“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
As I prepared for this #write31days journey I was presented with the opportunity to pray a prayer of dedication to God. To give him this month…to give him everything I’ve got and leave nothing on the table. Let nothing distract me from the task at hand. Now, what’s really funny about that is that I am scheduled to be moving next week…my current home is not sold…it’s homecoming the day after we are scheduled to move…did I mention the two teenage boys my husband and I are raising? I’m also scheduled to go to Cancun towards the end of the month to celebrate 20 years of marriage. I could go on but I won’t bore you…we all have stuff in our lives…some more than others but this is a particularly challenging time for me. In spite of all the “stuff” going on…I’m bored. Yep…I have longing in my soul…an unfulfilled desire and despite the prayer, the Bible study, the writing, and the talking I can’t put my finger on what is wrong. It’s a terrible place to be. So, in addition to dedicating this month to God, I’m also praying that God reveal Himself in a huge way…to reveal in me what is keeping me from living fully. As Beth Moore would say…I want an exclamation point life – I want to LIVE OUT LOUD! I want to FLOURISH! But I recognize that that can only be accomplished completely by living for the one and only Living God.
Let’s get started pruning and growing:
I’d like to start with Psalm 34…just a couple of verses…
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Now, if you’ve spent any time in the Bible you know that I could go on and on. The Psalms especially are filled with verses that proclaim God’s greatness, sovereignty, faithfulness, love and hope. But these three spoke to me specifically this morning as I study the Fruit of the Spirit as well as find comfort for my soul.
#1 – We’ve got to seek God out…we’ve got to go to Him in prayer and on our knees. We have to submit to his Lordship. He is the answer to all of our questions, our fears and our desires. I am on my knees this morning pleading with him to reveal the source of discontent in my heart. I don’t just want what is good but what is best. Which takes me to point # 2…
#2 – The Lord is safe and a refuge! In this current turmoil I am desperate to “feel” better…from basic retail therapy to the point of making life altering decisions. If I am not careful, I will give the devil a foothold and find myself submitted to the desires of the flesh. I “know” the worldly desires are a temporary fix but good golly…they sure feel good in the interim. But I also “know” that the better solution is to seek the refuge of God…to be filled with His Spirit…not only will I forgo any hangovers…I’ll not have any regrets.
#3 – The Lord is near – I’ve blogged on this before…the deepest, darkest times are when we seek God the most earnestly. Even though my spirit feels crushed, I am comforted by His presence…He’s got me.
In Christ, we are new creations…we CAN and WILL be different people. Who I am today will continue to be refined until I reflect Christ. It will hurt. It will cost me. It’ll take work. But one of the clearest evidences of God’s Power is a transformed life…that I’ve already seen and that I’m counting on some more. I believe God.