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Month: April, 2018

Roots and Fruit

by kerriebutterfield

My husband and I visit a bonsai guru, Victor, who appears to be about 170 years old, and his roadside garden store occasionally. The store looks like it will collapse on top of you if you sneeze. But, if you can get past the appearance, it’s magical inside.

As I walked inside recently, Victor called out to me. “Did you see those fruit trees I’m intentionally stressing?” The minute he spoke this, I felt Holy Spirit say, “Pay attention, this is important.”

Victor explained that he was intentionally stressing the plants by depriving them of water, causing increased flowering out of season and the result would be more fruit.  More flowers=more fruit

I asked Victor, “Won’t this harm the tree?” He smiled a big smile like he was about to share the best secret with me and said, “No, not if the tree’s roots are healthy and established. It won’t harm the tree. When you stress a healthy tree the result is greater fruit. Good roots = healthy trees

Papa God was giving me a framework to understand my own “dry season” and that He was at work in it, not absent from it. He didn’t create my hardships, but He is using them to train me and make more fruitful. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Continual Failure of My Eyes

by Mike McKinniss

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myopia” by joseph chang under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Lately, I’ve been thinking a bit about my future and God’s will. It’s an infection that comes on us all, and its cure in one season does not, sadly, leave us immune from subsequent attacks. It is a perilous disease, which, allowed to run its rampant course, may leave the sufferer paralyzed or worse.

Over the years, many friends and acquaintances have quoted to me Jeremiah 29:11, claiming it gave them comfort and, indeed, confidence in facing their futures. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (NIV).

It’s an encouraging word, to be sure, but I’ve rarely heard anyone offer comfort in the context of the preceding verse: “This is what the LORD says: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place'” (Jer. 29:10, NIV).

The long and short: every Israelite living in exile at the time of Jeremiah’s utterance, captives of their archenemy the Babylonians, would be dead before God’s good plans for the people of Israel would come about. There’s no way around it, Jeremiah 29:10 is a gut punch to his people, even if everyone’s favorite life verse—don’t get me started—offers a glimmer of hope.

So it’s all got me thinking about my future. Life has twisted and turned on me in unforeseen directions and left me wondering how that’s affected the years that lay ahead. Am I doing it right? Did I miss something along the way and jeopardize the whole affair? Where will it all lead? And what if I do it all wrong?

Read the rest of this entry »

Pulling Up Roots

by Carol Nicholls

God said to Abraham, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.”  “He went out, not knowing where he went.” (Genesis 12:1, Hebrews 11:8)

Destination: The place to which someone or something is being sent

Very few of us leave our homes without a destination in mind. If you are chronic about saving time and gas, like me, all the stops for a trip are written down, numbered and the list comes along in the car. With all of this going out and coming back, our lives revolve around our home-base, the spot where we have taken root. What would happen if our “roots” were pulled up and we suddenly, like Abraham, became transient? Read the rest of this entry »

The Dark Day Before Resurrection

by Mindy Kiker

I call it “Somber Saturday” — one of my favorite days of the year nestled between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.  I relish the reflections that this day invites. In anguish, I imagine the confusion and sorrow that must have wrapped itself around Mary, the disciples and all those who loved the Rabbi from Nazareth.

Many believed He was the Son of God, come to save the Hebrew nation from the scourge of Roman rule. Little did they realize that this lofty hope was too small a calling, too small a mission for the one true Messiah.

Jesus’ followers did not yet comprehend the magnitude of what God planned to accomplish — the Lamb had come to earth, Jehovah made flesh, to rescue ALL people for ALL time from the scourge of sin, death, sickness, and every kind of evil.

Read the rest of this entry »

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