We live in a broken world, a world filled with pain and suffering and things that are not right. From the very beginning, when God created the world, He foreknew that sin would enter the world. He knew that brokenness would be a way of life for us. He knew that nothing could be done to save the brokenness without Him moving in a mighty way.
God sent His one and only Son to save us, to redeem us, to pay a price we could not pay. He reached out to restore us and bring us back into a relationship with Him. Every day we have the opportunity to enjoy a relationship with our heavenly Father. Because Jesus suffered the wrath that was to be our punishment, we can enjoy His “wrap-around presence.” This is because God has stooped down to us to bring us back into His holy presence.
When the world is beating you down, when you are lost in your brokenness, be reminded of the stooping down gentleness of God. Who am I that He would even consider me? Yet, our God moves through the brokenness with gentleness. He does not attack our brokenness, but beautifully works through it and makes us new. Strange enough, when we take something broken and try to repair it, the end result is never something better. Superglue and duct tape only go so far. But we serve a God of the impossible. With God, we are a masterpiece. He makes us great—better than we ever were. With Him moving through us, navigating through the brokenness, each day we are made more into the image of His Son. All because He has stooped down in gentleness.
“You empower me for victory with your wrap-around presence. Your power within makes me strong to subdue, and by stooping down in gentleness you strengthened me and made me great!” – Psalm 18:35 [TPT]
[The Unproductive Fig Tree: Luke 13:6-9, Withered Fig Tree: Matthew 21:18-22]
Colossians 1:9-10 – “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” [NIV]
*BEARING FRUIT IN EVERY GOOD WORK*
- Filled with the knowledge of His will
- Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
- Bearing fruit in every good work
INTERNAL FRUIT + EXTERNAL FRUIT
Internal Fruit – Deeper walk with God which produces: Fruits of the Spirit
External Fruit – Abiding in Christ impacts relationships and increases effectiveness of your ministry
Galatians 5:22-23a – “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” [NLT]
John 15:5 – “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” [NASB]
John 15:8, 11 – “My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples… I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” [HCSB]
“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:14-21 [NIV]
Bible Study Questions:
1) Looking at the Parable of the Unproductive Fig Tree, who is:
The Vineyard Owner –
The Vineyard Keeper –
2) The Keeper of the Vineyard pleas with the Owner to give another chance. What does this say to us?
3) In Matthew 21:18-22, we read of the Withered Fig Tree. The fig tree bears a false resemblance of one that would have fruit. How can we appear to be fruitful but not yet not bear any fruit?
4) What does the Withered Fig Tree represent to us? What can we take from this message?
5) Read Colossians 1:9-10. The passages mentions being filled with the knowledge of His will, to walk in the manner worthy of the Lord, and about bearing fruit in every good work. How can we:
Be filled with the knowledge of His will?
Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord?
Bear fruit in every good work?
More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.
Today when I was walking my dog, he was charged by another dog. I was prepared for the situation; however, because the same dog owner allowed this to happen weeks ago. Last time, he had let his Golden Retriever run loose and the dog came and snapped at my dog. This time, he left his German Shepherd loose, and although there was no snapping, I was not a happy camper at the second episode of negligence.
In life we will meet a person who will do something that irritates us, that hurts us or something that is wrong. We will throw our hands in the air (or sometimes our fists) and demand change. We will get angry. We will say words (sometimes words that are not positive, life speaking words). We will be frustrated by these people who do not do what we want them to do; however, we cannot expect them to change and act as we wish. Nor can we expect someone to follow the commands of God.
I was mad at this man today. He has proven twice that he cannot handle his dogs. The first time I was upset. I was injured. My dog was frightened. It was not a good situation. This second time, though prepared for it, was just as bad. Even so, some people will not change. We can only control our reactions to a situation—not someone else. It is how you react to any given situation that says something about you. I know I do not always react as I should, but I also know that over the years, the Holy Spirit has helped me to react better to each given situation. Don’t let situations and circumstances control you. React with love.
“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14 [NLT]
The Twelve Fingerprints eBook is now available at various vendors.
This book is not about me. This book is not about my journey so far through life. This book is about my God and some of the fingerprints He allowed to leave a mark on my life. In the end, it all comes down to our relationship with God, and how we react to each fingerprint left on our life is directly related to the person we become. Our reactions to each fingerprint not only show our true colors, but it also is interlinked with our faith. May this book help you to see that every fingerprint can result in a positive reaction if you allow God to have His way in your life. This book was written to cause one to evaluate and question and to seek God and His purpose.
Follow the links for a sneak peek or to purchase:
When my kids were smaller they enjoyed playing with sidewalk chalk, drawing their own special creations. We would spend hours outlining our hands, capturing the image of a dog, and writing names. The chalk images and text would stay there for a few days, getting lighter as the time passed by. Sometimes the rain would come and our entire day’s work was gone in an instant, almost like we were never there at all.
The real issue is that although the chalk wipes away, the image is still imprinted in our minds. I can still see some of our sketches. I can picture the smiles on their faces. I can smell the air and even feel the sun beating down upon us. I can hear their laughter. All I need to do is “see” that image in my mind and it all comes back to me like I am there right at this moment.
To me, the purpose of the chalk is that it is making a mark on something. The kids are fascinated about making marks on the pavement. They are leaving their own little imprints. As some get older, they may even make their little marks with graffiti as well. What it all comes down to is leaving a mark.
A mark isn’t simply something that is engraved into a wooden park bench that says “Brian loves Sally.” A mark isn’t merely black spray paint letting it be known that “Tommy was here” at the bridge underpass. A mark may not even be the scribble a toddler leaves on a parent’s refrigerator. I am not talking about those marks at all.
I am talking about meaning. I am talking about purpose. I am talking about something that will be left behind showing that you did something good and you left a mark in someone’s life. A mark is when you touch someone’s life and they are forever changed for the better.
This past weekend I attended a memorial for a dear brother in Christ. He left so many marks on so many lives. The church was filled with individuals united by one purpose– to celebrate his life. He taught some people the importance of prayer. He taught some others to not discard burnt cookies because there is value in everything. He showed us by example. He had a vision to share the Gospel with anyone his path crossed. He served others. He sacrificed. He did everything with love. He surely left one beautiful mark.
The time we have we are uncertain, but we know we are to put it to good use. We know we are to give our lives to Christ. We are to have a vision for our lives with God’s purpose in mind. Andy Stanley wrote, “A carefully planted vision, like a seed, grows to take on a life and shape of its own. Long after the sower is gone, the seed continues to grow” (“Visioneering” 114). My question today is are you allowing God to direct your path, so that His purpose for your life is met? He created you to leave a mark– a mark for His kingdom. It is a mark that does not wash away.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14 [NIV]