Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

The state where I live is known for raising citrus. There are thousands upon thousands of acres of all kinds and varieties of citrus. While the varieties are different, most have one thing in common in that they grow on sour lemon stock.

It is often tempting, after eating a particularly good orange, to plant the seed and grow your own tree full of these delicious fruit. Trees grown from these seed, however, may produce fruit that are not edible at all.

The best way to produce good-quality fruit is to grow seedlings from them and then attach, by budding or
grafting, material from trees that are known to be good producers.

While sour lemon stock may produce hearty trees, the fruit it produces is not edible. But when a graft or bud from sweet fruit it grafted just above the surface, sweet fruit begins to blossom. The old is gone and the new has come.

Jesus does that when we accept him. We become a new creation. Life takes on new meaning and we begin to blossom into the person God created us to be. Then the more we engraft God’s word into our heart, the more we grow in Christ.

Have you experienced the futility of trying to produce spiritual fruit by your own efforts? If you redirect your energies to “engraft” scripture into your life and meditate on it day and night, God’s Word will successfully bear good fruit in your life.

God uses the analogy of engrafting to describe how His Word is to function within a believer’s soul. To engraft Scripture means to make it a living extension of your life so that it can produce spiritual fruit in you.

For example, if you engraft I Corinthians 13 and continue to meditate on it, it will produce the fruit of genuine love in your life. If you engraft the Book of I Peter, it will bear the fruit of patience during suffering. If you engraft Romans 6 and 8, you can have victory over sin.

As you memorize and meditate on Christ’s commands, you will demonstrate your love for God, you will be His friend, and you will know His love. As you see the need for spiritual fruit in your life, humble yourself before the Lord. He will give you grace to carry out the steps to engraft Scripture.

Kansas City is the home of H&R Block. This true story is still floating around about the skeptical winner of their “Million Dollar Giveaway” several years ago.

Anyone who used the company for tax preparation, investment or mortgage service was automatically entered into a drawing for one million dollars. Out of the 17 million entrants, Glen and Gloria Sims of Sewell, N.J. were randomly selected as the winners. They won the prize. But refused it!

Glen thought it was ‘too good to be true.” He thought it was a joke. When the promotion company called to inform him of his good fortune, he hung up thinking it was a prank call. Then the company sent him a notice on their company letterhead, and Sims ignored it. A company Official called and left a message on the Sims’ answering machine, but they didn’t respond.

Finally, H&R Block went public on the Today Show and announced if the winner did not claim the prize they would draw another name! “You hear so much about companies calling requesting personal information and you feel hesitant to provide it,” Mr. Sims explained about their reluctance to come forward. “Plus, things like this just don’t happen to people like us,” he added, expressing his appreciation for H&R Block’s persistence to award them the prize.

Spiritually speaking there are a lot of people like the Sims. They don’t believe God’s gift is real. Or that it is for them. The Bible repeatedly teaches that God’s gracious gift through Jesus is available to all of us. The Hebrew writer expressed it this way:

“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” (Heb 2:9)

On the Friday Jesus died on the cross, he tasted death for me and for you. He didn’t deserve to die. But we do. He was sinless. But we’re not. And He did what we can’t do—pay the price for sin.

The concept of God’s grace boggles our minds.
• We must realize we are sinners in need of grace. “All have sinned” and we need God’s gift (Rom. 3:23; 5:15-20; 6:23)
• We must respond to God’s call through the Gospel. God uses the gospel of grace to make known his saving message. (Acts 20:24; 2 Thess. 2:14)
• We must be willing to repent of our sins. Jesus said if we don’t repent we will perish (Lk. 13:3,5)
• We must participate in spiritual regeneration according to God’s requirements. Jesus calls it the new birth by water and spirit (Jn 4:23-24). Paul calls it “the washing of regeneration (Titus 3:5). Peter calls it baptism (I Pet 3:21)
• We must seek to live a righteous life (Titus 2:11-15)
• We must constantly be renewed in the attitude of our minds. (Eph 4:23)
• We must keep our focus on the reward God has promised (Heb 10:35-36)

Those seven actions no more negate God’s gracious gift of salvation than Glen Sims believing, accepting and receiving the H&R Block prize money when he filled out the necessary paper work!

On Friday Jesus died for our sins. On Sunday He arose from the dead. God’s grace is evidenced on both days. Each Sunday I meet with fellow Christians and I “thank God for His inexpressible gift.” (Ken Weliever, The Preacherman)

• The strength of your faith will not exceed your knowledge of God.

• For every problem, there’s a provision.

• What it means to follow Jesus:
1. Trust and Obedience
2. Self Denial
3. Willing to Embrace Inconvenience

• Our priority here is not our convenience; it’s the mission of God.

Selected portions of Thoughts on Life can also be read at www.thoughtsaboutgod.com/blog and Powertochange.com.

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