Monday, March 6, 2017

Prayer for the week of March 5, 2017

Prayer requests so far:
Irma & Joseph—new vehicle
Abbey—students’ health
Siham—legal issues
Jackie—elderly woman who fell
Rheem—family in Syria
Carl—prostate surgery
Jeff—throat issues

Please add any additional requests via reply all emails so we can all get them.

This Week’s Prayer Scripture:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2 Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.
3 You are clean already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
4 Remain in me, as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself, unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.
6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a branch -- and withers; these branches are collected and thrown on the fire and are burnt.
7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for whatever you please and you will get it.
8 It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit and be my disciples.
9 I have loved you just as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love.
11 I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete.
12 This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you.
13 No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.
14 You are my friends, if you do what I command you.
15 I shall no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know the master's business; I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father.
16 You did not choose me, no, I chose you; and I commissioned you to go out and to bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that the Father will give you anything you ask him in my name.
17 My command to you is to love one another.

What We Can Learn About Parenting From Gardening

How blessed are all who fear Yahweh, who walk in his ways! … Your children round your table like shoots of an olive tree. Psalm 128:1,3

May our sons be like plants growing tall. Psalm 144:12

Gardeners necessarily keep their eyes on the future. They must plan well to end up with a good garden. They must do a lot of preliminary work to get that garden started and maintain it, work that must be done long before the first crops are picked. The anticipation of those crops—their utility and beauty—motivates us to tackle multiple, not always pleasant, tasks between planting and harvesting.

Take weeding for example. My experience is that weeding is, almost universally, one of the least favorite gardening tasks. We do it, not particularly enjoying it at the time, but are glad later that we did. The garden looks much better as soon as we do it and the ultimate crop is lush and bountiful because we got it done.

Raising kids follows the same pattern. It too is future oriented; kids are mostly potential as we raise them, and we work now so that they can realize their potential later. We have to plan for their future, and do a lot of things now, to prepare them for what will happen later. Some of those tasks can be less than pleasant,  Proverbs 13:24, Proverbs 19:18,  Proverbs 22:15, Proverbs 23:13-14, Proverbs 29:15, Sirach 30:1-13, Sirach 42:9-11, but we will be glad we did them:

Whoever is strict with his son will reap the benefit, and be able to boast of him to his acquaintances. 3 Whoever educates his son will be the envy of his enemy, and will be proud of him among his friends. 4 Even when the father dies, he might well not be dead, since he leaves his likeness behind him. 5 In life he has had the joy of his company, dying, he has no anxieties. Sirach 30:2-4

Friday, March 3, 2017

A Garden Hose as a Metaphor for the Productive Christian Life: Accepting Humble Circumstances (part 5 of 6)

Another thing we can learn from a garden hose is that productivity is connected with humility. Think about it, where do you usually find a garden hose when it is fulfilling its intended function? Its on the ground, and frequently in the dirt.

Scripture makes that principle abundantly clear. Proverbs 3:34 Tells us that God “shows favor to the humble.”  Proverbs 18:12 reminds us that “humility comes before honor.” Jesus stressed the same principle. Matthew 18:3-4, Matthew 20:26, Matthew 23:12, Mark 9:33-35, Luke 14:8-11, Luke 18:10-14, John 13:3-5,12-15. His disciples learned that principle. James 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:5-7.  As Sirach 2:4-5 put it, “in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient, since gold is tested in the fire, and the chosen in the furnace of humiliation.”

(A series of four images dealing with this theme were posted on September 18, 2004 here, here, here and here. Images based on other water related themes were posted on September 12b, October 1, November 6, 7, and 10, 2004.

A collection of scriptures dealing with pride and humility  can be found here.  
Images about conforming/yielding to God were posted September 12a, 18a, 18b, 18d, and 23; October 3 and 3a, November 6; and 21, December 8, 12, and 15, 2004 and January 10d, February 18, May 11, June 18 and 27; August 21 and 27; and October 3, 2005.)