Going Deeper With God: Cultivate

Perhaps there is a longing in the soul and you are not quite sure what it is that has caused this stirring or disconnect. In my earlier days when I would have this emptiness, I would seek to fill it in natural ways. A new job, a new project, reaching out to other people, or feeling there is something wrong with me. I have since learned that, the longing in my soul, is when I am desiring a deeper connection to the Lord. It is those moments that I can now recognize it is time for more… He is calling.

Just like any relationship, it takes effort on our part to go deeper in our relationship with the Lord. It is important to cultivate the relationship. God is always waiting. There are no limits to his depth. But we come to him by our own will and choice. He is not going to push us into more. But He does have more available.

Some ways to cultivate your relationship with God that have brought me to a deeper connection and understanding are:

SEEK Sometimes, it is simply a matter of seeking Him. Since God does not hold himself away from us, as we seek Him, we will find Him.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

1 Chronicals 16:11- Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.

SURRENDER/OBEDIENCE As we hear God’s instructions and obey His Word, we walk in freedom. Often to know God more deeply is to recognize the areas in our life that may be holding us back. Now mind you, HE is available, but our acts of rebellion can hold us back from going deeper with God.

James 1:22- But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

James 4:7 – Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

REMAIN- Walk continually in the love relationship with God. Love is work and is an action. Keep steadfast in your affection.

John 15:9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

PRAYER– We can talk to God and can confidently know that He hears us.

1 John 5:14 -This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Jeremiah 29:12 – then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

WORSHIP It is important to honor the Lord as we set our hearts on him.

Hebrews 12:28 -Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

2 Kings 17: 38-39 – Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”

PRAISE Lift up your thanksgivings! Shout for joy what the Lord HAS done. Shout for joy what you know in faith according to His will that which will be done!

Colossians 3:16- Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God

Psalm 34:1- I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

READ HIS WORD- The Word is a living connection to God. When we read His words, we are allowing Him to speak to our heart.

Psalm 119:130- The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Hebrews 4:12- For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

One of the most valuable revelations for me these past few years was to find the value of communicating with the Lord in many different ways. I am a worshiper in my very being. I think I must have been born singing to the Lord. This was most often my go-to for connecting with the Lord. It wasn’t until, through conversation that I understood not everyone feels the most connected this way. My friend feels her deep connection through prayer, my husband feels the most connected to the reading of the word. I would find reading the word a blur at times as I tried to remember the chapter and verse, or I would read scripture that would strike a chord and start singing again.
Many times, I would start praying and the prayer would almost always turn to worship.
Now I don’t find that there is anything wrong with connecting to the Lord in the way that is most natural for me. I have no concern or guilt over the fact that I would slide into what was my favorite form of connection.
However, if I want to hear more from God, perhaps entering into communication with Him in different ways could be beneficial. I have all kinds of expressions to communicate my love to others; touch gifts, service, time, etc. So is it possible that by stepping out more from our comfort zone that we can experience God?

When I started being mindful to focus on reading the word, I found my spirit rejoicing in new ways as the words leaped off the page at me.
When I started being mindful to focus on my prayer time, I found again that my spirit would stir with his answers.
Lifting praise and thanksgiving to God, completely change the mindset.



I have learned that results are not found seek after the deeper, as much as I seeking after God. The deeper comes as a result.
He is already there waiting to take us to our more with him. It is often us that can get complacent or comfortable.

Fruit of the Spirit

apple treeGalatians 5: 22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.

The word says we will know them by their fruit. I have had some amazing deposits in my life from fruit-bearing individuals. Life changing deposits that I am so very grateful for. Their lives are overflowing with the fruit of the Spirit.

 I have been asking lately, Lord what causes the others to not bear fruit?
( I was bearing fruit but it was rotting, that is in part 2)

I can see no outward appearance of the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
Outwardly there is hate instead of love, anger instead of joy, anxiety instead of peace, impatience instead of kindness, rudeness instead of goodness, judgment instead of gentleness and goodness, you get my point. But I was feeling as if I was judging them by looking for their fruit and God said you will KNOW them by their fruit of the Spirit.

So I said, okay Lord, what causes a person to not bear fruit when they are your child?
The Lord impressed on my heart to look at the fruit-bearing trees and address, what causes a tree not to bear fruit?

barren apple tree

Part One:

HELP THERE IS NO FRUIT!!!

