Come to the Gardener

John 15:1-4 (NLT)

‘“I am the true grapevine, and my father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and He prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me”’.

God wants to pluck away at the unfruitful areas of your life. He will prune off those unfruitful relationships, time wasting procedures and areas where He is not the centre.

The essence here is to remain in the Lord. All your nutrients and nourishment will come through the vine, which represents Jesus. As you seek to ‘remain in Him’ you will be transformed more and more into His likeness.

This requires constant communion with Him through prayer, worship, fellowship and meditation in His Word. All of these actions draws you closer to God.

Let’s identify unfruitful areas in our lives and allow Him access to prune and refine us.

Not by works

John 6:28-29 (NLT)

They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” (NLT)

The disciples just did not get it! They thought that in order to please God they had to do all sorts of rituals, fasts and prayers.

They came from a place of having to follow very strict procedures and laws. But Jesus is saying here, ‘You are already loved by me without ever doing another thing. You are accepted as part of My family through Jesus. It is almost too good to be true so we have trouble receiving it.

This was a turning point in history where Jesus paved the way for the release from a ‘works’ mentality. The law became obsolete.

Whether we attend church every week, pray ten times a day, read the bible constantly or not, although these things are good and necessary, and bring us closer to God, our position with the Father is not changed.

He has accepted us because of the simple fact that we believe in Jesus. That is the only thing God requires of us to be saved.

So you can come before Him with boldness, with your head held high knowing that you are accepted as long as you believe in Jesus.

If you continue to abide in Him you can be confident that He calls you His very own prized possession.

The power of your testimony

John 4:28-30 (NLT)

The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” So the people came streaming from the village to see him.

John 4:39-42 (NIV)
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.

They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.”

This is a woman that has met with Jesus, had an encounter with Christ and knows her Saviour. He had spoken into her life and awakened her spirit. She is so on fire and taken back by His love, generosity and gentleness that she cannot help but testify in her village.

Scripture says that the people believed because of her testimony. It was her testimony that caused them to hunger after what she had just received. This fire then spreads across the town and before long many also hear from Jesus.

Have you met with Him, heard from Him or experienced Him? Then testify about your encounters with Jesus and together we will set towns and villages on fire for Jesus Christ.

As we give Him opportunity in our home towns by sharing our hunger for His teaching and presence, those around us will also declare “THIS MAN REALLY IS THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD!”

Honour the Father whilst serving the master

Malachi 1:6a (NLT)

The Lord of Heaven’s Armies says to the priests: “A son honours his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honour and respect I deserve?

On the one hand here we are charged to see God as our Father. The One who protects us, provides for us and pours His love out upon us.

When we view Him like a father we can trust Him to know what is best for us and look after us. We can also experience His discipline as only a Father knows how. We are to respect and honour Him by letting Him lead us and highly valuing His Word.

This however, as the scripture states, is to be balanced out with the ability to see God as our Master.

A master is to be immediately obeyed by following every order and direction that is given. We need to see ourselves as serving and committing our whole lives to Him in whatever way He has assigned to us.

It’s time to see ourselves not only as a child of God but a servant of the most high God working always as if unto the Lord.

After a flood…plant!

Genesis 9:20 NLT

‘After the flood, Noah began to cultivate the ground, and he planted a vineyard.’

Noah had just come through the most amazing trial of his life. You would think he might just recover for a while but no, Noah does an amazing thing. He gets right into it and begins cultivating and planting.

This is exactly what we need to be doing. It is the perfect time to be planting seeds through prayer, forgiveness, generosity and kindness.

Plant them everywhere you go. God is looking for those who have experienced a flood to be extravagant planters into other peoples’ lives.

Crop specialist, Gene Johnson says “After a flood, the best thing you can do for the soil is get something growing in it again. Get some roots growing.” Read more here.

Just keep planting good seeds wherever you can and you will reap a great harvest. During this time your roots will grow down deep and help the flood situation in your life dry up quickly.

Keep planting and don’t give up. The flood that you’ve been through tried to steal your fruitfulness, but as you plant in fertile soils you will produce above and beyond what you thought possible.

