How much fruit have you produced?

We, as Christians, are all fruit trees in our Father’s garden at one point or another in our lives. So the question stands…how much fruit have you produced?

Following Jesus is not an offer for us to be the bearer of fruit, but one of husbandman to the light and the message which He brought to the world. We are to be the bearer of that message and the fruit is what comes from those seeds that we spread in the world. Some of it, like in the parable, falls on a ground which is fertile and some seed will fall where there isn’t much ground at all. It is the Holy Spirit which waters the seeds which we plant, but if those seeds aren’t planted they won’t grow.

We who have His message in our hearts and have read it from His Word know which seeds to plant. Just where they will get planted and how fertile the ground which receives those seeds is actually up to God and His plans for our work for Him. We are not to choose who may hear or see our witness or our words, just make sure that they are available to those who are searching.

God knows who needs the seeds from His Word and He will provide those to whoever is looking for Him. God loves all of His creation. Each person in this world has a purpose that He has in His mind…for good or for evil each of us will fulfill that purpose in whatever capacity that God deems is needed to fulfill His will in our lives and for the Kingdom on Earth one day.

Seek Him out to know your place, then find it and make sure that you follow Him to accomplish that purpose. It may be something big or it may be nothing more than writing His Words in a blog like I try to do, but by doing so you are doing more than most and hopefully, it will take root and bloom in someone’s heart to keep the garden growing until He returns.

 

John 15:1-8  (KJV)
15 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

2 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.

3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear the fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

5 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.

6 If a man abides 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.

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

 

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Do you hear what I hear?

This is part of a wonderful song for Christmas which I have loved for years. These days, there isn’t much that you hear about Christ on a daily basis, sometimes even a weekly one. People don’t want to hear the Truth of God’s Word unless they are in need of God’s help. The problem with this is that God is not a genie! We are not supposed to treat our relationship with Jesus as one where we seek His help when we need it, but when things are going well we don’t want Him around!

God loves each one of us far more than we can even understand, and yet we don’t seem to give that love back to Him. Jesus came to Earth as a baby, born to a virgin long ago. He also came to pay the price for ALL of our sins and be our Savior if we will only believe in Him. So…what is the problem that many of us seem to have with Jesus? Is it that He was born Jewish? He preached long ago and we don’t think that His message is relevant today? Could it be that we don’t want to offend anyone with our faith so we don’t tell anyone about Him or our belief in Him?

The message and the lessons which Jesus taught have more to do with today than at any time before now! We are to love each other as we are loved! Why can’t we look past our perceived differences in skin color and culture and just see another person in need of Jesus? Why is it so hard to get past our genetic differences and just see the similarities?

I mean, we all have two arms and legs, most of us have hair (some more, some less), all of us have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth (even if that last one gets us into more trouble than it should)! That is why the Bible says that we should be quick to listen and slow to speak.

Quick2Listen

It doesn’t matter what you are speaking about or who you may be listening to, make sure to measure your words before you speak and listen to what is being said, carefully seeking the truth in what you are hearing. As one wise person said, “Taste your words before you spit them out”; in that way, you will know if they are good or not. People will think you are wise or smart depending on your speech. If your speech is full of big words but not much substance then you will seem to be smart but like a politician you aren’t saying much at all.

Consider your words and your speech because God hears every word, whether you are His or not.

The blood of Jesus

1 Peter 1:13-21
13 Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

17 And if you address as Father, the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

john_3_16_17_scripture_memory_card-raf7013e639264b87b918bea9971565b3_vgbaq_8byvr_540Sin deceives you because its roots are from the deceiver, Satan. Sinful actions can and will destroy your life in many ways and in the end of this life, it will bring eternal death which is eternal banishment from the presence of God.

The only way to save yourself from sin and the consequences of it is to believe in Jesus and the blood which He shed for us, each of us, on the cross. The Son of God gave His life for you and for me…He didn’t have to but He wanted to do it. Because He loved each of us far more and deeper than we can know or comprehend.

He redeemed us from sin through His blood shed on the cross for you! The only action needed on your part is belief in Him and the atonement bought by His blood.

Colossians 1:19-22 King James Version (KJV)

19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Do you understand what God has done for us? For you and for me? Each person who has ever lived in this world, before the Flood and up until now, is born with a natural bent toward sin! I mean you don’t have to teach anyone to lie and you know it as well as I do.

