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Lessons Learned From Blackberries - Encouragement Café - August 23

Lessons Learned From Blackberries
 By Joan Walker Hahn

For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.  Psalm 61:3-5 NKJV

I had been fighting the briars for years. Every spring and summer they would appear and I would pull them up. What I couldn’t pull up, I would cut off as close to the root as I could. But one spring, life had been so busy that I hadn’t spent much time cleaning out the flower beds.

Before I knew it, the briars had completely taken over a grouping of purple irises. Then I noticed the vines were full of small, green blackberries. I figured I might as well leave them alone and enjoy the blackberries once they ripened.

One Saturday morning, I went to pick the berries that had ripened. The ones easily visible were mostly small. But as I began pulling some of the branches and leaves out of the way, I discovered larger berries.  I thought there would only be a small handful ready to pick, but I ended up picking enough to eat and to make a blackberry cobbler on Sunday.

The berries that had been more visible had not been as protected by the leaves as the larger berries I had to pull branches and leaves away from to see.  Those small berries had still gotten ripe, but were smaller from being exposed to the hot sun and lack of rain.

 Insects and birds had eaten on those berries more in the open, too. But the berries hidden within the branches and leaves were plumper and sweeter. They had been protected from the sun and birds.

As I was picking those larger berries, several verses came to mind.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

And one of my favorites:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  Psalm 91:1-3

In Christ, we are protected from the enemy. As we rely on Him as the life-giving, life-preserving, main branch, we are able to produce the fruits of the Spirit. And as we allow Him to be our shelter and rest in Him, we are kept safe from being consumed by the dark forces of sin. Yes, we still have to face trials, but we will overcome each one.

Perhaps you feel entangled by worries like the briars strangling out my flowers. Maybe you are struggling to live a Godly life.  Remember that when we accept Christ as our Lord, we are grafted into the family of God. 

We need to allow Him full control of every aspect of our lives. Then, like that main vine of blackberries that produced many branches full of fruit, we, too, can become productive for Christ. Allow God to fend off the enemy as you rest within Him.

Heavenly Father, Thank You for the promise that when we allow You full control, You can use us to produce much fruit.  I’m also grateful for the shelter and protection You give us against the enemy.  May we continue to remain in You and not try to handle this life on our own, for we know apart from You, we can do nothing!  In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

© 2019 by Joan Walker Hahn.  All rights reserved.

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