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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Following The Light Of The Word

 

Psalm 119:105 (WEB)
Your word is a lamp to my feet,
and a light for my path.

Promise: My Word will brighten your steps and light your path.

Have you ever walked on a path in the forest in the middle of the night without a flashlight? If you have and there wasn’t a full moon shining, it is a pretty difficult thing to manuevre. Without a light to guide the way, you will inevitably go off the path and at the very least, bump into a tree.

I believe the psalmist in today’s promise is saying the same thing about the importance of God’s Word for you and me. In the grand scheme of things, we are only little boys and little girls who need all the help we can get. We do not have the navigational tools to manage our own life. We need both the written Word of God and the timely spoken Word of God to guide us through this life.

It is comforting to know that our God and Father equips us with all we need to live a godly life including lighting our path as we take one step at a time. Notice that the psalmist doesn’t say that God’s Word lights the path miles in front of us. He says that God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet.

May each one of us rejoice in the fact that God has committed the resources of heaven to guide us on our life’s journey. He has not left us in the dark to try to fend for ourselves, but has focused His Word like a huge beam of light at our feet to guide every step we take.

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!

I Believe

Psalm 119:89 (WEB)
Yahweh, your word is settled in heaven forever.

Promise : My eternal Word is anchored in the heavens.

The NIV Bible translates today’s Bible verse this way… Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. (NIV) The English Standard Version translates it… Forever, O LORD, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. (ESV) Whatever translation you prefer, the message is the same. God’s Word is firmly fixed and settled in heaven forever.

God is not a man that He should lie. His Word is His bond and it is anchored in heaven itself. Whenever circumstances come in direct opposition to God’s Word, agree with God and believe His Word. Whenever your emotions shout out something about yourself other than what God says about you, agree with God and believe His Word.

He is the same yesterday, today and forever and His Word is a constant that we can rely in our daily life. May faith rise up in our hearts today so that we will simply take God at His Word and cry out “I believe!”.

In God We Trust

Hebrews 13:5 (WEB)
Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have,
for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.”

Promise: I will never abandon you.

In today’s Bible verse, the writer of Hebrews encourages us to be content with our lives because our God and Father has promised to never leave us or forsake us. In the knowledge of our Papa’s closeness, we can take a deep breath and simply rest in His nearness. We don’t have to be anxious about anything. We don’t have to covet anything, because we have all that we need in the arms of our Heavenly Father.

If we are not convinced that everything we need can be found in the intimacy and fellowship found in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we will seek other things in order to be satisfied. However, if we truly believe in our heart that God will never leave us or forsake us, we will know that we have indeed found the pearl of great price.

No matter where you go, God goes with you. If you have received the free gift of Jesus’ life, then you are the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, whether you feel His presence or not. God will NOT abandon you! He is closer to you than you possibly could imagine.

My prayer for each one of us is that we would be convinced more of this promise today than ever before! He will never leave you or forsake you…never!

 

Prayer of Surrender

 

Loving Father,

I surrender to you today with all my heart and soul. Please come into my heart in a deeper way. I say, “Yes” to you today. I open all the secret places of my heart to you and say, “Come on in.” Jesus, you are the Lord of my whole life. I believe in you and receive you as my Lord and Savior. I hold nothing back.

Holy Spirit, bring me to a deeper conversion to the person of Jesus Christ. I surrender all to you: my time, my treasures, my talents, my health, my family, my resources, my work, relationships, time management, successes and failures. I release it and let it go.

I surrender my understanding of how things ‘ought’ to be, my choices and my will. I surrender to you the promises I have kept and the promises I have failed to keep. I surrender my weaknesses and strengths to you. I surrender my emotions, my fears, my insecurities, my sexuality. I especially surrender ______ (Here mention other areas of surrender as the Holy Spirit reveals them to you.)

Lord, I surrender my whole life to you, the past, the present, and the future. In sickness and in health, in life and in death, I belong to you. (Remain in the Lord in a spirit of silence through your thoughts, a heart song, or simply staying in His presence and listening for His voice.)