“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
“And God spoke these words, “I am the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have NO other God before me.” Exodus 20:1-3
The first of the Ten Commandments, along with the next three, tells of our duty to God. While the remaining 6, speak to our relationship with our neighbor. It is correct that this commandment be first as we had a Maker to love, before we had a neighbor to love.
He is Jehovah God. He is the singular object of our worship. The worship of any other god animate or inanimate is forbidden.
“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: ‘You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: Do not make any gods to be alongside Me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold.” Exodus 20:22-23 Continue reading
The following is a reprint of a recent article published online by Charisma Magazine. It is written by Dawn Hill; I invite you to check out her writings at http://lovesickscribe.com/
Prophetic Instruction: Wake Up From Your Coma
By Dawn Hill
For the past few weeks, I have been struggling to find the words to describe what I have been experiencing and sensing. Though I know in ministry it is not kosher to bear our souls to one another publicly, I believe that our transparency and vulnerability with wisdom is necessary. We the church, myself included, have become experts at suppression and wearing masks—so much so that we do not know what it feels like to have the breath of God blow across our being as we are set free from the masquerade of it all, and we are called to remain with Him past the proverbial stroke of midnight. I extend an invitation to you in this thing called holy discontentment. Continue reading
“Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in Him” John 12:27
During His three-year ministry on this earth, Jesus had performed so many miracles, signs and wonders as witnessed sometimes by a few and other times thousands, yet the people wouldn’t, or couldn’t, believe in Him as the Messiah – the Son of God.
In the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John there are over 30 miracles documented. Yet, despite the eye-witness evidence of the lame raised up able to walk, the eyes of the blind opened to see, the lepers healed, the 5000 fed from 5 loaves and 2 fish, the dead raised to life, demons cast out at the mere sight of Him, enabling the mute to speak, turning water into wine, healing at the simple touch of His robe, life-long paralytics restored to complete health, house servants healed by only the words of His mouth, raging storms on the sea clamed by His command, and walking on water just to name a few, and let’s not forget His resurrection from the dead as witnessed by hundreds. Yet, despite all of the evidence, so many people in Jesus’ time would not believe either during His earthly ministry or after His resurrection.
Perhaps some had only heard about the miracles and did not witness them personally. With a skeptical mind, they could not, or would not, believe in what they didn’t see first hand. Perhaps they thought someone was exaggerating the event. Continue reading
Releasing Spiritual Gifts Today by James Goll
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“This book isn’t just about discovering our spiritual gifts, or even receiving them-it’s about releasing them! God wants you to experience the great wonder of moving in and through His grace, on a daily basis.
As you read, you’ll first gain an overview of spiritual gifts and be introduced to the way the Holy Spirit moves and operates within them. Then you’ll explore the nine most widely recognized spiritual gifts. These are not the only gifts God gives His children, but they are vital to understand and then activate according to His leading.
Created with Purpose: Unlocking Your Dreams and Fulfilling the Desires of Your Heart by Johannah Clark Leach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Become the Confident, Secure, and Powerful Person God Designed You To Be. Do you live in fear of what others think of you? Do you worry about missing out on what God has for your life? Are you lacking the confidence or courage to pursue the dreams in your heart?
You have been created with a unique purpose and divine destiny on your life. There are dreams in your heart that are just waiting to be released! Unfortunately, so many people let their insecurities and fears hold them back from being the world-changes that God made them to be.”
Created with Purpose by Johannah Clark Leach and Victoria West Henady is a must read. So many of us today wonder why we are here. What is our purpose? Are we doing what we were created to do? What were we created to do?
Waiting on God: What to Do When God Does Nothing by Wayne Stiles
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“What do you do when the life God has promised you looks nothing like the life he has given you? We wait at red lights, in long lines, and for a person to change. But the most difficult waiting? Waiting on God.
We want to know God’s plan so that we can trust the plan–but often God hides his plan so that we will trust him. What can we do in the meantime while we wait for an answer to prayer, a change of heart, or a miracle of provision?”
90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Pastor Don Piper died January 18, 1989 when a semi-tractor truck crushed his car. Declared dead by the first rescue workers to arrive on the scene, Don’s body lay under a tarp for the next 90 minutes. Don’s soul, meanwhile, was experiencing love, joy, and life like he’d never known before. Don was in Heaven.
When another pastor’s prayers helped bring Don back to life, he became a living miracle! Yet this is one miracle Don wished never happened. Heaven’s bliss was replaced by excruciating pain and emotional turmoil. With the support and prayers of his beloved Eva, their three kids, and friends near and far, Don clings to his faith in God and fights to regain a semblance of his previous life. The Piper family’s incredible true story of perseverance and overcoming the challenges of life – and death – will bring hope and encouragement to all who see it.”
Spiritual Housecleaning: Revised and Updated by Alice Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Demons are nesting in Christian homes–and even churches. Hard to believe? As Eddie and Alice Smith explain, a small opening is all it takes for evil spirits to gain access. Once in, they defile the spiritual atmosphere and damage our relationships, our ministries, our success, even our health.
We can stop these evil infestations. In this newly revised and expanded edition, the Smiths offer amazing real-life stories showing the inroads that spiritual pollution makes–and how to get rid of it. Readers will learn to detect the presence of demons, follow the seven-step biblical process of purification, and close the door behind these intruders for good.”
Have you unknowingly given evil access to your home–or even your church? What doors have you left open? It’s time for some Spiritual Housecleaning. These questions and more are answered in this re-released book by Eddie and Alice Smith.