But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

I finally grasped the difference between busy and fruitful at some point in the last few years. I once ran myself ragged trying to do far too much and none of it to my satisfaction. I now realize fruitful doesn’t equate to a steady stream of productivity coming off a line.

As in my garden, there are times in the process of bearing fruit that seem barren. It looks like nothing is going on. There are dry patches and periods of dormancy. Then there are times when the storms of life inundate us, and we feel like we will never feel the warmth of the sun (or Son) again. Yet, it is all part of the process.

Few things of any substance grow without considerable changes to their environment and a substantial amount of time.

Some things sprout overnight, like the weeds I’d rather be rid of. I’ve grown wary of anything that offers instant gratification. Things that are truly valuable like fulfilling relationships, accomplishing goals and realizing our dreams tend to take time and attention to not only develop but to also keep those things alive.

  Thankfully, God rewards faith and patience as evidenced by Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Joseph, Moses and a slew of other flawed yet willing figures in the Bible. And God rewards us as well.

If we do not give up on those dreams God plants within us, we can eventually yield the promised harvest if we trust and obey. This also means keeping the faith when we are pruned (as were our heroes of the Bible) so we can eventually produce something good!

Pruning is painful and leaves lasting scars. But it is necessary. God would have us reach for the new things He wants to give. Instead, we often hold fast to dead dry things. When we are stubborn, God simply rips away the very things (or people) we are clinging to for our own good.

Left to ourselves, we can produce a lot of different things.

Doubt. Fear. Worry.

But that is not what God ever intended. Our Father wants more for us in this life.

From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward. Proverbs 12:14 NIV

So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ,
that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead,
in order that we might bear fruit for God. Romans 7:4 NIV

I’m striving to produce those things our Father desires, not just whatever happens to come to mind.

I’ve also learned that becoming fruitful means enduring temporary pains to produce long-term gains. I’ll admit that lesson probably took a lot longer than it should have to learn.

Thankfully, God is patient. God’s power working in and through us can produce a harvest that truly glorifies Him and even allows us to love one another in the process.

What are you bringing forth?

Good Fruit!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. John 15:4-6 NKJV

Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12:10 NKJV

Are you bearing good fruit?  BNWPHOTOCHAL BLSD 15


**Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out Day 2 of my Five for Five Black and White Photo Challenge. If you would like to participate you can find all of the details here.





“The LORD [is] near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.” Psalms 34:18 NKJV

Yesterday we experienced very high winds where I live. Thankfully, we didn’t experience the deadly tornadoes our neighboring states endured. These pictures were taken in my yard. This pear tree was severely broken. Its gaping wound is obvious. Unlike this tree, we don’t always display our wounds. Like the tree, the harsh winds of life can potentially break us away from our Source and we too can fall away. brokenbldins1

The fallen limb is wasting no time showing signs of decay. Its newly lush leaves are quickly dying. The same thing happens to us when we are pulled away from God. Without God, we can occupy space but not truly live. The limb dies when removed from the “body.” The same thing happens to us when we allow storms and winds to remove us from the body of Christ.

Sometimes we remove ourselves from God because of hurt inflicted by others. For many, it may be depression or other illnesses that leave them feeling ostracized and alone. Some people feel so overwhelmed that instead of running toward God for deliverance, fear or guilt sends them in the opposite direction.

This limb landed on top of my roses. They are crushed beneath its heavy weight. While this limb is no longer receiving sustenance from the tree, it is crushing the life and beauty that lies beneath it. Broken people can do that too.

Many broken people crush the hopes and dreams of others. Their wounds are so deep, they can’t remember when they were once a source of life to others. In their misery, hurt people hurt others. Many who are suffering don’t directly squash the people around them but instead attempt to block the Light that would allow others to thrive.

My roses will die if I don’t remove this limb soon. The dead weight does more damage the longer it is remains. It is not God’s desire that we break or crush those around us. In His faithfulness, God does what is necessary to protect us and others whether we like it or not.

You see, I lost another pear tree last summer. When it split (and fatally so) I knew I should prune the remaining two if they were going to survive. But I didn’t act in a timely manner when I was given the direction to do so. When we don’t do what we should, when we should, we usually suffer the consequences.

Thankfully, God prunes us to keep us from breaking! He cuts away things that we perceive as beautiful and wonderful because He can see the impending storm beyond the horizon. Without pruning, the world could pull us apart and possibly separate us from God! Without Him we can’t survive. We may be alive but we won’t thrive anymore than the dying limb across my roses. brokenblsdins2

Pruning is often painful. We rarely recognize it. We tend to analyze why when people and things we enjoy are gone. God prunes as necessary to keep us upright. God loves us and gives us grace and mercy to endure the cuts that ultimately leave us stronger, healthier and able to thrive for His Kingdom.

My healthy trees provide homes for several animals. They produce berries for the birds and rats squirrels to eat.  They release oxygen essential for life. For our spiritual health, it is necessary that God prunes us so we not only survive but also provide for others. 

We may lose a few limbs along the way. However, God prunes those who abide in Him for our own good.

Be mindful to not let broken people break you. Pray for them. Minister to them if they allow you. Recognize that every hurt isn’t about you but instead something inside the offending party. Seek discernment to recognize pain in others. There is no better way to show God’s love than to meet people in their pain. 

Finally, don’t break other people when you are hurting. Sometimes we experience bad breaks. There are times when God’s pruning leaves us feeling broken. Regardless of how a wound is formed, it takes time to heal. However, our God restores and comforts those who seek Him.

With God we can move forward no matter what bad “breaks” we are forced to face.

“For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, And that its tender shoots will not cease.” Job 14:7 NKJV



B Is for Blessed!

“I am the true vine and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit,” John 15:1-2 NKJV

Jesus’ teaching about the vine and the branches is one of the most readily quoted. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” John 15: 5 NKJV

Without Him we can do nothing. However, the scripture prior to that, John 15:2 is often skimmed over. It is easy to realize how dependent we are on Christ, yet most of us are remiss and become ill at the notion that to become fruitful we must be pruned.

Without pruning, even the best specimens in any garden will eventually lose the ability to…

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