You Shall Know a Tree By Its Fruit

Many people today claim to be Christians. They go to church, read the Bible, and pray. But what happens when there is a conflict or a misunderstanding? How do they act then?

Let’s look at the story of Jesus and the fig tree. Jesus was walking along the road and stopped by a fig tree that had leaves on it. Seeing the leaves, Jesus went to pick a fig but alas, no fruit would be found. Jesus cursed the tree and it immediately withered up and died. (Matthew 21:18-20)

Moral of the story, just because someone claims to be a Christian and acts like a Christian, if they are not bearing fruit when it is needed, then one has to wonder. Bearing fruit means the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 defines the fruit of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” How misunderstandings are handled are the real test of being a Christian. If we can preserve our relationships in the midst of strife, that is bearing real godly fruit.

Are your relationships bearing fruit or are they withering and dying?

You Shall Know a Tree By Its Fruit

Many people today claim to be Christians. They go to church, read the Bible, and pray. But what happens when there is a conflict or a misunderstanding? How do they act then?

Let’s look at the story of Jesus and the fig tree. Jesus was walking along the road and stopped by a fig tree that had leaves on it. Seeing the leaves, Jesus went to pick a fig but alas, no fruit would be found. Jesus cursed the tree and it immediately withered up and died. (Matthew 21:18-20)

Moral of the story, just because someone claims to be a Christian and acts like a Christian, if they are not bearing fruit when it is needed, then one has to wonder. Bearing fruit means the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22 defines the fruit of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” How misunderstandings are handled are the real test of being a Christian. If we can preserve our relationships in the midst of strife, that is bearing real godly fruit.

Are your relationships bearing fruit or are they withering and dying?

The Greatest Gift

On this Christmas Eve, the sky is clear and the blustery winds of winter are calm. I’ve just returned from a beautiful church service with my son. In my home and in my heart, there is peace, and for that, I am so very thankful.

Yet I know that there are many out there tonight who cannot say the same and for that I grieve. Parents in strife with their children, partners in strife with their mates, friends in strife against each other, countries at war against one another. Miscommunication and misunderstanding are partly to blame. The Apostle James says “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you. You desire what you do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”(James 4:1-2)

We cannot always get what we want, but is that a reason to quarrel and be in conflict with a friend or loved one? What is it that you are wanting this Christmas Eve, dear one? Is it worth losing your peace over? Remember on this night, a baby was born who was to be called “the Prince of Peace”. Let Jesus give you His gift of Peace. The price He paid for us to have it was great. Peace on Earth – good will towards men!

The Greatest Gift

On this Christmas Eve, the sky is clear and the blustery winds of winter are calm. I’ve just returned from a beautiful church service with my son. In my home and in my heart, there is peace, and for that, I am so very thankful.

Yet I know that there are many out there tonight who cannot say the same and for that I grieve. Parents in strife with their children, partners in strife with their mates, friends in strife against each other, countries at war against one another. Miscommunication and misunderstanding are partly to blame. The Apostle James says “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you. You desire what you do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.”(James 4:1-2)

We cannot always get what we want, but is that a reason to quarrel and be in conflict with a friend or loved one? What is it that you are wanting this Christmas Eve, dear one? Is it worth losing your peace over? Remember on this night, a baby was born who was to be called “the Prince of Peace”. Let Jesus give you His gift of Peace. The price He paid for us to have it was great. Peace on Earth – good will towards men!

Peace on Earth

This is the last sunday of Advent and the focus is on the gift of peace. Picture for a moment the manger scene. A young mother holding her tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. She knows not what the future holds for her precious child, yet she knows that God is with her. Wise men have traveled from afar to worship the child bring expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gifts symbolize kingship, priesthood, and burial; all tidings of the future of this child.

Shepherds gather in awe at the star in the Bethlehem sky and wonder what magnificent event could be happening. Amidst the clamor and hustle and bustle of the citizens rushing to their hometown for the census, and fears of the Roman rule under the evil King Herod, Jesus brings peace to a manger in the small town of Bethlehem.

So too, amidst the clamor and hustle and bustle of the Christmas rush, the ups and downs of the stock market, and the uncertainty of the times, Jesus still brings peace to us. He promised to give us peace. “Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled neither be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Look not to the things of this world for peace, for true peace can only come from above. This Christmas, will you trust in Jesus and receive His precious gift of peace?

Peace on Earth

This is the last sunday of Advent and the focus is on the gift of peace. Picture for a moment the manger scene. A young mother holding her tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. She knows not what the future holds for her precious child, yet she knows that God is with her. Wise men have traveled from afar to worship the child bring expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gifts symbolize kingship, priesthood, and burial; all tidings of the future of this child.

Shepherds gather in awe at the star in the Bethlehem sky and wonder what magnificent event could be happening. Amidst the clamor and hustle and bustle of the citizens rushing to their hometown for the census, and fears of the Roman rule under the evil King Herod, Jesus brings peace to a manger in the small town of Bethlehem.

So too, amidst the clamor and hustle and bustle of the Christmas rush, the ups and downs of the stock market, and the uncertainty of the times, Jesus still brings peace to us. He promised to give us peace. “Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled neither be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Look not to the things of this world for peace, for true peace can only come from above. This Christmas, will you trust in Jesus and receive His precious gift of peace?

