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Devotional- Comfort & Counsel

As I have been reading and studying the book of Job, I noticed that the friends Job had were not encouraging to him during his season of suffering. His friends instead tried to figure out what Job had done wrong that caused God to seemingly be ‘punishing’ him.

In the Old Testament days it was believed that if you were ‘upright and righteous’ you would find favor with God and He would be sure you ‘prospered’.

However, the scripture is very clear that Job was righteous and blameless; which is why Job was so distraught when he began losing all of his wealth, quickly followed by his family and his own health.

Job cried out to God asking ‘Why’; he was not trying to argue with God he truly wanted to know if he had done something that caused him to lose favor in the eyes of the Lord.

Job’s friends remained strong in their belief that Job could not possibly be righteous if God took away his prosperity. His friends ridiculed him and tried to convince him that he was not in good standing with God.

This upset Job and he made it clear that their words were foolish and that the Lord gives and takes away, but God is still good regardless.

Zophar tried to convince Job to repent for proclaiming his innocence and righteousness; scolding him that he does not have the knowledge or power to know God’s immeasurable or limitless being and wisdom.

This only confirmed Job’s complaint– God was not acting predictable according to their understanding of Him. Job rejected the faulty ‘wisdom’ of his friend, because He knew that God was ultimately in control regardless of what the circumstances may look like.

Job accused his friends of misjudging him and then stood up to them by making it clear that he is not inferior to them. Job dismissed their criticism and said that they were ‘forgers of lies’ and worthless physicians. (Job 13:4)

According to Job, his friends were speaking out of vain; they intended to offer him comfort in his spiritual distress but instead was passing judgement and giving faulty advise.

Job tells them a better expression of wisdom from them would be to ‘be quiet’. Their counsel was not helpful nor comforting to Job; it only further complicated his circumstances.

Job finally told his friends to basically stay out of it while he pleads with God.

See Job didn’t blame God or accuse him of wrongdoing; Job wanted to sincerely know and understand why God seemed to be giving so much attention to his being. He truly wanted to know why he needed to suffer so much when his faith was unwavering.

Despite all the questions Job cried out to God he remained firm in his belief that one day God would vindicate him; which is exactly what would happen. Job knew that no matter what life looks like his hope could only be in God.

If Job would have listened to his friends counsel and assumed God was punishing him and that he was in fact not righteous this could have led Job down a dark and depressing path, walking away from God instead of running into His arms for grace, protection, love, and justification.

When seeking comfort and/or counsel from someone we need to be mindful on who we are trusting. Although some may have good intentions they cannot give good sound advice regarding your circumstances if they have no understanding or lack Godly wisdom.

Our best bet is to take our questions and concerns to God and not allow those around us to influence our choices, actions, reactions, and especially not our faith.

Reflect

Have you ever felt like God was punishing you for something and that is why you are suffering? Did you seek comfort and/or advice from a friend? Was it helpful?

How does this example from the book of Job change the way you view suffering and who we choose to seek comfort in during it?

Is God telling you anything specific about your circumstances, suffering in general, or seeking comfort and counsel while reading this article?

Call to Action

Declare over your life that God is NOT punishing you and He is NOT mad at you.

Pray and Journal what God is speaking to you about current or past seasons of suffering.

Make a goal to be mindful on who you share your suffering with and be sure you always take it to God first.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

I thank you today for this message on suffering and choosing who we seek comfort and counsel from wisely. Lord sometimes we get so caught up in the hurt, suffering, and grief that we lose control of our words and tend to share to much with the wrong people. Lord I confess I am guilty of not seeking Your comfort and counsel first and allowing those around me to affect my actions, thoughts, and faith in You.

I pray that each person that reads this article will be moved by Your Words and have discernment when seeking comfort in others. Lord I pray that You would ignite a fire in each of us that would encourage us to seek You first above all else. Help us to remember that Your love, mercy, forgiveness, and justification does not come from our actions but from You and You alone. I pray that each would feel Your presence surrounding them in their seasons of struggling and know that You are with them.

I pray for protection over our minds and spirit from the words of those who are faithlessly giving us faulty advice. I pray that our hearts be protected by Your hand and that we remember You are the ultimate comforter and counselor. In Jesus mighty name I pray

Amen

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Devotional- Faith like Job

Struggling is a part of the sinful world we live in. Everyone will face times of struggle, trials, and tribulations regardless of their faith in God. The importance lies in how we react and handle life’s battles when they strike.

