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Sandi's Blog

Friends

5.18.20       Friends 

In the course of our lifetime, we will have many friends. I was always so amazed that wherever my husband and I went, he always saw someone he knew, that he had some sort of history with. I have had many friends but he had something special. He kept in contact with those he knew and those he counted as friends. He was a wonderful friend. 

I am a loyal and faithful friend but I am also a friend for a season and a time. Most of us are. This made me think on this subject for the last few days and I would like to share with you what the Lord has shared with me. 

Proverbs 18:24   A man that has friends must first show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother
 
A few kinds of friends: 

Faithful and true:  
Proverbs 18:24   A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  
Proverbs 17:17     A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.   Romans 1:12   That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. 
Proverbs 27:6   Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. 

Forgiving: 
Matthew 6:14-15   For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 
Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 
Psalm 55:12-14    For it is not an enemy who taunts me— then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me— then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God's house we walked in the throng. 

Wise: 
Proverbs 13:20   Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. 
Proverbs 24:5  A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, 

Encourager/edifier:   
Romans 1:12   That is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. 
1 Thessalonians 5:11   Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 

Gracious/kind: 
Ephesians 4:29    Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:32  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  
Romans 12:10  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; 

Judgmental/critical:  
Job 16:20    My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God.  
Luke 6:37  Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven. 
Romans 14:10-13  Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 

Deceitful
1 Thessalonians 5:21  But test everything; hold fast what is good.  Proverbs 3:32   For the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in His confidence.
Ephesians 4:29   Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  Psalm 34:13   Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit 

Anger/temper: 
Proverbs 22:24   Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. 
Proverbs 15:1  A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.  James 1:19-20  Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 
Proverbs 29:11   A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back 

Mischievous/mischief: 
Psalm 36:4   He devises mischief upon his bed; he sets himself in a way that is not good; he does not abhor evil
.      
Slanderer/gossiper:  
Proverbs 17:9   Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. 
Matthew 12:36   I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 

Fair weather friend: 
2 Timothy 4:16  At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! 

In a nutshell, here’s the summary. …......… 

These are just a few of the types of friends you may come across in your lives. Use wisdom in whom you select to let into your close circle, they will have influence over you and will impact your life for good or bad. On the other side, you need to be the kind of friend you would want in your life, for yourself. You will have casual friends,acquaintances, some-time friends, close friends, and best friends. Select your friends well - you want friends that make you feels good about yourself and who will speak truth to you kindly; friends that will encourage and build you up; friends who will not judge you but support you; friends who will speak the things of God into your heart; friends who will want the very best for you. And you be that friend for them. 

1 Corinthians 5:33   Be not deceived, bad company corrupts good character. 

Amen. 
-Pastor Sandra Matheson     
www.olivebranchdiscipleshipministries.com 
 

Good and Righteous


5.1.20               Good and Righteous

Would you think you are a good person? Based on what criteria? Are you good all the time? Do you only think good thoughts? Speak out good things?  Have no selfish agenda of your own? Never prideful or stubborn?Do only good actions all the time?

Most people, based on human understanding and human criteria, would say they are, with out hesitation.  Which is greater - goodness or righteousness? Do you ever think on that? The real truth is, humans cannot be good or righteous in their own efforts.
Pride sets in. Anger at unfairness or loss sets in, selfish thoughts set in, hard and negative thoughts invade our minds all the time.  Hopefully we do not verbalize these thoughts out loud often! My daughter has a tee shirt that reads "Just because you think it doesn't mean you have to say it!"

The definition of good is, according to Mr. Webster's dictionary, "that which is morally right"  or to be a "benefit or advantage to someone or something". The problem with that is the moral basis or perspective a person has; their belief system. Now, this will vary from culture to culture, belief systems of faith.  So, a good person is one who tries hard to do the right thing and to be considerate and kind to others. This is a hard effort, never to get angry or hurt or disappointed or selfish, etc. It is impossible to be our own moral police - and man, left to his own understanding, will find it hopeless.

Okay, now what is righteous?   (of a person or conduct) morally right or justifiable; virtuous  (having or showing high moral standards, no negative of deficits of character or actions)
Personally, I have times when I am disappointed in someone, angry, impatient, selfish, pride tries to pop in, words rise up in my mouth, and so on. How can a person ever accomplish this goodness and this righteousness? Is it possible? Is there a life manual to go to that will give us the information and training in how to accomplish all this?

