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Thursday, January 12, 2017

INVITE GOD?

"You are welcome Oh Lord, we invite you here to be with us,"  the worship leader prayerfully sang.  
"Isn't He already here living in my heart?" I asked myself. 
As a new believer, I was confused.  I heard my brothers and sisters inviting God or the Spirit to enter into the room.
Questions flooded my mind.
"Isn't God omnipresent?  Why do we need to invite Him to be with us if He is already living inside us?"

Was King David wrong in praying...
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! Psalm 139:7-8



Why do I hear "we invite you God," when some pray or worship?
I asked a few people.
 One person said, "Oh Cherrilynn, you don't have to be so literal."
Ouch!  I am literal when it comes to God.  
Scripture revealed the Truth. 


The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3 ESV

Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord. Jeremiah 23:24


Years later, while participating as a prayer partner at a Beth Moore conference Beth said,  "I don't invite God, He is already here, He invites us into His presence."
Thank you, Beth, for even more confirmation.
The more I studied the Word the more I understood...

Moses did not invite God to the mountain-God initiated the encounter.(Exodus 3)

Samuel did not wake God to speak with Him.-God called Samuel into His presence. (1 Samuel 3)

Saul definitely did not ask God to speak to him on the road to Damascus- God stopped Him in his tracks. (Acts 9)

God is everywhere, we need not invite Him.  God gives us an open invitation. He is waiting for us to acknowledge Him and bask in His presence.

I find comfort in knowing, wherever I go, He is with me.
Do you enjoy the presence of God?
He enjoys yours!
Join the conversation


Thursday, January 5, 2017

WHINE OR WINE

Sin will invade our lives in the form of trials, tribulations, and persecution. Emotional or physical pain is inevitable where sin resides. We cannot escape the effects of sin so God sent His solution to give us strength and peace.



Jesus was crushed for our sin
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace  Isaiah 53:5
When I read this verse, I think of grapes. I know it seems funny but bear with me. 
When grapes are made into wine they are pressed—a fragrant aroma arises only when they are crushed. 
People watch us when we go through trials, tribulations, or persecution (tweet this)   
One day at work, I was taunted by a few co-workers because I stated I was offended by their dirty jokes. 
I found a quiet corner to sulk. Eyes were still on me. 
My heart broke, they knew I was a Christian why would they say such nasty things in my presence, then make fun of me.

The taunts continued.
“Oh, Cherrilynn’s here, we'd better be good, she'll tell God on us,” Mike stated.
“God wouldn’t like our jokes, either would He?” Steve said.
“You guys are idots!” I said as I left the room.
Laughter echoed throughout the office and followed me on my walk.
The Holy Spirit impressed this verse upon my heart as I prayed and asked for wisdom.
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. (2 Corinthians 2:15). The Spirit continued, your choice is to whine or be wine when you are crushed. Do you want to complain or be a fragrant aroma?
After a short walk, I returned to the office.
“I’m sorry for calling you idiots.”
Mike and Steve’s mouths opened wider than their eyes.
“We thought you’d never talk to us again,” Mike said with his Cheshire grin.
We accept the apology, we will warn you next time we tell those kinds of jokes,” Steve said.
“Thanks, guys.”  
After the apology, they were careful with their speech. In fact, the dirty jokes stopped. They even came to me privately to ask for prayer.

 God's so good to help me turn my whine into wine.
Do you find yourself complaining?
I still do.
Let's aspire to be a fragrant offering.
What do you desire, Whine or Wine?
Join the conversation. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

WHY WAIT A YEAR

I love a new start, a clean slate you might say.  
New Year's day brings that for many people. 
 A resolution is made in hopes of profitable and enduring change.  
We resolve to lose weight, rekindle a friendship, write a book, learn a new language, the list goes on.  
What is a Resolution
According to the Oxford Dictionary
1. A firm decision to do or not to do something
2. The action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter

Statistics prove, after three months, many lose steam and do not stick to their New Years resolution. 
 I have done this more times than I want to admit. 
I beat myself up for not finishing the work or achieving my goal (tweet this)  
I felt like I set myself up for failure.  I began to hate resolutions and myself.
That changed.
As a new Christian,  I stopped making New Years resolutions after I read Lamentations 3:22-24 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
     they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
   “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore, I will hope in him.”
I have a fresh start every morning.  
I don't have to wait for a new year to get a clean slate with God. 
 If I fail the previous day, He forgives me.  Scripture reminds me 


His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence 2 Peter 1:3 ESV

Each morning I pray, "What do you have for your servant today?"
Many mornings He impresses upon my heart to stick with the daily routine.
Other mornings He places an activity or person upon my heart. I talk to Him all day. 
Whatever, the plan, I know that God is in me, empowering me to complete the work.  

