from bad fruit to good fruit…it IS possible…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 30

 

I will exalt you, Adonai,

Because you draw me up;

You didn’t let my enemies

Rejoice over me.

Adonai, my God, I cried out to you,

And you provided healing for me.

Adonai, you lifted me up from Sh’ol;

You kept me alive when I was sinking into a pit.

 

Sing praises to Adonai, you faithful of his;

And give thanks on recalling his holiness.

For his anger is momentary,

But his favor lasts a lifetime.

Tears may linger for the night,

But with dawn comes cries of joy.

 

Once I was prosperous and used to say

That nothing could ever shake me–

When you showed me favor, Adonai,

I was firm as a mighty mountain.

But when you hid your face,

I was struck with terror.

I called to you, Adonai;

To Adonai I pleaded for mercy;

What advantage is there in my death?

In my going down to the pit?

Can the dust praise you?

Can it proclaim your truth?

Hear me, Adonai, and show me your favor!

Adonai, be my helper!

 

You turned my mourning into dancing!

You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

So that my well-being can praise you and not be silent;

Adonai, my God, I will thank you forever!

 

 

 

Matthew 7:15-

 

Beware of the false prophets! They come to you wearing sheep’s clothing, but underneath they are hungry wolves! You will recognize them by their fruit. Can people pick grapes from thorn bushes? Or figs from thistles? Likewise, every healthy tree produces good fruit, but a poor tree produces bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, or a poor tree good fruit. Any tree that does not produce good fruit is cut down and thrown in the fire! So you will recognize them by their fruit.

 

Who is our salvation, from our own error and others? Who gives us strength and health? None but God. And we can look into ourselves and see if the fruit is good or bad. We can prune the branches not producing healthy fruit. Where does dissatisfaction come from? The irritation? The ill-will? That is not good fruit and stems from selfish attitudes. It can be removed by God, it can be revealed by the Holy Spirit. We can take responsibility and cut the driving force behind those attitudes from our selves beginning with awareness and moving to elimination. We can be trees planted by His water and bearing good fruit.

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But Lord!…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 31

 

In you, Adonai, I take refuge;

Let me never be put to shame;

In your justice, save me!

Turn your ear toward,

Come quickly to my rescue,

Be for me a rock of strength,

A fortress to keep me safe.

Since you are my rock and fortress,

Lead me and guide me for your name’s sake.

Free me from the net they have hidden to catch me,

Because you are my strength.

Into your hand I commit my spirit;

You will redeem me, Adonai, God of truth.

 

This passage above would be a great prayer to pray for Saeed and the Christians under siege in the Mid-east.

 

I hate those who serve worthless idols;

As for me, I trust in Adonai.

I will rejoice and be glad in your grace,

For you see my affliction,

You know how distressed I am.

You did not hand me over to the enemy;

You set my feet where I can move freely.

 

Show me favor, Adonai, for I am in trouble.

My eyes grow dim with anger,

My soul and body as well.

For my life is worn out with sorrow

And my years with sighing;

My strength gives out under my guilt,

And my bones are wasting away.

 

I am scorned by all my adversaries,

And even more by my neighbors;

Even to my acquaintances

I am an object of fear–

When they see me in the street,

They turn away from me.

Like a dead man, I have passed from their minds;

I have become like a broken pot.

All I hear is whispering,

Terror is all around me;

They plot together against me,

Scheming to take my life.

 

But I, I trust in you Adonai;

I say, ‘You are my God.’

My times are in your hand;

Rescue me from my enemies’ power,

From those who persecute me.

 

Make your face shine on your servant,

In your grace, save me.

Adonai, don’t let me be put to shame,

For I have called on you;

Let the wicked be put to shame,

Let them be silenced in Sh’ol.

May lying lips be struck dumb

That speak insolently against the righteous

With such pride and contempt.

 

But oh, how great is your goodness,

Which you have stored up for those who fear you,

Which you do for those who take refuge in you,

Before people’s very eyes!

