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I once read of a little boy who used to escape his bedroom after being punished. He would crawl out of his bedroom window down an old fruit tree to the ground. One day, his father told him that he was going to chop down the fruit tree, because it hadn’t borne any fruit for a number of years.
That evening, the boy and his friend bought a bushel of apples, and during the night, tied those apples on the barren branches. The next morning, the man could not believe his eyes. He said to his wife, "Honey, I just can’t believe it! That old tree hasn’t yielded any fruit for years, and now it’s covered with apples. And, the most amazing thing is that it’s a pear tree!"
WORKS VS. FRUIT
A machine in a factory works and turns out a product, but it could never manufacture "fruit." Fruit must grow out of life, and, in the case of the believer, it is the life of the Spirit (Gal. 5:25). When you think of "works," you think of effort, labor, strain, and toil; when you think of "fruit," you think of beauty, quietness, the unfolding of life. The flesh produces "dead works" (Heb. 9:14), but the Spirit produces living fruit. Fruit has in it the seed for still more fruit (Gen. 1:11).
(Source: Wiersbe, Warren W.: The Bible Exposition Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996, c1989, S. Ga 5:22)
THE ROOT BEARS THE FRUIT
A farmer one planted two fruit trees on opposite sides of his property. The one he planted to provide a hedge hide the unsightly view of an old landfill; the other to provide shade to rest under near a cool mountain stream which ran down beside his fields. As the two trees grew, both produced began to flower and bear fruit. One day the farmer decided to gather the fruit from the tree nearest his house " the one used to provide a hedge from the landfill. As he brought the fruit inside the house, he noticed that it was a little deformed " the symmetry of the fruit was not very good, but still the fruit looked edible. Later that evening, while sitting on his porch the farmer took one of the pieces of fruit for a snack. Biting into the fruit, he found it to be extremely bitter, and completely inedible. Casting the fruit aside he looked across the field to the other tree over by the mountain stream. After walking across the field, the farmer took a piece of the fruit from the other tree and bit into it. Find the fruit to be sweet and delicious he gathered several more pieces of fruit and took them to the house.
The fruit was greatly affected by the nutrition of the root. Just as the tree grew by the landfill to be bitter, and the tree by the stream produced sweet fruit, so the Christian has a choice. He can either put down his roots into the soil of the landfill of fleshly pursuits, or into the cool refreshing stream of the person of Jesus Christ. We must understand that the root bears the fruit. The fruit of the Christian is the outward evidence of the inward motivation.
This question was once asked, "If you could choose what you want most in life, what would you ask for?" The most common answer was "Peace."
People want peace in their marriages, families, workplaces, country and world. Our country has some of the best medical and psychological treatment centers, highest educational institutions and worldwide communication abilities. Yet with all of these things, most people are yet without true inner peach. The results are devastating... broken marriages, split families, hatred, rebellion, financial anxiety, a country unsettled.
The world will offer you peace through many forms of escapism... drugs, alcohol, immoral relationships, and constant entertainment. It is sought through all forms of pleasure, self-satisfaction and positive thinking. Many believe that peace is defined as the absence of trouble. They refuse to face the problems in their lives believing that this is finding peace. The world, however, has never held the answer to true peace.
You can choose to have true peace. True peace comes not from man but from God. This peace is the fruit of the Holy Spirit spoken of in Galatians 5:22.
This peace means to be in harmony with God, to be bound, joined and woven together with God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. It also means to be assured of, confident of and secure in the love and care of God. There is a consciousness and a sure trust God will provide, guide, strengthen, sustain, encourage, deliver and save completely those who seek Him with all their hearts. This supernatural peace must come first and foremost from receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. Second, it comes from a knowledge of and a love for God's Word.
The Apostle Paul knew this peace. He suffered greatly because of his love for the Lord, love for God's truth and because of his commitment to the commission given to him by Jesus Christ. Yet in all this, his heart was kept in perfect peace.
He had been imprisoned, stoned, left for dead and scourged by the Romans, and yet he said in Romans 8: 28, "And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who ha...
Sermon Central Staff
"SULLY" AND SECOND NATURE
Thursday, January 15, 2009, was another ordinary day in New York City. Or so it seemed. But by that evening people were talking of a miracle.
They may have been right. But the full explanation is, if anything, even more interesting and exciting. And it strikes just the note we need as we think about Christian character and "goodness" in particular.
