How to Know if Your Fruit is Fake

The first thing I noticed when I walked into her kitchen was a beautiful glass dish full of bright, yellow lemons. I had been spending too much time on Pinterest and had been noticing that everyone seemed to have this fresh fruit in the kitchen thing down pat. It was cheery. It was refreshing. It was perfect.

After a few minutes of chit chat, I had to ask.

“How long will those lemons stay pretty and yellow like that”?

My friend gave a grin, took one out and bounced it on the counter.

“Forever”, she said. “They’re fake”.

We still laugh about that. I was totally fooled by a bowl of fake fruit. While sitting in a fancy dish, you would never know the truth. If you were ever in need of some lemon juice, however, you would quickly discover that fake lemons are pretty but not useful.

fruitFruit of the Spirit

I couldn’t help but think of those lemons as I read in Galatians, this morning.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… – Galatians 5:22-23

If you are a follower of Christ, there should be some fruit on display in your life and it should be real. People interacting with you should be able to tell that there is something refreshingly different about you. In this world where so many things are fake, people will be watching to see if you are what you seem.

It is no light thing to call yourself a Christian. Christians are to walk as Christ walked and to love like He loved. There are people who are hurting and struggling. They will look to your life to see if Jesus has made a difference. If the fruit in your life is all for a show on Sunday morning, they will not be interested. If your fruit does not cause you to respond differently or treat others better, no one will be interested in the Christ you claim.

How can you know if your fruit is fake?

  • Do you only love people who love you back?
  • Do you carry a grudge instead of grace?
  • Does your peace turn into worry when things go wrong?
  • Do you respond in kind instead of with kindness?
  • Are you quick to complain when things don’t go your way?
  • Does your self-control go out the window when someone cuts you off on the interstate?
  • Are you only generous when it isn’t a sacrifice?
  • Do you only serve when it’s convenient?
  • Are you quick to be critical?
  • Do you fail to forgive?

Let’s be honest. Fake fruit has its charms. It is always pretty. It is easy to maintain. If displayed properly, it impresses others. You just have to blow the dust off of it every now and then and everything is great.

When hard times come, however, a fake lemon won’t take you very far. Some plastic fruit won’t give you peace at night when something has gone terribly wrong.

The real fruit – the kind that comes with sacrifice and sweat – is what Christ-followers need to be offering to the world around them.

5 Ways to Filter Negative Noise in Your Life

I am currently the only one awake in my house. That is nothing short of a miracle. I want to write, but I also want to sit and enjoy the silence. Life just seems so loud these days. I know what you’re thinking. How can life not be loud with five kids? Here’s the thing, though. The kids are not the noise. 20120920-011548.jpg

Don’t get me wrong. They can be very loud. At the end of the day, however, they are not the noise that stresses out my soul. It is the anger on the Internet. It is the drama constantly unfolding on the television. It is the discord in church pews. It is neighbors who just can’t get along.

Noise. Noise. Noise.

Do you feel that way too? Do you wish there was a tad less noise in your life? Here are five changes you can make to filter out some of the negative noise.

Filtering Negative Noise

  • Begin your day with quiet. For years, my alarm clock has been whichever kid woke up first. With the addition of each infant, I was certain that, the longer she slept, the more refreshed I would feel upon awakening. That is not what happens. It doesn’t matter if she wakes up at 5:45 or 8:00, if I stay in bed until she awakens, I am thrown headlong into the noise of the day. I need a moment of quiet. It may only be five minutes, but it will be my five minutes.
  • Choose better background noise. Whether you are a retiree or a stay at home parent, those at home sometimes prefer background noise. The default tool is often the television. The television, however, can be full of negative emotions and scenarios. Instead, choose to listen to a podcast, music or audio book. Listening to other things will not only set a better tone but it enables you to move around the house while listening.
  • Choose the better portion. Sometimes, the loudest noise is inside our own heads. We, like Martha, are anxious and troubled about so many things. Jesus did not say that Mary did not have things which could have caused her to feel anxious and troubled. The difference was that Mary chose the better thing to focus on. Choose worship over worry.
  • Leave the noise behind. There is a great big, beautiful world full of adventure and excitement. It is right outside your door. Go and explore. Step away from the computer. Walk away from the chores. Take your family and leave your phone. Eat ice cream. Sit on a park bench. Enjoy life.
  • End your day with quiet. Whether your day is full of staff meetings and business lunches or play dates and doctor’s appointments, it is important to end where you began. Take a deep breath. Read a little. Laugh with someone. Thank God for the people He has placed in your life. Drink a little something hot. Dream about tomorrow.

