Continue in His Love

The love of God may produce feeling, but it is not anchored in feelings, but in the Word of God alone.

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John 15:9-12 – As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

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I remember a meeting at our local coliseum now more than 40-years past.  The evangelist holding the meetings had asked me to be in charge of the prayer room following the service.  I was to lead the ministry teams that would work with new converts, minister to the sick, and lead those who desired to the baptism in Holy Spirit.  At the close of one of the meetings, everyone had departed except for one young man.  Because he tarried alone, I approached him to ask about why he came.  He had come to receive the baptism in Holy Spirit.  I asked him if he had received.  He responded, “No.”  So, I took time to minister to him, and led him in prayer to receive.  After we prayed, I asked him if he had received.  I quoted Luke 11:13 to him, and asked why he responded, “No.”  He said he hadn’t felt anything.   Then I asked, “Have you had the Holy Ghost before?”  He said, “No.”  Then I said, “Well, if you haven’t received Holy Spirit before, how could you know how it feels?”  My question stunned him momentarily, but after a brief thought, he said, “I wouldn’t know.”  We chatted for few moments, and when I explained to him that God, Who is Love, COULD NOT, and WOULD NOT lie; that receiving God’s Word and His love has nothing to do with feelings, but everything to do with believing His Word, the young man readily and quickly received the infilling of Holy Ghost.

What has that to do with continuing in His love?  EVERYTHING!  If one is IN love, there will be all kinds of emotions involved.  That is because being IN love is a function of the soul (mind, will, intellect, & emotions).  But to LOVE God has nothing to do with feelings, and everything to do with obedience in faith.  I cannot and will not deny that walking in the love of God produces feelings.  Any action of determined will produces feelings.  But actions of determined will based on feelings can change at a moment’s notice, while actions based on determined will to obey an unchanging God will remain constant, steadfast, and faithful.  Continuing in God’s love, therefore, is not based in any way on feelings, but is indeed anchored securely and unwaveringly in the Word of God 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; John 3:16; John 14:15-17; 1 John 5:3; Luke 11:13; 1 John 4; James 1

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Glorifying Father

It is Father’s will that we glorify Him.  Let’s get busy honoring His will.

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John 15:8 – Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

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In our Text for Today we find one of those ALL-INCLUSIVE commands stated that every believer should be striving to carry out.  When a believer, a Christian, bears fruit, lives a fruitful life, he/she glorifies the Father.  It’s that simple.  From that statement there can and will be no withdrawal by the eternal God-head.  It is forever settled in heaven.  God has said it; that settles it!

But we must bring to that command a vision of its fullness.  When the Christian wins someone to the Lord, fruit is borne.  When a believer leads someone to the infilling of Holy Spirit, fruit is borne.  When a believer ministers any of the God-given elements of life and godliness to another person, fruit is borne.  Still we need to go deeper.  The Scriptures are clear in what Father calls the “fruit of the spirit.”  Please consider the following thoughts deeply.  While no one can bring forth the “fruit of the spirit” without the life-giving presence of Holy Spirit, in its deepest meaning, the “fruit of the spirit” is NOT the fruit of Holy Spirit, but is rather the fruit of the born-again human spirit.  When you become a new creature in Christ, you become an engrafted branch of the trees of righteousness, receiving its life from the Root, or the Vine, Who is Christ.  Please consider what I write to you.

No fruit of any fruit-bearing plant that produces fruit above ground grows on the root of the plant, or on the trunk or main vine of the plant.  Fruit grows on the branches.  That is precisely what Jesus said.  He said, “I am the vine, and you are the branches.”  It is from the production of the “fruit of the spirit” that life flows that will produce the visible fruitfulness of new babes in Christ, Spirit-filled believers, and lives being transformed by the power of God through gifts of Holy Spirit.  For this to come forth, one must be engrafted into the body of Christ, connected by the divine surgery of Holy Spirit to the “root of Jesse,” the “true Vine.”  IN HIMFROM HIM, and THROUGH HIM flows the life force necessary for any believer to become and remain fruitful, and abundantly so, in the body of Christ.  Have you been engrafted?  If so, you have no excuse to NOT be fruitful.  Build your faith in this from His Word, and please Father by glorifying Him with your whole being. 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Galatians 5:22-23; Acts 14:17; Colossians 1:10; Matthew 5:13-16; Psalm 119:89; Malachi 6:3; Hebrews 13:8

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Rising Above the Finite

You are finite, living in the infinite, with the infinite living in you.  It’s time to rise.

