Tag Archives: fruit

Jeremiah 22, 23, 26; Psalm 77; James 2

14My brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does nothing, his faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save him? 15A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or might need food. 16And you say to him, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat.” You say this, but you do not give that person the things he needs. Unless you help him, your words are worth nothing. 17It is the same with faith. If faith does nothing, then that faith is dead, because it is alone.

18Someone might say, “You have faith, but I do things. Show me your faith! Your faith does nothing. I will show you my faith by the things I do.” 19You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too! And they shake with fear.

20You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing? 21Abraham is our father. He was made right with God by the things he did. He offered his son Isaac to God on the altar. 22So you see that Abraham’s faith and the things he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did. 23This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” And Abraham was called “God’s friend.” 24So you see that a person is made right with God by the things he does. He cannot be made right by faith only.

25Another example is Rahab, who was a prostitute. But she was made right with God by something she did: She helped the spies for God’s people. She welcomed them into her home and helped them escape by a different road.

26A person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead. It is the same with faith. Faith that does nothing is dead! James 2:14-26

One of my all-time favorite movies is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I like just about everything about that movie, including Harrison Ford’s handsome face 😉 .

One scene always stands out to me:  Indy is working his way through the cave to find the Holy Grail coming against tests to prove his worth. During one test, as he stares down into the abyss of the cavern, he realizes that he’s going to have to have faith to “leap” to the other side. He gathers his courage. He puts his foot out and leans forward, half expecting to fall to his death. As he begins to fall, his foot lands on an invisible bridge that stretches across the gap and he is able to walk across safely.

I often feel like this is how I live my life. So many chasms lay before me in this journey. When I have faith in God to be there every step of the way, I am able to stick my foot out and leap.

Indiana didn’t simply have faith and then walk away from the impossible. He took action. He did something. He put out his foot and started walking, knowing that it was quite possible it could lead to his death.

As James points out in his letter, both Abraham and Rahab had faith in the God of Israel, and they acted on it, being obedient to what God had instructed. They demonstrated their faith through their actions…and were blessed for it.

Faith doesn’t stop at believing that Christ died and rose again. Yes, that the first step, but faith is also about how I live my life, the outcome of the choices that I make, and the strong foundations that I strive to build in myself and others.

Faith is a tree, and works are it’s fruit. I’m saved because I believe in Christ as my Savior, but my maturity lies in how I live that faith out in my daily life – do I ignore the needs of the people around me, living selfishly in my own little bubble or do I reach out and help, encourage, and love them without an expectation of return as Christ instructed?

Do I demonstrate my faith through my actions, my behavior, my choices, my speech or do I pray and read the Bible only for brownie points and notches on my spiritual belt?

Yesappa,Thank You for your gift of grace given for all who believe and have faith. Help me grow strong in my faith in You and Your goodness and mercy. Help my faith in your be evident in the way I live my life and the things that I do to glorify You and honor those you’ve put in my life, be it for a moment or a season. In Jesus’ name. Amen.  

 

Blessings – Julie

 

International Children’s Bible, Copyright © 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a Division of Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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2 Samuel 20; 2 Corinthians 13; Ezekiel 27; Psalms 75, 76

Look closely at yourselves. Test yourselves to see if you are living in the faith. You know that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you fail the test. (NCV)

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (NKJV)

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. (NLT)

Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected? (AMP)

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it. (MSG)

2 Corinthians 13:5

When Christ shed his blood on the cross, He created the path for redemption. And when I heard and believed the Good News, He renewed me, heart, mind, and soul, and took up residence in me.

I know this. I believe this. And yet some most days, when I am struggling with loneliness, or anger, or bitterness and resentment, or exhaustion, or a lack of patience, or a bad attitude, or whatever else I am getting ‘poked’ with on any given day, I question myself. I question my faith. I wonder if there is any good fruit in me.

I used to burn with passion for God, attending every prayer meeting and worship time that was available to me, even the all-nighters. I was on fire. I wanted to experience His love and give it away to everyone I met. I basked in His glory and worshipped and danced with all my might like David. I never questioned my faith; I never doubted my fruit.

Fast forward a few years, and now I just feel burned out by life. Five years as a missionary (in the field and on furlough), almost four years as a wife, and just about three years as a mother has taken its toll on me. I give and give and give, and yet I realize I am giving from the dregs of a nearly empty tank.

When I look within, I see Him there and the desire to walk with Him, and talk with Him rises up in my heart. I intend to spend time with Him, to strengthen our relationship, to worship, to pray, to read His Words…to reconnect…to refuel. Just as soon as I have a second to myself, a moment when a little someone isn’t screaming, or crying, or tugging on my leg to hurry up and get an I.want.Right.NOW.

