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?

FRUIT AUDIT – The Fruit of the Spirit

Do have character in keeping with the Fruit of the Spirit?
This is a tricky one. Often people think this is what Jesus is talking about when he refers to “fruit.” The word for fruit in Greek is”karpos” and has a broader meaning than that just found in Galatians to describe the Fruit of the Spirit in how we are to act. It also has the meaning of praise and worship to God as well as things that profit and bring glory to God. The Strong’s definition of karpos is “that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result. A work, act, or deed. An advantage, profit, or utility. That which praises, and which are presented to God as a thank offering.” So while the Fruit of the Spirit is indeed a great place to start, it is just that, a place to start. A fun way to see how you measure up to the Fruit of the Spirit is to put your name in front of each fruit. For me it would read: Jen is loving, Jen is joyful, Jen is peaceful, Jen is patient, Jen is kind, Jen shows goodness, Jen is faithful, Jen is gentle, Jen has self-control. Try putting your name in there and see if it is true. Check back tomorrow to discover another fruit that Jesus wants us to bear!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23, ESV

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?
Audit #1: The Fruit of the Spirit

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)

 

Is it Possible to Love those we Hate?

Love. What does it really boil down to? Of course you love the people you want to love. But what about those that you would rather not be around or better yet, those that you just cannot stand to be around. How about those people? Love, the way Jesus meant it, is hard. I was eating dinner the other night with my family when my husband said something that hurt. The ones we love are the ones that are able to hurt us the most. I quietly left the room and almost started to cry on my way up to our bedroom. I prayed on that short journey up the stairs and when I reached the landing I reached my decision. I was going to love him even though he did not deserve it. I cleaned the bedroom and put away some of his things and sat and prayed for him with all the love I have for him. Guess what? I found freedom. There is a tremendous amount of freedom you experience when you love when it is hard, when you love when they don’t deserve it, when you love when the world says you have every right to hate. My husband is the love of my life so perhaps that is not the best example, however when I think about those that I don’t quite get along with, or those that don’t like me, when I love them the way Jesus tells me to love them, that is the perfect example of what it means to love. Think about the people in your life that have made your life hard. How can you show Jesus to them the next time they screw up your day?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

DBR Thought of the Day ~ Stop being so Desensitized!

Let’s stop being so desensitized to the cross and really reflect on the reality of the pain and suffering that Christ endured for us… for me! To know that Jesus, the love of my life was marred beyond human semblance is absolutely horrifying. There are no words that describe my deep deep gratitude for the deep deep love Jesus demonstrated for me!

“As many were astonished at you—
his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
and his form beyond that of the children of mankind.” – Isaiah 52:14

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)
Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Fruits Audit ~ What does it mean to “bear fruit”?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23a

Most people when they ask themselves the question, “Am I bearing good fruit?” think of the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. They simply run through the list to make sure they are “bearing good fruit.” While this is a good place to start, it is by no means an exhaustive list of what what Jesus meant when he said we need to “bear good fruit.” Jesus said in Matthew 7:18-20, “A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” There are over 40 verses in the New Testament that talk about fruit as it pertains to being a converted follower of Christ. Here is a more complete list of what it means to “bear good fruit” but again, it is not exhaustive.

1. Jesus calls us to “make disciples.”
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” – Matthew 28:19

2. Do you crave God more and more each day?
“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

3. Do you walk by the Spirit (Fruit of the Spirit)
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” – Galatians 5:16-26

4. Do you have chronic sin?
“No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” – 1 John 3:6-10

5. Do you keep His Commandments?
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. [4] Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, [5] but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: [6] whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” – 1 John 2:3-6

6. Do you love others?
“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.” – 1 John 4:7-12

7. Do you love your enemy?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

8. Do you love the things of this world?
“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world- the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions-is not from the Father but is from the world. [17] And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” – 1 John 2:15-17

9. Are you convicted by the Holy Spirit?
“And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” – John 16:8-11

10. Do you grow in the knowledge and understanding of God’s Word?
“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

Again, this list is not exhaustive but I encourage you to take a look at our Fruits Audit section and read a bit more on each topic.

Below are just a few verses regarding fruit.

“so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:10

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.” – Matthew 12:33

“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” – John 15:2

“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” – John 15:16

“As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” – Matthew 13:23

Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. (Eph. 6:24)
Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

DBR Thought of the Day ~ Love your Wife, Respect your Husband (Ephesians 5:33)

“let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33

Can it really be that simple? Husbands, love your wives. Wives, respect your husbands. Oddly it sort of is. Women have a basic need to be loved and men have a basic need to be respected. In Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ book Love & Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs he goes into great detail about how this works. I highly recommend buying a copy and trying out what he suggests. It may just save your marriage, or at least it will enhance your marriage greatly. Below is a snippet I pulled from Michael Hyatt’s review on the book. You can see what he had to say here.

Emerson uses two acronyms to explain to men and women how to provide what their partner needs. To the men, he uses the acronym of C-O-U-P-L-E to remind them what their wives need. This is how you spell love to your wife:

  • Closeness—She wants you to be close.
  • Openness—She wants you to open up to her.
  • Understanding—Don’t try to fix her; just listen.
  • Peacemaking—She wants you to say, “I’m sorry.”
  • Loyalty—She needs to know you’re committed.
  • Esteem—She wants you to honor and cherish her.