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John 15:7 – If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

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Man, at his best, on his own, with only human assistance, may indeed rise to greatness.  Michelangelo, Rodin, & da Vinci in art; Vanderbilt & Rockefeller in industry; Beethoven, Mozart, & Wagner in music; Jarvik & Pasteur in medicine; Chaucer, Twain, & Shakespeare in literature.  These are but a few examples of the heights to which a talented person can rise who is willing to pay the price and dedicate and commit themselves to their cause.  There are multitudes of achievers of greatness whom I did NOTname, and grave yards are filled with the bones of dead men who carried in their being the potential for greatness, but never pursued or birthed it.

Yet as you, a believer, read this, you have in you the potential to rise higher than all these I have named; far higher.  For while you, in the natural, are finite like those named, and you live in a finite world with finite resources and finite time, you have living in you the Only Infinite God; Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, supernatural in His being, and desirous to manifest His supernatural life in, to, for, and through you in this world.  And more than that, you are His child, His heir, and joint-heir with His First-born Son Who is King of kings and Lord of lords.  You are His supernatural offspring, with His supernatural ability, fully authorized as His supernatural ambassador to speak His supernatural Word in His super-natural faith to achieve the same supernatural works that He did, and greater.  You have not been called to rise to the greatest heights of finite greatness, but to ascend the peaks of infinite greatness as His child, His ambassador, His heir, His vessel, His body in this finite world.  Refuse to allow the finite to rule the infinite.  He can and will quicken your mortal body and show Himself strong through you.  Rise! 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Philippians 4:13; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; Luke 1:37;         Isaiah 55:6-13; Matthew 6:10; Song of Solomon 2:10-13

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Rising Above the Finite

You are finite, living in the infinite, with the infinite living in you.  It’s time to rise.

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John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

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Man, at his best, on his own, with only human assistance, may indeed rise to greatness.  Michelangelo, Rodin, & da Vinci in art; Vanderbilt & Rockefeller in industry; Beethoven, Mozart, & Wagner in music; Jarvik & Pasteur in medicine; Chaucer, Twain, & Shakespeare in literature.  These are but a few examples of the heights to which a talented person can rise who is willing to pay the price and dedicate and commit themselves to their cause.  There are multitudes of achievers of greatness whom I did NOTname, and grave yards are filled with the bones of dead men who carried in their being the potential for greatness, but never pursued or birthed it.

Yet as you, a believer, read this, you have in you the potential to rise higher than all these I have named; far higher.  For while you, in the natural, are finite like those named, and you live in a finite world with finite resources and finite time, you have living in you the Only Infinite God; Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, supernatural in His being, and desirous to manifest His supernatural life in, to, for, and through you in this world.  And more than that, you are His child, His heir, and joint-heir with His First-born Son Who is King of kings and Lord of lords.  You are His supernatural offspring, with His supernatural ability, fully authorized as His supernatural ambassador to speak His supernatural Word in His super-natural faith to achieve the same supernatural works that He did, and greater.  You have not been called to rise to the greatest heights of finite greatness, but to ascend the peaks of infinite greatness as His child, His ambassador, His heir, His vessel, His body in this finite world.  Refuse to allow the finite to rule the infinite.  He can and will quicken your mortal body and show Himself strong through you.  Rise! 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Philippians 4:13; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-14; Luke 1:37;         Isaiah 55:6-13; Matthew 6:10; Song of Solomon 2:10-13

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The Need to Abide

God designed you to have a place to call home; a place where your need to abide is manifest.

