Over the last few years, I’ve noticed an increase on my Facebook feed of posts touting what I am calling “Quick Christianity”. These posts espouse the many blessings and benefits of a three minute devotional time. A Google search of “Quick Christianity” produced an almost offensive “Christianity for Dummies Cheat Sheet” – from the Dummies for Whomever, Whatever genre of helping books.
I don’t know why the title of this offended my sensibilities, but it did. Perhaps it is because so often I’ve heard that only weak-minded, delusional people feel the need to rely on a make-believe god to help them through their day, week, life… and calling it Christianity for Dummies, well I personally find the word Dummies offensive.
I do not want to make this an essay about atheism, or other religions, or religious freedom or tolerance. No. If you come to our blog, or listen to these podcasts you know that we are Christians. Period. That is not open for debate or discussion. You know that we will always speak the truth. Period. But I digress. Continue reading
“I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you]. Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you, My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples.” John 15:1 AMP
A little while back our Bible Study class was discussing this passage in the book of John; pondering it brought to mind the many years that I had my gardens. Specifically it reminded me of tending to the couple dozen tomato plants I would plant in my vegetable garden each year.
Left alone tomato plants will overtake a good portion of your garden space while producing little or no fruit. They love the heat and the sun… add water and you have the makings for some pretty big plants. Notice I say “big plants”… I didn’t say a lot of tomatoes, just big plants.
“As we are approaching the end of this age, we will come to see that those things which are to be shaken shall be removed and only those things which are not to be shaken shall remain. May we therefore seek for things unshakable which come through the spirit of wisdom and revelation.”[i]
Recently we began an all Church Bible Study called Experience Life by Pete Briscoe. In the week two study, we are challenged to develop and deepen our relationship with Jesus by committing ourselves to spending time with Him, becoming more the person He desires us to be. “Discipleship requires Discipline” “We have a new life in Christ – a relationship with our living Lord!” Just as when we meet a new friend, we want to get to know them better, we do this by spending time with them – talking, learning about them, their past, their likes, their dislikes, etc. “For the Christian, isn’t that what spiritual growth really is – getting to know Jesus better, communicating with Him, learning what He likes and doesn’t like, and adapting our lives to His?” Continue reading
Praying God’s Promises: The Life-Changing Power of Praying the Scriptures by Linda Evans Shepherd
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Prayer changes things. Praying God’s promises changes everything. The Scriptures tell us that when we pray the will of God, he delights to answer our prayers. But what is God’s will in any given situation? How can we know it? And if we don’t know it, how can we pray it?
In this inspiring book, Linda Evans Shepherd reveals that God’s will is not a mystery–it’s clearly laid out in his Word through his many promises. Through stories, practical application, examples of prayers, and guided reflection, she leads you toward a more powerful prayer life. Arranged by topic for ease of use, this book shows how to pray God’s promises of peace, for health, for relationships, for our children, and so much more.” Continue reading
I was watching television the other day and a 15 second commercial for a weekly show came on. It was for a show called “Lucifer”. Well it was quite the Holy Spirit moment, as Mike had been telling me about the talk at work in relation to this show and how the guys at works told him (Mike) should watch it… ‘it’s not what you think it is’… ‘it’s a really good show’… ‘lucifer is the devil, but he really wants to be a good guy’… etc.
In this 15-second blurb, lucifer speaks out and says ‘you need to know the truth’. Yes, you’re right… You DO need to know the truth. And with those words, here we are. I have seen so much lately of good being called evil and evil being called good. I feel compelled to speak the truth. I am going to try to keep on point… however please keep in mind that this is a huge subject. There is much Truth to be told. You will find an article I wrote six months or so ago on this subject entitled The Truth of the Enemy on this blog at https://titus345.com/2017/10/04/the-truth-of-the-enemy/
Hebrew Word Study: Revealing the Heart of God by Chaim Bentorah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Hebrew is a language of poetry and pictures. With Chaim Bentorah’s expertise, you will see how to examine not just word definitions, but also the origin of the words, their place in the culture and idioms of the day, and even their emotional context. Through this devotional, you will walk the road less traveled as you uncover the deeper spiritual messages in God’s Word. In the process, you will discover the heart of God toward you and come to know Him better. You will see just how beautiful the Word of God is and, most of all, you will see the beauty of God Himself and love Him all the more.”
I loved this book! As the author says, “I would love to walk in the garden and converse with God as Adam did; Alas, the reality is that our most authoritative source for understanding Him is what is written in Scripture that came from the heart of God into a human language that we can’t understand, and were then translated into yet another language that we can understand.” Therein lies the heart of it… and this book cuts through all of that, brings us beyond the dozens of translations of the Word to discover the heart of God. Continue reading
The Answer to Our Cry: Freedom to Live Fully, Love Boldly, and Fear Nothing by Rick McKinley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
“We all long for freedom. Freedom from anxiety, fear, and sin. Freedom to love others completely as God loves us. And yet we are shackled by insecurity, prone to selfishness, and wary of letting down our guard. That’s not the life God designed for his followers. When his people cry out to him for freedom, he hears–and responds.
Now pastor Rick McKinley shows how true freedom–the kind we see as God delivers his people in the Scriptures–is always in the form of relationship with God rather than our popular notion of complete independence. He calls us to look to the Father, Son, and Spirit for the model of perfect, self-giving freedom and shows how that kind of freedom can utterly transform us.”
“God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble” PS 46:1
It struck me as I was reading this the other day that God IS… it does not say that God “was”… it says…. God “IS”. God is not past tense. He is with us today, just as He was with Adam, Moses, Abraham, and Isaac… all the saints that have gone before us. He is present and available to you and me just as He always has been throughout all eternity. It continues to boggle the mind that the same God that walked with Adam in the cool of the evening in the Garden (Genesis 3:8), is that same God that “IS” today.
God IS our REFUGE…
He is our safe place, hiding place, our shelter from danger, our shelter from the storms. He is our safe haven, our sanctuary. I found this definition interesting… a place to flee Back To. Interesting… “Back To” suggests that I’ve been there before and I can go there if I need???
God IS our REFUGE and STRENGTH…
Strength is not just physical power. It is also defined as courage, authority and influence. It is the inherent capacity to endure. It is also a stronghold or fortress. I know that everything is under Him; He has authority over all. I know that nothing can hurt me, attack me, or remove me from the REFUGE I seek in Him. He is our stronghold … our fortress. Continue reading