Bottom Feeders

The night before he was crucified, Jesus, using the imagery of vineyards, told his disciples, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he *prunes*, that it may bear more fruit.” (John 15:1-2)

This passage haunts me to a degree.

I do want to obey Christ, but I reminded that all believers will, at varied times in ones’ life, be “pruned.”

The word “prune” here literally means ” to cleanse.” It’s the “cutting away of dead wood which is the removal of hindrances that drain spiritual life from a believer.” And God’s “pruning”, albeit necessary to our spiritual health, sometimes hurts.

I have two Crepe Myrtles in my front yard. Every Spring I have to prune both the trunks and the branches, removing those twigs that would hinder & drain nutrients the trees need to bloom properly. Some of those twigs are located at the base of the trunk. I call them “bottom feeders.”

Are there “bottom feeders” (habits, unforgiveness, anger, pride, relationship etc.) in your life hindering you from loving Christ? Satan would love to drain every last drop of our commitment to Christ, leaving us always short of spiritual health.

Soli Deo Gloria, nick

The Lord’s Prayer (It’s not the one you’re thinking of…)

The “Our Father, which art in heaven,…” prayer was certainly said by Jesus, but as a “model prayer” for the eager-to-learn-how-to-pray disciples.

However, the disciple, John, records for us a wonderful gift. For his entire 17th chapter comprises an actual prayer Jesus prayed as he was readying himself for his crucifixion: “Father,” Jesus prayed, “the time has come….” (17:1)

Praying for himself, the disciples, and the world, Jesus pours his heart out to his Father. The disciples had no earthly idea what was about to take place. But, in his prayer, Jesus reminds us what our “true north” must be when life caves in around us (which is what was about to happen to Jesus’ closest followers.)

Jesus prays, “I have given them Your word…Your word is truth.” (17:14, 17)

Some 10 centuries removed from when the psalmist wrote, “Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path” (119:105), Jesus reminds us that nothing has changed – God does not change. Our “true north” was – and is – His mighty Word.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” (Col. 3:16)

Nick