Karen's Devotions

This is a selected collection of my devotions e-published on Daily Devotions, Journey Christian Church, Irvine, California; George Bragg, Editor. To join the mailing list, email George, gbragg@cox.net.

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As a 25+ year homeschooling vet, post-cancer, math prof, mother of five, master's track and field athlete, and certificated private pilot, I have a lot to share about what God has done in my life. In 2000 I began writing devotions as something to try when it seemed like accoustic pianists were becoming an endangered species at church. I have since found great blessings from writing and sharing. God is good.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Orange Tree Lesson

First Published August 27, 2008

Mark 4:19
“…And the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches,
and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

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During our recent room addition project the front and back yards were left neglected. Among the fruit trees temporarily abandoned was a mandarin orange tree. Last fall I didn’t notice anything wrong and gratefully picked the sweet abundant fruit. During the spring I enjoyed the sight and delicate aroma of the orange blossoms that filled the yard. Then yesterday I decided to spend the morning clearing away dead leaves, examine the tree for bugs or disease, and check on the tiny baby fruit that should be on their way to becoming plump juicy oranges.

As I approached the tree I thought it strange that the big white blossoms seemed to still be on the tree, not having advanced to a fruit stage. Then it dawned on me that these blossoms did not belong to the orange tree. They were the flowers of a beautiful vine that grew throughout the limbs of the tree. Feeling somewhat deceived, I hacked, unwound, and pulled out yards and yards of the vine and its runners. When I was finally done, I scarcely recognized the orange tree. The “barnacle” vine had taken over the orange tree, making it appear to be lush and fine. Instead, it had choked and robbed it from being fruitful.

Today’s passage is a small portion from Jesus’ explanation of a parable about the sower and his seeds. Some seeds were thrown among the thorns, which represent worries and unfruitful desires of the world. If left unattended, these seemingly wonderful things can crowd and choke out the fruitfulness of a God-centered life. We must choose to consistently rely upon God’s Word, prayer, and the support of other believers to keep these worries and unfruitful desires from taking over and preventing us from producing real fruit.

If you are letting a false lifestyle control your life, be encouraged that this can change immediately. Identify what is choking at your life. Confess this to the Lord in his Son’s holy name. Ask for the strength to bring about a change. Accept the cutting and yanking away of this sinful life. Be aware that daily examination of choking vines trying to creep back is needed. Apply proper attention to your spiritual health in studying the Word and praying, for instance. Now, as God’s Holy Spirit works, watch the true fruit emerge in your life. Wow!

Copyright 2008 Karen Vaughn