And then I get a piece of time, a few precious moments to myself, and often, instead of relaxing in my Savior’s presence, enjoying, savoring His goodness, His splendor…I plug into a computer game or YouTube videos of “some country’s” Got Talent. I get caught up in the wasteland of needless information.

Today, once more, I examined myself, my faith, and I recognize that though I am in a different season, I have not failed, even when sometimes I stumble. In the midst of my struggles, I look to my Heavenly Father. I choose to rely on Holy Spirit for help and for comfort. And, though I may zone out in front of the computer at times to ‘escape’, I still spend time with Jesus each day.

My time with Him is no longer stretches of ‘alone’ time reading the Word and praying. My time with Him is much sweeter in a way, because it is time I share with my children too. And the fruit that comes from this time spent together is fruit that in the future will be multiplied 100 fold.

Yesappa, thank You for Your grace upon me, upon my life. Thank You for meeting me right where I am. Keep walking with me; be unrelenting in Your pursuit of me. Keep drawing me closer to You especially in the midst of life, of motherhood. Help me teach my children about You as we spend time together with You. Help me be solid in the faith regardless of the different seasons I go through. Help me to always remember that You are with me and that You will never leave me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The earth with all its people may shake,

but I am the one who holds it steady. Selah

Psalm 75:3 (NCV)

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

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Judges 13; Acts 17; Jeremiah 26; Mark 12

Then Manoah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, I beg you to let the man of God come to us again. Let him teach us what we should do for the boy who will be born to us.” Judges 13:8 (NCV)

I think that this is the prayer of every believing parent. I know it is my prayer, daily and in every moment, especially the difficult ones.

I have not been given an instruction manual on how to raise my children, to raise them to be well-adjusted and valuable to society, to raise them to be God-fearing adults, not one of us has. Though, there are thousands of self-help style books to either help in the process of child-rearing or help me feel guilty for not being able to do everything or be everything.  And, there are a plethora of advice givers– some who offer sound advice and some who offer nothing more than old wives tales that hold little usefulness.

When it comes to choosing the best guide for parenting, the Bible surely is the right choice to raise children in the right way, the way befitting of these (sons and) daughters of the King, the true Royal Heirs.

The Angel of the Lord gave specific directions to Manoah and his wife in how to bring up Samson for the calling that God had placed on his life even before his conception.

“Be careful not to drink wine or beer or eat anything that is unclean, because you will become pregnant and have a son. You must never cut his hair, because he will be a Nazirite, given to God from birth. He will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.” Judges 13:4-5 (NCV)

The Bible gives clear instructions to me; that I should keep God’s Words always on my heart and teach them to my children diligently, all day, each day, in every situation, no matter where we are or what we are doing (Deuteronomy 6:6-9). This means that every day as I move through life with my daughters, I must look for the moments during our day that are opportunities to share Jesus’ love, His grace, His mercy, His sacrifice…and to share His most important commands.

Jesus answered, “The most important command is this: ‘Listen, people of Israel! The Lord our God is the only Lord. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second command is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There are no commands more important than these.” Mark 12:29-31 (NCV)

As a mother, I often only have the hope of fruit to come. Recently, though I have seen glimpses into the rewards of that fruit:

Daughter: “What happened? You hurt self?” (with great compassion etched in her face)

Mother: “Yes, Baby, Mommy’s finger has a booboo. I cut myself.”

Daughter: “I pray you?”

Mother: “Yes, please. That would be very kind.”

My toddler leans over my hand, folds her hands over my finger, closes her eyes, and says in a small voice, “Jesus loves me. Amen.” Then, expectantly, asks if I feel better.

Now, that is what it is ALL about.

Yesappa, come teach me what I should do for these children born to me. Help me love them as You love them; and help me be patient with them as You are patient with me. Help me give grace and mercy as You give to me. Help me train my children in the way they should go, so as they grow they will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). Help me love my kids on purpose. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Joshua 14, 15; Psalm 146, 147; Jeremiah 7; Matthew 21

The leafy fig tree. It highlights the power of faith–the strength to do much and more. But I still think about the tree’s leaves–an outward appearance of health, yet it was fruitless. Appearances deceive.

Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame. Jeremiah 7:19 NLT.

How many times had God’s people been warned and corrected? Only if, only if–“stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols.” Jeremiah 7:5-6 NLT.

In Jeremiah 7:8-11 NLT, there’s an assumption that just because the Temple was in their midst they’d be safe, despite their ongoing and intentional sin.

“‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, “We are safe!”—only to go right back to all those evils again? 11 Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken!”

In Matthew, Jesus clears out the Temple with similar words:

12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” Matthew 21:12-13 NLT.

