The Pruning Process of God

John 15:1-2
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. 2 Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (WEB)

I am not a farmer but I know a little bit about the pruning process. Not the pruning of a fruit tree, but the pruning of my heart. In John 15, Jesus paints a very vivid picture of the Christian life using the illustration that He is the vine, we are the branches and His Father is the gardener. It is interesting to note that it is the fruitful branches that are pruned back, not the unfruitful ones. Not being a farmer, I risk not giving an adequate explanation of the pruning process, but here goes anyway…

When a branch begins to grow, it develops leaves and smaller branches that are meant to bear fruit. But along the way, it also produces useless shoots that do nothing but distract the branch from the fruit bearing process and drain it of its energy.

To help the branch be more fruitful, these useless shoots are cut away so that all of the energy coming from the vine can go directly to where it is supposed to go. There is one thing that I have discovered about the pruning process though… IT HURTS! No doubt about it.

I have had many ‘useless shoots’ pruned from my life over the years. At the time, the loss of some of these things was very painful. But in hindsight, I am thankful to my Father who lovingly cut away all that was necessary, so that I could bear the fruit that brings glory to Him (John 15:8).

If you are going through a pruning process in your life right now, my prayer is that you will know that all things will ultimately work together for your good (Romans 8:28). Our dear friend Jack Winter used to say… “The Gardener is never closer to the branch then when He is pruning it”. May we all receive comfort in these words as we submit to the fruit bearing process in our daily lives.

John 15:1-9
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. 2 Every branch in me that doesn’t bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can’t bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If a man doesn’t remain in me, he is thrown out as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, you will ask whatever you desire, and it will be done for you. 8 “In this is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; and so you will be my disciples. 9 Even as the Father has loved me, I also have loved you. Remain in my love. (WEB)

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God Is Our Refuse and Strength

Psalm 46:1 (WEB)
God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Promise: I am a very present help for you in times of trouble.

In today’s promise, the psalmist makes the declaration that God is ready to help us at the first sign of trouble. He is always with us and is our refuge and strength when we need shelter from the storms that come our way. Reading from the English Standard Version Bible, I want to read Psalm 46:1-3…

1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.2Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah (ESV)

When we read the first three verses of this psalm, we can fully appreciate the result of us embracing the promise that God is a very present help for us in times of trouble… We will not fear. Even if the earth itself gives way, we will not fear. If the mountains are thrown into the sea… We will not be afraid. Though the waters roar and the mountains tremble… We will be safe in the secret place of the Most High.

In a time when natural disasters are at an all time high and there are increasing wars and rumors of wars, we need to be convinced that God is who He says He is. He is our ever present help in our time of trouble and He promises to be our refuge and the very strength of our life. May the revelation of this promise bring peace to all of us that passes our understanding.

God Is Our Salvation

Isaiah 12:2 (WEB)
Behold, God is my salvation. I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for Yah, Yahweh, is my strength and song; and he has become my salvation.”

Promise #108: You can trust in Me, for I am your strength and your song.

God loves it when we trust Him. Trusting God is truly committing our lives into His care and not trying to manage life all on our own. In Proverbs 3:5-6, we are encouraged to trust in the Lord with all our heart and to not lean to our own understanding. God wants us to lean into His care today and not depend upon our own ability to manage life.

When we realize that our God and Father is indeed trustworthy, then we will not be afraid of anything that comes our way. We will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the LORD is our strength and our song and our very salvation. However, before we can truly enjoy the benefits of living a fearless life filled with God’s strength and His song, we need to deal with the trust issue.

God wants to restore childlike trust to each one of us. The trust that was broken when we were little children can be restored in our relationship with our Heavenly Dad because He is indeed trustworthy in every way. My prayer is that we would all would trust in our Abba more today than we did yesterday and that our ability to trust in God would increase every day for the rest of our lives.

God is our salvation. We will trust in His goodness and not be afraid. He is our strength and the song that we sing every day. Hallelujah for such a wonderful salvation!

