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 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!

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.

Sanctified Through Jesus Christ

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 (WEB)
23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely.
May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 He who calls you is faithful, who will also do it.

Promise: I will sanctify you and keep you blameless until Jesus returns.

In today’s promise, we read that it is God Himself who has sanctified us through the free gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. He initiated the beginning of our life in Christ and He will keep us blameless until the day that Jesus returns.

I believe it is important for us to understand that it is God’s faithfulness that will bring the fulfillment of this promise, not our own self-effort. It is His faithfulness that we can rely on because of His goodness towards us.

He is the One who has called us to be in His Son. In Ephesians 1:3-6 we read of our Father’s eternal plan where He chose us to be in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. He chose us and by His grace and mercy, He will keep us.

We can rest in His goodness to sanctify us and keep us blameless until Jesus returns because He is a good Father who has our best interest at the very core of His heart. My prayer today is that each and every one of us would be comforted with this truth and live a life with the assurance that He will keep us blameless until the day when we see Jesus face to face.

For God So Loved The World

John 3:16 (WEB)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Promise: I have given you eternal life because you have believed in Jesus Christ.

John 3:16 is one of the most quoted, most loved Bible verses in the New Testament. This Scripture has been used by evangelists over the years to invite many people to come to Christ. The foundation of this much loved verse is and always will be, the love of the Father. For God (the Father) so loved the world…

It was the great love of our Heavenly Father that caused Him to give up His most treasured possession, the life of His Son, so that we too could share in Jesus’ eternal life. What a glorious promise! We were loved so much by God, that He gave up all that He loved in order to gain our love!

May we never take the wonder of John 3:16 for granted, but may we continue to revel in the amazing love our God and Father has for us every day in our lives. Thank you Father for loving us so much, that you sent your only begotten Son to the world in order to purchase our redemption!

Heavenly Silence

Why Isn’t God Speaking?

Job 34:29

The Bible speaks of times when God chose to be silent—to an individual or to humanity as a whole. David cried out to Him but discerned no answer (Psalm 22:2). Then there was Job, who must have felt the Lord had abandoned him. And during the gap between the Old and New Testaments, God had no prophet for 400 years.

We don’t always hear from the Lord when we expect to. Sometimes we’re so caught up in the world and our own interests that we simply can’t detect His voice over all the noise. There are also other reasons for His silence—He may be choosing to remain quiet because …

He wants our attention. We can’t expect God to answer simply because we’ve summoned Him. Perhaps He is reminding us that He is in charge.

There is unconfessed sin in our life. When we’re willing to deal with our sin, God is ready to talk to us. To continue living in sin, however, communicates that we’re not interested in His will for us.

We’re not ready. If we’re doing our own thing and are unwilling to walk in obedience, God might be waiting for us to make up our mind to follow Him.

He’s teaching us to trust Him. If we’re motivated to love God only when there’s indication that He’s listening, our relationship with Him is based on feeling rather than faith.

He’s teaching us to distinguish His voice from others. When God speaks softly, we listen more closely and eventually recognize His voice better.

Whatever the situation, we can be certain of one thing: God’s quietness is always for our good.

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.