF BATTLES, the war between GOD and man, and the sooner people decide to destroy their own self-will, self-desire, in humility and surrender, the sooner GOD will quicken, or revive our spirit and hearts to Himself.
GOD cannot revive what refuses to die! Even demons are more submissive to GOD than the self-willed man. The mercy of GOD waits for people to submit to HIM, but HE won’t strive with us forever, there is an end to this struggle between GOD’S WILL and self-will, but at the end of this battle which side will you find yourself on? The scariest thought for me is to be found in self-will standing face to face with GOD! For as Scripture states HE resists the proud, but gives Grace to the humble.

Compassion for the repentant:

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” – Isaiah‬ ‭57:15-21‬ ‭‬‬

GOD desires to heal us and restore us to life in Himself, but those who refuse to give up their heart, will, and desires to Him, will come under His Judgement.

Judgement for the unrepentant:

“Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew‬ ‭11:20-30‬

Submitted by Heather Wright

“Remembering our Frame”

“This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not .” – John 8:6

For me, this is probably one of the most intriguing verses to find in the Bible.

Quick Background:

If you’re familiar with the verse and/or passage, you’ll know it involves a pretty unfortunate, embarrassing, public-shaming scene for a woman caught in an adulterous act. If you pay pretty close attention to the exact wording, scripture says that this exposure happened IN the temple where Jesus was sitting teaching the people (8:2), as well as the woman was literally caught in the very act of adultery. (8:2)

For the record, I write this, not for shock value, but for a clear picture of the Biblical account of the unfailing mercy, immeasurable love, and forgiveness of our God. Not only were the religious leaders shaming her in front of “the congregation,” but they were actually ready to kill her.

The writer, John, points out their malicious attempt to catch Jesus in a controversial stance for which to accuse Him, but Jesus begins His huge winning response by first stooping down, ignoring the accusers, then “doodling in the dirt.” It was the doodling part that had me stuck at, “Why?” Then all of a sudden, the Lord graciously reminds me of a single attribute of Himself, easily overlooked, but relieving & profound all at the same time:

“[14] For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” – Psalm 103:14

Personally, having studied the scriptures since childhood, I can say that today, I am totally convinced that Jesus shut out the world around Him, and had a momental and monumental inward reflection of remembrance that we quite literally are dust, as he was passing his fingers through it reinforcing the need for a merciful reply, as opposed to a wrathful one.

Now I obviously cannot, nor am I attempting to say that this is in-fact exactly what He was thinking, or answer why He wrote in the dirt; it is subjective, but I can’t help seeing anything else. When you consider the full context of the scenario, Jesus’ dirt drawing, the. blunt-profound & humbling response to the Pharisees, added with the merciful hand of forgiveness stretched to the woman literally lifting her up out of the dust, it connects perfectly. It’s as if it reinforced His stance of a merciful reply. It can also sound something like, “He who is not ‘dirt,’ cast the first stone.”

To be fully understood, Jesus’ merciful act was to position her in His grace to, “go and sin no more.” (8:11), but if God brings to His remembrance that we are frail and destitute humans that aren’t much more than breathing dirt of the ground, how much more should we take that to account when we might become frustrated or angry or unforgiving to the “dirt piles” around us. We ourself are one. I’m reminded of a portion of the most memorized, (yet seemingly least taken to application) prayer: “…Forgive us our trespasses AS WE FORIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US…”

It’s time we remember too…

We need to humble ourselves,

Have patience with others,

And forgive 70 x 7 (indefinitely)

(For Full Passage)

John 8:1-11

Soldier-Like Faith

img_5282“Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum. And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue. Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.‭‭” – Luke‬ ‭7:1-10‬‬

Taking a close look at this story: a centurion’s servant was sick and ready to die. The centurion loved his servant and when he heard of Jesus…

• (He was told Who JESUS was) Today, we have the privilege of hearing JESUS Himself! Knowing JESUS ourselves! But this man only heard about Him.

