Daily Scripture

Tuesday, November 30, 2021 – “Light of the World” – Daily Devotions

John 8:12 – Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in dark-
ness but will have the light of life.”

   One time when our daughters were young, a big blizzard caused our power to go out. At first our daughters were
afraid of the darkness. When my husband, Jim, and I lit our emergency candles, our girls enjoyed the bright, dancing
flames. The light filled the darkness while we ate dinner and read bedtime stories.

   There is something comforting about light when everything is dark and uncertain. Light gives us perspective, vision,
and hope. Jesus is the “Light of the World” no matter what kind of darkness our world is experiencing.

   Jesus promised that if we follow him we will never walk in darkness because his light shows us the way and gives
abundant life. The light of Christ shines through us when we follow him faithfully. As we enter the season of Advent,
we can let Christ’s light shine through us and illuminate the darkness in our world.

 

Monday, November 29, 2021 – Prayer Requests

   Please join us in praying for the heart of our nation, Law enforcement officers and their families, the nations of
Afghanistan and Haiti, and refugees all over the world who are fleeing their homes to get to safety.

 

Saturday, November 27, 2021 - “Navigation” - Daily Devotions

                      I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life.

                                                           Psalm 119:93

  I will never forget my first experience using a car navigation system more than 15 years ago.

   My daughter’s wedding was to be held in a big city about two hundred miles away. I had never been to that city,
and I decided to install a vehicle navigation system for the drive. As my wife and I traveled, the landscape changed,
and gradually the scenery became unfamiliar. I checked the monitor often and followed the system’s directions.
Then at last, the destination appeared on the screen, and to my surprise we had arrived.

   This amazing experience reminds me of our Christian life. Our final destination has been set to God’s kingdom,
and we are now in the midst of driving on the road of life, looking to the Bible for guidance as we go. It is inevitable
that we will face difficulties, hardships, and temptations. However, if we carefully follow God’s guidance in scripture,
our final destination will be guaranteed.

 

Thursday, November 25, 2021 – For the Fruits of This Creation – UMH 97

For the fruits of this creation, thanks be to God;

For good gifts to every nation, thanks be to God;

For the plowing, sowing, reaping, silent growth while we are sleeping,

Future needs in earth’s safekeeping, thanks be to God.

 

In the just reward of labor, God’s will is done;

In the help we give our neighbor, God’s will is done;

In our world-wide task of caring for the hungry and despairing,

In the harvests we are sharing, God’s will is done.

 

For the harvests of the Spirit, thanks be to God;

For the good we all inherit, thanks be to God;

For the wonders that astound us, for the truths that still confound us,

Most of all, that love has found us, thanks be to God.

 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

   Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant. Today’s devotion is written by Pastor Charity Kiregyera and is based on
Hebrews 9:11-14.

   In today’s scripture, we read that the Lord Jesus came as a high priest of “the good things that are to come.”
Christ ministers in a tabernacle that is not made by human hands but by God.

   The sanctuary where Jesus is serving is heaven itself. “For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human
hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered into heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence.”

   God instructed Moses to make a tabernacle with the Holy of Holies as a model of heaven. Under the old covenant,
only the High Priest could gain access to the mercy seat—and then only once a year, on the Day of Atonement.

   However, when Jesus, the New Testament High Priest, died on the cross he opened the door of heaven to us. We,
whom Jesus has made priests of the New Covenant, have the freedom to enter into God’s presence any day and
any time. Furthermore, Jesus not only saved us but continues to intercede for us.

   Jesus understands and sympathizes with our human weaknesses. Scripture tells us that he was tempted in every
way we are, though he did not sin.

   Therefore, in our failures and weaknesses, we do not need to worry that Christ will reject us or cast us away. Quite
the opposite, in fact! Instead of rejecting us, Christ invites us to come boldly to the throne of God. It is there that grace
it freely offered to believers for all the issues we face in life.

   We can put our trust in the new high priestly office of Christ, who is the assurance of the New Covenant and the
divine promise that the Covenant is true and eternal. This is truly a lot to be thankful for! Take care and God bless!

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021 – “Offering What We Have”

Psalm 118:22 – The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.

