Archive for September, 2012

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. James 3:1-2a
A Stricter Judgment

Make no mistake about it, *Christian teachers, pastors, and youth leaders (and others within the category) will be held to a much higher standard than the flock they instruct. However, we also must recognize that although they will be more strictly judged, their salvation is secure. The judgment spoken of in James 3 is not for sin, for the sins of the believer have been taken away forever by the blood of Christ. Rather the judgment spoken of is the Bema Seat Judgment and the one Paul refers to in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15:

Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Who Then Should Teach?

One of our best clues for answering that question is found in chapter 20 of Jeremiah. In the story, the prophet Jeremiah is sharing God’s word and he is not being well received. Let’s go back to the opening verse at James 3:2. I prefer the Kings James translation here, for it says:

For in many things we offend all

This is what Jeremiah was experiencing!  The ‘convicting’ word of God was offensive to his listeners. So much so [Jeremiah] found himself being mocked, beaten, and thrown into the stocks. Amazingly, Jeremiah responds this way (pay close attention to the last sentence of the passage):

O Lord, You induced me, and I was persuaded; You are stronger than I, and have prevailed. I am in derision daily; Everyone mocks me. For when I spoke, I cried out; I shouted, “Violence and plunder!” Because the word of the Lord was made to me A reproach and a derision daily. Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not. Jeremiah 20:7-9

While on a mission trip in 2011, I had a similar revelation. For years I had been sharing God’s word; either inter-personally or through writing. Nevertheless I had a similar sensation; a burning fire shut up in my bones and I was exhausted from holding it back. The revelation came when the Lord identified the cause of my weariness: I wasn’t *doing enough; I was only scratching the surface of what the Holy Spirit was moving in me to do. My tendency to hold back, whether rooted in political correctness, giving far too much credence to the counsel of tender-footed believers, or just plain-old fear, was toilsome to my soul.

God revived me and was directing me towards boldness.

And for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador…that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. Ephesians 6:19-20

How About You?

  • Is God’s word ablaze within you?
  • Is His word as much a part of your soul, as marrow is to a bone?
  • Regarding the Good News, can you not restrain your zeal to reveal?

I suspect that if you answered yes to these questions, it is a likely sign that you should teach, preach, or beseech for God’s glory. Pray about it. Seek wise counsel. Search the word of God. He will be faith to reveal the answer to you.

These articles may or may not be related:

*By Christian I mean those who are not teaching false doctrines for the purpose of leading    others away from salvation realized in Christ Jesus alone.

**By doing enough, I am not endorsing a works-towards-salvation doctrine. Jesus has finished that work.

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Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”? James 4:4-5

Our Jealous God

I watched a YouTube clip a while back that featured *Oprah explaining why it was she was disenchanted with religion in general and Christianity in particular, revealing why she has adopted a purposely broad-minded, albeit artificial concept regarding who God is and how one relates to Him. In the snippet she recalled being “Turned-off” when her (then) preacher shared from Deuteronomy 4:24 teaching,

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

A Misunderstanding of Gigantic Proportions

Oprah, I love you my dear, but you misunderstood what your pastor was saying. God is not jealous of you, He is jealous for you. God is not jealous of anyone, but for everyone. He wants the best for all of us. Let us never confuse secular envy with Godly jealousy.

The best explanation I have heard draws a parallel between a God jealous for His people and that of a dad jealous for his daughter. The dad, so jealous for his little girl and wanting only the best for her, does everything within his power to spoil a rendezvous with the worldly man who comes calling for her; a man caring only to satisfy his own selfish lust.

For whose sake does dad do these things?  His own?


He does these things for the sake of the child. In his jealousy for her, he gives his all to protect her. And this is what our Father God does for each of us. Our Lord desires to spoil satan’s murderous rendezvous, but in so doing He will not take away our freedom to choose. God opted to demonstrate His love for us  in such a manner, that when we understood the breadth and sufficiency of His sacrifice, we would know with certitude that He had our best interest @ heart and thus we would choose to choose Him over what the world offers.

Our God is So Jealous For Us…

That He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life…But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. John 3:16 + Romans 5:8

*The blog is not intended to be mean to Oprah. I get the sense that she has been deceived, much like Eve was in the Garden. While it’s true that her words, opinions, and popularity are serving to lead many astray, we must pray for her and these others. God desires that no one should perish.

