Have you ever been gagged by one of those ten inch cotton swabs they stick down your throat to find out what kind of alien is making you sick? Though many doctors have commented on their size and though I have single handedly kept the penicillin manufacturer in business over the years, I still have my tonsils. So they stick that thing down your throat and roll it around on all the surfaces back there to pick up whatever is growing and then they roll whatever the swab has picked up in a petri dish where it will grow some more until they can identify it. They call it a culture. Its an environment that is designed for growing things. The fact is our throats are already good cultures for growth; especially if you have huge, pitted tonsils in there like mine. Dark, warm and moist with plenty of hiding places for those tiny little bacteria that can wipe out  your body. And when that happens you might need some help fighting back. Antibiotics. Did you know our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made with the ability to fight those nasty little bugs on our own? You did know that right? If your body is healthy it will fight off those little boogers on its own. Problem is a lot of sick people aren’t healthy people. Just sayin’.

Plants, like people and any living thing, can get sick too. The vines are no different. There are insects, and fungi around that love to prey on the vineyard. Did you know insects like salad? Especially young tender grape leaves. Maybe they’re Greek insects. They can eat a bunch of leaves in no time. Then are some fungi that attack the leaves so they’re not worth the insects eating. Certain blights can infect the vines and you wouldn’t know it until the fruit is just about ready to pick and then all of the sudden it becomes hard, almost petrified. Other blights cause the fruit to shrivel up and fall off. What’s a vineyard owner to do? Well, there is better living through chemicals. Now I’ve never been a big organic farming kind of guy but you do have to think really carefully before you go applying chemicals on stuff – especially stuff you’re going to eat. I mean they kill things. That’s why they’re made. It’s like antibiotics for our bodies. They may be an easy, convenient ‘go to’ solution for now but there are possible consequences like antibiotic resistant bacteria. So is there another approach to healthy vines and fruit beside sprays and powders? Yes! Healthy vines! But isn’t that what chemicals are used for? To help the vines get healthy? Yes, but only after they’re sick and healthy vines don’t get sick so they don’t need chemicals to get better. Sick vines aren’t healthy vines. Get it? And healthy vines don’t get sick so I do what is necessary to keep the vines healthy. There’s a word for it: cultivation. Cultivation is the process of creating a culture, an environment in which the vines can thrive and do what they’re genetically programed to do – remember the ‘why’? – bear fruit. So what I’m really doing in the vineyard is cultivating the soil not the vines. All I do with the vines is manage the growth for more fruit which will naturally occur if they’re in the right culture. So I cultivate – create a culture favorable for health, growth, fruit.

When we’re born again our spiritual genes are modified. Guess you could say Christ followers are spiritual gmo’s. By the Spirit’s work in us and through us we are created and appointed to bear fruit, good fruit, abundant fruit, lasting fruit. Having the right culture is critical here too. And I have the ability to create that culture. A culture for spiritual health is free of people who are like weeds and just rob me of energy and joy. A culture for health is one where  fallow ground (my heart) is broken and receptive to the nourishment of God’s word. A culture for health is one where there are people in my life who are feeding my soul and mind with encouragement and truth. And the best culture is one that gets full Son light! Stay healthy so you don’t have to get healthy.


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