The Scripture for today is John 15:1-4 Living Bible (TLB) 15 “I am the true Vine, and my Father is the Gardener. He lops off every branch that doesn’t produce. And he prunes those branches that bear fruit for even larger crops. He has already tended you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you. Take care to live in me, and let me live in you. For a branch can’t produce fruit when severed from the vine. Nor can you be fruitful apart from me.

One of the ways that I really enjoy studying God’s word is seeking a more thorough understanding by reading at least a couple of different bible translations.  I found the above translation to be especially meaningful this evening.  The beautiful sunny day that we had yesterday was the perfect excuse for me to spend hours out in my yard pulling weeds, cutting back dead perennials and preparing for the spring planting that I hope to do.  Weeds choke out the more valuable plants in my garden, stealing nourishment, health and vigor from them.  When I fail to root out the weeds in my life – weeds of anxiety, worry, bitterness, self-pity, selfishness, materialism; I allow them to choke out the growth that God desires to see in me.  When I stubbornly hold on to these things, I don’t allow him to prune me in ways that help me produce fruit.  As I pruned dead branches from my lantana plants, I found signs of new life in the roots and stems of my plants.  Small shoots that if properly tended will burst into vigorous, beautiful growth.  I tend my plants with water, fertilizer, sunshine, weed control – how do I allow God to tend ME?  Do I nourish my soul with His Word?  Do I receive His Life-giving Water?  Do I bask in the sunshine of His Presence?  Do I allow him to use the circumstances in my daily life – even the sad and hurtful ones – to prune me into the daughter that He calls me to be?  He has tended me by pruning me “back for greater strength and usefulness” by means of the commands he gave ME.  Will I, in love and obedience, allow him to continue the pruning process?  Will I take care to live in HIM and let HIM live in ME so that I can produce fruit?

Dear Jesus, I thank you the pruning that you have begun in me through your Word.  I thank you for your tender preparation for the fruit that you desire me to produce. I ask you to cut off the branches in me that are withered, decayed, or unproductive.  Give me discernment to see your work in my life and heart and bold courage to step out in obedience. I love you Jesus!  Amen