The Fallen Tree

The Fallen Tree

Psalm 1:3 (ESV) He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Engaged in the morning routine, I head outside with our dogs in the pitch black darkness before the sun rises. Our black lab begins barking into the darkness followed by the high pitched retort of our little Chihuahua. Shining the flashlight, there is a fallen tree in the backyard. Oddly there was no storm or wind in the night. Closer inspection reveals the same soft bark as the other trees that have just toppled over. I am certain that when upon further inspection in the daylight will reveal the same orange fungus in the treetop that was on the others. Curiosity leads me to Google to try to discern what is killing the small hardwoods in the backyard.

The most likely suspect is called Heart Rot. A fungus makes its way into the tree either by pruning or another injury to the bark and without notice begins to deteriorate it from the inside out. Though the tree seems to be growing and changing with the seasons, it is dying day by day. If I had leaned on it yesterday, it would have toppled over. If a storm with any kind of wind, it would have fallen just the same. Could it be the same for us when injured or neglected? Is it possible for the human heart to take on such an insult or offense and unknowingly die on the inside?

Blessed is the man or woman who walks in the counsel of the godly. Those who engage with other believers and fellowship with Christians who are likeminded. Yet human are we. To be part of the Body of Christ means oneness with Jesus Christ. He is the One who makes our heart steady and secure in every season. He is the One who fortifies us and plants us. Rooted and grounded in His Love our expectation of others is replaced by love, grace, compassion and mercy.

Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV)  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Our strength and power is by His Spirit in our inner being. Christ dwells in our heart by faith and His Spirit works His Love all the way through us. We must be rooted and grounded in the Love of God demonstrated through the Gift of His Son – Jesus to withstand the storms of life with a heart wrapped up in and secured by the hopeful anchor of salvation. God is good. His plan for our life contains a future and hope well worth the transformation process. We must examine our heart daily. Moment by moment working to become more rooted and grounded by faith in trusting the Lord until our trust is fully invested in Christ alone. Full comprehension of God’s Love and His Grace that sustains us will cause us to let go of every other expectation that we may fully engage with the One “who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

Psalm 52:8-9 (ESV) But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.

How deep are your roots in the Love of God today? The green olive tree is a source of oil. Oil represents anointing. Christ who is the Anointed One lives in you and me. We are the Children of God. His Spirit dwells in us producing the good fruit that feeds our soul and establishes our trust in Him. Do you trust the steadfastness of God’s Love for you? Such love casts out all fear, doubt, insecurity, offense, and any other affliction placed in our heart by the father of lies. This creates a healthy root system as faith grows in us and hope anchors our soul. (Hebrews 6:19) Such a belief system creates a spirit of thanksgiving and fullness of joy that the storms of life cannot remove or uproot. It affords us patience that in the times of great turmoil, testing, trials and tribulation that God is with us, He is for us, and we are immovable and unshakeable in the Lord.

We must learn to live in the Presence of God and not the present. Such a lofty pursuit found in the quietness of space apportioned time to spend with the Lover of our soul, studying and mediating on His Word, listening for that still small voice whispering to us, praying face down on our knees, relying on His Spirit to work in us and through us as we learn to live in His Love moment by moment. To live any other way does not feed our faith or establish our heart which are stark contradictions to “normal” life.

I do not want to live a lie. To build a life on other people’s convictions and human doctrine with a rotting heart. It can happen. It is easy to live on the coattails of someone else’s faith until the rubber hits the road and you need your own faith to pass the test. I cannot cheat the Lord. He knows everything about me. He sees the innermost workings of my fickle heart and longs to change me from the inside out. I must allow the Lord access to the parts of me that are not okay. The doubtful darkness that looms deep inside the crevices of a broken heart. The wounded places that I cover so well. The pruning of hard seasons that I do not acknowledge left raw, opened and exposed. Lord, I do not want my heart to rot. I want to be someone known by good fruit.

Matthew 7:16-18 (ESV) You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.