I no longer make a yearly resolution,  I make a daily one.
I want to be like the Apostle PaulFor I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV

The Apostle Paul also stated in Philippians 3:10

That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection

God's power is alive and at work in us, as believers.

We no longer need to set ourselves up for failure.
We have daily victory.

Will you join me in making this daily resolution to know nothing but Christ and live in the power He gives us? 
 Join the conversation.








Monday, December 19, 2016

FREEDOM IN A CHRISTMAS CAROL

Freedom can be found in a Christmas Carol. 
As a non-believer, I would sing carols without understanding the words. Once God shed His light into my heart and made me His, Chains of guilt shame and fear diminished. Why?
I believed the words of the songs announcing the Glory of the newborn King. Songs declaring freedom.
One of my favorite carols is O Holy Night.

 My favorite line in the song,


"Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother and in His name all oppression shall cease."


Jesus humbled Himself and entered the world to break every chain (Tweet this)
  
I was in chains.  Chains of self-doubt, worry and unbalanced expectations.

I saw myself as unlovable, worthless, without a purpose. 
Jesus changed me when I believed this truth.
  

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, let's take a look at my favorite verse in O Holy Night and compare it to Scripture.

Chains Shall He break  



He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Psalm 107:14 NIV


I am your servant, LORD, I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains. Psalm 116:16 NIV



For the slave is our brother


 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant (slave), and coming in the likeness of men Philippians 2:7 NKJV


For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother Mathew 12:50 NIV


For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source, That is why He is not ashamed to call them brothers Hebrews 2:11 ESV


and in His name all oppression shall cease


Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. Deuteronomy 26:7 ESV


From oppression and violence, He redeems their life... Psalm 72:14 ESV


I still get chills when I sing this song.

I remember the prophecy of Isaiah 61  concerning Jesus 


The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor Luke 4:18-19 NIV



Jesus declared that He is the fulfillment of prophecy. 


I envision people walking out of jail cells with no shackles, leaping for joy at their newfound freedom.
Heads lifted high to greet the sun instead of staring at their feet. Hearts that once craved love now possess complete acceptance in Christ who is Love.



As we celebrate His birth, let us never forget that He is the Messiah.  The promised one.
Emmanuel, God with us. 
The Creator confined Himself to the womb of the created, to deliver us. (Tweet this)
He is the only one who breaks chains, heals wounds, and sets the captives free from the bondage of sin.


My heart rejoices and I want to fall on my knees in reverence and worship.
Let's join the angels and praise the Holy one for all He has done for us.

What effect do Christmas carols have on you?
Join the conversation.



If you are going through a difficult time, don't go through it alone.  Contact me.  I will pray with you.  We can seek the face of Christ together.   godsfruit@juno.com

Monday, December 12, 2016

SCARED INTO HEAVEN?

 I was told if I didn’t tell everyone about Jesus, that person could go to hell. I walked around in fear—invading the privacy of anyone who would listen to me.
“If a house was burning down you would run in and save the person—you have to tell everyone about Jesus or they will burn in Hell.” A friend said to me.
We would knock on complete stranger’s doors to impart our wisdom to them if they let us. 
My nose still hurts from all the doors slammed in my face. 
My friend Karen and I looked for people to witness to one Halloween night. We were in Karen’s car as we approached a group of teens.
“Do you know Jesus?” we said.
“I do, but I don’t know you” One boy responded as he walked away with all but one teen.
“If you were to die tonight would you go to Heaven?” Karen asked the remaining girl.
Her eyes widened and her mouth let out a scream as she ran away.
We were so scared we drove off and hid in a parking lot for over an hour. We thought the cops were after us.
What were we thinking approaching teens on Halloween? 
That girl probably thought we were going to kill her.
I had to rethink my witnessing approach.
Jesus said, Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:15-16).  I did not want anyone to be condemned so I had to tell them. Right?
God's number one commandment and expounded upon by Jesus, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Mathew 22:37-38). I was not loving God or others by being rude and obnoxious—I acted out of fear. I repented. 
I’ve since found a balance. I listen to the Spirit—He guides me to those who He wants me to speak to. He also impresses on my heart the word I need to speak.
People will not go to hell because of me—I just lose the joy and reward of being used by God to further His kingdom. 
Paul the Apostle stated,  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.  So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. (1Corinthians 3:3-9)
What joy, we are co-workers with Christ. He doesn't need us but we have the honor and privilege to be His servant and join Him in expanding the Kingdom. There is nothing scary about that.
Have you witnessed out of fear? Have you encountered someone who does? Join the conversation.

