Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. – Colossians 2:7
When I looked up at the top of one of my large oak trees, I saw lot of unusual growth, spreading from limp to limb. Upon further examination I realized that it was an undesirable vine, as I traced its source of nutrition to one rather large root extending from the ground and up into the tree.
With one whack with the clippers, I severed the vine from its source and within a few days it wilted and turned brown and finally fell from the tree. I didn’t have to climb up in the tree to do away with it. I just went to the source and severed it.
Coming to Jesus is like that. Man is by nature sinful and Satan nourishes our roots with sin and all sorts of things that are wrong. When we give our hearts to Jesus, he severs our connection with Satan and gives us new roots in Him, nourished by the Holy Spirit.
A few days later, I noticed some new vine shoots inching up from the ground and making their way up the tree. Once again, I had to sever them at the source.
Satan is like that, always trying to get a new foothold in our lives. We need to lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to continually keep us from Satan’s continued efforts to encroach into every part of our lives.
When you are rooted and grounded in God’s love, you can grow to be like a strong tree with long roots that provides shelter, food, and protection to others.
So remember that Satan will never give up, and neither should you. Those roots will continue to make their way into our lives, but we must turn to Jesus and as Barney Fife would say, “Nip them in the bud.”
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
Comments to those of actor Denzel Washington, who addressed the graduating class of Dillard University in New Orleans. In his brief address, he laid out four points for the graduates to focus on in their lives. He said:
• Number one: Put God first! Put God first in everything you do.
• Number two: Remember that everything you have is by the grace of God. Understand that. It’s a gift.
• Number three: You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. I don’t care how much money you make, you can’t take it with you. It’s not how much you have, it’s what you do with what you have.
• Finally, I pray that you put your slippers way under your bed tonight, so that when you wake up in the morning you have to get on your knees to reach them. And while you’re down there, say thank you. Thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity.
Now that’s a uniting message beneficial to all of us. Let’s be thankful for grace, mercy, wisdom and love. Let’s work together for freedom and prosperity.
Christianity Declines Sharply in US, Agnostics Growing:
Christianity is in sharp decline in America, according to new research from the Pew Research Center, making for a significantly less Christian country than that of just seven years ago.
The number of Christians dropped by almost 8 percentage points in seven years to 71 percent, and the trend holds across race, gender, education, and geographic dimensions, though Christianity still dominates American religious identity at 70 percent, USA Today said.
“It’s remarkably widespread,” Alan Cooperman, director of religion research for the Pew Research Center, said, according to The Washington Post. “The country is becoming less religious as a whole, and it’s happening across the board.” The research also found that the percentage of people not affiliated with a religion has increased from 16 percent to about 23 percent over that period.
A number of key trends have emerged from the research, the Post said.
For one, millennia’s have become less affiliated with religion as they have aged over the last decade. In 2007, 25 percent did not affiliate with a religion. In the current survey, it’s 34 percent.
Another trend indicates that those who are unaffiliated are becoming more secular.
The “nones,” or religiously unaffiliated, include atheists, agnostics and those who say they believe in “nothing in particular.” Of those who are unaffiliated, 31 percent say they are atheists or agnostics, an increase of 6 points since 2007.
“What we’re seeing now is that the share of people who say religion is important to them is declining,” Smith told the Post. “The religiously unaffiliated are not just growing, but as they grow, they are becoming more secular.”
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
PASTOR KEN WHITTEN’S WISDOM:
• Faith is not limited by logic, nor altered by appearances, nor fettered by feelings.
• Jesus is attracted to our weakness.
• We can experience the experiences of those experiencing Jesus, but never experience Jesus. Until we stop looking at the world for help, we are never going to find Jesus.
• It’s not the depth of our faith, but the direction of our faith that matters. Many people touch Jesus casually, but not intentionally. It’s not proximity, but intimacy that touches Jesus. He will never fail us when He is our significance.
• Faith is not giving up, but saying I am helpless and need Jesus. I don’t need Him to give me salvation. I need Him to be my salvation. Faith is not opposed to fear.
• There is no such thing as a secret disciple. We have to make our confession public.
You can trust Jesus to take care of you. You can trust Him at all times, in all circumstances. When you are weary and everything seems to be going wrong, you can still utter these four words: “I trust You, Jesus.” By doing so, you release matters into His control, and you fall back into the security of His everlasting arms.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” – Lamentations 3:22-26 NIV
Stop trying to work things out before their times have come. Accept the limitations of living one day at a time. When something comes to your attention, ask Jesus whether or not it is part of today’s agenda. If it isn’t, release it into His care and go on about today’s duties. When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: a time for everything, and everything in its time.
Selected portions of Thoughts on Life can also be read at TheLife.com.