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.
The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Matthew 3:10
John the Baptist was baptizing people at the river. Several Pharisees and Sadducees came up to see what was happening. John warned them that they must produce fruit with repentance or else they would be cut down. Using the illustration of them being trees, he stated that if the tree does not produce good fruit it will be cut down.
Every tree is expected to be productive. Fruit trees are expected to produce good fruit. Ones that are not fruit trees are expected to produce leaves and either nuts or flowers on them. Any tree that does not produce any fruit or leaves is considered dead.
A dead tree is worthless as a tree. It will be cut down and used for firewood. There is no other purpose for it.
God expects people to work in the same way as a tree does. A believer must produce fruit in his life. It is easy for a person to repent of any sins and claim to believe in Jesus. It only takes a few seconds and a few words to do that.
Those actions are good, but it is not the end of everything in what it means to believe in and follow Jesus. There also has to be fruit in the life of the person. There must be a change in the person.
Paul stated that believers would be a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17). The person must show that he is a believer in Jesus and turn away from sin. The fruit of the Spirit must be showing in his life.
Along with change in his own life, the believer must also be reaching out to others and drawing them to Christ Jesus. He must be a witness to this fallen world.
If there is no fruit in his life, he will be cut down and cast out in the end.
Take a look at your life. Do you see fruit in your own life?
Are you changing your habits to follow God?
Are you being the witness Jesus called you to be?
Or are you still living pretty much the same as before you claimed to believe in Jesus?
Produce some fruit today in your life and don’t get cut down by God.
I pray today that God will stir up life in you; that you will begin to produce God’s fruit in your life; that you will be the witness God wants you to be; and that God will see you as a productive member of His kingdom.
We live in a double-wide manufactured home in the country. We have oak trees all around the house, several within just a few feet of the house. This gives you a slight picture of what our place is like.
This last weekend we had a large storm that rolled through the area. On Sunday evening, at about 7:30pm, we heard a large crashing sound and the house rumbled some. A couple of my boys suddenly noticed that there was a tree laying down on our porch outside.
I went out in the rain and looked at it. Along with that tree on the porch, there was another tree leaning up against the corner of the house. I immediately went back inside to see if there was any internal damage.
At the corner of the house where the tree hit, is a bathroom. Above the bathtub in the corner, the ceiling was partially caved in. Water was coming through in a solid stream. The amazing part in the water coming through, was that it was running straight into the tub and down the drain. This was the first protection of God in this terrible situation, along with that fact that no one was hurt at all.
With it raining hard, I knew that we could do nothing about it that evening. I just praised God that it was draining into the tub.
About one hour later, the power shut down on us. We had no lights and our water supply is from a well with a pump, causing no water available.
As this was happening in the great storm, we lost cellphone reception and all internet connection. We could not look up what was happening or if the power company even knew about the power outage. There was no way of knowing how widespread the outage was or when to expect power back on.
Since it was extremely dark in the house and there was nothing we could do, everyone went to bed around 9-10 pm. I have a family of eight children. All were home at the time this was happening.
Around 1:30 am, I was awoken with a very loud bang that rumbled the entire house. I jumped out of bed and began to head through the house to find out what had happened.
As I was going through by flashlight, the power was still off, I met one of my boys coming towards me with a flashlight, also trying to find out what had happened. I looked outside and could not see anything other than a large tree covering our porch.
I went back in to the bathroom and saw a large surprise…part of the ceiling was completely missing and one wall had a huge hole in it. I could see the sky with no problem through the bathroom.
Going back outside, I went around the porch and the fallen tree to see what had happened. The second tree that had been leaning on the house had fallen the rest of the way. It took out the wall behind the bathtub from floor to ceiling, along with a section of the roof.
The next blessing at this point, that God had blessed us with, was that it had stopped raining.
Four of my children helped me then to start putting a tarp over the hole and roof of the house.
While we were doing that my wife stayed with my youngest children and worked to calm them down. Two of my boys were sleeping in a room right next to the bathroom and so they heard and felt the shake really bad.