The centurion sent the elders to JESUS beseeching Him to come and heal his servant. The elders come beseeching Jesus and saying that this centurion was worthy of his request saying, “he built us a Synagogue and loves our nation”. (Sounds similar to the things you hear from many preachers today: He’s a tither, He built our church!)

JESUS goes with them, but before HE gets there, the centurion sent his friends to meet JESUS with a message:
Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof: Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed. For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.”

These things moved JESUS:
1. He was moved by love.
2. He was humble.
3. He understood authority.
4. He recognized Jesus’s authority and submitted himself unto it.

This next verse has caught my attention the most where it says: JESUS marveled at him. Then turns to the crowd following Him and says, “I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”

Today the church (as a whole it seems) is more moved and motivated by things than by love for people and love for God. It’s sad to say but we have drifted so far away from BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY that it has become repulsive to a HOLY GOD! As the world looks on at the church and sees the carnality of selfishness and pride, I believe GOD is looking for anyone who will TRULY BELIEVE HIM!

Today I’m humbled, today I’m seeking to be moved with compassion enough to come to JESUS humbly asking for others to be made whole, and to listen to HIS VOICE, understand HIS AUTHORITY, and SUBMIT TO HIM knowing that HE WILL DO WHAT HE SAYS HE WILL DO, AND WHEN HE GIVES COMMAND ALL CREATION MUST OBEY!

“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.‭‭” – 2 Timothy‬ ‭2:1-4‬‬

Submitted by Heather Wright

Pride Brings a Fall but Humility Preserves Your Soul

“Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:” – Romans‬ ‭11:19-20‬ ‭

In this very important passage, Paul warned new believers of the dangers of pride, unbelief, and falling away from the faith. He explains to them that the Jews who refused to believe God, though they had been His chosen people, had in essence been broken off (or disinherited). Because all unbelief in what God is trying to tell you is based in pride, which is trusting more in yourself and your assumptions, (your understanding, what you’ve been taught, what you think to be right or true, and so on). It is so important never to assume anything with God, to even assume that you can assume is prideful. In all things seek God and be willing to be taught and led by Him.

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭18:4‬ ‭

“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” – Romans‬ ‭8:14‬ ‭

The passage then continues to emphasize the pride of believing that because one was disinherited and an other was grafted in, that the graft is somehow better or more secure then the original. Paul assures us that this is not the case. He urged the new believer to grasp onto humility in fear, stating that if the natural children were disinherited for not trusting Him, how much more would the adopted children be cast off if they so chose in pride to trust in their own leading and not seek to be led by His Spirit and voice? 

“For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.” – Romans‬ ‭11:21-22‬ ‭

This is one of the most sobering passages in the scriptures. One that we should remind ourselves of daily, knowing that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and that God is no respecter of persons. We are all special to God, but not one is more special to God then the other. He demands trust, respect, reverence, submission, attention, and humility, which are the attributes of faith. Those that refuse are cut off, yes even from among those counted as His own. While those who submit are grafted in, even from the lowliest and least. Let this be a warning that none are above God’s judgment, and that no pride will go unpunished, not even the pride of believing that you are too good or too special to be cast off when God did it to the very apple of His eye, His own people who ceased to trust in His voice and followed that of other men and their own flesh.

“But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” – 1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:27‬ ‭

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” – Philippians‬ ‭2:12‬ ‭

“Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil.” – Proverbs‬ ‭16:5-6‬ ‭

“The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul. Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.” – Proverbs‬ ‭16:17-20‬ ‭

What Is The Law Of Christ?

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” – Galatians‬ ‭6:2‬

Under the Old Covenant God had given mankind a law to follow. He wrote this law in stone and placed it before the people. However, Christ came to bring us a New Covenant, so does the Covenant of Christ come with a law also? Well according to Galatians chapter 6, verse 2, it does. However this law is not written in stone, so where then is it written?

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” – Jeremiah‬ ‭31:31-33‬ ‭

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” – Ezekiel‬ ‭36:26-27‬ ‭

In these two Old Testament prophecies of the coming New Covenant, we can plainly see that there is a law that comes with this New Covenant. However, it is not a law written on stone tablets but in the heart of the believer who by faith receives a new transformed heart and a new Spirit, God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit! Through the blood of Jesus cleansing us and giving us a new heart and the power of His Holy Spirit within us being made manifest through us (which is grace), we are then changed into a new creature in Christ! One who is not only able to fulfill the old law (through a new and lasting sacrifice) but also to walk in the holiness of the new law of Christ!

