What Tree are You?

(We have another guest writer to introduce you too: Ross. I hope you will enjoy reading his thoughts about a very important subject. God bless!)

Let me ask you a question: Are you a good person?Simple, right? Ok then, answer it. Yes or no. Are you a good person?

Here’s another question for you: Do you place your FULL faith in Jesus Christ?I’m not talking about going to church every Sunday,or even praying once in a while. I’m talking about fully leaning and depending on Him in your everyday lives. FULLY. Yes or no.

Ok. Now look at your two answers. Are they the same? If not, we have a problem.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about this. After all,I am merely a flawed human being such as yourself. Why should you trust me? DON’T. Trust God.

Psalm 14:1 “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt,they do abominable deeds,there is none who does good.”
Ouch. Kinda harsh don’t you think? Corrupt and abominable are brash in and of themselves,but it’s the last part of that verse I want to focus on. “There is NONE who does good.” Period. If you are a fool, you CANNOT do good. Not you? Let’s move on then.

Micah 6:8“He has told you,O man,what is good;and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”
Pretty straight forward. Here it tells us what is good. Again,I want to focus on the last part of the verse. Are you walking humbly with your God? Be honest here.

Luke 6:43-45“For no good tree bears bad fruit,nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit,for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes,nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil,for out of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaks.”
Last one. Do you see good fruit in your life? If not,then you are not a “good tree”, so to speak. Notice one other think here: there is no “neutral tree.” Either you are a good tree,or a bad tree.

Now what does the Bible say about faith and how it relates to us doing good?
Hebrews 11:6
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him,for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those that seek him.”
Doubtless you’ve heard this verse before. Now actually THINK about it. Without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God. IMPOSSIBLE! Not “hard to” or even,“unlikely to.” No,it says “impossible to.” Now you may be sitting there and thinking: “But I do believe he exists. What’s the big deal here?” If you DO believe he exists and that he rewards those that seek Him,you should then be following Him. It is not merely enough to know all of this, but you must truly believe it. That means living your life in accordance with your beliefs.

I believe there are two types of good. There is good according to the world,and there is good according to God. For instance, charities and non-profit organizations are good by the world’s standards. What we need to ask ourselves is this: “Am I content to live a “good” life by the world’s standards? OR do I want to strive to live by God’s standards?”

I will make one last point before I close and that is that it is not merely enough to not do evil. Let me rephrase that. We must strive to do good. If we are simply living non-evil lives it does not necessarily mean that we are living good lives. If we are living good lives, we will see the fruit of that.

Thanks for reading and taking time to consider these things. I will leave you with this verse as an encouragement.
Psalm 34:8
“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

The Sinfulness Of Sin

((We,the regular Set-Apart "staff" thought it would be beneficial to have different peoples come in a write for the blog sometimes. We like to call them our "guest bloggers". So here is the following post written by our friend,and brother-in-Christ,Adam.))

So really, how bad is sin? Ask yourself that. From 1-10,with 10 being the worst. How bad do you think sin really is? I hope everybody said a ten or there is something wrong. Haha. Alright, now how bad do you think sin is when you are sinning? Do you think it's ok to say a little lie here,a lustful glance there, or maybe forget to take the trash out after your parents asked you to? What would you give those on your sin scale? What would you give a little lie? Maybe a 3 out of 10? What about a small lustful glance? Maybe a 4? What about forgetting to take out the trash after you were told to? Possibly a 1? Well truth is, all those are tens!

J.C. Ryle said "I am convinced that the first step towards attaining a higher standard of holiness is to realize more fully the amazing sinfulness of sin."

Sin is the thing that God hates the most. Come to think of it,sin and its affects are the only things God hates. God's relationship to sin is one of complete hate,anger, and wrath. Now,we as Christians are covered by the blood of the Lamb,so we don't have to fear God's judgment. But people who haven't accepted Christ as their Savior have everything to fear.

Now what I want to talk about in this post is realizing how evil and sick sin really is. But in order to do that we have to look at sin not from our level,but from God's level. From our level,since we are sin filled creatures,sin looks like a normal everyday thing. Even if we hate sin,we still manage to do it. There hasn't been a day in my life where I haven't committed a sin. But we have to look at sin differently in order to realize how bad it is. As sinful creatures we are blinded by our sin and can't see clearly. But God sees sin as something that is rebelling against His glory and power. Sin is something evil that lures you into its addicting claws and promises satisfaction but never delivers. Also,if we are not covered by the blood of the Lamb, it will take us with it to hell for eternal torture and torment. That is what sin really is.

All sin is a rebellion against God,but not all sin has the same consequences. Not obeying your parents wont have the same consequences as adultery. But they are both very serious,whether you think so or not.

The closer we get to Christ the more we see things the way he sees them. So that means the closer we are to Christ the more we hate sin. The closer we are to Christ the more sensitive we are to sin. My sister is a great example of this. She will apologize for some things that I wouldn't even recognize as a sin. She does this because her conscience is fine tuned,if you know what I'm saying.

