Tag Archive | John

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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Someone Behind

SCREEN

Few days ago my husband and I watched again a Christian music concert which was held by Rose of Sharon Church in which one of the singers is my blog friend, Sella Irene. I was really impressed, amazed, and so blessed by their performances. They have a very beautiful voice and incredible musicians as well. I said to my husband, “They are all really impressive!” My Husband replied, “Yes, they are! But please do not forget to those people who are behind them on the stage. I think they also have a very important role in that concert. They have an amazing stage director, very skilled sound engineer, and there are many more people who are very supportive of their performances. Without them all, I guess they could not perform very well. My husband’s answer makes me thinking. Yes, I forget that there are a lot of people behind them who very influential for the success of their performances. In reality, they often miss from our attention. We more focused to those people on the stage.
I remembered one of Jesus’ disciples. Andrew. Andrew was the first Jesus’ disciple. Although he was one of the disciples of the Lord Jesus, but his name is not as famous as Peter, James, Paul, or John, who were said to be the people who are in the inner circle of Jesus’ closest disciples. If I liken Paul, John, and Simon Peter is the main actor in a movie, then Andrew is like a supporting actor which not too stands out and not gives a big impact. However, it does not mean Andrew is not important. Many things have been done that we do not realize because he was a lot of work behind the screens. Let’s dig up what the important things that he did.

 

The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter). (John 1: 41-42)

 
Let’s pay attention to the word “And he brought him to Jesus.” It was Andrew’s first response when he met Jesus. Andrew was the first person who tells to Peter. At that time, without Andrew’s presence, Simon probably would not meet Jesus. Without the role of Andrew, Probably there is no Simon’s name in the list of disciples of Jesus. We all know that the later Simon Peter became a great apostle. But the important thing is, it all would not have happened if Andrew not brought Peter to Jesus. The interesting thing is, even though he is not as famous as his brother, he did not even include three closest disciples of Jesus, Andrew really did not concerned it at all. With joy and humbly he continued his task.
Another important thing that Andrew did is, when Jesus fed 5000 people. At that time Jesus gave preaching to the thousands people. Then Jesus said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?”(John 6:5) then “Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little” (John 6:7). Let’s see Andrew’s reaction at that time.

Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:8-9)

See? Once again Andrew bring someone came to Jesus. I am sure, at that time Andrew also knows that the food brought by the boy would not be enough to feed about 5000 people. But he still brought that child to Jesus. What happens next? Through the child, a miracle happens. Jesus fed 5000 people only from five loaves and two fishes. This story shows that Andrew is a very caring person. He brought the children to Jesus to be used in the service of the Lord Jesus and the food problem finished. That is Andrew. An apostle was not famous who work behind the screens. Almost never come forth like Paul, John or his brother Simon Peter. But in fact he is a caring person who brought many people to God.

 
There was a Sunday school teacher named Edward Kimball. Who is he? He is just an ordinary Sunday school teacher. But through Edward there was a boy who believed and accepted God as his savior and later on this boy became a very famous and great preacher and evangelist. The boy is. Dwight L.Moody. Through his ministry Moody can make a lot of people in England and America repented. And through Moody’s sermon, a young pastor named Frederic Brotherton Meyer changing his ministry and decided to become an evangelist like Moody. “If you are not willing to give up everything for Christ, are you willing to be made willing?” This was what Meyer said in his preaching, and these words make J. Wilbur Chapman responded God’s call in his life. Later on Chapman become one of the most effective evangelists. Billy Sunday a baseball player, a volunteer in Chapman Ministry eventually took over Chapman’s ministry and become one of the most dynamic evangelists of this century. Billy Sunday’s preaching brought thousands to Christ. Then this evangelism chain finally up on the great name: Billy Graham. Through Billy Graham million people in the world repented and accept God as their savior. If we look carefully to this chronology, it all begins from someone named Edward Kimball. An ordinary Sunday school teacher but through him many people brought to God and make many great names in the evangelism world.

