This is a teaching portion of our series, Victory on the Vine, The Resurrection, Pt 2. It consists of some spiritual truths, the Lord revealed before, my next level. I pray that this segment is a blessing to you.
Over the course of time, I started to enjoy the garden of my faith. My Co-laborer and I could stroll through, remembering how tiny the seeds we’d planted used to be. Now we could enjoy shaded rest as we gathered the fruit to share with others. Each tree represented the countless miracles and victories we shared since we had been working together.
We planted a shrub of belief when I first became a Christian. My young daughter and I needed a place to live. I visited a local townhouse community and was told there was no way I could possibly afford to live there. “Due to the fact that you don’t have established credit, we won’t be able to rent to you… not without a cosigner,” the rental agent said, smugly closing up the folder that held my application.
I left the rental agency knowing finding a cosigner would be next to impossible. I needed one in a week’s time. My Co-laborer and I met everyday to discuss my dilemma. Things needed to happen for us by April 1st. On the 28th of March I started to panic. I had only been a Christian for a little over a year and my faith was still fledgling.
“It’s the 28th!” I complained to the Lord. “It’s not the first,” He replied calmly.
When April 1 arrived, I woke up with war songs in my spirit. Songs I’d learned as a baby Christian that convinced me that I could take on an entire city. I sung them over and over until He spoke.
“Get dressed and go the the rental office. I’m your cosigner!” I scurried around my bedroom, preparing to go conquer in Jesus’ name! Holding my head up high and stepping boldly into the rental office, I smiled broadly as I sat in front of the agent.
“Ah, I see you’ve come back, ready to rent!” she said, reaching in the file cabinet for my folder and application. I’ll never forget the peace and confidence I felt at that moment. I knew my faith was firmly planted. We sat there making small talk as she reached for my keys and her receipt book for my deposit.
“Congratulations! You’re all set to move in. I’ll think you’ll love living in our town home community,” she said, with no mention of a cosigner.
Years later, in the mid 80s, my faith had grown into a mighty, powerful shade tree. I was working at University in the professional building, in an office that was managed by the chief of staff’s wife, Mrs. Tucker. She was an older woman who had many emotional outbursts and narcissistic tendencies. She would always wear red on the days she was in a bad mood. She would bully and threaten one day and buy expensive gifts for the employees the next.
“You’d better do it my way, ladies! This is your bread and butter!” she’d threaten us, referring to the job. I would never flinch or look up, knowing my bread was the Bread of Life.
I fasted every Thursday. Finding an out of the way cubicle in the law library, I would sit at Jesus’ feet during my lunch hour. One Thursday as I returned from lunch, it was my day to cover for the receptionist during lunch . As I sat down to log into the computer, Mrs. Tucker marched round the corner. “Pull up this account!” she hissed, shoving a form in my face. No matter how mean she could be, I was never afraid of her. Ever. God’s wall of protection was around me and whenever I was in that office, I could feel it.
“I used to be like you,” Mrs. Tucker said one day in a sarcastic way, peering at me as if she could see His presence. I asked her what she meant. She said, “You know, in church and all,” as she walked away.
I put the account number in the computer and immediately recognized it wasn’t an account that I handled. What is this all about? I wondered. She proceeded to question me about the account and kept asking me why I didn’t do more to help the patient. I stared back at her in disbelief. I wondered if she realized she had told me never to handle those accounts. I wondered if she was finally having a complete nervous breakdown.
Every question she asked, I answered calmly; due to the fast, I was prayed up. The calmer I was, the angrier she got. By now a crowd was gathering in the lobby waiting to be checked in. Gazing over the desk top computer, I noticed some patients were laughing, while others were looking on at her in disgust.
After lambasting me for about 20 minutes, she became even more irate.”Alright, I want you in my office at 2pm!” she seethed through clinched teeth. Turning on her heels, she stormed off. I was right behind her. It took her a minute before she realized I had followed her to the doorway of her office. “I DID NOT APPRECIATE YOU HUMILIATING ME IN FRONT OF THOSE PATIENTS!” I screamed at her, hot tears were streaming down my face.
“YOU GET IN MY OFFICE RIGHT NOW!” she yelled back, her bluish gray eyes were wild and bulging. “I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE WITH YOU!” I shouted back, looking her up and down. “THEN YOU GET OUT! YOU’RE FIRED!” she screamed. By now, she was shaking all over.
I turned around to leave the office. I could feel all eyes on me as I walked to my desk gather my things. I looked up at one set of eyes: Dr. Tucker. He dropped his eyes, refusing to look at me. He had witnessed his wife do this to many people, never ever intervening. “What just happened?” the receptionist asked as she was returning from lunch. I told her I had just gotten fired. Just as I was talking to her, Mrs. Tucker walked up and said calmly. “Tamara, you can let me know what your plans are,” she said with sadness in her voice. “What?” I said in disbelief. She repeated herself. I knew Mrs. Tucker really liked me deep down and couldn’t help the darkness that came over her mind. Still, that day, I had had enough.
I walked out to the main lobby with the box of my belongings, repeatedly playing the scene in my head. Did I sin, Lord? I wondered, thinking about the fast. “You were angry but you didn’t sin,” He assured me.
I was scheduled to go to a singles retreat that weekend. Having second thoughts, my Co-laborer encouraged me to attend.
To make a long story short (smile), while on the retreat, the Lord said, “On Monday, call Bob Zirkle.” I didn’t know this man but I knew he worked in Human Resources. Once, I contacted Bob, he told me Mrs. Tucker’s version of the story, my heart sunk. She told him that I cursed her out, told her I quit, and stormed out of the office. I wondered why the Lord wanted me to call him, until Bob said, “But I don’t believe her in so much that I am going to help you find another job here at the University,” he assured me.
By the following Wednesday, I had another job in the main hospital, with more pay and never lost my benefits! My new coworker was leaving on maternity leave and asked if I could attend a manager’s meeting, to be held in the professional building.
Already underway, the meeting was full of department heads and office managers. “Oh, there’s a seat right over here,” the Dr conducting the meeting said as I walked in. I walked swiftly to the seat, placing my things on the conference table.
You’ll never guess who was sitting on the other side of the conference table, facing me: Mrs Tucker. With her jaws tightly clinched, she gathered her files and abruptly left the meeting as the other attendees looked on, confused.
The Word of God tells us we are to call to remembrance the former days, after we were illuminated when we endured a great fight of afflictions. While gazing at each tree, I drew strength for the greater work which lay ahead.
Recently, I read an interesting message board post. Somebody said they had been given some seeds to plant by their teacher. The teacher would not identify the seeds. He wanted the student to find out what kind of seeds they were and how to plant them. The person who posted on the board also included pictures of the seeds. They resembled speckled jelly beans.
He was asking for help in identifying the seeds. Others posted comments speculating on what type of seeds they thought they were. The writer of the message later posted, while eating a salad, he discovered they were actually olive seeds.
After reading the message board post, my spirit started leaping! This totally describes my experience during this season! I thought excitedly.
During an especially long span of time, where there was no dialogue between my Co-laborer and I, He had handed me some seeds. They were peculiar looking and I wasn’t sure what He wanted me to do with them. Usually when He and I planted faith seeds, the process was the same. We would till the ground of my heart, deciding where I needed more faith, then place tiny mustard like grains in the soil and wait for the outcome.
During the time period, after the burial, the wait was especially long. I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be. This season didn’t resemble anything I’d ever experienced before.
Now I realize, He had handed me olive seeds. Olives are symbolic of peace, wisdom, glory, fertility, power and purity. Olive oil also represents the anointing.
Olive trees are hardy but grow very slowly. They are resistant to disease, drought and fire. It’s good to know that, in long periods of time, these destructive forces can’t annihilate what God has planted.
The roots are very powerful and are capable of regenerating another tree should that one be destroyed.
Older olive trees will have broader, more gnarled trunks. When you have had a long wait in God, there will be visible signs showing others that your growth has not been easy. When people partake of the fruit of your life, they will know you have withstood the test of time.
There are certain things that will try to attack olive trees: fungus, bugs, other pest, and rabbits. Let’s examine each one.
Fungus represents the sin that will grow on you during long waits. Divine delays are seasons of inactivity. They will make you restless and edgy. You may sin or be tempted to commit sins, to comfort yourself or expedite the process. You might be tempted to lie on an application, or covet what someone else has. You may be tempted to envy or be jealous. What is the solution for the fungus of sin? The Word of God.
James 1: 21 says: Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
Superfluity of naughtiness are excessive evil habits of the mind. It doesn’t take much for our minds to revisit evil which will eventually lead us down another road away from God.
We are to be receiving with meekness the engrafted word. Meekness is the Greek word prautes, which is an inwrought grace of the soul. It’s gentleness in character. Maturity. It means that you have learned to become moderate in your anger, getting angry at the right times, for the right reasons. If you are meek, your spirit has now become teachable, your heart and mind no longer harbor bitterness or resentment. When you’re meek, you learn to stop wrestling with God. You will allow the truth of God’s word to be grafted into you, no matter how you look before others.
There are people who appear to be docile and humble on the surface but in their hearts they are seething with resentment and anger. These are the ultimate signs of immaturity.
In addition to fungus, there are bugs, pests and rabbits. Bugs and pests greatly reduce the quality of the fruit. They are sinful habits also, but another thing the Holy Spirit showed me while doing this study is that bugs and pests also represent people. Friendships that are counterproductive. Sometimes we hang around people out of habit, never realizing some of these friendships are zapping our fruit.
1 Corinthians 15:33-34 says: Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
We are called to protect our fruit and anointing at all cost.
Rabbits are foes that are very bold. They think that they can take you down, causing you to miss your destiny. Their gnawing at the bark of your life can only leave tiny scars, proving that you had enemies that could not bring their wicked devices to pass.
Please join us next week as our teaching and testimony continues.