Chosen And Predestined

Romans 8:29 (WEB)
For whom he foreknew, he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Promise: I have chosen you to be like My Son so you could be part of My family.

In today’s promise from Romans 8:29, we read in the Amplified Bible the following… For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. (AMP)

What an amazing promise! God knew us and loved us and destined us to be part of His amazing family before the creation of the world! It was because of His incredible love, that He determined to mold us into the image of His beloved Son so that we could be part of His wonderful family.

Jesus is the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. He is the ultimate big brother to each one of us and His Father has become our Father (John 20:17) because of the finished work of the cross. Hallelujah for such a salvation! We are being conformed day by day into the likeness of our Elder Brother and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The more that we understand that the Christian life is all about family, the more we will experience the family love that is ours with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We are not orphans, but joint heirs with Jesus! (Romans 8:17)

My prayer today is that each and every one of us would know that God chose us before the foundation of the world to become part of His everlasting family. May the reality of this promise transform how we see ourselves, our brothers and sisters, and our Elder Brother Jesus!

Justice Will Reign

Psalm 45:6 (WEB)
Your throne, God, is forever and ever.
A scepter of equity is the scepter of your kingdom.

Promise: My throne will stand forever and justice will reign in My kingdom.

While evidence of injustice is all around us in the world that we live in, justice reigns in the kingdom of our God. We have the assurance that His throne will last forever. This means that the injustice that we see and experience around us is only short term.

The Apostle Paul encourages us to fix our eyes on the unseen, not on that which is seen (2 Corinthians 4:18). He tells us that we need to keep focused on the eternal, not on the things around us that are temporary. In the midst of a fallen world, it is comforting to be reminded of the things that will truly last forever.

Our God and our Father is on the throne. He is a good God and His mercy will endure forever! May we continue to be reminded of what is eternal and be comforted in knowing that justice will reign in the kingdom of our God and Father…forever!

 

Our Heavenly Eternal Home

2 Corinthians 5:1 (WEB)
For we know that if the earthly house of our tent is dissolved,
we have a building from God, a house not made with hands,
eternal, in the heavens.

Promise : When your body fails, you have an eternal home waiting for you.

In 1 Corinthians 13:13, the Apostle Paul tells us that faith, hope and love remain. In the last few devotionals, I have been talking a lot about love and faith. Today I want to talk about hope. If we have what we hope for, we no longer need to hope for it. There are some promises that God has made to us that we have not yet seen the fulfillment of. This is one of the those promises.

It is comforting to know that one day, when our body fails, we will have an eternal house in heaven that will last forever. This is a promise that we can hold onto with all our hearts. The eternal home that is waiting for us will not be built with human hands, but will be built by God Himself…and we will be a pillar in His house.

On that day, we will no longer experience suffering or loss. Pain or disease will be gone, for we will be with God and He will be with us. May today’s promise bring great comfort to us when we think of those in the faith who have gone before us. May we also be filled with hope ourselves knowing that we have an eternal home waiting for us too!

Divine Healing

Matthew 5:4 (WEB)
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Promise: I will bless you in times of mourning with My comfort.

In Matthew 5, Jesus shares a kingdom message that we lovingly call The Beatitudes. In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reveals some of the values of His kingdom. Nine times He says that people are blessed in circumstances that would seem opposite to what the world system would see as blessed.

The Amplified Bible translates the word blessed that He uses as… (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions). (AMP)

At some point or another, we will all suffer the loss of a loved one and we will need the comfort that comes from God alone. In today’s promise, we read that when we mourn we will be blessed (from a kingdom perspective) with the comfort that comes only from God Himself. Psalm 34:18 says… Yahweh is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves those who have a crushed spirit. (WEB)

If you are going through a time of grieving right now, my prayer is that this promise would be very tangible to you. I pray that you would feel God’s closeness to you as He carries you through this season of mourning.

Through it all, may you truly feel blessed by God despite your circumstances as described by the Amplified Bible… (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous–with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions).