Fear Shrinks Your World

I love quoting Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Likewise,1 John 4:12&13, This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.However,these words become hollow if we live with fear and anxiety in our lives. Fear and anxiety rupture “I can do all things” and “This is the confidence” and are the antithesis of faith and courage.  My testimony is an example of this.  For many years, I allowed fear and anxiety to shrink my world.

Never forget the acrostic of fear because it is absolutely true….…False Evidence Appearing RealSatan is the great illusionist, masquerader, and deceiver.  2 Corinthians 11:3, 14, But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ… 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  How does the devil deceive, masquerade, and construct an illusion?  He deceives through false teaching whether it is an egotistical professor, teacher, or preacher.  He builds illusions in false narratives, gossip shows, and productions “based on truth” which are actually built on lies.  He masquerades what good and right is when all along the good and right highlighted is categorized as ungodly in the scripture.  He knows our addictions and feeds on our lusts whether it be of the eye, the flesh or the pride of life (1 John 2:16).  He takes us back to our family of origins which were without expressed love and acceptance misinterpreting hurt and raw feelings telling us that we are failures and rejects.  Many of us keep these feelings throughout our lives.  Others have had hurtful, even brutal experiences in their background.  As a result, bitterness, insecurities, and unforgiveness reside in our lives producing anxiety and fear. Deception and fear cause personal and family downfall and arguments that split God’s people and churches.    

Ephesians 5:16 states the devil is driven to seize our minds with “the flaming arrows of the evil one. 1 Peter 5:9 powerfully and accurately describes the approach of the devil as he “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  The purpose of the roar of the lion is to paralyze a weak foe with the desire to devour it.  How many of us today have been burned emotionally, mentally and spiritually, damaged by the penetration of the devil’s flaming arrows deep into our souls?  How many of us right now are paralyzed by his noise?

Philippians 4:6&7 is a powerful, antidotal, anti-ballistic, and a noise inhibitor against the devil.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  D-O   N-O-T B-E   A-N-X-I-O-U-S   A-B-O-U-T   A-N-Y-T-H-I-N-G!  Stop, drop, and roll if you are on fire from a flaming dart from the devil.  Paul the Apostle tells us to immediately “pray and petition with thanksgiving presenting our request to God.”  Pray placing and leaving these anxieties and fears in His capable hands.  Then, thank Him that He has taken care of these on your behalf.  You can trust Him totally that He’s got you covered.  God is more than capable of taking care of the devil and his minions.  Do not let your emotions, the weakest part of your being tell you otherwise.  His peace will guard you.  Colossians 2:15 declares, “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”  Jesus kicked the devil’s butt and still is.  Stand in this victory and do not let the devil tell you otherwise

Now that you have presented things to and trusted in God, fill yourself up with His thoughts.  “I will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on me” (Isaiah 26:3).  Paul tells us what to think on.  Philippians 4:8 states,Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthythink about such things. 

Then, Paul tells us to P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E what we have learned and received and heard from himPhilippians 4:9 instructs us, “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”  Live out God’s word moment-by-moment daily.  His word is “alive and active sharper than a two-edge sword.”  Base your life on the power, grace, mercy, and compassion of God.  If so, you will live in peace.

Is there a stranger in your house?

