Monday, December 11, 2017

Pruning and Submission - part 21

Next, our passage says, "They must submit their own will to the will of God."  Here is where troubles begin.  "They must submit their own will to the will of God.  There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles.  There must ba a painful work of detchment as well as a work of attachment."  What must we be detached from?  Pride--that's the very first thing you see.  Remember, we read about this relationship as being, "entered into be a proud being," and so we are cut off from that old source of pride, cut off from th stalk from which pride grew.  And to pride, we can add, "selfishness, vanity, worldliness--sin in all its forms-must be overcome...."

There is only one way to overcome all of this, and that is to be cut off from it.  You must cut off the life source of pride, selfisihness, and sin in all of its forms--which is actually the world.  So we must be cut off from our love of the world.  That's why the Bible says that if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us.  So we cannot compromise.  We cannot bring the world and the Lord Jesus Christ together; we cannot blend them, for they are diametrically opposed.  Any person who thinks the world can be held with one hand and the Lord Jesus Christ with the other hand, is fooling themselves and attempting an utter impossibility.

Reading further, "Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness--sin in all it forms-- must be overcome, if we would enter into a union with Christ.  The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle- - - " what does the word fickle mean?  Changeable, unstable, saying one thing but doing another--"The reason..."I like statements that get right to the "this is it" nitty-gritty--"The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is that they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from their Cherished idols."

Did this help you some?  I think I've been helped by it but will have to read it over, maybe even several times until I get the real message.  So don't feel bad about not getting it the first time, read it again and again until you do get it.  I hope you are being blessed, even if it is all new to you, God will bless us as we struggle to understand and apply it to our lives.  Grandma Joan

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Pruning and Fruit-bearing - 20 cont'.

Notice as well that Christ received the wound by which we have been grafted in.  Paul speaks of the grafting process in Romans 11:17, where he speaks of our having been grafted into the Vine.  Now before a graft can be made in any plant, what has to happen to the plant?  It has to be wounded.  A cut has to be made that severely wounds the stalk, and this cut opens the wound into which the graft is inserted.  Thus the graft obtains its life as a result of the wound.

The strength of your life and mine comes from the atonement--it comes from no other place.  Hiding in the atonement is His power.  It isn't because Jesus Christ was the Creator, as great and marvelous at that was; nor is it because He demonstrated miraculous power in calling forth the dead, which was also wonderful and thrilling.  The one thing that gives me life is that Jesus as God was willing to die--was wounded--enabling me to be grafted in and to receive life.  In spite of that, we go along complacently thinking that life comes as a result of doing something good.  That's ridiculous!  The only source of life is to be found in partaking of that sap, which is none other than the blood of Jesus Christ.  There is no other source of life!  If we don't receive it there, we simply don't have it.

Reading on, "They must have a change of heart."  Who?  The branch.  The branch, which was cut off from its own stock and put into the True Vine to receive the new heart, is going to receive a new source of life and will have a new kind of fruit as it draws nourishment from the Vine.

The branch is going to have a new kind of experience--termed a new heart--because the heart of Jesus Christ is now supplying the life flow to that branch.

Do you want that new kind of experience, I sure do, I'm in the same boat as everyone else.  I am still learning and trying to surrender all so that I may have that new kind of experience.  God is definitely working in my life minute by minute to give me His kind of character which I desperately need.
Let's pray for each other each day to receive that kind of experience.  Grandma Joan

Friday, December 8, 2017

Pruning and Fruit Bearing - Part 20

So, what is it that produces "more fruit"?  And  who is it that produces "more fruit"?  The pruning or purging process is intended to do one thing: draw us into a closer relationship to God, that we might be a more efficient vehicle through which the fruit is revealed--that's the purpose.

The thing we need to settle, then, is who does this pruning, and how does the pruning process really take place?

Notice the following quotation that speaks of our possible union with Christ, which in the parable is described as the relationship between the branch and the Vine.

"A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish.  Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first, and last, and best in everything. But this union costs us something.  It is a relation of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being."

We have to stop right here.  "It is a relationship of utter dependene, to be entered into by a proud being."  How is pride affected?  We are proud!  We all have proud, egocentric natures, and the only way we can be free from this pride is to recognize the purpose of the braanch.  There is only one source of strength for the branch.  What is that source?  The Vine.  The Vine is our Source of strength, our only Source of strength.  But do we look to the Source?  No!  We look everywhere else.  We go to Aunt Jenny and we go to Uncle Tom.  We go everywhere.  We read everything.  We try anything and everything to find this strength, except going to the Vine to find it.  Why?  Because  we don't like the Vine's solution: drinking deeper of the blood of Christ.

The branch doesn't support the Vine, does it?  Absolutely not!  The branch continually receives from the vine--that's the branch's purpose, and it is simply the vehicle.  Our relationship with God is to function the same way.  That's why God said," be entered into by a proud being."  Why?  Because it is a humbling process.  It is humbling to realize we can do nothing by ourselves; it is humbling to realize that a branch cut off from the Vine is only fit to be gathered and burned, according to verse six.