 
My dear friends, what about us in our daily lives? Wherever we are, in the office, church or else, whether we also pay attention to those people who work behind the screens? Are we appreciate and honor them same as those who always come forth on “the stage”? Through this post I would like to ask you to change our mindset to not always focus on who we see on “the stage” Lets always remember that behind their successful there are so many people behind them. If we look and hear a touching and powerful preaching in the church, do not just look to the pastor but please remember that there are people behind them. It may be husband/wife and their children who always give a big support to their ministry. Their roles are really important as well. Let’s always remember that God can use anyone for His Kingdom works even they are not always come forth and unknown to many people. Do not belittle to those people who work behind the screens because sometimes actually we have to learn a lot from them. They are the God’s invisible tools, but so worthwhile. Do not underestimate to those people who work around us which is seem trivial.
And otherwise, for us who always work behind the screens wherever we are, we might not do many great things, and maybe people do not see our work at all, maybe even people underestimate our work, this time I encourage to not be desperate and discouraged. We could learn from Andrew story. We May not do something great but please believe, what we are doing it may be the beginning of great things that will be happen later. I encourage you to always believe and trust that God can use any little thing to declare His power and glory. Probably Simon Peter will not be a great apostle without Andrew. We may not know D.L. Moody without Edward Kimball’s role. Whatever we do, do it with wholeheartedly, faithful, full of diligence, and is only intended for the glory of God. Amen.

 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 3:23)

Karina-Living by Faith
Image credit: Google Images

John 3:16

John 3 16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

In the city of Chicago, one cold, dark night, a blizzard was setting in. A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner; the people were in and out of the cold. The little boy was so cold that he wasn’t trying to sell many papers.

He walked up to the policeman and said,

“Mister, you wouldn’t happen to know where a poor boy could find a warm place to sleep tonight would you? You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down the alley and its awful cold in there, of a night. Sure you be nice to have a warm place to stay.”

The policeman looked down at the little boy and said,

“You go down the street to that big white house and you knock on the door. When they come out the door you just say John 3:16 and they will let you in.”

So he did, he walked up the steps to the door, and knocked on the door and a lady answered. He looked up and said,

“John 3:16.”

The lady said, “Come on in, Son.”

She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker in front of a great big old fireplace and she went off. He sat there for a while, and thought to himself, “John 3:16…. I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a cold boy warm.”

Later she came back and asked him “Are you hungry?”

He said, “Well, just a little. I haven’t eaten in a couple of days and I guess I could stand a little bit of food.” The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn’t eat any more. Then he thought to himself “John 3:16…. Boy, I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a hungry boy full.”

She took him upstairs to a bathroom and a huge bathtub filled with warm water and he sat there and soaked for a while. As he soaked, he thought to himself, “John 3:16…I sure don’t understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy clean. You know, I’ve not had a bath, a real bath, in my whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.”

The lady came in and got him, and took him to a room and tucked him into a big old feather bed and pulled the covers up around his neck and kissed him goodnight and turned out the lights. As he laid in the darkness and looked out the window at the snow coming down on that cold night he thought to himself, “John 3:16…. I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a tired boy rested.”

The next morning she came back up and took him down again to that same big table full of food. After he ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom rocker in front of the fireplace and she took a big old Bible and sat down in front of him and looked up at him and she asked,

“Do you understand John 3:16?”

He said, “No, Ma’am, I don’t. The first time I ever heard it was last night when the policeman told me to use it.”

She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and she began to explain to him about Jesus. Right there in front of that big old fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there and thought, “John 3:16. I don’t understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.”

My dear friends, I have to confess I don’t understand it either, how God would be willing to send His Son to die for us, and how Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don’t understand it either, but it sure makes our life worth living and has an eternal life!!

Unknown

Photo credit:healtnewstoday-just.blogspot.com