Is there a stranger in your house you are unaware of?  No, I’m not talking about mold, but you should keep watch for that also. I’m talking about the hidden things, the things we allow in our house that we would never allow with us in church.  Does the evil of anger exist as an everyday occurance? How about the hidden sins of addiction, or abuse? Do they exist or seem to co-exist with you without you even knowing?  How about that hidden mold of indifference, that uncaring about your fellow man?  I wonder if we were to be given eyes for 24 hours to see the spiritually unclean things that exist right with us in our houses, what would we see?  Scripture tells us: “When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it roams through waterless places looking for rest, and not finding rest, it then says, ‘I’ll go back to my house where I came from.’ And returning, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and settle down there. As a result, that man’s last condition is worse than the first.” Luke 11: 24-26  This verse tells us that unclean spirits do exist, and that we are capable of sending them out of our houses (minds), but it’s what we do after that makes the biggest difference. Notice that when this unclean spirit returns it finds the house swept and put in order. To me, that tells me that the person did not leave the place, (the mind) messy with other things, but put in order. But the difference is that it was not filled with good, it was not filled with something better, but instead was empty; just the ripe situation where the evil could return, and in this case stronger with more help than ever before to torment the person.   We do good when we pray for the Lord to take things out of our lives that obviously are bad for our spiritual health. But what do we replace it with?  It tells me that we will be filled with something, but what that something is, is what is allowed to be in our thoughts, in our hearts. So if you have a problem with addiction, don’t just pray to get it out, replace it with spiritual food, spiritual life. If the problem in our “house” is fleshly sins, and we pray to get rid of it, replace it with spiritual freshness and thoughts and actions.  If the problem is with anger or worry, or anxiety and fears, pray to get rid of them, but they have to be replaced, or they will come back even stronger.  The point this morning is that we spend a lot of time praying for the Lord to fix us, but not fill us.  It’s time we complete our prayers with the filling of the Holy Spirit, the filling of things Holy. Philippians 4:8 has the answer: “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things.”  It’s not enough to pray for the removal of things from our “house”, things that are bad for us. Even though that is important to pray for, it is also important to pray for the mind to think about things that fill us up with goodness, the things listed above.  This is a verse we should memorize if at all possible, and use it whenever you pray for the Lord to take bad things away from us. Then make the conversation, Lord, please fill me with You! Fill me with all that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable, because I want to have a heart of moral excellence, and I desire to be more like You. Is there a stranger in your house?  Get rid of him, but then invite a brother, our Lord and Savior to occupy the unused spaces. Pastor Andy

No Stinkin’ Thinkin’ (Lesson 1)

As many of you know, I spent 30 years of my life buried in depression.  Even today, if I am not on guard and rested, I can lapse back into psychological darkness.  Depression is not fun! 

To help Pam (my wife) to understand depression in my life, I described it to her in physical terms.  It was very helpful to us.  Finally, she could somewhat understand and share my pain. Because of the impact on our relationship, I often ask people battling with depression to physically describe “what it feels like” to bring a bit of understanding to their spouse and/or to others who may be important to them.  The following are a couple of descriptions from individuals:

  • “I am stuck in quicksand and can’t get out.  The harder I fight, the deeper I get.”
  • “I am stuck in a small room with no hope of getting out.  The room is without windows and doors, has sterile white walls with a dim light strung on a naked wire from the ceiling while sitting on a cold concrete floor.”

You can tell from the above descriptions there seems to be little hope.    

“Stinkin’ Thinkin’” comes from believing the devil’s lies.  These lies spew constantly in the mind of a depressed person often out of control.  John 8:44 declares, “He (the devil) was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”  The devil speaks lies only.  That’s just his “nature.” His tactics to the depressed are deception (lies) followed by accusations which lead to the fear of rejection, failure, incompetence, doubt, uncertainty, etc.  Hence, there seems to be no hope.

In the very same chapter as above, John 8:31&32, the knockout punch is delivered to the devil, “So Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The key to being delivered from depression and staying mentally healthy is T-R-U-T-H.  The application of truth in your personal life is God’s Word.  So, these verses say to “abide in” the words of Jesus, continually obeying His teachings and living in accordance with them.  In other words, live constantly in the sphere of truth which sets you free.

I want us to start the “stinkin’ thinkin’” discussion contrasting life with Jesus abiding in His word and living life under the deception of the devil. John 10:10 speaks to this very clearly, “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”  Start this very day throwing off the lies of the thief as he attempts to steal your life, and abide in the almighty, powerful words of Jesus.  Meditate on the above words as you live out life this week.  Because of emotions that have been haywire for years, change will not come quickly but change will slowly break you free.

God Works It In, You Work It Out

Today, my focus is on two interesting, insightful, and forceful verses located in Philippians 2:12&13, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

“Therefore” connects the reader to what Paul the Apostle is going to say to what he just said.  So, let’s take a look at what he just said.  In verse 5, Paul states for each of us to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” and follows that in verses 6-8 by telling us what Jesus’ mindset is.  “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

  • Being equal to God, Jesus “made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”
  • Furthermore, “being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”

This is the amazing story of the gospel.  Jesus humbled Himself before God and as sinless man died for us on the cross.

