"Beware of false teachers who come disguised as harmless sheep, but are wolves and will tear you apart. You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You need never confuse grape-vines with thorn bushes or figs with thistles. Different kinds of fruit trees can quickly be identified by examining their fruit. A variety that produces delicious fruit never produces an inedible kind. And a tree producing an inedible kind of fruit can't produce what is good. So the trees having the inedible fruit are chopped down and thrown on the fire. Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit produced." Matthew 7:15-20 (TLB)
"Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can't do a thing." John 15:5 (TLB)
Karen Fite lives in Alabama. About 45 years ago, her father planted a beautiful orchard for Karen and her husband. For several years, they enjoyed pies, jam, and abundant baskets of fruit to share with others. But as time passed, they have retired, her father has passed away, and their busy lives have been filled with many responsibilities and physical challenges. Their orchard has gone to ruin and has not produced fruit in years.
One day when Karen was mowing in the orchard, she noticed the largest, most perfect pear she had ever seen lying on the ground beneath a pear tree that had been overtaken by an invasive plant. As I looked closer, Karen saw that the original pear tree was still alive at the center. Karen shared the pear with her family.
This pear reminded Karen of the love of her father who planted the tree and the love of her heavenly Father who send her encouragement when she feels choked by the burdens of aging, illness, and worry. It reminded her to persevere. Karen thanks God that her father shared his faith with her and that her heavenly Father continues to guide her through life. Karen is encouraged to bear fruit by offering love to those around her.
Prayer: Merciful God, we praise you for the everyday miracles you give us to remind us to persevere and to share our faith with others, in Jesus' name. Amen.