Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Orange Leaf

Gorgeously brilliant, a true, bright hue,
a one-of-a-kind, a marvelous view.
And there I see it beam in the sun,
the perfect orange leaf unlike any one.

Ongoing giver, the star of spring,
a dainty orange tree, a new life to bring.
And there I trace it, sent through the sky,
the free swirling seed that came from up high.

Delicate showcase, the crown of fall,
an emblem of change, the best of them all.
And there I catch it, crisp in the air,
the Maple Tree’s Gift that none can compare!

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6

The brisk air brings the Autumn season as maple trees change color and drop leaves. Kids love to jump into piles of raked leaves. And some like to try to catch a special orange leaf as it swirls down from the top of a tree. What joy when that can be done! Maybe it will be placed inside the pages of a book to be preserved.

Jesus Christ is ‘the orange leaf’. Either the words spoken by Jesus in John 14:6 are truth or foolery. Pray that your family will know there aren’t many ways to God—only one. Many of us know that by faith in Christ, who is God incarnate, we have reconciliation, salvation, eternal life, joy, inheritance and victory.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 4:12

 (of his dear Son…)
Who is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn of every creature: 
For by him were all things created,
that are in heaven, and are in earth,
visible and invisible,
whether they be thrones, or dominions or
principalities, or powers:
all things were created by him, and for him.
Colossians 1:15-16


For it pleased the Father
 that in him should all fullness dwell;
And, having made peace through the blood
of his cross, by him to reconcile
 all things unto himself;
by him, I say,
whether they be things in earth,
or things in heaven.
Colossians 1: 19-20

I am reminded on a cool Autumn day that although everyone is made in God’s image, not everyone is a child of God. As I watch an orange leaf fly off a tree, I realize God wouldn’t have sent His Son to die for our sins if we were already children of God. If we were already children of God, there would be no need for redemption. With all the soap in the world, why are there so many dirty people? That is because soap has to be applied.
Likewise, faith has to be applied.

But as many as received him,
to them gave he power to become
the sons of God, even to them that
believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood,
nor of the will of the flesh,
nor of the will of man,
but of God.
John 1:12-13

Pray that your family would understand God’s Word. In the book of Revelation, God, angels, elders, beasts and living creatures acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only one worthy to open the book at the end times. No one else anywhere in all the universe is able to open that book. Only the Lamb of God can open it and even look at it! The whole heavenly host will witness the event and I think we’ll see it too, no matter what side of eternity we’re on.

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
Revelation 5:9

The book of Revelation shows us what will happen once the book is opened by Jesus, broken seal after broken seal.

It is Jesus who will start the vengeance that God said He would have.

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Hebrews 10:30-31

It is Jesus who will issue judgment.

When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.
Matthew 25: 31-32
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
Verse 46

It is Jesus who will begin the harvest of the earth.

And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.
Revelation 14:16

God won’t let everyone live no matter what, especially after He gave us His Son. Remember what happened to people like Korah and King Sennacherib. They are examples of what not to do. Instead, turn to God in prayer like Moses and King Hezekiah did, much to Korah and King Sennacherib’s demise.

Pray that you and your loved ones know how much God loves us.

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
Ephesians 2:13-14

Pray for steady faith. May it be recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life because you caught the Orange Leaf that the Maple Tree freely gave for our peace.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Fruit of the Tree

It’s Autumn and the harvest time,
when the apple trees are bearing
fruit that’s worth a mile-long hike,
and the afternoon for sharing.

We will know the apple trees we seek
by the goodness they are yielding,
by the bounty they have rich in store,
and the fragrance all so pleasing.

But the trees that have no tasty fruit
and are pleasant not for eyeing,
offer branches that are mostly bare,
and some look as though they’re dying!

In the rosy light, we’ll choose the best
to be placed in baskets filling;
the love of Jesus in our hearts
will, with grace, be over-spilling.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23

The Fruit of the Tree
Fragrant Fruit

Autumn is underway here in the woods with its distinct fragrances—apples, rain, cool mornings, frequent cups of coffee and tea and roasting from the oven that sat mostly dormant during the hot summer months. God, the Creator of seasons, is in control. He gives us what’s next.

What fragrance do you love?
And I wonder what fragrance God loves?

God includes senses, like smell, which He made, fashioned after Himself, in His story. Take, for example, Mary who opened the alabaster jar and the whole house in Bethany was filled with its aroma.

Then took Mary a pound of ointment
of spikenard, very costly,
and anointed the feet of Jesus,
and wiped his feet with her hair:
and the house was filled with the
odour of the ointment.
John 12:3

Mary anointed Jesus before He went to the cross. We read in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible that God was pleased with the aroma of sacrifice.

And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.
Genesis 8: 20-22

And ye shall offer with the bread seven lambs without blemish of the first year, and one young bullock, and two rams: they shall be for a burnt offering unto the LORD, with their meat offering, and their drink offerings, even an offering made by fire, of sweet savour unto the LORD.
Leviticus 23:18

And in the New Testament:

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.
Ephesians 5:1-2

The aroma of decaying leaves is distinct to take in. As I think on these verses, I’m reminded that our ways are not God’s ways. It pleased Him. And that which pleases God is good to know. For God sent His Son to be an offering for our sins. Jesus, being obedient unto death on the cross, made purification for our sins by willingly laying down His life for us. He could have aborted the mission and called angels to His side. But, He went knowing not everyone would choose to believe.

That’s one reason why the gain is so sweet and the loss so tragic.

