5 More Days Until 2018

Well, Christmas is over.  What's next?

That's a great question.  There are two times each year that people embrace change.  But the first of the year seems to be the one where we determine to do something to improve the quality of our lives. We decide to get healthy.  Lose weight.  Quit smoking.  Go to church more.  Spend more time with our family.

We also know that somewhere between 80 - 92% of all new years resolutions fail by Feb. 1.   That's not very good.  So how do you change?

Luke 6:43-45 For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Jesus makes it clear.  You're never going to get apples from orange trees.  So with that said.  

#1 Discover what is feeding your life.  Whatever your life is planted in, that feeds your soul.  If you are in an environment of criticism and anger, that is what is feeding you.  

I knew a very lovely person once.  They were polite, kind, and compassionate.  Then I noticed that their kindness was being tempered by an abrupt attitude.  They would lose patience very quickly.  Their words of kindness became criticism.  One day I asked them if something had changed their life?  They told me that they had recently changed jobs.  I asked them what their work environment was like.  You guessed it.  Critical and rude.  They asked me why I was enquiring and I politely pointed out the change in their demeanor.  They soon changed jobs.  

#2  Discover what your roots are.  It is the roots that feed the tree and determine what it will produce.  

A friend of mine had purchased a farm that included an orchard.  He asked me if I knew what a particular tree was.  I said it was an apple tree, but I couldn't tell what kind of apple.  He was pleased to discover that he had an apple tree until it produced fruit.  It was a crabapple tree.  

This might sound like that your future is predetermined by your past.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  But, you need to know where you come from if you want to discover where you can go.  

#3 Discover what you are supposed to be producing.  Some people don't have a clue what they are supposed to be doing for the Kingdom of God.  They assume that they are supposed to go to church (once in a while) give in the offering (when they are there) and try to be a good person (most of the time.)  Newsflash.  You weren't created to do that. 

Being raised on a farm, I can tell you that this one can surprise you.  Just because a seed package says what it doesn't mean that's what you will get.  One year we planted okra.  The plants grew and - - - - - nothing.  We pulled them up and planted another row.  Again, nothing.  I even pulled the seed package and read it carefully.  It said okra.  The seeds inside looked like okra seeds.  But the third time wasn't a charm.  Nothing.  Finally, we threw those seeds away, bought new seed and voila!  Okra!  

#4 Graft in new life.  In Rom. 11:17 - 24 Paul talks about how we are grafted into the fullness of God's mercy and grace.  Thus, changing the fruit, we produce from bad to good.  

Here is a good illustration.  One year I took it upon myself to acquire a small portion of dad's garden and planted some "miniature" veggies.  Corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and watermelon.  It was the watermelon that taught me a lesson.  Without thinking about it, I planted my watermelons next to the ones my dad planted.  They cross-pollinated.  My "miniature" watermelons grew to the size of basketballs.  Dad's grew to the size of a small child's football.  He wasn't happy.  

While your life may not be producing the fruit, you desire, that doesn't mean you can't change.  You merely need God's help. 

More tomorrow. 

PRAY:  Dear Jesus, help me discover who I am and who I am supposed to be for You.  AMEN!