The world seems to be getting darker and darker, and it is so easy to give up on your dreams. But I believe that your life can still be FRUITFUL despite the chaos.
I believe that God wants you to be fruitful.
Look at what God’s word has to say about living a fruitful life …
Psalm 1:1-3 says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”
In John 15:5 Jesus says, “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.”
In John 15:8 Jesus says, “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
In John 15:16, Jesus says, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.”
In Jeremiah 17:7-8, God says, “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
Genesis 1:28 says, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign …”
From these scriptures, it is clear that God wants you to be fruitful despite your current circumstances and despite the current pandemic.
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Vision Many Years Ago…
Many years ago, I had an encounter with God, where God gave me a simple vision. It happened during a worship service. The whole Church was pouring their hearts out to God. As I worshipped God, His presence seemed to envelop me, and I saw this vision of a painting. The painting was of a bonsai tree in a pot, and deep down I just knew that this bonsai tree represented my life. I felt that God was saying, you have stopped growing. You are stunted. This pot is getting too small for you and I am about to break the pot and replant you so that you can be more effective and fruitful.
A week or so later I was invited to a business conference in Namibia, in a small town called Swakopmunt. The top 40 advisors from the company I worked for at the time had been invited, and I had somehow snuck in. Swakopmunt is a beautiful town in Namibia. It is situated on the coast, but the interior is desert.
After our flight in, we were put up in a hotel. Janet and I were somehow given the Presidential Suit. It was obviously a mistake, but looking back, I think that God was trying to show me the full extent of the bonsai vision. On the first day, we were taken on a guided tour through the desert dunes. It was the first time I had ever been in a desert. While I always thought a desert would be ugly and boring with just dry sand, to my surprise it was beautiful. It was like we were on another planet. It was as though the desert had a life of its own. When the wind blew, the sands spectacularly changed color. Even though it was dry and sandy there was something special about this place.
One thing that did however stand out to me in the desert was how even in these dry harsh conditions, there was the odd plant. These plants all looked stunted. They were barely surviving and definitely not thriving. Life in the desert for animals and plants alike was hard and difficult. This was a lot like my life at the time. The vision of the “bonsai tree in the pot” was still very much in the forefront of my mind. I just knew that God was busy doing something in me.
Are you stunted? Are you barely surviving? Do you feel like something is holding you back and like you are not fulfilling your destiny?
God Wants You to FLOURISH
That evening after dinner, I remember sitting on the balcony of our presidential suite. I was just trying to reflect on the day and also on what God was saying to me. I had my Bible with me. As I opened it a scripture jumped out at me. I knew this was not a coincidence but a God-incidence!
Jeremiah 17:5-6 says …
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land.”
God was speaking directly to me. I had just been in the barren wilderness, in the desert. I had just seen the stunted shrubs. This is also how I felt!
God was showing me that I needed to trust fully in Him. If I continued to do things in my own strength, I would remain a stunted shrub in the desert or a bonsai in a pot.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 continues …
“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”
This is so profound.
My friend, don’t live in fear of man. Trust in God. When we trust in God and put our hope and confidence in Him, we will be blessed. When we live a God-focused and God-centered life, we will not be like stunted shrubs in the desert, but we will be like a fruitful tree planted on the riverbank. Even during the tough dry seasons of life, we will remain green and healthy, and we will produce abundant fruit.
God Can REPLANT YOU
God was showing me an incredible picture and helping me understand the full meaning of the bonsai vision. I had been like a stunted shrub in the desert, but God was about to replant me.
I do not know what is happening in your life today, but I know that God wants you to be fruitful. He is wanting to break some pots that are keeping you stunted. He is wanting to transplant you onto His riverbed. God wants you to flourish and be fruitful.
Psalm 92:12-14 says,
“But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age, they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.”
What is holding you back? Is it fear of man? Have you let go of God? Are you trying to live an independent life?
Put your trust in God.
Now back to my trip to Swakopmunt: One night during my business conference there was a formal dinner. I was seated at a table with my regional manager, Hennie, and a few work colleagues. I did not know anything about their personal lives. To my utter amazement, I learned that my regional manager had a hobby. Guess what it was! He was a bonsai enthusiast. Not only was this his passion, outside of work, but he was also the chair of the bonsai society. He was passionate about bonsai trees. Over dinner, I was able to ask a bonsai expert questions about bonsai trees.
Hennie, without knowing the vision God had given me, shared with me that a bonsai tree is a normal tree, whose roots have been stunted and that the tree, therefore, stays miniature. He shared that by constantly pruning, limiting the root growth, and keeping the bonsai in a small pot, the bonsai will stay in its miniature state. The bonsai process was basically keeping the tree small and stopping the tree from reaching its full potential.