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“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Peace be within you.” (Psalm 122:6-8)

With my whole heart I believe we should be praying for the peace of Jerusalem; even more so in these tumultuous times in which we all live. In case you were not aware, the nation of Israel is surrounded by twenty-two (22) hostile Arab/Islamic dictatorships that want nothing more than to eradicate the Jews from the planet. Can you even see Israel on the map?

Frankly, praying for their peace is the least we can do. But let’s be clear about one thing — when Christians are praying for the peace of Israel, we’re praying for the Messiah of Israel. More precisely, that Israel (collectively) would come to know and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

This is the only way a true and lasting peace will be achieved.

How can this be?

For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Because Jesus is the Prince of Peace! Any other kind of peace is a false and temporary peace. 

It might help us to understand if we break it down. The Hebrew word for peace is ‘shalowm’ (shalom) and in its purest form, the meaning is divine. Shalom is described by these terms: completeness, soundness, welfare, safety, prosperity, quiet, tranquility, and contentment. As we peel back the layers, let’s scrutinize each one of these words in accordance with their perfect tense.

In this sublime light, how are these qualities attained, or more accurately, who is the provider?

Let’s see…

  • In regard to completeness, who was it that declared, “It is finished“?
  • As to soundness, who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”?
  • Of welfare, who is spoken of in, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches”?
  • In respect to safety, who proclaimed, “I will never leave you nor forsake you”?
  • And health, of whom is it written, “Be attentive to my words…For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh”?
  • And when it was recorded, “It is He who gives you power to get wealth,” who provides the prosperity?
  • Concerning quietness, who promises, “You will find rest for your souls”?
  • Pertaining to tranquility, whoGave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control“?
  • And finally, as to contentment, who told us to “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”?

Did you answer Jesus Christ?

I hope so, because if you’re praying for anyone else to provide these things for Israel (or unsaved gentiles for that matter), your prayers are in vain.

If I were to offer a paraphrase of our opening Psalm, it would surely read, “Pray for the (Jesus) of Jerusalem…(Jesus) be within your walls, Prosperity within your palaces.’ For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, “Jesus be within you.” 

Jesus is the only solution for Israel and for the world. Christians know that they will see soon, but wouldn’t it be nice if they would all see now.

Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever, Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous. (Psalm 146:3-8)

  1. What is God telling us in these passages?
  2. What is our best response?

These articles may or may not relate to this blog:

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Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog


Joel C. Rosenberg

Text as prepared for delivery at the 2012 Epicenter Conference – Albuquerque, New Mexico

[Video will soon be posted at www.epicenterconference.com]

September 12, 2012

Good evening, and thank you, Skip. It is an honor to be here, and I am grateful to call you my friend. Pastor Skip Heitzig has a great love for the people of the Middle East, both Jews and Arabs. He has traveled extensively in the region and preached the Word of God in Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon. He’s also led more than 30 tours to Israel.

On behalf of The Joshua Fund board and staff, welcome to the 2012 Epicenter Conference — welcome to those of you here with us in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and to those watching this webcast from Israel and around the world. We are deeply honored that you would join us.

Over the next…

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Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

UPDATED: Signaling a new low in U.S.-Israeli relations — especially with a possible major war in the Middle East so close at hand — President Obama turned down two possibilities for a personal meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when the Israeli premier comes to the U.S. later this month. Obama aides say the President simply doesn’t have time on his schedule for Netanyahu. The President reportedly will have time to appear on “The Late Show” with David Letterman while he’s at the U.N. meetings, however. A Wall Street Journal editorial on Wednesday morning said the White House message to Israel seems to be, “You’re on your own, pal.”

In some of his strongest comments to date (comments that struck me as suggesting the Israeli leader may be so fed up with the White House that he is ready to go it alone against Iran), Netanyahu told reporters on Tuesday that because the international community refuses to set “red lines” for Iran’s…

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Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was released Saturday, Sept. 8, after a trial where he was found guilty of evangelizing Muslims. Youcef was not charged with apostasy, or leaving Islam. He was sentenced to three years, which he’s already served. Youcef is free, praise God!

The work is not over!

In a sense, Pastor Youcef became the poster child for the persecuted church. For reasons unknown, the usually quiet media picked-up Youcef’s story, shared it nationwide, and many of us learned for the first time, that Christians are truly being murdered for their faith in Jesus Christ. The truth of the matter is that thousands of Christians (some yearly estimates exceed 150,000) are murdered annually for their Christian faith.

Hundreds of thousands more are beaten, abused, banished from their communities, and/or arrested and  jailed.

What’s our response?

