Saturday, November 20, 2010

New Day

Earlier this week, I was driving to work and enjoying God's kaleidoscope of colors in the sky. The combination of color and clouds made for quite a show. It was pink, then it was orange, then it was yellow. The sunrise was truly amazing. Pictures wouldn't do it justice. It's always a pick-me-up when God shows off in nature.

The next morning, the cloud formations were a bit different, so I prepared myself to be wowed again. I drove and I waited...

And I waited...

          And I waited....

                    And I waited....

No colors in the sky.
No amazing light show.
No "Wow, do it again" moments.

Then it dawned on me (pun intended). The sky was white.... like a blank canvas, waiting for the Artist to begin another masterpiece. But God was waiting on me to join Him in the day before he would reveal to me what the day would hold.

Each morning is a chance for newness. A new day. A fresh start. New mercy. New grace. New compassion. New love. And a new chance to love the people put in my path to extend to them new mercy, new grace, and new compassion.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Basket of Fruit

I've been thinking a lot about fruit lately. Probably because it's fall, and I think I've eaten more apples this year than in the last 10 years combined. And since we talked about self-control in life group last night and it is a fruit of the Spirit, I thought I'd get some of these ideas out of my head.

From Galatians, we know that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. A few things happen when a tree/vine produces fruit:
  • The fruit is evidence the tree is alive.
  • When the tree has no fruit, no one can eat it.
  • The fruit is not for the tree, but for the benefit of someone/something else. An apple on the tree doesn't do anyone any good, but once it is picked, it is good for the consumer.
  • The tree has no knowledge of what happens to the fruit once it's removed. Even if the fruit falls on the ground, it nourishes the soil as it breaks down.
  • The process of growing the fruit makes the tree stronger and helps it grow.
  • The fruit becomes rotten if it remains on the tree too long.
I'm sure there are others, but I'm not a fruit-ologist.

So how do we relate to fruit trees?
  • When we show the fruit, it's evidence that Jesus is alive in us!
  • We can't give away what we don't have. Unlike trees (in this part of the world anyway), the fruit of the Spirit isn't seasonal!
  • If we get all the love, joy, peace, etc from the Father, it's to benefit others. We are to share the fruit to nourish and strengthen each other!
  • Sometimes, we love people, and don't receive anything back (like it just falls to the ground). But the purpose of receiving love (or any other fruit) is to give love - we can't control what anyone else does with it.
  • Our love grows stronger the more we give it away.But love doesn't come easily. The process of learning to love is an amazing journey. If we don't continue to learn to love "better", our love becomes weak.
  • If we keep the fruit of the Spirit locked up inside us, we can become complacent, stale, and rotten.
I have many things in drawers, closets, the basement and the garage that were gifts given to me that I will never use, but don't give or throw away because I'm afraid of hurting the giver's feelings. God is the one giver that doesn't want us to keep what he gives us to ourselves. We have been given the fruit of the Spirit as a gift - and the more we give away, the more we seem to have.

So go ahead - give away a whole basket full of fruit today. Don't worry - there's more where it came from. Besides, who wants rotten fruit in their closet?