FRUIT AUDIT – Does your life reflect the first and greatest commandment by God?

Do You Love God the Most?
When you look at your daily spending, your daily activities, and your daily interactions, it may become clear who your god is? Take an honest assessment of your day. While most of us spend the majority of our day working, which God calls us to do, are you the type of person who makes your career your life and keeps church and state separate so to speak or you the type of person who tries to bring God into your career? Are you the type of person who spends 10 minutes in God’s word in the morning and then spends 2 hours on Facebook during the day and another 2 hours watching TV at the end of your day and then cap it all off by another 5 minutes in prayer before bed time? Just sayin’. Be real and be honest and figure out who your god is. I hope it is the one true God that you love with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength!

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” – Matthew 22:36-38

Here is a more in depth audit on how you feel about God:
Are you a Politically Correct Christian?
Who do you Love?

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?
Audit #1: The Fruit of the Spirit
Audit #2: Do you Walk by the Spirit?
Audit #3: Do you Actively “Make Disciples”?
Audit #4: Do you Love God the Most?

My Journey in Learning Hebrew: How I got Started

Pray for the Peace of JerusalemI was heading home after dropping my son off at school. I pass by Temple Beth El every day. On this day I thought, “Why not give them a call and ask about Hebrew lessons?” So I quickly mapped the location on my phone and got their number while at the red light in front of the temple. I called and the receptionist exclaimed “Perfect timing! We only do one or two adult Hebrew classes a year and we have one today at 4:15!” I told her, “Sign me up!” I laughed most of the way home as I knew it was not my perfect timing but God’s.

I went to the first class armed with my note pad and pen, early as usual to anything academic related. Once the class started the teacher announced that anyone interested in taking more classes outside of this class that she would love to “give back” to the community by offering her tutoring services for FREE!

WHAT?!!! Again I said, “SIGN ME UP!” Yet another gift from God!

It turned out that I was the only student interested, so my lovely friend Barbara has been tutoring me for the past 2 and a half months. What a blessing she is and as I look at how it all came to be, the clear hand of God has been on everything related to this Jewish Temple allowing me, a Christian into their world to teach me the things of our Elohim. Amazing!

Maranatha!

My Journey in Learning Hebrew

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Over the past few months I have had a deep unexplainable urge to learn Hebrew. My journey has been so fascinating that I would like to share with those of you who might be interested in some things I have found to make my journey immeasurably fruitful.

Everyone from my Jewish step-mom, to my sister, to the secretary at my church have all asked “Why?” with some confusion laced in their expression. My first thought was “Why not?” But to say that would be disrespectful. I honestly had no idea. I know if you asked me 6 months ago what my interest in Judaism, Israel, and the Hebrew language was I would have said “slim to none other than the fact that my Christian roots come from Jewish history and that my step family is Jewish.” Fast forward 3 months and all I can think about is Israel. A whole section of my day is reserved for praying for Jerusalem. I am enamored with learning about Jewish tradition and their language. So the question still stands… Why?

I know for sure that one reason I desire to learn to read, write, and speak Hebrew is a need to understand what God meant when the Bible was penned. The words in Hebrew have a much larger breadth of meaning than the translated English words do. Therefor, passages are often literally lost in translation.

The reason for learning the traditions and cultures as they relate to “now” and to the historically understood “then” is to be able to understand the context in which it was written as well as how Jews translate or keep those traditions today and how that applies to me as a YHWH worshiping soul. (Sorry for the run-on sentence.) :)

Those two reasons are the only way I can explain it, but deeper than those is something I have no way of explaining. I just feel called to learn and to pray for Israel. As a side note, I am praying for the FINAL peace of Jerusalem, not a “peace treaty” or anything other than the revealed glory of God through the revival of his people.

Over the next few days I am going to delve into my journey and show you YHWH’s guiding and providential hand in it all.

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3, ESV)

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” For my brothers and companions’ sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good. (Psalm 122:6-9, ESV)

Maranatha!

God’s Law is Written on my Heart

Shortly after my conversion I was astonished. God’s law was written on my heart. This is something I can only hope to explain as it is like telling a newly pregnant woman what it is like to go through child birth, or telling a child what it is like to be an adult, or like telling someone who is blind what the color green is like. The task is literally impossible because as the old saying goes “You have to experience it to understand it.” So, I will attempt to explain.

We all know, or should know, the ten commandments. Here they are if you cannot remember them all. The full text as it was written by Moses in Exodus 20 is below.

