Shear Madness

It was Thursday night in Jerusalem.  Jesus’ last supper with the disciples had ended.  His words had been sober & serious — leaving the men confused, dejected, disappointed, and a few of them feeling betrayed.  How could Jesus be leaving them?  The ruler of this world was coming?  What?  They had left everything to follow Jesus, who they thought would be Ruler.

Jesus gets up and motions, “Come on boys.” (John 14:32). Heading outside the city toward the Mt of Olives, they walk single file through vineyards. Jesus reaches down and lifts up a branch. “I am the Vine & my Father is the Gardener.  God will tend & cultivate your lives with great care & wisdom — for His heart is set on helping you become fruitful.”  I love John 15.  It’s a weighty passage that reveals the heart of our God, who is for us, not against us.

Years ago, I would criticize my husband when he’d prune bushes and trees in our yard.  I’d try to convince him to take less and leave some blooms to enjoy.  Boy, was I wrong!  And so, this last weekend, I kept my mouth shut as we filled 2 1/2 trailers of pruned plants.  It was shocking, drastic, …and absolutely neccesary.    Many Christians misunderstand God’s  pruning as painful punishment.  The truth is — when God prunes us, it is always for our good.  God is removing the things in our lives that are draining away our energy & strength. Pruning is God’s way of making us stronger so we can handle more fruit.

When you are a young branch (new in your walk with the Lord), His pruning may seem like little snips.  God is dealing with exterior matters in your life.  But, as you mature, pruning seems to become more harsh.  Don’t panic! God is dealing with matters of your heart, so the pain may seem more intense.  Soon enough, pruning season will pass, and you’ll be enjoying new growth; new transformation; new fruit.  The “thing” you lost will be a far away, fading memory.

Perhaps, you feel like your faith is being tested right now.  Has God had His pruning shears out?  Be encouraged — He is a Master Gardener.  He knows exactly how to cultivate you into a fruit-FULL season.  You are safe in His hands.

I’ll be like a tree…

How could anyone say the Bible is an old, out-of-date, boring book?  From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is chock-a-block full of adventure, love stories, poems, mystery, history, and real life wisdom.  I still sit on the edge of my seat in suspense when I read how the Israelites got trapped between the sea and the the Egyptian army.  My heart sings when I read David’s songs.  I cry reading how Jesus, the Darling of heaven, prayed alone in the garden on the eve of His death.  I laugh at how God used a little boy to kill a big giant.  I could go one all day because the Bible is simply that amazing!

I trace my love for God’s word back to when I was little girl, when I observed my Nana’s life.  It wasn’t a religious thing for her — it was a relationship. She talked about God’s word every chance I gave her.  And, even though it wasn’t until years later, in my early 20’s, the seeds Nana planted in my heart remained and produced fruit.   From the moment I gave my life to Jesus, God’s word came alive to me.   It changes me; challenges me; comforts me.   There is but 1 thing it doesn’t do — bore me.  Never!

How blessed is the man who delights in God’s Word, meditating on it day & night. He will be like a tree planted by the waters, producing fruit in every season. His leaves never wither and he prospers in all he does.  Psalm 1:2-3

If you are having a difficult time understanding God’s word,  I recommend getting a new “readable” translation and attending a lively local church Bible study.  Start by reading a Bible story, then pondering it’s meaning for your life.  Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and help you understand God’s truth.  While it may take a little effort to open up the pages and get started — you will never be disappointed.  I believe, that you too, will fall in love with it’s words and it’s Author.