Category Archives: God

Good Fruit: The Evidence

Woman eating orange

How do we know that we are producing fruit in our lives?  We are changed, sometimes others may notice the difference in you before you do!  The bible tells us how we can we tell that what we are doing is producing good fruit in our lives.

  • A change in our actions: Galatians 5 tells us that the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  In contrast, the acts of the flesh are: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. We are told that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Decreased craving of fleshly desires: Although we all sin and fall short, if we are walking in the spirit  we will not consistently crave things of the flesh.  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[c] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  
  • Desiring God’s will and righteousness: Your desire will be to please God and to bring forth fruit unto God and not unto death (Romans 7:4-5):  In Ephesians 5:9 we find that the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness and truth.  As followers of God, we strive to seek first His kingdom, righteousness and will.  We recognize the fact that we are filled with the fruit of righteousness, that came to us by Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. (Philippians 1:11)  *Righteousness in Greek is dikaiosuné: which means divine approval or God’s judicial approval.  Also see, James 3:17.
  • Answered prayers:  John 15:16 states that ‘ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained yo, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.  If we look back at John 15:7 it tells us that if we abide in Him and His words abide in us, we can ask what we will and it shall be done unto you.  If we are abiding in God, keeping the commandments and his word within us, what we ask should be aligned with His will in our lives.  Take a look at the stories of Hannah and Solomon, they asked with pure intentions and received because their will was God’s will.  In James 4:3 tells us that it is possible to ask amiss.

Share your thoughts below & be blessed:)


Part One: Good Fruit

Part Two: How do I produce Good Fruit?

Sorry Beyonce

beyonce grown womanBeyoncé’s ‘Grown Woman’ occasionally blares through the speakers of my car radio or iPod when I want to get a good workout in.  But yesterday while listening I gave the song a more critical ear and thought about the misguidance of the lyrics.  Mainly, because as grown women we may be able to do what ever you want, but as women of God we don’t.  If you think about it no one really is, you’re always subject to someone else’s desires weather it’s your boss or your kids.  If you are married you are to submit to the headship of your husband and God and if single to your heavenly and earthly fathers.  Even Queen Bey herself probably take some guidance from her husband.

Our flesh is literally like a child, it want’s to do whatever it wants, when it wants and how it wants but as children of God we are held to a standard that is above fleshly desires.  While the world may view this as a bad situation to be in, it’s actually a benefit which in the end protects our bodies and hearts.  As godly women growing in our walks we usually become even more aware of the words we speak and when our actions are made out of fleshly desires.  This means that you no longer have the urge to go off on that cashier that placed your eggs at the bottom of the bag so that by the time you got home they were cracked, or honk like a mad woman at the driver who obviously didn’t know that drivers were allowed to go over twenty miles per hour on the expressway.  Or even if you do have the urge, you take it to a higher power and proceed in a more enlightened manner.  As someone that is a recovering road rager I speak from personal experience!  In Romans 7:15, Paul writes I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do (NIV).  Speaking from experience your flesh will have you constantly wanting to do all the wrong things, it’s almost like a small fire that grows with each minute that it isn’t expressed until you are so engulfed in flames that you almost can’t resist the temptation.  Getting the flesh under control is a lifetime feat…But God!  Read 1 Corinthians 10:13, in the latter part of the verse it will tell you that when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can endure it.  Great temptations will come, but there is a greater God that will allow for a way out, if we choose to take it.

So, why don’t we give into the pleasure of indulging in everything we want or letting it all loose and showing the world how we really feel at a time when we have the right to be angry?  I’ll put it this way, you could indulge and eat brownie sundaes every day, smoke two packs of cigarettes a day or refuse to connect with God regularly but there will be consequences to your actions and they might not be so pretty.  My question to you (and myself sometimes) is what type of seeds are you sowing through this action?  Seed’s of love or hate, seeds of wisdom or foolery?  In Galatians 6:7-8 it states, Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.  Nuff said!

