Weekly devotions for november 18, 2018 gas kush

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14 We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. 15 But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.

6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8 He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”

The parable of the barren fig tree (Luke 13:6-9) has always been an enigma to me. All of the parables are mysterious and difficult to understand. Even the ones we think we understand have interpretations that can open up even greater understanding. However, what makes parables like the good Samaritan or the prodigal son easier to grasp is the symbolism is relatable for the Christian mind. I can picture myself as any of the characters in those other parables because the conditions they represent are more universally human. The barren fig tree doesn’t have any symbols I can readily personify. electricity history united states The owner of the vineyard is God, and the gardener is His Son, so that would leave the fig tree for me. However, because the fig tree typically represents Israel, I had difficulty identifying with this parable. gas line jobs in wv Romans 11 and Isaiah 55 have helped change that.

Isaiah 55 begins with an exhortation to those poor in spirit to come reside with God and benefit from His blessings. “Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money, come, buy and eat!” (Is. 55:1). “Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; listen, so that you may live” (Is. 55:2-3). The theme of invitation continues later in the chapter when Israel is told, “See, you shall call nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel…” (Is. 55:5). Christians are those nations; we are those people. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob came to earth through Israel, and through Him we are given life. Before accepting Jesus as Lord, we were spiritually bereft and condemned to everlasting death. By His sacrifice, we were given the opportunity to become one of His people. He called to us and offered life, and when we listened, He embraced us and made us one of His own.

Paul emphasizes this fact in Romans 11:16-18: “If the part of the dough offered as first fruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; and if the root is holy, then the branches also are holy. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree, do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that support you.” Paul is confirming that the promises and blessings promised to Israel are still valid and will be fully realized. The “root” is “rich,” and the tree will not wither. Yes, some of the branches have fallen away because they didn’t understand that Jesus is the Messiah. And though we’ve been grafted in to produce fruit until the tree realizes it’s full harvest, we are not superior to the original tree, and we are certainly not separate. power in costa rica We are simply bearing fruit, waiting for the rest of the tree to bear fruit for the harvest.

It’s first helpful to know a little about a fig tree. Fig trees have complex root structures and take some time for the tree to become established enough to start producing figs. It takes about three years to determine if a fig tree is going to become productive. If there’s nothing by then, it’s usually just going to make a good shade tree. God planted the tree through Abraham. He then watered it through Moses and the Law. However, the tree was unable to produce any fruit through the Law alone. electricity and circuits class 6 ppt It grew and became a mighty tree, but under the Law, was only good for shade. Jesus Christ provides a richer soil, one that will produce a bountiful harvest. gas engine tom If I had been born into the nation of Israel, an understanding of this parable would lead me to Christ. But I was grafted in, having already accepted the richness of Christ’s Grace and ready to bear fruit.

And bear fruit, we should. The owner expects His tree to produce. If not for the gardener, the tree would already be logs for the fire. We wouldn’t even have the option of becoming part of the tree. Our duty, then, is to be an encouragement to the rest of the tree. To show what can happen when Jesus is the nourishment that feeds our growth. emoji gas station We are to produce as much fruit as we can. And the best part is how easy it is to be productive on His tree, in His family. We only need to love His creation as much as He does.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and it’s a great time of year to remember everything we have that we can be thankful for. There are many blessings that it is easy for us to take for granted, especially when they are less than perfect or a cause for some of our prayer requests: our family, our home, our job, our health, our friends and relationships. But when we remember that every good thing we have comes from God, the Creator and Provider, it helps us to be grateful for all of our blessings, both great and small, both trouble free and a bit complicated.

It is appropriate that around this time of year we are also talking about stewardship. As Pastor Jim emphasized in the letter he sent out with the annual pledge card, stewardship is not only about money. electricity usage calculator kwh It’s about all of our time and talents as well. When you start with the mentality that everything you have and are able to do starts with you, it can be difficult to give up more of it to someone else, including God. But when you start with the perspective that everything we have is a gift from God and ultimately belongs to him, even our time and abilities, then it is a small thing to give back to him just a portion of what he has given to us.

As you think about your Thanksgiving and Christmas plans, consider how you can help SCAT to provide a good holiday for families in our community. Help to stock the shelves with food and toys (and even empty boxes) to help families in need. Most-needed food items are cereal, evaporated milk, canned corn, canned fruit, canned tomatoes, tuna, chili, macaroni & cheese, dry beans, rice, baking mixes, vegetable oil, soup, jam, syrup, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, and salad dressing. Items can be dropped off at the SCAT donation boxes in the church. Visit the Christmas giving tree to purchase toys for children’s Christmas presents. You can also sign up to help with gift wrapping or distribution. Let’s bring in a plentiful harvest of food and toys to bless our neighbors!