Praying Through The Psalms.

Good News! The RichlySpeaking Podcast launches on August 30th.

If you’ve enjoyed the blog at RichlySpeaking.com, you will likely discover a similar place of rest for your soul, finding inspiration, encouragement, and observation through the lens of Scripture.

(Play the RichlySpeaking Podcast trailer.)

For the next several months we’re going to read through and pray through the book of Psalms together. There are 150 Psalms, which I’ve broken up into 180 separate readings — one for each day of the typical school year. Now, we know the ’20-’21 school year is going to look quite different than most. So, perhaps you are suddenly a homeschooling family, or you’re going to need to find a routine or rhythm this year, I’ll be here with five new episodes each week, beginning August 30th, so feel free to tune in daily. Maybe you can join me for a quiet start to the day, or a lunch break pause, or at bedtime… And we can be encouraged together, as we read through and pray through the Bible’s beautiful book of poetry, hymns, and personal journal entries by at least eight different authors. Each day, I’ll read the Psalm, or portion of the psalm, then pray through it.

Be sure to like, forward and subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. One of the reasons I love finding inspiration from the Bible every day is found in the Gospel of John. In Chapter 20, verse 31, he writes “these things are written, the Bible is written, so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the Living God and that believing you may find life in His name.” May you find life in Jesus’ name today. God bless you.

Five new episodes will be released each Sunday, beginning August 30, and continuing to May of 2021. I look forward to hearing how God blesses the reading and praying of His Word together.

Thanks for joining me.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Run to God. You Will Make It.

King David wrote these words in 2 Samuel: “What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward Him makes it.” 2 Samuel 22:31, MSG.

This is the same David who was chased for decades throughout The Land. His enemies included King Saul, his own son Absalom, a wanna-be leader by the name of Sheba, and of course the armies of Philistines.

Here towards the end of the journey he acknowledges and worships the One True God. We might expect this song in the Psalms, but here it as at the end of the 2 Samuel narrative. Despite the many setbacks of the shepherd-turned-warrior-turned-king, his heart is pure before God. He takes time, regularly, to sing and praise the Almighty for who He is.

Every time you begin to run back to God, He will show the way to His throne. It is unmistakable. He wants you to make it.

“The LORD is my rock… He is my shield and my saving strength, my defender and my place of safety. (v3, NCV).

“In my distress I called to the LORD. I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.” (v7, NIV).

“He brought me out to an open place; he rescued me, because he took pleasure in me.” (v20, CJB).

“You give me a better way to live, so I live as you want me to.” (v37, NCV).

“You are a mighty rock. I will honor you for keeping me safe.” (v47, CEV).

‘So I will praise you, LORD, among the nations. I will sing praises to your name.” (v50, NCV).

Even if your life feels like it’s full of ups and downs and right turns and left turns, know that every time you begin to run back to God, He will show the way to His throne. It is unmistakable. Why? Because He wants you to make it! In fact, He is making the way clear. Even now.

David’s son Solomon says it this way: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:56, NIV).

And once we’re there, we will join David in praising God for all eternity.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord, the all-powerful God, who was and is and is coming.” (Revelation 4:8, CEV).

“What a God! His road stretches straight and smooth. Every God-direction is road-tested. Everyone who runs toward Him makes it.” (2 Samuel 22:31, MSG).

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Romans 6. Part 2. God’s Gift is Eternal Life!

Earlier this year, we took a journey together through the Old Testament book of  Isaiah. Paul, as a learned rabbi and the author of the letter to the church at Rome, quoted regularly from the Prophet. So, let’s take the next few weeks together to look at the New Testament book of Romans.

Romans 6:15-23.

Another stop for us on the Romans Road today. The Human Condition is that we are human. Logical, right? We are not God. We don’t work our way up to being God, or being a god. We are man and woman. We are sinners. Each and every one of us. Sin separates us from holy and righteous God. And in God’s view, sin leads to death.

“For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a, NIV).

And that’s just that.

If that was all there was to God’s economy, there would be no reason to hope, no reason to live.

