Periscope: Satan’s Newest Weapon of Mass Destruction

In 1 Samuel 2:16 it says “Let them burn the fat first.” What does this mean? Some speculate it had to do with the fat being what gives us our strength. God wants us to get our strength from Him and Him alone. To boast only in Him. He asked us to give the best to Him first. Do you see what happened in this verse?

And if the man said to him, “Let them burn the fat first, and then take as much as you wish,” he would say, “No, you must give it now, and if not, I will take it by force.” 1 Samuel 2:16 ESV

Who is talking? A random man who was sacrificing and a priest’s servant who was demanding the man give to the priest what the Lord commanded should be given to Him alone. What is the significance here? Even the common man knew this was wrong. What was going on here was very very wrong.

Today we think nothing of skipping breakfast let alone prayer time and Bible study. It breaks my heart that I too am responsible for not loving the LORD my God with ALL my heart, soul, strength, and mind. I am guilty of waking up and giving the first part of my mind to Facebook, or Instagram, or text messages, or emails. My flesh is weak. New worldly distractions are being pushed out daily. Periscope can now be added to my list of distractions and sin. We all have trigger points. Things that will take us out of the game from time to time.

Satan is on the continual prowl seeking new and innovative ways to keep the lost from finding God and the saved from doing their work. You may find me a bit over-the-top by calling Periscope a weapon of mass destruction, but if you think about it for just a second, if it is taking someone away from God’s work then most certainly it could be. Just like anything else in this world could also be considered the same. Again, it goes back to knowing what is taking you away from the work of God. Food, TV, people, worldly praise and recognition, your kids, relationships, careers, sports, etc. Really the list is endless.

We all have our weaknesses. What is taking you out of the game? What is causing your eyes to dim from the light of the Kingdom? What are you doing that is not allowing you to give God your first? Are you even aware that you are not giving Him your best?

Father, I ask for more of you. More of your Holy Spirit. Jesus teach me. Holy Spirit guide me. Father give me wisdom to do your will. Take away my selfish ambition and help me to have Kingdom eyes and Kingdom flesh. Humble my pride. Sharpen my mind. Train me and discipline me. Give me mercy and grace and love for your people, and above all give me Jesus.

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The Ultimate Fruit Test! See how you measure up to what the Bible says about being a Follower of Jesus Christ.

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 Entire 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

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

 

Modern Parable ~ Blind Obedience

jenosullivan_20131031_0002_webSometimes I need my 5 year old to just simply obey something I ask him to do: Don’t cross the street yet… Eat your veggies… Go to bed… Don’t eat the entire bag of Halloween candy at once. While his little 5 year old mind cannot fathom any good reason to follow any of these ridiculous rules, he does. Why? Somehow in his 5 long years of life he has figured out that going against what I say as a direct command usually goes badly… sometimes very badly. So, here I sit. Almost 40 years old, still whining to God about this rule and that rule. “Why can’t I just…” on this command and that command. In my bible study today, I was reading and dissecting one verse in 1 Peter. Yes, sometimes it is important to dig into the Bible one verse at a time and digest it fully before moving on. So, here is what I studied this morning:

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, (1 Peter 1:14, ESV)

God is commanding me to not be conformed to all the things of this world that are sin and that are against His law. But get this, the first part of that sentence is “as obedient children.” This context is like a child is obedient to his father. Like my child is obedient to me. Blind obedience at times. Kicking and screaming but still obedient obedience. I hung my head low this morning as I reflected on my desire to mature in this one point. With the help of the LORD I will prevail!

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Quote of the Day ~ R.C. Sproul on Foolishness

“As the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, so the denial of God is the height of foolishness.”
― R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of the Christian Faith

James 1:4 “An Active, Strong, Challenging Response in Your Faith” by Jen O’Sullivan

An Active, Strong, Challenging Response to Your Faith
by Jen O’Sullivan

James 1:4 (ESV)
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

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The words James uses are specific to that time period and are more precise in meaning than our translation. For example, in the above text the word Steadfastness, or the Greek word hypomone, means an active, strong, challenging response in ones faith.

To put it simply, maturity in my faith is a product of testing.

I am impatient and have difficulty waiting for anything to be complete. My desire for steadfastness is huge. I long for the day when I no longer crumble under this intense pressure from my choices. My knees buckle literally under the weight at times. This steadfastness that I am enduring is definitely a strong, active, and challenging response to my test. I long to be complete and steady, settled in my understanding of God’s will and my own lack to control it. Let us continually ask God to be refined in His fire! Just like gold and silver in its purest form.

Maranatha! (Come, Lord Jesus!)

~ Jen O’Sullivan
www.HolyJustLove.com

Blessing God ~ Joy in the Thorns

God has been putting me through a series of trials and tests. At one point I begged Him to give me respite. I thought, “I can’t do this anymore!” Then he blessed me. He blessed me in a way I would never have guessed. He changed my desire. Instead of changing my circumstances, the thing I kept praying for, he blessed me in the best way possible by redirecting my focus. Can you look at something you are going through right now that you are sad about, hurt by, or just don’t understand and look at it from a different perspective? Will what you are going through matter a year from now? Maybe. Will it matter 10 years from now? It might. Will it matter 100 years from now? Well, that is up to you and your Maker. If it is of this world, then it definitely will not matter 100 years from now. If it is regarding your spiritual life, you better bet it will matter 100 years from now. Change your perspective and rejoice in your trouble.
Joy in the Thorns“Joy in the Thorns”

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
– James 1:2-4

Photography by Jen O’Sullivan

Blessing God Series
Rain from the Lord
Grass in the Field
Parable of the Pearl
Rocks Cry Out
Flourish

Proof of Salvation

Can you Prove Your Salvation?

When you were born your parents were very aware of your growth. They had 100% proof that you were growing. If you were not, you would be taken immediately to the doctor. I remember having my baby and freaking out because his weight was in the 10th percentile. I was searching for any cause of lack of weight gain. Even to this date I obsess over the fact that his feet seem to not be growing at all while the other kids in his class have shoe sizes that are 3 sizes bigger. Moms search for evidence and proof of growth and life, constantly. How is it then that we never, or hardly ever, search for proof of growth and life in our faith? To have assurance in your own salvation is a huge thing. The word “hope” in biblical terms does not just mean you hope it might come true one day, but that it actually means “confident assurance.” That is a very different meaning and I think you would love to have confident assurance in the fact that you are going to Heaven. Take a look at our Fruits Audit Section to gain greater insight into your own salvation.