Do You Talk Too Much?

Before You Talk - Listen to Understand

You Might Be a FOOL – IF You Talk Instead of Listening – Proverbs 18:2

Do You Talk When You Should Be Listening?

The 5th of Stephen R. Covey’s 7-Habits of Highly Effective People says, “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”  This wise advice succinctly states a Biblical principle.

“Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood” – Stephen R. Covey

Thousands of years before Stephen Covey was born, King Solomon (the wisest man who ever lived) spoke thousands of proverbs (1 Kings 4:32), many of which were collected into the book of Proverbs.  The book of Proverbs was written to teach wisdom and understanding through instruction (Prov. 1:1-6).  In Proverbs, Solomon often contrasts the behavior of fools to those who are wise, and shows the natural results of foolishness.

Proverbs 18:2 states, “A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion” (ESV).  Unlike Stephen Covey, the fool is not interested in understanding.  It is not clear that he even cares about being understood.  The fool just wants to speak his mind.  The fool does not want to listen; he only likes to talk.

“A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” (Proverbs 18:2 / ESV)

This principle can often be observed in everyday life.  People are naturally interested in their own lives, and many like to monopolize conversations.  People often ignore what others are saying as they think about what they want to say next.  And people often interrupt each other as they vie for airtime.  In the midst of a long conversation, there is often an amazing lack of communication.

Proverbs 18:13 also speaks to this communication failure:

Listen to Understand Before You Answer

You Might Be a FOOL – IF You Answer Before Hearing – Proverbs 18:13

“He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” (KJV)

This proverb clearly teaches that we should “listen to understand” before we respond to what another says.  It also plainly states the consequences of this foolish behavior: “folly and shame.”  Yet virtually all of us fall into this self-made trap at least on occasion.  (I know I do.)  Many people are especially good at letting their opinions rip on social media pages and other online forums.

Perhaps we all need to pause to examine our communication behavior and motives.  You could ask yourself:

  • What is my true motive for talking so much?
  • Is my opinion really so valuable that it needs to be shared?
  • Or am I just being proud, wanting to show off my vain opinion like a fool?
  • Have I really listened?  Do I understand what they said?
  • Do I really even understand what I am answering?
  • Is my pride setting me up for a fall (Proverbs 18:12)?
  • Am I being Christ-like in my communication behaviors?
  • Am I speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15)?
  • Would I want others to treat me the way I am treating them (Luke 6:31)?

We should follow the admonition of James:

“Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19 / KJV)

We need to Listen More (be quick to hear) and Talk Less (be slow to speak).

In other words, We need to listen with the intent of understanding before we speak.


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Seek Wisdom and Live

Proverbs 8:32-36 on Wisdom

Seek Wisdom and Live

Whoever Finds Wisdom, Finds Life and is Blessed by God.

Wisdom is Calling You

In Proverbs 8, Solomon personifies Wisdom.  So throughout this chapter, the speaker is Wisdom.

Proverbs 8:1-11 says:

Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?
She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.
She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.
Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.
O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.
Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.
For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.
All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them.
They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.
Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.
For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

Hear what Wisdom says in

Proverbs 8:32-36

Now therefore hearken unto me (Wisdom), O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
Hear Instruction, and Be Wise, and refuse it not.
Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.
For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.
But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.


So Be Wise and Listen to Instruction

Seek Wisdom and Live!


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Does Your Life Need Sharpening?

Proverbs 27:17 Sharpening generates friction and heat

Sharpening May Cause Sparks to Fly!

The wisest man who ever lived said,

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another”

(Proverbs 27:17)

Solomon used an interesting analogy in this Proverb.  Because sharpening metal requires friction,  it always generates heat, and often causes sparks to fly!

God often uses other people to work in our lives.  Our friends and family may bring out the best in us by lovingly encouraging us.

But God often challenges us using people who rub us the wrong way.

This friction may chafe us.  If we are not careful, we may get hot under the collar and lash out at those who irritate us.  But that would not be the way of Christ.

Jesus would tell us to turn the other cheek, go an extra mile, forgive, and be reconciled to others.

Paul would  tell you:

“No temptation has befallen you that is not common to man, but God is faithful and will not allow you to be tested beyond your ability” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Paul would remind you:

  • All things work together for good to those who love God (Rom. 8:28). 
  • So you should give thanks in everything because that is God’s will (1 Thes. 5:18).