Now there are many trails I could go down with this post but I'm going to choose this one because I recently read about it. In Donald Whitney's book,"Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health",he has a chapter about grieving over sin. Now this is something I do a lot and I wasn't sure if it was good or not. I knew sin was bad and didn't want to ignore that I had sinned but I also didn't want to forget that Jesus paid for my sins. Whitney points out that the more we grow to be like Christ the more we hate sin, and therefore,the more we grieve over it.

"Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."
- 1 Timothy 1:15

Paul in his letter to Timothy is clearly grieving over his sins.

Whitney writes, " The closer you come to the light of Christ, the more sins His holy light will expose in you."

Jonathan Edwards said,"The more a true saint loves God... the more he mourns for sin."

In the book "Ten Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health", Whiteny points out that there is a right way to grieve and a wrong way to grieve. He says that the two kinds of sorrows for sin is sorrow in a godly manner, and sorrow in a worldly manner. The godly manner leads to salvation and repentance,while the worldly manner does not. Here are two verses that show both kinds of sorrow:

"Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry,but that your sorrow led to repentance" - 2 Corinthians 7:9

"He could bring about no change of mind though he sought the blessings with tears" - Hebrews 12:17

The difference between the two sorrows is one is focused on God, and the other is focused on itself. One looks for answers in God, while the other one looks for answers in itself. And in itself there are no answers.

If you struggle with not grieving over sin Donald Whitney writes, "Ask God to show you the reality of your sin." He also says, "Meditate on the fact that it was your sin that nailed the holy, sinless One from Heaven to the cross."

Thank you for reading this and I hope this touched some of you who read it.

Beautiful Letdown

There is a lot of songs about life. Rap songs about thug life,country songs about "down home" life,pop and rock songs about the party life and many,many more genres and sub genres that all envelop the same theme of living. However,I came upon this song called "The Beautiful Letdown" by Switchfoot as of late and have found it's message the opposite of what most songs preach. Obviously this is a Christian band,but I was startled at the fact that what they were saying,was so incredibly true. Before I can continue,here are the lyrics:

Beautiful Letdown (by Switchfoot)

It was a beautiful let down
When I crashed and burned
When I found myself alone,unknown and hurt
It was a beautiful let down
The day I knew
That all the riches this world had to offer me
Would never do

In a world full of bitter pain and bitter doubt
I was tryin' so hard to fit in, fit in,
Until I found out
That I don't belong here(I don't belong)
I don't belong here(I don't belong)
I will carry a cross and a song where I don't belong
I don't belong

It was a beautiful let down
When you found me here
Yeah for once in a rare blue moon I see everything clear
I'll be a beautiful let down
That's what I'll forever be
And though it may cost my soul
I'll sing for free
We're still chasin' our tails and the risin' sun
And our dark water planet's
Still spinning in a race
Where no one wins and no one's one

See I don't belong here(I don't belong)
I don't belong here(I don't belong)
I will carry a cross and a song where I don't belong
I don't belong
I don't belong here(I don't belong)
I don't belong here( I don't belong)
I'm gonna set sight and set sail for the kingdom come
Kingdom come
Your kingdom come

Won't you let me down yeah
Let my foolish pride
Forever let me down

Easy living,your not much like your name
Easy dying,hey you look just about the same
Won't you please take me off your list
Easy living,please come on and let me down

We are a beautiful let down,
Painfully uncool,
The church of the dropouts
The losers, the sinners, the failures and the fools
Oh what a beautiful let down
Are we salt in the wound
And let us sing one true tune

I don't belong here(I don't belong)
No,I don't belong here(I don't belong)
I don't belong here(I don't belong)
Feels like I don't belong here
I don't belong here(I don't belong here)
Feels like I don't belong here
No,I don't belong here
Would you let me down
Come on and let me down
You always let me down
Feels like I'm let down
Come on and let me down
Cuz I don't belong here
Won't you let me down?

What stood out most about this is song is the chorus. The repetitiveness of "I don't belong here". As Christian,that statement should be SO prevalent in our lives. We really don't belong.

John 15:19 says,If you belong to the world,it would love you as its own. As it is,you do not belong to the world,but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.(NIV) I think a lot of the times we forget this. We are in this world but not of it. If that is the case,we should be acting differently to the aspect of life and living it.

"What does this mean,exactly?",you're probably thinking. Since we know and believe life is more than just living and dying,we should be making an effort to further the kingdom we belong to. Along with furthering it,to represent it as citizens while here on earth to the best of our abilities with God's help.

I challenge you,this week to reevaluate the way you are living,whether it be godly or worldly.
If it be the latter, fear not, God is merciful.
Change is a gradual process,not an immediate arrival.
Start somewhere, anywhere.
Maybe be more diligent to read the Bible, pray every day or examine the worldly things you are letting yourself in take.
Build from there.
As Rome wasn't built in a day, neither is a Christian's walk with God.
So set forth this week to grow closer to the Savior.


