REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE – – Part 2…


Luke 17:32 – Remember Lot’s wife!” TLV

Today, I would like to consider some pertinent revelations regarding Jesus’ statement to ‘Remember Lot’s Wife!’  I believe it will be beneficial to consider some things about Lot’s wife and her failure.

SHE PERISHED – Although she was the wife of a righteous man.

I suggest that Lot was not all he could be or should have been, but the fact he was being offered deliverance indicates he was a righteous man.  If we read 2 Peter 2:7-8 we see that reality.  “He rescued Lot; a righteous man deeply troubled by the shameless immorality of the wicked. (For that righteous man, while living among them, was tormented in his righteous soul day after day by lawless deeds he saw and heard.) I would also note that she was a relative by marriage to Abraham the father of faith.

SHE PERISHED – Although she was warned of the danger.

Imagine her situation.  A special message and messengers from heaven had come to warn them of the impending destruction and instructed them to escape for their lives.  That is applicable for today in that we are repeatedly warned in the Scriptures to flee the wrath to come and to come out from among them and be separate. 

In John 3:16 we have the amazing promise of Jesus,For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  God, the Father, loves us so much that He has done everything short of forcing us to serve Him.  He offers us the choice to receive His grace and mercy.  We can either believe, receive, and obey or we can be like Lot’s wife and look back to destruction.

SHE PERISHED – Although she made an effort to be saved.

She heard the warning that Lot and their two daughters heard.  She partially believed it and was led outside the city by the angels.  She ran in the right direction for a while but the longing for what she had left behind became too much and she looked back.  She did not or could not ‘forget the things that were behind.’  Like Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:21, her heart was not right with God.

We need to be reminded that doing our best apart from a steadfast faith in Jesus will result in our perishing by the way.  We must continue in the faith and how we finish is far more important than how we begin.

SHE PERISHED – Although she became separated physically from the Sodomites.

Her physical body was outside the city, but it is clear that her heart was not.  Where the heart is that is where our treasure is.  What we love, we long for.  The command was ‘escape for your life and do not look back.’  Even though she may not have practiced the sins of the sodomites it seems that she was fatally in love with the world.  We are told to love not the world, nor the things that are in the world.  We must be separate in our devotion.

SHE PERISHED – Although she committed but one act of Rebellion.

I call it rebellion for we are told that obedience is better than sacrifice and that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.  This was an act of rebellion.  Her failure was unbelief.  Her failure was disobeying the command to not look back.  In Luke 9:62 our Lord said, “no man having put his hand to the plow and looking back is fit for the Kingdom of God.”  In Hebrews 10:38 we are instructed that “…the just shall live by faith, but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.”

God is offering us deliverance today.  He is offering it through the shed blood of Jesus.  We need to keep in the forefront of our minds and hearts the declaration of Matthew 6:21, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

It is one thing to say, “I am following the LORD” or “I will follow You LORD” but quite another to fully commit ourselves to Him and allow Him to be Lord of All in our lives.  Remember Lot’s wife – her love for this present world cost her eternity.  Jesus says, “Come!”

God bless you as you enter this day with a total commitment to Jesus!  

REMEMBER LOT’S WIFE…


Luke 17:32 – Remember Lot’s wife!” TLV

The title is not a question “Remember Lot’s wife? It is a warning.” I find that a most interesting statement inserted in Jesus’ discussion of the signs of the coming of the LORD and comparing it to Noah’s day.  It is one of the shortest statements of our LORD in the New Testament yet is impactful in more ways than I can fully convey in a short devotional. 

There are some very solemn reasons to ‘Remember Lot’s Wife!’  That is especially true as we draw near the return of Jesus.  Lot’s wife looked back and rendered herself unfit for the deliverance being afforded Lot’s family.  It is one of the most tragic pictures in the Bible.  Lot and his family were being led to freedom from destruction, but Lot’s wife disobeyed the directive and ‘looked back.’  Her looking back indicated a divided heart and disqualified her.

