Good Fruit, Bad Fruit

Image result for photo of apple orchard


A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit.”  Luke 6:43-44


Jill wiped the sweat from her face and slapped the bark on an apple tree. “This one needs to come down,” she said. Her assistant gazed upward into the thick green foliage with a bewildered expression. “Why?” he asked. “Bad tree,” Jill answered. “Haven’t had any decent apples in two seasons. Those little ones up there? Half rotten. Tree’s no good to me now.” Her assistant still looked confused. “But…but all those leaves…it looks so healthy.” Jill shook her head and moved to the next tree. “It’s faking you out,” she laughed. “Pretending to be productive, but it’s all leaf. A tree is healthy if it produces good fruit.”

When a gardener plants and nurtures a fruit tree, he expects good fruit from it. If the tree is rotten inside, the fruit won’t be any good either. The same is true for us. The fruit of our lives is seen in the decisions we make, the attitudes we adopt, and the words we speak. If our hearts are self-centered, our fruit will be too. You can’t turn an oak tree into a peach tree by taping a peach to it. And going through churchy motions does not change our identities. Jesus offers to do that for us when we give our lives to Him. He changes us from the inside so that our fruit lasts for eternity. Unless our fruit is obedience to Christ, it’s all leaf.

,

Cursed By God


Image result for photo of jesus being crucified

For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”   Galatians 3:13

“Crucify Him!” The screams from the bloodthirsty crowd echoed through the universe and Satan’s host cheered. Evil had won. Perfection would be silenced forever and humanity was all his. What neither Satan nor Jesus’ friends realized was that this moment had already been decreed as part of God’s plan to buy back humanity from sin’s enslavement. To be stripped bare and nailed to a tree in disgrace was the worst way to die. God’s law stated that any criminal who was hung on a tree was under God’s curse. To be crucified meant that even God had turned His back on you. What made this moment more incredible is that when Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 prophesied the kind of death Messiah must undergo, crucifixion had not been invented yet.


For Jesus to take our full punishment upon Himself, He had to experience the curse of God. In those hours as the Son of God writhed in agony between heaven and earth, He became our sin. His pure mind had never entertained a dirty, jealous, or hateful thought, yet it was flooded with every vile, perverted image human beings have entertained. The perfect hands that had healed lepers and blessed children became the hands of a pedophile, a murderer, and a thief. As He hung there, the embodiment of evil, God’s righteous wrath was poured out upon His own Son: “How could you murder babies! How could you lie steal, cheat, and lust! I cannot look at you!” When Jesus cried out, “It is finished!” the curse that Adam’s sin brought upon the world was broken. Our debt was paid. Adam brought sin’s curse through one tree; Jesus broke it through another tree.

Two Trees


Image result for photo of two trees in garden

In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:9


The garden was alive with brilliant color and a thousand songbirds entertained in perfect harmony. Roses, honeysuckle, and lilacs filled the clear air with their heady perfume. And it was all a gift to them, a wedding gift from a loving Father. “Do you like it?” He asked. Their eyes were wide with wonder as they clutched hands and tried to take it in. “It’s all yours,” He whispered. “But you see those two trees in the middle? The one with the heavy fruit is off limits. Please don’t eat that; it will kill you. But everything else I made is just for you. I’ll come down and walk with you this evening to see how you’re doing. Enjoy!”

We sigh at this point in the story because we know what happens. It’s the same reaction we have when the dimwitted heroine in a movie heads toward the dark room. “Don’t do it!” we shout. And through thousands of years of history, we shout at our first parents: “Don’t do it!” But they did. And we do too. Given the choice between good and evil, we choose evil. The forbidden carries such an allure. SELF rises up and insists that the consequences can’t be all that bad. But they were then and they still are. Like Adam and Eve, we break the heart of our loving Father. But He refuses to live with a broken heart, so He broke His Son instead. On a different tree. Two trees—one destroys; one redeems. We choose the tree; we choose the consequences.

Adam’s tree said SELF was lord. Jesus’ tree says Jesus is Lord. Which tree are you choosing?
.

Ulterior Motives


Image result for photo of sneaky person






The reason why the crowd went to meet him was that they heard he had done this (miraculous) sign. John 12:18
.
“Have you seen that new Rabbi?” Jacob asked. “I heard He turned one kid’s lunch into a feast.” Isaac nodded. “I actually saw Him heal that blind guy.” Not to be outdone, Levi called out, “Oh yeah, well I heard He raised a guy from the dead!” The three friends shouldered their knapsacks and broke into a run. “Let’s go see what else He might do!” Jacob cried, joining the crowds headed toward the Jesus Parade. “That’s the kind of leader I want! He could make us rich and famous!”
. 

