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Living An Authentic Life – Book of Mark

By Pastor Amir Rostampour

Table of Contents

Today, we’re continuing the series “Living in the Word” in the Book of Mark. The way it starts in Mark 11 is the Triumphal Entry, Palm Sunday, where Jesus is riding in on a colt or a donkey, and the people are shouting “Hosanna!” And Jesus is going into Jerusalem with His disciples, so we’re picking up the story in Mark 11:11. I’m going to read verses 11-25, I’m gonna give some commentary throughout, but I believe God is gonna speak to us in His word.


Let’s read Mark 11:11-25:


Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

That verse is only in the Gospel of Mark. Very interesting! But I feel like this really connects and sets off everything Jesus did. The first thing He does when he gets into Jerusalem is He goes to the Temple, God’s House. And the first thing He does is that He inspects; He looks around. Interesting! But it was late, so He and his disciples left. Let’s keep going:

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

Now we can assume Jesus was hangry! He went from hungry to hangry! Relatable again!

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 

You think, “He just walks in and just starts flipping tables and benches?” Yes! But I think that’s where verse 11 is the marquee; He already knew the night before what was going on there the Temple. He looked around and saw how it was set up. There wasn’t worship and prayer going on in there! There was selling of stuff, so Jesus was mad. So what does He do? He walks in there and wastes no time. He starts flipping tables and benches, saying “This is a no-merch zone!” And then He starts teaching. 

This is so powerful. Listen! Watch this. Every time when Jesus is making a point, He’s referring back to God’s Word, going back to the Old Testament.

And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

He’s referencing Isaiah and Jeremiah here. That’s powerful. 

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

They are so mad that they wanted to kill Him because the other people thought He was amazing. That’s wild. 

When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

Jesus turns this into a teaching moment. He doesn’t even respond to that. He just continues:

“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

“Does not doubt” is key in this passage. There’s a lot going on here! Jesus is a master storyteller. It’s so interesting that there are so many times in Mark as He’s teaching something and referring to God’s Word, the people response is that they are amazed. They don’t even know how to process what He’s saying. Even people who weren’t believers called Him a “good teacher.” But it’s so interesting that when Jesus would teach around the religious leaders, Jesus was always challenging them, correcting them, judging them. And oftentimes with the religious leaders, two things would happen. Jesus would teach a parable and either he would go way over their heads, or they would get so mad, just boiling with anger, that they just wanted to kill Him. 

That’s pretty mad! What we just read was an acted-out parable: Jesus and the Fig Tree; Jesus and the Temple. This was like a real-life object lesson. But if you’ve ever heard this story before, and wondered, “Why is Jesus so mad?” Like this is a level of righteous anger we don’t see often.

Remember last week in the Book of Mark, we were talking about something we’re seeing in the Book of Mark, kind of an Easter Egg, if you will, is that these people who want to have an encounter with Jesus, the posture and pursuit they all have. They’re going after Jesus; they’re humbling themselves before Jesus. Well Jesus walks into the Temple, sees people who have this heart, but they can’t worship, Why? Because the Temple has been turned into a marketplace and this infuriates Jesus.

I have this illustration, called the Court of Gentiles that shows what’s happening where in the Temple:


I made this on Canva last night for ya’ll! No, I didn’t. By the way, I don’t know why there’s a question mark by the Susa Gate. 


But the Court of Gentles is where this story is happening. The Court of Gentiles was for anyone who was a non-Jew. This was where they were supposed to worship and pray. They weren’t allowed in the Inner Courts; only Jewish people were allowed there. So, Jesus was walking into this space, expecting to see the non-Jewish people, the Gentiles, worshiping God, and instead it’s a trade show. So, why is Jesus angry? The first reason Jesus is angry is that this is supposed to be a place of prayer and worship, and it’s not.


I love when Jesus quotes Isaiah here when He says, “My house is supposed to be a house for ALL NATIONS. This is bold! Jesus is speaking to Jewish people, “Hey that’s for anyone outside the Jewish race, the Gentles.” This was Passover time, too, so there were a lot of people from outside countries coming in to worship, and they can’t, because some of the Jewish people and the Jewish religion leaders set up a place to sell.