Job was a Godly man and had great faith and love for God, but Job faced a lot of suffering and loss. Job was a wealthy man who not only had a lot of money, animals, and ‘stuff’, but he also was in great health.

In Job 1 satan and God have a discussion about Job and his faithfulness. Satan basically says that Job only loves God and is so faithful to Him because God has blessed him and his possessions are great. Going on to express that if God allowed all of his wealth and possessions to be taken away, that Job would certainly curse God.

God allowed satan to have power of Job’s possessions and wealth but strictly told satan not to lay a hand on his body.

Satan left the presence of the Lord and went out to attack Job’s possessions.

Job lost his wealth, his animals, and all of his possessions. However, Job did not sin! Instead Job fell to the ground and worshipped God. In all that Job had lost and faced he did not sin nor did he blame God for any of it.

Satan tells God that all a man has in possessions he will give up for his life, but if He allows Job’s bone and flesh (health) be taken, that he will surely curse Him (God). So God allows this but strictly states to spare his life.

Job then loses his family, his friends, and his health. He is covered from head to foot in painful boils. Job still did not curse God or blame Him for what was happening in his life.

Instead Job cries out and curses the day he was born. (Job 3)

Job is a great one to look at for examples of how we should remain faithful in God during all seasons of our life. Job shows us that our love for God and our faith in God should not depend on how we feel He is treating us.

Satan is the author of pain, suffering, grief, and loss. He wants to use these things to separate us from the love and mercy of God. He wants us to remain bound by our feelings, allowing them to navigate our faith and love for God; keeping us from the awareness of God’s higher purpose for our life.

God is always near regardless of what our circumstances may look like or how we may feel, God is always good and near to us in our brokenness, pain, and sorrow.

Reflection

Do you think you would react the same way if God took away all your belongings, wealth, and health?

What is one thing God is telling you or showing you through Job’s suffering?

Do you allow how you feel God is treating you to affect how you feel about God?

Call to Action

What is one thing you can do moving forward to form a stronger faith in God, regardless of your circumstances?

I encourage you to set your feelings aside and seek the truth’s in God’s Word, allowing Him to guide your every step and trusting what He says over what you feel.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for being a faithful, patient, and loving God. For giving us the example of Job’s suffering so that we may see our own suffering in his story. Lord forgive us for falling trap to our feelings and allowing them to drive our actions and faith. I pray that each person who reads this will be touched by Your truth. Lord I pray you would expose our faithfulness or lack of to each of us, show us where we need to apply Your truth more and prune out the schemes of satan. Lead us in every area of our life. Open our hearts, ears, minds, and eyes to Your truth and protect us from the lies of the enemy. God I pray You would remind us of the example Job set when we face our own times of suffering and loss, help us to remain strong in Your truth and faithful to Your calling. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Devotional- Adam’s Guilt and Shame

Genesis 3

God gave Adam very specific instructions when he had his undivided attention in the Garden of Eden. Before God created woman– God was giving Adam the chance to live in full freedom through his obedience.

God saw that it was not good for man to be alone; He decided to create woman from one of man’s ribs to give man a partner or helper. Eve was what they called her. God blessed them for their perfect life together.

It was Adam’s responsibility to help Eve to understand God’s very specific direction’s regarding the Garden of Eden. (Do NOT eat from the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil.) However, Eve was left susceptible and an easy target for the serpent to deceive– this is why ultimately Adam was held responsible for the sin that infected the human race.

Before Adam was confronted by God he already felt the inner feeling of awareness of wrongdoing. Adam was feeling guilty for having sinned and had a fear of his sin being exposed which made him feel shame.

These two key internal awareness’s were given to us by God as an internal corrective.

Some call this the still small voice inside telling you to do something or not to do something.

Instead of repenting and confessing his sin immediately Adam tried to cope with the feelings of guilt and shame on his own through denial (blaming Eve, who blamed the serpent) and avoidance (he tried to hide from God).

When we refuse to admit to our own wrong doing’s and confess our sins to God; we become bound by our sin–leading to excessive feelings of guilt and shame. The refusal to confess cuts us off from God’s redemptive healing and freedom.

Reflection

What do you feel God is speaking to you through the example of Adam’s guilt and shame?

Do you have a tendency to refuse to admit your wrong doing and take accountability for your actions?

What, if any, changes do you feel God is calling you to make?

