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Listen while you read: "God Of Grace And God Of Glory"1 (Lyrics)
Almost a year ago, my wife got an azalea plant from one of our children for Mother's Day. It sat in front of a window where it got the early morning sun. Then suddenly during the summer, the outer ends of the branches started to wither, the leaves turned brown and fell off, and it quit blooming. My wife was ready to throw it out, but I persuaded her to let me have a look at it. I should add that I am the son of a rose grower, but I know very little about flowers. Nevertheless, I took the plant, cut off the dead parts, repotted it, and put it in a shady place on the back deck. Every day, I checked it for moisture and watered it when necessary. Gradually, new branches started to grow, and deep green leaves sprouted. In the fall, we brought it in and put it on the windowsill again. In January, it was in full bloom, actually better than it was when we first got it.
Jesus tells us that He is the vine, we are the branches, and God is the Master Pruner:
John 15:2-6 – 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. (NKJV)
There are times when we, too, are not doing well from a spiritual point of view. Quite often, we try to nurse ourselves along, hoping that we will do better. But there often come times when God needs to get out the pruning shears and radically cut off what is hurting our faith life. It may be a situation at home, at work, or in the church. It may be either a relatively harmless or even a harmful addiction which has developed over the years. It may just be a daily situation which hurts our faith life.
It is sometimes necessary to undergo what I did with the plant, when God does some pruning, and we make some changes, so that we can bear more fruit.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we ask that, if there are things which we need to change, You will speak to our hearts. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Thanks, Joel, four appointed lesson!
Never enjoyable but always necessary. Thanks Joel.
Interesting devotional today Joel. Thanks for sharing this thought.
Thanks for sharing. I am going to re-read it and think some more on it.
Hi Joel,this is both challenging and inspiring. Though I do not like pruning, I realize it is necessary in order to grow, painful as it may be at the time.
A very fine illustration, well-used.
I pray that God will prune us Christians so we will stand firm in spreading the word of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in a way that is honest and true.