Branches on the Vine

Selective Focus Photography of Yellow Rose Flower

A deeper understanding of the truth that we are branches on the Vine will set us free. What does a branch do? Nothing…It simply hangs out with the Vine. It bears the fruit sent to it by the Vine, and the branch stays healthy by remaining continually connected to Vine.

 

A branch may get beaten up by the storms of life, pecked by birds and drilled by bugs, but it continues to receive all of the life-giving nutrients and the constant support from the Vine. It blossoms with this vital life flowing through it.

 

As long as we remain in Christ, we are eternally secure. We did nothing to earn our place on the Vine, and we can do nothing to remove our self from the Vine. Our union with Him is our most prized possession.

 

The Vine Dresser will prune us in order to allow us to bear more fruit (John 15:11). This discipline is painful in the moment, but the wisdom that we learn brings us fulfillment for the rest of our life (Hebrews 12:11).

 

Even when we discover a flaw in our thoughts, words or deeds, we do not need to obsess over it. We simply repent of it, and trust God’s Spirit to perfect that area in us. God’s grace is always sufficient for us.

 

It is by believing in our heart that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead, by praying without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17-19), and by declaring our faith in Him to anyone who will listen, that we find our true joy in salvation and our intimate union with God (Romans 1:17, 10:9-10).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your grace is sufficient to see us through every trial and shortcoming in our day. You fill-in our cracks, bolster our weaknesses, perfect our deficiencies, and redeem us for eternity. We need You every moment of our day and night, and we trust in Your faithfulness to walk with us and in us all the moments of our life.

 

You are all we ever need to bring us peace, joy and fulfillment in this life. In our hopelessness, You give us Your power; in our discouragement, You give us Your truth; in our lack, Your provide for our needs; in our confusion, You give us direction. You are our all sufficiency (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 

Thought for the Day:

God did not create us, pat us on the head and send us out into the world alone; instead, He gave us the Bible for encouragement, hope and direction; He gives us His Spirit to sanctify and perfect us; and He gives us His love every moment of every day.

 

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Godly Health – Minimizing Stress

 

 

Surrendering to God’s plans for us prevents stress that causes future illness in our bodily organs, our judgment, our memory, our emotions and our relationships. We simply eliminate one issue at a time, until the peace of God rules in our heart.

Knowing the Difference

Bokeh Photography of Yellow Flower

There is a difference between knowing about, believing in, and abiding in Christ. Most of humanity know about Jesus, what He did, and who He was. They usually call Him a great man, love personified, or a prophet.

 

Many people believe in Jesus and that He is God’s Son, but they see no relevance between Him and their own life. Some of these join the church as a social club where they can serve their community and make friends.

 

However, even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19). We may even give God a few minutes every day as we read a devotion, meditate on a verse, or read a few paragraphs in God’s Word. Yet, we do not totally surrender to Him and do His will for us (Ephesians 2:10).

 

The road to intimacy with God is narrow, and very few find it (Matthew 7:13-14). We get convicted of our sins and pray a prayer, but we were never converted. The Holy Spirit never moved in to sanctify us (Romans 8:9).

 

Some of us are authentic Believers, and we want more of God in our life; but we do not understand the reality of the fact that, at Salvation, we already received all of God’s Trinity. They live within us, but we usually ignore them or discount their conviction and direction.

 

Busyness and codependency prevent our communication with the Trinity. We over-schedule our calendar, volunteer for too many projects, and forget to seek God’s will for each moment of our day and night. This is a secondary issue, however.

 

What we actually want is more intimacy with God. A closer walk such as Elijah and Enoch experienced. Then we live a life of fewer trials, and more supernatural blessings, which include consistent Martha Moments in which to serve Him and amazing Mary Miracles in which to praise Him (Luke 10:38-42).

 

Prayer:

Father God, You gave us negative emotions as red flags to signify that we are out of Your will for our life. We have some area where we are not caring for our self, for Your Kingdom or living in Your plans for us (Ephesians 2:10). In the center of Your will, Your peace, which transcends all human understanding, fills our heart and mind through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

 

Focusing on Your love and promises for us will calm our soul, replace worry with faith in Your faithfulness, and enable us to look for the seed for a miracle, which You plant in every trial (Isaiah 30:18). We long for more intimacy with You, and trust You to teach us how to walk in obedience to You and to continually abide in Your presence.

 

Thought for the Day:

Intimacy with God is an all-consuming state of existence: We pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17-19), we wait on the Lord’s timing and direction (Isaiah 40:31; Romans 8:25; Psalm 27:14), and we live, move and have our being in Christ alone (Acts 17:28).

