Ripe Fruit

Ripe Fruit

John 15:16-17 (ESV) You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.

I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items last week. Passing through the produce section, there was sign marked “tree-ripened fresh peaches”. Reaching for them expecting soft and supple fruit, the peaches were still a bit hard and not at all what I expected. However, this did not stop me from filling a bag anyway. An elderly gentleman in a riding wheelchair came up to the table and asked if the fruit was any good. He also felt the peaches and declared them not ripe but firm to the touch. I shared the secret to delicious juicy peaches. If you take some home and put them on the counter for a couple of days, the fruit will ripen and soften to perfection. He chuckled and said that earlier in the week that the employee stocking the fruit told him the same thing. The man is on a fixed budget and was afraid to splurge on the fruit only to be disappointed. He didn’t trust the worker so he didn’t buy any that day. He told me his story as he selected some peaches to take home.

We are called to bear fruit as disciples of Jesus Christ. To abide in the Vine so fully and completely that His Fruit begins to blossom and ripen in us. His Spirit cultivates the kind of fruit that satisfies our soul and is worth sharing with others. The man did not buy what the market was selling but he decided to lean on my personal experience that day. People relate to a Gospel that is shared like a good meal. They prefer an authentic relatable experience over a chance encounter that may not go as expected. It is not my “job” to share Christ but my privilege to offer others the abundance of goodness produced by having Him in my life living in me.

It is important to note in John 15 that the Lord has chosen us. We did not handpick him from a plethora of other gods but rather God created us as Children in His Image. Christ in us restores and rebuilds our relationship with God the Father through righteousness. I have seed worth planting and fruit worth bearing inside of me. What I do with the seeds of faith given to me in measure is up to me. Pursuing His Kingdom is a promise of reaching eternity that is already set within my heart but will I consider the cost worth paying for the privilege of the everlasting is truly up to me.

Luke 8:11-15 (ESV) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away. And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature. As for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.

God’s Word is the seed that produces every good thing in our life. Jesus is the Word. We hear the Word and must decide what to do with it. There are several choices. There are some who hear the story of Jesus and cannot comprehend such a gift or fathom the depths of His Love so they deem it unbelievable and decide to choose this life. The enemy comes and takes the seed easily discarded. There are those who hear the Word of God and believe it…at first. Like the sign on the peaches boasting “tree-ripened fruit”, they are interested until reaching for it and finding it hard. Rather than taking it home and allowing it to ripen on the kitchen counter until it is just right, they pass by the opportunity to taste and see that it is good. We are encouraged to taste and see that God is good yet do not engage in the process because it takes too long or too much energy so we take a shortcut or substitution instead. We must let the Love of God given to us through Jesus Christ take root in our heart so when tests and trials come we overcome the temptation to abandon our effort and let go. There are those who hear the Word and believe it, yet they are too busy to take the time to really meditate on it and allow it to sink in and produce its potential. The Word blossoms and good things start to happen but the process is again abandoned for the good rather than waiting on the God Fruit that is coming. Our seed (the Word) must be sown in fertile broken hearts and given time to grow, develop and mature into the Fruit it is supposed to be. The seed will always produce its potential.

Isaiah 55:10-11 (ESV) “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

God’s Word always produces its potential. The promise will always come. He gives seed to the sower. Those who decide to cultivate God’s Word for themselves will find new promises every single day. The fruit produced in their life becomes enticing to others who will want to know how it happened, where it came from, and how you got it. The influence in our life increases when abundance becomes our experience. The seed always produces its potential in us. It prospers our soul which in turn spills over into our life. Others will want and desire what you have suddenly opportunities will arise to share the good fruit of God’s Spirit with others time and time again because success becomes our experience.

Colossians 1:9-12 (ESV)  And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

For Mother’s Day, our church gave all the mom’s succulent plants. I have the orphans sitting in the window in the dining room. I have been honest in my admission that I have a history of plant killing. I am a homicidal horticulturist or at least I was… I have painstakingly cared for the handful of plants and they are beginning to grow and thrive. I am amazed at the miracle before me. I think sometimes we decide who we are and what we will be based on our past experiences and history. God promised to give us new life. He gave us His Word with the promise of an inheritance to those who begin by sowing it in their heart and mind. Those who decide to try it out and trust Him little by little with the broken pieces of our messed up life will begin to see subtle productivity that will one day become our success. His Word is our promise that cannot return to Him without absolute fulfillment. To walk in a manner worthy of the Lord is not a religious exercise but a daily experience of sowing His Word and sharing its productivity. We have been given the opportunity to bear fruit in every good work even a simple encounter with someone at the grocery store. Many sermons will be preached. Teachings shared. Insight given. It will spread seeds of God’s Word all around but it will be those who take the time to sow it, stay with it, wait for it and then share it that will see its good fruit.

Psalm 34:8 (ESV) Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

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Have Hope

Have Hope.png

Hebrews 6:17-20 (ESV) So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

My husband and I were blessed to enjoy a cruise many years ago. If you have never had the opportunity to set sail, I highly recommend it. As a wife and mother, there is something truly wonderful about stepping on a ship to be whisked away from schedules, routines, menu planning, meal preparing and such duties to be taken to an exotic destination while someone else feeds and cares for you for a change. On the last night of the cruise was the captain’s dinner, and as we made our way back to the cabin the waters had become quick rough. The large vessel was now rocking back and forth. It was difficult to keep one’s balance. Upon entering the cabin, I quickly changed and crawled into the most magnificent comfy bed. The kind that just sucks you in and drifted off to sleep. My husband was not fairing quite as well obviously ill from the waves. I was awakened to him calling my name holding tightly to side of the bed an unnatural shade of green. “How can you sleep?” he said in his distress.

From a very early age, I have always been able to sleep through storms of all kinds. As a child living in a mobile home, a tornado came through ripping off the screened patio on the side of the home and carrying off the metal shed next to it yet I continued to sleep right through it. Just recently a hurricane made landfall not far from home, and again my kids and husband couldn’t believe that I could sleep through the wind and rain. It is a blessing I suppose. That or an uncanny gift of escaping reality for the time being, who knows? What I do know for sure is that storms do come, waves rise up and darkness seems to overtake light but in all things – I have hope.