Well, glad you asked! The Bible is the Book to go to for all of life's issues and all of man's shortcomings, and for all the hope and training we need to have. This book is our manual for life. Here are some instructions for life that it contains:

Ecclesiastes 7:20  Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.
1 John 2:29  If you know that He (Christ) is righteous (in right standing with God the Father - no sin), you may be sure that everyone who practices this righteousness has been born of Him (salvation in Christ).
1 Peter 2:4  He (Christ) himself bore our sins (actions and attitudes that are fleshly and sinful and separate us from God) in His body on the tree (cross), that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds (on the Cross) you have been healed (mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually)
Philippians 1:11  Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Luke 18:19 And Jesus said, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
Micah 6:8  He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.
Psalm 119:68  You (God) are good and do good; teach me your statutes (ways, commandments).
- Pastor Sandi 

Prayer:
Heavenly Father, remind me by your Holy Spirit that I need to be In you to be truly good; in and of myself I cannot achieve this. You alone are good and you mean all things to be good in my life as I follow after Christ. Remind me of the Cross and all that was done by Jesus for me so I could have healing and righteousness (right standing with you Father) and eternal life with you. Sometimes I can be so stubborn and so rebellious I think I can do all things by myself. Forgive me. I yield myself to Jesus Christ as my Savior and as the Lord of my life, choosing to yield to His ways and His commands. I want be part of and be in your goodness and have the  desire to live in your righteousness. In Jesus' name,   Amen 









A Serious Season

4.1.20

A serious season of time. This is the time we are in. The Bible calls it a time of sorrows. Every news channel I turn on, on my television, is filled with updates on the coronavirus. Words of fear, of death, of dread. While all this information is important and needful for us to be safe, where are the words of peace and calm, encouragement?
We, as humans, are all subject to seasons of time in our life. We are born, we grow, we mature, we live life, we age, we die. None of us is exempt from this life. However, we can choose how we live it. Jesus said He came to give life and life more abundant.
(John 10:10). The question is, how can we live each season of our life to the fullest, most abundant result?  We must not learn to our own understanding (Proverb 3:5-6)
but partner with Him in studying His Word (Bible) and getting into good fellowship with Believers that we might learn and be encouraged.
Don't be deceived. The seasons of time in our lives are becoming more intense as the world becomes more intense. Stress, pressure, decisions of doing the right thing, choices on what we hear or speak, etc. 
We are now coming out of winter and into spring. Less cold, more light, life renews and begins again. A new start. The earth shows us this so why do we not do as creation does? We lay down the old, the past, and begin the new with purposeful good wisdom and choices so that our life can be different and productive.
Embrace this new season of time. No matter what is involved in that choice, that embrace, God is still here, still in control, still for us. Please meditate on this and become a partner with him. Good partners work for the common good of the business, the agreement. 
A serious season of time. Time to wake up and pay attention. Trust in God, Don not be angry. Old things pass away, all things become new, right where you are, right in the middle of your challenge.      
- Pastor Sandra Matheson

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, I thank you for the seasons of time in my life. Thank you that I have understanding that I am not to resist, to be angry, to think that you have left me. I purpose to be steadfast to know that I am growing and maturing in every season and through every challenge of my life, it is for my own good. Sometimes I make poor choices that affect my life and cause stresses and anxieties within me, that get my life off track. Forgive me Lord of my arrogance in thinking I don't need you, that I don't need to allow you to help me in my decisions. I want to draw nearer to you, in you, and create amazing seasons of time in my life. I determine to be obedient to you and our agreement in salvation through you, in my life and choices. Amen

Jeremiah 17:7-8  But blessed (highly favored) is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes (trials, challenges), its lives are always green (always growing, maturing). It has no worries in a year of drought (when it seems nothing is happening) and never fails to bear fruit (fruit comes with maturity).
Psalm 56:3  When I am afraid (uncertain), I put (by act of will, decision) my trust in you.
Psalm 143:8  Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life (I partner with you).
 





Rejoice

04.15.2020

Psalms 118:24   "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice in it."

In my devotions this morning, this is the thought that kept coming to my mind.  All of our nations have been on alert with the coronavirus. It has been stressful, discouraging,  and devastating for all of us.
Our world has become small, technology abounds, connecting all of us together in just moments. News travels fast. Disease and sickness can spread quickly.
I know this quarantine is trying for us. Businesses need to get back to work. We cannot stop life for long or it will not be a quality life. I believe we are at that point.

