My memory verse this week:
"I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me - just as the Father knows me and I know the Father - I lay down my life for the sheep." -- John 10:14-15
NTC Day 53 John 15-16 and 1Peter 1-2
Most days, I read my daily Bible readings and just start typing...I don't know what I am going to say until I say it. This makes me feel like God is leading my words, because I know I don't have the insight to say the things I say without his help! Today, I read my readings, and I went to type, but I had no clear direction as to what to say...my mind was blank and my fingers were still. I took a break, closed my eyes for a moment and tried to clear my mind. "Speak Lord, your servant is listening." I think I dozed off for a few minutes, and when I woke, I still didn't have clear thoughts about what I would write, but I knew it would come to me. I started typing.
John 15 is the "vine and branches" chapter that I have loved for many years. Today, it reminded me that if I don't stay tied to the vine (Jesus), I don't allow the gardener (God) to take care of me...water, feed, and yes, prune me, so that I can grow. I am a branch of a powerful vine, but I get my life-giving nourishment from that vine. There's a lot of love coming from that vine!
The problem is, there are many in the world who don't understand the gift of the vine and don't want it and its branches to grow and flourish. There are many troubles in this world...there is no question, the branches have to fight to stay alive in this world. When weeds creep in to choke us...when someone comes in with a hoe to chop us from the vine, we think it's hopeless and we can't survive. Why even try? The world is too powerful! But we forget...our gardener is God! He is more powerful than any weed or hoe! He makes the vine strong as well. It's roots are deep in the soil of this world and can't be uprooted or killed!
We who are its branches must realize where our nourishment comes from and stay close to the vine. The gardener wants a healthy plant with much fruit! If there is good fruit, there will be more branches, making the whole plant stronger. We have the ability to help the plant to grow...we just need to stay close to the vine, follow its lead, and we will grow and produce a lot of good fruit!
I am not a branch on a grape vine, but I know I am drawn to stay close to Jesus. I have experienced growing stronger and being led through bad times and good times by the words of Jesus. I have experienced having my spirit renewed and filled by God, through his word and through the people he has placed in my life. I may not understand how, but I have experienced it!
The vine and branches is just an analogy, a word picture for our minds to represent how staying close to God and believing in and learning from Jesus can help to sustain us in this troubled world. But that analogy means a lot to me. I am glad I didn't know what to write about this morning, and allowed God to work through my words to share this analogy with you. I hope you will be a branch that stays close to the vine as well, so you too can be nourished and bear some good, sweet fruit!