For anyone to be found unfit at the return of Jesus is a most tragic picture.  The account of Lot’s family brings to light some significant and interesting truths applicable for today.  In consideration of this verse, it is necessary to go back to the record of God’s deliverance of that family from the wickedness of Sodom.

Lot’s family and the families of today are quite similar in many respects.

  • Lot’s Family had religious orientation – They knew and believed in the Almighty God, Creator of Heaven, and Earth.
  • Lot’s Family was interested in self-betterment – Concerned with their own welfare.  I say that in light of the reason for Lot’s choice in separation from Abraham.  He chose what appeared best for him with little concern for his uncle.
  • Lot’s family had settled in and were planting their roots in that region and culture.  They had established themselves in the community.  Lot’s daughters were marrying the residents and Lot was on the City Council (so to speak).

The city of Sodom had become their home and, they had turned a blind eye to the evil and corruption going on around them.  They ignored the wickedness of the city and the abominations being committed.  They appear to have adopted the attitude of live and let live and sought acceptance by accepting the culture.

Lot’s family lived near the corruption in such a manner as to not be offensive to the inhabitants of the city.  They were not rocking the boat.  Their lives and roots had become established.  They found security and comfort in their surroundings.  Their lives were invested in the society in which they lived.  Their philosophy seemed to have been that would live quietly and not advertise their faith.

In today’s world, some have become so tied to possessions and their standing in the community, they are unable or unwilling to see the evil and destruction.  I suggest that Lot’s wife’s love for what she had indicated that her heart was in Sodom and that was more powerful than the directive to come out from among them and be separate.  It seems she longed for what she had more than she longed for the deliverance being offered. 

Therefore, the directive of Jesus is germane to us – Remember Lot’s Wife!  She looked back and lost her deliverance.  There is the danger of being so in love with what we have in this world we lose sight of what God is offering in Jesus. 

I want to go a bit deeper into this and will address some pertinent revelations regarding Lot’s wife in the next devotional.  Until then, may God be with you guarding and guiding you through your day!  

Have a Great Day in Jesus!

BUT YOU WILL…


Acts 1:6-8 – “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”  NASB

The disciples and the followers of Jesus in that day had a problem with the ‘natural restoration’ of the Kingdom of Israel.  They failed to grasp the full import of the truth that Jesus’ Kingdom was not an earthly one but a heavenly one.  They were looking to throw off the bonds of oppression from the Romans and see Israel restored as a sovereign nation once again. 

Jesus addressed this on more than one occasion and each time He would say, “It is not for you to know….”  On this occasion, He reminded them that knowing the times and seasons of what the Father had planned was not theirs to know but something important was in their immediate future and it would impact the known world.

You will receive POWER WHEN… When what?  When the Holy Spirit has come upon you.  The result of that infusion of power will be your ability to take this message of the gospel that He has given to us. We will take it to our Jerusalem, all Judea, Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.  You will Impact the World more through this than you would if I restored the nation of Israel as a sovereign earthly kingdom right now.  They did not receive that until the Day of Pentecost and the visitation of the Holy Spirit in a mighty way that truly and literally transformed their lives, and those around them, and as a result swept the world and is still sweeping it today.

Sometimes we are so involved and interested in ‘uncovering secrets’ that we fail to realize that the most important thing for any of us is to receive the infusion of the Holy Spirit’s life and power to enable us to take the message of the Cross and the Gospel to the world.  With the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we can deliver the witness of Jesus to the lost and do so with God’s Power which is able to convince, convict, and convert them.  The power that can rescue the lost from their lost-ness and translate them from the kingdom of darkness into God’s marvelous light!

So instead of trying to ‘uncover’ all the hidden secrets of the Bible.  Instead of attempting to establish dates and times for coming events.  Why not leave that in God’s hands and seek to be saturated with God’s life and power through the Holy Spirit and allow the Life of Christ to spill out onto those we come into contact with? 

