Monday, February 27, 2012

The Promise of Unfading, Fruitful Lives.

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

Its Saturday - I don't have to write today and I won't post this till sometime next week. I'm soaking in the beautiful music on the Healing Refuge, and reading my bible. What I was drawn to today was how as those made righteous through Jesus, we are eligible to receive the promises to the righteous. One of those promises is that of unfading life. I don't believe this to mean that the bodies of those who believe will not grow old. Even while in those aging bodies our spirits are alive and vital and fruitful. In some ways that vitality of mind and spirit also has the effect of causing the body to age in a graceful and stately or beautiful way.  I have been walking with the Lord for 30 years and at age 50 my eyes don't see quite as well as they once did. My hair is turning grey. In my work with the homeless I am confronted with people who have not spent the last 30 years of their life in the presence of the Lord. You can see the effects of pain, brokenness, their lives are weathered and beaten down. Some times they try to tell me how old they are and they think that I must be much younger than them. Only to find out when we compair ages that we are the same age or they are much younger than me. Granted lives led in service to ones addictions there is paid a heavy toll on ones physical health.   

My life is certainly that of a Polly Anna compared to most of these folks. While my life has not been totally free from the effects of sin - I have, because of my relationship with Jesus been able to not fall into many of the traps and deceptions of sin and I do see these promises of an unfading life for the righteous in effect in my own life. I truly love the courts of the Lord, his presence is my favorite place and I delight in His word. Not because I am such a great person. It is He who works in me to will and do His good pleasure (Phillipians2:13) I can truly say "but for the grace of God go I." 


Isaiah 40:31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. 

 If you have ever visited a nursing home - you can look around and often see the marked difference in those who know the Lord and those who do not. Those who know him, may have aged but they have a look of peace that is so contrasted in the faces of many of the others who have lived lives far from the presence of the Lord.  Their faces show the weathered lines of bitterness, anger, pain and torment. Perhaps you can chalk it up to a strong gene pool or a life of ease and say that some people just don't show their age. I'm not here to do a scientific study or to say that in turning to the Lord late in your life that the effects of an earlier life will be completely erased. He does begin a transforming work, and he does forgive you and accept you as you are. The following are some of the verses about this unfading life promise that I was looking at today. 


Psalm 1:3 (NIV1984)

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
   which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
   Whatever he does prospers. 
Benefit of this Promise: fruitful, unfading life, whatever you do prospers.
Recepant of this Promises: To those who love the Word and do not look to the wicked.
Condition of this Promise: It is for the Righteous (vs 6)

Psalm 92:12-15 (NIV1984)

12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
   they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the LORD,
   they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
   they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The LORD is upright;
   he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
 
Benefit of this Promise: fruitfulness and unfading life.  
Recepant of this Promises: The righteous
Condition of this Promise:  Must be righteous (we are only righteous through Jesus)

Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV1984)

8 He will be like a tree planted by the water
   that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
   its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
   and never fails to bear fruit.” 
Benefit of this Promise: fruitfulness and unfading life even in times of drought.
Recepant of this Promises: The ones who trust in the Lord. Who put thier confidence in Him.
Condition of this Promise:  Trusting and putting your confidence in the Lord. 

Hosea 14:8 (NIV1984)

8 O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols?
   I will answer him and care for him.
I am like a green pine tree;
   your fruitfulness comes from me.”  
The Lord is like a green pine tree and your fruitfulness comes from him. The more we spend our lives in his presence and abide in him the more our lives will become fruitful. 

John 15

The Vine and the Branches
 1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.    5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


John 3:14-15 (NIV1984)

14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,  
15 that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.

Benefit of this Promise: eternal life. 
Recepant of this Promises: everyone who believes
Condition of this Promise: Belief in the Son of Man


There are lots of wonderful promises in the bible and most people do not even realized what is available to them. Most must be mined, through digging into our relationship with Jesus though worship, the word, and prayer. Even once a treasure is found it must be used to see its effect upon your life. My pastor shared a wonderful illustration about one of his forefathers who had the chance to buy and island in the Pacific North West for seventy five dollars, back in the day. He owned a gold mine but did not have the money to take part in that land opportunity.  He shared how even with spiritual things opportunities arise and because we have not worked the gold mine of all we have in Jesus we can lack the faith or the means to take part in that opportunity. What opportunities might you be missing now or in the future because you have not put God first and spent yourself to know and grow in him?
Prayer
Dear Lord, 
Thank you that it is in you that we are righteous. Thank you that you have begun a transforming work in the lives of those who look to you and trust you. Thank you that you renew our strength and desire for us to live fruitful lives.  I pray that you will help each of us trust you increasingly. That our lives would be marked by your presence. That your love would so saturate our lives. That you would keep us fresh and green and fruitful as these verses promise. We stand upon these promises to live fruitful and lives that are un-fading. Lives in which our hope in you lifts us up to soar on eagles wings and to run our race before you with out fainting. Lives that are ready to step through the doors of kingdom opportunity that are open to us at this time and in the future.  

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