Because of expected ice storm on Sunday January 9, only 8:30 worship will take place onsite.

November 4, 2021

A Pastoral Word. . .

Pastor Mark Adams

November 4, 2021
Throughout the coasts of the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and even in south Florida, there can be found a pleasant-looking beachy sort of tree, often laden with small greenish-yellow fruits that look like apples.
You might be tempted to eat the fruit. DON’T DO THAT! You might want to rest your hand on the trunk, or touch a branch. DON’T DO THAT EITHER! Don’t even stand under or even near the tree for any length of time. Do not touch your eyes while near the tree. Do not pick up any of the ominously shiny, tropic-green leaves. DO NOT TOUCH!!!! The fruit may be pleasing to they eyes--but it is poisonous!

In an article on Preaching Today, Dan Nosowitz says that the aboriginal peoples of the Caribbean were familiar with this tree. In fact, they dipped the ends of their arrows in its sap. It is believed that the Calusa people of Florida used these kinds of arrows to kill Juan Ponce de Leon on his second trip to Florida in 1521.

The tree is called the Manchineel, known in Spanish-speaking countries as “la manzanilla de la muerte,” which translates to “the little apple of death,” or as “arbol de la muerte,” “tree of death.” The fruit, though described as sweet and tasty, is extraordinarily toxic.

Nicola Strickland, who unwisely chomped down on a manchineel fruit on the Caribbean Island of Tobago, describes what it was like:
“I rashly took a bite from this fruit and found it pleasantly sweet. My friend also partook (at my suggestion). Moments later we noticed a strange peppery feeling in our mouths, which gradually progressed to a burning, tearing sensation and tightness of the throat. The symptoms worsened over a couple of hours until we could barely swallow solid food because of the excruciating pain.

Over the next eight hours our oral symptoms slowly began to subside. Recounting our experience to the locals elicited frank horror and incredulity, such was the fruit’s poisonous reputation.”

I’m thinking the poison of this fruit is absolutely deadly if injected into the blood stream.

Speaking of “deadly,” God warned Adam and Eve about the far deadlier physical and spiritual consequences which would come from eating the fruit of another tree--the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Sadly, like Nicola, Eve not only ate but shared the fruit with Adam. And since then, all their billions of descendants have inherited the effects of that tree’s poison--all people are sin-sick. But, unlike Nicola’s experience, the poisonous effects of sin-sickness don’t go away. No, sin-sickness is a terminal disease. Romans 3:23 says, “The wages---the prognosis---of sin is death.”

As we have been saying this year, the only cure is faith in Jesus. “God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)


Keep the SON in your eyes!
Posted in