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Silver Maple

Friday, July 14, 2006

"The Pruning Experience"

"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" (John 15:1,2).

When we moved to our home over four years ago we had a small maple tree growing up right along a fence in our backyard. It was healthy but we decided to transplant it to another part of our yard.

Brooksyne dug it out and in doing so completely bared the root system. (We've since learned that, when possible, it's good to leave soil around roots when you transplant!) We dug a hole in the desired location where a died-out tree had been in our front yard and replanted it there.  We watered and fertilized but within days the tree was dying with leaves turning brown and falling off. It looked awful.

I had resigned to losing the tree when a friend told me, "You've got to prune that right back, lop it off half way up."  Wow, that was hard to do, but it was dying anyway so I took the advice. Within a few days we saw new leaves forming and the tree was thriving in a very short time.  Since we thoroughly enjoy our view of the farm fields we've wondered if we actually planted it in a good location.  It will eventually block our view of one of the distant farms.

The daily Scriptures are the very words of our Lord Jesus. The typical interpretation is that He is the vine and we are the branches of the vine. The Father cuts off branches that bear no fruit, which has been variously interpreted by Christians through the ages. Today I consider the latter part of the daily text, "every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

Are you bearing fruit today? All who follow Christ are called to bear fruit. In fact Jesus ended His teaching with this statement "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples" (John 15:8). All fruit-bearing Christians are subject to pruning (notice "every branch"). The purpose of the pruning is that we might be "even more fruitful."

The nature of this "pruning" is seen by many to be the trials that are an inevitable part of our earthly existence. I can't speak for you, but I don't necessarily like the painful pruning experiences of life. Too often I'm willing to settle for the fruit I have and am unconcerned about being "more fruitful" which follows the pruning action. But I go back to that detail I pointed out earlier. "Every branch," Jesus said, "that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful."

Today may God give us an assurance that the pruning experience is actually an evidence of God's faithfulness and His love toward us!

Be encouraged today,

Stephen C. Weber

Brooksyne's prayer: Father, You are the Master Gardener who is growing me into the likeness of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  As I remain in the Vine You assure me that I will bear much fruit lasting far beyond one season.  When I consider the fruit You want to grow in me I recognize that it is all based on character traits seen in the Son.  Help me to respond in accordance to the pruning knife of the Word of God as it penetrates my soul, judging the thoughts and attitudes of my heart. Cut out that which hinders my growth and submerge me in that which will make me flourish making me fruitful for the Kingdom of God.  Amen.

A song that goes well with today's message is titled "I Want To Be More Like You" (mp3)

Personal note: Each day we prepare these messages there are events in world that could be addressed. Those living in regions affected may particularly wonder why I don't address the matter.  However, due to the global scope of this ministry, every day something is happening that affects some in our readership.  Brooksyne and I often pray concerning issues where we know people are impacted.  Certainly today we are mindful and in prayer about the situation in the Middle East. Our prayer is that many would turn to Christ today who is the "Prince Of Peace".  I consider an old song we used to sing called, "Jesus is the answer for the world today…"  That's still true!

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Bee on sunflower

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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