What is a natural ability can also become a supernatural gift for those who choose the proper anchor! The Truth overpowers the lie every time. To know the Truth is freedom. To hold on the Truth is our security. Is the enemy trying to drain your confidence today? Is he wrestling to make you release the anchor of our soul? He has a way of doing that consistently and often with great success but it doesn’t have to be that way. Confident hope is the security of our heart, mind and soul in the attack of the enemy. He cannot take your potential. He cannot redefine purpose. He cannot change God’s Plan for us. Christ in us is enough. Always enough. His Grace is sufficient. The lie of the enemy has no hold but that doesn’t mean that it is man’s mistake to hold tightly to the lie rather than embracing the Truth. God’s Word is the Truth that carefully details our life. Christ is the Word of God that lives in us making all things possible for those who believe.

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie… I wonder the possibilities if God’s People would grab hold of the unimaginable promise that God has unchangeable character. To accept with absolute confidence that He guarantees His Promises with an oath to us that He does not lie and will never ever change His Mind. We become fixated on the process and forget the promise. Just as the disciples who knew Jesus had not yet arrived in the absolute belief that He indeed was the Son of God evidenced when the ship hit a storm. Jesus was sleeping comfortably within the vessel and his closest friends and followers asked, “Do you not care?” Jesus calmed the storm raging around them but it was up to them to settle the sea within their own heart and mind.

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain… Even though the ship was tossing and turning that night, I crawled into the big comfortable bed without hesitation. The captain and his crew were in the wheelhouse taking care of things. An announcement had already been given that the seas were rough but to rest assured the vessel was under control and on course. I chose to believe the experts. Resting in the safety of my bed, the waves were still peaking and the boat still bouncing but I was not afraid so rest came easily. Oh the Peace of God that will carefully contain us in every storm in life. The Presence of God around us thanks to the veil torn from top to bottom by Jesus. Hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. Hope is the weight of faith that keeps us in the secret place of rest that the Lord promises those who believe. Those who allow their faith to gain substance.

Hebrews 10:23 (ESV) Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

God is faithful. He is always faithful even when we are not. His Faithfulness ensures the promise, potential and purpose of our life to be successful and prosperous. We must not only have faith but faith full invested in hope. Hope will never ever lead you to disappointment even though people and problems may try to. Whether gripping it with both hands or holding on as to a thread, the power of the anchor of hope given to us by God through Jesus Christ is always enough to keep us. There will be some days that His Love for us and His Plan makes perfect sense so faith and trust come easy. There will be days with faith is a completely illogical choice except for the promise that He has given us. Everyday hope can be the anchor for our soul. Perfect peace is possible for those who believe. Jesus is our Peace. He allows us to have His Mind by His Spirit who works on the inside to produce the good fruit that feeds and nourishes our soul. God is good. He loves you. He is always on your side. He is for you! He will never ever let you down. You must only believe and hold tightly to the anchor that He has given for our soul. Hope is the anchor of our soul!

Romans 5:1-5 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Keep the Wheel Turning

Keep Spinning

Jeremiah 18:2-4 (ESV) “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

The image was vivid and clear. A bicycle wheel spinning when a stake appears in the spokes. The movement is halted and what once was an image of symmetry in motion halts abruptly. What is stopping us from turning? Repentance is turning our heart, mind and life over to Jesus Christ. The vision I see makes me wonder what in me is not turning properly. Is there something I have allowed to enter what once was fluid and now is stagnant? Christian living is a perpetual and constant turning of our life over to the Lord. Salvation is only the starting point of redemption. We must redeem our life piece by piece reconciling our way and will to the Father for recreation through His Son – Jesus Christ. There will never be a point in our natural existence when repentance will be complete. Our purpose and destiny in life is achieved by faith in the process of God that is repentance.

Arise, and go down to the potter’s house…

The instruction is clear. It is not open to interpretation. It is an invitation to leave one’s current position to enter new destiny and possibilities only available in the Presence of God. Who will go? It is a choice. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. You have to decide that new life is the desired pathway for your life. Arise. Get up. Move. Go down to the potter’s house. It doesn’t say go “up” to the potter’s house, but rather go down. Humility is essential in engagement with God. You cannot come boldly before Him in pride which is self-confidence and reliance but must enter confident in the work of His Son and its availability to us. Will you arise? Will you go down to the potter’s house today?

There I will let you hear my words…

The act of true repentance positions us to hear God’s Word and understand what exactly He is saying. We must arise and go down to His House – entering His Presence. God is speaking. He is always whispering to us in a still small voice. The distractions of life do not silence His Word. They keep us from hearing Him. It is the act of sacrificing our time and surrendering our priorities to wait for Him to speak and give us understanding that allows the transformation process to begin. We must have a desire to hear the voice of God and do what He says. Keeping His Commands are essential. It begins with the simple summons, “Come.”

So I went down to the potter’s house…

Repentance will always lead to obedience. Obedience is the key to opening the potential and purpose hidden within us. Faith holds the key that opens the door to all that heaven has hidden for God’s People. We cannot experience God’s Blessings or Promises apart from His Instruction. You cannot have God’s Will – your way. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through Him. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Word that is written is breathed by the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Word. We cannot and will not ever reach maximum potential in Jesus Christ apart from the Spirit and Truth connecting in us. Will you meet Him where He is today?

There he was working at his wheel…

This may very well be my favorite part of this passage, God is faithful. He is always faithful to His Word. He does exactly as He promised to do apart from our departures and wanderings. When returning to Him, the Lord is still there working everything out for our good. (Romans 8:28) I am so thankful that God is not a man. He doesn’t lie or change His Mind. Nothing can separate me from His Love – not even me. When I repent, turn back, humbly enter His Presence, God is exactly the same as when I left Him last time. My faithfulness is not primary in my relationship with the Lord. His Faithfulness is everything. It means that I can be exactly who He promised and fulfill my potential in Him no matter how many times I wander off or succumb to weakness. His Grace is always enough. His Grace is sufficient.

