He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY!
An apple a day keeps the doctor away but Jesus as our Great Physician is God’s Word sent to heal and deliver us from the destruction of sin and death; He is our Life,
Everlasting and Abundant. In Him our lives take root and bear fruit that remains forever. You are His field, His harvest of righteousness in the earth today as it is in heaven. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses—those who have gone
on before us. Their prayers have watered His seed that is planted in the earth and God gives the increase. We are reaping where others have sown and watered yet
we all share in His bountiful harvest as we are co-laborers with God through Christ Jesus the Anointed One.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
(2 Timothy 4:1-8)
ASHES, ASHES WE ALL FALL DOWN
Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?” (Isaiah 44:20)
Ignoring God Leads to a Downward Spiral
But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.
So God said, in effect, “If that’s what you want, that’s what you get.” It wasn’t long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filth, filthy inside and out. And all this because they traded the true God for a fake god, and worshiped the god they made instead of the God who made them—the God we bless, the God who blesses us. Oh, yes!
Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn’t know how to be human either—women didn’t know how to be women, men didn’t know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches.
Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose. And then all hell broke loose: rampant evil, grabbing and grasping, vicious backstabbing. They made life hell on earth with their envy, wanton killing, bickering, and cheating. Look at them: mean-spirited, venomous, fork-tongued God-bashers. Bullies, swaggerers, insufferable windbags! They keep inventing new ways of wrecking lives. They ditch their parents when they get in the way. Stupid, slimy, cruel, cold-blooded. And it’s not as if they don’t know better. They know perfectly well they’re spitting in God’s face. And they don’t care—worse, they hand out prizes to those who do the worst things best!
The Anarchist’s coming is all Satan’s work. All his power and signs and miracles are fake, evil sleight of hand that plays to the gallery of those who hate the truth that could save them. And since they’re so obsessed with evil, God rubs their noses in it—gives them what they want. Since they refuse to trust truth, they’re banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions.
For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false
Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” (John 3:16-21)
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
I delight to do Your will, O my God; yes, Your law is within my heart.
I have proclaimed glad tidings of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD,
Because of God, we boldly stepped into the open to tell you His good news, even though it would likely mean more conflict for us. For we haven’t approached you—or anyone else for that matter—with some error or impure motives or deceitful agenda; but as we have been approved by God and entrusted with the good news, that’s how we are telling the world. We aren’t trying to please everybody, but God, the only One who can truly examine our motives. As you know, we didn’t sandwich the truth between cunning compliments—we told it straight—and before the eye of God, we never conspired to make a single cent off of you. We didn’t come seeking respect from people—not from you or anyone else—although we could have leveraged our position as emissaries of the Anointed One, the Liberating King. Instead, we proved to be gentle among you, like a nursing mother caring for her own children. We were so taken by you that we not only eagerly shared with you God’s good news, but we also shared with you our own lives. That’s how much you’ve come to mean to us.
–1 Thessalonians 2:2-8
The tree of life grows where the fruit of right-living falls,
and whoever wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30)
Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins. (James 5:20)
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:7)
Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
For what is our true hope, our true joy, our victor’s crown in all this? It is nothing if it isn’t you standing before our Lord Jesus the Anointed at His arrival. You are our glory! You are our joy!
–1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
They will bear fruit into old age;
even in winter, they will be green and full of sap
To display that the Eternal is righteous.
He is my rock, and there is no shadow of evil in Him.
Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. (Isaiah 37:31). Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Judah means “Praise.”
Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:11)
Return, Israel, to the Eternal, your True God.
You’ve stumbled because of your wickedness.
Think about what to say, and come back to the Eternal One.
Say to Him, “Forgive all our sins, and take us back again.
Bring us into Your good grace so we can offer You praise and sacrifice,
the fruit of our lips.
We admit that Assyria can’t save us, nor can riding horses and chariots into battle.
We’ll never again say to idols made with our own hands, ‘You’re our gods!’
We know You’re merciful because You take care of orphans.”
Eternal One: I’ll heal their apostate hearts so they won’t turn away from Me again;
I’ll love them freely because I won’t be angry with them anymore.
I’ll be like dew that waters Israel. She’ll blossom like the lily.
She’ll put down roots like the stable cedars of Lebanon;
She’ll send out shoots until her beauty is like the olive tree
and her fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon.
The people will return from exile and sit in My shade once again;
they’ll flourish like grain; they’ll send out shoots like the vine.
And their fame will be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim, what do I have in common with deaf and blind idols?
I’m the One who responds to your pleas and cares for you.
I’m like a flourishing juniper tree; I provide life year-round.
The wise will understand these things;
the perceptive will know them.
For everything the Eternal One does is right,
and the righteous follow His ways.
But those who turn against Him will stumble along His path.
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18)
Those who sow in tears, will reap with songs of joy! (Psalm 126:5)
“Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.”–Jesus (John 15:4)
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. (John 15:2) The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:10)
Dear holy and faithful brothers and sisters in the family of the Anointed.
May grace and peace from God our Father [and the Lord Jesus, the Anointed One] envelop you.
As always, we’ve been praying for you, thanking God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed, ever since we heard of your faith in Jesus the Anointed and your love for His holy ones— a faith and love that emerge from the hope you have heard about in the word of truth—the gospel—the very hope that awaits you in heaven.
The same gospel that was brought to you is growing and bearing fruit all over the world, just as it has been growing among you since the day you heard and took in the truth of God’s grace.) Since the day we got this good news about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We ask:
This is a prayer for knowledge and insight that only can come from God.