Call to Action

Today is the day we stop avoiding and stop passing blame. Confess and own your sine to God and He is faithful and just to forgive! (1 John 1:9)

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord that you are a just and forgiving God. One who does not wish any of His children be bound by sin and stuck in their guilt and shame. Lord I confess that it is hard to confess and own up to the things we have done wrong, especially those things that have hurt others, but Lord through You I know I am forgiven. I pray that You would send Your Holy Spirit to fill our hearts and give us the courage to move forward towards healing, redemption, and true freedom. I pray Your guiding hand over each of us and ask that you expose any harbored feelings of guilt or shame, help us to lay each down at Your feet and move forward in victory.

I pray each person would seek to know Your truth, love, and forgiveness. I pray that each would rise above their sin and own their actions so that You may release the chains that bind them. I pray that each person who reads this will have open hearts, ears, and eyes for Your truth in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Devotional- Be Angry…Don’t Stay Angry

Cain had a problem with anger. Cain and Abel were the sons of Adam and Eve. Cain was a tiller of the ground and Abel was a keeper of sheep. Over time the process came to make an offering as part of a worship service to God.

Cain offered fruit of the ground and Abel offered the firstborn of his flock and their fat (something of special value). Abel could have brought any one of the animals from his flock but choose the one he felt had special value.

Cain did his duty but Abel offered his best.

Cain grew angry because God respected and favored Abel’s offering but not his and his favor, good will, and kindness fell.

Cain should have been angry at himself for giving with the wrong heart, for giving out of duty instead of good will. But instead, Cain mistargeted his anger and was furious with Abel.

Cain’s original anger could be seen as a positive response– He was angry that he did not find favor/respect from God. However, his anger was not dealt with properly and it became a deadly weapon searching for a new target, in this particular case it was Abel.

God warned Cain about staying angry and offered him another opportunity saying, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)

Cain talked with Abel in a field. While talking Cain allowed his anger to control him and he killed his brother. His anger turned into murderous jealousy, and Cain did not benefit one bit from Abel’s death. It did not stop there; Cain denied what he had done to Abel when confronted by God; he was not remorseful nor did he show repentance.

Cain became stuck in his anger, guilt, and shame.

Cain’s lack of control over his anger demonstrates how it can lead to more destructive behavior.

The key here is that it is okay to be angry, but it is not okay to stay angry.

We need to exercise self-control over our anger. If we do not rule over it, it will rule over all areas of our life. Uncontrolled anger and avoidance of dealing with its cause is a recipe for further destructive behavior.

These emotional responses are part of our human nature, but we need to be sure we are not bottling up emotions like anger or avoiding dealing with their root causes. When we invite God to help us identify the causes of our anger and what corrective measures we need to take regarding it; anger can become a great tool rather than something that rules our life.

God’s Word gives us a lot of great advice on anger. We need to be careful what we say and what do when we are angry. One of the scriptures that stick out most to me with the message of Cain’s anger in killing Abel is “Be angry, and do not sin.” (Ephesians 4:26)

Reflection

Do you struggle with staying angry? If so, what do you feel God is saying to you through the example of Cain’s anger problem?

Have you asked God to show you what is causing you to feel angry and stay angry? If so, what is it, if not, do you feel God is leading you to ask Him now?

What is one thing that stood out most to you about the account of Cain killing his brother Abel?

Call to Action

Make the choice today to take your anger, guilt, shame, and all sin to God.

Lay every one down at His feet. Ask Him to show you the roots of any anger you may be holding on to. Ask God how to make steps to correct it.

Ask Him to show you how to express your anger in a healthy way– ‘be angry and not sin.”

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for Your guidance and example of uncontrolled anger in the Bible. Lord I confess we are all guilty of harboring anger and allowing it to get the best of us, myself included. I pray that you would use the story of Cain and Abel to speak to those who read this message. Show them what You are warning us about through this scripture.

Lord, I pray that each person would be guided by Your hand; that You would touch each person’s heart and help them to heal from whatever circumstances are causing them to hold on to anger. Lord, expose to each person what You want us to learn from this account regarding our anger and being in control over it.

God, You are mighty and just, You deliver us out of the hand of the wicked one and set us upon Your rock. Help each one of us understand that being angry is okay but the danger comes in staying angry. I declare today that You are in control of our feelings and You will protect us from the schemes of satan. I declare every chain of harbored anger would be broken, I declare healing from any hurt that is causing us to hold on to anger, I declare that Jesus is in control of our lives and no scheme or plot from satan will harm us.

