In John’s Second and Third Epistles, he rejoiced greatly that the people he was writing to were walking in truth and love. John saw that Jesus was alive and living through those he knew and loved. The words “rejoiced greatly” are used in both his second and third epistles in regard to how these were manifesting the truth of God’s love in their walk! Well dear friends, my heart also “rejoices greatly” as I consider the way you all manifested Jesus during this year’s Gathering and all the preparations for it. It was especially precious this year because Jesus shined out of all the members of His body who were a part, from the youngest to the oldest. This year's Gathering format was different than in years past, as much of the program was a drama that was ministered by the young adults and the children. I am so proud of these young people, and how they poured out Jesus to all of us. I could never say thank you enough. Those who led worship poured the oil and wine over Jesus as we ministered to Him together. In fact, it was some of the best worship I have ever experienced. And what can be said for all those who spontaneously shared from their hearts, prayed, and ministered by the life of Jesus? I was so proud of those who used "freeze frame" to add questions or add to what was going on. It was wonderful to partake of the Lord through so many. My heart is filled with gratitude to all of you who made this Gathering the best ever because of your involvement and the spirit in which it was carried out. I know the Lord was ministered to in a precious way through all of us, and that is what made this year so wonderful.
Well, Christmas is coming soon and is usually a time of being with our families in a special way. May the love that comes from our hearts and the Lord within us find tender and true ways to touch those we love so much. Deb and I want to express our love and appreciation for each of you, as well as our thanks for your friendship, care, and fellowship in Jesus throughout all of 2022.
With much love,
PS - It is renewal time again! That means that it is time to pray and hear from the Lord if He wants you to support Life in the Spirit Ministries on a monthly basis for one more year. Your commitment has only been for a year so you are free to cease your support for this ministry unless you feel from the Lord to continue. We have been blessed and are more than appreciative for your support in helping us spread the reality of Christ and Him crucified together.
What we do not need is to bring forth Christmas tree fruit. What is a Christmas tree? It is a tree that has been cut down. It has no roots, and it has no life in it anymore. It sustains just enough life to look pretty, but it is dead. It looks beautiful, green, and all spread out, but there is no fruit on it. To make it even more beautiful, man hung ornaments on it. The fruit on it is man-made tinseled ornaments not fit for anything.
The picture is of many of us as Christians standing like Christmas trees dressed up in the fruit that we have made with our own hands and hung all over ourselves. Many may be deceived by that and say, “This one has more fruit than I do, and it is prettier than I am.” But the husbandman says, “What is this? There is no fruit! This is dead. There is only man-made glitter here.” It does not glorify Him. What do you do if you are this kind of Christmas tree? You do not glorify that tree. You throw it out along with all of its “fruit”. Then you begin the right way by falling into the ground and dying. You do not resurrect the Christmas tree and set it up so it stands upright as if it were standing on its own.
The difference between Christmas tree fruit and a real fruit tree is not the fruit, for they both have a form of fruit. The difference is that the fruit of one has no seed in it. A Christmas tree cannot produce life. It is only a dead thing. It can never have propagation growth. It can never send, be sent, nor bring forth life. It can only stand in the midst of the room and declare how beautiful it is.
Jeremiah 10:1-5 says, “Hear the word which the Lord speaks unto you, O house of Israel. Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them. For the customs of the peoples are vain; for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. They deck it with silver and with gold. They fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. They are upright like the palm tree, but speak not; they must need be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.”
Jeremiah tells them not to worry about this tree because it cannot bring forth life, or even bear itself up. It stands in Israel’s midst as a dead thing and an idol.
Some will say that this passage describes a Christmas tree and a Christmas tree is an idol. A Christmas tree is not an idol unless you make it one. The real idols, however, are the Christmas trees walking around decked out in their own Christmas tree fruit. We are the idols. We are the ones bringing forth tinsel. We are the ones who cannot bring forth seed of ourselves. We are the ones caught up in trying to make pretty fruit, and look good to everybody else. To some, a Christmas tree even looks a whole lot better than a fruit tree. They do not know the purpose of a tree. They stand and admire the flashing lights. That is what Christmas tree people like. They love to hear people talk about how good-looking they are with their lights shining. The Scriptures tell us to let our light shine, but it also says, “Beware that your light be not darkness.”