The throngs gathering about Jesus that day came for a multitude of reasons, most of them misguided. They loved the miracles. People were still talking about the free food, and no one could get over blind Bartimaeus now reading the Torah for himself. We can easily see the wrong motives of the crowd that day, but what about our motives now? “I’ll give my life to Jesus if it will save my marriage,” says Stan. “I got saved in ’92, but my business went belly-up,” grumbles Rob. “Guess it didn’t do me any good.” 
.
When we learn about the supernatural, miraculous things that God does, we get excited about what God might do for us. We start to treat the sacrifice of Jesus as merely the secret code into God’s Goodie Basket. Are we really much different from the crowd that day? It’s no wonder He wasn’t impressed by their praises. He’s not always impressed with ours either.

.

Number One Goal


Image result for photo of worried man

“Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’?... Father, bring glory to your name.”  John 12:27-28


“Lord, help me! Get me out of here!” How many times have you prayed something like that? “Get me out of this job. This marriage! This contract!” “Save me from these kids! This mortgage! My in-laws!”  We assume that if we’re stuck on a difficult path, it must SURELY be the Lord’s will to save us from it. After all, isn’t our personal fulfillment God’s Number One goal? Doesn’t the Bible say that God exists to make us rich and deliriously happy every day?

If it does, then Jesus should have read His Bible more closely, because His life was anything but rich and deliriously happy every day. He faced all the troubles and temptations we face. But instead of begging the Father to beam Him up, He kept His focus on His purpose. Jesus knew He was headed for one of the most horrendous murders in human history, and every fiber of His being yearned to be delivered from it. Yet, He refused to give in to His trembling flesh. 

Instead He walked by the Spirit and kept His mind on His calling. His joy was in knowing He was bringing honor to God. What if that was our goal? We can pray for deliverance, but as followers of Jesus, our greater goal should be like His: “Father, bring glory to your name.” When we encounter tough situations, and ask God to be glorified in the way we handle them, we start to look a lot like Jesus.

.


What Kind of King Do You Want?

Image result for photo of triumphal entry


They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, "Hosanna!"  John 12:13



Rabbi Jesus was the Man of the Hour. The crowds were in a frenzy of excitement. Their Deliverer had come at last! Things were gonna be great! All their hopes and dreams would now come true. Grab a palm branch, Benjamin, good times are on the way! But within a matter of days, the cries of joy became cries of “Crucify Him!” What happened? How could such love and joy turn into hatred so quickly? How could thousands adore Him one minute and betray Him the next? The same reason we do.

Palm branches were the way common people welcomed royalty. When they waved palm branches and laid them on the ground for the donkey to walk on, they were declaring Jesus their new king. He was going to deliver them from the oppressive Romans and set things right once more. But He didn’t. He wasn’t the kind of king they expected. He let them down. So they let Him down too. Just like we do. 

Many eagerly welcome Jesus into their lives as Savior, but when faced with the Lordship question, they balk. “Wait a minute,” they say. “I want the forgiveness, the comfort, and eternal life. But what’s this obedience talk? You mean I have to do things His way?” They throw away their palm branches and invent their own kind of king“Sure I’m a Christian, but I decide what’s right for me.” 

Two thousand years later, Jesus is still not the King most people want.

What about you? 
Is Jesus Christ the King you want? 
If He is not Lord, He is not Savior either.
.

The Lord Has Need of It

 Image result for photo of leading donkey


“And if anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' say,

 'Because the Lord has need of it…’"  Mark 11:3

Kel had everything going for her: Ivy League education, bright career path, eligible bachelors in pursuit. But she left it all for the mission field of Sudan, where she spent the rest of her short life ministering to the poorest of the poor. Jak had hoarded pennies for years, scrimped when everyone else splurged, saved when everyone else spent. He knew it would all be worth it when he bought his first house. Then he learned about the orphanage in India that had been torched by terrorists. That very day, he bought a plane ticket, liquidated his saving, and headed to New Delhi. Why do they give it all away? Why would successful people who could live like kings in the U.S. choose to live like paupers in Ghana? Because the Lord has need of it.

Jesus did not ask for every donkey in Jerusalem. He had one picked out and He prepared the owner ahead of time. He did not steal the donkey. When the owner learned Who had asked for it, the animal was joyfully offered. A donkey is just a donkey until it becomes the King’s white steed. And our resources are common, everyday stuff—until they are placed in the hands of the King. Just as the owner of the donkey was prepared when the time came, so God prepares the hearts of those whom He has chosen for His purposes. He saves us and then calls us. He gives to us and then asks for it in return so that it will do far more in His hands than it could in ours. When others question, we answer like the disciples did: “Because the Lord has need of it.”

.


Determination

 Image result for picture of jesus walking lonely road



When the days drew near for him to be taken up, 
he set his face to go to Jerusalem.  
Luke 9:51

Emmy Award Winner Dead of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound. Former Miss Universe Enters Rehab for the Fifth Time.  Headlines like these are so common they barely capture our interest. Many of them have a common theme: a person who experienced extreme popularity couldn’t handle it. Fame can make people do crazy things because they let it define them. Their self-worth becomes dependent upon the opinions of others, and when those opinions change, they are devastated. Whereas they once believed they were superior, they come to believe they are inferior—based solely upon their current level of popularity. We may never be in the headlines, but we have a tendency to do that too.

Jesus knows all about it. He catapulted to stardom, and then His adoring fans abruptly turned on Him. But one striking feature defined His walk through this world: “He set His face toward…” Jesus never let the opinions of others alter His course. They could love Him or hate Him; neither fazed Him. He loved people, but did not let their opinions define Him. One day they tried to make Him king; another day they tried to shove Him over a cliff. Jesus knew that popular opinion was not a reliable guide, so He never based His actions upon His current popularity—or lack of it. He set His face toward the cross, toward the plan of God, toward His purpose, and refused to look back. If we follow His example, we don’t let the opinions of culture, our peers, or even family, alter our course. We set our face toward God’s plan, knowing that we are always and only who He says we are.



When we set our faces toward obedience to God, no one can alter His plan for our lives.  

Don't Waver

Image result for picture of puzzled person
He did not waver in unbelief at God's promise, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. Rom. 4:20

Have you ever been with people who cannot make up their minds? You ask, “Where do you want to sit?” and they ponder this as though the fate of the free world rested upon their answer: “Um, how about there…no, over there…no, wait…”  Our natural tendency is to waver. We waver over where to eat, what to wear, and when to make a call. Some even waver over their eternal destination. Someone asks: “Do you know for certain that you are going to heaven?” Waverers grimace, twist their hands and say: “Uh, I sure hope so…maybe. I guess.” Waverers have a hard time moving forward with anything, including faith.

Abraham is a great example to us of someone who could have wavered, but didn’t. God had given Abraham a promise: “You will be the father of many nations.” Abe was old and childless when this promise came. Yet, for twenty-five years he held on to it. He had heard from God and nothing could convince him otherwise. Verse 21 tells us how he kept from wavering. It says, “He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.” Before we can believe God, we must know what He says. We must accept His offer to be Lord of our lives (Luke 9:23) and spend our days learning to follow Him. The more we know Him, the more we trust Him. As our faith grows, we become like Abraham, fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. Faith is believing promises before we see them. God honors such faith and strengthens those who persevere in it.
.

Be Persistent



Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.  Luke 18:1


“OK, OK, I’m coming,” Judge Barker growled, grabbing his bathrobe as he stomped down the hall. He flung open the front door and squinted into the porch light. The old woman was a familiar sight, silhouetted against the blanket of darkness. She smiled sweetly and held out a flower. “Your Honor, I haven’t heard from you in a couple of weeks, and your secretary stopped taking my calls. I just wondered if you’d made a decision about my case.” The judge glared at the wilted flower. “Did you pick that out of my yard?” “Well, yes sir, I hope you don’t mind. I hated to come emptyhanded.” The judge slumped against the doorjamb and sighed. “All right. You win. I’ll hear your case first thing in the morn—” His words were cut off as his visitor grabbed him around the neck. “Oh, thank you, sir!” He mumbled a curse, but she glimpsed the hint of a smile just before he closed the door.

What an odd story Jesus told to remind us to keep praying. God is not a grumpy judge, so why would Jesus compare Him to one? He is using contrast to illustrate the differences between a grumpy judge and our heavenly Father. If a grumpy judge would grant a persistent request, how much more does our Righteous Judge listen to the requests of His children when we persist in prayer. We have thousands of throw-away requests:Help them not to see me here!” “Let that guy turn right!” “Make my bank balance not say what I think it says!” But important issues are worth our persistence. After we’ve exhausted our list of silly requests, we can get serious about what really matters. And if it matters that much to us, it matters that much to Him.

