Friday, June 3, 2011

The Vine And The Branch

Jesus talked a lot in parables in the Word of God. John 15:1-6 is no different as it says;
v. 1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

v.2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

v. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

v. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye except ye abide in me.

v. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

v.6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned".

In verse 1 Jesus said He is the true vine, God is the Gardner who takes care of the branches. These have to be cared for so they may bring forth fruit.

In verse 2 Jesus tells us about two kinds of branches, fruitless and fruitful. He tells us the branches in Him that bear no fruit will be taken away. These are the ones that cease to have the lasting faith and love for Jesus. When this happens they are separated from Jesus. The branches bringing forth or beareth fruit God will purge them causing them to bring forth more fruit. These are ones that have enduring faith and love for Christ. When God prunes these He takes from their lives things that hinder the life-flow of Jesus in them. The fruit they bring forth is the character of a Christian bringing glory to God through life and witnessing.

In verse 3 it talks about being clean through the Word. There is a cleansing virtue in the Word; it is truth Jesus has spoken. Ephesians 5:26; "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,"

Verse 4 talks about when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior we receive eternal life and the power to abide in Him. Since we are given this power we must accept the responsibility in salvation and abide in Jesus. The branch has life as long as the life of the vine moves into it. So it is with us, as long as Jesus' life moves into us through our abiding in Christ. We need to have a continual communion with Jesus in order to get strength and grace from Him. We also need to obey his commandments, abide in His love, make sure we keep our lives clean by staying in the Word, resist sin, and listening to the Holy Spirit as He directs us.

If we do not abide in Jesus we cannot bring forth good fruit. In verse 5 it tells us we can do nothing without Him. We need to rely on Jesus so we can get the living support we need just as the branch relies on the vine for living support.

Verse 6 informs us about the result of not abiding in the Lord. The branches being fruitless are cast forth as dry and wasted branches and are pulled off because they hinder the tree, these branches are picked up and thrown in the fire and burned. If a person doesn't remain in the Lord, the person becomes an easy prey for Satan. The same thing that happens to the branch will happen to the person that doesn't abide in the Lord.

The Word of God is very explicit in telling and explaining things about our salvation. This is why we should read the Bible continually and go to church. Being saved is not a momentary thing; it is something we work on continually. If we don't stay close to the Lord when things happened we have a tendency to question and then walk away from the Lord. Being a Christian is something we have to work at continually because of Satan but the Lord is always there to help us through our trials and tribulations, we just have to call on Him and He is there to help us.

May you always know the love, joy, and peace of the Lord!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hearing And Believing

I was setting outside and wondering what to write for a post. Sometimes the Lord tells me immediately what He wants me to write and other times He doesn't tell me so quickly. I stew and fret and then stew and fret some more. I don't know why I do this because He has never once let me down.

Things were going through my mind and I started thinking about the Word of God. I started thinking when I read the Word isn't it like God is speaking and telling me what He wants me to know. I decided for me when I read I should try to actually listen so that I can hear what God is saying to me. Now other people may not feel this way and that is okay but I want to feel like God is talking to me. There are times when something is bothering me and certain a Scripture will come to mind and if I go read it, it is about what is bothering me so I know God had been talking to me. When this first started happening I thought I was the only one God talked to like that. I was so wrong; when I talked to some others about this they were telling me God would talk to them this same way also. At first I was sad because I thought it was just me but God spoke to me about it and I knew each one of us were being blessed.

Well, we can hear the Word by listening to our pastor giving us the message or we can hear the Word by reading. Both ways are an excellent way of learning about the Lord and knowing the truth.

I got off track about what I wanted to talk to you about, I wanted to say when we read the Word; God is speaking to us. John 5:24; "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word,, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life". So, if we read our Bible, go to church, and Sunday school we hear the Word. And if we believe in God, the one who sent Jesus Christ to die for our sins we will have everlasting life.

Hearing and believing point out a continuous action, this is not a single moment thing but something that must be continuing. Our eternal life is conditional on a living faith rather than just a momentary decision of faith. If it meant a single moment it would have said 'heard' and 'believed'. So, it means continually. Should a person stop hearing and believing then it means they have stopped listening and believing in the Word and God. The promise of an eternal life is no longer valid unless the person repents of this and his/her sins. True faith must continue after the initial act of accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. We want always to be near Jesus as Lord and Savior.

We could be hearing the Word by actually listening to our pastor, Sunday school teacher, anyone that is telling us about the Word or reading the Word and listening to what God is saying to us except not in an audible voice. If we are actually hearing the Word then we will believe in God, the One who sent Jesus Christ.