Our task is to rescue the perishing, not to identify when God is going to do His next thing on His prophetic calendar.  I am not saying finding out what God is up to is bad, but it is not the most important thing to be able to predict what is coming and when.  We are ‘watchmen on the walls’ not simply ‘heralds of coming events’ to show our knowledge and skill at research and interpretation.  We are voices in the wilderness!

May God help us and be with us as we go through this day!

NOT MIND OVER MATTER BUT HAVING A SPIRITUAL MIND…


Ephesians 4:23-24 – “…that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” NASB

Romans 12:2 – “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” NASB

Sometimes when I hear teaching about the thought life, I almost feel like I am in a “meta-physics conference” and being taught “mind over matter” and other forms of “mind control.”  I have had experience with that to a degree.  In my military training, I learned to virtually block out pain so I could function for a time regardless of the injury.  After I came to Christ, I stopped practicing that technique because I considered it bordering on the “metaphysical” and did not want to align myself with anything associated with the demonic world.

Yet, it is clear from Scripture that the Bible teaches us to take control of our minds, or our thought lives and we are instructed to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  We are instructed about the importance of renewing the mind, which is largely “thinking the thoughts of God.” 

We are to replace our carnal, worldly, earthly, natural thinking with thoughts that are inspired by the heavenly realm and from the perspective of God’s Omniscience.  It is “transforming” and allows us to “guard” our thoughts, “recognize” the intrusion of things foreign to the things of God, and exercise “discernment” when things look good on the surface but hidden beneath are elements of destruction.

A renewed mind is a mind that is focused on God first and foremost.  It is completely obedient to His desire, will, and purposes.  It enables us to put on the new self in righteousness, and holiness, and walk in His truth.  It enables us to walk not in conformation to the mindset of the world but to march to a different drummer, The Holy Spirit, and walk pleasing to God in all things.  It enables us to see, know, discover, prove, and pursue the will of God and walk in a state of Peace that the world neither understands nor can provide.

Our minds are like computers and the adage “garbage in, garbage out” is completely appropriate.  If we feed our minds garbage, then we will find our lives filled with the debris of this world and cluttered with things that hinder our walk in Christ.  If we fill our minds with the things of God, we find that we are able to stand against and resist the temptations of this life and walk in harmony with His Word, Will, and Way.  We do this through prayer, the study of His Word, listening to the Holy Spirit, and actively standing against things we know and recognize to be foreign to Him, His nature, and character.

I have no interest in “mind over matter” but I am interested in having a “spiritual mind” that honors Christ and walks in obedience to His call and purpose.  May you find that as you feed your spiritual man you find your mind being renewed day by day and your thought life become clearer, your peace becomes stronger, and your understanding of spiritual things becomes greater! 

Blessings as you pursue His purposes for your life.  Have a beautiful Sunday in the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

BIBLICALLY ACCEPTABLE DEBT…


Romans 13:7-8 – “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.  8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”  NIV

Although it would be appropriate to address debt, especially in light of the massive mountain of debt that the Federal Government has burdened the American People today, or focus on personal debt.  But that is not what I want to focus on in this devotional.  Those are also matters of integrity but a subject for another time and place.

When we think of debt most of the time we think of our bills and obligations financial.  We think of the indebtedness we have incurred to lives in order to live the style of life we have chosen.  Yet, this passage speaks of other debts that are equally, if not, more important in the scope of our relationship with the Lord. 

Before, I address those let me say, “it is never right to fail to take care of those obligations to which we have committed ourselves.”  Therefore, I am not suggesting that in what I am saying.  My point in this is that there are some debts that run far deeper and that we often fail to even realize that we have those debts.  The bills rolling in every month prevent us from being able to ignore them, but the debts of which I am speaking are not always so obvious.

Let me suggest some of those debts.

