Tag Archives: heaven

Christianity is not about doing, it’s a state of being.

Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5

Which came first: the fruit or the Spirit?

I used to have a lot of artificial fruit.  What does artificial fruit look like? Well, let’s just say I ‘faked’ Christianity, I acted the way I thought a Christian would act.  Let me give you an illustration…

When I was 16 years old I received a scholarship from the Horatio Alger Association.  To me, it wasn’t just a scholarship; it was the beginning of a relationship.  These people who didn’t even know me invested in my future education and took me to Washington D.C. for a few days, introduced me to a lot of entrepreneurs, and told me how much they believed in me. The sad part is no matter how much they believed in me or encouraged me, I did not think I deserved this scholarship and it was hard for me to accept it. In fact I didn’t even use it for 7 years! Why? Because for those 7 years I tried my hardest to ‘earn’ that scholarship, believing I did not deserve it. This is exactly what I did with my salvation.

I was told by a number of God’s messengers:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17

OK. God loves me.  He gave His Son Jesus as a sacrifice to pay for my sins and now I can have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. A gift! In 1996, I ‘accepted’ this free gift but for 13 years I did not act like I’ve accepted it as ‘free.’ Instead, I did everything in my own strength and I tried to earn my salvation, revealing my lack of faith.

I tried to be a good Christian by being nice to people, changing what I say, I tried to stop drinking, I began to serve, and listen to Christian music…always talking the talk but not walking the walk—not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Then in 2008 I began to read the Bible and on February 12, 2009 I surrendered. I stopped doing and started being.

Here are a just few things I’ve learned along the way:

So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:17-20)

I produced bad artificial fruit for so long to try to earn my salvation, to deserve it.  It is true, I don’t deserve it, none of us do. It is by grace through faith I have been saved, not of myself…not what I’ve done or haven’t done, it is a gift of God. I am no longer blinded and now I see!

Do you see? Do you see the Spirit must come before the fruit?

Are you tired of powerless religion? By ‘power’ I mean walking in your strength and not in the power of the Holy Spirit?  I pray you draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Thanks for reading but please don’t take my commentary for it…read the Bible and interact with God for yourself you will taste and see that He is good!


Teachable moment on God’s Love

My journal entry dated Summer 2010
 
 
The other day we were at a friend’s house when my 3-year-old little girl tried to play with two other older girls, but they closed the door and didn’t let her in.  My daughter came running to me with tears in her eyes saying, “Mommy they won’t share and they don’t want to play with me…” I must admit I am ashamed of my immediate reaction which was of my natural flesh fueled by hurt and sadness for my daughter.  I know what it’s like to see cliques of people enjoying each others’ company and not welcoming you to join them.  Unfortunately I have plenty of journal entries crying out to God about this hurt and rejection…it is from this hurt I initially responded:
 

I whispered in her ear, “Its OK we will go to the pool later and play with two other little girls.”

 
 

Instead of giving my daughter the ‘Bread of Life’ I gave her the dust of the world leaving her heart empty of God’s Word and thirsty for His Holy Spirit.  I took an easy road, giving her an opportunity to put her hope and happiness in a person or circumstance and not in Jesus Christ.  My daughter then said to the two girls, in a very bragging (unloving) tone, “We’re going to the pool and you can’t come!”  Only then was I convicted and repented and sought God’s forgiveness for not ‘diligently teaching’ her His Word.  After this confession and cleansing, I allowed myself to listen and obey the voice of the Holy Spirit…He who conceals a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates intimate friends.” Proverbs 17:9

 
 

The brown eyes I must diligently teach about Him

I bent down on my knees, looked into her big brown eyes and told her, “God loves you, and God loves those little girls who hurt your feelings.” I asked her a question.  “What are the two greatest commandments?” And her little voice replied with hand gestures to go with each word, “love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”  Yes! My next step as her mother was to teach her ‘How’?  How can you love someone when they hurt you? How Mommy?

 

 I told her we can pray right now and ask God to give us the grace to forgive them and to love them.  We prayed right there, we prayed for the little girls that hurt her, and we prayed for ourselves…we prayed Matthew 22:37-39 and we asked for God’s grace to forgive and love the Way He commanded us to love. After prayer, my daughter immediately changed her behavior and invited them to the pool.  Before we left, one of the little girls asked me, “You’re already teaching her Scripture?  But she’s so little…”  I smiled and told her,

“Even infants in their Mommy’s tummy are at the perfect age to learn about God’s love!  Yes, my daughter like you IS little and Jesus says, in Matthew 19:14 let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.

 Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, anyone around children meditate on this:

…the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Wow! God gave us an example through children to show us what heirs of the kingdom of heaven can look like!  Also, what a responsibility not to hinder them from coming to Jesus! Those little eyes are watching us.  They are watching to see if we ‘do’ what we teach them.  Consider our Great Teacher, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ–what did He do?  He humbled Himself…He even washed the feet of the disciples….all 12 of them!  Yes, even Judas Iscariot, the one He knew that was going to betray Him.  When Jesus had finished washing their feet He asked:

 

“Do you understand what I have done for you?”

You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.  I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”

John 13:12-17

 

Jesus washes His Disciples' feet...so should we

If my Lord and Savior, the Son of God can humble Himself and wash the feet of someone He knew was going to betray Him (Judas) and those that would deny Him (the rest of the disciples), who am I to not humble myself to love those who hurt me? My actions will show whether or not I truly ‘understand’ what Jesus has done for me.  My little children are His lambs.  I’ve been entrusted to teach them His Word diligently by reading the Bible to them and showing them how to walk His truth out.  I am thankful His Holy Spirit helps me to teach my children by bringing to remembrance His Word every teachable moment opportunity! I’m so thankful that I listened and obeyed….this time.

Father, help us to seize each moment to teach children diligently about Your commandments and the Way (Jesus) to obey Your commandments through the power of Your Holy Spirit.  Thank you for this opportunity to teach and relearn about love and forgiveness.

 
 

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

1 John 4:7-11


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