Be blessed,
Court 🙂


Good Fruit: How do I produce good fruit?

Portrait Of Young Girl standing on yellow background.

During my study of fruits, one thing I wanted to learn was how I can purpose to produce good fruits in my life.  I wanted biblically sound principles that I could apply on a consistent basis because if God said it, then it must work!  I touch on 8 below.  (This is the second part of the Good Fruit series, if you would like part one or three the links are listed at the bottom of the page.)

1. Abide in God.  (John 15:4-5) This scripture says that we must abide in Christ because apart from him we can do nothing and bear no fruit.  The definition of abide is to remain, to rest or to stay.  For me, this looks like constantly praying to God, considering what He would want me to do and say and spending time with Him.  What does it mean to you to abide in God?  I would encourage reading John 15:1-17 (ESV)

2.  Cut down the things in your life that aren’t producing good fruit.  (Matthew 7:19) In Matthew it tells us that every tree not yielding good fruit is cut down and is cast to fire.  That to me is scary as heck!  In John 15 we saw that Jesus tells us that every branch that does not bear fruit is pruned. Pruning or trimming (a tree, shrub, or bush) is done by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to increase fruitfulness and growth.  The reason for trimming back branches is that if they aren’t trimmed they can actually compete with other branches or stems trying to grow!  If we look at it biblically what’s bad within our hearts is competing with the good to take root and develop in our lives, it is up to us to decide what wins.  Take an inventory of all the characteristics that you think may need to be trimmed from your life, sinning in anger, envy fornication, idolatry and write out scripture verses on these issues to study.

3. Hear the word, understand and retain it.  (Matthew 13:23)  For me hearing the word is not the issue, but always understanding and retaining what I’ve read is a feat.  Many times I’m like the tiny seed that landed in a bushel of thorns struggling to make my way to good soil.  We are blessed that we have the Holy Spirit that enlightens and a God that knows we will struggle to bloom and in doing so we may fail to produce good fruit.  But as we continue to try by studying and pursuing Him we will produce fruit in abundance!  One way I retain the word is through writing, sometimes I’ll rewrite a verse over and over and other times I write it on notecards to study.  I highly recommend reading the entire 13th chapter of Matthew.  How do we obtain hearing (Romans 10:17) 

4. Seek wisdom from above.  (James 3:17) But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  This verse tells us that there is wisdom  that comes from God and it is full of good fruits amongst other desired qualities.  So how do you receive wisdom from above?  Through the word of God and by asking for it.  Through asking God gives us wisdom abundantly and without reproach James 1:5.   Where else can we receive wisdom (James 3:15-16)?

5.  Plant seeds in good ground.  (Luke 8:8)  In the early years of a tree’s life it’s important to a strong foundation so that it can grow and bear the weight of the fruit it will produce.  The same goes for us, whatever we decide to do it’s always best to be rooted in God, prior to starting a ministry, relationship, your day or any type of endeavor.  This verse tells us to make sure we have planted in a good strong foundation so that at the first sign of troubles our faith won’t simply wither away be trampled upon or devoured.  I would recommend reading the entire chapter of Luke 8.   It tells us that if we have no root we may believe for a while but in times of temptation we fall away or are consumed with worldly riches and pleasures, in doing so there is no fruit brought forth.  It may take months and many times years to build the foundation, but our foundation should be Jesus (1 Corinthians 3:10)  What is the foundation that has already been laid for us to build upon?  How will our foundations be tested?  Click here to learn how the word fire is often times used in the bible.

6. Have patience with your self  (Luke 8:15) You may find yourself learning the same lessons over and over.  Sometimes growth can be quite monotonous.  Don’t get frustrated if there are mistakes or character traits you have grown accustomed to exhibiting just know that the fact that you’re even aware of it and want to change is progress in itself!  In Luke 8:15 it tells us that the seeds planted on good ground bring forth fruit with patience.   In the YLT it states that those seeds sown on good ground bear fruit in continuance, meaning they are continually exhibiting good fruits in their lives.  It is something that’s continual, so you will get many opportunities to produce good fruit!  Don’t compare your growth journey to anyone else’s you are on your own track.  Relax, but keep pressing on and remember some fruit trees can take up to five years to grow!

7.  Be Honest.  (Luke 8:15)  There’s a lot that can be pulled out of this one scripture.  Having an honest and good heart is something else Luke tells us is necessary to producing good fruit in our lives.  Have you ever lied and then though to yourself, why did I just lie about that?  It was something so insignificant that you can’t even figure out why you didn’t just say what you felt or meant, but before you even have a chance to think about it, the lie just rolls off your tongue?  I have and even these little white lies should feel convicting because they are hindering our production of good fruit.  No one is perfect and I thank God for understanding that, mistakes will be made but so will progress when you decide to mature in your actions.  Can you remember the last lie you told, why did you feel the need to lie?  What do you think you can do to be more honest with yourself and others?

8. Have no fellowship with darkness (Ephesians 5:11 & Psalm 1:1-6)  As followers of Christ we are to reprove anothers dark ways or as the YLT states convict and bring to light their ways.  The definition of reprove is to correct or criticize in a gentle manner.  Ephesians 4:15 tells us that we are to speak the truth in love, so there’s no need to be harsh or abrasive when calling someone out.  We don’t have to indulge in darkness to try to pull someone out, because just through living our your walk with God others can see what it means to be a light in the world.

Part One: Out of the heart

Part Three: The evidence of good fruit

Generational Curses…

For a long time I believed that my family was under a generational curse because sexual sin, physical and mental abuse, unfaithfulness, bad relationship choices, and divorce seemed to be rampant.  I can recall a conversation with my cousin a while back where we both decided that there must have been a curse placed on our family and that we would have to be the generation to break it.  That was many years ago and she has since gotten married and although it took years I have been able to shift the way I handled my own bouts with molestation, rape and being in an extremely abusive relationship.  I now know that I have a choice to remain a victim of the past or use what I’ve learned to impact others, just as we have a choice to accept and walk in the light and love of God or continue in our walk with the devil as he reminds us of our past and ‘curses’.

I ran across this video where Marilyn Hickey is interviewing Devon Franklin, he speaks briefly on generational curses so I wanted to share.  I’m not able to embed it so the link is here.

The second video is more information about generational curses and the power we have through the blood of Jesus to break them.

Be blessed

Without the ring

Bridal portrait.

When you’re dating sometimes the lines between acting as a girlfriend and a wife without a ring can get quite blurry. I’m not speaking exclusively of sex, but also the simple things that as nurturing women we want to do for our significant others. Oftentimes we don’t recognize that we are giving husband privileges to a boyfriend that hasn’t earned them. Although the bible gives us a glimpse of a godly wife, there are no hard and fast rules about biblical girlfriend-hood.  I’ve been in a relationship where it seemed the guy wanted me to be his wife in every aspect except the vows, the license and the ring.  Amongst other things, he wanted submission and of course sex, but wasn’t quite ready to take that walk down the aisle and I perpetuated it by allowing it to continue.  Many times we choose to believe words that hold the promise of a ring instead of believing the actions that ultimately will sell a person out.  I’ve learned a few things while in long term relationships (6, 7 and 3 years), so here are five big rewards or acts that in my opinion should be reserved for a husband that actually put a ring on it and not just a promise to do so.

