"Being IN Christ can never be replaced by doing FOR Christ."

Besides, it's exhausting.

How To Do Nothing But God’s Will

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Quotes | Comments Off on How To Do Nothing But God’s Will

“It is as obedience becomes the passion of your life that the ears will be opened by God’s Spirit to wait for His teaching, and we will be content with nothing less than a divine guidance into the divine will for us.”  Andrew Murray (1828-1917), The School of Obedience, 1941, The Moody Bible Institute.

LISTEN, WAIT FOR DIVINE GUIDANCE, MAKE OBEDIENCE TO GOD’S SPIRIT THE PASSION OF YOUR LIFE

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How Branches Meet Needs: A Word to Christians, by Andrew Murray

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 in Articles | Comments Off on How Branches Meet Needs: A Word to Christians, by Andrew Murray

How Branches Meet Needs: A Word to Christians, by Andrew Murray

Everything depends on our being right ourselves in Christ. If I want good apples, I must have a good apple tree; and if I care for the health of the apple tree, the apple tree will give me good apples. And it is just so with our Christian life and work. If our life with Christ be right, all will come right. There may be the need of instruction and suggestion and help and training in the different departments of the work; all that has value. But in the long run, the greatest essential is to have the full life in Christ—in other words, to have Christ in us, working through us. I know how much there often is to disturb us, or to cause anxious questionings; but the Master has such a blessing for every one of us, and such perfect peace and rest, and such joy and strength, if we can only come into, and be kept in, the right attitude toward Him.

I will take my text from the parable of the Vine and the Branches, in John 15:5: “I am the vine, ye are the branches.” Especially these words: “Ye are the branches.”

What a simple thing it is to be a branch, the branch of a tree, or the branch of a vine! The branch grows out of the vine, or out of the tree, and there it lives and grows, and in due time, bears fruit. It has no responsibility except just to receive from the root and stem sap and nourishment. And if we only by the Holy Spirit knew our relationship to Jesus Christ, our work would be changed into the brightest and most heavenly thing upon earth. Instead of there ever being soul-weariness or exhaustion, our work would be like a new experience, linking us to Jesus as nothing else can. For, alas! is it not often true that our work comes between us and Jesus? What folly! The very work that He has to do in me, and I for Him, I take up in such a way that it separates me from Christ. Many a laborer in the vineyard has complained that he has too much work, and not time for close communion with Jesus, and that his usual work weakens his inclination for prayer, and that his too much intercourse with men darkens the spiritual life. Sad thought, that the bearing of fruit should separate the branch from the vine! That must be because we have looked upon our work as something other than the branch bearing fruit. May God deliver us from every false thought about the Christian life.                ABSOLUTE SURRENDER, by Andrew Murray, Moody Press – Chicago, 1895

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Social Justice Goodness Exposed

Posted by on Jun 20, 2013 in Articles, Quotes | Comments Off on Social Justice Goodness Exposed

Social Justice Goodness Exposed

When it comes to helping the poor, how often does doing-good result in tangible, long-term good? Rarely, according to Laura Seay, a professor at Morehouse College. In the July/August 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine, Seay describes a phenomenon of goods-giving (known as dumping) to impoverished communities as “just treating one symptom of a much deeper problem, and treating symptoms is not a cure.” In reference to Tom’s Shoes, which donates a pair of shoes for every pair sold, she says, “The shoe seller goes out of business. He can’t send his kids to school.”

In strange fact, Tom’s Shoe disbursements haven’t been as damaging as expected to local economies but only because the beneficiaries, though thankful, say that the cloth shoes don’t survive the mud and dirt beyond 2-3 months. Poor parents still buy when they can from the local shoe sellers a product that is of sufficient quality to keep their customers loyal.

One of my favorite books about poverty states, “We must arm ourselves with patience and wisdom and listen to the poor what they want. This is the best way to avoid the trap of ignorance, ideology and inertia on our side.”
― Abhijit V. Banerjee, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Christians often pursue activities of the heart. And when those strings to our hearts get pulled we too often bandwagon without wisdom. But going, giving and doing without the guiding voice of the Holy Spirit is presumptuous, arrogant and even dangerous.

Love the Lord thy God with all of your heart, all of your mind and all of your spirit.” To love the triune God, the heart’s one-third must be balanced with mind and spirit. Only then can we better discern the mind of Christ which can then “prove” what is that “perfect will of God.”

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:1-3

How should Christians help the poor? Housing? Education? Political influence? Dumping?

There will not be a blanket answer. Every “good” idea needs to be examined with the wisdom which can only come from above. With time, the ability and willingness to listen as “living sacrifices” we will hear as promised and when we hear, we must obey even if what we hear doesn’t satisfy our hearts.

We are Christians and though we are a people of mercy we do not stand as sentries at the crossroads of physical life and physical death. We stand the crossroads to point the way to Life Himself.

Rejoice! 

Binsey

 

 

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2013 Graduates: You CAN Trust God

Posted by on Jun 6, 2013 in Articles | Comments Off on 2013 Graduates: You CAN Trust God

2013 Graduates: You CAN Trust God

Your future is pulling you into new directions

You feel the joy and stress of things not known

The where, the when, the who, the whats?

So many questions!

 

And all that you’ve learned in its varying importance

Registers one thing supreme above all:  God’s plan for you through Christ

Is safe in His hands and way beyond human control.

He leads, you follow, like a lamb imperfect.