But there’s good news next, thanks to Jesus!  “God’s gift is eternal life given by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b, CEV).


The delight of our relationship with God is more and more life!

Yes, we are all sinners, separated from God by that sin. But Jesus bridges that chasm at the Cross. His death, and then His resurrection, is what allows us to have communion, connection, and community with God. When Jesus died, He provided access to the Most High.

Look at this: “At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Matthew 27:51, NIV). The significance of this event is that the Holy of Holies, the place where the Ark of Covenant was kept, was now exposed for all. The custom of the day was that only a certain priest would be able to go into this holy place in the temple. But because of Jesus, anyone and everyone can approach Father God directly.

Yet some still believe that a Godly life is constricting. Ironic isn’t it? The life chosen to live without God, thinking one is free, is actually a life that is lived in bondage to sin and leads to a dead-end… to death. It’s worse than ironic, it’s very sad, tragic. Some believe  they’re free because they don’t have to “follow God’s rules.” But yet, they are actually slaves to sin.

“But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.” (Romans 6:22‭-‬23, MSG).

The delight of our relationship with God is more and more life! Whole. Healed. And put-together by God Himself. That’s Good News!

 

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.
RichlySpeaking.com

Romans 3, Part 2. We are Sinners, But God!

Earlier this year, we took a journey together through the Old Testament book of  Isaiah. Paul, as a learned rabbi and the author of the letter to the church at Rome, quoted regularly from the Prophet. So, let’s take the next few weeks together to look at the New Testament book of Romans.

Romans, Chapter 3 introduces us to the beginning of the so-called Romans Road. Paul takes the reader through several stops and outlines the basic plan of salvation. It begins with the definition of the human condition — we are all sinners — and leads us to God’s plan for our salvation through Jesus, the Messiah.

Paul first quotes from the Psalmist, who imagines God looking down from heaven upon mankind: “All have turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalms 14:3, NIV).

In his own words, the Apostle says it this way: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, NIV).


Jesus freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.

On the journey of this pathway to heaven, every single one of us must ultimately make this confession: We are sinners. The word “sin” means to miss the mark, like an archer who’s arrow falls woefully nowhere near his intended target. There is no way that any of us can be as holy as God is holy. Paul is not pointing fingers at other people’s behavior either, for he says about himself in the letter to his pupil Timothy: “Here’s a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. I’m proof—Public Sinner Number One—of someone who could never have made it apart from sheer mercy.” (1 Timothy 1:15, MSG).

Our first stop on the Romans Road is your problem and my problem too! We are human beings, created in God’s image, but we are not divine. We will never become God. There is nothing we can do to earn our way into His presence. Yet He is fair; He gives us all a choice: “God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.” (Romans 3:22‭-‬24, CEV).

We are sinners… But God! Jesus welcomes us all! He sets things right for us. It’s a pure gift, which is undeserved since we are all sinners. But thanks be to God and His grace! HE sets things right! Always! And, indeed, we can be so very thankful! And humbled that He loves us.

“God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin. Having faith in him sets us in the clear.” (Romans 3:25, MSG).

Yesterday we talked about “dialing in” to God’s frequency; turning our hearts and ears to intentionally listen to Him and His ways for our lives. Like a child who must crawl before he walks and walk before he runs, it begins with this first step. We must admit to God that even our best actions are flawed. As humans we are sinners.

So does this mean we are free to not “do right?”  Paul asks and answers this same question: “Does emphasizing our faith invalidate the law? Absolutely not. Instead, our faith establishes the role the law should rightfully have.” (Romans 3:21, TPT).

Some may ask, why? Why is it that none of our best attempts to follow God’s decrees are good enough for God? I believe it’s because it sets Jesus apart for who He is… 100% man and 100% God. He is the only one who never sinned. So, it is only through the recognition of His sacrifice, only through Jesus that we are truly free.

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Passover Seder for Believers in Yeshua… a Haggadah.

Unleavened bread, or matzah, and four glasses of wine are key symbols used to celebrate Passover.

