Enough to share

Colossians 2:6-7 (AMP) Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in [union with] Him [reflecting His character in the things you do and say—living lives that lead others away from sin], having been deeply rooted [in Him] and now being continually built up in Him and [becoming increasingly more] established in your faith, just as you were taught, and overflowing in it with gratitude.

As I was reading these verses yesterday, three things jumped out at me: (1) I need to reflect His character, when I do this I can lead others to Him; (2) Being deeply rooted in Him helps me accomplish number one; and (3) This will result in me becoming increasingly more established in my faith.

John 15:1-8 (TPT) I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest. The words I have spoken over you have already cleansed you. So you must remain in life-union with me, for I remain in life-union with you. For as a branch severed from the vine will not bear fruit, so your life will be fruitless unless you live your life intimately joined to mine. “I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in union with me as your source, fruitfulness will stream from within you—but when you live separated from me you are powerless. If a person is separated from me, he is discarded; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire to be burned. But if you live in life-union with me and if my words live powerfully within you—then you can ask whatever you desire and it will be done. When your lives bear abundant fruit, you demonstrate that you are my mature disciples who glorify my Father!

I have to be attached to the vine (Jesus). His roots run deep! Rooted there I am going to grow. When I grow I will begin to produce fruit. The amazing thing about this fruit is that the nourishment that comes from it is meant to be shared. When I share my fruit from this vine, others will want to see where it is planted and will eventually become rooted as well. This is what increases my faith. My expectation and passion will grow. I start making more Kingdom impacts. I am beginning to reflect His character.

The amazing thing about this fruit is that the nourishment that comes from it is meant to be shared.

Whenever I think of reflecting God’s character it makes me think of His glory. We are to glorify His name when we pray, when we worship and when we talk about Him in the streets. It also makes me think of Moses and how his face glowed after being in the presence of the Lord. I came across this verse, 2 Corinthians 3:13 (AMP) and we are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites would not gaze at the end of the glory which was fading away. The glow from Moses face would eventually fade. Then we go a few verse down, verses 17-18 (AMP) Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty [emancipation from bondage, true freedom]. And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit. I am no longer bound to my mistakes and my short comings. I like how it says that we are “progressively being transformed.” This year my goal is progress. Part of that progress is coming out of my comfort zone. I am an introvert by nature. I feel awkward when I have to start a conversation ( I feel like our teenagers today who do not know how to answer a phone). When I see the fruit of what my God encounters do bring, it increases my faith.

I want to lead others to a fulfilling relationship with the Father like I have. In order to do that, I need to reflect His character. I need to be attached to the vine (Jesus). Growing in God is so very rewarding. Giving nourishment to others will increase your faith. The Holy Spirit will draw those to you, but He cannot do that if we refuse to leave the comfort of our homes. This is me too. I need to get out more and I need to step into more serving opportunities (outside of my church). Fruit is meant to be shared. People need to see that it is not perfection He is after, it is progress. They need to see me mess up and depend on Him in my recovery. His glory does not fade anymore, like it did from the face of Moses, it radiates through me because I am in Christ (whose glory never fades).

I pray this encouraged you today. Wherever you are in your walk with Christ, know that we should never feel pressured to be at any faith level, just keep making progress. Keep growing. Stay rooted in Jesus, He is the vine. Take a step to give nourishment to others, it will increase your faith when you see fruit growing in their lives.

Please feel free to message me at amanda@desiringformore.org if you need prayer.

True Nourishment

Hebrews 11:1 (NKJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Jesus came so that we may have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). In order to sustain life, their needs to be a substance we sustain on.

Substance by definition means the real matter of which a person or things consists and which has a tangible, solid presence. Food is tangible and brings nourishment to our bodies. I think that is why Jesus revealed His last “I AM” statement as Him being the Bread of Life (John 6:35).

We live in a culture that craves comfort.  Thanksgiving is this week and I don’t know about you, but my family is preparing a bunch of comfort foods. They really are not that healthy for us to eat, but they taste so very good! Just like those that are in the United States of America this week will be celebrating Thanksgiving, because that is what we have always done, we have a culture of “I have been a Christian all of my life.”

