When God Prunes You

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For starters, do you know what pruning means? Let me do the honors! It means to cut away or remove unnecessary parts; to remove dead or living parts from (a plant) so as to increase fruit or flower production or improve the form. Ouch! So in other words, in these last days, God wants us to be more productive, more fruitful, and He wants us to improve so that we can be more effective for His kingdom. Amen! So…long story short, it would mean that He would need to prune you.

No doubt, pruning does NOT feel good. Reason being is because it often times brings discomfort and pain. Not only that, but it takes you totally out of your comfort zone. Most of the time, we don’t want to come out of the comfort zone, because we tend to like the smooth road. But in reality, we need the bumps in the road to help us stay alert to reach our intended destination.

And what’s the intended destination? It’s purpose, destiny, your calling, promises fulfilled, and making it to heaven, while also helping others to make it as well. Yet, in order to reach any of these,we have to be pruned. Now…when God prunes us, He bring us through some changes by cutting away things that are unnecessary and not like Him to make us better. Jesus tells us in John 15:1-2, “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” (NLT)

In this passage of Scripture, the Lord is talking about having the fruit of the Spirit; which is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control as Galatians 5:22-23 states. Now…be honest. Could you use some growth in any of these areas? Think about it. Are you loving well, joyful, peaceable, patient, gentle or kind to others, showing the goodness of God, trusting Him, humble, or controlling yourself? If not, then pruning is necessary for not only your spiritual growth, but your effectiveness in advancing the kingdom or anything that you do.

People need to see Christ living inside of you. They need to experience the delicious fruit of the Spirit in your life. As a true disciple (follower) of Christ, this is how God is glorified. It’s true! Jesus said through John 15:8, “When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings glory to my Father.” I don’t know about you, but I want to bring glory to our Father. Do you?

If so, then let God prune you. Let Him make you a better person in this world. And the way you allow Him to do this is to go through your tests, trials, opposition, obstacles, tough circumstances, and people issues to improve you. It’s all to help you to become a better Christian. Sometimes the only Jesus people may see, is lived out through you. But that is how it’s supposed to be. Remember, Jesus lived the word.

Personally, I remember telling God, “Lord, I’m loving people. I’m being joyful. I’m trying to be humble. I’m doing what you’re asking me to do.” But then the Lord whispered to me, “I want more.” And I understood. Why? Because remember His word says, “…he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.”

So if you are producing fruit already, be encouraged and hang in there. Go the distance! Let Him do what needs to be done to make you more effective. People in the world and even in the church around you need Jesus. They need to see how you show love in action, joy in spite of your circumstances, peace to the unpeaceable, patient under trial or a waiting season, gentle when you could be harsh, exemplifying the goodness of God, trusting God when you can’t see Him moving yet, being humble when you’re humiliated, and practice self-control.

As I close this post, know that you cannot produce fruit without Jesus. You cannot have true godly character in your own strength, power, or ability. You cannot have fruit if you are not connected or spending time in close fellowship with Him. He tells us in John 15:5, “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” Don’t ever forget that. Rely on Jesus and the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit to bear fruit. BE who you want others to be and let God prune you! It’s time.

Remember, Jesus is coming back soon! And those who endure unto the end shall be saved. So let’s be ready from the Inside Out!

Article by Courtnaye

Article by Lowes

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A Savior Who Understands?

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We do not have a Savior who’s isolated in heaven with no idea what it feels like to have human struggles. No, our Lord left the glories of heaven behind and added humanity to His deity. He temporarily gave up the use of some of His attributes, applying them only as the Father directed Him.

Jesus understands precisely how we feel because He went through the same types of situations we do. Though details of our lives may not match His, the experiences and feelings are alike. Let’s look at several examples of how He identifies with us:

  • Misunderstanding: People constantly misunderstood His claims to be the Son of God.
  • Rejection: He was unappreciated by the ones He came to love and die for.
  • Pressure: Crowds surrounded Him, begging for help and demanding His attention.
  • Exhaustion: He experienced all the weakness of humanity.
  • Loneliness: At Gethsemane, when He needed human companionship the most, His closest friends fell asleep.
  • Temptation: Satan hit Him with every imaginable type of attack and temptation.
  • Hatred: Religious leaders despised Him.
  • Injustice: Though Jesus lived a sinless life, He died a criminal’s death.
  • Pain: He suffered the excruciating pain of scourging and crucifixion.

Whatever you’re going through right now, remember that Jesus knows how you feel and sympathizes with your pain and weakness. He may not remove the anguish or change your situation, but He’ll always give you the grace to resist temptation, endure suffering, and grow in spiritual maturity.

Article by Charles Stanley

Photo Credit by Evoke

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The Christian life is not always an easy road. Sometimes we get off track. The Bible says to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ daily so that no one turns away from the living God. If you have found yourself backsliding, or drifting away from the Lord, these practical steps will help get you back on course today.

