With joy, remain in Jesus by loving others just as he has loved us, to the Father’s glory may we bear much fruit!

John 15
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.





After the sin in the Garden, God made clothes for Adam and Eve, made of skins. It doesn’t go into detail regarding the animal used to make the skins. I heard one guy share his guess, that it may have been the skin of a lamb. That would make sense. I too have walked with guilt and shame, but have since been clothed in Christ, the perfect Lamb of God.

God is so good and I am thankful for Jesus.

Galations 3:27
for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Romans 13:14
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

Romans 8:1
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,



I had this dream. We were all working in this trailer and it was just another day. Coworkers were talking about general things and the new guy was talking about things he’d buy, how much he’d drink, calculating his take home pay out loud for all of us to hear, just odd things were being said. Then someone came in the door and said, “hey guys do you see whats going on? Somethings going on with the forecast”. We went outside, it was about 11:00, and the sun was still sitting on the horizon, it hadn’t come up. I found it odd he used the word “forecast”. The sun kind of looked the way it looks when a thin cloud covers it, to where you can kind of look at it without hurting your eyes. It was just an eerie feeling that sank in as I heard a faint siren in the background. My boss and another guy walked off as the new guy and I stood looking from the front. I quickly started going into sharing the gospel and repentance with this guy, pointing at the sun and talking to him about at the end the stars are going to fall away. Do you believe?, I ask. It was crucial to me that he’d receive what I was telling him, and it looked as though he was. I felt the need to get back home to my family. My keys were inside so I went to open the front door of the office to go get them, but it was locked, I couldn’t get in. I wake up.


I can’t help but to wonder how close we are to that last day…Nobody knows… Matthew 24:36 puts it this way…”But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

All we can say is we are closer to that day than we were yesterday. And for many today is their last day. That last day could be very soon.

On that last day, who would be on your heart?

At this moment, that door isn’t locked. The door is open.



I remember in art class I was forming a clay cup with my hands. About half way through it jumped back about 6 inches, looked up at me and said, “are you sure you know what you are doing? I think I should stay looking like this”. I replied, “no, I’m not finished…you don’t even have a handle and your top is uneven…trust me.” But the half finished clay coffee cup said, “nahhh, im good” and journeyed off the table. I still love my coffee cup, even though it’s not quite finished…

Just kidding. Actually, after thinking about it, I did finish that coffee cup, and I’m glad to know it never lost faith in me – and it’s awesome! Last time I checked it was on display at my mom’s house. 😀

Lord, I am yours to form and to mold. As long as I am breathing, I know you are doing a work in me. May I never get in the way of that, and always trust you.

Isaiah 64:8
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.


In anything we do for another, may our love for God, and his love which lives in us, be the driving force behind our actions. May the love we give always be genuine (his love) – for fellow believers both young and old in the faith, and for those who have yet to believe; so they may come to Jesus when they experience the love of He who lives in you.

And He will be with you always to the very end of the age.

Colossians 3:17
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Colossians 1:27
To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.



Imagine you go into a small village full of sick children. You have a backpack full of sunflower seeds. These are not just any seeds. These seeds put an end to a specific deadly disease that has wreaked havoc throughout this entire village. One seed is enough to redirect each kid’s immune system so that they may never be sick with this disease again. You personally were infected with this disease long ago, but you are now well and completely immune.

On the way into the village, a local guide tells you how people who look just like you have visited this village before and abused many of the locals in many evil ways. So he warns you, “be prepared, the response will vary, some of these people are very hurt and very ill.

Would you, with love for these children, still choose to continue into the village and unzip that backpack?


 

Because God the Father loves us so much he sent us the cure for our condition, Jesus, who loves us just as the Father loves him. He went to the cross not only so we can be forgiven of our many sins, but so we never have to live sick with sin again. So to the Believer, I ask, do you remember what it was like to live without Jesus? Consider the darker days prior to living for Christ, when you were furthest from living a life with Jesus. I know for me I had some very dark and dismal moments. But now I am free. We are free!

Someone in our path this week, this day, is living in that place of sickness without Jesus, and Jesus is the answer. Jesus provides an unlimited supply of seeds if you will. There are too many sick “children” who are living without their Father and don’t know Jesus – the one who gives those who believe the right to become children of God.

Sharing the Love of the Lord doesn’t cost a thing, it can always be given away for free. Give it away for God, give it away like Jesus. Give it away with a sincere heart just as you would in that poor sick village scenario, share the cure. The village is right here. Unzip that backpack, there are unlimited seeds to be planted. Love God, love others. Because there is no disease worse than an eternity without God.

Believe, plant those seeds, and let God do his gardening.


15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”



The pattern:

I let go,
God moves,
I get distracted,
I take over,
I let go,
God moves….

It’s time to break the pattern and keep it broken,
because without him I myself am so broken.

God, I am yours. You, God, are too big for my comfort boundaries. Comfort boundaries gotta go. His love is more important than my comfort.



