How goes your garden?

I was at the grocery this past weekend and started to notice the first of the summer fruits starting to show up.

When we lived in Oregon, I would drive by a large fruit farm everyday on my way to the office. The sign listed every kind of fruit imaginable that the farm produced. In the cold and damp winter the trees and fields looked pretty bleak, but in the spring everything turned green and began to show promise for the harvest. I was really looking forward to the harvest season when all the fresh fruit from the vine would be available.  Alas, I never tasted that fruit as we moved back to Indiana before the fruit was ready for harvest.

But seeing that fruit got me to thinking . . .

In the Bible (Galatians 5:22-23) we read about the fruit of the Holy Spirit that God wants to grow in our lives. These fruits are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We each would like to have these characteristics, but it’s hard to always love, or be good or self-controlled when things aren’t going our way or we are tired or some one is giving us a hard time.

I have news for you. God doesn’t even want you to try to be these things all by yourself in your own strength. He wants to grow these characteristics in you. He does that when you spend time with Him. Just like you are influenced by other people when you spend time with them and become kind of like them, you are influenced by God when you spend time with Him and become like Him.

You can spend time with God by reading the Bible and listening to what He wants to say to you. You also spend time with Him when you pray to Him or when you go to a Bible Study or Prayer time at church with your friends. The more time you spend with God the more fruit the Holy Spirit can produce in your life.

So, as you spend time tending your garden, shopping the produce department of your favorite grocery, or enjoying that Indiana-grown cantaloupe stop for a moment and ponder what fruit is being produced in your life.

Take time this summer to spend time with God and ask Him to begin to ripen some new fruit in your life.

After all, we could all use a little more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

May God bring us each and abundant harvest this summer!

On the way to Sunday – Eating Leftovers … again

Admit it. We have all been there at some point – standing in front of the open refrigerator – staring blankly at all that is before us. We stand waiting for something to jump out and quench our thirst or our fill our hunger. But alas, after a prolonged silence and soft sigh, we shut the door and declare, “There is nothing to eat or drink!”

From our perspective, it is as if this is what we saw:

So here is the interesting thought that struck me last night as I stood in front of my open and full refrigerator and declared, “There is nothing here!”

As foolish as that was, I wondered if that is how I look when I pass the plate at a church and say, “I have nothing to give.”

My life must look pretty full from God’s perspective – for that matter my life must look pretty full compared to must of the people in the world!

And yet, how often have I closed the door on my finances and determined that I have nothing to give.

I need some perspective.  Perhaps I have spent too much time looking at all that I have that it no longer seems like much?  Next time the plate is passed at church or a charity asks for some help … take another look at all that you have and perhaps there is something you have to give.

And please be considerate … God is not looking for your leftovers any more than you are … probably why God asked for your first fruits to begin with!

“As it is also written in the Law, we will bring the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, of our herds and of our flocks to the house of our God, to the priests ministering there. Moreover, we will bring to the storerooms of the house of our God, to the priests, the first of our ground meal, of our grain offerings, of the fruit of all our trees and of our new wine and olive oil.    Nehemiah 10:36-37 NIV

Gain some perspective at the refrigerator this week and then plan to share with others the abundance you have been so richly blessed with . . .

I’ll be eating some leftovers this week, but I’ll be bringing some first fruits on Sunday!

See you then . . .