The second reason Jesus is so mad is that these people are taking advantage of the Gentiles. There was this thing called the Temple currency, which was not a big deal. You had to exchange the money from wherever you were from for the money from the Temple. The problem was that these religious leaders inflated the value of the Temple currency. On top of that, Mark says that Jesus flipped over those tables, and He flipped over a bench of doves. Why is He talking about doves? Doves were the cheapest form of animal sacrifice, so poor people if they wanted to  come worship God, they had to buy a dove. So they could bring their sacrifice to the altar, but these people were inflating the price of doves, too.


So Jesus sees this and He is soo mad, why? Because people are being taken advantage of. He said, “My house is supposed to be  a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of robbers. These people are coming to worship and you are taking advantage of them. And we see the righteous anger of God. To be honest we love this side of Jesus, especially the guys, we’re like, Come on! You’re flipping stuff, throwing stuff, making a scene. This is epic! You just have to realize something. Jesus wasn’t just a man. He was THE man. Jesus was a guy who would weep at times with people; and sometimes He’s whipping people. He would comfort people, and He would confront people. He would relax at a table and recline; and He would flip over tables right here. He’s fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves. He worked hard; he took care of his family. You see his heart and conviction come out because God’s House, His Father’s house, had turned into this. Of course He’s mad. In Jerusalem, where everyone is coming to worship God, and they’d made it a mockery.


Man church we can’t miss this. This is vision for our church. This is a great reminder and challenge. Our church has to fight to be the place God has intended. Our church has to honor God’s word. Now let me say this before you check out. I’m not saying New Life church staff. The church is not a building; the church is a body of believers. Our church, the group of believers, we have to make sure this place is a house of prayer. If it’s a house of prayer, we pray and seek God; we pray for each other. We pray with each other. This is a house of worship where the presence of God lives. It’s holy ground; this is God’s house. His Word goes forth, and we try to receive. We posture ourselves to receive from God, to worship God, but this also has to be a house of hope. 


Many of you are going through something hard right now. There is hope in Jesus and His Word. This is a place where people can repent and get right with God, get a second chance by the grace of God. You can sever ties from your old life and walk in all God has for you. This is the house of God.


We’ve got to remember this. We can’t just read a story like that and think, “Man these guys are far off, and we’re acting like this as a church.” No, no, no. We don’t want to grieve the heart of God.


So based on this passage, I want to look at it from a different perspective. I want to give you three signs, I want to challenge you a little, that you might have an unfruitful life right now. Based on what Jesus is teaching here, we might find ourselves on the wrong side of this teaching, so I want to unpack this scripture and just see if there is any area of our lives that is unfruitful.


1. You appear to be fruitful but have no fruit.


That is a sign of living an unfruitful life. Let’s reread verses 12 through 16.


The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 

Jesus was hungry! He sees this fig tree with leaves. The fig was a common, inexpensive food at this time. What you need to know about fig trees, always except for this time, if there were leaves there were figs. If there were figs there were leaves. When it was the right season for figs to come, there were always leaves. These things always go hand in hand. But for some reason this tree has leaves but no figs. It was like false advertising. It was almost like this tree was lying in a sense. It was fruitful in appearance, church, but it had no fruit. Jesus curses it; he gets frustrated. 


You can say the same thing about the Temple. The Temple was beautiful on the outside. Magnificent! It was breathtaking, and it appears to be fruitful, but you walk in, no fruit. Actually it’s rotten inside there. So what does Jesus do? He starts to clear house. This is why Mark puts these stories together. 


Both the tree and the Temple appear to have fruit, but neither of them do. Both were created to bear fruit, but neither do. They were being hypocritical, church, and this frustrates Jesus to His core. 


Let me say it this way. Have you ever seen a picture of someone online and then you saw them in person and they didn’t look like that picture? “You don’t look like your profile picture! You’ve aged well in the last day…or two.”


It reminded me of that old show on MTV called “Catfish.” It was really sad. The premise of the show was that someone would pretend to be someone else to attract someone else. So they would even go so far as to get engaged to this person who wasn’t even a real person. They were being lied to the whole time. It was terrible! They appeared to be something that they were not.


