My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My disciples
John 15:16 (AMP)
16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed and placed and purposefully planted you, so that you would go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit will remain and be lasting, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name [as My representative] He may give to you.
Isn’t that true? Without the sound and undeserved grace of God, we would have never sought Him? How sweet a truth! These past few weeks I have been camping on peace, safety, grace and all other such things that reflect some of who Christ is.
Then I think to myself, what about people I love who build a foundation on things other than Christ? Where are they to post their tent to weather the storm? The Christian Church knows that during the pandemic, God is still in control, but do others?
Christ chose us, before we had a say, and with all divine might, planted us.
What does a plant do? Grows roots and grafts itself to the soil in which it was planted, and does not ask for rain, but trusts that it’s master will supply all that is needed, hence, Jesus says ..”so that… you would bear fruit and keep on bearing….and that your fruit will remain and be lasting…”
How does a plant bear fruit? A branch. Christ says “I am the vine, and you are the branches.” That gives to us the lesson of entire consecration. The branch has one reason for which it exists, one purpose for which it is given up; to bear the fruit the vine wishes to bring forth.
If we are planted in Christ, abiding in Him, responding to His charge, the result will be bearing fruit.
8 My Father is glorified and honored by this, when you bear much fruit, and prove yourselves to be My [true] disciples.
An apple tree is known to produce apples, a grapevine is known to produce grapes, a Christian ought to be known to produce spiritual gifts, that point to the Father. As the weeks have gone by and I look to the future, I pray and petition that Christ would so plant in the Church, the desire to seek Him earnestly. To bear much fruit that when people see the Church, when they recognize the fruits, it would all point to Christ, a foundation, and they see Him as a source of Living Water, Living Food.
CTK, the world is hungry, looking for life in every corner they can find it, only to be dissatisfied when the foundation crumbles. Let’s go feed them.
All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:3 (NIV)
I’m very familiar with being home, as I stay at home with my three little ones. Honestly, I often feel stuck at home, as it is quite a process to go anywhere with kids, and even more of a feat to go out alone. So, truthfully, to be required to be at home, as a “shelter in place”, has been very difficult for me. My “job” as a stay at home mama is normally pretty exhausting, but even more so, as social distancing has made my kids even more hungry, and more creative with their ability to cast toys in every part of our house. But, I’m greatly aware of how this virus has been affecting everyone else’s work too. Some of those I love are without work, some are afraid they soon will be, while others are trying to navigate how to work from home. And then there are those who are working extra to serve our community. Some of our work is considered essential, while some is considered non-essential.
Yet, when we look to Jesus, He is always at work. He is always creating. The daffodils in bloom, new buds on the trees, and fresh green grass are all signs that He is at work. And Jesus has always been the source of all creation, as it says in scripture: All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. John 1:3 (NIV)
He is the source of all growth, and I see that daily in my sons, who outgrow their clothes, shoes, and coats on a regular basis. I see it in my 2 year old daughter, whose vocabulary grows every day, and is able to make more demands of what she needs and wants. “No mommy, I won geen fork” (I want green fork).
All around us are signs of His Creation, signs of His work, His continual work as evident in new growth and change. But, I believe our Creator God most delights in internal growth and change, that can only take place in our hearts, even now in this time of isolation.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV)
If we imagine our heart as a home, a home where the Lord can enter, what does your heart look like? Are there any rooms that needed dusting or cleaning (figuratively of course, please don’t stress!)? Are there any rooms that you don’t want Him to see? Maybe a closet that even you don’t want to open and see what’s inside? Will you seat Him in your formal dining room, where you bring out your best dishes, cook your fanciest dish, and even serve dessert? Or, will you let Him in to your kitchen, your real kitchen, not the one you clean before birthday parties and holidays. You know the one, where the dish washer hasn’t been emptied in days, the dirty dishes are piled in the sink, the counters are filled with groceries and mail to be put away and some unidentified sticky substance. Will you let Him sit at your kitchen table, MAKE YOU a cup of tea, and just simply listen to how you are doing? I mean really doing? What will He say? I believe it will be something like: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)
Take heart church! God is still on His throne. We still have the gift of His Spirit and Jesus is
A last second goal took away my dream of a first conference championship as a High School
soccer coach. A surprise birthday party! A meeting with a boss informing me that my services
were no longer needed. The birth of daughter number two (Elissa) on a freeway! A phone call
informing me of an unexpected death.
Have things ever turned out for you “not as you expected?” They happen all the time if you
think about it. Relationships, conversations, tryouts, work, bills...the list goes on. None of us
expected this. None of us expected the current pandemic with the current uncertainties,
restrictions & distance from one another. As we experience the unexpected, or as Pastor Ben has been
teaching, disruptions, there are still some truths we can rest in and be reminded of this Holy
Let’s take a moment to recall that God’s Word itself is filled with the unexpected: The Israelites
in captivity? Jonah swallowed by a fish? Jesus washing the feet of His disciples? A Savior
hanging on a cross? The Resurrection!
As we experience this “Holy Week” like no other, apart from church and extended family, let us
take solace in and contemplate upon the fact that this may not be so different as that
experienced by Jesus’ first disciples so many years ago. Jesus was betrayed. It was confusing.