The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand…

God is not shocked or dismayed when I fall short. He knows exactly what I am going to do before I do it. He keeps me safely tucked away in His Hand. He knows me inside and out yet still chooses to love me unconditionally, recklessly and completely. He waits for me to respond to His Promises. Lovingly and securely I am in His Hand. No one and nothing can take me from Him. Isn’t it a relief to know that God knows us, yet loves us just the same. He doesn’t throw away “spoiled” clay but holds us in His Hand until…

He reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

No vessel is ever too broken for the Lord. Jesus knows exactly who He invested His Great Love in still choosing to give us His All. Our undoing gives God the opportunity to “rework” us into another vessel. One fit for His Use, His Service, and His Glory. God has already promised that He has a plan for our life containing a future and hope. It is by faith that our confidence gives way to trusting the process of brokenness. To allow God to begin to reshape us through renewal, restoration and revival from the inside out. It begins with repentance. Repentance allows the potter’s wheel to keep spinning. It is the very thing that ends stalling in our process and gives way to our potential. Is there a stake in your spoke today? The Lord will carefully take it if you will surrender it to Him. God is ready to reveal your divine purpose and release your full potential today. Will you arise and come to the potter’s house with me? He is ready to make us a masterpiece.

Isaiah 64:8 (ESV) But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Fresh Springs

Fresh Streams

Proverbs 18:20-21 (ESV) From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

The proverbial warning is that death and life are in the power of the tongue. It is spoken and taught on a regular basis. Cautioned that every idle word will be judged according to its fruit. Though such a small part of a large organization, the tongue is the most powerful weapon given to mankind. We can start wildfires with one tiny spark. It can also put out raging ones with just a little of its soothing calm. Communication is the sowing of many seeds. What is growing in your life today? What is the fruit of your communication today? Are you satisfied? From the fruit of my mouth, my stomach is satisfied. I am satisfied by the yield of my lips. Faith has deposited seeds of potential in full measure inside of me. They are waiting to be sown. My words are part of the process. If my words are not life giving, they will be death to my potential. Words can take the life of my dreams and seal them in dark tombs of disappointment.

Proverbs 15:4 (ESV) A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

The gentle tongue is a tree of life. It takes a tiny seed to make a giant oak. God has called us to be “oaks of righteousness”. In our frustration, He is blamed when there is no growth or development of the promise that is in us. But maybe…just maybe… it is not God’s Lack of attention that is the problem but rather the poison flowing from our lips. Right and righteousness must be partners. I can be right about a lot of things. Righteousness is given to me only through Jesus Christ. My mouth my speak truth. Truth without love is the law and seals my fate. Each word is wrapped in the breath that God began in me and carries the fruitful potential of prosperity in my life.

James 3:7-10 (ESV) For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.

Jesus has cleansed the church by the washing of water with the Word. The same Word is declared living and flows within us as a steady stream. It is useful in cleansing our conversation and watering the fresh seeds planted in communication. Blessing and cursing cannot come from the same mouth without nullifying itself. If you bless it, then curse it – something will die. You are created in the image of God. The Spirit of Jesus Christ, who is resurrection power and life, lives inside of you. You will make declarations on the earth. You cannot choose to be salty and sweet at the same time. You cannot be living water and a stagnant stream together. You must choose to be a fountain of living water. You must decide that you desire to bring life and not cause death. The taming of our tongue and monitoring of our words is not easy but vital in living the life that God has promised us. We must speak His Word. We must let Him be the gatekeeper of our lips.

Exodus 4:10-12 (ESV) But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.” Then the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”

Moses was commissioned to set God’s People free. He was to go and speak to Pharaoh. Moses used the excuse that he was “not eloquent…but I am slow of speech and tongue.” I wonder if that was really what was holding Moses back or could it be his pride. He was in exiles tending flocks in a hillside because he was a fugitive from justice. A murderer. He was once a palace dweller, but now living in a pasture covered in the smell of sweat and sheep. Was it really his ability to speak that was holding him back? Sometimes our mouth gets us in trouble and pride keeps us from making it right. Look what the Lord tells Moses, His Servant, “Who has made a man’s mouth? Is it not I, the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be your mouth and teach you what you shall speak?” In Psalm 139:4, it tells us that even before a word is fully formed on the tip of our tongue, God knows it altogether, fully or completely. It means that before our body gave breath to that thought or idea – God had already put life in it. He knows the potential of our words and the rebellion of our tongue which means that Jesus has already provided sufficient grace to secure it. It means that the potential inside of our words always has goodness attached to it. Even when rash, callous, heated or ugly words are spoken, at the submission of pride, He will bring about new life.

Luke 6:45 (ESV) The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Our life is lived in seasons. God is constantly giving us the opportunity to sow and reap in a perpetual seedtime and harvest. What we sow in each season determines the harvest that will come. The great part is that our next season of life doesn’t have to yield the same as the previous one did. Because Christ lives in us – we have the promise of new life and becoming a new creation. Our words reveal the abundance of our heart. Harsh and hurtful words are often born of the same seeds planted deep within. It is up to us to filter our speech but first we must sift through the contents of our heart. A communication problem is a heart problem…at least that’s what God’s Word indicates. If the mind, soul and body agree than our words will duly reflect its unification, but if blessing and cursing come pouring out – it is time for careful examination. No one is exempt. We will be judged by the fruit of our life. The Lord is looking at our fruit. We must become fresh streams of living water to prosper as the Lord intended inside and out.

John 7:37-38 (ESV) On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”

What flows from our mouth waters the seeds of promise in our life? Abundance is born of living water that produces a harvest in our soul that prospers our life. You have this kind of stream inside of you. Release it today – in Jesus Name.

Proverbs 10:19-21 (ESV) When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth.  The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.

Good Soil

Good Soil

Matthew 13:13:3-9 (NLT)  He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

It might seem that the emphasis of this parable of Jesus is all about spreading seed. Seed time and harvest are exciting ventures in the Kingdom of God. Though the process seems a bit risky and timeframe uncertain, a harvest is the desired result and worth waiting for. Jesus shared this story with his disciples. Their response representative of our own many times. “Why do you use parables when you talk to people?” Jesus responded, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” What if the Lord is speaking to us? What if it really isn’t the Word that is elusive but our impatience that keeps us from hearing His Voice and applying His Wisdom to our life?