1. Examine your faith-life regularly.Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

2. If you find yourself drifting away, turn back immediately.See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.
Hebrews 3:12-13 (NIV)

3. Come to God daily for forgiveness and cleansing.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (NIV)Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.
Revelation 22:14 (NIV)

4. Continue daily seeking the Lord with your whole heart.And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.
I Chronicles 28:9 (NIV)

5. Stay in the Word of God; keep studying and learning daily.Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.
Proverbs 4:13 (NIV)

6. Stay in fellowship often with other believers. You can’t make it alone as a Christian. We need the strength and prayers of other believers.And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25 (NLT)

7. Stand firm in your faith. Expect difficult times in your Christian life.All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Matthew 10:22 (NIV)It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

8. Persevere.Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
1 Timothy 4:15-17 (NIV)

9. Run the race to win. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training … we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
1 Corinthians 9: 24-25 (NIV)I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness…
2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NIV)

10. Remind yourself of what God has done for you in the past. Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised … we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
Hebrews 10: 32, 35-39 (NIV)

Article by Mary Fairchild
Photo Credit by: Shutterstock

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Start, Stop, Repeat

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A young woman named Mary opened her doors to evangelists who introduced her to the Lord.  She willingly accepted the gift of salvation and vowed to attend church on a regular basis.  Mary continued in her new life for about a week, but soon became overwhelmed with the cares of her life.  After a week, one of the evangelists contacted Mary to see how she was doing and discovered she had left the Lord.  Mary vowed again she would give her life to Jesus and do all she could to stay on track this time.  Nevertheless, a few days later, Mary again fell into the snares of this world.  The next week when the evangelist called her, she reluctantly answered the phone.  Out of shame, she confessed again to walk the walk and dedicate her life to Jesus.  Again, Mary fell into the routine of this world

Start, Stop and Repeat…

How many of us have started out walking in the way of the Lord only to find ourselves succumbed by the pressures of this world?  We receive a wake up call and start all over again, only to stop and then start all over again.  The cycle continues to repeat itself over and over in our lives

Why does this happen?  How can we start and finish without having to start over again?  What’s missing???

First let’s discuss why this happens:

Jesus told a parable about a sower who went out to sow and as he sowed, some of his seed fell by the way side.  Other seed fell among thorns, rocks and other fell upon good ground.  The seed is the Word of God!  (Luke 8:5-15)

The seed which fell by the way side was are those who hear the Word of God, but are soon deceived by the Devil.  These in this category, heard the Word of God, but never really took hold of it .  It sounded good to them at the time the Word of God was delivered

The seed which fell among rocks are those who receive the Word of God with joy, but soon temptation overtakes them because they have no root in Jesus.  These in this category, must daily read God’s Word, pray and fast to stay connected to the True Vine which is Christ Jesus

The seed which fell among thorns are those who received the Word of God in their hearts and went forth to live a saved life, but soon were overwhelmed (like Mary) with the cares of this world.  These in this category lack the confidence and faith in Christ Jesus and took on the pressures of this world on their own and soon failed

The seed which fell among good ground are those who received the Word of God in their hearts and immediately applied the Word of God to their lives.  They implemented prayer and fasting.  They believed the report and placed their total confidence and trust in Christ Jesus!  These in this category were not only hearers of the Word of God, but became doers as well

How can we start and finish without having to start over again? and What’s Missing?

The last of the two questions can be answered in one word – Jesus

Without Jesus governing our lives, we will continue to start, stop and repeat ourselves.  Jesus is the True Vine!  His Father (God) is the Husbandman and we are the branches.  (John 15:1-2) Without us staying connected through Christ Jesus, we will fail in our walk.  The Devil doesn’t want you to succeed.  He wants you to fail Christ Jesus.  He wants you to become discouraged.  He wants you to doubt God, but if we place our lives in the Will of God and allow God to lead and direct us, we can succeed

Jesus promised us a Comforter (The Holy Spirit) which would abide with us forever. (John 14:16)

When we start our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, know this: He knows we are human and prone to err.  This is the reason for His promise of the Comforter.  The Comforter (Holy Spirit) is capable of keeping you through all your rough times.  Able to keep you from sinning.  Able to keep you from failing.  Able to keep you from falling.  Able to keep you from yielding to temptation.  Able to keep you from evil thoughts.  Able to keep you each and every day of our lives.  Through anything this world has to offer!

Start, Stop and Repeat – let today be the last day you begin your walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and shame the Devil!

We pray that today’s post has inspired you to continue your quest to love the Lord with all your heart, soul and mind.  Stay encouraged and be blessed always in Jesus name.  Remember, seek that which is good always in Jesus Christ our Lord!  God Bless You!

Inspired by Laraine Turner

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