Thursday, February 20, 2020

Second-Season Fruit



Someone once said, you don't need to try and grow every plant in your garden. Not every seed you plant will sprout into a seedling. Some will never germinate. Some will try, but won't do anything more than use up the nutrients needed for the good seed. Some seedlings, even good ones, need to be thinned out so as to make room for the plants to grow to their full potential. There's just not time nor space to nurture every seed dropped into the soil of our garden of life.

Seeds may be dropped into our soil that are not meant to be there. They are not a part of our mission. They don't fit the purpose of our garden. They may be sown purposely by enemies or opposers to distract us, use up our resources, or wear us out. They may be sown innocently by those who think they are helping us, giving us something to do, yet they use up our time, energy and resources which are meant for other things. They may be sown by ourselves, out of guilt or an unrealistic sense of duty or obligation. Again, wasting our energy on something contrary to our destiny.

Once we identify and nurture the right seeds, our plants will grow and one day bear fruit. They could be edible fruit--berries or apples. They could be leaves we harvest for tea or nutrition. They could be the fragrance or beauty of flowers. They could be essential oils used for healing. Whatever the fruit of each plant, it will have a purpose that fits our life, our mission, our destiny.

Just as we don't need to nurture every seed into a plant, we don't harvest every fruit. Some fruit will be damaged by bugs, weather, or trauma, and we simply can't save it. Yet the lessons learned and the growth experienced by their loss is valuable. It isn't a waste. We gain valuable wisdom and knowledge to be used in the future, to help our garden or educate others.

As our garden grows, we enjoy the fragrances of some plants. We enjoy the visual effect of the garden--the contrast and balance of all of our plants together. We enjoy the taste and nourishment of the fruit, the healing of the oils and leaves. The garden brings us life. It nourishes, strengthens, and heals us. It teaches us. We work in our garden, like Adam or Even, and our work pays off in bringing us the blessing of all it has to offer, the fruit of it all in its many different forms.

However, just as we don't grow every seed, or harvest every plant, we don't consume all of the fruit ourselves. our garden gives us much more than we can use ourselves. Our garden grows, expands, multiplies. From a few seeds we reap much fruit. Year after year. Season after season. So we share our harvest with family, friends, and others. However, we must not let the joy of sharing consume us to the point where we forget to feed ourselves. Apart from fasting, which our winter seasons naturally provide, we must feed ourselves, harvest our seeds for replanting, or our gardens become barren.

This is when we begin to learn the lesson of second-season fruit. Before we know how to best offer our fruit to others, we must enjoy it for a season or two ourselves. Some fruit, leaves, smells, sights, oils, teas etc. need to be experienced by us for a while before we can offer a full, ripe, mature experience to others. What pairs well? When is the best time to harvest? How do we bring the best balance of beauty or taste? When is the nutritional level at its peak? The oil most potent and fragrant? We must experience and experiment ourselves with our own produce before we share with others and offer the best to them.

This is second-season fruit. Tried. Tested. Seasoned. We become seasoned ourselves. Experienced gardeners of our own soil. Knowing ourselves and lives well enough to offer our experiences, our history, the lessons we've learned, the knowledge and revelations, the understanding and wisdom, the failures and challenges, the victories and losses. We can teach, help, prepare, prevent, encourage, and guide others as they ask of us. As they come to our garden for a visit.

Of course, we don't force. We offer. And we don't deplete our own garden. We don't harvest too soon or out of season. We share at the proper time, in the proper way, properly prepared for the proper use.

Second-season fruit. You've waited until the full cycle of the plant has been completed. You've gone through all the seasons at least once. Nurturing, observing, experiencing, learning, and now you are seasoned in how to share this fruit with others. This prevents you from experimenting on others, and it teaches you how to fully appreciate your fruit. Try your fruit yourself first. Then, when you think its good, share it with your family--those who know you, love you, and can give you an honest opinion.

Don't offer it to others unless you'd give it to your own child. Don't offer it to your child, until you know its completely safe, nutritional, and healthy. Know your fruit. Know your life. Know the purpose of your garden. Wait until at least the second season so you what you have to offer is good and life-giving.



Sunday, February 16, 2020

Government by the People


When you have a society which has a minimal number of laws for the most serious offenses (murder, rape, theft...) and strictly enforce them, the people are much freer and happier than when you have many laws which attempt to prevent offenses and shape behavior. The latter causes people to seek permission from government for their behavior, rather than knowing right and wrong for themselves. That is not freedom. That is control.

