I do not want to be cut from the vine! As much as I love having fresh cut flowers straight from my garden on my table, I realize their beauty won’t last long. They’ve been cut from their life source. I can keep the water fresh in the vase to make them last a little longer. I can add a little packet of food, sugar or bleach to the water to try to extend their beauty, but since they’ve been cut off the plant, they are destined to wither up.
This spring I‘ve done a lot of pruning. Once a branch is cut off from the main tree, shrub or plant, it cannot continue to thrive or live. The cut branch certainly cannot produce any blooms or fruit. It might as well end up in the trash or compost pile. As long as the main plant is supplying the life, it will send out new branches- but those branches cannot make new leaves or flowers once they are cut off. Only the main plant can supply the life.
Father, I never want to try to do anything apart from You. It will not last. No matter how spectacular something I do on my own might appear, it will wither up. That’s why I come to You again this morning. I need to stay connected to Jesus who is my vine. Only with the Holy Spirit flowing from You through Jesus and then through me can my tiny branch live and thrive. If I am not rooted in Jesus, I can produce nothing eternal. Yet with Your life flowing through me, You can take this insignificant little twig and make it produce exactly what You designed it to do. Some little branches might produce a radiant flower to brighten someone’s life; other little branches might produce juicy fruit to feed hungry souls; some branches may provide shelter and shade to weary souls. Yet none of the branches can cause any of this eternal life on their own. That’s why I want to live in You and You live in me. Lord, flow through my little branch today and produce something eternal that I could never ever produce on my own…like love!
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He 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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain 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.
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. If 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. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.” John 15:1-8
Father, this is how I can remain in You…
Everyone around me is making their plans for severe weather in Oklahoma this afternoon. Our meteorologists have been warning us that today is ripe for widespread severe weather and up to grapefruit-sized hail. Most of us have a Tornado Plan- what to do in case of an outbreak of twisters. Oklahomans know where to run for shelter. In recent history, F4 and F5 tornadoes have leveled whole towns to ground level. The sale of tornado shelters has greatly increased. Some are underground or above ground safe rooms. Some people know to go to an inner room with preferably no windows. People are better prepared than they used to be due to advances in radars and computerized weather tracking. The average Oklahoman knows more about tornadoes than most of the world due to our history and national meteorologists in our state. We might joke about getting on top of the roof to watch a twister coming til the last minute but we have learned to take severe weather warnings seriously…so we prepare our “hidey holes” in which we will ride out the storms.
Father, I’ve been through all kinds of storms in my life- some light and some critical even to the point of devastating. Through it all, I have learned You are my “Hidey hole”- the safe shelter I run to. I don’t wait til the last minute until it’s almost too late. I come to You often. It doesn’t matter where I am, or if I’m far away from home. I can run to You anytime and anywhere. I am familiar with my place of shelter because I go there all the time on beautiful peaceful days, rainy days, scorching days, and days filled with all kinds of storms. I don’t have to clear the spider webs or worry about snakes that might have slithered in. It doesn’t matter how strong the storm is raging outside.
When I am with You, I am at peace. My spirit is calm because You are with me. You have warned us we will face storms in this life. It can happen in the blink of an eye. Yet all is well because I have a shelter that goes with me wherever I go. I’m prepared. Though everything around me may come crashing down, I live with You, Lord, and You are with me wherever I go. You are my “hidey hole” – my shelter, my love, my Lord and my God. I love my shelter with You!
“I would hurry to my place of shelter, far from the tempest and storm.” Psalm 55:8
“You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat.” Isaiah 25:4
“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple. For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:3-5
Father, help me to seek shelter with You by….
We are drawn to Your beauty wherever it shows up! I am especially drawn to flowers. It’s like opening a special gift You’ve given me just for today. This time of year, You surround us with gifts of Your beautiful love. Everywhere I look I see flowers with more unfolding flowers. Some are so vivid and spectacular they show up just driving by. Others need to be viewed for their intricate detail. Some don’t stand out from afar but how dainty and refreshing to get a close up view. Then there’s those who blooms we never notice, but the new growth feeds our souls. There’s something soothing and restoring about being surrounded by the earthly garden You have placed us in.
My horticulturist daddy started teaching me at a young age what is needed to produce a flower: sun, water and oxygen. Yet that doesn’t explain the thousands of species and varieties in the world. Even the same plant never produces the same exact bloom every time. How can there be so much varied beauty in this world? Each new flower, every tiny leaf, every molecule blade of grass is a tender love thought from You! It can only occur because of the life You’ve breathed into it!
