The Simple Secret to Being Super Fruitful

Day 27, BOUQUET

We recently helped the people of the sweet church we attend honor their pastors. As we planned for the special surprise, we brainstormed what gifts we could give. We settled on some Nepali landscape paintings and were thinking bouquets for their wives. That is, until we were reprimanded for our temporal thinking. Because, duh, flowers die.

Such is the nature of flowers. So much so that the Bible uses them to symbolize the brevity of life.

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
(Psalm 103:15-16).

 

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Flowers removed from their source of sustenance cannot thrive. Flowers in a vase or blown away blooms can buy a day or two on borrowed water and sunshine, but they must be firmly planted in soil to survive.

As children of God, we rely on the Father to sustain us. To grow, we are only required to abide in Him. Abiding in Jesus, we bear fruit, living the for the benefit of others and the glory of God.

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:5-12).

Thriving in our Provider’s care, we worry less about surviving and more about serving.  Everything we are commanded to do is within our reach because we are connected to the boundless Vine. We soak up the goodness of His great gifts, and we keep his commandments because it is our natural response. We extend His grace to others as we grow. We aren’t promised that everyone will appreciate the beautiful work He bears in us. But we are promised that our green-thumbed God will perfect the work He begins, and that our fruit will remain. It will make a difference.

We can’t use the brevity of our existence as en excuse to not be fruitful. For whatever time He gives us, if we merely rest in His capable hands, we will thrive and bloom good works naturally. He will see our fruit as if we grew it for ourselves, and He will call it good.

When death takes us forever from the Vine, we may not be remembered. But our fruit remains, planted in others, cared for by the One who sustained us for so long.

Are you abiding in Christ and keeping His commandments?
Is His great care evidenced in your care for others?

Talk to me in the comment section!

For more about what it means to abide in Christ, check out this post by Trillia Newbell

 

My Life as a Living Sacrifice: Confronting my Nothingness

Day 26, CONFRONT
I’ve been so challenged by exploring how I can live the Golden Rule in marriage, motherhood, missional living, and my every day life! I hope that if you’ve read along with me you have been challenged as well and encouraged by what God can do with a heart willing to serve Him and others. If you’re just joining me, I hope you will catch up!

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I think it’s time we ask ourselves what’s holding us back. What’s keeping us from living the Golden Rule for the benefit of others and the glory of God? Is there some sin you’ve stuck in your back pocket for a rainy day? A person you just can’t forgive? A fear of giving up control and giving your life to God?

I’m bold enough to guess that what’s holding you back is the same thing that’s keeping me from living out all I know to be true and good. It has its roots tangled up in pride whether it’s a secret sin or clutched control. No matter who you are, denying yourself just doesn’t come naturally.

If I were on your end reading this, I would want to cover my eyes or jump over to YouTube and start watching something light to make me laugh. I don’t want to confront my pride. It’s seriously cringe-worthy to peer into my selfish soul and see what lies beneath.

What did I do today that ministered to someone else? Did I do it without grumbling? Would I rather have been doing something else? Did the task at hand seem beneath me or bothersome? The answer to these questions reveals the condition of my heart. And so often it isn’t pretty.

Because as much as I love other people, I tend to like myself a whole lot more. I wholeheartedly agree with the decisions I make and the way I go about things because I’m awesome, y’all (satire… hang with me).

But when I look to the Word of God to tell me who I am and what my condition is all I see is that I am a sinner saved by a gracious God. I am made for the pleasure of God. I am purposed to serve and share His greatness with the world. That’s basically it.

110% YES- I am greatly loved and graciously gifted, but I’m given all of that to hand it right back to God. I don’t have to wonder what God’s perfect will for my life is. It is spelled out in Scripture. But, oh, I want to be blind to it.

present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith (Romans 12:1-3).

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My flesh already ran in the other direction. For real, this is rough for me. A living sacrifice. I am to be burned at the altar of humility day after day, letting my life be consumed by the Creator as He sees fit. I subject myself to the transforming power of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to work through my surrendered life.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something,when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself (Galatians 6:2-3).

 

I deal graciously with others when I confront my nothingness and my inability to do good apart from the transformative work of Christ in my life. When I consider what He has done for me, any act of obedience He requires is only reasonable.

And He tells me to get over myself and love my neighbor and my enemy too.

Come quickly, Lord, not sure how long I can do this.

Is pride keeping you from living the Golden Rule to the glory of God?
Will you endeavor to live in daily sacrifice to the One who died for you?

Talk to me in the comment section (this one’s a doozy!).