   My old wheelbarrow had rusted out, and both handles had been broken, repaired, and re-broken. I was about to throw it in a dumpster with no regret. But then a person next to me said, “Your wheelbarrow has a good wheel. Can I have it?” He had brought his wheelbarrow to the dump because its wheel had broken, but with my good wheel he could repair his wheelbarrow. I was delighted that someone could benefit from this object I was about to throw away.

   Sometimes we see no value left in something we choose to discard. It is a happy surprise when someone tells us that what we have is just what they need. Similarly, we can look at our lives and think we have nothing useful left to give, especially when our bodies and minds stop working like they used to. But we may discover new ways to help a person in need or make someone’s day with kind words. What we believe holds no value may be what matters most to someone else. When I am discouraged by my mistakes, I try to remember that sometimes by offering the things we may overlook or devalue we can become blessings to others. God can use what we reject to change the world.

 

Monday, November 22, 2021 - "Feed the Hungry"

   Good morning from Mount Pleasant on Monday November 22. As we prepare for Thanksgiving, I offer the following
devotion by Father Ron Rolheiser which is entitled Feed the Hungry.

   How can we live out Christ’s command to feed the hungry, given the complexities of today’s world?

   Right or wrong, we usually look to our governments, the United Nations, relief organizations, social services, welfare,
and other such agencies to do this for us. Given the scope and complexity of poverty and hunger in the world, the ten-
dency is to look over our shoulders, to something massive, to some big government or agency, to feed the hungry. We
tend to feel too small and individually over-powered in the face of hunger’s enormity.

   This can be a rationalization and a way of escaping Jesus’ command. Ultimately, we cannot use the excuse that
things are too complicated, that we are too small and powerless, and that only huge organizations can do anything for
the hungry.

   Each of us is called upon personally to do something real and this must be something beyond the normal corporate
things we are involved in. We must do something ourselves.

   For Mother Teresa, Jesus’ command was simple and clear. Each of us should personally, beyond government and
other agencies, reach out concretely and touch some poor person or persons.

   There should be times when we are, literally, taking food to hungry people, working in soup kitchens, giving aid to
individual street people, and having a poor person eat at our table. This approach is individual, personal, and concrete.

   The demand that we feed the hungry challenges us precisely to reach out beyond ideologies and social theories
and irrespective of social structures, like the Good Samaritan, person-to-person, take food to the hungry.  Amen!

 

Saturday, November 20, 2021 – “Take Time” by Peggy Williams

Take time to be alone

Take time to be with God

Cultivate good manners

Be humble

Realize and accept that life is not fair

Know when to keep your mouth shut

Go an entire day without criticizing anyone.

Learn from the past, plan for the future, but live in the present.

And thank God for your many blessings every day.

God bless each one of you and have a great day!

 

Thursday, November 18, 2021 – Thankful

   Good morning on this beautiful fall Thursday in November. You know, I realized recently that the reason this season
is called Fall is because, Duh! That’s when the leaves fall. And then its seasonal opposite, Spring, must be so named
because that’s when the new seedlings spring up. I guess I don’t always see or appreciate things that are right in front
of me like someone in need or our many blessings. But I do know that we are thankful for all of God’s creation and
His sustaining power.

   Now that brings us to Summer and some of those 98 degree, high humidity, no rain days. I think its “Summer”
‘cause it rhymes with “bummer” – (not for kids) and then Winter. I don’t know how it gets its name so you’re on your
own there. I don’t have a clue. We are thankful for all things.  Amen

 

Wednesday, November 18 2021 – Devotion on Mark 10:52

   Good morning from Mount Pleasant on Wednesday November 17. Today’s devotion is by Rev. Stephane Brooks.

   Some years ago, my family doctor recommended that I see a psychologist. To my great surprise and joy, by the
end of the third session with the psychologist, we had gotten to the troublesome issue that had been impacting
me physically. The renewal I experienced in the following weeks was so great that I gave serious thought to taking
up studies in psychology. Similarly, reflective response to the liberating grace of God often leads to a desire to
partner with God in setting others free.

   This is what we see in our reading for today as Bartimaeus responds to his deliverance from blindness. He
“followed Jesus along the road,” and what a road this was! Indeed, five chapters later Mark tells us that Jesus
was judged and, though found innocent, was handed over to those who meant him no good. He was then nailed
to a cross on which he died a horrible death.

