Gifts Versus Fruit

The New Testament makes the clear distinction between....

The Fruit of the Spirit.

And the Gifts of the Spirit.

Fruit is developed.

Gifts are given.

Therefore, what is more important...

Than preaching a great sermon.

For merely the sermon's sake.

Or playing incredible music.

Just because it is inspirational.

Painting a masterpiece for God.

Because it is beautiful.

Or leading a new move of the Spirit.

Merely for the sake of a "move."

In other words, more important than gifts that are given...

Is to see fruit developed.

We may not all preach a great sermon.

Of play incredible music.

Paint a masterpiece or lead spiritual movements.

Yet, every single one of us can love.

We can forgive our enemy.

Be kind to the stranger.

Pray for our sister or brother.

Hammer a nail or bake a cake.

Buy a lunch.

Or give a ride.

Gifts are given.

Fruit is developed.

Be nice to someone today.

In the Name of Jesus.

And that is greater than any spiritual gift.

 

 

A Honored Failure

"Today you will be with me in Paradise." 

So said our Savior to the thief upon the cross.

Jesus was crucified between to thieves.

Yet Paradise was promised to one.

It has been rightly stated that there are two thieves of salvation.

For you and I it would be robbers of our joy.

One thief is Legalism.

It steals our the joy of our salvation because we are trying to be righteous on our own.

The other thief is Hedonism.

It does not care about righteousness whatsoever. 

One thief says the Gospel is "too exclusive."

The other says it is "too cheap."

Either one will rob us of the joy of our salvation.

The center of our salvation says:

"It is neither exclusive nor is it cheap."

For it is open to all.

And yet it cost Jesus so very much.

So don't be robbed of the joy of your salvation.

Believe the Gospel.

That is it neither "too exclusive."

Nor is it "too cheap."

For as one preacher stated:

"You are honored.

AND you are a failure.

Through Christ, therefore;

you are a 'Honored Failure.'"

Right in the middle.

That is Paradise! 

P.S.  Thank you for that, Augustine, Courson, and Keller

 

Every Time

"Peter-John,

on Sunday night,

when you spoke forth blessing in response to a Word of Prophecy that was spoken,

I raised my hand in response.

To every single one!

Am I being too greedy? 

Should I pick and choose which ones to respond to?"

A fine, young man asked me that today.

We have our "Sanctuary Service" on Sunday nights.

Gifts of Grace.

Words of Prophecy.

Outpouring of God's Spirit.

And people respond by faith.

He was wondering if he was responding too much.

Immediately I thought of Elisha and the King of Israel.

"Take these arrows and strike the ground," the prophet told the dying king.

The amount of times he hit would be the victories he would gain.

He struck the ground with those arrows.

Three times.

"You should have struck the ground five or six times!" Elisha proclaimed.

In other words, you can't ask too much of God.

God is not merely an Employer.

Or only a King.

He is your Father.

An all powerful one, at that!

Don't tap the arrows a couple of times.

Raise your hand every time!

That is what I told my friend.

 

You Are All Right

You know what frustrates me?

When people do not do enough.

You know what frustrates God?

When His people try to do too much.

In order to find peace.

In order to feel good.

In order to be righteous.

When His peace, goodness, and righteousness is based on believing...

And not our doing.

If I try to be right by what I do, then I frustrate God.

If I do right because of what He has done, then I am making Him smile!

Therefore, don't frustrate the Grace of God today!

You are All Right.

No Leftovers!

A "Peace Offering" offered as a "Thanksgiving Offering."

The two are identified together in Leviticus 7.

For when you offer thanksgiving to the Lord....

There shall be peace.

Colossians 3:15.

"Let the peace of God fill your heart and be thankful."

Try that this Thanksgiving.

Give thanks to the Lord over your home.

Your work.

Your life.

And watch and see.

Peace will surely follow!

Further, in this offering there was to be no leftovers!

"He shall leave none of it until morning."

Don't simply thank God for yesterday.

Be grateful for this day!

And you will have a happy...and blessed....

Thanksgiving. 

Talk About Jesus

Jesus never sat down and penned an epistle.

He never Himself wrote a Book of the Bible.

In His thirty three years, there was no publication he left behind.

One reason for that might be that He wanted His followers to talk.

Not merely point to a passage.

Or cite a reference. 

Or open up to a text.

He wanted Mary and Peter, Paul and James, Lydia and Timothy....

To converse about Him.

Imagine that!

I am not a man who likes to small talk.

The older I get...

The grumpier I am becoming.

Make that, "more contemplative and quiet."

(That's better).

But when it comes to Jesus and the Bible....

When it comes to theology and the Kingdom....

I will talk your ear off!

I confess I have little need for small talk.

But sure do love to talk about Jesus and His Kingdom.

So....good.

Now I feel better about being grumpy. 

 

Young In Mind

To "repent" means to "change your mind."

It means change the way you consider things.

Change how you think.

How does one do that?

The Word of God.

It will change your mind...

About the world.

About life.

About yourself.

I like that at my age.

Because it keeps me young...

In mind.

God's Not Finished

Abraham sold out Sarah, his wife.

He was 99 years old.

Jacob tricked his father, Isaac.

He was 75 years old.

David slept with Bathsheeba.

David was a youngster.

He was "only" 50.

Yet it is safe to say...

Than neither you nor I will match their legacies of faith.

At least from human perspective.

You see our God is into you for the long haul.

You are a long term project.

You have not arrived.

And He doesn't expect you to until Heaven.

Therefore, if you are well aware of your personality defects.

Your bad habits.

And even your momentous flaws.

Our God is not finished with you.

The only thing that is finished...

Is Jesus' perfect work on the Cross.

Keep your eyes on Him!