Monthly Archives: September 2013

How Can I Get More Faith?

This week let’s talk about faith. You probably know that Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as, “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We know that our salvation is obtained by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The truth is, all of God’s promises can only be received by faith. This is true concerning salvation (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10); physical healing (Matthew 9:22; James 5:15); material provisions (Matthew 6:28-32); or whatever our particular circumstances might be (Mark 11:24; Matthew 17:20).

By faith we are justified (Romans 3:28), sanctified (Acts 26:18), and preserved (I Peter 1:5). By faith we overcome satan (Ephesians 6:16) and the world (I John 5:4). By faith we have access to God (Romans 5:2); inherit the promises (Hebrews 6:12); stand (2 Corinthians 1:24); walk (2 Corinthians 5:7); live (Galatians 2:20) and die (Hebrews 11:13). Put simply, in our walk with Christ nothing that we have, nothing we hope to accomplish, obtain, or become, is possible without faith.

So given the importance of faith to our walk with God, it becomes imperative that we develop that faith. The obvious question then becomes how?

In Romans 10:17 the Apostle Paul tells us, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Or more specifically, faith comes by hearing and believing the word of God.

Believing His Word is believing God. God will not fail to fulfill every promise that He makes to us because, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a human being, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it happen?” (Numbers 23:19 NET).

I think the general lack of faith among many Christians today is primarily due to the fact that we don’t know what God’s Word promises. The Old and New Testament prophets and apostles did not have some special degree of faith more than the rest of us. They received their answers to prayer and the power to work miracles and perform mighty acts the same way we do. They heard and believed the Word of God.

Let’s face it. We all lead busy lives and we have to balance that life with family, church, work, and any number of other things that pop up on any given day. Carving out time to read our Bible is often no easy task. However, even if our time in the Word is limited to ten minutes a day we need to develop the mind-set that the words we read, although written by a man, are actually the words of God. 2 Peter 1:21 says, “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

If we can begin to see the Word in that light then we know that His promises are true… ALL of them, and we can begin to grow in our faith knowing that this is what pleases God. (Hebrews 11:6).

Walking with Christ is a process. We learn as we grow so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t where you think you should be. As a wise man once told me, just keep on keepin’ on. Remember, the first thing recorded in Romans 10:17 is God’s promise. “So then faith comes…”. God will always reward those who seek to know Him more and the truth of His Word.

Need help? Email us at info@fruitbearers.com

Fruitbearers Outreach Ministry

Anyone Who Calls on His Name

About eighteen years ago we had a friend diagnosed with a terminal disease and we suggested to him that he consider what God could do. His response was, “I didn’t turn to God before I was sick and I will not be a hypocrite and turn to him now.” We don’t know about his last seconds on earth, but we can only hope he changed his mind. It was his choice.

Have you ever had one of those moments where something dangerous arises suddenly? Maybe you are witnessing a life threatening moment. You don’t even have to be involved and then those godly words come out of your mouth. You gave it no thought you just reacted to the danger or calamity by saying, “Oh My God!” Some use the phrase loosely, but we’re not referring to those moments. And yes, we are also aware that some may use some expletive here. What we are referring to is when something has gone horribly bad or it’s about to; a moment when you desperately wish you could stop time.

Interestingly enough, even someone who claims not to believe in God will call on God in those moments. Some even make promises to the living God they don’t know. I promise I’ll _____ (fill in the blank) if you bail me out this one. Soldiers in the armed forces have a saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”

Mankind has more of God in them than they wish to admit. We are made up of spirit, soul and body. In a previous blog we spoke of how God blew His breath into Adam and he became a living being or soul as some translations indicate. We saw how we all are descended from Adam (Acts 17:26).

The Bible teaches that nature screams at us about God. Romans 1:18-20 (NIV) tells us, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Go ahead and read the whole chapter.

Yep, His creation is clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, and that leaves us without excuse concerning God’s existence. Every time we step out of our home and look around us, or when we look in the mirror we should acknowledge there is a God. Our old friend that passed away did not say God does not exist. This is the reason we believe others can say there are no atheists in foxholes, or how everyone can call on God when they are in a pinch. We are wired to call out to Him when fear or desperation invades our life. Sadly not all call on His name and even more sadly many lose all hope and decide to bring an end to their life on earth. Though this is a sticky topic hiding it and not talking about it will not help others at all. There is Hope.

