Monday, June 27, 2011

Chapter 10: No Dry Trees!

In this video, Brian Anthony Bowen reveals Scriptures the Church never talks about which prove that Jesus taught that LGBT people are born this way...and that prove the Apostle Paul ordained Gay Marriage...IN THE BIBLE!

This changes EVERYTHING!
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By way of review, let us once again look at God’s prophecy to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people through His promises to eunuchs from Isaiah 55:11-56:8:

11 So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

12 For you shall go out [from the spiritual exile caused by sin and evil into the homeland] with joy and be led forth [by your Leader, the Lord Himself, and His word] with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree; and it shall be to the Lord for a name of renown, for an everlasting sign [of jubilant exaltation] and memorial [to His praise], which shall not be cut off.  Isaiah 55:11-13

1 Thus says the Lord: Keep justice, do and use righteousness (conformity to the will of God which brings salvation), for My salvation is soon to come and My righteousness (My rightness and justice) to be revealed.

2 Blessed, happy, and fortunate is the man who does this, and the son of man who lays hold of it and binds himself fast to it, who keeps sacred the Sabbath so as not to profane it, and keeps his hand from doing any evil.

3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, The Lord will surely separate me from His people.  And let not the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

4 For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths and choose the things which please Me and hold firmly My covenant—

5 To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial and a name better [and more enduring] than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.

6 Also the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord to minister to Him and to love the name of the Lord and to be His servants, everyone who keeps the Sabbath so as not to profane it and who holds fast My covenant [by conscientious obedience]—

7 All these I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer.  Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

8 Thus says the Lord God, Who gathers the outcasts of Israel: I will gather yet others to [Israel] besides those already gathered.  Isaiah 55:11-56:8

So what does God mean by saying:

“Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree” (Isaiah 55:13) and “let not the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree?”  (Isaiah 56:3)

Simply put, I believe God is prophesying to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people that although we may not have children, through the power of the Holy Spirit and with Faith, we too can bear fruit…for God Himself!

In the previous two chapters of The Bed Keeper, we saw two aspects coming together and fitting like a hand in a glove; the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and Faith.  As we learned in Chapter 5 of The Bed Keeper, without faith, we cannot become partakers of the promise of Abraham:  The Holy Spirit.  As we learned in Chapter 6 of The Bed Keeper, without the Holy Spirit, we can neither be led of God, nor be His sons and daughters.  Without being sons and daughters of God, we cannot become partakers of the promises God covenants to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people through His prophecy regarding eunuchs who “take firm hold of his covenant.”  (Isaiah 55:11-56:8, The Eunuch Prophecy)

While we learned in Chapter 1 of The Bed Keeper that Jesus Himself is the New Covenant that God speaks of when telling us to “take firm hold of His Covenant in Isaiah 56, another way the New Testament explains “taking firm hold of His covenant” is to “abide in Jesus.”  In this chapter of The Bed Keeper, we’ll learn that without abiding in Jesus, we have no power or ability to bear fruit for God.  Without bearing fruit, by definition, we are dry trees.

From Genesis when Eve eats of the forbidden fruit, until Revelation when we are rewarded the fruit of the Tree of Life, fruit is a recurring symbolic reference to what a life empowered by Faith and led by the Holy Spirit means to a believer.  In light of God making special mention of telling eunuchs to not complain that we are “dry trees,” it seems even more important to God in regards to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in particular.

In Genesis, we saw God had commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply,” but when it comes to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, I believe we’ll see that being fruitful does not necessarily mean having children.  Jesus, Paul, and Daniel never had children, but who could honestly claim that their lives didn’t bear fruit? 

The context of this chapter of The Bed Keeper will endeavor to help us understand Scriptures that demonstrate a powerful spiritual relationship between bearing fruit and taking firm hold of God’s Covenant, Jesus Christ.  I think we’ll see it most dramatically illustrated as we learn two Scriptural teachings:  Bearing the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, and Abiding in Jesus.  This relationship is most easily comprehended as the relationship between a vine, and the fruit it bears.

One of the main points I hope to convey is a lesson that has proven true, powerful and effective is that in every vine there is a sap that provides the life force to all fruit it bears.  This sap (for lack of a better word) is also described as anointing in Scripture.  This anointing is God’s power working upon and within human beings to do that which only can be done with the help of God Himself.  The anointing is Jesus Christ and as we remain connected to this anointing, we ensure we have an uninterrupted life source that enables believers to bear fruit for God, even if we do so in ways that don’t always mean having children.