In the shelter of your presence

You hide them from human plots,

You conceal them in your shelter,

Safe from contentious tongues.

 

Blessed be Adonai!

For he has shown me his amazing grace

When I was in a city under siege.

As for me, in my alarm, I said,

‘I have been cut off from your sight!’

Nevertheless you heard my pleas

When I cried out to you.

 

Love Adonai, you faithful of his.

Adonai preserves the loyal,

But the proud he repays in full.

Be strong, and fill your hearts with courage,

All of you who hope in Adonai.

 

Matthew 7:21-

 

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in Heaven wants. On that Day, many will say to me ‘Lord, Lord! Didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name? Then I will tell them to their faces, ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!

 

Taking refuge in God is by the mind, emotions, will, our soul, our spirit. This cannot be a physical refuge but a guarding of the mind especially. A guarding of the heart…out of the heart, the mouth speaks. We experience constant attack and bids for our minds, our heart. Immersed in God’s Word, immersed in him and by His Spirit we are kept true to him. Then, in that Day, we will be known by him, we will enter into his kingdom, we will not be sent away. We cannot work for our salvation, but we can work to keep our focus on him alone. David tells of his fears, his depressions, his attacks but always keeps his focus on the One who created him, can protect and provide for him. For this he was rewarded with exactly that. He made known his fears and God covered them, he made known his attacks and God fought for and with him. We have the same promise. In this relationship we know Him and He knows us. We need have no fear of being turned away in that Day.

 

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How do we lap the water?

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Judges &:4-8

 picture from Untying the Cerebral Knot

 

 

And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.

So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.

And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.

And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.

So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.  from eSword

 

Do we sit in our churches, lapping up the water? Content to allow others to look out for us? Who do we trust? Is our faith in the Lord and Him only, or do we depend upon the arms of humanity? Even if those arms are in the pulpit our trust is misplaced if we are content to rest in that place. Our trust and faith is to be in the Lord only; this will keep us from deception – not just a deception of humanity that is world-wise but also deception from the leadership and ourselves. Be not deceived;

[James 1:26 NKJV] 26 If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion [is] useless; from Blue Letter Bible

[2Timothy 3:12-17 ESV] 12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it 15 and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.  from Blue Letter Bible

Be alert, aware, ears tuned to God’s voice and with a sure knowledge of His Word to use as a plumb-line. Those who lapped the water putting their own hand to their mouth were ready to move when told, alert to the conditions around them, had their trust in the Lord God who would give the word; not in the systems of man, the reinforcements who were sent home.  They were confident in the Lord and him alone.  They were useful to the Lord.  They were equipped for the work ahead of them.  And God would get the glory.

Lap the water ready at any instant to do his bidding.

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The only One to fear…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Daniel 3:19-30;4:1-4

 

 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated.

 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace.

 Because the king’s order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”

 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire.

 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them.

 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.

 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.”

 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

 King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you!

 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.

 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

 

How strong is our faith? Are we able as these three, to say, “even if he doesn’t” and stand firmly rooted in the knowledge that our hope is in God, believing what he has said and done? Even when faced with evil this strong; can we say “our God is able to save us…”; has already saved us? When fears arise, will our fear and love of God be greater than any fear this world can bring? Is this evident in our personal lives; or do we fret and worry over disease epidemics, the onslaught of armies who fear no one and do evil in the full sight of all, the tearing away of our freedoms to worship as we believe? When we pray “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” do we believe it and mean it?

 

A pagan king, given to pride and destruction was able to recognize the power greater than his. He says:

 

“Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. “

 

Let us yield all to God and serve Him alone.

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The God we Trust…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Psalm 25

  Of David. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.

 O my God, in you I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me.

 Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame; they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.

 Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.

 Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.

 Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!

Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.

 He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

 All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

 For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.

 Who is the man who fears the LORD? Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.

 His soul shall abide in well-being, and his offspring shall inherit the land.

 The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant.

 My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.

 The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses.

 Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.

 Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me.

 Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.

 May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.

 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all his troubles.

