Good Fruit

For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:43-45

If my mouth is praising You in all things and if my actions are full of mercy and love for everyone around me, my fruit is good!  It is abundant and full! It is reassurance, dearest Jesus, that the abundance of my heart is your love and mercy. I don’t need to worry about what people think of me, or even what others expect of me.  All I need to do is focus on You, Your Word in my heart, and the offerings of Your love and mercy that flow through me. I know I’m not going to get it right all the time. But I see You working, God. I see Your hand gently guiding me and faithfully teaching me to “bend the bow of bronze”.

He trains my hands for war,
   so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
 Psalm 18:34

I found myself praying this morning very deeply for someone who had hurt me.  Lord, I know that’s nothing new for You, but I know I don’t do it enough. My logic and understanding of your Word tell me to forgive and show mercy to those who hurt me, but in the moment, I’m often so hurt that I spend all of my energy focused on just speaking love and speaking from the abundance of my heart.  But prayer needs to be the further fruit of those words. Thank you for reminding me of that this morning.

Lord, help me to be more focused on You so that I continue to produce good fruit.  Let every thought be held captive by Your love, Your grace, Your Spirit.  That is where my treasure is. That is where my story leads. That is all my heart desires.  Let me honor You and serve You in all things. It may look strange to the World. It may even look strange to Your children.  But I know that Your Spirit will use me. Your Spirit will guide me. And Your Power will seap out of me to the world around me, without me even saying a word.  That’s just who You are. And You are in me so I can be confident in that.

And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all.
Luke 6:19

Use me God.  Though I am a woman of unclean lips, You have made me clean and Your power is made perfect in my weakness.

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His Promises are True

Romans 8:31-39 (NLT)

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Father, thank you for the gift of life you have given us.  Thank you that the promises you gave to Abraham remain and that I am a part of your family and part of the inheritance that you promised mankind from the beginning.  You made us to be your friends, to be your children, to walk with you and commune with you.  It was always your plan to protect us, to love us, and to be in union with us.  I’m sorry that I haven’t always believed that.  I’m sorry for the lies of the enemy that I have allowed to take root in my heart.  Lord, I am so grateful that you forgive me regardless of my failings.  Thank you that your promise to Abraham is still true today, and that your promise will continue for eternity.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus.

Lord, as I read through the end of Genesis (Genesis 42-50) and watched again how you continued to bless Joseph through many trials and great suffering, I am comforted.  You really do work all things for good for those who love you.  And through the suffering and condemnation and betrayal of the one man, Joseph, you saved a whole family, as well as saving the promise you gave to Abraham.  That’s what you do, God.  You save.  Through Joseph you proclaim what you would do for all people through Jesus.  Though we sin against you, though we were your enemies, you gave Jesus to die for us.  He suffered so we wouldn’t have to.  Just like Joseph suffered.  His brothers were guilty, but Joseph trusted you, even when it hurt.

I want to trust you more, Jesus.  I want to trust you when it hurts.  I want to know and feel the truth of your promises everyday and every moment.  With every breath, Lord, let me breathe in your truth, your love, and your salvation, so that I can stand strong against the schemes of the enemy.  I am yours God.  I am yours through the fire and trial of this sinful world.  Please use me to save others by living a life that would recognize the fully glorified risen Christ that is alive and active within me.  Salvation is by you alone.  Shine through me, Jesus!  Shine your light and love through every pore of my body that your people, chosen from the beginning through Adam, can be reconciled to you, just as Jacob’s sons were reconciled to you through Joseph.

Like Joseph, let me always point to your promise.  Let me always recognize your power at work in me!  I don’t want to ever give myself credit for the power that you have provided.  Without you, I’d miss out on all that you planned from the beginning for me.  I don’t want to miss any of that, God.  I want to shine.

So, by the name of the Lord Jesus, by his power, and by his might I proclaim the truth of the living Christ over me and any who would believe it and accept it:  That Jesus came as a man; that he lived a perfect life even made “a little lower than the angels”; that he suffered and died the death every sinner deserves though he never deserved it; that he rose from the dead as proof of his promise to me that he is God and that he has power over sin and death; that his restored life is a promise of restored life in me; and finally that he placed his Spirit in me as a sealed promise reminder that my life is his, with all the benefits that such a thing provides.  What the enemy intends to harm me, God will use for good.  

The battle is won.  The victory of Christ is secured!  I am dead now to sin because of Jesus’ defeat of all sin on the cross of calvary.  And my life is new, made new by the surety of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  He proved his power.  He proved his victory.  I will hold onto that victory and draw my peace from that promise.  That promise sealed by God himself.  I am his and he is mine.  We are inseparable.  

Lord, show the world the unending and relentless love of Christ through me!  Amen.