3 Lessons from a Vineyard Farmer about Your Growth

In John 15 when Jesus told His disciples that He is the true vine and they were the branches, He assured them that those who abide in Him would produce fruit because of their connection to Him. Judas, His betrayer, had already departed and thus proved to not really belong to Jesus – to be a branch that was removed. And Jesus promised that those who remained would be pruned.

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. [John 15:1-2]

I don’t always like this verse because I don’t particularly like to be pruned. Admittedly, I am often comfortable with my current level of fruit and there have been times where the pruning has felt like too much.

I asked a farmer I know about this passage. He owns a large vineyard and sells to forty different wine companies. I better understand the illustration now. Here are three lessons from a vineyard farmer about how God grows us spiritually:

1. Pruning is necessary for this season AND next season.

The farmer told me that pruning causes the branches to bear fruit in the current season and the following season. Future fruit is the result of today’s pruning.

Read more: http://ericgeiger.com/2019/06/3-lessons-from-a-vineyard-farmer-about-your-growth/

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A Call To An Intellectual Faith

https://brianhuffling.com/2018/07/04/a-call-to-an-intellectual-faith/

Podcast – “Qualities of a Godly Teacher” (Acts 20:17-38)

https://bellatorchristi.com/2018/08/09/podcast-8-9-18-message-qualities-of-a-godly-teacher-acts-2017-38/

8 Things God’s Discipline Does

~ Lawless

None of us likes being at the receiving end of God’s discipline . . . especially when we’re in the midst of it. Every believer I know, though, has been through it. If you haven’t yet been, my guess is that you will be at some point. With that in mind, here are eight things God’s discipline does:

  1. It helps us to see the destructive nature of sin. God wouldn’t discipline us for our sin unless He wants us to stop it – and He wants us to stop it because it hurts us and harms our witness.
  1. It magnifies God’s love for us. In His own words, He “disciplines the one he loves and punishes every son he receives” (Heb. 12:6). His discipline is a mark of His love.
  1. It protects us from future consequences of sin. That is the case, of course, only if we respond properly to His discipline by turning from our sin. Continual rebellion in the face of His discipline is dangerous.
  1. It provides evidence that we are God’s children. Again, here’s what His Word concludes: “If you are without discipline ​— ​which all receive ​— ​then you are illegitimate children and not sons” (Heb. 12:8). We’re not to sin in order to be disciplined, of course, but nor should we despise discipline.
  1. It prepares us for the future. The battles change, but seldom does following God get easier along the way. God’s hand of discipline that calls us to repentance today can strengthen us for the temptations of tomorrow.
  1. It humbles us. Discipline forces us to admit that we’re not in charge. We don’t set the rules, and we don’t determine the repercussions of our wrong actions. Arrogance and disobedience are connected, so discipline and humility are often in order.
  1. It makes us holy. Once again, I turn to Hebrews 12 for the point: “He does it for our benefit, so that we can share His holiness” (Heb. 12:10). The temporary pain of discipline helps conform us to the image of Christ.
  1. It gives us peace. That conclusion may seem strange, but that’s exactly what happens. God disciplines us, we turn to Him in repentance, we experience the grace of His forgiveness, and we sleep better at night.

What else has God’s discipline taught you?

Comment at: http://chucklawless.com/2018/07/8-things-gods-discipline-does/

How Do I Live An Intentional Life

I do not so much happen to my life as my life happens to me. By nature I’m a bit passive, wont to fear of trying anything in which there is a possibility of failure, prone to finding the easiest way out or through a situation, and likely to ignore problems instead of facing them. The good thing is I know this about myself and feel constantly armed with fresh candoitiveness. Mondays are my favorite, tomorrow mornings are too—”fresh, with no mistakes in it, yet.” I love Januarys and also Septembers. Any chance for a do-over, I say.

It is strange to me then that I get asked the question (often): “You seem to live your life so intentionally, how do I do that?” Oh dear, she said, I have no idea.

The truth is I am less intentional about my life than I am introspective about it. I think it is easy to confuse the one for the other. The former means coming at life well and the latter (for me) means to look behind at what happened well. These are two very different things. One is active, determined, and disciplined. The other is insightful, thoughtful, and optimistic. The former knows failure is imminent and plans for it, the latter muddles through the aftermath of failure for the lemons and makes lemonade. I make great lemonade, but, dear reader, do not confuse this with growing a great lemon tree. I am introspective, but intentional I am not.

Continue at: http://www.sayable.net/blog/2018/6/14/how-do-i-live-an-intentional-life

4 Ways We Fight to Win the Victory

 

Read more: https://www.christianquotes.info/images/4-ways-we-fight-to-win-the-victory/#ixzz54kl6Bqt0

10 Ways To Spend More Time With God

I don’t know many church leaders who think they spend sufficient time with God. Our lives are busy, and it’s tough to add more responsibilities to our plate. Here, though, are some ways to spend more time with God, beginning today.

  1. Pray daily, “Lord, turn my heart to long for You.” If you genuinely want that change in your life, God will transform you. You will look forward each day to being with Him.

Read more at: http://chucklawless.com/2018/01/10-ways-to-spend-more-time-with-god/