  1. Sex: This is an obvious but extremely important point. The direction to flee fornication may oftentimes seem more like a punishment than the gift it is. I know from personal experience I cannot have sex with someone without becoming attached because for me there must be a deep connection already woven into the relationship. Unfortunately, through premarital sex I’ve formed unhealthy soul ties in the past with boyfriends because I thought it was okay since we would one day be married. Had I used the wherewithal to wait on God’s best and until marriage to take our relationship to the next level this may not have been an issue and I could have saved myself a lot of heart ache, disappointments and stress.
  2. Household responsibilities: In my twenties I lived with my boyfriend and found myself playing house every since then, simply because I thought that was the way it was supposed to be. I recently had a guy tell me (yes, tell me) that I would have to make him dinner because he wanted to make sure I could cook.  Now, when I want to, I can be a culinary (crockpot) guru, but have grown to a maturity level where proving my cooking skills to some random isn’t in my realm of desires.  I am eager however to cook for my husband and ensure that he enjoys every bite. In fact I have begun to cook more at home in an effort to add meals to my repertoire.  Things like cooking regular meals, ironing (which I despise anyway, a spray bottle filled with water and a dryer are my best friends), cleaning and other household chores are reserved for my home, if there happens to be a husband in it then he will definitely reap those rewards. If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, that’s great news, because the only man’s heart I want is my husbands and he is the only one I want to cook (or order) dinner for every night!
  3. Changing churches: In past serious relationships, the issue has not been that we are unequally yoked concerning being Christian, but that we weren’t attending the same church. I don’t see much purpose in changing my church home until God has spoken to us and we are actually on the road to marriage. I do plan to attend my future husband’s church for counseling reasons and to be of equal accord, it just isn’t necessary while dating. The idea didn’t sit right with me the big one being because I wouldn’t feel comfortable in the case of the relationships demise; and If I based my decision about a church on who I’m dating at the time there’s a possibility that I would be a consistent church hopper.  If you are seeking a church home or already attend the same church those are very different circumstances.
  4. Combining finances:  I usually refrain from even discussing specifics about my finances (or his) early on in a relationship including what I make or what I have in savings.  Also, I have never been asked, but cosigning (read proverbs) on things or mixing finances would not occur while dating, joint bank accounts are reserved for marriage in my eyes. I do however think it extremely important to discuss how you each spend money, is his style thrifty or frivolous, does he save money regularly, are bills paid on time, is he in debt and vice versa. It’s been noted that many marriages fail due to monetary differences or struggles, knowing these types of things prior to engagement is crucial.
  5. Submission: Submission is intertwined into many aspects of our lives even if we choose not to see it. As a child you submit to your parents and as an adult to a boss, coach, pastor or another head. The bible tells us that as wives we are also to submit to our husband as unto the Lord.  That being said, I have yet to read where it states a girlfriend is to submit to her boyfriend, if you find it let me know!  Even though we may practice submission daily as brothers and sisters in Christ, until we have become one under God I would not consider any one I’m dating my headship.  As a single woman I submit to God and am still under the umbrella of my earthly and heavenly fathers.  I would however, expect him to exhibit leadership qualities and to have respect for the decisions he makes in his own life.

Just my two cents 😊

God Bless and here’s to a purposeFULL life!


A Silent Savior

If you were on trial for a murder you didn’t commit, do you think you would speak up and proclaim your innocence?  I believe the majority of us would, but during a bible study of Mark (15:3-5) I saw an instance where Jesus did just the opposite. While people viciously hurled false accusations his way and deemed him worthy of a crime punishable by death, Jesus remained silent.  We see three times when Jesus was questioned and gave no reply.  The high priest Caiaphas – Matthew 26:62&63-And the high priest arose and said unto him, Answerest thou nothin  what is it which these witness against thee?  (63)  But Jesus held his peace.  When Herod questioned him in Luke 23:9 – Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing.  As a result Herod and the other men mocked Jesus for what they thought to be stupidity or weakness.  But the instance that intrigued me the most was when Pilate asked if he had heard all of the things people were accusing him of doing, I believe in an attempt to get him to speak out on his incorruptibility.  Mattthew 27:14 – And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marveled greatly.

