The Kingdom of Heaven: Bearing Good Fruit

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Matthew 7:15-20, NKJV

I find it strangely coincidental that this is the next passage to go over in my Sermon on the Mount series. Why? Because it deals with a topic that has come up a lot recently for me.

For one thing, my church has strongly encouraged everyone to watch a certain movie that deals with a lot of false teachings that have crept into the church. Some of those teachings had an influence on me, especially during my early years, and I have seen how some of them have had destructive results for people that we know and love, especially over the past couple of months.

For another thing, my young adult group just had to deal with a difficult situation where the leadership asked someone to leave because of the false ideas he was proposing and arguing to the group. Continue reading

5-Year Anniversary

It was November 2, 2014 that I started this blog. Here I am now – 5 years, 153 posts (not counting this one), and nearly 5700 views later.

I want to thank each of you who have taken the time to read it, comment on it, and/or share it with others.

This little corner of the Internet was birthed out of a desire to publicly share the things that the Lord was (and is) teaching me. I hope that I have done that well, and that it has been a blessing to many of you!

When I first started, I generally wrote about topics that were more specific to myself and what I was learning at the time. Things like failure and patience, or analogies that I found in color wheels or constellations.

And then I shifted to more of a Bible study format. I blogged through the Beatitudes, the book of 1 Samuel, and now I’m working on wrapping up a series on the Sermon on the Mount.

My question for you is: which do you prefer?

As I look ahead to hopefully another 5 years, are there any particular topics you’d like to hear my thoughts on?

I’d love to hear your ideas in the comment section below! 🙂

 

The Kingdom of Heaven: A Narrow Road

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

(Matthew 7:13-14, NKJV)

We are all on a journey. Each day, we leave behind footprints that mark the path we’ve walked so far. Each moment, we take a step closer to our final destination.

It may seem like there are a thousand paths being taken by the billions of people on this earth. But the fact is, there are only 2.

One path points toward destruction. The other, toward life everlasting.

Each of us, whether we know it or not, is traveling one of these paths. Continue reading

The Kingdom of Heaven: Do Unto Others

Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Matt. 7: 12, NKJV

The Golden Rule is probably one of the most popular verses in the Bible, right up there with John 3:16 and Psalm 23. If only it was as popular to live out!

The first question that I find myself asking as I read this verse is “Why does it start with ‘Therefore‘”? What reasons is Jesus looking back on as a basis for the Golden Rule?

If we look back on the previous verses, we see Jesus speaks against hypocritical judgments, encourages us to ask for good things, and then transitions to the Golden Rule in this way: Continue reading

The Kingdom of Heaven: Asking for Good Things

7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

(Matt. 7:7-11, NKJV)

Ask. Seek. Knock.

It sounds so simple.

At first glance, this passage makes it seem as though God is a magic vending machine. We feed in some cash (faith), press a button (prayer), and voila! Out comes whatever we requested.

But we know that’s not how it works in real life. God doesn’t always give us what we ask Him for. Does that mean He’s broken His promises?

Continue reading