Thought for the Week - 23rd April

Helen Watkins
Luke 6: 43-46

“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns,
nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good;
and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.
For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a children’s author and a pilot in WWII who wrote:

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders.
Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea

When it comes to building a ship, we can work and gather wood, but unless we have an explicit desire to go to sea, there’s no point in building a boat.  This can be a bit like us in our Christian life.  Unless we have an explicit desire to know the things of God, to have a relationship with Him, to go on deeper, there’s little point in listening to teaching, preaching or going to Church.

For the most part, we yearn for the sea but we don’t know how to get there, we get tired, we struggle, or we lose our way.

If you go back to your conversion experience, think about why you accepted Christ.  What was the reason for you turning your back on the world and deciding to follow Christ?  Sometimes we can forget why we made the decision.  What road have we trod since we have?  Have we taken the easy road?  Have we just sat back and allowed things to happen?  Did we take the easy road, or have we grasped hold of it and got out of it everything we wanted?  Have we been cold, indifferent, buffeted by troubles and grief?  Has the world got to us?

Throughout Christian walk, most – if not all – of these things have probably touched us in some measure.  Some of those things will have rubbed off on us or tainted our spirit in some way.  Perhaps there are some that we’ve not been able to break free of, and they’ve corroded our spirit.

The verses in Luke 6 tell us that a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Why do we try to do good, yet produce bad fruit?  Why is there still in us a measure where we don’t want to be good?  Luke 6 tells us:

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good;
and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil.
For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

We are maybe on the outside, a persona – we try to do things and behave in a certain way.  But inside, that root of evil has never really gone.  It comes out in different ways.  It shows in the way we live our lives, the way we are, and in the way we speak.  God reveals all!  Nothing is hidden.  He brings out, under the anointing, the way we are.  We don’t have to put on a nice front, because God brings out who we actually are.  He chooses us to decide: do you want to stay how you are, or become a new creation in Him?

Our hearts are extremely deceitful.  They can deceive us – they can tell us we’re okay, it doesn’t matter if we do something or not.  But our heart is where our treasure it.  Where is your treasure?

A good indicator of where our treasure is to ask yourself, if God tomorrow said I want you to give X up or hand it over, would you?  The most painful thing that could be is where your treasure is.  That’s where God puts His finger.  We sometimes dismiss this and say “oh He’s a loving God, He’d never ask me to do that”.  But like with Abraham, he never sacrificed Isaac but God took him very close.  He needs to do that to reveal where your treasure is.  So what would you give up today?  What thing would you allow Him to put His finger on?

We read:

But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”

Our very actions, activities and words can fool others, but they won’t fool God.  God has to come first.  Deep within your heart, there has to be a change – that God comes first.  There comes a dying to self.  It can take a long time.  It will start with one thing, which God will chip away at until He takes us to where He wants us to be.  We need to get back to the place where He is first, where He is the most precious thing in our lives.

Think back to that conversion… we couldn’t get back to that altar quick enough, we couldn’t be held back from the services, meetings, reading our Bible etc.  Life wearies us and drags us down.  We need to get back to where we should be.  What would you surrender to God?  What is deep in your heart?

Luke 21:1-4

And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,
and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites.
So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all;
for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,
but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

The widow’s mite can be taken from a spiritual or natural point of view.  The spiritual point is where you give of yourself, what you haven’t got – that last bit of energy, the time you don’t want to go to a meeting.  That’s the widow’s mite – the giving of your last.  However, it also has a natural perspective:

Malachi 3:10

Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
That there may be food in My house,
And try Me now in this,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
And pour out for you such blessing
That there will not be room enough to receive it.

Money is the elephant in the room in most churches.  It’s a strange thing that can cause a vast division and offence.  There’s nothing worse than a preacher standing at the front of a room demanding payment for prayers!  That said, a church cannot run on thin air, and needs money to pay bills and get resources.

In the story of the widow’s mite, we see the blessing that God gave as a result of the giving.  If we don’t give to God, then not only are we are robbing God, we’re also robbing ourselves of the blessings that would follow.  If we find we are reticent in giving to God, there is something wrong… because that’s where our treasure is!  Giving our money is almost like giving our heart.

We read that He will open the window of heaven.  There’s a difference between opening up the windows of heaven and the deluge that follows, and eking out a blessing!  Don’t miss out because you’re not giving to God.  In some ways it shows accountability; accountability to God, accountability to fellow Christians, accountability to the work that goes on, and accountability of putting ourselves under God.

Not giving to God shows where we’re at.  He gives us so much. We need to give back to Him – not just in money!  Come back to the cross and ask Him what He wants of you.  We’re building up pillars and cannot build on a ground that’s not solid.

There are lives with so much potential.  You have to be solid block, not a reed.  With that comes truth being told, and offence being caused.

We need to see what God has got for you.  Stretch yourself until you’re filled with the power of the Living God.  We need to recognise what God is doing.  We need to trust in God and do according to His Word.  We can’t afford careless living.  Every so often, God trims the branches. When there comes a check on your spirit, you know it’s time to cut back and bring ourselves back.  There are three big things which, if they are right, we are right with the world – church attendance on a Sunday, attendance to Prayer meetings and our devotionals.

Einstein said that “Life is like riding a bicycle.  To keep your balance you must keep moving.”  It’s like that in our Christian walk.  We have to keep moving, because the moment we stop we can fall and go backwards.  Careless living creeps in!  We need to get to back, to find our feet again with Christ, to find that anointing. Sometimes an anointing needs to fall so that we’re stripped of everything, until we are left with nothing so that we can be built up again in the right way!  Don’t fall to the ground!  Be reliant on God alone!

What is God asking you to give?  Are you seeking the face of God?  Are you asking Him to give you anointing to help you?

A pure soul is a very rare thing.  One that’s made of glass that you can see right through; the face of God upon your face.  To look into somebody’s eyes, and to see clearness and purity of spirit is a big thing. Sometimes we don’t need to do anything, we just need to be; because the anointing of God just comes, and flows from seat to seat.  Find that clear pool.  Stop drinking out of the stagnant brook.  Go to the waterfall that’s clean and pure.

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