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November 14 – Waterless clouds

“Waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted…” – Jude 12b

Scripture reading: Matthew 6:19-21; Ephesians 3:14-21; Jude 1:12-13

Watching the clouds slowly drift across the sky on a lazy afternoon is relaxing, but not if you’re a farmer with wilting crops that desperately need some rain. Walking through an orchard on a sunny day in autumn might be beautiful, but not if the trees are fruitless and you have nothing to store for your family to eat over the harsh winter. You would be better off cutting down the trees and chopping them into firewood; at least you’d be warm.

Waterless clouds and fruitless trees might look appealing, but they are worthless in providing what you need, just like an idol. A lot of effort is put into idol-making. Whether they’re crafted out of wood or gold, or if they’re the lies we repeat to ourselves until we believe them, time and resources are poured into making our idols appear effective. But, in the end, idols promise so much and deliver so little. Making an idol of our “sensuality” (verse 4) and twisting the gospel to make room for our idol will leave us unfulfilled.

But in Christ, we have so much more than empty promises. Why return to our sins when we can “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge,” and pray to “Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think”? To Him be glory in the church!

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that our Father would grant you to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, asking that you would know the love of Jesus far more than loving yourself. Ask Him to make your life fruitful in laying up treasures in heaven instead of treasures on earth.

Pastor James Sinke has been the pastor of Bethel URC of Woodstock for ten years, having previously served the Rock Valley URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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