Respect:       The apostle Paul addresses this as a debt to be paid.  Have you ever considered that respect could be a debt?  I did not think so!  I passionately believe that respect is earned.  Even though we may disagree with our parents we still owe them respect especially if they spent their lives attempting (with success or not) to provide for us, teach us the right paths in life, and protect us from the evils of this world. 

However, it does not have to be just parents but how about the military, police, teachers, preachers, or those who have devoted their lives to serving God and man.  One way to address the payment of that debt would be to remember them at special times and on special occasions, but how about just unexpectedly sending them a card, letter, phone call, or gift to express our appreciation for them not just what they do but for them.

Honor:           Wait, I have a debt of honor?  If there is someone in your life that has played a significant role in helping to shape and mold you, they are due honor.  The Bible teaches us to honor our fathers and mothers and in so doing we will live long lives. 

Consider those whose unwavering integrity has impacted not only your life but untold numbers of others.  Find a way to honor them to fulfill the debt of honor.  Could I suggest that you become the person that they have demonstrated and in so doing Honor Them! 

Next, the apostle with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says that there is to be no outstanding debt except the ongoing debt “to love one another.”  When you consider the debt that we have to love based on the Love of God exhibited toward us in the sacrifice of Jesus, how could we, not seek to pay this debt regularly to whomever we are able. 

It may be painful to love because we may not like what the object of our love says or does on any particular occasion.  Those words or actions may be like fingernails on a chalkboard.  Those we love may not understand why or what we have chosen for our lives.  They may rightfully point out some flaws in our thoughts or actions.  Those are not justifications for us to withhold our love.  All of us like to be affirmed.  We do not normally like to be challenged or even questioned. 

Love is a choice!  It is not an emotion!  That is not to say there will not be emotions attached to love, but in and of itself it is not an emotion it is a conscious decision on our part.  God chose to love us and because He first loved us, we can choose to love others.  We owe that debt not only to others but to God!  Obeying that directive and choosing to love will not purchase our salvation but will enhance our relationship with the Lord because it transforms our hearts.

I have had and have people now who find it difficult to love me!  In some of those cases, I know why and in others I am clueless but know it to be reality.  I may not like everything you do or even want to spend time with you, but I can choose to Love you!  Our personalities may clash and our views of what should or should not be done spiritually, naturally, economically, etc. may be diametrically opposed to each other, but I am still able to Love You! 

If you bring to remembrance an account in the Book of Acts, it might help.  The apostle Paul found himself in such a situation that his ministry team split up and went in separate directions due to a disagreement.  Did that mean they did not love each other, NO!  It meant that they recognized that they did not agree completely, and the Bible is clear that two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. 

To try to have a close relationship in that situation would only cause tension and be detrimental to those involved and those they are trying to reach.  Paul did not criticize those departing and even recommended them in his travels, but it took years for God to mellow both sides to the point that they could link up in a common effort.  Do not allow the devil to defeat you if you find yourself in that situation but also do not allow him to rob you of the benefit of Love!

May this day be the best day you have ever lived and overflow with victories.  May the rich and bountiful blessings of the Lord flow out of an open window in heaven upon you and all that you do on this day! 

I treasure you and the opportunity to share my heart with you daily!  Blessings!

CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES…


Galatians 6:7-10 – – “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” NKJV

Some years ago, I stayed up late and watched the Texas Rangers collapse in the World Series.  I do not watch professional sports anymore but when I watched that I thought of the contrast in the different styles and thoughts about the game of baseball and the lives of the two managers.  The thought came to me that one had a philosophy that the game of baseball does what it wants, and you just more or less watch it play. The other believed it was up to him to make the decisions, push the right buttons, and demand things from his players and actions have consequences.  One was right the other was wrong.

Life does not “just happen!”  It is the composite of our choices. The positives and negatives in life are always directly connected and traceable to our choices.  I realize that the above text has nothing to do with my first paragraph, but the first paragraph is what brought me to this scripture.  Isn’t it funny how God uses life events to bring remind you of spiritual truths? 