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John 15:4 – Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

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Mankind was made in the image of God, and he was designed by his Maker to have a place of abode, a place he could call his home.  We hear much in this life about how the Christian is just a “pilgrim and stranger” in this world, and I fully understand that concept.  However, that still does not remove the Christian from the pattern by which he/she was made.  It has been made clear from the very beginning that part of God’s design for His people is that we have a place to call home; a place we can call our abode.  Once again, I realize that in the eternal mind-set, life on this present earth, and even our stay in heaven after the rapture of the church, is only temporary.  Yet from the beginning, when God prepared a garden for His man before bringing man into the picture, we see His plan, and that for which we are designed.  When man, in Genesis 11, determined to build a city, and a tower that would reach heaven, and make himself a name to prevent division, man was merely following the heart’s desire placed in him from the beginning.  When we consider the pattern of marriage that existed when Jesus was in the earth, we see a custom of the groom preparing a place for his bride to completion before the marriage feast and consummation took place.  Even Jesus said it, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go, I will come again and receive you unto Myself.”  And you can be assured the place He prepares for you will be completed before your arrival.  Father, Son, and Holy Ghost want you to have a place of abode.

But a place of abode is not a place you come to for a visit, such as a vacation home, or a time-share residence.  A place of abode is the place your mail comes.  In the natural world, I have a home with a fixed address.  I may not be there every moment of every day; I do a lot of ministry both in and out of the USA.  Still, my place of abode is my official residence on this planet.  Send me a message there, call me there, and ultimately, you will get in contact with me.  That is my best place of rest.  It is home.  But I have another, more permanent place of abode.  It is in Christ.  I do not go to Him for an occasional visit, or even regular visits.  I live in Him, and He in me.  In Him I live and move and have my being.  I have made my abode in Him, eternally so, and in Him I am continually found.  In Him, and in Him alone, do I truly live. 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Genesis 11:1-9; Acts 17:28; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

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Reasonably Clean

Clean people generally bathe regularly. 

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John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

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I never cease to be amazed at how people can be so reasonable about natural things, and the next moment be so unreasonable about a simple truth so reasonably stated in the Word of God.  I remember speaking to a young man once during a ministry foray, and hearing him say he wanted to know and follow the Lord, but he needed to change his life first; he said he needed to stop doing many sinful things.  I waited for him to finish with his excuses, and I asked him a simple question.  I asked, “Have you ever gone fishing?”  He said he had, so I asked a follow-up question; “Did you catch any fish?”  He said he had, so again I followed with a question.  “Did you eat the fish?”  Once again, he said he had, so I asked one more question in closing the net.  I asked, “Did you clean the fishBEFORE you caught it, or AFTER you caught it?”  He laughed at such a ridiculous question, and suddenly his laughter turned came to an “I’ve-been-had” look.  In only moments he had accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior.  He realized just how unreasonably flawed his thinking had been.

It still amazes me how many Christians hold on to such unreasonable thinking.  So many Christians seem to think that once you’re born again, you simply remain perpetually clean.  So here are some questions for consideration that should bring one to a reasonable state of mind.  “Have you ever bought a new suit (or a new outfit)?”  The answer is likely “yes.”  The next question is, “Have you worn it on more than one occasion?”  And again, the answer is likely “yes.”  A third question is, “Have you had it cleaned, or did you simply throw it away once you wore it?”  The response is likely, “Of course I didn’t throw it away; it simply needed to be cleaned (washed).”  And the question to close the net; “Then why would we throw a brother is sister away simply because they sinned?  Wouldn’t a proper cleaning suffice?”  Think of that.

Let’s be Biblically reasonable.  You don’t buy a car and just put fuel into it one time.  You are born into the world and survive on one meal for the rest of your life.  You don’t bathe once in a lifetime.  You don’t go to school once; part of the reason for returning, beyond gaining new knowledge, is to have past learning reinforced.  To remain clean before our God, we must continue in the practice of being washed by the blood when we confess our sin, and beyond that, to daily invest time in the Word of God for its continual cleansing power, hiding that Word in our heart that we sin not against the Lord.  In short, we must wash regularly in the cleansing streams of Christ’s blood and His Word. 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; Luke 1:38; John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Peter 1:23; Psalm 107:20;            Psalm 119:11; Psalm 119:89; 1 John 1:9

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Tree Trimming

Here is one of the great keys to becoming more fruitful in Jesus.

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John 15:2 – Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

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Trees can be trimmed for any number of reasons; landscaping for simple appearance; to increase the fruitfulness of the plant; and in many housing communities, for reasons of safety and service.  In the community where I live there are many trees along the road.  Also, alongside the road are the electrical lines (for power), telephone lines (for communication), and cable lines (also for communication and information).  Often, the trees near those lines can present problems concerning those same lines.  The city controls a “right-of-way” along our streets and roads, and authorizes the utility companies, especially the electrical suppliers, to trim trees as necessary to insure normal utility operations within the community.    For instance, in the winter, tree limbs laden with ice and overhanging electrical lines could break, fall across and break service lines.  The outcome of that could be devastating for so many people and businesses.  So when you walk through my neighborhood, trees may have odd shapes due to the trimming away of potential hazards.  I share all this to ask a question.

How about your life?  Are there elements in your life that can prevent the flow of the power of God to you, or through you to those about you?  Are there elements in your life that could prevent or impede communication between you and the Lord, or fellow-believers, or those to whom you should be a witness?  If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then it is time for some pruning in your own life.

Read our Text for Today.  I am not writing so much about being fruitful as I am about the need for you to prepare yourself to become and remain fruitful.  Only Jesus knows you better than yourself.  Be honest with yourself today.  Be willing, or become willing, to place your life under the critical light of analysis called the Word of God.  If you need to grow, then work towards that goal.  If you need to branch out, then work towards that goal.  But if you need to do some pruning from your life of those things that hinder you and create potential problems for others around you, then work towards that goal.  It is a worthy one, and God will not only help you in the process, but will bless you with greater fruitfulness in those areas of your life in which you have served well.  Are you ready to trim the tree? 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; John 14:12-17; Proverbs 4:20-23; Isaiah 55:6-13; Hebrews 12:1-3; Psalm 1; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 2 Timothy 2:21

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The Branch Chooses

With the Word of God, there can be NO compromise.

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John 15:2 – Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

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Are you in Christ today?  Have you been born again?  Is Jesus Christ you Savior?  If that answer to any of the three questions is “yes,” then you answer to all three questions is “yes.”  It’s that simple.  There is NO middle ground.  You’re either saved or you’re not.  You’re either a sinner or a saint.  You CANNOT be an “old sinner saved by grace.”  You WERE an old sinner; then you were saved by grace; NOW you are the righteousness of God in Christ.   That being settled, we move along.

As a child of God, you are a “branch in Christ.”  He is the Vine, we are His branches.  As a branch, one of two things is true.  Either you are bearing fruit, or you are not.  I reiterate, there is NO middle ground.  Are you bearing fruit?  Your truthful answer can only be one of two words; “YES,” or “NO.”  As a branch in Jesus, whether you are bearing fruit or not, the choice is your own.  It is determined by what you choose to do with the life of God that flows into you.  You can stop it from flowing through you and be unfruitful, or you can allow it to flow through you and be fruitful.  It’s your choice.  But here, you MUST be aware.  It is your choice that determines how our Text for Today will be applied in your life.  Your choice determines if you will be “taken away,” or “purged.”  Through a heart that cries out for a fruitful body of Christ, I urge you to give my words strong consideration.

As a branch in Christ, you are expected to bear fruit; this glorifies Father.  If you do not bear fruit, our Text for Today says you will be taken away.  This does not say you will be lost, go to hell, or suffer the torments of the lake of fire.  It says you will be taken away.  I cannot speak to the full import of what it means for the Lord to take away a branch.  But I can tell you this, a branch can bear no fruit except it abides in the vine, and if one is taken away from the vine, the only outcome is fruitless.  ONLY in the vine can we bear fruit.  However, if you bear fruit, don’t expect to be taken away, but you SHOULDexpect to be purged.  That word means “to wash, clean, refine, and purify.”  It also means to clean out by flowing through.  The Lord rejoices over any fruitful branch, and He will work with it, wash it, clean it, refine it, purify it, and flow through it to produce MORE fruit, BETTER fruit, and MORE EXCELLENT” fruit.  Which will you be?  Fruitful or fruitless?  Purged or taken away?  The choice in your own. 

