Every Branch

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away. John 15:2

Every branch.

Every activity. Every relationship. Everything we call ministry that is really self promotion. Every pedestal we have created for ourselves. Every act of service which has served to distract us from the Savior.

Every branch that isn’t fruitful. That doesn’t bring God glory. That doesn’t spread the gospel. That doesn’t make disciples. That doesn’t result in loving our neighbors. That doesn’t make Him increase and me decrease.

Those branches have to go.

And sometimes they fall easily. We’ve seen them beginning to rot and we’ve realized their danger. We see the wisdom in removing them.

Others branches we don’t realize are unfruitful until we feel the first cut. The sting of the saw catches us off guard and we can’t imagine life without that branch. We try to cling to the very branch that needs to be cut.

Then, when it’s gone, we feel a weight lifted that we didn’t even know we carried. We see other areas of our lives flourish. We see fruitfulness in unexpected areas.

We must trust the Master gardener to prune as he sees fit. To cut what needs to be cut. To take away what needs taken away.

#f260 #bible #biblestudy #befruitful #bearmuchfruit #god #jesus #lovethyneighbor #mysisterskeeper #dailybibleverse #dailybible #readyourbible #wordbeforeworld #longhollowbaptist

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Forgiving When You Can’t Forget

I’ll be honest. I’ve always struggled with forgiveness. I’ve followed Christ for 33 years and I just couldn’t figure it out.

“Forgive and forget,” they say.

“It’s releasing them from a debt they can’t pay.”

“Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking a poison and hoping the other person dies.”

All very poetic thoughts, but completely unhelpful in my opinion. Because I still didn’t know what it looked like to forgive someone. I would feel like I had forgiven someone, but then a fresh wound would remind me of the old one. Or something would cause the old hurt to ache like a bad knee when a storm is about to roll in. And I would realize that I hadn’t forgotten and it would make me think I hadn’t forgiven.

The enemy is a slick one, y’all.

This morning, RT Kendall gave an amazing sermon on forgiveness and it was the most practical take on it. And now I can respond in a godly manner when Satan wants to remind me of past hurts.

He can remind me of the offense and I will remind him that it’s forgiven. I will not delight in the distress of the one who wounded me. I will not continually share the offense with others in an attempt to shame the offender.

👆All things I didn’t realize I was doing, by the way.

“Forgiveness will change your life”, Dr. Kendall said. Let it be so, Lord.

#bible #forgiveness #rtkendall

Where else would I go?

Today’s reading: John 6

Many of Jesus’ disciples turn away. They were only there for the physical and material benefits so, as soon as things became uncomfortable, they left.

It reminds me of God leading the children of Israel to the Promised Land. Scripture tells us that there was an easier route (Exodus 13:17.) But God didn’t take them that way because he knew that, when things became difficult, the people would turn back if they were able.

That’s what these disciples did. And Jesus turns to his 12 – his inner circle – and asks, “Do you want to go as well?” I love Peter’s response. “Lord, where else would we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Where else would I go?

Where am I tempted to turn when life is hard? When I haven’t yet received the thing for which I’ve prayed? When the answer is “no?”

The children of Israel did desire to go back just as God said they would. The enemy convinced them that they would be returning to comfortable beds, pots of meat, and fresh water. The truth was, however, all that awaited them was slavery.

Turning back from Jesus always leads back to bondage.

Lord, where else would we go? For you hold the words of eternal life.

#f260 #f260biblereadingplan #longhollowbaptist #dailybibleverse #dailybiblereading #wordbeforeworld #shereadstruth #bibleverse #biblejournaling #biblejournalinglife #bible #mysisterskeeper #freedom #god

👉 Jesus

I love that John the Baptist was constantly pointing out Jesus to people. When they asked him who he was – he told them about the one coming after him. Anytime Jesus came into view – John directed everyone’s attention to him.

That is ministry – always pointing people to Jesus.

It doesn’t matter how many people are in your church, in your Bible study, or follow you on social media. It doesn’t matter if you’re surrounded by senior executives or children.

What matters is – are the things you say and do pointing people to Jesus?

If my “ministry” draws people to me? Brings me praise? Elevates me in any way? Then, I have failed.

Also, because God is cool like that, today’s Proverb holds a similar thought. “In all your ways, acknowledge him…”

And, even better than that, that same verse mentions “the path.” When we acknowledge God in “all our ways,” he makes our paths straight. That means we keep moving forward, with purpose, towards our destination.

You are loved. 💕

Prayer and Purpose

Jesus never, for one moment, forgot why he left heaven and came to earth. Unlike me, he never arrived at a destination and forgot the purpose of his trip.

But we are human and prone to distractions. In today’s reading, we see Simon a little frazzled because “everyone” was looking for Jesus and Jesus, well, he had left the building.

Jesus had arisen early to go pray (Mark 1:35) and this intentional and intimate time with the Father helped keep his focus on his mission (Mark 1:38.)

It’s easy to get off track a little. When the people are crowding around. When the needs are piling up. When the praise of others starts rolling in. When the criticism of others starts raining down.

Time in prayer will help us to remember our purpose.