Tell a toddler not to do something or eat something and you can see their wheels turning trying to figure out how they can get away with doing exactly that! If you are able to catch them right after doing it, whatever it may be, ask them if they did what you told them not to do. Even with crumbs from those cookies on their clothes they will tell you no, they didn’t do that.

In life you see many people behaving exactly the same way, even if they are supposed to be grown-ups. Why is that? It is because until you have a changed heart through the Spirit of God living within you, you are a sinner from the day you are able to decide to do something which you were told not to do! God’s will for your life is to glorify Him in all that you do and the only way for us to do that is to believe in Jesus and the atonement that He bought for us and ask God’s forgiveness based upon that belief.

Now, many religions teach that you can work out your salvation by yourself but that is not true. If that were possible, Jesus died for nothing! No amount of gold or silver or any amount of good works that you or I do in this world can bring salvation to your soul, only belief in Jesus can do that and accepting His atonement for your sins. If you can’t or won’t do that, then you have condemned yourself to hell.

Please, don’t go there, because hell was not made for humanity at all. It was made to punish angels who rebelled against God’s rule and authority including Satan or Lucifer if you know him by that name. Because of deception and our own stubbornness, many people are going to hell and it won’t be a party or a friendly place to be for eternity at all.

Make sure of your salvation in Jesus soon before the church is taken from this Earth, because it is going to happen soon. Plan on being part of that company.

 

Which way will you go?

highway2heavenhellHave you considered this question? Many of us do when we are faced with a choice, whether it is a fork in the road or even a religious decision. So…which one do you take? Will you follow the Living Word, Jesus the Christ, and live forever in Heaven with Him? Will you decide to fool yourself into believing that you know the way to Heaven and salvation? Or maybe you will follow another religion or cult and see if their path might take you to eternity?

Consider that eternity is a very long, long time. Don’t you want to base your decision on more than a “might” or a “maybe”? Think about walking across a frozen lake. If there is a nice dusting of snow on it, you have no idea how thick the ice is. Would you take the chance of walking out onto a frozen lake like this? This is the same chance that you are taking when you haven’t given your heart to Jesus. Jonathan Edwards said that your life hangs by a thread of grace from God, above a lake of fire which is hell itself until you have given your heart to Jesus.

Life is short and regardless of how long you live, our lives are incredibly short compared to eternity! So consider how much Jesus spoke about those who fall short of Heaven, those who haven’t accepted Him as their Savior! The punishment would last forever in hades or hell whatever you want to call it. The problem is that many people think that God sends you to hell and that could not be further from the truth.

Each of us has a decision to make about our eternity and it is that decision which determines your eternal home. I don’t mean to say that you choose to be saved or not, but we do choose whether we will respond to the Spirit’s call when we feel it compelling us to ask Jesus into our lives! Some people will gladly jump at the chance and almost run down the aisle to accept Jesus, and some will put their fingerprints in the back of the pew trying NOT to accept Him.

This is the decision that is so important in life. Little children can understand it but adults try to rationalize it and figure everything out before accepting Jesus. We make this decision far more complicated than it should be when we are adults and we feel Jesus calling to us! So how are we to get past all of this so-called “logical” thinking? The easiest way that I know is to seek Him out.

What do you mean by that?

I mean when you have felt the Spirit prompting you to accept Jesus and you’re not sure, get into the Bible and learn about Him. Seek His voice and all of the information that you can find about Him in the gospels, pray about it and ask Him to help you learn more about this salvation thing! At this point, Satan will try to get your attention away from Jesus and point you toward something fun and exciting, something to distract you from seeking Him.

Unfortunately, this is the point where many people will follow those exciting activities and leave the Word of God on the shelf. Sometimes they don’t ever come back to it, and sometimes they come back to it much later than they should’ve. God can still use your life no matter what stage of life you may be in, but He could have been there to help you through many of life’s problems if you had given your heart to Him earlier.

Don’t put off living your life with Christ as your friend and your Savior. You don’t know if you will have tomorrow because nobody does. We have today and even our minutes and hours are governed by God and He knows how many that you have left….you don’t!

Do you know Him?

Our Savior, Jesus, the Son of God is the Him of which I speak. He shed His divinity to come to Earth, be born of a woman, live the life of a man of Jewish descent, perfectly fulfilling the Law (which no normal human could do), teach a group of disciples so that they could carry His teachings to all parts of the world, died on a cross on the day of Passover and then rose again on the third day!

john_3_16_17_scripture_memory_card-raf7013e639264b87b918bea9971565b3_vgbaq_8byvr_540Yes, a long sentence to tell of the life of Jesus the Christ. A short version of His life, death and resurrection, but a story which has significance for so many around the world! Some of whom believe that He is our Savior and Lord, some  do not believe He was anything other than a prophet.