Passover begins this evening, Wednesday, April 8th. A Passover Seder (pronounced SAY-der) is a meal and celebration that tells the story of the Exodus of the Jewish people from the bondage of Egypt and Pharoah. The Bible’s book of Exodus tells this story.

What follows is a Haggadah — or Story– that affirms Jesus as the Passover Lamb. Some may suggest it is misguided for Christ-followers to celebrate a Jewish holiday such as Passover. But I would say, Jesus is our Messiah. He was a Jew. This meal is likely the “Last Supper” He celebrated with the disciples in the Upper Room. It is very appropriate for believers in Jesus to celebrate the story of the Exodus, as it represents our own story of being in bondage to sin and death and our journey to freedom and life. In the days of Moses, life was given to people of faith by the blood of the lamb painted over the doorposts of houses. Today, we receive life by way of the blood of Jesus “painted” over the doorposts of our hearts.

This Haggadah was originally written for our family twenty years ago, with input from various people including family friends who are Jewish. Note, most of the symbolic items have been a part of the Jewish tradition of Passover for centuries. Many were not a part of the tradition at the time of the “Upper Room” Passover. Our family added the red scarf/red ribbon as a way to visualize the doors of our hearts being painted with the blood of Jesus. Portions have been directly excerpted from the booklet “Passover Seder and Menu for an Observance by Christians” by Barbara Balzac Thompson, published by Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, © 1984.

Passover lasts for eight nights. Feel free to celebrate a Passover Seder any night, not just the first night. Make it work for your family. This is a great opportunity to invite friends and neighbors to join you. This year, because of social distancing, maybe you celebrate via Zoom or Skype.

Before you gather, you’ll need a few key ingredients for your table:

Two candlesticks in candle holders.

Wine or grape juice. You’ll be pouring four glasses for each participant, so be sure to have enough on hand for everyone.

Matzah bread. You’ll need at least three full-sized squares on a separate plate wrapped in a cloth or linen napkin. Plus, you’ll want enough for everyone to enjoy as much as they’d like.

The Seder Plate includes items which we’ll feature throughout the evening, including: a lamb shank (you can get this from the butcher at your local grocery store), a dollop of horseradish, a sprig of parsley, charoset (which is a mixture that includes chopped apples, honey, and cinnamon). You will also need in separate bowls/small plates enough horseradish, parsley, and charoset for everyone to enjoy at least a small taste.

For your table, you’ll need a bowl of fresh water (like a cereal bowl) and a smaller bowl (like a ramekin) of salt water (just enough salt to taste salty, maybe 1/2 teaspoon).

A red ribbon, scarf or piece of yarn, about three-to-four feet in length, for each participant.

You’ll also want to have prepared your main course of the evening meal, and keep it warm in the kitchen. You’ll take the first 30-45 minutes of the evening telling the story.

In most families, the father will read through the narrative. There are times when there is a responsive or group reading as well, so it is helpful for everyone to have their own copy, or a shared copy, of the “script” for the evening. Also, this is a very family-friendly event! Children are encouraged to participate. There is a specific place where they are to ask questions, but if you’d like, feel free to allow them to interrupt with queries and laughter. Our Seder is a time bathed in much grace. Sometimes we recline on the floor (more on that later). One year, we actually roasted a lamb on an open pit in the backyard. We often have coloring pages and snacks available for younger children. Feel free to be creative as you like as you demonstrate your love for God’s plan of redemption in the life of your family.

WELCOME

Welcome in the name of Yeshua, Jesus our Messiah! Tonight we will celebrate Pesach (PAH-sach)… Passover. This is the celebration of the most incredible feast on the Jewish and Christian calendars. It intricately weaves a story of God’s power, faithfulness and love for mankind in both the Old and New Testaments. It was celebrated in the Ancient World, in Jesus’ time, and is still celebrated in traditional Jewish homes today.

The first Passover was not a celebration (see Exodus 12). It was a night of apprehension, fear, and expectation for the beginning of a new journey for the children of Israel. The Bible tells us that the Hebrews were to take the blood of a perfect lamb and paint it on their doorposts. By following this command, the Angel of Death which moved through Egypt that night would “pass over” their homes. But since the Angel of Death did not pass over Pharaoh’s house, and his firstborn son was taken from him, his hardened heart was finally softened and the next morning Pharaoh let the Hebrew slaves go free. This meal that we celebrate tonight, the Seder, is symbolic of the rush to leave Egypt and the bondage it represents.

