The Root of Fruit Problems

How is your fruit (Gal 5:22-23)?

Fresh, dry, rotten? Increasing or decreasing?

If you have any fruit problems, start at the root. When you go to the root of fruit problems, you will always find that the issue is abiding in the vine (John 15). 

Abide in Him and your fruit will INCREASE.

Prayer Revival

Prayer is the key to heaven and faith can unlock that door. Prayer revivals are important for the church. Something happens when we give ourselves to praying for the lost, for revival, for ourselves.

If you look to the past days of Pentecostal history, you will find prayer to be a key factor in the powerful events that took place during their days.

  • Their churches were steeped in prayer.
  • Their homes were baptized in prayer.
  • Their preaching was preceded by prayer.
  • Their altars were blanketed by prayer.
  • Their witnessing was prepared by prayer.
  • Everything they did was marked by prayer.
  • We have to careful that we do not buy into lesser substitutes for prayer. Prayer is a place of surrender and there are a lot of problems and difficulties in our lives that would be resolved if we were given to prayer.

    2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin,and will heal their land.

    Never the Less

    In Psalm 106 the psalmist lists all of the many failures of the children of Israel from Egypt to Cannan. Despite all that He was doing for them, they piled up sin, failure, and complaints against God. Many times God delivered them, but they always seemed to find a way to sin.

    But then comes v44-45. 

    Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry: and he remembered for them his covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.

    I am glad to know that His mercy is never the less. It is always the more. Never less than my sin and failures. Always more.

    Flying Words

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    There is much to learn from this short poem by an unknown author:

    Boys flying kites haul in their white-winged birds.
    You can’t do that when you are flying words.
    Careful with fire is good advice, we know;
    Careful with words is ten times doubly so.
    Thoughts unexpressed sometimes fall back dead,
    But God himself can’t kill them once they’re said.

    Let us be careful with our words to…
    …our spouse.
    …our children.
    …our friends.
    …our enemies.
    …our neighbors.
    …our co-workers.
    …everyone.

    We cannot haul in our words like kites. Rather, like releasing balloons they are immediately out of reach. We are left only to watch them drift away, never truly knowing where they fall.

    Will We Work In Heaven?

    This is a question that popped into my head today. Will we have a job, a duty, a responsibility, a contribution to make for eternity? I believe we will.

    For those of you who just felt angry or anxious, let me address some immediate objections. Someone may say that work is the result of the curse of sin in the garden. However, the curse was not the origin of work. Adam had responsibilities for tending the garden before the curse of sin. The curse simply required hard work in order to produce what was necessary to sustain life.

    Also, I don’t mean “work” in the way that you think of it. That is, unless you are one of those who can truly say that you are fulfilling your life’s joy and purpose and being paid to do it. When I say “work” I mean your contribution, your purpose, your art, and even your worship.

    I believe that we will all have a contribution to make for eternity; something that will connect us in worship to God and service to the redeemed. But I don’t believe that we have to wait until time is no more to begin making our contribution. I believe that we have the responsibility to make a difference in our world through our work.

    When we are saved, God doesn’t tell us to quit our jobs and rely on handouts so that we can pray and read the Bible until He comes. Quite the opposite, God’s Word is clear that there is a responsibility to provide. Laziness and idle hands are often condemned. His Word also teaches that we should treat our job, regardless of what it is, as a service to Him. Now let’s be honest, we don’t show up at work everyday as if we were working for Him.

    Why not?

    I believe we can make an incredible difference in our world today through our jobs. Whether you are a doctor, a mechanic, a janitor, or a full-time parent, your can make a contribution that helps meet your family’s basic needs and brings glory to God at the same time.

    If you are doing what you love to do, good for you. Keep doing that and do it as an act of worship. If you are like the majority of people who haven’t found your life’s work or a way to make money doing what you were made to do, keep searching. And in the meantime, show up at work like God is your boss. Do work that makes a difference. Seek to be a blessing to your employer, your co-workers, and the customers that your company serves.

    When you work like this, it ceases to be a job and it becomes your life’s art. And if you are a child of God, this world desperately needs your art. So please, get to work. Do something good. And get used to it. We will be doing this forever!

    Book Review: Authority In Prayer by Dutch Sheets

    This book is a good study on the source of authority, the purpose of authority, and the application of authority in prayer. The author gives good, Biblical principles for utilizing authority in prayer. He issues a challenge that to Christians today to pray with more authority and use prayer as a weapon in spiritual realms.

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    I do need to say that much of the book is personal stories and examples of the power of prayer from the author’s life. While I do believe that, through prayer, the types of claims the author makes are entirely possible, I cannot verify the validity of his personal stories. I wish that the author would have spent more time proving his points and building his case from the Word of God which is entirely valid and cannot be disproven.