Let’s look at sports. We’ve all seen someone we like and think, “Man, they look like a superior athlete!” And then you find out that they are very uncoordinated! And you think, “This doesn’t go hand in hand!”


I remember a guy on my high school soccer team who was tall, strong, fit, and fast! He was a defender, and I was like, “Man, this guy is awesome!” But he was so uncoordinated! We are in high school now! We’d been playing soccer since we were kids, and he was still miss-the-ball uncoordinated. And I was looking at him almost in disbelief. And I was looking at the other team who were probably thinking, “How are we gonna score?” And then we’d start to play, and they’d go, “We’re gonna go right at that guy!” 


And I remember thinking at times, “Man, if I was as big as this guy, as tall as this guy, I would’ve been a professional soccer player!” You know what I’m saying? Not true, not true. But I have asked the Lord many times to be six feet tall, and He still has not answered that prayer for me.” So, those of you who are taller, enjoy it! It’s not my lot; it’s not what God asked me to do. 


We see in this story the appearance of something spiritual, but no fruit. I want to caution you, the longer you’re around church and the things of God, this is a tendency we can fall into. You can have a big Bible that has commentary under it, but you rarely open it. You can come here and worship God on a Sunday, and I’m so glad you do, but then Monday through Saturday you can run from God out there. You can take a picture of your quiet time, (there’s nothing wrong with this! Maybe you’re trying to be a light on social media, and you take a picture and you have it right), and then for the next 30 minutes you’re looking at the comments and likes. You don’t even remember what you read! It appears to be fruitful, but there’s no fruit on the inside.


How is this going for us, if we’d be honest? Do we put on a kind of facade, yet if God got in there and looked around and tested our hearts, would He see fruit or would He see hypocrisy?


Just to encourage you, I think a starting place for you, if you think there’s an incongruence in your life or a disconnect somewhere, a starting place is always going to be authenticity. Being real with God. Pray like this, “God, I sense that something is off; I come off this way, but I’m not that. Speak to me; help me.” Being real with yourself. Some of us are just deceived. You’ve got to get honest with yourself, what’s really going on. Get real with the people around you, instead of putting up a front, a mask. 


Come on! We’re in the Bible belt where we say, “Good!” When somebody asks you, “How are you?” You say, “Good! I’m good.” No you’re not! There’s a disconnect here. I’m not saying you should put out your business for everyone to see, but if you’re not doing well, or something’s not going well, don’t act like it is. Don’t act like you’re good; that’s not what God wants. You are designed to be fruitful, not to just put on an appearance, like you’ve got it all together. But I want to encourage you. If you find yourself in this place, Jesus wants to help you. He wants to help, but He wants you to be real. He wants you to get to the real source of what’s going on in your life. He doesn’t want you to appear to be something you’re not.


The second sign of an unfruitful life is this:


2. We put faith in man before God.


Let’s reread verses 22-24:


“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

This part he says about “doubt” in verse 23 is such a beautiful part. We’ve got to work through the doubt in our hearts and believe God can do it! This is often a very, very misinterpreted Scripture. With all due respect, some schools of thought and churches believe this is saying, “Whatever you say, God will give you.” But that’s not what Jesus is saying right here. 


Something important that you need to know context-wise is that Jesus isn’t talking to the crowds right here. He’s talking only to the disciples—the people who are submitted to Him, who have sacrificed for Him, who have surrendered to Him. He’s telling them how to have faith in prayer and in God. Jesus says “a mountain,” but He’s not literally talking about praying and throwing a mountain into the sea! 


He was using a mountain in multiple different ways. They were standing very, very close to the Mount of Olives, so He’s literally teaching them an object lesson. He’s standing on a mountain as He’s saying, “You say to this mountain.” Okay?


But secondly, and maybe the most intentional thing that Jesus was doing, oftentimes in Jewish culture in their life they use the phrase “a mountain” to mean a difficulty. They would say something like, “Man, we have this mountain in our lives that we’re trying to get over.” That was common language to them to describe something challenging in their life. So Jesus was using the culture to teach them about prayer and faith in God.


