Beware the Strange Woman

Proverbs chapter 7 has some strong warnings about what some translations call the “strange woman” or more aptly, the woman who is a stranger; not familiar. The literal translation is “woman who draws away”. And this is precisely what the warnings in the chapter are against… being drawn away.

But being drawn away from what, to what? If we are to truly understand and heed the warnings in the chapter, we need to understand what is actually being warned against. Who or what is the strange woman? What does she represent? And what is she trying to draw us away from? What methods does she use?

These are the questions that we will be examining in this study today – as always, through the lens of Grace and the finished work of Christ.

You Have Every Gift in Christ

Most people enjoy receiving gifts. For believers, this is also true of spiritual gifts. Now the term “spiritual gifts” has been somewhat misunderstood over the years to mean spiritual realm only with no earthly effects; when in-reality, spiritual gifts are actually gifts from the Spirit of God, which have very great earthly effects. In-fact, the gifts which the Spirit of God gives can completely transform your life, and the lives of those around you as well.

The trouble comes in when people start chasing after these gifts, as if they do not have them; and some have even been taught that the gifts are no longer active and that they are no longer being given.

What I want to share with you today in this study, is how because of the finished work of Christ, in Him you already have been given every single gift. You do not need to strive for, beg for, or plead for God to give you any gift. You do not need to sacrifice in an attempt to merit the gifts, because the sacrifice has already been given – Jesus Christ Himself.

Selfish Prayers Don’t Work! … Or Do They?

If you have listened to the typical “Christian” messages, you’ve probably heard some form of rebuke against selfish prayers. People will typically say things like “You know, God’s not a genie!” – “God’s not here to satisfy you! – He’s Lord and Master!”

Now immediately, I must say that it is true, that God is indeed Lord and Master of all. However, are we truly so ready to accept the idea that God is not the one who satisfies us (in every sense of the word)?
If God is not the one who satisfies us, then who is? Where should we look? If God is not the one who gives to us our needs, wants and desires, then who or what is left?

Do we believe that He wants us to be left unfulfilled and unsatisfied? Is that how a loving Father would treat His beloved children?

Today we are going to answer these questions in the most simple way possible: by looking at Jesus.

The Names of God Show Who He is (Part 4)

Last week, we looked at one of the most important names of God, which was יהוה צדקנו – The ever-exiting God is our righteousness. And we saw how that righteousness is not merely a separate thing that He gives to us, but that He Himself is our righteousness. A very important distinction that highlights His glory, His grace, and the amazing union that we have with Him today in Christ.

Now in this study today, which is part four of our series looking at the names of God, we are continuing this theme by looking at the name of God יהוה מקדשכם, the ever-existing God, who is your sanctification.
This goes hand-in-hand with His name that we studied last week. And as before, it highlights His glory and His grace. As as we see this today, we will be able to enjoy deeper levels of unity with Him as we rejoice in the fact that, yes, He is both our righteousness and our sanctification.

The Names of God Show Who He Is (Part 2)

Last week, in part one, we began taking a closer look at the names of God. As mentioned, names carry more of a meaning than what we have come to generally think. That’s why we see God changing the name of people whenever He made a covenant with them, or blessed them; such as Abram to Abraham, or Jacob to Isaac for example.

Given the importance of names, it would therefore benefit us to examine the names which God has given Himself. If He places importance on names, then all-the-more would God then want us to understand the names which He has revealed to s about Himself. After all, He didn’t name Himself for His own benefit, He did it for our benefit, because He wants us to know Him and His character.

So we continue today to look at the names of God and what they show us about Himself, that we would have a deeper understanding and relationship with Him.

It’s Okay to Admit the Truth

I invite you to perform a little experiment… the next time you’re in a Church-building, or a Christian setting, listen to the things that the people often say about themselves. You’ll usually hear things such as:
– Oh, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.
– I’m a work in progress.
– I’m a piece of metal that’s being refined.

And there are other things as well, but these are the most common phrases that I often hear. And with each of these phrases, there is one common point in all of them – that the work isn’t finished yet.
People are going around constantly telling themselves and others that, well no, Jesus really hasn’t finished the work yet… that it’s still in progress. This is what most people actually believe, and it saddens me, because it’s really not the truth.

What I want to share with you today in this study, is what the scriptures actually say regarding your status right now as a child of God, washed and redeemed by His shed blood and broken body for you. And that in-fact, it is okay to admit the truth of what He has done for you.

Without Jesus, We Can Do Nothing

The name of this ministry ThrivingBranch, comes from the discourse that Jesus makes in John chapter 15, about Him being the Vine and us being the branches. We have done studies in this discourse before. Today however, we are going to focus in on one specific area of what Jesus said – one specific point which often gets overlooked; that without Him we can do nothing.
I emphasize that last part, because it is actually very important to our understanding and perspective of our relationship with Christ, and it’s also a point that is devastating to our own human pride.

You see, we tend to not really believe that Jesus meant what He said… that without Him we truly cannot do anything. Surely, He was exaggerating a little bit, right? Of-course He didn’t mean that we can’t do a single thing without Him, did He?

Indeed He did. And this is what we will be taking a look at today in this study. And by seeing this, we will be able to truly embrace our relationship with Christ, and understand the necessity for Him and everything that He provides to us.

God is Not Just Your Light, He is Your Salvation

We recently did a study on how God is Light, and the Father of it, and it is absolutely true. The plain and simple analogy here is that without Him you can’t see anything clearly (or at all!). It is certainly true that He is Light – but that is not all that He is!

You may think that this is an obvious statement, but let me tell you that back in the days when I was entrenched in legalism and the religious performance mindset, I never really saw God as anything other than light. Oh sure – I knew of the scriptures which stated that He was more, but for myself personally on a daily-basis, I never factored-in anything other than God merely being a source of spiritual light. And there are a great number of people today who are still in that exact same place.

The implications of this are widespread and quite damaging to our relationship and union with Christ. For example, seeing God as only a light to point you in the right-direction, which you then must strive for through your effort and work, can actually totally negate the finished work of Jesus Christ.

So what I want to share with you today in this study, is the fact that God is so much more than light. He’s not just a pointer to salvation; but rather He is salvation.

What if God Wasn’t Recording Your Sins?

I invite you to look at the title of today’s study, and ponder it deeply for a few moments. What if God wasn’t recording your sins? How would that change your life? How would that change the way you think, or the concerns of your heart? How would that affect your conscience, or the guilt and shame that so easily burdens us? How would this change your relationship with God and how you view Him?

In this study today, we will be looking at these questions, and the truth of scripture that surrounds them. We will be examining all of this through the lens of the grace of God, and in the light of the finished work of Christ – His sacrifice for you, and who you are today in Him.

As you see this truth today, your eyes will be opened to the amazing Grace of God, that we sometimes sing about, but never stop to consider the reality of what it means for us. And many chains of guilt, shame and condemnation will be broken as a result of seeing this today.

Eat Healthy… Spiritually

You may have heard the phrase before, You are what you eat. It’s a common phrase that is often used to promote a healthy diet and healthy eating. If you consume unhealthy foods, you will become unhealthy – likewise if you consume healthy foods, you will become healthy. That is the general idea behind this popular phrase.

Spiritual leaders have sometimes latched onto this phrase as well, saying “You feed your body healthy food, why not your spirit?” (or something similar to this). And it’s true, that many people pay more attention to what they are feeding on physically, than what they are feeding on spiritually; even though the spiritual is far more important.

Today, I would like to share with you about eating healthy, from a spiritual perspective. How to eat healthy… spiritually – and how by seeing this, we can also see how Christ is the best possible spiritual nutrition that you could ever feed on.