The fact that Pilate marveled greatly at Jesus’ response or lack there of was so perfectly human and Jesus’ silence was so utterly perfect.  To me it exhibits Jesus’ strength in connection with God and the spirit world in contrast with the carnal angst of fleshly death that was Pilates focus.  While Pilate only saw the mythical world in front of him, Jesus looked beyond this life, this flesh, his crucifixion and saw eternal life.

It brought to mind a few things, the first is that far too often I am a Pilate in this world, afraid to speak out on what I know is truth and wasting my time focused only on futile human carnalities.  The second is that there can be such awesome power in our use of silence, so much so that it can leave others speechless and in awe, I speak on that here.  The third is that it is necessary for my spiritual growth to embrace and regularly put into practice the qualities and confidences that Jesus must have held to be the type of man that could remain silent at a time like this.  These are five qualities that I hope to develop within myself.

Jesus knew who he was and his purpose for being here on earth:  Jesus was all ‘about his fathers business’ and since the start of His ministry he focused on his purpose, being a savior.  You may not know exactly what your gift(s) here on earth is just yet, but you do know your purpose.  We are laborers with God (1 Corinthians 3:9) and we are to teach all nations to observe all things whatsoever Jesus commanded of us and to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:18-20).  Many times we make excuses for not doing what God called us to do even though it is clearly stated.  I will confess that I include myself in the realm of passive Christianity, going to church when I can, not being a servant, reading the bible when I remember and rarely speaking to others about God unless they introduce Him into the conversation. My main excuses are fear of going up and talking to people cold turkey and making time to serve.  I can’t afford to wait any longer to be about my father’s business and I ask that God gives me the opportunity to do so.  I pray that all excuses, barriers and road blocks for not doing God’s will are removed from our lives and that God reveals our gifts when the time is right.

Jesus already knew how the story would play out: The bible tells us that all things work together for the good of those that love him (Romans 8:28) and we also know that in the end God win’s!  Jesus knew his fathers plan and as children of God so should we.  Although, we may not always be secure in this fact as concerns of this earth boggle us down and disrupt our faith.  It is imperative that we keep in mind that everything is working together for our good.  I honestly wish I could be as assured as Jesus, but I worry and doubt about things all the time.  I’m challenging myself and you to recite Romans 8:28 whenever thoughts of doubt, fear or worry about a situation fill our heads to remind us that if we are on God’s team, we have already won.  I pray for knowledge and wisdom from above to remain focused on things eternal.

Jesus trusted his father:  How many times in your life have you questioned God?  Have you ever wondered if you were meant to be in the situation or place you are currently?  I find myself doing this, especially when things aren’t going right in my limited view.  But in the heat of the moment, before his death, Jesus trusted God because he knew that no matter what his father loved and would be there for him, just as he will for you.  Trust can be hard to maintain, especially when we often desire a tangible proof before totally giving it. But if I’m taking notes from Jesus he went along with God’s plan even in the most difficult of times, even when he thought God had forsaken him.  Having trust is paramount to growing as a child of God and I pray that we place our trust in God and surrender to his plan for our life.

Jesus did what God told him to do:  As stated before Jesus knew God’s plan and although it didn’t always seem like a pleasant journey he still walked the path God gave him, no questions asked.  When God tells us to do something it’s guraranteed to be for our good.  Oftentimes, I find myself being more of a Jonah than a Jesus in life.  If I have an urge to write, give up a relationship or do something that I feel like God may be directing me to do, I can’t always say that I do it right away.  Usually what happens when I don’t follow God’s plan is that I go the painful circuitous route, am swallowed up and spit out by the jaws of life and wind up having to do what I was trying to avoid initially.  I pray against the spirit of procrastination, confusion and wrong relationships and replace them with a spirit of love and willingness to move when God calls us to move.

