Tag Archives: jesus

an arrow attached to a tree

Things to Think About

(A two minute read or a lifetime of pondering)

Life is full of a questions and ideas. Some of them pass like the wind. Some fall to earth and become objects of curiosity for a time. A few of them grow into something I can write about.

Some parts of this short collection could appear later in more complete form. Or, they may pass like the wind. I can’t see from here.

They are offered for you to think about, write about, dream about or forget about. Freely they were given, so freely I give them away.

  • Jesus is the new tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We eat of Him and it undoes that other one.
  • Look at all the things the tree provides: Seed, fruit, sugar, shade, protection, beauty, heat. What else?
  • The world: Based on a true story.
  • “What if?” That is simultaneously the most wondrous and the most dangerous question in the world.
  • We are, all of us, works in progress, but only if we keep our minds open to weigh all things carefully. Otherwise we are standing stones, casting a shadow, providing no light.
  • Resentments are nothing more than bones chewed beyond nutrition or taste. Long after the taste is gone, the hater gnaws compulsively, not considering the worthlessness of his action.
  • It’s easy to remember God loves me. It’s harder to remember that He died a brutal death to express it. Harder still is to accept that He did this because of his hatred for all the evil and sin in my life.
mountain stream

The River Rolls On

(a three-minute read)

The old saying is that we can never cross the same river twice. The same is true for our encounters with God. No two are alike.

Sometimes when I seek him, I don’t get what I ask for or expect. Sometimes I meet the Holy Spirit. The Spirit can lift me up, or remind me (always gently) where I need improvement. Or he will coach me until I am ready to compete.

Sometimes the Father shows up and overpowers me with His love and dominion. Sometimes Jesus appears, to teach – you guessed it – a word.

Sometimes when I seek God, He doesn’t come at all, in any of His persona. He leaves me alone. But it isn’t a lottery. Like the rest of life, it’s not random. It’s part of a plan. I always get what I need, and He knows what I need before I need it.1

He shapes and molds me into a vessel that can receive more of Him over time. Just as the potter’s lump initially holds nothing, the artist’s hands slowly, patiently, draw it into the shape of a primitive cup.

Then, with more revolutions and more, the cup changes in size. Its walls narrow and it grows taller. There’s no more material now than in the original lump, but it’s given an inside and an outside. It has boundaries. So should I.

God shapes these boundaries in us. If we accept them, our insides grow larger, and we can contain more of Him. If we reject them, we are misshapen, ugly and of little use until we are ready to lay ourselves on the wheel again as an unformed lump.

In eternity, I’m a vessel that can receive all of Him. Here in the world, I have time and space limitations, but He has me grow, steadily, patiently.

In eternity, I’m a learner with the patience and obedience to sit endlessly at His feet. I learn. I worship. I grow. I change shape. I’m filled. In the world, I’m a learner who can be impatient and disobedient, sometimes from wilfulness, more often from the loud and real distractions life presents.

So, I go in circles on the potter’s wheel. No, it’s not that. It’s a carousel. As I circle round, I reach for the brass ring that is Christ.

It’s His music playing as I orbit. It’s His pony I ride, up and down, up and down. Even though I move in a circle, I never quite come back to the same place. Like the water that is never the same river flowing under the bridge, the stream of my life is constantly moving and changing.

From my belly will flow rivers of this living water.2 Christ promised it. I’m just a rock face. It’s the Lord Himself that tumbles out of me to water the plains below.

1. Matthew 7:11 – ‘If you then, being evil, know how to gie good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!’
2. John 4:14 – ‘But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I shall give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life.’

Fruit on a naked branch

Fruit? Or Roots?

A three-minute read

Fruit is a big topic in Christian circles.

John the Baptist may have dined on locusts and wild honey, but he also knew a bit about fruit. He encouraged the religious leaders of his day to ‘bear fruit worthy of repentance,’ warning them that ‘every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.’ 1

Jesus also used fruit metaphors. False prophets? You will know them by their fruit. Every good tree bears good fruit. But a corrupt tree bears evil fruit. Like John the Baptist, he warned that ‘every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruit you will know them.’ 2

The Apostle Paul outlines the nature of this good fruit, produced by Holy Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control.3

But these fruits don’t prosper on their own.

Jesus likened Himself to a vine, and his disciples to branches. ‘He who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit’, He said. ‘For without Me you can do nothing.’ 4

So, now I know what the fruit is, and the ways in which it manifests in my life, through my relationship with the Holy Spirit. And since, without Jesus, I can do nothing, by myself I bear no fruit. I have nothing to do with it. Or do I?

I think I do. When I think about how I represent Jesus to others it’s easy to focus on the fruit, and neglect the roots. That’s the key to my part in the story.

A fruit tree only produces fruit if it has the right conditions. It needs to be planted in solid ground so the roots can hold it firmly in place. The soil needs to be good, so the nutrients are there.5 It also needs water to give it life. It needs light for photosynthesis so it can feed itself, and grow and flourish.

It also needs time. Only after these conditions have been in place consistently for some time will a tree produce fruit for others to enjoy.

Just like the tree, I’ll produce authentic ‘fruit’ only if my ‘roots’ are in the right place. I need to plant myself in God’s word – good soil. I need Holy Spirit to pour His living water into my own spirit as I listen to him each day. I need to surrender in obedience to Jesus, the light of the world, who guides me day by day with his easy yoke.

To produce fruit, I don’t need to focus on the fruit, but on the One who produces the fruit, after my roots are set in place.

I also don’t need to count the fruit, I trust that it will be there. And I have learned that it’s there to nourish others.

How are your roots? What kind of soil are they planted in?

From a teaching by Melanie Searle

1. Matthew 3:8, 10
2. Matthew 3:7:16-19
3. Galatians 5:22
4. John 15:5
5. Mark 4:20