What in your life is worth persevering in prayer about? Have you given up? Jesus said to keep praying.


A Summons from the Most High

Image result for photo of man's feet in sand


“Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. 
You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”  Exodus 3:10

Moses shifted his bare feet on the hot sand as the words hit him. Pharaoh? Egypt? He’d left them behind years ago. Maybe the Lord didn’t realize that. Moses jabbed a toe into the sand and scolded himself. Of course the Lord realized it. The basket in the reeds. The palace. His destiny had been ingrained in him since birth, and this burning bush had ignited that old yearning. How he’d wanted to belong, but his enslaved kinsmen had only offered fearful bows to his royal garments. He had ached to free the grandpas and uncles who suffered while he dined in the king’s courts. But all that was behind him. He’d blown it. He thought he’d forever cancelled any chance of redeeming himself. But this burning bush. The voice of God. He approached the flaming bush as a shepherd; he walked away as the leader of his people. He had answered a summons from the Most High.


Moses is not the only recipient of such a summons. Thousands have heard that Voice and bowed before Him. Maybe you’ve heard it too, but like Moses, you came up with excuses. You ran. You blew it. You thought you’d forever cancelled any chance of redeeming yourself. But there it came again: “I have a job for you.” Prayer is the way we bow before that burning bush, and when our lives are positioned to obey, He speaks. We are invited to take off our shoes and put on our purpose. We may approach Him filled with excuses; we walk away a chosen vessel whenever we answer a summons from the Most High. 

Learning to Pray

“Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. 
Yet not My will, but Yours be done.”  Luke 22:42

Image result for photo of prayer

“Oh God, please heal my daughter!” 

“Lord, if you are willing, don’t let me get fired.” 

“Oh, Father in heaven, please let me marry Jordan in fourth hour!” 

Heaven resounds with billions of desperate pleas by people like us. Many of them were answered; many were not. Most of those prayers did not end the way Jesus’ prayer ended, and that’s why God couldn’t answer them the way we prayed them. Aren’t you glad you didn’t marry Jordan in fourth hour? And aren’t we glad Jesus was willing to go to the cross anyway? Jesus laid His request before the Father, but He kept praying until His will matched God’s.


In those few words, Jesus gave us a model for our prayer life. He passionately made a request of His Father, but He didn’t stop there. We usually stop there. We think we’re showing faith if we lay our request before God and walk away. Jesus didn’t think so. He knew that what His flesh wanted did not line up with what His Spirit wanted. So He left the decision with God. He kept praying until He could agree with God’s choice. 

We must do that too. We may not want “Thy will be done” the first ten times we fall on our faces and cry out for help. That’s why we must keep going back, like Jesus did, until our hearts are aligned with His. Only then can we cooperate with God’s plan. And we are forever grateful that He did not go along with ours.

.

The Prayers God Doesn't Want


If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, 
even his prayer is an abomination. 
Proverbs 28:9

Image result for photo of shocked face




Wait! What? You mean there are some prayers God doesn’t want? 

According to scripture, yes. Prayer is a universally accepted idea, but we want to set our own rules for it. The majority of adults claim that they pray, but is God listening to those prayers? Scripture commands us to pray, but there are some guidelines for those prayers. For example, will God honor the prayer of a man who flings himself off a skyscraper with the words: “God, keep me safe?” Or would God honor the prayer of a murderer asking for nice weather for his next kill? Obviously, God does not welcome every prayer, but we want to think that He always hears ours. But does He? How do we know? Fortunately, He’s spelled it out pretty clearly for us.

God is all about the heart, because the heart determines our actions. We may say, “I don’t believe in stealing,” but we slip a twenty out of our employer’s cash register. We lied. We do believe in stealing. We may say, “I don’t believe in having sex outside marriage,” but our significant other is moving in next week. We lied. We do believe we can do whatever we want. Actions are our hearts on display. We may say we love God, but our actions indicate whether or not we are lying (1 Jn. 2:4). So, when we continually defy God’s clear commands, He doesn’t want to hear our requests. They disgust Him. He’s not fooled by our lying lips; he sees our hearts. When we’ve become our own gods, He knows it and He does not listen to idol worshipers.


Are you turning your ear away from hearing God’s law? The only prayer He wants to hear is repentance. 

.

.

Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord?