What is fear and what is faith? Fear is unrealized negative expectations, faith is that unrealized expectation of positive goodness and provisions. Which do you want to embrace?
Wisdom dictates that we stay in the positive but not in denial or fear. Wisdom sees the issue and begins to encourage us in moving through it. Wisdom gives us the ability to know what to do, the common sense thing to do. Life is life because it moves on and creates new futures. If we become stagnate and fearful, our spirit withers and our life stops.

What does this verse mean to us? If you are a Believer in Christ Jesus, it means that we recognize the day that God has given us. We woke up and rose up to embrace our day, whatever it brings. We must, as Believers, open our day with conversations with our Lord gaining His perception on our day and giving our day over to Him, the Master Planner.  No matter what the challenge of the day is, He is in control and Has given us a way through it and out of it. These challenges, from life to death are meant to strengthen us and allow is to see the many aspects of our Lord Jesus. Don't be fearful. Don't be overwhelmed. Don't be discouraged  Trust in God. This is a day that was created for us and we can rejoice in the midst of the challenges. We will be overcomers. We will survive The challenge will change shape and pass by.
Be of good cheer, Christ has overcome the world and all that is contained within it. Be careful what you listen to. Be careful what you speak out, and over yourself and other people.. Wisdom interprets information different that fear does. Look at what God is doing in us, through us, and for us. God works well in the middle of challenges for our good. Your choice. You will have t go through the issues of life in one way or another.
- Pastor Sandi

John 16:33 I have told you these things so that in Me you may have Peace. In this world you will have trouble But take heart (be encouraged - full of courage in Christ)! I have overcome the world!
Psalm 118:17  I will not die but live, and will proclaim (declare, testify) what the Lord has done.
Hebrews 11:1  Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not yet see or have.
Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Psalm 112:7  They (Believers) have no fear of bad news (wisdom); their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord (Jesus).
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)  The temptations (challenge) in your life are no different from what others experience (Humankind). And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so you can endure.
Romans 8:28  And we know (understand, believe) that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him (Believers), who have been called according to His purpose (plan of the day, life). 

Prayer: 
Heavenly Father we believe and trust you that you hold our lives each and every day in the palms of your hands. We believe you have a plan for each and every day of our life and will give us wisdom and understanding how to maneuver through all of our everyday challenges so we are victorious and are overcomers. Our faith is strengthened, we learn to persevere and to believe for what we do not yet see or have, according to your Word. We purpose to discard fear and negativity but not the challenge, that we may grow and learn to partner with you in this brief time of our live.
I declare, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that I am willing to go from one level of glory to another with you. Thank you. Amen 
- Pastor Sandra Matheson

James 1:2  Consider it pure joy my brothers and sister, whenever you face trials (challenges) of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  12-13  Blessed is the one who perseveres under trials(and challenges - mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually) because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him (Believers in Him).










Offer

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Words That Make The Heart Sing







Devotional Teachings
For
The Heart
 

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This book was written to encourage and to bless those who desire more with the amazing Word of God. There are topics of every kind that will impact your walk with Christ and your every day life. This is an educational devotional, offering instructions of overcoming and understanding of the scriptures. This devotional can be used for bible studies and personal or church teachings.
Pastor Sandra also offers a personal prayer for you to encourage your spirit. We hope you will take part in these Words, breathe them in, and be lifted up in Him!
___________________________________________



Chapter 1
Continue Steadfastly
.

"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers."   Acts 2:42 NKJV

How faithful are you? This is a question that all Believers in Christ need to ask themselves from time to time; a good checkup. Are you faithful in your attendance to your home church? Are you faithful in your support, or is it at your own convenience or need? Are you faithful to engage in Christian fellowship or are you mostly engaged in fellowship with non-believers? A confident, powerful Believer is one who is sold out to Christ and supports His church body 100%. However, a word of caution, we must also engage in the 'world' to bring in a harvest for the Kingdom of God. This scripture doesn't mean that all they did was have their noses stuck in the Bible or that they only had friends from church. It means that they were purposeful to have a continual and steadfast process of thought and desire to know and seek out more of their God. They allowed no one and nothing to move them from their belief, from their fellowship, and from their support. As you study the Word (apostles' doctrine) you have more to give out. The Word builds you up, teaches you what you have in Christ, who you are in Christ - your position in Christ as a joint heir with Him. You need to know this so that you are not deceived or moved away from your faith.

As you support your church, you build up the Kingdom. As you have Christian fellowship, you build a stronghold of spiritual support and encouragement for yourself and others. We then know the right things to say at the right time. Our hearts are full of the Word of God, therefore - as needed - our mouths will bring forth the word that is needed to heal and encourage each other and those around us. 'Out of our mouth the heart speaks' (Matthew 12:34b).

