Blessings church family! Seeing Paige this past Sunday wearing his t-shirt with the word "fruit" on it reminded me of someone who once relayed a story to me of how he wanted to teach his kids a lesson on the vine and branches. He went out into his backyard, cut off a limb from their apple tree and said, â€œI have great news, kids! You no longer have to go outside to pick apples. Hereâ€™s a branch weâ€™re going to keep right in the kitchen!â€ He said that his youngest looked at him kinda funny and asked â€œDoesn't it have to be connected to the tree, Daddy?â€
As I think back on this, I'm reminded of my childhood days, running through my neighbor's apple orchard. I can't ever remember once seeing branches that were connected to the trunk struggling to bear fruit. They just hung there. I guess you could say they were abiding, and the fruit was produced naturally.
So often through the years I've tried to be more loving, to do good works, or even to praise the Lord in my own energy. I might have been able to fake it for an hour or two, or even a day or three, but ultimately I kept coming up empty. I'm slowly learning that the only way to produce genuine fruit--morning by morning and day by day--is to hang in there, to abide in Christ, and allow the Spirit to flow to & through me. Fruit can't be faked for very long. I've got to have the Word in my life. I can hear Jesus saying, â€œLes! Stop being a sap! The sap of the Scriptures must flow from Me to you in order for there to be any real fruit in your life.â€ Thank You, Lord!
And thank you for Sustain, South Church. Hang in there!