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Sometime’s your vision just needs to be cleared

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Have you ever given thought to how easily we can become complacent in just about every aspect of our lives?

For example, how many times on our jobs are we simply going through the motions? We’ve done it the same way so many times that now we don’t even have to think about it. We just do it, giving no thought to any new ideas or methods that may help to make the job easier or more productive. Along the way we miss things that are right in front of us, but all that matters is the doing.

Or have you ever considered the daily route you take to school or work? How many of us can remember the 1st time we took that journey? We were careful to stop when we were supposed to and turn at the right intersection, all because it was new to us. Fast forward a year and how much thought do we give to that same task? I dare say not much, if any at all. We could get there with our eyes closed.

This is what happens when complacency sets in. It clouds our vision. It destroys the anticipation of what might be. We miss new and exciting things that are right in front of us because our senses have become dull.

Did you know this very same thing happens to us in our service to the King? If we’re not careful, church becomes routine. Just another mindless task that we could simply mail in if we chose to do so. And we can definitely miss some incredible things that He has for us.

In his address to the seven churches of Revelation, Jesus confronted the apathy and complacency that had infiltrated the church near the close of the first century. No less than five of the seven churches had serious internal concerns that Jesus called attention to. [1]

  1. The church at Ephesus had lost its first love
  2. The church as Pergamos harbored those that taught false doctrines
  3. The church at Thyatira permitted false teachers to deceive God’s people
  4. The church at Sardis had become weakened to the point of death
  5. The church at Laodicea had become lukewarm to the point of being rejected

Apathy, coldness, indifference, and complacency marked these five churches. Though they all had different specific issues, they all shared a common malady: their vision of who Christ was had become dim and cloudy. They no longer saw Him for who He was.

Today, many of us are in a similar situation such as the churches of Revelation were. We do not love like we did when we first came to know the Lord. Gone is the zeal and enthusiasm for the things of God. Gone also is Christian love for one another. Worse still, many of us aren’t even aware that it’s gone.

We tolerate any teaching that comes from the pulpit because frankly we don’t really care. We don’t “fact check” what is being taught, instead we simply nod in agreement while keeping one eye on the clock. What does Biblical literacy matter anyhow, isn’t that what we pay the pastor for?

So many of our churches are on spiritual life support because they are no longer connected to the vine. Just as a severed branch will remain green for a little while, so it is with churches that have disconnected themselves from the Source of their strength. Like the church at Sardis, the grim reaper is at the door.

Without the passionate flame of the Holy Spirit continuously burning within us, we too become lukewarm and eventually cold and lifeless.

Fortunately, none of these things has to happen. Every one of them is preventable. All that’s required is to ask the Lord to help us. Ask Him to reveal to us where we are with Him.

Are we hot, cold, or lukewarm in our walk with the Lord? Do we love like we did when we first came to Christ, or do we love selectively or not at all?  Do we love the truth of God’s word, or are we content with any doctrine? Are we as connected as we once were, or are we in dire need of a Holy Ghost transfusion?

I’m praying that the Lord will open all of our eyes so that we might see ourselves exactly as he sees us. That he will remove the scales from our eyes and gives us 20/20 spiritual vision.

Be faithful to Him dear friends…

Ron

[1] Revelation chapters 1 & 2

 

 

The Vine

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“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away;and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.       John 15:1,2     NKJV
Grape vines.Have you ever seen one in person?
When I was a young boy I would find them growing wild in the woods where they would attach themselves to the trees. For an adventurous young boy like me they offered a rare opportunity to grab one and swing from them like Tarzan! And even though these weren’t the type that produced grapes,they sure did produce a lot of fun!
It wasn’t until later in life that I learned that grapes came from grape vines.That’s probably about the time I realized my “Tarzan” days were over.
I see many homes around me that have grape vine trees used as decorations.I have a large one myself on the front porch and at night it’s very pretty, all lit up like it is.
So I guess what I’m saying is grape vines aren’t all that unusual after all,and there are a lot of uses for them.And if you’re using them as a food source,they require a lot of hard work. But more about that in a minute or two.
When you look at a grape vine from a biblical point of view,you begin to understand that they were very important in older cultures. They produced food,either as fresh picked grapes or dried into raisins,and of course they were used to make wine,another very important part of the culture of the day.
In the two verses I quoted above Jesus is making the statement that He is the true vine. Not a wild vine,or not a grafted vine,but the True Vine.And that’s important folks.It’s important in the sense that there can only be One True Vine.Oh,there can be off shoots and secondary vines,etc….but they all emanate from that One True Vine.
Jesus is telling us here that He is the source,or that He is that One True Vine that all others are attached to.
Then He says that the Father is the vinedresser,or the one who actually does the work that is required to keep the branches producing at maximum efficiency.Yes,grape vines require a lot of work.They must be kept pruned in order to produce the greatest yield.Old branches that no longer produce must be cut off so that new growth can take place,thus starting the cycle all over again.Even new branches must sometimes be trimmed back so that they also will produce new vines.Grape vines require constant work-it never stops.
Do you see the analogy yet? We are the branches that are in constant need of pruning and care. Left on our own without the care of the vinedresser, we will eventually wither and die,even while attached to the vine.The truth is that we all require a LOT of work!
The message here is simple: we are not our own.We cannot sustain ourselves apart from the vine and the vinedresser.Not only must we remain attached to the vine,we must also undergo a constant pruning in order to keep producing more fruit. And may I say that oftentimes,this process of pruning is not pleasant.Fact is,it can be down right painful at times.Yet is it necessary,and there is no way around it.
For you see,we are not called to the vine to simply be able to say “I belong,or I’m one of them”.  No,we are part of the vine because we are part of something much bigger than ourselves.We are part of the family of God.
Be blessed,
Ron

Already Clean….

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You’ve heard it all before,right?

Good enough…

Follow the rules…

More works…

More faith…

Fall in line…

All of us who know Christ have been told some variation of the above.

Maybe it was when you joined your church.

Maybe it was what you were taught as a child in Sunday School or some other bible class.

At some time in your life you reached a point where you just knew that you could never be…

Good enough………….you could never…

Follow all the rules……………you just couldn’t do…

More works………………..you grew weary of trying to somehow have…

More faith…………………and you simply couldn’t bear to…

Fall in line…………..and be like everyone else.

And then you found it. A verse in the Bible where Jesus was talking about a vineyard,and suddenly it all made sense!

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.   John 15:1-4 KJV
Did you find it???
Now lets look at this again but this time through the Amplified Bible
1 I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].
4 Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.
Do you see it? It’s right there in verse 3. Jesus said that you are already cleaned because of the word that He had given you.
The Word that…
Makes you Good enough…
Teaches you that rules won’t save you…
Increases our faith every time we read it…
Separates us to fulfill His calling upon our lives…
What freedom! What perfect liberty we enjoy in Christ!
Free from religious rules and laws.Free to follow His footsteps wherever they may lead us.
Already clean!
And all I had to do was say “YES” when He knocked upon my heart’s door. Isn’t God good?
Be blessed,
Ron