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Monday, August 5, 2019

Yesterday, I watched a titmouse eating a persimmon fruit. Suddenly the fruit came detached from the branch. Imagine his delight! That is until he tried to fly away! The fruit was much too big for him to carry and eventually he had to let it fall to the ground.

This got me thinking about the fruit and the vine. The obvious analogy is that we need to stay connected to Jesus in order to produce fruit and flourish. 

After watching Mr (or Mrs?) Titmouse I think the further lesson is that we need to hold our blessings, our gifts, the fruit that God gives us in this life, close to the Vine, too.

Too often we receive these things with joy and then forget Who gave them in the first place. We move them into the "this is mine" pile. As you may have discovered, things held too tightly become blackened and bruised.

Allowing God to hold our blessings gives us the freedom to enjoy them with both hands!


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The pendulum swings. 

As humans, we tend to rush blindly to one end or the other. This is true with most anything and the Law of God is no exception. We either view God's law as the solution and move far to the legalism side or we view it as the problem and move far to antinomianism (anti-law) side. 

Somewhere in the middle, we find freedom.

But we may have to set aside some negative thought processes to get there.

As our Pastor spoke from Romans and Hebrews this past weekend he reminded us that we are not under the law as a means of justification.

Even as I was agreeing with him in my mind he asked the question, "What is your response when the evil one accuses you?"

I don't know about you, friend, but that one hit me dead center.

Why? Because my response is to fumble around in my box of good deeds as I lamely attempt to point out where I haven't failed. The result? The enemy just laughs and heaps further condemnation because he knows that my good deeds will never be enough. They will enslave me as sure as sin itself.

He knows that good deeds offered year after year never bring the worshipper to perfection. (Heb 10:1)

My response reveals that I am still looking for justification through obedience to God's law. I am looking in the wrong place, beloved!

Our justification, being made righteous before God, is achieved through Christ alone. (Rom 5:9; Rom 5:15: 1Cor 1:30; 2Cor 5:21)

When the enemy accuses, our right response is to point to the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 

All our sins, past, present, and future were forgiven at the cross. 

Period! End of story!

Yet the enemy likes to talk and cajole and stir up doubt. That's when we need to shut him down with the truths of scripture. 

We are justified by Christ alone, covered by the power of His blood.
"It follows that there is now no condemnation for those who are united with Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus, the life-giving law of the Spirit has set you free from the law of sin and death." Rom 8:1-2
Let us live in that freedom. A life that rejoices to be commanded by the One whom it loves most. One Who is completely trustworthy and true.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Inspired by . . . Seasons

Always be joyful; pray continually; give thanks whatever happens; for this what God wills for you in Christ Jesus. 1Thess 5:16-18

If only some of the seasons in our life would end as quickly as Spring does in Texas. The official start of summer isn't until Friday but Mother Nature doesn't abide by our worldly calendars. Evidence of spring's abundant rain is quickly disappearing under the sun's golden fire. And what moisture the sun doesn't extract, the wind beats dry.

It's been a bit dry around this place lately. Time is a fire that licks lustily at the river of words that long to flow freely. Streams of creativity are dammed up, waiting for release. Despite the lengthening days, my current responsibilities leave me with little daylight and even less energy.

There are books waiting to be released but no time to engage a launch team; characters from current stories stand frozen mid-scene; still others beg escape from the corners of my mind. These days, stories are written in my head as I struggle to fall asleep at night - - Only to be forgotten as priorities march in on the rays of the rising sun.

Just as the flowers bloom in the desert, I'm determined to "give thanks whatever happens" and embrace this season of my life. God's purpose is not always evident in the minutia of daily living. Yes, always, when life doesn't give us what we want - - God has something better.

Sometimes . . . it's just Him.