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!
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 ESV
In light of the despair many of us are feeling from the two recent senseless mass shootings, I simply share this familiar verse. Though we have heard it thousands of times, the amazing thing is that God’s Word always has something fresh for our daily lives. The first time I came upon this verse I loved the idea of soaring like an eagle. I had spent half my life packing boxes and moving to another new neighborhood where I had to make friends and register for another school, but rather than feeling free, it felt more like life in a glass cage. Everyone knew who I was – the new kid- But I had no idea if they would like me, ignore me or pick a fight. Soaring like an eagle in my newly found faith in Jesus seemed wonderful. With Him I could leave behind the old reality of never belonging anywhere and fly with Him to a new life.
But something strange happened with my flight plan. One day as I was soaring nicely along, out of the blue a lightning bolt struck and burned off all my feathers and I fell to the ground. But once the shock of the crash wore off, I discovered that even though that I couldn’t fly any more, Jesus was still with me! Instead of a flight plan, I found myself on a racetrack where I began to run the race of faith. Up hills and down through steep dark valleys, I found that running wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
Then one day, I woke to find that my knees ached, my hips hurt, and I could only manage a slow walk. As discouragement began to set in, the Lord came, inviting me to lean on His shoulders, and reminding me that He also struggled up the path that the Father had chosen for Him. Then as we walked along together, I remembered that He also was often the new kid in town, He too had wept at the grave of a friend and understood better than I what it meant to be alone. Today I am not flying well, nor even running my race quickly, but through all that has happened I am more than ever walking slowly but surely with my Lord!
If you have had a crash and burn landing or two in your life don’t give in to despair. If you do not have the strength to run another mile, be encouraged, Jesus will walk the second mile with you. May the Lord strengthen and bless you today and keep you today as you lean on His shoulder and walk another day with Him!
2 Timothy 2:13 ESV If we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself
The Christmas bells are safely packed away in their cases and the small nativity scene has returned to its box. Though the wise men still stand above the china cabinet it will not be long before they are sent back to their far country on a shelf in the garage. This week between Christmas and New Year is quiet with the anticipation of what lies ahead and a sad sweetness of the end of our celebration of the birth of Jesus. – And yes, I know that December 25th was probably not the day he was laid in the manger, but today I wanted us to look back at that moment one more time to remind ourselves of what remains. Jesus remains and today’s verse tells us that He remains faithful.
Every day of the year is the day that our Lord has made, and every night is another night in the stable of our hearts where Jesus comes to be born in the middle of our mess. A New Year is already in the books somewhere in the world, but God is more interested in the calendar of our hearts than the calendar on our walls. If we make a time and a place for Him, He will come to bring light into our dark and empty places. But if we choose to go our own way and deny Him by our life’s choices, Jesus still remains. He is the I am. He is Alpha and Omega. He is the author and the editor of our faith and of all history. He remains, never packed away, never out of season, never failing. Thank God for such an amazing and mighty Savior; and, in the year, that ahead the best news of all is that He remains!