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” – Romans‬ ‭8:9-14‬ ‭

So what is the law of Christ? You see, Christ actually raised the bar on the law but at the same time empowered us to attain it. For where sin abounds, grace (or God’s favor, power, and divine influence, which can be summed up as the power of the Holy Spirit of God) abounds all the more to overcome that sin. 

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” – Romans‬ ‭8:37‬ ‭

Let us take, for example, when Jesus said in Matthew 5, “it is written, thou shall not commit adultery, but I say if you even look in lust, you sin. It is written also, thou shall not murder, but I say if you even hate your brother you are guilty of the sin of murder.” In this, Jesus was trying to show them that in the Old Covenant, that law was “written” on physical stone therefore they identified and judged physical sins. However, under the New Covenant the law would be written on their heart and would identify and judge heart sins before they became physical actions.

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” – Acts‬ ‭17:30-31‬ ‭

Yes, the standard of righteousness is definitely raised under the New Covenant, because that we now have God’s Holy Spirit within us and His grace moving through us to empower us to produce these good fruits, which was not available to those of the old covenant. However, Christ makes it even simpler for us. He sums up all of the laws of both the Old Covenant and the New and shows us the one dividing factor between the two.

When asked in Mathew 22:36, what the greatest commandment in the Old Covenant was, He said, in short “To love God first and far most, and to love others as much as you love yourself“. It states that if you would do this you would automatically fulfill all the laws and words of the Prophets. However, when Christ spoke of the New Covenant, knowing it would be backed up by the power of the Holy Spirit, He gave this new all encompassing commandment that would, in like manner, cause you to fulfill all of the law now written on the heart of the believer (if they truly believe Him). That is this, “to love God first and far most, and to love others “as He loved them“. This is indeed a “New Commandment” for the New Covenant. No longer was it sufficient to simply love others as much as you love yourself, but now you are required to love others more then yourself, like Christ did. To be willing to esteem others better then self, to suffer and sacrifice for others, to love one and other, to pray for one and other, to bare one and others burdens, this is the Law of Christ. If you will in all things choose to love others more then yourself, then you will always do what is right in God’s eyes. In this is the Saint perfected, that he walk in perfect love. 

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John‬ ‭13:34-35‬ ‭

“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:46-48‬ ‭

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:16-17‬

“Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;” – 2 Timothy‬ ‭1:6-8‬ ‭

Be Fruitful and Multiply

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” – Genesis‬ ‭1:28‬ ‭

Be fruitful and multiply! This is the first commission given to man upon his creation by God. It remained his commission until Christ came and through the miracle of the rebirth, man who has already been born of water unto a physical birth and given a physical commission, was then through Jesus able to be born again of a Spiritual birth unto a spiritual commission. 

In essence the second commission was the same as the first, “be fruitful and multiply“. However, while the first commission was physical, the second was spiritual. That is to say, that the first was to be fruitful and multiply physically for the purpose of taking physical dominion over the earth, but the second was to be spiritually fruitful and multiply spiritually for the purpose of taking spiritual dominion over the earth. 

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” – Matthew‬ ‭28:18-20‬ ‭

Therefore in order to effectively multiply (or grow) the spiritual family of God then we must be fruitful, for what is fruit but the reproduction of the tree, and what is Christ but the very tree of life by which we may obtain eternal life? 

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John‬ ‭14:6‬ ‭

Christ being the first good tree bore good fruit which then planted the seed of righteousness into those who believed His words and teachings. As those seeds grew into mighty trees themselves (metaphorically speaking), He then commissioned those trees to “be fruitful and multiply“. 

