About Me

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.