Thank you Father for being a good Father. A Father who never fails us and is always near ready to help His children out of any trouble they may face. It is in Jesus name I pray.

Amen

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Devotional- Make Your Choice

In the story of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden, God created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. He laid out clear boundaries and commanded Adam, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16,17

Then the Lord said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Genesis 2:18

God took a rib from the man and created woman, and He brought her to Adam. They were both naked and not ashamed. Genesis 2:22

The story goes on and reveals that Eve was deceived by the serpent and ate the fruit from the forbidden tree; then she gave it to Adam to eat as well. Now man and woman were like God and had the knowledge of good and evil. They then knew they were naked and were ashamed– they hid from God and covered their nakedness with fig leaves. Genesis 3

Reflection

God provided an entire garden for Adam and Eve to eat from and placed ONE– yes, only ONE– tree in the midst and set a clear boundary to Adam. God gave Adam a clear choice when commanding him to not eat from the one forbidden tree.

In order for there to be a loving obedience to God there must be a choice for disobedience.

God gave Adam a clear boundary and a clear choice and told him the clear consequences for disobedience.

We are faced with these same choices on a daily basis. When we choose to obey God and trust in His plan, respecting His clear set boundaries, we show our love for Him.

Call to Action

Are you making choices that are clearly outside the boundaries of God? If so, what are they?

What do you feel God is telling you through the story of Adam and Eve’s disobedience?

What changes if any, do you feel God is telling you to make?

My Prayer for You

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for giving us Your Word to inform us of the boundaries you have set for us, for our own protection. Thank you for Your promises to redeem us and transform us according to Your will.

Lord I pray for each person who reads this devotional. I lift each one up to You in the name of Jesus. I pray You would give them discernment over their life choices, expose to them the areas in their lives in which they are being disobedient. Open their hearts and minds to Your truth; give them wisdom through Your Word and courage and strength to commit to the changes You are showing them to make. Use the example of Adam and Eve to show each of us that there are clear choices, clear boundaries, and clear consequences. Guide us, redeem us, and transform us from the inside out.

We thank you for Your many blessings and claim Your will be done in each of our lives; it is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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5 Reasons God Might Make Us Wait

Waiting helps us learn to trust in God alone and then builds on that trust. Waiting teaches us that God’s purpose, plan, and will– will ALWAYS prevail– if we put our trust in Him. God is a faithful and patient Father. The Bible tell us we are made in His image and we are slowly transforming to be more and more like Him.

Waiting builds up our patience, our obedience, our endurance and teaches us how to quiet our minds from worry and keep our focus on our faith in God. In a season of waiting, we learn more about God himself, thus helping us to grow into the person He was created and called us to be.

5 Reasons God Might Make Us Wait

  1. To reveal our true motives, to ourselves.
  2. To build patience in our lives.
  3. To build anticipation.
  4. To transform our character.
  5. To build our intimacy and dependency on God.

We all have season’s of waiting in our life. Some of these seasons may be short– others may be longer. One of my longest seasons of waiting, lasted about four years before I could finally see what God was doing.

The key to waiting is how we wait.

Just as with all decisions in life, there are two choices. You can wait in anger, bitterness, discouragement, and fear– or you can wait with eager anticipation for God to fulfill His promises.

Waiting can make us better or bitter. What will you choose?

The ability to wait on God, comes from knowing His promises and being confident in Him. Focusing on God– who He is– and what He is doing helps us to stay positive and grow through the waiting season.

We have to keep the balance between positive and negative while we are waiting. Know God’s character, His principles, His promises, and most importantly His power. Be confident in His wisdom, love, mercy, timing and will.

God promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He is on our side and will turn what the enemy meant to harm you into good.

When we wait, we have to learn to seek the Lord.

Ultimately, waiting is claiming God’s promises by faith and resting in what God is doing– even when we can not see it.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for Your promises and for being a trustworthy Father. Lord, I am thankful that You are working on my behalf, even when I do not see it. God, I pray that You touch the life of each person who reads this message. Open their hearts and minds to Your Word, the truth in which will set them free from fear and worry.

Lord, I pray that You would surround each person with Your love and protection. Calm their spirits and give them clarity. Help them to remember Your promises and stand upon Your Word when the trials of life coming roaring in.

Lord, I pray You would renew their strength each day as they fight the fears that come with waiting. I pray that they would seek You and put their trust in You, over every situation in life.