And James would tell us to:

“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4 / NASB)

So the next time someone gives you some “Constructive Criticism”

  • And you feel yourself getting hot
  • And are are tempted to get mad

Consider the possibility that God is using that person to test you.

Even the most irritating feedback usually contains some helpful truth if you are honest enough and strong enough to face it.

Instead of angrily rejecting the criticism,

Be patient and accept the lesson God has for you. 

Let the trying of your faith produce patient endurance in you, “that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:4)


But why stop there?  Go “the extra mile.”

Thank them for the gift of feedback they have given you.

(1 Thessalonians 5:18)


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It’s Time to Decide!

Decide, Choose Who You Will Serve

It’s Time to Decide!

As I read the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, I am often struck with sorrow and fear.

God chose Israel, miraculously delivered them from Egypt, and gave them the Promised Land.  He also promised to bless them if they would just obey Him and walk in His ways (Jer. 7:23).

Despite God’s blessings, the children of Israel repeatedly walked in their own evil ways (Jer. 7:24).  They often went through the motions of worshiping the God of Israel, while committing spiritual adultery.  They bowed down to idols made of wood and stone. They worshiped the host of heaven; the sun, moon, and stars.  They committed immorality, and then burned the unwanted fruit of their sin with fire as offerings to pagan idols.

I sorrow over the sin and apostasy of Israel that broke God’s heart.

God repeatedly sent prophets to warn the people, but they refused to repent.  So He had to judge them.  First, the northern kingdom of Israel was destroyed by Assyria. Then the southern kingdom of Judah was destroyed by Babylon.

I fear that America is walking the same evil paths that led to the destruction of Israel.

Immorality is not only openly practiced, it is promoted and applauded.  Millions of unwanted babies resulting from this sin are aborted every year.  The innocent blood of these murdered children demands God’s judgment.

America has turned away from God, the Bible and Christianity.  Our nation has rejected the Creator and now worships the material universe.  Our “science” bows to the gods of chance and time.  Our schools have become temples indoctrinating children in the religions of materialism and evolution.

I fear that many “Christians” today are seeking a truce with the World

They want “The World” to love them; even though they are strangers and pilgrims, citizens of God’s kingdom.  They are more concerned about the immediate praise or ridicule of worldly people than the ultimate judgment of God.

So they compromise.  They accept The World’s faith in materialism and evolution, and add it to the Bible.  They put on The World’s make up, dress in The World’s clothes, and allow themselves to be molded into The World’s image.

They try to be sheep while masquerading as goats.  In reality, many are just goats pretending to be sheep.  But Jesus knows who are His, and He will separate them when He comes in His glory (Matt. 25-34).

Jesus knows who are His

“Christians” may walk The World’s walk, and talk The World’s talk. But Satan and The World will still hate them.  The World laughs with contempt when Christians compromise.  And Satan uses their compromise as he seeks to stamp out any remaining true to The Faith.

The World laughs with contempt when Christians compromise

Those who are tempted to follow this slippery path need to remember that even though we are “IN” The World, we are not to be “OF” The World (John 17:11-18).  So let those who think they stand take heed lest they fall (1 Cor. 10:12).

Remember the admonitions of Scripture:

• “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26 / KJV)

• “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:10 / KJV)

• “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt. 5:11-12 / KJV)

• For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. (Rom. 1:16 / KJV)

• And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom. 12:2 / KJV)

• Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. (1 John 2:15-16 / KJV)

• But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Rom. 13:14 / ESV)

• Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31 / KJV)


Christians, The World, Sin, Repent

Who Will You Choose?

It is time to decide.  You must choose a side.

If you are a true Christian, then act like it.  Take up your cross.  Die to The World and yourself every day (Luke 9:23-24).  And live for Christ, proudly bearing His reproach (Heb. 13:13).

If you love the things of this world and want the people of this world to love you, then give up the pretense of being a Christian.  Renounce your faith, walk away from God, and go enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.  But please stop defiling the name of Jesus by calling yourself a Christian.

If you do this, The World will embrace you.  But beware; this decision will have eternal consequences.  Those who have been enlightened and forsake The Faith may never return (Heb. 6:4-6; 1 John 2:19).

Now, therefore, fear the eternal God of the Bible and serve Him in sincerity and truth.  Put away The World’s  gods of materialism and evolution, and serve God the Father and His Son, Jesus the Christ.  If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the self-existent Creator God, then choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods of time and chance, the god of the humanism, or materialism and evolution; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Joshua 24:14-15)

It is time to decide. With whom will you side?