 

 

Christ’s Sacrifice for Us

Forest

 

The Trinity of God is three persons in one God, and they live in union within every authentic Christian (1 Corinthians 6:17). By His Spirit, Creator God revealed Himself in Christ, who is the Word of God, (John 1:1, 14). These three are one God (Deuteronomy 6:40; Mark 12:29).

 

The Apostle Paul understood this union, when he stated that there is one God, the Father, from Whom, over Whom and through and in Whom are all things (1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 2:5). Collectively, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the great I AM (Exodus 3:14).
Jesus explained His part in the Godhead as: “I AM the way, truth and life (John 4:6); the Messiah (John 4:26); the bread of life (John 6:35, 48); the light of the world (John 8:12); alive before Abraham was born (John 8:58); and the resurrection and life” (John 11:25).

 

Jesus claimed His unity with the Father (John 10:30). He is in the Father, and the Father is in Him (John 14:10-11). John understood this when he declared the united relationship among the Trinity (1 John 4:8, 16).

 

Jesus was with God from the beginning (John 1:1, 14; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 1:2; Romans 8:3; Hebrews 2:14; Luke 24:39). Then, He took on human flesh as the son of man (Acts 2:22; Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:21; 1 Timothy 2:5). His divinity and humanity made Him the perfect sacrificial lamb for us all.

 

Our Savior experienced human development (Luke 2:40, 46, 51), senses (Matthew 4:2; John 4:6; 11:34; 19:28), emotions (Matthew 9:36, 26:37-40; John 11:35; 12:27), vulnerability to temptation (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-3; Hebrews 2:18, 4:15, 5:7), earthly struggles and disappointment, as well as mortality (John 19:30; Philippians 2:8); so that we can live with God for eternity.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for sending Your only begotten Son in order to redeem back to Yourself, those in the world who would believe in the Gospel of Christ (John 3:1-17). We are eternally grateful that Jesus emptied Himself of His heavenly glory to take on this human existence for our sake (Philippians 2:5-8).

 

We are so delighted that He descended from Heaven (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38; Romans 1:3), was born of a virgin (Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:7; Galatians 4:4), and grew in wisdom and in favor with You and with man (Luke 2:52). Now, Your Spirit bears witness in our spirit that the divine Trinity abides within the spirit of every authentic Believer (Romans 8:16).

 

Thought for the Day:

God sent Christ – as one man, one Lord, and one mediator between us and God – to draw us into union with His Trinity; and He created each of us in His own image as a trinity comprised of spirit, soul, and body.

– Romans 5:5; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:5; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:23

 

It’s Our Choice

Gray Rock Mountain

God gives us all of His blessings; even so, we often turn from them and from Him. We choose to live life through our own effort, so that we will gain the power and praise. We refuse to submit to the Spirit’s direction.

 

We choose to live our own way, and to compromise with the flesh, the world and the devil. This ruins our testimony to the world and diminishes our union with our Heavenly Father.

 

God encourages us to hold fast to His promises, to acquire His blessings, and to allow His Spirit to incorporate His fruit and gifts into our life. God beckons us to come to Him to find rest for our soul – our mind, will and emotions (Matthew 11:28-29).

 

He calls us to take up His yoke, so that He may bear the weight of our load. A yoke is not a torturous or restraining device, but an enabling tool – as long as we yield to God’s will each moment of the day.

 

Abiding is one of the most beautiful words in the English language! It includes the concept of union, oneness, fullness, belonging, permanence, prevailing, resting and being made complete.

 

Our abiding life in Christ conjures up visions of sipping hot chocolate on a cold day, sitting on a porch in the spring to watch a stream roll by, luxuriating in a huge feather bed, floating on still waters, lying down in a field of flowers, having no lack in perfect comfort, etc.

 

Abiding in Christ actually does supply us with this combination of safety and provision, as well as a restored soul. His goodness and mercy pursue us all the days of our life (Psalm 23). In the heart of God we find safety, victory, peace, rest, unconditional love, acceptance and encouragement.

 

Prayer:

Father God, the longer we walk with You, the deeper we abide in Your rest. We feel complete in You, and experience Your intimate fellowship and enduring fulfillment. We have no hidden agendas or ulterior motives. We seek to please You and to further Your kingdom with our every thought, word and action.