Thank you Lord for the many blessings You give us each and every day. I declare in Jesus name that all worry bondage is broken today! I declare no weapon formed against you shall prosper. I declare God’s promises over Your life, in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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One Nation Under God- Pray For America

2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV

14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

The chaos in the capital yesterday was heartbreaking. Regardless of my personal feelings on what is happening in congress and our 2020 Presidential elections; I can honestly say this world does not NEED Trump or Biden, although I may have a preference on who would be the better choice the reality is that what this world TRULY needs is Jesus!

The hatred and violence has continues to grow over the years and we are now living as the Divided States instead of the United States. I have no doubt in my mind that the circumstances we are facing today are due to the over abundance of distortion of the truth.

We are living in a world where lawmakers are implementing laws that are contrary to what the Bible tells us is good and righteous. The distorted views that have corrupted our thinking and directed us down a sinful path– claiming what is evil is good and what is good is evil– is coming to a head and our nation is beginning to implode.

Regardless of what party you support or how you feel about the recent election; we need to know that God is still in control. With the perverse laws and downright blasphemy it should come as no surprise that this great nation is reaping what it has sown for many years.

Lawmakers and their supporters have turned our nation away from God and led many astray as they sought to fulfill their own agendas. But we should not fear in these uncertain days ahead, God is bigger than any circumstances we may face. Keep hope and hold on to the promises of God, knowing that one day every head will bow and every tongue will confess that He is God.

Join me in prayer this morning as we cover our nation with the blood of Jesus Christ and claim His promises over our life and circumstances.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Lord thank you for giving us the direct line of communication with you through prayer. Thank you for Your promises and for being a God of truth, honor, and justice. We come to You today with a heavy heart, saddened by the happenings yesterday in the capital. Lord this world is so lost and the overall moral compass is broken. Father, the world has misconstrued Your Word over and over again; twisting Your words and changing Your truth to match their needs and feelings. I am so thankful for Your promise to one day return and take all of Your children from this place, for the reason that the son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.

I pray that as the process continues in the capital that You will expose any lies, fraud, or evil intentions. I pray that You would form a hedge of protection around Your people; protect us from the evil one. Lord, help us to remain steadfast in prayer and let us not be overcome by evil but overcome the evil with good. Help us to remain strong in our faith and continue to fight the good fight holding on to Your eternal promises.

Because I am a child of God, I am saved, and Your spirit lives within me; I have all the power and authority over the enemy. I declare that no weapon formed against this nation shall prosper for it is You Lord that fights for us. I declare that the Lord is our light and our salvation, He is in control and the true ruler of our nation and we will not fear. I declare that satan can not have our nation, our freedom, or our constitution. I declare through all of these circumstances that we are more than conquerors through Christ.

Lord I pray for discernment for those in congress, bring the darkness to light and expose the truth. I pray that all of Your children would be self controlled and alert, knowing that the enemy is seeking to devour us. I pray that You would remind us that You have not given us a spirit of fear, that you have commanded us to be strong and courageous for You are with us where ever we go, and that you have armed us with strength for the battle.

Lord I pray that the hearts, eyes, and ears of each person all across the world would be opened to Your truth. I pray that each would feel Your love and peace surrounding them. I pray that they would turn their hearts away from their evil and sinful ways and seek to know You above all else. I pray that we would not lean on our own understanding but rely on God to show us the way.

Thank you God for giving us victory through Jesus Christ and the confidence in knowing that whatever we ask according to Your will– will be done. Thank you for Your promises to work all things for the good to those who love You and for the peace in knowing that You have already won the battle and have overcome the world.

All the glory and praise be to You for the glory of Your kingdom for greater is He who lives in me than he who is in this world. It is not by my might nor my power but Your spirit that Your will be done. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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The Poison of Bitter Fruit

Matthew 7:15-20 NKJV

15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Life has a way of handing each of us less than ideal circumstances when we least expect it. These difficult life events can have an astounding impact on our character and the results we produce throughout life. Our circumstances, trials, and tribulations can make us better or bitter.

Just as the scripture above states, a good tree (a person who is spiritually sound, rooted in the truth, and connected to God) bears good fruit, but a bad tree (a person who is spiritually lost, rooted in the ways of the world, and disconnected from God) bears bad fruit.

A good tree cannot bear bad fruit just as a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.