The disciples had questions. Jesus was crucified. Mourning, sadness. The day after His
crucifixion more confusion, loneliness and despair. But on Easter Sunday...Resurrection!
Victory! Amazement! Hope!
We have the words of Jesus and God’s Word as a whole at our disposal. Jesus in John 16:33
says “...In this world you will have troubles of many kinds, but do not fear for I have overcome
the world.” Paul in Romans 12:12 says “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in
prayer.” Peter in 2 Peter 1 tells us “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to
life and godliness...”
Take heart church! God is still on His throne. We still have the gift of His Spirit and Jesus is
Risen...He is Risen Indeed!
For further study this week read: 2 Peter 1:1-11, Mathew 28:17-20
For this reason it says, ‘Wake up, O Sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you
When I lived in San Francisco, a few years ago, I used to pass a classic green public mailbox located on the top of Nob Hill on my walk over to the local Trader Joe’s. There was a little phrase brushed in small bold white letters on the top of the mailbox: “WAKE UP O SLEEPER”...This verse would always pop into my mind when I read those words:
“For this reason it says, ‘Wake up, O Sleeper, arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
On this daily stroll I would often think to myself, am I falling asleep to the ways that Jesus through His Holy Spirit is speaking to me because of the noise of work, pace of life, or something else that I have completely drifted off to sleep regarding. God providing that message, “WAKE UP,” was an amazing daily reminder (Ebineezer) for me in that season of life.
Now fast forward to today, we are in a global pause, time of isolation, and it is allowing us to think through the different areas of our lives and seek the Lord through prayer regarding areas that we may have fallen asleep to.
“But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret…”
As we seek Him in this season let’s not be afraid, but confident that God is using this coronavirus to awaken us to areas in our lives individually and as a church body that we need to awaken to. Let’s keep praying for each other and connecting through technology as we learn to play that pause that God has allowed in this year of 2020. Thanks for reading and prayerfully considering areas that specifically are being brought to the surface that need to be awakened to!
Keep on Keeping on,
Devote yourselves to prayer being watchful and thankful
When my husband Terry (you know, the tall, smiley guy!) was diagnosed with a brain tumor - and in a hospital for the next 5 months - people would sometimes say to me “what do you think God is trying to teach you?”
That question set my teeth on edge. (yes, I know it was well meant!). For one thing, God doesn’t “try”! And It made it sound like God was up there thinking “What can I do to teach Carolyn and Terry this lesson? I know … a brain tumor!”
I think about unexpected circumstances this way: God is always at work. He is always breaking into this dark, broken, messed up world to bring light, redemption, and love. While I may not understand how God is doing that in the present circumstance, I know that He is.
So I am learning to ask instead, “what is God’s invitation to me in this moment?” I want to be looking for how God is breaking in and showing up. I want to be alert, to pay attention, to receive what He is giving and say yes to what he is doing.
There are habits of life that help us to pay attention. Here is one - make a list of 10 things for which you can give thanks. Take a break … then list 10 more… and then 10 more. The first list is easy … the next a little harder … the third means that you have to look!
There is a big difference between thinking: “I should be thankful” … and actually giving thanks. In the process you notice what God has done and is doing now. And as you do - you become thankful.
It may seem obvious and simplistic - but try it! A practice of consciously giving thanks actually changes the brain! (Researchers have shown that the changes can be seen on brain scans after about 6 weeks of this practice.)
In every circumstance, even in the painful and unexpected ones,God is at work. Will we resent the intrusion, or will we view it as an invitation to go deeper with God then we’ve ever gone before?
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
Disrupted < interrupt (an event, activity, or process) by causing a disturbance or a problem.
Gee, does this sound familiar? We are a disrupted society right now. Every news story we see is about the current disruption of our lives, or the disruptions to come. All of this disruption can cause anxiety and fear. What if we, as Christians, pick a different emotion to focus on; gratitude. I do not say this flippantly. The needs in our communities are huge. People’s actual lives are at risk, both physically and economically, not to mention our social and emotional health. But what if we, as Christians, choose to live in gratitude for today and hope for tomorrow doing exactly what Colossians 4:2 says?...”devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”
Many of you know I lost my daughter to suicide about 3 and 1/2 years ago. Since Madison’s death my own personal battle with gratitude and hope has been a wild ride. One lesson I have learned is that true gratitude is a precursor to hope. On my darkest days, when I reach out to God in gratitude for what I still have, He gives me a hope for the future. This gratitude and hope is not something I can artificially manufacture. My gratitude comes from a God who sent His son to die on the cross for me. My hope comes from that same God who says nothing can separate me from His love (Romans 8:38). People of courage, of strength, or of survival, all have one thing in common. They don’t want you to feel pity for them, they want you to recognize the life you have been given and be thankful for it. Our lives might look different, some scarred more than others, but the underlying commonality is that we have a gracious and good God. Tell Him thank you. Look for the 'God moments' in our crazy, disrupted lives. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation; be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Practice; take a moment and write down where you've seen 'God moments' in this time of disruption.
How does this bring you hope?
Blessings, Elaina Myers