One of the first references to this anointing is in Jesus’ teaching from Luke 4:14-21,

14 Then Jesus went back full of and under the power of the [Holy] Spirit into Galilee, and the fame of Him spread through the whole region round about.

15 And He Himself conducted [a course of] teaching in their synagogues, being recognized and honored and praised by all.

16 So He came to Nazareth, [that Nazareth] where He had been brought up, and He entered the synagogue, as was His custom on the Sabbath day.  And He stood up to read.

17 And there was handed to Him [the roll of] the book of the prophet Isaiah.  He opened (unrolled) the book and found the place where it was written,

18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon Me, because He has anointed Me [the Anointed One, the Messiah] to preach the good news (the Gospel) to the poor; He has sent Me to announce release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to send forth as delivered those who are oppressed [who are downtrodden, bruised, crushed, and broken down by calamity],

19 To proclaim the accepted and acceptable year of the Lord [the day when salvation and the free favors of God profusely abound.

20 Then He rolled up the book and gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were gazing [attentively] at Him.

21 And He began to speak to them: Today this Scripture has been fulfilled while you are present and hearing.

Let’s take a look at the passages of Scripture Jesus was reading from Isaiah 61 (which by the way, is only 5 chapters after the eunuch prophecy):

1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,

2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [the year of His favor] and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,  Isaiah 61:1-2

NOTE:  Here is where Jesus ends quoting from this passage of Scripture as He taught in the synagogue, after which we saw Him declare, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled while you are present and hearing”

But let’s continue reading the rest of Isaiah 61:

3 To grant [consolation and joy] to those who mourn in Zion--to give them an ornament (a garland or diadem) of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment [expressive] of praise instead of a heavy, burdened, and failing spirit--that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

4 And they shall rebuild the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former desolations and renew the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.  Isaiah 61:3-4

NOTE:  As we saw in Isaiah 55:13 regarding eunuchs where God said, “Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree,” we see here in Isaiah 61 a more detailed explanation of a series of reversals of fortune and conditions for “those who mourn in Zion.”  Zion is continually a representation of the Christian Church throughout the Scriptures, and none have mourned in Zion more than those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender as we have endured 2000 years of harsh and hateful rhetoric launched against us, and even used to justify killing us in the name of God.

It is clear that most in the Christian Church have not yet received the Word that God prophesied to us through the eunuch prophecy from Isaiah 55:11-56:8, saying that we would be made joyful in His house of prayer for all people, and that our offerings would be accepted on His altar, among other promises.

Going further, we now see a vivid description of every gay person’s highest hope that foresees the end of homophobia and exclusion from the Church itself:

5 Aliens shall stand [ready] and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

6 But you shall be called the priests of the Lord; people will speak of you as the ministers of our God. You shall eat the wealth of the nations, and the glory [once that of your captors] shall be yours.  Isaiah 61:6-7

NOTE:  I believe that when taken in context of the eunuch prophecies wherein God tells us, “let no eunuch complain, Behold I am a dry tree” these two verses show God declaring yet another result of the Church failing to heed the message of the eunuchs conveyed to them, and basically shows God telling them that if THEY won’t preach and rightly divide and apply His Word, then he will empower gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to preach it instead, and shows us “feeding the flocks and being plowmen and vinedresser in the Church” to prepare her for the return of Christ.  In verse 6, we also see God declaring gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people will be called the “priests of the Lord” and that “people will speak of us as ministers of our God,” we will “eat the wealth of the nations,” and “the glory that was once our oppressors will be ours.”  (See Chapters 20 and 21 of The Bed Keeper for additional insights into these aspects).

7 Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion.  Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs.  Isaiah 61:7

Another Scripture that comes to mind that seems to support this example is “But many who [now] are first will be last [then], and many who [now] are last will be first [then].”  Matthew 19:30

What is interesting about this supposition is that in the account relayed to us in Luke 4:14-21, Jesus did not teach this portion of Isaiah 61 (verses 3-7) in the synagogue, as if He already knew that this portion of was not yet fulfilled on that same day, even as He declared verses 1-2 as having been.

8 For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong with violence or a burnt offering.  And I will faithfully give them their recompense in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant or league with them.  Isaiah 61:8

NOTE:  Here we see yet another reference to “taking firm hold of My covenant’ that God said gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people must do in order to lay claim to the promises of God outlined in His eunuch prophecy from Isaiah 55:11-56:8, as well as once again seeing yet another reversal of the status quo.

