We Can Do All Things

When we quote the first half of Philippians 4:13, we usually put the emphasis on our self. We can do all things. We stop there, feeling rather smug with our self and overly confident in our own ability to accomplish great works for God.

We need to quote the verse in its entirety: “I can do everything, which God asks me to do, through the power of Christ in me, who gives me the ability and the strength.”

This verse is actually telling us that apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). He is the vine, we are the branches. Apart from the vine, the branch is useless and dies.

A branch bears no fruit apart from the Vine. The Vine gives us the ability and strength to produce only that fruit, which the Vinedresser predispositions us to bear (John 15:1).

God’s perfect plan, orchestrated for each life, yields a beautiful symphony. We do not do works for God, but the works of God, which He called us to do before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:20).

This way we cannot take any credit for our accomplishments nor should we feel as if we are incapable of obeying the Holy Spirit’s direction. Christ is within every authentic Believer, every step of our life (Matthew 28:20).

God’s Spirit directs and supports us in each situation, which life throws our way (Isaiah 41:10; Daniel 3:24-25). We gain our esteem and power from Christ in us (Colossians 1:27).

Prayer:
Father God, we find rest for our soul – our mind, choices and emotions, when we realize that we no longer need to figure everything out and to plan for ever contingency. We rest in the realization that Jesus is our way, truth and life (John 14:6).

As we know You in a deeper relationship, Christ is also our wisdom and strength (Philippians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:30). We completely surrender to You and Your direction of our thoughts, words and deeds according to Your perfect will for us (Romans 12:2).

Thought for the Day:
Nothing will occur in our life, which is not already part of God’s plan for us, unless we are reaping the consequences of our disobedience or self-will.

Abiding Fruit – Part 2

As God’s Spirit conforms us to the image of Christ, we abide in His abundant love forever. We keep His commandments and love our friends, relatives, associates and neighbors with the love of the Lord (Matthew 22:37-39; John 15:10).

The Vine existed long before the branches ever grew, and He sacrificially shares His love and life with us (1 John 4:19). We choose to fully commit to our relationship with the Vine (John 15:16).

Separated from the Vine, we can do nothing (John 15:5). We display the fruit of the flesh, which is envy, strife, hatred, self-centeredness, criticism, worry, depression, pride, bitterness, complaining, quitting, backbiting, loving our self more than others, loving money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to our parents, ungrateful, unholy, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; inventing ways of doing evil; disobeying our parents; and as adults, we put work and fun ahead of God (2 Timothy 3:2; Romans 1:30).

Abiding in the Vine gradually renews our heart and replaces these negative issues with the fruit of God’s Spirit, which we bear through our obedience to Him. This is the evidence of our union with the Vine (John 15:13).

We rest in His grace and renew our strength as we wait on Him (Isaiah 40:31). His Spirit directs us each moment of the day (John 16:13). We increase God’s Kingdom by our obedience to Him and His Word (Mark 4:26).

God’s fruit in our life is proof of our faith in God (James 2:14-26). We abide in Him, but He also abides in us, completing the sanctifying work of holiness, which He started in us at salvation (Philippians 1:6, 2:12-13).

Prayer:
Father God, let us never break our connection with Your Vine. The life we receive through Your presence in our spirit is not paralleled by anything this world has to offer.

Help us to exhibit affection for others, an exuberance about life, serenity through the storms, determination and patience, a compassionate heart, and kindness that pervades our entire being (Galatians 5:22-23).

We trust that You have this world in Your control and have a perfect timetable for its culmination and the renewal of all things. Remind us to live humbly in service to You and others, and continually guide us by Your Spirit.

Thought for the Day:
Our God, who called us, is faithful to us and will fulfill us and care for us until we abide with Him in eternity. – 1 Thessalonians 5:24

Abiding Fruit – Part 1

Vineyards are a way of life in many countries around the world. A vine and branch are a common symbols of the intimacy of our relationship with our Lord, Jesus Christ (Isaiah 5:1-7, 27:2-6).

No branch can bear fruit unless it is connected to the Vine, with the nutrients from the roots and leaves flowing into each branch through the Vine (John 15:4).

The only way to bear fruit for God’s Kingdom is by abiding in the Vine. In Christ, we bear much fruit (John 15:5). He puts us in the right place, at the right time, with the right people to impact lives.

God’s abiding fruit gives us a new personality, prunes the decaying negative characteristics from our life, and nurtures the positive aspects, which He birthed in us.

He replaces hatred with 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).

The branch has no responsibility but to allow the life of the Vine to produce fruit through it. The branch is securely attached to the Vine, an integral part of the makeup of the Vine.