   What a road this was for Bartimaeus who had just come from darkness to light! It really shouldn’t surprise us,
though. When God sets us free, we have an urge to set others free. And sometimes we find ourselves doing so
at great cost.

   Our response to God’s liberating grace leads us to strange places. May we graciously remain open to this reality,
for even in those places, God is with us.

   We hope you have a blessed day. Take care and God bless. Amen.

 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021 – Isaiah 49:5-6

   Reading from the Living Bible: 5“And now,” said the Lord – the Lord who formed me from my mother’s womb to
serve Him has commissioned me to restore to Him His people Israel, who has given me the strength to perform
this task and honored me for doing it! 6”You shall do more than restore Israel to me. I will make you a Light to the
nations of the world to bring my salvation to them, too.”

   God’s plan from the very beginning was to bring salvation to ALL of us, not just the Jews – not just a select few,
but ALL of us! Amen

 

Monday, November 15, 2021 – Prayer Requests

   Please join us in praying for the heart of our nation, Law enforcement officers and their families, the nations of
Afghanistan and Haiti, and refugees fleeing their homes to get to safety.

 

Saturday, November 13, 2021 – The Vulnerability of Love – by A. McIntyre from the Upper Room Devotions

John 13:15 – Jesus said, “I have set you an example

that you should do as I have done for you.”

   I was kneeling on the floor, holding a long, green sock. A few days earlier, my husband had undergone knee-
replacement surgery, and it was my job to change the special compression socks recommended by the hospital.
We both found this to be quite an ordeal! The socks were non-stretchy and difficult to maneuver over the heel,
and I was afraid my clumsy attempts would cause him even more pain. Yet, somehow, we found ourselves laughing
at the absurdity as we pulled and smoothed and sweated, feeling so helpless yet brought so close.

   I had a strange sense of Jesus kneeling beside me, cradling that vulnerable foot, maneuvering the sock gently
upward. He seemed to say to me, “This is love lavished on what is hurting, soiled, or lost. This is my love for you
to give.” As I felt my husband’s trust in me, I realized how vulnerable the love of Jesus makes us — exposing our
embarrassment and awkwardness, yet giving a real insight into the sacrificial love of God. Jesus asks us to do as
he did — not necessarily in washing feet but in humbly and patiently caring for one another in whatever ways are
needed. It’s not easy, but I believe this kind of love lies at the heart of being a follower of Jesus.

 

Friday, November 12, 2021 – Devotion from Kaleb Graves

   Hello Mt. Pleasant UMC, this is Kaleb Graves here to bring you a devotional message on this beautiful Friday
afternoon.

   When I was younger, I watched a lot of Star Trek. There’s a specific hand signal that fans of the show use to
greet each other or show others that they were fans, and I remember being very disappointed that Christians did
not have a hand signal. It would be such an easy way to evangelize, I thought. So, I started wearing very corny
t-shirts instead that said things like “Faith Book: Jesus wants to make you a friend in your book of life, do you
accept his request?” or “Catch-Up With Jesus, lettuce praise his name, relish him, for he love me from my head
to-ma-toes.”

   But eventually I learned that hand-signals, tshirts, bumper stickers, tracts, and other “easy” ways of evangelism
just didn’t work. Jesus didn’t say we’d be known by our marketing gimmicks and slogans. Instead in John 13:35
Jesus says “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Loving our neighbors
inside and outside the church may not be as easy as wearing a t-shirt or handing out a tract, but it is the way Jesus
has called us to share the Gospel.

   I hope y’all have a great weekend, and I’ll see many of you tomorrow for the BBQ and Brunswick Stew, and then
Sunday for service.

 

Thursday, November 11, 2021 – Whom Shall I Send (UMH 582)

   Whom shall I send? Our Maker cries, and many, when they hear God’s voice, are sure where their vocation lies;
but many shrink from such a choice.

   For who can serve a God so pure, or claim to speak in such a name, while doubt makes every step unsure, and
self confuses every aim?

   And yet, believing God who calls knows what we are and still may be, our past defeats, our future falls, we dare to
answer: Lord, send me!

   Those who are called God purifies, and daily gives us strength to bend our thoughts, our skills, our energies, and life
itself to this one end.

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2021 – Entitled Holiness, Wholeness, and Depression by Father Ron Rolheiser

   Good morning from Mount Pleasant on Wednesday November 10.

