Friday, August 26, 2016


My mother had a theory about fruit. She believed that whatever was "the fruit of the season" - the fruit that was naturally growing in that season - contained exactly the nutrients you would need to thrive in that season.  She didn't need to prove her theory.  She just had it. 

God spoke to me so clearly about twenty years ago about seasons.  He showed me that when a new season arrives I have to wear the wardrobe that season requires.  If I wear the wardrobe in the summer that kept me alive in the will kill me.  And vice versa.  In order to flourish in whatever season I am in - I have to wear the proper wardrobe.  I will get bogged down by insisting on "wearing" what I wore in a former season and "being" who I was in a former season.

We must change when the season does or we will wither away.  

Sometime we don't like the new season.  We find it unacceptable to accept that we have NO CONTROL OVER THE SEASONS and WHEN AND HOW THEY CHANGE. 

The thing about changing seasons is that they bring the life that keeps the earth fruitful.  Any place on earth that does NOT have changing seasons is either a frozen wasteland or a desert. There is no fruit where there are no changing seasons.

This is true for the earth and for the people who live on it. 

I have realized that in a spiritual sense, there is some truth to my mother's theory about the "fruit" of that season being what you need to thrive in that season. 

In our lives, seasons bring the life that keep our lives fruitful. The Lord's purpose is for me to "bear fruit."  I am tempted to include the entire chapter of John 15, but you can read it for yourself.  

Fruit does not appear instantly.  It must be planted in us. It must be watered and endure all the seasons that come our way. The key word is that we endure. A strawberry plant doesn't even know it is a strawberry plant.  It just endures whatever comes its way. And then one day.. we have STRAWBERRIES!!

When we forget that we are beings who are being cultivated to bear fruit then we forget our primary purpose for being on this planet.  

We have no control over the changing seasons and it frustrates us.  Unless we remember that in this season.. in the season you are in at the moment.. God is creating the "fruit" of this season in you.  This season has purpose.  We don't see the fruit of the season today.  We just endure. We just trust Him.  We remember that He is faithful. We believe that He is love.  And then one day we comprehend that God was creating something sweet in us. Without realizing that it was happening inside us.. we see something new.. something delicious..

Where there used to be hatred... now there is love.
Where there used to be despondency.. now there is joy.
Where there used to be confusion... now there is peace.
Where there used to be impatience... now there is patience.
Where there used to be unkindness.. now there is kindness.
Where there used to be evil... now there is goodness.
Where there used to be doubt... now there is faith.

The fruit of the season that you may be enduring right now is God's purpose for the season you are enduring right now. He isn't being mean. He isn't being distant. He is making you fruitful. He is giving you deep resources to help you in the future.  Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't happening.  

The fruit of this season will be evident in the future. In the future you will be thankful that God took the time to prune you, to change you, to IMPROVE YOU.  When you face another season where hatred would have been your natural "fruit"... suddenly you find love where hate used to be.

When you face another season of life being shaken and your natural reaction would have been confusion and fear... suddenly you find peace instead. 

The fruit of the season you are enduring will be good and holy and eternal. Just trust the Gardener.

But the fruit of the season you endure and endured is not just to make you a NICER person. No, it is for others. 

The world is fearful...A peaceful person in times of turmoil has the fruit the world is seeking.
A person filled with love has the fruit the world needs in a time where hate is taking center stage.

THE FRUIT OF THIS SEASON you are in is making you more like Jesus.  That is God's ultimate purpose in your life and mine. Some of us accept this.. and some of us do not. 
Some of us have peace. and some of us do not.

Jesus said:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful..... Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned."
John 15

Monday, August 22, 2016


"When you have a record" commonly refers to someone who has committed a crime and been incarcerated for it.  Once this crime is on your record, it can follow you for life, affecting your ability to get a job.  After you do your time, the government may forgive you but it never forgets.  Once you have a record, you ALWAYS have a record.  It takes a hero of a person to overcome that kind of mistake. I personally know a hero like that.  He doesn't give up. Keeps trying. He is the bravest soul I know.  

Fortunately for the human race, GOD is not like the government.  Sure, He requires payment for our mistakes but for some divine reason, He has come up with a system where we make the mistakes and, if we ask, He will allow His Only Son to pay for them. Well, more than pay for particular sins, but pay for our state of being sinners.  We sin because we are sinners and not the other way around. This is a kind of love that we cannot, in our human reasoning, even begin to UNDERSTAND.