To abide in the Vine means to be so unified with the Vine that there is no difference 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).

Prayer:
Father God, remind us that the Vine and branch are one entity, created for the purpose of bearing fruit to sustain a famished world dwelling all around us. Without this union, the branch dies and is pruned, discarded and burned in the fire.

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).

Thought for the Day:
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 bear even more fruit. – John 15:6

Free from the Ravages of Sin

Jesus delivers us from our sinful nature, which formerly served sin; and He gives us a mind, which is now a slave to God’s nature, principles, wisdom and Kingdom (Romans 7:25).

We are free from the law of sin and death, by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2). We daily live as a witness to others of the love and nurture of the eternal Godhead living within us (Romans 8:4).

Sin no longer has power over us, because of God’s grace ruling in our heart (Romans 6:14). As slaves of God, we are set free from the slavery to sin, in order to reap the blessings of holiness and eternal life (Romans 6:22).

God’s Spirit, who raised Christ from the dead, now lives within our body, and give us His life (Romans 8:11). We belong to Christ, who raised us from the dead, and now we bear fruit for God’s Kingdom (Colossians 3:3; Romans 7:4).

Christ lives in us, and we are united with Him, just as He is one with our Father (John 14:20; Colossians 1:27). We are joined to and united with God’s Spirit in the intimacy of a branch with a vine (1 Corinthians 6:17; John 15:4-5).

The Trinity’s divine power enables us to excel in our vocation, ministry, calling and family through God’s divine Spirit within us (Colossians 1:27). We also pray by the direction of God’s Spirit and petition Him for the needs of all of His Saints (Ephesians 6:18).

God’s Spirit will endow us with the courage to boldly share the gospel with everyone we meet. Not in a preachy or condemning manner, but in the spirit of love and peace with the words He gives us (Ephesians 6:19).

Prayer:
Father God, help us to actually see the reality of the fact that we do not need to sin; because the law of the spirit of life in Christ sets us free from the law of the spirit of sin and death (Romans 8:2). When Christ sets us free, we are truly free in every area of our life (John 8:36).

You teach us in Your Word that if we live by the dictates of our flesh, and give in to Satan’s temptations, we will surely die in our sin. Yet, if we live by Your Spirit, He enables us to resist temptation, and we will live in Your Kingdom as co-heirs with Christ forever (Romans 8:13; Galatians 5:15-25).

Thought for the Day:
Since the Son of God set us free, we are absolutely free to live in holiness – John 8:36; Romans 6:18

All Things Through Christ IN Us

When we quote the first half of Philippians 4:13, we put the emphasis on our self. WE can do all things. We stop there, feeling rather smug with our self and overly confident in our own ability to accomplish great works for God.

Let us quote the verse in its entirety: “I can do everything, which God asks me to do, through the power of Christ in me, who gives me the ability and the strength to obey.”

This verse is actually telling us that apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). He is the Vine, and we are the branches. Apart from the vine, the branch is useless and dies.

A branch bears no fruit apart from the vine. The Vine gives us the ability and strength to produce only that fruit, which the Vinedresser created us to bear (John 15:1).

We do not do works for God, but the works of God, which He called us to do before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10). His perfect plan, orchestrated for each life, yields a beautiful symphony.

This way we cannot either take any credit for our accomplishments or feel as if we are incapable of acting on the Holy Spirit’s direction. We gain our direction from Christ in us (Ephesians 2:8-9; Colossians 1:27).

Christ abides within us from the instant of our salvation and throughout our lifetime (Matthew 28:20). God’s Spirit directs and supports us in each situation, which He allows to come our way (Isaiah 41:10; Daniel 3:24-25).

Nothing will occur in our life, which is not part of God’s plan for us, unless we are reaping the consequences of our disobedience or self-will. Since Christ dwells within us, we can do everything, which God calls us to do.

Prayer:
Father God, we find rest for our soul – our mind, choices and emotions, when we realize that we no longer need to figure everything out and to plan for every

contingency. We rest in the realization that Jesus is our way, truth and life (John 14:6).

As we come to know You in a deeper relationship, we rely on Christ as our wisdom and strength (Philippians 3:20; 1 Corinthians 1:30). We completely surrender to You, as You direct our thoughts, words and deeds according to Your perfect will for us (Romans 12:2).

Thought for the Day:
God calls us to live beyond human reason, as we receive His divine revelation for each moment of our day.

