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Thursday, February 19, 2015

John 15 -- Staying Connected

I woke up this a.m. and read John 15 -- BEAUTIFUL!  

Jesus' imagery of  a vine really pops out at me!  Matter of fact, I wrote a newspaper article about this verse. I'll share it with you below.

First, however, take a moment to pray for God to reveal His personal TRUTH to you.  

Then, read John 15: 5-8 below.

These verses tell us about staying connected to the source of our strength.

When I read this, I realize I need to focus, stick with Jesus and....LOVE.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." -- John 15:5-8

My vine was getting to be a nuisance.  It snaked its way up our brick wall and covered the water spout.  I tried pulling it off and gave up in a huff.  This vine had to go.

I pulled my trusty clippers out and systematically cut each tendril at the base.  Then I got distracted. Weeds called my name and I walked around the corner to the garden.

It did not take long.  Next time I turned the corner, I was shocked to see a mass of wilting vine leaves.  The rootless branches were limp and weak.  They had been disconnected from the life source.  I yanked the vine down with no problem.

Hmmmm.  This vine reminded me of my life sometimes.  I let myself get cut off from Christ.  Then I wilt and wonder why. 

Enter: Jesus. In John 15:5-8,  Jesus tells me HE is the vine and I am His branches.  If I run away to my projects, my schemes, my plans and try tackling my frustrating  problems on my own, apart from my Savior, I wilt.  

It's pretty easy to pull me down on those days.  I lose my color and I'm all dried out on the inside.

John 15 tells me Jesus is my life-giving Savior.  I need to stay connected through prayer, quiet time and Bible study.  Truth be told, if I've cut myself off from Jesus, I'm really not accomplishing much.  

You can't get much fruit from a shrinking vine.

Lest I get discouraged, however, God told me "the rest of the story" in John 15:9-17.  I am forgiven and refueled when I run back to Jesus and experience His love.

What little kid does not want to be loved?  Suddenly, I feel revived. Check out the book of John:

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.  This is my command: Love each other. -- John 15:9-17

The vine by my house is gone now, but the stump remains - a reminder of what was once there.  When I hooked up the hose this spring, I noticed something interesting.  

At the base of the vine, tiny leaves appeared. This was not the end of  the vine. New branches were starting. 

God makes it clear: When we stay connected to the One who loves us, new life appears.

I need to fall into the arms of a loving Savior, ask for forgiveness and soak up some love.  Only then will I get the truly important things done.  

Only then will my branches reach out in love.  

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