2 Corinthians 9:10 (NLT) For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

God gives seed to the farmer. God has given us seed. He gives us a measure of faith to be sown into salvation. He gives us His Word to become the promises of our life. The seed is established and already provided. Soil needs good soil. I wonder what might happen if believers truly believed in the potential of the seed given to them by God. Seed reproduces. Seed increases to become more than its present form. Seed is important. It is significant. But if the seeds of potential and promise do not find their way into fertile soil – purpose remains hidden within it. If you notice in this parable of Jesus – all the seed produced something. Seed will do exactly what it is predestined to do. It will grow into the very thing that produced it in the first place. The vulnerability of the seed is not its potential but in its placement.

What did the disciples hear when Jesus shared the parable? Were they immediately disinterested because the majority were fisherman by trade therefore this did not apply to them? It happens all the time. We seek God to solve our problem. To provide our lack. To meet our need. To heal our disease. To do something for us. The Lord has already given us seeds of faith and His Word that will become every promise that He has given us when we seek Him and pursue the harvest of faith and fulfillment. God’s Word cannot and will not return to Him void. It must do exactly what He sent it forth to do just like the seeds in the story. They grew where they were planted. You and I are permitted to know the secrets of the Kingdom. What are we doing with these mysteries of hope? Do will sift through them or sow them all in a fertile heart? God has given us every spiritual blessing. It comes in the form of tiny seeds of faith and the Word of God. When He Spirit begins to cultivate them within us what is our response?

Matthew 13:18-23 (NLT) “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”

What are you doing with your seed today? Where are you planting it? Do you carelessly leave it to be trampled? Is it scattered in a heart still rocked by bitterness, regret, shame or unforgiveness? To harvest the promise of the seed means allowing our heart to be broken to receive it. Are you rooted and grounded in the Love of God offered through Christ Jesus? Or moved by the winds of change and storms of life? Are you embarrassed to be a Christian? Afraid of what others might think so you hide your faith and beliefs? What about doubt? The killer of most seed put in the ground is the worries and cares of life that choke out the new life as it begins to grow in us. That’s right in us. The fertile soil for the seed of God is our heart. When the seed finds good soil, it produces. When our seed fails to produce its true potential, it is time to test the soil of our heart.

John 12:23-25 (NLT) Jesus replied, “Now the time has come for the Son of Man to enter into his glory. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.”

Jesus knew the potential of His Life. He knew that He was the Resurrection and Life for all mankind. He knew that once His Death and Repayment of sin complete that He would be placed in the grave or ground for three days. He willingly endured the tragedy and torture of the Cross to go into the grave so that He could release our full potential. We must follow the example of Jesus Christ. Giving up this life to have new life is the objective. The full potential is in us. It will die with us if not sown. Kingdom potential is inside of every man and woman ever created. We have faith and eternity hidden in our heart. God gave us His Word not just spoken and written but in bodily form to live in us. The Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, is the prime cultivator ready to produce every good thing God promised for our life as an inheritance. We just need fertile soil – a broken and responsive heart that is ready to receive. A mind and body willing to wait on God’s Timing. Everything else has already been provided for our salvation and success in this life and the everlasting.

Hebrews 6:7-8 (NLT) When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it.

God has invested the mysteries of His Kingdom within you and me. We have vast potential outside of natural occurrences in supernatural and divine sowing and reaping. Our heart must be fertile. It must remain broken to receive and cultivate all that God has for us. The mysteries are hidden in the hard exterior of the human heart. The Lord softens us by breaking our heart and we are saved. There is more to life than a one-time prayer to accept Jesus as our Savior. Those who live calling Him Lord will experience the true potential of seedtime and harvest. The prosperity found by the prospering soul. Bountiful harvests come from broken hearts that dare to allow seeds of faith and the Word of God maximize their full potential.

Psalm 65:9-11 (NLT) You take care of the earth and water it, making it rich and fertile.
The river of God has plenty of water; it provides a bountiful harvest of grain, for you have ordered it so. You drench the plowed ground with rain, melting the clods and leveling the ridges. You soften the earth with showers and bless its abundant crops. You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.

Little Faith

little faith

Matthew 17:20 (ESV) He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Dynamite was invented in 1867 by Alfred Nobel. The same Nobel who is responsible for Nobel Prizes for scientific and cultural achievements and awards. His invention of dynamite is what gave him the wealth to fund what is historically one of the most prestigious awards in the world. Before dynamite, the strongest explosive was gunpowder. Gunpowder did not have the power needed for many needs as it was very dangerous to handle especially in larger quantities. Dynamite met this need and was much safer to use.

Dynamite consists of a few common elements. Nitroglycerin, which already existed though extremely dangerous and quite unstable, is the primary potent ingredient that causes the massive explosion. Nobel took nitroglycerin and packed it in diatomaceous earth which is soft, chalky stone made nitroglycerin safer to handle. A wick and blasting cap are the final two components needed to create a stick of dynamite. Once placed in the desired location – the wick is lit and when it ignites the blasting cap causes a small explosion that triggers a much larger destructive explosion.

The Greek “dunamis” is used 120 times in the New Testament. The word refers to strength, power or ability. Yes, it is the root word for dynamite, dynamo, and dynamic. In Matthew 17, the disciples have tried to release the power of God by casting out a demon from a possessed person. It did not work. They are perplexed. When they ask Jesus, he responds “because of your little faith.” I often have read this thinking that the faith of these men too small to get the job done but I do not think that is the case at all. How much smaller can faith be than a mustard seed? What if Jesus was not talking about the size or quantity of faith but rather its handling and placement?

Mark 4:30-32 (ESV) And he said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

Faith is given to us. God assigns us a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) We have the proper amount of faith but it must be properly handled to release God’s Power and Glory in our life. The Purpose and Plan of God for us is released as faith is planted then grows, matures and develops into a fruitful and abundant life. The seed must be buried to give way to its present form and release its divine purpose. Seeds of faith must be sown into the fertile heart in order to produce the dunamis power inside each one. Maybe when the Power of God and His Glory are not evident in our life is not because of a lack of potential or purpose but maybe abandonment of process. Unless we truly believe in the potential of each tiny seed of faith, there will be no energy expended in cultivating them. Funny that even with dynamite the powerful nitroglycerin must be enveloped in earthen material in order to be properly handled. The death of self is in living a life of faith not futility by trusting and believing God at His Word, planting it deep in our heart, lighting it with the Power of His Love, and allowing the Holy Spirit to explode inside of us until the Light reaches the world.

