Daily Devotions

Posts tagged “fruit

Goody Bags and Memories

My father pastored for more than 22 years in Houston, TX. He loved Christmas time and enjoyed planning Christmas events and activities for the church and the community. Several years we had a thirty foot tall (made of scaffolding and live Christmas trees) “Singing Christmas Tree” in the parking lot of our church and it was advertised on radio and in newspapers. I had the privilege of being at the very top and played “Silent Night” on my trumpet (accompanied by Kathy on the Hammond organ) at the end of the program. The music could be heard all over that business district on Jensen Drive.

We helped needy families with food and gifts and ministered at the men’s shelter at the mission in downtown Houston. But there was one very special night of the year. It was always the Sunday night right before Christmas. People who only came once a year would attend at Christmas. A few who felt unworthy (because of their long absence from church attendance) tentatively entered the auditorium right at starting time hoping there were a few seats remaining vacant so that they might once more feel the warmth of the hearts that lifted in glorious carols recounting the birth of the Christ Child who still brought them hope, and they hoped that the anointing upon the special time of gathering would reach even them once again so they might experience the sense of its cleansing, the sense of belonging and being accepted in the beloved. Many families brought a visitor or two. Everyone dressed up. 

The auditorium glowed with golden candlelight which would only convey the merest fraction of the golden warmth of the presence of Holy Spirit upon the evening’s message about the Son of God. There would be many a tear shed on this night of celebration. The pastor knew this was going to be a great time to give people the opportunity to ask this Savior, Who was born in a manger, into their hearts – as the choir sang one more verse of Silent Night. All the players were in the old auditorium checking their costumes to make sure they were just right and reciting their lines to make sure they would properly communicate their portion of the Christmas story. In the main auditorium everyone was abuzz with excitement mixed with awe and reverence anticipating what they were about to see and hear. Musicians checked their instruments to make sure they were in tune while choir members and soloists warmed up their voices and double-checked the lyrics on song sheets (even though some had scribbled out lyrics on little bits of paper stuck up their sleeves, hoping the choir director did not notice). Teachers and directors were corralling children hoping to organize them into their respective groups and go over their lines just once more, while consoling themselves that a partial or damaged costume was better than none at all, and being thankful that they took the pastor’s wife’s advice and brought a large doll to fill in for the “little Jesus” who came down with colic at the last minute. Yet, all in all, that wondrous Sunday night just before Christmas was always said to be “the best one yet” and everyone felt they had participated in the worship of the Christ whose name was Emmanuel. However, everyone knew that pastor’s dismissal prayer was not really the last item expected on that once-a-year night.

There was one activity that my Father took particular delight in. He loved to greet the people, shake the peoples’ hands and hand out the goody bags as they walked out the door. On the Friday before that Christmas Sunday, my Father and I would go to a discount house in the Heights area of Houston not far from downtown. We got a flat cart and proceeded to load it with apples, oranges, Snickers, Hershey bars and mixed nuts still in their shells. Our house smelled wonderful as the odors of fruit and chocolate wafted their way through the whole house. My Father, my sisters and I spent all Saturday afternoon filling the brown paper goody bags. The deacons hefted the heavy duty boxes of goody bags into the auditorium next to the main exit only after the dismissal prayer. The children were always the first to get to the exit and in line in front of Brother Gabler as he blessed each one and joyfully handed out the tasty treats. If an aunt or uncle or grandparent was unable to attend the special Christmas service, the attending relative walked out the door with several goody bags and a special message from my Father to the absentees.

As I sit here tonight and write these memories, I can still see (through misty eyes) and hear the sounds of the people and even smell the fruit and chocolate. I am thankful for all those memories for they represent people of God who impacted my life/ministry. It’s not the events but it is the people who were the life and activity of those events which make those memories so precious. Thanks be to God for the wonderful gift of relationships that keep on giving through our memories.