Image result for photo of sarah and isaac


Is anything too hard for the LORD?”  Genesis 18:14

Her husband is an atheist. His daughter is a lesbian. Your best friends are considering becoming Muslim. These situations and a thousand more dot our lives like stickers in the lawn. They’re painful, and we pick our way around them trying to hang on to joy. We may continue to pray about them, but in reality, we often write “The End” over seemingly impossible situations. 

That’s what Sarah had done with the idea of ever becoming a mother. Even when God got in her face and said, “If I said it, I will do it,” she laughed. It wasn’t a happy laugh. It was a “Yeah, right,” laugh and God did not appreciate it. He doesn’t appreciate our snarky attitudes either. When we confine the Lord God Almighty to our teensy understanding, we make a big mistake.

God is in the miracle business, but when He doesn’t perform on our schedule, we get cynical like Sarah. We secretly answer this Bible question with, “Yes, some things may be too hard for the Lord.”  When we hit a concrete wall, we assume God has too. 
But the truth is, atheists can be born again. Ask Lee Strobel. 
Lesbians can repent and live purely. Ask Rosaria Butterfield. 
Muslims can have their eyes opened to the truth of Jesus. Ask Nabeel Quereshi. 

If God can put a baby inside the uterus of a 90-year-old woman, and from that baby, create a nation that still exists today, then He can handle your problem.


What concrete wall in your life looks too hard for the Lord? 
Is it harder than what He did for Sarah?


.
.

Where Are the Bereans?

This question is for the Church of 2017: 
What about this picture is growing increasingly rare?




The Setting: 

Paul and Silas enter the region of Berea and head straight for the synagogues, preaching their message of salvation through faith.  They present their too-good-to-be true gospel, but instead of immediately accepting it, the Bereans "received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if these teachings were true" (Acts 17:11).

That means they searched the Old Testament books to see if Jesus the Messiah was found there. They refused to embrace a new-and-improved teaching simply because it sounded good. It had to pass critical tests before they allowed themselves to be influenced by it. And because they knew God's word, they recognized that Paul's words were validated by the "whole counsel of God"(Acts 20:27). ONLY then did they accept this new message with gladness. 

The Question:

Where are today's Bereans? We are the most literate generation in history to be the most biblically ignorant. Scriptural counterfeits are everywhere, deceiving the masses.  A flamboyant personality can rip a verse or two out of the Bible, scroll it across his TV persona, and millions instantly pronounce him a "man of God." Who is checking his doctrine? Where are the Bereans who know their Bibles and will cry out, "Not true!" The few remaining Bereans have been buried under the weighty labels of "Judgmental," "Pharisee," and "Legalistic," their voices discounted as being among the unenlightened. 

So when a movie pretends to explain God by introducing universalism, shelving the Bible, and cancelling the need for repentance, do we become Bereans? No.Instead, Christians create Sunday School lesson plans around its theology. When a megachurch prosperity guru cuts-and-pastes verses from his Message Bible until the unrepentant are convinced that God only wants them to believe in themselves, do we become Bereans? No. Christians crown him "America's Pastor." Sadly, that is the kind of "pastor" America wants.  

So fellow believers, the Bereans are calling to us, rebuking us, and challenging us to follow their example. Heresy quickly overtakes gullible souls without a Berean heart.  The most seductive heresies are those that make us feel good and insist that love is God's sole characteristic. Those sermonettes sound like encouragement; they seem to define love. They are what we want to hear and they're ALMOST true. But if we don't know how to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15), we are easy prey for the enemy's counterfeit. 

How do you think the Bereans would have responded if Paul had presented Yahweh as a woman? Or what if Paul's gospel was that Jesus went to the cross so that they could believe in themselves? Do you think the Bereans would have accepted Paul or his gospel? 

Me neither. Let's become Bereans! 

.


How To Love God 101

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27



“How do we love God?” Sheldi wondered. “I want to learn, but He’s invisible. I don’t have money, or valuables, or even any talents He needs. How can someone like me learn to love an all-sufficient, invisible Spirit I can’t even touch?” Have you ever wondered that? We’re dependent upon our senses and God is outside those. So when we read Bible verses telling us to love God, deep down we think, “How can I have feelings for Someone I can’t see, hear, feel, or experience in the real world?” 

God knows we struggle with that, because He’s the one who made us physical. So He gives us practical ways to sing to Him a thousand love songs. “Take care of orphans,” He says. “Look out for the helpless, for people who cannot defend themselves, for grannies on fixed incomes, and children without fathers.” When we take on the burdens of people who are not our responsibility, we are loving God. When we say “NO!” to our fleshly desires, turn away from temptation, and discipline ourselves to be obedient to Him, we are loving God. When we make a choice simply because He wants us to, He notices and approves. Those physical offerings are translated into heavenly currency and are gladly received by our loving Father.

