Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You Know A Tree By The Fruit

The Word tells us that we are like trees planted by the rivers of water, that our leaf shall not wither and whatsoever we touch shall prosper (Psalm 1:3 KJV). Though this is a metaphor - being like a tree, yet I still can not think about this verse without the verse where Jesus spoke to the woman at the well. He said that He had a drink that she could have where she would never thirst again. Recall that this is only after He told her about what she had been doing with so many men and the man she was with wasn't her husband either. Her personality was that she had an appetite for sexual contact anyway she could get it. It is why she had been with so many men and was with someone else's husband. back then the laws were is an adulterer was caught, she was stoned to death. She apparently believed her need was greater then being stoned. When Jesus told of what she had been doing, she was amazed. Notice that He did not degrade or berate her because of her past and the way she was thinking to continue to do what she had been doing. After He spoke, she was ready to put aside what she came to the well for and be a new (John 4:6-29 KJV). Her heart had changed because she was willing to do so.

When we accept the Jesus Christ as our Lord and Personal Savior, we have decided to live the abundant life that He came to give (John 10:9-11 KJV). We decided not to be held captive by the things of this world. We have nothing to be anxious for because provision has been made. We can enter into the rest of God because the toil that once was is no more. We chose life and all that comes with it including the benefits. Our productivity is because of our choices. We choose life!

So then, we find that with life there are so many benefits. There must be more then we know or can find because the description of life is abundant. In the Amplified Bible, abundance is defined as to the full, until it overflows. Scripture tells us that eye has not seen, nor ear has heard what God has for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV). If all of this is waiting for us to have, then why would there be a question? What must you do to know what all of this is? Of course, spend that time in the Word and in prayer to gain the Wisdom, revelation knowledge and understanding that God says He would give liberally and not upbraideth it not if you would only ask (James 1:5 KJV).

In comprehending this, I must put it all in the context of dating within the Christian circle. There is a language that we have. There is a walk that we have. There is a look that we have as we smile and not react in emotion the way that is expected for us to react by the world (Titus 2:14 KJV). In every given situation, it doesn't require the same reaction because people are different. We have yielded ourselves to the Holy Spirit, and people are watching to see if they should become believers as well. Therefore, it would be an opportunity of a great work to be able to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd to do and say what would be the perfect thing in that given moment.  You become more trustworthy to obtain more, and when there is a likelihood of a potential spouse that could be watching or could have heard what it is you did in that given moment - it is another profitable benefit. If thought about too long, it could all be so overwhelming. Understandably so to an immature believer. To the one whose heart and mind is stayed on Him, he will not be a lover of himself but know that being humble before Him is crucial in maintaining and continued obtaining.

Everyone comes to church services for one reason or another. There are some that have been loyal for years and have developed a regular routine in volunteering in some of the auxiliaries. Would this be the kind of fruit  to reveal the true source of his/her heart?

I went to the market to purchase some groceries. I didn't have any intentions on getting apples but in passing the produce section the red delicious apples looked so inviting. They were so big and ripe. I thought about my children and knew they would love them. I saw the bag of apples they had and thought there could be a bad one so I opted in getting the individual apples. I selected about a dozen. I looked at each one very carefully trying to spot for bruises or soft spots. All seemed firm, a uniform red color all around, and smelled fresh. It was all the criteria I needed in purchasing these apples. When I got home I put the groceries away and later when the apples were cold enough, I took one out of the refrigerator for myself. I washed it off before sitting to take a bite. I knew it would be as delicious as its name. My teeth pierced the crisp skin, as I expected it to do. As I continued to bite, I could taste the flesh of the apple. The sweetness was on my tongue, as I expected - but the texture of the apple was much like a sponge. I pulled the apple away from my mouth to examine it closer. Though the color appeared as if the fruit was fresh, the texture of the apple was as if it were rotten. It was disgusting. I didn't wish for my children to experience the same, but what if that was the only bad apple. What if the others were fine? I took another apple and cut if open. I pushed the flesh with my finger to see if firm or the spongy texture. It was the same as the first, and the third, and the fourth. I stopped testing after the fifth one believing they all came from the same tree. What happened to the production of this apple? Was it made to produce quicker by chemicals? Was it sprayed to have a longer shelf life? Why did it look one way on the outside deceiving what it really was on the inside?