  1. Immaturity– A fruit tree that is young will not bear fruit. There is a time of growth first.  For a new Christian, there is a learning and a growing season.
    The Lord will do the work in their lives, preparing them for fruit growth and that will require time with Him. Get to know the Holy Spirit and you will bear His fruit.
    1 Corinthians 3:1-2 

    Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly-mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

     

  2. Pollination– A fruit tree requires pollination. Some are self-pollinating and that would be us getting into the word for ourselves and spending time with the spirit our self (very important)
    But other trees are cross-pollinating, and they require others near them to pollinate, they require a community to help them grow. A community that walks in the fruit of the Spirit, pouring out and sharing what the Lord has done in them. I think we need to do both, self-pollination and cross-pollination are equally important.
    Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

  3. Zones– This is a big one for me personally. A fruit tree was created to flourish in certain zones (atmosphere). If a fruit tree is planted in the wrong zone, it may bear fruit but it will not flourish as it was intended to. So often I would stay where I was at because it was the easy thing to do. But if an environment is hindering my fruit production in my life, I have to look at the very real possibility that it is time for changing my zone.
    Also if an intense shift in your life has come (drought or freeze) it may be harder to bear fruit. This is a time to press into the Lord and let Him do the repair. This may be a season of great care for your Spirit but it may be a season of less visible fruit production. It is preparing you for more fruit in another season of your life.
    The Lord has a plan for our lives. It is so important to press in and ask, where will I best flourish Lord?
    Jeremiah 29: 11- For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.

  4. Pruning- A fruit tree will not be as productive without pruning by the hand of the gardener. Buds often form on limbs that have air circulation and light infiltration. By cutting off the old you are making room for air and light. By cutting off the things in your life that are holding you back from the Lord, you are available for the Holy Spirit to circulate and infiltrate your life.  This process can be very uncomfortable, as we often have grown attached to the things that need to be pruned from our lives, but it is absolutely necessary for fruit production.
    John 15:2- Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

  5.  Spacing- Fruit trees that are too close to one another, compete for light and nutrients. While the community is so very important to fruit-bearing for the Christian, relying upon and getting closer to one another than the father, can leave us lacking the depth of nutrients and light that we are in great need of.
    I can rely on my community, grow with my community and fellowship with the community, but if that community becomes my first or everything, then the Holy Spirit is not allowed the room He needs to maximize my growth. As well, this leaves us extremely vulnerable when the community lets us down, as we were leaning on the wrong source. We must have space and ABIDE in Him.
    John 15:5- “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.

  6. Soil Conditions- A fruitful tree needs fertile soil. This is the nutrients for growth. A Christians nutrients (food) is the word of God. You will not be properly fed without getting into Gods word for yourself. Not the word from others and how it has impacted them, but being impacted yourself. Lack of getting into the word leads to spiritual sickness.
    Matthew 4:4- But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

  7. Roots- In trees, nutrient reserves build up in the roots from the previous year. This is important for the continual growth of the next year. Hold fast to the word truths, Holy Spirit connection, and community that you have built on. Don’t let it fall to the wayside and be forgotten. You need those reserves to build upon.
    Psalm 119:11- I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 

The most important thing I have gathered in all of this. Stay so so close to the Lord, and He will lead you in His spirit and you will bear much fruit. ABIDE in Him.
Here is a worship song that spoke to my heart. Great is the Lord in Hebrew.

This has been part one of Fruit of the Spirit. I have been greatly blessed by the depth the Lord has taken me on in this post.
I will be posting part two (Why is my fruit Rotting) after I meditate on what He has shown me today.

I thank Stark Brother’s Nursery for their blog on Fruit tree blooming and bearing problems, for insight on the process of growth of fruit-bearing trees.

 

rotting apples

Part Two:

HELP THE FRUIT IS ROTTING!!!

 

 

Rhythm of My Heart

 

28167194_1096435737165994_841401734140422186_n      This picture, not the property of Writing for Joy.

 

I would lay in bed and hear the sound of my heartbeat. The rhythm was off. With every early beat, the heart would have to pump fast and hard to catch up. I feel like I have a constant lump in my chest. This usually would pass after a few weeks. But this last time has lasted long enough to affect my every day. For over 6 months my body has had to work harder to function, often leaving me fatigued and constantly dizzy.

When the heart is out of rhythm it has to work harder. This has me thinking of the spiritual life, not just the physical.  When our spiritual heart gets out of the rhythm of Gods word, the very heart of God,  we cannot accomplish all the tasks he has before us with ease.
Disobedience to God’s word leads our hearts to be out of Rhythm from what the Lord has for us.

Psalm 119:11
I have stored up your word in my heart,

    that I might not sin against you

When our spiritual heart rhythm is not in sink with our God, we have all kinds of spiritual symptoms and some of those even cross over into the physical.
Spiritually, we may not hear His voice with the same clarity.
We may not have the same spiritual discernment and direction.
Because of this, our physical life can be impacted. We may get depressed, we may see our ministries dwindling, we may see our relationships suffer and many other signs that our spiritual heartbeat is not in Rhythm.
Just like my physical heart now needs medication, my spiritual heart needs the medication of the word of God.  With that word of God, I must hide it in my heart and walk in obedience to it. My heart beats with my father. He is The  Rhythm of My Heart and I pray that I stay in sync with Him and all His great works for me.

 

 

The Fairy Tale Revealed

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I do not wear glass slippers,

for I stand on too firm of a foundation.

I do not have a magic wand,

for I have a sword it is the word of God.

I do not have beauty in the  eyes of the world, 

yet I shine with God’s Glory,  He knows me well.

No I do not live in a fairy tale land,

my house is built on the rock and not in the sand.  

                                                                                    ~SA