Prayer Focus: Russia

Bible Reading: Matthew 12:22-50, Mark 3:22-35, Luke 8:19-21, Luke 11:14-54


33″Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.35 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.36 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37)


First off, let me remind you that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  (Rom. 3:23) We are none of us perfect or able to always get it right.  (Rom. 3:10)  What IS right, is the atoning power of Christ who through his gift of grace, became the price for our sin, thereby making a way for us to come to Him.  (Eph. 2:8-9)

Once saved, He adopted us into His family.  As his children, we still screw it up.  (Eph. 1:5)  Being saved doesn’t mean we are perfect, suddenly able to always say, do or even think the right things.  It only means that we are forgiven, if we confess and repent so that we don’t have to carry the load around with us any more.  (1 John 1:9)

Now, with that said, I’d like to point you to something in this passage that gets me excited.  It’s the idea of “storing up”.   When the Holy Spirit resides inside of us, it rooms with our own spirit, that tends toward selfishness.  Which side is bigger?

The one we feed.

How can you know?  The bible is pretty clear about the care and feeding of Christians:

Do you give yourself permission to think of yourself and your own wants first? (Mat. 6:33)  Do you harbor and nurse secret sins?  (Prov. 28:13) Do you wallow in self-pity? That is the side that will grow.

Do you discipline yourself by holding every thought captive?  (2 Cor. 10:5) Do you practice  patience, kindness, goodness and self-control?  (Gal. 5:22-23) Do you conform to the world or are you transformed by the renewing of your mind? (Rom. 12:2)

We live in a culture that encourages us to “do what we feel is right”, to “be happy”, “Have it our way”, “Obey our thirst”, because “We deserve it”.  If we feed the part of us that tends toward selfishness and justification, then the larger part of what will feel right will come out of that.

But if we have stored up on good… well, you get the picture.


A dear friend of mine gave me a word picture that I think about often.  She said, “Imagine that your life is like a full cup that gets spilled every time you get bumped.  I want my life to be so full of Christ, that when bumped by the world, His grace, His kindness, His mercy is what spills out.”

How do you care for the people who are under your authority?  How about the pets that are at your mercy?  Are you the same person with the anonymity of the internet, in the privacy of your car, or over the threshold of your home as you are at church, or in front of people you want to impress?

If the answer to any of those questions makes you squirm, then I’d spend time examining what you are “storing up” inside your heart.


Father God, as I meditate on your word, I pray that my house would stand undivided.  Amen