All of us need encouragement. We need somebody to believe in us. To reassure and reinforce us. To help us pick up the pieces and go on. To fuel our flame of determination as we face the odds against us.
We have come to the fourth and final mental picture—a productive vine—another vivid analogy preserved for us in the Word of God. In fact, this one comes to us from the lips of Jesus as He left His disciples words of encouragement just before He was crucified. They have been recorded for us in the 15th chapter of John, a chapter that centres attention on three vital relationships the Christian must maintain.
When you accept Christ as your Saviour you have someone who is always your advocate; always in your corner. And when you forgive those who hurt you, you model Christ. And you become a little more like Him.
Acceptance means you don’t make people jump through hoops—you take them as they are.
Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” He set the ultimate example of love when He died on the cross to pay for our sins and have eternal fellowship with us. Jesus is our bridge over troubled water.
For some, devotions are like a placebo. People go through the motions but since there are no active ingredients, the effect is minimal.
Everyone struggles with some sort of weakness, deprivation, affliction, attack, or test from time to time. Jesus exemplifies how even in the face of such severe circumstances we can stand strong.
Clipping away the dead growth on a grapevine is hard work. But any gardener can tell you, pruning is an essential step if you want the vine to flourish! Chuck Swindoll describes how God prunes His children…so we can be healthy and produce spiritual fruit!
If you were to list the basic essentials for life, you would likely include air, water, food, and perhaps shelter. But what about friendship? Chuck Swindoll argues that companionship isn’t a perk, it’s a requirement for life.
There’s no shortage of preachers who offer a “prosperity gospel” promising health, wealth, and happiness. While those outcomes are wonderful, they’re not guaranteed! Chuck Swindoll reminds us that as followers of Christ, we will face persecution.