Again I point out that the fruit is the reproduction of the tree. Therefore, if the seed of truth and fruits of righteousness that Christ bare are received into the soil of your heart by faith then you will grow to be a mighty tree planted by the water (the Holy Spirit) and after a season of maturing, will produce fruit which will then (through the faith it stirs up in others) be planted in others and grow them into mighty trees producing the same fruits of righteousness. This is how the kingdom of God is reproduced and grown. This is how the land is taken, subdued, and dominion manifested.

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” – Hebrews‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” – Philippians‬ ‭1:9-11‬ ‭

“Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:19-20‬ ‭

So what exactly are these fruits that one who has had the truth of the word of God planted in their heart by the Holy Spirit through faith in the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ? (As depicted in the parable of the sower) This fruit that Christ bore that caused others to have faith in His testimony by seeing the fruit of it manifest in His life? The same fruit that Christ expected His followers to bare that others might see and believe in the life changing power of His grace? The fruit that Christ Himself said that if you do not have then you are not His regardless of what you say for it is the evidence of planted and cultivated faith?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” – Galatians‬ ‭5:22-24‬ ‭

So choose today to believe Christ’s words and teachings. All of them. Let them take root in your heart and by faith in it, He will send His grace to cause that seed to spring to life, grow, mature, then finally become fruitful and multiply. 

The first commission was given to establish physical dominion of the planet, while the second commission was to establish spiritual dominion of it. Yet in both cases the dominion was already given by the decree of God, but the spreading of seed and baring of fruit was the way by which He had designed (or commissioned) it to be made manifest. So no matter how many other ways you try to make it happen, God’s way is the only way it will work. So get before God, ask Him to plant His truth in you, receive it in faith no matter how much it contradicts your logic or pride, let Him cultivated it in you, prune you when necessary, and produce the fruits of righteousness. When you come to bare the fruits of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, genteelness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance through grace by abiding with Christ in prayer, devotion, communion, and worship, you will see it begin to be reproduced in others as disciples are drawn unto you and Christ commissions you to go forth, “be fruitful and multiply“. You see, the testimony of the fruit being produced in your changed and victorious life is the evidence that stirs faith in the power (or grace) of the life changing blood of Jesus Christ. So if you want to be useful in the Kingdom of God, victorious, full of dominion and fulfill His great commission, then you first need to seek God, humble yourself, submit, and and allow Him to cultivate these fruits in your life until you bare them freely and faithfully. There is no shortcut, this is how God has commissioned it to work.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” – Revelation‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” – John‬ ‭15:1-8‬ ‭

Be Faithful in That Which is Least

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?” – Luke‬ ‭16:10-11‬ ‭

This parable expresses a great biblical truth that no one really wants to hear. Before God will ever trust you with the most precious gifts in His kingdom, you must first prove yourself faithful in the simple things of this one. This parable uses two things to relay this, the first is money, and the second is stewardship.

Money is an easy one, simply stated, if we are faithful with the little that He gives us, to use it wisely, unwastefully, and charitably then He will trust to give us more that we might use the more for His Glory also. This principal is echoed in the promises of tithes and offerings given in Malachi chapter 2.  

However, this goes way deeper then just money. The second element in this parable is that of “stewardship” and that is quite encompassing. When we look up the word translated to “steward” in the original Greek, we find it to have a very interesting and profound meaning. The word is “oikonómos” in the Greek, and it means “manager“, it also means “pastor“. This is derived from the fact that the word “pastor” actually came from the Old Testament word “pasturer“, or someone who managed a flock in a particular pasture for it’s true Shepherd. Therefor, since Christ is the true Shepherd, pastor’s (or pasturers) are merely managers under Him, over His flocks of which they have been given stewardship in their perspective pastures. 

Yet the definition goes even deeper still. The word oikonómos encompasses within it the understanding that this person was once a slave, who had been freed, and given this position of authority to whom the Master entrusted the managing of the affairs of His house. Therefor is it a perfect picture of the minister of the Gospel! 