Our backyard is partially cleared and on the backside of the property there are many trees. The trees that have succumbed to the fungal invasion are small. Funny, it was one of the things I liked the most about our lot. Those trees are now a detriment. We live in the South in an area prone to hurricanes. Soon, we will walk through the backyard and push on each tree to see if it is impacted by Heart Rot. The ones that are will give way under the pressure. These trees will need to be cut down and burned. Jesus said, “You will recognize them by their fruits.” What kind of fruit is your life producing? We are called to live a rich, satisfying life. The only hindrance in our life is fear and doubt. Faith will always flourish. The places of insecurity or insufficiency need to be seeded with God’s Word and given careful attention. Why? Without faith, it is impossible to live a life pleasing to God. To remain in mediocrity is to stop the miraculous. To accept the ordinary is to reject the ordinary. These are the inheritances of every believer according to God’s Word. His Promises are all “yes” and “amen” according to the Spirit living in you. The only way not be blessed, prosperous and fully supplied is to somehow stop faith from producing its full potential in that area of your life. With God all things are possible if we believe. Do you believe today? Do you really believe? A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit. A diseased tree cannot bear good fruit. Lord, make me like a tree planted by living water who produces fruit in every season and leaves that do not wither or die.

Matthew 13:31-32 (ESV) He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

God has placed potential in our life that must be sown, cultivated and harvested to prosper us from the inside out. We are created to bear good fruit. He has given us the seed (His Word), the cultivator (His Spirit) and even the faith to wait on it. It is important that in our doing, serving and living for God that we do not forget to examine our heart daily. To come to the Lord and ask for forgiveness for our sin. It seems so simple yet many cannot remember the last prayer of repentance but readily remember the long list of requests. Everything I want, need, and desire are fulfilled in Christ. The only requirement is reconciling my life to His Way, Truth and allowing Him to produce life within me.

I must pay attention to my relationship to the Lord rather than getting wrapped up in religion or being right. God is God no matter who believes in Him. Jesus died for our sins and offers us the Precious Gift of Salvation whether anyone accepts it or not. The Spirit of God lives in us to be our helper whether acknowledged or not. The existence of God and His Great Love for you and me are firmly established in who He is and not what I choose. Humbling to think that even when I reject Him – God’s Love for me is secure. How have I rejected God? Anytime I choose something other than steadfast faith and confident hope in His Love. Every area of my life ruled by fear, doubt, worry, anxiety and insecurity is a place of void with a need to be filled.

When my life is fully invested in the Kingdom of God with flourishing faith and hope – it will appeal to others. The fruit of my life will feed the hungry. It will give sustenance to those who are thirsty. Bad fruit will spread like a fungus just the same. Just as many people if not more will be turned off to God by fruitless or faithless Christians each day. The efforts of Christianity become productive when faith is produced in us that others can see. The good fruit of God’s Spirit and confidence in His Love will be something worth having. It is not that I can do everything right, clean up my act or even preach a flawless gospel. It shines from the Light of His Love that has fully taken over my heart and soul. It makes me like a tree that can give good fruit in every season. To live a healthy and prosperous life full of thanksgiving and praises to God in every season knowing His Love for me is secure and so are His Promises.

Lord, I ask you to shine the Light of Your Love on the inside of me today. I am sorry for the sin that I harbor within thinking no one sees. Lord, you see it and desire to put good things in its place. Expose any unforgiveness, offense, or insecurity. Lord, I ask your Spirit to remove it and sow seeds of new faith in its place. I give my all to You again. Lord, give me a new heart and steadfast spirit in Jesus Name. Amen.

Psalm 92:12-15 (ESV) The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.


Ready for Overflow

Ready for Overflow

Colossians 2:6-7 (Message) My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well-constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.

I had this thought today. It was really a revelation. Am I ready for rain? I am I truly in the right place for abundance to overflow in my life – from the inside to the outside. Many times I have shared the story of car shopping with my grandpa. My grandfather loved me. I never had a doubt that he would do anything for me. He cared for my brother and I during some pretty tough times. Always full of love and generosity towards us. After eating his favorite barbeque one night, we walked to the dealership next door “window shopping” as I was fourteen almost fifteen years old. Now understanding that I am in my fifties now, I discovered a Trans Am just like the one Burt Reynolds drove in the movie, “Smokey and the Bandit”. Black with the gold firebird on the hood. It was my dream car. I walked all around it. Clearly overtaken at the thought of potentially driving it, I could tell by my granddad’s face that he was perplexed. As any well-meaning teenager might I jumped at the opportunity to play the heartstrings. “I love this car, grandpa!” He said, “I know you do, but if I bought this car for you it would ruin you.” I didn’t understand what he meant all those years ago. I knew that he loved me. I also knew whatever he meant was for my own good. I was still heartbroken as I walked away from my dream car.

