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?

 

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FRUIT AUDIT – Do you “make disciples” actively or do you leave it to the “professionals”?

Jesus calls us to “make disciples.” Do you make disciples actively or do you leave it to the “professionals”?
I often found myself saying others are better at this than me and that is their gift, not mine. If you read the Bible thoroughly you will find that way of thinking is false. Jesus never said “only if you feel like it” or “only if you feel called to” or “only if you are good at it.” Quite the contrary. The Bible is full of stories, examples, and commands to people who were self-professing babbling idiots, but those are precisely who God used time and time again. His glory shines brighter through those who are less able to do what he wants you to do.

“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

For further thoughts on this topic check out this post:
Do You Share Jesus?

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?

 

FRUIT AUDIT – Do you Walk by the Spirit? What does that mean exactly?

Do you walk by the Spirit?
Based on yesterday’s highly pulled quote from the Bible, Galatians 5:22-23 on the Fruit of the Spirit, you may want to take a look at the context of the above verses and dig a bit deeper. What does it mean to “walk by the Spirit”? Think back to a day when you rushed out of the house and did not have time to start your day in the Word or in prayer. Think about how your day went. Now think about those days where you spent a good amount of time praying and hearing what God has to say to you through his Word. Can you tell a difference in your day? For me, when I make a purposeful time at the beginning of my day it is like surrounding myself with a layer of Holy Spirit Protection or God Force Field as my son likes to call it. My attitude is different and my will power to do God’s will and not my own is greater because I am walking by 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

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?

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?

 

FRUIT AUDIT – Have you ever taken a fruit audit? You may want to!

We are encouraged in the Bible by Paul to test our faith. He tells us in his second letter to the Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.” (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV) Likewise, in Matthew we see a call to test others by their fruits. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 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.” (Matthew 7:15-20, ESV) Also, John the Baptist in preparing the way for the Messiah in a clear and bold way declares the following: “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Luke 3:8-9, ESV)

With all that said plus many other scriptures that speak about our fruit as Christians, I think it is something worth checking often in our walks with Jesus! Check out the many verses below that reference our fruit. We will be going through a daily series of “audits” for you to consider as you test yourself. Check back each day for the daily audit.

Verses that reference our fruit: James 3:17, Matthew 21:43, Matthew 12:33, Luke 6:43, John 15:2, John 15:16, Matthew 3:8, Matthew 13:23, Mark 4:20, Luke 8:15, Luke 13:7, John 4:36, John 15:4-5, John 15:8, Romans 6:22, Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9, Philippians 1:11, Philippians 4:17, Colossians 1:6, Colossians 1:10, Hebrews 12:11, Hebrews 13:15.

Maranatha!

FRUIT AUDIT PREVIOUS POSTS:
Introduction: Have Your Ever Taken a Fruit Audit?

Answer the following questions and look up the associated verses to determine if you are a follower of Jesus or just a really big fan.

Who You Are
Audit #1: Is your character in keeping with the Fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23
Audit #2: Do you Walk by the Spirit? Galatians 5:16-26
Audit #3: Do you Actively “Make Disciples”? Matthew 28:19
Audit #4: Do you Love God with all that you are? Matthew 22:38-38

God’s Law
Audit #5: Do You Crave the Word of God? 1 Peter 2:2-3. Romans 7:22, John 8:47, Matthew 5:6
Audit #6: Do You Keep His Commands? Exodus 20
Audit #7: Is God’s Law Written on Your Heart? Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 8:6-13
Audit #8: Do You Grow in Wisdom or just Knowledge?  James 1:15

Understanding Love
Audit #9: Do You Love Others? 1 John 4:7-12
Audit #10: Do You Love your Enemy? Matthew 5:43-48, 1 Corinthians 4:12
Audit #11: Do You Have a Love Affair with the World? 1 John 2:15-17, John 15:19
Audit #12: Are you politically correct when it comes to Jesus and your friends, family and coworkers? Matthew 10:32-33, 2 Corinthians 5:20

Tests and Discipline
Audit #13: Do you Have Chronic Sin? 1 John 3:6-10
Audit #14: Do You Get Disciplined by God? Hebrews 12:3-11
Audit #15: Do You Get Tested by God? James 1:2-3, 1 Peter 4:12-14
Audit #16: Are you instantly convicted when you sin? John 16:7-11
Audit #17: Do you get persecuted for your faith? 2 Timothy 3:12, John 15:18, 1 Peter 4:12-14, 1 Peter 3:14, Matthew 5:10
Audit #18: Are you hated by some people because of your faith? 1 John 3:13, Luke 6:22,

A Changed Life
Audit #19: Do You See a Changed Life? Ezekiel 36:25-26
Audit #20: Is Your Spiritual Life Different from Last Year? Are you growing? Colossians 1:9-10, 2 Peter 3:18
Audit #21: Do You Find Assurance or Conviction When You Read the Book of 1 John
Audit #22: Christian: Would a stranger or even a close friend or family member who is not a follower of Christ convict you of being a follower? 1 John 5:19, Colossians 4:5-6, 1 Corinthians 1:21-23

 

Generation System Busters… Throw the Rules out the Window

Are you usually the one who questions the status quo or always bucks the system? Are you considered a system buster, looking for better ways to do things? Do you not always follow the rules? Many younger generations in their teens, 20s, and 30s, are this way. They were almost raised this way. Consider these two verses. While system busting is not all bad, don’t get caught in the trap of turning into a complainer and an arguer.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16, ESV)

Worse off would be if you became that person in church who is always complaining about how loud the music is, or that so-and-so did such-and-such. Grow in your walk with Yashua and remember to try to go with the flow of your leadership Yahweh has put in place. Man is fallible but you will be responsible to Yahweh as well based on how well you obeyed your leaders. They will be accountable for how well the led.