 

 

A Parable for Coffee Snobs

Day 4, Five Minute Prompt: BREW

They had gathered around a table to celebrate the holy matrimony of a friend’s full-grown daughter. They reminisced long-forgotten memories and wondered out loud what happened to the years.

The topic turned to their pride-and-joy: coffee. I heard this story before I started drinking it, so I wouldn’t have had much to offer at the time. Now I live in the city with the second most coffee shops in the world (fact check me, please), so I’m game to chill with the mid-life-crisis crowd the next go around.

Largely unintelligible names were thrown around for sake of sounding snooty (or so I thought at the time).

“What’s your favorite coffee?” One connoisseur asked her who wishes to remain nameless.

“Um, McDonald’s?”

Politely suppressed laughter rumbled its way around the table. Ashamed, she giggled along. She recounted the story to me, a little embarrassed, though I didn’t understand why. “I just really like McDonald’s coffee.”

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again (Matthew 7:1-2).

(aka I will write a post about you)

The equivalent of McDonalds coffee in my host country is NesCafe. The snooty coffee drinkers who prefer Himalayan Java or have Starbucks shipped in by the bag snicker at those who happily sip “dirty sock water.”

But they just really like it. And we let them enjoy it in their little pasals along the side of the road, but when they visit the Taube house, they get the best we got. Hot mug with their seat pulled up to our table. We speak our second language and savor the good stuff. We laugh and share life. Those who have done this much with us have been spoiled by our expensive taste and can’t stand to drink the coffee they used to love. I feel a little bad about that.

But…the Golden Rule:

What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets (Matthew 7:9-12).

Just for fun…

Are you a coffee snob?
What’s YOUR favorite brew?

Talk to me in the comment section!

Money Matters and Pink Nightmares

Day 2, Five Minute Prompt: PAINT

Channeling my inner Joanna Gaines, I chose the perfect neutral for the interior walls of my new home on the mission field. I was feeling pretty good about it until the sun streamed in, revealing that my Magnolia dreams had turned into a bubble-gum-pink nightmare.

I furiously pushed the stroller that held my three month old back to the missionary’s house that hosted us. Hot tears streamed down my face as I hurled harsh words at the version of my husband that lives in my head. He had tried to convince me it would look fine after sunset, but who wants to live in a house that only looks good in the dark?

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I would later find out that pink is a popular choice here, and I wouldn’t even be mad when the church building we leased turned up blush from top to bottom. But right now, all I could think of was my decor dreams that suffered an untimely death.

The walls were re-painted the next day. The painters we had hired weren’t as upset with me as my husband was, but they weren’t too pleased about having to do all the work a second time.

When the work was done, my husband accidentally overpaid them by 10,000 rupees (100 USD). They were miles away before anyone was the wiser, but they came back immediately to return the difference.

They didn’t know it, but this act of integrity would help shape a right perspective of these people we came to love and kill my spoiled-brat attitude. I would still have stress dreams about curtains, and our home would be wrecked by an earthquake 10 days later, but my faith that God was working in the details was restored that day.

I strive to be honest in my dealings with others. In a cash society, mindfulness in money exchanging is particularly important. Budding relationships and my gospel testimony in this community are at stake. Money matters.

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Owe no man any thing, but to love one another:

for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).

How we treat others in our financial dealings is important.
In what way can you apply the Golden Rule to money matters today?

Talk to me in the comment section!

 

Everyone Needs Someone to Walk With

Day 1, Five Minute Prompt: WALK

“Do you need a friend?” I hear them say to one another as they travel down dusty streets.

The sweet people of my host culture can’t stand to see someone walking alone. They aren’t as eager to walk with the red-headed foreigner lady, I’ve noticed, however.

I thought by now I would have found a friend with whom I’d walk this road of culture and language learning. I guess I’ll just have to keep going until I do.

As I go along, I’ll find others who walk alone and say, “Do you need a friend?”

If we’re honest, we all do.

And if you’re like me, you sometimes feel like you’re standing alone, watching others walk happily hand-in-hand (friends actually do that here). You’re pining for the kind of intimate friendship it seems like everyone else already has.

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I’ve shared before how I love…

what the Word says about friends…
  • friendly (Prov. 18:24)
  • love at all times (Prov. 17:17)
  • comfort and edify (1 Thess. 5:11)
  • encourage to love and live better (Heb. 10:24-25)
  • live selflessly and sacrificially (John 15:13)

I may not be invited on a lot of long walks with close friends. But the more I extend my hand to those who walk alone, the more I will be invited along the way. The deeper my relationships will run, and the more influence I will have for Christ in this country.

Who do you see walking alone today?
How can you apply the Golden Rule to your relationships?

Talk to me in the comment section!