Monday, June 30, 2014

God's Fruit Trees



 










Most of us have asked God for wisdom and knowledge at one time or another. We have also been asked for them by someone needing help. Whatever the circumstances, God's  wisdom & knowledge...never deviates from Christ's character and His actions when He was here on earth. Like anything else...anything...God wants our faith and gaze to always end up back on Christ Jesus. Why? 

 

 
 
 

 

Col. 2: 1I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. 2I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ  Himself. 3In Him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 

 

4I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. 5For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.6And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. 7Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

 

8Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powersa of this world, rather than from Christ. 9For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.b 10So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the Head over every ruler and authority.

 

 

 

We want to obey God...to emulate Christ...yet, we'll fail...or we'll be trying and trying in our own flesh...unless we learn to do it a different way. Not too long ago in our recent history the WWJD movement began. However, it faded, but why?  This article has an idea about that....

http://www.drurywriting.com/keith/wwjd.htm 

 
 
 
 

We cannot do anything 'God derived' in our flesh, so as to bear the kind of fruit that accomplishes His purposes. This is why it behooves us to stand back for a time and ask God to teach us to be fruit bearers, instead of 'trying' and exerting ourselves to bear fruit.

 

 

 

Then even when we do bear fruit by own efforts, what comes of it? Is it lasting fruit? This is the question that the believers before us perhaps did not understand...which is why the movement that had good intentions, sunk into near nothingness ~ like a house built on sand...or wine skin that burst ~ because it had old wine put into it.

 

 

 

Evil wars against the human body that is already weak, then fights to sway our mind away from Christ so it can't cooperate with the things of the Spirit. ~ Who will give us the victory over these things...so our body and mind can be used for God, instead of against Him?  

 

 

 1 John 5:4 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

 

 

Faith in what or whom? In ourselves? In our own abilities? In our own actions? In our own common sense? In our own knowledge and wisdom? In our own feelings? In our own ways? In our own talents? In our own intellect? In our own interpersonal skills?

 

 

 

OR

 

 

 

Faith in Christ Jesus? In His abilities? In His actions? In His common sense? In His knowledge and wisdom? In His feelings? In His ways? In His talents? In His intellect? and In His interpersonal skills?

 

 

 

Which source do you have faith in so as to be a  'happy tree'? A fruit bearer who is living it's purpose and shares in the blessings??

 

 
 
 

You who have been born of God...so you have been planted IN Him...and your roots have complete access to the Source...to Christ Jesus. He has given you a new nature, He is inside and with and around you....as well as His written word is before you...He has hemed you in on everyside!  Psalm 139:5 "You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand of blessing upon me". Jesus is your everything...including your teacher.

 

 

John 13: 12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.

 

 

 

14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

 

 

 

He wants to be our example. He desires to teach us, and then His Holy Spirit remind us, how to live. Our spirit, which has been made new, is very willing, ready and able! However, our body is weak, and is used to doing things the old way. Jesus said in Matt. 26:41 "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

 

 

Then Paul, who emulated Christ, is saying the same thing Jesus said here in  Rom. 7: "21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!"

 

 

The disciples walked with Jesus and learned from Him...so we can also walk with Christ through the gospels and learn from Him there as well. John 2: 20“What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” 21But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.

 



Paul also learned from and emulated Jesus (1 Cor. 11:1), and so when we go there and read his letters and learn from him...this is also learning from Christ.  Phil. 4:9 'Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me--everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you."

 

 


We must remember as we are in this process, that God has not left us clueless at all!! He has shown us in His written word all the specifics...so you and I can become more familiar with what comes from His Spirit and what doesn't. Perhaps the WWJD movement didn't last because the fruit trees were expected to keep on growing and producing God's fruit even when the things not of God began coming out of the same trees?

 


 

 

James 3: 9-18 "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

 

 

Light and dark can not exist together...and even a little leaven leavens the whole lump. Or perhaps Christ grew into a mere idea, instead of a real Person who was God in the flesh and Who's every word and every action represented God exactly.


 
 
 

13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

 

17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peaceable, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of impartiality and hypocrisy. 18Peacemakers who sow seeds of peace raise a harvest of righteousness."

 
 
 
 
 

Gal. 5: 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.


 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

He Thought Of Everything!



Yes, God thought of everything...