Acts 2:21 (NIV) “And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 (NIV) “for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'” Joel 2:32 (NIV) “And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.”

His Word says “everyone” in at least three different places. Some Bible versions say “whoever.” That means you are qualified to call upon the name of the Lord. It didn’t say only those who believe or that you must first believe. So don’t even think to feel like a hypocrite for making a promise while in trouble. King David, who was a man after God’s own heart, said in Psalm 66:13-14 (NLT) “Now I come to your Temple with burnt offerings to fulfill the vows I made to you — yes, the sacred vows that I made when I was in deep trouble.”

Doesn’t that give you hope? We are not advocating that you live your life without Jesus and just call upon Him only when you are in trouble. And we are not saying if you are a born again Christian you will not have trouble. Rather consider the love God has toward us which He showed by sending Jesus to the cross to redeem us and by providing all the warnings, options, and outs for all of our troubles – even for those who disregard His existence. He is a good God.

So the next time you feel rushed or overwhelmed by circumstances, trials or troubles, or even danger, by all means shout it out! GOD HELP ME! Then praise Him for his amazing grace.

info@fruitbearers.com

Fruitbearers Outreach Ministry

I Took the Red Pill, But it’s Not Working!

Last week we explored The Matrix… or at least the idea of the blue pill which keeps us blinded to the truth and the red pill which brings freedom. We saw that not knowing Christ is like taking the Blue pill. It keeps us blinded to the spiritual reality which is… well, real. Taking the red pill is like the realization of the truth that comes when we accept Jesus as our Savior. And yet many who have made that decision remain bound. In a sense, it is as if there is a blue pill for the believer that keeps him blinded to the reality of who he is in Christ and a red pill that set’s him free. This week we want to explore the reality that far too many of us are missing.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” No surprise here, right? We have heard this verse before. So what does it mean to be a new creation? Or maybe a better question is, “If I am a new creation, why am I still struggling with the same old issues?”

How is it that Galatians 5:16 says, “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Yet I continue to struggle.

In other words, I took the red pill that is supposed to bring freedom, but in some respects I feel more confused now than when I was ignorant of God.

Here is another one. 1 John 3:9, “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” Or how about Hebrews 12:14, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:” It appears from these two verses that if I sin (strike 1) I must not be truly born again and if I am not living a holy life (strike 2) I will not see God!

So now I have to wonder am I really a new creation? I still struggle with some of the old things. I still lust, even though I am doing my best to walk in the Spirit. I sin daily, and I am anything but holy!

Can you relate? No problem. Just as Morpheous promised Neo, I am going to show you the truth.

Let’s begin with Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesians 1. In his letter to the church at Ephesus Paul wrote, “…I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;” Ephesians 1:15-16 (NASB). Paul then tells us what he prayed; “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Ephesians 1:17-19 (NASB).

Paul prayed that their eyes would be opened so that they would know the surpassing greatness of His power to them and to all who believe. That includes you and me. Seems like a good place to start, doesn’t it?

So we know that the power of God is at work revealing Jesus to us, giving us wisdom, and revelation knowledge. That’s what Paul just said in Ephesians 1. Then again, we have the same dilemma. If that is true, why are we so confused? Simply put, it’s because we are carnally minded.

Romans 8:6 (NKJV) says, “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

Carnel-mindedness doesn’t necessarily mean “sinful-mindedness.” The word carnal literally means, “of the five senses” or “sensual.” Carnal-mindedness is allowing your mind to be dominated by what you can see, taste, hear, smell, and feel. You are carnally-minded when your thoughts center primarily on the phyical realm.

So what does all that have to do with why we still sin and struggle with the idea of being a new creation in Christ? Simply put, it’s a matter of perspective. We are looking at our thoughts, our actions, and our sinful attitudes which are carnal (of the senses) rather than viewing them from a spiritual perspective (of the spirit). In other words, we are trying to understand spiritual principles from a carnal perspective.

If we start from the perspective that everything God says is true, then when 2 Corinthians 5:17 says we are a new creation in Christ, we know it’s true because God’s Word is true. Our “feelings” about it have nothing to do with it. God said it so it’s true regardless of how I feel.

