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Listen while you read: "Let Us With A Gladsome Mind"1 (Lyrics)
John 15:5 – 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. (NIV 2011)
Last fall, a friend gave me a flourishing dipladenia plant, a beautiful flowering vine. She was reluctant to abandon it outside, but she had no space indoors. My living room already houses several plants, but how could I refuse those exotic blooms?
Carefully removing the plant from its large pot and keeping its roots intact, I replanted it in a smaller one, and made a spot for it in front of the window. I was thrilled with this burst of brilliant colour and praised God for unexpected blessing.
Some leaves turned yellow and fell off. This might be expected as it adjusted to its new environment. I noticed that its many new buds were not opening, just turning brown. Still, new shoots continued to appear. Was it healthy or not?
I misted and fertilized. Before long, I saw clusters of tiny thrips (insects) at the tender growing tips of those new tendrils. I squished them gently between finger and thumb. I separated the plant from others. A few days later, more bugs. I doused them with soapy water. Next, I tried rose powder. The battle was on. Soon, I had to bring out the big guns — pesticide — a step I hate to take, but the enemy was winning.
With the bugs wiped out, my plant valiantly struggled on. New shoots began well but were weak; tiny leaves appeared and then withered. Most plants do well under my supervision, but here was a challenge! I wasn't ready to give up on it. I tried less light, more light, then a sulphur treatment. I did everything that I could think of to baby this sick plant along. With an overseas trip coming up, I decided that if it succumbed while I was away, only then would I discard it.
I fully expected to find a dead plant upon my return. Coming home, I was surprised to find it alive — though still not healthy. There is no happy ending here — yet. But I persevere.
God doesn't give up on us either. He always gives us a second chance, always encourages us. Like my plant, we can't do life on our own. We need a helping hand. Upon our salvation, we're grafted into God's family. Like a branch of the vine, Jesus Christ, we need His life-giving sap — the Holy Spirit.
Without the sap, we're weak, and the enemy will soon move in. At His baptism, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit and was strengthened against the devil's temptations. That same Helper can empower us. We may be content to struggle along, and we might even think that we're doing okay, but we're not useful to our Lord if we don't blossom and bear the fruit of the Spirit.
God has a plan for each of us. That's why He created us at this particular time and place. Let's ask Him to pour His Spirit into our lives today, so that we can fulfill His purpose for us.
Colossians 2:7a – Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. (TLB)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the vine and we are the branches. Without Your Holy Spirit indwelling us, we simply can't flourish. Anoint us with Your Spirit today, and fill us to the brim so that we may be strengthened and fruitful for You. Amen.
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Wonderful reminder JJ.
Put that plant back in a bigger pot and watch it flourish.
That’s an excellent analogy for our Christian lives. Thank you.
Maybe the plant needs to be in the bigger pot!!
Thank you JJ for the devotion today.
I especially appreciate the Prayer.
Wonderful life in Christ giving devotional!
Thank you for your tale of perseverance and reminder that God does not give up on any of us. We see so many sad situations at our drop in and strive to give our guests “Hope”. I hope your plant thrives eventually.
Thanks JJ for sharing this devotional with us. I also love plants, but two of mine aren’t doing well even with extra care. Knowing the winter months are usually a dormant time, I’m awaiting Spring before I take drastic measures. I think they might recover with the coming of Springtime. Blessings.
Amen to your prayer. Thank you for your story about the plant. Someone gave me a plant not too long ago and I noticed that it wasn’t doing well either. When I lifted the plant out of its soil, there were hundreds of small worms. I was so disgusted that I threw the entire pot, plant and soil outside. I did not persevere as you did. Good for you for trying. By the way, did the plant flourish?
Well JJ this is typical signs of too small a pot as soon as you said you put it in a smaller pot without getting rid of any roots if you want to use that smaller pot you will have to separate the roots. I learned this the hard way. My mothe-in-law called it pot bound and she was right and was great with plants. The bugs were eggs when you got the plant and you dealt with them the only way i know how. Good luck.
I love your comparison with the diplodenia since I can relate to it so well. I have a huge one that I bring in every fall to winter over. Take heart. Mine loses all of its leaves every winter no matter what I try.
As the stronger spring light returns, You will see new leaves start to form. Give it a good fertilizing at this point, and put it outside as soon as the warm weather returns, a few hours at a time at first of course. It will be beautiful again. So too our faith. Sometimes it wanes slightly during the seasons of our lives, but if we are patient, but also nurture that smaller bud, it will return in a burst of lush growth.