Friday, September 23, 2016

Three Years and 1550 Blogs Later: Fig Trees and a Look at How Far We've Come

{NOTE: I expected to have Sam's project ready to announce this morning. My blog's ready to go, but the project page (photos, links, donate button) isn't ready yet. I expect them to be ready in a few hours... What better way to celebrate my anniversary than to help others? I hope to make the announcement mid-day today. Please check back.}

"Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19 esv

Just over three years ago, I was happily practicing medicine. Things were going exactly according to my master plan, when I began to think God wanted to expand my borders. It turned out that He wasn't just expanding  borders, He was about to rock my world.

It started with a blog. I didn't know what a blog was, and I certainly didn't know how to start a blog. When that Still Small Voice whispered, "Google it," I thought I might be in for an adventure.

I was.

I wrote twice a day. Learned how to tell a story. How to organize my thoughts and write fast. How to write accurately and decrease the typos. 

Today marks three years since that first blog post that changed my life. You, my precious readers, have encouraged me, responded to my words, allowed them to change you. You've become a part of me, and I'm better for it. 

1,550 posts later, I know at my core that I was born to be a story teller, but I wouldn't be here without you, the sweet people who've read my blog, liked and shared posts, left comments, given encouragement. You helped me keep writing, because writers need readers. I'm grateful to God for you. Thank you. 

This is a day for remembering my beginnings and celebrating what God has done, so here's my first blog post. (It didn't have a picture, but I've added one.)

What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.” (Luke 3:9 MSG)

The fig tree at my home has been there for decades. When I first moved there, it bore a few figs, but gradually the yield was less and less. After a few years, there was essentially no yield at all. As the fig  count waned, my frustration with the tree grew. Nothing I did helped it. 

Finally, I just cut it down, nearly to the ground. Imagine my surprise a few years later when Sam, my farm worker, said, "Hey, have you seen that tree you cut down? It's loaded with figs!"

I'm not an expert on trees, but it seemed clear to me that all the non-productive parts of that tree needed to go. A severe pruning (to the ground) saved it.

It's easy for us to allow dead wood to accumulate in our lives, isn't it? It's not so much that it looks dead as that its non-productive. When I prune, I lop off the branches that look diseased, but also the ones that don't bear fruit. 

In our lives, it's not just the sin and hurt (diseased branches) that need to go. Those things in our lives that do not make us more like Jesus or demonstrate the love of Christ to a lost and dying world may need to go too.

Just about anything can be deadwood in our lives. I have a friend who says she didn't have time for Bible study until one day she realized how much time she spent reading the newspaper every morning. When she stopped beginning her day with the news and started it with the Good News through Bible study, she found she had plenty of time for God, and now has a life that bears much fruit for him.

Just about anything can end up being deadwood because it keeps us from doing what Christ intended. Internet browsing, Pinterest, Facebook, shopping can all be good things. They can also be time-stealers that keep us from something better.

What is the deadwood in your life? 

Take a serious look at your life today and at all the activities you include. 

Does it make you more like Jesus? 

Does it demonstrate Christ to a world that is perishing? 

If not, it's time for some pruning. Choose today to have a life that is "green and blossoming", then do whatever it takes to get there.


Here's a hint about Sam's big project:

In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: When Hope Came to Hope 
#celebrate #Christian