Now that I have been a parent for more than twenty years, I fully understand what my grandfather was telling me all those years ago. To give me that car would definitely have ruined me. There are times when I have wanted to give my kids the desires of their heart but have not because of the very same reason. I want what is best for them even if that means withholding certain things from them. They would rather eat junk food then healthy choices. However, I provide for them good nutritional choices for meals. I would love for them to have every “thing” that they want but how will they ever develop a work ethic if I hand them everything. I wish I could hold their hearts in my hands and keep it safe from all of life’s emotional and relational hazards until they are fully mature but how would they ever develop wisdom so when they are on their own they can guard their own heart. I have stood by the bedside of a child wishing and praying that I could take their pain and suffering away along with the deadly disease in their body but all I could do was offer comfort and companionship through the journey. Parenting is by far the toughest job to balance our love and commitment to our children with wisdom that will benefit their life. Imagine how difficult it must be for the Lord…

It all belongs to God. He loves us too much to just flood our life with an outpouring that might disconnect us from Christ. We must remain deeply rooted in Christ to have a rich and satisfying life. This is not found in the world but the connection we have to the Kingdom of God. It is within our future and hope. What if the abundance that God ordained in our life is just waiting for us to be rooted and grounded in the foundation of Christ so there is no risk of being swept away by its magnitude. Spiritual maturity is not doctrinal or theological. It is sustained by love, confidence, trust and endurance. It is persistence in pursuing Jesus and building our home in His Presence. There are things I used to think were important that now pale in comparison to my new life in Christ. The new thing that God is doing is not new to Him. The new creation that I am becoming is no secret to the Creator who designed this masterpiece life I am being built for. It is all new to me though. The only way that I can have the life God has called me to live is to raise my standards to that of Jesus Christ. Or maybe it is lowering my worldly standard to inherit a heavenly reward.

John 15:5-8 (Message) “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”

I have never sought the Lord more than in difficulty, disappointment and in desperation. If you were honest, you might agree. Those times when the “new” thing, life or creation was just not happening according to my expectation so I retraced my steps back to Christ. I find that when my life lacks the simple fruits such as love, joy and peace – it is because I have let go – never the other way around. Jesus is the Vine. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. My soul satisfaction is found in the Lord. The lie of the enemy in the life of the believer is that God cannot or will not meet and exceed our expectation and it lures people from following the Lord to the rich and satisfying life that He promised. Joseph ended up in a pit when he began to share what God was revealing to him. His brothers were not his enemy’s just part of a bigger plan. God sent Joseph to Potiphar’s house on his way to the palace. Joseph served his master faithfully and diligently along with God. His service as to the Lord and not man. He learned a great deal in that house. He faced temptation and accusations. He ended up in prison…still serving God wrongly accused and an innocent man. He helped some fellow prisoners. Please don’t forget me, he said to them. Isn’t it human nature to look for help from people? They forgot about him. God never forgot His Plan or the dream that He placed in Joseph’s heart when he created him. Sometimes it is in the discovery of true humility that our surrender is complete. In every season from the pit, to Potiphar’s House, to the prison and finally to the palace – God was with Joseph. Could it be that all of it was necessary so that when the overflow of abundance finally came – the man of God knew what to do with it? God’s Abundance is not compromised by our lack of faith and dedication. It is withheld until there is nothing that can separate us from the Love of God not even prosperity. He will wait until our preparation is complete so when the outpouring begins it will run through our life and not run us over.

I Thessalonians 5:17-22 (Message) Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.

Today – right now – I have so much to be truly thankful for. I have love, joy and peace that prevails in my life. There are days when I feel things rising up inside me contradictory to the life I am promised. Times when I allow what I see to influence the hope that I have. Days when the hardships in life and the lengthy waits that cause my flesh to squirm under the direction of God and His Plan which always includes His Timing. The Lord has promised to do exceedingly abundantly more than I can even think or imagine. I believe that. I hear the words of my grandfather today. God is not going to release an overflow in my life until I am ready to sustain it. He is preparing me. He is positioning me in the foundation of Jesus Christ so strongly that when He releases all that He has prepared and promised to me – I will not be moved from my faith and hope in the Lord.

My challenge today is dig a little deeper into the rock solid foundation of Jesus Christ. He is where my strength comes from. To climb back into the watchtower marked waiting keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus until the vision comes to pass. To find refuge in the Strong Tower of His Presence until the rain finally comes and the harvest rises before me. I am well loved. I am well provided for. I have all that I need. I have more than enough. I am more than enough because Christ lives in me to be who I need to be for His Abundance, Increase and Prosperity to rise from within me and overflow all around me. I comes when my faith is ready and hope is confident.

