Illustration results for fruitful
EVE: THE WORLD'S FIRST MOTHER
7 Advantages of Being 1st
1. No "in-laws!"
2. No one to be compared to (Eve never heard, "Johnny's mother...")
3. No bad culture or influences to fight against
4. No birthdays (of your own) to celebrate (perpetually 29 and holding!)
5. You hold the title, "World's Best Mom" for decades!
6. You will have a family tree like no other mother!
7. More Grandkids than you can count!
7 Disadvantages of Being 1st
1. No mother of your own to seek advice from
2. No manual or parenting books for raising children
3. No Grandparents to babysit the kids
4. Large family -- whether you wanted one or not
("Be fruitful and MULTIPLY!")
5. You're the 1st to have to deal with snakes
(We all know how bad that turned out!)
6. You are blamed for every mother's pain (childbirth)
7. You are blamed for EVERYTHING that has gone wrong for...well basically for all of human history!
"Most everyone knows of the newspaper comic strip called “Family Circus”. It pokes fun in a gentle way at the typical family life in a home with several very young children.
I remember one that started out with the mother giving the oldest boy, who appears to be about 6, something to take to the neighbor next door. Then the next frame is from a bird’s-eye view, and there is a dotted line showing the route the boy took to get next door. The line takes him across the street, through a park, stops at a swing set and slide, moves on to a brick wall that he apparently scaled and walked like a tightrope, around several other houses, stopping to talk to little boys and girls in the neighborhood, and finally stops at the front door of the next door neighbor’s house with the item he was to deliver.
I think that sometimes our days are much like that, except that at the end we haven’t delivered anything of value at all. I wonder how fruitful and prosperous, both for ourselves and the Kingdom of God, our lives would be if we prayed well into the night for the Father’s direction for the coming day?" -c.e.t.
The whole area of service is a very important one in the Christian life. The importance can be seen in the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea in the Holy Land. The two bodies of water are connected by the Jordan River in a direct north-south line along the Great Rift Valley. Clear, sweet water from underground springs flows into the Sea of Galilee. And the Sea of Galilee flows south into the Jordan. Galilee is a gorgeous, active lake, full of life that has sustained fishermen in the region for millennia. The Dead Sea, by contrast, is a shallow, selfish basin with no outlet. It hoards the water that flows into it. Some water evaporates, leaving behind brackish, clouded water so dense that swimmers bob like corks. The whole sea is dead.
When we as Christians have no outlet of service, we too can become spiritually dead, and stagnant. Instead of our faith being attractive, life giving and fruitful, we become as off-putting as a stagnant pond.
One man’s life provides a dramatic answer to the question, can God indeed bring positives out of troubled times? This young man’s name is David, and he is an awesome picture of God’s using difficulties for good. For years he viewed trials as something that affected only his external world, and any blow to what he owned or how he looked would discourage him and leave him feeling cheated. Today, David travels around the world, talking with people about how he discovered that no matter what happens to the outside, it’s the internal life that trials really touch. Just like what happened in Jerry’s life (whose story we shared in the last chapter), the bigger the trial, the more potential to see God’s power and peace at work in the inner person.
During the Vietnam War, David went through rigorous training to become part of the ultra elite special forces team the Navy used on dangerous search-and-destroy missions. During a nighttime raid on an enemy stronghold, David experienced the greatest trial of his life. When he and his men were pinned down by enemy machine-gun fire, he pulled a phosphorus grenade from his belt and stood up to throw it. But as he pulled back his arm, a bullet hit the grenade, and it exploded next to his ear.
Lying on his side on the bank of a muddy river, he watched part of his face float by. His entire face and shoulder alternately smoldered and caught on fire as the phosphorus that had embedded itself in his body came into contact with the air. David knew that he was going to die, yet miraculously he didn’t. He was pulled from the water by his fellow soldiers, flown directly to Saigon, and then taken to a waiting plane bound for Hawaii.
But David’s problems were just beginning. When he first went into surgery -- the first of what would become dozens of operations -- the surgical team had a major problem during the operation. As they cut away tissue that had been burned or torn by the grenade, the phosphorus would hit the oxygen in the operating room and begin to ignite again! Several times the doctors and nurses ran out of the room, leaving him alone because they were afraid the oxygen used in surgery would explode! Incredibly, David survived the operation and was taken to a ward that held the most severe burn and injury cases from the war.