Now we read, "All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ."  That's the life blood.  The branch must feel its need of the life-giving flow of sap, which is the atoning blood of Christ.  If the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are not a reality to you and me, if the atonement paid on Calvary's cross is not a reality; if these are not real and central points in our thinking, our religion is vain, and we are tied to the wrong vine.  Remember, Christ is the Vine, and when we receive strength from the Vine, we receive it from Christ.

To be continued tomorrow.  Grandma Joan

Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Dangerous Complacency - 19

Accordingly, the real danger in any Christian life, and I mean the very real and serious danger in any Christin life, is complacency.  Do you believe that?  Perhaps you ask, "What do you mean using the word complacency?  Revelation 3:14-18 provides the answer in the message to the church in Laodicea.  What was the problem there?  Lukewarmness.  The problem of lukewarmness has faced the church throughout history, but is particularly true of today's church.

Revelation 3:14-18  "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God;  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:  I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor; and blind, and naked:  I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and whit raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see"

The problem that comes to every Christian along the way is not a lack of fruit-bearing.  Rather, when he finds himself feeling that he has borne a little fruit, felt a little of the love of God and the joy of salvation, has enjoyed a little experience and is feeling elevated about the whole thing, he settles down and remembers that experience the rest of his life.  He lives on it, and talks about it, but doesn't go any further.  And he accordingly misses the 'more fruit' element of being the branch.  But the capacity of the branch is tremendous, and the Husbandman comes along and begins to prune the branch in order to produce more fruit.

Have you experience this last paragraph?  I have and most Christians have.  To me it's a little scary that I can get into a condition of complacency and not really know it until I start to analyze my self and my condition.  It pays to sit back and look things over regarding ourselves.  We may see some things we are not proud of.  The time we have spent with God every day, and all day.  Of course we have to work and do many things but we should always be in the attitude of prayer so that we can reach out to God anytime and anywhere. Praying for more fruit is important too, and to be pruned so we may bear more fruit. Read Galatians 5:22,23  if you have forgotten what the fruit of the Spirit is.
May you be blessed every day as you read these little studies.  They may be small but they are huge when it comes to bearing fruit for the kingdom of heaven and winning souls to Christ through our fruit bearing.  Grandma Joan

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fruitful Branches - Part 18

Now notice what Andrew Murray says next:

"Let us begin to think as God thinks.  Let us accept Christ's teaching and respond to it.  The one object of my being a branch, the one mark of my being a true branch, the one condition of my abiding and growing strong, is that I bear the fruit of the heavenly Vine for dying men to eat and live.  The one thing of which I can have the most perfect assurance is that, with Christ as my Vine, and the Father as my Husbandman, I can indeed be a fruitful branch."

No one needs to feel they cannot bear a fruitful branch.  Every person can be a fruitful branch!  Jesus says that if a branch is not bearing fruit, The husbandman cuts it off.  But the Husbandman cuts if off in His Own time and in His Own way--that's His business, not ours.  But every branch that is bearing fruit, He purges it. So the fruit-bearing becomes the real problem in most people's thinking because we are subject to deception and Satan has caused us to misunderstand what fruit-bearing really is.  But here Jesus says that every branch that bears fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

Remember Galatians 5:22, 23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.  These are the fruit we are to bear for Christ the Vine.  Not one of these fruit would be bad to have.  In fact I would love to have all of them, how about you?  God has given me His love in my heart for others but I need more, so I need to pray for more love to others.  He is helping me by giving me more patience, but I can use more of that too.  Once in a while Satan tries to destroy my peace but as a rule I seem to be at peace.  But it wouldn't hurt to pray for the fruit of the Spirit all the time, all of them.  When I wake up in the morning I ask God to help me abide with Him all day, sure makes the day go better, I am so thankful for His unending love for me.  I don't know what I would do without Him.  Life would be so hard to cope with.  With Him it is best if we let Him control things and then they don't get out of hand.  Keep up your studying, it is worth every moment that we spend time with Him.  Grandma Joan

Sunday, December 3, 2017

A Single Purpose - Part 17

Andrew Murray states in his book, The Mystery of the True Vine:  "Let us specially beware of one great mistake.  Many Christians think their own salvation is the first thing; their temperal life and prosperity. with the care of their family the second; and what of time and interest is left may be devoted to fruit-bearing, to the saving of men.  No wonder that in most ccases very little time or interest can be found.  No, Christian, the one object with which you have been made a member of God's body is that the Head may have you carry out His saving work.  The one object God had in making you a branch is that Christ may through you bring life to men.  Your personal salvation, your business and care for your family, are entirely subordinate to this."