What about holiness? I Peter 1:15-16 (NKJV) says, “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.'” Our first thought is, how can I possibly be holy? You’re thinking carnally again.

Here’s the key… the red pill as it were. Ephesians 1:3 (NKJV) says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” Spiritual blessing in heavenly places; not physical, but spiritual. So you are a new creation in Christ in the spiritual. You are holy in the spiritual. You are sinless in the spiritual. “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23 (NKJV).

Our physical redemption is coming, but for now it is our spirit that has been redeemed. That’s why Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV), “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

If we can begin to think and act from a spiritual perspective life will take on a whole new dimension. We will read the Word and those troubling areas will become clear because we are no longer trying to merge a physical meaning with a spiritual truth.

I know it’s a lot to absorb. Read it again, pay particular attention to the Scriptures, pray for understanding, then email us at info@fruitbearers.com and let us help you get started on the path to spiritual freedom.

Fruitbearers Outreach Ministry

The Matrix Revisited

Sometimes I am amazed at the storyline or dialogue in a movie. Hollywood producers certainly can let their imaginations run wild, particularly when it comes to science fiction and why not? After all it is fiction! But every now and then there is a movie that makes you wonder. Rememeber The Matrix? Remember the dialogue between Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus) and Keanu Reeves (Neo) about the blue pill and the red pill? Considering it is fiction it’s easy to overlook most of the content, but this dialogue makes you wonder if someone had been reading their Bible.

Let’s take a look at this short but meaningful dialogue:

Morpheus: It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave Neo, like everyone else you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell or taste or touch. A prison for your mind.

What follows is the choice Neo had to make. “Take the Blue pill, the story ends; you wake up in your bed believing whatever you want to believe. Take the Red pill, you stay in wonderland and you will be shown how deep the rabbit hole goes.” Then Morpheus reminds him that all he is offering is the truth.

For many this means nothing, however to a Bible reader it may raise an eyebrow. Morpheus first statement that the world has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth is in direct correlation with last week’s blog/testimony in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 emphasizing that without Jesus (the way, the truth and the life… John 14:6) it’s impossible to understand the things of God because they are discerned with your spirit. We are blinded to the truth because of the condition we were all born into.

Some may wonder, “Why Jesus?” This Scripture verse clears it up. Romans 5:18-21 (NIV) says, “Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Like everyone, you were born into bondage. Through Adam’s sin death came into this world and that’s where we inherited our sinful nature. Through Christ’s righteousness and obedience you obtain grace and eternal life when you invite Him into your heart and establish a relationship with Him. It is not based on your performance, how good you are, or how much you know about the Bible.

Not having Christ in your life is like taking the Blue pill every day. You wake up believing whatever you want to believe. Having Christ is like taking the Red pill just once, then through His Word and the guidance of the Holy Spirit the transformation begins as you renew your mind.

Death will come to us all but it is not the end of anything. Take some time to read Luke 16. Read the entire chapter. Your spirit and soul will be separated from your body and depending on the decision you made concerning Jesus while on earth it will determine your destination. Don’t focus on the fact that the man who opened up his eyes in torment was rich. God does not have a problem with people having riches, only when riches have the people.

We don’t really like writing about condemnation, judgment and hell, though you need to know these things are in the Bible. We would rather write about what Jesus did for all of us at the Cross, reconciling us back to God the Father, giving us hope, grace, mercy, eternal life and much more. But like Morpheus, we can only offer you the truth.

No one can make this decision about Christ for you. No one will be standing with you at the judgment seat of Christ. It is going to be you and Him alone. It is written in 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV) “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

What’s important here is that no demon or devil can stop you for being saved. You have nothing to lose by accepting Christ except eternal separation from God if you die without Christ. Even if you are not sure about an after life, why gamble with hell? Take some time to read 2 Peter 3:8-9. None of us knows the year, the month, the week, the day or time we will die. For that reason don’t play roulette with eternity, for as long as the wheel is spinning you can change your bet, but when the wheel stops… All bets are off.

As the amplified Bible reads in some of the Psalms… Selah [pause, and calmly think of that].

Blue pill or Red? The choice is now yours. Let us know your decision at info@fruitbearers.com

Fruitbearers Outreach Ministry