Guilt and shame be gone!

Psalm 32:3-5 HCSB

When I kept silent, my bones became brittle
from my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was drained
as in the summer’s heat Selah
Then I acknowledged my sin to You
and did not conceal my iniquity.
I said,
“I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and You took away the guilt of my sin. Selah

Do you know the feeling of keeping silent before God when you store up sin in your heart? There is a painful distance between us and God that can only be restored through repentance.

You might be feeling distant from God if there is something that you haven’t brought before Him. There will usually be feelings of heaviness until it is released.

You cannot hide anything from Him. See what happens in this psalm as the sin is confessed and renounced? There is no longer guilt for this sin! Oh, it is so simple.

All we need to do is release it to God by asking for His forgiveness. Freedom will come to us because Jesus has paid for it.

Too often we try to move forward by ignoring it, carrying guilt and shame around with us, hoping it will disappear. If you feel a heaviness or distant from God, ask Him to search your heart and clean it out by bringing these hidden faults to the surface. Then it is as simple as quickly coming before the Lord in prayer with it. This way you will walk in complete relationship with Him, having a clear conscience and remaining so close to Him as to hear His heartbeat for you.

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Prov 28:13 (NIV)

God will loosen your tongue

Ezekiel 3:27

But when I give you a message, I will loosen your tongue and let you speak. Then you will say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says!’ Those who choose to listen will listen, but those who refuse will refuse, for they are rebels.

Have you been shut down and unable to speak out what you believe or what God has been showing you? You try to speak out but there is a blockage to your words?

Or maybe your tongue has been bound up due to fear of what others may say or think as Moses was when God asked him to go before Pharaoh.

God is loosening tongues and you will speak the words He has put in your heart. Time for boldness and truth.

Ezekiel was called to bring a message from God to a rebellious group but that didn’t stop him.

As you open your mouth in obedience to Him, the words will come forth from the Lord with clarity and revelation for His people. Speak, speak it out!

Time to celebrate!

Nehemiah 8:11-12 NLT

And the Levites, too, quieted the people, telling them, “Hush! Don’t weep! For this is a sacred day.” So the people went away to eat and drink at a festive meal, to share gifts of food, and to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.
Read full story here

The people were saddened as they read the words from God’s law because they became aware of their sins.

The law exposed their short comings. The word of God penetrates the heart and brings our dark areas into the light.

But both Nehemiah and the Levites encourage them to celebrate and be joyful. Why? Because they have discovered a wonderful thing. Their creator is having relationship and communicating with them.

When God teaches us and reveals things to us we should be full of festivities and gratitude. If we really value His Word and understand the power in it, we will move from weeping over our failures to being quickly affirmed by His love.

There is nothing more reassuring than receiving instruction and correction from the Most High. He wants to shape us, teach us and show us His ways. And if we want Him to continue to give us counsel and wisdom, then we need to reverently celebrate Him.

So eat and drink and encourage others to feast and find delight in Him.

God has chosen you for the work

Haggai 2:23 MSG

And on that day’”—this is God’s Message—“‘I will take you, O Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, as my personal servant and I will set you as a signet ring, the sign of my sovereign presence and authority. I’ve looked over the field and chosen you for this work.’” The Message of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

We are living in perilous times right now across the nations. There are crazy things occurring with wars, terrorism, famine and catastrophic natural disasters.

It is a time of shaking on earth as well as in the government, financial systems, families and relationships. There is a ‘moving’ occurring and a dramatic change approaching us in every area.

In the midst of this overwhelming disorder and turmoil, we (the body of Christ) are like a butterfly breaking forth and undergoing metamorphosis. It is a beautiful sight amongst a chaotic environment.

God has scanned His people and has specifically chosen YOU for a great work. Yes, you! He has singled you out and made you like a signet ring as a sign of being His personal servant.

This ring is representative of your value and the sheer weight of worth in His eyes. It symbolises His sovereign presence and your God-given authority to carry out the work to which you are called. By His presence and authority embrace the work He is calling you forth to complete.

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