It took about 3 hours to get the tarp on the roof and over the missing wall. I knew the plastic that I used was not great, but knew it would be better than nothing. It would at least keep some of the rain out of the house.
At about 4:30am I was able to go back to bed. Since I normally get up around 5am, I was wide awake by about 6:30 and unable to sleep.
I got up and started doing my devotions and normal morning things. At about 7am someone drove up to our house. I did not recognize the vehicle so I went out to find out who it was. It was a friend from our church that had heard of our situation and showed up with a chainsaw ready to work at removing the trees.
Immediately we set to work at cutting the tree branches down and moving them off the porch. At about 8am two more friends showed up to help. Several more called and said that they would be there at some point in the day. One of the friends that came, had come with two of his friends, who we did not know, to help out. Several people had a chainsaw. Our neighbor allowed us to borrow his tractor to move the parts of the tree to a burn pile area on our property.
One lady showed up with food and water for everyone to eat. It was enough food and water to feed an army. This provided more than enough food for everyone working. This was the next blessing from God.
By around 2pm, we had both trees completely cut up and moved over to burn piles, the house had two tarps covering the hole in the roof and the wall completely, and the hole inside the house was patched over.
The amazing thing in all of this was that the weather forecast the entire week was to be rain every day. God gave us the entire day with absolutely no rain at all. It was very beautiful weather to work in, not too hot, not too cold. God was pouring out His blessings on us in the midst of an extremely hard and dangerous situation.
God also blessed us with the fact that during the time of the cleanup, no one was injured in any way.
Right now we are waiting on the insurance company to get an inspector come out to see what the damage was and how much they will pay. We don’t know how God will get all of this fixed, but we know that He is in control.
Not all of the people who helped us were members of the church that we go to, but they were believers in their own churches. This was a great example of how the family of God takes care of its members, regardless of denominational differences.
Along with this, throughout the entire situation, God helped me to remain calm and not get angry, as I normally would have. I had a peace that was supernatural and a strength that was only from God. God provided help and strength above what I had expected. Without His help and the help of all the friends, it would have taken us several days to get the trees cleared.
I want to encourage you, that no matter what you are going through God is right there by your side. He can give you the strength that you need to make it through your situation. God loves you and I and promised that He will take care of all of your needs. Trust Him today and give Him praise, even in the storms of life.
“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers.” Luke 6:44
Jesus started talking about trees. He was pointing out that good trees bring about a good fruit that bad trees cannot do. Then He talks about how each tree is recognized by its fruit.
Some people can look at the leaves on a tree and tell you what kind of tree it is. Most would be like myself, in that I would most likely fail in recognizing the tree by its leaves.
However, when the tree produces a fruit, such as the apple or orange, there is no doubt left in the mind as to what type of tree it is. Every person knows that an apple tree will never produce an orange, nor the opposite.
What does this have to do with people?
As a whole, on the surface, all people look the same: two hands, two feet, eyes, nose, and mouth. Many will even look nice and sharp like a good person–they are well dressed and groomed. These things do not make a person good or bad.
People who are truly good at heart are the ones who are saying and doing the good things of God. What is your life producing?
Looking at the life of Jesus, He produced men and women who served God with all of their life. He broke the chains of sin in the lives of people. He did not just go around feeding and healing people. He made real changes.
In life today, many people may be doing some good with feeding the poor, but are they producing eternal life changes? Are people being brought to God?
The fruits of God are love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, meekness and others. These are the fruits that produce eternal changes. These are the fruits that show you are of God.
When people look at you, what do they see? Do they see Jesus? Do they see the fruit that Jesus would produce?
Or do they see a person who carries a Bible, but lives for the world? Are you producing thorns in the lives of others?
May people recognize you as a child and servant of God.
I pray today that God will fill you with His Holy Spirit; that God will produce good fruit in your life; that the world will see Jesus in you; and that you will produce the fruit of God daily.