If we are not intentionally seeking some quiet, the negative noises will take over.

What do you do to add a little peace and quiet to your day?

Mom Talk Monday: Where Peace is Found

bread banksOkay, folks. It is Thanksgiving Monday. Is that a thing? I think I just made that up. My point is that the holidays have arrived. For the last few weeks, it has been all fun and planning. It’s been little kids making Christmas lists and grown ups deciding who will bring which dish to the family gathering. Seriously, you have to assign dishes or you will end up with a whole lot of deviled eggs and green bean casserole. Am I right?

So, up until now, it’s been fun and you’ve probably been handling it well. But, now, it’s Thanksgiving Monday and the stress is kicking in.

You’re worried that Uncle George is going to complain about something again.

What if you totally burn the ham like you did last year?

You’re dreading the long drive to so-and-so’s house.

Oh, no, there are only two paychecks until Christmas. How did that happen?

If we aren’t careful, we stress and plan and worry. In our attempts to create the perfect Pinterest holidays, we totally miss the meaning of the holidays. I came across a passage this morning and I immediately thought of my Mom Talk readers because I believe that we moms sometimes forfeit peace in our attempts at perfection.

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ” Would that you had known the things that make for peace!” – Luke 19:41-42

kissesJesus was weeping over the fact that Jerusalem just didn’t get it. If you had only known what would have brought you peace. I wonder how often he speaks the same words over us.

I couldn’t read that verse without immediately thinking of Paul’s words in Ephesians.

For he himself is our peace… – Ephesians 2:14

Peace isn’t found in perfection or presents or people. Peace only comes through Christ. He is peace.

Our children do not need the latest and greatest whatever.

If the turkey is dry and the mashed potatoes are lumpy, so be it.

Bring on the traffic and long check out lines and unending Christmas music on the radio.

But whatever you do, do not let Jesus look at your family this holiday and say, “If they had only known what would have brought them peace.”

Praying you feel the presence of the only One who offers peace.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Called to the Quiet

The world screams loudly and clamors for our attention.  It pulls and tugs in a thousand directions until we are no longer certain which way we originally intended to go.  False worldly wisdom is whispered in our ears. Shiny things are paraded before us and don’t they all just seem lovely?

We feel the need to fill every moment of every day with engagements and activities. We have bought into the notion that we need to be constantly busy and then, just for good measure, record our constant busyness online for all of our “friends.” Then, we wonder why our bodies are tired and our spirits are restless.

Aspire to live quietly… – 1 Thessalonians 4:11 ESV

Live quietly.  That, Paul says, should be our goal.  Yet, don’t we often find ourselves seeking just the opposite? This world has established a culture of name droppers and bigger is better. People are terrified of being overlooked and deemed unworthy of the spotlight.  The spotlight, however, shines on those who chase it and that is simply not our place.

Christ followers are called to the quiet.  The hushed dedication of nightly prayers with little ones.  The whispered good-nights that the rest of the world never hears.  The silent devotion of a marriage that holds fast year after year. Bibles full of heartfelt notes and tear stained pages.

Maybe no one sees the effort you put into your job day after day. Maybe no one applauds for the dishes you wash at eleven o’clock at night or the cheerios you sweep up for the forty-third time.  Or maybe, Someone does see and maybe He does applaud because He sees you living the quiet life and it pleases Him greatly.

It’s acceptable to be still.  Rest is okay.  There is nothing wrong with ceasing from your labor, enjoying the silence and, as Paul says, minding your own affairs.

Let the world be loud and attention-seeking.  Choose, instead, to answer the call to be quiet.

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A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy dare live. ~Bertrand Russell