The phenomenal truth of this passage that causes many to cringe in fear but should cause us to rejoice in hope falls along these lines:

  1. God truly does “know” and “see” EVERYTHING!  (Like the Psalmist said, “If I make my bed in hell you are there or ascend to heaven you are there….”  He Never sleeps and is never caught off guard.
  2. Sowing and Reaping are a natural part of life.  (Just like farming.  The type of seed, the amount of seed, and the quality of seed put into the soil determine the harvest).
  3. If our choices are carnal choices that are focused on the carnality of the flesh, we will reap the corruption that goes with it in our bodies, and it will taint our souls and spirits.
  4. If our choices are focused on the spiritual man and the life therein, we will reap the spiritual growth and development in our body, soul, and spirit that goes with it.

Had He stopped there it would have been enough to give us a true picture of how to live life, but He did not.  He moved into the application and encouragement that follows true-life instruction.  He encouraged us to “not grow weary in our efforts” and this is a reminder of the farmer that (first he plants, then waters, then finally there is a harvest – but it is over time not necessarily Instantaneous).

If the farmer were to give up after a few days or weeks and plow up the field, he would get nothing for his initial efforts.  He then adds something that we tend to miss: “As we have opportunity, let us Do Good to all and especially those of the household of the faith.”  We are to plant seeds of kindness, generosity, love, compassion, tenderness, concern, etc.  As we plant those seeds in others, we will find that the harvest in our lives has multiplied a thousand-fold and we will have a continual supply of the provisions of life.  We can begin to embrace and enjoy the life that God not only desires to send to us, but we will enjoy the benefits of right choices. 

It did not just happen! You played a direct role in what is going on in your life through your choices and actions.  If things are bad for you right now, before you get angry at God or anyone else stops and think about the choices you have made. If things are going good do not just assume that you are somehow just fortunate or that God is favoring you without cause, think about the choices you have made. 

I am not saying that you earn God’s favor, you cannot!  I am saying that the truth of “Sowing & Reaping” is a Principle or a Law of God that is inviolable and one that He follows implicitly in our lives.  There are areas in each of our lives where we could benefit from making better, more responsible, more accountable, more righteous, and more honest choices. 

Therefore, cultivate the good choices and work to eliminate the bad choices you have been making and watch the difference in your life.  But – do not think that by making the right decision today you will instantly receive the benefit of the choice tomorrow.  It is like farming – – The harvest is produced as time passes and they are cumulative! 

May God bless you as you conclude your work week!  Have a blessed weekend in Christ!

TWO KINDS OF PEACE…


John 14:25-28 –These things I have spoken to you while being present with you.  26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.  27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I.”  NKJV

So much is embodied in that short passage of scripture!  So much comfort, hope, encouragement, direction, and information for our daily walk!  I love the Promises of our Lord that were made not only to those who were standing with him physically at that time but reaching into all successive generations and this passage is one of those incredibly powerful tidbits from the Treasure Trove of His Promises!

Notice He tells them and us that although he had been teaching and some did not remember, He reminds them that they should not worry!  Why?  Because the HELPER, the Holy Spirit, Who was coming from the Father would Teach them and bring to remembrance all that he had been teaching.  You and I have a helper, teacher, comforter, advocate, attorney, guide, and guard in the person of the Holy Spirit.  He even prays through us when we do not know how to pray!  He quickens our minds when we have forgotten important divine truths.  He is ever-present!

Then the Lord goes further and says Peace I Leave With You!  He further qualifies that by saying it is “MY PEACE” –not the world’s peace!  His peace is unshakable and never dependent upon outside circumstances or influences it is Who He Is!  We have God’s Perfect Peace when our minds are fixed upon Him.  We have God’s Unshakable Peace when we are in right relationship with Him.  We may be penniless, in pain, and facing impossible odds but because of Him we can “Live in Peace.”  That is what He gives and something the world has no concept of and is incapable of giving it.

