Planted In The House

Psalms 92:13
“Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.”

It seems the devil and the Lord both understand the importance of the church. The Lord exhorts us regarding the need to be in fellowship, and the devil uses a wide array of tactics to keep us away. We have all heard phrases like,

“I am too busy.”

“No one was nice to me there.”

“The church is filled with hypocrites.”

I even heard the story of a man, who said, “As long as Mr. So and so is still alive I will never step foot in that place.”

It seems that we are the only ones who fail to recognize how important church attendance is. The Psalmist declares why we should be willing to endure sick children, music that might not be our first choice, crowded parking lots, awkward seasons of not knowing people very well, and even sermons that may on occasion be a bit too long. He declares, it is the one who plants himself in the house of God who will find himself flourishing in his relationship with the Lord.

The church was designed by God and purchased with the blood of His Son. He created it to be the place where His people would gather for fellowship, corporate worship and the study of His word. The reality is that all the difficulties we endure to remain a fixed part of the local church, are part of the sanctification process where God uses the circumstances of life to conform us into the image of Jesus.

Come and be planted in the house of the Lord!

Pastor Jim

 

Stream In The Desert

Isaiah 35:5-6
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 
Then the lame shall leap like a deer,
And the tongue of the dumb sing.
For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness,
And streams in the desert.”

Isaiah is speaking of something that only God can do. Even today, we face physical and natural difficulties that all of our human resources are unable to solve. Many who are bound by these things find that life is more like a barren wilderness than a running spring. Some have tried all sorts of techniques and programs only to find they are powerless to change. What we need is more of an encounter with the God, who can make lame men walk and bring water to a parched and arid land.

The question is, if God can do for us what we could never do for ourselves, how do we “tap into” His working in our lives? While I am not implying there is a formula where, if we take two steps then God will do a miracle for us. However, I do want to point out, there are investments we can make that will bring us closer to Him and to experiencing His promises fulfilled in us.

Jesus spoke to His disciples about the need to abide in Him. Theologically speaking, we abide in Christ the moment we put trust in Him, and by His own promise, we cannot be snatched out of His hand. What Jesus was teaching that while we are in Christ, through faith, it is important to stay close to Christ, through obedience to His Word. The closer we walk to the promises of God, the more we will experience His divine power at work in us. One way of looking at it is that since we are in Christ, we should seek to live abiding in Him, by being in His word and obeying it.

We will find we have an abundant, fruitful life, as we seek Him and live a life pleasing Him.

Pastor Jim

 

Fruit-Filled Life

John 15:8
“By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”


God desires that we live fruit-filled lives. When we do, He is glorified and we are blessed. A fruit-filled life is marked by the characteristics of Christ. In Galatians 5, Paul listed many of the “fruits” that God desires us to bear. These are inward qualities that are a result of being transformed by Jesus.

 

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,   self -control. Against such there is no law.”

When our lives are filled with these qualities, God is glorified, others are drawn to Him, and we are blessed. Think about it. Don’t you want to be filled with love, joy and peace? Isn’t life better when you are patient and kind? Jeremiah contrasted two lives. He spoke of the one who departs from the Lord, being like a shrub in the desert; while the one who trusts in the Lord is like a tree by the waters bringing forth fruit (Jeremiah 17:5-8). I don’t speak “tree”, but if I did, I think I would hear the trees longing to be by the water’s edge where life is better, and fruit is abundant.

The key to living a fruit-filled life is abiding in Christ. The word ‘abide’ speaks more of a condition, than an action. We abide in Christ when we believe Him and receive Him. At that moment, a miracle happens. Our sins are forgiven, we come alive to God, and we are placed in Christ; where the life of Christ begins to flow into our lives. Jesus contrasts the branches that are in Him, with the branches that do not abide. He tells us the branches that are not abiding, or not connected, are cast out, withered and burned; while the branches that are in Him, are lifted up and pruned, in order to bear more and more fruit (John 15:4-6).

As a disciple of Jesus Christ, you are attached to the life-giving vine. The more time you spend with Him, the more His life will be produced in you. Take some time today allowing the vinedresser to lift you up, that you may become more fruitful.

Pastor Jim