Tuesday, October 15, 2013

CREEPERS

     Have you noticed that plants which creep in voluntarily are seldom a welcome addition? The vine that has wound itself around the grape vine on the dog yard fence is barely noticeable during spring and early summer. In the autumn, securely established and bearing fruit, it displays its scarlet foliage in plain view. I remember Mom pointing out the difference between its poisonous berries and the grapes. Over the years we've pulled out yards of that vine, but still have not succeeded in eradicating it.

     In John 15:1 Jesus identified Himself as the true vine. In John 14:6 He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (NKJV) Without seeking them, suggestions of other paths to truth are presented to us. The One who is truth will not barge in uninvited. We read in Jeremiah 29:13, "you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (NKJV) 

     In my search, John 7:17 got me on track. People in Jesus' day wanted to know, as we do, what was true. He gave them a way to test His teaching. If they chose to do God's will, they would know what was of God. It made no sense, but I cried out to God, "I don't know what Your will is, but I'm willing to do it and I want to know what is true." Since that time understanding of God and His ways has continued to be unfolded to me. He is true to His Word.

     Like the vine that crept in among the grapes, other teachings may seem attractive but are not able to nourish. To seek out the true life-giving Vine is more than worth the effort.    

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

TIME TO GATHER

     Orchardists look forward to an abundant apple harvest this year. They've gathered early varieties and watch later favourites to pick them when they're just right. To achieve the best results they have pruned the trees and done everything possible to protect the blossoms and fruit from anything that attacks or hinders their growth.

     In this area apple harvest coincides with Thanksgiving celebrations and the gathering together of family. A dear lady who now sits at a splendid table spread by her heavenly Father, prepared delicious feasts for her family of seven. When they married and had children she could not accommodate them all at once so she invited two or three families on different days. No matter how many she expected, if one gave some reason for not attending she'd be on the phone insisting they come. Each one was so special and loved, she needed them all.

      That mother's heart is not unlike the heart of Father God. He may delay the date of His Son's return to gather the family if one cannot make the feast. He desires every child to come home. Many could adjust their agendas and get on track with His. It makes no sense for people who are starving for love to choose to decline the invitation that would satisfy their need.

     When the apples are at their best, the crop will be lost if the fruit isn't picked. Jesus said, "Look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest," speaking of individuals hungry for truth. (John 4:35 NIV) A day comes when it's time to accept the loving invitation and gather with the family around God's table - no excuses.