Foxes

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Catch all the foxes, those little foxes, before they ruin the vineyard of love, for the grapevines are blossoming! (Song of Songs, 2:15, NLT)

You will find in your life that generally “the little foxes spoil the vines,” not the major storms. People fall away from following Christ, not because of some cataclysmic circumstance, but rather a series of small events. — Walter Henrichsen

Jesus said, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. (Luke 16:10-13, NIV)

You and I live in little moments, and if God doesn’t rule our little moments and doesn’t work to re-create us in the middle of them, then there is no hope for us. — Paul David Tripp

So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him make himself scarce. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet. (James 4:7-10, MSG)


Alphabet

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A Christian bears the name of Christ, and his loyalty to Christ includes and glorifies all other relationships; Christ does not merely come first, He is Alpha and Omega, and includes the alphabet of all our interests and affections.

                                                                                — Vance Havner

“Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mark 10:20-22, NLT)

We’re too Christian to enjoy sin and too sinful to enjoy Christ. We’ve got just enough Jesus to be informed, but not enough to be transformed. We want everything God has to offer without giving anything up. We want to buy in without selling out. We’re afraid that if we don’t hold out on God, we’ll miss out on what this life has to offer. It’s a lie. It’s the same lie the serpent told Adam and Eve in the garden. God is not holding out on you. — Mark Batterson

If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23, NLT)


Drama

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God will not be contained by any of our expectations, least of all those that attempt to domesticate his terrifying creativity. Beneath the thin veneer of our decent and orderly routines there is probably more drama than we want to see. — M. Craig Barnes

Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” (Luke 19:5-7, NIV)

They arrived at Jerusalem. Immediately on entering the Temple Jesus started throwing out everyone who had set up shop there, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of the bankers and the stalls of the pigeon merchants. He didn’t let anyone even carry a basket through the Temple. And then he taught them, quoting this text: “My house was designated a house of prayer for the nations; You’ve turned it into a hangout for thieves.” (Mark 11:15-17, MSG)

Once we have seen Him in a stable, we can never be sure where He will appear or to what lengths he will go or to what ludicrous depths of self-humiliation He will descend in His wild pursuit of men. ― Frederick Buechner

May you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:18-19, NLT)


Fellowship

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God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:9, NIV)

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. (Philippians 2:1-2, NLT)

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. … That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings. (Philippians 3:7, 10, KJV)

All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. (Acts 2:42, NLT)

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:6-7, NIV)


Narrow

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In the domain of the mind, it is the man who angles in narrow waters who has the wealthiest haul. — John Henry Jowett

Jesus replied, “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.” (Luke 13:24, NLT)

The door is so narrow that we can’t hold onto anything and still make it through. Not our trophies and achievements. Not our relationships. Not even our dreams. We have to drop them all if we’re going to fit through the door called salvation. Yet that is just one of the ways Jesus leads us to hope. None of those things we are holding will save us. Only Jesus, and we have to come to him empty-handed. — M. Craig Barnes

Jesus said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But when the man heard this he became very sad, for he was very rich. When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?” He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.” (Luke 18:22-27, NLT)


Devoted

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Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. (Luke 23:50-52, ESV)

Joseph was more devoted to the dead Savior than many of us are to the risen one. When we do not get what we want from Jesus, when we want it, we quickly abandon him and turn to more promising saviors. Yet Joseph invites us to stay with Jesus even after our devotion appears hopeless. Go ahead and bury him if you have to. Admit that you feel hopeless. Yet stay by the tomb and do not turn to other hopes, because the story isn’t over yet. Joseph was going to get to use that tomb for someone else. — M. Craig Barnes

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, … I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11, NIV)

Keep abandoned to Him. —Oswald Chambers


Absent

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After the celebration was over, they started home to Nazareth, but [the boy] Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents didn’t miss him at first, because they assumed he was among the other travelers. But when he didn’t show up that evening, they started looking for him among their relatives and friends. (Luke 2:43-44, NLT)

It took one day to lose [the boy] Jesus, and three days to find Him. It is easier to lose the anointing than it is to get it back. But if we truly want to recover His presence in our lives, it can happen. — R.T. Kendall

We must make sure of Jesus or we travel in vain. Nothing is so futile as religious activity that only imagines the Lord’s presence. … It is wrong to doubt His presence when we may be sure of it, but it is foolish to imagine His presence when there is proper occasion to doubt it. — Vance Havner

Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him. Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him. (Judges 16:19-20, NLT)

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. (Ephesians 4:30, MSG)