9 And their offspring shall be known among the nations and their descendants among the peoples.  All who see them [in their prosperity] will recognize and acknowledge that they are the people whom the Lord has blessed.  Isaiah 61:9

NOTE:  Here again we are reminded that God said no gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people should say we are dry trees, and we see Him declaring that our offspring shall be “known among the nations and our descendants among the people.”  I believe this is not a reference to biological children, but points to future generations of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who continue to make their mark on the Church, and continue to take steps to prepare her for the return of Christ, all the way up until the day of His coming.  We saw evidence supporting this in Isaiah 54 when God says, 

Sing, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child!  For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the Lord.  Isaiah 54:1

We are also reminded that in the course of the eunuch prophecy from Isaiah 56:2, God said, blessed, happy and fortunate is the man who does this and the son of man who lays it to heart, and binds himself fast to it,” as God once again says that the future generations of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people will be “the people whom the Lord has blessed.”

Returning back to our examination of Isaiah 61:

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  Isaiah 61:10

NOTE:  As in Chapter 4 of The Bed Keeper, here we see yet another reference to the Bride (The Church) and the Bridegroom (Jesus Christ), and if viewed as an allegory of the Church and Jesus, we see a reflection (or intertextual echo) of other passages of Scripture as well:

1 Then I saw a new sky (heaven) and a new earth, for the former sky and the former earth had passed away (vanished), and there no longer existed any sea.

2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, all arrayed like a bride beautified and adorned for her husband;

3 Then I heard a mighty voice from the throne and I perceived its distinct words, saying, See!  The abode of God is with men, and He will live (encamp, tent) among them; and they shall be His people, and God shall personally be with them and be their God.

4 God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more, neither shall there be anguish (sorrow and mourning) nor grief nor pain any more, for the old conditions and the former order of things have passed away.

5 And He Who is seated on the throne said, See!  I make all things new. Also He said, Record this, for these sayings are faithful (accurate, incorruptible, and trustworthy) and true (genuine).

6 And He [further] said to me, It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.  To the thirsty I [Myself] will give water without price from the fountain (springs) of the water of Life.  Revelation 21:1-6

NOTE:  This is an intertextual echo back to Isaiah 55:1 which reads:  Wait and listen, everyone who is thirsty! Come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Yes, come, buy [priceless, spiritual] wine and milk without money and without price [simply for the self-surrender that accepts the blessing].

Do you see how these passages continue to tie back to each other?  

7 He who is victorious shall inherit all these things, and I will be God to him and he shall be My son.  Revelation 21:1-7

Not only does this reflect our understanding of God rejecting Queen Vashti and taking a new bride, Queen Esther as we learned in Chapter 4 of The Bed Keeper, but it’s also another reflection of the eunuchs who prepared Queen Esther to be adorned for the King (or the Bridegroom of Queen Esther).  Once again, we see in this passage from Revelation, yet another reversal of fortune, with God saying, “for the former earth had passed away” and “See! The abode of God is with men.”

11 For as [surely as] the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring forth, so [surely] the Lord God will cause rightness and justice and praise to spring forth before all the nations [through the self-fulfilling power of His word].  Isaiah 61:11 

(See Chapter 21 of The Bed Keeper for more information on this passage of Scripture in relations to LGBT believers).

So while Jesus did not read the entire passage of Isaiah 61:1-11 as we just did during His Own teaching in the synagogue, it’s important to notice so many references herein that seem to not only tie back into the Lord telling eunuchs not to complain we are dry trees, but once again, the adorning of the Church, the end of homophobia, and the ordination of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender clergy--all of which are then tied into bearing fruit for God in the form of us planting seeds which the Lord God then will cause to bring forth rightness, justice, and praise before ALL the nations—and all of which is dependent upon the life force (or anointing) provide by Jesus Himself through His Holy Spirit, and through our Faith keeping us connected to The Vine.

In John 15:1-16, we receive Jesus’ own explanation of abiding in Him:

1 I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.

2 Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.

3 You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teaching I have discussed with you].

4 Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you.  [Live in Me, and I will live in you].  Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally untied to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

5 I am the Vine; you are the branches.  Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit.  However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

6 If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire and are burned.

7 If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

8 When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.

9 I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me].

10 If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.

11 I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.

12 This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.

13 No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friend.

14 You are My friend if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do.

15 I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out).  But I have called you My friend, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father.  [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from him].

16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all the I AM], He may give it to you.