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. (Hebrews 13:17)

Maranatha!!!!

My Journey in Learning Hebrew: Finding Tools to Learn the Basics

daily blessings appWhen you want to learn a new language there are several options: immersion or foundational. My issue with immersion is that I am not learning Hebrew to only speak it. My main goal is to read, write and understand it and also speak it. Most apps and learning tools just want you to speak and understand, not read or write. The Hebrew alphabet (aleph bet) is very different than the characters used in the alpha bet I am used to. Even learning Spanish or French uses the same alphabet so figuring out pronunciation is somewhat easy compared to learning a full set of new characters.

So that is where I started. I needed to memorize the new characters, their sounds, as well as the vowels and other accents. There are a lot of similar sounds, similar looking letters, and exceptions to rules, as well as very different looking fonts for the same letters that will all make you say Oy Vey! Once I fully got used to a font set my teacher would introduce another font of the same letters and I would mix them up. Back to the drawing board. I needed to find as many fonts of the aleph bet that I could so I know the variations and can spot them so I know the letter. It is like our capitals, lower case, and script. They all look different. Take our letter “Q” and how different the upper and lower and script fonts are from each other. At least with Hebrew there are only 22 consonants, 8 vowel markers, and 5 final consonants.

Now that I have all the letters figured out (for the most part) I am now learning simple words and phrases to start pulling all the letters and sounds together. It has been super fun and exciting to see it all start to make sense. Below are some tools I have found helpful along the way. I have looked into a lot of language tools but the best ones are the ones that include the Hebrew text along with both the translation and the transliteration (how to pronounce it) as well as a recording of the phrase so you can hear the pronunciation. I have looked and looked for tools that do all 4 and there are not that many out there.

Ma Kore Hebrew Good but the fonts are a bit off because they need base and x height lines to indicate what you are looking at. Also the pronunciation is a bit off such as the letter “tsadi” they pronounce it with a g sound at the end and that is incorrect (per my teacher saying that is a common error.)

Daily Blessings App (By far my favorite) An App that gives you all the traditional blessings with the Hebrew text, transliteration, translation and audio version of the blessing. Great learning tool.

The Mishkan T’filah App (I recommend buying the book) The app is a bit pricey because you have to buy each set of prayers separately. This is also great because it includes the Hebrew text, transliteration, and translation.
The Mishkan T’filah Book

I hope this helps if you are interested in starting your own journey to learn Hebrew.

Shalom!

To see this thread from the beginning click the below links:

My Journey in Learning Hebrew PART 1
My Journey in Learning Hebrew: How I Got Started
My Journey in Learning Hebrew: Finding Tools to Learn the Basics

I just got unfriended on Facebook because of Jesus!

Recognize that we haven’t really dealt with the same kind of persecution that the martyrs underwent. When we think about our own persecution we are lightweights. Imagine the martyrs in heaven looking down over the rails at how pathetic we are when we complain about people unfriending us or the loss of a client because of our Christian faith. ~ Mike Fabarez

“Ask and it will be given.” ~ Why the Secret and the Law of Attraction are Wrong!

Matthew 7:7-11 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

There are so many passages in the Bible that are misinterpreted. They are interpreted based on what we want them to say rather than what they actually say. I got caught up in the “Secret” and the “Law of Attraction” several years ago. Even my Christian friends were suckered into it because it is touted as being Bible based. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think of how Satan takes truths and slightly (really slightly) modifies them to make them not true anymore but really easy to swallow as truth. You know how GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms, aka “food that is not really food anymore”, aka “you can eat it but shouldn’t”) are just like the original only better? They grow quicker, yield more, taste richer, have less waste, etc, etc. That is what Satan hopes his “version” of the Bible does for each and every one of us. Pick and choose what we want and throw out the rest.

blueletterbibleSo, back to the above verse and why our friends who teach the Law of Attraction really have missed the whole point of this passage (and other verses in the Bible that seem to say the same thing.) There are some helpful ways to interpret Scripture through the hermeneutical process. Three main areas to always consider are: Biblical Context, Historical Background, and The Bible as a Whole.

Biblical context is simple. What context was the passage in question relating to? Read the verses surrounding the verse in question.

Historical Background may take a bit longer to discover through commentaries and other historical reading. What did the passage mean to the people it was written to? What was going on in their time? What historical events surrounded them at the time of the writing? Why was it written, for what purpose? Who specifically was it intended for? It is important here to look up multiple translations as well as the original Greek or Hebrew words used in the passage.

