“I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken. “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is-when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples. “I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done-kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love. “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. “If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you. (John 15:1-14, 18, 19 MSG)
This morning in 1st Priority (our weekly Christian club before school), a dear friend of mine and high school coach gave his testimony.
He spoke the Truth in love.
And he rocked.
He spoke about how hard times will come. They will. And they will hurt. But if you hold tight to Jesus while you’re being pruned, you will make it…and in the end, you’ll be stronger and more productive.
All of this, coming from a guy whose little girl is going thru chemo treatments and whose wife left him a few weeks ago.
He didn’t stand and complain. He didn’t bad-mouth anyone. He spoke, with a quivering voice and tears on his face, as he said “I still love her, but God has broken me down so He can make me what He wants”.
It was powerful.
And it’s the Truth.
Love one another the way Jesus has loved us–even when it hurts.
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
There will come a day when life will smack you in the forehead. Hold on to Jesus for dear life and you will make it.
P.S. When you see someone going thru a hard time, but living their life with grace and determination, let them know that you noticed.