Friend, this is Christ’s call to lift us up out of the dust and allow ourselves to be disciplined and pruned, so that we may bear fruit for God!  But it’s not just a commandment….it’s a privilege and a promise, and that is what I believe God was saying to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender believers when He prophesied “let not the eunuch say, behold I am a dry tree!” 

As we are knit into the Vine of Christ, we see that we become connected to both Jesus and the Father, and the life source that runs from the Vine to nourish the branches is the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit indwelling us is that invisible force of strength, vitality and insight that can only come from abiding in Jesus, and will only manifest itself if we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to the Vine….and abide there through obedience, love, faithfulness, steadfastness, and patient endurance, or as God told eunuchs to "take firm hold of My covenant.”

While this may seem confining to us in a natural sense, the benefits are so worth it, for as we saw in John 15:7-8 by abiding in the Lord Jesus, we can ask whatever we want from the Father in Jesus’ Name, and He will give it to us!

If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.

Of course it’s important to realize He does not promise to give us material things through prayers, but connects this promise to bearing fruit for God.  That doesn’t mean that material things aren’t part of the things we may receive from God, but if we don’t want them in order to further bear fruit for God, they aren’t covered under this promise.  In other words, if you want a new car so you can show off to all your friends, you can abide in Jesus all you want, but the car isn’t covered under this promise.

On the other hand, if you want a new car so you can get to where you need to preach, or share God’s Word, or minister to those in prison, or deliver food or clothes to the hungry or naked, then the car would be covered under this promise.  I hope that gives you a good example that illustrates how Jesus predicates this promise into bearing fruit for God, not for ourselves.

God’s Word confirms this in Isaiah 30:18-19:

18 And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) are all those who [earnestly] wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him [for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship!

19 O people who dwell in Zion at Jerusalem, you will weep no more.  He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, he will answer you.

This passage seamlessly ties back to the prophecy in Isaiah that Jesus taught in the synagogue (Isaiah 61), which we saw listed a multitude of reversals of fortune, including the misfortune so many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have endured at the hands of those professing to be Christians.  It’s also tied back to the eunuch prophecy itself as we see in verse 18 says “the Lord is a God of Justice,” and the very first verse of the Eunuch prophecy reads: 

Thus says the Lord: Keep justice, do and use righteousness (conformity to the will of God which brings salvation), for My salvation is soon to come and My righteousness (My rightness and justice) to be revealed.

But again, it’s tied to bearing fruit for God.  Simply put, I believe Scripture is showing us that God is promising to empower gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to lay claim to all the promises He outlines for us in His Word, but it will depend not on our desire to “win the culture wars,” and “gain our equal rights.”  Instead, “winning the cultures wars” and “gaining our equal rights” will be but a small portion of the rewards God gives to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people who abide in the Vine (or take firm hold of His Covenant), and bear much fruit for God, as we are empowered by the Holy Spirit and the anointing of His indwelling presence, as we remain steadfast in our faith in God’s ability to do more in our lives than we could dare hope, think, or dream!  (See Chapter 21 of The Bed Keeper for more on that!)

So what are some of the types of fruit God wants us to bear?  First and foremost, I believe it is what Scripture refers to as the Fruit of the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us:

22 But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness,

23 Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence).  Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].  Galatians 5:22-23

And Ephesians says:

For the fruit (the effect, the product) of the Light or the Spirit [consists] in every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life, and try to learn [in your experience] what is pleasing to the Lord [let your lives be constant proofs of what is most acceptable to Him].  Ephesians 5:9-10

The first Fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians is LOVE.  I think it’s no accident that Paul lists this as the first Fruit of the Holy Spirit, because Scripture tell us Jesus considered this the primary commandment for any believer: 

37 …You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect).

38 This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment.

39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

40 These two commandments sum up and upon them depend all the Law and the Prophets.  Matthew 22:37-40

Notice also that Ephesians speaks of the Fruit of The Holy Spirit.  While it’s important to focus on the Fruit, it’s also important to not forget to focus on the integral component of the Holy Spirit, especially in terms of God promising to “give us a name better than sons and daughters” in His prophecy to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people through His prophecy to eunuchs.  Let us now take a look at how these two points relate to each other:

16 The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.

17 And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.

18 [But what of that?]  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!

19 For [even the whole] creation (all nature) waits expectantly and longs earnestly for God’s sons to be made known [waits for the revealing, the disclosing of their sonship].

20 For the creation (nature) was subjected to frailty (to futility, condemned to frustration), not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will of Him Who so subjected it—[yet] with the hope

21 That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children.

22 We know that the whole creation [of irrational creatures] has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now.

