Your fruit is showing…

Hey there BCU Family!

You have the option of listening to our podcast (click the BCU avatar below to listen), reading the notes or BOTH. In any case, we pray the podcast blesses you. If so, please thumbs up or leave a comment! Thank you and enjoy your study! 


I spent some time with a wonderful individual who is on fire for the Lord, full of love, faith…and complaints. No, not venting or looking for an understanding–just a myriad complaints about people, places and things, past, present and future. How does such a fiery vessel have such a consistently negative attitude? It’s all about the tree and its fruit.

As a quick disclaimer, I do not bring this subject up in a spirit of condemnation or superiority, (trust me, God has PLENTY of things He is working on with me), rather, as I pondered the conversation, the Lord brought the behavior to my attention as a warning to me first,  and to the Body of Christ as a whole. Let’s examine why.

As saints, we are called to observe and discern. In fact, Matthew 7:16 tells us we will know people by their fruits. While people can tell us/we can be told who someone is, the words and actions (fruit) tell US who they are.

That same verse goes on to ask “do men get grapes from thorns or figs from thistles?” In other words, if you say you are a grape vine or a fig tree, your fruit will be just that, sweet, fragrant, plentiful and in abundance, rather than producing thorns or thistles. Thorns and thistles are long, recurved, prickly plants that upon contact, often inflict serious and recurring wounds. Get the point?

Side note: grapes are the most mentioned fruit in the Bible and are valued because of the ways they can be used, such as for wine, raisins and vinegar. Not only are figs mentioned because of their nutritional and economic value, figs often symbolized safety and doing well.

 And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon (I Kings 4:25). 

Now, getting back to Matthew 7, verses 17 and 18 tell us that good trees bring good fruit and corrupt trees bring evil fruit. Also, you cannot get evil fruit from a good tree and/or vice versa. So here, God is telling us there are two types of trees–good or evil. Let’s read these verses to get a better understanding.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

A careful read tells us 1) Bad fruit producers are cut down and thrown into the fire (Hell) and, 2) we can produce bad fruit, work for the Lord, BUT we will STILL miss Heaven! These are sobering thoughts, BCU Fam. Our merciful God is willing to help us in this area—if we let Him. So how do we know what type of fruit we are producing and if it pleases God? Anything that comes from the flesh will NEVER please God and ONLY produce evil fruit. Galatians 5:19-21 tells us all about it:

 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

In sharp contrast, when we yield to the Spirit of God, we allow the fruit of the Spirit to produce good things like: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). I love that there is no law against good fruit production! Can you imagine how much better things would be if we all produced all this fruit regularly?

This is a LOT to take in, right? The bottom line is for those of us who have the Holy Ghost, when we were filled, we became good trees with the “good fruit” that we see in the aforementioned paragraph. With God’s help, we have to maintain our tree and ensure we are consistently producing good fruit by walking and living in the Spirit (see Galatians 5:25). Every so often we may have a thorn or thistle, but we should immediately apply spiritual “Round-Up” (prayer and fasting), to kill off those deadly and unproductive prickle bushes. Amen? Amen.

How about you? How has your fruit production been? What would a surprise inspection yield? I am so curious to hear your heart on this topic! Please head over to the comments section below and let’s chat some more!


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Thank you SO much for stopping by. God bless, keep and make His face to shine upon you as you #StayOnTheWall!

Love,

BCU

Series: #SpeechTherapy-it starts in the heart! (part 3)

Hey BCU family,

As usual, please enjoy the audio podcast (click on the icon below), the written transcript, or both! In either case, God bless you as you read, hear and apply the Word of God.

 

As we prepped and started heart surgery last time, we realized how lust and pride effects our hearts, speech and actions. Last time, we looked at the evil queen Jezebel, who had an innocent man killed in order to get her pouty husband, king Ahab a vineyard he just had to have! (I Kings 21).Let’s take a look what the Word says about lust and pride.

Do not love the world or anything in the world, if anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For everything in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, comes NOT from the Father, but from the world. The world and the lusts pass away, but whoever does the will of God abides forever (I John 2:15-17).

This is a fixed fight, and God wants us to be victorious over our heart meditations and gives us the Word in which to do it. Our anchor scripture, Psalm 19:14 says, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O, Lord my strength and my redeemer. Let’s talk about the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, and our some of our seemingly innocent heart meditations may not be acceptable to God.

Lust of the flesh: all having to do with bodily desires.

Your body needs: Proper nourishment in order to function optimally. Where do we go wrong? Gluttony. The word of God reminds us NOT to be among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21). The thought here if it is hard to control your appetite, it likely hard to control other areas– rather they likely control you. God gives the Spirit-filled believer the ability to say “no” to anything in excess through exercising the fruit of the Spirit, particularly, self-control found in Galatians 5:22. We just need to make sure to practice self-control with God’s help.

Something else your body needs? Sleep or rest! We DEFINITELY need sleep in order to repair, rejuvenate–just to even function on all six cylinders.  Jesus told the disciples to come apart into the desert and rest awhile in Mark 6:31. Jesus Himself slept (Mark 4:38). Where we go wrong? Little to no activity other than sleeping. Yes, Jesus and the disciples rested, but they were tired from being BUSY from what they were called to do. The lazy and slothfulness we talked about from the lust of the eyes is closely related to this oversleeping lust of this  flesh here. Listen to what the Word says.

“Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty. Open your eyes and you will be satisfied with bread” (Proverbs 20:13) that speaks for itself.  Also, think about this, “the harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37). If we are playing/sleeping when we’re supposed to be harvesting, we lose out on the fruit of the harvest (souls saved, healed, delivered and set free), and make more work for the laborers. We want to be in the few as God directs. Rest, yes, just not in excess.

Another body need? some activity/to work. It’s all good—we thank GOD for those who work! But then there is the work-aholic. Always going into the office, always taking the overtime, always on call (even when you don’t have to be), folding, pacing, cleaning, checking—just can’t be still. If you are working or always doing some activity, you will not hear from God. Has the activity around social media replaced your prayer, Bible study, quiet time with God? Social media is a good thing—its the lack of self-control that’s the issue and needs to be surrendered to God.  Let’s switch gears and talk about the pride of life.

Pride of life: These desires have to do with the spirit.

So, the desire to taking care of yourself, eating right, exercising, taking care of your hair, skin, nice clothes, etc., good! Weigh that against an obsession with trying to look 20 at 75. What is it with all this anti aging and commercials for facelifts? Where are the “mothers” of the church, neighborhoods? The wise folks? All looking to get “booed” or “bae-ed” up? We want to represent God by looking and dressing nice—vanity has no place in our hearts. Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain but a woman who fears (reverences) the Lord , she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:30). Men (and everyone really),  2 Corinthians 4:16b says, but though the outward man perish, yet the inward man us renewed day by day. Let’s make sure we take care of the inside as well as we do the outside.

What about the desire to please your parents, guardians, grandparents—what child doesn’t want someone to be proud of them? What happens when you do not “outgrow” that desire and it turns into people pleasing at ANY cost? Here’s where lying, stealing, deceiving, (acting like we like something) among other things can come into play—just to be liked–and it is NEVER enough. We better stick with God’s approval. He told Jesus in Matthew 3:17 this is my Son in whom I am well pleased. That should be our heart’s desire!

Let’s talk thorough the desire to know more about something—Proverbs tells us to get knowledge over gold (8:10). When you know something and others do not, is you heart calling them “stupid?”

I recall a “discussion” with someone years ago and they said “everybody knows that”. First of all, home skillet was lying, because everyone would include everyone—like my 5 year old niece—what does she know about grown folks business? She was likely studying Elmo, so NO, not everybody knows what point you’re trying to prove.  Secondly, that prideful remark was a slick way of trying to make me feel less intelligent than that individual and everyone else in the world. I don’t recall how the Lord had me handle it, but with God’s grace, I try not to say that or anything like it to anyone. Innocent as it sounds, there is pride there.

What about us “good, saved” people? Our sins have been washed away, we’ve been baptized in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Ghost and we live Holy—no smoking, drinking, partying, etc. We are in the “right” church affiliation, so NO sermons, studies, devotionals, anything God reveals during prayer or reading time is for us, it’s a word for her. Him. Them. That prideful spirit hardens the heart, so that the Word doesn’t penetrate and stir us to repentance and changing what we do. It takes some dire circumstance to get our attention.

Years ago, I was talking to a friend very “innocently” about other persons—it wasn’t malicious or mean-spirited, just something God would rather I not do and likely had elements of pride. (well I would never, or why did she do….) I must have passed too many warning signs because someone got to telling my business to some friends of mine and I was HEATED. The Lord gently reminded me that I felt how those people felt. After that God blessed me to be a confidant to many people who wanted advice or a listening ear. We can discuss matters for better understanding, clarification and as a cautionary advice, but in the right spirit. Things like “if she were a better mother she would..” vs “it may be hard for her as a single parent….” “I don’t know what’s wrong with her…if I had raised her…” “ it sounds like Vaselina needs a more structure. We need to pray for her parents (or talk to them as the Lord leads) for them to help her follow directions. We want to crucify this part of our flesh DAILY!

We could go on and on about with different scenarios about heart conditions. I know the Lord spoke to me on some of these very things and with His grace I am more aware and alert as to when the enemy comes by. In fact, I took the kiddos out to eat and was on my way to pay the check. It was crowded as people were waiting to be seated, pay, etc. and the enemy said “you can walk right out of here without paying and no one would know.” I mean JUST like that. Thank God for the desire to pay—but it’s those thoughts you mediate on that you can give a voice  and permission to act on.

This week, start paying more attention to your thoughts/ what’s in your heart. Ask God to show you (even if it’s painful), what areas need more attention or a purge  and ask for His help in overcoming them and creating a clean heart Psalm 51:10. Also, step up your gatekeeping of the heart as directed in Proverbs 4:23. Finally, Philippians 4:8 reminds us to think on true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy. This way, NO room is allocated for any of the pride and lusts we talked about.

Well, BCU family, this brings #SpeechTherapy part 3 to a close! I pray the Word blesses and challenges you to do things differently for the Lord. Thank you all for tuning in and please come back for #SpeechTherapy part 4! Until the next time we are together, #StayOnTheWall.

 

Love,

 

BCU