Devotions

I Am the Vine

Jesus is like a Vine

Together in Christ we grow and produce good fruit!

Bible Background: John 15:1-11

Jesus compares himself to a vine in this passage.  This is an important visual to his disciples because vines were a very important part of their lives.  Grapes were a prominent crop during this time.  Here specifically, Jesus and his disciples have finished the last supper and are leaving the Upper Room to go to the Garden of Gethsemane.  Maybe Jesus saw a vine on his walk? 

Jesus uses the vine to explain how fruitful our lives are when we are relationship with God, our gardener.  Jesus is the vine, and we are the grapes.  God, our gardener, has done what it takes to prepare Jesus, the vine, to produce good people, the fruit.  What fruit does God want?  Galatians 5:22-23 tells us the fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Chuck preached on each one of these last May and June.  Maybe now we have some time to go back and review? (http://athensfirstumc.org/sermons/)

 How to Talk to Your Kids:

  1. Think and talk about how grapes grow. If you have some, get them out for snack and add the visual for the kids!  Tell them that God is the gardener and Jesus is the vine, which is like the stem.  When we stay close to Jesus, we turn into this delicious, sweet fruit. 
  2. Instead of focusing on the pruning aspect of the story with little ones, focus instead on growth and fruitfulness. If Jesus is the vine, or the stem, we are very close to him (attached) when we are growing.  How does the stem feed the fruit?  What does Jesus “feed” or give to you? 
  3. You can also talk about how other fruits and vegetables grow. Pumpkins grow on a vine, apples grow in trees, and potatoes grow from vines.  In all of these, the fruit is close to the vine or the branches.  Who is in charge of these plants?  God is!  Our gardener, or creator, is helping us all grow in his sunlight and drink his water, being fed by his nutrient soil.

Prayer:

“Lord, thank you for giving us this neat picture of a vine with good fruit.  Thank you for providing us with what we need to grow as your children by staying close to Jesus.  We pray that the fruit we produce makes you happy and is full of the love that you have taught us to share.  Amen.”

 Activities to go with this:

  • Make a grape vine painting! With purple paint in a dish, use an old toilet paper roll to make grapes.  Dip the circle end into the paint, and stamp it onto a piece of paper, making a bunch of grapes!  Draw the vine, and even the gardener.  For older kids, read Galatians, and talk about the fruits of the spirit.  Write them inside the grapes.
  • Potato stamping is another fun activity. Cut a potato in half and use it as a stamp with paint.  You can carve designs into the potato stamp, but make sure you do this for your kids!  We do not want anyone getting hurt!  The tie in here is that potatoes are called tuber vegetables.  The tuber (the edible part) grows beneath the ground, and the vine is growing above the soil. 
  • Plant a garden with your kids! It doesn’t have to be an edible garden to have these conversations.  God is always our gardener, loving and taking care of us.  Root yourselves in God’s good works.
  • When we think about this, we think about doing things, like reading our Bible, to draw closer to Jesus. During this time, if you would like to film a quick video of your child reading a favorite Bible verse or story, share it with us.  Our friends at Talmage Terrace Lanier Gardens who normally worship with us via livestream on Sundays cannot gather together now, so the service is recorded and played through a dedicated TV channel.  With your permission, sharing your videos would be adding God’s love into the lives of our friends who cannot be with their families at this time.  We are grateful for all the ways we can love each other now!
Posted by Katie Ryan with

Are you overflowing with hope?

“May the God of hope fill you with great joy and peace so you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Are you overflowing with hope? In this scripture, Paul makes this request for the Christians in Rome to the God of hope. Paul prays that as we believe and trust in him, God would fill us with great joy and peace. Faith and hope go hand-in-hand. If we can trust and believe in Christ, we can await a glorious future.

What sustains us when we are in the midst of uncertainty and troubling times? What propels us onward to accomplish God’s great purposes? It is hope. Four years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In response to this frightening news, I found I was filled with an overwhelming sense of hope and peace. I trusted God and my medical team and truly did not worry. Remarkably, I was not plagued with fear. I was filled with hope.

One of the great enemies we face is despair- a lack of hope. We must guard our hearts against this empty feeling. During times of confusion and strife such as these, we must be a people who abound in hope. Let us always remember to thank God for the gift of hope no matter what trials we face. Seeking to have God fill us with joy and peace is what we yearn for every day. It should be the ongoing desire of our hearts to know an overflowing hope in our lives. God, I pray, that each and every day we may be overflowing with hope in you.

-Cindy McKoy

Posted by Cindy McKoy with

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