He expands further about that Peace and calms all concerns about not only the immediate future but eternity.  Do not allow a troubled heart to rule, but remember my Promise!  Jesus reminded them that He was going away and in doing so would prepare a place for them and us.  If He goes, He promised to return!  He went and He is coming back!  The simple truth is that our eternal destiny is settled. 

We do not have to worry about a retirement plan in eternity, He has taken care of it.  We do not have to worry about a healthcare plan in eternity, He has taken care of it.  We know that is real because of Who He Is.  We can trust Him, and He backs up what He promises with the assurance of the Father!   What more could we ask?

Therefore, if you lack ask.  If you have fears, turn to Him.  If the turmoil of this life comes at you like billowing waves of a raging ocean look to Him and crawl up in His arms and Rest.  His Peace is our Peace!  His Promise is our Promise!  Thank you, Lord, for the assurance and evidence of your love, compassion, and concern for us!

May God watch over you as you go through your day!

THE OPERATIVE WORD IS – “IF” …


John 15:7 – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”  NASB

In His discourse about us being the vine and the Father the vinedresser, Jesus informed those hearing that He expected His followers to “bear fruit.” He also warned that if there was no “fruit-bearing” that branch would be taken away.  Is that austere only if you are disobedient or rebellious.  If you make Matthew 6:33 your aim, this is a good word. 

He talked about the cleansing of the vine by pruning.  That sounds painful and might require some uncomfortable introspection and self-examination or examination by the Holy Spirit.  He told those listening that they were clean already because of His Word.  That is interesting and powerful.  The Words of Jesus prune us or makes us complete and enable us to bear fruit!  He identified that there could be no fruit except that which is produced from the life of the Vine.  Therefore, since we are branches and He is the vine our fruit is the result of the life that exudes from the vine. 

In verse seven, He makes a statement that far too often is taken as a stand-alone passage but must be viewed in the context of the whole – “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask WHATEVER you wish, and it will be done for you.”  (Emphasis mine).

This door to the miraculous is conditioned not only upon the context of the whole but hinges on the small word ‘IF.’  The two facets of the “if” are – Abiding in Him, and His words abiding in us.  With the understanding and image that we draw life from the Vine and thereby produce fruit, Jesus identified that we are recipients of His Divine Life.  He makes it clear that as Living Branches, we produce fruit because we are Abiding in Him and His Words are Abiding in us!  That is the flow to us and from us. We receive of His life and as a result of that reception we produce fruit which produces seed which produces more fruit, and the cycle is endless.  In that context, we can “Ask what we wish and receive answers to our prayers.”

Unfortunately, it would seem that too often we either are not abiding in Him, and His words are not abiding in us to the level that He is our ALL-IN-ALL!  Too often we live in a relatively casual relationship rather than a totally committed life in which we “seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.”  

It is in the condition of living casually that too often we develop a mindset where we do not expect to receive whatever we pray for.  We do not expect it to come to pass.  It is deeply saddening that by not abiding in Him and His words in us, we allow a condition of heart to develop that is not conducive to the reception of His faith and the reception of His Promises. 

On the other hand, if we are abiding in Him and His words are abiding in us, His life will nudge, prod, and encourage us to rise to the level of life where we live in expectancy! We will manifest the fulfillment of His promise that “the Works that He did we will do and greater works because He has gone to the Father.”  We will exhibit in this life the life of Jesus and through the fruit of that relationship, others will be positively impacted for the Kingdom. 

The operative word is “IF.”  If we abide in Him.  If His words abide in us.  IF is the condition and the conduit through which that life brings the faith for the miraculous.  Lord help me to change the “IF” to“I DO.” 

May God be with you as you go through your day!

