Dear Ones,
Hope you had a relaxing and renewing weekend.  Saturday, after I wrote you to pray for Nancy, I got word later in the day that she died. She is now with the Lord but please continue in prayer for her family. She just went in for knee surgery and died so shortly afterwards. This morning I did food prep, went to Aldi’s and then to my exercise class. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart
Jesus was a great story teller and frequently used stories to help others see from His point of view. He often spoke in parables, which is a brief story, and requires the imagination of the listener. Eugene Peterson said parables are not used to tell us something new but to get us to notice something that has been right before our eyes and we have missed; or maybe we have simply dismissed it as we didn’t think it was important. When we listen to a parable, we are often surprised as it brings up a reaction in us that we weren’t expecting. We are all probably familiar with the Prodigal Son but Peterson’s favorite parable is the Manure Story. Really?! You may remember the time Jesus was walking with his disciples on their way to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast. He tells them the story of the man who had a fig tree that had not produced figs for the past 3 years. So, the man tells the Vinedresser to just chop it down since it is simply taking up space. But in Luke 13:8-9 (ESV) he answers by saying, “Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.” The farmer is impatient but the vinedresser wants to give it a chance and to dig around it and put on manure. Often when Jesus tells stories He is calling us to action, but in this parable, He is trying to teach us restraint. We are to be patient and wait for God and His timing and His way to deal with things. Maybe there is someone that offends us greatly and we would just like them removed rather than taking up space. But Jesus may be saying, wait a minute, I want to give more time to work in this person’s life, just like putting the manure on. Of course, we know that is not a quick fix and will be a very slow solution which will require patience on our part especially. We would rather have instant results than to wait and suffer. But manure has lots of enzymes and nutrients and is full of resurrection power. Peterson said that silence can be the manure of resurrection.  He quotes Saul Bellow, “Silence is enriching. The more you keep your mouth shut, the more fertile you become.” Often, we must wait in silence and let things alone while God is working in another. We need to keep our hands off! It is God who acts and we who wait!
Challenge for today: Ask God to help you to be patient as He works in the lives of those around you. Remember His patience with you.
Blessings on your week and prayers and love, Judy