My goal for today – be cheerful no matter what. Pray all the time. Thank God no matter what happens. Hang on! Let me repeat that one for me… I will thank God no matter what happens leaving no room for complaints. I will not be gullible and fall for the enemy’s lies today. This is just a season. This too shall pass. The rain is coming. I must be ready. I will examine my heart, mind and life. I will keep only the good things that God is doing and leave the past behind. Lord, make me ready for rain today. I know the harvest is coming! Prepare me for the overflow that I will never be removed from You Jesus – let me remain in Your Presence no matter how blessed I am. No matter how good things get. No matter how supernatural the overflow headed my way!

Psalm 27:13-14 (Message) I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth.
Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again:
 Stay with God.

Death of Me


Matthew 17:20 (NIV) He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Our youngest came to me the other night and asked to use the computer in my office. “Of course, you can.” I replied then inquiring what she would be doing. She then said three of the most dreaded words in the vocabulary of all school age mothers – I working on my “science fair project”. Cue in the horror movie music played during the climax just before the villain attacks. I asked no more – I have learned over the years. She disappeared into the office to begin the daunting task of finding a topic to test even though it really holds no real significance but teaches kids (and unsuspecting parents) about problem solving. Our oldest son is 26 years old. The one thing I will not miss about grade school is science fair projects. Can I get an “amen”?

The basic steps of a science fair project include a question, research plan, finding information and constructing a hypothesis. Using these steps, the student tests the hypothesis by doing an experiment, analyzing data, drawing a conclusion, and communicating the results. This is called the scientific method. Experiments determine cause and effect. Cause and effect relationships explain why things happen and allow us to reliably predict what will happen if you do something. In each experiment, there are variables. The independent variable is the one that is changed by the one who is conducting the study. The dependent variables are those things that react and produce a response in the testing. And then there is the constant variable which is the controlled variable. These are the factors that remain the same regardless of the other variables though they may respond differently. Now that you know how to do a science project with its many steps and variables let’s talk about constant.

The word “constant” is important in the life of a believer. God is constant. His Word is constant. His Way is constant. His Character is constant. His Love is constant. What is constant? It means something does not change or vary. It is to continue without pause or let up and is consistent. It is continual and persistent. Constancy means faithful, unswerving in love and devotion. Steadfast. Firm in mind and purpose. Certain. Confident. A constant is something that does not or cannot change of vary. In science, an experiment without a constant will not yield accurate data. A life of faith without a constant God will never yield fruit. Since God is not in question for He does not lie or change His Mind but remains constant. Who is the variable? You got it. It’s me. My love. My faith. My commitment. My ability to trust and yield. If my life does not yield fruit or promise, I am the variable in question.

Mark 4:30-32 (NIV) Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”

As God created each human being, He took a little scoop, dipping it in faith, and poured a measure carefully into our heart. It is there for our use and absolute disposal. There are many variables that impact its growth and prosperity but nothing can limit its potential. It belongs to you. It was given to us by our Father to put to good use. Seeds left in packets will never grow roots, come up out of the ground, and produce leaves or fruit. Most will die in dormancy in those packets never having fulfillment of purpose. Seeds need good soil to grow. They must have sunshine and rain. There are many variables to natural and spiritual growth that are often taken for granted in life but essential to it.

A person can eat whatever they want for the first sixty years of their life without any ill effects. One day the same human being will begin to experience some chest pain and shortness of breath. A doctor will diagnose them with coronary artery disease or heart blockages due to a high fat and sodium diet that has impacted their heart. Would they have made better choices given this information sooner? You think you would but probably not. The American Heart Association spends millions and millions of dollars each year to inform people from an early age of the importance of a good nutrition and regular exercise. Most people ignore such information until they are faced with adverse conditions or heart disease.

The Kingdom of God is inside of each person ready to grow into a wonderful relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son. The Word of God promises that all of creation will have the opportunity to experience His Love and make the connection. What are we doing to cultivate the Kingdom in our life? It begins and ends with the mustard seed of faith in each human heart. Unless that seed, grows, takes root, and flourishes – it will die with us one day. The potential in the seed of faith is not limited by the person. A person can stop the potential of a seed by not letting it grow.