We Must Pray

If you are a Christian, you are a part of the body called the church. Therefore, if the church is being persecuted anywhere, you too are being persecuted. Do you understand that? Far too often we sit around lamenting how the church is suffering overseas. We utter things like, “We’ve been spared for now, but the ways things are going, it won’t be long before they start arresting and killing us.”

That’s nonsense. Oh, not the part about the time not being long before those atrocities occur in the USA (we’ve already see it happening on a smaller scale), but that we have been spared from the persecution.

If our brothers and sisters are struggling anywhere, in compassion, we suffer as well. If we’re not, then we don’t fully understand the dynamic and holistic qualities of Christ’s church. In whole, we are His bride.  As a starting point, we must pray for her.

I visited the Voice of the Martyrs website and (without their permission), copied [onto the blog] just a few of the Christians who have been arrested for their faith. Each of their names is linked back to the VOM prisoner alert page where you can learn more about these folks in particular and the persecuted church in general. There, you can also sign up for their newsletter and emails and learn how you can become prayerfully involved. Remember, God is powerful and He manifests Himself through prayer!

Just do it.

Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me (Romans 15:30)

Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.” ~ Corrie ten Boom

Nguyen Van Ly

On Feb. 19, 2007, Father Nguyen Van Ly was arrested in Hue, Vietnam for distributing material “harmful to the state.” In March, he was sentenced to eight years in prison. He has issued statements criticizing the government’s confiscation of church property, lack of seminary training and the influence of the state in church teachings and has been a powerful advocate for Christian freedom.

On March 15, 2010, Father Nguyen was released on medical parole after he suffered three debilitating strokes. He spent 16 months convalescing before the government demanded he return to complete his sentence.

Seriously ill and weak, Father Nguyen was rearrested on July 25, 2011.

Behnam Irani

Behnam Irani, a 41-year-old pastor from Karaj, Iran, was convicted of crimes against national security in January 2011 and sentenced to one year in prison. After voluntarily surrendering to authorities on May 31 to begin his sentence, he learned that he would be forced to serve five years in connection with a previous conviction.

Officers from the Ministry of Intelligence and National Security (MOIS) raided Irani’s house church on April 14, 2010, and assaulted him before taking him into custody. Although he was released on bail two months after his arrest, he later received the one-year prison sentence.

When Irani voluntarily began serving his sentence in May 2011, he was prepared to spend one year in prison. But he received a letter in October stating that he must now serve five years from his previous sentence.

Tohar Haydarov 

On March 9, 2010, a criminal court in Uzbekistan sentenced 27-year-old Tohar Haydarov to 10 years in prison for the “Illegal sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in large quantities,” according to Forum 18 News Service. Members of the Baptist church in Uzbekistan insist that the charges are fabricated and that Haydarov’s sentence was punishment for his religious activity. It is unclear why Haydarov received a 10-year sentence.

Imran Ghafur Masih

On Jan. 11, 2010, Imran Ghafur Masih was sentenced to life in prison and fined 100,000 rupees ($1,155 U.S.), according to The Voice of the Martyrs contacts. His family has appealed the decision to the Pakistan High Court and is awaiting a hearing date.

On July 1, 2009, Pakistani police arrested Imran Ghafur in Punjab province after Muslims accused him of burning pages of the Quran. While cleaning his brother’s retail shop, Imran removed the trash he had collected, intending to burn some of it. While burning the trash, pages of an Islamic book flew into the fire and burned. Imran’s neighbor, Haji Liaqat, saw the burned pages of the Islamic book and alerted other Muslims in the area. “Haji Liaqat saw the burned pages, and he aggressively told all resident people and travelers that Imran burnt the pages of a Quran also,” a VOM contact said. “He was telling everybody that Imran Ghafur is burning the Quran … he should be killed.”

Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi, a 37-year-old Pakistani woman from the village of Ittanwali, was arrested by police on Friday, June 19, 2009. Asia (also called Asia Noreen) is the wife of 50-year-old Ashiq Masih, and their family is one of only three Christian families in a village of 1,500 families…There was an intense discussion among the women about their faith. The Muslim women told Asia about Islam. Asia responded by telling them about her faith in Christ. Asia told the Muslim women Christ had died on the cross for sins, then asked them what Mohammad had done for them, according to VOM sources. She told them Jesus is alive, but Mohammad is dead. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them, “and yours is not true.”

Upon hearing this, the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia. Then some men took her and locked her in a room. They announced from the mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey. Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan.