I see the greatest downfall of many ministers is their refusal to be faithful stewards over the little, that they might prove to God that He can trust them with the more precious gifts of His kingdom. So often I see men and women called, they answer the call, then the Master gives them stewardship over the little and watches. Yet soon they begin to set their eyes on their neighbors pasture or vineyard and a seed of envy takes root and they want more then what they have been entrusted with. So they ask the master for more and He says, “no“, still waiting for them to prove themselves faithful in the little. So then the Spirit of Jezebel comes and says, “you want your neighbors vineyard? I’ll get it for you“. So they give place to this evil counterfeit to work in their stead and seal or unauthorized decisions with the Kings ring. Taking matters into her own hands she makes it happen and makes it look like it was a decree from the king, but it wasn’t and it only brought death and left this desiring envious steward with blood on his hands.

Oh if more men and women called and positioned of God would just be faithful in the little, then God would in time make them ruler over more and intrust them with the real gifts of the Kingdom that break the yokes and bring life! Of all the great and powerful men and women of Faith who have truly walked in the yoke breaking power of the anointing of God backed up by the life giving authority of deliverance, the power of healing, and the validation of the gospel through signs, wonders, and miracles, every single one had small beginings. They chose the lowest seat, humbled themselves before the mighty hand of God, and made themselves an obedient servant being faithful in the little things so that God saw that He could trust them with the real treasures of heaven. Therefor, being tested, tried, and purified in the fires of humility, did He exalt them in due time. 

“And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all..” – Mark‬ ‭9:35‬ ‭

“And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” – Matthew‬ ‭23:12‬ ‭

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” – 1 Peter‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭

“The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.” – Zechariah‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭

“Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.” – Job‬ ‭8:7‬ ‭

The Revelation Of Lamentation

“The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!” – Lamentations‬ ‭5:15-16‬

The book of Lamentations is a very grim and dark book among the literary works of the bible. Therefore, most people tend to avoid it for it’s woeful broken words. However, we are warnded in the word not to remove any part of the word and to teach the full council of God. Therefor, this book cannot be excluded nor should it be! 

You see, the book of Lamentations is a very important book, as is its purpose. Alone it is a bitter ingredient but as a piece of the whole it is invaluable and necessary to the proving that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose. “All things” includes both the good and the bad, the pleasant and the woeful, the bitter and the sweet, the wilderness and the promise. It takes more then sugar to make a cake. Flour, baking soda, oil, or coco in and of themselves are not pleasant ingredients but they are necessary that the whole of the ingredients might work together to make something good in the end.

Lamentations is a bitter ingredient, but a critical one. In this neglected book we see the consequences of sin. That it separates us from God, that it removed His protection (though not His love), that it brings wrath and judgement upon the sinful. It teaches us divine justice, that God is obligated by His own rules that He cannot break because He is not a man that He can lie, to pay out the wages of sin whether He wants to or not, for He is no respecter of persons. If we will not obey, there will be hell to pay and there’s no exceptions to that, not even among the chosen. It also teaches us humility and reverence in the way the Israelite’s in this book begin to recognize their need for God once His protection, favor, and grace had been lifted from them. 

The whole of the book of Lamentations is a record and example of what the proper response to the recognition of disobedience in our own hearts and lives and to the sin in the lives of those around us should be. The greatest revelation of lamentation is that we should literally lament over sin, which means “to grieve, as over the lost of a loved one.” Does your own disobedience or the sin of the people, church, or nation around you grieve you like the loss of a loved one does? It should, because it grieves the Holy Spirit of God that way and if you have His Holy Spirit within you, you should feel it grieving through you at every wickedness set before it.

Lastly, it shows us that even in the worse situations we should never blame God, but rather recognize our failures, repent of them, acknowledge and proclaim His majesty. God is the only one who can deliver you from the oppression of the enemy, so never attack the deliverer out of prideful spite that He is not serving you. Humble yourself before the only one who can save you and seek to serve him even in the midst of the trial. Exalt God, declare His greatness, give Him glory, give Him honor, He hears the cry of the righteous so position yourself in your rightful place before Him that He might hear your prayers and deliver you! That place is one of humility, selflessness, and faith. 