Matthew 13:19-23 (NIV) When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

Reading the Parable of the Sower today, I feel alone in this place. Like God is the constant and I am the only variable. Sometimes I believe that God isolates us so that it forces us to look at our own heart compared to His Word, His Will and His Way rather than comparing our life to everyone else’s. My life with God is my own journey. The faith that I have been given to cultivate in my life is exclusive to me. No one else can grow my faith though people are often used to test it. Can I get an amen?

The Word of God is the potential of our faith revealed to us. If you can find it in the Bible, it is applicable to your life. God has no favorites. We are all His Favorites. God hates sin. All sin. Since we all need new mercy each day and live only by His Grace through faith, it is important to note that the potential in my seed of faith is the same as yours. The impossible is possible if I can believe. Your impossible is possible if you believe, too. With this in mind, we are all in this together.

God’s Word for our life is constant. When we believe His Word enough to invest our faith in it, it will yield fruit in our life. We will flourish by faith and have branches where others can roost. So let’s talk about the different variables of getting God’s Word and His Kingdom to grow in our life. First there is the seed that falls on hard hearts. It cannot grow because there is no brokenness. A stony heart has no knowledge of God’s Love so His Word is rejected as fiction, folly or false. Evil comes and exchanges truth for a lie. Then there is the Word heard and received with joy but a lack of proper rooting and grounding in the Love of God through Jesus Christ will not allow it to grow. Faith in anything or anyone other than the Lord will not grow anything good in us or through us. Other people hear the Word of God but then become distracted by the natural circumstances, adverse conditions or current situation. Worry produces doubt that chokes out the growing promise making its way from our heart to our head into reality. But the seed that falls on good soil has limitless potential in our life. We must get God’s Word into our heart and cultivate it by faith until it grows.

John 12:23-25 (NIV) Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

I Corinthians 15:36-38 (NIV) How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.

When my husband and I were first married, we began looking to buy a home. Our income was limited. Welcoming a new daughter in the first year, I became a stay-at-home mom. Our agent told us of a foreclosed house that was a good deal and just needed some work. Driving into the driveway, I noticed that although the house was disheveled yet there were flowers lining the flowerbeds in the front yard. On closer inspection, I discovered that they were artificial flowers planted in the ground. I was a bit disappointed. How many times do we put on a happy face when our heart is broken? Or maybe settle for something less because we are tired of waiting on God’s Best? Seeds will produce in time. But it takes time for seeds to produce. They may go through many seasons before fruit will be found on them. One thing that must happen is death to its current form. Are we willing to give up the comfort and control of life as we know it to have the promise of God’s Word achieved by faith? Faith is not in the boat but walking on the water in the midst of a storm. Faith can be misplaced. Even though His Disciples were with the Lord day and night, they still struggled with faithful development. We must be willing to die to self to have the potential of faith produced by God’s Word and His Spirit in our life. We must rely on the constancy of God for fulfillment allowing our flesh to die day by day. Walking by faith and not by sight grows potential and promise in our life. It is the death of me.

I Peter 1:22-23 (NIV) Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.” (I Corinthians 3:6) The constant and absolute potential of my life is God’s Word and His Promises coming to pass in my life by faith. It will be the death of me to give way to the new life hidden inside me. I must learn to lay down my life in order to grow. Here is the secret. I can plant God’s Word in my heart. Many other variables can add to the developmental process but the foundational truth I must live by is that God always makes us grow. Too many times we attribute faith and spiritual growth to what we do when we are just a variable in the process. God is our constant. It is His Word that changes us from broken to beautiful. It is the investment that He made in our hearts during creation that is the game changer. Jesus died to set me free from the bondage of sin so that I can die to self with purpose and become a part of His Kingdom. I have Kingdom potential inside my heart that the Lord desperately is trying to release. It is personal. It is individual. It cannot add anything to the Kingdom until first God grows it in me. I must become the nonperishable seed through living and enduring in and through the Word of God, His Spirit and by faith in the process of cultivation that I am steady undergoing when I choose to seek Him wholeheartedly.

