Bearing Fruit as a Christian

farm-food-fruits-197906This is day 5 in my kids talk preparation series. Today I’m still on Step 3;

Discover things I don’t know and add them to what I do know, to build the whole picture of what Jesus meant in John 15:5.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Today I’m looking at the fruit born on the vine; grapes! Once again I’ve been blown away by the depth of Jesus’ analogy as I’ve unearthed various facts about grape production. I hope you are too as I share them here today.

Yesterday I talked about the grape vine and it’s branches, the day before I was looking at the wording of John 15:5 and it’s context in the bible, the day before that I explained how I approach the writing of a kids talk, and before that I introduced why I am doing it. Feel free to go back and catch up if you are encouraged by this post.

In John 15:5, Jesus says…. if his disciples remain in him, the true vine, they will bear fruit.

I have discovered this week that quite often, in grape production, branches from different varieties are grafted in to strong root stock (the true vine). This means that the strong root stock can nourish grapes of all kinds, not just it’s own kind. The flavour of the grapes grown will depend on the branch, but the nourishment and resistance to pests, fungus and diseases will come from the root .

Classification of grapes

  • There are two classifications of grape – Table or Wine grape
  • They are further classified by country & region of origin , although this is more and more difficult with hybridisation.
  • Historians believe most grape cultivation started in Greece and Turkey. Grapes brought to other parts of Europe from the New World areas of Mexico and South America were wild varieties. These wild grapes were eventually hybridised with the cultivated grapes.

Features of grapes

  • Some grapes have a nice tight skin, others have a looser skin that is easier to peel.
  • Most wine grapes have seeds and are juicy.
  • There are over 50 varieties of table grapes. Seedless types tend to be more popular than those with seeds. Several varieties are well known and hold most of the market share.
  • Of these, Thompsons and Perlettes are the most popular green-skinned grapes. Both are sweet with a tight skin and an oblong shape. Perlettes are recognizable, as they are about 30% bigger than Thompsons. Both make excellent raisins, though Thompsons are the more popular type to use.

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Some examples of grapes

  •  Red Flames – seedless
  • Ruby grapes – taut flesh, depth in flavour,
  • Black Monnukas –  seedless, almost black or dark blue skin when ripe, skin is less taut, good crunch, larger, more oblong than round in shape make good raisins, often eaten in colour combination with white and red varieties.
  • Venus, black flesh, amazing sweetness, like Muscat, large, excellent in fruit salads or  fruit kabobs.
  • Champagne grapes, tiny, red or green flesh, crunchy, very sweet, taste a lot like sparkling wine although not used to make champagne.
  • Concord grapes, large seeds easy to remove, oblong shape, black colour
  • Muscat  grapes, same as those used to make wine, seeds.
  • Wine grapes may also be eaten, they taste similar to the wine they make, need to be fully ripe

Pests and Diseases

  • Wine grapes are prone to many diseases and pests, so a strict spraying programme is often followed by commercial growers. Downy mildew, in particular, causes severe damage to vines and yields.
  • It’s also important to control soil-borne diseases. Using resistant rootstocks would do away with the need for chemical control. (Jesus is resistant root stock & we are grafted in to be disease free!)
  • Grapes with the least chemical treatments taste better than the ones exposed to numerous pesticides. The pesticides stay in the skin, so peeling them can take away the bitterness.

Harvesting grapes

  • Don’t jump the gun on harvesting; grapes won’t improve in taste after you pick, so sample a grape or two occasionally until they are ripe. Then get busy picking!

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Uses of grapes

  • Drink; red wines, white wines, champagnes, muscat, dessert, grape juice, non-alcoholic wine
  • Food; Snacks, Fruit salad, kebobs, cheese platters, fruit platters, salads, frozen
  • Decoration; flower arrangements, table decorations
  • Fabric Dye
  • Whole grape and Grape seed oil used in nutritional medicine.

Health Benefits of Grapes

  • Grapes provide you a rich source of fibrevitamins A, C, B6 and folate as well as potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium. Grapes also slow your ageing process.
  • There is a list of health benefits of grapes and grape seed oil at Med-Health.net which is inspiring when you consider that God says we will bear ‘good’ fruit when we remain in him. The analogy of ‘bearing grapes’ shows just how good and beneficial our fruit can be to people.

I know now why Jesus used grapes as his fruit example. There are so many types and flavours and uses. Just like us.

At this point in my preparation I move on to Step 4;

  • Pray again. Ask God, be brutally honest with myself, “Am I living this scripture?” “How can I better live this scripture?” (I refuse to give a talk on something I have not been convicted of myself and transformed by, that would make me a hypocrite.)

Today I ask you to do it with me. Ask yourself, “Am I abiding/remaining in Christ?” “Am I letting the sap of his Holy Spirit fill me, nourish me and grow me?” “Am I producing fruit?” “Am I hindering this process in any way? (Resisting pruning? Tourniqueting my branch? Falling off the trellis? Adding manure to the soil unnecessarily? Trying to grow grapes not specific to my branch? Trying to be shiraz when I am clearly champagne? Picking too early? Being eaten by pests? Am I worrying so much about things I cannot control I am not taking in the nourishment I am offered?) “Where do I need The Farmer’s help?”

I hope you are greatly encouraged, after reading this, that God’s got it all sorted. Be blessed to bear your very own flavour of fruit everyday.

Lots of love,

L

© Lauren Macdonald. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lauren Macdonald @ http://godhelpmei.com

 

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