Friday, August 23, 2013

Just Say No

There are so many good things out there. Good things to be a part of, good bible studies, good friends, good social activities, good good stuff.

And I want to be a part of it all.

I want to be a part of every bible study I’m invited to.

I want to serve with these great non-profits in town.

I want to go to that book club.

I want to have dinner with these people.

I want to say YES to everything!

All the good things!

But if I say YES to everything, then I’m good for nothing.

Spreading myself too thin, and doing things that I shouldn’t be doing (but want to be doing) lead to feeling defeated, deflated, discouraged, and exhausted.

So I’m saying NO.

You know who else had to say no to a lot of good stuff? 


He could have healed more, taught more, discipled more, prayed more, but He didn’t. He could’ve gone to more synagogue studies, but he didn’t.  He could have healed more sick & helped more of the least of these, but he didn’t.  He could have studied with the Pharisees, he could have had more dinner parties with tax collectors and sinners, but he didn’t!

He knew when to say “yes” and when to say “no”.

His gaze was so fixed on the Father, He knew what was for him to do and nothing more.  He was so busy about His father’s business, He didn’t have to worry about everyone else’s business.

So I learn from that . . .

In a world that is constantly asking more, I will learn to do less. I will learn to be okay with saying no (even when it’s really really really good stuff).

Because the more I do FOR Him, the less I feel connected TO Him.

I don't want to be so busy about the Kingdom, that I forget to spend time with the King.

I will say no to busyness, to say yes to fruitfulness.

I will say NO to good, to say YES to best.

I will say no to your business, to say yes to my Father's business.

I will say no even when it's hard, to say yes to the yoke that is easy.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

"Be still, and know that I am God. . ." (Psalm 46:10)

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Art of Pruning {Abide}

“1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 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. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Just happen to stumble across this article while browsing Pinterest this week: The Art of Pruning Fruit Trees

So much insight into what it means to prune and how to prune to produce more fruit.

You will be pruning to make a healthy, more productive tree as well as to produce larger fruit.
{Pruning seems painful, but it is necessary for health and fruit production.}

Limit the branches to the number that produces well for that species. Remember that too many branches will result in smaller fruit. {Know what you're capacity is and thrive in that. If you're spread too thin, your fruit will be small. Better to have fewer branches with better fruit, than spread all over the place with little fruit.}

Different trees need a different type of pruning. You have to prune differently according to the age of the tree, making sure you give it time to grow into it's space.

So many analogies here in regards to discipleship . . . Worth the read.
Click here: The Art of Pruning Fruit Trees

Monday, August 5, 2013

Abide {What My Earthly Father Taught Me About My Heavenly Father}

When my father was alive, one of my favorite things to do with him was just spend time, quality time together, talking. He was funny, and smart, and loving, and sometimes feisty, and I learned so much from him.

I can remember being a little girl on road trips, and he would point out different trees and crops during our drive and teach us what they were. My father taught me.

I can remember watching Tommy Boy and Seinfeld reruns with him as teenager and laughing hysterically with him. I laughed with my father. My father delighted in laughing with me.

I can remember when we first went to elementary school and he told us if anyone ever tried to pick us up from school that we didn’t know, even if they said they were a friend of our parent’s, we were to ask for our family “code word” and if they didn’t know it, to run and tell an adult. They were lying and trying to kidnap us! (Not even kidding we had a code word for instances like this. We also had family fire drills.) My father protected me.

I remember the time when I got busted for doing things teenagers shouldn’t be doing (ie sneaking his beer into my purse to go to a graduation party). I got grounded and didn’t end up going to what I still believe was the “best graduation party of our year”. I begged him to ground me the following week, because I just had to go to this party. But no. My father disciplined me.

And every Valentine’s day, he would bring us all flowers and make us feel special. My father loved me.

And I can’t help but think of the example my earthly father set for me and how much he exemplified what a Heavenly Father is like.

I haven’t heard the voice of my earthly father in nearly 11 years, but I can hear from my Heavenly Father daily.

Through His word, I can hear His voice. His word is so much more than information or a list of rules and commands. For me, His word is a place that I go seeking to hear the voice of my Father. His word teaches me, guides me, protects me, comforts me, encourages me, nourishes me. It’s how I know my Father delights in me and loves me.

Often we view spending time in God’s word as a chore, a task, something we “should do” and we end up feeling guilty about it.

What if we viewed abiding in God’s word as spending time with your Father? What if it was about more than just information? It was about letting your Father speak to you, guide you, comfort you, discipline you, nourish you?

What if we approached God’s word that way? As a gift? As time with your Father?

I am convinced that chaos and busyness are a cancer to the spiritual life. It breeds a hard heart. And I know that if we slow down enough to connect to the True Vine, to abide and delight in our Heavenly Father, the rest of our life will seem less chaotic.

Let’s stop filling up our schedule to the neglect of our soul. Let’s slow down long enough to hear from our Heavenly Father. Our Father loves us and longs for time with us. It's His greatest desire. Let’s stay connected to the True Vine and abide in Him.

"Be still, and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10)

"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)