Keenland“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”  1 Peter 1:1-2 NIV

“What a wondrous time is spring, when all the trees are budding;
The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming.
That's how it is with God's love;
Once you've experienced it, you want to sing, “It's fresh like spring";
You want to pass it on.”  Kurt Kaiser, 1969

Don’t you love the beauty of the Kentucky springtime?  It’s almost as if God has taken the drab canvas of winter and splattered it with a million colors.  First the crocus, forsythia, and pear trees; then the redbuds, jonquils, and dogwoods; and now the azaleas, tulips, irises, roses, and hundreds of other flowers.

My wife loves to play in the dirt, especially when it comes to caring for flowers and shrubs.  Over the years she has learned which plants need more shade and which ones need more sun; which ones need more water and which ones don’t need soaking; which ones need more acid soil and which ones do better when the pH is higher; and on and on.  She has also learned which ones need pruning or dividing in order to live and grow.

The new growth and colors in the spring remind me of the rebirth that we Christians should pray for daily.  Each day we need the Holy Spirit to trim away more of our self-centeredness in order for us to become more Christ-centered.  This is the process of Sanctification of which Peter spoke - dying a bit more each day to self in order to be reborn more Christlike.  It’s the process of maturing as a Christian.  Through our practices of prayer, study, worship, and Christian action the Holy Spirit is able to prune, shape, and mold us into the image of Jesus.  Of course, we’ll never get there in this life, but we’re called to walk the path.

This process of pruning to become more Christlike is obviously not pain free, but necessary if we are to bear the fruit of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness.  So as we enjoy the beautiful Kentucky springtime, let it remind us that we too are to be reborn, not only each spring, but each and every day a little more in the likeness of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

Pass it on.