 

We live in perfect rest as we relinquish our self to You. We choose to entirely surrender our life to Your management and care, Christ reigns supreme in every area of our life (Colossians 3:3-4). We live in undivided commitment to You with our whole spirit, soul and body. We simply rest in Your love, and abide in Your presence continually (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Thought for the Day:

Abiding happens gradually as we surrender more and more of our carnality to Christ’s divinity within us; abiding under the shadow of His wings (Psalm 91:1) allows us to experience complete peace and joy, which defies description and goes beyond our human understanding and reasoning.

 

Abiding in the Vine

Pink Rose

Vineyards are a way of life in many countries around the world. Jesus used a vine and branch as a symbol of the intimacy in our relationship with Him (Isaiah 5:1-7, 27:2-6). Nutrients from the roots flow into each branch through the Vine.

 

Along with the photosynthesis in the leaves from the sun, this sap helps the fruit to flourish on the branches. The branch is securely attached to the Vine, an integral part of the makeup of the Vine, and we bear fruit for God’s Kingdom by abiding in Christ, our Vine.

 

The branch has no responsibility, but to allow the life of the Vine to produce fruit through it. This connection gives us a new, Godly personality and abundant spiritual fruit as He prunes the decaying negative characteristics from our life, and nurtures the positive aspects, which He births in us.

 

He replaces our hatred with His love, discontentment with peace, irritation with patience, criticism with gentleness, backbiting with goodness, worry with faith, pride with meekness, and depression with true joy as He controls and guides us by His Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Believers thrive in body, soul and spirit when we bask in the Son’s Light. We also draw nourishment from our rooted connection in Christ (John 15:4). God plants us in the right place, at the right time, with the right people in order to impact lives for His Kingdom.

 

If a branch is torn from the Vine by the storms of life, it no longer bears fruit, and it withers and is thrown into the fire to be burned; yet, if we weather the storms of life by clinging to the Vine, we remain in the Vine and we bear even more fruit (John 15:5-6).

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to enter into Your rest and to patiently hang out with the Vine, enjoying the cooling winds of the Spirit and the warming rays of Your Son. Encourage us to continue in Christ throughout our lifetime (Hebrews 4:10), and to never worry about the storms of life, which assail us.

 

Your Word cautions us that without this union, we will die, get pruned, discarded and burned in the eternal fires of hell (John 3:18). Remind us that the Vine and branch are one entity, created for the purpose of bearing fruit to sustain the famished world dwelling all around us. Use us to bring many people into this nourishing relationship with You.

 

Thought for the Day:

To abide in the Vine means to be so unified with the Vine that there is no separation between the two; we flow out of the Vine, reaching up to God’s life-giving Son and basking in the refreshing later rains.

– John 15:2; Joel 2:23

 

True Equalibrium in Life

Red Dahlia Flower

 

We relate to our physical world with our five senses. Also, our soul – including our emotions, instinct and intellect – requires times of leisure and recreation in order to maximize its effectiveness.

 

If our soul does not prosper, our body and spirit will suffer also (3 John 1:2). Yet, primarily focusing on fleshly, carnal aspects of life – even positive things such as our vocation, ministries, family and hobbies – causes us to lose our perspective.

 

The type of recreation and the amount of time and money we put into these activities determine whether or not we are catering to the flesh. Yet, if we focus on religious aspects of life, we may grow self-righteous and judgmental.

 

As we focus on God’s will for each moment of our day, He will bring us into balance. We interact in the spiritual world through our spirit, which is Born Again at the moment of salvation. God desires that we carry our spirituality into every detail of our daily life (Colossians 3:17).

 

God works out His perfection in us, and He will lead us to live a healthy life in body, soul and spirit. He provides for all of our needs according to His glorious riches, and He even gives us comfort so that He can comfort others through us (2 Corinthians 1:4).

 

We can only develop true equilibrium in life when we obey the direction of the Spirit of God for each moment of our day. Not a legalistic, petty structure of religious works, but a fluid stream of God’s gifts and character flowing through us into the world around us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You gave each of us gifts and talents (Romans 12:6; 1 Timothy 6:17); not for us to use them for our self, but so that You can use them for your glory through us. We do all things through the strength and energy You supply for us.

 

In this way, we cannot take any credit, but we will give you all of the glory and power forever and ever (Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 4:10-11). Remind us that we are only consumed by our human nature if we refuse to allow You to reveal Christ in us according to Your good pleasure (Ephesians 1:9).

 

Thought for the Day:

If we trust in our own abilities and resources, we will fail; but as we step aside and allow God to bless others through us, we will prosper as well. – Proverbs 11:28