Bearing Fruit Each Season

Oh, the joys of those who do not

follow the advice of the wicked,

or stand around with sinners,

or join in with mockers.

But they delight in the law of the Lord,

meditating on it day and night.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank,

bearing fruit each season.

Their leaves never wither,

and they prosper in all they do.

But not the wicked!

They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.

They will be condemned at the time of judgment.

Sinners will have no place among the godly.

For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,

but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.

–Psalm 1:1-6

trees planted

Bright Light

The people who lived in darkness have seen a bright light. A light has risen for those who live in a land overshadowed by death.

—–Matthew 4:16

The trees at my friend’s house had branches filled with green leaves.

While sitting outside and enjoying the late afternoon, I noticed that the sun had set just close enough to the horizon that its powerful light was shining almost straight on the trees.

The branches, with their green leaves, along with the bark on the trunk, did not just simply become more visible.

They began to glow with an intensely amber color.

I quickly photographed the scene before the sun was completely gone.

Theses trees were totally transformed in color because of the light.

Some of the branches were just out of the sun’s penetrating rays.

They remained green.

The tree closest to me appeared dark and untouched by the bathing yellow radiance.

When Jesus came, those who lived in darkness could now be bathed in His great light.

His light of love and salvation.

His light of forgiveness and hope.

His light of eternal life.

When He came, everything changed.

Do you know of His love?

Do you know of His forgiveness and hope?

He is waiting for you today to call out to Him in prayer.

It’s not too late…..

bright-light

Grow Tall Like the Cedars

There are times when I am stuck in traffic driving home from work along a rural highway. 

The movement of vehicles can come to a slow crawl or even stop all together. 

In these moments, I can choose to look at the scenery around me in a more concentrated way than when I am just driving past. 

The trees are tall and healthy. 

The green grass carpets the ground in vivid color. 

The land has been well cared for. 

People who are in right standing with God—those who have sincerely chosen to seek His guidance as they journey through life—grow tall in the faith and flourish in the midst of His forgiveness and love. 

Righteous people flourish like palm trees and grow tall like the cedars in Lebanon.

Psalm 92:12

The Time of Singing

For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.

–Song of Solomon 2:11-12

 

Driving past a church on my way home, I noticed a nearby home with a tree in the yard.

It was bursting with color!

Alive with captivating blossoms, it was lovely to behold.

Getting out of the car in the church parking lot, I took some photos of the branches with their delicate and graceful flowers as they were singing silently of the beauty and majesty of their Creator.

The winter is certainly over where I live.

The flowers have appeared.

The time of singing has come!

flowers appear

Make the Tree Good

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.

—Matthew 12:33

 

When your name is mentioned, what things come to mind for those that know you?

What things come to mind for those that know me?

It is not our responsibility to please others primarily.

It is more important to please God in our actions and words.

In doing so, we will become known for our choices.

Does God consider us to be bearers of good fruit or bad fruit?

 

tree fruit

So Death Spread

Walking near a park area in the early morning hours, I noticed some trees—well, they used to be trees, or maybe they still were–but they hardly resembled trees anymore.

Having been absolutely overtaken by a growing vine, the trees were almost unrecognizable.

Instead, the tightly intertwining vines had taken over, creating a lush, green shroud.

The trunks and branches beneath this blanket are probably in danger of dying from the vines that hold them in bondage.

People are kind of like those trees.

Once sin came into the world, it brought death with it.

Sin and death have spread, covering humanity.

Jesus came to set us free from the bondage of sin that entangles us.

He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin.

Because of Him, those who believe are rescued from its heavy blanket of death, restored to new life, forever.

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Sin came into the world through one person, and death came through sin. So death spread to everyone, because everyone sinned.

–Romans 5:12

 

 

sin

Living in the Light

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But if we are living in the light,

as God is in the light,

then we have fellowship

with each other,

and the blood of Jesus, his Son,

cleanses us from all sin.

—1 John 1:7

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fellowship

 

 

 

 

 

Devoted to Things

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Things.

Things can be destroyed.

They are only temporary.

Things can wash away in a flood.

Things can blow away in a storm.

Things can only be what they are—just things.

A God-shaped life?

It will continue on into eternity….

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A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
    a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.

—Proverbs 11:28  The Message

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devoted

Afresh Each Morning

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It was very foggy.

As I was driving down the road, I noticed how the mist was thick in a large forested area.

Deciding to move off the road to take some photographs, I pulled into the driveway of a church that happened to be at the edge of the woods.

After capturing the surreal surroundings, I left the trees behind, standing tall in the early morning hours.

Often, I will wake up to an alarm, urging me to get out of bed and start my day.

Almost as often, I set a timer for ten more minutes.

Just after sunrise, it seemed like the forest had been awakened by the first light of the sun creeping in from the horizon, only to have pulled the cover of fog around itself to enjoy just a few more moments of the quiet and still serenity of the night.

The sun would have to come.

It was a new day with the promise of a new beginning.

We have a new beginning with God every day.

The Bible says,

“The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
 Great is His faithfulness;
    His mercies begin afresh each morning.
 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in Him!””

—Lamentations 3:22-24

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afresh

Pasture on Every Barren Hill

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Up the hill behind my house stands a tree.

Right now, it looks barren and forlorn.

I’m not concerned for it, though, even in its current state.

Why?

I know about its future.

Spring is coming, and I have faith that what looks barren and dry now will soon be filling out with green leaves on every branch.

I can’t see springtime before it comes.

I can’t hear springtime before it comes.

I just know that it will come.

It’s like a promise from God.

He has set the seasons in motion and they happen every year.

Our future is also set.

When God tells us something is going to happen, it is going to happen.

The prophet Isaiah speaks about restoration:

This is what the Lord says:

“In the time of my favor I will answer you,
    and in the day of salvation I will help you;
I will keep you and will make you
    to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land
    and to reassign its desolate inheritances,
 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’
    and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’

“They will feed beside the roads
    and find pasture on every barren hill.
 They will neither hunger nor thirst,
    nor will the desert heat or the sun beat down on them.
He who has compassion on them will guide them
    and lead them beside springs of water.
 I will turn all my mountains into roads,
    and my highways will be raised up.
 See, they will come from afar—
    some from the north, some from the west,
    some from the region of Aswan.”

 Shout for joy, you heavens;
    rejoice, you earth;
    burst into song, you mountains!
For the Lord comforts his people
    and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.

—Isaiah 49:8-13

There are times in our lives when things may look barren.

With God, even a barren hill can one day become a green pasture.

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feed beside

Into the Wilderness

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My friend has a lovely house nestled in the trees near a swiftly moving river.

Visiting there this weekend, I sat and watched as the water moved past, never stopping, always traveling.

The back yard has branches that canopy over the ground, filtering the setting sun with a warm glow that travels through windows onto the walls within her home.

A chair sits in the yard, inviting.

Almost as if to say, “Come, sit awhile.”

Solitary places, devoid of the rush-rush, hurry-hurry business of life allow quiet moments that can be filled with prayer.

With distractions reduced to the chirping of birds and the occasional scamper of an inquisitive squirrel, listening for God’s voice becomes easier.

Jesus went  to places like this to pray, as we see in this account of His healing of an afflicted man:

And it came to pass, when he was in a certain city, behold a man full of leprosy: who seeing Jesus fell on his face, and besought him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

 And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will: be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.

 And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

 But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities.

 And He withdrew Himself into the wilderness, and prayed.

—Luke 5:12-16

Whether I am sitting near a river, sitting alone in my car or sitting alone in my home, I can pray.

I can talk to God.

I can also listen for what He has to say to me.

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prayed dusk

Every Plant Yielding Seed

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Sometimes I visit a town about an hour’s drive from our home on Saturdays.

The vintage shops are interesting, as well as the architecture from days gone by.

There is also a nice farmer’s market that sets up in the central area of town.

Many vendors bring their goods to sell and customers abound.

There are choices to be made.

Buy apples and tomatoes?

