Have you ever thought of how you treat others as producing fruit? Think of how you feel when someone is rough with you. It hurts like a barb from a pine cone. If you are not familiar with that analogy I promise its no picnic. Then in the opposite direction you have someone who is over sweet in action but you can tell its not sincere, I smell a rotten orange here.
I find it interesting that there are 27 references in the bible (old testament and new) that compares how you treat others as ‘bearing fruit’. Fruit, back in biblical times, was probably not as abundant as it is today so it made a good reference to help people understand the sweetness of following God. Galatians 5:22 even list the Fruits of the Spirit – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Love, I believe is listed first as this is the binding agent of everything we do. All of these fruits overlap at times but consistent use of them only strengthens our trunk. Colossians 1:10 tells us to bear fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God. And Matthew 7:16 reminds us that by their fruit you will recognize them. And Jesus also reminds us in Matthew 12:33 “Make a tree good…for a tree is recognized by its fruit.”
We are God’s tree and must strive to only bare good fruit. Do we slip up and and produce rotten fruit periodically? Yes but God’s grace plucks that bad fruit and tosses it in the nearest trash can, pruning that branch to strengthen it where good fruit will again be produced. It’s a process that we must cultivate and fertilize daily.
Of all of the fruits listed, my favorite is kindness. Even when you are hurt or angry and in a dark place, if you can pull kindness from your tree, the rotten fruit trying to sprout will not be allowed to fester and grow. Sometimes your kindness may be all that is needed to break the ice of a frozen pond of fear and rejection.
October is a time when Hollywood throws out all the adrenaline rush garbage of horror movies. Me, I am not a fan but I know plenty who love a good horror movie and Hollywood keeps them coming as they make money. I saw recently on the science channel the stories of mythical beast, like flying dragons and bull/man type animals that walk on two legs.
When we see something we can not understand and try to describe it to others, they may not believe it and mythical tales can begin to take shape.Take for instance the book of Revelation and all the the things John saw that he could not explain easily where the readers would understand what he was seeing. So to some, Revelations is mythical and far fetched in nature. To Christian it is truth and we accept his vision on faith.
I want to touch on two stories that were believed truths of their time that I find almost humorous now due to our knowledge of today. One is biblical and one goes back to the 1400’s or further.
The biblical story is the Tower of Babel as told in the book of Genesis in chapter 11:4 and it says “Come let us build a city with a tower to the heavens”. Now their purpose of this tower was not to honor God but to honor themselves which then created the story we now believe to be true.
Knowing what we learned say 100 years ago, much less what we know about the heavens today, the tower would still be under construction, still not reaching even through the outer atmosphere. The size of the tower would have to cover the entire face of one side of earth and still not be big enough.
Every day we are learning more on how vast space is and just how tiny we are and for someone to think a tower could be built that could reach the heavens makes me smile. The earth’s atmosphere from ground up is about 300 miles – that would be a tall building. These are currently the tallest buildings worldwide.
Another ancient story we now scoff at is the theory of the world being flat and if you sailed to the oceans edge you will fall off and be eaten by huge monsters that live there.
Our world is a beautiful roundish ball of amazing complexity created for us to live on. If we were on Venus, we would burn up, if on Mars we would freeze.
What a magnificent blue marble we live on. May we always protect her as I feel she is very angry right now. We have not been good stewards of her beauty and resources.
And in closing I always remind us all the wonderful gift of Kindness. May we spread it like jelly on toast, thick and sweet.
We have all gotten use to the special days of recognition like Mother’s Day, Father’s day, Grandparent’s, Kids Day and then commercialization really got hold of it to the digression of Pizza day, really?
But today is World Communion Day. How awesome is that? Think about it. All Christ based churches came together today to share communion on the same day to honor our God for giving us Christ; to honor Christ for giving us salvation and to honor the act of Remembrance of Him in sharing the loaf and the cup. All denominations who honor Christ have details in their service that they do differently. Some use wine, some use juice, some have bread, some have wafers but they do it toward the same purpose – to honor our LORD and what He did for us.
All four Gospels tell of the story of the last supper and as Jesus broke the bread he explained that it represented His body and as He passed the wine how it represented His blood shed for all and that this communion between mind, body and spirit with God was to be done as a remembrance of His love.
What an awesome thing for the world to do in coming together as one as we each spread our outstretched hands of love for fellow Christians…across the world. May all feel the love He has shown for us everyday and may we come together in one heart of love for Him and fellow Christians across the world.
And in closing, as I always remind myself and others, Be Kind. Let you kindness be ripples of love as they flow across the waters of life never ceasing.
