John 15: 1&5 "Jesus Said "I am the True Vine (tree) and My Father (God) is the Gardener.  I (Jesus) am the Vine and You (all the people of the world) are the branches"
 

Jesus loves us all and He wants us to stay with him, just like a tree wants to keep it's branches.  In the following story, we will pretend that Jesus is an Apple Tree. You are one of the branches that will produce leaves and blossoms and apples.

The Apple Tree
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Once upon a time there was a big strong Apple Tree.  It was the most special Apple Tree in the whole world.  It's branches felt safe because they knew the Tree was planted firmly in the ground. They knew It would always be there when they needed It,  never changing, always strong and protective. They knew It would always give them the food and the water they needed to thrive.  They knew It would give them the help and the love they would need to make the most beautiful blossoms and the tastiest apples.
 
One day there was a terrible storm.   The wind blew furiously but the Tree stood firm and did not even waver. The branches were blown wildly.  Some were hitting against others.  Some were hitting against power lines.  Some were ready to break......

...... Their leaves and blossoms and apples were flying everywhere. Some of the branches began crying and shouting, "Tree, oh Tree, why aren't You holding on to us  tighter? Why are You letting me lose all my leaves and blossoms and apples?"
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And the Tree replied, "I can only hold onto you as long as you desire to hold onto Me.  Let go of your apples and your blossoms and your leaves.  This will give you strength to hold onto Me."   But some of the branches refused to give up their apples and  blossoms and leaves. 

The wind whipped at their apples and blossoms and leaves so hard that the branches were torn from the Tree and blown along the ground.  A trail of apples and blossoms and leaves were helplessly blown loose and scattered across the country side. Other branches began to crack . They let go of their leaves and blossoms,  but they could not part with their tasty apples.

Other branches let the apples and blossoms and leaves fall away.  They knew that the apples would be harvested the next day.  They knew that the blossoms had served their purpose.  They knew the   leaves would cover the ground, putting back food into the soil.  They knew that if they clung to the Tree and did as It said, they would again have leaves and blossoms and apples.

The next day the Gardener came.   He picked up the apples. The branches knew people would take great joy in eating them and making jelly and apple sauce and apple pie.  They knew some of the seeds would produce new apple trees. 
flying humming bird.gif (3069 bytes) The birds and bees had delighted in the nectar from the blossoms and all eyes had delighted in their beauty.  The leaves would re-nourish the soil. These branches were proud of their contribution.  They trusted in the wisdom of the Tree.
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They also had faith in the Tree.   They knew it would always give them food and water.  It would always give them the love and help they would need to produce new leaves and blossoms and apples.  But they were also saddened as the Gardener approached the Tree.  They watched as He cut away their broken, dangling,  untrusting friends.  The branches were bundled up to dry out and later to be used as firewood.

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Carol 1988

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