Fruitful Living

from the devotional book, PICTURES OF GOD

Read Matthew 7:15-20; 12:33-35; John 15:9-17

Our Father is like any other vinedresser: he wants fruit from His vine. What fruit does God want from you?

As you live in the Vine, Jesus Christ, His Spirit lives in you. As you are led by the Spirit of Christ, you think and speak and live like Christ. You bear the same fruit that the Father prized so highly from Jesus Christ.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB).

Read Matthew 7:15-20 and 12:33-35. A good tree produces good fruit. As you remain as a branch in Jesus Christ, His Spirit will grow His character in your life.

Notice what is listed first among the fruits of the Spirit of Christ: The fruit of the Spirit is love (Galatians 5:22, NASB). As Jesus taught His disciples for the final time before His crucifixion, notice what He repeatedly emphasized:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35, NASB)

This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you (John 15:12, NASB)

This I command you, that you love one another (John 15:17, NASB).

The Spirit of Christ unites us with the Father, Son, and Spirit. We grow to breathe the love and unity that makes them one. We love as the Father loves the Son. We love as the Son loves the Father and freely, joyfully, completely submits to Him.

As we share life and love with the Father, Son, and Spirit, we grow to love as they love. I am finding this true in my own experience. I feel disinclined to talk badly about a person my Father loves. As I love Him, how can I not love someone who is so dear to Him? By my words or deeds, how can I hurt one about whom He cares so deeply?

This love, the love of Christ, is one of the precious fruits that grow in us as we abide in the Vine.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: I Look to You, and You Are Love
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The Full Armor of God

Ephesians 6:10-17 

Father, in this evil world we must struggle with evil –
evil that threatens us from outside and tempts us from within.
Whether this evil approaches us subtly or brazenly,
its purpose is always the same.
Jesus said it always comes
to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10, NASB)

When Jesus came into this world,
He came armed with the Spirit of God: 

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
Righteousness will be the belt about His loins,
And faithfulness the belt about His waist. (Isaiah 11:3, 5, NASB)

This same Spirit arms us as well. 

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but
against the rulers, against the powers,
against the world forces of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places.
(Ephesians 6:12, NASB)

Though Jesus was as human as we are,
He overcame evil in this world completely, and
He arms us to overcome it completely as well.
He urges us to be strong in Him and in His power,
not our own.
We must put on the full armor He has provided.

Put on the belt of truth.
Since we are children of Almighty God,
truth and reality are on our side, not Satan’s.
Thus His primary weapon is deceit.
Protect yourself with the truth.
Prepare yourself for battle with the truth.
Know the truth, speak the truth, and live the truth.

Protect your vital organs with the breastplate of righteousness.
Your ultimate safety in this war is being on God’s side.
A mind, heart, and lifestyle that aren’t right with Him
leave us vulnerable to the attack of evil.

Strap your feet with the gospel of peace.
How can we march forward to do God’s work over rough, uneven ground?
We are prepared and protected by the gospel of Jesus Christ,
the good news of peace in Him.
That wonderful message we bring to others
also keeps us steady.

All the above are static pieces of armor,
fixed to protect various parts of our body.
But make sure you have the shield of faith.
You will need to wield it, to raise it against various
fears, problems, and concerns that Satan will sling your way.
When a concern arises, raise the shield of faith:
“Lord, we are concerned about this need.
We bring it to You and trust You to help us with it.”

How do we protect the most vital part of our bodies, our head?
That is where our thoughts originate, and
the head guides the rest of the body.
So put on the helmet of salvation.
It protects us with the confidence that
God’s salvation has rescued us completely
from sin, evil, and death.
Thus the helmet of salvation is not only protective,
but it is also a decorative helmet of victory.
It reminds us and shows the world that
the battle has already been won.

Finally, we also protect ourselves with
the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
God has already proclaimed our final victory!
All who believe are safe in Him, and
the war against evil will soon be over and won. 

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57, NASB)

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Soldiers of Christ, Arise
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from Prepare Yourself for Worship

This Time Is Yours

Father, in these moments of worship, help me to be
fully present,
fully with You,
fully Yours.
May my life of complete consecration to You
begin right now.
You hear my heart as I
speak the total surrender that
I long to be true.

