The Horrible Crabapple Tree, Plastic Sandwich Bag, & Disgruntled Me

APPLE TREE 1On the property of the house I grew up in, there was a Crabapple Tree, and I despised the tree.  As a kid, I blamed the tree for the miserable apples it produced, giving me the displeasure of having to pick up all the apples falling from it onto the ground. I hated picking up those apples, and I most often could be heard shouting, “I hate this!” and “Stupid apples!”
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I braced myself before I started that chore, put a plastic sandwich bag on my hand because of how rotten they were, and then I would begin.  It was the worst chore, but I had only two options to go outside and complete my chore OR be grounded.  I chose to complete my chore.  All I wanted was for the Crabapple Tree to work with me.  I wasn’t asking for a lot when I shouted at the tree, “Work with me!  Not against me.”
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It was an absolutely beautiful tree, but the fruit was rotten.


WHAT KIND OF TREE ARE YOU?

APPLE TREE 3
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Are you a good tree producing good fruit, or are you a bad tree, like the Crabapple Tree in this story, producing rotten fruit?
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Jesus had this to say in Luke 6:43-45, “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit.  For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush.  The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”


“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.” -John 15:16



As a child of God, you are chosen by Jesus to go forth and bear much fruit.  How you conduct yourself is very important because unbelievers are watching you especially if you are witnessing to them about the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Some will try to push you to the edge to see how you will react, and so there must be a noticeable difference between you and those who are unbelievers.  Your conduct and your speech must line up together.  If the unbeliever cannot tell the difference between you and them, then there is a problem.  All of us are to be lights in this dark world.  If you live like the world while claiming to be a child of God, you are fooling yourself and still living in darkness (1 John 1:1-8).
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In 1 Samuel 9:2, King Saul is described as handsome.  God, however, saw King Saul’s heart.  King Saul did not do the will of God, bearing the fruits of disobedience and being more concerned about the approval of man.
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God tells Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” 
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And God is still telling us the same thing today.  God wants us to do His will, and when we do His will out of obedience and devotion to Him, we are producing good fruit.  When we spend time in prayer, the Holy Spirit is working in us, convicting us, changing us.  When we conform our will to the Lord’s will, we will produce good fruit.  The only reason we are able to bear the fruit God wants us to bear is because of His grace and His mercy, and as His Holy Spirit guides and leads us into His Truth, we bear the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control.
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What fruit are you bearing?  Are your actions and your words lining up together?  Are you walking the walk and not just talking the talk?  Is there a noticeable difference between you and the unbeliever?


“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.”  (2 Peter 3:9)



 Much Love To You All,
L.A.  Knowles

Digging Cracked Cisterns

CISTERN 3For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me-the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!”  –Jeremiah 2:13

If we look at the first four chapters of Jeremiah, you will notice that Spiritual Adultery and Idolatry are used interchangeably.  In the eyes of God, these two issues are the same issue.  To commit spiritual adultery is to be unfaithful to God and to commit idolatry is to worship another god.  Both require no loyalty, commitment, faithfulness, or courage to stand for what’s right.

Looking at the above verse from Jeremiah, the people of Israel were digging cracked cisterns for themselves.  Cisterns hold water, but in this particular passage, the cracked cisterns were the false religious systems and their continual idolatry of false gods the pagan nations served.  Whenever the Israelites turned away from God to serve the gods of pagan nations, they were building cracked cisterns that could not hold the amount of spiritual adultery, the pagan rituals they adopted along with the adoration of foreign gods.  The cracked cisterns represented everything temporal which would eventually fade away or erode.

However, the Fountain of the Living Water holds Truth and Life, and the Fountain of Living Water is eternal, unbreakable, the Source of Our Hope, and the Source of Life.  The people of God traded in their God, The Creator of Heavens and Earth, for gods made out of the hands of man.  Note:  Not even the pagan nations traded in their national gods as we can see in verses 11-12 which states, “Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones even though they are not gods at all?  Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols!  The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay, says the Lord.”

Nowadays, we’re no different from the Israelites.  We could call them foolish people, but today, we’re just as foolish as they were.  We trade in the Fountain of the Living Water for cracked cisterns of our own making called money, power, wealth, prestige, religious systems, or whatever it is taking first place in our lives.  First place in our lives belongs to God and Him alone.  Why would we trade our glorious God for what is going to fade away?  Why would we trade our glorious God for what is broken and cracked when He offers what is whole and eternal?  Why should we cling to cracked cisterns when God is faithful to His promises of restoration and renewal, promises of hope?

God has shown us He does not change.  He is our Constant and Assurance.  He knows the motivations and intentions of the heart.  God does not look at the appearance of any man or woman.  He sees us digging cracked cisterns or if we are drinking from the Fountain of the Living Water.

If we have dug cracked cisterns for ourselves, then we must know we are being called back to a place of repentance.  God promises restoration for those who truly have a broken spirit and contrite heart before Him and does not turn away those who are humble and broken, truly repentant before Him.

What cracked cisterns do you have?  Are you truly willing to lay them down at the feet of God?  No one can answer those questions for you.  You must answer for yourself.

God must be First place in our life, our First Resource, not our last resort.  Let us come before God to be renewed, to be restored and purified.  Let us come bow our hearts before Him, seeing ourselves in light of who He is.

“You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.  You do not want a burnt offering.  The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” -Psalm 51:16-17

 

Much Love To You All,

L.A. Knowles

 

 

 

Thankful Heart

Praise The Lord

You, O LORD, are glorious, from everlasting to everlasting.  You are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.  You are the only Rock, the only Way;  You are Life and Truth. You are Holy, and You are King of kings and Lord of lords.  YOU, O God, are my Shield and my Buckler.  No one compares to You.  I put my hope and trust in You alone, and there is no other foundation except the foundation You have laid.  Thank You for being my Salvation, my Portion forever.  To You, Abba, I offer the sacrifice of praise, giving You thanks because You are worthy of all glory, of all honor, and all praise.

THANKSGIVING 1

 


PSALM 138 – A Psalm of David


I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.

All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

 

We Will Not Back Down



WE WILL NOT BACK DOWN

Written By Linda A. Knowles



ARMOR 1

We pledge allegiance to God Almighty,

Creator of the Heavens and the Earth.

Representing Him who holds our citizenship in Heaven,

we will strap on the full armor of God

so our loyalty will not waver as we stand firm

in the face of opposition.

We will be strong and courageous,

without fear,

without dismay.

Leaving everything behind,

we offer our lives as a living sacrifice

unto Him who spared no expense to rescue us.

As we are striving to serve Him wholeheartedly,

we know the battle is not ours, but God’s.

With a steadfast determination and the strength He gives,

we will not back down.