Do You Have Time for Joy?

This is the third sunday of Advent which is commemorated to celebrating joy. As we get closer to Christmas, I light the pink candle on my Advent wreath, which reminds me of the angels singing songs of joy pronouncing the birth of Christ.

But when I look around, it seems to me like everybody is in a bad mood and stressed out. Why is that? I know there’s a lot to do. I know the weather is freezing cold outside. I know many of us are getting sick, have allergies, and aches and pains. I know work pressures can be extra heavy with year end duties. I know because I am experiencing the same things.

But is any of that a reason to lose our joy? As I watch the pink candle glowing, I am reminded that no matter what is going on around me or in me physically, God is still with me. Emmanuel means “God with us”. He promises never to leave me or forsake me, and He is my closest friend. He will take care of everything that concerns me and I can trust that things will all work out for my good. Now that is something to be joyful about!

If you are struggling with the busyness and stress of this season, take a few moments to light a candle. Breathe, relax, and let the tension drain from your mind and body. Perhaps you may want to read a favorite verse or two of scripture to clear your mind. Instead of focusing on your to do list, give the list to the Lord, and focus on joy this week. Notice how you feel. Go ahead and relax and smile, and let your joy be contagious! It’s a great gift to give others and it’s free!

Do You Have Time for Joy?

This is the third sunday of Advent which is commemorated to celebrating joy. As we get closer to Christmas, I light the pink candle on my Advent wreath, which reminds me of the angels singing songs of joy pronouncing the birth of Christ.

But when I look around, it seems to me like everybody is in a bad mood and stressed out. Why is that? I know there’s a lot to do. I know the weather is freezing cold outside. I know many of us are getting sick, have allergies, and aches and pains. I know work pressures can be extra heavy with year end duties. I know because I am experiencing the same things.

But is any of that a reason to lose our joy? As I watch the pink candle glowing, I am reminded that no matter what is going on around me or in me physically, God is still with me. Emmanuel means “God with us”. He promises never to leave me or forsake me, and He is my closest friend. He will take care of everything that concerns me and I can trust that things will all work out for my good. Now that is something to be joyful about!

If you are struggling with the busyness and stress of this season, take a few moments to light a candle. Breathe, relax, and let the tension drain from your mind and body. Perhaps you may want to read a favorite verse or two of scripture to clear your mind. Instead of focusing on your to do list, give the list to the Lord, and focus on joy this week. Notice how you feel. Go ahead and relax and smile, and let your joy be contagious! It’s a great gift to give others and it’s free!

What is Love?

This question has been pondered by many over the years. As I lit the second purple candle on my Advent wreath this past sunday, I too, paused to ponder the gift of love.

Love comes in so many forms, doesn’t it? Over the centuries, philosophers have been at a loss to define love. If you watch Hollywood these days, you will really get confused messages about love.

Contrary to popular belief, love is an action, not a feeling. Love is a choice we make. Love is a commitment to love even when we don’t feel like it,and to love those who are unlovely. God showed us what love really looks like when He sent Jesus to be born in a manger so many centuries ago. When I read about how Jesus ate with the tax collectors and the prostitutes, how he cared for the little children, and how he had compassion for the sick and the poor, that shows me what love looks like. Love means giving; giving of yourself, giving up of yourself. To see the ultimate example of giving, take a look at the cross. There you will find Jesus, the only Son of God, giving his life for all of us. Now that is true love. He is why we celebrate Christmas.

This season I will look for ways to be more loving. It may be in my tone of speech, it may be in my thinking of the other person before myself, it may be to be more gentler to myself even. In expressing and giving love, it always comes back to us.

Whatever state we find ourselves in this Christmas season, let us remember how much God truly loves us. We are never alone for God is called Emmanuel, God with us. No matter what you are going through, dear one, know that God loves you more than you could ever imagine. Look for signs of His love this season, and then give the gift of love to someone else. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

What is Love?

This question has been pondered by many over the years. As I lit the second purple candle on my Advent wreath this past sunday, I too, paused to ponder the gift of love.

Love comes in so many forms, doesn’t it? Over the centuries, philosophers have been at a loss to define love. If you watch Hollywood these days, you will really get confused messages about love.

Contrary to popular belief, love is an action, not a feeling. Love is a choice we make. Love is a commitment to love even when we don’t feel like it,and to love those who are unlovely. God showed us what love really looks like when He sent Jesus to be born in a manger so many centuries ago. When I read about how Jesus ate with the tax collectors and the prostitutes, how he cared for the little children, and how he had compassion for the sick and the poor, that shows me what love looks like. Love means giving; giving of yourself, giving up of yourself. To see the ultimate example of giving, take a look at the cross. There you will find Jesus, the only Son of God, giving his life for all of us. Now that is true love. He is why we celebrate Christmas.

This season I will look for ways to be more loving. It may be in my tone of speech, it may be in my thinking of the other person before myself, it may be to be more gentler to myself even. In expressing and giving love, it always comes back to us.

Whatever state we find ourselves in this Christmas season, let us remember how much God truly loves us. We are never alone for God is called Emmanuel, God with us. No matter what you are going through, dear one, know that God loves you more than you could ever imagine. Look for signs of His love this season, and then give the gift of love to someone else. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive.