Creation, fruit, God’s Kingdom, presence, quiet, treasures, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Blackberries: Seven Lessons from the Blackberry Patch

There are many kingdom lessons woven throughout creation. Here are some things I gleaned in the sacred art of picking blackberries.



I am in awe of the many beauties of creation. These glorious colors and beings God spoke into existence, take my breath away. Recently, I discovered yet another little blessing tucked away on the hillside behind our house, amidst weeds, thorns, and wildflowers. In my botanical chaos, there lies a wild blackberry patch. 

You can imagine my excitement as I saw our first berries. Visions of blackberry pie and rows of blackberry jam clouded my thoughts. I just knew that the minute they were ripe, I would have a bountiful harvest. While I have harvested some berries, I still don’t even have enough for one pie (I’m close though*). 

However, my hours spent in the blackberry patch have not been in vain. God is there. And, He is speaking through my simple task of berry picking. Here’s what I have learned…

There are many kingdom lessons woven throughout our otherwise menial tasks. Here are some things I gleaned in the sacred art of picking blackberries. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #creation #fruit #GodsKingdom #presence #quiet

Wear Proper Clothing

I was a little over-ambitious once I learned that my blackberry stalks were fruit-bearing plants. As soon as I thought berries were ready, I threw on a pair of boots with some old, thin jeans and jumped right into a mess of overgrown weeds and thorns. I was NOT prepared to pick blackberries. Needless to say, after that, I made sure to wear long sleeves and thick pants.

In Matthew 22, Jesus tells the story of a king who is having a wedding feast for his son. Many guests arrive, but the king is offended by one who is not wearing wedding garments. 

‘Now, when the king entered the banquet hall, he looked with glee over all his guests. But then he noticed a guest who was not wearing the wedding robe provided for him. So he said, ‘My friend, how is it that you’re here and you’re not wearing your wedding garment?’ But the man was speechless. Then the king turned to his servants and said, ‘Tie him up and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be great sorrow, with weeping and grinding of teeth.’ For everyone is invited to enter in, but few respond in excellence.’

Matthew 22:11-14, The Passion Translation

For the longest time, this parable has made no sense to me. I’ve thought, “Well, Jesus said it, so it must be good”. Yet, in the blackberry patch, my clothing really seemed to matter.

It also matters in the Kingdom of God, and I’m not talking about your “Sunday best.” The garments God gives us to wear are spiritual – garments of grace and righteousness to cover our shame. 

Reach Past the Thorns

Blackberries grow on tall stalks that are covered in thorns. You have to reach past the thorns to get to the fruit. Every time, I have collected berries from the patch, I have been stuck multiple times by tiny (and painful) little spikes. But, that is where the fruit grows, right smack in the middle of a bunch of thorns!

 And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world! 

John 16:33, TPT

Beauty and blessing can grow together with pain. If you are afraid of the thorns, you will not get many blackberries.

Wait until they are ripe!

This is what the Lord says: ‘At just the right time, I will respond to you. On the day of salvation I will help you. I will protect you and give you to the people as my covenant with them. Through you I will reestablish the land of Israel and assign it to its own people again.’

Isaiah 49:8, NLT

Just before blackberries ripen, they are a beautiful bright red! They almost look just like raspberries. They seem so sweet and tasty, but they are sour. So sour.

Blessings from God are no different. We beg God to move on our timetable, and He is simply saying to us, “My Dear, wait until the fruit is ripe. You will not like it now. Trust me. Just be patient a little longer.”

His timing is always perfect. HE always comes at just the right time.

Search for the Blackberries

Blackberries are not always obvious. Sometimes you have to really search for them.

And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name.

Isaiah 45:3, AMPC
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Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

Jeremiah 29:13, AMPC

Size of  the Blackberries

The size of the plant doesn’t determine the size of the fruit. Oh, I love this one so much! Sometimes, I find the biggest blackberries on the smallest plants; even new baby plants produce beautiful lush fruit.

To me, this is such a reminder of the kingdom of God. Jesus said that we will know a tree by its fruit. It’s not by its thick trunk (or giant stalk in the case of blackberries), not by the perfectly shaped leaves, or even its soaring height. No, a plant is known by its fruit. Every plant, even the new, little ones have the ability to produce fruit.

‘You must determine if a tree is good or rotten. You can recognize good trees by their delicious fruit. But if you find rotten fruit, you can be certain that the tree is rotten. The fruit defines the tree.’

Matthew 12:33, TPT

Surprises

For me, little gifts came in the form of butterflies and dew drops. A giant butterfly, at least four inches across lands right in front of me one day. On another occasion, I see fresh dew drops covering the leaves in the middle of the day. These simple treasures remind me that God is good and magnificent. 

There are unexpected surprises when you are looking for the blessing. When our eyes and hearts are fixed on heaven, we will be blessed in ways we never expected. Sometimes those blessings come as a perspective shift or a heart change. Sometimes, it comes in the nearness of His presence.

It’s not about the berries.

It’s not about the berries at all, but about berry picking. Let’s be honest here. If I really wanted blackberries for a pie, I could get in my car, drive to the grocery store and buy a carton of fresh berries to bring home and put in a pie. I could even be extra earthy and buy them from a farmers market or local farm.

But, there is just something special about walking up and down the berry patch, picking berries with my own two hands and suffering all the sticks because of it. My backyard berry patch isn’t just an overgrown mess of weeds and berries. It is a still, sacred place where I can be alone with my Creator, letting Him lead me through the briers, listening to His still small voice and adoring Him in the quiet beauty of creation.

Walking with Jesus is never about the fruit that we produce, but always about simply walking with Him.

Walking with Jesus is never about the fruit that we produce, but always about simply walking with Him. Click To Tweet
blackberry pie
*I finally gathered enough to bake that pie.

There are many kingdom lessons woven throughout our otherwise menial tasks. Here are some things I gleaned in the sacred art of picking blackberries. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #creation #fruit #GodsKingdom #presence #quiet

unsplash-logoAurel Serban
creation, creative, create, gift, salvation, worship, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Gift: Remembering the Intricate Work of God’s Hands

Our human hands can create such beautiful things. But nothing compares to the intricate work of God’s hands or His beautiful gift of salvation.



I have made the earth and created humans on it. It was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded everything in them. 

Isaiah 45:12, CSB

I am amazed by what our human hands can invent, create, build, design, craft, and even restore. Our hands have the ability to do so many wonderful things. It blows my mind how a surgeon’s hands can heal the inside of someone’s body.

I’m speechless when I see a piece of architecture beautifully designed and brought into existence by human hands. It’s truly an incredible gift to have the unique capability to use our hands to create things that bring us joy, comfort, and help.

Our human hands can create such beautiful things. But nothing compares to the intricate work of God's hands or His beautiful gift of salvation. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #create #creation #gift #salvation

God’s Hands Create

With all these amazing things our human hands can muster up, some things remain untouched by our hands. The planets and stars in the universe, the oceans, the mountains, and the spirit inside of us are just a few examples.

 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Genesis 1:1, CSB

This allows us to know that we, and the beautiful world around us, were handcrafted by our Creator. God’s hands have done a perfect work and He alone has accomplished it all.

We are creatures made to create just like our Creator. Whether we use our hands to produce art, write, farm, build, craft, sculpt, dig, fix, measure, or sew. No matter what we choose to do with our hands, we still are unable to create EVERYTHING! Why do you think God designed it this way? I personally think He did this to show that He is in complete control.

Making Idols

When we marvel at the works of our own hands, we can easily idolize and forget where our ability to create came from.  

Their land is full of idols, they worship the work of their hands, what their fingers have made.

Isaiah 2:8, CSB (emphasis added)

God sees all, knows all, and creates all. He knows when we forget where our abilities came from. And He calls us out when we do. As God’s people, we are called to understand His divine mystery behind creation. Simply by acknowledging at our highest intelligence, we still cannot create the heavens, the earth, or even the stars in the sky.

