The Pruning

January 19, 2015

The Pruning

John 15:1-2
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

The true substance and character of a healthy and fruitful branch is not in the outward, but in the inward. The outward is the glory and the fruit of the inward, but it is not the substance of it.
Why does God want to prune us even when we are fruitful? It is so that we can bear more fruit. Our outward fruitfulness may be already abundant and good, but human nature is such that even when we are spiritually fruitful, pride and complacency can creep in. When God blesses our lives with much increase in whatever dimension that takes place, it isn’t long before that little voice starts saying, ‘look what I have done’. Pruning keeps us focused on the vine and the source of our substance and fruitfulness. It creates renewed dependence upon the vine and strips the glory from the self. It helps us to not just dwell and live upon past experiences, miracles and victories. It serves to stretch us and cause to grow when we would be complacent to remain as we are. Without pruning things tend to grow wild. There may be a lot of growth, but not as much fruit. Pruning then brings focus. It keeps our eyes upon the Spirit and not upon the flesh. It causes us to remember our source of life and fruit so that we boast in the Vine and not in ourselves.
Don’t despise the days of pruning. They are the loving hands of the Father at work in you, His children. Left to itself, a branch may produce leaves, but not fruit and eventually even the leaves will die. The branch then must be cut off and cast out. It becomes a detriment to the health of the vine. Thank God He loves us enough that He doesn’t want that to happen to us and so He cares for us in what often may seem to be severe ways. Those who know Him rest in the passage from Romans 8:28, “All things work together for the good of those who love Him and called according to His purpose.” Often we don’t understand the why and wherefore of all that takes place in our lives, but our eyes and our hearts must remain steadfastly upon the Vinedresser. He is working all things for His glory and our good. He will never maliciously harm that which He loves and cares for, but do what is necessary to bring it to its highest and best potential and productivity.
What hinders the process of the pruning and in turn our growth, is our self, our ego and stubbornness to pursue our own interest and do our own will. In addition to this we often get offended at God or others that God uses in the process of our pruning. If it doesn’t make sense to us, then it must not be fair or just. God sees the end of a thing and we tend to get hung up and focused on the process. This is why it is so important to have a vision that sees the high calling that we have in Christ Jesus and not let anything or any circumstance detour us from that vision and that goal. Our ability to run the race is in that One who has called us to it and not in ourselves. Our reliance must always remain on Him and not on us.
Just remember Hebrews 12:7-11, “If] you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” God is training His people up to produce something more than religious flesh. He is preparing a people with the substance and the nature of His Son. So don’t neglect to praise Him even when it hurts. He loves you and He is ever working for your good.

Blessings,
#kent

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Seedtime and Harvest

May 27, 2014

Seedtime and Harvest

Genesis 8:22
While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.

Mankind is not so different from the other elements of nature. We are born into the earth, we grow up into maturity and fruition, we give birth, raise children, grow old and pass on giving place to the proceeding generations. 1 Peter 1:23-25 states it this way, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” We know that our lives on earth are not much longer than a breath of God. He inhales, exhales and we have expired. Our flesh is but a short season, but it is a critical season to us. It is the time that we come to cognizance and understanding of life and its purpose and our purpose in the midst of it all. Do you ever remember wondering when you were outside of a relationship with God, what life meant to you and what its purpose was for you? Do you remember wondering, “Do I just live my life the way I want too or the best I can, then die and that’s it? Soon I would be forgotten and remembered no more. My life would have just been a little blip on the radar screen of time. Then, somewhere in our lives, we made an amazing discovery; we discovered the meaning of life when we discovered Christ and the gospel. When we accepted Him into our hearts, suddenly our lives had new meaning and purpose. We no longer had just this life and our earthly carnal existence. We discovered that we also had a soul that contained a spirit and Almighty God wanted to come and live in it. He gave the hope of an eternity, of a heaven and of a revelation that through faith in Christ we were now a part of His family and His household. Wow, who can really phantom that? More than just making us a part of His household, we are His Children and His purpose is to work in us His nature and character and being. Suddenly we came to the understanding that this outward man is just the haul of the seed that contains perpetual life and blessing. The true and everlasting life is contained in His Spirit and in His Word. These abide forever and we are to abide forever in them. This is the manna of heaven that gives place to eternal life; it is the eternal Word in us through Christ.
No longer are our lives insignificant little pebbles of sand. Through Christ in us we become a pebble tossed into the pond of life and humanity and we realize that a Christ filled and Spirit led life can create ripples from our little splash that can effect generations to come. In Christ, our lives can make a difference and they should make a difference to those with whom we communicate and come to know.
Are we living now in the eternity of God’s Word? Is the Spirit of God impacting the lives of others as we give place for it to live through us? You are bigger, greater and more important than you know, not because of you, but because of Him who lives in you. Have a relationship with Christ that will spill over into your human contacts and acquaintances. Allow your life to impact the world you live in. Send some ripples of life and blessing through the pond of humanity. Allow Christ to make a difference through you because in the few short years that you walk the earth you have an eternal purpose and destiny in God, be faithful to fulfill it.

Blessings,
#kent

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