 

You’ve been grafted onto His vine eternal and can trust that fruit in its season will come.

You can rest in His promise that as your roots dig into the land, He is faithful.

He promises, “Abide in Me, let me prune you, and you will see

Through all your winters,  springs, summers and autumns that

Fruit does come in its season and abundantly.

 

With special Congratulations to Sara Cote, Alexis Barnard, Colleen Smith, Carina Oswald and Tatiana Berg and for graduating with his masters, John Cote!

Love, Binsey Cote

 

 

 

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Carjacked by Fear and Shame, Part 2

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Articles | Comments Off on Carjacked by Fear and Shame, Part 2

Carjacked by Fear and Shame, Part 2

It is my great pleasure to welcome guest blogger, Elizabeth Pierce, to Tree Thoughts. Elizabeth recently joined my favorite online community, Your Writer’s Group,  and has blessed us with her wisdom, gentleness and humility.  I’ve asked Elizabeth to share with us her thoughts about Christian Rest as Part 2 of “Carjacked by Fear and Shame” because rest is the natural and normal state for every Christian.

Smile Binsey

Christian Rest

by Elizabeth Pierce

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)

 We live in such a fast paced society, where the goal is to be quick, efficient, effective, productive and accomplished. When we are immersed in this kind of  society, it is difficult to see the toxic effects that it can have on our lives, and we find ourselves just flitting from one demand to another, convinced that this is “normal” and wondering what is wrong with us, why we aren’t liking it, can’t keep up, or are just plain tired. And the one thing we don’t have time to do, is to stop. To be still and know that He is God. To listen to Him, to see if what we are doing is really what He wants us to do. Pretty effective tactic of the enemy if you ask me. Use our desire to serve and please God to make us captive. To deprive us of the rest that God promises us. 

Jesus says, come to Me and I will give you rest. But we are often so busy for Him that we don’t have time to come to Him the way we need to…so we aren’t getting rest. He doesn’t ask us to fill our schedules to overflowing with tasks for Him. He asks us to come to Him. But we can’t come to Him when we are too busy doing for Him. Too busy to get what we desperately need…His rest. A relationship with Christ is not supposed to burn us out–it is supposed to give us rest. 

He is a loving God. And that love prompts Him to care for our every need. He knows we need rest. That the cares of this world, and the hurt and woundedness that comes from living here and not with Him in heaven, threaten to overtake us at times. He understands that some of the things we face are almost unfathomable, and are not possible to overcome by human standards. He knows that we will be stretched, tested, and maybe even persecuted just because we love Him, or because of what we are picking to do for Him. He knows. And so He says to come to Him, so He can give us rest. So that He can give us a break from all that, and fill us up with what we need. 

I love the picture presented to us in Isaiah 40:31 about this idea of resting in God. It says, “They that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like eagles. They will run and not be weary, they will walk and not faint.” Isn’t that beautiful? When we come to Him, wait on Him, trust in Him, lay it all before Him . . . He will give us rest. He will give us what we need. We will be strengthened like that magnificent eagle soaring high above the clouds, needing to only spread our wings, with Him underneath us enabling us to fly. No wing flapping required. Just effortless soaring. Easy to not get tired out when you are still, and Someone else is the One keeping you up.

Go to Him, all you who are weary. Go to Him. He will give you rest, because He cares for you. You are His child. He is your Father. He will meet you where you are, He will trade your load for His, and He will fill His load for you to carry with all that you need from Him to keep going. Because He cares for you.

                   

Elizabeth Pierce is a wife, mother of two, and clinical social worker by profession. She lives a busy life, full of children’s sporting events, serving in her church and spending time with the important people God has blessed her with. Most importantly though, she is loved by God, and wants to ensure that everyone else understands that they are too.

                                 

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Carjacked by Shame and Fear, Part 1

Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Articles | Comments Off on Carjacked by Shame and Fear, Part 1

Carjacked by Shame and Fear, Part 1

Once we are in Christ, shame and fear remain the two most powerful, tyrannical drivers to action. They come, they push you into the passenger seat and they drive you to a dry place. 

But you know what breaks my heart dear Beloved? It’s that these two carjackers, shame and fear, are often used against God’s Beloved by God’s beloved.

May I suggest some ways to identify the carjackers of shame and fear?

1. Examine closely how the sermon, book, song, etc., makes you feel in Christ.

2. Do you feel an inward sense or urge to do something in order to gain God’s favor or acceptance?

3. In the doing of the work or action proposed by the sermon, book, song, etc., do you feel self-focused or proud?

4. Do you feel safer the more you do?

Pay close attention Beloved! When you let shame and fear take you for a ride it will become increasingly difficult to hear the soft voice of the Holy Spirit. Shame and fear are bullies and bullies by definition are loud and obnoxious; they easily drown out the gentler voice of the Lord.

Seek to hear His voice above all others. Only obedience to the still, the small, the quiet will bring life to you and to others.

Carjacked by Shame and Fear, Part 2

Rejoice!

Binsey

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Seasons of Growth: Honor the Process

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Articles | Comments Off on Seasons of Growth: Honor the Process

Seasons of Growth: Honor the Process

We don’t honor the abiding process

Impatient to be important

We choose to winter in ego

Frozen in shame-driven self-promotion

Instead of thawing into the flow of let-go

Abiding is resting into the process

Of living inside the vine

Trusting God’s sacred goals

Of sacrifice for others

Fruit in its season, life for another

 

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