If we look at that statement in this perspective of reading Mark 10:17-23 (AMP) As He was leaving on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, “Good Teacher [You who are essentially good and morally perfect], what shall I do to inherit eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?”  Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is [essentially] good [by nature] except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not testify falsely, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’”  And he replied to Him, “Teacher, I have [carefully] kept all these [commandments] since my youth.”  

I am going to take a break right here to state that just because you have lived in a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles, does not make you a Christian. This young man had heard these words all of his life. He knew them inside and out. His concern was to make sure he “made it” into the Kingdom. If we are doing things or not doing things based on wanting to go to heaven, our mindset has become all wrong. There would have been no need for Christ.

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love (high regard, compassion) for him, and He said to him, “You lack one thing: go and sell all your property and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have [abundant] treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].”  But the man was saddened at Jesus’ words, and he left grieving, because he owned much property and had many possessions [which he treasured more than his relationship with God]. Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who are wealthy [and cling to possessions and status as security] to enter the kingdom of God!”

This is a story we use to say the rich are hard to win to Christ. They have no needs and do not see the great need for Christ. What if I told you it was the comfort of our flesh that keeps us from Kingdom business. This was hard for the man because he had become dependent on the comfort. It is the discomfort that real growth happens.

Which brings me to my favorite “I AM” statement. Jesus said,“I am the Vine.”

I love this analogy. I know many of you have heard a sermon on this, have even read this verse. I am going to use a statement that Jesus used “Are you listening? Really listening?” I have come to realize that people will claim they read those chapters in their youth and therefore no longer need to go back and read them. The Word of God is a living Word, the words on the pages do not change, you do. With that life perspective it can speak to you, and reach, in a different way.

As we go through this I want you to get a hold of Jesus as the Vine and what brings nourishment to us (the branches). Remember without nourishment we cannot sustain life. We are going to go back into a slumber.

John 15:1-15 (Living Bible) I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener.  He lops off every branch that doesn’t produce. And he prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops.  He has already tended you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you.  Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.

God is still in control. He is the creator and the finisher. There are season we are going to have to go through. The pruning part is when He is the closest to us. It is also the hardest seasons of our lives. Pruning is done in the winter months. It is making room for the Son to shine on our branches. Pruning has to be done carefully for the most fruit to grow.

The vine is where our nourishment comes from. The vine’s roots are reaching deep into the earth. Searching for the water source.  Some have to reach as far as 20 feet down for this nourishment. This is why it is vital to hold tight to the vine.

Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing.  If anyone separates from me, he is thrown away like a useless branch, withers, and is gathered into a pile with all the others and burned.  But if you stay in me and obey my commands, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!  My true disciples produce bountiful harvests. This brings great glory to my Father.

This is the dark truth. We can separate ourselves from Jesus.

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love.  When you obey me you are living in my love, just as I obey my Father and live in his love.  I have told you this so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your cup of joy will overflow!  I demand that you love each other as much as I love you.  And here is how to measure it—the greatest love is shown when a person lays down his life for his friends;  and you are my friends if you obey me.  I no longer call you slaves, for a master doesn’t confide in his slaves; now you are my friends, proved by the fact that I have told you everything the Father told me.

There are many “I AM” statements in the New Testament. This one talks about the source of our nourishment, which is our everything. When we stop looking at Jesus as the one who saved us from hell, but the one who is my everything we will start to become focused. Jesus did so very much in His little time of ministry here on earth. He wants us to continue to do His work to establish the Kingdom. We cannot do it if we are malnourished. It was faith that he said the disciples were lacking when the manifestations and demonstrations did not happen for them. Yes, we have the Holy Spirit within us. The power has been given to us. Feed your faith, by abiding in the Vine.

I was not led to this Jesus life because I wanted to be saved from hell. I was led because of someone who had life within them. They had encountered someone who filled them with everything, not gave them everything as in tangible things that would perish, but was their everything. My true nourishment is Jesus.

Manifestations…am I crazy!

The past few month the desire in me has been to see the manifestations of God on earth again. You know the stuff you read about in the Bible. If Acts 1:8 says, “But I promise you this – the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power.” What power was Jesus talking about? Power like Elisha who called down lightning? Complete healing from touching the hem of a garment? How about the power of the shadow of Peter?

