more water“No, the peaches are falling!” Our peach tree is loaded with peaches, but they’re not maturing. We pruned the tree in the fall and again in the summer to make sure the peaches are getting plenty of sun light. We watered in the fall and turned off the water in the summer, which we were told to do and have dutifully done. Still, the fruit stops growing and falls to the ground before they’re ready to eat.
Something wrong with the tree? Nope, it’s the tree growers again. We were given bad advice! We pruned correctly, but the watering should have been reversed. The peaches are not ripening as they need more water, not less, as they mature! Bad advice led to great looking fruit, but nothing we could eat. The only thing we raised were our hopes.

Again, fish don’t know their wet. We only knew what we knew and what we knew was wrong, which led to no peaches to eat. Each of us needs a source of truth outside ourselves to expose the lies in our thinking, no matter who or how noble the intentions were in putting them there. A lie is still a lie, which always teases you with good looking fruit, but leaves a nasty taste when finally eaten. It raises and dashes your hopes at the same time.
We need a constant flow of the Word of God, the source of truth, not just when life gets hot either! We must listen to Jesus in His Word so He can tell us what truths we’ll need in our shields of faith to keep our adversary’s lies from even entering our brains and continually along the way to produce the sweet fruit we long too taste. How is your listening to Jesus coming along in your BIG reading?
S“E”t Free Nowww

tastes greatIs what you’re hoping to hear when you hand something you made to someone else to taste test for you. You might even close your eyes as you hand it to them as you’re not sure you’re ready for their response.
Jesus said we are to bear fruit. He is the vine and we are the branches. Even though the branches bear the fruit (though the juices for that fruit come form the vine not the branch), they don’t get to taste it!

In biblical days, the vine grower would take one pass through his ripening vineyards. He decided what was done with the fruit, not the branch. After this initial harvest, the poor and foreigners living in the land got the next shot at the vines. Everyone, but the branch, got to eat the grapes!
Jesus is the branch. We are the branches. He expects our lives to bear fruit (see John 15). He expects the Father and those around us to enjoy what they taste in our lives. This enjoyment is Jesus as it is His juices that should be flowing through us as He cuts off our character and replaces it with His. This great exchange takes place each day we use our biblical tools to better hear from and follow Jesus everyday everywhere.
Hopefully, people who taste your life are saying, “Wow that sure tastes good!”
“Set Free Nowww”

new lifeThere is an American phrase that is used quite often to express that you can’t change or shouldn’t expect life to be any different than what you’re currently experiencing: “It is what it is.”
The problem with this common expression is that it is a lie. Jesus didn’t come to keep the status quo going. He didn’t come to just make a way to heaven either. He came to save us, not just from eternal separation from God, but from ourselves! He came to change our lives so we could stay in and enjoy the presence of the Father right now, as well as tomorrow and all the way into eternity.

It’s our lie-contaminated brain that destroys our joy. It’s the resulting sin-stained character that makes the choice to leave the presence of God. Life only stays the same or repeats itself if we choose to not listen to and follow Jesus everyday everywhere. Yet, if we do, the Spirit of God will change our life.
Today isn’t what it is. Today is about living and loving Jesus, the One who called Himself “the Life.” A changed life will come as we love Jesus and get better at using our biblical tools to hear Him throughout our day. You should expect your life to be different for having followed Jesus. If not, who are you listening too? Hopefully not your enemy quoting this silly American phrase.
S“E”t Free Nowww

ripen pears“Now, you tell me!” What a life lesson we recently learned from our pear tree. We planted a pear tree in our backyard a few years back. We were consistently getting good sized pears to grow, but they wouldn’t ripen.
The last two years we attributed it to the fact that it was still a young tree. This year, however, we decided to do a little internet research as to why these perfectly formed pears were not progressing towards perfection.
Much to our surprise, pears are one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree! They are to be picked once they reach a good size and shape. Then set out to ripen, preferably with other pears or ripening fruit, in a bowl! You should have seen the look on our faces when we learned this truth. “Now, you tell me!”

We simply didn’t know any better. We grew pears like we did the other fruit in our backyard. Yet, just like we needed an outside source to tell us differently, you’ll need an outside source of truth if you are going to bear Christ-like fruit. Listening to Jesus in the Word is essential if you hope to make any progress towards being like Jesus, perfection.
And two, perfection is a progress that’s different for everyone! Some ripen on the tree, while others don’t. Growth will come in spurts, slow down and then ripen to full sweetness. It takes time to retrain your brain and produce sweet eternal Christ-likeness. So relax. Breathe. And keep listening to Jesus. Sweetness will come. Perfection is progress.
S“E”t Free Nowww

Focus on Victory Not Defeats

stay in the momentAn NFL quarterback passes on an important lesson about mistakes. “It had been my mistake. Instead of kicking myself or replaying the interception (not a good thing!), I focused on the task at hand. One thing you learn quickly is that great quarterbacks must have short-term memories when it comes to things like this. Good or bad, you have to be able finish a play, push it aside, and move on to the next one. You can never let a play from the past affect the present. Your job is stay in the moment.”
Jesus has taken care of our past – it’s forgiven. Jesus has taken care of our future – we’ll be like Him. Our job is to stay focused on Him in the present. We’ll make mistakes on our journey to allow the Spirit to replace our sin-stained character with the purity of Jesus’. When this happens we can either waste time beating ourselves up, which means will continue to make mistakes (i.e. take our drugs of choice). Or, we can “fail forward,” which means to learn from our mistakes so we can get up and experience victory right now by Exercising the truth by faith.
Practice today having a very short-term memory. Let go of your mistakes by learning from them so you can stay in His presence and experience victory in the moment.
Set Free “N”owww