Life as a Branch

What does a branch do? Not much. The roots, vine and leaves of a plant do most of the work. Without them, the branch will wither and die, and be pruned and thrown into the fire and burned up (Matthew 7:19).

 

Yet, securely connected to the vine, the branch will bear much fruit (Matthew 7:18). The vine is one long system with many branches flaring out from it. It uses rocks, other plants, trees or any viable support for growth.

 

The vine helps to fertilize the soil over which it spreads, holding in moisture needed by the branches to bear fruit. It colonizes and spreads quickly. When pruned, the branches bear even more fruit (John 15:4-8).

 

The vine always moves toward the light in order to position the leaves of the plant to access the most and best sunlight. The vine will even overcome walls, fences and ravines in order to spread. So like our spiritual walk.

 

Vines stabilize the plant on which they attach as a support, and also help to hold soil in place and to cover parts of the earth that would otherwise be bare, parched soil.

 

A stem is stationary and remains in one spot, but a vine spreads out and up and around. Jesus could have used the word “stem” instead of vine in illustrating our connection to Him.

 

However, His use of the word vine shows that He is interested in spreading His gospel as quickly and prolifically as possible. The roots of the vine also spread out in the soil, offering stability and nourishment for the whole vine and branches.

 

Roots act like tiny straws, sucking up water and minerals from the soil. The little hairs sticking out from the roots help in this absorption process too. Roots anchor the vine much like God’s Spirit anchors us in life.

 

Roots also store extra nutrients for later use, ensuring that the Vine and branches have the provision they need for healthy growth now and in the future.

 

The leaves on the branches join the roots in providing much needed food for the vine and branches. They use sunlight, water from the soil and carbon dioxide from the air in photosynthesis to make a sugary energy drink for the vine and branches.

 

Living apart from God’s presence, the nurturing of His Spirit and the Body of Christ, we cannot survive in this world (John 15:5). We would wither and die, be pruned and discarded.

 

Prayer:

Father God, thank You for providing Jesus as the support for our life as our Vine. We are amazed at how You piece together the Body, the Spirit and Your presence to make us healthy, and a viable conduit of Your life in order for us to bear fruit for Your Kingdom.

 

Remind us that we are useless without You, Your Spirit and Your Body, because we could not bear fruit. We rely on You for everything we need for life and godliness (2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Peter 1:3). Use our fruit to feed the multitudes who come to gather in Your presence.

 

Thought for the Day

The symbolism which Jesus used of the Vine and branches is such a perfect picture of the Christian life; the fellowship, comradery, spiritual nourishment and support provided to us by Jesus, His Spirit and His Body is invaluable to our personal growth in Christ.

 

 

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I do not Feel God’s Presence – Other Reasons

I do not Feel God’s Presence – Other Reasons

If you have someone in your life that you have not forgiven, if you are bitter about something or if you are angry with God for some reason, that will keep you from feeling His presence in your life.

Sometimes people, places, things or even animals take the place of God in our heart. We form an unholy physical tie and/or “soul” tie with them, which hinders our spiritual growth (The soul is our mind, will and emotions).

Every part of our self, which we hold back from God, is controlling our life. We have to give Him ALL of us. It is not a mental decision, but a total commitment to live our life God’s way, rather than our own way.

We dishonor our self and our family and the family of God when we continue to live in sin (Ephesians 5:1-7, Hebrews 10:26-31, Romans 6:1-4). A true Believer will never live a sinful lifestyle.

With each sin we commit, we are hammering the nails back into Jesus’ hands, shoving that crown of thorns back on His head, sticking the sword in His side again and hanging Him on the cross to die in public shame once again (Hebrews 6:6).

Those who are truly Born Again might fall into sin once, or even twice, but then our heart breaks and we run from this disobedience, because we realize that we are breaking God’s heart with every sin (John 5:18-21; 1 John 2:3-6, James 1:12-16, 1 John 3:7-10).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that going to church, serving in a ministry, praying to You, getting baptized or even tithing our income are useless activities, if we are not Born Again. We are just doing good works, and that does not get anyone into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 6:12-14, 7:13: Matthew 5:27-30).

We must be Born Again by Your Spirit and walk in Your will and Your ways (John 3:1-21). Draw us ever closer to Your heart, humble our pride and rebellion, help us to forgive our self and others, and strengthen our inner being so that by Your Spirit we can make a true commitment, which leads to salvation (Romans 10:10)

Remind us to live our life one day at a time. When Your Spirit prompts us to stop some behavior, or to start doing something else, help us to obey (Philippians 2:12-13). We have confidence that we will slowly grow in Your grace and come closer each day to sensing Your presence.

Thought for the Day:
Look for God’s little hugs throughout the day – a coincidence, a flower growing through a crack in the sidewalk, the numbers on the clock, a bird’s song, snuggles from your pet, an unexpected phone call or card in the mail, even the smile of a stranger. God will hug you with something that will make you feel special and loved, so watch for it.