 “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.  And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Josh. 24:14-15 / KJV)


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7 Steps to Spiritual Fruitfulness

Time to Prune my Rose Bush!

My Rose Bush Needs Pruning Again

Does Your Life Need Pruning? – Part-2

In Part-1 of this series, we examined John 15:1-8.  God the Father is looking for fruit in the lives of His children.  Jesus said that if we abide in Him (Jesus), then we will bear fruit.  He also said that the Father prunes those abiding in Him (Christ), so they will bear more fruit.

Pruning is not meant to hurt you, or suck the fun out of life.  It is meant to make you better.  Christians who really want to please God should be grateful to have sin and harmful influences removed from their lives.  At times, even good things may need to be removed to make room for better and best.

This post will suggest 7-Steps for becoming more fruitful as a way to reduce the need for God to prune you.

How to Avoid God’s Pruning

The way to avoid being pruned by God is to recognize what needs to be pruned out of your life, and take action before God has to.  God’s children should want to produce spiritual fruit.  We should want to remove the things that hold us back.  We should “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares” us (Heb. 12:1-2).

This process, of course, should be conducted in harmony with the Spirit of God. You should pray for guidance as you search God’s Word, seeking His will.

Seven Steps to Fruitfulness by Pruning Your Own Life:

1. First, you must critically and honestly examine your life

• As the apostle Paul said, “Let a man examine himself . . .” (1 Cor. 11:28a / KJV)
• And “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. . .” (2 Cor. 13:5a / ESV).

2. Confess any sin in your life

• “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 / KJV).

3. Repent of any Routine or habitual sins in your life, and Remove them

• “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works . . .” (Rev. 2:5 / KJV).
• “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Rev. 3:19 / KJV).
• “Lay aside every . . . sin” (Heb. 12:1).

4. Ditch the Doubtful

The Bible does not provide specific instructions for every situation.  In these cases, even sincere Christians may disagree about what is acceptable.  Romans 14:1-23 and 1 Cor. 10:12-33 both provide guidance about doubtful things.  You should never violate your conscience.  And you should be willing to give some things up for the benefit of others.

Unless you are fully convinced that something is acceptable, it is wrong for you

Ultimately it is better to sacrifice things that might be permissible than to do something you think may be wrong.  Unless you are fully convinced that something is acceptable, it is wrong for you to do.  As the old saying goes, “If it is doubtful, it is dirty.”

If you want to do something, but have doubts about it, then study it out.  Study God’s Word, pray about it, and seek godly counsel.  But do not do it unless you are fully convinced that it is acceptable.  Never violate your conscience.

• The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves” (Rom. 14:22 / NASB).
• “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23 / ESV).
• “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31 / KJV).

5. Diminish Distractions

Identify any areas in your life where you often invest excessive time, energy, or attention.  These things may not be bad or sinful in of themselves, but they can become idols if you love them more than God.  Even good things can be bad if they keep you from doing what is best.

Hobbies, sports, and entertainment often fall into this category.  They may be good in moderation, but can be overdone.  Even family, friends, and work can interfere with your fruitfulness.  You do not have to cut these things out of your life entirely, but you may need to trim some of them back.

Even good things can be bad if they keep you from doing what is best

• In 1 Corinthians, Paul said that all things are lawful, but not everything is expedient. Not everything edifies us or makes us better. And we should not let anything bring us under its power. (1 Cor. 6:12; and 1 Cor. 10:23)
• We are also commanded, “Love not the world, neither the things in the world . . . (1 John 2:15-17)
• While you do not have to stop these things entirely, sometimes “complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation” (St. Augustine).

6. Filter your Friends

You become like those you spend time with.  Are your friends helping you grow spiritually or hindering you?

What are your friends like? Do they love God or the world?  Do they talk about spiritual things or the things of the world?  Do they want to please God or their peers?  Are they seeking spiritual fruit or worldly pleasure?

Are your friends helping you . . . or hindering you?

• “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2 / KJV).
• “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Prov. 13:19 / KJV).
• “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Cor. 15:33).

7. Replace what you Remove

Most of what we do is habitual.  Breaking habits is hard.  And as the saying goes, “nature abhors a vacuum.”

If you want to succeed in removing something bad from your life, it is important to replace it with something good.  This applies to habits, friends and food; anything you try to prune from your life.

After all, the whole reason for removing sin, distractions, and negative influences from your life is to make room for better things.  It is to free up your time, energy and affections for godly habits and pursuits.  The goal of this pruning is to increase your spiritual fruitfulness by becoming more like Jesus.  So replace the things you remove with fruitful activities that will please and honor God.

Are you ready to voluntarily go to work pruning your own life?  Or will you wait for God to do it for you?

To prune or be pruned, that is the question

What will you do?


This concludes part-2 of this three part series on Pruning.

If you have not read part-1, Click Here to be taken to it.

Part-3 will examine the relationship and differences between Chastisement, Natural Consequences, and God’s Pruning.

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Does Your Life Need Pruning?

Prune that rose bush

That Branch was Out of Control – It Needed Pruning

When I arrived home from work one day, I noticed a wildly overgrown branch on a rose-bush in our front garden.  I hadn’t noticed the growth of this branch as it was happening.  Suddenly, it was just there.

That one extra-long branch was detracting from the beautiful purpose of the rose-bush.  So it had to go.

That one branch had grown longer and taller than the rest of the bush.  It served no useful purpose.  It had no flowers, and added nothing to the beauty of the rose-bush.  It just stuck out and looked silly.

My wife must have noticed it too, because a few days later she cut it off.

We were not mad at the rose-bush.  We did not want to hurt it or punish it.  But that one extra-long branch was detracting from the beautiful purpose of the rose-bush.  So it had to go.

“Pruning is a horticultural . . . practice involving the selective removal of parts of a plant . . . . Reasons to prune plants include deadwood removal, shaping, . . . improving or maintaining health, . . . and increasing the yield or quality of flowers and fruits. The practice entails targeted removal of diseased, damaged, dead, non-productive, structurally unsound, or otherwise unwanted tissue from crop and landscape plants.” (Wikipedia/Pruning).

Gardeners routinely use pruning to improve the health, appearance and fruitfulness of plants.

People Need Pruning Too

God is the master gardener.  The Bible says that God the Father prunes unproductive things from the lives of His children to make them more fruitful (John 15:20).

The night before He was crucified, Jesus told His disciples:

I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth (prunes) it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.
John 15:1-8 (KJV)

God is the master gardener

God wants His children to be fruitful.  So like a good gardener, He watches over us, cares for us, and prunes our lives.  The Father’s pruning involves the targeted removal of things in our lives that hinder our fruitfulness.

God’s pruning is meant to improve us, not harm us.  But that does not mean we will enjoy the process.

If this seems harsh, please understand that it is better to be trimmed than cut off entirely.  Jesus said that those who abide in Him will bear fruit.  So a lack of fruit demonstrates that one is not abiding in the vine of Jesus Christ (John 15:4-5).  And if anyone does not abide in Christ, they will be thrown away as a branch and cast into the fire.

Pruning is meant to improve us – Not harm us

To prune or be pruned, that is the question

There may be a way to avoid being pruned by God.  The way is prune our lives before God does.  . . .


This is the first article in a three-part series.  The next article provides 7-Steps for pruning your life before God does.

Click Here to continue on to Part-2



Hasty Feet Miss the Way!

Wrong Way

Are You Rushing the Wrong Way?

Fools do not pause to gain knowledge, understand, and plan.  Instead, they just foolishly chase their desires without getting knowledge first.  They act without understanding, so their foolish actions lead to disaster and result in ruin.  As the old saying goes, “Haste makes waste.”

Desire without knowledge is not good– how much more will hasty feet miss the way!
A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD. (Prov. 19:2-3 / NIV)

Rather than acknowledging their own folly, fools blame God for their failures.  Instead of learning from their mistakes, fools rage against God for withholding their desires from them.  As a result, they never gain the knowledge that would help them succeed in the future.  Fools just wallow in their ignorance, unbelief, and self-pity instead.

Another old adage says, “Failure to plan is planning to fail.”

The way of wisdom is to gain knowledge by studying, doing research, and getting wise counsel (Prov. 11:14, 15:22, 24:6) so you will understand.  If the goal is worthy, use that knowledge and understanding to wisely plan how to attain your desired goal.  Then work the plan until you accomplish it.

Those who are wise will also:
• Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5)
• Bath their plans and actions in prayer (1 Thes. 5:17; Mt. 21:22; Phil. 4:6)
• Acknowledge God in all their ways and plans (Prov. 3:5-6; 1 Cor. 10:31; James 4:13-15; Col. 3:23)
• Evaluate their results as they progress toward their goal
• Adjust their plan as needed to stay on course
• Give thanks and praise to God for the results (1 Thes. 5:18; Phil. 4:6)

The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. (Prov. 21:5 / NIV)

So the next time you are tempted to hastily rush into action, first take time to prepare, plan, and pray.

Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree?

God's Word, the Bible

Bible Truth Illuminated

Have you ever wondered why Jesus cursed the fig tree? (Mat. 21:17-21 and Mk 11:12-24)

My daughter-in-law asked me that question.  I think many other people are wondering the same thing.  I must admit, the last time I read it, I thought, “Poor fig tree. It wasn’t its fault; it wasn’t fig season.”

We should remember that trees do not have the breath of life, and have no living soul.  God gave us trees for food, and shade, to create oxygen, and for a variety of other uses.  The wood of trees is used for building and to make fires.  We really should not feel sorry for the tree.

 Jesus is looking for fruit

But why did He do it?  Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?

The cursing of the fig tree occurred the day after Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  Jesus knew His time was short.  He knew He was going to be crucified in less than a week, but He still had much to teach His disciples.  I believe Jesus cursed the tree as an object lesson with a double purpose.

God wants His children to bear abundant fruit

The first lesson is that Jesus is looking for fruit.  God wants us to be fruitful, and to bear spiritual fruit in our lives.  God does not accept excuses.  If we bear no fruit, there is no reason for us to be here.

Luke 13:6-9 records a parable about another fruitless fig tree:

“A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.  Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” (KJV)

In this parable, the owner had been looking for fruit on his fig tree for 3-years, but there was none. He told his gardener to cut it down, asking why a useless fruit tree should be allowed to take up space and take nutrients out of the soil.  The gardener asked to be allowed to cultivate and fertilize the soil around the tree to give it the best chance of becoming fruitful, but agreed that it should be removed after another year if it was still fruitless.

“The parable of the sower” also highlights the importance of bearing spiritual fruit in our lives

The parable of the sower (Matt. 13:3-23; Mark 4:3-20) is really a parable about the hearts of people and our response to the working of God in our lives.  Jesus told of a farmer who spread his seed on four types of soil, but only the seed planted on good soil grew plants that produced fruit.  When asked to explain this parable, Jesus said that the seed represents the Word of God, and the soils represent people.  The good soil that bears fruit are the people who hear God’s Word, accept it, and produce abundant fruit “some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.”  This is the response God wants.

The last supper occurred only few days after the fig was cursed and withered.  During the last supper, Jesus clearly told His disciples:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.  If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.  If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.”  (John 15:1-8 / KJV)

God wants His children to have complete Faith

The second lesson is about the importance of having faith in God with no doubts.  When the disciples saw that the tree Jesus cursed had withered and died in less than a day, they were amazed.  This provided Jesus with a teachable moment.

The Bible records:

“And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.” (Matt. 21:21 / 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)

Jesus told His disciples that they could do even greater miracles than withering the fig tree if they had enough faith and did not doubt.  I ‘ve heard people say that they think this was just a figure of speech or exaggeration, because they do not believe anyone could move a mountain.  That unbelief automatically disqualifies a person from having their prayers answered.  You must believe in order to receive.

Other scriptures provide additional guidance to receiving what you pray for.  Here a few:
• You must ask, but not to consume it on your lusts (James 4:2-3)
• You must ask in Jesus’ name, which means it must be something Jesus would do to glorify God the Father (John 14:13-14)
• You must ask in faith without doubting – you must know exactly what you want and ask for it (James 1:6-7)
• You must be single minded – you must know exactly what you want and ask for it (James 1:6-8)

By His example of the cursing of the fig tree, Jesus demonstrated that we should have a good reason for what we pray.  Jesus had at least two reasons for cursing the fig tree.  He did it to teach His disciples about the importance of bearing fruit.  He also used it to teach the  importance of having absolute faith in God when you pray.

 You must believe in order to receive

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Only One Way

There was an old saying that “All roads lead to Rome.”  But how many roads lead to Heaven?  Have you ever asked for directions to Heaven?  Can a GPS point the way?

People often claim there are many ways to Heaven.  But what does the Bible say?

I just published an article in the Salvation section of the Revealed Truth website.  Come study God’s Word with me to learn what the Bible says about how to go to Heaven at: Only One Way.

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