NOTHING BUT LEAVES…


MARK 11:12-14 –” And on the next day, when they had departed from Bethany, He became hungry. 13 And seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And He answered and said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening.”  NASB

If you read the Pilgrim’s Progress, you will recall that the interpreter took Christiana and her family into his “Significant Rooms” and showed them the wonders he had formerly exhibited to Christian, and then the story continues…

When he had done that, he took them out into his garden and had them come to a tree whose inside was all rotten and gone, and yet it grew and had leaves.  Mercy asked, “What meaneth this?”  “This tree,” said he “whose outside is fair, and whose inside is all rotten, is that to which many may be compared that is in the garden of God, but indeed will do nothing for Him; whose leaves are fair, but their heart good for nothing but to be tinder in the devil’s tinderbox.”

That was Bunyan’s way of putting into allegory what he had preached in his sermon on the ‘Barren Fig Tree.’  Several things need to be drawn out in this consideration.

God has a right to expect fruitfulness from all His creatures.  Fruitfulness is to be a normal part of the Christian life.  On one occasion Jesus told His disciples that He had ordained them so that they would not only go forth but bring forth fruit and their fruit would be of the lasting kind.  (John 15:16).

This account reveals that God expects what is appropriate to the nature and ability of the person.  God expects nothing out of harmony with the way He has made and gifted us.  God expects that each person brings forth his or her own fruit.  We must remember that it is not the vineyard that bears grapes but the vine.  It is not the orchard that bears figs, but the tree.  God expects a proportionate quantity and quality of fruit from each person.  Use the talents and gifts He has bestowed upon you, not what someone else has and does.

Consider it this way, suppose one lone fig tree was standing in a place where it got a little more sunshine and refreshing moisture and its roots run deeper into the soil drawing more nutrients.  That fig tree should produce more fruit and fruit of the richest quality.  That principle is found in a single scriptural formula – “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.”  No matter what your gift is, use it to the fullest!

We should always remember that God always looks for fruit at the proper time for fruit-bearing.  In this particular incidence, the time was not yet.  It is important to note that the figs come before leaves on this type of tree.  Therefore, it gave all the appearance of bearing fruit but had nothing but leaves.  Jesus had every reason to believe there was fruit on the tree.  If you will, the tree was a hypocrite.  It had the appearance but no substance.  By its outward appearance, it presented the image that it was fruitful, but it was barren. 

Jesus used this event to teach his followers about the peril of profession without equivalent performance and fruit.  He did not ask for fruit as soon as the tree was planted but waited until it was mature.  He respected the laws of growing and ripening.

God is mocked by professions that do not produce fruit.  Jesus came for figs but found only leaves.  He responded to hypocrisy in a manner that demonstrates how God views hypocrisy.  It is not only possible but evident that some merely profess and have an outward show but no fruit.  When fruitlessness is present the tendency is to try to hide it through meaningless professions that sound good but have no substance.

Fruit is the product of proper relationships and conditions.  For a tree to be fruitful it endures pruning, is fertilized, watered, cultivated, and bathed in sunshine.  As believers, we must endure the chastening of the LORD, and receive the fertilization, watering, cultivation, pruning, and the sunshine (Sonshine) of God’s Word, Prayer, and interaction with the Holy Spirit.  The Fruit comes from the Vine, we are simply the branches.

In the final analysis, God will give false professions their just due.  The decision will be final with no additional appeals.  We are God’s workmanship.  He has made us with His own hands and expects us to produce fruit according to the talent, gifts, training, and opportunity He has granted to us.

God does not expect us to produce fruit according to what another produces.  He expects us to bloom where we are planted and exercise the gifts and talents, He has given us.  The plans we make or boast we declare are not what God is looking at, He is looking at the fruit. 

God’s desire is commitment for obedience is better than sacrifice. God has given each of us a measure of faith and distributes gifts and talents to each of us according to His purpose for us.  Our desire and ambition should be to be useful and productive for the Kingdom of God.

God bless you as you enjoy this day!

