Psalm 52:8 A Flourishing Life

Olive tree branch

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8 

Going through this life can be difficult with the various trials and challenges that people face from day to day. Along with all of the challenges in life that many face, there is also the mundane routine of the average life.

Very few people find a real purpose in their life. They keep searching for meaning and purpose to what they are going through and often do not find it.

As people live life in this way, they are not flourishing, but just in survival mode each day. They don’t appear to be moving forward or accomplishing anything. There is no joy or peace in their lives.

David had penned these words while he was fleeing from Saul and when Doeg had betrayed him to Saul. He points out those that do not follow God will fail in the end, but that he is flourishing like an olive tree in God’s house. This is occurring because he is trusting in God.

There are many believers who are living like the world, not flourishing but just struggling from day to day. They have allowed their eyes to be focused on their problems and day-to-day struggles rather than upon God.

Although they still claim belief in God, they have lost trust in God and no longer flourish.

Those who fully believe and trust God and His word, will flourish. They will know that the struggles they have are only light and momentary in light of eternity. They will know that what is happening is for their good, because they are trusting God’s hand in their life.

Trusting in God brings about a joy and peace that the world cannot understand nor take away. This allows a person to really live and flourish like a well planted olive tree producing lots of fruit in his life.

Instead of focusing on the challenges in your life, put your eyes upon God. Trust that He knows what He is doing and what He is doing is the best thing to be done. Then rest in His control.

Allow yourself to be strengthen by His Holy Spirit so that you can live the life that He has blessed you with. You can live the abundant life that Jesus promised, flourishing, growing and moving forward. Life does not have to be mundane and dead, but full of life.

Are you flourishing today?

I pray today that you will know the life God has for you; that you will trust the path God has for you; that you will live for God; that God will help you see past the challenges in this life; and that you will know the joy of life in Jesus. 

John 12:24 Lose To Gain

Seed Producing

“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24

The time for Jesus to go to the cross is getting closer. He is now telling the disciples that He is ready for death. Jesus uses the illustration of a kernel of wheat to say that it must fall and die before it can produce any more wheat.

Regardless of what plant it is, the seed must fall off of the plant and die before it can produce any more seeds. It may be good to have the seed on the tree for a time, but after a while it must die. If it does not die, the plant will not be able to produce any more. If it does not produce any more, then it is extremely limited in how much produce is made.

Jesus knew that in His death, He would be able to reach a lot more people than just the few He could physically reach, walking around and talking.

The world looks at death and dying as failing or stopping. They only see one type of death. Yet, for God, there are three types of death. There is the physical death with the body, the eternal death of separation of God, and death to self.

Jesus did not come to this world for Himself, but for every person. He set the example of dying to self to save the world.

Every believer must choose to die to self. He must put away selfish desires and focus on God and others. Once this occurs, it opens the door to loving others more and reaching more for Christ.

God sees death to self as a person giving Himself to God. It is allowing God to use the person to reach the world.

As a believer you must be willing to die to yourself, just as Jesus died on the cross. Put God and others first in your life as you live your life on this earth. Do what it takes to reach others.

You must lose your personal desires to put God’s desires first in your life. When this happens, God can use you to reach the world. Lose your life and you will produce more fruit. Lose today and gain much more in the end.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will lose your desires to gain God’s desires; that God will use you to reach the lost; and that God will produce much fruit in your life.

Luke 3:8 The Important Part Of Repentance

Fruit trees

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. Luke 3:8

John the Baptist had started his ministry and was baptizing people with water. As he was doing this, many people came to see him. Many were thinking that they were Abraham’s children and did not need to change anything. He told them to start producing fruit with the repentance that they were doing.

Fruit trees that do not produce fruit are worthless. They become just another tree that takes up space and maybe offers a little shade, but they are not doing what they are meant to do.

People are to be just like the fruit tree. They are to do something of value. Repenting of sin is something that is easy to do, because it is just saying some words. It is admitting one is wrong and saying he is sorry for it.

However, repentance is much more than just being sorry for a sin, it is a turning away and producing new fruit.

In the Bible the people talked about being the children of Abraham. Today people talk about their parents being a believer, or a pastor of a church. Or some will say that they are a member of some church. These things do not make a person a believer and does not show any fruit in one’s own life.

The fruit that needs to show up is the fruit of the Spirit. There is to be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, and more. There needs to be a greater hunger for God’s word. There needs to be a desire to tell others about Jesus. There needs to be a change of character.

If you have repented and chosen to follow Jesus, you must take a look at your life. Are you showing a change in your life, by becoming more like Jesus everyday?

Are you producing fruit in your life?

If you are not producing fruit, God will be upset with you. You have become just a dead tree in His garden. In the end, God will have to cut you down if you do not produce any fruit.

Seek God and His ways to produce fruit. Be willing to be changed by God and made useful today.

