The Vine and the Branches

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John 15. The words of Jesus.

“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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

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“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

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The World Hates the Disciples

18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’

The Work of the Holy Spirit

26 “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

You Call That Caring?

Cindi Gale

I know a lot of faithful Christians, some I’ve known for several decades. I’ve noticed something over the past ten to fifteen years …

Many are increasingly vengeful.

Oh, they don’t package their revenge with admission — they believe they are “caring for humanity”.

They say things like, “The world has become godless. Back when I was growing up, we respected our elders, we went to church with our parents, we honored our leaders and our nation, we saluted our flag, we were taught about God at school. Nowadays, it’s ‘anything goes, there is no discipline, there is no respect. We worry we will soon become a nation without God. We won’t be Christian anymore, we won’t have traditional families anymore. Our country was founded on Christianity. And English. So God blessed us. We know in the Word, that when we don’t put God first, He will no longer…

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Turning Lead Into Gold

Philosopher’s Stone

Van Morrison

Out on the highways and the byways all alone
I’m still searching for, searching for my home
Up in the morning, up in the morning out on the road
And my head is aching and my hands are cold
And I’m looking for the silver lining, silver lining in the clouds
And I’m searching for and
I’m searching for the philosopher’s stone
And it’s a hard road, It’s a hard road daddy-o
When my job is turning lead into gold
He was born in the back street, born in the back street Jelly Roll
I’m on the road again and I’m searching for
The philosopher’s stone

Can you hear that engine
Woe can you hear that engine drone
Well I’m on the road again and I’m searching for
Searching for the philosopher’s stone

Up in the morning, up in the morning
When the streets are white with snow
It’s a hard road, it’s a hard road daddy-o
Up in the morning, up in the morning
Out on the job
Well you’ve got me searching for
Searching for, the philosophers stone
Even my best friends, even my best friends they don’t know
That my job is turning lead into gold

When you hear that engine, when you hear that engine drone
I’m on the road again and I’m searching for the philosopher’s stone

It’s a hard road even my best friends they don’t know
And I’m searching for, searching for the philosopher’s stone

Songwriters: Van Morrison

https://www.vanmorrison.com/music/the-philosophers-stone

Nehemiah 9:6
“You alone are the Lord.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.

John 1:3-4
All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

Psalm 16:11
You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalm 36:9
For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

Connect To The Vine

If there is one thing you learn in life, let it be this:

The Vine and the Branches

John 15  “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. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

To Have and to Hold

Cindi Gale

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. We are all familiar with this vow from Christian weddings.  

Most of us know people who have honored that vow. Couples who seem to have the best of luck, couples who seem to have the worst of luck — no matter what life throws at them, they endure it together.

We also know people who have not honored that vow. Couples who drift. Couples who are torn apart by life events, or infidelity or abuse by one or both partners. Couples who used to have “love is blind” vision of each other, whose casual comments warn of trouble:  “The way he chews his food grosses me out”; “She irritates the hell outta me” — those people don’t have the big issues to drive a wedge between them…

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Those Who Wait

Cindi Gale

A year ago ago this decade-old geranium was near death. I didn’t have the heart to dispose of it, so I nursed it instead, giving it a new pot and fresh soil, proper watering, and the prime sunny spot in the garage for the winter.

It’s been on my porch all summer, but today I looked up from my reading and actually saw it. It has more blooms than ever before. Half facetiously, I anthropomorphized my geranium. I was happy for it in a way that a parent is glad to see their child who has struggled so terribly finally flourish.

But this isn’t about my awesome, resilient, over-achieving child geranium. Look closely at the picture above, and see what I finally noticed as I crouched with my camera, centering and getting the light just right. That’s my dog photo bombing my geranium’s fifteen seconds of fame.

She was waiting…

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The Illusion of Invulnerability

Cindi Gale

The conservative Christian church contributed its solidarity, its endorsement, its resources, and its numbers to power the successful election of this presidency. They say Trump represents them, that he represents God. They say God endorsed him.

Those of us who also call ourselves Christians but disagree with the growing voice of American Christianity have a choice to make: join the crowd or not. We could have safety in numbers if we join. We could immediately alleviate the criticism we are enduring if we do.

“Join in, and you’ll be accepted. Don’t join in, and expect our rejection of you. Expect our chastisement of you. You are out of line with God. You are out of line with the Church. Our beliefs are right. Your beliefs are wrong. Let me correct you with scriptures. You are clearly wrong.”

(Have you noticed the increased use of that word “clearly” in the church…

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Confidence Spring Forth

Cindi Gale

It is spring. The grass greens with each passing day, perennials emerge through cool soil, daffodils and hyacinths bloom, and fragrant rains wash tree pollen from the air. As accompaniment to these sights and smells, the song, “Oceans”, has been looping in my spirit for days.

The lyrics are about expanding faith, about trusting, about going where we have not gone before. It is about stepping not merely where we step by nature, but where He beckons us: to the supernatural. Will we walk upon the waters wherever He may call us?

The song is a challenge to overcome our doubts by choosing to grow our trust. It is a beckoning to follow Him into the great unknown. It is about trusting not self, but God. Will we allow Him to replace our thoughts with His, our plans with His? Are our words platitudes, or do we truly believe that with Him…

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