Produce

43 “A good tree doesn’t produce bad fruit, nor does a bad tree produce good fruit. 44 Each tree is known by its own fruit. People don’t gather figs from thorny plants, nor do they pick grapes from prickly bushes. 45 A good person produces good from the good treasury of the inner self, while an evil person produces evil from the evil treasury of the inner self. The inner self overflows with words that are spoken. (Luke 6:43-45, CEB)

You will produce what is naturally in you. Your inner self will always flow from you.

It is always interesting that those who lie have to have a great memory to remember what lies they have told to who.

Always be truthful and let the love that lives in you flow through your life.

Love People. Love God.

Which side?

22 I didn’t see a temple in the city, because its temple is the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb. 23 The city doesn’t need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because God’s glory is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day, and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. 27 Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is vile and deceitful, but only those who are registered in the Lamb’s scroll of life. 1 Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, shining like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb through the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life, which produces twelve crops of fruit, bearing its fruit each month. The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more. They won’t need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine on them, and they will rule forever and always. (Revelation 21:22—22:5, CEB)

This is a part of the vision of John from Patmos, the Revelation.

It is interesting because it says there was no temple because God already resided there, so there was not need of a house for God. And it is always open because there is no night. (So side note, do the gates have hinges and locks? Like buildings here that are open 24 hours, why do they have locks on the doors? But I digress.)

But the interesting thing to me in this text is “On each side of the river is the tree of life”. The river of life runs through the place and on each side of the river is the tree of Life. 1 tree that is on both sides of the river!

But in my feeble understanding I don’t get that, but that is what heaven is like. The unimaginable. The things we think that can’t happen, happening.

With God all things are possible.

Love People. Love God.

What matters?

11 Look at the large letters I’m making with my own handwriting! 12 Whoever wants to look good by human standards will try to get you to be circumcised, but only so they won’t be harassed for the cross of Christ. 13 Those who are circumcised don’t observe the Law themselves, but they want you to be circumcised, so they can boast about your physical body. 14 But as for me, God forbid that I should boast about anything except for the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through him, and I have been crucified to the world. 15 Being circumcised or not being circumcised doesn’t mean anything. What matters is a new creation. 16 May peace and mercy be on whoever follows this rule and on God’s Israel. 17 From now on, no one should bother me because I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. 18 Brothers and sisters, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. (Galatians 6:11-18, CEB)

Being circumcised or not being circumcised doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t matter what your body looks like. The outward appearance of who you are doesn’t show what really matters, and that is the place and shape of your heart.

We can modify our bodies but that doesn’t modify our actions.

I remember when I got my ear pierced for the first time and my mom was so upset, but my brother told her that I was still the same person she raised, I just had an earring. It didn’t change who I was, only how I looked.

It doesn’t matter if you look the part, are you a changed person?

Some of the people I know who follow Jesus closest, would scare people by their tattoos and piercings, but they are doing what God has called us to do, more than someone who sits in a pew and pretends to be a follower of Christ.

Let you life show who you are.

Love People. Love God.

How?

26 Then Jesus said, “This is what God’s kingdom is like. It’s as though someone scatters seed on the ground, 27 then sleeps and wakes night and day. The seed sprouts and grows, but the farmer doesn’t know how. 28 The earth produces crops all by itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full head of grain. 29 Whenever the crop is ready, the farmer goes out to cut the grain because it’s harvesttime.” 30 He continued, “What’s a good image for God’s kingdom? What parable can I use to explain it? 31 Consider a mustard seed. When scattered on the ground, it’s the smallest of all the seeds on the earth; 32 but when it’s planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all vegetable plants. It produces such large branches that the birds in the sky are able to nest in its shade.” 33 With many such parables he continued to give them the word, as much as they were able to hear. 34 He spoke to them only in parables, then explained everything to his disciples when he was alone with them. (Mark 4:26-34, CEB)

How does a seed grow?

you plant it, water it, and make sure weeds don’t kill it. Then it grows and becomes whatever the seed is supposed to be. Now we know that the seed splits open and sprouts and grows when the right nutrients and conditions are there.

But really do we know how this happens?

Jesus never spoke clearly, but explained everything to the disciples, who still seemed to not get it.

So know if you don’t get it, you are in good company.

But even without understanding, we can show the love God has for each of us and all of the world. Share love every where you go.

