Abiding Fruit – Part 2

As God’s Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ, we abide in His abundant love forever. We keep His commandments and love our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors with the love of the Lord (Matthew 22:37-39; John 15:10).

The Vine existed long before the branches ever grew, and He sacrificially shares His love and life with us (1 John 4:19). We choose to fully commit to our relationship with the Vine (John 15:16).

Separated from the Vine, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We display the fruit of the flesh, which is envy, strife, hatred, self-centeredness, criticism, worry, depression, pride, bitterness, complaining, quitting, backbiting, loving our self more than others, loving money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to our parents, ungrateful, unholy, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; inventing ways of doing evil; disobeying our parents; and as adults, we put work and fun ahead of God (2 Timothy 3:2; Romans 1:30).

Abiding in the Vine gradually renews our heart and replaces these negative issues with the fruit of God’s Spirit, which we bear through our obedience to Him. This is the evidence of our union with the Vine (John 15:13).

We rest in His grace and renew our strength as we wait on Him (Isaiah 40:31). His Spirit directs us each moment of the day (John 16:13). We increase God’s Kingdom by our obedience to Him and His Word (Mark 4:26).

God’s fruit in our life is proof of our faith in God (James 2:14-26). We abide in Him, but He also abides in us, completing the sanctifying work of holiness, which He started in us at salvation (Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13).

Prayer:
Father God, let us never break our connection with Your Vine. The life we receive through Your presence in our spirit is not paralleled by anything this world has to offer.

Help us to exhibit affection for others, an exuberance about life, serenity through the storms, determination and patience, a compassionate heart, and kindness that pervades our entire being (Galatians 5:22-23).

We trust that You have this world in Your control and have a perfect timetable for its culmination and the renewal of all things. Remind us to live humbly in service to You and others, and continually guide us by Your Spirit.

Thought for the Day:
Our God, who called us, is faithful to us and will fulfill us and care for us until we abide with Him in eternity. – 1 Thessalonians 5:24

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In The Center of God’s Will

To be in the center of God’s will is the happiest place on earth. This may include a single life, illness, persecution, a missionary position far from home, physical handicaps, an unhappy marriage, the death of a loved one, a challenging child, or any number of other negative circumstances, which occur in life. Yet, God’s love is with us and in us through each moment of every day.

God has good plans for us, even through the negative atmosphere or issues we experience in our life (Jeremiah 29:11). He always works out even the most horrendous concerns for our good (Romans 8:28). The good news is that unless we fail to walk in God’s will for our life, nothing will occur, which is not already part of His plan for us (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19).

God encourages us to submit to His sanctifying work in our life (1 Thessalonians 4:3). This is how He endows us with what we need to perform His will as part of His family (Hebrews 13:21; Mark 3:34-35). He forms us into the image of Christ and gives us His Word to light up our path throughout our lifetime. He even gives His angels charge over us, so that we do not stumble or fall (Psalm 119:105; Psalm 91:11).

If we struggle to hear God’s Holy Spirit, or to find His exact will in any situation, we can pause, give Him our focused attention and listen. If we ask, He promises to generously give us wisdom in every area of our life (James 1:5). By walking in God’s Spirit we will silence Satan’s lies and the foolish talk of ignorant people who disparage God and His people (Galatians 5:15-25; 1 Peter 2:15).

Prayer:
Father God, we put our entire trust in You with our whole heart. We refuse to listen to the vain imaginations of our mind or to rely on our human understanding in making decisions. We seek Your will for each moment of our day and we will stop, be still and wait on You for your direction for each activity, which You prompt us to do (Psalm 27:14; Psalm 46:10). We know that by seeking Your will instead of our own, we will walk on the right path throughout our life and we will please You with all of our thoughts, words and deeds (Psalm 27:11).

Thought for the Day:
As the Holy Spirit transforms us by renewing our mind, we will be living proof of the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.
– Romans 12:2

Truth is a Person

Christians in this modern world attempt to prove the existence of God intellectually, using apologetics and philosophical reasoning. We endeavor to explain an infinite God with finite terms of human logic (Isaiah 55:8,9). We attempt to formulate approved doctrines and to explain the Word of God accurately. Yet, we rarely agree on either doctrine or interpretation.

We often get close to painting an accurate picture, and many are won to Christ by these attempts. However, the more questions we answer, the more questions are left unanswered (1 Corinthians 8:1-3). Humans will never figure out God or His ways, because He will simply jump out of the box we create for Him (1 Corinthians 2:10; Romans 11:33). There are too many Biblical “mysteries”, which defy human explanation.

Consider the Trinity, Christ as God and man, the relationship between Christ and the church as a marriage, the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven, God’s will, the Gospel of Christ, faith, the partial hardening of Israel until the time of the Gentiles is over, lawlessness at work, Christ abiding in us, immortality and that not everyone will die before Christ returns (Ephesians 3:8-9; Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:7; 1 Timothy 3:16).

Spiritually, as we surrender to God’s Truth, we come to trust His Spirit’s work within us for salvation. Then we trust the Spirit’s work through us. A branch does nothing in order to bear fruit. In this same way, God will put His thoughts in our mind to direct our actions, and His words in our mouth to comfort and encourage those around us. As we submit to His sanctifying work, He sets us apart from the world (1 Corinthians 1:18).

We may not see or feel His work in or through us, but we see the effects of it. God’s Spirit binds us to the Trinity within us and to our fellow Believers who live all over the world. The more intimate our relationship with God, the more rest we experience in our body, soul and spirit. We experience less stress in trials, because we know from experience that God always provides (Romans 8:28).

Prayer:
Father God, there is nothing on this earth that means more to us than knowing You (Philippians 3:8-10). Knowing You is eternal life (John 17:3). Jesus is the way, truth and life, and no one can come to You except through Him (John 14:6). You set us free by Your Son, who is our Truth (John 8:32, 36). Help us to make You our priority in life and to realize that we can argue doctrine all day long, but in the end, Jesus Christ is the only Truth.

Thought for the Day:
Who is wise enough among us to be the philosopher of our age? God makes man’s wisdom foolishness, because we do not know Him.
– 1 Corinthians 1:20