Prayer is an expression of conversation with our God, a two way conversation. As we mature we go from just asking to inquiring and then to listening to what He has to say back to us. This develops that marvelous, unexplainable intimacy we are able to have, one on one, with the Lord. Look at Law of First Mentioned: the first mention of this type of intimacy that God desires is in the Garden of Eden. He communicated with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. (Genesis 3:8)

Two key words here in this scripture: 'continued' and 'steadfastly'. This is a purposeful way of thought and life. Consistent and ongoing. It should be a way of life as close to you as your breathing, your heartbeat. It should be steadfast, immovable, purposeful, continual, ongoing, - all the time. Take time to develop this intimacy, this purposing, this dedication to Christ and to His Church. His Church is His Bride that He is coming back for. You are that Bride. Speak to your Bridegroom. Love Him. Become intimate with Him in mind, soul, and spirit. Be determined. Be purposeful. Be steadfast.

Acts 2:46   "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,"
Psalm 51:10  "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 119:5  "Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees!"
Psalm 119:33Amplified Bible  "Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I will keep it to the end [steadfastly]."

Prayer:
Father God, I desire a closer walk with you. I desire to hear you speak to me, to have that one on one conversation with you on a moment by moment basis. I desire more fellowship with fellow Believers in Christ; I desire to have a more active and productive prayer life with you. I am setting my will to move in these disciplines 'continuously' from now on. Praise your name Lord! Amen

- Pastor Sandra Matheson












Learning and discipleship

5.8.18

Proverbs 1:5  "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.:  (English Standard Version)
Philippians 4:9 "What you have learned and received and heard and seen in Me - practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you."  (English Standard Version)
2 John 1:9  Everyone  who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and  the Son."
2 Timothy 3:7  "Always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the Truth." (English Standard Version)

What do these verses have in unity?  Learning without practical application (knowledge and understanding) has no value. What we learn in the teachings of the Gospels and the Bible must be applied to practical use in our life to have the proof of them. So many people today are learning and studying and are continual students but have no fruit of content of what they learn to show the value and reward in their lives. What good is that? I want to know how all this information you are sharing with me, works. I want to know what the benefit of the information will be to me in my life.
We are so quick to learn but so lazy to apply. To apply all our learning requires perseverance and purpose, not giving up, overcoming challenges and obstacles, faithfulness, trusting God when it seems foolish to do so and their seems to be no way. We, as Believers in Christ Jesus, are to be a peculiar people who are set apart from the ways and understandings of the world and show proof of our faith by holding onto what we have learned and proving it out in our daily walk of life. Don't give up! Don't be overwhelmed. Don't lose faith and don't lose your confidence in Christ. The reward is tremendous! Purpose to set yourself under discipleship/mentorship and live what you are learning.

Proverbs 5:12  "You will say, 'How I hated discipline (discipleship)! How my heart spurned correction!"
Hebrews 10:35  "So do not throw away your confidence (in Christ); it will be richly rewarded."

- Pastor Sandra Matheson
www.olivebranchdiscipleshipministries.com






Thank you everyone!

1/7/20

Thank you everyone!

I want to take a moment to say thank you very, very much to all those who have visited this Blog and the amazingly kind and encouraging words you have posted concerning the contents.  To be encouraged in one's endeavors is a blessing beyond expression and I am truly blessed. I think we live in a world filled with discouragement and a lot of depression. It is a world that is rushed and out of balance and peace, there is so much to do and so many places to go. 
We as Believers in Christ Jesus have got to learn the discipline of staying in His Peace that passes all understanding. We need to learn to not be offended and to forgive quickly. We need to be thankful in all we have and in every situation. This will bring us victory and the peace we need.
I also find that we are our greatest enemy at times by the self talk we do. I really don't think we would tolerate someone else talking to us that way. Very condemning and hurtful, calling our self stupid, incompetent, etc. The Lord never speaks to us that way but Satan will. What is your first perspective? Are you negative or positive? Do you take a bad report and run with it? Are you overly concerned with what people think of you? Are you a perfectionist/controller? 
All of this will beat against your heart and mind and wear you down. God wants to encourage us and build us up to better His Kingdom here on earth. A report is to only be a warning and a basis of prayer for our life. Faith and unbelief cannot operate together.
Let us determine today to start our New Year with a renewed confidence in our being through faith in Christ Jesus and discipline our self to live in faith believing. We are destined to be victorious and to be filled with His power. Only you can separate yourself from the love and care of God the Father. Only you.
This year go through your issues quickly with the wisdom of Christ and the Word.
Let go of offenses immediately.( Remember that you also offend and you want forgiveness as well). Forgive!!  Stop being a victim. Start being victorious. 
- Pastor Sandi