I pray today that you will allow God to produce fruit in your life; that you will be used by God to make more disciples; and that people will see Jesus in and through you.

Renewed Life

As I was preparing my garden for the fall planting, I had to remove some of the dead plants from the spring planting. Most of the plants had completely dried up and died. The main reason for that was back in June, we had some devastating rain storms and animals getting into the garden eating most of the plants. After that point, I just let the garden go, not really expecting any more.

Two of the plants that were both eaten down and blown down by the winds and rains, were my tomato and green pepper plants. I had already received a good number of green peppers from the pepper plants, so I was not really concerned about them.

However, with the tomato plants, I had not received any tomatoes by that point. There were many growing, but were still green. I was very disappointed at the loss.

As I said at the beginning, I was beginning to remove all the dead plants. When I got to the green pepper and tomato plants I was surprised to find out that neither set had died. Over the last week I have already pulled about ten green peppers and have several dozen more just about ready to be picked.

For the tomato plants, there were many flowers on them about ready to produce a tomato. There were also a good number of green tomatoes already forming. Within the next two weeks some of the tomatoes should be ready for the picking.

I was very excited about the life these plants had. It was a renewed life, after what I thought was a confirmed death sentence.

Thinking about my garden made me think about life. Often we go through life and hit some devastating event in our lives. We think that everything is over and nothing more can happen. These events can be a death of a loved one, loss of a job, sickness, injury, or some other great event. Other times it can be smaller events, but still just as disappointing and discouraging.

Believers in Jesus do not need to give up as though life is over.

When Jesus died, He was placed in a grave for three days. It looked like life was over and the battle was lost. However, after three days, Jesus rose again with a renewed life.

I do not know or understand how Jesus was able to come back to life. All I know is that God did it in His great power.

I do not understand how my green pepper and tomato plants survived. I do not know how they had a renewed life. Again, it is only by the power and grace of God that they survived.

You may be going through or just went through some great struggle in your life. You may feel like that life is over, all joy is gone, that there is no more hope left.

Jesus wants to give you a renewed life. He wants you to live again for all eternity. Look to Jesus and trust His power in your life. Allow Him to fill you up with His life. Live a renewed life.

Your life is not over yet. With this renewed life, you can produce thirty, sixty, or hundred fold the fruit God has placed in your life. God has more in plan for your life, if you will let Him do it through you and not give up.

Weeds In A Garden

During the spring, I had cleared out all of the weeds in the garden and planted many types of vegetables. For a while I was able to keep most of the weeds out. At one point, some animals got into the garden and ate down some of the plants. Then we had some severe rain storms that destroyed many of the plants. This led to discouragement and caused me to cut back on the work in the garden. Along with that, there was no plants that were producing any vegetables. Why work on keeping the weeds out, if there are really no plants to protect? With that I left the garden alone for the last two months.

Over the last two weeks I had decided to start working in the garden again to get it ready for the fall planting season. Nearly the entire garden was completely covered in weeds, some of which were standing more than two feet tall. It was a nightmare to look at, and very discouraging.

I set out to start clearing the weeds out of the garden. Over several hours of work, over several days, I have cleared more than half of the garden of any weeds, most of which I had pulled by hand. In the process I noticed that my green pepper plants and tomato plants, which I thought had died, were alive and thriving. I already have pulled about 15 nice sized green peppers from the plants, and green tomatoes are already growing, much to my surprise.

As I was pulling weeds, I began to think about the garden, life and what Jesus said about weeds. Life is like a great big garden that God has planted. Jesus said that in the end God will have the angels toss out all the weeds in His garden. These are those who do not believe in Jesus, who are not serving God and producing His fruit. In our lives we are supposed to produce fruit that He desires.

Just like my garden has weeds, so does God’s garden. Seeds from weeds in other places have found their way into my garden and taken it over.

The world is hard at work planting seeds of weeds in God’s garden. The world does not want God’s garden to produce His fruit.

In my life, and everyone else’s life, there have been seeds of weeds sown. These are seeds of discouragement, unbelief, fear, hatred, greed, jealousy, and the list goes on. If left alone, these seeds will grow and take over your life, just like those seeds did in my vegetable garden.

To combat these seeds, you need to regularly work at weeding your garden of life. On a daily basis, take a look at your garden and ask God to reveal the weeds in your life.

Go before God, the master gardener, and seek is wisdom and strength to get rid of the weeds in your life. Do not allow the weeds of this world overtake your life and destroy the fruit God has planted in you.

This means it will be work. Sometimes it will be very hard and dirty work to get rid of those weeds, but it will be worth it in the end. The longer the weeds have been allowed to grow and mature and spread, the more work it will take to get them out of your garden. The longer the seeds of sin have been allowed to grow, mature and spread in your life, the more work it will take to get them out of your life.

Start today to weed your garden. Work to produce the fruit God has made you to produce. Be the great garden that God has planned you to be