 


Number one ~ God is infinite and His ways above our understanding. Therefore, overlooking or minimizing any scripture because in our comprehension or opinion it does not seem to fit, is unwise and will hinder our walk, not help it. However, setting it aside a while as you seek God and grow in your understanding of God's ways and how it fits, is wise!

 


 

Number two ~ God is thorough. He is complete in and of Himself, with no deficiencies. He created you in His image, and knows you better than you know yourself...therefore He knows your deficiencies and your needs very well. This is exactly why He wanted you to see for yourself how the Old Testament law worked, and the contrast between it and grace...so you would welcome God's grace with your whole heart! Now, won't you let Him teach you what His grace is truly all about?

 

 

 

Number three ~ God thought of everything when He created His plan for us ~ He left nothing undone! There are no contradictions, no left over pieces, and absolutely no pieces missing in His plan!

 

 

 

Have you ever put a large puzzle together and then stood way back to view it? Could you tell it was a puzzle? In my mind our lives seem like a large puzzle with many scattered pieces...and we finite humans can only see a small portion of it. 

 

 

 

 

However, when that day comes when we can stand with unveiled face and see the whole picture...it will be complete, smooth and clear, and there will be no lines, gaps or raw edges in it! It will look like it never started out as a puzzle at all!  THIS is how utterly thorough and amazing His plan is!

 

 



Number four ~ God is intimately acquainted with each person. He knows how many hairs are on your head! He is so near you that you have His undivided attention. In fact, this is why He has the ability to show you what exactly is going on even in the littlest hiding places inside your heart! He knows you very well! 


 


Matt. 10:30 Indeed, even the hairs on your head have been numbered!




Hebrews 4:12 "For God's Message is full of life and power, and is keener than the sharpest two-edged sword. It pierces even to the severance of soul from spirit, and penetrates between the joints and the marrow, and it can discern the secret thoughts and purposes of the heart."


 

Number five ~ God is love. He is not just a God who loves...He IS love. Love is to Him an essential part of being. This is why He commands that we love...and likewise that we emulate Him as His dear children...because He wants us to identify with Him and participate in His likeness.

 

 

 

He does not do this so as to put another law on us...He does so because He knows what will make us complete and give us joy!! This is why God says that when we give out love, we fulfill all the requirements of the law! Love completes us.

 

Love is not hard or burdensome...which is why it is more than compatable with grace. It is a joy and a blessing! The Pharisees and Experts in the Law of long ago and those of today want to have some religious control and keep you and I from the knowledge of God's love and grace that would set us free -- so, they are misrepresenting God! They lie!

 

 

Luke 11:46 "Yes," said Jesus, "what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden.


 

Luke 11:52 "How terrible it will be for you experts in the Law! You have taken away the key to knowledge. You didn't go in yourselves, and you kept out those who were trying to go in."

 

 

Command means: to give what is deserved. God deserves our obediance 100%...and will completely back up His words with us in mind.


Demand means: to give what is not deserved. Therefore the Demander is usually harsh, and will back up his words but with himself in mind.


The command to love can be likened to a loving Father who brings home several very precious and personal gifts for each of his beloved children...then commands that they not hold back, but open and use them! Now, how would this be burdensome or difficult?? This is just like God insisting that I be blessed!

 

 

Luke 12; 32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Now, sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

 

Acts 20:35 “And I have shown you everything, that it is necessary to labor and to take care of those who are weak and to remember the words of our Lord Jesus, who said, 'He who gives is more blessed than he who receives.'”



 

Do you believe the things God says? Can you plant your seed of faith in His command to love and be open for God to water it?

 

(click on image to enlarge)




1 Cor. 9:23 "I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

 

 

 

1 John 5:3 "Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome".

 

 

Matthew 11:30 Jesus said, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

 

 

 

The command to love in not under the law. A law can be measured, therefore we can tell when a law hasn't been obeyed. But love is not and can not be under the law -- because love cannot be measured like a rule can! So, where ever you are in your loving efforts, is JUST fine and good!! WHY? Because when we share God's love in any measure, it spreads like leaven all on it's own, and has the same power to perfect God's love in us, as well as rid us of any fears we still have of condemnation.

 

 

 

Col. 1 10This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. 11Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love each other. 12No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13We know that we live in him and he lives in us because he has given us his Spirit. 14We have seen and testify to the fact that the Father sent his Son as the Savior of the world.