Love People. Love God.

Understand?!?!

Jesus began to teach beside the lake again. Such a large crowd gathered that he climbed into a boat there on the lake. He sat in the boat while the whole crowd was nearby on the shore. He said many things to them in parables. While teaching them, he said, “Listen to this! A farmer went out to scatter seed. As he was scattering seed, some fell on the path; and the birds came and ate it. Other seed fell on rocky ground where the soil was shallow. They sprouted immediately because the soil wasn’t deep. When the sun came up, it scorched the plants; and they dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorny plants. The thorny plants grew and choked the seeds, and they produced nothing. Other seed fell into good soil and bore fruit. Upon growing and increasing, the seed produced in one case a yield of thirty to one, in another case a yield of sixty to one, and in another case a yield of one hundred to one.” He said, “Whoever has ears to listen should pay attention!” 10 When they were alone, the people around Jesus, along with the Twelve, asked him about the parables. 11 He said to them, “The secret of God’s kingdom has been given to you, but to those who are outside everything comes in parables. 12 This is so that they can look and see but have no insight, and they can hear but not understand. Otherwise, they might turn their lives around and be forgiven. 13 “Don’t you understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables? 14 The farmer scatters the word. 15 This is the meaning of the seed that fell on the path: When the word is scattered and people hear it, right away Satan comes and steals the word that was planted in them. 16 Here’s the meaning of the seed that fell on rocky ground: When people hear the word, they immediately receive it joyfully. 17 Because they have no roots, they last for only a little while. When they experience distress or abuse because of the word, they immediately fall away. 18 Others are like the seed scattered among the thorny plants. These are the ones who have heard the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the false appeal of wealth, and the desire for more things break in and choke the word, and it bears no fruit. 20 The seed scattered on good soil are those who hear the word and embrace it. They bear fruit, in one case a yield of thirty to one, in another case sixty to one, and in another case one hundred to one.” (Mark 4:1-20, CEB)

“Don’t you understand this parable? Then how will you understand all the parables?”

If you didn’t have the explanation, would you understand the parable?

I think sometimes we give the disciples too much grief over not getting it. I mean, yes they did walk with Jesus and live with him and see everything he did, but they still didn’t get it. And I bet had I been one of them I would have been just as dense. Jesus spoke in parables so people wouldn’t understand and some would. But we get the author to explain them to us, so I wonder if we would have gotten it.

How do we really understand if it is in code and we don’t have the decoding ring?

Where do I need to go to buy the cracker jacks to get my decoder? Or is there one included that I just don’t know about?

Maybe the Spirit moves in and through us to help us understand what Jesus is saying and how God is moving in our lives.

Yes living in faith is confusing and filled with unknowns, but the one thing we do know is that God is always with us. God will never leave us nor forsake us.

God’s love will always be with us, even when we don’t understand.

So go into the world and share the love you have been given.

Love People. Love God.

by faith…

By faith Abel offered a better sacrifice to God than Cain, which showed that he was righteous, since God gave approval to him for his gift. Though he died, he’s still speaking through faith. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he didn’t see death, and he wasn’t found because God took him up. He was given approval for having pleased God before he was taken up. It’s impossible to please God without faith because the one who draws near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards people who try to find him. By faith Noah responded with godly fear when he was warned about events he hadn’t seen yet. He built an ark to deliver his household. With his faith, he criticized the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes from faith. (Hebrews 11:4-7, CEB)

By faith…

How do you live?

As I read this passage of scripture I thought of the song Hold it up to the Light by David Wilcox. You can watch a video of this song below.

One of the verses of this song I love is:
God will you bless this decision.
Cause I’m so scared, is my life at stake?
But now I see, if you gave me a vision
I would never have reason to use my faith.

Faith is when we believe that no matter what, God is with us, because God’s word tells us God will be. Faith is trust in those things we have not seen. Faith is taking the first step when you don’t know the step is there.

Faith is what grounds us in God.

Live in faith. And know the promises are true.

Love People. Love God.

God’s grace

God didn’t put the world that is coming (the world we are talking about) under the angels’ control. Instead, someone declared somewhere, What is humanity that you think about them? Or what are the human beings that you care about them? For a while you made them lower than angels. You crowned the human beings with glory and honor. You put everything under their control. When he puts everything under their control, he doesn’t leave anything out of control. But right now, we don’t see everything under their control yet. However, we do see the one who was made lower in order than the angels for a little while—it’s Jesus! He’s the one who is now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of his death. He suffered death so that he could taste death for everyone through God’s grace. (Hebrews 2:5-9, CEB)

Jesus was made lower than the angels for a little while.

This was so he could taste death for all of us. Jesus died so we would obtain eternal life. Not sometime in the future but now. Jesus did this for all of us.

God’s grace flows through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Love People. Love God.

Practice

14 Jesus was throwing out a demon that causes muteness. When the demon was gone, the man who couldn’t speak began to talk. The crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He throws out demons with the authority of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons.” 16 Others were testing him, seeking a sign from heaven. 17 Because Jesus knew what they were thinking, he said to them, “Every kingdom involved in civil war becomes a wasteland, and a house torn apart by divisions will collapse. 18 If Satan is at war with himself, how will his kingdom endure? I ask this because you say that I throw out demons by the authority of Beelzebul. 19 If I throw out demons by the authority of Beelzebul, then by whose authority do your followers throw them out? Therefore, they will be your judges. 20 But if I throw out demons by the power of God, then God’s kingdom has already overtaken you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his possessions are secure. 22 But as soon as a stronger one attacks and overpowers him, the stronger one takes away the armor he had trusted and divides the stolen goods. 23 “Whoever isn’t with me is against me, and whoever doesn’t gather with me, scatters. 24 When an unclean spirit leaves a person, it wanders through dry places looking for a place to rest. But it doesn’t find any. Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house cleaned up and decorated. 26 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself. They go in and make their home there. That person is worse off at the end than at the beginning.” 27 While Jesus was saying these things, a certain woman in the crowd spoke up: “Happy is the mother who gave birth to you and who nursed you.” 28 But he said, “Happy rather are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.” (Luke 11:14-28, CEB)

Can a house divided stand?

Satan can not be against Satan. Evil can not cast out evil. Only good can.

You want to make God happy?

Then follow that God says. Hear the word of the Lord and do what it says.

Love God, Love neighbor. Love as God loves you.

Hear God’s word and put it into practice!

Love People. Love God.

Fiery lake…

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog. He will gather them for battle. Their number is like the sand of the sea. They came up across the whole earth and surrounded the saints’ camp, the city that God loves. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. 10 Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet also were. There painful suffering will be inflicted upon them day and night, forever and always. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and the one who is seated on it. Before his face both earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and scrolls were opened. Another scroll was opened too; this is the scroll of life. And the dead were judged on the basis of what was written in the scrolls about what they had done. 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and the Grave gave up the dead that were in them, and people were judged by what they had done. 14 Then Death and the Grave were thrown into the fiery lake. This, the fiery lake, is the second death. 15 Then anyone whose name wasn’t found written in the scroll of life was thrown into the fiery lake. (Revelation 20:7-15, CEB)

anyone whose name was not found written in the scroll of life was thrown into the fiery lake, which is the second death.

This is after Gog and Magog are deceived and Satan has gathered those for battle.

But the thing we need is our name on the scroll of life.

Is your name there?

How can you make sure it is?

Love people as God loves you. And help them know God loves them.

Love People. Love God.

vision

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a huge chain. He seized the dragon, the old snake, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the abyss, then locked and sealed it over him. This was to keep him from continuing to deceive the nations until the thousand years were over. After this he must be released for a little while. Then I saw thrones, and people took their seats on them, and judgment was given in their favor. They were the ones who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and God’s word, and those who hadn’t worshipped the beast or its image, who hadn’t received the mark on their forehead or hand. They came to life and ruled with Christ for one thousand years. The rest of the dead didn’t come to life until the thousand years were over. This is the first resurrection. Favored and holy are those who have a share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and will rule with him for one thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-6, CEB)

Visions are always interesting to see what they mean…

Satan was seized and locked in the abyss for 1000 years. And those who were martyred for Jesus took seats on thrones and ruled with Jesus.

And this was the first resurrection. And second death has no power over them. Second death, not physical death but separation from God. Physical death is just a step, but the second death is something we want to avoid at all costs.

Love as you were loved, and help everyone see the love they also have from God.

Love People. Love God.