I used to think science projects would be the death of me. When you have three kids in four years, it is inevitable to become overwhelmed. When that just was not excitement, two more were added to the mix. There were days that I thought I would spend my entire life in the parent pickup line. Homework was never ending. I was always taking care of someone or doing something. Now we only have two little birds in our nest, one will graduate from high school next year and the other will be moving up to high school. The season of life that I thought would never end is slowly drawing to a close. It is easy to get lost in the role playing of life. People where so many different hats with a variety of responsibility – it is no wonder that the seeds of promise get lost in busy, overwhelmed, overwrought, and overloaded hearts filled with worry, stress and anxiety. Today the Lord is whispering to us – to let Him cultivate our life so we can thrive again. I must give my heart to the Lord along with everything and everyone in it for His Careful Inspection. He has given me promises and filled me with potential that alone I will never discover. They are impossible without Jesus Christ. By surrendering my life again, I can have all the possibilities of a Constant God with Unfailing Love. Every season of our life has fruitful potential. It is in Christ alone we find it.

Psalm 126:3-6 (NIV) The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy. Restore our fortunes, Lord, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.

Lost Connection

Lost Connection

John 15:5 (NIV) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”


The internet connection in our house is possessed by something ungodly of that I am convinced. This morning for thirty minutes I had to struggle to get a connection. Our kids are all at friend’s houses. The husband was asleep. There was no one attempting to gain a signal but me. Just needed some time before the start of busy Sunday, filled with church, fellowship and house showings, to get connected with the Lord. It is important to come to the House of God ready to produce. Produce what you may say? Church is not a power up station but a power-full time. Like an athlete ready for the big game, we should come to God’s House ready to deliver because many will come to the same place hurting and suffering in need of healing and deliverance. So this morning as I tried everything to connect my computer to the internet in our house, my heart began to inspect my connection to Christ.


I have a lot of “things” that I “do” to serve in my church now. Many years ago, I had similar duties and responsibilities. But somehow over time, my heart became shackled and my hands bound by many things including hurt, offense, tragedy and even triumph did not seem to loosen the heavy shackles of depression and despair. When I found the little church in the woods, I was simply the vehicle taking our children to attend youth services there. Little did I know that the Lord was fighting for me, He was fighting in me to get me out of the place I was hiding. Then came the night, I attended a youth worship service and every chain fell off in that place. In an instant my heart began to beat again, the Breath of God filled my lungs after praise unbound my chest. It was an encounter with God that changed everything. However, I have been exactly where I am today. Serving the Lord with other believers, yet somehow I found myself enslaved to my feelings rather than free in my Savior. See I lost my connection back then, I am desperate to never do that again.


When John 15 immediately flooded my thinking, I thought come on Lord it’s kind of cliché. It is the go to verse of abiding in you. But you see if men and women of God, do not stay connected to Christ then we have nothing of worth to offer those people who have not met Him or do not know Him much less trust them. As sons and daughters of the Kingdom, we must maintain our familial connection or relationship with Jesus in order to have the inheritance that enriches lives, changes hearts, and draws others to our Lord. So maybe even though it has been read and studied many times, a visit back to John 15 is in order…at least for me.


John 15:1-4 (NIV) “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”


Why not start with the rough part? Oh why not cut straight to the heart? To be connected to Christ and remain in the Lord, we must learn to live a life of constant repentance. I cannot stay attached to Jesus and hold on to my sin. I don’t care what that fancy talker told you in the other church. It is a lie. God hates sin, it cost Him everything. Jesus hates sin, He gave His Life so you could escape it. The Holy Spirit cannot live and breathe in those people who do not fight the urge to sin or those who entertain it. The pruning process is the removal of everything and anything that keeps us from growing deeper roots and moving closer to the Lord in His Righteousness because of His Grace. If you know it is wrong, the Spirit has convicted you of such and you still do it. Sorry is not repentance to you because it does not produce a change. Grace is an excuse for you rather than a means to escape the hell you live in. Strong words but not harsh. Critical but not condemning. See you will not grow and mature in the Lord, prosper, or produce fruit until the Lord is allow to prune you. Jesus does not leave us like He found us, praise God. He promises those who are willing to repent and turn to Him that He will remain in them. This is when everything changes. This is when revival will come to our churches. When men and women of God and His Sons and Daughters choose to live connected to Christ, apart from sin, and remain in the Lord.


This morning I checked the connection on my computer. It registered no service. It turned off every other device that might be drawing the Wi-Fi signal. Attempted to reconnect. No signal. I rebooted the router not once but twice. No signal. Reset the router which meant another trip across the house. Still nada. I restarted the computer…again. Finally, I was connected. We must learn to invest the time and energy into maintaining our relationship with Jesus every single day. When the internet hiccups in our house, panic erupts. Why would we be any less concerned when our connection to Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord becomes compromised? It demands our immediate attention. We must find what interrupted the signal. Turn off distractions. Come boldly into His Presence. Seek Him. Find Him. Remove anything that is needed to see Him Face-to-face again.