Seventeen months after Asia’s arrest, she was convicted of violating subsection C of Pakistan’s 295 blasphemy law – blasphemy against the prophet Muhammad – and was sentenced to death.

Alimujiang Yimiti

In September 2007 Chinese government officials closed Alimujiang Yimiti’s business and accused him of using it as a cover up for “preaching Christianity among people of Uyghur ethnicity.” He was later arrested in January 2008 and accused of “subversion of the national government and endangering national security,” a crime punishable by death.

In Feb. 2011, the Higher People’s Court of Xinjiang notified Alimujiang, who is serving his sentence, that they upheld the original sentence of 15 years of imprisonment in the reconsideration.

Learn more about Voice of the Martyrs website HERE.

You you agree that Christians should be praying consistently for the persecuted church, then you should share the link to this blog or the VOM link with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, email, or other means. It really is that important.

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Then a man of God came and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,” therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ ” And they encamped opposite each other for seven days. So it was that on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand foot soldiers of the Syrians in one day. 1 Kings 20:28-29

I believe it was Billy Graham who said, ‘Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys.’

Regardless of who said it, we can see the wisdom and truth in that statement. Why then is it that so many Christians, myself included, are often guilty of jumping from one mountain-top experience to another?

Can You Blame Us?

We do it because summit life is splendid.

We serve a God who will continually take the time to minister to us in personal and incredible ways. Who in their right mind would desire to give that up?

It’s this trait that the evil King of Syria misunderstood to be upon the heart of every Israeli in his day. His remark that, ‘The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys,’ bears witness to that. To put it another way, he said, ‘Israel is strong on the mountain top, so when times get tough they will always run for the hills.’

Sad to say, but that is often the case. However, it was not true for this group of Israelites at this particular time in history. As a result of underestimating his adversary (and more accurately the God of his adversary), the king lost a great battle. The event stands today as an awesome testimony to remaining faithfully strong for God and with God in the valleys He places us.  In contrast, what a sad witness it is to be caught fleeing for the mountain top the moment a trial comes.

“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Where Do You Run?

Faithless men are fearful men. Like light and darkness, faith and fear cannot occupy the same space; one must give way to the other. The reality is that the mountain top is not a place for the terrified, nor is it a hideout. It is a refuge of replenishment for the courageous. It is the place where the faithful come to be refreshed and rejoice in the greatness of the Lord and worship Him. And while it is also true we are fed there, the mountain top inspiration and vision that Billy Graham spoke of does not bring about favorable spiritual enlargement. This type of growth comes when our faith is cultivated in difficult places. In other words, if we stay on the mountain, we will get fat — the highly desired spiritual muscle is acquired in the valley.

Remember, tt’s easy to be a monk in a monastery, but strong Christians get that way in the valley.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever. Psalm 23:4-6

  1. What is the Lord telling us in these verses?
  2. What is our proper response?
  3. Where do you tend to ‘hang-out’ the most (spiritually speaking)?

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Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! James 3:3-5 

“Four Years of Struggle against Lies, Stupidity, and Cowardice”

Do you recognize the title of this book?

There’s a good chance you don’t [because] the publisher reduced the title to simply, ‘My Struggle’. If you still don’t recognize it, perhaps the more familiar German title will ring a bell:

Mien Kampf

Mein Kampf

I only mention the book here for illustrative purposes. This autobiographical essay from Adolph Hitler, the intention of which was to put him and the Aryan culture in a positive light while simultaneously presenting a manifesto by which others should be eliminated, resulted in well over six million people being slaughtered. If the carnage were to be expressed in a ‘murder-to-word’ ratio, it would be 125 to 1.

That is, one hundred and twenty-five (125) people killed for each word Hitler wrote.

Our words, spoken or otherwise, can be lethal.

No man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:8

The Power of the Word

Everything we say or do ultimately works towards accomplishing one of two things: it either serves to build up the Kingdom of God, or serves to tear it down. The question that remains is how to know the difference. As misguided as Hitler was, we might suspect that he thought he was doing the right thing.

Clearly he was deceived.

Knowing the tongue is fueled by a heart that is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, the Apostle James sets out to provide some counsel in how we might curb the urge to blurt out or type out the first thing that enters our mind.

(Evil) wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:15-18

First, a godly word will not be aligned with worldly logic. It will not be governed by emotions — ours or somebody else’s.  It won’t find its roots in pride or selfishness, nor will it be confusing to the hearer.

