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)

Advertisements

It’s Time To Look Up and See Our Saving Grace

Jude 1:24 (WEB)

Promise 270: I will keep you from falling until you joyfully stand blameless in My presence.

The God Of Blessings

Look To The Lord of Blessing!

Luke 5:3-11 Then He entered into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” But Simon answered and said to Him, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, nevertheless at Your word I will let down the nets.” When they had done this, they caught such a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat that they should come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Yeshua’s (Jesus’) feet, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” For he was astonished, and all that were with him, because of the catch of the fish which they had taken, And so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Yeshua (Jesus) said to Simon, “Fear not, from now on you will catch men.” So when they brought their ships to land, they forsook all and followed Him.

This Sunday night begins the Festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles)! Be sure to get a glimpse of the lunar eclipse taking place late Sunday night into Monday Morning.

Sukkot is a festival about rejoicing in the blessings that God has provided, but let’s be sure our focus is on the Lord of blessing – instead of the blessings!

We read in Luke that Yeshua (Jesus) told His disciples to go into the deep waters and let down their nets for fish. When they did, their nets were filled up with fish to the point of breaking. Being fishermen and businessmen, they may have been tempted to start doing business. I mean, think how much they could make!

But God had a different purpose. The disciples’ occupation as fishermen was just a vehicle for God to demonstrate His great power and love. He wasn’t blessing them with fish so that they would get excited about fishing — He was blessing them with fish so that they could get their eyes off their fishing and on to the greater call He had for them! Thankfully, they left the fishing business and went off with the Lord to do great and mighty things.

Let’s make sure we’re not getting up wrapped up in fish! We seek the Lord for His blessings, prosperity, and success. But true discipleship is focusing not on the blessings of the Lord, but on the Lord of the blessings!

We can rejoice in our blessings this Sukkot season, but let’s not dwell on them! Let’s set our eyes on the Lord and the calling He has for us. When He sees that we have pure and willing hearts, He will be faithful to use us to accomplish His glorious plan!

DJS

So Little Time and So Much To Do!

So Little Time and So Much To Do!

1 Cor. 15:51-54 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet will sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

This weekend begins the Biblical festival of Rosh Ha Shana. What’s interesting about Rosh Ha Shana (the Jewish celebration of the New Year), is that it doesn’t fall on the first day of the first month. It actually falls on the first day of the seventh month! It’s difficult for outsiders to understand this concept, but if we study how the Jewish year begins and how God is outlining this age according to the Jewish feasts it all makes sense. The first month of the Jewish year begins with Passover. Two thousand years ago, the new age began with the crucifixion of Yeshua (Jesus) on the Cross on Passover! Next, Messiah rose from the dead precisely on day of the celebration of first fruits. Then, fifty days later, the Feast of Shavout (Pentecost) began the celebration of the harvest season. This day marked the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the beginnings of the first harvest right here in Jerusalem as three thousand souls came into the kingdom!

Now, here we are, in the midst of the summer harvest — the harvest of souls, awaiting the great sound of the trumpet! When the trumpet sounds — it shall be the beginning of a new age when “this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality!”

So as we celebrate Rosh Ha Shana or Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets), it’s a reminder that this age is soon coming to a close — that the summer will soon end and there will be no more days to work. Let’s take heed the sound of the shofar and rise to this awesome occasion!

We live this life only once, so let’s do what we need to do while we still can! Let’s not put off the good we are called to do! Don’t put off forgiving others — forgive now! Don’t put off sharing with that neighbor with whom you’ve been wanting to share for years — share now! Don’t put off going forth and doing the great things God has called you to do — do them now! These are the final days of the harvest — let’s get out into the field and finish the work that needs done so that we might all be able to rejoice together in the end!!

DJS