Furthermore, He promises that once He forgives our sin, HE FORGETS OUR SIN.

WHAT?????  YUP.

The only thing God requires from those of us who have received this gift of LOVE is that we give it back to those around us.  For some unknown reason, many Christians I know don't seem to want to believe that God is serious about this whole LOVE thing.  We kinda brush Him off.. sort of like, "Well, yes, I've read about love.. but I think He really wants me to devote myself to helping to build the gym my church is trying to add on to our building and to sing in the choir." 

The Holy Spirit has tried to describe this kind of love all through The Bible.  God doesn't just hint at it.  Jesus didn't suggest it. He calls LOVE the NEW COMMANDMENT.   1 Corinthians 13 describes LOVE the way GOD DESCRIBES it.   

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance."

Nice.  Part of the way we can evaluate whether or not God's love is controlling us is whether or not we keep a record of someone else's wrongs against us.    

Remember this...LOVE IS A BIG DEAL TO GOD.

And if GOD is BIG enough to FORGET your sins against HIM...What KIND OF PRIDE DOES IT TAKE TO THINK YOU CAN KEEP A RECORD OF SOMEONE ELSE'S SINS AGAINST YOU????? (big questions require multiple question marks)

WHEN YOU HAVE A RECORD... OF SOMEONE ELSE'S WRONGS AGAINST YOU... you do not have the kind of love that God is desiring to plant in your inner being through the Holy Spirit.   IF.. when that person's name is mentioned.. you IMMEDIATELY remember a long list of offenses against you.. you cannot love that person.  Why? Love keeps no record of being wronged.  

When that happens to me, when someone's name is mentioned and the first thing I remember is how that someone else has hurt me... 

I consider it like a text message from the Holy Spirit,"See that record you are keeping?  It isn't love.  Give it to Me."  I do.  I try.  Sometimes I have to try and try and try again, but I never think it is OK with God that I have that record. Why? Because it isn't o.k. with God.

I "HAVE A RECORD" against God. Yes. I do.  I have sinned against Him and others.  
In His mercy He chooses to forgive AND forget my record against Him... 
I have learned that..


If I don't have love.. I am nothing. are you.

"If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing."1 Corinthians 13:2

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Every now and then someone preaches a sermon that really hits you in the heart and comforts, exhorts and edifies.  Last Sunday I heard such a sermon.My son, Philip, was the one who was delivering it.  The sermon title was "SHOUT!"  Makes a Mom's heart happy to see a son who loves God.  Funny how he wasn't my son anymore, but a man of God delivering God's Word.   Anyway...

I know I won't do justice to the sermon, but he started out talking about Nazareth. He reminded us of the question Nathanael asked Philip when Philip invited him to meet Jesus of Nazareth. 

 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked. 
(John 1:46) 

Evidently, Nazareth had a reputation of being a loser town. 

Philip pointed out that the people had kind of adopted everyone else's opinion of Nazarenes. They thought of themselves as losers.  These thoughts had them doubting that the Messiah could come from a town of losers.  BECAUSE OF HOW THEY VIEWED THEMSELVES...They brushed Jesus and his reputation off by saying, 

"Isn't this the carpenter?.....Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home. He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith." 
(Mark 6:3-6)

Philip likened this crowd to those of us who have been in church forever. Grew up with Jesus, more or less.  He's familiar to us, and we don't really see any miracles.. and so we don't really ask for them. We have become too familiar with Jesus to see Him for Who He Really Is. He might also be amazed at OUR lack of faith. 

THEN.. Philip compared that attitude to the one that Blind Bartimaeus had. (Mark 10:46-52)

Blind Bartimaeus didn't want to be blind anymore. So he SHOUTED, 

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

People around him told him to be quiet. Why would people tell him to be quiet? Why would people not want a blind person to see?  Their cautions to be quiet made him shout even MORE.  He was crying out for MERCY.  Jesus didn't owe him anything. He knew this.
He was crying for mercy. His situation was so pitiful that ONLY THE MERCY OF GOD could repair it.   
His shouts for mercy got Jesus' attention.
He called for the man to be brought to His side. He asked:

"What do you want me to do for you?"

What?  He's blind, Jesus. He wants to see.  Jesus KNEW what Blind Bartimaeus needed and wanted.. still.. He wanted him to use his mouth, to speak the words out loud, to tell Him what he wanted.

