“They still need a little bit more time,” he answered.
“Aww…They’re sweet! I ate one this morning!” I replied with a little disappointment.
We had bought a few dwarf fruit trees few years ago, when we just moved in into this house we’re living in now. One of them was this gala apple tree. The first time it bore fruits, I was hooked. The fruits were sweet, every bite echoed a crispy, refreshing sound.
And in every bite came the bittersweet reality that took me back to the garden of Eden, when our great [thousands of “great”] Grandma Eve chose to disobey God by taking those risky bites from that fruit.
I must say I should be angry with Eve for doing that. Thanks to her, I had tasted what “pain” meant to give birth to a child. And my hubby working hard to make ends meet?
Now, who knows what kind of apple she ate and Adam ate. But what matters to me now is the truth that God truly loves humanity so much that He sent Jesus down here, the true Vine. And any fruit that clings to this Vine and remains on this Vine will truly live. What’s amazing with this Tree, is that even though I’m not a grape, He grafted me. And so if you are a peach, lemon, cherry, whatever fruit, you are invited to cling to this Vine. But don’t you brag about it!
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit— fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” - John 15:16
To be a part of this vine, it’s just impossible to be united with God and remain ignorant of Him. And especially, not to show or manifest His own attribute - which is love.
“4Remain in me, and I will 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.5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”- John 15:4-5
Remaining is not simply to just believe in Jesus. It is to be in union with Him. To know more about Him and to know more about Jesus is to know more about the things of God, for Jesus is the complete representation of God. To remain in Him brings the deepest fulfillment and deepest joy in our lives. But to some, “obedience” means conforming to societal rules. But to Jesus, “obedience” means conforming to the Father Who is the Source of love. If there is no joy in us, then maybe we need to consider how much we know Jesus.
If you are that kind of fruit that continues to reject the invitation to be “grafted” into the Vine, it’s fortunate that God’s response is always to pursue you with love.
So, what kind of fruit are you? Producing on your own or are you willing to remain in the Vine? How great it must be to see every church becoming a beautiful garden in this world, instead of a lone retreat.
Before you take that bite from whatever fruit you’re eating, think about it….
The Attacker (5/15/09)
The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies.
Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.
Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.
All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.
When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.
The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.
When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himseld and ended up injuring his attacker severely.
[Source: Life Application Bible]:
We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.
“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14
Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].
Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.
Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.
Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].