It only takes a stick of dynamite to release an explosion capable of great destruction. You have dunamis power inside of you in the person of Jesus Christ. We connect with His Power by faith. Faith comes in the form of seeds to be planted in a soft and fertile heart. It must grow into the confident hope. This is accomplished outside of our five senses. Faith is not logical unless it is supported by the Word of God. Quite simply – faith can only become powerful when properly handled until just the right time. God has given us a purpose and plan that is far beyond our expectation. It is not to be found in our present form but the Glorious Power that He has hidden on the inside of us just waiting to find its way out. You have faith. It must be handled properly. Thank you God for giving me the right amount of faith. Teach me to use it properly. I have Christ in me. He is enough. The Power and Glory of God is hidden inside of me. Lord, I ask that Your Power becomes the energy and drive of my life. In Jesus Name!

2 Peter 1:3-8 (ESV) 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, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Too Broken

Too Broken

I Corinthians 15:35-38 (MSG) Some skeptic is sure to ask, “Show me how resurrection works. Give me a diagram; draw me a picture. What does this ‘resurrection body’ look like?” If you look at this question closely, you realize how absurd it is. There are no diagrams for this kind of thing. We do have a parallel experience in gardening. You plant a “dead” seed; soon there is a flourishing plant. There is no visual likeness between seed and plant. You could never guess what a tomato would look like by looking at a tomato seed. What we plant in the soil and what grows out of it don’t look anything alike. The dead body that we bury in the ground and the resurrection body that comes from it will be dramatically different.

Can anything be too broken? Beyond repair? Without hope? Are there things in God that are destroyed for a purpose? How does one know the difference? If the scripture is true that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His Purpose.” How do you explain brokenness in the midst of goodness? The painful process of dying to the present to release the full potential of the future requires every bit of faith inside of us and all the hope that has been mustered up. It takes courage beyond that which we are born with because it is a total investment in something we cannot see or comprehend with our senses yet nevertheless seek it with our heart. What seems to be “dead” in your life today? What dream, vision, goal or revelation? This is not about meaningless or worthless endeavors but those pursuits once sought after wholeheartedly that have fallen into pieces at our feet. You thought it was right. You thought it was His Calling. You believed that He sent you to this place or put you in this position. Now what?

The biggest hurdle of faith to overcome is human disappointment. Those times when things do not turn out as one expected and the experience is not what was hoped for or imagined. Faith must overcome the perceived failures in our life to reach the full potential of brokenness. Fully bending and surrendering our mind, will and emotions to the hope that is given to us in Jesus Christ will require someone relenting and it will not be the Lord. If you are truly seeking to live the life that God has promised, brokenness is inevitable because the potential that is inside of us must find its way out.

John 11:21-26 (MSG) Martha said, “Master, if you’d been here, my brother wouldn’t have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God he will give you.” Jesus said, “Your brother will be raised up.” Martha replied, “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.”  “You don’t have to wait for the End. I am, right now, Resurrection and Life. The one who believes in me, even though he or she dies, will live. And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?”

Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus, had died. He was a friend of Jesus. Martha confided in Christ that she believed that if the Lord had been there that her brother would be alive. Jesus shared a secret with Martha in her grief. “Your brother will be raised up.” The limitation on her faith exposed in her response. “I know that he will be raised up in the resurrection at the end of time.” How often we put boundaries on the Living God by pushing our expectation beyond this life into forever. Jesus goes on to tell her and then show her that He is the “I am, right now, Resurrection and Life.” You say that you believe but are you willing to let that thing you love most die to experience the Glory of God that waits those with real and genuine faith in the Living God?

And everyone who lives believing in me does not ultimately die at all. Do you believe this?” Our firmest conviction must become that there is nothing impossible with God in order to let doubt and fear die to grow faith and believing in our life. Some things will have to be too broken for human hands. Some things will have be become impossible for the Living God to manifest His Plan and Potential for your life evidenced in His Promises. We must die fully to self to be clothed fully in His Righteousness. Religion is only a half-hearted attempt to love and serve a fully-invested God.

2 Corinthians 12:6-10 (MSG) Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness. Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

The Grace of God is sufficient for me. His Power works its best in my weakness. His Presence is closest in my brokenness. Hear me today! Grace cannot become power in hard heart. It cannot facilitate God’s Strength in the stronghold of pride. If you are still standing, you have a long way to go before His Power can make it to your heart and mind. We must die to self to experience Resurrection Power and New Life. The battle begins inside of us. We must give up our way along with it our control. It is the continual lowering of self and exaltation of Christ. It is the giving to and forgiving of those who once were considered our enemy. We have but one enemy. The seed goes in the ground alone. One seed has enough potential to grow into something far greater than itself and reproduce enough to create more than it ever was. This potential is in you but cannot be released unless you are willing to put it all in the ground and let Jesus cover you in darkness and bring forth new life. You will be broken but the potential of what is to come will be worth it.

Psalm 51:16-17 (MSG) Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.

Christian performance is overrated. God desires our heart not our hand. There is nothing God needs me to do for Him yet so often I get caught up in service as though it might somehow make me worthy of His Love. My pride has been shattered countless times by my inability. Failure has brought me to the end of self. My heart broken many times until the pieces too many for me to put back together again. God comes to us when we can’t do it ourselves. No longer given to the thought that I am anything outside of Christ, I become putty in His Hands. It is only then that creation of His Masterpiece begins. (Ephesians 2:10)

Romans 9:20-26 (MSG) Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? Do you for one moment suppose any of us knows enough to call God into question? Clay doesn’t talk back to the fingers that mold it, saying, “Why did you shape me like this?” Isn’t it obvious that a potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into a vase for holding flowers and another into a pot for cooking beans? If God needs one style of pottery especially designed to show his angry displeasure and another style carefully crafted to show his glorious goodness, isn’t that all right? Either or both happens to Jews, but it also happens to the other people. Hosea put it well: I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies; I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved. In the place where they yelled out, “You’re nobody!” They’re calling you “God’s living children.”

Who in the world do you think you are to second-guess God? We do it all the time. Second-guessing God is the moment one chooses delayed obedience or to partially obey Him even in the most simplistic of commands. It is revealed in our words of doubt, fear and defeat. When we complain or gripe about our life is the tell-tale signs of disbelief and discontentment with God’s Provision and Promise in our life. We are His Created Ones. He is the only one who can take all these broken pieces and makes something beautiful out of it. The Lord promises to work good from every detail and perfect all that concerns us but He is not going to wrestle control from us – we must submit and surrender every area of our life to the wonder-working power of God given to us through His Son, Jesus.

Can anything be too broken? Beyond repair? Without hope? The definitive answer is no. Absolutely not. But does it feel like that sometimes…absolutely. God cannot use us until we become completely compliant. A fertile heart is a broken heart. The seed of God’s Word cannot penetrate a willful, hard, and stubborn heart. So the Lord leads us to brokenness so that the seed of His Word and faith within us meet and become the purpose that He promised would become a rich and satisfying life. He leads us from victory to victory. You cannot win if you do not play the game. Play to win. Leave your all on the field or more aptly the altar today. It is human nature to squirrel something away for a rainy day but it will not be enough in the storm. All of me for all of Him requires complete and utter brokenness the kind that I cannot put back together but only Jesus can fill with Resurrection Power and Life.

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (MSG) Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

Process of Fruitfulness

Process of Fruitfulness

John 15:1-3 (AMP) I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you].

God loves you too much to give you the promotion without the pruning. – Bob Sorge

The pruning season of life is not preferential but it is a vital part of God’s Process in our life. You know the times when things are going pretty good, not much to complain about, and then suddenly everything begins to fall apart…maybe even you. It is important to understand the process of godly pruning in order to appreciate the season right before increase. To identity the difference between God’s Hand of preparation and the enemy’s attack against us is important. It is easy to blame satan for our inconvenience, discomfort, dissatisfaction or even displacement. When life seems to be out of control, I promise God is still in control!

I believe that I am currently in such a season. As the Lord reaches deep within to snip away the undergrowth and overgrowth in my life. All the things keeping me from the “richer” and “finer” fruit that He has for me hidden away as potential. This is not just a revelation for the new Christian but a vivid reminder to the saints of God – He is not finished with us yet! As long as you are breathing – there is growth potential in your life and purpose left to discover. Do not give up on dead dreams for where there is pruning and preparation – new life begins.

God prunes us when He is about to take us into a new season of growth and expansion. – Christine Caine

Who doesn’t want the blessing of God? Who is opposed to prosperity? It is what the heart of God’s People cry out for? Revival? Restoration? Healing? All the benefits of God are the product of our “yes”. Yes to what? Preparation and pruning of the dead things that stand in the way. Jesus is the Vine. God is the Vinedresser. Jesus was pruned just like us when He lived on the earth. He went through temptations. He endured pain. He died an innocent man for those who were completely guilty. He knows and understands the cries of pain in the process and our Savior catches our tears saving them for redemption sake. To be fully engrafted in the fullness of God – one must be pruned.

John 15:4-6 (AMP) Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

Pruning is not punishment. It is evidence of God’s Love and desire for more intimacy with His Children. He wants to give you His Kingdom but human nature is willing to avoid the process to settle for much less. God is relentless in His Pursuit of us. His Desire is a relationship of intimacy with us. He gives us His Spirit as our partner and friend to engage in life together. To prune means to trim by cutting away dead or overgrown branches especially to increase fruitfulness and growth. To cut away. To reduce the extent of something by removing unwanted or unnecessary parts. As a well-known plant killer, it is with great hesitation that I prune the plants in the flowerbed. I desire them to grow and have more blooms each season but I am afraid that with one touch from my black thumb – they will die an untimely death. I am not a botanist. I struggled in every science class I have ever taken. God created you and me. He knows us inside and out. (Psalm139) He already has recorded every single moment of our life in great detail. He has given us a measure of faith to enact the eternity placed in our heart. He has a purpose in our creation. He wants to make our life a masterpiece. (Ephesians 2) He will take every broken piece and detail to make it good and worthwhile. (Romans 8) All this because the Lord loves us! Nothing can separate us from His Love. He pursues us with unfailing love and goodness every day. (Psalm 23) He has a plan for us and it’s a good one with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29) All of these seeds planted deep in our heart. The circumcised heart is pruned by His Hand with love to give way to the fruitfulness within. “Every living thing needs to be pruned so it can reach its fullest potential including you and me.” (Unknown)

John 15:7-11(AMP) If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples. I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you]. If you keep My commandments and obey My teaching, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy may be made full and complete and overflowing.

God’s Love in us produces good fruit. The Holy Spirit sees inside our heart and mind including the part in need of godly attention. He prepares us for the season yet when it comes – the human response to pain and brokenness is what have I done wrong? Maybe it’s a matter of what am I doing right. What if the current season of your life including the pain is all part of God’s pruning process? What if it is all a plan to bless and prosper your life? God is positioning and preparing you to prosper as your soul prospers. Just a new wine requires new wineskin so it is with His Fulfillment, you cannot contain the next season’s blessing retaining last season’s growth. If you are not growing you are dying. Jesus came to give you a rich and satisfying life. It is often described as abundant life. Overflowing in the blessings, gifting and prosperity that comes with His Anointing in our life. You must be ready to be pruned if prosperity is your vision. You must give up on the natural to embrace the supernatural. You must be dissatisfied with ordinary to reach for the extraordinary. Friend, God must remove the things taking the place of next season’s fruit.

Our purpose in life is to bear “much” fruit. Fruit that nourishes and satisfies our soul so that in every season of life – the godly are well-cared for. You have been given very spiritual blessing and a cultivator within. You must give the Lord permission to do His Will in your life. This requires trust. Trust even when the shears are in His Hand as He moves in to snip and clip away all those lesser things to make room for more. Is God pruning you today? Does it hurt? It will be worth it. God will do it. All you must say is “yes”!

Beautiful growth would be stunted if God didn’t remove the very things that hinder it. (C. S. Lewis)

Matthew 13:23 (AMP) And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times [as much as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty.”

How’s Your Vision?

Vision 2

Proverbs 29:18 (ESV) Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.

Vision is defined as an experience in which something appears vividly or credibly to the mind, although not actually present, often under the influence of the divine. The definition sounds oddly familiar. It resonates from the definition of faith. Faith is confident trust based on belief not yet proven. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint or the people are discouraged. The Amplified Bible relates prophetic vision as “revelation of God and His Word”. If our faith in God produces nothing, then what is the benefit of such a process? Why engage in a relationship that is not mutually beneficial? Without vision, people will not engage in the faith process until that which is hoped for finally arrives. I would ask today, “How’s your vision?”