 

This is a prayer that strengthens the soul in conflict. It can be prayed for those who face severe persecution on a daily, even hourly basis. Let us meditate and memorize these lines for a defense in our own trials and times of trouble. God is our strength, his grace and mercy provides our salvation first from the penalty of sin, death, and also from the evil that comes against us in all its various forms. All his ways are grace and truth. He teaches those who seek him; he provides for them; he relates intimately with them. Let us trust him alone.

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Where is our trust?

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 8:9-17

 

 So Joshua sent them out. And they went to the place of ambush and lay between Bethel and Ai, to the west of Ai, but Joshua spent that night among the people.

 Joshua arose early in the morning and mustered the people and went up, he and the elders of Israel, before the people to Ai.

 And all the fighting men who were with him went up and drew near before the city and encamped on the north side of Ai, with a ravine between them and Ai.

He took about 5,000 men and set them in ambush between Bethel and Ai, to the west of the city.

So they stationed the forces, the main encampment that was north of the city and its rear guard west of the city. But Joshua spent that night in the valley.

And as soon as the king of Ai saw this, he and all his people, the men of the city, hurried and went out early to the appointed place toward the Arabah to meet Israel in battle. But he did not know that there was an ambush against him behind the city.

And Joshua and all Israel pretended to be beaten before them and fled in the direction of the wilderness.

So all the people who were in the city were called together to pursue them, and as they pursued Joshua they were drawn away from the city.

 Not a man was left in Ai or Bethel who did not go out after Israel. They left the city open and pursued Israel.

 

Sometimes we are so confident in our own abilities and in what we see that we too are guilty of ‘leaving the city open.’ We are susceptible to being led by what we see. God wants us to be led by Him; by the Holy Spirit which requires faith – believing in something you don’t see. The people of ‘Ai were not led by God’s Spirit but Israel was. How hard it must have been to overcome the natural fear of an enemy who had just tromped you and instead put your trust in God when you thought He, God, had left you. This is what Israel did. So we have one group trusting only in what they can see and in their own achievements running after a group trusting in God. At first glance it looks like they, Ai, are winning again. But they have left the city wide open.

 

We can practice the awareness of God’s presence; also an awareness of the lack of God’s leading. When we step over into self-confidence rather than God-confidence we are treading in the wrong direction and asking for defeat. We can practice moving in faith based upon God’s Word. This often is not as comfortable as relying on our own abilities. But by His Word we can be sure that placing our faith in Him will give us the victory and give God the glory. Praise be to the name of Jesus!

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie

Whose law do we follow?

 

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Joshua 1:1-9

 

 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant,

 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.

 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.

 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory.

 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.

 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.

 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

Three times the statement “Be strong and courageous” is made.

 

“…Be strong and courageous, …”

 

Twice the command to follow God’s Words, God’s will and way is given.

 

“… being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you…”

 

The promised result of holding to these directives is success in what you set out to do,

 

“… For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. …”

 

specifically, success in accomplishing what God has given us to do. Are we finding less than stellar results when we follow what we believe He has given us to do?   The question to follow would be are we following His way or have we manipulated His words to suit our way? Care must be taken to know His way so well we do not err in how we follow. Care must be taken to be strong, have courage, and know His way. He says to make His law, his commands a part of our very being so that we know him and his ways.

 

“…This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it….”

 

Have we immersed ourselves in His word? Do we know his commands? Are we following them? The promise of success in what we do, the promise that whatever we undertake under His direction will prosper hinges on this. And then God follows with assurance we can all hold on to. He will not leave us when He asks us to do something for Him. He is with us, often as Joshua found out, He goes ahead, preparing the way, fighting the battle for us. There is no peace like that of knowing we have followed His will and are kept by His promises.

 

Disclaimer:  if ads are appearing anywhere on this page it is because they are placed there by WordPress not by me.  I have read the information on ads and in order to be ad free now, Word Press charges a fee.  I apologize for any inconvenience these ads may cause you and if they are inappropriate please message me.  Thank you, gracie