In verses 9-11, we read God the Father’s proudful reaction to the graceful and merciful obedience of His Son, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

God the Father placed in Jesus the desperate need for man to be saved.  There was only one harsh, lonely, ultra-painful path…the trail that led to the cross.  Jesus worked out what God had worked in by His humbled obedience.  The result was His “salvation”, His eternal purpose fulfilled, and the adoration of His Father…” God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.”

Notice in verse 12, Paul stated “as you have always obeyed.”  He gives us the very path that Jesus took to work out what God had worked in, “obedience”. 

God’s love language is O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E.  Sometimes this path is harsh, always humbling, most assuredly unpopular in the eyes of the world, even physically painful; however, if you are willing to walk that trail, God will lift you up!  So, “deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow Him” (Luke 9:23)…fulfillment, purpose, and eternal joy will be the end result. 

God works it in, you work it out!

Anger Torpedoes Relationships

Christ stated on multiple occasions that His teaching could be summed up with two things.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself.  It is all about relationships.

Anger disrupts our purpose as Christians because it torpedoes relationships.  James 1:19&20 admonishes us, “19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  Notice the first two parts of James’ admonishment focuses us on others by being a listener not trying to get the first word in, winning the argument, nor over-powering a person.  Jesus wants us to show compassion and concern for the other person.  We honor Christ when we do.  Then, James cuts us to the core when he declares, be “slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Anger leads to destruction, hurts, bitterness, and violence stunting growth and creating the same tendencies in others.   Proverbs 18:13 speaks to this, “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.”

Proverb 15:1 explains it this way, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Anger begats anger!

Ephesians 5: 26&27 says, “do not let the sun go down on your angerand give no opportunity to the devil.”  Don’t stew on angry thoughts.  Passive aggressive people be careful.  Angry thoughts internalized are like tumbling bullets that tear the person apart.  Get rid of these thoughts.  They are cancerous and spread emotional cancer to others

I recognize that many of us grew up in anger ridden households.  Start today getting rid of this stuff.  It won’t be easy.  Anger is a part of your being.  Let Jesus know today that you humbly want to change. 

  • Get into His word, memorize it, and meditate on it.  When you meditate on His Word, you are cycling healing thoughts that will clean up your being.  Do this at home, in your car, while waiting on a client, at the Doctor’s office, etc.  Make this a habit.  There are some wonderful apps on you mobile phone like Bible Gateway.
  • Pray honestly, truthfully, candidly often. 
  • If you are being overpowered by anger, get in a recovery group like Re:Gen or Celebrate Recovery.  There are others like you who are fighting through the same battle. 
  • At least, find a trusted, mature Christian friend(s) who will walk through the journey of healing with you.  James 5:16 states, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” 

Take time to be made whole.  Be authentic and patient with the cleanup of rubble caused to others by torpedoes fired from your anger.  Do what needs to be done to restore broken relationships allowing victims time to work things out according to their pace not yours.

Create in me a pure heart

Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
    and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2

I find myself reading the above verse and crying out, “YES!” Not going to lie, I have been in quite a funk lately! I am not sure if it’s the groundhog day effect of working from home still, not getting enough sleep or what, but I’ve just been out of sorts. Plus that was a great worship song back in the day! (inserted below)

The above verse and many others in that VERY rich chapter in Psalms just resonated with me this morning. It goes on to talk about being cleansed with hyssop and being “whiter than snow!” Verse eight says, “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.”

As I read through the rest of the chapter, a few things stood out. It wasn’t earth-shattering or even a lightbulb, aha moment, but more of a gentle comfort! I have read these verses numerous times and even have them highlighted in my Bible app, but today, as God so often does, they seemed new and fresh.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (v10). It is only God who can renew your heart or spirit, but when He does, they will be pure and steadfast!

Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me (v11). We have to remain in God’s presence to receive from Him what we need. Just as God shows us in John 15:5 where he teaches us that, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” We do that by staying in His Word … not to check off one of the items on your to-do list for the day, but to receive from Him our “daily bread”!

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me (v12) God is the only one who can restore us to Himself … and He WILL!!! This also speaks to the fact that our spirit isn’t always a willing participant and is often contrary to things of God, but that we can go to Him, and He will sustain or uphold us with a willing spirit.

