Tag Archive | fruit

BEAR FRUIT FOR CHRIST (guest post)

A few months ago I wrote about the Tamarind tree in front of my house that the leaves and fruit can be used as a spice for traditional dishes and drinks (click here).  The tree is large and very tall, far beyond the roof of our house.  In the rainy season the leaves always grow vigorously and in summer the ripe fruit will fall to the ground.  It’s really fun to pick it up.  I feel like a happy farmer who harvests his work, whereas in fact I have never done anything for the growth of the tree.  In fact, the tree grows by itself.  For dozens, maybe even decades, the tree grew without anyone watering or weeding the surrounding soil.  During that time the tree continued to live and bear fruit.  However, this year something is different.

As in previous years, I was waiting for the ripe tamarind to fall on the ground.  How happy I am, when the wind blows hard and hit the branches of the tree and then heard the distinctive sound of ripe tamarind fruit falling on the ground.  However, immediately my excitement turned to be disappointed because the fruit that looks good on the outside is actually rotten inside.  Why?  What’s wrong?  I looked at the tamarind tree.  The trunk is large and tall, looks tough and strong.  Dense fruit hanging from its branches.  The tree looks healthy and there is no problem, but why is the fruit not as good as the tree’s appearance?  There must be something inside of the tree that isn’t working as it should, because fruit is the result of internal processes.

The condition of the tamarind fruit shows that not always something looks good from the outside, as well as the quality inside.  Likewise with fruit in human life.  People can arrange their outward appearance to create the impression they want, for example to be seen as generous, loving, kind and pious.  But sooner or later, the quality of “the fruit of the person’s life” will show his true spiritual condition.  Regarding this, the Lord Jesus taught through a parable about the tree and fruit.

No GOOD tree bears bad FRUIT, nor does a bad tree bear GOOD FRUIT.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit.  People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.  A GOOD MAN brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.  For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.  (Luke 6: 43-45 NIV)

What is a GOOD tree and GOOD fruit? What is the meaning of FRUIT in human life?  And what kind of people are categorized as A GOOD MAN who brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart?

FRUIT

The fruit comes from the word “karpos” which figuratively means: Everything done in true partnership with Christ, that is a believer lives in union with Christ, like a branch abides in the vine in order to bear fruit.  Christ lives in us and we live in Him so that His life flows through our lives and we produce eternal fruit.  So, the fruit in the life of a believer isn’t all achievements or successes in the world, but what is come out from intimacy with Christ, namely the character of Christ, which continues to be shaped and tested through various life processes.

GOOD

In this passage the word “GOOD” comes from words that contain the meaning: Inspire or motivate others, as an outward sign of the inward good, a noble attitude and honorable character.  In Greek there are several words to describe “good”.  The word “good” in this verse is the higher word, namely “kalon“, which broadly contains the notion of physical or moral beauty that arises as a result of an appropriate response to a process.

The word “good” used for fruit is the same as the word “good” used for trees.  So, tree and fruit should have the same quality.  Not “good” that is just make up but sourced from within.  Its outside appearance reflects the beauty inside.  No manipulation, no acting, no cheating, no fake.  A quality that naturally arises from within, not artificial.

A GOOD FRUIT is not AN EFFORT but A RESULT

Return to the tamarind tree, its disappointing fruit indicates that there is a process inside the tree that isn’t working as it should.  Maybe bad weather is the main cause.  Maybe it’s also because parts in the roots or trunks of the tree don’t function optimally so it can’t distribute nutrients properly.  Whatever it is, once again, fruit is the result of internal processes and the quality of the fruit shows the quality of the tree.  Therefore the most important thing is to ensure the conditions inside, then good fruit will be produced.

REMAIN IN CHRIST

Fruit always impressive because that’s what people see.  But don’t focus on the fruit.  Focus on our spiritual growth.  The key is to build an ongoing relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, like branches that must remain in the vine.

Remain in me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15: 4 NIV)

Let’s start with a step: Pray and read God’s words every day.  Then do God’s word in every day of our lives in all conditions.  That’s what it means to remain in Christ.  The life of Christ flows in and through us so that what comes out of us comes from Christ.  Only by remain in Christ, we will bear the fruit of life that pleases God.  Only by remain in Christ, we will become A GOOD PEOPLE who brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart: those whose hearts have been touched and changed by Christ, believers whose lives are empowered by Christ through faith.