 







15God lives in those who declare that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God. 16We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God's love live in God, and God lives in them. 17God's love has reached its goal in us. So we look ahead with confidence to the day of judgment. While we are in this world, we are exactly like him [with regard to love].

 

 

 

 

18No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn't have perfect love. 19We love because God loved us first. 20Whoever says, "I love God," but hates another believer is a liar. People who don't love other believers, whom they have seen, can't love God, whom they have not seen. 21Christ has given us this commandment: The person who loves God must also love other believers.


 

Love also creates intimacy with God.


 

John 14:21 Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father's love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them."

 

 

 

 

1 Thess. 5: 23 "May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." In the Greek 'blameless' means to be of mature stature in the things of grace - to the point where the believer has no need of or is not wanting of anymore grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Immutability Of God, By Pink




A. W. Pink Header

The Attributes of God
by A.W. Pink

The Immutability of God


"This is one of the Divine perfections which is not sufficiently pondered. It is one of the excellencies of the Creator which distinguishes Him from all His creatures. God is perpetually the same: subject to no change in His being, attributes, or determinations. Therefore God is compared to a rock (Deut 32:4, etc.) which remains immovable, when the entire ocean surrounding it is continually in a fluctuating state; even so, though all creatures are subject to change, God is immutable. Because God has no beginning and no ending, He can know no change. He is everlastingly "the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning" (Jas. 1:17).

 
 
 
 

First, God is immutable in His essence. His nature and being are infinite, and so, subject to no mutations. There never was a time when He was not; there never will come a time when He shall cease to be. God has neither evolved, grown, nor improved. All that He is today, He has ever been, and ever will be. "I am the Lord, I change not" (Mal. 3:6) is His own unqualified affirmation.

 

 

He cannot change for the better, for He is already perfect; and being perfect, He cannot change for the worse. Altogether unaffected by anything outside Himself, improvement or deterioration is impossible. He is perpetually the same. He only can say, "I am that I am" (Ex. 3:14). He is altogether uninfluenced by the flight of time. There is no wrinkle upon the brow of eternity. Therefore His power can never diminish nor His glory ever fade.

 

 

Secondly, God is immutable in His attributes. Whatever the attributes of God were before the universe was called into existence, they are precisely the same now, and will remain so forever. Necessarily so; for they are the very perfections, the essential qualities of His being. Semper idem (always the same) is written across every one of them. His power is unabated, His wisdom undiminished, His holiness unsullied.

 

 

The attributes of God can no more change than Deity can cease to be. His veracity is immutable, for His Word is "forever settled in heaven" (Ps. 119:89). His love is eternal: "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3) and "Having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end" (John 13:1). His mercy ceases not, for it is "everlasting" (Ps. 100:5).

Thirdly, God is immutable in His counsel. His will never varies. Perhaps some are ready to object that we ought to read the following: "And it repented the Lord that He had made man" (Gen. 6:6). Our first reply is, Then do the Scriptures contradict themselves? No, that cannot be. Numbers 23:19 is plain enough: "God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent."

 

 

 

So also in 1 Samuel 15:19, "The strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent." The explanation is very simple. When speaking of Himself. God frequently accommodates His language to our limited capacities. He describes Himself as clothed with bodily members, as eyes, ears, hands, etc. He speaks of Himself as "waking" (Ps. 78:65), as "rising early" (Jer. 7:13); yet He neither slumbers nor sleeps. When He institutes a change in His dealings with men, He describes His course of conduct as "repenting."

 
 
 

Yes, God is immutable in His counsel. "The gifts and calling of God are without repentance" (Rom. 11:29). It must be so, for "He is in one mind, and who can turn Him? and what His soul desireth, even that He doeth" (Job 23:13). Change and decay in all around we see, may He who changeth not abide with thee. God’s purpose never alters.

 

 

 

One of two things causes a man to change his mind and reverse his plans: want of foresight to anticipate everything, or lack of power to execute them. But as God is both omniscient and omnipotent there is never any need for Him to revise His decrees. No. "The counsel of the Lord standeth forever, the thoughts of His heart to all generations" (Ps. 33:11). Therefore do we read of "the immutability of His counsel" (Heb. 6:17).