  1. God is the only God. (simple… or not if you think God is basically the same god for every religion.)
  2. You shall not worship idols (Like worshiping a TV show or celebrity, or food, or money, or your career, you get the idea.)
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (Like saying OMG or saying “my God” for no reason.)
  4. Take one day a week to rest. Fully. No work at all. (Does anyone really do this command anymore? It is not a joke and is not antiquated.)
  5. Honor your father and mother. (You may no longer be living with your parents and have kids of your own but think about it, do you honor your mom and dad or do you “know better” than they do and often put them “in their place.”)
  6. You shall not murder. (Not a murderer? Think again. Check out Matthew 5:21-22)
  7. You shall not commit adultery. (Even looking at someone with lust is considered adultry from Jesus’ standpoint. Check out Matthew 5:28)
  8. You shall not steal. (I don’t know of a single person who can honestly say they have never stolen anything.)
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (This, like the 10th commandment is not talking about the person who lives next to you. God means anyone you know or even somewhat know. Think in terms of the person you like the least. Stop hating on them and spreading rumors and gossip. Basically, stop lying!)
  10. You shall not covet anything that is your neighbors. (ie. his or her spouse, his or her job, his or her house, his or her car, his or her garden, his or her kids, his or her clothing, his or her hair, seriously the grass is not greener so stop coveting!)

So, God gives us a set of rules to live by. They seem easy but we all know that most, if not all of his rules we have gone against in some way. We are all lying, thieving, gossiping, covetous, disrespecting, adulterous people. So what do we do? We try harder. And then, once again, we fail. Then we vow to try harder. Then, fail again and again until we give up and come up with justifications for why a loving God understands us and would never hold it against us. That, my friend, is where you are wrong. Dead wrong. We cannot do anything perfect because we are imperfect and utterly flawed. Our humanity is so messed up that we are not able to do right. And we deserve justice. God cannot let it slide because he is the perfect impartial Judge. Only through Christ are we able to do what is holy. Through his blood and sacrifice are we able to get it right. Here is where it gets exciting.

As I mentioned above I wanted to try to explain it to you. If you are reading this and you are saved, you will know exactly what I am talking about. If you think you are saved but are clueless to this or have never experienced it, then you are the reason that I am writing this. I want you to get it. I want you to experience it. I want you to have assurance of your salvation and this is part of the litmus test to figure it out. You can find other areas to check your proof of salvation to the right on our Fruits Audit section.

Here it is in a nutshell: God’s law is now written on my heart. He has put his law within me. So, you may be wondering, “How does that work?” Honestly I do not know exactly, but the best way I can describe it is this: Every time I try to lie I can’t. If I do, even a small exaggeration, I feel awful and immediately feel a strong urge to recant. Every time I hear someone say “Oh my God” or “OMG” or just simple “God” as an exclamation for no reason my heart aches. Even when I hear “Jeez” since that is short for “Jesus” I almost feel like crying. I am not exaggerating.

I recently went to the movies and paid for 2 adults and 1 child. The cashier only charged me for 1 adult and 1 child. We even got in past the ticket guy. I did not realize that the cashier mis-charged me until we were in the popcorn line. I looked at the ticket receipt and laughed because my old self would have thought “Woo-hoo! We got a free ticket.” The moment I noticed the discrepancy I told my husband I would be right back and I went to pay for the 3rd ticket. I was instantly convicted and my heart wouldn’t let me steal the seat.

These are very palpable examples however the reality of God’s law being within me and written on my heart is as phenomenal as it is profound. Take a look at these scriptures. What a blessing and honor to be a one of God’s people!

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:33, ESV)

Check it out the above verse as re-stated and explained in Hebrews. Here we get the full idea of what it means when God tells us the old covenant is obsolete.

But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

For he finds fault with them when he says:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:6-13, ESV)

I am not perfect and still sin, but the beauty of it is how quickly I come to repentance. Before, when I lived as a lukewarm “Christian” it sometimes took days, weeks, or even months to admit I had sinned. Sometimes it never even registered. While you may think, “Wow, what a buzz-kill it is to live like that!” I can tell you will absolute resolve, certainty, and excitement that I would rather have the Holy Spirit guiding me and convicting me with God’s laws written on my heart for the short blip that is my life and get the riches of eternity in heaven than to do whatever I want hear on earth and burn in hell for eternity. Now THAT would be the ultimate buzz-kill.

