Friday, March 24, 2017

Be a good fuit producer, allow some pruning

Spring is slowly happening in north Idaho with the snow melting and some green returning to the landscape.  We have flowers that are poking their heads through the snow in defiance of winter.  The swallows have returned and robins are searching for the right spot to build a nest.  Clients have started calling wanting their trees pruned soon .  Fruit trees are pruned to remove unwanted sucker limbs and weak limbs that would rob the tree of nutrients to produce good fruit.  It is amazing how a tree can produce an abundance of poor limbs in a season.  If fruit trees aren't pruned yearly they quickly become a tangle of weak unproductive limbs.

A few years ago, a property management firm called and said a client of theirs had a rental where the fruit trees needed pruning so I drove there to look at the trees.  Two large apple trees had not been pruned in at least ten years and there were weak limbs everywhere.  It took me two days to prune the trees and I hauled off two big trailer loads of limbs.  Later that summer we had a call from the management firm saying the owner was not happy with the pruning I did in the spring. I asked what was wrong and the reply shocked me.  The owner thought the pruning would reduce the amount of apples the trees produced as she didn't want apples. Now she was very unhappy with an increase in the apples the trees were producing.  I replied that if she didn't want fruit then the trees should have been cut down.  Needles to say, she didn't like my advice.

Jesus said you can tell a tree by it's fruit.  A good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit.  He was using trees to remind us how our life should produce good fruit in abundance.  We produce good fruit when we help other people produce good fruit.  It may take some pruning to get them to the potential they have to produce good fruit.  We all need some pruning from self, pride, anger and many other sins.  Pruning will make us stronger, more productive  and give us Godly wisdom for discernment. 

Don't go out and prune someone unless you have removed all the unwanted limbs slowing you down.  When you do prune, do it with love and humility; be gentle.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Planting seeds

Yesterday Ardella planted four containers of peppers and cabbage in peat pots for our garden this summer.  She planted in new organic potting soil and then put the pots in a tray with a cover to hold in moisture for the little seeds.  They will be watered, fertilized and cared for until June planting.  We look forward to gardening because it lets us get back to the basics of growing our own food.  Yes there will be challenges of insects, disease, and deer all wanting to destroy our garden. It seems like each year there is a new problem but we enjoy the benefits of fresh veggies.

Jesus often spoke in parables about planting, sowing, and reaping.  Planting each seed is more time consuming but the end results are usually better.  Sowing is broadcasting the seed on the ground and not all the seed is going to sprout and reach harvest stage.  There is no harvest without planting or sowing.  These parables are very important for us today in our outreach to people.  God expects us to do the planting and sowing of His word into people.  The Word is like water that will nourish and grow the seeds we planted in people if we use the love and compassion that Jesus showed to the people He ministered daily.  He loved them, fed them, and healed them.  Pretty simple plan for us to follow.

Just as God raises the seed from the ground that we plant in our garden; He to raises the seeds we plant with the word in people.  Some just take longer to sprout than others so be patient.  People don't care how much you know about the Bible; they want to know how much you care first.  Meet them at their needs and plant a seed that will reward them with an eternal harvest in God's garden.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Faith Determines Our Hope

Many people in this country are frustrated and living without hope.  The word hope has been in the news a lot lately with half the country who have lost all hope and half that are overjoyed with hope.  Why the huge difference in these two groups of people?  First of all, anyone who puts their hope in a human being is going to be disappointed.  We all fall short of the glory God wanted us to have because we sometimes listen to the wrong voice. 

Faith and hope are often mentioned together in the Bible.  Hebrews 11:1 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  The word substance here means reality or proof.  Colossians 1:27 states that Christ in us is the hope of glory.  Our faith level in Jesus determines our hope level.  The two are inseparable and Jesus is the center of all hope.  The Gospel tells many stories that multitudes of people followed Jesus where ever he went.  These  people had lost all hope in the high religious authorities yet they saw Jesus as compassionate and caring.  He often fed them, healed them, and spoke of a hope they never knew. 

There is an old hymn that says, " my hope is found in nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness."  That pretty much sums it up.  If you are living a life without hope, Jesus is waiting to give you a new hope that is eternal.  He created hope and died that you might anchor your hope in Him.  It just takes a little faith.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Under His Wings

While working for the Iowa Conservation Commission, I had the privilege to participate in the return of the giant Canada goose in the wild.  This largest species of the Canada goose family was thought to be extinct but a biologist found some in a small wild flock of geese in southern Minnesota.  We also discovered that early Iowa pioneer families captured wild geese and handed them down for generations and most of those were the giant geese which the State of Iowa purchased from many farmers .  I was in charge of a work crew that high fenced fifteen acres around a bay and placed twenty four pairs of the geese so they could safely nest without predators bothering the nests.  We also established a refuge for Canada geese that was ten miles wide and about thirty miles long.  They multiplied into the hundreds then thousands and now millions.  It was a huge success story in conservation.

Mama and Papa geese are a force to respect when it comes to guarding their goslings.  The goslings will hide under Mama's wings while Papa is on the constant lookout and ready to defend his family.  We had to handle the geese to band them for tracking and mortality so found out they can beat you fiercely with their wings and will bite any exposed flesh with a vengeance.  I have seen ears, lips, and hands bloodied quickly and with precision from their bills.

Psalm 91 states that we have a Heavenly Father that will cover us with his wings where we can find refuge.  The psalm tells us we are not to be afraid of the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor the of the destruction that wastes at noonday.  A thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.  God says He will give angels charge over us to keep us in all of our ways.  This great scripture has many promises of His love and protection.

The 91st Brigade recited this Psalm daily during WW1 and even though they were in many battles, came through the war with no casualties.  Some Marines have used it in Afghanistan with similar results.  I have a friend who has a son that is a Navy Seal that was embedded in Mosul, Iraq with Iraqi troops  for several months.  We prayed Psalm 91 over him and the Seal Team nearly daily claiming God's promises for them.  They finally returned home recently with no injuries yet were in many dangerous battles against ISIS. His son said numerous bullets whizzed by them, bombs exploding with shrapnel flying and often Iraqi troops being killed next to them ; yet they were never harmed.

What do you think; was this just a coincidence or God's favor.  They were under the wings of the Almighty God who is a loving Father.