 
 
 

Herein we may perceive the infinite distance which separates the highest creature from the Creator. Creaturehood and mutability are correlative terms. If the creature was not mutable by nature, it would not be a creature; it would be God. By nature we tend to nothing, as we came from nothing. Nothing stays our annihilation but the will and sustaining power of God.

 

 

 

None can sustain himself a single moment. We are entirely dependent on the Creator for every breath we draw. We gladly own with the Psalmist Thou "holdest our soul in life" (Ps. 66:9). The realization of this ought to make us lie down under a sense of our own nothingness in the presence of Him "in Whom we live and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28).

 
 
 

As fallen creatures we are not only mutable, but everything in us is opposed to God. As such we are "wandering stars" (Jude 13), out of our proper orbit. The wicked are "like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest" (Isa. 57:20). Fallen man is inconstant. The words of Jacob concerning Reuben apply with full force to all of Adam’s descendants: "unstable as water" (Gen. 49:4).

 

 

 

Thus it is not only a mark of piety, but also the part of wisdom to heed that injunction, "cease ye from man" (Isa. 2:22). No human being is to be depended on. "Put not your trust in princes, in the son of man, in whom is no help" (Ps. 146:3). If I disobey God, then I deserve to be deceived and disappointed by my fellows. People who like you today, may hate you tomorrow. The multitude who cried "Hosanna to the Son of David," speedily changed to "Away with Him, Crucify Him."

 
 
 

Herein is solid comfort. Human nature cannot be relied upon; but God can! However unstable I may be, however fickle my friends may prove, God changes not. If He varied as we do, if He willed one thing today and another tomorrow, if He were controlled by caprice, who could confide in Him? But, all praise to His glorious name, He is ever the same. His purpose is fixed, His will stable, His word is sure.

 

 

 

Here then is a rock on which we may fix our feet, while the mighty torrent is sweeping away everything around us. The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises: "For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee" (Isa. 54:10).

 
 
 
 

Herein is encouragement to prayer: "What comfort would it be to pray to a god that, like the chameleon, changed color every moment? Who would put up a petition to an earthly prince that was so mutable as to grant a petition one day, and deny it another?" (S. Charnock, 1670). Should someone ask, But what is the use of praying to One whose will is already fixed? We answer, Because He so requires it.

 

 

 

What blessings has God promised without our seeking them? "If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us" (1 John 5:14), and He has willed everything that is for His child’s good. To ask for anything contrary to His will is not prayer, but rank rebellion. Herein is terror for the wicked. Those who defy Him, break His laws, have no concern for His glory, but live their lives as though He existed not, must not suppose that, when at the last they shall cry to Him for mercy, He will alter His will, revoke His word, and rescind His awful threatenings.

 

 

No, He has declared, "Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them" (Ezek. 8:18). God will not deny Himself to gratify their lusts. God is holy, unchangingly so. Therefore God hates sin, eternally hates it. Hence the eternality of the punishment of all who die in their sins.

 

 

The Divine immutability, like the cloud which interposed between the Israelites and the Egyptian army, has a dark as well as a light side. It insures the execution of His threatenings, as well as the performance of His promises; and destroys the hope which the guilty fondly cherish, that He will be all lenity to His frail and erring creatures, and that they will be much more lightly dealt with than the declarations of His own Word would lead us to expect. We oppose to these deceitful and presumptuous speculations the solemn truth, that God is unchanging in veracity and purpose, in faithfulness and justice. (J. Dick, 1850)."

 
 
 

*This was written by Pink himself. His writings are available for all. (copyright free)

 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Do You Wish Your Faith Was Bigger?





Which person in the picture has the most faith?

 

 

Luke 17: "Then the apostles said to the Lord, "Give us more faith." 6The Lord said, "If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Pull yourself up by the roots, and plant yourself in the sea!' and it would obey you."

 

 

 

Size does not matter with faith. Size matters in our world, but not in God's. The faith the size of a mustard seed is no less faith than when the seed grows into a full grown plant. It is different with each person.

 

 

 

For the little girl, she could be expressing the exact same size faith as the man up on the high wire! Why? Because to her being off the ground and walking along a pole could be just as scary to her as the man's tightrope walking is to him.

 

 

It is not size that matters, it is that it's being used...being exercised!