Additionally, some of the spiritual leaders, teachers, and rabbis were called “removers of mountains” back in Jesus’ day. The reason was that they could solve big problems with spiritual solutions. That was great! They needed teachers and rabbis to help them. But what Jesus knew tended to happen, and it can happen in our lives, is that people would go to the teachers and rabbis before they went to God, simply by asking, “Hey, help me move this mountain; I don’t know what to do.” And we still do this today. We have a tendency to go to people first before God. 


Let me just challenge your thinking a little. When we do this, it is like we are putting our faith in man, not God. Now, I’m not saying you can’t have people in your life, like family and friends to help you, love you, support you. That’s God’s design. That’s the body of Christ. What I’m saying is that Jesus says that first and foremost you put your faith in God and God alone. Not man, not yourself, not things. This is something I struggle with at times. This is something that God has grown in me over the last few years. When I get challenged or discouraged or I’m having a hard day, my tendency is that I want to call my wife, Bethany. That’s just what I want to do. I want to call Beth, talk to Beth, I’m a verbal processor ok? But God has really challenged me, “Hey, I want you to call Me first.” 


So I try to have a moment where I just pray. I drive somewhere and bring it to the Lord, I cast my cares on Him, I start to process with Him and try to just let Him speak to it, let Him hear my heart, and then I call my wife Bethany. I want that order to be right in my life. We’ve got to be people who put God first in faith and in prayer. He is the God of the impossible. He is the one who can move mountains, things that are weighty in your life. Our goal is to line up our prayers with his Word, with His will, to remove and work through that doubt in our hearts. You’re going to start to see the power of God in your life, because your heart is aligned with His heart, and you’re praying the things that He is praying and the things that He has for us.


Let me illustrate it this way. I have a partnership with Conway Corp. Many of you do. This partnership costs me a couple of Benjamins per month. It’s great for them, and kinda tough for us. Their end of the agreement is to provide all the power I need to turn on anything in my house, lights on my house, stuff like that. That’s there end. My end is to turn on the lights. So if there are places in our house that are dark, or appliances that aren’t working because I haven’t plugged them in, it’s not Conway Corp’s fault! No, Amir and Beth have got to turn on the lights. so that the power can flow through them. 


I’m just telling you prayer is like you turning on lights for the power of God in your life. All the power God has is available to you when you seek Him for you, for your life, and for your home. You are a son or daughter of Jesus. He wants you to come to Him in prayer, and what you need is that you can have faith that He can move in your life. You gotta bring your heart to the Lord and pray. Hey turn on that power switch, “God I turn to you first. Not myself. I can’t do it in my own strength. Not another person. God help me move this mountain. It seems insurmountable, but God I know you can do anything. God, give me wisdom. Give me favor. Just help me, I want to be fruitful for your kingdom.”


Jesus looks at them and says, we need to pray, we need to have faith in God. That’s where the source of your prayer life is. Amen?


3. When we Withhold Forgiveness, but we Expect it for You


Verse 25 says this: 

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

That’s a hard Scripture! Guys this could be anything small, like a frustration, or something big like a hurt or sin. Jesus says, “Hey you’ve gotta deal with that in prayer so that your Father will forgive you.” Wow. I’m just gonna be honest with you. This is a really hard Scripture for me personally. The people who are around me and know me best know that one of my biggest weaknesses in life is I have a tendency to hold onto offense, frustration, and bitterness. I’ve always just kind of held things on. God has done a lot in my life, and I’m much better at it. But I have a tendency in doing that, then I withhold forgiveness from people. The irony is this: I withhold forgiveness for other people, but then I expect God to forgive me. I’m being a hypocrite. It’s just crazy but it’s hard.

Let me tell you this. If we were fishing and Satan had a tacklebox, he wouldn’t have many baits, but one of his favorite baits, if not his favorite bait, is bitterness. I think you could say that bitterness and offense in our world are pretty synonymous these days, because bitterness leads you and me to unforgiveness. That’s where he wants us to live. He’s been hooking people on this hook since the beginning of time. This hook is easy to get on and very hard to get off the hook. Bitterness and unforgiveness destroy relationships. This is why it’s his favorite hook.