They that trust in their wealth,
and boast themselves in the multitude
of their riches; None of them can by
any means redeem his brother,
nor give to God a ransom for him:
(For the redemption of their soul is precious,
and it ceaseth for ever:) That he should
still live for ever, and not see corruption.
Psalm 49: 6-9

Did you catch that? The ransom for a life is costly. No payment is enough except in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer. The Lamb that was slain is the only one who is worthy to open the book and loose the seals in Revelation 5. It was John the Baptist who declared “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.
Matthew 3:8

As the season turns, we’re reminded that the Bible teaches us to turn. Turn around to Him who is tapping on the shoulder. Follow Jesus who loves us.

And I gave her space to repent
of her fornication; and she repented not.
Revelation 2:21

Somehow, our Creator knows who repents and who doesn’t. A designer knows his design. Those who do repent, like Mary, will gain eternal life. The Holy Spirit enters producing fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. This wonderful, always-correct list of the fruits of the Spirit is worth memorizing.

Pray, then, for:

F   ragrant love.
R   idiculous joy.
A   bundant peace.
G   rand patience.
R   eal kindness.
A   luring goodness.
N   on-stop faithfulness.
C   ompassionate gentleness.
E   ven-keel self-control.

Pray for you and your family. Ask that you would have these traits over-flowing like a basket of apples tipped over and spilled out.  Pray that God would turn your being distraught into ridiculous joy. Ask God to give abundant peace to your friend who is heartsick over her family. Pray that God would bless your enemy with real kindness. Ask God to help you have grand patience. Pray that your teenager maintains even-keel self-control. God knows what we need. But, will we ask? Will we keep asking? Will we wait on the Lord? Will we rely on prayer, that privilege to express our heart to the Heart Reader? Our good Designer allows us to make the decision.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities:
for we know not what we should pray for
as we ought: but the Spirit itself
maketh intercession for us with groanings
which cannot be uttered.
And he that searcheth the hearts
knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit,
because he maketh intercession for the saints
according to the will of God. 
Romans 8:26-27


Even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit;
but a corrupt tree
bringeth forth evil fruit.
Matthew 7:17
On the woodland trail, there is a wild apple orchard where some fallen apples have been crushed under foot. The smell permeates the air. There will be a season for those who have waited on the Lord to renew their strength. May the fragrance you love be the same God loves as you pray to sustain a life of peace.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Trees Of The Field

The colors of life are in the Fall,
where God’s bright truths are shown to all.
The trees of the field will clap their hands
and spread God’s love throughout the lands.

The warmest brown leaves will tell it straight
 that all have sinned and tend to hate.
The red leaves that shine will sing of love
that comes from God who reigns above.

The brightest orange leaves will make all see
that Christ bore all iniquity.
And pure yellow leaves will give a smile
to be with Him in just a while.

Autumn colors are rich to see
the Painter of Eternity.
The trees of the field, bright warm and true,
display God’s love for me and you!

For ye shall go out with joy,
and be led forth with peace:
the mountains and the hills
shall break forth before you into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isaiah 55:12

The Trees of the Field

Following the way of love leads to Heaven where we will go out with joy and be led forth with peace. Of course, joy and peace can be experienced now, before Heaven. But, I think it’s better there.

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8

What a commitment of love towards us! All of the Bible speaks of it! With that, we are to try to demonstrate love to others, even if others are loveless. Imitating God means to show kindness, even if others don’t return the kindness. We are to deny ourselves, even if not easy, pick up our cross and follow if we call ourselves servants of the Most High.

And following brings reward.

As I notice the changing leaves on the trees around me, I think of how God allowed people like Isaiah to see chapters in the Maker’s story. This prophet, this Seer, tells us of God’s sovereignty and gives glimpses of Heaven. Can you see that God is an awesome storyteller? Can you see the excellent end of the story? Who wouldn’t want to end well?

Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Isaiah 55:13

Adam and Eve originally experienced a creation that is different than today’s continuation of it under sin and because of their sin. The original good ground became cursed and produced thorns and thistles. But there will be a return to thorn-less ground and thistle-free living in the place Jesus is preparing called Heaven, where fir and myrtle trees will grow and where, for the LORD’s renown, eternal goodness will thrive.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
John 14:2

If all the trees of the field could clap their hands, that would make quite a loud noise, wouldn’t it? If mountains and hills could burst into song, that would be thunderous. But what would make these trees and mountains respond so musically? Isaiah explains earlier in chapter 55. The reason for their joy is the acceptance of God’s invitation to salvation. It’s yielding seed from what was sown. It’s being nourished from the bread chosen to eat and satisfied from the water selected to drink. It’s our decision to have faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Romans 10:12-13

The Lord Jesus is rich to those who call upon Him. ‘Is rich’ could mean a lot of things. We are surely in for a treat, like Isaiah seeing incredible visions. Have you read the amazing descriptions of the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven from God in Revelation 21? The city of pure gold and wall of jasper, among other precious stones, are worth seeing. Living in a sin-free environment is worth today’s toils. Like John, the author of Revelation, Isaiah talks about Heaven, too, only he did way before John. God divinely inspires across time as He purposes.

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come to mind.
Isaiah 65:17

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.
Isaiah 65:25

I encourage you to read Isaiah 65:17-25 for more glimpses of Heaven.

I stand by the edge of the woods and look across the field realizing we only know this side of the field. We know of the laws and order of this world and time. But there is something different on the other side. As Isaiah did many times, may you call upon God through prayer and hear Him speaking. And may we cross the field into Heaven with a standing ovation of singing and clapping as we go out with joy and be led forth with peace.