 

 

If I said I trusted you and never did anything to show it...would it be hard to believe I trusted you? Well, of course! Faith is a verb...an action word. Faith in something has to have some sort of action to prove it.

 

 

 

 

Like I said, if I said I trusted you but never gave you any indication that I did...like asking you to do something that is really important to me - as in watching my house when I'm gone, or watching my child, or taking care of my animals, or giving you any of my personal information or asking important favors of you or asking your advice or taking your advice...would you believe I really had faith in you? How could you?

 

 
 
 

That is why the bible says that faith with out works is dead. It is just NOT faith without some sort of action (works) to prove it...some sort.

 

 
 
 

 

Rom. 1:17 "This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "The just will live by faith."

 

 
 
 

So, faith is believing in the things God says. Faith in God is telling Him you trust Him. Yes?! For instance, when we obey the New Commandment and love others in whatever measure we can (*love has no size either)...we are showing God we believe in His ways over our own.

 

 

 

*Love has no shape or size, so it cannot be measured. Like faith, it is ok in whatever way you begin expressing it. Then as you begin expressing it....it begins to grow from there, right under your nose!

 

 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Creating Memories and Joy!

 

I think it gets hard for Christians because we are living in two worlds - two Kingdoms. We are used to living in one of the worlds...namely this one...so we are pretty sure about how things work here for most people.  For instance...what kinds of things do human beings like to do and what gives us joy and creates memories?

 

 

OK, better yet, what in your life have given you great memories and real joy in this world? While you are thinking about it, here are some of mine --

 

 

*Teaching and helping children

*Creating various kinds of fine art

*When my book was published

*Making a difference

   somewhere, anywhere

*Going to the mountains

*When I know I've helped

    someone grow in Christ

*Going to an Emmaus weekend

*Having and caring for animals

*When I've had very close friends

*Antiquing in a little town unhurriedly

*When I recieve good news

   and surprises

*When someone gives me

     something from their heart

 

 

 

I am confident that God also wants us to begin having many joyful experiences in God's world too. But, how does this happen? We can see and touch this human kingdom,  but God's kingdom is not so easily seen or touched. Yes, there is a way!  But how?

 

 

 

Well, as you know, there were obstacles that kept us out of the Kingdom of God before Christ. The law made it about impossible to experience the joys of living in God's kingdom, because of our own inabilities to meet the requirements of the law.

 

 

But now, because of Christ we have a clear path to God and full access to His kingdom...even tho we have not experienced the physical heaven yet, the kingdom of God is within us.

 

 

 

So, now isn't it time to begin thinking about what memorable and joyful things there are to do here in God's kingdom? It IS as real as this world, yes!? God wants to help us add many experiences to our list!

 

 

 

Ok, then....how does this happen?

 

 

Romans 1 :17 "This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "The righteous shall live by faith"

 
 

 

 

In God's kingdom anything and everything is done by faith...

 

 Here in the USA at least, it is quite normal to say excuse me when we bump into someone, as we have come to expect it will makes things ok. However, I know for me anyway, I do it by faith as well, especially if I don't know the person and how they would react to being bumped!

 

 
 

There are many things we automatically do at home or in our society because they are just things one does! My sister-in-law came from a country that hugging was not done very often...it is something she said that she had to get used to doing and it being done to her...and at the beginning she merely did it by faith after learning it was a typical thing to do here. Then in time it became much more natural to her...

 

 
 

To us, doing the things in God's Kingdom is like this...we are in a Kingdom that does things differently...so we start out at least doing things that God wants us to do merely out of faith. Out of believing that God knows what He is doing and knows how things work in His invisable Kingdom.

 

 
 

For instance, the primary thing God wants us to do is love. To believe what God has said about his love, and then be a part of expressing it. In whatever measure...in whatever way...where ever we are...to imitate God in this world that needs Him...and in so doing be blessed ourselves! Like a sweet perfume...when sharing it with others, one can't help but getting it on yourselves!

 

 
 

 

Galatians 5:6 "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."

 

 

1 Corinthians 9:23 "I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings."

 


 

 

God is love. He is not just a God who loves...He IS love. Love is to Him an essential part of being. This is why He commands that we love...and likewise that we emulate Him as His dear children...because He wants us to identify with Him and participate in His likeness.

 

 

 

He does not do this so as to put another law on us...He does so because He knows what will make us complete and give us joy!! We already know what gives us joy in this earthly world...now God wants to teach us what will bring us joy in His world. Can you trust Him?

 


 

Love is not hard or burdensome...which is why it is more than compatable with grace. It is a joy and a blessing! The Pharisees and Experts in the Law of long ago and those of today want to have some religious control and in so doing are keeping many from the knowledge of God's love and grace that would set us free -- therefore, they are misrepresenting God!

 


 

 

Luke 11:46 "Yes," said Jesus, "what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden."

 

Luke 11:52 "How terrible it will be for you experts in the Law! You have taken away the key to knowledge. You didn't go in yourselves, and you kept out those who were trying to go in."

 

 

The command to love can be likened to a loving Father who brings home some very precious and personal gifts for each of his beloved children...then commands that they not just hold onto them....but open and experience them! Live them, share them and enjoy them. Now, how would this be burdensome or difficult?? This is just like God insisting that I be blessed!

 

Luke 12; 32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Now, sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."


 
 

 

Acts 20:35 “And I have shown you everything, that it is necessary to labor and to take care of those who are weak and to remember the words of our Lord Jesus, who said, 'He who gives is more blessed than he who receives.'”

 

 

1 Cor. 9:23 "I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

 

 

 

1 John 5:3 "Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome".

 

Matthew 11:30 'Jesus said, "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

 

 

The command to love in not under the law. A law can be measured, therefore we can tell when a law hasn't been obeyed. But love is not and cannot be under the law -- since love cannot be measured like a rule can!

 

 

So, where ever you are in your loving efforts, is wonderful and acceptable to God!! Because when we share God's love in any measure, it has the same power to perfect God's love in us, as well as rid us of any fears we still have of condemnation. A little leaven (or love), leavens the whole lump!

 

 
 

Col. 1 "10This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. 11Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love each other. 12No one has ever seen God. If we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13We know that we live in him and he lives in us because he has given us his Spirit.

 

 

 

14We have seen and testify to the fact that the Father sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God lives in those who declare that Jesus is the Son of God, and they live in God. 16We have known and believed that God loves us. God is love. Those who live in God's love live in God, and God lives in them.

 

 

 

17God's love has reached its goal in us. So we look ahead with confidence to the day of judgment. While we are in this world, we are exactly like him [with regard to love]. 18No fear exists where his love is. Rather, perfect love gets rid of fear, because fear involves punishment. The person who lives in fear doesn't have perfect love. 19We love because God loved us first.

 

 

 

 

20Whoever says, "I love God," but hates another believer is a liar. People who don't love other believers, whom they have seen, can't love God, whom they have not seen. 21Christ has given us this commandment: The person who loves God must also love other believers."

 


 

Living in love does so much...and most of all creates intimacy with God.

 


 

John 14:21 "Whoever knows and obeys my commandments is the person who loves me. Those who love me will have my Father's love, and I, too, will love them and show myself to them."

 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Awesome Testimony!


 
 
 

Only When God Becomes All That We Want…Do We Truly See That He Is All We Need

 Posted on:

December 12, 2012by Kevin Adams

It is impossible to please God without some measure of faith. But the prospect of living life entirely by it, is viewed as impractical, unnecessary, and foolish by many. After several years of learning to be a bit more foolish, I remain unconvinced as to which is more difficult: being willing to do anything for the Lord or willing to believe He would do anything for me.


Willingness to be foolish


Sunday morning at ten fifteen the words “Stand up and sing” formed in the air and lingered there like those of an unforgettable friend. And ten minutes before the sermon would end I heard them again and again. “Stand up and sing… sing Jesus loves me!” I looked around at a thousand quiet souls and wondered who it might have been. Some craning toward the pulpit to catch every corporate word, others with arms outstretched and nodding agreeably at what they’d already heard. But not one, including the speaker, had requested a song or singer to interrupt what is decent with something completely absurd…like “Stand up Kevin and sing Jesus loves me”.


I looked at my watch then down at my feet until clarity wrapped around my dignity and began to sink its teeth. Either God has a plan and had taken time to speak or I was about to be crowned church idiot and king of all freaks. If God indeed has a plan then He surely has a voice but sometimes He just hauls off and forces us to make a choice…knowing full well that a quick fork in the eye is always better than a lifetime of staring at one in the road.