Our Union Life with Christ

John explains our union life with Christ as a branch on a vine. We cannot live a fruitful life without our intimate connection with Him. God is the vine dresser and He prunes us to make us even more fruitful (John 15:1-8).

Jesus prayed for our union with Him through His Body. He wanted those who believe on Him to live in unity with one another and with Him, just as He is in God, and God is in Him (John 17:20-24).

We enjoy the glorious union with Christ; and He calls us to live in unity with one another (John 17:25-26). This will only occur as we lay down our life for one another. This union life is a witness to the dying world around us that there is reality in our faith and practice.

God already crucified us with Christ, so that we no longer need to live by struggling in this life. We live a fulfilled life in Christ. We live by the faith of Christ, God’s Son, who loved us enough to give His own life in ransom for us (Galatians 2:20).

God calls us to walk in the Spirit and do the works He ordained for us to perform before we were ever born (Ephesians 2:10; Galatians 5:15-17). This takes all the guesswork out of life. We simply wait on God to reveal to us His divine purpose for each moment of our day.

Prayer:
Father God, You gave us Your Holy Spirit to dwell in our body, which is His Temple. Therefore, it is only right that we glorify You with our body and soul – our thoughts, choices and emotions (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Remind us to obey Your Spirit’s direction through each moment of our day. Give us a true revelation of our union with Christ.

Thought for the Day:
Our union with Christ is a great mystery, but a reality nonetheless.

God’s Presence in Trials

God’s goal, through His Spirit, is to sever our connection to the vine of the flesh, the world and the devil, and to graft us into the Vine of Christ. He does this through the process of salvation. Then God’s Spirit continues to convict us of our sins, as well as to give us the desire and the power to relinquish it (Philippians 2:12-13).

Our Savior dwells within us, and cannot associate with fleshly pursuits. He provides trials to insure that no flesh glories in His presence, but that He receives all of the glory due to His name (Psalm 29:2). God never uses trials for punishment, but He will use them to discipline us for our protection. God only withdraws His presence from us when we sin.

God also allows failure in our ministry or personal life to humble us into realizing that we do not live life according to our will, but according to His will. God may even allow our body to fail in some area, as a testimony that prayer is the only reason we are still living. In fact, God may chose not to heal us on earth, but to take us Home with Him in Heaven.

We do not need to live in fear and desperation; but simply to live in intimate fellowship with our Jesus, who abides within us. We get lost in His presence and affection. He fills us with His Spirit and thrills our soul with His blessings. There is no relationship on earth equal to this, because He knows us from the inside out.

We do not name and claim the victory, but we cooperate, as Christ in us works out our deliverance and sanctification (Psalm 18:6). Even our negative circumstances, when they are in the will of God for us, work out for our good (Romans 8:28). God will use trials to draw us back to Himself and to prove His love for us (2 Chronicles 15:4).

Prayer:
Father God, the Rock of Ages is our foundation, which no person or demon can ever shake. You allow us to be tested beyond our strength; often pressed out of the area of our expertise and abilities; but not beyond Yours. You do this so that we will learn not to trust in our self. Give us Your grace, as You use trials to prove us. Remind us to take You at Your Word and to believe in Your promise of ultimate victory.

Thought for the Day:
God purifies our life through fire, proves our faith as genuine when we go through various trials and suffering, and He will present our faith at the return of Christ to the earth. – 1 Peter 1:7

The Family of God

God, our righteous Husbandman, grafts each of us as a branch into the vine of Christ (John 15:1, 5). He teaches us to balance our life. He reminds us to set apart time to worship Him, to fellowship with His Saints, to play with our family and friends and to help other people in their times of need. God gives us wisdom during our workweek, and shows us how to improve both the process and progress of our day.

God’s Spirit guides us supernaturally. He gives us power, as Christ’s Body on the earth, to perform greater works than Jesus did (John 14:12). We live for Christ, and He lives in and through us. We no longer strive, because we enter into His rest (Hebrews 4:10). We enjoy the transformed life with the nature of Christ in us. We do not rely on human effort and legalistic performances for salvation, but on Christ’s righteousness in us.

We are a fellowship of like-mind, authentic, Born Again Believers, and a Body with a common goal. We commit to prefer, honor, love, accept, agree with, serve, bear with, submit to, forgive, admonish, encourage, build up and fellowship with one another. We are humble, sympathetic, compassionate, hospitable, and devoted to each other (2 Corinthians 5:21; John 13:34-35; Romans 12:10, 15:7; 1 Corinthians 1:10; Galatians 5:13; Ephesians 4:2, 5:21; Colossians 3:13, 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 10:25; 1 Peter 3:8, 4:9).

