Thursday, July 14, 2011


"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children"
(Ephesians 5:1).

We really enjoy watching our chickens roam about in the yard.  They entertain us with their antics.  For one thing, they are curious to the point of being nosy, straining their necks to see what is going on around them. They are also jealous and competitive to the point of being contentious.  If one hen pecks at the ground, the others all come running to see what she found, pushing and grabbing to claim it for their own.  And they imitate each other.  What one does, they all have to do--like little copycats playing "follow the leader."

It's fun to watch in chickens, but this kind of behavior is not so humorous among people.  When we cling to gossip, become jealous of others, or try to keep up with our neighbors (or even show them up), we are following the ways of the world rather than doing the will of God our Father.  As God's children, redeemed by Christ and renewed by His Spirit, our desire becomes like His: wanting to encourage and help others, to make sacrifices in order to share with those less fortunate, and to have humble hearts that are willing to serve.

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2).


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

First Grapes

First Grapes at Maple Grove
"How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land. (It was the season for the first ripe grapes)" (Numbers 13:20).

A few years ago we bought some grape plants and put them in the ground.  It has taken some effort: sinking posts for fencing and adding wire for the runners; applying fertilizer and mulch; combating droughts and insects.  At one point we even thought two of the plants had died out.  Now, finally, we are rejoicing in the "fruits" of our labor--our first grapes!!

In our daily Christian walk we plant the seeds of God's Word in our conversations with others.  We nurture these relationships as we lovingly offer our support through acts of kindness.  We stand by them when times are tough and when Satan attacks.  In our efforts, however, it is not we but the Holy Spirit who produces the fruit of Christian faith and love.  Without Christ in us, our labor is for nothing.

"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).