Remain in Christ will make our characters, paradigms, values, habits, even our dreams and goals, increasingly transformed into Christ and become like Christ.  That’s the fruit of life with eternal value.  Then. . . if one day we achieve certain achievements, success in career, become rich, or become famous, we will know that all of it is a gift and trust from God.  All of achievements will not backfire for us because our hearts have been changed by God.  And, even if God allows all of that to be lost from us, our faith and hope will not be lost because we have put our faith and hope in the right place, which is Christ.  Our faith and hope in Christ will carry us through day after day in joy and sorrow, in good or bad situations, until we meet face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Vine where we remain throughout our lives. Amen.

 

By: Sella Irene – Beautiful Words

Photo Credit: Google Images ( pxhere.com ) edited with pixlr apps

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Become The best Wine

BECOME THE BEST WINE-Karina's Thought

 

Though my family no longer officially celebrates a Chinese New Year, we have an old tradition to have a dinner together with some of our relatives. Before we take a dinner, one of my uncles gave me a bottle of wine. He said the wine was bought when he took a holiday in France a few years ago and it become a quite old wine.  He also said that the wine is one of the best wines. However, this time I will not discuss about that wine but I want to talk another thing that related to the wine.

I was reminded one of the famous story in the Bible, Marriage at Cana.  I have learned so many implications from this story. Today I specifically want to focus on the miracles when Jesus changed water into wine. At the time, the biggest problem that occurred is, the wine was run out. Let’s we take a look briefly to the situation there:

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons (John 2:6 NIV)

Twenty or thirty gallons means approximately hundred liters water can be stored to the jars. It is very much. Then what happens next?

Jesus said to the servants “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” (John 2:7-8NIV)

And the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside  and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” (John 2:9-10 NIV)

Now let’s look further, what was given through the Jesus’ miracle was not just an ordinary wine, but said as the best wine. Then its best wine enjoyed by the guests and to be a blessing to many people there. The situation might be so different if which is served plain water only. My beloved friends, from this story we can take important lessons: Like what actually we are today? Are we still like plain water, or water that is in the process to be wine, or has become the best wine? Just as Jesus could change water into wine, He can change us to be a best wine that can bless and brings joy to many people. Or we have become a wine but not to be a best wine instead becomes a sour wine?

I am reminded of the allegory about the vineyard in the book of Isaiah 5:1-7.

I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. (Isaiah 5:1-2 NIV)

This was an allegory about God the owner of vineyard and His children were described as vines. If we read all verses, this passage specifically spoke about repentance that yields fruit. When we repent and accept Jesus, we supposed become a new creation that continues to grow and bear fruit with excellent quality. But in our daily lives, very sad and ironic I still found many Christians who repent and accepted Christ as personal savior does not growing and fruitful very well. As a grape that looks very good from the outside but it turned have a bad taste.  There are many Christians who falling back into the sin and still doing old bad habits or even fall into a new sin. Wearing “clothes of Christianity in order to looks good but in fact has an opposite personal life to the true Christian life. Finally, we become a stumbling block and make God disappointed.

What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? (Isaiah 5:4 NIV)

Was not we would feel the same way if we had tried to care for and nurture a tree, but the result is bad? All the work we do just in vain. We will be sad and disappointed. Then what happens to the bad fruit? Let’s see to the following verses:

Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.”(Isaiah 5:5-6 NIV)

This is the very bad consequence which must be accepted by a vine that did not bear fruit well. Is described more in Matthew 3:10:

The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

Also in Revelation 14:18b -19:

“Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath.

God was angry and disappointed! Is it reasonable? Yes of course! He has given all the best for us; even he was willing to sacrifice his only Son for our salvation. But we still prefer to follow the pleasures of the world. He has shown all His ways through the Bible, but we do not want to read it. God has bestowed the Holy Spirit to guide us, but we continue to pollute ourselves so that the Holy Spirit does not like to dwell in it.