God gives us the discipline of forgiveness to keep our relationships in right standing with Him and one another. We face the wounds and feel the grief deeply in our heart. Then we choose not to allow the offender to live rent free in our heart. If we do not forgive, He cannot forgive us (Matthew 6:14). We do not let him/her off the hook, but we put them in God’s capable hands to mete our His revenge on them (Romans 12:19).

Prayer:
Father God, You amaze us in Your goodness to us. You think of everything we need; sometimes even before we realize we need it (Isaiah 65:24)! We are so grateful to You for making us fellow citizens in Your Kingdom. We are no longer outsiders and aliens in this world, because You made all of us members of Your own household (Ephesians 2:19). Your Word helps us to make sense of this world. We look forward to living with You in the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21:1).

Thought for the Day:
Behold how good and pleasant it is for the family of God to dwell together in unity. – Psalm 133:1

In Constant Union with Christ

Here is a fun exercise for you. Whenever you remove produce from your grocery bag or eat the fruit from a vine, remember that you too are a branch on the Vine, producing similar fruit for God’s Kingdom. Let it remind you that we are as dependent on the Vine as the vegetable or fruit was, which you are preparing to eat.

God grafts us into the Vine of Christ when we humble our self and admit that we need Jesus as our Savior. We are reciprients of the work of Christ on Calvary’s cross. He is our Vine, and we are His branches. A vine takes the nutrients from the soil and sends them to the branches. Our Vine separates the nutrients from the compost of life and sends it directly to our spirit.

The branch does not walk off by itself, but is absolutely dependent on the Vine. All Born Again Believers have this same constant union with our Vine. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39). The sap never, ever stops flowing into the branch. It provides everything we need for every moment of our life. This is the secret of our true success.

Branches participate in this process too. We have the leaves, which take time to bask in the Son and collect the nutrients from His presence. We reflect His beauty and holiness to the world around us. If the branch gets the idea it does not need the Vine, it will wither and die. The Holy Spirit uses the fruit of the Vine, which grows in our life, to benefit those who need the life of Christ within us.

Prayer:
Father God, You are our Vinedresser. You protect us from disease, insect invaders and scorching trials, which Satan sends into our life. You provide the suppliments we need to grow into vibrant branches on the Vine of Your Son. You make us fruitful (Galatians 5:22-23) in order to bless those You bring our way. Send people to pick the fruit You produce in our life and remind us to generously share Your work in our life with them.

Thought for the Day:
We abide in the Vine in total dependence. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. – John 15:5

Accepted in the Beloved

Once we surrender our pride and rebellion to God, and trust in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we are accepted as His beloved Saints (Ephesians 4:12). We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), united in Spirit as one Body with Christ (1 Corinthians 6:17, 12:27). Complete in Christ, we have need of nothing (Colossians 2:9-10; Philippians 4:13). God adopted us into His family, and accepts us as His dearly loved children (Ephesians 1:3-8; John 1:12).

Jesus bought us with His blood and our life now belongs to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Redeemed from the law of sin and death, we are forgiven all of our sins (Colossians 1:13-14). We are hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3), having direct access to God’s throne in any time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16). God welcomes us in His beloved family (Ephesians 1:6). Jesus is both our brother and our friend (John 15:15; Proverbs 18:24).

God anoints us to work in His service during our lifetime, seals us with His Spirit and establishes our place in heaven (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 2:20). We no longer live a lifestyle of willful sin and deprivation because Jesus lives within us (1 John 3:9). Jesus justified us by His death and renewed us by His resurrection (Romans 5:1; Titus 3:5). We are the apple of God’s eye (Zechariah 2:8).

God gives us power, love and a sound mind to dispel any fear, which Satan tried to inflict on us (2 Timothy 1:7). Now, as we walk in the Spirit, we no longer fulfill the lusts of our dead, carnal flesh (Galatians 5:16,25). God’s Spirit replaces our former unregenerate nature with God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). We are secure in Christ’s love for us, and seated with Jesus in the Heavenly realm, even now (Ephesians 2:6).

Prayer:
Father God, You chose us as branches on the true vine of Christ. We bear the fruit given to us by our connection to You (John 15:5,16). We are also your temple, and You abide in the spirit of each authentic Believer (1 Corinthians 3:16). You raised us up to minister Your reconciliation to the lost and dying world around us (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). We can confidently approach Your throne day or night for any need we may have (Ephesians 3:12). Thank You for Your timeless love and grace.

Thought for the Day:
We are God’s Workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do the works He preordained for us to accomplish. – Ephesians 2:10