Hello my dear friends. Today please come, kick your shoes off and settle in on the couch with your favorite cup of warmth. My dear friend, Beth Kinder is visiting all the way from the West Coast. I cannot put into words how blessed I have been by this woman, she is the real deal. She is genuine and tangible and her love for Jesus is contagious. She is the founder of Remade Ministries where she builds up, encourages and strengthens others to pursue God wholeheartedly. Today she comes bearing sweet, beautiful, California Oranges.
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
We have this orange tree in our backyard that produces the best oranges I have ever eaten. When we first moved into our 30-year-old home, I had never owned a fruit tree, much less picked my own fruit straight from the branches!
We got our oranges the way most people did – from the local grocery store. We didn’t buy oranges very often because they were typically tasteless. Their meat was hard, not much juice, and no one really enjoyed them. I will never forget the day I pulled the first orange off of our tree. The fragrance of the orange was released the moment the fruit broke from the branch. It permeated the air and trailed behind me as I took that one orange into the house. Just holding the orange left fresh citrus oil all over my hands.
A single orange filled my kitchen with the crisp smell of citrus. I’m salivating just thinking about it! As I peeled the thick skin, the juice from the orange ran over my fingers and onto the counter. I knew I was in for a wonderful treat! I leaned in over the sink to take my first bite, and the juice exploded everywhere into my mouth, down my chin, through my fingers and landing onto the bottom of the stainless steal sink. Everything one could image an orange tasting, smelling, and feeling like was exemplified in that one moment! A single orange off of my tree produced eight-ounces of concentrated juice!
The season ended and then appeared again as we watched new buds form on the tree, and the sweet smell of orange blossoms filled the backyard. There was great anticipation of the coming crop. Oranges grew out of the tiny blossoms from small green balls to large beautifully bright oranges!
I wasn’t sure when to pick an orange, so I went by its color. I pulled the first fruits of the season with excitement. As I grabbed an orange off the lower branch and tugged hard, I noticed it didn’t break free as easily as it did the previous season.
In my excitement, ok it was straight up impatience, I peeled the orange standing under the shade of the 30-year-old tree. Only this time the skin on the orange was thinner and more difficult to peel, and the meat of the orange wasn’t nearly as tender, and when I bit into it there wasn’t the sweet tarty orange flavor, it was a bitter tartness that just made me pucker! Total disappointment!
The orange looked just like the one from the previous year, but it didn’t taste like them.
In John 15:5 Jesus said that if we remain in him and he in us we would produce much fruit. I believe the quality of our fruit is directly connected to the length of time we abide in His presence.
The orange I pulled from the tree the second season looked just like the orange from the previous season, except it wasn’t as ripe. It needed more time on the tree.
Any time spent with Christ will produce fruit, but I’m not satisfied with just any quality of fruit. I want a lasting, memorable, life-altering fruit! I desire the type of fruit that comes from abiding a full season in the secret place – but I’m not always disciplined to do that.
I have a tendency to rush into the doing for God, and I end up forsaking the being with God. I notice that during those seasons the fruit is a weaker version of what it could have been. Jesus walked with the Father daily, spent time in the secret place daily and out of three years of ministry; He produced an impact on the world, which has lingered for thousands of years.
Just as that orange juice flowed after being broken in my hands, it is my desire that whatever I speak, write, or teach God will break open the time He and I spent together, and His sweet presence will flow over others. As the orange left residue of citrus oils in my hands simply by holding it, I want the power of the Holy Spirit to be released just by being with others. And the lingering aroma of the orange that trailed behind me, I desperately want to leave an aroma of Jesus long after I’ve left.
I don’t want to produce just any fruit that can be purchased from a store; I desire to be the ripened, fresh picked straight from the branch itself – yielding a type of fruit that leaves others longing for more of an authentic encounter with Him!
How about you? Do you ever find yourself pouring out before its time?