   Some years ago, I lived in a seminary with a young man who, by all outward appearances, appeared to be the
ideal candidate for priesthood and ministry.

   Intelligent, conscientious, prayerful, strongly committed to his studies, with a deep concern for the poor, he
seemed above the more mundane and secular concerns of his peers. He was always courteous and polite to a
fault. While externally he was doing everything right, what radiated from his person was not life but depression.
His entry into a room had the effect of draining some energy from the room. Eventually, he left the seminary.

   One of the struggles we perennially face with religious discernment is that it’s easy to mistake depression for
sanctity, sentimentality for piety, rigidity for orthodoxy, narrow sectarianism for loyalty, and denial of one’s complexity
for stability.

   We need to discern genuine sanctity, genuine piety, genuine orthodoxy, genuine loyalty, and genuine wholeness
from their false guises. Genuine sanctity brings energy into a room, depression drains it from a room; genuine piety,
like a beautiful icon, attracts you, sentimentality makes you uncomfortable, wanting to shield your eyes; genuine
orthodoxy makes you want to embrace the whole world, rigidity makes you fearful and petty; denial make you huddle
in fear before those dark corners.

   As this pertains to our own lives, we must be more honest and courageous in facing our own chaos and recognize
our perpetual propensity to disguise our weaknesses as virtues.  Amen.

 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021 – Shared Abundance – Adult Sunday School Lesson

John 6:1-15

   About three inches of snow fell, making it difficult for birds braving a Missouri winter to find food. Helping a little,
I scattered birdseed onto the deck. The news of the feast made its way quickly around the feathered world. Soon
finches, wrens, cardinals, and others all hopped delicately upon the snow.

   Occasionally, though, a larger bird swooped in. Wanting to claim all the food for itself, it drove the others away.
There was plenty to go around, more than it could eat, but that didn’t stop it from charging any bird that came near.

   The franticness of the larger bird is an apt symbol of modern living. We’re taught that there’s only so much, so we
have to get our share of it. Like the bird, we stake out our claim and guard it.

   Jesus offered an alternative to this scarcity-driven franticness. In one of his most astounding miracles, he conveyed
a different way of approaching life. He demonstrated that, instead of there being only so much to go around, there is
actually more than enough to meet the needs of everyone.

   When we believe the truth that Jesus conveyed in the feeding of the 5,000, we will live less like the frantic bird and
more like the ones grateful for the abundance that has already been freely offered.

 

Saturday, November 6, 2021 – “God’s Gift of Winter” by Peggy Williams

The Air is Cold and the Wind seeps through my clothes.

Winter Weather has Reared it’s Head… Another of God’s Gifts to Us.

So I urge you to Look at Winter Through different Eyes today.

Winter Gives farmer’s fields A Chance To Rest… Get Ready for Spring.

It Gives Animals time to Migrate South To Raise Another family

Gives Bears a Chance to Raise Cubs, To Hibernate and feed their Young.

It Gives Us A Chace to Live Without many of the Pesky Bugs that Bother Us in Summer.

The Winter Gives the Queen B Time to Hibernate

And gives trees a Rest… All Kinds Including our fruit Producers.

How About You and Me? I confess… I love the Cold Weather

Snuggling with Hot Chocolate and a Warm Lap Robe

Reading and Enjoying life at a slower Pace.

Try to find the Benefits We All Reap… From God’s Beautiful Winter.

 

Friday, November 5, 2021 – Devotional from Kaleb Graves

   “I’ve really been trying to eat better after being rather during COVID. Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, berries,
and lean meats. I’ve been trying to exercise most days out of the week. My doctor told me it will take a while to get
used to the routine, feel healthier, and to get the cravings for fast food and sugar to stop, but I just need to stick with it.

   Sometimes, our spiritual life is like that too. We may try adding church, personal Bible study, prayer, service, and
fruits of the spirit to our daily lives. But boy oh boy do we feel the cravings to go back to spiritual junk food. We want
to gossip, hoard our time and possessions, watch TV instead of pray, or listen to our favorite political morning talk show
host instead of reading the Bible. 2 Peter 2:22 says that’s like a dog returning to its vomit, or a freshly cleaned pig
returning to roll on the mud.

