Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Surprise Fruit

There is one very important thing you should know about me: I have the blackest thumb on this planet. I have succeeded in killing any plant I set out to grow. My roommate from college can attest to the rosemary bush that went bald on one side and then turned brown and died. My husband can give you the list of potted plants I thought would be fun to grow, then only to end up with a pot of dirt with a stick poking out.

So, it was my utter and complete surprise when I discovered that in my own yard there was a harvest of grapes on the back fence. A high schooler pointed them out to us when he was over. I honestly don't think I would have even found them; they were so hidden by the branches and leaves.
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As a non-aggie type, there are somethings in the bible that always left me scratching my head. But now, after being up close and personal with a grape vine at harvest time, I have a new appreciation for John 15. This morning I set out with my scissors and a basket, and as I was collecting the harvest I enjoyed learning a bit more about a metaphore Christ uses for our relationship with Himself.

Jesus says "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing (John 15:5)." Jesus is not saying, "if you want to remain in me, you better pull your weight and produce fruit." Or, "Show me your commitment, and make some fruit!"
I did NOTHING to help these grapes grow, besides set the sprinklers. Producing fruit was natural. As long as the branches were connected to the vine, they made grapes.

"He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more (John 15:2)."
It turns out prunning is an essential part of the proccess that I missed. Not only did my lack of prunning cause me to almost miss the fruit on the branches, but If I had, more of the grapes would have been of a higher quality.
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Have you ever produced any "surprise fruit" in your walk with God?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Not of our Hands

There is a lesson I am forever learning. If you look back through this blog, through my journals, my prayers, it seems God is always at work in me regarding patience.

So, as always, that is what God is stirring in my life in this season.

A song has been in my head recently. It is by a band that lead worship at Hume Lake Winter Camp, 2 years ago: 1000 Generation. The first time I heard this song, I felt the singer talking to me. At that season in my life, we were still in the application phase; waiting to hear if we would be accepted as missionaries with Asian Access. And as always, my heart wanted to press the fast forward button to live in the next stage of life (which are currently in). Well, now that we are here, does it surprise you that I am ready to press the fast forward button again to be in the next phase, the being-missionaries-in-Japan phase? So, once again, the Lord has brought this song to my heart.

"Let this be not of our hands, but by your Spirit... We don't want to move with out you."

The chorus of this song reminds me that it is God who is at work. It is not us at work asking God to join us, but the other way around. And that is the way it should be. He has perfect timing, and I do not.

I want to share this song with you. (Please forgive the odd video, it's the only non-live one I could find on youtube.) If you were at winter camp this year, I hope you enjoy the memories; if you weren't, I hope this new song touches your life in a special way.

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