Joel Bridges' personal blog

Bible Reading

“Can a believer NOT love God?”

“Can a believer NOT love God?” 

Another way to look at the question might be, “Can a fig tree NOT bear fruit?”

The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.  He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit.  Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.  The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up.  Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”  Mark 11:12-14, 20
I believe this passage confirms how critical it is for believers to bear fruit, both in season & out of season.  Jesus didn’t find any fruit on the fig tree, so he cursed it, & it wasn’t even fig season.  Does this mean, if we don’t bear fruit, even out of season, then we don’t really love God, & we stand the real possibility of getting cursed?  That sounds harsh, but I think Jesus used harsh examples in order to motivate us.  When the disciples came back & marveled at the withered tree, Jesus replied “Have faith in God”.  Then He goes on to talk about faith moving mountains, so did Jesus curse the fig tree simply to show the disciples the power of faith, or to show them the importance of bearing fruit?  I think it was more than just, ‘Hey, watch what a neat trick you can do with a little faith’…but rather, ‘If you’re not bearing fruit, your entire identity is questionable’.


Guided By Voices

GBV inspired by Romans 7:21-25, perhaps?

Just like Peter

I feel just like Peter some times…I proclaim boldly how I would never deny Him, but then so quickly, in so many ways, I deny Him with my words, my thoughts, & my actions.  But right now, I can almost see Jesus walking on the water, & I want to jump out of the boat & run to Him, with arms, legs, body & soul flailing…

Mark 14:27-31, 66-72, John 21:4-7

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear”

 He said, “Go, and tell this people:
         ‘Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
         Keep on looking, but do not understand.’ 
    Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
         Their ears dull,
         And their eyes dim,
         Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
         Hear with their ears,
         Understand with their hearts,
         And return and be healed.”   Isaiah 6:9-10  NAS

Sometimes I feel like I’m just walking through life unaware & oblivious to the reality around me, filling my heart & mind with more & more opiates in order to remain comfortable & ignorant.  I have eyes, but can I really see?   I have ears, but am I listening?  Can I understand & perceive?  

I’m sure the Jews during WWII could see what The Nazi’s were doing, but did they understand how it would ultimately end?  The enemy was subtle & insidious.  The passengers on the 2 planes that hit the World Trade Center knew they were in trouble, but they probably expected to survive, so they played it safe & they didn’t act.   They couldn’t conceive anything as horrible & destructive as what the terrorists had planned.  In contrast, many passengers on the 3rd plane were aware of the first 2 plane crashes, so they acted.  They took measures to change their situation, because they could perceive the threat.  Most of us would like to think we would be courageous & heroic if we were put into a similar position, but the question is, would we perceive the threat?  Would we understand what was happening in front of us, considering how stealthy & beguiling our enemy can be?  Would we hear with our ears & see with our eyes?

Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables.  He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you.  Mark 4:9-11  NIV

The Holy Spirit will reveal the secrets of the kingdom of God to us…it’s all found in His Word, but do we understand?  Our enemy has planned something so horrible & destructive, we can’t even imagine it.  We’re not expecting it.  It’s designed to catch us off guard, so we feel comfortable & secure & we don’t see what’s coming.  Will we take action to change our situation, or will we go along with the rest of the crowd, expecting to survive?  Jesus is still asking…are we listening?

“I am willing”

When [Jesus] came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him.  A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy.

Matthew 8:1-3  NIV

Another nugget

2 Corinthians 9:8   And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

11   You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Reading the Bible Through

Are you keeping up with reading the Bible through this year?

I’ve gotten behind a couple of times, but I’ve managed to get caught up & it’s really made a difference in my life.  The Message is much easier to read, especially the OT, plus it’s nice to read old familiar passages in a new light.  It’s amazing how I find the Bible applies to so many things in my life…it makes things come together in a supernatural way!   And it’s a great detergent…it removes the toughest stains.

Jesus said, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life”  John 6:63 NIV

Invite God’s Word to breathe life into you…