VIDEO Walk Versus Talk

For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Luke 6:43

There is a long list of modern metaphors and sayings that have their origin in the Bible. One of the most widely known is the picture of a wolf disguising itself as a sheep: a wolf in sheep’s clothing. That image comes from Jesus (not from the fables of the Greek Aesop), meaning you can’t judge people by how they appear but rather by the evidence of their life.

In the same sermon, Jesus paralleled that image with another—the kind of fruit a tree bears: “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:16). He went on to expound that grapes don’t come from thorn bushes or figs from thistles. Only “good” trees bear “good” fruit, and “bad” trees bear “bad” fruit. These weren’t lessons on raising sheep or harvesting fruit, they were lessons about people. The works or fruit or actions of a person ultimately will reveal who he or she truly is. As Paul would later put it, these are the works of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-26).

These ancient metaphors are directly relevant for us. If our walk does not match our talk, we will eventually be found out by the type of fruit we produce for the Lord.

Fruit is evidence of the root.  John Blanchard

Luke 6:37-45 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

Unbreakable Faith

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

After doctors diagnosed their first-born son with autism, Diane Dokko Kim and her husband grieved facing a lifetime of caring for a cognitively disabled child. In her book Unbroken Faith, she admits to struggling with adjusting their dreams and expectations for their beloved son’s future. Yet through this painful process, they learned that God can handle their anger, doubts, and fears. Now, with their son reaching adulthood, Diane uses her experiences to encourage parents of children with special needs. She tells others about God’s unbreakable promises, limitless power, and loving faithfulness. She assures people that He gives us permission to grieve when we experience the death of a dream, an expectation, a way or a season of life.

In Isaiah 26, the prophet declares that God’s people can trust in the Lord forever, “for the Lord . . . is the Rock eternal” (v. 4). He’s able to sustain us with supernatural peace in every situation (v. 12). Focusing on His unchanging character and crying out to Him during troublesome times revitalizes our hope (v. 15).

When we face any loss, disappointment, or difficult circumstance, God invites us to be honest with Him. He can handle our ever-changing emotions and our questions. He remains with us and refreshes our spirits with enduring hope. Even when we feel like our lives are falling apart, God can make our faith unbreakable.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

Have you ever struggled with being honest with God when life feels overwhelming? How has God helped you deal with the death of a dream or expectation?

Loving God, please help me believe You can always be trusted with my honest emotions.

Living Amidst False Teachers

Jude 1:17-19

Unsound teaching can be a danger in our Christian walk. Let’s learn to spot those who might lead us in the wrong direction. False teachers usually …

• Mock truth. That is, they attack or attempt to discredit the Word of God or the church. When presented in a passionate and intelligent-sounding way, anti-church sentiment can lure even the most sincere people to doubt the truth of Scripture.

• Follow unrighteous impulses. False teachers pick and choose verses to justify their sinful habits and desires. For them, the interpretation of Scripture is selective.

• Divide people. They try to appear superior to their listeners. Some claim an experience that elevates them to a “higher level,” while others profess a more advanced spirituality that no one else could ever achieve.

• Are worldly-minded. False teachers are not interested in teaching God’s Word. Instead, their focus is usually on what they can achieve, how many people will follow them, or how much they can earn through their teaching.

Spirit-led teachers recognize that humility and unity with their students is key (Phil. 2:1-4). Let’s pray for discernment to distinguish true teachers from misguided ones—and for only godly instruction to influence the church (Phil. 1:9-10).

The Blindness of Israel

“What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded.” (Romans 11:7)

One of the saddest aspects of our world is the blindness of Israel. Even the Orthodox Jews, who strongly affirm their belief in the Old Testament Scriptures, seem unable to see what the Scriptures clearly show, that their Messiah has come and gone. In the first book of the Torah, we read: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be” (Genesis 49:10). Ancient Jewish commentators agreed that Shiloh was another name for Messiah, but this very fact should prove to modern Jewish expositors that Messiah has already come, for the scepter (the symbol of national leadership) did depart from Judah, very soon after Jesus was crucified.

King David was the first descendant of Judah to attain the scepter of leadership among the tribes of Israel, and the divine promises were clear that Messiah would be in David’s lineage. That Jesus’ legal father, Joseph, and human mother, Mary, were both in that lineage was shown in the genealogies of Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38, respectively, both of which were written when the genealogical records in the Temple were still intact. No one at that time ever questioned their validity, in spite of intense opposition by the Jews to the claims of Jesus and His disciples that He was the Messiah. In 70 AD, the records and the Temple were destroyed so that no later claimant to the title could ever prove his right to the throne. Messiah had come, and was slain, so the scepter departed from Judah until He comes again. It is certain that Jesus was, indeed, the Jews’ promised Messiah, and we should pray that God will soon open their eyes to see and believe. HMM

Stay In The Secret Place

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. —Psalm 5:3

Retire from the world each day to some private spot, even if it be only the bedroom (for a while I retreated to the furnace room for want of a better place). Stay in the secret place till the surrounding noises begin to fade out of your heart and a sense of God’s presence envelops you. Deliberately tune out the unpleasant sounds and come out of your closet determined not to hear them. Listen for the inward Voice till you learn to recognize it. Stop trying to compete with others. Give yourself to God, and then be what and who you are without regard to what others think. Reduce your interests to a few. Don’t try to know what will be of no service to you. Avoid the digest type of mind—short bits of unrelated facts, cute stories and bright sayings. Learn to pray inwardly every moment. After a while you can do this even while you work. Practice candor, childlike honesty, humility. Pray for a single eye. Read less, but read more of what is important to your inner life. Call home your roving thoughts. Gaze on Christ with the eyes of your soul. Practice spiritual concentration.   OGM128-129

Lord, direct me today to those things that would most enhance my walk with You, and enable me to serve You better. Amen.

Practice the Presence

I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. —Psalm 16:8

The scriptural way to see things is to set the Lord always before us, put Christ in the center of our vision, and if Satan is lurking around he will appear on the margin only and be seen as but a shadow on the edge of the brightness. It is always wrong to reverse this—to set Satan in the focus of our vision and push God out to the margin. Nothing but tragedy can come of such inversion.

The best way to keep the enemy out is to keep Christ in. The sheep need not be terrified by the wolf; they have but to stay close to the shepherd….

The instructed Christian…will practice the presence of God and never allow himself to become devil-conscious. BAM043

Brother Lawrence…wouldn’t pick up a straw from the ground but for the love of God. When he was dying…[h]e said, “…When I die I won’t change my occupation. I have just been worshiping God for 40 years on earth, and when I get to heaven I’ll just keep right on doing what I am doing.” COU116

Prayer of Dedication

Philippians 3:10

Lord, I pray that I may know Thee,

Risen One, enthroned on high;

Empty hands I’m stretching to Thee,

Show Thyself to me, I cry.

Show Thyself to me, show Thyself to me,

That I may reveal Thy beauty;

Show Thyself to me.

All that once I thought most worthy,

All of which I once did boast,

In Thy light seems poor and passing,

’tis Thyself I covet most.

Give Thyself to me, give Thyself to me,

That I may show forth Thy power;

Give Thyself to me.

Only as I truly know Thee

Can I make Thee truly known;

Only bring the power to others

Which in my own life is shown.

Show Thy power in me, show Thy power in me,

That I may be used for others;

Show Thy power in me.

Ruth Tracy, The Salvation Army Song Book