An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Monday, March 21, 2011

Abiding In The Vine and Loved By The Vinedresser


March 21, 2011

Life in Kerrville is showing signs of spring everywhere, which is very nice. I have enjoyed planting flowers and have even attempted getting the flower beds cleaned out and actually bought mulch! This has always been Joe’s job, and I confess that Price was a big help with the flower beds. It has been wonderful having him home a little for Spring Break.
Recently, I have felt God challenging me to spend more time abiding with Him. I remember years ago reading John 15 about abiding, and I decided if I didn’t read anywhere else for a year but there, it was worth it to figure out how to stay connected to the Lord throughout my day.
Abide means: to dwell in, stay close, remain in. John 15 talks about abiding and God being the vinedresser; the one who tends to the vine and decides where and when to prune, how much water, etc. Jesus is the vine, we are the branches, and apart from Him, there is no fruit. In other words, the Father takes care of everything in our lives; Jesus is the source, and if we have a hope of being fruitful in our lives, we must abide with Him. Anything we do on our own or apart from Him is of no lasting value.
Recently, while in California, I visited several vineyards and was fascinated with the vines and the story behind each one. Some vines had been around for over 100 years, yet others were brand new. It was amazing to look at the bare, pruned branches and imagine that in just a few months they would be green and fruit would be on those branches. The interesting thing is that pruning is done to allow more fruit to come. As I thought about this, I had to admit that I have never signed up for pruning nor have I heard anyone pray for it! It is necessary, though, to produce strong branches that can hold and produce good fruit, and even the oldest vines were pruned each year. Another interesting thing they do is stress the vine by with holding water and this makes a sweeter grape. I can relate to being stressed a little and will wait for the good fruit! John 15:6 says, “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.” (NIV) That paints a pretty clear picture of life apart from God.
Everything in our lives is about relationship with him and with others. John 15:7 says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you.” (NIV) When we stay connected to the Lord, we are in alignment with the Father. Proper alignment brings answers to prayer and favor. Perhaps many of our prayers go unanswered because we are not staying in His presence. He loves being with us! John 15:9 says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” Jesus is telling us to stay in the mindset of how precious and dear we are to Him. I love that verse because it conveys our value--we are loved by the Father as much as He loves Jesus! He wants us to stay in His love, keep connected to it, and remain in His love, because it protects us, makes us secure, gives us confidence, and makes us fruitful. There are plenty of things in life that try to steal our identity and value: unkind words, abandonment, neglect, misunderstanding, just to name a few. Stepping into that place of being His beloved daughter eradicates any identity theft. I find, personally, there is a spring in my step and joy in my heart the more I abide with Him. One of my favorite ways to abide is through singing. I can’t say I am very good at singing, but worship is my oxygen. I also love sitting on the deck and just telling the Lord how much I love Him and opening my heart to His love for me. Abiding is a discipline and one we constantly need to upgrade.
Intimacy with Him makes our relationship special and is intimidating to the enemy. I recently was ministering to someone, and her brother was part of the Mexican Mafia in our community. He was in the car when she stopped by, and I asked her if I could pray blessings on him. She said “Yes”, and after I prayed for the man, he told her, “She scares me!” I know it was my intimacy with the Lord that made him scared. How scared can one be of a 5’3” blonde with curls?!? I love it!
 
There is power abiding with Him.
Remaining in His love,
 
Kathleen

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