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.
The Only Way to Achieve Perfection in God’s Sight
Omigosh! I can’t believe some of the behavior I have made God and Christ watch during the past 50+ years since I got serious about being a Christian. You can thank God you didn’t have to watch it. Anyway, I know you’ve been busy putting on your own show for Him. Yes, the good I’ve done far outweighs the bad, and I have, by God’s grace and mercy, very positively affected many people’s lives around the world. But don’t you just hate it when you fall short of the mark? As a friend of mine says, “Another opportunity to be wrong, and I took it!”
But take heart, O Christian. Even in your earthen vessel, there is one way to achieve absolute perfection in the sight of God. No matter the circumstances (even if you caused them), no matter how you feel, no matter what is going on in your heart, no matter how badly you have blown it, there is one thing you can do perfectly—anywhere, any time. What is it? I hope you have already figured that out, but if not, stay tuned.
The Politics of Christianity
In our most recent USA presidential election, many “conservative,” “evangelical,” “Bible believing” Christians voted for Donald Trump, some enthusiastically, and some because they saw him only as the lesser of two evils. Since his inauguration, he has been at the center of a maelstrom of controversy, some would say due to malevolent forces bent on taking him out of his position as the U.S. Commander-in-Chief. Others would say he is just another in the unbroken line of deceitful politicians who have quickly discarded their campaign promises once in office. Meanwhile, the level of vitriol on the part of some anti-Trumpeters has reached enormous proportions.
For those not totally detached from the political process, and who want to see freedom and prosperity in the USA, it is easy to become overly consumed in the conflict, and in trying to ferret out which news sources are credible and what is really going on. In this letter, I hope to remind you that, as per Ephesians 6:12, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” That means our only possible victory is in Jesus. Right on.
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.