   We need to stick to our spiritual with perseverance. Change may not come right away. We will mess up and we will
fall down, but God will come alongside us and be our help and strength. He has grace with our even when we fail, and
he loves us anyways.”

 

Thursday, November 4, 2021 – Excerpt from “Wearing God”

   In “Wearing God” by Lauren Winner, she has separate chapters with various images we use for God. She ends
up resigning herself to the idea that all the images are sufficient. She includes this paraphrased quote from St.
Augustine.

   God becomes all to us; for He is to us the whole of the things we love. If we consider things visible, neither is God
bread, nor is God water, nor is God light, nor is He a garment nor a house. For all these are things visible, and single
separate things. What bread is, water is not; and what a garment is, a house is not; and what these things are, God
is not.

   But God is all this to us: if we are hungry, He is bread; if we thirst, He is water; if we are in darkness; He is light. If
we are naked, He is a garment of immortality. All things can be said of God, but we cannot completely put our words
around God. Nothing is wider than this poverty of expression. We seek a fitting name for Him, but we cannot find it;
but when we seek to speak of Him in any way whatsoever, we find that He is all.

 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021 – Devotion on 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13

   Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant on Wednesday November 03. Today’s devotion is by Bishop Joe E.
Pennel, Jr. and is based on 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13

   In the Hebrew Bible, we see two portraits of David, who is now seen as one of the towering figures of the
Israelite people.

   In today’s reading, we see a person who has messed up his life. Much of the Bible is about people who have
botched things badly in their lives. David has “displeased the Lord.” He has had Uriah murdered and taken Uriah’s
wife to be his own wife. She bears him children.

   In the book of Ezekiel, David is pictured as a completely different person. Ezekiel writes about David who has
become the king of Israel and a servant who has become a prince forever.

   Like David, we are mixtures of good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate, truth and falsehood. We are both
takers and givers.

   I am now in my eightieth year, and I find myself reflecting on my life. Most of the time this happens when I am
tossing and turning between 3 and 4 a.m. I relive the times when I have lived as one who displeased the Lord and
times when I have lived like a loving person.

   In today’s text, we get a clue as to how and why David was able to move from God’s displeasure to becoming a
prince of Israel. David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” He confessed his sin to another person,
and the Lord forgave him. He moved from confession to forgiveness. The same can happen for each of us.

When we displease the Lord and fail to live by what love requires, we can confess, repent, and move toward
forgiveness. Just as the Lord forgave David, so the Lord will forgive us.

Amen.

 

Tuesday, November 2, 2021 – I Stand Amazed in the Presence (UMH 371)

  I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how he could love me, a sinner, condemned,
unclean. For me it was in the garden he prayed: “Not my will, but thine.” He had no tears for his own griefs, but
sweat drops of blood for mine.

How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be: How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love
for me!

In pity angels beheld him, and came from the world of light to comfort him in the sorrows he bore for my soul that
night. He took my signs and my sorrows, he made them his very own; he bore the burden to Calvary, and suffered
and died alone. When with the ransomed in glory his face I a last shall see, ‘twill be my joy through the ages to sing
of his love for me.

How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be: How marvelous, how wonderful is my Savior’s love
for me!  Amen

 

Monday, November 1, 2021 – Prayer Requests

   Prayer requests for today include the heart of our nation, natural disaster victims, those in the hospital, under
long-term medical care, and those grieving the loss of a loved one. We also pray for the children and all of the
staff in schools across the US; for all the health care workers, for the nations of Afghanistan, and Haiti; and for all
those who are serving their country in all areas during these difficult times.

 

Saturday, October 30, 2021 - “Strength in Community” by M. Andermann from Daily Devotions

   One can be overpowered, but two together can put up resistance. Ecclesiastes 4:12

   A sure sign of autumn here in the northeastern U.S. is the flight of the Canada geese to the south. Geese
instinctively form a perfect “V” formation to decrease wind drag and make their long flight easier. Further, when
the leader tires, it drops back to a less-strenuous position allowing one of the other geese to come forward.