Where there is no vision, there is no hope. – George Washington Carver

We serve a God who is completely contrary to anyone or anything encountered in this world. The Lord is full of unconditional love, overwhelming grace and unchangeable character that makes Him seem too good to be true. Yet, before the first breath filled our lungs, He had a plan and purpose for our life. A good one that contained a future and hope fully recorded before our conception and birth. His Thoughts concerning us are too great to comprehend so He promises to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can think, ask or even imagine. The process by which our new life as a new creation walking in the blessings and favor of God is called faith. We stay engaged anchored by hope. Where there is no vision, there is no hope.

Genesis 15:1-6 (ESV) After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”But Abram said, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world. – Joel Barker

Abram was a wealthy man. He was quite successful. He wanted a son. From Abram’s day of entering covenant with God when the promise of a son came to him and the day of Isaac’s arrival was 25 years. God did not produce the promise of a son until it was absolutely impossible for Abraham and Sarah to create a child on their own. Their bodies worn and withered in old age. God make miracles out of impossible situations. The Lord gave Abram. He changed his identity to Abraham and then Abraham remained faithful for 25 years until his son arrived. The key “he believed the Lord and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Vision without action is merely a dream. How many dead dreams are buried inside of us? Action without vision just passes time. We rush about trying to make a good life when God has already provided everything we need, want and desire. We just need to be active in faith to have it all but fear tells us to make it happen. Vision with action can change the world. Faith in action can change our life forever.

Abraham did not waver in his faith. God gave him a vision and he held that vision for more than two decades. The promise of God depends entirely on faith. It is given as an act of God’s Grace. Our conviction must be that the God of all grace is filled with loving kindness that He gives to His Children. This conviction produces a commitment to the vision our faith produces. The hidden hope that God placed in our heart before our creation comes to life within us. When we pay attention to the vision of God, the Word of God and the revelation imparted through an abiding and loving relationship with Jesus Christ. Miracles happen. When we take the vision and holding it tightly in our heart, head and hand – it will produce the promise attached to it because God does not lie or change His Mind. He is faithful so when we believe it happens.

Habakkuk 2:1-3 (ESV) I will take my stand at my watch post and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

“Don’t expect people to understand your grind when God didn’t give them your vision.” – Tony Gaskins

 The vision God has given you is individual. Note in this passage of Habakkuk, “I” will take “my” stand at “my” watch post and station “myself” on the tower and look out to see what He will say to “me”. Our relationship with the Lord is personal. It is private in many ways. We must become soul searching and vision holding believers who read the Word, listen for His Voice, and take heed to the revelation that He gives us. Too often we take the precious seed given to us to be sown in faith and make it everyone else’s fodder. It becomes suffocated in opinions, negativity and doubt cursed by others. God has a plan and purpose specific to you. You are a masterpiece created by God with a divine calling only you can accomplish. When God speaks to us, we must become diligent in writing down these dreams and visions. Carrying them to our prayer closet. Feeding them with faith. Washing them in the Word. Nurturing them will produce the rich and satisfying life promised by Jesus and the abundance ordained by God. It will take some time. Every process does. It begins by opening our heart, mind, eyes and ears to the Lord and hanging on every word. Helen Keller said, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight but no vision.” Lord, open my eyes to the faith-filled reality of my life.

In 1 Samuel 3 is the story of Eli and his young servant, Samuel. The Lord began speaking to Samuel but the boy did not recognize His Voice. Each time God called out to Samuel, he ran to Eli. Now some interesting details from this passage – the Word of the Lord was rare in those days and there was no frequent vision. The “eyesight” of the prophet, Eli, had grown dim and he could not see so he was lying down in his own place. Then there was Samuel who was lying down in the Temple of the Lord where the ark of God was – he was resting in the Presence of God. Maybe I am looking too deeply into this but I wonder how many people are like Eli. Jaded by the reality of life rather than consumed by revelation from the Living God? Are there still Samuels out there who live in the Presence of God. The lamp of God had not gone out. The Lord was looking to fan the flame of faith in the next generation. He was looking for someone to be the light. Now in childlike faith Samuel says to the Lord, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears!” God has a vision far greater for your life than is evident in your mere existence today. The thing that carries you from here to there is the vehicle called faith. Faith is the catalyst of hope that produces that which was not seen. It believes in the Word of God, follows His Way and waits for the Lord. “If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. (Steve Jobs) What is pulling you today?

Joel 2:28-29 (ESV) “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.

In Acts 2, this promise was fulfilled. Now the sons and daughters of God receive the Spirit of God sealing our adoption as His Children. The same Spirit gives us dreams and visions. His Spirit produces in us the fruit to feed our vision and make hope the reality of our life. All of God’s Promises, Purpose and Potential in us is affirmed with a resounding “yes” and “amen” just because His Spirit is in us. You cannot fail if you live by faith. Faith makes all things possible but not necessarily easy. Faith is not by sight. You cannot see it. You just have to believe. Though Abraham and Sarah’s bodies were dead – their dream was very much alive. The only one who can stop God’s Love and Goodness from overtaking you in the land of the living is you. The enemy cannot take what belongs to you – you have to hand it over to him. Do you have a dream? Has God given you a vision? What is stopping you from pursuing it? What keeps you from waiting on it? How’s your vision today?

Your purpose explains what you are doing with your life. Your vision explains how you are living your purpose. Your goals enable you to realize your vision. (Bob Proctor)

Psalm 119:17-19 (ESV) Deal bountifully with your servant, that I may live and keep your word. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. I am a sojourner on the earth; hide not your commandments from me!

Psalm 27:13-14 (ESV) I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!  Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Be My Vision

Be My Vision

Habakkuk 2:2-4 (ESV) And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.”

I ventured out with my daughters and grands for lunch and a shopping trip to their favorite – you know the place with the big red bullseye. My oldest daughter needed an eye exam so while I entertained our newest addition she popped in to make an appointment. Of course, who can resist looking at eyeglass frames when presented with so many options? I have been considering new eyeglasses. I have contacts and love the convenience of them. However, my eyes require bifocals. In order to wear contacts, I must give up some of my distance vision in order to see up close. Because I proofread and edit for a living, seeing the computer monitor clearly is a priority. Eyeglasses would allow me to have the best of both worlds – but it requires wearing them. I must choose between 20/20 vision and vanity. The struggle is real.