In Galatians 5:19-21 we are warned that those who produce works of the flesh (bad fruit) will not inherit the kingdom of God.

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Bible tells us what the fruits of the Spirit (good fruit) are in Galatians 5:22-23 and then warns us again in Galatians 5:24-26 to not walk or live outside of the Spirit as this produces bad fruit.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Our purpose and role in the world is to be a good tree that consistently produces good fruit; sharing the love of Christ with every person we encounter daily.

If we are attempting to carry our burdens alone, apart from God’s help, power, and authority, we will quickly begin to see the poison of our bad fruit seeping into the lives of those around us.

Maybe you are thinking; that is me, the fruits I am producing are not good. Perhaps you think I am ‘mostly good’ but I do not think you need God to be a ‘healthy tree that produces healthy good fruits’. Some of you may even be thinking I have accepted Christ that makes me a good tree only producing good fruit.

We need to look at the details of what make a tree ‘good and healthy’, producing good fruit. When comparing to our spiritual life a good tree would need particular care that a bad tree would not have.

A good tree would first start off as a ‘good seed’ in this case it starts with the acceptance of Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior. From this seed, the tree begins to sprout roots which will be what supports and strengthens the tree to be able to stand throughout its life.

Once the tree has a set of strong roots it slowly begins to sprout up towards the sun, in attempt to get the light and nutrients it needs to continue to live, grow and thrive. Another important part of a ‘good tree’ (spiritually speaking or literally speaking) is proper care. Seedlings and full grown trees alike must be watered daily. The water in our spiritual life is the constant pouring in to our hearts of God’s word.

As the tree grows and branches begin to form we must prune out anything that is harmful or hindering it’s growth. Sometimes pruning is necessary in our life as we grow spiritually, to eliminate possible trouble areas that threaten the quality of our fruits and our overall tree health.

Tree Lifecycle

Good seed – water/light for nutrients -roots form and tree is growing – branches sprout – pruning to shape the tree and remove anything threatening its fruit production – finally produces good fruit consistently

A quick overview of a solid healthy good fruit producing tree would look like this spiritually.

  • Person accepts Jesus Christ into their hearts as their Lord and Savior. (the good seed)
  • Then the person would water their seed daily by reading scripture and seeking God daily; inputting the necessary nutrients needed to ensure the tree has strong roots and continues to grow. (the water/nutrients)
  • The spiritual tree forms with roots deep in biblical morals, beliefs, and truth. From there the tree continues to be watered, the tree continues to grow, and branches begin to sprout.
  • At this point the tree has a stable core and root system. Enabling it to stand and withstand any storm that comes its way. The branches are forming and it is time to prune out any branches that are hindering our growth. (removing and healing parts of our life that are damaged and/or sinful to ensure our tree stays strong and healthy preparing to produce good fruit.
  • Finally good fruit is produced from a good and healthy tree: love, peace, joy, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control

I am pretty confident in saying most people have heard the saying “you reap what you sow”. In other words you do good you get good; you do bad you get bad. I could not agree more; however, I would like everyone to look into this claim a little deeper.

The fruit we produce are the seeds we are sowing into the lives of those around us, including those that we love. Children, spouses, siblings, parents, and grandparents are some of the most influenced by the seeds we sow.

Now that we have seen what it looks like to be a good tree bearing good fruit, take a look at what it may look like to be a ‘bad tree’ bearing ‘bad fruit’.

  • Failure to accept God or denial of His existence. (bad seed)
  • Failure to water and give seed the proper nutrients to grow healthy, strong, good roots. (no biblical truth inputted into their lives)
  • Tree sprouts but the core and roots are weak and unable to hold the tree firmly upright. Causing it to sway, crack, and feel the pressures of life’s storms. (core and root system is not built on sound truth, leaving it vulnerable when difficulties strike.)
  • Tree begins to form branches and preparing for fruit, however the tree cannot hold the weight of the newly formed branches (life circumstances, pressure, and emotions) and we do not have the proper tools to ‘prune’ the tree. (leaving the damage and sinful ways still attached to the trunk/core; weighing it down causing its fruit to be far less than ideal.
  • The tree produces bad fruit; fruit that is damaged, diseased, unhealthy, and destructive. The Bible gives us the examples of bad fruits; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.

When we are living a life that is not centered around God and rooted in the truth (His Word-the Bible) the fruits (actions and results) we are producing lead to our own self destruction and it plants ‘bad seeds’ in the lives of those we care about.

