Connected to the Vine

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I laughed. My daughter had called to tell me her story. She lives on the East Side of Manhattan in New York City and was walking home late the night before. Her phone had died. Not a great thing for walking home late by herself. She usually calls me to chat if she is out late so that she can be on the phone with someone. Her phone becomes a clever ploy to keep others from bothering her as she walks. But this time, since her phone had died, we couldn’t talk. So that night, with her phone next to her ear, she pretended to carry on a conversation with me -laughing, responding, and asking questions. I wish I could have heard what we “talked about”.

The next day, I began to wonder how many people are pretending to have a conversation with God. These people may be in a “pinch” and need God to help them out. They have a one sided conversation, but sad to say, their phone is dead so there is no real connection. They don’t know the danger they are in!

But good news! God has made the connection to people to know Him and have a personal conversation with Him through Jesus. Through Jesus we have a live connection to the living God.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

John, a disciple of Jesus wrote, “But to all who did receive him [Jesus], who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12

We can’t abide with Jesus and bear fruit if we are not truly connected to the Vine, Jesus Himself. We may pretend to know God and go through religious motions, saying religious words, trying to live a good life. But only through Jesus can someone know God personally. Religion is a dead connection. Jesus gives life. He said, “…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 He gives an abundant fruitful life.

Are you connected to the Vine, Jesus, or are you, like some people, just pretending? God wants to be connected to you. He said, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

Check out this link for more information:

Would You like to Know God Personally? http://www.cru.org/how-to-know-god/would-you-like-to-know-god-personally.html

 

Love for the Family

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The shock, fear, horror, disbelief, tears, and now painful memories of what happened on September 11, 2001 fill our minds today in the U.S. and around the world. And thirteen years later the world still seems to be in chaos. The good news is that God, the Creator of the entire universe and our world, is still on His throne and in control of all things. He is good and works all things for good, even the evil which kills thousands. King David, who walked closely with God and experienced evil in his own life, wrote, “For God is the King of all the earth… God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne.” (Psalm 47:7-8) “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)

As we trust in God’s plans and goodness we still have to live in the midst of sorrow and pain. So what do we do as followers of Jesus, as those who are abiding with Him and have our hope in Him? He has told us what to do very clearly. Jesus told us to love our enemies and to love each other.

Jesus said, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28)

He also told His disciples to love each other, the family of believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ. “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35)

As the early believers were facing sorrow, pain, and persecution Paul told them to love each other and to take care of each other. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “…through love serve one another.” (5:13) and “Whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone, especially to our Christian brothers and sisters.” (6:9, NLT) As we abide with Jesus, His love flows through our lives to the world and what greater way to show His love than to our enemies and to our family. We pray for our enemies to find hope in Jesus, to know His love and forgiveness. We pray for our family of believers in the Middle East to have God’s strength right now as they face such evil and death. We can also love them by giving to their needs through several Christian organizations that are there with them in person.

What will you do this week to show your love for your enemies? What will you do to love those in the family of Christ? Will you take time to pray for them? I would like to know what you are doing. I will be praying for and supporting those groups of Christians who are showing love to our persecuted family in Iraq and around the world. And my enemies? I will pray that they will trust in God’s love and forgiveness through Jesus.

Check out some ways to help:

http://www.samaritanspurse.org/article/iraq-crisis-response

http://www.persecution.com

http://www.persecution.org