You know that no matter how pure my intentions,
I can only live one moment at a time.
This is the only time that is truly mine, and
Lord, I give it to You.
Make my desires,
my thoughts,
my energies
all Yours,
beginning right now.

Speak - I am listening.
Command - I wait to obey.
Lead - I gladly follow.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Holy in You
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BREATH OF GOD Devotional Tapestry

BREATH OF GOD Devotional Tapestry

Devotional Tapestries are short recordings designed to draw your heart and mind to the Living God. Each includes a devotional reading over instrumental music, leading into a hymn.

Listen to BREATH OF GOD Devotional Tapestry.

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Seeing the Unseen

He persevered because he saw him who is invisible. (Hebrews 11:27, NIV)

Take faith as the light for your path. All that we hear and read is lifeless compared to the glory of knowing God personally by faith. We spend too much time pondering a copy when we should be gazing on the Original.

Fixing our eyes on God leads to a fearlessness and a firmness of mind. Seeing God lifts us above the fear and hope of all that is not Him. God is sovereign in justice and infinite in mercy. He only sends what is good for us. What should we fear? What should we hope for but Him?

Our part is to focus on Almighty God and walk in His presence, as seeing Him who is unseen.

by Brother Lawrence and Ken Bible

Listen and sing:
Hymn: We Fix Our Eyes on Jesus Christ
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from Prepare Yourself for Worship

Prepare Your Body for Worship

Father, help me prepare my body for worship.
I am a physical being, and
the state of my body affects
my mood and
my alertness.

I will do my best to get a good night’s sleep.
Bless my efforts, Lord.
I will do my best to eat the right foods.
Bless my efforts,
to Your glory.

All this is part of offering my body as a sacrifice to You,
living,
holy,
pleasing.

Guide and bless me as
I prepare my body for worship.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Nothing Between
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Pride

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. (Philippians 2:3, NIV)

Pride focuses thought, energy, and attention on me -
a poor,
pitiable,
helpless creature –
rather than on our
magnificent,
loving,
eternal Father.

Pride steals glory and praise from God.
It distracts those He would draw to himself.

Pride is a lie.
It cloaks me in
darkness and
self-delusion
rather than in
light,
love, and
truth.

Pride focuses inward rather than
upward and
outward.
It makes my world smaller.

Pride perverts,
binds,
blinds, and
destroys.

Merciful Jesus, save me from the foolishness of pride.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: I Fix My Thoughts on You
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As We Live in Christ

As we live in Christ,
we share His relationship with the Father.
We share their love
for each other and
for every human being.

As we live in Christ,
we share His bond of love with
all those He loves and
all those who love Him.
As we become one with Him,
we become one with all those who are His.
All our relationships now go through Him.
He is the unseen partner in each one.
We learn to love others because
He loves them and
we love Him.

As we live in Christ,
we grow to love as He loves,
show compassion as He shows compassion,
be patient as He is patient,
absorb wrongs done to us as He absorbed them,
forgive as He forgave.
In loving all those around us, He is
our master,
our model,
our standard,
our source, and
our goal.

Wives, husbands,
children, parents,
bosses, employees,
friends, enemies –
as we live in Christ,
we love each one with the
gentle,
self-giving,
patient,
persistent love of Christ.

As we trust Christ,
we live in Him,
and love is the very breath of His heart.
As we trust Christ,
He fills our beings with His own loving Spirit.
His Spirit helps us love everyone
in Christ,
for Christ,
like Christ,
as loving Christ Himself.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Live and Love and Grow in Christ
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from Prepare Yourself for Worship

My Hands Are Yours

Worship is more than words.
Worship is placing You, Lord, on the throne of
my life and of
all reality.

Thus worship is action.
Worship is obedience.
Worship is service.
Worship is sacrifice.

Father, as I bow before You in worship,
my hands are Yours.
My strength is Yours.
I present my body as a living sacrifice,
holy,
separated entirely to You,
tuned to Your will,
transformed by Your Spirit,
wholly pleasing to You,
wholly available to You.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: God Alone
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Quit Struggling

Psalm 46

Father, today
I am swept up in so much that I cannot
know,
control,
understand, or
change.

But You are my protection.
You are my strength.
You are with me, and
I am immovable.
I am in You, and
all is peace.

What do you call me to do today?
To quit struggling, and
simply know that You are God.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Lord, How Good to Rest in You
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