Tag Archives: growth

The Shoot

Soon after we moved into our house about ten years ago, I started my garden. I asked an indigenous nursery what would grow in the shade for my wall near the tap. They sold me a honeysuckle. It grew but has never flourished. The best I get is a tuft of about ten flowers on top of a tangle of old dry stems. Recently I noticed a new shoot.

It is fresh and green and as straight as a broomstick. I thought of Isaiah 11:1. “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
    from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
” (NIV)

I’ve mentioned before that my husband and I are members of The Gideons International in South Africa. The Randburg Camp has not been thriving recently. For over five years we prayed for new members without result. In September last year a younger couple joined and today another couple was inaugurated – strong, vibrant Christians, all of them. Perhaps the Lord is sending forth a new shoot from the old gnarled plant. I can’t wait to see growth and vitality taking place among our members.

When Christ comes into our lives, He brings new things, a spurt of growth and vitality. All we have to do is allow Him the supremacy He demands. He will fill us with His Holy Spirit if we ask Him.

My Prayer

Lord, sometimes I feel like an old dry branch set in my ways and unyielding. Please fill me with Your Spirit of wisdom and understanding, of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord. May I delight in You and allow You to bring new growth and vitality into my life. Amen.

Artificial flowers

We were visiting friends yesterday and we admired pots of flowers on the coffee table.

It was only when I reached out a hand to touch a leaf that I realised that the flowers were artificial. Hypocrite flowers my friend called them. They looked just like real flowers but as soon as I interacted with them, I knew. They felt different, they had no smell and most importantly, they had no life. They couldn’t grow or enrich the world by getting rid of carbon dioxide and making oxygen. If I came to visit in a year’s time, they would be exactly the same, no change in them and no impact on the world.

In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were the epitome of religiosity. They quoted the word of God, they obeyed the law to the letter, they gave alms, they prayed. a lot. Jesus talked about hypocrites. In Matthew 6:5a He said, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray, standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.”

Our prayers to God are based on a relationship. He is our loving Father and, just as little children relate to their father, telling him about their day, their hurts, their dreams, their needs, so we can come to God and tell him all our concerns, mistakes, dreams and longings.

God sends His Spirit into our lives causing us to grow, to serve others and, most importantly, to have life so we can never be like artificial flowers, merely a semblance of the real thing.