Flight 1549, a regular US Airways trip from La Guardia Airport, took off at 15:26 local time, bound for Charleston, North Carolina. The captain, Chelsey Sullenberger III, known as "Sully," did all the usual checks. Everything was fine in the Airbus A320. Fine until, two minutes after takeoff, the aircraft ran straight into a flock of Canada Geese. One goose in a jet engine would be serious; a flock was disastrous. Almost at once both the engines were severely damaged and lost their power. The plane was at that point heading north over the Bronx, one of the most densely populated parts of the city.
Captain Sullenberger and his copilot had to make several major decisions instantly if they were going to save the lives of people not only on board but also on the ground.
* They could see one or two small local airports in the distance, but quickly realized that they couldn't be sure of making it that far. If they attempted it, they well might crash land in a built-up area on the way.
* Likewise, the option of putting the plane down on the New Jersey Turnpike, a busy road leading in and out of the city, would present huge problems and dangers for the plane and its occupants, let alone for cars and their drivers on the road.
* That left one option: the Hudson River. It's difficult to crash-land on water: one small mistake-catch the nose or one of the wings in the river, say-and the plane will turn over and over like a gymnast before breaking up and sinking.
In the two or three minutes they had before landing, Sullenberger and his copilot had to do the following vital things (along with plenty of other tasks that we amateurs wouldn't understand).
* They had to shut down the engines.
* They had to set the right speed so that the plane could glide as long as possible without power. (Fortunately, Sullenberger is also a gliding instructor.)
* They had to get the nose down to maintain speed.
* They had to disconnect the autopilot and override the flight management system.
* They had to activate the "ditch" system, which seals vents and valves, to make the plane as waterproof as possible once it hit the water.
* Most important of all, they had to fly and glide the plane in a fast left-hand turn so that it could come down facing south, going with the flow of the river.
* And-having already turned off the engines-they had to do this using only the battery-operated systems and the emergency generator.
* Then they had to straighten the plane up from the tilt of the sharp-left turn so that, on landing, the plane would be exactly level from side to side.
* Finally, they had to get the nose back up again, but not too far up, and land straight and flat on the water.
And they did it! Everyone got off safely, with Captain Sullenberger himself walking up and down the aisle a couple of times to check that everyone had escaped before leaving himself. Once in the life raft along with the other passengers, he went one better: he took off his shirt, in the freezing January afternoon, and gave it to a passenger who was suffering in the cold.
The story has already been told and retold, and will live on in the memory not only of all those involved but of every New Yorker and many further afield. Just over seven years and four months after the horrible devastation of September 11, 2001, New York had an airplane story to celebrate.
Now, as I say, many people described the dramatic events as a "miracle." At one level, I wouldn't want to question that. But the really fascinating thing about the whole business is the way it spectacularly illustrates a vital truth--a truth which many today have either forgotten or never knew in the first place.
Sullenberger had not, of course, been born with the ability to fly a plane, let alone the specific skills he exhibited in those vital three minutes. None of the skills required, and certainly none of the courage, restraint, cool judgment, and concern for others which he displayed, is part of the kit we humans possess from birth.
You have to work at mastering that sort of skill set, moving steadily toward that goal. You have to want to do it all, to choose to learn it all, to practice doing it all. Again and again. And then, sometimes, when the moment comes, it happens "automatically," as it did for Sullenberger. The skills and ability ran right through him, top to toe. (Source: N.T. Wright, "After You Believe", p. 18ff.)
Flying that plane as skillfully as "Sully" did seemed very natural to those around him, like "second nature." And it was SECOND nature. By that I mean it was not really natural but a learned, rehearsed, and ingrained action that over time Sully was able to make appear to be natural.
That, my friends, describes the Fruit of the Spirit better than anything I can think of.
(From a sermon by Ken Pell, A Fruit-full Marriage: Goodness, 8/4/2011)
FRUIT REQUIRES EFFORT AND DEDICATION
The young boy stood looking up at the naked ice-covered limbs of his favorite cherry tree. It was 4:30 in the morning and the full moon produced a silvery sheen in the ice, which almost seemed to originate within the branches themselves. The young man let out a deep sigh, which produced a cloud of ice crystals that slowly rose up as a gray mist amongst the limbs of the tree. As the young boy turned his eyes back to the snow covered path, his mind conjured up images of pies made from the bright red spheres of wonderful fruit this tree would produce in early summer.
