"If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!"
"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me."
"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall."
I've been thinking a lot lately (not that I don't normally think a lot. I can never get my brain to stop thinking. It is rather annoying at night when I am trying to sleep and I can't turn my brain off. It is even sometimes annoying how it won't stop asking questions during the day. I wonder too much sometimes for my own good, but anyhow). What have I been thinking about? John 15 - the passage about the vine and the branches. I can't imagine that it feels very comfortable to be pruned. But yet so often all I want is to be comfortable. I don't want things to go "wrong" (but do things really ever go wrong when they are all part of God's plan). Things go wrong from our perspective, but if we believe that God has everything under his soverign control, then nothing goes wrong. Things may mess up our plans, but they are never a suprise to God. Sometimes I think God let's our plans fail or changes them so that we don't rely so much on ourselves.
As we saw this week in Mississippi, the winds and rain come and blow down houses that are not built on solid foundations. I wonder what my foundation is built on. So often I start to build on the things that I know and the things that I can do. But I need to step back and look at the one that gave all for me. I need to stop complaining when life starts to hurt and I need to be thankful for the times that life is roughest because I know in those times I am becoming more like Christ. It hurts to have the things that we love cut away from us so that we grow up in Christ. Remeber the end result! Praise God for caring enough to make us more like him, even when it hurts. Let us run the race with confidence. May I rely on God for my strengh and continually see that I have know of my own.
1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.
2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
8This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
9"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
10If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love.
11I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.
12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
14You are my friends if you do what I command.
15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
16You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
17This is my command: Love each other.