What is limiting us from seeing the blind, deaf and lame healed? From us walking in the wholeness that God desires for us?

The mindset of the flesh. We will not stop overthinking this salvation and born again thing. We are so caught up in Galatians 5:19-21 (TPT), The cravings of the self-life are obvious: Sexual immorality, lustful thoughts, pornography, chasing after things instead of God, manipulating others, hatred of those who get in your way, senseless arguments, resentment when others are favored, temper tantrums, angry quarrels, only thinking of yourself, being in love with your own opinions, being envious of the blessings of others, murder, uncontrolled addictions, wild parties, and all similar behavior. Haven’t I already warned you that those who use their “freedom” for these things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

We put ourselves under condemnation especially when you see your brothers and sisters in Christ walking in verses 22-23: But the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit within you is divine love in all its varied expressions: joy that overflows, peace that subdues, patience that endures, kindness in action, a life full of virtue, faith that prevails, gentleness of heart, and strength of spirit. Never set the law above these qualities, for they are meant to be limitless.

Law? Condemnation is part of the law.

When we try to measure up to the person next to us, that is putting ourselves under the law. When you think that just because you attend church, that is what showing fruit is, that is under the law.

From looking at these verses from this perspective I can see only one fruit of the spirit.

Love…the rest are attributes.

Just look at 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 (TPT) for the similarities: Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; loves does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

I have felt condemnation about not living up to what people standards of what this love looks like to them. I have even had this verse and the previous verses quoted at me for not meeting their standard of love (which by the way as Christians make us look petty and does not win the other back). So how can we do this love walk?

John 15:4-10 (TPT) Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. 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. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

If we are free from the law then what are the commandments?

Matthews 22:37-39 (TPT) Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

Galatians 6:1-5 My beloved friends, if you see a believer who is overtaken with a fault, may the one who overflows with the Spirit seek to restore him. Win him over with gentle words, which will open his heart to you and will keep you from exalting yourself over him. Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles. If you think you are too important to stoop down and help another, you are living in deception. Let everyone be devoted to fulfill the work God has given them to do with excellence, and their joy will be in doing what’s right and being themselves, and not in being affirmed by others. Every believer is ultimately responsible for his or her own conscience.

Know this about myself, this is something I am having to continually walk in.

When I read 1 Kings about Solomon and his refusal to listen to the warnings of God, I had to repent for watching a movie with my youngest that I knew we should not have watched.

When I post about teenagers, it is because I have teenagers. I have to correct and change how I do things. I do not always get this parenting thing right, but I am progressing.

Why are we not seeing the power of God move? We still have to get closer to the vine. How do we get closer to the vine? I need to get in my Word more…I need to be led by the Holy Spirit more. I need to compare myself with others less.

We cannot be afraid of judgment of those in the church when we need help to overcome what they have already overcome. I cannot hide from conviction and led it become condemnation (putting ourselves under the law). We deny we are wrong and then do not allow the Word to work fully in our lives. I have to die to myself, so that I can live free in Him! There is so much more freedom if we truly open ourselves up to what the Word wants to do in our lives.

There is so much more freedom if we truly open ourselves up to what the Word wants to do in our lives.

I believe that healing is still for today. I believe that miracles can still happen.

There is a song that I have had on repeat in my head. It is there when I fall asleep, it is there when I wake in the morning, it has been within me as I write this. It is called “This is a Move.” Click on the title if you want to give it a listen, but here are some of the lyrics:

Bodies are still being raised
Giants are still being slain
God we believe, cause yes we can see that
Wonders are still what You do.

We are here for You, come and do what You do
We are here for You, come and do what You do
We set our hearts on You, come and do what You do
Cause we need a move

Miracles happen when You move
Healing is coming in this room

Abide in Him…that is the secret. I have to continually abide in Jesus with the expectation that manifestations are a natural part of who He is. I have to allow the release of the Holy Spirit within me. There is a great move that God still wants to do on this earth. He loves to demonstrate who He is. Can you see it now (2 Kings 6:17)?