I was thinking this week, though, ironically I don’t know how many times I wish I had counted so often when Jesus teaches on prayer, that He always talks about forgiveness. I felt like He knew we would struggle with this. We would struggle with bitterness and unforgiveness. Bitterness if you describe it is a weird mix of anger and disappointment at someone or something that can get rooted in your heart. And for some of you right now you know exactly what you’re bitter about or have some unforgiveness about. But some of you are like, “I don’t know,” and what’s hard is some of you might have some in your life. You just don’t realize it. Why? Because bitterness is very deceiving. It’s very easy to look around and think other people are the problem.

Bitterness is like a cancer to your soul that metastasizes to other relationships of your life. It’s like a poison eating you from the inside out. This is what Satan wants! He wants you to stay bitter; he wants you to have unforgiveness in your heart. 

Here’s a test if you find yourself in this place: it’s easy for you to point out weaknesses in the people around you. Family, friends, work, church. Why do you do this? You’re looking for faults, keeping score. It could indicate you’re bitter. You have a hard time celebrating great things in other people’s lives. You could be better.

Bitter people often see life through bitter vision. It’s a weird filter over your life. You gotta make a choice today. You can stay bitter, or you can get better in Jesus. I don’t know if you’ve ever had one of these moments where it’s like you finally do something right in your life or you get momentum in an area of your life, or something just goes your way, and there’s just that person in your life who says, “Well, that doesn’t make up for all the bad things you’ve done,” and you just pray, “Lord, will You please help that person’s heart before I drop kick them in Jesus’ name?” 

You know what I mean? I mean there’s an area of your life where it’s hard, and there’s just someone in your life, and they’re so negative, and you’re like, “ugghghghghghgh….”

They could be bitter!

I’ve actually never drop-kicked someone, but I’ve thought about it many times. Ok, anyway. I’m a soccer player. 

Hebrews 12:14-15 is so good. Look at this:

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. 

It says the same language in Ephesians 4: “Make every effort.” My goodness, that’s hard! And look at what Paul says in verse 15. It starts small as a little seed, but it can grow into a root. And this is what happens: it can cause trouble in your life and defile many. The author is cautioning us, “Hey, don’t let that bitter root grow! It’s gonna cause trouble.”

In three of the four gospels when Jesus was on the cross, the Bible describes that He was given something to drink. Well, in Matthew it says that they offered him this mix of sour wine and gall. It was described as a bitter drink. And this is what Jesus does, Matthew says, “He tasted it but didn’t drink it.” He tasted it but didn’t swallow it. We could say that one of Jesus’ last moments was a point of temptation for bitterness. What’s so good about Jesus is that He didn’t give in. You know what Jesus said actually, hanging on the cross, one of his last words, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they’re doing.” 

This is a perfect illustration of what we need to do with bitterness. With bitterness, we’re all gonna taste it. We’re all gonna experience it, but you have a choice if you’re going to swallow it. You have a choice if you’re going to drink it and live with it. 

So what is the solution? We’ve got to be quick to forgive and release people. Oftentimes this happens with the people who are closest to us. We’re slow to forgive, but we’ve gotta be quick to forgive and release. As you notice you’re bitter, or God will reveal it to you. The Holy Spirit is great in this way and you realize, “I’ve got some forgiveness work to do.”

Forgiveness is between you and God. Pastor Rick has taught this to us for years: we can’t withhold it! And some of you ask, “Well how many times do I have to forgive?” Well, Pastor Rick has taught us to forgive as often as we need. There have been people in my life that I can’t give you a number of how many times I’ve forgiven them for the pain and challenges of my past. As often as we need to, we forgive, and we work through, and we don’t allow that bitterness to grow in our hearts. One thing that has always helped me forgive, and it is not easy, is that I have to take a moment and, (you can do this at any time! it’s powerful!), and just remember how much God has forgiven you. 

