The True Vine

In Jesus’ last ‘I am’ statement in John 15:1, He calls himself the ‘True Vine’. Jesus’ figure of speech here shows the believers that they are the branches, Jesus is the vine, and the Father is the gardener. The branches that do not bear fruit, God removes. Every branch that bears fruit, God prunes. “The word translated ‘prunes’ (kathairo) literally means ‘to cleanse’, ‘to purge’, ‘to purify’. The verb was commonly used of ceremonial cleansing. It is not the normal word for pruning but is used here because Jesus was talking about people rather than vines.”1 There are only two kinds of people, those bearing fruit and those not bearing fruit. The ones that bear fruit are the ones who abide (remain/continue Friberg) in Christ, because without Christ ‘you can do nothing’.

Is there fruit (action/evidence) in your life that proves that you are connected to the True Vine: Jesus Christ?

John 15:1-5 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

1. J. Carl Laney, Moody Gospel John Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1992), 270-271.

Daddy Where are You?

I was just thinking what I should write about, and I stumbled upon this. I wrote this last summer for our church’s newsletter. It seemed appropriate for the new year.

Just a reminder to be there for your family. Pursue the things in life that matters. As we approach this fresh new year, do not forget to set your personal, family, and spiritual goals. I have heard it said, “If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it.”

It is summer. School is out and it is time for vacations, family barbecues, and baseball. Well in our case with our two girls it was softball. One of our ministries this summer was helping in the dugout during the games. Beth and I would call out the batting order, dance their softball jigs with them, and high-five them. Hanging out with the girls was a lot of fun.

Most of the parents that were there were always trying to “coach” their child from the stands and to point out what they had done wrong. To counter the negative we were constantly trying to build on the positive things that they were doing. By doing this we would catch a glimpse of a smile from their faces. Sadly though some parents (mostly dads) would not come to the games. One girl that was playing outfield had a pop fly hit to her and she caught it. It was in a crucial part of the game. She came running in to replay the catch with her mom and dad only to find out that her dad had left to buy some cigarettes. One game we watched a fifteen-year-old girl stare out through the chain link fence out toward the parking lot as she awaited her step-dad to show up. She stared that entire game waiting for him to show up because he promised to come to a game. Unfortunately, he never showed up and the pain was revealed in her face how she longed for her daddy to show up.

Our parents (and us as parents) are not perfect. We are sinful, selfish, and sometimes we are not there when our children need us. Thankfully our heavenly Father is not like us. We do not have to wonder if our ‘daddy’ is going to be there through our joy and troubles. God the Father does not sleep or does he even become drowsy (Ps 121:4). His eye is always on us and he is there to “coach us” through life (Ps 32:8). He is always there for us. Also the Holy Spirit indwells believers and he is always with us (Rom 8). Jesus himself said that he would never ever ever leave us or become unfastened from us (Heb 13:5). Undeniably, our God cares about us, he is watching over us, and he will be with us always.

So we can boldly approach this new year with no fears or regrets of past failures, because our “daddy” is with us and he will never leave us.

I love famous and motivational quotes. I ran across this one this morning.

“Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that dont matter.”
Tim Kizziar (via TJ Reid)