“He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalms 1:3 NKJV

We all want to be “planted” by God, and prosper. Some of us expect to be fruitful all the time. 

I can think of no tree that bears fruit all year long. So why should we expect that we are any different?

Mass media would have you believe if you aren’t doing “something” (fill in whatever blank applies to you) then you are doing nothing.

This isn’t how God works.

Your particular season may not occur the same time as your neighbor or even your spouse. Some people “peak early.”  Others are “late bloomers.”

Don’t allow how things appear to deter you from your dreams!   DSC_2973 (2)

The picture above was taken today. This hydrangea should have bloomed back in May. Somehow it isn’t allowing my expectations to hinder its blooms.

I think God is trying to tell me something.

There are a few things I want to do. Some would say I’m too old. Others would say I’m too inexperienced. Their points could be valid.

Yet with God, we’re not confined by other people’s expectations.  

God doesn’t meet our expectations. In fact, His miracles often defy them!

It is in the silent and quiet times that God prepares for the fruit, the miracle, the breakthrough.

When Moses was up against the Red Sea with Egyptians at his back, it looked like God was doing nothing.

When Joshua first led the people around the city walls, it looked like God was doing nothing.

When Sara and Abraham waited decades before Isaac was born, it looked like God was doing nothing.

Each of these people was “planted” by God and fruitful in season.

We focus on the miracles but not so much on the “stuff” these Biblical heroes endured in their “dormancy.”

Moses murdered a man, wandered the desert and tended sheep for years before hearing God’s voice.

Joshua lived in the wilderness and had to wait for people to die before he could enter the Promised Land.

Sara and Abraham were close to dead and had “momma drama” due to their own impatience before God’s promise was fulfilled.

But their promises were fulfilled.  In their season.

Ours can be too.

“To everything [there is] a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV

Fall Fruit

Summertime yields a harvest of sweet tasty berries. Georgia melons are juicy and flavorful.  However, as much as I love the fresh fruit of summer, a serving of it fails to keep full for very long.

Now apples and pears have never been my favorites. I eat them because I know they are good for me. These fall fruits are not as sweet, but they do fill me up and keep those hunger pains at bay.

Fall fruits have a long “shelf life” compared to summer fruit. Many last months often holding seeds within that can produce yet another harvest. In contrast, the berries I love last only a few days.

There comes a time to push aside the sweet things that are tasty for those heartier things that will sustain. I love “feel good” devotionals and encouraging words but we must diligently study scripture and spend time with God. We are comforted knowing there are better days ahead, yet we must also weather dark days and disappointments as well.

Spiritual fruit takes time to grow and develop. Many people are led to Christ in a moment, however it often takes decades to transform from who we are to who we can become.  

Love, joy and peace are sweet berries for me.  But long suffering?  Not as tasty!  Faithfulness and gentleness require a bit more from me as well.  It is those trying experiences that cultivate the characteristics we lack and produce good fruit in us.

The Holy Spirit convicts us to mature in those areas we are deficient. We produce good fruit when we are obedient to Its prodding. 

I suppose fall fruits are heartier and more sustaining because they give us what we need to survive the harsh winter.  Each of has different “fall fruits,” we need to “digest.”

We grow when we choose things that are good for us and not just what tastes goodStudying scripture sustains.  It isn’t as tasty as accepting God’s grace and mercy.

If we are to achieve our dreams, mature and fulfill our purpose, chewing on God’s Word is necessary. It will get us through our “winter” so we can reap a harvest!

 “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil,” Hebrews 5:13-14 NKJV


Dead Things

The leaves pictured above and attached to this tree are no longer beneficial to the tree. They are utterly useless. Dead. These leaves no longer produce food or nutrients to sustain the tree. They are simply hanging on until a harsh wind blows them away. And when they are gone this tree will later be covered in green, life-sustaining leaves.

Unfortunately, the things that are dead to us don’t just always fall off or blow away. Sometimes we have to remove them. This requires that we recognize our own “dead leaves” and shed them ourselves so we can make room for the things that will allow us to grow and thrive.

