Daily Archives: January 3, 2023

Producing Good Fruit

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25 Important Bible Verses About Fruits Of The SpiritImage result for Picture Verses About Producing fruit That Glorifies. Size: 176 x 185. Source: www.knowing-jesus.com

34 Bible verses about Fruit, Spiritual - Knowing JesusImage result for Picture Verses About Producing fruit That Glorifies. Size: 177 x 185. Source: www.pinterest.com

What fruit does God want us to produce? - SalvationCallImage result for Picture Verses About Producing fruit That Glorifies. Size: 177 x 185. Source: www.pinterest.com

Producing Good Fruit

planting a fruit tree

 

Aaron M Little – cbn.com

For most of my father’s career in ministry, which spanned over four decades, my mother could be counted on to supply his administrative team and close associates with an assortment of baked goods, pies, and jams at those special times of the year. The interesting thing about her offerings was that they were largely locally sourced from her own fruit trees, bushes, and vines. Regardless of where we lived, the quarter-acre lot in the middle of suburbia, or the eleven-acre farm they eventually graduated to when I was 16, my mother maintained an impressive small-scale operation. Peaches, apples, pears, blueberries, and grapes were mainstays over the years.

My mother loved every version of her orchards. She would spend hours and hours planting, fertilizing, nurturing, de-bugging, and eventually harvesting. It was common every July and August to have the kitchen floor covered almost wall-to-wall with peaches, apples, and pears freshly picked from the trees. Her canning of preserves and jams seemed to last for weeks and as a young boy and eventually a teenager I’d look around at the chaos and wonder, “why does she do this to herself? It’s not the Depression Era. This is not our sustenance or a source of needed income.” As an adult, I realize she did it because she loved to do it, and she loved to share it with others.

Every season or so, there would be an underperforming tree or bush or vine. It was never an easy decision for my mother to pull the trigger on removing any plant she had poured herself into over the years, but she did what she had to do. Any fruit producer not doing its job had to be removed and replaced. After all, isn’t the reasonable expectation of a fruit tree to produce its fruit in its season? It sounds almost biblical.

In Matthew chapter 3, John the Baptist, cousin of Jesus, is preparing the way for Christ’s ministry by preaching the need for repentance and baptism into new life. When John encountered religious leaders, he confronted them regarding their hypocritical lifestyle where they taught one way but lived the opposite. He likened their lives to that of fruit trees that are not producing good fruit:

“The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 3:10 CSB).

John’s warning to the religious leaders about the consequences of living lives inconsistent with righteousness is a wake-up call for all of us. As Christians, we are to live as Christ. We are expected to produce good fruit. Galatians 5 lists the type of fruit our lives should be producing:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Christians need to regularly inventory our lives to reconcile if the fruit we are producing is the good fruit God expects us to produce. The idea of the ax, ready to strike the root of our tree is not something to take lightly. In Matthew 3:10 above, it doesn’t sound like God takes it lightly either.

Pray and ask God to search your heart. Ask God to reveal any bad fruit in your life and request His Holy Spirit to rejuvenate you with the sweet fruit found in Galatians 5. My mother loved her fruit producing trees, bushes, and vines, but they were of no use for her purposes if they did not produce good fruit. Be bold in your daily life purposing to produce good fruit that will positively impact those around you as a reflection of God’s great love.

The immutability of Christ

By: Charles Spurgeon

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8

Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 1:5-13

It is well that there is one person who is the same. It is well that there is one stable rock amidst the changing billows of this sea of life; for how many and how grievous have been the changes of last year? How many of you who commenced in affluence, have by the panic, which has shaken nations, been reduced almost to poverty? How many of you, who in strong health marched into this place on the first Sabbath of last year, have had to come tottering here, feeling that the breath of man is in his nostrils, and wherein is he to be accounted of? Many of you came to this hall with a numerous family, leaning upon the arm of a choice and much loved friend. Alas! for love, if that were all, and nought beside, O earth! For you have buried those you loved the best. Some of you have come here childless, or widows, or fatherless, still weeping your recent affliction. Changes have taken place in your estate that have made your heart full of misery. Your cups of sweetness have been dashed with draughts of gall; your golden harvests have had tares cast into the midst of them, and you have had to reap the noxious weed along with the precious grain. Your much fine gold has become dim, and your glory has departed; the sweet feelings at the commencement of last year became bitter ones at the end. Your raptures and your ecstasies were turned into depression and forebodings. Alas! for our changes, and hallelujah to him that has no change.

For meditation: Change is part and parcel of everything in a fallen creation (Genesis 3:16-19). The Lord Jesus Christ is not part of creation, not even the very first part, but is Lord over all creation and not subject to any change. In him God’s children can look forward to glorious liberty from creation’s present bondage to decay (Romans 8:21-23).

According to What They Can Endure – Streams in the Desert – January 3

  • 20233 Jan

I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure (Genesis 33:14).

What a beautiful picture of Jacob’s thoughtfulness for the cattle and the children! He would not allow them to be overdriven even for one day. He would not lead on according to what a strong man like Esau could do and expected them to do, but only according to what they were able to endure. He knew exactly how far they could go in a day; and he made that his only consideration in arranging the marches. He had gone the same wilderness journey years before, and knew all about its roughness and heat and length, by personal experience. And so he said, “I will lead on softly.” “For ye have not passed this way heretofore” (Josh.3:4.).

We have not passed this way heretofore, but the Lord Jesus has. It is all untrodden and unknown ground to us, but He knows it all by personal experience. The steep bits that take away our breath, the stony bits that make our feet ache so, the hot shadeless stretches that make us feel so exhausted, the rushing rivers that we have to pass through — Jesus has gone through it all before us. “He was wearied with his journey.” Not some, but all the many waters went over Him, and yet did not quench His love. He was made a perfect Leader by the things which He suffered. “He knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.” Think of that when you are tempted to question the gentleness of His leading. He is remembering all the time; and not one step will He make you take beyond what your foot is able to endure. Never mind if you think it will not be able for the step that seems to come next; either He will so strengthen it that it shall be able, or He will call a sudden halt, and you shall not have to take it at all.
–Frances Ridley Havergal

In “pastures green”? Not always; sometimes He
Who knowest best, in kindness leadeth me
In weary ways, where heavy shadows be.
So, whether on the hill-tops high and fair
I dwell, or in the sunless valleys, where
The shadows lie, what matter? He is there.

Chosen

  EPHESIANS 1:3-5

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.

—  Ephesians 1:5

My daughter and son-in-law are in the process of choosing a therapy dog for one of our grandsons. They have been discussing and studying about which breed is best and which size is right. During this time, their other son has been helping to walk the neighbor’s dog to get a sense of how this addition to the family will work. The family is invested together to make a good choice.

Even more important is understanding that God has decided that he wants us to join his family. Does it inspire you that God has been pleased to create us for fellowship with him? God knew that through the sacrifice of Jesus we would become sons and daughters of God. His plan for our lives is to include us in his story. It wasn’t enough that God created us and made us his imagebearers; he also loves us and wants to live in relationship with us.

When our lives reflect the ­realization of all this, we display God’s glory and his love, and something changes in us. We carry ourselves with the knowledge that we belong and are part of God’s family.

What does it mean to be part of this family? It means we are responsible for one another. Because of the love God has given us, we have the ability to live in unity together, sharing in the story that God has indeed chosen us.

Thank you, Father, that you have created us and have chosen us. Help us to see what it means to be in your family and to treat others with the same love you have shown us. Amen.