This is what has happened to a certain extent in America. However, this is not the government's doing, it is the people's choice. While siding with those who say they want to make everything fair and easy, they have surrendered their freedom, and their conscience, willingly. The problem is, that in the process of doing this, laws are created which affect all Americans, not just the ones who wish to be controlled. This is the basic point of contention between those who want a big government, and those who want a small, limited government.

So how do you govern a society while still allowing the free will of the people? You don't. You set things up so people will govern themselves. How? By protecting, and promoting, their freedom to love and worship God. The desire to please God trumps any motivation a government could ever give.

I know that governments have sometimes used religion as a form of control, but just because it works to accomplish that goal doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. In reality, it is not just any religion that brings order to a society. All you have to do is look at history to prove that point. No religion has been perfect, because no people have been perfect. However, look at the holy books of each religion and you will find that a Judaeo-Christian people, when following God as He intends, will self-govern and create a society that flourishes.

This is contrary to religions who force conversion, killing or enslaving those who don't comply. This type of religion confuses the role of government with the role of their god. With a biblical standard, God governs men's hearts, who then rule their lives and families. Families govern communities and nations. Governing authority starts from individuals on up, not the government down, but it only works peacefully if the individuals themselves have submitted themselves to the true, loving God.

Every society needs a standard of truth. In America, the Bible has always been that. But now, those who have drifted away from (or never had) a belief in the God of the Bible, would like to establish their own truth. They say they want diversity and fairness for all, but what they're really trying to do is force a set of beliefs, their beliefs, on everyone. They feel if they can set up a powerful government who rules through these many laws, then things will be "better" for all. This is not true. This is not reality.

The beauty of America, led by biblical truths, has always been that men can respond to the convictions of their own heart. Yes there have been laws to protect which bring limitations, and no we haven't been perfect. But the answer is not found in doing away with the biblical standards that have made this country great. The answer is to promote, yet not force, these biblical standards more. Everyone gets to choose, but the laws, and consequences for breaking them, will be judged by the one standard we have always had--the Bible.

Fight it all you want, but it works because its truth.



Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Merging of Knowledge and Truth



Our ancestors ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Now we contain the ability to know what they knew. We can learn. We have learned from our ancestors and we study history to discover the knowledge mankind has gained throughout the ages. This knowledge has been passed on from generation to generation, and built upon.

But with this knowledge comes a responsibility. It's a heavy responsibility requiring us to consistently and accurately make choices towards good, not evil. For if we choose evil, just once, seeds are planted and tragic consequences are harvested at some point. Gaining knowledge brings a heavy responsibility which requires discernment, wisdom, understanding, and more knowledge. Throughout history man has made wrong choices and undesirable consequences have followed. Each of us personally, does the same.

Knowledge alone doesn't guarantee goodness or happiness or justice. Knowledge must be merged with truth. However, truth is not something we possess, it's something we observe. We don't control it or guide it, but we watch where it leads and follow its path. As we do follow its path, we see that truth leads to all things good. It leads to wisdom, life, and love.

However, try as we might, we don't have the ability within ourselves to create truth. We only contain the ability to recognize it. We've been given access to truth as a read-only version. We can't edit it. We can't change it. We can only read it, learn it, absorb it, and guide our life by it. Our inability to change it, even with all the knowledge of the world, reveals that there is a Force who is controlling it. This Force is Truth itself.

This Enforcer has the power to enforce Truth because He is Truth. He is Truth, Wisdom, Knowledge, Love, Life, and Goodness. Goodness and Truth are the same. Love and Truth are the same. Life and Truth are the same. Yet He also, of necessity, must protect Truth, and Love, and Goodness, and Life. How do we think we will fare if we try and infringe on the Author's rights to Truth, claim it as our own, and edit it to fit our purposes? The One who has Truth, who is Truth, also has the power to keep it.

So He shares. He shares Truth because He is Goodness and Love and wants people to know Truth. He wants them to have freedom to live, love, learn, and do good. But He also protects Truth because He is Goodness and Love. To allow anyone to change Truth according to their corrupted or incomplete knowledge is incomprehensible. It would be the ultimate tragedy, with harvests of suffering and torment being reaped in the lives of many people.

So in your quest for knowledge, seek Truth, knowing that it is not found within you, but is a separate living being. Seek Truth not for the purpose of changing Him, because He cannot be changed by us, nor would we want Him to change, since He is not only Truth, but Goodness, Life, and Love. He has a perspective far above ours and judges accurately. What you can seek, is His Spirit, which He freely gives to those who believe in His way of atonement from our evil intents, desires, and choices.