Monday, June 29, 2015

Your Roots in His River

Dear Friends,

Will we ever get over succumbing to the devil’s notion that a tree planted by the river should be an object of pity—that a scrub bush has a much better handle on life?  The devil wants us to believe he can supply all we need to deal with life itself if we will only bow down and worship him.  That’s nonsense!  Look at the lives of scrub bushes, and pity them, for they have no roots and no river, no leaves when the heat comes, no fruit.  What’s so beautiful about that?

The simple principles are as follows.  First ask yourself, Do I possess the Spirit?  If not, or if you are unsure, make sure.  Pray, “Please, God, will you forgive my sin and invade my life?”  Then thank Him for answering your prayer.  Second, having made sure of His Spirit in you life, ask yourself, Do I know anything of living in the power of spiritual truth and producing spiritual fruit?  If not, examine your roots.  Next, spend time deciding which river you are placing your roots in. Change the situation if need be.

Think about the “sap” of Scripture.  Does it fill your branches? What will you do about that if the answer is no?  Will you purchase a good study Bible, sign up for a Bible course, buy some teaching tapes, or join a Bible study?  Ask God to show you your tree as He sees it.

Is there any fruit on your tree?  Are your branches laden with it, or is there a lone orange hanging on a twig?  Read Galations 5:22-23.  Pray about this description of the fruit of the Spirit.  Finally, as you put out your roots in the direction of the river, let them down into its depths.  Be done with dabbling in the shallow streams at Easter and Christmas!  Then leave them there, and see what God will grow in your life and show in your life.  May Jeremiah’s parable be the blessing to you it has been to me.


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine


Monday, June 22, 2015

How to Listen and Respond to Criticism

Dear Friends,

Do you respond, or react, to criticism?  I must confess I usually react first and respond later, but I have learned some lessons along the way!  First of all I ask myself, Is it true?  Isaac D’Israeli said, “It’s much easier to be critical than correct.”  If it’s a correct criticism, try to humble yourself and own it.  Then ask the Lord how to proceed in dealing with it.  If it isn’t true, you need to let it go rather than mull it over, rehearsing it late into the night or sharing it with friends on the phone, thereby keeping it alive.

Second, commit yourself to the Lord who judges fairly.  After he had been judged by various people in varying degrees of hostility and accusation, the apostle Paul finally had to say, “It matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority” (1 Cor. 4:3).  Sometimes we have to leave the record in God’s hands, because we can’t control what others think and what they say about what they think, and how many people they tell, and whether or not what they tell is true.  Often, when we try to go back and clean up our record, it only muddies the waters.

Third, Paul urges us not to spend valuable time judging ourselves on the matter.  If we have endless postmortems over a situation, no kingdom work will ever get done!  We need to take it to God and let His holy light into our hearts.  We must open up the secret springs of our motivation for Him to examine, for He alone knows us through and through.  Then as we commit our actions to His scrutiny, we need to rely on His judgment of the matter and, if it is possible, put right our part and leave the rest to Him.

Job found out that the one thing he needed to do above all else was to consider the source.  Sometimes a critic is motivated by jealousy (do you ever get the feeling that a person wants to see you fail?) or has some other spiritual ax to grind.  So when someone says to you, “I have a word from the Lord for you,” check it out against what you know about the person bringing you the message.  Then check it against what you already know about God.  And don’t ignore what your own experiences of life have taught you.  Job’s general knowledge of life had enabled him to say, in essence, “Were you just born yesterday?  Open your eyes!  Good people have trouble all the time.”

Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine