Thirsty Thursdays – Fruit

Those pesky fruit flies. I do love bringing in fresh tomatoes from the garden this time of year. By the way, one prolific (I know, it’s a big word) cherry tomato plant can produce 27,000 tomatoes. Well, almost. They’re good but not for a tomato sandwich. Anyway, I spread my tomatoes out on newspaper on a table in my kitchen and the fruit flies think it’s an invitation to invade my home.

And speaking of gardens, they sure do take a lot of effort. You have to prepare the soil, plant, feed, water, and weed. Those pesky weeds. Slack off just a little and they think it’s an invitation to invade the garden.

Greg Laurie, a pastor I love to listen to out in California, http://www.harvest.org/ says “If you are a Christian, then people should be able to look for—and find—fruit in your life. Why? Because a disciple of Jesus Christ will produce spiritual fruit. Jesus said, ” ‘My true disciples produce much fruit. This brings great glory to my Father’” (John 15:8 NLT). Jesus also said, “‘By their fruits you will know them’” (Matthew 7:20 NKJV).”

Just what is spiritual fruit? Essentially, it is the character of Jesus. And there is no better way to describe it than love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control  (Galatians 5:22-23 – ) All of it. You can’t just cherry pick the ones you like.  Winning others to Christ. Helping others grow spiritually. Sharing what God has blessed us with. Praising and thanking God.  Growing in knowledge of our Savior. All examples of spiritual fruits. (Side note -did you know that tomatoes are actually fruit?)

Producing spiritual fruit does not just happen and it doesn’t just happen overnight.  It takes a lot of effort. You have to prepare your heart to receive God’s plan for you, which often means removing thorns and rocks and other things not conducive to growing. You must plant the Word of God in your heart and feed and water your soul with prayer, bible study, fellowship and the hearing of God’s Word.  If you’re not careful to stay on top of this, those pesky weeds of sin just pop up before you know it.

God doesn’t ask us to be perfect.  We’re going to have pesky little fruit flies and weeds. He’s just looking for the one who desires to live a life for him.  Start preparing the soil of your heart today to produce the fruit for a bountiful harvest in God’s kingdom.

David Week 1

Prayer Monday ~~Psalm 62

PSALM 62 NIV

1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
3 How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.[b]
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.
11 One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”
Pray for our New Fall Bible Study as it starts tonight and Wednesday morning.  Pray for women’s hearts to be changed, uplifted and restored!!!  Pray for the leaders, the encouragers and all ladies involved!!!

Continue to pray for Deanna as she leads and as she seeks direction for the ministry!! Pray for Deanna’s heart, mind and spirit!!

Thanks for continued prayer support!!!!

How To Prep For Our Study Of David

Thirsty Thursdays – Breathing

Believe it or not, most people have forgotten how to breathe. We all do it, but most of us don’t do it correctly. Watch babies breathe. They instinctively know how. Their stomachs rise and their rib cages fully expand with each breath they take. As we grow older we become shallow breathers. We raise our shoulders, pull in our diaphragm, and take a breath that fills only the top portion of our lungs. I wonder why? Why do we forget how to breathe properly?

Ever had a period of time where you have more than a few major issues and there is no real solution in sight? The ones that slowly suck the breath out of you? Yeah, me too. Could it be perhaps that these pressures of life are stealing the very breath from us? Our long term issues can become so familiar and weigh us down that before long we find ourselves replacing a good habit of proper breathing with shallow puffs of air midst whining, and complaining and even a certain level of comfort in our burdens. Then one along comes a situation suddenly kicking you in the gut making you gasp for air. Certainly no fun, but that gasp has often been a wake-up call for me to put things into perspective.

Recently there have been several people I know that have taken their last gasp of air on this earth. Some expected, some sudden, some I knew well, others just acquaintances or friends of friends, still others who are well known or even famous. There was a peace that passes understanding with some of these deaths knowing that their last gasp of air here became their first breath of glory. What a blessing to be able to attend funerals where the eternal soul of the person is secure in Christ.

As for the others, I just don’t know. It is these times that I reflect upon what I should be doing so that God’s perfect plan of salvation is known before someone’s last breath. We tend to get so focused on our long standing problems and become so absorbed in just our everyday lives that we forget our real purpose on earth is to glorify God. We slack off on our prayers and our bible studies and our time with the Lord. We forget how to spiritually breathe properly.

Believers receive their first breath of spiritual oxygen upon salvation.  John 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  A deep, life-giving breath.

