“You Will Know Them by Their Fruit”

Matt. 7:15-17 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17“So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.”

Definition of “good fruit“:  Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Good fruit
Good Fruit

Gal. 5:17-18 “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

Definition of “bad fruit”:  Gal. 5:19-21 “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Bad fruit
Bad Fruit

As you can see from the pictures, a tree that is free of fungus (sin) bears good fruit.  A tree that has fungus (sin) bears bad fruit.  When I first came to the Lord, He gave me a dream in which He showed me three trees that were full of fungus.  Due to the fungus these trees were unable to produce any fruit.  I was instructed to remove the fungus from the trees, and put them into garbage bags to be burned.  I was told that once the fungus was removed that the following year, the trees would then produce good fruit!  Thank you Lord!

I then began a process in my life through the recovery group called Celebrate Recovery.  In this process I began to recognize what my sins were, ask God for forgiveness, and not allow them back into my life.  I was in the process of removing the fungus (sin) from my life.  I did this process for about three years in Celebrate Recovery.  This was one of the best things that I ever did for myself.  Through that process I learned so much about myself, and about the Lord.  I learned how selfish and self centered I had been.  I learned how unforgiving I had been.  How full of sin I was and how much I needed Jesus.

Taking that long look in the mirror was a hard pill to swallow.  I was so ashamed of how I had treated people — and if you’re one of those people who thinks “I don’t sin” or “I have no sin” or “I treat people really good”, please really ask yourself honestly what the truth of these are.

We ALL sin and we ALL fall short of the glory of God, but Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us our sins if we confess them to Him, He says that He will then cleanse us from all unrighteousness!  That is GREAT news.  Sin is fungus in our lives.

I am a continual work in progress and I am so thankful to the Lord for His mercies that are new every day, and I am thankful for the relationship I have with Him today.


A Cause for Pause

surrenderA big pet peeve of mine is when people say, “God will not give you more than you can handle.” FALSE! Nowhere in the Bible does it say this. Believe me, I’ve looked.

When we go through trials, people want to say things to comfort you (understandable), and I’ve heard this many times “God will not give you more than you can handle.”  What has happened is that people have taken a scripture that is similar to this statement, and twisted it. The actual scripture is: 1 Cor. 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

And when people say “God must think I’m a bad(***)” because of all they are going through. No, God doesn’t think like that of us.  If we are strong, it is only because He has given us strength.

In 2 Corinthians Paul talks about his thorn in the flesh.  Three times he asked God to remove it.  Paul explains his thorn in 2 Cor. 12:7-8, and why God has not removed it:  “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But He [Jesus] said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  Paul continues “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

When we go through hard times and we make it through them, it is only because of the Lord that we have made it through them.  We can do nothing apart from Him.  John 15:5, Jesus says “I am the Vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

Be careful about taking credit for things the Lord has done.  There are several examples of that in the Bible.  One memorable one is the story of King Nebuchadnezzar in the book of Daniel, or King Herod in Acts chapter 12.  This should cause anyone to pause.

In all things, give God glory.  He is the reason for our breath.  He is the reason we are alive.  He is the reason for all that we are and do.  To God be the glory, Amen.