My dear readers, what about us? Like what we are today? Like the best wine or the bad wine? Have we become good wine that brings joys and blessing to many people? Or we’ve become the grapes that looks from the outside so good but in reality we are just sour grapes that have been disappointing God and finally will get very bad consequence as described in the verses above? Whether we are Christians who really bears the Christian’s “clothes” that could become a light send out the light of Christ’s love? This evening, I ask you once again, let’s evaluate ourselves these things. How our spiritual life quality today? God expects our lives yield sweet fruits and become a blessing to many others. We should to be a sweet vine. Not to be a vine that does not yield anything. We have to make sure could produce fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8 NIV)

How we can remain to grow and bear high quality fruit? Now let’s back to the story of Marriage at Cana.  Another important lesson that we can take from it is, initially Jesus Himself told to the servants to fill the jars with water.  Crossed in my mind, if only Jesus did not tell to the servants to fill water into the jars, so the wine would not be available.  What is the important thing that we could learn from this part? This section refers to how important we always fill ourselves regularly with the God’s living word in order to become the best wine. God’s word is the most important thing in our life.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

(Hebrews 4:12 NIV)

And before the jars are filled with water, there is important message from Jesus’ mother to the servants:

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2:5 NIV)

Here we can learn that obedience to Jesus is an important factor as well. So in short we can see that if we humans are in the Jesus’ hand, obedient to Him and  always fill ourselves with the God’s word, then we can be changed to become wine (blessing) for others.

Wine is the result of fermentation process of the grapes. The best wine comes from the high quality grapes. Very expensive wine is a wine that has been through the process of fermentation for many years. It also applies to us. To become the best wine we need long process and the process oftentimes not always pleasant. There are times we have to experience severe things, painful, and so hard in facing the world temptations and challenges that could destabilize our faith. But through it all we can be changed into the high quality wine that can be a blessing to others. Therefore, I encourage all of us to always fill our “Jars” with the God’s word that will arm us to face any kind of temptations that could make us falling into the sins. God’s word is complete arms to face spiritual warfare. After we fill up with God’s word, we have to remain obey to His command

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11 NIV)

“We must obey God rather than human beings! (Acts 5:29 NIV)

We also have to diligent in prayer and petition as the Bible said,

Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:36 NIV)

My beloved friends, let’s together encourage each other in prayer in order we always willing to be formed and changed, remain strong to go through all processes, and continue to grow in God’s providence so we will bear much and the best fruit and become not just an ordinary wine but the best wine so the God’s sweet love and glory can shine through us and we can be a blessing to many people. Amen.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5 NIV)

Karina – Living by faith

Image source: 1zoom.net

 

 

Choosen for a purpose

chosen3In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will,” (Ephesians 1:11)

When my father decided to entrust me running his company, he said” remember this, you are not only chosen by me but you really have to know that you are chosen by God. what does it mean, it mean, in addition to you run and keep the company in order  to still  exist, you must realize that you are God’s children, and I am sure you really know what  is meant by chosen and to be His child.”

I am pondered my Daddy’s words. Chosen by God! I was immediately reminded of a Bible verse from John 15:16: You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”  This the important point of my daddy’s words.

I interpret this verse that Not only did God create us, not only did He call us to believe in His Son Jesus, but God chose us to be His child. Chosen — it conveys the truth that we are special, preferred, and uniquely valued. Each one of us who believes in Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins can have confidence that she was chosen by God. Moreover, God has a purpose when He chooses me, I have to go and bear fruit!

There are two point about go and bear fruit. First, as God’s child we have to show spiritual virtues. It mean, we should to show fruit of the spirit as it is written in Galatian 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.The second point is, we have to trying to bring people to Christ! “and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”(Luke 5:10)

That is my duty, as a chosen child by God, I have God’s purpose to do. I should to always show fruit of the spirit and to proclaim the tiding of joy and salvation to others. “As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18)

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for choosing me to be Your child. Whenever Satan’s lies try to convince me that I am worthless, remind me of this amazing truth: the God of the Universe created me, revealed Himself to me and chose me to be His own. Enabled me to always show fruit of the spirit and bring many people to You. Amen.

Karina

Photo credit: wikimedia