I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2
We have a Bonsai Tree and it adorns our morning room table. It is a beautiful reminder of how it became what it is. The object is a bonsai tree, all of less than a foot tall. It is a perfectly formed tree, yet its growth beyond a foot is intentional stunted by the clipping of its roots.
It has been a Japanese form of art dating back more than a thousand years. The trees are a miniature replica of a fully grown tree. They look the same as a fully grown tree, only smaller. The secret is when they begin to sprout as a seedling, they are planted in a shallow container and their roots are pruned and trimmed whenever they begin to grow. When they reach dwarf maturity, then are planted in a pot that prohibits their roots from growing.
I had not thought of how that depicts a journey of faith, until one evening during our dinner I looked at the little tree and saw a spiritual parallel.
When we accept Christ, we are permanently saved and our seat in Heaven is reserved for us. It is a one-time event that is total and not partial. However, our earthly Christian maturity is a walk-in faith, as we mature in the faith over time.
Too many people get saved and then get their roots constantly trimmed as they live in a shallow environment. They are influenced by non-believing people who mock their faith, and they hang around the wrong people. New Christians are advised to be daily in the word and at least weekly in a Bible believing and preaching evangelical congregation……. environments where they can grow alongside others on the same journey.
Not all pruning is bad. In nature, pruning is a process done to fruit-bearing plants to facilitate healthy growth. As believers, Jesus compares our spiritual growth to that of a vine plant. In order to bear spiritual fruit (see Galatians 5:19-20) and walk in the purpose God has for you, you have to be pruned. Like a gardener tends to plants, God is overseeing your growth so that you will mature in Christ and live the life he created you for.
Like the farmer, God prunes us to remove what is dead or dying in us, to remove what’s infected or diseased, to remove that are hindering us and to keep us focused and on the right spiritual track.
Has God pruned you?
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
In a recent article in Christian Headlines, Milton Quintanilla warns about the lack of Bible knowledge in 21st century America. Not just in our country, but in our churches.
Quintanilla quotes Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, the newly elected secretary-general of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), who believes that biblical illiteracy is a growing, troubling trend in the global evangelical church today.
In an interview with The Christian Post, Schirrmacher explained that “beyond all theological differences, financial problems, and political questions”, “our biggest problem is that Bible knowledge is fading away.”
In the Western world, “more and more kids that come from evangelical families are not really rooted in the Bible,” and many end up departing from the faith, he asserted. Young people, even those claiming to be Christians, Schirrmacher said, “only know about the Bible what they learned from their conversion” instead of growing deeper in biblical knowledge.
“The result is that people know much less and are more … much more open to secularism and strange things like the ‘health and wealth’ gospel,” he added. Actually, the challenge to know God and His Word is an age-old problem. Jehovah laments through the Old Testament prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Ken Weliever
— o —
Franklin Graham reports that Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association saw 1.3 million people give their lives to Christ through online ministries in 2019. This year, the number is 1.7 million. Franklin explains that due to the pandemic, “The people’s hearts have been softened a little bit. People who have not listened before are listening now.”
— o —
Liberals Think Dr. Seuss Books are Bad for Kids, But Killing Babies in Abortions is OK
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
If it were not for God’s grace, where would you be today? Ken Whitten
The secret of your strength lies in your commitment to Jesus Christ. Dan Shock
Take care of your body. It’s the only place you must live. JIM ROHN
Now go therefore and make a difference… Be a world changer and glorify God through it all. Marty Stubblefield
The time has come to examine our hearts and minds…Whom will you serve indeed? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Dwight Short
No one is too far away that God will not go after them. Ken Whitten
We are called to be the minister of our own home. Jake English
Whoever is happy will make others happy. ANNE FRANK