    If you pick this book up, please be prepared to “spit out the bones.” There is some meat in there that will make it worth your time.

    Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

    I chose this book from the review site because it was a best-seller and it is about a topic that interests me. Anyone who knows me well knows that tidy and I are very good friends. And so it was with great anticipation that began reading. Three months later, here I am fulfilling my obligation to post a review in exchange for receiving a free copy of the book.

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    It isn’t a bad book. But it is kind of weird. The author often treats inanimate objects as if they were living beings. Giving advice like, “Greet your house.” No thanks. And I must admit, the suggestions for tidying up given here seem obsessive even to me.

    That said, if you struggle with keeping your things tidy or you simply want to improve, you will certainly find some nuggets in the book to inspire and encourage. The process can really be simplified into two words: discard and organize. Do it once. Do it thoroughly. Maintain.

    It’s spring! Get to cleaning.

    Book Review: The Ultimate Guid to the Daniel Fast by Kristen Feola

    The Daniel Fast has experienced a trend of sorts in recent years. The Christian book market has been flooded with resources on fasting and healthy living, many of them focusing on the Daniel fast. It is a good thing for us to focus on fasting, the often neglected spiritual discipline. And while I believe in the spiritual power of the Daniel fast, and the health benefits, let us not neglect the forms of fasting that our flesh doesn’t enjoy so much.

    I now many people who involve themselves in a yearly 21-day or 40-day Daniel fast and have seen great answers to prayer and spiritual growth. The benefits that the fast has on their health is also significant. I even know of some who have decided to follow the guidelines of the Daniel fast more permanently specifically for the health benefits. Whatever your level of engagement, this book is a great resource.

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    The book includes three parts:

    The Fast – This part explores different types of fasting, the origin of the Daniel fast, and how it can impact your life.

    The Focus – This part provides 21 devotionals to feed on God’s Word while you are fasting.

    The Food – This part contains more than 100 nutritious, recipes that follow the guidelines of the Daniel fast.

    This book is a great resource that allows you to spend less time focused on what to eat and more time focused on the Lord. 

    The author also writes a helpful blog – http://www.ultimatedanielfast.com.

    Book Review: What’s Best Next by Matt Perman

    What’s the best book that you should read next? I would have to suggest Matt Perman’s What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done. 

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    This is the most important productivity book that I have ever read. It approaches productivity from a Christian view in light of eternity and exposes the global mission of the individual.

    This introduction offers this thesis:

    “The essence of gospel driven productivity is this: we are to use all that we have, in all areas of life, for the good of others, to the glory of God-and that this is the most exciting life. To be gospel driven Christian means to be on the lookout to do good for others to the glory of God, in all areas of life, and to do this with creativity and competence. Further, being gospel driven also means knowing how to get things done so that we can serve others in a way that really helps, in all areas of life, without making ourselves miserable in the process to overload, overwhelmed, and hard to keep up systems.”

    Matt Perman doesn’t just give us a philosophy of productivity. He gives us a practical process. Like David Allen’s Getting Things Done, He helps you build an entire productivity system that can be adjusted to suit your personality and work style.

    Perhaps my favorite thing about this book is the author’s use of the Scriptures in proving his productivity philosophy and process. Never have I seen the topic of productivity so closely tied to the Gospel. It is God’s desire for His people to be productive in expanding the Kingdom of God.

    Book Review: Essentialism by Greg McKeown

    Greg McKeown pulled up a chair next to me, looked at my calendar, and read my mail. At least, that is what it felt like. His book met me right where I live. And I would guess that the state that I live in is not so different from the state you live in. The state of panic? The state of overwhelm?

    Essentialism

    Okay, it may not be that bad. But we can’t deny the pressures of the fast-paced, high-demand world that we live in. We live in a world with seemingly limitless options. The flood of inputs and possibilities can be paralyzing. If we aren’t paralyzed, then we likely find ourselves caught trying to manage it all.

    In EssentialismGreg McKeown gives us an alternative strategy for facing all of life’s demands. He calls it “the disciplined pursuit of less.” It is the art of discerning the trivial many from the vital few. When we give ourselves permission to stop trying to do it all and we stop saying “yes” to everyone, we can make our highest contribution to the things that really matter.

    I want to HIGHLY recommend this book. You need the focus that employing it’s strategies will bring. Life is short. Much of what takes our attention means nothing in the end. Time is the one thing that you can never get back. We need to invest it in what is essential.

    I also want to add that Greg and his team have done a wonderful job of making this book appealing to the senses. The pictures and diagrams are playful. The texture of the book is amazing. I enjoyed carrying it around. In fact, I should warn you that if you pick up a hard copy of this book, you will have a hard time putting it down.