23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves too, who have and enjoy the firstfruits of the [Holy] Spirit [a foretaste of the blissful things to come] groan inwardly as we wait for the redemption of our bodies [from sensuality and the grave, which will reveal] our adoption (our manifestation as God’s sons).

When we bear the Fruit of the Spirit in our faith walk, we are best positioned to be used by God and thereby to bear fruit for God!  I believe this is the process involved with bearing fruit for God‘s Kingdom:  

To bear fruit for God, we must yield to the Holy Spirit.  

When we yield to the Holy Spirit, we begin bearing the Fruit of the Spirit. 

When we begin bearing Fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit leads us into our destiny of bearing fruit for God in a multitude of ways that help other people come into the same promises of God that we have learned of.

When the Fruit of the Spirit has become manifested in our lives, we can then see the other awesome gifts, purposes and powers of the Holy Spirit working through us as well!  Our first and highest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds and soul.  The next thing to do is to abide in Jesus, so that we may bear fruit for God.  So it seems clear that bearing fruit for God begins with bearing the Fruit of the Spirit.

But to as many as did receive and welcome You, You gave the authority (power, privilege, right) to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) Your name.  John 1:12

And the harvest of righteousness (of conformity to God’s will in though and deed) is [the fruit of the seed] sown in peace by those who work for and make peace [in themselves and in others, that peace which means concord, agreement, and harmony between individuals, with undisturbedness, in a peaceful mind free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].  James 3:18

So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work2 Timothy 2:21

I believe this is why He prunes any branch that doesn’t bear fruit so that it will begin to.  This is also why he prunes any branch that does bear fruit, so that we may bear richer and more excellent fruit.  God isn’t mad at us.  He isn’t trying to take away all our fun.  He’s trying to show us that by bearing fruit for Him, we not only glorify Him, but by doing so, we lead the richest, most productive, and most fulfilling lives possible for any man, woman or child, including in the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people—not only those in our own generation, but for generations of LGBT people to come! 

Paul exhorted Timothy to embrace this truth and to pursue it with all his energy as he endeavored to bear fruit for God through His ministry as we read in this passage in 2 Timothy 2:15:

Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth.

We see that even as Timothy did, we too have to do our part in studying God’s Word of Truth.  Through this investment in learning of the things of God, we begin to see our gifting and callings in life that will lead us to bear fruit for God, and in doing so, we are indeed not “dry trees!”  But without this foundation of God’s Word in mind, we simply can’t truly bear the kind of fruit God has in mind for us to.  Luke 6:43-44 explains it like this:

43 For there is no good (healthy) tree that bears decayed (worthless, stale) fruit, nor on the other hand does a decayed (worthless, sickly) tree bear good fruit.

44 For each tree is known and identified by its own fruit; for figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor is a cluster of grapes picked from a bramblebush.

A final consideration to keep in mind about bearing fruit is that it must come from a seed that is planted in good soil.  We see Jesus teaching this principle in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:18-23:

18 Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower;

19 While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.  This is what is sown along the roadside.

20 As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy;

21 Yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Who he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away.

22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit.

23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred time as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty. 

I want to encourage you with some more Scriptures found in God’s Word.  I pray they bless you with the grace, strength, patience, understanding, and endurance that leads you to surrender to the Holy Spirit’s leadership in any area of your life that isn’t pleasing to God, so that you may bear the rich and excellent fruit of righteousness for His glory:

And let our own [people really] learn to apply themselves to good deeds (to honest labor and honorable employment), so that they may be able to meet the necessary demands whenever the occasion may require and not be living idle and uncultivated and unfruitful lives.  Titus 3:14

And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:23-24

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God [do not offend or vex or sadden Him], by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption (of final deliverance through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin).  Ephesians 4:30

For once you were in darkness but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of Light [lead the lives of those native-born to the Light].  Ephesians 5:8

Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].  Romans 12:2

Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will life you up and make your lives significant].  James 4:10

So you also must be patient.  Establish your hearts [strengthen and confirm them in the final certainty], for the coming of the lord is very near.  James 5:8

34 For you did sympathize and suffer along with those who were imprisoned, and you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession. 

35 Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.

36 For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.  Hebrews 10:34-36

In the passages above, God is saying that no matter what we have suffered in the past, there is a great reward throughout this life and on till the end for those who remain faithful to Him.  He tells us to keep our confidence.  In other words, don’t become so overwrought with guilt and condemnation and shame about past mistakes that you have no confidence left to go forward!  He even goes on to tell us that past losses and hurts are a good thing, because they teach us patience and steadfastness so we can fully perform the perfect will of God in our lives.  And as we saw early on in Isaiah 61:7:

Instead of your [former] shame you shall have a twofold recompense; instead of dishonor and reproach [your people] shall rejoice in their portion.  Therefore in their land they shall possess double [what they had forfeited]; everlasting joy shall be theirs.