Philip reminded us that we have to use our mouths... to cry out.. to SHOUT out.. to tell God what is in our heart.

Blind Bartimaeus threw his cloak aside to be able to better run to Jesus.  We also, Philip said, have to throw off whatever may hinder us - pride, doubt, fear - from running to Jesus.  People around you may mock you for your shouts, for your passionate belief that Jesus is able to heal you and heal you completely. Shout to the Lord! Shout Louder! Shout more!

After Jesus healed him, 

Blind Bartimaeus was no longer blind!

Philip said, "He could no longer be referred to as Blind Bartiemaeus. Maybe.. from that day on he was simply known as 'Bart."  His identity was no longer as a sickly and needy man but as the healed man."

When God delivers us it is because of His mercy.
When God delivers us He delivers us completely.

Philip reminded us that we can be changed from "the person with the addiction" or the "couple with the bad marriage" or "the depressed person" to be people who shouted from our hearts, cried out to God in desperation and God heard us.  

Blind Bartimaeus had an identity change.
I wonder what he would have said to anyone referring to him as "Blind Bartiemaeus"?  I'm sure he would have pointed out, "Uhhhh.. excuse me.. I'm not blind anymore.  Jesus healed me. Just call me 'Bart'"

I wonder what we say when someone reminds us that we used to be wild and crazy? Sinful and lustful? Angry and hateful? Weak and sickly? 

"Uhhh... excuse me... I'm not those things anymore.  Jesus has healed me.  Just call me Bart."  Well... o.k.... maybe your name isn't Bart, but you get the idea...

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 

 2 Corinthians 5:17 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


It happens.  
For some reason every now and then someone leaves your fan club. They're not that in to being your friend that much anymore.  Really?Yes. 

It happens. 
It hurts of course, but, eventually we move on. Because, as the song says, "I can't make you love me if you don't."  Every now and then a friendship runs its course. It ends. You live. You survive.  You get over it.  You might wonder if there was something you did wrong, or something more you might have done right.. but.. when someone doesn't want to be around you.. that's it.  You get the hint.  You move on.  

There are people who choose to move out of your life.. and then.
.......there are those people who hate you. HATE. Despise you. People who openly or secretly wish that harm and bad things and challenges and hard times would come your way The dictionary defines "hate" as passionate and INTENSE DISLIKE.  

I think HATE is the state of being where there is an utter absence of love. 

It happens. 

It happens in a marriage.  In a friendship.  In a family.  

It happens. 

Usually, we are shocked and heartbroken to discover this. Sometimes people have been hiding this darkness behind a smile. We need time to process the betrayal.
We waste lots of time trying to figure out how this happened.
Don't bother. Only God sees hearts.
He sees theirs.

He sees yours. 
Only He can put love in place of hate.

It happens. 

When someone hates you - pray for them. That's what Jesus said.  Just pray for them. Their actions are coming from an unforgiving angry heart.  Only God can change a heart.

If anyone on earth was ever hated it was Jesus.   Yup. HATED. Yes.  People had MURDEROUS, EVIL hatred toward Jesus.  Jesus was PERFECTION in a HUMAN BODY.. never sinned.. only love.. willing to die for the people who wanted Him dead. 

And what did His say to His followers about this hatred He received?

"Get ready. It will happen to you. 
People will hate you if you love Me."

 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated Me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also."
John 15:18-25

It WILL happen.
Oh, don't be so negative, Marie. 
I'm not being negative. I'm reprinting the words Jesus spoke. Are you His follower?  
Those are HIS WORDS.
Was Jesus being negative? 

I think it's called "speaking truth".  He did that. A lot.  We don't do that a lot. Anymore.

It happens.

It IS happening.
Christians are being killed, persecuted...
It isn't happening here... yet.
But we can feel the change in the wind.
WE know that... 

Someday.. it will happen here.

Why did Jesus bother to speak these words?

I think the reason He spoke these words is to keep us from being surprised about it.  To prepare us for it.  To keep us in fighting form in this war against our souls.

In a war, the best offense is a SURPRISE ATTACK. 
Jesus warning is an attempt to make us ready. 

He didn't say "it won't happen."
He said, "It will happen."

According to Jesus.. WHEN SOMEONE HATES YOU... because you love Him...
Just remember.
It happened to Him.
It will happen to us.

The question is not whether or not it will happen.
The question is "Will it surprise you?" 
It better not.

"Do not be surprised, my brothers and sisters, if the world hates you."
1 John 3:13