Have you become shallow breather? Stop. Take a deep breath by inhaling through your nose as if you are smelling a rose. Keep inhaling. More. Now release the air through your mouth as if you were blowing out a candle.  Make a habit of it.

Deep and proper breaths are vital for good physical health. A daily practice of the deep and proper spiritual breaths of prayer, bible study and time with the Lord are vital to our spiritual health. Don’t just take those shallow gasps of spiritual air. Breath the way God intended. Make a habit of it.

Job 33:4 The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life

 Psalm 150:6  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! 

Faces of Mentoring

Prayer Monday

Let’s take time and pray for our kids as they start school this week.  Let’s pray for first time college students as well.  Let’s pray for our Christian teachers to be a positive influence!

We come to you today Father and give thanks for all our teachers.  Thank you for the way in which they give of themselves each day in the classroom, serving and instructing the next generation.

Father, please fill their hearts with courage now by your mighty Spirit.  Fill them with your strength, so they may rise to every challenge and not grow weary.  Fill them with your wisdom, so that they may be able to make good judgement when guiding and helping others.  Fill them with your peace, so that when stress and anxiety comes it would not overwhelm them.  We ask all this in the name of Jesus.  Amen.

 

Thirsty Thursdays – FULL measure

Last week I posted about keeping pure in what we choose to view whether it’s a book, magazine, TV show or movie. According to some statistics, in the US alone, pornography is a 13 billion dollar industry. Every second – 28,258 Internet users are viewing pornography. Pornography is defined as something intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings. This seems to apply within entertainment and advertising industry today. What was once considered hard core stuff can often be seen now in the 8:00 pm time slot and on covers of magazines at the grocery checkout counter.

But enough of that. We could go on and on (and sometimes do) but I really want to speak about a Christian’s response to this corrupt world and the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ who is Truth personified.

First, what is a Christian to do when we come across others involved worldly things?  How would Jesus respond? Would he give a lecture, make a sly comment, post on Facebook that He would never do that, look at them disapprovingly, throw the book of truth at them? I don’t think so.  I’ve recently been studying about Jesus being full of grace and truth.  John 1:14 (HCSB) The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son the Father, full of grace and truth.  Not just a balance. A FULL measure of both.  He spoke truth in love.  He was so gentle with the woman accused of adultery and showed love and compassion while telling her to go and sin no more. He ate with people labeled as sinners. He went into the house of Zacchaeus, a corrupt tax collector.  Yet He called the self-righteous, pious, very spiritual Pharisees a brood of vipers. Quite a different response isn’t it? Our Christian example and love may cause others to come under the conviction of sin but should not make them feel condemned.

Next, if you think you have gone beyond a point of no return when comes to this topic, if you feel you are dirty or permanently stained, let me share with you that there was a time that I felt desensitized to many unholy things. I remember thinking that with what I had seen and done, there was no way I could ever feel pure again. It was a time in my life that my Christian walk was very weak and I was pulled by the world.  Compared to others, some might say I wasn’t that bad.  But other people are not the measuring stick, God is and we will never measure up.  But there’s hope. God sent Jesus.  Sweet sister in Christ, no matter the past, you have a white robe of righteousness paid for by the blood of Jesus.  Wear it! Live forgiven.

Last, remember we do have to live in this sin-filled world.  It’s necessary if we are to be the salt and light of it.  We just should not be immersing ourselves in what the world values, nor chase after worldly pleasures.  On the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus prayed this to the Father.  John 17:14-19 (VOICE) “I have given them Your word; and the world has despised them because they are not products of the world, in the same way that I am not a product of the corrupt world order.  Do not take them out of this world; protect them from the evil one. Like Me, they are not products of the corrupt world order. Immerse them in the truth, the truth Your voice speaks. In the same way You sent Me into this world, I am sending them. It is entirely for their benefit that I have set Myself apart so that they may be set apart by truth.”

I pray to not be a product of this world, for protection from the evil one, to be immersed in the truth, to set myself apart by that truth and to be an example of the full measure of God’s grace and truth.

Prayer Monday

WLF is so thankful to have a new church supporter!!! We consider it a great honor to have the support of pastors and churches in our area!

Please be in prayer for our upcoming Mentoring Workshop on August 15th and 16th.

Please be in prayer for our New Bible study beginning August 25th and 27th.  David: Seeking a Heart Like His by Beth Moore.

Please be in prayer for the Beth Moore Simulcast held at Anderson University on September 13th.

We covet your prayers for our events, studies, finances and leaders !!! Thanks for your continued prayer support!!

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