Faith comes by the hearing of God’s word but only with rigorous testing will its measure increase. To that end, any David willing to dance before God with all his might must first count the cost of being despised by others in exchange for his Father’s delight. If you consider yourself a sheep in the fold of Jesus, one that hears His voice and follows, then I have a question: What would you do if He asked you to raise your hands and worship Him on the front porch or in the supermarket? Or maybe while in the mall or jogging with your iPod? The question is not whether we think it’s unnecessary or even senseless but instead whether we know the sound of His voice and are consumed by obedience to it.


So my moment of truth came down to this: Avoid the entire charade and risk offending God’s Spirit or move forward obediently and risk offending the minds of men. With legs a prickling and every ounce of blood attempting escape through my face, I two handed the back of the chair in front of me and began pulling myself into place – a standing position. And inching into my periphery was the nauseating blur of faces who were about to be embarrassed…for me.


Willingness to believe foolishly


By late summer we’d been awarded a substantial work contract which held the promise of meeting our financial needs for another year. But as the project began with great hope, so it began with a series of hopelessly unexpected interruptions. Three months and twice as many postponements later our summer of great expectation had given way to another November of desperation. After all, without the benefit of this income we’d literally lose every inch of ground that was gained the entire previous year, and more.


Yet throughout this journey the Lord without fail has sustained our every need by His abundant provision. And all the more generous at times, He has grown our faith by withholding that provision until all seemed lost. So with Christmas only weeks away, a delinquent mortgage and every resource exhausted, we waited patiently for the good news to come, until finally…with no time to spare…it came. We rejoiced that the project delays were over – hallelujah! On the other hand, the project was also over, cut from the budget at the eleventh hour without warning.


I’m not a pastor, theologian or teacher. I don’t have a church, a fan club or a flock. I’m just a regular guy with a testimony who would rather tear away empty pockets than fill them with empty promises. Before any of us can stand on the banks of the Red Sea and believe that it will open, we’ve got to learn the sound of God’s voice, like Moses at the burning bush. And then be consumed by obedience to it in spite of the doubting opinions of others, like Israel, who would rather remain safely in bondage.


Finally, we must become unshakable before the Godless kingdoms of this world, like Egypt, who will stop at nothing to keep us enslaved. Or mammon, the spirit that makes us cringe when we ask if the Good Samaritan would help the same man twice, three times, as long as needed, or stop when it begins to reduce his own storehouse.


It was no accident that every time Moses stepped out in faith God turned up the heat. From the unwinnable assignment, to Pharaoh’s hardened heart, to making bricks without straw, to being ridiculed by his own people, Moses was well prepared to face the impossible when it arrived. And right on time, after years of preparation, our very own Red Sea moment has arrived to daunt the natural eyes and remind us that God, not man, is our deliverer and God, not mammon, is our place of rest.


Willing to stand up and sing…or not.


By now, halfheartedly standing in church, like the lone awkward applauder at a social event or the guy who tried and failed to start the wave in a stadium, I would become the gladiatorial fool who disrupted the entire service to stand up and sing Jesus loves me…loudly. With a brief glance at the auditorium door to weigh my last options for avoiding embarrassment, having easily stood to make a simple dash for the bathroom, the other half of my heart with great unction joined rank against my flesh and laid itself on the altar.


Just as the hymn whispered up from my spirit, these words…“do not offend the speaker” settled on my shoulders like the insisting hands of a remarkably strong grandfather. My posture recognized the escape long before my understanding and slumped without hesitation into a deep sigh of thanksgiving – praise the Lord! Then…with only a minute left, the speaker led the congregation in prayer before making a strange request:


“You know what folks? This is going to seem cheesy but before we dismiss…let’s all stand up and sing Jesus loves me”


And without hesitation I knew…I knew that the Lord had just restored what the thief of my struggle had stolen. Jesus loves me…He really, really does. Three days later I shared my experience with the pastor. After a momentary pause, he looked at me with conviction and said:


“Wow Kevin… it wasn’t until the closing prayer that God gave me that song for the congregation. It wasn’t planned or even thought of until I prayed.”


We both smiled and pondered the love of a God who reminds us He’s there by testing the limits of our willingness. And I knew for sure that a God who would captivate me audibly and confirm it, is a God who would never allow the needs of my family to go unmet…ever.