James, the brother of Jesus said it like this:

2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations.

3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.

4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

5 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.

6 Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.

7 For truly, let not such a person imagine the he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord,

8 [For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].

9 Let the brother in humble circumstance glory in his elevation [as a Christian, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God].  James 1:2-9 

We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.  Romans 8:28

(See Chapters 20 and 21 of The Bed Keeper to see what that plan may look like!)

Finally, it’s important to understand that with the bearing of any fruit, there also comes a time to harvest that fruit.  We know this from the words in Matthew 9:37-38:

37 Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few.

38 So pray to the Lord of the harvest to force out and thrust laborers into His harvest.

This is another clear illustration of how bearing fruit for God and being led by God’s Holy Spirit are interconnected.  Again, in John 4:34-38, Jesus instructs us to be harvesters for His Kingdom’s sake, saying:

34 Jesus said to them, My food (nourishment) is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish and completely finish His work.

35 Do you not say, It is still four months until harvest time comes?  Look!  I tell you, raise your eyes and observe the fields and see how they are already white for harvesting.

36 Already the reaper is getting his wages [he who does the cutting now has his reward], for he is gathering fruit (crop) unto life eternal, so that he who does the planting and he who does the reaping may rejoice together.

37 For in this the saying holds true, One sows and another reaps.

38 I sent you to reap a crop for which you have not toiled.  Other men have labored and you have stepped in to reap the results of their work.

We see the Apostle Paul give another eloquent account of this spiritual process in his writings to the church in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9:

6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God [all the while] was making it grow and [He] gave the increase.

7 So neither he who plants is anything nor he who waters, but [only] God Who makes it grow and become greater.

8 He who plants and he who waters are equal (one in aim, of the same importance and esteem), yet each shall receive his own reward (wages), according to his own labor.

9 For we are fellow workmen (joint promoters, laborers together) with and for God; you are God’s garden and vineyard and field under cultivation, [you are] God’s building.

So we see here that God not only expects us to work together for His good, we also learn that we don’t have to be the pastor of a church or leader of a ministry in order to bear fruit for God.  As we have learned, if we will allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit of God, He will not only bring the harvest to us, but His Word promises to give us all we need in order to succeed in this mission!  So please don’t be discouraged if you aren’t in a position in a church.  Start serving God with your obedience.  Start yielding your will to that of the Holy Spirit’s leadership…..and start today!  As Jesus said, we don’t have to wait four months in order to begin harvesting!  We can start right now, in our personal lives at our job, in our families, in our neighborhoods, at our grocery store…virtually anywhere there are people, we can “put in the sickle” and achieve a mighty harvest for His glory! 

The point seems to be then that if we are abiding in Jesus, there is no way we can be “dry trees!”

7 So be patient, brethren, [as you wait] till the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits expectantly for the precious harvest from the land.  [See how] he keeps up his patient [vigil] over it until it receives the early and late rains.

8 So you also must be patient.  Establish your hearts [strengthen and confirm them in the final certainty], for the coming of the Lord is very near.  James 5:7-8

This is our time Brothers and Sisters!  This is our destiny!  This is our God!  He promises this to us in Zechariah 8:12:

For there shall the seed produce peace and prosperity; the vine shall yield her fruit and the ground shall give its increase and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to inherit and possess all these things.

No wonder God said, "SING, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child!  For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the Lord."  Isaiah 54:1

What an awesome God we serve, and what an awesome destiny that awaits us as the Holy Spirit leads us to bear fruit and reap a mighty harvest for God!  What a tremendous opportunity!  What a tremendous gift!


Dear Valued Readers,
This blog continues to be a work in progress. As recent revelations and events throughout Christendom have created an increasingly fluid situation, updates will no longer be published at the end of each post, but rather only at the beginning of the corresponding posts so impacted.  As of August 1, 2013, the only updates to appear at the end of each post will be churches that are personally endorsed by The Bed Keeper as a "SAFE SPACE."

Readers may email to discuss or comment on any posting.  Please note that while all feedback is highly valued and appreciated, it may not be possible to reply to each email.
UPDATE 01.15.12:
Lakewood Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

UPDATE 11.22.11:

Eagle Mountain International Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

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