Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Time For Thanks...

Can you believe it is that time again? That Thanksgiving is upon us and that we are close to closing out the year of 2008? It is incredible to me how the year has flown by. I know we all grew up hearing our parents and grandparents say that the the time just gets faster and now I must agree.

It is the time of year when we take a day to remember and to be thankful and to share that thankfulness with others. We should be sharing that thankfulness everyday of the year but I must say that this is one of my favorite holidays now.

God has done so much for each of us whether we admit to it or not. You are alive because He made you and wanted to have fellowship with you. He loves you whether you return that love or not it does not change how much He loves you. He has a plan and a purpose for each of you and it is for your good!

I cannot even begin to express the work that God is doing in me right now. He is taking me to new heights, new understandings. He is changing me from the inside out and I cannot wait to see the outcome of it all. I am so thankful that He has never given up on me or my family. I love Him more than words can express! I type this with tears of joy in my eyes. I serve a good God, a loving, kind, and generous God who deserves so much more than I could ever give Him but He is more than overjoyed with me as I am. He feels the same about each of you too! I want to share a little insight, a new revelation that I recently received. It may be old to some of you but maybe you need a refreshing of memory=)

I was reading the passage of John 15:1-5 NKJV. Here is what Jesus says...

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Each 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.

Now I know some of us have heard this same passage many times but I don't know, for some reason I saw it from a new and simple aspect this time. If you pay close attention you will see that the only thing we are asked, you could say required to do is "remain in Him". Look it over. I know that most, if not all, of my years as a Christian I have spent worrying about the "bear much fruit" part. I thought that in order to show or prove that I had God in my life I needed to "bear much fruit" but that is not the point. If I "remain in Him" then He will be able to bear fruit through me/my life. Do you see?

Think about it this way. If you look at a vine, a grape vine for example, you will notice that if a branch has a small cut that causes the water and nutrients from being able to flow from the vine into the branch and it becomes more and more brittle and it eventually dries up and dies. It needs a regular flow from the vine in order to sustain life as a branch and in order for grapes to bud and grow from it. It is not the branch that gives life for the bud but the vine itself. It is the same for each of us. If we (the branches) remain in Him (the Vine) then He will bear fruit through us. It is not our doing but His! We cannot do anything without Him. We cannot do it to please Him or to be proud in and of ourselves - it is all because of Him! Oh, how I hope you are able to see what I am saying. I truly believe it will set you free as it has me. Hey, there's another one..."...the truth will set you free." =) Anyway, all we are required to do is to stay - as my family now says -"hooked up" to the vine (Jesus). How do we do this? By reading His Word by spending time talking to and maybe more important...listening to Him, by asking Him to lead us through our day and help us to make the right decisions, by including Him in our decisions for heaven's sake! We get so bogged down by thinking we need to "do" something that we forget to stay and receive. We are supposed to "remain" which means to stay connected to, to abide. Are you abiding? Living in His presence?

It simply means that you make your home in Him. You spend time each day with Him. If you work then turn off the radio or put on some classical music on your way to work and talk to God, ask Him to be part of your day, to lead you to make the right decisions then listen for His still small voice throughout the day. When something good happens, even a small as a front row parking space, give Him thanks. On your way home reflect on your day and the good things that happened and tell Him thank you. If you had a rotten day thank Him for being there with you and for understanding where you are and ask for His peace as you go home to see your family, friends, etc. Include Him in your daily life! You will be amazed at the difference it will make in even a few days time. And guess what? His fruit will begin to be grow in you and be seen by others. Yeah, His fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. You won't be doing anything different except remaining "hooked up" to the vine and these are the things that will come out of it. You are responsible to "hook up" and remain that way.

Sure, there will be some trimming and pruning as you hook up, but it is for your good. It is because He is trying to cut away those things, people in your life that are trying to separate you from Him. Going back to the grape vines in vineyards...the vine keepers (or vintners)prune the vines to keep them bearing fruit year after year they are pruned and year after year they produce more and more grapes. Better grapes than the year before. The same for us. We have a vintner who is an expert pruner and He is looking to bring the best out in each of us.

If you are not "hooked up" I want to encourage you to do just that. It might be hard to do at first, but it will get easier with time and oh, it is so worth it! Begin you day by saying a simple pray before your feet hit the floor and then continue by talking and listening throughout the day. You may think that you don't hear anything but that will change soon enough you will realize you are listening to and hearing from God in small ways and then big ways. Don't stress about it just keep on going, keep reading, keep talking to Him and keep waiting on Him. He is there with you all of the time even when you can't feel or hear Him. He has waited on you this long you can wait on Him for a while if you need to, right? =)

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