Willing to believe in the foolish things


In an upside down kingdom it’s the foolish things, not the practical, that glorify the King. When the fool has a need…he meets the needs of another. When his hands are empty…he offers his hands instead. When his storehouse overflows he remembers that life is a vapor and counts giving a much greater privilege than making his future a little safer. When he is maligned he is kind and when he is about to faint from depression, he offers high praise to the Lord and for others he makes petition. When he’s counted by men as foolish in faith, lazy when things look tough and lucky when things seem great, he rejoices, gives thanks and reflects on these onetime foolish things:


God made a way for Noah to escape, Sarah to conceive, Isaac to leave the altar and Abraham to father nations, Jacob to prosper over Laban, Joseph to feed the nations, Moses to deliver a nation, Joshua to win the promised land, Gideon’s three hundred over more than a hundred thousand. And God gave David the favor for an everlasting throne, Elijah the speed to outrun a chariot and power to feed a widow for months from a single meal, Jeremiah the zeal to stand alone, Daniel the conviction to pray out loud and face death, Esther the favor at just the right hour, Nehemiah the vision to rebuild, and ultimately He made a way for the birth, sacrifice and resurrection of our Lord, Savior and King of everything to exchange Himself for a bride.


If the prospect of living entirely by faith (in the One crucified entirely for us) is academically risky, impractical and even foolish…then our fork in the road is clear:


To one side, these bold men and women of scripture are like wonderful cartoon characters that we quote on occasion for practical wisdom. To the other, they are real people with blood and; gut testimonies that have become the victories of our inheritance. To one side, we see a Savior pointing to our bootstraps who is willing to help if we’re willing to grab them first. To the other, we see that only momentary affliction is able to burn away such a Christian centered veneer. To one side, we see that practical wisdom aims to make life safe by storing up treasure for later and avoiding risky mistakes. To the other, we see that wise decisions are not even possible when made by the spirit of fear. To one side, we see the more sensible answers from the minds of men. To the other, we see the truth as it rings sincere through the veil of Christian ease:


Only when God becomes all that we want do we truly see that He is all we need.


Final Note:

My wife and I began learning to trust the Lord for our every need about four years ago. Within that time He has met them all abundantly and in His generosity, increased our lives exponentially – teaching us the sound of His voice, freedom from fear, and how to step into our identity. He has set our children are on fire, unified our marriage, and prepared our hearts with zeal for service. But none of our growth came without testing – testing that teaches us to rest in the Father’s arms like happy children, no matter how ugly the circumstance or radically foolish His instructions appear before men. In short, God has used the struggle set before our eyes in 2008 to remove a thousand from within our hearts along the way.


Today, having our last resource stripped away at the eleventh hour, when all is lost without it, the most difficult test we’ve faced since the journey began has arrived. And honestly… we are worn out, having no taste or patience for the superficial. Never the less, we do well to remember that living by faith is the only way to know who we really are – any of us. The more we are willing to courageously trust Him with our life, the more willing He is to trust us with His plan.


Through the continued encouragement of publishers and others, I’ve been working diligently on my writing project and remain excited. Good things are just around the corner. Until then, please pray that we might endure gracefully. And please take courage in your own testing that you are not alone in the fight of faith – affliction is momentary, rewards are overwhelming.


Lord, today, when all seems lost, as we face our own Red Sea moment, we boast in your mighty works and offer thanks for your good plans. We lift up our praise and declare that the same God who delivered Moses from Egypt and delivered us these past four years will deliver us again for the sake of His glory. Vindicate us before all men that our testimony would prove us weak and helpless and that You alone are our salvation.


For all who are tired of relying, even a little, on something other than God, today you can rest in His arms like a happy child. But if you need living proof then come along and see what He does next.


For prayer or encouragement please contact me by email: wakeupmyfaith@att.net Or connect on

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About Kevin Adams

As a student of God's word, photographer and writer, my chief aim is to help followers of Christ apprehend a real and passionate faith through the study of His word, by simple illustration, and regular encouragement. And by this faith they might catch a vision of who God shaped them to become. This blog is an account of my own journey toward that real and passionate faith, starting at ground zero. I hope it will offer some encouragement to any who've set their mind on seeking God's face, whatever the cost.