In Mark chapter 9, Jesus encounters a father whose son had a violent demon. He asked for Jesus' help. "But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us." And Jesus said, to him," 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the boy's father cried out, "I believe; help my unbelief."

Often when I ask God for help with something I ask, like the father in Mark 9, with a heart full of doubt. "If You can do anything..." Basically I'm saying, "I need help, but I don't think You really can do it." I'm forgetting who I am talking to; The Creator of the whole universe, the Alpha and Omega, Almighty God, The Sovereign One who works ALL things together for good, the Holy One who died so I might live.

I need to remember the truth of Matthew 19:26,that "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."(NAFB).

Who Are You Serving?

Isn't it easy to wake up in the morning and the last thing you feel like doing is opening the Bible? You'd rather turn on the laptop, or start off where you finished in your exciting book. It's really easy to be drawn to things that just keep us away from God. Joshua 24:15 says: "Choose this day whom ye will serve." (KJV)

It's one thing to say,"I will serve the Lord today", then to actually do it. Do you feel completely satisfied when you do something that may be keeping you from fellowship with God? In my example,I was desiring the Internet more than God. Things that compete with Christ look so appealing and lovely.

John Piper says in his book, "When I Don't Desire God": ""Deceitful desires" can trick us into feeling that sinful thoughts and acts will be more satisfying than seeing God. This illusion is so strong it creates moral confusion, so that people find ways to justify sin as good, or, if not good, at least permissible."

I don't know about you but I have certainly more than a few times in my life tried to justify sin in my life to make me "feel" better about it. I encourage you to pray that God will help you with this battle to find a master. And I hope you choose the Master who does not create empty promises but fulfills them tenfold.


There is a saying,"Disappointments are God's appointments". However,rarely do we see these "appointments" as Divine. Rather, we see them as pesky roadblocks to our plans for our life. When we become disappointed often times we look to God, and ask "What the heck are you thinking about up there? I am CERTAIN this activity/event or occasion would be a GREAT opportunity to..(start listing off the different points to make the particular function a good one to attend in your eyes) Therefore, with my evidence (and your lack thereof),making ME right,and You, wrong". Oh, can you see the pride coming out of your nose? Who are we to tell the God of the Universe He is wrong? The perfect One who laid the master plan of your life, even before you were born,that He made some kind of mistake in His working?

In Jeremiah 29:11 it reads,'"For I know the plans I have for you",says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope(NLT). With that verse, we learn that obviously God wants the best for us. He doesn't want the worse or the horridest or the meanest. He wants THE best. Most of the time our best doesn't match God's best. We can see a situation one way, and He sees it a completely different way.

An example of this in my own life has become quite prevalent. I spent a good chunk of my "childhood" in a church I loved with people I loved, who I thought I would NEVER EVER leave. Soon,those hopes of mine came crashing down, when my Dad felt God's call to be somewhere else. I went, but oh I went kicking and screaming. This move wasn't MY plan, and I disliked it a GREAT deal, so much,in fact I vocalized it quite openly to my parents. I would rather have been with my friends that I had known since forever and the adults that had been in my life since before I could remember than having to attend a new church and begin all over again with gaining friends there. Finally we found a church we liked. Settled down, two or three years later,a day or so after a week long camp in Florida with other teens, comes that same news. I had REALLY thought God has us where He wanted us at the time. I had JUST started making friends, and there He goes pulling the rug out from under me again. Then we came to this really weird church , it was called Kingsway Community Church. They didn't have their own building, they met in a school.The people there raised their hands in worship and the guy who preached, named Aaron, had the richest, thickest voice I have ever heard. And oh, did I mention they silly stringed a newly engaged couple? After getting past all the familiar territory of being new, I came to love the church God finally brought us to.

Now looking back at my disappointments, they were not disappointments at all, they really were God's appointments. Nothing that occurred to me in past, would I have chosen for myself. Only God had the power and knowledge to guide me where I needed to be and know where I needed to go. Had I stayed where I wanted, I probably wouldn't be typing this, or even THINKING about typing something like this. It is ALL God's doing and none of mine that I sit here and hope this typing of my words makes sense to you and that it somehow shows you something you never knew.

With that,God bless you! I hope you exit out or walk away with a better understanding of disappointment,and how we should react at those times to it. Ifs you have any questions,comments,queries or concerns,feel free to put em' in the comment box. We loves feedback, it helps us get to know our readers.


Set Apart is finally up and running! Well, sort of. It's amazing what happens when two girls think of an idea for a blog. I'm just going to say it was not my idea to make this, but I happily agreed and I'm very excited to see what God does with this opportunity. So what has been decided is there will be three main writers/posters: Annie, Heidi and myself. But we will have guest writers who submit some posts as well. It will be really sweet. So what's God saying to you?

~Savvy J