Kathy and I pray you have a most blessed Christmas with the presence of people who redemptively impact your life and imprint your heart and mind with warm, loving memories.
Our love and prayers,
Marty and Kathy

Power to be Fruitful

As the people of God assemble today, may they be infused with Holy Spirit power to be fruitful all the year ahead.  May vision and empowerment come to each one.  I pray that the fruit our Lord gives you and your church this year will be like the net the disciples had to call for help to draw in.  May there be such a bounty that the net would be near bursting with the catch. May your net be strong and hold. “So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, 153 of them; and [though] there were so many of them, the net was not torn.” (Jn.21:11, Amp)

October is For Moving Forward in Paths

The month of OCTOBER IS FOR MOVING FORWARD IN PATHS that our Lord has ordained for us to be effective and fulfilled in. Those factors which have previously blocked progress are being removed. Distractions are fading and the fruit of a faithful walk is coming into view.  “We pray that you would walk in the ways of true righteousness, pleasing God in every good thing you do. Then you’ll become fruit-bearing branches, yielding to his life, and maturing in the rich experience of knowing God in his fullness!” (Col.1:10, TPT)

Criticism Not Neutral

For years, the leaders of this nation and special interest groups have been filling its atmosphere with criticism and caustic vitriol. Its presence so thick in the atmosphere has increased it and made it contagious. There is an inescapable principle in the Bible. It isn’t God just getting mad at a few well-deserving individuals, it is a God-given law of the universe which tells us that no voiced vitriol is neutral. ”Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” (Prov.18:21, Msg)

Imperative to be Properly Connected

The fruit of our lives is a witness of the connections we have made. In Jn.15:4, Jesus makes it plain that the only way a branch can produce fruit is to live in the vine, i.e., be properly connected.  ”Abide in Me, and I will abide in you. A branch cannot bear fruit if it is disconnected from the vine, and neither will you if you are not connected to Me.” (Jn.15:4, The Voice)

Kathy Gabler “You Have Value”
A 3min. video excerpt from Kathy’s
message “Free To Be”.

Accomplished Through Connection

Jesus blessed many lives. He did miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit that redemptively impacted people. Jesus got done what He got done because of His connection with the Father. Jn 5:19  Jesus said to the Jews, “I can guarantee this truth: The Son cannot do anything on his own. He can do only what he sees the Father doing. Indeed, the Son does exactly what the Father does.” (GW) The fruit of our lives is a witness of the connections we have made. In Jn.15:4 Jesus makes it plain that the only way a branch can produce fruit is to live in the vine, i.e., be properly connected. We are praying you discover daily that you are connected to Father God through Jesus for His redemptive purposes in the earth.  (Marty’s Daily Discovery as heard on TEXAS PRAISE RADIO at the bottom of the hour 24hrs/day.) www.txpraise.com


Sprout out on Every Branch

May you sprout out on every branch and may every bloom become valuable fruit.  May you labor under and rejoice and revel in awesome, excruciating FigLimbFruitgrowing pains that bring you to the height of your Lord’s expectations for you.  No more withering, no more stunted growth but God-enabled enlargement, production, extension, multiplication and proliferation be unto you for the glory and the Name’s sake of our LORD JESUS CHRIST and His fame in the earth. May our Lord’s success be manifest through you like a vine that bears fruit. (Jn.15:2, NKJV) ”Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” We are praying you discover daily God’s fruitfulness in your life.
(A Daily Discovery as heard on TEXAS PRAISE RADIO at the bottom of the hour 24 hours/day.


Glory Of The Father

walk aloneJesus was a Tree who brought forth fruit (Jn.12:28; 17:1). Jesus was the Kingdom exposed to mankind. In Jesus, the Kingdom was observed; in His lifestyle, His character, His actions (Matt.12:28). The fact that He brought forth fruit is the fact that He was the glory of His Father in the earth. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (Jn.1:14, NASB) In his new book, The Orphan Heart, Larry Burden gives an interesting definition of “glory” from the Greek word “doxa”:  “the appearance, form or aspect of a person which catches our attention and commands our recognition”. The Message puts it like this:  “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” (Jn.1:14, Msg) Though the Father was sitting upon a throne in heaven, He could be seen in the earth in Jesus as He interacted with His environment. 