We also celebrate the significance of Yeshua’s last meal, sometimes called the “Last Supper,” a traditional Passover meal, with His disciples in the Upper Room. There is a lot of symbolism between the Old Covenant meal and the New Covenant meal. We hope you’ll enjoy learning how Yeshua tied the two meals together… and how it is applicable to us all.

Tonight, we tell a story, the Haggadah (hah-gaw-DAH), of how the blood of a lamb saved the people of God in the Ancient times… and still saves today.

John 1:29: The next day, John the Baptizer saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Reading: Luke 22:7-20. (This can be read by one of the children).

Let us celebrate the Passover together!

Continue reading Passover Seder for Believers in Yeshua… a Haggadah.

Passover Seder for Believers in Yeshua… a Haggadah.

Unleavened bread, or matzah, and four glasses of wine are key symbols used to celebrate Passover.

Passover begins Wednesday evening, April 8th. A Passover Seder (pronounced SAY-der) is a meal and celebration that tells the story of the Exodus of the Jewish people from the bondage of Egypt and Pharoah. The Bible’s book of Exodus tells this story.

What follows is a Haggadah — or Story– that affirms Jesus as the Passover Lamb. Some may suggest it is misguided for Christ-followers to celebrate a Jewish holiday such as Passover. But I would say, Jesus is our Messiah. He was a Jew. This meal is likely the “Last Supper” He celebrated with the disciples in the Upper Room. It is very appropriate for believers in Jesus to celebrate the story of the Exodus, as it represents our own story of being in bondage to sin and death and our journey to freedom and life. In the days of Moses, life was given to people of faith by the blood of the lamb painted over the doorposts of houses. Today, we receive life by way of the blood of Jesus “painted” over the doorposts of our hearts.

This Haggadah was originally written for our family twenty years ago, with input from various people including family friends who are Jewish. Note, most of the symbolic items have been a part of the Jewish tradition of Passover for centuries. Many were not a part of the tradition at the time of the “Upper Room” Passover. Our family added the red scarf/red ribbon as a way to visualize the doors of our hearts being painted with the blood of Jesus. Portions have been directly excerpted from the booklet “Passover Seder and Menu for an Observance by Christians” by Barbara Balzac Thompson, published by Augsburg Publishing House, Minneapolis, © 1984.

Passover lasts for eight nights. Feel free to celebrate a Passover Seder any night, not just the first night. Make it work for your family. This is a great opportunity to invite friends and neighbors to join you. This year, because of social distancing, maybe you celebrate via Zoom or Skype.

Before you gather, you’ll need a few key ingredients for your table:

Wine or grape juice. You’ll be pouring four glasses for each participant, so be sure to have enough on hand for everyone.

Matzah bread. You’ll need at least three full-sized squares on a separate plate wrapped in a cloth or linen napkin. Plus, you’ll want enough for everyone to enjoy as much as they’d like.

The Seder Plate includes items which we’ll feature throughout the evening, including: a lamb shank (you can get this from the butcher at your local grocery store), a dollop of horseradish, a sprig of parsley, charoset (which is a mixture that includes chopped apples, honey, and cinnamon). You will also need in separate bowls/small plates enough horseradish, parsley, and charoset for everyone to enjoy at least a small taste.

For your table, you’ll need a bowl of fresh water (like a cereal bowl) and a smaller bowl (like a ramekin) of salt water (just enough salt to taste salty, maybe 1/2 teaspoon).

A red ribbon, scarf or piece of yarn, about three-to-four feet in length, for each participant.

You’ll also want to have prepared your main course of the evening meal, and keep it warm in the kitchen. You’ll take the first 30-45 minutes of the evening telling the story.