Manna for Today – John 15:1-17; John 14:12-17; Proverbs 4:20-23; Isaiah 55:6-13; Hebrews 12:1-3; Psalm 1

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You’re in Control

Don’t be deceived.  Whatever you can control, God leaves it up to you.  He’ll help, but it’s your choice.

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John 14:27 – Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

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There is a statement made by many Christians, that while it sounds holy, it is, on almost every occasion I hear it, erroneous.  The statement is, “God is in control.”  As I have said many times in the past, I will say again here.  Any human being is in far more control of what happens TO him/her, IN him/her, FOR him/her, AROUND him/her, and BECAUSE of him/her than Father God is.  Many believers don’t want to hear or believe that, especially when they don’t want to accept the responsibility for their own choices, and their own lack of knowledge.  Nevertheless, that truth needs to be spoken, accepted, learned, and known.

Look closely at the words of Jesus recorded in our Text for Today.  Do you see the word “let,” recorded twice in the last two phrases of the verse?  To “let” something happen gives clear indication that it is up to you to allow it to happen.  And the counter part of that is likewise true.  If you DON’T “let” something happen, that means you are preventing it.  The choice is yours.  The control is in your hands.  You can either “let” your heart be trouble free and unafraid, or you can choose for you heart to be troubled and made fearful.  Which will it be.  YOU are in control.

I urge you to give strong consideration to what I have written in this Second Miler.  There are indeed things that are in the sovereign control of our Father.  But there are many more things that He has placed in YOUR control.  If Father were in control as many believe, no one would be lost, for it is not His will that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  If Father were in control, there would be NO sick Christians in the earth, for we have been redeemed from the curse of the law, and by the stripes of Jesus we “were healed.”  Go to the Word, my friend.  Discover the truth of what the Lord has placed under your control, acknowledge it, act on it, and live at a higher level of redemption and blessing than you have ever known.  Accept your responsibility and live strong in the faith of the Lord. 

Manna for Today – John 14:15-31; Joshua 1:6-9; John 14:12-14; Mark 16:15-20; 2 Peter 3:9;                 1 Peter 2:24; Galatians 3:13-29

 

 

The Comforter Has Come

Holy Ghost, the Comforter, does much more than comfort.

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John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

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Before Jesus was crucified, He promised that He would send “the Comforter.”  After His resurrection and just before His ascension He promised that He would send, “the Comforter.”  On the day of Pentecost, some 50 days after His resurrection, He fulfilled that promise, and sent “the Comforter.”  But the One we call the Comforter does so much more than comfort.  But it is in the doing of so much more that creates a pathway to a level of comfort that defies human imagination.  Let’s just consider the two elements set forth in our Text for Today as prime examples.

Holy Spirit is our great Teacher.  He has not been sent to teach us “some” things, but “all” things that pertain to our life and godliness in Christ Jesus.  There is NOTHING pertaining to life and godliness that He will not teach any child of God.  The Scriptures clearly state that “all things that pertain to life and godliness” have already been given to us.  But allow this example.  I am not a mechanically inclined person.  I have changed tires, and even changed the motor oil and filter on my own car.  But that, by no stretch of the imagination makes me a mechanic at any level.  So, if you gave me a complete set of every too array necessary to be a master-mechanic, I would not know what to do with them.  That is the picture of most believers today.  We have been given all things that pertain to life and godliness, yet live far beneath the level of power, freedom, and blessing the Lord wants us to have.  That is part of the reason Father sent Holy Ghost to us.  He will teach us all we need to know regarding the use of “all things that pertain to life and godliness.”  That, my friend, is an ever-present source of comfort in this life.

And have you ever come to a point in life where you have forgotten something?  We all do.  Yet we have the Comforter Who will “bring all things to our remembrance.”  Note in our Text for Today that the term “all things” is used twice.  It is the “all things” that the Comforter “will teach” us that He will also bring “to your remembrance.”  Once again, I find this so comforting.  Not only will the Comforter teach you “allthings,” but having taught you “all things,” He will bring those same “all things to your remembrance.”  Oh what a never-ending source of comfort is the Comforter to me; to you; to us!  Let us rejoice in knowing the Comforter has come. 

Manna for Today – John 14:15-31; Acts 1:8; Acts 2:1-41; 2 Peter 1:2-4