Let’s Walk

Visualize Jesus walking through a vineyard with his disciples.  They aren’t ‘getting it’ yet so he decides he’s going to make it as plain as he can using the example of a vine.  I love this illustration of how we are supposed to live our lives as Christ-followers:

Jesus is the vine.

We need to stay attached to Jesus like a branch is attached to the vine.

We don’t produce fruit just like a branch doesn’t produce fruit. 

We bear fruit that Jesus produces through us if we stay attached to him.

Without this strong connection to Jesus, we won’t bear fruit.

God is the gardener.  He prunes branches that bear fruit so they can bear more fruit.  Pruning is often as painful as it sounds. I think we sometimes see pruning as problems in our lives because pruning causes changes in direction – we thought we were going one place but now we need to go somewhere else.  Pruning usually requires a big step of faith because the path ahead is not clear.  Pruning can mean turning away from a good thing in order to move ahead to God’s best for us. 

Being pruned is easier if we stay closely attached to Jesus, too.  He can guide us through the turmoil and help us stay strong in our faith.

So we stay attached, we bear fruit, we obey through the pruning………

And we come to a place of Joy!

Thank you, dear Father!

With Shouts of Joy!

David danced!

He danced before the Lord with all of his might.

He was so full of joy that he forgot to worry about what other people thought and celebrated the return of the Ark of the Lord with all of his heart.

I find this story intriguing because his wife, Michal, judges what she sees and she feels contempt for David. Later, he returns home ready to bless his own family and Michal tells him she is disgusted with his behavior.

She’s trying to make him feel ashamed, she’s trying to make him feel foolish, she’s trying very hard to burst his big bubble of joy.

But he doesn’t back down. He was celebrating for the right reason and he knows it. He can’t control her behavior but he can choose his reaction. And he doesn’t choose guilt or shame – he chooses to worship God with all his heart. And he chooses to let other people see him worship God with all the joy and excitement that he is feeling even though they may not understand.
What’s important is that God understands and approves. That’s all that David cares about.

Dear Father, help us worship you with all of our hearts like David did.

Checking In…..

on your journey. Several of you are faithfully taking this journey with me and I’d love to hear what God has been saying to you and what he is doing in your life through our reading of his word.

I’ve got to share one of the very spectacular things God has done so far in my journey.  Around February our pastor mentioned in church that he and his wife are planning to host a tour to Israel in October and he hoped people would sign up to go with them because it would ‘change your life’.  I smiled because going to Israel is definitely on my bucket list and  I want to go some day.  Right at that moment, it was like God tapped me on the shoulder and told me I was supposed to go this year.  Really?  And it was very clear to me that it was part of what God wants to do in my life as part of my journey through the Bible.

I picked up the brochure about the trip and there was a sentence that said ” This experience will change how you read the Bible for the rest of your life”.  Yup, part of the journey.  I shared what was going on with Dave, my husband, and he reminded me that the timing for going this year was really bad because our bank account is still in recovery mode after our daughter’s wedding last year.   I reluctantly agreed that he was right but why was I hearing this from God?

So I asked God to show me if this was a plan for now or for the future.  If it was for now, I asked him to show me how this was supposed to work financially.

Every time I thought about it, I would pray…and nothing happened.  Except I still had a strong sense that this was supposed to happen this year.  I had talked to a couple of friends about it and, when they asked me what was up, I told them I was in waiting mode.  It started to look like my timing was off because nothing was happening.

And then I won a big award at work!  YIPPEE!  I didn’t even know I was nominated for it.  And it came with a check.  The minute  I opened the envelope I knew it was from God because it was the amount of the tour!  I wouldn’t have been surprised to see his signature on it!  🙂 He had been working out a plan, I just needed to wait  for it!

Now it was obvious that I was going and I really wanted my husband to go to, too.  He wasn’t convinced UNTIL he met a man he works with who said he went on a trip to Israel and it ‘changed his life’.  When my husband asked him what tour he went on, the man said he went with a church group two years ago.  This  guy who just happens to work with Dave and who just happened to get in a conversation with Dave about Israel and who lives 30 miles away from my church went with OUR church group 2 years ago.  Yup – Dave is supposed to go, too.  So now we’re both signed up!

It’s very evident that God has some truly amazing things planned for us this year.  The fact that he wants to ‘change our lives’ is coming out loud and clear!

Thank you, Dear God!