A godly word will be like the Father: holy, loving, and tender. It is always true and will never contradict what God has already declared in the Bible.

It has the scent of compassion.

It will bear fruit.

In it there is no prejudice or pretense. The godly word is moving towards peace, not away from it. It yields to understanding, mercy, and righteousness. And in an ironic twist, often this word is the word not spoken.

Where there is no wood, the fire goes out… Proverbs 26:20

The Apostle Paul would add…

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice…be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:29-32

Easier Said Than Done?

No. That is not the case. Don’t buy into that lie. Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, and our Lord and Savior is not a liar.

The key to ease is submission. Know that our hearts are wicked and deceitful and know also that the Lord searches the heart and tests the mind. If we consistently allow Him access to these areas, He will identify the evil and give to every man according to his submitted ways and obedient doings. In other words, God will be faithful to change us as we die to our flesh and concede our will to His.

And if it’s not easy, you’re not doing it right.

Here’s the truth of the matter. If you are a Christian and you believe the Christian walk is hard, it’s not the spiritual you who is struggling, it’s the fleshly you who is having the hard time. That should be a wonderful revelation and a great comfort to you. God is revealing that it’s your old man who is laboring!

Die to that!

Suddenly we able to silence our corrupt tongues. Only what is gracious and edifying pours forth. We no longer cause the Holy Spirit to grieve, because that bitter old man and his wrath, anger, and evil speaking has been put away. The submitted saint finds it easy to be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving. It’s no longer a heavy burden, but the lighter load we have chosen to carry.

Does this still seem impossible?

For man it is, but not for God.

But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

  1. Do you find your Christian walk difficult?
  2. Are you submitted to God’s will?
  3. Do you daily pick up your cross?

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“And it shall be, when you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide.” Deuteronomy 26:1-2

Dust Collecting

Several years ago while attending my first Creation Festival I found myself walking by the Gospel For Asia ministry booth where they were handing out a free book called, Revolution in World Missions.” I took it (because it was free), brought it home, and placed it on a shelf where it sat, unopened, for five years.

Shame on me.

When I finally read the book the Lord opened my eyes and I was sorry that I had let the power of this book sit on a shelf, unused, for so very long. The Lord had given me a gift, and I received it, but I failed to use it. I share the story because I sense that far too many Christians receive gifts from God and allow them to collect dust.

The issue is subtlety addressed in the passage from Deuteronomy 26, in that we receive God’s inheritance (we possess it; we dwell in it), then we give (not hoard) the first-fruits as an offering back to God. But where do those fruits come from? If you said they’re from God, you’re correct, but they’re produced when we exercise and utilize the gifts of God. If we accept His gift, but do nothing with it, there is no fruit to be had.

Do not neglect the gift that is in you (1 Timothy 4:14a)

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them (Romans 12:6a)

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  (1 Peter 4:10)

God and Fruit

We know that God does not need anything from us; He already owns it all. So why all the fruit? I believe God does not want the fruit for Himself, but for us. As we obtain the blessing from God, utilize it, and endeavor to give a small portion of the yield back to Him, the result is a bountiful harvest that goes full circle bringing honor, glory, and praise to the Provider of it all!

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:8

Rotten Fruit

Funny thing about fruit; it doesn’t store very well. When we hoard it, or when we ignore it, it tends to rot. In contrast, when we use it, it tends to grow back in abundance. Ask my wife — she maintains the rose bushes around the yard. If you want a lot of flowers, pick off the buds before they bloom. The result is generally a yield three times greater than the original growth. God did that; the same design He worked into roses He worked into us.

Want More Fruit?

Give it away whenever the Lord moves in your heart to do so; or least make it accessible to anyone who desires to partake. We need not worry; our Father is faithful to replenish the harvest!  He has done it before, He is doing it today, and He will do it tomorrow.

Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)

The Psalmist reminds us that we’re not much more than a conduit for God’s gracious blessings to pass through. Tap into this marvelous deluge and it percolates up through the timber, transforming vital liquid into succulent fare.  All we need do is to position ourselves, or more precisely, allow ourselves to be divinely positioned in close proximity to this river of Living Water in order to receive the gift(s).

A Final Thought

If it seems that His blessings have abated and the fruit has dwindled, there stands the likelihood that we have moved to withdraw our roots from this incessant torrent. Know with certainty that the riverbed of the Lord never dries up. If your faith is dry it is because you have wandered away from the water source.

“But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4:14)

  1. What do the verses say about God?
  2. What do they say about us?
  3. What should be our response?

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