I am sure you didn't get this.  Let me repeat part of it, "The one object God had in making you a branch is that Christ may through you bring life to men."  God says, "I am the Vine, ye are the branches,"  and His one object for you is to make you a branch through which life can be imparted to men.  Through what?  The fruit!  The fruit is what nourishes anyone who comes to the vine.  Isn't that true?  And if we are the branches, we are to bear fruit and thus supply the food through which the world is to know the Lord Jesus.

"The one object God has in making you a branch is that Christ may through you bring life to men."
Might this be the reason we read that God is waiting for His people to perfectly reflect His image?  Why?  Because men and women can only feed on what they really see, and are only attracted to come to Christ on the basis of what they see as well.  "The one object God has in making you a branch is that Christ may through you bring life to men.  Your personal salvation, your business and care for your family, are entirely subordinate to this one thing."

That's a broad statement.  It is so easy for me to first care for myself, my family, and children.  Taking care of my family causes me to feel like I have accomplished something noble and good, because any man who lookes after his family is thought of as a very fine person--and that is great and there's nothing wrong with tht.  But our first and primary purpose for existence is not caring for our families.  What is our first and primary purpose?  Bearing fruit.

You see, our first obligation to God is fruit-bearing, not our salvation.  If my relationship with God is wholly about salvation, then my relationship with Him is selfish.  But if I have a relationship with God in order to abide in the Vine and am a faithful, fruit-bearing, branch, then I am fulfilling the purpose for which God created me, as expressed in John 15:5.  "I am the Vine, ye are the branches."  It doesn't mean the family will be ignored, however, for the family will be cared for, and will be the first benefit from this abiding.

Now notice that your first aim in life, your first aim every day, should be to know how Christ desires to carry out His purposes in you--That's the very first aim.  did you ever read that Christ's first work every morning was seeking direction from His Heavenly Father as to what He was to do that day?  Our first work should be the same: receiving our instructions fresh every morning.

Please know that this little book I am sharing with you each day is almost totally new to me too but such a revelation to me that I am overwhelmed with the knowledge it is presenting.  I can't find any Scripture fault with any of it and it is such a relief to know these things.  There is an abundant more knowledge coming up.  I am so grateful to find out these things and share them with you.  It will make our life so much better and it may be hard to abide in Christ every day all day to start with but it will be the most rewarding thing that we can do and it will win our families to God and all those that we associate with at least if they have an open heart and mind.  Blessings to you as you study this out.
Grandma Joan

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Abiding and Pruning - Part 16 continued

The vine does all the work.  The vine sends the root and tendrils out, perhaps sending them hundreds of feet.  The fine little rootlets seek nourishment and moisture in the soil, return that nourishment, convert it into rich sap, an send it up the vine to the branch.  What dos the branch do with the sap then?  It carries the sap further.  The branch is still only a vehicle, because the sap flows out into the branch and into the leaves.  The leaves receive the life-giving sunshine, and the rays of light initiate a chemical process in the plant.  None of this depends on the branch other than its function as the vehicle by which the sap flows.  There are tremendous lessons here that need to be learned.

Now the real test of any branch is bearing fruit.  If the branch fails to bear fruit, it is fir for nothing, and the Scripture says, He takes it away."  This is interesting because in verse 2 it says, "Every branch in Me that bears not fruit He takes away".  Did you ever wonder why the He is there?  Who is the 'He'?  The Husbandman.  Who is the Husbandman?  The Father.  God is the Husbandman, and He takes the unprofitable branch away.  That should put us in our place, since a lot of us would like to do the pruning an chopping.

When you compare this with the counsel Jesus gave in Matthew 7:15,16, and 20, you begin to get a pretty clear picture of what our role should be and what should result so far as fruit is concerned.  Notice verses 15 and 16:  "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits."  Verse 20 says, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."  What do we do when we recognize the fruit?  We tend to make ourselves husbandmen and do the dividing ourselves!  We have always had the tendency to ask, "Lord shall we take out the weeds?"  Notice how Jesus responded in His day:  "Let them grow until the harvest."  Who then must do the dividing, the separating, and the weeding?  Only the Husbandman, because weeding is God's business, not ours, and I praise His name for that.  And you know, even though fruit isn't all that easy to detect by human vision--which is why it isn't safe for humans to do the weeding--God still says we will know them by their fruits.

Accordingly, when prophets claim to be something, we can "know them by their fruits."  Why? Because we can always check the fruit by the Word.  Through God's Word we can detect the presence of fruit.  But when we have recognized fruit, all we have done--and we must remember this--has increased our knowledge.  But even then, it is not for us to pass judgment, for judgment is left entirely to God.  But God has given us a way to detect the presence of fruit.  So, "by their fruits" is the guideline we have been given.  Reading further, it says, "Every branch that bears not fruit He takes away."

This is heavy isn't it, even for me as I have read these verses over and over and just now understanding the true meaning.  So thankful that it is not my place to weed out the false prophets.  God is perfect at it and He does it in His way, not mine.  Very enlightening.  Hope you are learning along with me.  So thankful for this little booklet and have permission to share it with you.  Grandma Joan