In most families, the father will read through the narrative. There are times when there is a responsive or group reading as well, so it is helpful for everyone to have their own copy, or a shared copy, of the “script” for the evening. Also, this is a very family-friendly event! Children are encouraged to participate. There is a specific place where they are to ask questions, but if you’d like, feel free to allow them to interrupt with queries and laughter. Our Seder is a time bathed in much grace. Sometimes we recline on the floor (more on that later). One year, we actually roasted a lamb on an open pit in the backyard. We often have coloring pages and snacks available for younger children. Feel free to be creative as you like as you demonstrate your love for God’s plan of redemption in the life of your family.

WELCOME

Welcome in the name of Yeshua, Jesus our Messiah! Tonight we will celebrate Pesach (pah-SACH)… Passover. This is the celebration of the most incredible feast on the Jewish and Christian calendars. It intricately weaves a story of God’s power, faithfulness and love for mankind in both the Old and New Testaments. It was celebrated in the Ancient World, in Jesus’ time, and is still celebrated in traditional Jewish homes today.

The first Passover was not a celebration (see Exodus 12). It was a night of apprehension, fear, and expectation for the beginning of a new journey for the children of Israel. The Bible tells us that the Hebrews were to take the blood of a perfect lamb and paint it on their doorposts. By following this command, the Angel of Death which moved through Egypt that night would “pass over” their homes. But since the Angel of Death did not pass over Pharaoh’s house, and his firstborn son was taken from him, his hardened heart was finally softened and the next morning Pharaoh let the Hebrew slaves go free. This meal that we celebrate tonight, the Seder, is symbolic of the rush to leave Egypt and the bondage it represents.

We also celebrate the significance of Yeshua’s last meal, sometimes called the “Last Supper,” a traditional Passover meal, with His disciples in the Upper Room. There is a lot of symbolism between the Old Covenant meal and the New Covenant meal. We hope you’ll enjoy learning how Yeshua tied the two meals together… and how it is applicable to us all.

Tonight, we tell a story, the Haggadah (hah-gaw-DAH), of how the blood of a lamb saved the people of God in the Ancient times… and still saves today.

John 1:29: The next day, John the Baptizer saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Reading: Luke 22:7-20. (This can be read by one of the children).

Let us celebrate the Passover together!

Continue reading Passover Seder for Believers in Yeshua… a Haggadah.

Isaiah 9

Isaiah 9Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

 

Isaiah 9.

We’ve talked about doom and gloom here in Isaiah, and will continue to see warnings of doom and gloom in future chapters. But today there is hope and a promise!

“But those who have suffered will no longer be in pain.” (v 1 CEV).

What is the promise of this torment-free future?

“The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
    light! sunbursts of light!” (v 2 MSG)

Who is this great light?

“For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” (v 6-7 NIV).

This is one of several famous prophesies of Jesus in the book of Isaiah. And, yes, He has come! But some people don’t call Jesus “wonderful counselor.” And is He really still reigning on David’s throne in Israel? Today the country is not governed by a king but by a prime minister and the Knesset.

So, how is it that His Kingdom will reign forever in The Land when it hasn’t?

The Spiritual reign of Jesus, which began on earth in Bethlehem 2000+ years ago continues forever. Even though some people have rejected His physical reign, His Kingdom of peace and righteousness is available to all who want to accept it.

The  Contemporary Jewish Bible translation makes it clearer (for me anyway…):

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name Pele-Yo‘etz El Gibbor Avi-‘Ad Sar-Shalom [Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace], in order to extend the dominion and perpetuate the peace of the throne and kingdom of David, to secure it and sustain it through justice and righteousness henceforth and forever. The zeal of Adonai – Tzva’ot will accomplish this.” (v 5‭-‬6 CJB).

Through the dominion of Jesus there is perpetual peace, justice and righteousness forever!

Look at how the great rabbi Saul of Tarsus (later Paul) describes this kingdom and its availability to all who believe:

“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:22-24 NIV).

God’s Kingdom, through the child king in the line of David, is given to us. To you. To me. Can you embrace this eternal peace? It is a great hope for everyone!

 

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 8

Isaiah 8
Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

 

Isaiah 8.

There is trouble ahead for all who oppose God and oppress His people.