It is ALL about Him! I got to focused on me and my woes! It is time to be recreated and restored! Thank God for His provision in this!

Blue Collar Takes on Blue Blood

There was a great article in the Dallas Morning News Sports Page yesterday entitled, “Blue Collar Takes on Blue Blood.”  The sub-title was “The Ramshackle Heat find motivation in test versus choice Celtics.”  “The Miami Heat are to become the lowest seeded team in the NBA finals since 1999.”  For the Boston Celtics basketball team there’s talent on demand out of the draft.  For Miami, there’s endless hours of development.  There is pedigree against blood, sweat, and tears.  On paper there is no contest.  Yet, last night, the Miami Heat rallied time and again to beat the Boston Celtics 117-114.

In Acts 4, a match up occurred that was way more uneven than the Heat vs. Celtic contest.  Two uneducated fishermen from Galilee were pitted in debate against the ultra-educated, pedigreed Sanhedrin, each member being an expert in the law.  Let’s see what happened letting the Bible speak to this episode, “On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. And when they had set (Peter, John and a crippled man healed the prior day) in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14 But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15 But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16 saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17 But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18 So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20 for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21 And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened.”

Two unlearned fishermen accompanied by a healed cripple were dragged in front of this body of powerful, supreme court, the-buck-stops-here-men.  The Sanhedrin’s purpose for the meeting was to absolutely intimidate these poor men and put a screeching halt to their preaching and activities; H-O-W-E-V-E-R, they didn’t factor in something that totally turned the table in favor of these two uneducated men.  These two Galileans were full of the Spirit of the Almighty God and spoke with power and clarity, and the name of Jesus filled up every crevice of that large room.  These scholars and elite leaders realized this and “were astonished and recognized that they had been with Jesus.”  When you think about it, the Sanhedrin was no match for Peter and John who were filled with the Holy Spirit.

In Ephesians 5:18, Paul the Apostle tells us to “to be filled with the Holy Spirit”….the very same Holy Spirit that empowered Peter and John.  Why did they have such charisma, power, and boldness?  “They had been with Jesus.”  We need to spend more time with Jesus.  Don’t click off yet.  Bow your head right now, surrender your heart to Him, start setting aside time to meet with Him, and meditate on His Word through out the day.  If you do, your spouse, your kids, your friends, your associates, and your enemies will see evidence in your life that “you had been with Jesus.”

Why Your Path Is Not Straight

Being a student athlete at Georgia Tech overpowered me, and I became full of discouragement and fear of failure and rejection.  Once, while visiting my Mom and Dad’s home, I picked up one of her old Christian books called the Calvary Road.  This book introduced me to two verses that grew to be my life verses, Proverbs 3:5&6.  They began to be my daily “go to” verses and gave me strength and direction through many twists and turns while at Tech and even to this very day. 

Proverbs 3:5&6 states, Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Trust implies a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, and strength of God.  Adhering to these verses means that we choose to trust and lean on Him and His understanding rather than our own.  As a result of my acknowledgement of Him, in all my ways…He (made my) paths straight.”  Living life on a straight path is so much more refreshing, productive, and rewarding allowing you to enjoy an abundant life as well as being a blessing to others.

So, what gets in our way living out these verses?  Verse 7a tells us, Be not wise in your own eyes.”  We start thinking of ourselves rather than God, living life on our own terms. Life is lived according to our understanding, desires, and priorities not God’s.  The last part of this verse, warns and challenges us to not do this.  The Bible commands to “fear the Lord and turn away from evil.  “Fear the Lord” means to have a reverential awe of our God.  We are exhorted to worship and place Him, His understanding, and His desires first in our life and turn away from the evil encountered daily.

Verse 8 explains and gives encouragement why we should fear God and turn from evil. “It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

  • Psalm 34:9 states, “Fear the Lord, you his holy people, for those who fear him lack nothing.
  •  Proverbs 23:7 declares, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.”