Do you feel like a bonsai? Do you feel stunted or held back?
I believe that God wants you to reach your God-given potential. God wants you to fulfill your destiny. He has a plan, not to harm you, but a plan to give you a hope and a future.
God is wanting to replant you.
I asked Hennie, “what would happen if you replanted a bonsai tree in a large garden?”
His answer confirmed what God was saying to me. Hennie told me that if you plant a bonsai tree in fertile soil, it will grow into the tree it was meant to be, to its full potential.
This was another Wow moment for me.
Are You Cut Off? God Can ENGRAFT YOU BACK!
As the discussion continued around the dinner table, a work colleague of mine started to talk about farming and fruit. He had recently read an article about a fruit salad tree, where one was able to engraft branches from one stone fruit tree into another, thereby having one tree that produced different fruit. As an example, you could take a peach tree, and engraft branches from an apricot and plum tree into the peach tree, by cutting into the main trunk of the tree, implanting the branches, and bandaging it up, and that over time the branch would become part of the tree, thereby creating a “fruit-salad” tree.
I knew I had read something in the Bible about engrafting. When I got back to my hotel room, I searched my Bible.
In Romans 11, I found a scripture about how God chose to engraft the “wild branches”, representing the Gentiles, into his “olive tree”. In Romans 11:17, it shows how God’s chosen people were like branches that were broken off and separated from the vine, because of their unbelief. The Gentiles, who were referred to as the “wild olive shoots”, were then grafted into the olive tree so that it could share in the nourishing root of the olive tree.
In Romans 11:23, talking about God’s people who were cut off from God due to their unbelief, it says, “And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again.”
I do not know where you stand with God, but God wants you to be fruitful. He wants you to put your trust and hope in Him. If you are stunted, God wants to replant you on His riverbank. If you have fallen away from God, he is wanting to engraft you back into a relationship with Him. You need to be connected to God.
In Romans 11:18, talking about the branches that are engrafted it says “… remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.”
What are you connected to? Are you rooted in God? To produce fruit, you need to be connected to the root! God is able to engraft you back so that you can become part of His Kingdom.
Back to my testimony… In the season that followed, I knew that God had broken the pot that was limiting me. He replanted me.
I have been involved in radio ministry for over 25 years. Before God replanted me, we would see on average around 20 persons coming to Christ per month. After God broke the pot and replanted me there was explosive growth, and since then, we have seen on average 200+ coming to Jesus each month – a ten-fold increase.
From a business perspective, my business has also exploded, and my turnover soared.
Where Are You Planted?
If you are currently dried out and fruitless, I truly believe that God can replant you.
Are you stunted? Is there something holding you back?
Do you feel cut off from God?
Are you producing good fruit?
God wants you to be fruitful.
He wants you to put your full trust in Him.
He can engraft you back in. He can transplant you.
Take another look at Psalm 1:1-3, and let these words sink in. “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”
Tough Times. Dry Times.
Sometimes, even after God has replanted us, we will still go through dry seasons and tough times. God’s word promises us that even during these times, we do not need to worry for God is with us and he will see us through. In fact, God’s word tells us that even in the middle of a drought or difficult season, we will stay vital and green and that we will continue to produce fruit.
This however does not mean we will not face storms.
James 1-2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
In the middle of the dry season or the storm, stay strong, knowing God is developing you and growing you.
You can still bloom where you are planted. Don’t let the droughts and storms get you down. Know that during these tough times, God is with you. He is working in you. He is strengthening you and building you so that you will become stronger and more fruitful.
I read an interesting article by Randy Missildine called Stress Wood, in which he tells the story of a biosphere that was created in Arizona in 1991, that was used to study the earth and its living systems. It was basically a giant dome containing trees, plants, and water features.
After this large biodome had been in use for a while, scientists learned something they weren’t expecting. The trees inside grew at an accelerated rate, but never reached full maturity before losing limbs or falling over.
The reason for the trees falling over was that in nature trees develop something called “stress wood” which is basically the trees’ reaction to wind. Wind causes the limbs to sway and move, placing stress on the load-bearing parts of the tree. The tree develops this “stress wood” to compensate, making the tree stronger. In this biodome, there was no wind and therefore the trees could not develop their stress wood and would collapse under their own weight. Stress on the tree was necessary to keep it healthy and growing.
Maybe you are not seeing evidence of fruit. Ask God to replant you. Wait on him. Stay strong. Keep your eyes on Jesus. During the tough times, God is working but you need to stay rooted. In his time, he will come through!