Just as the good fruit plants seeds of hope, love and truth. Bad fruit will poison the life of those around us causing bad seeds to take root in their lives or cause their good fruit to transform to fleshly bitter fruit.

It is true that we act, speak, and even think like those who we are spending majority of our time with. What we take in, is what we put out. This is why it is key to plant the good seed of salvation into your life and properly care for it by watering it with God’s Word.

The great news is it doesn’t matter how big your ‘bad fruit tree’ is; there is ALWAYS the option to stop feeding the bad fruit tree and plant a new good seed, the seed of salvation and truth in Jesus Christ. Just as a typical fruit tree will die off if you stop watering it; so will your internal spiritual fruit tree.

Reflection

Everyday we make the choice as to which tree we will water and the type of ‘fruit’ we will produce. Look within yourself and think of the ways you act, speak, and think.

What kind of fruit are you TRULY producing?

  • Is it positive?
  • Is it God centered and truth based?
  • Does it line up with the fruits of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-26?

Is your inner spiritual tree a ‘good tree producing good fruit’ or ‘is it a bad tree producing bad fruit’?

  • What kind of tree do you want to have?
  • What changes if any do you feel you need to make to produce ‘good fruit’?
  • What areas of your life do you think could use some ‘pruning’ (perhaps an area you struggle in)?

Call to Action

Do you want to start over and plant the ‘good seed’ of salvation within you?

  • Say a prayer for salvation and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
  • Start watering the seed daily by reading your Bible.
  • Pray and Study God’s Word to ensure your new tree is well rooted and strong.
  • Seek God’s guidance on any ‘pruning’ or changes that you may need to make to protect your tree from producing bitter, fleshly fruit.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for sending Your Son to save us, to live within us, and enable us to produce good and healthy fruit in our lives and those around us. Lord God, forgive me for not properly caring for my inner spiritual tree, for not studying Your Word and seeking Your guidance in all I do. Lord if there are any areas in my life that I need to prune out for the sake of Your kingdom and to ensure I am producing good fruit and sowing good seeds into the lives of my loved ones. Lord God, help me to know where I may have poisoned others fruit by my bitterness and show me if and how I can sow new good seeds.

I pray that each person who reads this blog has open ears, open eyes, and most importantly an open heart to hear Your truth. I pray that You would help each person to truly seek their heart and have discernment on the type of fruit they are truly sowing into the lives of others. I pray that they would feel Your love and the Holy Spirit would move within them and help them to take the step of faith to accept the seed of salvation if they have not already and to ignite the desire to water it with the truth in God’s Word.

I pray You will bless each and every person who seeks You with all their heart and lead their steps in the way you want them to go. It is in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

Blog, Devotionals, Home, Life, Family, Encouragement

Daily Devo- New Year, New Beginnings

2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

The new year has finally arrived and many of us are hoping for a better year then 2020. The new year seems to be the time people choose to make an effort to change something in their life. New year resolutions for things like weight loss, to stop smoking, eating healthier, to exercise and so on.

However most of these new years resolutions do not make it passed a week or so. This is likely because people are trying to make these changes within their own will power; which rarely ever works. The Bible tells us that without God we can do nothing, but with God we will bear much fruit. With God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

John 15:5-7 NKJV

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

This year I want to encourage each of you to make changes that will last. Make changes that will bear great fruit and lead you to a deeper connection with God.

The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior that we become new creations in Him. The old passes away and all things are made new. In God we get a fresh start, a blank slate, and new beginnings.

Are you ready for a new year– new you?

God is waiting for you. Change is inevitable; the changes could be bad or good. However, even the bad changes have purpose in our life; they help us to grow and mold us into who we are.

Change is meant to polish you to make you shine brighter

When we make the ultimate, radical change and choose life over death, committing our lives to God and His kingdom we are made new in His image. His word tells us to forget the old things and focus on what God is doing in our life currently. Explaining that He can make ways when there seems to be no way.

Isaiah 43: 18-19 NKJV

18 “Do not remember the former things,
Nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I will do a new thing,
Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?
I will even make a road in the wilderness
And rivers in the desert.

Change can be scary and uncomfortable when we are going through it, however God reminds us that His plans are for us are good and prosperous; they are meant to give us hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Often times when we choose to hand our life over to God; to renew our minds and save ourselves from our own sinful destruction; we will notice we will lose things from our former self. Things such as friends, family members, habits, and more, but God promises that He will replace these things with something far better.

