The Apple Tree

 

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Somewhere at the back of my mind there was a quote bothering me.   So I popped into Google to find a lead or two.  I came to the realisation that our language and literature, even be it a simple quote, may well be in a state of transition.   For the most part I found quotes from Steve Jobs of Apple computer fame, and other computer geeks who have transported us into another realm of language.    Words don’t mean what they use to mean.   And stories are in danger of becoming the fake news of the day.   My, how the world has changed.   We have evolved into another era.

The closest I came to finding the right words for the quote was by Robert Schuller:

Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God knows how many apples there are in a seed.

I remembered, the quote I couldn’t find, went a little further and spoke of apple trees and apple orchards.

Apple orchard

This analogy of the apple tree speaks to me of exponential potential growth, and it was something I wanted to share with my children.  Not that I have experienced it, only heard of it, but do know that generosity is a key to unlocking prosperity, and freedom from ‘the clutter of life’
Generosity as a principle of life, can unlock doors of wealth, and more so, a generous spirit.

I had recently listened to a debate on TV by a group of young Black people, who having endured the hardship of poverty, were now either educated or had well paid employment, asked the question “should they have to pay Black Tax’ – as they called it.   Black Tax is when children give back to their struggling families, help to ease the poverty and also help the remaining siblings at home.   Some were unreservedly for it, some a little reluctant, and some refused to pay back. The culture of giving creeps into the African-centric adverts on TV too, when you see a son buying his elderly Black mom a stove or a fridge.  And often you hear how the well- to-do grown up children take pride in buying a house for their family.
Of course it depends on the individual, there is no legal law that says it must happen – except the law of the heart.
And when appreciation has been nurtured, and generosity has been learnt, giving happens more easily.

I grew up in a time when saving was the smart thing to do.   There is nothing like having a little something in reserve for a rainy day.  At that time, it was just plain common sense, because eventually your money works for you – and not you for your money !!
When we went through our ‘ financial struggle years’ I resolved to start a small savings account, and made minuscule deposits.
I called it my Apple Tree account.    And for a long time it was partly dormant, and then very slowly began to grow tiny roots.   Whenever I could I would ‘water’ my Apple Tree with a small deposit.   It began to grow and now even has some apples on it – which I pick and enjoy from time to time.

My children, bless their hearts, have out of love, been watering my Apple Tree too, with generous deposits, that have caused my tree to flourish.    I am grateful for the apples that I can pick from its growth, but more, much more, I am delighted with their acts of generosity, that I know will stand them in good stead in their years to come.
May they too plant their own Apple Trees, and continue to cultivate the fruit of generosity, and see the benefits of it, for it says in Luke 36:8

Give,  and it will be given to you,
good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over
will be put into your bosom.
For with the same measure that you use,
it will be measured back to you.   

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Bookends and Benefits

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It is always refreshing to read the good thoughts of other writers.
It brings another ‘voice’ , and other insights that can be pondered.

Alan’s writing sparked off in me a line of thought that is interesting.
If I were to sum up the bookends of my life it would be difficult, and I would need to ask that of others who know me, and don’t judge me to harshly.  One end could be contentment and the other, I hope, could be joy – well most days !
That is just a five-minute self-analysis, and I could be wrong – depends who you ask !
What are the bookends of your life – it’s a lovely line of thought and can be quite revealing. 

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 But our lives are like books, and so could it be possible to sum up a book in two words ?  Its fun to try.

The writing further goes on to advocate Joy, and skilfully undergirds the benefits of being a believer and a follower of Jesus Christ.  These benefits, which are all  in Christ  are the bedrock of a beautiful book that can be invisibly read by those who would choose to ‘read’ a believers’ life.   Jesus truly makes all the difference in our lives.  By choosing Him as our God we have access to all these benefits and much, much more.

I hope that you too will be encouraged by Alan’s writing.
I have permission and am privileged to share with you the thoughts of Alan Webster’s Quiet Time 6-3-19 as he writes on :

Philippians 3:1   Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord.

Surrounded by Joy

If love is the message of the Gospel, then the bookends are joy.
Having joy is a strength that can keep someone going despite the adversity they face.
It might not exhibit as happiness, for that is a fleeting emotion, but joy undergirds a heart during the hardest trials.   Joy in the midst of suffering exhibits as quiet peacefulness, a contentment of knowing that the present is not the end of the story.   It is trusting through the suffering, hoping beyond the pain, claiming the future glory in the present darkness.

How is joy possible ?  It is as Paul calls it – it is joy in the Lord.   If our joy were in anything else, it would finally disappoint.   But we have joy in a conquering Saviour, who even though He died, vanquished every foe and confounded every attempt to annihilate goodness.    We have a caring Intercessor who constantly consoles our circumstances and prays for us.   If nobody else knows, and nobody notices what we are enduring He has intimate knowledge and we are able to pour our emotions  at His feet. It is there that He speaks to us and fills us up with hope.   It is there that we are empowered to take another step, go another season.

We have a constant Companion who never leaves us.   The Good Shepherd never abandons us even in our dreariest days.   Even when we have failed miserably and everyone else departs, He continues to be faithful.   We can lean on Him and He will hold us up.   When we can’t He will carry us.    We have a Covenant-keeping Messiah who holds Himself to the conditions of promise.   He lavishes grace on us and ensure that we will make it to the end.  He seeks out the lost sheep, rescues the wanderers and stands beside the oppressed.
We are never alone.

With all the benefits we have, even on our worst days, we are comforted.   In the Lord, we can take hold of the rich promises which are all yes and amen in Him.   He pours His life into us and swells the living water from deep within our souls.   We can taste and see that the Lord is good. 

If our walk as believers are to be marked in any way, let it be Joy. 

          Laughing Lamb