Avenues of Grace

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Archive for the category “Friday Prophecy”

The Vineyard of the Church: Isaiah 1-6

You can download Friday’s reading HERE.

Last year, my little girl was obsessed with the idea of picking persimmons from a tree in my parents’ yard.  We told her the old folklore about how the seeds could predict the winter weather, and she couldn’t wait to pick them.  She twisted those things off the trees until her hands were nearly raw.  When Grandpa told her that she had to wait until they actually fell to the ground and turned orange before she could eat them, she was NOT happy.  (She doesn’t like waiting for…well…pretty much anything.) So every time we went back, we would check to see if the persimmons were ready.  Finally, we went, and the whole ground was covered in these huge, plump, orange persimmons.  I had never tried one, so I decided to try them first.

As my daddy would say, “That thing was so bitter I could’ve stretched my bottom lip ‘plum over my head!!”  Seriously. I think all of the moisture in my entire body was immediately absorbed the second it hit my tongue.  My little girl cried because I wouldn’t let her taste them. I had to explain to her that, although they looked ripe, they absolutely were not good to eat.

Isaiah’s song of the Vineyard reminds me so much of this experience.  God has given us the absolute best of everything and shown Himself to us in every way– from creation to the cross– and yet we continue to walk blindly, hiding within the vineyard of the church.

Day in and day out, we have lost sight of the sacred and given in to the routine. We have seen the world around us and conformed rather than following The Way. Even following Jesus has become glamorized through country club churches, vacations in the name of missions, and ear-tickling sermons that are anything BUT scriptural.  Our vineyard is sick. Some of it is even dying. Some of it has been dead and overgrown for quite awhile.

So how can it be revived? How can we ensure that our churches are producing disciples and not just fans?

Here’s a little lesson in growing grapes:

1. They must be planted in the ground. 
  • In the same sense, we should be rooted in the Word of God.

2. They must be watered at the roots so that the sun doesn’t evaporate the water and dry them out.

  • In the same way, our life source comes also from our roots.  Are we reading the Word daily, or is everything else in life draining us of our time with God?
3. In the first year, grapevines should not be allowed to produce any fully matured fruits because the weight of them could ruin the vine; therefore, they must be pruned until they can hold the weight.
  • Now if this doesn’t speak, I don’t know what does! I cannot tell you guys how often I see new believers on fire for the Lord (Praise God!), yet in their excitement, they take on some huge task, such as leading a small group, to “live out” their new faith.  We absolutely, positively MUST have discipleship! At any given time, every single one of us should have a mature believer pouring into us, just as we should be pouring into others.  God has structured us as a body that works together, not independently.  When we walk alone, the weight ALWAYS overpowers us…especially when we are new believers.
4. When the vine is dormant, it must be pruned or it will lose its sap.
  • We are the same.  The church does not exist for the sole purpose of our enjoyment.  The church is the body of Christ, and as such, we should be the hands and feet of Christ.  God did not say, “Go ye therefore and sit on a pew.”  He said make disciples.  It wasn’t a request; it was a command!  And living a dormant Christian life comes with a very stern warning in Revelation 3:16.  As believers, we should serve! We should make disciples! The Gospel demands it, and continuing to “sleep” will eventually result in a dried up faith.
5. Because grapes are naturally hardy, they need little pest control, so usually this is done by hand-weeding on a regular basis.
  • I find this to be true of us as well.  If we stay rooted in the Word, God will reveal the “pests” in our lives and continually prune us into His image.
6. If all of these things are attended to, you will produce strong, delicious grapes!

It’s time to get back to the basics.  Jesus died for us.  He rose again for us.  And that is just the beginning.

We must tend to our vineyard… and we must plant more.

Information Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Grow-Grape-Vines

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