The  Fruitful  Vine

"Thy wife shall be as a FRUITFUL VINE by the sides of thy house." Psalm 128:3a

A Diamond in the Rough                                    a poem by K. Schroeder
A Discussion With My Grandson                       by  J. Harms
The Continuing Story of Grandfather Oak, # 3   by J. Kirkpatrick

A Diamond in the Rough
(One of God's Living Stones)
By K.  Schroeder

When God wanted to make diamonds,
He started them with coal;
And all the other precious gems
Were dug out of the shoal

Of rocks and stones and hills of clay,
And hardly seemed a rarity
`Till all the dross was chipped away
Revealing there a clarity.

A perfect gem was found beneath
What could have been discarded
If God had not seen beauty in
Whatever He regarded.

When God looked down and saw our sin,
He saw what we could be
And I'm so glad, beneath the crust
He saw a gem in me.

A discussion with my grandson
from Judy K. Harms:

May the following discussion from a faithful grandmother to her young grandson encourage you, too, to become a faithful one in Israel who relates God's truths to the next generation and those afar off.

(Truth or Tradition: A Scriptural analysis of one of our most closely guarded traditional interpretations)

The other day I was discussing the following Scripture with my 10 year old grandson:

"In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." John 14:2-3

To provide an analogy as a basis for his understanding, I asked him what his "place" is, in his father's house. He pondered a moment, then replied questionly, "in my bedroom?" I explained that, yes, that is a location he occupies for several hours of every day, but it's not where he stays all of the time. I then asked him if he would agree that his "place" in his daddy's house is that of "son". I explained He also has a place as "brother", and "grandson", etc. He excitedly agreed. For many of us, that "place" prepared for us by our loving heavenly Father has been portrayed as a gem studded mansion on a golden street. This idea has been encouraged by reports from highly respected clergy, as well as others, who have shared visions and dreams they have had that graphically picture the heavenly "mansions" God is preparing for us. May I suggest, God's plan is far more exciting than a physical mansion of precious stones. We then took a moment to locate Scriptures that would define our "place" in God's household. We concluded the following Scriptures in Revelation probably answer the question for us:

"And hath made us "kings" and "priests" unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever."

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."

Bryan and I continued to examine the Scriptures. We found the FOUNDATION and CORNERSTONE of this house described in Ephesians 2:20:

"Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and sojourners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the FOUNDATION of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone."

Further, we learned that house is a SPIRITUAL HOUSE, built of living stones, as explained in I Peter 2:5a and Hebrews 3:6a. And we Christians are God's house --- He lives in us! Next, I asked my grandson what kind of a mansion he expected God to give him. But this time he was suspicious of Grandma's questions and said, "I guess I don't know". So we examined more Scriptures:

"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building (mansion) of God, not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house (mansion) which is from heaven. . ." II Cor 5:1-2

"Know ye not that ye are the temple (mansion) of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" I Cor 3:16.

It didn't take my grandson any more references to agree that we are the mansions in God's house. One thing led to another and we were soon discussing how we, as the mansions make up the city of God, (the New Jerusalem). To be sure he was understanding, I explained to him that these things are not understood by the natural man:, I Cor. 2:14. He assured me he was understanding and urged me to explain God's city. We looked first in Hebrews:

"For he (Abraham) looked for the city which hath foundations (apostles and prophets, Eph 2:20), whose builder and maker is God." Hebrews 11:10

"For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come". Hebrews 13:14

"But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. . ." Heb. 12:22a

And what is to become of this city? I took Bryan to Revelation 21:9-10, where "one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues" was talking with John on the isle of Patmos. The angel said to John, "Come here, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife". (My grandson has been educated in a fine Christian school and I did not need to explain to him that the "Bride of Christ" is comprised of all redeemed believers.) Then we read the very next verse which says,

"And He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the bride, the Lamb's wife, the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God; and her light was like a stone most precious. . ." (Compare Matthew 5:14, "Ye are the light of the world, a city that is set on an hill cannot be hidden.)

We might have further discussed the foundations of the city (apostles and prophets), the stones (believers) and their meanings, as well as the 12 pearly gates which are trials, testings, and growth experiences (gateways to maturity in our Christian lives), but, remember, he's only 10 and it was enough for one day. I hope this lesson, shared with my grandson, will be clearly illumined to your understanding by the precious Holy spirit.

The Continuing Story of Grandfather Oak.. # 3
by J. Kirkpatrick

My story begins long before I became a tree, Little Oak. These stories have been handed down through many, many generations by my own grandfather, and his before him, and his before him. I remember my father and my grandfather sharing the stories their ancestors told them of their own observations, and how they were able to gain much understanding and wisdom through these stories. Many in my family have lived a thousand years or more, you know. They have much to tell. I am so thankful they have brought these stories down through time for me to grow by, and of which I am now passing on to you. Little Oak listen very closely to what I am going to tell you. It now becomes your responsibility to remember these stories, songs, and poems, and share them with your generation, and carry on the great legacy we have been given.

You know, Little Oak, many times it is quite a blessing to be a quiet bystander, and to observe other's strugglings. Our observances have given us much insight into man's endeavours in history. One of the oldest stories which has been carried down through the generations concerns Abraham, the father of Israel. As the story goes, some of my ancestors dwelt in the foothills of the rugged mountain passes, near the desert of Paran. I understand we made quite a spectacular sight because of our abundant bright, green foliage. They say we were quite a landmark because of the great contrast between desert and high mountainous areas. What a sight we beheld as we observed the entourage of Abraham, his family, all their substance, and the souls they had gathered in Haran as they entered our valley. From the distance we could hear their reverberating victory song:

We have overcome the valley, We have overcome the heights,
We have overcome the deserts, By the power of God's might,

Into the land of Canaan we have come, we have come.
Into the land of Canaan we have come!

We will overcome Canaan's valleys We will overcome Canaan's heights,
We will overcome Canaan's deserts, By the power of God's might.

Into the land of Canaan we have come, we have come,
Into the land of Canaan we have come!

What an impression this victory song made on us! You know, Little Oak, it was under our shade that Abraham and his family made their first stop in the land of Canaan. What an honour it was for us to be remembered as the starting point of this great nation Israel in the land of Canaan.

Not only did we hear their approaching song of victory, we also were blessed as we observed these Mesopotamians kneel and thank the one true God for their safe journey from their homeland in the Ur of the Chaldees and from their sojourn in Haran. My fathers had often heard of the Ur of the Chaldees and Haran from the many trading caravans who passed under our branches, but none before had prayed. What a refreshing new thing it was to hear words of thanks instead of the usual conversations we heard from those who passed through our valley.

Their prayer has been carried down through our generations. Would you like to hear it, Little Oak? Oh yes, Grandfather, I thank you for sharing their "Overcoming Song" with me, and I would very much like to hear their prayer. Please, Grandfather, go on...

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