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.

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!”.

Doing The Good Works Destined For You

 

Philippians 1:6 (WEB)
being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you
will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Promise: I began the good work in you and I will finish it.

Before the foundation of the world, God set a plan in motion. He saw you and He saw me and He made provision through His Son, Jesus Christ for us to be born into His family. (Ephesians 1:3-6) It was because of His great love for us that He devised a plan for us to be able to do the good works that He prepared for us to do even before the world was created. (Ephesians 2:10)

It has always been His work, not ours. It is God’s heart, God’s vision, and God’s power that will bring about all that He has planned and purposed in our lives. That is why the Apostle Paul encourages the Philippians in today’s promise to be confident in knowing that the One who began a good work in them would perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

The NIV Bible says that God… will carry it on to completion, the NLT Bible says that God …will continue his work until it is finally finished. Whatever translation you prefer, be encouraged in knowing that God has committed His whole heart to you finishing your race. He started the good work in you and He will finish it on the day that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ returns to bring us home.

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!

 

Faith In God

Hebrews 11:6 (WEB)
Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to him,
for he who comes to God must believe that he exists,
and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.

Promise: I will reward those who diligently seek Me with a heart of faith.

The very foundation of our relationship to God is our faith in Him. If we don’t believe that He exists, it will be difficult for us to cultivate a living, loving relationship with Him. Our very salvation comes through our faith as Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8-9… 8 for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, that no one would boast. (WEB)

God loves it when we choose to have faith in Him despite what our outward circumstances might be saying. In Hebrews 11, we read many accounts of the heros of faith who believed God against all odds. My encouragement to you today is to declare God’s goodness and His love over your life whether you feel like it or not. Our feelings are not always accurate. They can deceive us at times.

So stand firm today my friend. Choose to believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. Your faith and trust will move the heart of our God and Father like nothing else.