Prayer:
O Lord thank you for those who encourage and give thanks for others and for the gifts you have given them. We are to be thankful for each other, for this family of God that we come into through Jesus Christ, for our brothers and our sisters and for those who show kindness and goodness to us who don't yet know you. Thankyou for those who encourage us and speak wisdoms to us. May you bless each on with the saving knowledge of Christ and may their needs be met in you.
Amen

Ephesians 1:15-16  For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and your love for all God's people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
1 Thessalonians 5:11  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
Hebrews 10:24  And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds
Hebrews 3:13  But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called "Today", so that none of you ay be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

www.olivebranchdiscipleshipministries.com













Attitude Twins

1/19/20

The Attitude Twins

Love and Hate.  The Attitude Twins.  One is negative and harmful and one is positive and healthy -as it stays in balance.

There are 3 kinds of love: Ergo, Philia, and Agape.
Ergo:  best described as romantic or fleshly love
Philia: a brotherly love, love for fellow man and friendships
Agape: God's faithful love, love that forgives and covers over sin, a love that inspires righteousness

Of the 3, we as Christians, should be moving in Agape love. We should be developing
God's love in our life to be more like Him, to be Christ-like in attitude and actions. This kind of love involves discipline, knowing God's character and the Word, and purposing to do the right thing. This kind of love involves responsibility and accountability. We must understand forgiveness and making people around us accountable for their actions and words and attitudes. There is no excuse to behave badly just because a Believer in Christ Jesus is to love and forgive or is under God's grace. Our heavenly Father holds his Believers to a much higher standard because we should know the Word and know Jesus. It doesn't mean we cannot get angry or hurt or offended but it does mean we are accountable to Christ to not harbor it within our hearts and become angry and bitter and full of criticism, becoming judgmental. After all, Jesus forgave us and was kind and patient with us before we accepted Him into our hearts, right? He also holds Believers accountable for the knowledge we have on the subject, what the Word says. .This kind of love is impossible unless we have Jesus Christ as our Savior and  our Lord, we cannot do this in our own understanding.

So, the question is: which kind of love do you initiate in your own life? How do you extend this love towards others especially when they behave badly towards us?

Faithfulness

1/19/20




















Pruning

6.5.19

Pruning

My plumb tree. What a magnificent specimen of God's handiwork. My plumb tree has taught me many spiritual lessons of God the Father's work and purposes.
Last fall I had this plumb tree pruned way back. Way, way back.  As I stood and looked at the pruning I was asked what I thought. I stated that it was really pruned and maybe a little too much but that it was okay, "We probably won't get any plumbs for a year until it grows back some."  It was okay, I resigned myself to it and was almost relieved that I wouldn't have to deal with a ton of plumbs that usually com from this small tree.
I went our to walk my yard a few days ago and my attention was drawn to this tree. It was suggested to me that I come closer and look at the branches and what did I think. I was truly stunned. Because the leaves are so green and the immature plumbs are so green, from a distance of a few feet more the fruit was undistinguishable from the leaves. As I drew closer I could see that the branches were inundated with fruit upon fruit, quietly growing and maturing. Wow. In a few weeks there will be a huge harvest off this little tree and I already have friends who are asking for bags of this fruit when it is mature. Of course I said. I truly did not expect any growth of fruit this year but what do I know? God knows!
It made me think of how the Lord prunes His Believers from time to time. I can seem very severe with no hope of any fruit at all. The fruit we are to produce cannot always be seen but it is still there. Now, if the tree is healthy, the fruit will be plentiful, strong, and good. Believers in Christ can also bear bad fruit out of negative attitudes and actions. This kind if fruit is good for nothing and is cut off the branch and thrown into the fire.
We must be mindful at all times about the fruit of the Spirit that we are to produce in our daily walk with Christ Jesus. Mindful, having our mind full of these thoughts of fruit produced to better the Kingdom of God here on earth, to feed the family of God, to nourish our self and others. It is expected of us or we will be cut off and thrown into the fire.  Our fruit as Believers in Christ are as follows::
 
Galatians 5:22-26
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
And not:
Galatians 5:19-21
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Which do you choose?
-Pastor Sandi
www.olivebranchdiscipleshipministries.com