THE DEVIL IS FULL OF PRUNES…


Matthew 7:13-14 – “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. 14 How narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” TLV

Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me.” TLV

I continue to be amazed at how some people reason.  I often find there their logic or lack thereof confusing.  Often, without examining the facts, with little to no first-hand information, and by following the advice or suggestion of the father of lies and deception they make illogical decisions.  They decide that it is too hard to live for God, so they decide not to decide for Jesus.  They also, decide that they cannot do anything significant for God, so they do not try.

Some present their arguments as to why they cannot do what God has instructed and they believe the lie of hell.  I say, balderdash!  The devil is full of prunes!  I am stunned at how easily he convinces people to reject God’s mercy and grace.  I am shocked at how often some decide that there is no reason to try to live for God.  However, they are right, in our own strength we cannot, but God never said we had to do it alone.  It is ‘Christ in us, the hope of glory.”

It is my conviction that we should never make a decision without gaining all the facts, or as many facts as possible.  Elisha said to his servant in 2 Kings 6:16 – “Fear not…for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  The apostle John declared in 1 John 4:4, “You are from God, children, and you have overcome them because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  Also, our LORD Jesus said in Matthew 19:26 – “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 

I declare that we can Live For God and do exploits for God because Christ is in us. Therefore, I declare with absolute certainty – The devil is full of prunes!  Don’t listen to him, he is a liar and the father of lies.  You are more than a match for the devil because God is with you, in you, and lives His life through you.  You are an Overcomer!

You can serve God!  You can enforce the Victory of Calvary!  I love what the apostle Paul declared to the Philippian Christians in Philippians 1:6 – “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then in 2 Timothy 1:12, he declared, “For this reason, I also am suffering these things—but I am not ashamed, for I know in whom I have trusted, and I am convinced He is able to safeguard what I have entrusted to Him until that Day.”

God is not only able, but He forgives all sin that is repented of.  He is also able to keep us and will keep us if we will set our hearts to serve Him.  We are never without comfort, guidance, and protection of the Holy Spirit. 

You can work the works Jesus did and do greater works!  Jesus affirmed that reality in John 14:12 – “Amen, amen I tell you, he who puts his trust in Me, the works that I do he will do; and greater than these he will do, because I am going to the Father.”  Mark’s Gospel expands upon that in Mark 11:22-24 and Mark 19:23 we are assured that all things are possible to those who believe.

The question should be, “believe what?”  Believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God!  Believe that the Words of Jesus are Truth and Light!  Believe that it is possible to live for God because we are living through Him!  Believe that God desires to use you and He desires to use you more than you want to be used. Believe that He is not looking for talent and ability alone, but a willing heart.  I urge you to reconsider the account of exploit through obedience as is revealed in Gideon in Judges Chapter Seven.

In that event, God used 300 men to win a victory over a Midianite army of 135,000.  Gideon began with 32,000 which is still more than four to one.  God instructed him to let those who are fearful go home and 22,000 saddled up and left.  That left Gideon with 10,000 and God said, “Still too many.”  God narrowed it down to 300 or about 450 to 1 odds!  I can only imagine the thoughts in many of those men’s heads, but God proved to be the God of the miraculous and God of His Word!

In Leviticus 26:7-8 we are told that five can chase a hundred, and a hundred can put ten thousand to flight when they are trusting in God.  In Deuteronomy, God made it even more astounding saying that one could chase a thousand and two could put ten thousand to flight.  That is the God we serve!   Based on that formula, those men with Gideon could have defeated an army of 300,000 to 1.2 million.  That is the God we serve! Jesus is still the same yesterday, today, and forever – Past, Present, and Future!

The key to this victory is found in our willingness to obey and our complete confidence in God.  The question is, “Whose report will we believe?”  The devil who is full of prunes or the Living God?  God has proved Himself throughout the ages, so let us Trust God and reject the devil.

God bless you as you embark on your day of victory in Jesus today!