Thursday, May 29, 2008

choosing fruit [+] Thursday E-Devotion

Often I recieve devotions that speak to me.  Today was one of those days.  It has been busy as our children have had several activities at their schools (which are about 15 miles a part).  Read through these next thoughts from this devotion:
John 15:5 (nlt) --- Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.
...Jesus told his disciples that God acts as a gardener in the lives of those who claim him as Lord. He wants his followers to be abundant producers of good fruit, showing the world that they are children of God (see John 15:8). But this is not enough. Instead of simply harvesting the fruit that is produced, the Lord grabs a pair of pruning shears and begins to trim the branches. A little here, a little there, until he is satisfied with the end result.

This process of subtraction is a good thing. For it is in these times that God rids us of attitudes and actions that limit our effectiveness for the kingdom. In their place, he grants new opportunities to exhibit love, patience, kindness, and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23). As these values are acted upon, what started out as subtraction becomes addition, and more fruit is produced than before the pruning.

If the branches are not pruned they may become weakened or stressed, and they will eventually snap. Once that occurs, the branches will wither and die because they are not attached to the tree, leaving wasted fruit behind. But the result of a life lived wholeheartedly for Christ will be an abundance of fruit—fruit that will last.
John 10:10 (nlt) --- The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
That is a big deal, people.  God intends to make us fruitful and part of a group of people that are making a huge difference in this world.  If we are not changed, we will not make a difference.  If we are not like or becoming like Jesus, we will not make a difference.  If we try to do things on our own not with God, we will not make a difference.
Point: let God prune you, work in your life so that He can use you to touch others.  Rick Warren said, "God never wastes a hurt."  God uses the situations we have been in, the good and the bad, to touch the people around us.  He is using life, our lives, to change others and to encourage others.
Notice the last sentence in the devotion I quoted above.  It says "the rsult of a life lived wholeheartedly for Christ will be an abundance of fruit."  What is fruit?  It is what changes lives, one at a time.  That is God's business.  That is His business that He has asked us to be part of.  Will do?  Are you?
Choose.  God or someone else.  Eternal difference or temporary gain.  Living for yourself or living for God.

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