Showing posts with the label Pruning

You strutting your branch?

Paul wrote a letter to the church at Rome - a church he was not able to visit, so he really was not well-acquainted with their individual beliefs, practices, or problems like he was with those churches he did make rounds on in his ministry.  In this letter, he outlines the very basics of faith - the things which should be foundation in our lives.  Since he did not know the church's particular struggles, he gives them the "full-gamut", so to speak.  Really, he shows why the gospel message is important, that each man needs to embrace it, and what happens when a man does take the gospel into this life in such a manner.  The biggest point he makes in this letter is the idea of grace vs. works - salvation being a matter of grace extended, no working our way into righteousness by any action or deed on our parts.  This was a concept foreign to the Jewish believer who was so used to following a set of rules in order to make "atonement" for their sins, or to be declared

I am a character! (cont)

So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you!    Mind you, don't despise the discipline of Almighty God! True, he wounds, but he also dresses the wound;    the same hand that hurts you, heals you. From one disaster after another he delivers you;    no matter what the calamity, the evil can't touch you... (Job 5:17-19) Sometimes I think we hope that God will be swayed, that he will change his mind, about the need for discipline in our lives.  He is not swayed by our resistance to change.  Obviously, the response he expects is submission - that we will yield to the discipline and then grow strong in our walk.  In reality, most of us simply don't embrace discipline with open arms - we revert back to the argumentative state of the "why me" mentality. It is one thing to see God "lop off" some branch in our life that really wasn't bearing any fruit, or was like a "sucker" on a tree, taking valuable time and energy from us that wo

The right tool produces the right cut

1-3  "I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken. (John 15:1-3) An age-old question:  Why does a tree or vine need to be pruned?  Doesn't it hurt it?  Won't it die if we do all that cutting?  I remember watching Dad take out the pruning sheers, oiling them a little, sharpening the blades, and then cutting the bushes, vines and trees until they barely resembled what they were.  In the end, they looked "naked" - cut back almost to the point of what I considered to be "death". What I did not understand was that proper pruning produces even more growth and prolongs the life of the tree or bush.  In fact, Dad would point out that an un-pruned tree could actually be a hazard - branches breaking off in windstorms or causing damage to roofs and surrounding st

Prepared for Future Growth

13-16 So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives. Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now. As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness. God said, "I am holy; you be holy." (I Peter 1:13-16) In our passage this morning, we will explore the attitude of heart that we need to have in order to pursue God's holiness.  Our writer reminds us that it is not a pie-in-the-sky, happy-go-lucky existence we have once we come to Christ.  As a matter of fact, there is no room for laziness in our daily walk. Peter opens this chapter with the words:   God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus.  He has his eye on us - an a