Lying on his bed, his head the size of a basketball, David knew he presented a grotesque picture. Although he had once been a handsome man, he knew he had nothing to offer his wife or anyone else because of his appearance. He felt more alone and more worthless than he had ever felt in his life. But David wasn’t alone in his room. There was another man who had been wounded in Vietnam and was also a nightmarish sight. He had lost an arm and a leg, and his face was badly torn and scarred. As David was recovering from surgery, this man’s wife arrived from the States. When she walked into the room and took one look at her husband, she became nauseated. She took off her wedding ring, put it on the nightstand next to him, and said, "I’m so sorry, but there’s no way I could live with you looking like that." And with that, she walked out the door. He could barely make any sounds through his torn throat and mouth, but the soldier wept and shook for hours. Two days later, he died. That woman’s attitude represents in many respects the way the world views a victim of accident or injury. If a trial emotionally or physically scars someone or causes him to lose his attractiveness, the world says "Ugly is bad," and consequently, any value that person feels he has to others is drained away. For this poor wounded soldier, knowing that his wife saw no value in him was more terrible than the wounds he suffered. It blew away his last hope that someone, somewhere, could find worth in him because he knew how the world would perceive him.
Three days later, David’s wife arrived. After watching what had happened with the other soldier, he had no idea what kind of reaction she would have toward him, and he dreaded her coming. His wife, a strong Christian, took one look at him, came over, and kissed him on the only place on his face that wasn’t bandaged. In a gentle voice she said, "Honey, I love you. I’ll always love you. And I want you to know that...
“Our Poor Choices--His Good Grace!” Genesis 16: 1-15 Key verse(s): 3: “So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian maidservant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife.’”
Do you ever pray for discernment? People tend to pray for things that they feel are useful at the moment and fruitful for today and tomorrow. But discernment, you say? Just exactly what is it and why should I be including it in my prayers? Discernment is the ability to examine the situation, apply a good dose of experience, stand back and get a perspective on the recipe, and take the appropriate action at the appointed time. It’s what most people would call “good judgement.”
Chuck Swindoll writes: “I read this past week of a couple (let’s call them Carl and Clara) whose twenty-five year marriage was a good one. Not the most idyllic, but good. They now had three grown children who loved them dearly. They were also blessed with sufficient financial security to allow them room to dream about a lakeside retirement home. They began looking. A widower we’ll call Ben was selling his place. They liked it a lot and returned home to talk and plan. Months passed. Last fall, right out of the blue, Clara told Carl she wanted a divorce. He went numb. After all these years, why? And how could she deceive him...how could she have been nursing such a scheme while they were looking at a retirement home? She said she hadn’t been. Actually, this was a recent decision now that she had found another man. Who? Clara admitted it was Ben, the owner of the lake house, whom she inadvertently ran into several weeks after they had discussed the sale. They’d begun seeing each other. Since they were now ‘in love,’ there was no turning back. Not even the kids, who hated the idea, could dissuade their mother. On the day she was to leave, Carl walked through the kitchen toward the garage. Realizing she would be gone when he returned, he hesitated, ‘Well, hon, I guess this is the last time--’ His voice dissolved as he broke into sobs. She felt uneasy, hurriedly got her things together, and drove north to join Ben. Less than two weeks after she moved in with Ben, her new lover, he was seized with a heart attack. He lingered a few hours...and then died.” (Charles Swindoll, The Quest For Character, Multnomah, p. 42).
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
"The most fruitful lesson is the conquest of ones own error. Whoever refuses to admit error may be a great scholar, but he is not a great learner. Whoever is ashamed of error will struggle against recognizing and admitting it, which means that he struggles against his greatest inward gain."
"Give me the fruitful error any time, full of seeds, bursting with its own corrections. You can keep your sterile truth for yourself."
"A church in the land without the Spirit is rather a curse than a blessing. If you have not the Spirit of God, Christian worker, remember that you stand in somebody else’s way; you are a fruitless tree s...
PRUNING WITH A PURPOSE
I have a lilac tree in my back yard – beautiful white flowers. Well I decided it needed a little bit of pruning, so I got out some cutters and – well, the truth is I hacked it up. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but it had overgrown my clothes-line and needed to be cut back, and now it looks a little bit funny. Not too bad, but one look and you know it wasn’t pruned by someone who knows what they are doing.
And that’s why the pruning Jesus is talks about isn’t a scary thing. The gardener knows what He is doing. The pruning might still cause us some pain – He might cut off a particular part that we are fond of, a habit we enjoy, something we are proud of. It might be a part of our lives that we think it really important, that we couldn’t live without.
But the gardener knows what He is doing. And He prunes with a purpose – that we might be even more fruitful.
SOURCE: Steven Simala Grant in "The Art of Giving" on www.sermoncentral.com
On January 9, 1985, a Congregational pastor in Bulgaria named Christo Kuleczef, was arrested and put in jail. His crime was preaching in his church, just like I am right now. It was a crime because the week before the village committee had appointed a new pastor. The secular committee who runs the village put a new pastor in even though the Congregational church doesn’t recognize any pastors but the ones they elect and install.
So he preached, and they clamped him in jail immediately, and he immediately began to share Christ and make the truth known while he was in prison. He had a trial. It was a mockery of justice, and he was sentenced to eight months.
He did his eight months, got out, and wrote these words: "Both prisoners and jailers asked many questions, and we had a more fruitful ministry there than we could have expected in church. God was better served by our presence in prison than if we had been free."