Safe Hands

The hands God gave us, create many good and useful things. They also create many evil and sinful things. Satan will use his deceiving, sneaky hands to tempt us with sin. He corrupts our minds and hearts faster than we can blink. This deception begins chasing after us the moment we’re born. We, as God’s children, are not immune to Satan’s conniving schemes. We are very much prone to wander as the hymn suggests. 

As Children of God, we must be aware of this and do whatever seems necessary to keep ourselves from falling into Satan’s trap. Satan’s hands, like our own, were created by God. I know, kinda mind-boggling isn’t it?

Many people, including myself, at one point or another, have wondered why God allowed the devil to even come into existence. This is such a good question that requires much knowledge and wisdom to comprehend. We can’t expect to understand the answer to this without seeking to know who God is first.

To know God is to know His son, Jesus Christ. If you want to get to know anyone better, then you need to establish a relationship with them, right? Otherwise, how will you learn who they truly are? We are incapable of understanding these profound mysteries we crave to know, without establishing a relationship with Jesus. Holding hands with Jesus is the only way we can stay safe against the devil and his demons.

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand.

John 10:28, CSB

Hands that Heal

There is a story I love in the Bible that is found in John 9. Jesus bends down to use his hands to spit and stir up the dirt to create a substance that would heal the sight of a blind man. Just like the blind man in the story, we have been blind in our lives.

We need a Savior’s hands to wipe us clean so we can see HIS way instead of our own. Jesus didn’t use clean water to heal the blind man; He used mud in the ground that was made from His spit! I believe He did this to show His followers that He, and only He, has the ability to use our filthy sin and make something good come from it.

The Gift

I was once dead in my trespasses and now I am alive in Christ. My guilt and shame are the very things Jesus used to humble and restore me. When I was confronted with my sin, I immediately became aware of my need for Jesus.

Jesus was sent to us from God as a precious gift for us to observe and follow. He is the example and role model we are supposed to seek in order to understand how to navigate this life correctly. Without Jesus, we go through life blindfolded, having to feel our way through with our own hands.

My hand made all these things, and so they all came into being. This is the Lord’s declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word.

Isaiah 66:2, CSB

Jesus’ Hands Paid The Price

Creation is a magnificent use of God’s hands. But the most amazing use of God’s hands is found on that rugged cross. Jesus’ hands were nailed to the cross so ALL would see! The same hands that healed the blind and calmed the storms are the very same hands put on full display to show God’s love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and good news.

Oh, but we serve an even greater God than this! His love didn’t stop there; It went all the way to the grave where Jesus resurrects from the dead to reveal the very same holes in his hands from that historical day. What better use of His hands? God made a way for His children to find the light in a dark world that separates us from Him. I can’t think of anything better! The love God has for His children is always seen in His hands…

The same hands that calmed the storms are the very same hands put on full display to show God’s love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and good news. Oh, we serve a great God! His love went all the way to the grave for us. Click To Tweet

Lift Up Your Hands

God’s hands hold us when we are crying.

His hands mend our broken hearts and restore our souls.

God’s hands heal us and save us from Hell.

His hands mark the starting point to where our salvation is found.

Today believer, I implore you, to lift up those beautiful, hardworking, helpful, creative, useful hands of yours and worship in awe our Glorious God above! Let’s fold our hands in prayer and thank Him for the wounds His hands endured so we could have the gift of everlasting life with Him. This is the best gift we will ever receive… Hands down!!!

With Folded Hands, I Pray

Oh Lord Help Me to see that your hands are not my own. Help me to use my hands in a way that will glorify you and make your name be known. Teach me to follow Jesus in all my ways and seek to know Him more.

Thank you for the sacrifice your hands endured for me upon the cross. I am so undeserving of this free gift of salvation, but I receive it with a full and thankful heart.

Help guide me Lord to show love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness with my own two hands the way you did with yours. I lift up my hands today and surrender my life into your hands, God. In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

Our human hands can create such beautiful things. But nothing compares to the intricate work of God's hands or His beautiful gift of salvation. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #create #creation #gift #salvation
Amaury Salas