Buy a pound of chocolate candy from the confectioner’s shop?

Buy pears and avocados or a French roll with cream cheese and sugar icing?

Eating candy and rolls occasionally is okay, but we all need a diet of foods that are good for us.

My preferred dinner out is at a restaurant that serves many salads.

In the Old Testament we find this passage:

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.

—Genesis 1:29

There are a lot of nice things to eat that are good for us.

God put them here to nourish us.

So, what does your diet look like?

I know I could do better……

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every green

Wait in Silence

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For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
 He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
 On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Psalm 62:5-7

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soul

With Gratitude in Your Hearts

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Just before the sun was about to set, we arrived at the tree farm.

The trees were beautiful, standing majestically in order, row after row.

Gathering there with others for a time to roast hot dogs and melt marshmallows over a campfire, we visited with friends as the sky grew dark and the stars became brighter.

We all came together to pray for the food we were about to share.

Some went on hayrides around the farm.

I walked with a friend around the acreage to look at some of the animals living there.

Baby goats.

Chickens.

Horses.

A couple of donkeys…..

There’s so much to be grateful for.

Friends.

Food.

Companionship.

Laughter.

The bond that is shared between believers in Jesus.

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

–Colossians 3:16

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gratitude

Summer and Winter

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It’s that in-between time of year.

The time of year when the thermometer has the most fun moving twenty degrees up and down every day.

I guess, for thermometers, it’s roller coaster season.

Will it be hot?

Cold?

Windy?

You never know.

The leaves on some of the trees have turned golden and brown, scattered on the sidewalk like coins in a treasure chest.

That seems like autumn to me.

The rose bush that towers above the sidewalk isn’t up for the change as yet, though.

Right now, two crimson roses are blooming, just like it was the middle of summer.

The bright red color highlights the walkway up to the front door.

Winter will just have to wait, at least for a little while longer.

I wonder why God made the seasons?

Was it to mimic our lives as we grow older, only with an invitation for new birth in Christ?

It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
    you made both summer and winter.

—-Psalm 74:17

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summer

The Wonders

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We had not ever visited the park before.

A large tree (a VERY large tree) had an informative monument in front of it.

Although I am not totally certain how the date was calculated, the tree is reported to be 350 years old.

If the date is correct, that would mean the towering oak tree was just getting started around the time that a man named Anton Van Leeeuwenhoek first saw bacteria with a microscope.

Also, about the same time, Sir Isaac Newton invented the reflecting telescope.

There were other things being crafted then, besides lenses.

Things like cuckoo clocks and candy canes.

Since the tree began its upward growth, a lot has happened.

Now, we have the Hubble and Herschel space telescopes, allowing us to see even more of God’s vast universe.

Electron microscopes probe deep into what is miniscule around us and within us with majestic clarity while cuckoo clocks and candy canes have probably managed to stay the same….

God has allowed recent generations to understand more of His creation through advances in science and technology.

Just because we weren’t aware of a nebula or a microorganism long ago, didn’t mean they weren’t in existence.

We may not be aware of God and His power, but it doesn’t mean He isn’t there.

A lot has changed in 350 years.

God has not.

In fact, He will not change.

We can trust in His love and His mercy.

We can trust in His power.

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deeds

Beside a Stream * * * (LEAVE A COMMENT)

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The trees by the water were inviting.

All lined up, straight and tall.

The rain was light and the afternoon sun was muted as though it were filtered through a thick, white blanket.

Standing there, looking at water drops on the leaves, listening to the quiet surroundings, I was happy to be a part of the moment.

Life was thriving there at the water’s edge.

When we stay close to God, we are like trees that grow close to the water.

Thriving.

Alive.

Fruitful.

God blesses those people
    who refuse evil advice
    and won’t follow sinners
    or join in sneering at God.
Instead, the Law of the Lord
    makes them happy,
    and they think about it
    day and night.

 They are like trees
    growing beside a stream,
trees that produce
fruit in season
    and always have leaves.
Those people succeed
    in everything they do.

–Psalm 1:1-3

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growing