Monday, July 23, 2007

Every Branch that Bears Fruit He Prunes

“Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Because of His great mercy He gave us new life by raising Jesus Christ from death. This fills us with a living hope, and so we look forward to possessing the rich blessings that God keeps for His people. He keeps them for you in heaven, where they cannot decay or spoil or fade away. They are for you, who through faith are kept safe by God’s power for the salvation which is ready to be revealed at the end of time.

“Be glad about this, even though it may now be necessary for you to be sad for a while because of the many kinds of trials you suffer. Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold, which can be destroyed, is tested by fire; and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure. Then you will receive praise and glory and honor on the Day when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:3-7.)

Ah yes, trials and tribulations. How I despise tests and troubles, suffering and pain. Numerous times I have prayed asking my Father why I must hurt so much; why my heart must be broken. Christ gives me the answer for this in John 15:1-2 when He says, “‘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 bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.'”

“'You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.’” (John 15:3-11. NKJV.) (Some translations use the word “remain” instead of “abide”.)

I should not allow myself to get frustrated by trying times, loss, and sadness. Instead I should worship like Job, maintain a joyful heart, and rejoice in all things; for my faithfulness is in Him who I should trust and lean against completely.

“You love Him, although you have not seen Him, and you believe in Him, although you do not see Him. So you rejoice with a great and glorious joy which words cannot express, because you are receiving the salvation of your souls, which is the purpose of your faith in Him.” (1 Peter 1:8-9.)

For 20 years I lived in Florida and experienced its hot and sultry afternoons; incredible thunderstorms complete with bolts of lightening that split the sky; and winds cast off by hurricanes which threatened to strike. I could not see the powerful, swirling air that whipped about and left us fearful yet I did see the effects it had on everything. Christ lives and my Father is real! I cannot see Him but I see, hear, and touch all that He has produced.

“Yes, my children, remain in union with Him, so that when He appears we may be full of courage and need not hide in shame from Him on the day He comes. You know that Christ is righteous; you should know, then, that everyone who does what is right is God’s child.” (1 John 2:28-29.)

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:8-9. NKJV.)

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