   I see an important lesson here. During our journey on earth, it’s difficult to “take the lead” all the time — and
nearly impossible to navigate this life alone. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego supported one another to victory
over the edicts of an unfair ruler. Paul had Barnabas and others to lighten his trials. We too can surround ourselves
with people with whom we can partner in times of trial and in times of joy. A strong faith community can provide us
with people who can ease our burdens, share our joys, and help us reach our highest potential.  Amen

 

Friday, October 29, 2021 – Devotional from Kaleb Graves

   “Have you ever taken remedial classes in school or been “retrained” at work? It can be embarrassing. You can
be celebrating your new promotion one minute, and the next you realize everyone knows you’re in over your head!
Or, you can be a very successful student, and then in your next degree, your grades just don’t look how you were
expecting.

   Seeking help with the basics, even when it’s embarrassing, is better than floundering and flailing your way
through your day. Jesus had a lot to say about applying this principle   applying this principle to our faith in the
Gospel of Luke. Luke 16:10 says “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” In
Luke 19, Jesus tells the story of the servants who are given one lump of silver and are only given more after
they prove competent with the first.

   Sometimes, even when we’ve been Christians a long time, we may realize we've gotten something very
basic wrong about how we live out our faith. We need to do remedial spiritual work. We have to let down our
pride, go back to the basics, listen to Jesus’ wisdoms we’ve heard over and over again, and then try again.”

 

Thursday, October 28, 2021 – A reading from Barbara Brown Taylor

   The child became a man and the man became a preacher whose sermons were full of commonplace things: seeds
and nets, coins and fishes, lilies of the field, and birds of the air. Wherever he was, he had a knack for looking around
him and weaving what he saw into his sermons, whether it was sparrows for sale in the marketplace, laborers lining
up for their family’s bread…. “The kingdom of heaven is like this,” he said over and over again, comparing things they
knew about with something they knew nothing about and all of the sudden what they knew had cracks in it, cracks
they had never noticed before, through which they glimpsed bright and sometimes frightening new realities…. Every
created thing was fraught with divine possibility; wasn’t that what he was tell them? Every ho-hum detail of their days
was a bread crumb leading them into the presence of God, if they would just pick up the trail and follow.

 

Wednesday, October 27, 2021 – Our Unfinished Symphony – Henri Nouwen

   Good afternoon from Mount Pleasant on Wednesday October 27. Today’s devotion is a quote of theologian Henri
Nouwen and is entitled Our Unfinished Symphony

   “Our life is a short time in expectation, a time in which sadness and joy kiss each other at every moment. There
is a quality of sadness that pervades all the moments of our life. It seems that there is no such thing as a clear-cut
pure joy, but that even in the most happy moments of our existence, we sense a tinge of sadness. In every satis-
faction, there is an awareness of limitations. In every success, there is the fear of jealousy. Behind every smile, there
is a tear. In every embrace, there is loneliness. In every friendship, distance. And in all forms of light, there is the
knowledge of surrounding darkness. But this intimate experience in which every bit of life is touched by a bit of death
can point us beyond the limits of our existence. It can do so by making us look forward in expectation to that day when
our hearts will be filled with perfect joy, a joy that no one shall take away from us.”

   Father Ron Rolheiser adds, “We nurse the false expectation that we can have it all already in this life. All that is
needed is to have the right body, the right career, the right city, the right neighborhood, the right friends, the right
vacations, and the right soul mate and they can have the full symphony here and now.

   Only God can fully measure up.     Amen.

 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - “Patient Gardeners” by Bill Pike from Daily Devotions

   James 5:7 - Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop
from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.

   My father was quite the backyard gardener. Vegetables and fruit trees shared a small rectangular plot. He planted
every spring, and he harvested through summer and fall.

   When my father died, I was determined to secure a clipping from his fig bush. A cousin helped me take a clipping
and root it. Gradually, the clipping turned into a small seedling. I planted this seedling in my backyard where it has
flourished. Usually by late summer, the fig’s limbs are loaded with fruit. Every fall, I prune the fig back from its over-
grown summer size. I worry every winter whether it will survive.

   Winter becomes spring, I check the base of the fig for a green shoot of life. For weeks, I see no sign of survival.
Then relief flows over me as I find the first tiny green bud protruding from its trunk.

   Being patient can be a challenge. In Luke 13, the impatient vineyard owner wants to give up on the barren fig tree.
But the patient gardener requests more time to prune, till, and feed the fig. Unlike the impatient vineyard owner, God
never loses patience with me.

   God’s work in us never wavers. God’s compassion, wisdom, love, and forgiveness are available to sustain us no
matter the season.