(This is the ninth excerpt from Marty’s article “Don’t Stop Short” which was published in SEEC Magazine. More excerpts will be posted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Previous excerpts may be read by scrolling down this page.)

What Trees Produce

Jesus had made wise observations about trees and fruit in His time on earth. From His statements to the very orchard1religious Jews, it was apparently His observation that fruit was not hung on trees by angels nor did it come by the blessing of laying on of hands, but fruit came when the trees produced it: “…given to a people producing the fruit of it” (Matt.21:43). It seems the lesson learned here is that there must be people who will be “planted” in relationship with the Lord and His people (Ps.92:13) in such a way that they receive the “nutrients” that will enhance and mature a tree in such a manner that fruit grows on the limbs. The concept of “planting” is one of staying and permanence (Isa.60:21; 61:3). A tree (1) stays planted, (2) takes moisture, (3) takes nutrients from the ground it is planted in, then (4) brings forth fruit. Fruit is brought forth by the tree that has been planted and enabled (Ps.1:3; Jn.10:38; Js.2:17-24; cf.Mk.11:13). “Bring forth”: make, produce, bear, shoot forth. The tree does not stand alone or produce alone. Jesus even said of Himself, “At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father…” (Jn.14:20) Then He informed His disciples how they were to glorify God—Jn.15:8 “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit…” The bringing forth is redemptive. Jn.3:16 is redemptive; it is about Something that is beneficial to mankind. Prov.11:30a “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life…” Jesus is “THE Tree Of Life”. Jn.14:6a “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life…” Trees bring forth fruit and it is (1) glory to the Father, (2) life and (3) redemptive.

(This is the eighth excerpt from Marty’s article “Don’t Stop Short” which was published in SEEC Magazine. More excerpts will be posted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Previous excerpts may be read by scrolling down this page.)

Fruit Identifies

orange treeI was looking at the picture of a tree on the internet; it looked like a tall bush. I could not tell what kind of tree it was. There are 23,000 different kinds of trees on planet earth and it was hopeless attempting to decide which one it was. Looking at the tree, I wondered what kind it was and what good it was; was there any benefit in the tree existing; would it do anyone any good? I clicked to the next picture. It was the same tree a few weeks later. Bright-colored oranges were all over the tree. There was then no doubt in my mind what kind of tree it was, what it was good for and whether it was of any benefit to people because I could see “the glory” of that tree. Debates over size, leaf shape, trunk size, color and location were of no use until the appearance of fruit.

(This is the seventh excerpt from Marty’s article “Don’t Stop Short” which was published in SEEC Magazine. More excerpts will be posted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Previous excerpts may be read by scrolling down this page.)

Fruit Of The Kingdom

Provision that is far above what might be called “adequate” has been made available to us to give ourselves over to a orchardPerson and His governmental order that we might glorify Him through a life which testifies to that order. In speaking to the Jews of His day, Jesus said, “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.” (Matt.21:43, NASB) In The Message that verse reads quite plainly: “God’s kingdom will be taken back from you and handed over to a people who will live out a kingdom life.” Those Jews, to whom Jesus spoke, were most tedious at observing and keeping all the laws and feasts of Judaism, yet Jesus doesn’t seem to think that those observances are producing any fruit of the Kingdom. After all of their legalisms and religious effort, they have yet to produce the fruit of the Kingdom which, evidently, results in the need for the Kingdom (God’s redemptive governmental and legislative authority in the earth) to be given to a people who will produce said fruit. Some people, somewhere, at some time must (1) align with scripture, (2) contradict culture and (3) bring forth the fruit of the Kingdom by acting redemptively (enabled by Holy Spirit) to reverse the effects of darkness (Matt.13:33; 1Cor.2:4; Col.1:13; 1Jn.3:8 and Jn.20:21; Acts 1:8).

(This is the sixth excerpt from Marty’s article “Don’t Stop Short” which was published in SEEC Magazine. More excerpts will be posted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Previous excerpts may be read by scrolling down this page.)