Father, may they clearly know Your will and achieve the height and depth of spiritual wisdom and understanding. May their lives be a credit to You, Lord; and what’s more, may they continue to delight You by doing every good work and growing in the true knowledge that comes from being close to You. Strengthen them with Your infinite power, according to Your glorious might, so that they will have everything they need to hold on and endure hardship patiently and joyfully. Thank You, Father, as You have made us eligible to receive our portion of the inheritance given to all those set apart by the light. You have rescued us from dark powers and brought us safely into the kingdom of Your Son, whom You love and in whom we are redeemed and forgiven of our sins [through His blood].
He is the exact image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation, the eternal. It was by Him that everything was created: the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them, all things seen and unseen, thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities. Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes. He has always been! It is His hand that holds everything together. He is the head of this body, the church. He is the beginning, the first of those to be reborn from the dead, so that in every aspect, at every view, in everything—He is first. God was pleased that all His fullness should forever dwell in the Son who, as predetermined by God, bled peace into the world by His death on the cross as God’s means of reconciling to Himself the whole creation—all things in heaven and all things on earth.
It is all about Jesus. Celebrate His reign, first as the Creator and Sustainer of the cosmos and second as the head of the church and the One who reconciles every broken thing to God by what He accomplished on the cross. The story of redemption is a witness to God’s love. Understand who you are; but to do that, you must first know to whom you belong.
You were once at odds with God, wicked in your ways and evil in your minds; but now He has reconciled you in His body—in His flesh through His death—so that He can present you to God holy, blameless, and totally free of imperfection as long as you stay planted in the faith. So don’t venture away from what you have heard and taken to heart: the living hope of the good news that has been announced to all creation under heaven.
Now I rejoice in what I’ve suffered on your behalf, but even more suffering is ahead for me as I take on and complete what remains of the Anointed’s suffering for the sake of His body, the church. I am a servant appointed by God to preach the Word of God until it is known to you and all over—what I am talking about is nothing less than the mystery of the ages! What was hidden for ages, generations and generations, is now being revealed to His holy ones. He decided to make known to them His blessing to the nations; the glorious riches of this mystery is the indwelling of the Anointed in you! The very hope of glory.
We are preaching Him—spreading the Word to all with equal amounts of wise warning and instruction—so that, at the final judgment, we will be able to present everyone to the Creator fully mature because of what Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, has done.This is why I continue to toil and struggle—because His amazing power and energy surge within me.
(from Colossians 1)
I will raise the cup of deliverance
and call out the name of the Eternal.
I will fulfill the promises I made to Him
here as a witness to all His people.
“Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing.”
–Jesus (Matthew 10:42)
God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them. (Hebrews 6:10)
LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS
King: Come here, you beloved, you people whom My Father has blessed. Claim your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of creation. You shall be richly rewarded, for when I was hungry, you fed Me. And when I was thirsty, you gave Me something to drink. I was alone as a stranger, and you welcomed Me into your homes and into your lives. I was naked, and you gave Me clothes to wear; I was sick, and you tended to My needs; I was in prison, and you comforted Me.
Even then the righteous will not have achieved perfect understanding and will not recall these things.
Righteous: Master, when did we find You hungry and give You food? When did we find You thirsty and slake Your thirst? When did we find You a stranger and welcome You in, or find You naked and clothe You? When did we find You sick and nurse You to health? When did we visit You when You were in prison?
King: I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother or sister hungry or cold, whatever you did to the least of these, so you did to Me.
At that He will turn to those on His left hand.
King: Get away from Me, you despised people whom My Father has cursed. Claim your inheritance—the pits of flaming hell where the devil and his minions suffer. For I was starving, and you left Me with no food. When I was dry and thirsty, you left Me to struggle with nothing to drink. When I was alone as a stranger, you turned away from Me. When I was pitifully naked, you left Me unclothed. When I was sick, you gave Me no care. When I was in prison, you did not comfort Me.
Unrighteous: Master, when did we see You hungry and thirsty? When did we see You friendless or homeless or excluded? When did we see You without clothes? When did we see You sick or in jail? When did we see You in distress and fail to respond?
King: I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother hungry or cold, when you saw a sister weak and without friends, when you saw the least of these and ignored their suffering, so you ignored Me.
So these, the goats, will go off to everlasting punishment. But the beloved, the sheep (the righteous), will go into everlasting life.
Taste and see that the LORD is good! (Psalm 34:8)
Letter to Laodicea
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Laodicea. “These are the words of the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of God’s creation:
“I know your works. You are neither cold with apathy nor hot with passion. It would be better if you were one or the other, but you are neither. So because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. You claim, ‘I am rich, I have accumulated riches, and I need nothing’; but you do not realize that you are miserable, pathetic, poor, blind, and naked. So here is what I suggest you do: buy true gold from Me (gold refined by fire so that you can be truly rich), white garments (to cover you so that you can keep the shame of your nakedness from showing), and eye ointment (to treat your eyes so that you may see clearly).
“Those I love I also correct and discipline. Therefore, be shamelessly committed to Me, and turn back.Now pay attention; I am standing at the door and knocking. If any of you hear My voice and open the door, then I will come in to visit with you and to share a meal at your table, and you will be with Me.
“The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death I will place next to Me on My throne, just as I Myself conquered and took a place of honor with My Father on His throne.
“Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.