Do you know Him? You can get to know Him if you will believe in Him and follow Him. Learn about Him through reading of the New Testament and do the things which His disciples did…tell others what He has done for you!

 

It is well with my soul

Many times, in church and even on social media sites, I get requests for prayer either in person or by a message. Prayer is a necessary part of a Christian’s life, just like breathing or drinking water, yet many people don’t seem to think that God listens to them so they ask their pastor to pray for them. I don’t mind, but if you are a child of God you have the same privilege and right to step into His Presence at anytime.

Sometimes, people just don’t exercise their right as a Christian until it gets to be so bad they just hit their knees in agony. God can and will answer your prayers, particularly when you pray about a family member’s illness or an accident. I don’t mean to say that He won’t answer a prayer about your children or your keys or other “small” thing, but God looks for ways to bless you in areas where He is the real solution for the problem!

So do you seek out God when things are going good or do you wait until He is the last resort? Don’t you think that when things aren’t going very well, you should seek out the One Who can do something about the situation? The Creator that made all of our universe and every molecule in your body can fix any problem in your life, regardless of the cause! If you will give Him the chance to do so.

When life throws a curve ball at you, swing at it because you might hit it. God can give you the strength and the ability to make it through any real problem in your life, regardless of whether it is one involving your spiritual condition or a medical problem. God is bigger than ALL of your problems or any of the problems in our world today or at any time in the future.

Each of us has a choice to make. To ask Jesus into our lives and repent of our sinful ways or to keep doing what we feel is right, what makes us feel good. To keep being selfish and prideful in what we can do and to do it without anyone telling us that it is wrong. In reality, the Bible doesn’t tell you anything like that. There are no rules about what to do or not, but when you truly realize that you need Jesus and you come to Him in repentance…then you will change. You won’t do it on your own but you will change by the influence of the Holy Spirit after you ask Him to live in your heart!

When that happens, and you begin to change into a new creation, a new person. Then you won’t crave those things which you did before. You won’t go to the places that you went to before. The rules have changed because you aren’t the same anymore. Not because of rules from the Bible, but because your heart, your soul, your inner person has changed and is changing. While you learn more about Jesus and read His Word and pray about this new life, you are changing and becoming the person that God has always known you were since before you were born.

When this change occurs then it will be well with you no matter how life turns out, good or bad. Why? Because you are an adopted child of God! The Creator and King of the universe! How could you possibly feel down or depressed or unloved when God loves you more deeply than anyone on Earth could ever understand? Yes, there will be days which you may be depressed, but with prayer and reading God’s Word it won’t last for long. Seek Him and His Kingdom and all of the things which God has prepared for you will be yours.

Do you believe?

Faith_in_GodDo you believe that God is our Creator? Do you believe that Jesus is the Savior of all who believe in Him?

These are questions which should be asked, but are you seeking the answers for these questions? Do you truly want the answers to these questions? Your eternity, your life after this life, depends upon the answers that you find and believe in!

So, are you seeking the answers or do you want to just forget about it until you feel the time is right?

When will the “right”time be? Will you know it when it gets here? If it gets here? Are you certain that you have until next week or next month to make this decision?

Quite frankly, none of us can be sure of tomorrow let alone next week or next month! Making plans for next year seems foolish to me actually, because there is no way to be sure that far ahead into your life.

If you don’t believe in Jesus as your Savior, then who can take His place? You? Or maybe you think that after you die your body will just return to dust and there is no life after the death of your physical body? What a shame. It is true that God said that “man is made from the dust and to dust he will return“, but you have an eternal soul that doesn’t turn to dust so what happens to it?

According to Jesus there are two places where your soul will go after your body dies, paradise or Heaven and outer darkness or hell. No purgatory or waiting to be prayed up, no immediate burn up if you don’t believe. It is said in Scripture that the smoke of their punishment rises forever. This is not just a flash burn and your gone for good, you will pay for your own sins and unbelief for eternity just as Satan will pay for his rebellion against God.

Yes, forever is a very long time, yet if you will believe in Jesus and His atonement for you then your eternity will be to serve Him in Heaven and in His Kingdom. I can’t imagine a better future than to serve the Creator. Why? Because doing His will for eternity will never be boring!