Just like leaves, many things in our lives are productive for one season only. We may often try to hold on to things long after their usefulness has past. We may attempt to cling to relationships after God’s purpose has been fulfilled.

Sometimes we wonder why certain things we once did don’t work as well as before. Or perhaps, things we once found entertaining appeal to us no longer. It may even be that a once engaging friendship has simply evaporated.

As we grow and mature there will be old things we should cast off in order that we may grasp what God has for us now. Many people suffer from a syndrome of hanging on to the glory days of the past oblivious that God is offering something different but better now. Many people often fail to see their potential “new thing” because their focus is on what was and not on what is.

Other people fixate on past disappointments, failures or regrets. Pondering these things will not nurture you but instead suck the very life out of you! It is wise to consider the lessons learned from these things yet take the lessons learned and move forward.

Our relationship with God should be ever-growing and ever-changing us! We should be ready for a new life with Him which may require that we let go of some dead things. These may include some of our habits, relationships or even opinions that are holding us back instead of propelling us forward.

Give a little thought to a few changes you can make in this year. Some may be monumental. Others may be quite small. Yet, in determining what you can shed and making room for “green leaves” later, you may actually find 2014 to be your best year yet!

“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
1 Corinthians 13:11

“Dead flies putrefy the perfumer’s ointment, And cause it to give off a foul odor; [So does] a little folly to one respected for wisdom [and] honor.” Ecclesiastes 10:1

The Dead of Winter

Pictured above is one of my favorite hydrangea plants. I planted it shortly after my father died over ten years ago and its beauty and vibrancy has brought me great joy. But it doesn’t so hot right now. In fact it looks very much dead.

Dead. Dry. And lifeless.

There are times in our lives when we have situations or circumstances that also appear to be dead. All of the energy we have placed into a project or even a person appears to have been wasted. The harvest we may have once anticipated from seeds sown may be non-existent.

The good news for each of us is even when we are in “the dead of winter,” spring will eventually come.

When we are at a loss, God is not. He has answers and solutions for problems we can barely comprehend, let alone solve. His love for us doesn’t stop and He never fails to provide and intervene on our behalf even though we can’t see it. With God, things are not always as they seem. That’s why we have to see with eyes of faith His promises and not simply view things as they appear before us.

As with my plant, some situations may look like they are ready for the trash pile. But never lose faith in the resurrection power of our God. It didn’t just stop at the tomb. His power is available to us now. We need only have faith for it and believe there is nothing too hard for our God. Even our most barren winters, He can use to benefit us.

Winter is not usually the season people are drawn to. It’s cold. Activities may be limited. There’s not as much “fun in the sun.”

Most people love the promise of the harvest in the fall. The warmth and beauty of spring and summer are also favorites. But after Christmas has past, many of us become afflicted with the winter “blahs.” If you happen to live in an area that is hammered by cold and snow, you often can’t wait for winter to simply pass.

Yet, in the winter things that look dead often are not. Life continues, still. In our personal “winters” God is still in motion, still moving, working, creating and saving.

Do your finances look dead? Is it a friendship that could use some new “life?” It may your own thoughts or mindset that could benefit from a resurrection.  A job situation? A marriage? Maybe even your relationship with God could stand some new life!

I have learned that for my hydrangea to bloom, that old dead wood is necessary. In fact, if you cut it away, the tree will again turn green, but it will not bloom. The old wood is necessary for new blooms.

Sometimes our “winters” are necessary for us to bloom as well. We may need time to be still. We may require the cold and quiet time to cultivate those things within us that will allow us to bloom later in due season.

If you are frustrated, weary or impatient in your current winter state, have faith that you, too, will bloom. Like my hydrangea, the apparent death is merely an empty illusion. Life will spring forth once again.

With God, even death holds promise for the future.

“Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3 NKJV

“For He is not the God of the dead but of the living, for all live to Him,”
Luke 20:38 NKJV

“Therefore, He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.” Ephesians 5:14 NKJV