It all comes down to this. When men determine that they either don’t need God or don’t need to listen to God, He withdraws Himself to show them how wrong they are. When the Lord withdraws, the enemy rushes in like a flood for where the light retreats darkness fills the absence. It is in this state that men must lament, and grieve, and cry out as for the loss of a loved one, because they have lost their first love. Those that do not lament the absence of a loved one only serves to prove that they never really loved that one at all. For man tend not to truly appreciate the light until it is dark. Yet God offers few a way back, and that way is through lamentation. Which is true broken humble heartfelt genuine repentance. In this we see that the book of lamination is a revelation of the direness of sinfulness, the appreciation of the presence of God, a commitment toward application of His grace to empower us into obedience to His words and will, and a picture of repentance for so arrogantly not previously doing so.

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” – Isaiah‬ ‭59:1-2‬ 

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” – Luke‬ ‭13:3‬ ‭

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” – John‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭

“The joy of our heart is ceased; our dance is turned into mourning. The crown is fallen from our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned!” – Lamentations‬ ‭5:15-16‬

“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” – Psalms‬ ‭34:15-19‬ ‭

Avoiding The Last Day’s Soul Snare

“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” – 1 Peter‬ ‭4:7-9‬ ‭

Peter could honestly say that the end was near in his day, so how much nearer are we in ours? With this in mind, we should be ever vigilant, preparing our hearts and waiting with anticipation for the coming of our Lord. 

In this text we are given instructions which reveal the Devil’s main tactics for preventing us from being ready to meet the Lord at His return. First it says to “be sober“, this means to be focused, attentive, not influenced by any substance, spirit, intoxication, entertainment, or distraction that might cause you to not notice the signs of the times around you or walk in the righteousness required to be counted among the faithful at His glorious coming.

Next it warns us to show charity, or selfless love, toward others in every situation. Even as Christ did, so must the believer who functions as His body in His stead until His return. Upon which we will have to give an account for every idle word spoken while claiming to carry His Holy Name as our own. Note that the passage doesn’t only say to have charity (or love), but to have “fervent” charity. That is to say, a selfless love that goes the extra mile. A love that does not only react but initiates, reaches, changes, and illuminates the darkest of situations and hearts. An uncommon, unconventional kind of love. This kind of love is what sets Jesus apart from every other false deity that came before Him and it is thusly what sets the true Christian apart from every other hypocrite and false religion around them. Wether a person exhibits this love as a fruit of being led of Jesus’s Spirit within them, or not, will be the deciding factor in who is welcomed into glory or cast into damnation on that faithful day. So again be vigilant.

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” – 1 John‬ ‭4:20-21‬ ‭

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;… For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans (sinners) do the same?” – Matthew‬ ‭5:43-44, 46‬ ‭

As the time of Christ return gets closer, the days get darker, and the hearts and minds of men grow colder and more wicket, this will be the stumbling block laid before most that will cause many to miss heaven. The more the devil stirs up the wicked to come against the righteous, the more tempted they will become to return the hatred, but they can’t! For the word of God is clear that unless you forgive and love others, He will not forgive you. It doesn’t matter how much the devil tells you they deserve to be hated. Remember that God deserved to hate us but He chose to suffer for us instead, and suffer by our very hand. All the while praying for us, for God to forgive us. Let that same mind be in us if we truly have the mind of Christ and are led by His Spirit. 

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:” – Philippians‬ ‭2:5-9‬ ‭

Let’s face it, if anyone had a right to hold a grudge it was Jesus, but He didn’t. He did exactly what God said to do, because God said to do it, because He was humble, and because He loved God. God has commanded us to forgive and hold no grudge, therefor if we choose to hate or begrudge anyone for any reason because we think we deserve to, then we are acting in both pride and rebellion against the will of the Father. So choose today to forgive, pray for, and bless the seemingly least deserving, that you may be found in right standing with God as we await His inevitable ever-nearing return. I plead with you dear brother or sister, the time is indeed very short, therefore be ever cautious not to be blinded by hate, deceived by sin, and caught unaware in this the final hour.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew‬ ‭7:21‬ ‭

“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” – Matthew‬ ‭5:10-13‬

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” – Matthew‬ ‭25:31-46‬ ‭