Daily Devotional – 8/3/18 “Struggling Vine!”

A migraine had me down for two days but on yesterday, while home, there was a movie on the Hallmark Channel about a wine vineyard. I forget the name but there was something said that stood out to me. It was, “The harder the struggle of the vine makes better the wine.” If you know me then you know, I jotted this down because I knew this statement is exactly what one or two of you needs to hear today. See, somebody laid down last night dreading a day that hadn’t even showed up yet. Some of you laid down and tears covered your pillow and somebody else laid down with so much on your mind that you fought with the sheets and they aren’t the ones you’re mad at. Why? Because you expected your August to erase the toil of your July and it hasn’t. Well beloved, the harder the struggle of the vine makes better the wine. What do I mean? According to what I have read on wine vines, if you make their habitat easy, the bitter the grapes because then the vines would focus more on growing leaves and shoots, not grapes. In other words, the vine is comfortable with just growing and not producing. However, if you make them struggle for the resources they need like water and nutrients and if they are pruned while being crowded with other vines; they work harder which kicks in their reproductive mechanisms. Sounds crazy, right? But it works.

Think about it. How good are you at producing when you’re comfortable? How much beneficial work do you get done when you’re comfortable? If you’re like me, if you get too comfortable with a lot of time on your hands, you just might do everything but what you need to do. Oh but when you are crunched for time, when the baby is sick and you have a project to finish, when you have a hungry family and money is scarce or when you’re in the struggle of your life; your surviving mechanisms kick in, making you work to produce what you need to survive. When this happens, you produce quality work. Crazy? This is why sometimes, beloved, you have to struggle as the vine. The harder the struggle of the vine makes better the wine. In vineyards, some growers have adapted a technique called partial root drying because normal watering of the vines was making them lazy. In restricting water, the vine pushes deeper into the subsoil to search for what they need to survive and produce. And get this, although a struggling vine produces smaller bunches of grapes; the smaller bunches is of high quality. My brother/my sister, your struggle isn’t to kill you because God knows how much you can handle, but it is to make you push deeper into the subsoil, God, in order for what you produce to be of high quality. Your struggle isn’t for suffering’s sake but it’s to get you to sink deeper into God in order to bear high quality fruit. Stop worrying about how big the harvest is, when it’s not the quantity but the quality that will reap the biggest reward. “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it (Matthew 21:43).”

Daily Devotional – 9/29/14 “You are just the branch!”

Sitting, staring at the computer trying to figure out what to write about but my mind and body is tired because lately I’ve been having such vivid dreams and although it’s hard to put into words, I know it’s God speaking to me yet I’m still trying to figure out what all of this means on this spiritual journey. During one of those moments this morning, prayer was the word that was dropped into my spirit and I thought about sharing that as a devotional topic but as Christians, you know that you ought to pray; don’t you? You know that you should pray for yourself for 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land, shouldn’t you?” Then I was challenged again on Facebook to share my favorite bible scripture and for those of you who know a little about me, then you know the one I’ve share above is my favorite but I thought I’d share another one that leapt out to me this morning from John 15:7, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” See, in John 15:1, Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” How does this go along with prayer? Easy because the scripture says ask whatever you wish and it will be done. And how do you ask …through prayer.

Jesus goes on to say in the next verses (This is me putting it another way); My Father, cuts off the branches of the vines that bears no fruits because they mean no good to the vine and are dead weight yet He prunes those who bear good fruit in order for them to continue to bear good fruit. Please understand what I mean here when I say bearing fruit, I mean sharing God’s word. Not just any word but God’s word that is actually digestible for other folk to be able to eat it and understand it. As Christian’s it is our duty to be able to share God’s word with other folk thus being able to bear good fruit and as Christians we are branches connected to the true vine, Jesus, who is connected to the gardener God which means we should all be bearing good fruit. If we aren’t then we may be doing it for the wrong vine. I’m simply stating the facts. If you call yourself a Christian, other Christians and folk who aren’t believers should be able to eat fruit from your branch, good fruit. They should be able to get a word, a scripture, a prayer or a word of encouragement from you every once in a while, that is edible. This is why Jesus says you’ve got to remain in me and as long as you do, I’ll remain in you because you can’t bear fruit without me when you are just the branch. Did you catch that? You are just the branch, Jesus is the vine and without the vine you are nothing! John 15:6 says, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” You have what it takes to bear good fruit but you’ve got to be connected to the right vine. So when you do it for the vine, make sure you’re doing it for the right vine so that whatever you ask, it will be done. Connect to the true vine, pray and it will be done.

**Whoever you are that thinks God isn’t listening to you, He is but you’ve got to reconnect yourself to the vine in order to get the nutrients you need to bloom again. He hasn’t left you; He’s simply waiting on you.