and limiting, he loves them for they open up life to him. Harry Foster is someone who knows what it is like to live on both sides of this psalm. Seventeen years ago he was a homeless alcoholic living under a Dallas overpass. He was almost dead when Bob Lively, who is the head of a homeless shelter, found him and took him to a hospital. He was malnourished and had pneumonia. His addiction to drugs and alcohol had done their work on his body. But while he was in the hospital he had an experience with God that turned his life around. Bob Lively offered him a job at an Austin homeless shelter and he displayed a real ability to work with people and relate to them. Foster said, “I had a chance to serve God and I did it.” But the story does not sop there. He is now married, and just a few weeks ago he was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal church. Bob Lively who originally found him said, “I thought about the irony of when I found him, he was drunk on wine. Today he served me wine as the blood of Christ. Today, he was my minister.”

Harry’s story could be repeated many times over. But there are many others who have walked with God from their youth. They love God and they love the Word of God. With the psalmist they say: “Your statutes are wonderful; therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:129-130). They too know by experience that the way of God works. They have experienced the blessing of walking with God and they know the joy that a life in him gives. They are like healthy trees planted by the river of God. The water of life flows into them and they produce fruit. Their fruit is the fruit the Spirit of God gives them as described in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” As the Spirit of God comes into their lives, they produce the same character traits as the Spirit of God himself has. His life becomes their life. Their lives are full of the good things of God, the fruit of his Spirit. Their leaves do not wither and everything they do prospers.

We have a flowering crab tree in our back yard. We have been working on it every year, pruning it and keeping it trimmed. Last year there were so many crab apples that we scooped them up and hauled them away by the wheelbarrow load. This Spring the blossoms were especially beautiful and full. But in the last couple of weeks the tree has been hit by some kind of blight and the leaves are withering and falling off the tree already. There are no insects on the leaves, they just appear to be drying up and dying on their own. There may not be any crab apples this year. In fact, we are concerned that the tree may not live. Our tree is the opposite of the picture of the tree in Psalm 1. The tree which represents the one who faithfully follows God is robust and full of fruit. Think of Harry