Thursday, August 28, 2008

Having dessert first?

Today’s Reading: John 15:5 (NIV)

5 [Jesus said,] “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Good morning!

Whenever I go to market, I prefer to shop the perimeter of the store first. I enjoy spending time in the produce aisle, checking out the fresh variety of fruits and vegetables. There are so many sweet and healthy treats to choose from! The blackberries have been outstanding this summer. Have you tried them? I like to eat blackberries with a little Splenda® and milk. They make a great topping over bran flakes and sugar-free ice cream. Of course, blackberry cobbler is my all-time favorite baked dessert; it is a rich and yummy treat, especially served on a chilly fall day. Fall is coming, and blackberries are definitely on my grocery list.

Every fruit has its own unique flavor. During the summer, I make fruit salad at least once a week, and every time I use my grandmother’s glass bowl, I think of all the berry picking we did together. We would take a stroll down the gravel road, past the chicken coop and large brown barn, walking down a small dirt path into the berry patch. There, we would pick strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries and blueberries, trying our best to avoid sharp briars and chigger bites. My grandmother always wore a large apron with pockets, and we would fill it to the brim with berries. What a sight we were, as we strolled back to the farm together with fruit-stained hands and faces, carrying our newly picked treasures in the lining of her soft, cotton apron. I vowed then I would never skip dessert, even when I’m watching my daily calorie intake. This is a sweet memory of time well spent with my grandmother. I am convinced that fresh fruit is the very best part of any meal. Please don’t tell my mother I said this, but you have my permission to go ahead and eat your dessert first!

What kinds of spiritual fruit would you select from the vine of life? Of the sweet treats borne from the Master’s heart, would you choose to taste a bowl full of love, complimented with sweet joy, abiding peace, and fresh patience? Would you add a dollop of tasty kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness to the mix, and top it off with a large slice of self-control? When we are attached to the life-giving vine of Christ, we become His fruitful branches, and the produce we yield is the best dessert in town! People long to taste real love, to know true joy, and have His sweet peace that passes all human understanding. Who would pass up an extra portion of patience, or the gift of goodness? We can feast from the sweet fruits of the Holy Spirit each day, if we are willing to stay firmly connected to the gift giver.

Jesus said that He is the true vine and we are the branches, and if we will stay firmly rooted in Him, we will yield a bumper crop of sweet fruit.

Let’s have dessert first today! Father, I thank you for your fruit that saves us day by day. Help us remain completely connected to your life-giving vine, so that we may bear Holy Spirit fruit that will draw others to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO


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