I recall as a director of a learning center I had to do quite a few duties. One of them being to hire the staff when the turn over became too great. In so doing, I had to also be mindful that with working around children, there were crucial questions as well as drug testing and checking the criminal background. While everyone said the right words and did all that was expected, I still had to do the ground work myself. I found that people listed past employment with companies that no longer existed or with employers that were deceased. I even had an applicant who said all of the right things but wore flip--flops to the interview and had dirty feet. There was one applicant in particular when the owner was getting anxious, had insisted in hiring her. She seemed clean enough and had all of the right words to say but there was something about her I didn't like. She had yellow stains on her teeth and discoloration around her fingernails. I expressed my concerns with the owner. He decided to lecture me on his experiences and  ended with not judging a book by the cover. While the sentiment sounded as well as the applicants applying for the job, he had to trust what he hired me for and not to take the matters into his own hands; nevertheless, I did what he asked of me and hired the applicant before receiving both the criminal background check and the drug test. He was satisfied that she was not a convicted criminal and hired her. She was on time for the first few days and then the drug test came in. She tested positive. The owner just stared at me. He didn't say anything but that it was my task to terminate the new employee.

People change. The person we were in grade school isn't the person we are now. After salvation, we changed even more.  Some circumstances can cause people to change for the better while other events can cause issues in some where nothing but prayer can deliver them. Isn't it amazing how we all work to impress when we are trying to get something that we want. In a job interview, we dress up and even research to have the right answers for the interview. It is the responsibility of the interviewer to do his homework to get past all of the impressive clothes and words and get down to the truth of the matter. We also become dressed up, soft spoken and quite the mannerable person when we make up in our minds to start dating for the purposes of marriage. All of the things we were taught to do as children, we can't help but to recall all of them when turning on the charm. Why not maintain those manners and that charm throughout the rest of our lives? Is it too difficult to do?

When Jesus was about to be crucified He told Peter that he would deny Him three times (Luke 22:34 NIV). Peter said he never would having so much love for Jesus; yet, when the pressure was on, Peter did exactly what Jesus said He would do. Were we ever in the same situation, when the truth could have possibly caused more damage then just making something up? Is it alright to declare someone else's child as your own during tax season? Have you justified this as a means of helping someone else? Do you also gain from it? Would it have been less enticing if you did not gain a profit? Would you compromise your principles, values, ethics, and/or name if it meant you would receive a million dollars afterward? No? What about five million? Ten million? Honestly, it is an interesting dating question.

I watched an episode of, How I Met Your Mother. In this episode, the only married couple of the group was reminiscing about their wedding day. They decided that they were not going to use all of the cliches that so many other couples do. The intended bride made a list. One of the characters asked about the scripture in the bible that defined love (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV). They all didn't know what the verse was. So the intended groom recited the verse and they all paused for a moment as if they were about to sigh hearing the beauty as we all know the Lord to be. After the pause they collectively said, "nah!"and added it among the list of cliches. Clich├ęd? They had no idea what love is or could be no matter how they felt before getting married. Even though a television show, someone wrote the script to make it as believable as possible. The canned laughter proceeded behind the expression as if people could not make up their own minds with what is and isn't funny.

Before Peter denied Jesus, one of the villagers looked at him and wondered if he was from Galilee as well. When Peter said he wasn't, the woman stopped him and said that Peter spoke like him. Peter had to really try hard to say and do other wise. Why was it so difficult? Because with all of the time spent in His presence, Peter couldn't help to be more like Him (Matthew 26:69-75 KJV). This would also be true in seeing if that potential spouse is the right one. As I have written many times before, he/she has no way of knowing what love is (even when reading it) unless time is spent with it and can do nothing but live it, speak it, walk it, and do it daily. It is the reason why evil cannot commune with it (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV). It is the reason why other yokes cannot be bound with it. It is why blessings and provision surround it always. It is why the process makes it all the more sweet and therefore cannot be rushed. Love is patient - but you already knew that, right?

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