The story of Job is a perfect example of this. He lost his health, his wealth, and all of his children died, but he kept his faith in God. Guess what?!? When the trial was over God blessed Job with far more than he had before.

Job 42:12 NKJV

12 Now the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, one thousand yoke of oxen, and one thousand female donkeys.

This year make the ultimate change and commit your life to God. If you seek Him above all else, He will guide your path and bless your life.

Proverbs 16:3

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
    and he will establish your plans.

Matthew 6:33 NKJV

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for Your safety and protection throughout last year. Lord, although 2020 was full of uncertainties there is still a lot to be thankful for and I am truly blessed by Your mighty hand.

Lord a new year is upon us which means new obstacles, new trials, and many many new blessings. I pray that as we kick off the new year that as a nation we would dedicate our lives and future to You. That we would relay solely on Your guidance, direction, and protection. I pray as we walk through each day we would live a bold and courageous life for You.

I pray those that are lost would seek You and commit their lives to You; accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior. I pray that You would remind us that change is not always easy but it is necessary to live a fulfilling and prosperous life. I pray that Your will be done in each of our lives in Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen

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Daily Devo- A Cry for Help

The world is full of hurt, disappointments, fear, anxiety, depression, and the list goes on. I write this devotional today with a heavy heart from personal experience’s with the mentioned emotions in my own life and those that I love.

The struggle is real, the hurt is deep, and the fears can be paralyzing.

Depression, anxiety, fearful and negative thoughts plague us daily and are growing during this season of the pandemic. We are under attack physically, mentally, and emotionally. Many are feeling more disconnected today than ever before.

These are attacks from our enemy- satan- the author of lies and the father of it. The enemy that only comes to kill, steal, and destroy every aspect of our life and keep us from fulfillment in God’s purpose for our life.

God has already defeated the enemy. We can cry out to Him for help and He WILL rescue us.

We are not alone and do not have to face these difficult times alone– God is near to the brokenhearted!

Psalm 34:18 NIV The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 142:6 NIV Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.

I want to encourage each person that may be facing difficult times and emotions to reach out– Talk with a loved one, a doctor, a friend, or myself (faithanchored@yahoo.com)– just please ask for help. My heart is breaking for all those that are lost and are struggling alone.

YOU MATTER!

YOU ARE LOVED!

YOU HAVE GREAT PURPOSE!

YOU ARE NOT ALONE– GOD IS ALWAYS WITH YOU, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU DO NOT FEEL IT!

It is okay to not be okay. It shows strength and courage to seek help with your struggles especially those that are emotional and mental.

Trying to battle the feelings, thoughts, and attacks alone will only feed into the already difficult circumstances. Our enemy plants lies in our mind when we are aimlessly wandering in our thoughts– these seemingly small seeds can quickly grow into deep rooted beliefs about ourselves and our circumstances. Starting as a single negative thought then quickly spiraling into a playground of negativity and lies in our mind for satan to torture us and attempt to keep us chained by the lies, out of God’s will, and bound by our feelings.

Seeking help and facing our feelings along with the trauma that caused them is not easy, but it is necessary for total healing and freedom. Although learning to navigate through these seemingly never ending cycles of hurt, depression, and downward spirals of negativity is hard; it is possible.

God’s word tells us that He can take the impossible and make it possible– through Him ALL things are possible! (Matthew 19:26)

Take a stand for yourself and your future. Step up and step out. Admit that we are weak but He is strong. Hand each emotion, traumatic event, worry, fear, anxiety over to Him and let God do the work in you and for you.

It may seem hard to believe in the midst of the storm but God will help you through deep waters, He will comfort you, He will protect you, and He will save you from your despair. He did it for me and He can do it for you too!

Prayer

Heavenly Father,

Thank you Lord for Your Word and Your comfort in times of trouble. Thank you for the promises to never leave us nor forsake. For always being near to those of us who are brokenhearted and struggling with life’s storms. Lord God I pray that Your message be heard through these words. I pray You will be a light to so many during this dark season. I pray that those who are battling depression, fear, anxiety, and hurts from this broken world would turn to You. Soften their hearts, open their eyes and ears to Your truth. Lead each of us and protect us from the schemes and lies of the enemy. I declare in the name of Jesus chains be broken, people be truly freed in You, and that you will transform each one of us with the renewal of our minds through Your truth, grace, and love. In Jesus mighty name I pray.

Amen