There is a message here. A valid point that requires our attention. Do you struggle with discontentment? Disappointment? Discouragement? Do you lack vision in your life? Do you see the temporary but not the eternal? Are you stuck in your past or struggling with today but oblivious of the future? See it is human nature to get distracted. The enemy uses it to keep us from moving past the lie that is set before us. He uses the impossible to thwart our thinking and cause us to forget that our future is set. What is your vision today? How do you perceive your life and existence? Can you see the Father or the Son or His Spirit at work around you or in you? The Light of His Love will illuminate the way but Jesus must be our vision.

My littlest grandson is a newborn who cannot clearly see the fully formed images around him but he loves to look at lights. As we walked through the store, his little head bobbled to see the illumination above him. We are attracted to light. However, if you look at the sun it is blinding and impossible to make out the fully formed image of its flaming shape. Little man is growing and developing each day. As he matures, names will be given to those images and he will form thoughts and ideas about life all around him. My prayer is that my little grandson will only have eyes for the Lord and all that He has for him. These are the words I speak and pray over him as I have his mother and her siblings their whole lives.

The Vision

A complaint has been registered and the Lord is responding. I know this seems obvious yet still a question worth asking. Have you let the Lord know your complaints? Dissatisfactions? The things that you share readily with family, friends, coworkers and anyone else who will listen. Have you gone to the Throne of God, your father, boldly and with confidence that He will answer? So many times we take everyday problems to ordinary people and expect that to offer guidance and wisdom. We put our expectation in others rather than leaving them at the feet of Jesus in exchange for perfect peace and victory that only He can give us.

“Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie…”

How seriously do you take God’s Word for your life? Do you read it? Study it. Pray it. Do you have daily conversations with the Living God who loves you? Do you discuss the things that concern you or details left undone? Do you take this relationship serious enough to trust Him with your innermost thoughts, longings, weaknesses, desires, and yes, your complaints? See if your life is reaching its full potential – the Lord is the only One who can change that. He prerecorded our entire life from creation to completion. (Psalm 139) He promises to make every detail turn out for our good for those who love Him. (Romans 8) Do you love the Lord? Is He your Savior? Is He your Lord? The Lord will be our vision when we look to Him evaluating life through Him, His Word and His Spirit. It changes how we see things. We must take Him at His Word.

Write the vision. Make it plain. I am the world’s worst about hearing the Lord concerning a matter then grabbing the paintbrush from His Hand to make my own masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10) In other words, the Lord gives me a vision and I try to make it happen. Why? I like control, comfort and convenience just as much as the next person. I hate to wait and am naturally impatient. The vision of God for your life and mine is specific including the timing. We must learn to write down these thoughts, aspirations and impossible images. Study them by exploring them in God’s Word. Praying about them allowing His Spirit inside of us to instruct us and guide us to completion and full realization. Do you believe that God can do the impossible? Most of the time the vision for our life seems to be just that impossible but please note Habakkuk 2:4 for the secret of fulfillment – “but the righteous shall live by his faith.” Faith gives life to godly vision. It is the factor that overcomes fear and makes the impossible absolutely possible in our life.

“Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that Thou art; thou my best Thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.” (Eleanor H. Hull – 1912)

Acts 2:16-18 (ESV)  But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel:  “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

God predestined us with a purpose. He filled us with great potential to live a prosperous life. This life is realized by faith. Joel prophesied that the Lord would pour out His Spirit and there would be visions and dreams that would accompany that outpouring. When Jesus died on the Cross, He released His Spirit to live in us which is what happened in Acts 2 and continues today. The Spirit of God identifies us as His Children thereby granting us our Kingdom residence and heavenly inheritance. God speaks to people through His Word, His Spirit, audibly, prayerfully, in dreams and visions. This is not debatable – it’s His Word. If I choose to discredit or disregard any part of God’s Word as ineffective or impractical – the whole thing is worthless to me. God does not lie. He does not change His Mind. Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. We must recognize God’s Voice in our life in order to make room for His Vision.

“I will dare to believe, anything is possible. I throw caution to the wind, it’s time to risk again! I will dare to believe anything is possible in Jesus…my Jesus!” (Lindy Conant – Bethel Worship)

Luke 1:37 (ESV) For nothing will be impossible with God.

Do you believe that today? Do you believe that NOTHING is impossible with God? In Ezekiel 37, there is a valley of dry bones. It is full of drought and death. God asks Ezekiel, “Can these bones live?” The Lord instructs him to speak life into those dry bones and they indeed come to life. What is dead in your life? What is left in the valley of dead dreams, disappointments, and discouragements? Did the Lord give you a vision but it took too long so you left it behind? Maybe you made some mistakes and feel like that thing God had for you is lost forever. I have wonderful news for you today. God doesn’t honor death and always has new life for us. Just because things didn’t turn out the way “we” wanted them to or He didn’t do it the way “we” thought that He would doesn’t mean that we have missed God’s Purpose for us. Remember, Psalm 139, every day of our life is handwritten. His Grace is ALWAYS enough. Nothing is lost or wasted. God even collects our tears. His Love for us is far greater than our love and commitment for Him. We must simply gain a clear perspective of His Word, His Purpose and His Plan. Grabbing it, writing it down, studying it, claiming it, speaking it and waiting for it until it comes. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)

Hebrews 10:35-36 (ESV) Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

God is faithful. Even when our faithfulness and commitment to Him wanes, He still pursues us with unfailing love and faithfulness. Our job in all of this is to simply believe that God loves us unconditionally and live in His Love. When we decide to believe that God’s Love has no boundaries, obstacles begin to topple over as our rebellious thoughts are taken captive and His Word given a place to grow. It will require endurance and perseverance. The enemy doesn’t want you to believe God or His Truth concerning you because at that very moment you will become unstoppable and fully satisfied. Lord, I ask you today to be our vision. May we only have eyes for you Jesus and what you have for us! In your precious and holy name – we ask and receive. Amen and amen.

Hebrews 10:37-39 (ESV) For, “Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.