Is there ever really a final chapter? Probably not but there is a moment of closure of old before going to new. And this is the hard one for me to post but the one I have been working towards for approximately…10 years give or take. But it has been the last two years that I knew what I needed to do and have been trying to get it done but it has been very hard…Forgiveness.
All the way back into in Genesis 50:17, scripture tells us the importance of forgiving those who treat you badly. All through the bible forgiveness is talked about : Exodus, Numbers, Nehemiah, multiples in Psalms, Daniel and Micah and that’s just the old testament. Then there is Matthew 18:21-22 where Jesus tells us to forgive 70 times 7. That’s a lot of forgiving. But why??? Colossians 3:13 tells us why – Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
If you have read my series on Analyzing the Past #1 & #2 you will probably understand where I am going with this. My mother had drinking issues and I did not learn the lessons from her on how to correctly chose a mate and I chose poorly. I choose someone who had just as much garbage in his closet as I did and due to his mother’s issues he was an abusive man. He didn’t mean to be and hours before his death we were able to resolve most of our issues. He was physically abusive to me but verbally abusive to the children. When he got sick, a combination of diabetes and heart disease, the children were also able to get resolution for his treatment of there past but the damage is still there.
So with the help of professional counseling, strong christian friends, prayer and the love of Jesus I was able to forgive my mother and my husband for bad treatment of me. So about 2 years ago, I realized I was still angry but could not figure our why. I was notorious for going back by the cross where I had laid things at Jesus feet that I could not handle and try to pick them up again. I don’t think I am alone there. A lot of us are fix it people and sometimes you just have to Let Go and Let God. For this issue I didn’t think I was picking up and throwing away the forgiveness I had bestowed on my mother and husband but there was still a deep resentment gnawing inside me an d I did not know where it was coming from.
Last year we got a new pastor and after several months he started a new study series on forgiveness. During that series it dawned on me that I still had someone I had not forgiven and I was not sure I ever could. Lots of hurt, lots of resentment still on the table. When someone does you wrong you can find ways to reconcile that and come to forgiveness. BUT, as a mother and having someone who through their caustic behaviors and down right selfishness caused pain for her children, the woman’s grandchildren – that is hard to forgive. Even in her will after she died, my husbands mother struck out against at my children. And now I find it hard not to scream HOW DARE YOU? And this woman was a pillar in her church. Wow.
So this is the last leg of my journey of forgiveness for my resentment of my past. I feel n o resentment issues and think I have her fully forgiven until I run across a person that reflects that same attitude and I have to guard myself, or my tongue as it were, so that I don’t make things worse. Then I have some deep prayer time to do to get me back on the even plane God needs me on. But its hard.
No one, no one, no one ever has the right to be mean to another person whether is physically, verbally or emotionally. And when you face this type of situation you have to be strong, dig deep and Let go and Let God. He will take care of it, he is the final judge, not us. A hard pill to swallow sometimes.
So now you may understand why I am such an advocate of kindness. Did you know that it takes more muscles in your face to create a frown and it does to make a smile. I think that is God’s way of telling us to smile more, its less work.
And as I always say, Be kind. Today’s kind thought may not save the world but it may save the world of that one person.
Enjoy you weekend. Its going to be a wet one for us. But we are smiling, no more 90 degree days for a while.
Let this picture sink in for a minute. What do you see?
Due to circumstances that happened in the last couple of weeks and the challenge of my pastor this morning of us being good stewards of our faith, I felt this picture, which has been floating around on Facebook for awhile, needed to be coupled with just a few of the thoughts that were shared this morning.
How gracious and magnificent is your love OF me and FOR me O, Lord.
Do you know how much you are loved? Psalm 139:14 says …I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. Verse 13 explains that He knew us and made our inmost being while still in our mother’s womb. You are His child, He made you, warts and all. Even though you may have challenges, He does not leave you to get through them alone.
Do you know that He is always there for us? Psalm 139:5, You hem me in – behind and before. There is no where we can go that He can not reach us. Check out vs 7-10. God loves us so much and He is thinking about us all the time, ever guiding and filled with adoration for us.
When it is your time for your life to be complete, He is there waiting for you as in the picture above. But remember He is the only one who knows how many days you are to have. We all have a set time according to His purpose.
The books of the Psalms are filled with His love and guidance for us. My favorite is Psalm 119. Its the longest Psalm and the longest chapter in the entire bible. But it is broken down into 8 verse sections of poem and prayer. Each section starts off with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. I challenge you to read it and learn of His love for you.