Be patient. Persevere. Hold on. God is working. Just stay planted where God plants you. Stand firm. Growth is happening. The fruit will come. He wants you to be fruitful.
You may feel dried out. Your life may be FRUITLESS. You may be battling to survive, but I believe God wants you to thrive.
We are living in tough times, but there is hope. God wants you to be fruitful. He wants to see you produce good abundant fruit in every area of your life.
God wants you to be fruitful in your …
- relationships with your family, your friends, and others God brings across your path,
- in health, both mentally, emotionally, and physically,
- in your money management, and
- above all, God wants you to have a fruitful relationship with Him.
The FIG TREE
In Luke 13:6-9 (NLT), Jesus told this parable…
“A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed. Finally, he said to his gardener, ‘I’ve waited three years, and there hasn’t been a single fig! Cut it down. It’s just taking up space in the garden.’ “The gardener answered, ‘Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I’ll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer. If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.”
From this story that Jesus told we can see that God wants us to produce good fruit.
We can also see that God is the God of the second chance.
In John 15:1, Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”
Who is the gardener?
God is the gardener and he wants to take care of you.
God wants you to produce abundant fruit.
Don’t try to do it alone! God wants you to trust in Him.
In John 15:1-2, Jesus said, “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.”
Jesus continued in John 15:4-5, “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”
John 15:16, “You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.”
Stay connected to the vine (Jesus) and allow the gardener (Father) to care for you and you will produce abundant fruit.
Ask God for help! He wants to help you produce lasting fruit in every area of your life.
God wants you to be fruitful in every area of your life. God is the God of the second chance.
But above all,
- Don’t try to do this alone,
- Put God first,
- Stay connected to God,
- Trust God and rest in Him.
Today we have looked at a picture of three trees…
1.) Bonsai tree: This represents a person who has been stunted or held back. God wants to replant you!
2.) The cut-off wild olive branch: This represents a person who has been cut off from God. God wants to engraft you back in!
3.) The fruitless fig tree: This represents a person whose life has been fruitless and is ready to give up. God wants to take care of you! He wants to help you become fruitful.
God Wants You to BE FRUITFUL
Jesus told us that, “You can identify a tree by its fruit.”
In Matthew 7:17 Jesus said, “A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”
Is your life producing good abundant fruit?
Are you connected to God?
Are you planted on God’s riverbank?
Do you sense like something is holding you back from your God-given destiny and purpose?
Have you possibly stagnated and become stunted?
Do you feel cut off?
Are you fruitless? Is your fruit bad?
It is Time to BE FRUITFUL
To sum up…
God’s word makes it clear that we become like cursed stunted shrubs in the desert when we put our trust in people instead of trusting in God, and when we turn our hearts away from God. However, God’s word is also clear that when we put our trust in God, we will be blessed and that even in the tough times, we will not need to worry, but we will continue to flourish and produce abundant fruit. (Jeremiah 17:5-8)
God’s word makes it clear that he can engraft you back in, even if you have been cut off (Romans 11)
God’s word is clear that if your fruit has been bad, or if you have been fruitless, God wants to come alongside you and care for you and help you to be fruitful (Luke 13).
Put your faith in Jesus. Put your hope in God.
God wants you to be fruitful.
Jesus told us that he chose us and appointed us to go and produce lasting fruit. (John 15:16)
The good news is that God can replant you. God wants to break that pot that is holding you back. He wants to transplant you. He wants to engraft you back in. He wants to take special care of you and see you produce abundant fruit in your life.
God is able to replant you so that you can flourish, remaining vital and green. And fruitful (Psalm 92:12-14)
Let us pray:
Dear Father. Today I surrender my life to you, along with my failures and shortcoming. I give you my hurts and heartaches. I give you my worries and concerns. I give you my burdens and bondages. I ask you Lord Jesus Christ to be my Savior. Thank you for the finished work of the cross. I ask you to break off everything that is holding me back from fulfilling the destiny for which you made me. I ask you to set me free from my past.
I ask you to replant me onto your riverbank and to catapult me into the very purpose for which you created me to fulfill.
I ask you to engraft me back in. I thank you that I am reconnected to you.
I ask you to take special care of me and to help me be abundantly fruitful.
Oh Lord, may I please you in all I do. I put my trust in you. Lord, I thank you that you want me to flourish. I stand in expectation of what you are about to do in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
If you want to start or restart your walk with God, click here to pray a simple prayer we have set up for you.
Genesis 1:28 says, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign …”
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