The boy headed on to the barn, from which the gentle sound of cattle let him know that it was time for their morning feeding. The young boy would repeat this morning’s journey every day, seven days a week, 4 weeks a month until the winter snows would eventually gave way to spring rains. With the spring rains the boy became more and more fixated on his cherry tree. He was so delighted when the first pink and white blossoms began appear; but, at the same time, he was burdened by the fear of a late frost. Eventually, the blossoms were replaced with the beginnings of that most perfect of fruits: the cherry.
The young boy’s anxiety over a late frost was replaced by a deep sense of guardianship. He absolutely reveled in the thought of bathing his taste buds in the fruit produced by the cherry tree, but so did every bird in the county. To protect his tree from the inevitable onslaught of birds, he leaned boards up against the tree and place morsels of food on the upper part of the board. He hoped, in this way, to entice the barn cats to eventually venture into the branches of the cherry tree. He also placed an old stuffed owl on top of a pole, which he secured next to the tree.
Of course, he personally took on a daily vigil of protecting the tree. With every pail of milk he carried to the milk house, morning and night, the boy would stop and survey the tree for signs of birds. Should one be careless enough to perch in the tree, the boy would carefully set down the pail of milk, slowly reach for his bb-gun and turn the bird into cat food. He never paid any mind to the breed of bird; the fruit of the cherry tree must be protected at all costs.
Thanks to the faithfulness of the cats, the diligence of the owl, and the boy’s true aim, the cherry tree produced an abundance of fruit. As he had expected, the young boy’s grandmother turned the first harvesting of the tree into perfect cherry pies. She made them just the way the boy loved cherry pie: with extra thick pie crust on the top and on the bottom. Subsequent harvesting of the fruit from the cherry tree was canned and naturally an occasional pie was also made. Thus, the rewards of the cherry tree were both immediate and enduring.
As a youngster, the cherries served to pleasure the boy’s palate, but later in life he often considered how much effort and dedication is required to produce an abundance of good fruit.
UN ESTUDIO DE LA IMPACIENCIA en 2006 encontrĂł:
â€˘ se necesita un promedio de 17 minutos para la mayorĂa de las personas para perder la paciencia en una cola o lĂnea de espera.
â€˘ En el telĂ©fono, se tarda alrededor de 9 minutos para la mayorĂa de las personas en perder la paciencia.
â€˘ Las mujeres perdieron la paciencia despuĂ©s de esperar en fila durante unos 18 minutos. Para los hombres, que era un promedio de 15 minutos.
â€˘ Las personas con menores ingresos y menor nivel educativo son mĂˇs pacientes que los que tienen una educaciĂłn universitaria e ingreso alto.
A STUDY OF IMPATIENCE in 2006 found:
**An average of 17 minutes for the majority of people to lose patience in a queue or waiting line.
**On the phone, it takes about 9 minutes for the majority of people to lose patience.
**Women lost patience after waiting in line for about 18 minutes. For men, it was an average of 15 minutes.
**People with lower incomes and less education are more patient than those who have a university's Education and high income.
WHERE FRUIT BEGINS
I believe with everything that is in me that fruit begins with each one of us. It begins with a decision, “I want to bear fruit. I want to honor Jesus. I want to walk in his ways. And I will do it no matter what. No matter what life throws at me. No matter what struggles I face. No matter what disease afflicts me or my loved ones. No matter how much success I have financially or how miserably I fail. I will not give up in this one area. So Lord, I give you my heart. I give you my very life. I give you my all.”
When we can pray like that, this is a grand start. Sure there will be weeds to pull out. Sure there will be stones to unearth and haul away sometimes leaving at least temporarily a big hole. Sometimes we will need to dig out those tree stumps in the fields of our lives rather than plow around if we are to bear a bountiful harvest. Sometimes the fields of our neighbors may seem like a rock garden or overrun with debris but if we remember to focus on our own field, we will see that we have more than enough to do rather than fix what we think is wrong wit...
Charles R. Peck
A gentle spirit is worth it weight in gold, and this gold is not fools gold.
Some years ago the press had reported that the president of a Midwestern theological seminary was fired after the Board of Directors determined that his temper had imperiled his leadership. The president confessed to "misappropriation of anger," and "after hours of agonizing discussion and interviews with the president and vice presidents, a majority of the board members concluded that the expressions of anger had irreparably damaged his ability to lead the seminary." Who would have thought that after years of educational preparation and in-depth study of Scriptures this president would lose his job because he could not control his emotions. On the other hand there was an article that reported two penniless refugees from Cuba who became millionaires because of their ability to control their emotions.