“But face the facts, all you oppressors, and then wring your hands.
    Listen, all of you, far and near.
Prepare for the worst and wring your hands.
    Yes, prepare for the worst and wring your hands!
Plan and plot all you want—nothing will come of it.
    All your talk is mere talk, empty words,
Because when all is said and done,
    the last word is Immanuel—God-With-Us.” (verses 9-10 MSG).

For the follower of God’s ways, He is with us. Always. His name is Immanuel. Where have we heard that name before? Just yesterday in Isaiah 7:14 (CEV): “But the Lord will still give you proof. A virgin is pregnant; she will have a son and will name him Immanuel, which means “God is with us.””

And He is! And I’m so thankful for that. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year. Many can offer proof that God has been with them when they least understood or least expected it. He has surprised many, including me, with His grace and provision and protection when I needed it most! He will do the same for you as you trust in Him.

One other note:  there’s a cross reference in verse 11 to the New Testament writer Peter: “Even if you have to suffer for doing good things, God will bless you. So stop being afraid and don’t worry what people may do. Honor Christ and let Him be the Lord of your life.” 1 Peter 3:14-15 (CEV).

God will bless you.

Yes! God will bless you!

 

 

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

Isaiah 7

Isaiah 7
Israeli olives fresh off the tree!

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

 

Isaiah 7 is a real mash up of several thoughts.

The first is to always put our trust in God, so we will not be defeated. (v 9).

Then there’s the famous prophecy of Jesus’ birth (v 14).

And finally, this passage contains caution to the whole land that it will become weeds and thorns. “This country that used to be covered with fine vineyards—thousands of them, worth millions!—will revert to a weed patch. Weeds and thornbushes everywhere! Good for nothing except, perhaps, hunting rabbits. Cattle and sheep will forage as best they can in the fields of weeds—but there won’t be a trace of all those fertile and well-tended gardens and fields.” (v 23-25 MSG).

Is that real or metaphorical? One commentary suggests it is an analogy to our sorrows if we neglect God’s great grace.

There are many, many fruit-filled fields in The Land today.  Tragic if they would turn to waste lands. Same for us. God desires that we produce great fruit. Yet, a question to the Christ-follower: Are our lives filled with thorns and weeds instead of fruit? The way great fruit is produced is when we abide with Him, hang out with Him and trust Him. (See John 15.) A good gardener will keep the trees and vines trimmed and pruned. It’s interesting that even the paring down of the smaller, first fruits leads to larger and better yields of the stronger, richer fruit! The best fruit!

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.” The words of Jesus in John 15:5‭-‬8 (MSG).

The call to the Believer is to be mature, always growing, always producing fruit. As followers of Jesus we need to ask regularly: “What might need to be pruned from our lives so that greater, juicier fruit might be produced… for the Kingdom?”

 

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.

 

Isaiah 6

Because of the importance of Israel and its people, and my personal love for The Land, I’m inviting you to join me through the key Old Testament book of Isaiah.  Each day I’m posting some simple thoughts about this complex prophet.

Isaiah 6. This is a power-packed chapter!

Let’s worship with the angels:

“Holy. Holy. Holy. Is the God-of-the-Angel-Armies. His bright glory fills the whole earth.” (v3 MSG).

We can approach the Throne only because He has chosen to forgive our sins. Gone is our guilt!

“Look. This coal has touched your lips. Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out.” And then I heard the voice of the Master: “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” (v8)

I see this little child, with his arm fully extended and his body bouncing up and down as he eagerly volunteers: “Oooo, I’ll go! Pick me! Pick me! Send me!” He can only be so eager because his sin has been so completely, so thoroughly, forgiven.

Can we be this enthused to represent God and to represent Jesus to the fallen world?

With open hands we ask God to lead us. Maybe He sends us as He leads us? He takes our hand and leads. But He also has our backs too.  Sometimes He’s pushing us along… to go out on His behalf. May we be sensitive to His Spirit as He leads and prods us along. And may we be comfortable with both ways, right?!

Are you willing to raise your hand? Am I? Where will He take us today?

 

 

(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.