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Category Archives: Bearing Fruit

The Valedictorian Church

Misalignment of the spine can cause any number of problems in the human body and can affect not only the skeletal system but major organ function as well.  Studies show that heart, lung, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen, stomach, kidney, bladder, prostrate and uterus issues can be directly influenced by the spine.  Furthermore, nerve fibers stem from the spine into every major immune system organ.

In the spiritual terms, misalignment can be just as detrimental to the Body of Christ.  When we fail to come under the headship of our Lord Jesus Christ and those He has set in authority, things become out-of-order.  As children of God and necessary parts of the body, our function can be hindered and our immunity weak.

For the remainder of this post, I want to call the misalignment, a “spiritual learning curve”.   To spare you the more in-depth and wordy definition of “learning curve”… here it is in short form.  The learning curve averages everything out.  In other words, new skills or knowledge can be quickly acquired initially, but subsequent learning becomes much slower. At first, a minimal investment of resources yields significant results, but the payback from continuing effort is smaller.

This is daunting in the world we live in of bigger, better and limitless upgrades.

At first it’s easy to make progress and our efforts are rewarded quickly but as time passes, the efforts we’re making do not garner the same results.  Just as when much is given, much is required, there are times when more is asked of us, with seemingly little to no increase.  This is when we are in real danger of settling for less in terms of spiritual gain if we fail to rise to the challenge. The average Christian walk, with a letter grade C and without challenge can begin to look rather appealing. It’s still passing right?  Yet, God wants us to excel in the call upon our life, walk worthy of it and increase more and more.  Come up higher and get an A!

I do believe God wants us to be straight A students… studying to show ourselves approved by Him, regardless of the applaud of men or the immediate result.  He is interested in our commitment and our longevity in our faithfulness to Him, the church, our leaders, fellow believers and the duty assigned to us.  We should be nothing less than valedictorian in the Spirit as we serve from scrubbing toilets to preaching to the multitudes.  Every season of our life comes with its own report card.

How are we faring?

“Average is just as close to failure as it is to success.”-Dr. John Polis

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Being Rich Toward God

Luke 12:15-21, And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

It’s important to take inventory of our lives. To examine ourselves.  What does my life consist of?

When we find ourselves in a prosperous season… when the harvest of seeds sown has come to bear, there comes with it  a temptation to “pull down” our barns and build greater.  An upgrade is due us.

Somewhere along the way maybe, we’ve been lead to believe that we will arrive at a certain level of prosperity.  It’s a lottery of sorts…  a sweet spot in life, where we can just rest easy.  “Eat, drink and be merry”, right?

We long for the day when we won’t have to work so hard. When we can just retire and finally “live” a little.

We start to daydream of pulling down our barns.  It might look something like this…

“Oh, God has great things in store for me.  His plans are SO big that I’m gonna need a better ______________, a better _______________, a better _______________.  That’s what I intend to do! As soon as I get MY harvest, I’m gonna leave this ______________ behind.  I’m gonna build the life of MY dreams!”

Perhaps this kind of mindset has truly diminished the things that God has already equipped us with to use for His glory.  We’ve pulled down our barns.  And if these barns already aren’t enough for us, then how could something bigger and better ever be enough?

And here it is… that man was rich already. He was significant. He was provided for. He was equipped.  In essence, he had what was necessary for today.  He was taken care of, yet somehow, He thought he had to take care of himself.  Somehow, he thought the ground he was given belonged to him.

So what it all boils down to is that there is a question left unanswered.

In all of your pulling down and building greater, who have you served?  If you got your harvest and bought your dream _______________, to what purpose was it?  If it all ends at sunset…whose will it be then?

Will our children know what to do with it?  Will our extended friends and families?  How about our neighbors and communities?  And heaven help us, our government?

We must consider the “whose” of our harvest!  We must begin something with what God has given us that will live well beyond our years!

Get ready! The harvest is upon us. It’s time to seek the Lord! The Lord of the harvest is visiting our ground! He is preparing laborers to who will not labor in vain but will produce more of His spirit and yield His glory in this earth!  Unless the Lord builds it, we will labor in vain! Even if we give it ALL away, we will not find ourselves wanting.  The windows of heaven are opening and God has promised that He would pour out a blessing, so much so that there would not be room enough to contain it!  For some, even the most faithful among us, He hasn’t been able to release such a blessing because with even a handful, we pull down our barns!  We must settle it in our hearts that the foundations are good! What is already built is good! Yes, the barn is good! This is the year of the open door! If we will refrain from pulling down our barns, we will discover that He has opened the door of those barns and His bounty shall spill forth!  If we will rejoice in our room, He will give us a realm! Be rich toward God!

 

Abiding With Abandon

John 15:1-8,  “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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will  ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

I’m startled as I read this.  It has become glaringly obvious that there is a difference between simply being in Christ and abiding in Him.