John 1:12 (NIV)
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

Though one act of disobedience brought sin into the world, God, through his one and only son Jesus, brought salvation to the World to all those who believe. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. We who believe receive him as our Lord and Savior, as the one and only son of God who brings us into a right relationship with the Father. What kind of relationship? A loving family relationship. We are now as the verse says – Children of God.

If you believe in Jesus, how much do you believe in his very word, the Bible, and particularly this verse? Do you truly see yourself and acknowledge you are God’s Child?

Today I want to put this into a perspective and think about it for awhile. These are some questions I am now asking myself, and I’ll ask you.

First, I think about a child with a loving parent?

How does the child approach them?

If the parent revealed they were God and had the unlimited power to move mountains, what would the child talk about with them?

In love for others, what selfless things would the child ask for?

How would the child move about their day if he or she was always consistently walking with them?

Would the child have any reason to fear at all?

If you are a Child of God, are you living in this truth?

Regardless of how you answer that last question, the truth remains truth, if you believed and have received – you are now indeed a Child of an AMAZING GOD! And God, your Heavenly Father, loves you!




I just want to be living and growing in this truth, right here, right now…

To God be the glory forever and ever amen.

1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

1 Corinthians 14:1 Let love be your highest goal!…


I came across this video and loved the message I received from it. Why? Why do I follow Jesus? Why do I do what I do? What is my Why? Better yet, who is my why?

First off, we all believe in something or someone, I believe in God the Father who is a good good Father, and Jesus who he sent into the world not to condemn the world but to save it. Jesus suffered the penalty that was not his own, it was my sin. He suffered on the cross, he suffered even before the cross, he suffered for me. All my sin wiped clean, from the sins I’ve committed in the past to the ones I have yet to commit. Once scarlet red, now white as snow – I’m forgiven.

He doesn’t stop with his endless undeserved love and forgiveness, his grace. He continues to pour out his love and his goodness into my life and the lives of so many – even those who don’t even know him… I see an orphan find a loving home – I see Jesus. I see the poor receive a free meal – I see Jesus. I see someone go the distance, putting their lives at risk for others – Jesus. Everything good and holy and perfect that I have the privilege of seeing in this world comes from the one I put my faith in, the one I get to serve. His name is Jesus!

So I take up my cross in love – because he first loved me. My loving Heavenly Father and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is my “why” and I must always keep my eyes on him.

God is good all the time, and all the time….


Giving to those in need is truly a great opportunity to follow the greatest commandments – to love God and to love your neighbor. Helping someone who is navigating through a difficult season should be high on our priority list as a follower of Jesus. Jesus had and still does have such a heart for the poor and lost.

Imagine your family took a trip abroad. And on your trip your child was lost for days to fend for themselves on the streets of this foreign place. How much would it mean to you for someone to be kind and loving to your child? How much would it mean to you for someone to go out of their way to feed and clothe your child? Really consider, how much would that mean to you.

What if your child was taken by the enemy into a dark place. How much would it mean to you for someone to risk their life for the welfare of your child? Would it not feel like they were doing a great service for both you and your child?

Not too far away from where you sit this moment, you will find those he loves, some of his children, hurting from the effects of the weather, depressed, perhaps drunk or on drugs, living with no hope – and our prisons are full. Is it possible if your child was lost in a foreign country – they may too come face to face with one or more of these things? Is it possible they may eventually make a bad decision and find themselves in prison?

What would you say to that person who had the opportunity to help your child but didn’t – how about the one that did?

Here’s what Jesus said in Matthew 25:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Be encouraged not discouraged! God loves you and through his Word he is calling you to act. You don’t have to wait for some special feeling to follow God in a greater way. Just look to his word, consider the above, he has much in store for us to do! And he’s with us to the end of the age!

If your child was lost and you had the opportunity to hug the person who fed and loved your child, how much more will God hug you. Feeling the Lords presence and joy can be overwhelming when you step out in faith for those he loves (and that’s everyone). And the Joy of the Lord is our strength. May the Lord’s love, his joy, be with you this Christmas season!

For God so loved the World that he gave his only Son. In love… In Christ… Give.


Matthew 5:14-16
14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

I find that the light that we shine before men is the same light that we receive in Jesus. It comes from him. If it wasn’t for his light, his goodness, where would I be – where would any of us be? Jesus is the light of the world, and we are ambassadors of his truth. We are to follow him and let our light shine before men. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”. To me that indeed does not sound like this little light of mine. The light of Jesus gives me light that can flow through me, and as I follow him I will never walk in darkness, but be transformed to shine brighter each day.

Thank you Jesus for your goodness, faithfulness, gentleness – your light!

Ephesians 5
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit[b] is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. 14 Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

Index: beginfresh.org/following-jesus/


The other day I told one of my kids I’d rather have her put all her heart into what she does and get Ds in school, then have her work with little to no heart and get Cs. Chances are if she puts all her heart into her work, c’s and d’s will be a thing of the past. But for me, it’s not about the grade as much as it’s about my kids working with all their heart in whatever they do.