Monday, November 21, 2016

LISTEN TO LOVE

The Spirit whispered to me as I stood in the emergency room. My grandmother fell and hit her head. Her confusion and lack of memory alarmed me enough to call the ambulance.
 While my grandmother was off for some tests,  I watched the hustle and bustle of the doctors and nurses attended to their patients.  I prayed and asked God to use me to bring hope to anyone that needed it. 
In the corner, stacking the gauze, towels, and other supplies was a volunteer.  She looked tired and worn.  The Lord impressed upon my heart to speak to her. 
"The doctors and nurses would be lost without you," I said as I tried to make eye contact.
She looked at me with confusion.  I repeated the statement.  "The doctors and nurses would be lost without you."  She gave me a shy smile. 
 Over the course of our short conversation, I learned that she volunteered a few nights a week after her day job.  I told her how much we appreciated the volunteers at the hospital.
“I have been to this emergency room with my grandmother
more times than I care to mention. Volunteers are the glue that holds this emergency room together. Thank you!”   She smiled.  
"Thank you for talking to me, you are the first person who has talked to me all day.  I was so very sad and angry, I felt like my life didn't matter.  I was going to go home and just cry.  You have made me so happy, Thank you again."
She told me that her grandmother took her last breath in this hospital and that is why she volunteers.
"God bless you," I said.
"He has, you took the time to talk to me." 
She turned and finished stocking the shelves.
God knew this women's loneliness.  
I've felt the same void in a room full of people at church. I usually don't feel lonely, but on this particular day, my heart was crushed after a breakup with someone I thought I would marry.  A dear woman sat with me.  I don't remember all we talked about, I remember how she made me feel. Loved and important.
God notices everything and everyone and wants to use us to reveal His love to them.
 I praised God for the opportunity to show someone the love of Christ.  May I always be ready to Listen to the Spirit.
My grandmother did have a concussion. My sisters and I showed her the love of Christ by singing to her and spending time with her as she healed.
Has God used someone in your life when you were lonely or sad? Has God used you to bring love and joy into a persons life?
Join the conversation.






Saturday, November 5, 2016

MORE ALIVE THAN EVER

"I miss grampa," my son said with tears streaming down his face.
"I wish he never died"
My heart broke as my son sobbed and hugged his bear.
I missed him too.
I prayed and asked God to give me the words to say.
"I also miss grandma Colby, and Terry, and I know you must miss Sue."
My fourteen-year-old son has experienced much loss over the last few years. All followers of Jesus.
As I hugged my son the Spirit impressed upon my heart 2 Corinthians 5:8 where the Apostle Paul states,
Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
I thought to myself,
In the Lords presence, no one is dead. In fact, they are more alive than ever.
"Michael, Their bodies are in the ground, but their spirits are with Jesus. They are all more alive than ever. No cancer or Alzheimer's. "
I silently thanked God for giving me the words to say to my grieving son. I too was encouraged, picturing my loved ones walking and talking with Jesus.
"Do you think they are talking to each other?" my son said as he hugged his bear tighter.
"Yes, I bet grandma and Jesus are square-dancing."
"I still miss them, mom."
"It's ok to miss them, but they do not want us to fret because we will see them again."
"I can't wait to hug them and Jesus."
My son smiled and swirled his bear in the air, the bear danced.
Death will never have victory over a believer (tweet this)
Do you have a loved one in Heaven?  Share a fond memory. Join the conversation.