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS

“You shall have no other gods before me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

“You shall not murder.

“You shall not commit adultery.

“You shall not steal.

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:3-17, ESV)

James 1:16 “Wanderer from God”

Wanderer from God

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. – James 1:16 (ESV)

This short verse is a transitional verse, however, there is much to be learned from it. “Deceived” in Greek expression means to go astray or wander. Deceived in our present day language seems to have less impactful weight than it did in James’ time. They may have thought of Isaiah 53:6 (ESV) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned-every one-to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
A sheep wandering off for me today has less weight than a shepherd of James’ time because I don’t fully get the scary thought of that. I suppose I need to consider what they considered and fully understood: if I wandered off I would get slaughtered by a fox. It was my choice to wander. Lesson to be learned: Be careful not to blame God for my sin.

Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

Study through the Book of James with HolyJustLove.com!
James 1:2-3
James 1:4
James 1:5
James 1:6
James 1:7-8
James 1:9-11
James 1:12
James 1:13
James 1:14
James 1:15
James 1:16

Fruit Audit ~ Do You Love God’s Word?

I was going through life as a “Christian” and the one thing that bothered me the most is that other Christians always said they loved reading God’s Word. Pastors would often preach that when you become a Christian you would thirst and hunger after the word of God like a newborn baby thirsts and hungers for his mother’s milk.

Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. – 1 Peter 2:2-3, ESV

I don’t know about you, but I just was not getting it. Sure, I read my Bible a couple times a week. Every once in a while I would “commit” to reading the Bible every day. That always lasted about 5 days. I remember the longest I ever consecutively read my Bible was 34 days. You’ve heard it said that to create a habit you have to do something every day for 21 days. I remember vividly thinking “I’ve done it! I’ve created a habit of reading my Bible!” Only to fail on day 35, 36, 37, 38, 39….. Oh shoot, was I supposed to be reading my Bible? WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME!!!! Oh the shame. But really, who else knows other than me, myself and God? On I went stumbling through reading (or not reading) my Bible.

So, there you have it. I was convinced that I was doomed to always be burdened with the chore of reading the Bible. I knew it was supposed to be enjoyable and I knew I was supposed to be refreshed by it, but honestly I just wasn’t. Here are a couple verses in the Bible that told me something was wrong.

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, – Romans 7:22, ESV

David said it perfectly in Psalm 19 as seen below and I still did not get it.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; – Psalm 19:7-8, ESV

David made it sound so simple and pure and revitalizing and joyful and enlightening… but for me it was sometimes just boring. I could hardly understand the stuff I read and the things I did understand seemed antiquated or impossible to put into practice. But still I tried. I even prayed as Tozer did for God to open my mind to understanding. It worked sometimes but I knew deep down I was missing something. Something no one could answer for me. Perhaps I was just dumb. My college educated brain was too stupid to understand the Word of God.

And lastly I got to John 8. :(

Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.” – John 8:47, ESV

There was my answer. Hindsight is 20/20. I did not realize it at the time, nor could I have predicted the outcome. After 25 years, thinking I was saved and struggling terribly through the Word of God, practically beating myself up with my lack of love for God’s Word, I now understand fully that I was not actually converted. You may take issue with this controversial thought. I can tell you, however, with absolute certainty that the very thing I struggled with has become a complete and utter joy in my life. The Word of God, now that I am truly a “new creation” has been opened to me like I never could have imagined. I literally cannot get enough of it.

The best way I can illustrate this idea is from the perspective of being a mom. Before I had a child people would tell me all the time that my life would change in ways I could not even imagine. “Oh the wonder! Oh the joy!” or so they would say. I remember thinking, all these people are nuts! I love my life and no child is going to change it THAT drastically. Sure it would be different, but all these moms who keep blabbing on and on about motherhood were close to making me puke at times. Flash forward to the day I have my baby, then flash forward 5 years into motherhood and I get it. I drank the “juice” and know EXACTLY what they are talking about. If you don’t have kids yet, this won’t make much sense to you, but if you do, this is what it is like when you become a true converted soul, fully and wholly consecrated to the Almighty Father and LORD Jesus Christ. The Word of God is literally life. I cannot get enough of it now.

With all of that said, you may be wondering about your own salvation and may even want to find out on a deeper level if you are truly saved or have just been in love with Jesus, in love with what Christianity offers, in love with the community, but not fully and 100% devoted to Christ. It is OK to test yourself. Paul asks us to do it.

