Fear

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The road before you may look different than you expected and you are not sure where it will lead.

But God does.

He knows what lies before you and He has promised that no matter what happens, He will be with you:

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV

God is not suggesting it. He is not asking you to consider it, He is not giving it to you as an option… it is a command: Do not fear.

Fear will never cease to have power over you until it is replaced by a greater power – the love of Jesus.

You are a chosen, treasured child of God, redeemed by the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross for you. God has called you out of the place you have been and planted you in a new place.

A new place that has new possibilities, new problems, new opposition to face and new victories to experience. Not one of these things is meant to be handled by yourself. You are not alone, God is with you. You are His and He is good at taking care of His own.

Step into the New Year with a heart determined to trust Jesus.

Walk every day with the knowledge that you are His and He has called you to this place.

Rest every day in His grace and mercy, He has an endless supply for you to use.

 

Prepared

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A couple of years ago our family was taking a road trip from Sacramento to Anaheim California and as we drove we passed vineyard after vineyard.

After about the third one, I thought, “the vineyards look ready to bear fruit”.

Why?

Because they had been pruned back, braced up and almost stripped bare.

That is what Jesus said happens in the life of a believer. Not just once but over and over.

When God wants to grow you, He prunes you.

Over the years of driving down to So Cal with my family and driving by countless vineyards, I’ve seen them in all the seasons:

  • Full and heavy with fruit in the summer.
  • Rioting wild with leaves after the harvest in the fall.
  • Barren and unkempt in the winter.
  • Pruned back, braced up and almost stripped bare in the spring.

The most fruitful vines are those that are cared for and pruned down.

You may not equate being pruned with being cared for but the best of vine dressers do.

They lovingly and with ruthless care get the vineyard ready to bear fruit. They cut all the dead branches off. The dead leaves that have fallen to the ground are swept up and cleared out.

The main branch that grows up from the vine is stripped down and simplified.

They have braced up each one with wood or wire so that it will not break under the weight of its fruit later in the season.

Jesus called himself the vine, you the branch and the Father the vine dresser:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
‭‭John‬ ‭15:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

If you feel like God is doing a pruning work in your life, it is because He is preparing you.

He is getting you ready to bear more fruit.

He is caring for you and nurturing you.

He is cutting off dead things that will rot and bring disease to your soul.

He is simplifying your focus and prompting you to define more clearly who you are in Christ.

He is pruning you, even cutting off some good branches that are stealing nutrients from the main one He wants to grow.

Your Heavenly Father loves you just the way you are and loves you so much that He won’t leave you that way.

He wants to see you grow into your full potential and knows that dead things must be cut off and good things that distract must go as well.

Don’t panic because you’re being pruned, stripped bare and braced up. Recognize it for what it is- God preparing you for the next season of your life.

It’s going to be good, my friend, so hold on and trust God!