Jesus wasn’t going to allow anyone to stop him from accomplishing his Goal:  When Peter was so over taken at the thought of Jesus’ death that he begins to rebuke the plan, Jesus knows it’s the devil attempting to stop him (Matthew 16:23).  Just as the jeering, criticizing and mocking of the people prior to and during his crucifiction is no match for the power of his desire to do God’s will.  Nothing and no one could stop him.  When we set out to accomplish something, be it completing a bible study or starting a business there will be distractions to be put at bay so we can do the work set before us.  Recognizing when the devil is trying to knock us off the path God has placed before us is critical to reaching God’s goal for our life.  I pray for freedom from people and discernment to know when the devil is a distraction in our lives and to rebuke any and all attempts to pull us away from our work and callings.

God bless & here’s to a purposeFULL life!

As you love yourself

The second command that Jesus give’s us as His followers is to ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:39).   We are to extend patience, kindness, selflessness and goodness to those closest to us.  But how does one do this, when they don’t put these methods of exhibiting love towards themselves?  How do you love someone else, if you don’t even know how to love yourself?

The thought that a person can be born a perfect child of God and buy into the lies the devil places in their lives through the media, people close to them and their own thoughts makes me cringe.  But it also makes me extremely sad, because I was one of those people.  Despite my awesome parents and family that loved me, I spent years growing into a person that didn’t like herself.  Because of bullying as a child, choices I’d made as a teen and adult, an abusive relationship and the things I thought, I began to embody what these people told me I was instead of believing the truth that God and my family would tell me.  I was told I had nappy hair, was a weirdo (not in a good way), looked like a boy, that I should just keep my mouth shut so that people wouldn’t know how stupid I was, that I could never become a vet because you had to be smart, that I was ugly and would never find another man.  There were times I didn’t see the value of me even being here, it was dark.  These things stuck with me and it became much easier to dispel the truth and become very comfortable residing in the darkness of the lies.

At the time, I knew some passages in the bible, but had never read the bible for myself.  I never really understood what that verse meant, until one day I was arguing with my ex-boyfriend and he stopped and exclaimed that I was just too hard on him, I expected too much!  I can remember later on meditating on what he said and realized that I was loving him the way I loved myself, which wasn’t very much.  I also was extremely  hard on myself and rarely gave myself any slack.  If I made a mistake or said something incorrect,  I would berate myself for days, maybe even months depending what it was.  If I did something wrong, I found myself repeating the lies I was told about how stupid I was and that I should just shut up so people would like me because I was too unintelligent and quirky.  I would look in the mirror and would feel unpretty.  I rarely gave myself a compliment and if someone did then I took it with a grain of salt.  But let someone say something negative, I would internalize it, invite it to live in my head and roll around for days, months or years.  I can’t say that I hated myself but the concept of self-love was lost on me.

I began to read self-help books on loving yourself, sought therapy and learned about God’s love for me.  The ability to brush off the mean things people said came a little easier and although I am still a highly sensitive person, I tend not to internalize criticisms but continually pray for freedom of people bondage.   I began to tell myself that I loved me and believe it, I would look in the mirror and think good things and actually found that I liked my quirky personality because there truly is no one on earth like me!  Am I perfect in my resilience and confidence?  No, but I’m growing!  As I write this, I have tears in my eyes thinking about the years I allowed someone to dull my quirky shine or silence my voice.  Since hitting my thirties, I have learned to be patient with myself and to recognize the positive things about myself.   I am still hard on myself sometimes, but am so extremely happy with the woman who I’ve become and am becoming and can honestly say that I love myself more each day and pray that it’s exhibited through the love I show others.

God Bless and Shine On!
Court 🙂

If you are struggling with loving yourself and feel that you don’t add value to this world and want out, know that you are loved, wanted and needed here!  There is no one like you and you are so extremely special.  I am praying for you.  Please speak with someone you can trust about what you’re going through, you will feel so much better.

Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Good Fruit: Out of the heart

Girl with fruit

Throughout the bible we learn a persons true motives and character are recognizable by the fruit they produce in their lives.  Not only the fruit of their lips but the fruit of their actions.  Basically God is telling us that talk is reeeeal cheap and actions speak much louder than words!  Recognizing fruit is how we are able to separate the godly from the ungodly and identify false prophets (Matthew 7:15-20).  It is also how we monitor the ugliness or beauty that resides in our own hearts because Luke 6:45 tells us that our mouths speak what’s in our hearts.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I’m angry it’s always easier to let the jabs fly a little faster because I’m not filtering what comes out of my mouth.  In the past, if I was arguing with my boyfriend there were no holds barred and what came out of my mouth was the rawness of a fleshly and savage heart.  I give this example because those closest to us usually know us best.  It’s easy to dress your heart up for the outside world but usually in the comfort of your home the make up comes off and there’s no hiding behind a mask.  At times of frustration and anger I have to check myself (sometimes too late) because God told me that a good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit and vice versa.  It frightens me that my heart may be full of stale, old, rotten fruit which is why I started this study!  Each month I’ll write an article as a part of this three part series.  I want this to be an interactive experience so examine your heart, think about a time when you were angry or disappointed in someone close to you, what type of fruit are your words and actions producing in your life?

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name (Hebrews 13:15)

Part Two: How do I produce good fruit?

Part Three: The evidence of good fruit in my life

Persecution and Privilege

During bible study at the church I attend we were reading from Hebrews 10:32-34, in which it states  You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions’.  One of the ladies in our study group asked if we could even imagine going through something so awful as someone taking our property because we were followers of God.  Another woman, Cora, stated that realistically the time was probably near and that she believes it may come to this or worse.  But if you watch any type of news or read headlines at least you know that for some, the time has already come.  All over the world people are being persecuted for believing in God.  People die for evangelism, they are beaten for carrying bibles, they huddle in cramped quarters to read the word of God in secret because churches are illegal, they rejoice when they get a bible as if they’ve won a million dollars because they understand the value, the privilege.   When I hear stories about people literally risking their lives to get their hands on a copy of the bible that I casually toss in my purse I realize just how much I take for granted the many freedoms I have.  I can choose to go to one of the churches openly lining the streets in my neighborhood with little fear of persecution.  I am able to decide if I am going to read one of the many translations of the bible I have in my home or go to a small group bible study because it is not a crime to do so.  Yet often times I choose not to go to church or am late, I ditch bible study because I’ve had a long day and my bed is so inviting or it’s too cold to go back out of the house; or I decide to spend only a couple of minutes with God at the end of my day after all I’ve watched all of my shows, talked on the phone with friends, done some other reading and scrolled through Facebook.  Seriously, if I had a significant other and he treated me the way I do God we wouldn’t have much of a relationship, so I thank God that he isn’t human!  I often times treat God as a side order in life when I know He is to be my entrée; but even still with my lack of devotion I want Him dedicated to meeting my needs, I constantly want to hear from Him without consistently seeking His face and I want to see miracles produced in my life but don’t always want to do what it takes to have an intimate relationship with the miracle worker.   I am somewhat of a spiritual spoiled brat and living my life this way makes me privileged in my freedom’s and rich in choices but very spiritually bankrupt.

While listening to the radio today I heard that a terrorist group called for an attack on malls in Canada, the UK and US, the Mall of America specifically.  It brought to mind the conversation I had with the women in my bible study class, what if it became a crime to read the bible, to attend bible study or to praise God outwardly, what if you had to fear for you life every time you entered a church, what if someone gave you a choice to renounce God or die?   It is a scary concept but with the reality of abductions, murders, rapes and terrorist threats in the name of religion constantly occurring and the continued removal of God from our institutions one can’t be sure they will not have to make such a decision.  In 2 Timothy 3:12 it states, Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.  The time that we have now is so precious because we can use it wisely to get to know God intimately without fearing persecution but if the time came where that is what we faced would we be prepared or would Jesus’ response to us be, verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Be blessed,