Sweet or Sour Grapes?

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The sweet burst of flavor is anticipated as you hold a cluster of grapes in the palm of your hand. We have grown accustom to enjoying this late summer fruit uninterrupted by the hard, woody appearance of the dreaded “seed”, within our mouth. My preference is always “seedless” – how about you?

Spiritually, your fruitful growth, comes by laying down your past at the feet of Jesus. You grow as you walk through trials with your eyes focused on His face. Faith then says to persevere – your persistence builds a trust that He has a specific plan for your life.  Ultimately the growth of sweet seedless grapes comes from a place where your faith – your trust in Jesus only – has been built over time.

Over the last decade my husband and I have tried our hand at growing grapes; at one time having seven vines containing five different varieties. All have grown prolifically but we found that even those who were tagged as “seedless” still touted that woody seed. So, several years ago with chainsaw in hand, we took them to the ground.

Each year we have fought with those roots that have continued to shoot up. This year, three finally conceded and died, two only produced leaves but two, again took off. Our diligence lapsed and those two suddenly had clusters growing. “Oh well, two wouldn’t be too bad to clean up after.”

To our great surprise – they matured and the desire to “taste and see” outweighed the dreaded seed. The sweet burst of flavor was an unexpected experience but the joy came when we found them “seedless”. How did that happen?

As we learn to walk with our eyes focused on Jesus, not our circumstances or our past; amazing transformations occur in and around our lives. Our internal and external environments shift and to our great joy our sour grapes become sweet and our woody seeds disappear. These changes come from persistence to sit in His presence, allowing His transformation to occur. He does all the cultivating, He feeds, sends the sun and the rain; we say “YES”, receive and grow. And suddenly we taste the sweet burst of flavor and with great joy we find that we are “seedless” and full of His sweetness.

Join me by laying down your past and your current trials. Let’s persistently pursue the presence of Holy Spirit at the feet of Jesus. The transformation will be sweet!

II Corinthians 3:18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (ESV)

Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there if fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (ESV)

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It’s ALL in the Waiting!

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“It’s a waiting game.” We hear that all the time when something we are hoping for, expecting, desiring or needing doesn’t come about in “our” set time frame. Waiting requires something from us – patience. Yes – patience – a dirty word we don’t like to think about. But patience is required whenever we find ourselves in the “waiting game” – where prayers have been lifted over and over with what seems to be no answer. But the waiting process is not in our control but His.

In my garden I plant tulips and daffodils in the fall and then I wait. They need to “chill out” in the deep cold soil – waiting for the right time. That waiting time is necessary for them just as it often is for us.

Sometimes the answer we are asking God for may not be – no – but – wait. His time is perfect. Our job is to “chill out” and allow His perfect work to develop within us, and that perfect work may require times of growing underground in the deep character areas of our lives.

This process of waiting develops many attributes that can’t come to completion any other way. Our faith is fortified – patience brings about strength, perseverance, hope, long-suffering, joy, kindness, gentleness and peace to mention just a few of the beautiful bulbs that are down there just waiting to bloom in the midst of your waiting.

Rest today in the “waiting game” that you find yourself in; trust that God has beauty planted deep within and your joy will bloom at just the right time.

Romans 5:3-5 This doesn’t mean, of course, that we have only a hope of future joys—we can be full of joy here and now even in our trials and troubles. Taken in the right spirit these very things will give us patient endurance; this in turn will develop a mature character, and a character of this sort produces a steady hope, a hope that will never disappoint us. Already we have some experience of the love of God flooding through our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us. (Phillips)

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (ESV)