To the women, he uses the acronym of C-H-A-I-R-S to remind them what their husbands needs. This is how you spell respect to your husband:

  • Conquest—Appreciate his desire to work and achieve.
  • Hierarchy—Appreciate his desire to protect and provide.
  • Authority—Appreciate his desire to serve and to lead.
  • Insight—Appreciate his desire to analyze and counsel.
  • Relationship—Appreciate his desire for shoulder-to-shoulder friendship.
  • Sexuality—Appreciate his desire for sexual intimacy.

I have read the book and tried out a lot of what Eggerichs suggests. To put it simply, buy showing my husband respect and actually telling him that I respect him has made a huge difference in our relationship.

“let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33

Maranatha!

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

DBR Thought of the Day on being Radical – Ephesians 3:16-19

What a wonder that we are blessed to have the Holy Spirit in our inner beings! Through faith Christ is dwelling in my heart! This is radical both in the historical meaning of the word and contemporary meaning. Today’s meaning of radical would apply to those who lived in the Old Testament times. They would have thought this impossible and incomprehensible yet here we are today; Christians with the Holy Spirit not along side, but INSIDE! That would have been rad to them for sure.

The word radical is from the Latin word radic or radix which means root. We are called to be rooted and grounded in love. The very thing that feeds us and sustains us should be love. It should be our root. We should be radical in our love! I love it when a word that means two totally different things when used in different contexts can apply in such a profound way to our lives. Let us be rooted in love and be radical in its application never forgetting the privilege we have in the Holy Spirit’s dwelling in us.

“that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” – Ephesians 3:16-19

God is Holy. God is Just. God is Love.

God is Holy, God is Just, and God is Love.

God is the Almighty Creator of this universe. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”Genesis 1:1 He is also the one who made us. “then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.”Genesis 2:7 With this in mind, we must admit that He is ultimately in charge of us. He created us to have a relationship with him and it was perfect.

He is Holy, meaning he is set apart from anything or anyone on this planet. Because he is holy he desired for us to be holy too. “Since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.””1 Peter 1:16  In the Bible, Peter is referring to Leviticus, the 3rd book of the Old Testament. “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.”Leviticus 11:44

Unfortunately, because we have a choice in how we respond to God, sin entered the world because people wanted to use their freedom in a selfish way (Genesis 3). They decided to do things their way rather than obey and follow God. Their choice in favor of sin rather than obedience to God caused them to be separated from God. We are now born into that sin and no longer have a perfect holy relationship with God.

God is also Just. By this he must be the perfect judge. He cannot merely overlook this sin because it goes against everything that he is. He requires justice and he promises that he will punish sin.  “For behold, the Lord will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.”Isaiah 66:15

It is pretty clear in the book of Second Thessalonians too, “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,”2 Thessalonians 1:8-9

The wages of sin is death and complete separation from God. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”Romans 6:23 I’ll say it again, we have no option other than complete separation from a holy God. “but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.”Isaiah 59:2  Your payment for your sin will be required and that is what Hell is. By the grace of God, however, he has provided a solution.

God is Love.  “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”1 John 4:8
He is the purest form of it. He came up with a perfect solution to the sin problem. A love so crushing that when you think about it, no human would do what he did. This loving good news is that he sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, God in living human form. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”Colossians 1:15, to pay, in-full, the price of your sin by becoming the ultimate sacrifice. “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 Have you ever read the verses beyond John 3:16? I encourage you to do so right now. Click the above link to John 3:16 and find out what it says.

Did you know that Jesus died in the most brutal way possible, death by the Roman cross? You may be immune to what it means to die by the Roman cross. Not only was it meant to be the most humiliating but it also was the most painful and drawn-out death possible. But, get this, he did not deserve it because he was innocent of what they accused him of. He lived a life we could never live. A perfect life. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”2 Corinthians 5:21

He died a death that we fully deserved. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,”1 Peter 3:18 Yet he conquered that death by raising again from the dead to prove to the world that only through him could this debt be paid. “For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again,”1 Thessalonians 4:14

You still have a choice and it is up to God to move you and you to accept the free gift of grace he is so lovingly giving to you. “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” “Romans 10:9-13

Living a good life, being kind to others, doing good deeds, and giving to charity will not get you into Heaven, it is only by the grace of God. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”Ephesians 2:8-9 The only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”John 14:6

You must turn from your sin and trust in Christ. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”1 John 1:9  It also states in Acts, “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,” – Acts 3:19

Give your life completely to God and have faith in Him. “and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith”Philippians 3:9  Ask him to forgive you of your sins and ask God to take control of your life. “… you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,”1 Thessalonians 1:9  Thank the Lord that he is Holy, Just, and is Love.

Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

Holding God Hostage

I was brought up in the church, taught to love God, love Jesus, obey his commands, and to be involved in church. I knew the bible (or thought I did) inside and out however I was holding God hostage with my own belief system. I was picking and choosing what worked best for me at any given moment rather than trusting that his Word, ALL of his Word, was 100% right regardless of what I thought. Even so, I was forgiven. I was His. Once saved, always saved, right? Or was I? Read some of the posts on this site to get proof of your salvation as well as some water for your soul.

To see the above story in its entirety, go here.