I can’t even wrap my mind around that. And then I ask God to help me forgive someone, because it doesn’t feel like it’s within me, but I know it’s within Him. And I ask God to help me and I make the hard choice to choose to forgive them because God didn’t withhold His forgiveness from me; He didn’t withhold His life from me, so how do I have the right to withhold forgiveness from someone else? I’m not saying what you went through is easy. I’m not minimizing what you’re doing, but your God has asked you, as often as you need, to forgive so the Father in heaven will forgive you. We can’t be hypocritical here, and bitterness is wrecking our world. And offense is wrecking our world. And I’m just gonna remind you again; election time is coming up! And this is the bait; he’s gonna try to get all of you, so don’t be surprised! I keep telling you this. We’re gonna work through what’s in our hearts, and we’re gonna walk holy before the Lord without blemish with a pure heart.

This passage teaches us so much about how we can have a fruitful life rather than an unfruitful one and how to really confront hypocrisy in our own life, but man, the power of prayer. And I just want to encourage you that God wants you to be fruitful. Sometimes in our lives there are some things that get in the way and we’ve gotta live an authentic life. We put our faith in Jesus first to do what only He can do, and let’s do the hard work, I know it’s hard, to work through forgiveness as often as it comes, Why? Because God has asked us to, but also so He will forgive us when we have that need.

What I would love is for you to ask this question: God what are you speaking to me right now? 

We believe that when God’s Word is shared, the Holy Spirit is speaking. Do you have the appearance of fruit, but it’s not authentic? Do you often go to other people or things before You? Lord, Not “If” but WHO is that person I need to forgive? What bitterness is growing in my heart that I need to release? Ask God: What’s my step? It could be writing out a prayer, coming to get prayer. 

If you’re far from God, or you dont know God, or you’re not in a relationship with God, or you’ve drifted from God, God doesn’t want you to stay there. We believe Jesus is the Son of God. He came here and lived His life but ultimately went to the Cross and died for our sins. He paid for something that we could never pay on our own. Our works are as filthy as rags. Not only did He die for our sins, but He rose again three days later. He conquered sin and death. The Bible says when we repent, we turn from our own way, whether that’s an unfruitful life or putting our faith in other things but not God, trying all these things in the world that are not working out for you, if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, you will be saved.

It’s a beautiful promise from God.

Some of you have desired fruit in your life and you haven’t had it because you don’t know God. God is the source of fruit. He is the Creator of fruit within you. When you remain in Him and He remains in you, you’ll bear fruit, abiding, but you’ve gotta be in relationship with Him first. So if you’re in that place, and you want to give your heart to Jesus or rededicate your life, go for it right now! That’s the decision you have to make today. That’s the thing that’s gonna lead to fruit in your life. That’s maybe the tension you’ve felt for years, the incongruence because you’re trying to do things on your own. Make a decision to follow Jesus. 

Let’s Pray.

Jesus we honor You. We thank you for Your Word. We thank you for your Name. Lord, forgive us if we’ve lived as hypocrites at times; I know I have. Forgive us when we’ve put off that there’s fruit in our heart and in our lives, but there’s not. Lord forgive us when we’ve done things in our own strength, thinking we were close to you but we were quite far from you. We turn back to you Lord; we ask that you forgive us and give us grace. Lord, we put our faith in You and You alone. I pray for mountain-like things that the people in our church are going through. We put that before You, and we ask that You do what only You can do, God. Help us! Strengthen us. Encourage us. Make a way where there seems like there’s no way, but in You there is a way. With man things are impossible, but with God all things are possible. We bring it before You, Lord, and we forgive people.

For those right now who are still holding on and don’t want to forgive, it’s hard God; people have hurt us. I thank you that forgiveness is between you and us. You’re not asking us to trust someone else. No, You’re asking us to get our hearts right with You and forgive that person. God, I speak forgiveness, and I release the people who have hurt us, frustrated us, challenged us, in Jesus’ Name. Lord, I pray against bitterness in the hearts of our people. Help us have pure hearts before You. God, I pray You forgive us for holding on so long. I pray You would forgive us and help us forgive other people, so our hearts can be fruitful again. Lord, be with us right now and continue to speak to us today.

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