May you always know the love, joy, and peace of the Lord!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Deliver Me From The Evil One

My special place to talk with the Lord is right outside the back door by the patio on a bench we have there. I can look across the pasture and see all of the beautiful trees, birds, and sometimes the deer will come up where I throw apple wafers to them and feed them some corn, once in awhile I will see a few wild turkeys. It is so peaceful out there. Satan also knows that is where I go to talk to the Lord and he tries all sorts of tricks to get me interested in other things but the Lord.

Well, Satan was there again today. There are times I have to cry out to the Lord so that I can talk to Him. I know God will help, I just ask Him to deliver me from Satan. I want my quiet time with the Lord without any interruptions and I know the Lord knows I want this time with Him.

Psalm 140:1; "DELIVER ME, O Lord, from the evil man: preserve me from the violet man"; Satan is our greatest enemy; he is the one that seeks to snare and destroy us. There was One who came to earth to defeat the works of Satan; that one being Jesus Christ. Jesus is the one than will deliver us from Satan. It was through His death and resurrection that Jesus initiated the defeat of Satan.

Christians should pray constantly for deliverance from Satan. We should always be aware of the temptations and schemes of Satan. We need to stand firm in our faith so that we will be able to resist him. Satan will always try to pull us away from Jesus Christ. We need to always pray for deliverance from Satan, his power, and the schemes he comes up with to pull us away from the Lord.

There are so many ways Satan will try to draw us away from the Lord. Some of the ways are through sickness, the loss of loved one, financial problems, trouble with someone at work or school, the car breaks down or an argument with your spouse. He doesn't care how he does it as long as you get angry with God and perhaps walk away from Him. This makes him reallllllly happy; we certainly don't want him to be happy.

When things come along and you just can't seem to get away from Satan, call on the Lord for deliverance from that evil one. The Lord is always there when you call on Him and He wants to help you.

Don't let the evil one take your time with the Lord away from you. Your time with the Lord is so important. Just tell Satan to take a hike that your time with the Lord is valuable and you don't want him around.

May you always know the love, joy, and peace of the Lord!

Barb is a little stronger today so she is improving somewhat. Every little bit is good though and I praise the Lord for whatever improvement she has. This is going to be a slow process. Byron understands her a little bit but not a lot. It is so hard for her to speak but she is trying. They did a CT Scan and we should know the results tomorrow. Prayerfully it will be good news.

Again, thanks for all the prayers you have been saying for her and the family. I don't know what we would do without them. Blessings to each one of you.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crying Out In Our Distress

Are there any of us that have not had some sort of distress? I am sure there is not a single one of us that can truthfully say no. There are days that are full of stress for me but there are other days that seem so peaceful. I would much rather have the peaceful days but if they were all peaceful, why would I need the Lord?

II Samuel 22:7; "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears". Isn't it wonderful to know we can call on the Lord and our cry will enter into His ears? Every single time I have called upon the Lord, I have confidence He has heard and will hear my cries and will answer them. Because I have faith in my God, I know that every cry will not be answered the way I want it to be but as long as it is answered and is His will, that is what is important.

It is because of the love I have for the Lord and my faith in Him that I know however He chooses to answer my cry for help it will be perfect. I am not saying I would never be disappointed but I know it will be perfect. I believe each time the Lord answers our distress cry it is a gift from Him. The Bible tells us in James 1:17; "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning". We have nothing good but that what we receive from God. So when we cry to Him in our distress and the cry is heard and answered it is from God. I can truthfully say I can and do praise the Lord however He chooses to answer my cry.

I am ashamed to say there have been times I have wondered why He didn't think what I wanted was the best way but once I thought and prayed about it I knew His way was best.

God knows what is best for us, the knowledge we have in this life is incomplete and imperfect. This makes it hard for us to know what is best for us. God knows what will happen so this may be why we are not always helped by God in the way we want. We need to give Him praise and glory for this as what we think we want or need in the time of our distress is not always what is best for us.

I would like to ask you, would you give your child something he wants when you know in the long run he would get hurt or maybe hurt someone else? I am sure the answer to this question would be a great big 'NO'. Well, God is that way with us. I am not saying He never gives us what we want because He certainly does. I am saying He knows what is best for us just as we do our children.

We should live for the Lord continually with no questions asked. Living for Him and wanting what He wants for us is the most important thing. We should live for the things that will guide us to our heavenly home; our highest concern should direct our greatest attention to this permanent home.

The next time you cry out for the Lord in your distress I pray you will want God's will to be done and not yours. He loves you and wants the very, very best for you.

May you always know the love, joy, and peace of the Lord!

Good news! Barb is doing better today. The swelling has gone down and the blood pressure is getting back to normal. She still has some fever but she is on antibiotics so I am sure that is helping. She is moving her head and eyes. They have taken her off of the ventilator now. She is trying to make people understand her with head nods and frowns. When Mike left the hospital she wave bye to him.

Thank you all for your prayers and please continue to pray as she is still in critical condition. We appreciate all of your prayers and you have really been a blessing to us. Blessings to all of you.