“I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. You are already clean because of the word which I have given you [the teachings which I have discussed with you]. Remain in Me, and I [will remain] in you. Just as no branch can bear fruit by itself without remaining in the vine, neither can you [bear fruit, producing evidence of your faith] unless you remain in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you [that is, if we are vitally united and My message lives in your heart], ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you, My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples.” John 15:1 AMP
A little while back our Bible Study class was discussing this passage in the book of John; pondering it brought to mind the many years that I had my gardens. Specifically it reminded me of tending to the couple dozen tomato plants I would plant in my vegetable garden each year.
Left alone tomato plants will overtake a good portion of your garden space while producing little or no fruit. They love the heat and the sun… add water and you have the makings for some pretty big plants. Notice I say “big plants”… I didn’t say a lot of tomatoes, just big plants.
This is a re-post of this article first written in 2015. How sad is it that all we need do is to change the name of the Church or Synagogue and it is as relevant today as it was three years ago.
My heart hurts today. The news on every channel is filled with images from South Carolina and the senseless killing of nine precious saints in the AME Church in Charleston. My heart weeps for the destruction.
satan has stepped up his unholy boldness; he is no longer lurking in the shadows. Oh no, he is taking his evil right to Main Street America.
his pervasive evil now invades our homes to steal our children right from their beds only to rape, maim and murder the innocents – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
Evil now walks upright in the full light of day directly through the front door of our schools and opens fire on the innocents – killing all in its path; leaving a trail of destruction and tears that can never be repaired, never be forgotten – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
Evil now boards our airplanes – unafraid and undaunted. It takes control and three thousand innocents are murdered – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
Our first responsibility as followers of Jesus Christ is to the TRUTH. We are called to speak it, teach it, write about it, and if annointed, preach it… but most of all we are to live it. And we aren’t to do this for a season or when it’s easy and comfortable – we’re called to do it until. Until when… until the Word of God is spoken to the four corners of the globe… until every ear has heard the TRUTH of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
Early in February 2018, the Holy Spirit woke me in the very early hours of the morning and impressed these words onto my heart… “Speak the TRUTH to the whole world”. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do next. So with an open mind and heart and with pen in hand, I prayed. I prayed for guidance about “TRUTH”. This is something which has been on my heart for quite some time. My desire to write an ongoing series of articles was born from a story I wrote in my book – “Refined by the Fire” – called “TRUTH”. The book was published in September 2017; it has taken me until February 2018 to begin the “TRUTH” series. And while I’ve hit some snags… I am discovering the articles which had the most impact were ones that flowed easily from my pen. The difficult articles took days and days to write, while struggling over words and defining the direction of the article, they did not flow as easily as I wanted, they were a clumsy and awkward read. It didn’t take long to realize that I had to take me out of the decision making process of what to write. I have taken the direction and subject of the articles out of my hands and now pray for guidance and let the Holy Spirit lead.
Speaking the TRUTH isn’t always popular, but… are we called to be popular… or are we called to speak the TRUTH? The TRUTH of the gift of eternal life and salvation offered only through Jesus Christ… to speak the TRUTH of good news of the Kingdom to a dark and dying world?
“If I regard sin and baseness in my heart [that is, if I know it is there and do nothing about it], The Lord will not hear [me]” Ps 66:18 AMP
What is cherished sin? Cherished sin is any sin that lives inside of us that we know is there, yet we choose to keep it hidden. It is those deeds and actions that we choose to coddle and excuse from our life.
It is the kind of sin that hinders our prayers and our relationship with God.
“We know [according to your tradition] that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone fears God and does His will, He hears him.” John 9:31 Continue reading
This prayer was taught to me by my mother many years ago. It is still so very valuable.
Before opening the pages of your Bible,
ask the Holy Spirit to be your Teacher and Guide.
I ask that You send Your Holy Spirit to be my Guide as I open Your Holy Word.
I ask that You open my eyes, that I may read Your Word.
I ask that you would open my ears, that I may hear Your Word.
I ask that you would open my mind, that I may understand Your Word.
I ask that You would open my mouth, that I may speak Your Word.
And Lord I ask that You would open my heart, so that Your Word will come and live in me.
Thank You Father God, I pray this in the name of Your Son Jesus. Amen.
Hearing God’s Voice Today: Practical Help for Listening to Him and Recognizing His Voice by James W Goll
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Discover the Adventure of Hearing God. God longs for a deeper, more intimate relationship with you. When we pray, He listens. Always. But do you listen for His response? You should! Hearing God is a privilege and delight available to every child of God.”
“As it was in the beginning”… and so starts this book; “Hearing God’s Voice Today; Practical help for Listening to Him and Recognizing His voice” by James Goll. In this book the author takes us right there… to the beginning and from there offers the readers the tools necessary and equips them draw nearer to God and truly believe that He wants to speak to us. In this book, we learn to recognize His voice while overcoming what gets in the way of that.
Hebrew Word Study: Revealing the Heart of God by Chaim Bentorah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Hebrew is a language of poetry and pictures. With Chaim Bentorah’s expertise, you will see how to examine not just word definitions, but also the origin of the words, their place in the culture and idioms of the day, and even their emotional context. Through this devotional, you will walk the road less traveled as you uncover the deeper spiritual messages in God’s Word. In the process, you will discover the heart of God toward you and come to know Him better. You will see just how beautiful the Word of God is and, most of all, you will see the beauty of God Himself and love Him all the more.”
I loved this book! As the author says, “I would love to walk in the garden and converse with God as Adam did; Alas, the reality is that our most authoritative source for understanding Him is what is written in Scripture that came from the heart of God into a human language that we can’t understand, and were then translated into yet another language that we can understand.” Therein lies the heart of it… and this book cuts through all of that, brings us beyond the dozens of translations of the Word to discover the heart of God. Continue reading
The Country Road through the Book of Matthew by Mike Lovett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Country Road through the Book of Matthew is just that, a road that travels through the entirety of Matthew with stops along the way where the reader can pause and explore on their own. Desiring to live out Paul’s admonition to Timothy that all scripture is inspired by God and useful to us, Mike keeps the reader on the road in hopes that each day will bring new growth in their relationship with Christ as they read about His birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection.
Created with Purpose: Unlocking Your Dreams and Fulfilling the Desires of Your Heart by Johannah Clark Leach
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Become the Confident, Secure, and Powerful Person God Designed You To Be. Do you live in fear of what others think of you? Do you worry about missing out on what God has for your life? Are you lacking the confidence or courage to pursue the dreams in your heart?
You have been created with a unique purpose and divine destiny on your life. There are dreams in your heart that are just waiting to be released! Unfortunately, so many people let their insecurities and fears hold them back from being the world-changes that God made them to be.”
Created with Purpose by Johannah Clark Leach and Victoria West Henady is a must read. So many of us today wonder why we are here. What is our purpose? Are we doing what we were created to do? What were we created to do?
Proverbs Prayers by John Mason
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“Experience God’s wisdom as never before and find encouragement, peace, answers, and a better life through this devotional prayer book.
The book of Proverbs is a wellspring of wisdom, offering practical guidance for life and the tools to make good choices, withstand pressure, prioritize relationships, and avoid unnecessary trouble.
Now bestselling author John Mason helps you make that wisdom a part of your inner life. For thirty-one days, he takes you through each chapter of Proverbs, unpacking the wisdom within and providing a heartfelt prayer based on the insights from that chapter. As you read and pray, you’ll discover the principles found in this wisdom-packed book coming alive in your life in ways you may never have imagined.”