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Thursday, August 2, 2012

PA turnpike fruit stand
PA Turnpike Produce Stand

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"The Rotten Fruit Of A Grumbling Spirit"

"When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner" (Matthew 20:11).

Yesterday we stopped by a produce stand along the Pennsylvania turnpike. In a joint venture between the turnpike commission and local growers the stand is maintained at a rest stop. We enjoy getting out and talking to the local farmers.

During our visit yesterday we bought some plump juicy peaches. Among the peaches were apples, plums and an assortment of summer fruit nicely arranged so that shoppers could hardly resist purchasing. Yet behind the beautiful assortment of healthy fruit was a box hidden from view filled with fruit that had over ripened or was chewed by worms. The rotting process had begun and it was not such a lovely sight.

Consider how often the Scriptures use fruit as an illustration. Surely we have all heard sermons with fruit as a theme. I know I've preached them!
Today let us consider the rotten fruit of a grumbling spirit.

Do you ever find yourself grumbling, whining or complaining? I am glad I don't have to see the show of hands. I know mine would have to go up! 

There's always been grumbling but it seems to me that there's more and more focus on the negative. Just watch the news and you'll see interviews with individuals complaining about the unfair treatment they got from their workplace, the government, nature's storms, the medical staff and on and on it goes.

It's interesting that within the same family one can be upbeat and positive with a sweet disposition while another seems to always have something to complain about. The same is true in a workplace or other public settings. Who would you rather spend some time with? 

The daily text is a small portion of Scripture from our Lord's parable of the workers in the vineyard, which is recorded in Matthew 20:1-16. If you're not familiar with this parable I encourage you to read it to get a good understanding of the truth Christ presents in this teaching.

Essentially it deals with perceived unfairness regarding the way the landowner (God) handles His affairs. Several groups each worked for wages that had been agreed upon prior to starting. However, due to comparisons with the other groups, one group had "expected to receive more" (v. 10) and when they didn't get it they "began to grumble against the landowner."

At its heart, grumbling is our reaction to a perceived unfairness. "I deserve more than this" or "I deserve better than this", we may say or think in our hearts. And regardless of how much we have or the extent of our blessing there's always something to grumble about! In fact in a sense I detect complaining rises proportionately to blessing and prosperity.

Today each of us will encounter a situation that will tempt us to grumble or stew. We can set out on the road of grumbling or we can choose the road of gratitude. The choice is ours. Let us determine to have the sweet fruit of a grateful spirit, not the rotten fruit of a grumbling spirit!

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the Holy One;
Give thanks because He's given
Jesus Christ, His Son.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, Your Word tells us to do everything without complaining and arguing so that we may become blameless and pure in a crooked and depraved generation. Instead of spreading negativity from our words and actions we are to shine like stars in the universe so that the divine light of Christ may be evident in the way we interact with our peers. Would You raise us above the fray of life as we determine to have an attitude of thanksgiving and praise to Him who doeth all things well!  Amen.

Prayer based upon Philippians 2:14,15

Additional note to today's prayer: In reflecting upon Philippians 2:14,15 (which is the basis of my prayer) I consider the analogy Paul makes of believers shining like the stars of the universe. When we go outside after darkness has fallen it's inevitable that our eyes are drawn upward because we're naturally drawn to light.  Our focus is not on the darkness that surrounds us, but rather the numerous stars that we often find ourselves counting or trying to find certain patterns. I wonder if what Paul is trying to convey through his analogy is that having a pleasant disposition and grateful heart in the midst of trying circumstances draws others to the light of Christ that indwells us rather than the darkness that surrounds us?

Today's Suggested Music
and Supplemental Resource

"Give Thanks"  Video  Don Moen

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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