Jesus tells us that any branch that is in Him that does not bear fruit will be taken away.  He goes on to instruct us, abide in Me.

That word abide means to remain in, to continue to be present, to remain as one, with an emphasis on time. In reference to time, we must understand that there is no expiration date.  Abiding is an enduring, eternal work.  Abiding is never a complacent, take it or leave it attitude.  We must take up residence and live in His midst.  It’s a choice.

So, in reality, and I pray that I am relating this well enough, we can be in Him and not really in Him.

Like a woman can have her husband’s last name and not live with him.  There must first be

1. a union

and then after that

2. communion

Abiding is truly the revelation that without Him, we can do nothing.

It’s interesting that Jesus says we are already clean. (vs. 3)  We can look at that as step one of the process: Union (or in Me)

Step two: Communion (abide in Me) is the process.  As we abide, we bear fruit.   This is where we are purged. (vs. 2)

The words clean and purge are very closely related.

The Greek word for clean is katharos.  And the Greek for purge being kathairo.

The initial (cleaning) cuts us away from.  It divides or separates us from corruption, sin and guilt, the false, and makes us unstained.  The second (purging) is a deeper work.  It continues to cut from us the unnecessary things, the useless shoots. The purging keeps us blameless, sincere and guiltless.

In repentance, we yield those shoots to Him again and again.  In our communion with Him, we are enlightened to the “of itself” and the “apart from Me’s” in our life.  It’s in those moments that He lovingly prunes.

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2012 in Bearing Fruit

 

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Bearing Fruit

Since the beginning of the year, God has been speaking to me about the fig tree.

It’s a desire in my heart that my life would bear fruit because in the end, I want to stand before God and have something to show for this life He has redeemed.  With all my heart, I want something of worth to remain after everything is tried.

But I’ve discovered there’s more. The Lord is hungry.

Oftentimes we think that we must bear fruit for the sake of the sinner, so that they might eat and be made righteous.  I agree.  Also, our fruit is essential for the building up and edification of the body of Christ.  The fruit of our life is necessary for our households and brothers and sisters in Christ.  Yes, bear for one another’s sake!

But there’s a reverence that settles in on me when I consider that Jesus saw the fig tree and approached it because He was hungry.  There was something He was looking for in that particular tree that would satisfy Him.  He wanted to eat.

Surface Christianity just isn’t enough.  All the showy leaves that indicate that there is life in me are worthless unless I produce something that will satisfy Jesus.

James tells us that faith without works is dead.  Anybody think of the fig tree when you read that? What if those leaves are faith without works?

Jesus tells us, have faith in God!  I have it!   And the account of the fig tree in Mark 11 says the same. “And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves…” 

The footnotes of my study NKJV study bible state that the fig tree represented professed adherence to God but possessed no spiritual reality.

Full of promise but empty.

Whatever is not producing spiritual realities in my life must go.  Anything that has capped the flow of productivity in my life needs to be removed and here’s the thing, it’s not God’s responsibility to remove it.   I can speak with Him about it all I want but nothing will ever change.

Look at Matthew 21:19-21

And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.

The Lord has given us the responsibility.  He will not do what we must do ourselves.  It’s time to curse what must be cursed and release the blessing to grow and produce in our lives!

Most Christians don’t like the idea of “cursing” but it’s an weapon in warfare that we can’t allow to become idle.  Jesus used this weapon (Mark 11:21), not on people (I stress that) but on oppressing, depressing, hindering, suppressing spirits. 

To strengthen the idea of this, you might like to know that the word curse is rooted in the Greek (685) meaning prayer (as lifted to heaven).  Cursing is part of prayer.

It’s also rooted in the word exsecratus which translates execration.  (ex-out of/ secra-sacred)

When we utilize this arsenal, we are using our authority to evict some things.  Come out of my sacred!
We must say it and mean it!

Luke 13:6-9, He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why does it use up the ground? But he answered and said to him, Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well.  But if not, after that you can cut it down.

Friend, when I read the account of the barren fig tree in Luke 13, I don’t want to be just another tree that “uses up the ground”. 

Prophetically speaking, we have one year.  Within one year, if we will utilize the tools given us, there will and must be change. Our life will bear fruit that satisfies a hungry God.

We must dig around the roots and expose them.  What are our roots growing in?  We must be rooted and grounded in the love of God.  Nothing else will do.  Dig.  Prayer is your shovel.  Time alone with a loving God will reveal some things.  Don’t be afraid to discover.  And then fertilize.    As you pray for discernment over your life, allow the things that have been limiting you become the dung that will add to your development.

You may be surprised what may suddenly become refuse.

Philippians 3:8-10, But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him…

 

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Bearing Fruit, Cursing, Faith

 

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