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! – 2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV

Don’t get crazy and start freaking out just yet. This is not meant to scare you but it is meant to give you a reality check. I recommend checking out some of the series below as well as heading over to the Fruit Audit section on www.HolyJustLove.com. Be blessed and be confidently assured of your salvation. It is an amazing thing!

“Jesus, Help Me” by Jon Brown

Lord, in every need let me come to You with humble trust saying, “Jesus, help me.”
In all my doubts, perplexities, and temptations, Jesus, help me.
In hours of loneliness, weariness, and trials, Jesus, help me.
In the failure of my plans and hopes; in disappointments, troubles, and sorrows, Jesus, help me.
When others fail me and Your grace alone can assist me, Jesus, help me.
When I throw myself on Your tender love as a father and savior, Jesus, help me.
When my heart is cast down by failure at seeing no good come from my efforts, Jesus, help me.
When I feel impatient and my cross irritates me, Jesus, help me.
When I am ill and my head and hands cannot work and I am lonely, Jesus, help me.
Always, always, in spite of weakness, falls, and shortcomings of every kind, Jesus, help me and never forsake me.
Amen.

~ Jon Brown

Attributes of God: He is Love

God Is Love

Your love is so crushing when I think deeply about it. Who would do what You did? You did not have to solve our problem. We were the ones who disobeyed You! But You came! You came and lived a perfect life among us. There was no fault in You at all. I could only imagine being Mary when you were a child; a confusingly perfect child. Your solution is humanly unthinkable. You did no wrong and yet You took the ultimate punishment. You died a horrendous humiliating death on a stake; fully beaten, bloody, and naked. You were innocent and yet You kept silent because You had a plan. A plan that no one would ever, ever conceive. But You did. Because You are love. That kind of love is crushing. It crushes my heart. It overwhelms me. You are not just loving, You are the epitome of love. YOU ARE LOVE!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)

God Is Love

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:7-21, ESV)

 

Have No Fear by Philip DeCourcy

Click HERE to watch the sermon by Philip DeCourcy.

Quotes from the Sermon:

“Fear is fueled by the unknown. Fear is fueled by ignorance. I remind myself of truths concerning God. That gives me a place to stand.” – Philip DeCourcy

“If you are battling fear you have to fight your fear by taking account of how God has been faithful to you in the past.” – Philip DeCourcy

“Fear is a false prophet. What do we do with false prophets? We stone them to death.”  – Philip DeCourcy

Application Questions:

1.    What are some of the things that cause us to fear? Specifically, what are things that cause you to fear?
2.    What is the difference between healthy fear and unhealthy fear?
3.    List and affirm some truths about God. Then discuss their relevance to the fearful heart.
4.    Why is it important to keep alive the memory of God’s past actions?
5.    How is worship the antidote to fear?
6.     Discuss the idea that courage is fear which has said its prayers.
7.    Think about the promise of future grace. How does it relate to the subject of fear?

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation;

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me

to eat up my flesh,

my adversaries and foes,

it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,

my heart shall not fear;

though war arise against me,

yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,

that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord

all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord

and to inquire in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter

in the day of trouble;

he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;

he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up

above my enemies all around me,

and I will offer in his tent

sacrifices with shouts of joy;

I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;

be gracious to me and answer me!

You have said, “Seek my face.”

My heart says to you,

“Your face, Lord, do I seek.”

Hide not your face from me.

Turn not your servant away in anger,

O you who have been my help.

Cast me not off; forsake me not,

O God of my salvation!

For my father and my mother have forsaken me,

but the Lord will take me in.

Teach me your way, O Lord,

and lead me on a level path

because of my enemies.

Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;

for false witnesses have risen against me,

and they breathe out violence.

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living!

Wait for the Lord;

be strong, and let your heart take courage;

wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27, ESV)

Attributes of God: He is Omnipotent

God Is Omnipotent (He has infinite and unlimited power.)

How precious is your power. How it is needed every second of every day it is! I am weak but you are all powerful. I ache and have pain yet you have power. I long for the day when I get to see you and your power. For now I am thankful for your power thorough my life. Through your Holy Spirit I am able to gain access to your power. Please Lord give me your power; even just a grain of sand worth. I cannot seem to make it through this day without you. I fumble even when I am obedient. I am saddened by my lack of power. Please give me a tiny piece of you to get me through today.

Summon your power, O God, the power, O God, by which you have worked for us. (Psalm 68:28, ESV)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, ESV)