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. John 15:4-5 ESV
Just as a branch must continue to remain a part of a tree through all four seasons, so we must remain by faith in Christ. He calls us to continue believing in, trusting and relying on Him through Winters of difficulties, Springtimes of change, and long hot summers of hard work to come to the Fall harvest full of fruit. If you are feeling unworthy or like a failure in your walk with Jesus today, know that this fruitfulness that doesn’t depend on your successes, abilities or strengths. In fact, God takes great delight in our weakness, because it brings us to depend entirely on Jesus! He promises that if we remain in Him, then He will see to it that at the harvest time which He has chosen, that we will be filled with much fruit! Have a blessed Sunday all!
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1 ESV
Some of you have noticed that I love to write devotionals. The truth is I also love to read devotional collections. Oswald Chambers, Joni Eareckson Tada, Charles Swindoll and Rick Warren have become friends whose example and teachings have encouraged me through some of the darkest times of my life. About a month ago, my wife, knowing my love of devotional writing brought me home a Beverly Lewis book titled, “Amish Prayers.” In it the author has compiled a selection of prayers translated from a German prayer book dating back to 1708. What a special blessing this little book has become to me!
The book, “Amish Prayers” in many ways reminded me of the book of Psalms. Then as I looked closely, I discovered that the Psalms are as much a book of prayers as an ancient Hebrew collection of hymns. That inspired me to begin looking through the Bible for other prayers and I discovered them everywhere! In fact, the Bible could just as well be called, God’s Prayer Book, because at the heart of the stories of the men and women of scripture is the heritage of their prayers. Some of those prayers are questions, some complaints, some cries for mercy and others simply times of praise. If you will join me, over the next week we are going to listen in to a few of those prayers and then bow our heads and pray along with them!
Be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5b-6 ESV
When our two boys were about four and six years old, my wife and I decided to travel cross country to stay with some friends, while enjoying a bit of camping along the way. “Okay guys we are going to Missouri.” I explained to the boys. “We will be traveling for three days and will be sleeping in our tents for two nights along the way. Don’t worry about when we get there, just enjoy the ride, play games and don’t fight! “I told them enthusiastically.
The next morning with our little car packed to the max, we headed down the highway. I felt confident we were well prepared for our first big family road trip until about twenty minutes down the highway when our older son tapped me on the shoulder and asked. Hey Dad. Are we there yet?” I can’t remember if I laughed or cried, but either way I saw that, despite my best efforts, I had not communicated very well with our boys about the road ahead. I am sure many of you have experienced this same scenario and have discovered that whether we laugh, pull our hair out or try repeating our explanations, our kids aren’t satisfied with details. What they really want is a regular assurance that everything is okay – every mile along the way. It is the same with us as we travel the Christian life with God. But the wonderful difference between God and me is that He didn’t just give us an explanation of the road map; He promised to stay with us and guide us every mile along the way!