Out doing my regular walking route this morning I came across an ornamental fig vine that was producing a plethora of fruit and due to our rather rambunctious weather of late a lot of the produce had fallen to the ground but there were still many attached, willing themselves to draw as much from the ‘source’ as possible before meeting the possible same fate!
On the remainder of my journey home, this scene/picture got me thinking of the importance of me personally being attached as a branch to the vine who is Jesus Christ!
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. – John 15:5-8 MSG
We are all called to be ‘in’ Christ and produce much fruit and we know that fruit is seasonal and eventually needs to be harvested and consumed … so what piqued my interest from this visual on my walk was the following…
1. Realising what season, I am currently in for the production of fruit to be made possible?
I am currently experiencing a first for my life journey – I have just finished working (resigned and finished up my last job on the 4/6/22) so I guess that means I am now stepping into retirement! What does that mean for me now personally and spiritually and how do I continue serving my best when I am not in a place of ‘giving out’ from what I know to do?
My devotional scripture yesterday totally nailed it for me and set my spirit in a ‘YES’ of thunderous applause – if Jesus can still use me where I am at then I need to heed his word and get on my knees and pray for everyone and everything possible to prepare myself for what lays ahead! I guess that then means I am currently in a winter season of fruit production where I need to feed me in this hibernation season so I will be ready when the time comes to go!
‘..kneel and pray…get yourself ready; I’m sending you…’ – Acts 7:33-34 MSG
2. How can I stay totally connected to the vine and not wither away in the waiting?
My husband and I have been on a backyard makeover for the last few years, replacing plants with others, fixing retic and much more. In the process we have found some trees and plants dying off in areas, so pruning has been required. We are doing our best to trim back and cultivate the best we can to encourage the growth needed for these plants to survive where they are or in some places, replanting to other areas of the garden for best conditioning.
Making myself comfortable in this new season and working on how to cultivate that spiritual trimming needed for God to encouraging more of His love to be grown in me for greater opportunities to be born is essential. When possible, watering my heart and soul with worship from the many streams of technology we have available to us is also vital medication and drinking in all the natural elements around us that God chooses to highlight to us can also be a welcome remedy!
‘..make yourselves at home in my love...love one another the way I loved you...I put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil..’ – John 15:9-16
3. Preparing for harvest and consumption?
Praying for those God already has in place (ordained ministers of the word of God) or those who desire to be raised up and be on the front line, in sharing the gospel.
Praying for those who do not yet know Jesus, that we would have a word in season for them when the time comes, to see their lives transformed.
Praying for what fruit we have to give does not fall to the ground and be trampled underfoot but would go on to be a recurring blessing for many generations to come.
‘If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me…remember this: servants don’t get better treatment than their masters…when the friend (Holy Spirit) I … send you from the Father comes … he will confirm everything about me…’ – John 15:18-27
I have recently taken stock by looking back and honouring the Lord Jesus Christ for the amazing fruit He has already done in many lives over the years. Allowing me the privilege to be involved in - giving into relationships, running ministry courses, preaching the word and more. I am truly in awe how my Heavenly Father has orchestrated it all, but it also makes my hope more secure knowing He still wants to do that and more up ahead!
In 2006 we had a woman who came along to an Alpha course we ran – she was a nurse by profession, but a real ‘Liverpool party girl’ by nature and was very flippant about everything to do with “Jesus.” During the middle of the course, on the “Holy Spirit weekend away” – our church would run a whole weekend from Friday night through to Sunday lunch – this is where we pray & minister to people and in her words… “It will go down as one of the best weekends ever! I loved Jesus so much for saving me. The following day after accepting Jesus, I was like a child skipping and giggling, I was so happy, and I wanted the world to know what had happened to me.” After finishing Alpha, doing nursing was just not enough for her. Wanting to do more for the Lord, so she went to Bible College and got her degree in Ministry (Using all her 11 weekly Alpha experiences for her written assignments). She then went onto apply to be a chaplain in schools and eventually became a Chaplain in a local Nursing Home complex. In 2018 when I was desperately looking for a nursing home for my mother, God amazingly opened a home for them. (My Father also has since moved in to be with my Mum - 2019) It also happens to be the same place my friend is the Chaplain. My friend regularly visits and prays with my parents the way my husband and I have ministered to her over the years. God will always look after every detail of our lives, and if we are committed to doing all he calls us to & leaving it with him, then we can have the confidence in him. Jeremiah 17:7 (AMP) “Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the LORD And whose hope and confident expectation is the LORD.”
Extract from ‘Door of Hope’ by Kim Stanfield
Be blessed today knowing that every connection and interaction you have, God will use to complete His good work for you and those around you. Our Heavenly Father is loving and wants us all to live powerful lives of legacy.
My Prayer for you today…
Lord Jesus, I choose to abide in you, so I ask that my branch bear good fruit of the Spirit and grow in grace, mature in faith and come ever deeper in the knowledge of you every day. Help me I pray to become the fruit-bearing branch that honours you in Jesus’ name - Amen