Fruit of D'Vine is the name of our monthly newsletter, based upon the biblical truth that each Christian is a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4-KJV), and that those who abide in Christ, the Vine, and are thus living truth, will bear godly fruit just as he did.
He Is Risen - Celebrate the Savior
Please bear with me while I momentarily wax nostalgic. Today, April Fool’s Day, marks 30 years since three officials from the worldwide Christian ministry in which I had served as one of the “Top Ten” people for nearly 20 years came to my door in McLean VA and fired me. When I pressed them for a single reason, they could give me none. My father could never get over the irony of my being fired on April Fool’s Day, and my line was—and still is: “Thank God they didn’t come back and say, ‘April Fool,’” for in retrospect I was set free from an increasingly godless, authoritarian, and stifling hierarchy riddled with far more doctrinal error than I realized at the time. Perhaps you are one of the many who has accompanied me on all or part of my journey since then, and if so, God bless you. What a ride! And it’s not over.
I guess I would say that my primary mission since that fateful day has been to introduce people to the Lord Jesus Christ at a deeper level than we knew him “Way back when,” and encourage them to pursue an intimate relationship with him. Certainly he can, and will, work in those who do, as I hope you know experientially. In fact, our Lord longs for intimacy with each of his followers.
The Power of Partnership
The quality of your life and mine, both spiritually and emotionally, is directly proportional to the quality of the RELATIONSHIPS we have. Think about it: the more people you truly love and are loved by, the easier it is to joyfully endure the often cruel vicissitudes of life, also known as “fiery darts.” Especially with a spouse, when things are really sweet, life is generally pretty good, and conversely, when things are acrimonious, little else in life seems right.
Of course, our vertical relationship with God and with our Lord Jesus is the key to our horizontal relationships with our families and friends. The more we love God, the more we love our neighbors. The more intimate with, and thus responsive to, our Father and our Brother we are, the more precisely we love the people in our lives. The biblical Greek word koinonia (usually translated “fellowship” or “communion”) captures the heart of what God sees as genuine friendship, and herein we will look at some pertinent uses of that word and its corresponding noun (translated “partner,” “companion,” partaker”). One of my goals is to motivate you to do whatever it takes to deepen all the relationships in your wonderful life.
Is My Christianity Contagious?
Now it is already the second month of 2017. Time inexorably marches on—more and more quickly, it seems. The question is: How are we using the time we are being given? Today we live in what could be called a “post-Christian” culture. Our Adversary has successfully blinded most people to the truth of God’s Word and so twisted their minds that they are groping their way through life with no standard for truth, calling light darkness and darkness light. Satan cannot obliterate God’s Truth, but he is doing all he can to marginalize Christianity as anachronistic, passé, and irrelevant, while at the same time getting people to believe that Christians are foolish, ignorant, and (fill-in-the-blank)-phobic.
In such a predominantly godless culture, it is easy to be intimidated and afraid to share Jesus Christ with people, or to be lulled into complacency and lose the sense of urgency with which we should be living each day. This is especially true if we are isolated from other like-minded believers and not a vital part of an assembly of Christians with an enthusiastic sense of purpose.
The Greatest Cause of Both Unity and Division
Happy New Year! Fasten your seat belt, here comes 2017! Actually, your seat belt has already been fastened—permanently—by the Lord Jesus Christ, who has seated you in the heavenlies, figuratively speaking, and sealed you in his salvation, thus guaranteeing you safe travel from here to eternity.
Meanwhile, we still have a calendar, and it seems that this particular new year is one that holds the possibilities of massive social and economic upheaval. Even though our presidential election here in the USA took place almost two months ago, and Mr. Trump will take the oath of office in less than three weeks, there remain the deep-seated divisions that took center stage during the rancorous campaign and its tumultuous aftermath. It seems that certain forces are bent on fomenting hatred and cavernous division between all segments of our society: Republican and Democrat, black and white, rich and poor, management and labor, immigrant and non-immigrant, straight and “LGBT,” nationalist and globalist, etc. No doubt this is to prevent us from coming together against the forces of evil trying to enslave us.