Colossians 3:23
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

With this, I consider our part as Christians. Being saved by Grace through faith, I believe our God wants to run this race with passion and heart. It’s good to look at the details of how we can run with greater passion and grow, but we must not lose sight of the big picture – and that is Jesus. His love, how he is our redeemer who is the only way to having a right relationship with our Heavenly Father.

So if we get too concerned with our “grade” we missed it. May our passion, our heart, always be driven by the love of our God and our Lord Jesus Christ. With Jesus as my savior, there is no test I must pass and no final I must stress over. My “diploma” has already been served and sealed through what happened on the Cross that day. Do I deserve it? No. I’ve accepted Jesus, and now am called by him a child of God. I’ve been adopted and he loves me. I have been freed and I am forever thankful.

And now as his love dwells within me, I want to run this race with all my heart.


Following Jesus Post Index:

Today I want to look at another command where Jesus tells us to rejoice. However, as I look at the context I find that some things need to to be done prior to you even having the opportunity to follow this statement. To be persecuted for His sake, we must be open to share our faith and live out our faith with those around us.

Matthew 5:11-12 (NKJV)

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Remember when Peter said he would go with Jesus only to realize he would deny him 3 times before the rooster crowed. Question: Would you be willing to die for your faith in Christ? Yes, No? If you answered yes, I’d like to ask a follow up question…Would you be willing to go up to the door of a nearby neighbor you’ve never met, and share just how much Jesus loves them? I confess, I struggle with this. Why? It’s fear, the Idol that I have put over the one true God. I am in a place of repentance, changing my mind on how I see this, and asking God’s help in transforming my way of thinking. I need to be thinking less of how they may take it in a negative way and focus more of why I’d want to share that with them – because Jesus loves them also, and I am to love them as well…

I believe many would agree with me that the second question would be very easy to accomplish when compared to the first, yet so many of us struggle with complete surrender. Lord help us.

I believe this command, the command to rejoice, would be something that would come natural from the blessing poured upon us when we are persecuted for our faith – as we continue standing firm in our faith. Maybe not in that moment, but when you live a life we’re you are continually knocking on Heaven’s door Jesus will answer.


Following Jesus: Commands of our Lord Jesus can all be summed up by loving God, and others as yourself. Jesus also says, “If you love me, keep my commands. ~ John 14:15”

So what are his commands? As we take this one verse at a time, yesterday I posted about his command to repent with verse Matthew 4:17. Two verses later we come across another command; to follow Him

Matthew 4:19 New King James Version (NKJV)
19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

So what does it mean to you to follow Jesus? Here is a video I found with a
few brothers and sisters answering that very question.

You may also want to check out gotquestions for a more in-depth study on this.
gotquestions.org/follow-Christ.html


Following Jesus: Commands of our Lord Jesus can all be summed up by loving God, and others as yourself. Jesus also says, “If you love me, keep my commands. ~ John 14:15”

So what are his commands? We’ll take this one verse at a time.

Matthew 4:17: New King James Version (NKJV)
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

What is it to repent?

Answer: Many understand the term repentance (from the Greek word metanoia) to mean “turning from sin.” This is not the biblical definition of repentance. In the Bible, the word repent means “to change one’s mind.” The Bible also tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions (Luke 3:8-14; Acts 3:19). Acts 26:20 declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action. ~ Read more gotquestions.org/repentance.html

Grace Leads To True Repentance

(About 7 minutes long)

1 John 4:19: We love because he first loved us


In the book of Deuteronomy 18:17-19, Moses speaks of another Prophet who would come and God’s words would be in his mouth. This was spoken several thousand years before Christ entered the World. At the time of his ministry, Jesus mentions this to some of those who didn’t believe. This statement is still alive as an invitation for those who have yet to accept him.

John 5:45-47
45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, in whom you have put your hope. 46 If you had believed Moses, you would believe Me, because he wrote about Me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”

After meditating on this verse for awhile, the thought came to mind, wouldn’t it be cool to create a cross shape out of these verses in Deuteronomy.

Sometimes I wonder, how can the one referenced in this verse ever be confused with anyone other than Jesus. The Word indeed became Flesh and dwelt among us. God is Love, and Jesus lived a life displaying his perfect love for the Father and for us through the sacrifice he made on that cross, which just happened to take place during the weekend of Passover. Jesus, The perfect Lamb of God. It was never the nails that held him on that Cross, but His love for you and I.

Other good references:
gotquestions.org/Passover-Lamb.html
christianity.about.com/od/biblefactsandlists/a/Prophecies-Jesus.htm


Thankful to be adopted, accepted as a son, and a brother.

So much love for my Heavenly Father, my Lord and Savior; my brother…

Galations 3:26
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith,

Ephesians 1:5
he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will–

Matthew 12:50
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.