And lastly, understanding the Bible as a Whole can also take a while. This is often referred to as “Scripture Interprets Scripture.” You need to see where else in the Bible there is use of phrases or specific words that come up in the passage. One of my favorite resources is Blue Letter Bible. See image above. It is important to research words and what they fully meant, not how one translation has decided to translate it. It is also important to find out if the specific meaning you think it means is taught anywhere else in the Bible. If it is not, then perhaps you need to rethink your understanding of the passage.

So, let’s take a look at our passage in question (Matthew 7:7-11) and dissect it a bit.

What is the Biblical Context? Please read all of Matthew 7 right now if you have not yet. In reading the verses before and after it seems clear they are talking about how we live our lives and how that pertains to the glory of Yahweh, our personal salvation, as well as our deserved judgement. If our relationship with Yahweh and salvation is what is in context then it would make sense that the passage is telling us to ask for salvation and the things of Yahweh. Let’s dig a bit deeper by looking at the Historical Background.

What was the Historical Background? Jesus is at the end of his now famous ‘Sermon on the Mount” as read in Matthew 5-7. It is probably one of the most well know passages in all the New Testament. However, when he was giving it, and even when it was written down or passed along via pure memorization, the text in the early church was not well known like it is today. The last verse in chapter 7 states the people were amazed. What Jesus was saying was not only counter intuitive and somewhat odd at the time (in some cases very odd and downright heretical) the people were astonished. First because of what he was saying, but second because of how he was saying it. Think about it. When you hear someone speak about something they have studied, there is a sense of humility in that knowledge. It is like your pastor preaching from the Word of God. Now think about when you have heard someone talk about something they have discovered or created, like a scientist or book author. They speak with a much greater sense of authority (authorship). That is exactly how Jesus was speaking because he has authored it all! Everything. Every last word, note, hair, syllable, brick, dot, iota, cell, molecule, star, planet, you get the idea. EVERYTHING. So he has a right to speak with complete authority. People just did not talk that way back then, not even the scribes or the pharisees. There was great power behind how Jesus spoke and the people sat up to listen.

So, think about this. Jesus goes from “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” straight into the idea of “asking”. Then he states “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” If I look at this from the audience of the time’s perspective I would not think to my self: “Wow, you mean to tell me I can ask for anything I want and I will get it?” As I would say to my child, “Sorry, that is not correct.”

Finally let’s take a look at other passages that can shed some light on this one.

Scripture Interprets Scripture.

Below are a list of verses similar to Matthew 7:7 and are the ones most brought up in the discussion of the Law of Attraction. Before moving forward here is a simple definition of the Law of Attraction: Like attracts like. If you think it, you will be it. If you ask for it you will receive it.
HERE ARE THE VERSES:

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22, ESV)

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24, ESV)

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:13-14, ESV)

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. (John 15:7, ESV)

In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. (John 16:23, ESV)

Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. (John 16:24, ESV)

You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly (James 4:3, ESV)

When we look at all these verses that seem to imply that we simply need to ask God for our desires and he will give them to us it can be very enticing to go down that rabbit hole. However, when you use the above two steps to find out what the Bible is talking about in each verse you will quickly find out that they are all talking about God’s will and not yours. It is not about your job, your bank account, the school your kids go to, your retirement plan, or even the simple day to day things that we want and desire. Yes, God wants good things for his kids but when you really study scripture as a whole, cover to cover, you will see that there really is no promise of good things on THIS earth in THIS lifetime. He is talking about your salvation and what amazingly great things (and I mean uncomprehendingly GREAT things) he will be giving you then, not now!

Take a look at this verse:

I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. (John 10:10b, ESV)

This is quite possibly the MOST misinterpreted verses in the Bible when it comes to the Law of Attraction. People say, “Check this out, God WANTS you to have an abundant life!” I like how they take out the first part of the verse, because it is a bit confusing when it is put in the context they want it to be in. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10, ESV) Using hermeneutics, you will discover that Jesus is talking about salvation. You will also see that when you interpret this passage based on other scripture, the word abundant is used here to describe life upon life, or eternal life, or everlasting life, not a full and abundant life now.

So, what should you do with all of this? Here are 5 Simple Steps.

1. Read the Bible fully and often.

2. Utilize your brain by looking at the complete context of a passage in question.

3. Use tools like a concordance, lexicon, and Hebrew/Greek dictionary to understand the words better. Here are a couple good ones online: Bible Study Tools or Blue Letter Bible.

4. Find a church that has great Bible based, expository preaching and teaching. Check out 9Marks to find a church in your area that professes this as one of their goals.

5. Read the Bible fully and often.

Maranatha!

P.S. ~ All of the above is one of the main reasons I am learning Hebrew and Greek. It is that important!

The Status Quo of the Wickedly Messed Up

Isn’t the status quo interesting? People will do anything just to keep their lives as they are even if it is wickedly messed up. Change scares most people. Oh the sadness and compassion Jesus must have felt towards the people in the town that asked him to leave because he was messing up their economy. Lord, help me have your compassion towards the people in my life who reject you! Reading: Matthew 8
Join me in Today’s Daily Bible Reading!

Maranatha!