Lord, I want to come to You first thing this morning. I want to soak up Your Son, drink from the Living Water and Breathe in Your Holy Spirit. There is no way I can thrive, grow or bloom without You. I know You will give me what I need on this day to produce whatever bloom is needed today. I know I wither, dry up and die without You. I chose to live abundantly, fully by coming to You to receive all I need to bloom where You need me to. I love You, Lord. Let Your love and life flow through me today to draw someone to You!
“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon dressed in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith!” Luke 12:27-28
“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.” John 15:5
“The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” Revelation 21:23
Father, help me be still and soak up the Light of Jesus today by…
I have to walk around my yard at least once a day this time of year…and keep my eyes open as I walk in the neighborhood or drive to work. You’ve planted surprises for me at every turn. A month ago everything looked drab and lifeless. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought everything was dead. But I’ve lived enough years to know that Spring comes every year! With it the beauty and joy of new life pops out of the most unexpected places. Who would have thought such bright and cheerful flowers would faithfully come out of the ugly Daffodil bulbs planted so many years ago…and that they would multiply so! The trees which lost almost half of their branches in the last ice storm are bursting out with fresh new green buds…and in some cases, vivid purples and pinks and even snowy white flowers.
The brown soil which lacked water most of the winter is now rich with moisture and little tiny shoots are pushing out with hints of lush green and white hosta leaves. There are even a few dark pink Azaleas starting to peek out of their dead-looking stems. It’s so exciting to watch new life unfold before my eyes each day. Even the squirrels and birds are jubilant, scurrying about getting ready for their own new life.
Father, thank You for the surprises You surround us with all the time! Give us eyes to not only see, but hearts ready to savor and thank You for those delightful blessings. There is no way we can produce any of this joyous life on our own. It is bestowed by You alone. It is ours to soak up Your Spirit like sap that rises inside us and brings new life and hope after the winter trials of our lives. It is no accident that we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection this time of the year. What looked like death on the cross was actually new life being born and rising up in all who will accept and believe in You and Your Son- from whom all life flows. May Your Spirit burst out from me in joy unspeakable!
“For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seed to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all the nations.” Isaiah 61:11
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
Father, help me see Your life all around…and to receive the overflowing eternal life You have given me through Jesus Christ.
What was supposed to be my indoor work day was kicked off by an unexpected trip outside early this morning just in time to be blown away by a glorious sunrise across the entire eastern sky. What a beautiful way to start a day! As I watched the sun rise and transform everything its light touched, I thought of the way Your Son transforms us.
Just moments before I stepped outside my front door this morning, darkness prevailed. Vision was limited due to the lack of light. In fact, there was no color because everywhere I tried to look; there were only shades of darkness. The lack of light makes us feel far less safe because all kinds of things can happen in the dark. I learned at a young age, even before school, from my horticulturist dad that light is needed to make things live, grow, flourish and produce fruit. I suppose I also learned at an early age to be aware that evil lurks in the darkness where things can be hidden and dangerous. That’s what our lives are like without You.
One of the reasons I love sunrises so much is it is a picture of how Jesus is the Light of the world and the light of my soul. Everything changes. What once was dark and scary is now filled with hope and glorious beauty. What once seemed doomed to despair is now radiating with eternal glorious hope. It’s Your glory, Father: the same glory You shared with Jesus Christ, Your son, is also shared with us when we look to You. Jesus, Your Son dawns in our hearts and fills us with His Light. The sun our earth orbits around may rise and bring glory and life to all it touches when it appears in the morning…but when we acknowledge Jesus to be the center and Lord of our life, and receive Him as our Savior, Your Son rises in us- bringing new life and light. As we grow in Jesus Christ, Your glory grows in us bringing us new sight, new hope, new life with colors unimaginable on our own! Your full glory is too much for us to look at. We cannot fully fathom or contain who You are, but somehow Your Son comes to live in us and radiates stronger and stronger from inside us through Your Holy Spirit. Your glory radiates from inside us to throw light on everything we touch. We know it’s not us. It’s Your glory dawning in us and shining out as the light of the world.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12
“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” John 1:4-5
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 and Matthew 4:16
Father, deliver me from the darkness of….
Let the Light of Your Son Jesus Christ rise in greater glory in me…