When the Lord’s Spirit is in me, this body of mine is a temple. I bear his name as a follower of Christ. A child of God. I don’t think God expects me to be perfect, but I do think he wants me to trust him. When I obey him, it shows that I trust him. I believe he does want good for me. Lord, I need to remember I can trust you! I really do want to obey you. Sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s such a struggle. Help me.

22 When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 23 This is what I told them: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!’

I read about Caleb in Joshua 14:6-9 NLT.

Caleb said to Joshua, “Remember what the Lord said to Moses, the man of God, about you and me when we were at Kadesh-barnea. I was forty years old when Moses, the servant of the Lord, sent me from Kadesh-barnea to explore the land of Canaan. I returned and gave an honest report, but my brothers who went with me frightened the people from entering the Promised Land. For my part, I wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God. So that day Moses solemnly promised me, ‘The land of Canaan on which you were just walking will be your grant of land and that of your descendants forever, because you wholeheartedly followed the Lord my God.’

God isn’t impressed by wealth or might or any outward appearances of success. I have to remind myself of this a lot–because these are the things that impress the world, not my Lord.

No, my God wants reverence and my hope in him.

10 He takes no pleasure in the strength of a horse
    or in human might.
11 No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him,
    those who put their hope in his unfailing love. Psalm 147:10-11 NLT

Lord, when it comes to following you and obeying you, I don’t want to fake it. But I see that I’ve been faking it in my struggle to forgive. I can trust you. I don’t need to be angry and hold on to past wounds. You’ve got me.  You’ve got this. I can put my hope in you and let go of it. The past is vapor anyway. Even if it is as recent as June. I pray that I would follow you, wholeheartedly. Thank you for your continued work in shaping my heart.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 20, Psalm 58, Psalm 59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4, James 3

Read - http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Num.%2020;%20Ps.%2058,59;%20Isa.9:8-10:4;%20James%203&version=NKJV

Numbers 20             Moses said, “Hear now, you rebels!” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly – The Lord spoke to Moses, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

            Not by Faith, but out of anger did Moses serve the Lord God. Therefore God was not seen as Holy by the witnesses. The consequence? No Promised Land for Moses. How many times do my emotions over rule my trust in God and His Word? How many witnesses of my words and actions have I turned away from God? How many ways do I circumvent Jesus’ Glory by my own self interests? How many “promised land” situations have I been cut off from because of this!? Jesus, I willfully, actively choose to think and act by faith and trusting Your Word/ Relationship so that I do not focus on what so easily ensnares me. (1)

Psalm 58 , Psalm 59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4, James 3 –

               The wicked … go astray, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; The mighty gather against me, Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord.For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, And for the cursing and lying which they speak. Psalm 58-59

               The tongue is a little member and boasts great things. The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. … it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. No man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men…  James 3

            Lord, am I double minded and forked tongued? Do I say and do what I think and feel? Please have mercy on me and reveal to me my innermost motives, desires and Your Truth perspectives. If I do not yield to You, You will overtake me by wrathful force. (2)

              Because of this, He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, As in His living and burning wrath. .. Consume them in wrath, consume them, And let them know that God rules in Jacob To the ends of the earth. … the Lord shall set up the adversaries against him, the Lord will cut off … Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts The land is burned up. Psalm 58-59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4

              I fear both Your just judgment and wrath as well as losing Your peace, joy and intimacy in relationship with You. I confess to You the realty of my fickleness. I hate sin!

Who say in pride and arrogance of heart: “We will rebuild with hewn stones; We will replace them with cedars.” For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them, Nor do they seek the Lord of hosts. Isaiah 9:8-10:4

              I surrender to You, Lord Jesus Christ, my willfulness to do things my own way, as I see fit without doing Your Word and Holy Spirit counsel. I purpose my mind to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” and have my tongue, hands and feet move according to Your Holy Spirit. (5)

Your judgments are clear:

              “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, Who write misfortune, Which they have prescribed To rob the needy of justice, Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners, And they shall fall among the slain.” Isaiah 9:8-10:4

Yet You say FOUR TIMES in Isaiah 9:8-10:4

For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still.”

             You reach out to me and to all of us – Come to Me!” “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”  Rejecting my usual patterns, turning away from sinful relationships, not wasting time, not looking at useless information, abhorring addictions, habits and weak mindsets is Your Requirement for holiness! Step by step, day by day, I will live Your success by Your Way! (3)

The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance;  So that men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth.” I will wait for You, For God is my defense. My God of mercy shall come to meet me; Psalm 58-59

              Repentance’s fruit is Sweet! What Peace, Joy and Freedom to be unselfish and not needy when I walk in repentance! Repentance takes time, practice, pain without regret and a lot of work by Repeatedly Doing Your thoughts and Your Ways. But the Refreshment and Still waters are more than worth it!! Thanks my Mentor and Power, Lord God Jesus Christ! (4)  

But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy. Psalm 58-59

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3

 

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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