John 15:5-6 (NIV) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”


This is short and sweet. I can do NOTHING apart from Jesus Christ of worth. Ever. It is my relationship to the Lord that allows anything in my life to produce fruit and prosper into something of worth. It is always a matter of life or death. I must crucify my flesh daily so His Spirit can live in me. Every single day. I cannot go a day without evaluating my life through the Eyes of Jesus. A life that is not fruitful is not Kingdom bound. Everything in the Kingdom of God produces life. This life prepares us, molds us and shapes us into fruitful participants in a Kingdom so much greater than the earth. We have a purpose. God has a plan. I must be in His Will and do it His Way…always. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the fruit inspector who determines if I am fit for the Kingdom.


John 15:7-8 (NIV) “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”


God’s Word is a daily requirement for growing and developing Christians who desire a relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the Bread of Life that nourishes our soul and strengthens our Spirit to overcome our flesh. I don’t have time. Make time. You take a shower and check your appearance each day. You go to work to produce income. You make time to eat. Text. Check social media. Wait in line at Starbucks. Go shopping. Follow your favorite team or participate in a hobby. If you do not make time to ingest and digest God’s Word – you will die on the vine.


John 15:9-11 (NIV) “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” 


I gave my husband a high-five yesterday for us. We have stuck it out and overcome the statistics. Not only have we been married almost two decades…with kids but as a blended family which makes the struggle all the more real. I love him so much. Anyone who talks to me about getting married or the desire to marry is forewarned. Yes, it is wonderful but any relationship worth having is hard work. It is to overcome our flesh daily and selfishness to completely surround our heart to another. There are days that I am not lovable and I could say the same about him. We committed our lives to one another and made a promise that we intended to keep from the first day until our last one on earth. I must strive to remain in fellowship and agreement with my husband. Our common ground from the start has been Jesus. People listen to me closely. Jesus Christ must be the foundation of our life and full of all our expectation to love others. Why? His Love is perfect and complete. If we place our expectation in the Lord, then our expectations of others go from unreasonable to acceptable. No one can save you… but Jesus. No one can complete you… but Jesus. No one else will die for you… Jesus did. When we try to love others from our self, we fail but when we allow God’s Love and Grace to flow through us – we can love others effectively.


John 15:12-14 (NIV) “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.


This morning as I consider my connection to Christ, it is helpful to examine the fruit in my life. The Lord does not require us to bear fruit of ourselves, but gives us His Spirit to produce His Fruit in us. We can do nothing apart from Jesus so the things we “do” are just good things. But when we learn to love like Jesus – it is His Spirit that tells us to lay down our life, comfort, time, and resources to help others. Galatians 5:22-23 gives a list of the Fruits that should be evident in our life according to spiritual productivity. Along with the first priority of love, we find other things like joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” These are the things that Jesus is looking for in our life. Those fruits not produced by our flesh but those cultivated by His Spirit to offer the world. Without a valid connection to Jesus, we have nothing to offer but that which will pass away.


Matthew 5:14-16 (NIV) “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


What if it really is so simple? What if the reason our light is not on is simply because we are unplugged? What if the reason the city on the hill is experiencing a blackout is only because we are not connect to the Source of Life? Could it be possible that even the church is barely holding on? What if the Body is disjointed? I have wonderful news. It’s an easy fix.


Colossians 2:6-10 (NIV) So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 


My passion and pursuit of Jesus today requires my full attention. I must start with my connection to the Lord and make sure it is intact. His Grace is always sufficient for me so when I am weak then He makes me strong. It is not a fault or failure to find a weakness but the opportunity to allow Jesus to gives us strength for that area of our life that is lacking. How is your prayer life? All relationships need full communication. How is your quiet time? There is always time for those you love. His is your praise and worship? It connects us to the Kingdom as that is there one purpose day and night, night and day for all eternity. Have you repented today? I know it sounds so old school but without repentance on a daily or, for me a moment to moment basis, we will cannot remain in Christ. Apart from Jesus, I can do nothing. He is the One who completes me. I need that connect. Have you lost your connection? It’s time to evaluate the problem, troubleshoot and restore it as fast as you can.


Ephesians 3:16-21 (NIV) I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.