Living life on a straight or crooked path comes down to one word…choice.  It has been that way since the beginning of mankind.  Daily, we choose to either acknowledge God or live life on our own terms.  Only one of these choices really makes sense.  Acknowledging God leads to healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired

I’m an old, retired man who has been married forty-six years to a woman whom I adore and usually gives me a daily chuckle watching her live out life.  It wasn’t always that way.  For years, we daily were at each other’s throat struggling to get through the grind of life.  I was on the road or planes that flew me all over the world when I should have been home supporting Pam as we raised two strong willed young ladies.  Keeping peace was a chore.  Every day, something was going on that sapped my emotions as well as my wife and kids.  Paying bills often living beyond our means was very frustrating and emotionally draining.  Yet, we lived in hypocrisy giving a front to others that all is well.  Strife was frequent.  I can remember the days of being sick and tired of being sick and tired. 

You may be daily experiencing this yourself and wondering if there will ever be any relief.  How can I find peace in the daily churn of life?  Is there a solution?  It took me quite a while to get there but finally, I did.  How?  After much anguish, I began to understand how approachable, understanding, wise, patient, forgiving, and safe is the Christian God and the price paid by His Son to know me intimately on a moment-by-moment daily basis.  Outside of telling us to love others as He loved us, only once that I know of did Jesus talk about Himself and who He was at the core of His being.  His testimony is found in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Jesus testified that He is “gentle and humble in heart.”  I don’t know about you guys, but as over-powering life had become, I realized I needed a big dose of gentleness and humility from a loving God.  So, I came to Jesus weary and burdened.”  I did find rest for my soul and discovered walking life out with Him became much easier and meaningful.  Don’t get me wrong.  As emotionally strung out as I was, I kept taking my life back to run alone.  Finally, lock, stock, and barrel I turned my life over to Him.  What a relief having Him direct my life.

You may be saying to yourself as you read this blog, “but I am so weak and have so much to deal with.  Life is overwhelming.”  This was exactly my response too.  Paul the Apostle however gave me a verse that rocked me to the core, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  Christ’s power perfected itself in my weakness and “rested on me.”  No matter what life threw at me, He became my strength. 

Sick and tired of being sick and tired? Jesus can take over and transform your life making it new and dynamic.  You will find rest and power for your soul.

Do We Limit God?

As I meditate on God’s word this morning, I notice the Vitex tree growing outside my office window. I never planted this tree, it came with the house, and has continued to give me wonderful shade in the summer as I work in my office. From the past rains, this tree has just taken off, growing unlike it has all summer. I am caught up in the thought of what this tree is good for other than to give me shade. I think that it is like a lot of us believers, who have a purpose on this earth, and even though what we think our purpose is, God may have different ideas. For instance, I think this tree gives me shade, but it also provides nectar for the hummingbirds when it blossoms. The pollination process is going on all spring as the bees are totally busy within it. How many times, I am cheered on in the morning by a Wren or a Redbird, or a sparrow, watching me work at my desk from its branches. It’s like they have come to encourage me. How often have my chickens sought comfort under the spreading of its branches, from the weather, and from the hawks.  Come to think of it, God uses this tree for many more things than I can even imagine. Just its beauty alone, is worth reflecting on. So I’m reading this morning from Colossians: “For this reason also, since the day we heard this, we haven’t stopped praying for you. We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom  of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, in Him.” Colossians 1:9-14  We often ask the Lord to show us His will, and wonder how He can possibly use us, since in our minds, we don’t possess any skills that could be of benefit to Him. And like our tree we think we have one purpose in life, yet God reveals in His glorious knowledge to those who honestly seek His will, the walk He wants us to walk, and in doing so, will He not use that walk for many more things than even we believe we are doing?  He wants us to bear fruit in EVERY good work as we grow in knowledge of Him. Yet how many times do we think we know the work that He has for us, and don’t deviate outside of that box. We often limit God’s perspective with us, because we don’t bother to see things like He sees them. But why can’t we? Why can’t we seek His understanding instead or ours? Why can’t we seek His will without trying to limit His perspective in us, by our own denial that we are even capable of doing anything else.  Think of my tree, your tree, and all the uses you can find for it, then remember that you are much more than a tree, useful to the Lord for HIS will not yours. It’s only when we surrender our will to Him that He can then grow us into fruit producers that He desires. Pastor Andy