Have you wondered what it means to truly love God? Make His passions your passions and you will find out. 

.

I Love God But I Hate You!

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20


“I’m a Christian, but I hate Muslims! I hate gays! I hate fat people! I hate Republicans, Democrats, Independents, liberals, conservatives…”  Have you heard—or said—something like this: “I love God, but I hate_____?” In our minds, such thinking makes sense. After all, God is perfect and easy to love. People, not so much. Some people seem to deserve our hatred by the way they treat us or the things they stand for. But God clamps down pretty hard on that kind of attitude, even going so far as to say that if we claim to love Him but we hate other people, then we are liars. Liars? Isn’t that kind of harsh?

What we forget is that every human being—even those who belong to groups we shun—is a unique creation designed by God Himself to reflect His glory in a way that no one else can. C. S. Lewis explains it this way: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal...remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…” To truly love God is to love what He loves and hate what He hates. He hates sin, but He loves people, so we must follow suit. We learn to love God by seeing His reflection in even those hard-to-love individuals. We love a God we cannot see by loving the people we can see.


Do you hold on to prejudice and hatred toward someone while claiming to love God? You can’t do both.

.

Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength

                                          


“…you must love the LORD your God with all your heart… 
 soul…mind, and…strength.”  Mark 12:30

God requires that we love Him with all four components of our lives because until we do, we are susceptible to Satan’s traps. 

The HEART is the seat of our affections. When we love the Lord with all our hearts, we lose our affection for things contrary to Him. Idols, vices, and ungodly relationships lose their attraction when we love the Lord with all our hearts. 

The SOUL is the seat of our decision-making. When we love the Lord with all our souls, decisions are viewed through the filter of God’s word. Disobedience is not an option. To love with all our soul means we voluntarily lay aside our rebellion in favor of: “Thy will, not mine, be done.”

The MIND is where our battles take place. Satan is at war with God, and the human mind is his battlefield. If Satan can introduce doubt, heresy, or blasphemies, he can control the information the mind sends to the heart and soul. We are commanded to renew our minds (Rom. 12:1-2) and to destroy every lofty idea raised up against the knowledge of God (2 Cor. 10:5). When we love God with all our minds, we bow our intellect to His often-unfathomable ways and desire His truth, not our ideas, to prevail. 

And STRENGTH is the daily determination to follow and obey no matter what is coming against us. Instead, of using up our physical and emotional energy with guilt, envy, or judgement, we actively engage in serving Him with passion. Every moment is weighed in light of eternity and we use everything at our disposal to please and honor Him with all our might.



Do you love the LORD with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength? 
Which of the four do you withhold? 

.

Reboot Your Life

Create in me a clean heart, O God; 
and renew a right spirit within me.  
Psalm 51:10

Image result for photo of man on computer

“This stupid computer keeps freezing up!” Andy shouted and kicked away from his desk, throwing his hands into the air. “I hate computers! Now I have to call the geek squad again.” 

Dan set his coffee cup carefully on the edge of the desk and peered at his co-worker’s screen. “Restart it,” he suggested. 

Andy frowned. “Nah, that won’t work. I probably need to throw this away and buy a new one.” 

Dan shrugged. “It’s your money, but I’d restart it. Sometimes it just needs a fresh start and it will work like new.” 

Andy frowned at his co-worker, but did as he suggested. In moments, his computer was working perfectly. 

Dan tried not to look smug as he picked up his cup. “Yep. Thought so. Just needed a fresh start. Wish I could reboot like that.”

Psalm 51:10 tells us that we can. Our lives get a reboot when we confess our sin and turn away from it. Like computers, our lives collect garbage that weighs us down and freezes our relationship with God. Sometimes the past seems overwhelming and we feel stuck in a sea of bad decisions. We have no way to free ourselves, so we give up, assuming we are worthless. But God doesn’t give up on us. Like Dan, He suggests, “Restart it.” We restart our lives when we bring our mess to Him and agree to obey Him. He erases the stains on our hearts and replaces despair with hope. He renews our thinking and helps us move on.

Does your life need a reboot? Confess your sin to God and agree to do things His way. He gives fresh starts.

Prayer: Father, I feel like that computer. I feel frozen by my past and current sins. But your word says you can free me and make me new. I surrender it all to you now. Take this sin from me, cleanse my heart, and renew me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
.