Good morning sweet sisters in Christ! You all just came to my mind as I sit here working on Day 3 of my Fearless study. I must confess as I come to the bottom of the page and it says, “Read John 15 before you close,” I could physically feel my flesh once again inwardly sigh. (“What? A whole chapter?!” she whines…) But what the instruction says is for us to “Read John 15 before you close AND BE ENCOURAGED.” So if I give in to my flesh, guess what? I’m going to miss the encouragement! So I turn to John 15 and right off the bat this is what I read: “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 does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (John 15:1-2).
We didn’t know we would be doing Fearless after Heart of a Woman when Laurie first wrote Fearless. I love how the Lord speaks at just the right time through His Word. He knows our needs. He is our loving Father. Now I confess again my fear of pain. But that is my flesh. My flesh doesn’t want to be pruned. But when I read this, the Spirit in me rejoices and says, “Yes!” I want to bear more fruit. I want the dead branches gone! The dead, putrid, rotten fruit is disgusting! It’s only worthy of the trash!
Praise be to God that He is the Vinedresser. He is working all the time. Yes, we have work to do. “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling…” (Phil. 2:12a). But the second half of this verse says….”for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12b ). And moreover, God tells us in Phil. 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.” I am encouraged this morning to continue forward by grace through faith to work out my salvation with fear and trembling by working on filling out my “tree of righteousness” handout, putting my hope not in my own efforts or how well I fill it out, but in the truth of God’s Word that He is the Author of my faith and the Perfecter of my faith and He will complete the good work He has begun! No matter what!
My daughter and I are with my hubby in California this weekend. He had a business trip here and so the Lord provided for us to come with him and my husband and I are super thankful to have this weekend alone with our daughter as she prepares to leave for college in a few months. We have stayed at this hotel before and it is a favorite of ours. This time we were given a room where you can actually see the Pacific Ocean. Which is, of course, completely amazing. But even sweeter to me is that our balcony is right in front of this amazing tree that I have always noticed and loved when we have been here. I don’t know what kind of tree it is, but I have never seen anything like it. As I read John 15:1-2 and look at this tree, my heart fills with love and gratitude and hope in Jesus. I pray He encourages you all as well.
Learning to Live in the Garden of Grace