God’s calling plan… “Branch out and touch someone”

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”                                                                            … Jesus

I know we have heard these Scriptures from John 15 time and again but for me today, they reached out…

 2“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

The Lord’s reputation of excellence [to the world] is at stake when His extensions… branches from Himself, are dead or decaying; misrepresenting His good Fruit.  Wine gone bad is distasteful and counter-productive to the true Cup-bearer.  If not pruned, new life cannot grow… to the benefit of all.  So therefore, “He takes away” everyone who operates in bad taste and who lead others to do the same.  But for those He picks, He prunes…

4“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.  5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. 6“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  8“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

For a long time, the enemy tried to use the Scriptures from John 15 to torment me. “How could y_o_u be one of His; the chosen?”  “How could you possibly be ‘picked’ from the Vine?”  “You could never stay ‘good enough’ for that long.”  “You’ve gone too far to go home now.”  What the Lord has revealed to me on this journey is that “It is not about me”.  It is all about Him…  It is He who chooses.  It is He who appoints.  And… it is He who maintains that the fruit will remain.  Nothing can separate us.  No distance too long or too far… for His reach; His touch-tone plan.

 16“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.  [John 15:16]

HE will never leave us or forsake us, but we have a choice to make on this matter.  We can choose to say “no” or “Y_E_S!”  As two thieves hung on either side of Jesus, on a cross, there was choice.  One said ‘yes Jesus’ and one said no.  The thief whose heart said yes did not walk one day in service for Jesus nor was he led to speak the salvation prayer.  But… after defending Jesus to his fellow sinner-in-crimes, he proclaimed… “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”  43And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” [Luke 23:42-43]  …

John 15:7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

If we choose to walk away; to separate ourselves from His lifeline [VINE], we will surely die.  The branches need the SON’s-light to thrive.  If we allow the enemy the victory, he will have separated us out for himself.  The thief comes to kill, steal and destroy.  Do not let the enemy win.  Do not let him divide to conquer.  If we sever our connection from Jesus, it is we who throw it all away, and it is the victorious enemy, who gathers us to his eternal fate…  [6“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.]  Abide and fight with Jesus… your life depends on it.

John 15:8“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  9“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

If I could paint, I would give you a picture… of a vine, a strand, a cord; that holds in three’s.  It is a life-sustaining umbilical cord, where we hang in its balance.  Not long ago, I saw this ‘lifeline’ in the spiritual.  It was all that held me here.  There was God, at His right hand stood Jesus, and then there was me.  Jesus stands in the gap and holds out His hand.  The choice is ours…  I had been lured to a place that all I could see was the art of deception.  I cried out “it’s all a lie”.  It was not until I chose Jesus and ALL that He offers me, that my pulse returned and I regained consciousness.  When the feeling in my hand returned, it was then that I knew His hand was holding mine… the whole time.

    It was during this same season, I saw my True Shepherd.  In having to start again ‘from the beginning’, I came to listen only for His voice, His words.  All others, at best, are hired-hands and commentary.  No one has any more clout or pull with God then you or I do.  To trade places in Him with another, to me, grieves Him so much, that there is death.  If you were to give me a gift; something so personal to you that you eagerly await my response, and I say “No thanks”…  How would you feel?  If I said “Don’t take it personal, it just doesn’t fit.” “It’s not my thing.”  “It doesn’t work for me.”  “I don’t care for it.”…  How would you feel?  Or worse… If I took it and told you ‘thanks’ but put it on a shelf, in a closet, in the trash, “under a basket”, or gave it away… How would you feel?  Now, think about how God must feel; the grief in His Spirit… I can only imagine.

My God hurts, He sheds real tears, He desires that none should perish.  Calling all branches…  Disciples and the World:

Matthew 5: 13“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.  14“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. 17“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19“Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

“You are the light of the world.”  God has called you to be… you.  Apart from Him you can do nothing but when abiding in Him and cherishing His gifts for you, you will bear much fruit; “so that whatever you ask of the Father in Jesus name He may give to you.”

A better day… not only have I found revival of Spirit, I now thrive from the Vine.  As I closed my eyes last night at a Valentine Social at The Edge, for prayer, I saw plainly The Shepherd’s Hook.  There is no place I [or you] can go that is out of His reach.  He can always reach out and touch someone and we are called to do the same.  If He breathes in you, you are called… ‘To love one another, just as He has loved you.’   13“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.  Laying down one’s life means more than physical death, it is the ‘living testimony’ we share, even at the risk of being ‘cut off’.  We are to branch out and touch someone… with His love story.

 11“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. 12“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. 13“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. 14“You are My friends if you do what I command you. 15“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. 16“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

17“This I command you, that you love one another.

Whether from a vine or a shepherd’s hook, get connected to His calling plan… “Branch out and touch someone”…

… jams4JESUS

 

John 15

Jesus Is the Vine–Followers Are Branches

1“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

2“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.

3“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

4“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.

6“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

7“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

8“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

9“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.

10“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

11“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

Disciples’ Relation to Each Other

12“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.

13“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

14“You are My friends if you do what I command you.

15“No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

16“You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

17“This I command you, that you love one another.

Disciples’ Relation to the World

18“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.

19“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

20“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master ‘ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

21“But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

22“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

23“He who hates Me hates My Father also.

24“If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.

25“But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’

26“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me,

27and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

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About jam4JESUS

I... 'will seek [First] the LORD my God, and I will find Him if I seek Him with all my heart and with all my soul.' Deut. 4:29 I... 'shall love the LORD my God with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my strength.' Deut. 6:5 I... 'Trust in the LORD with all my heart, And lean not on my own understanding; In all ways... acknowledge Him, And He shall make my path straight.' Proverbs 3:5-6 I... 'remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you' 2Tim. 1:6 I... 'thank God, whom I serve... without ceasing... I... remember YOU in my prayers night and day,' 2Tim. 1:3 I... am to 'Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to God' Phil. 4:6 I... KNOW: 'I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.' Phil.4:13 'My God shall supply all my need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.' Phil. 4:19 'My GOD will never leave me, nor forsake me.' Heb. 13:5 JESUS so loves me, this I... KNOW
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