2 items tagged "Fruit"

  • All Words Count

    Matthew 12:33-35 “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.”

    When it came to religion, no one studied, disciplined, and had more zeal than the Pharisees. If a test existed, to show how much knowledge they had or how dedicated they were to their faith, this group of elite religious people would be on the honor roll! But then enters Jesus. Jesus was able to see through the religious veneer and go straight for the heart, as he always does. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks…” This would have been quite the statement to hear. During those days, spiritual growth and maturity had always been measured by external factors, but with these words, Jesus is flipping that on its head! Jesus is forcing these people, as well as us, to look within and start evaluating what’s really happening internally.

    Pharisees despise introspection. To introspect is to take an honest look within ones’ heart. We then have to take responsibility for what we find. What are we producing? Is the fruit coming forth something we really want to share with others? Is it spoiled or ripe? The reality is, what comes out of our hearts was already there to begin with. If bitterness, envy, malice and the like are flowing from our mouths, we can be certain they have been festering in our hearts for some time. Our hearts are always revealing themselves, especially at home. We can put up a great front in public, like the Pharisees, but at home our hearts are on full display. How do we speak to our spouses after a long day at work? When our kids continuously push all the right buttons, how are we responding? How do we speak of others (i.e. from church, work, etc.) in front of our families?

    Proverbs 18:21 "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Every word out of our mouth counts. It’s either building someone up or it’s tearing them down. Let’s make sure we allow the Lord to do the heart work in our lives, to ensure the fruit that is produced is not spoiled but will be ripe to bless others!

  • What season are you in?

    In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon lists the seasons of our lives in pairings—contrasting one season with the other. Inherent in all these contrasts is an important point: Seasons end, and new seasons begin. It’s important for us to recognize the seasons that we are in and when it’s time to take the exit ramp for a new destination. Let’s take a look at a few seasons that we need to recognize and quickly take the next exit:

    1. Unforgiveness: Forgiveness has a way of unlocking the shackles that keep us bound up in bitterness, anger, disappointment, and depression. If these feeling are holding us captive, then it is time for us to move on. If someone wronged us long ago and we’re still waiting for justice, it’s time to let it go. Let’s step into the new season of forgiveness!

    2. Cynicism: It takes no courage whatsoever to tear down other people or their ideas. It is not a spiritual gift to find every weakness in someone’s character and worldview. If we find it easy to do these things rather than encourage, build up, and offer our support, then it’s time for us to move on to a new season. We must also be careful of allowing cynics to be among our close circle of friends. Cynicism is always contagious. Let’s move into the new season of encouragement!

    3. Anger at the Church: It is unfortunate that there are many people who have been wrongly treated by church members. Many have not stepped foot in a church for years, due to the wounds they experienced. However, there is an alternative route to take, rather than avoiding a community of believers. Even if we have been wounded, we can all decide to move on and explore a relationship with God, in spite of whatever happened to us. Let us never use someone else’s bad behavior as an excuse to keep us from growing in relationship with God and being a part of His Bride (the Church). With grace and forgiveness, let us move into a new spiritual season of optimism about God’s plans for us and for the church!

    Do you find yourself in an unproductive season? What steps can you take to move on?

    What new season is God opening up for you?

    To find out more, check out Bill Hybels book Simplify: ten practices to unclutter your soul

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