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1021 Ask Whatever You Wish - John 15:7
What do you want?
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you." John 15:7 NASB
I wonder about this passage regularly. I wonder if I really abide. How many of the things I ask Jesus about are still being answered? How many did I blow because I stopped asking? How many were me being wrong about thinking I remained in Jesus but I was really trying to do my own thing?
Do you have the courage to abide in Jesus and then trust until your request comes to pass? I want to. I want to see Jesus working miracles in my life all the time. I wonder where I don't abide, or in which things I really don't trust him.
I know God answers prayer. I prayed things 35 years ago that are being answered now. I'm not any better than anyone else except that the Holy Spirit helps me remember. I remember praying that God would use the frustration of my career and he is. I remember praying that God would provide for us and he has. So many answered prayers. And yet, I can still get afraid thinking about how we lead this ministry or how we handle our finances.
Today, let's ask God to show us where we can trust him more. As I record, I choose to trust Jesus. I choose to tell myself not to consider my own anxiety. It is less real than the Holy Spirit. May I trust Jesus and invest in the next person I meet. May I trust Jesus and boldly choose to do any crazy thing he tells me to do when I'm interacting with coworkers, customers, vendors and friends today.
Life following Jesus seems too good to be true. That's the kind of God we serve. Let's believe him for more and believe him to be bigger and more powerful than we can ask or imagine. Then let's live accordingly.
1020 Dead Sticks - John 15:6
What do you do with yard trash?
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned." John 15:6 NASB
When you trim a tree, or pull weeds in your yard, you pile them up somewhere and eventually they're burned. Jesus continues his analogy of the vine and the branches. When we don't abide in Jesus, we are cut off, hauled off and burned. That's a pretty vivid analogy.
Do we believe this? Abide can also be translated remain. Our life, both the temporal life and the eternal life, come from God the Father. We get them by being connected to Jesus. Eventually, if you don't connect to Jesus, and remain in him, you'll burn up. It's not a pleasant thought.
Fortunately for those of us who put our trust in Jesus, he is the one who helps us remain, or abide in him. When we abide in him day-to-day, we can do work that will last forever. But in this verse, Jesus isn't talking about our accomplishments. I believe he has flipped the analogy to people, not works. This clearly says, "If anyone..." It's like Jesus has said up through verse 5 he was talking about our fruit. But now he's talking about those who don't remain in him.
Do you remain in Jesus? If you have trusted and bent your life to follow him, I believe you will abide and that will result in salvation. In a 5-minute devotional, it's hard to finish the argument. Let's trust Jesus today. Those that don't abide in him will end up being cast off like dead branches. It's a challenging thought.
Today, let's abide in Jesus. That may mean that we remind ourselves what we know and trust about him. It may mean doing something you know he wants you to do. Whatever it is, do it, and let us know what happened. Send a note to email@example.com to share your experience.
Thanks for being a marketplace minister and for remembering that what we do because we follow Jesus matters, forever.
1019 True Accomplishment - John 15:5
Are you the kind of person who enjoys checking things off your to-do list?
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 ESV
We spoke about abiding in yesterday's message. Look for it if you haven't heard it. Today, I want to concentrate on the phrase, "for apart from me, you can do nothing." What did Jesus mean?
Certainly, he couldn't mean absolutely nothing. Apart from Jesus many things have been done. But I think he's talking about things that will matter forever. We can't bear any eternal fruit. We can't lay up any treasure in heaven (Matthew 6:20) apart from Jesus, either.
Are we just in this life for what we can get in this life? Or do we want to believe in something beyond this life? If you want to believe something beyond the years in this body, then Jesus is very clear. There is only one way to get to the next life with any choices.
And when I consider this 2nd life that lasts forever, I can consider how by abiding Jesus I can do something. Apart from him I can do nothing. So I concentrate on Jesus and what he would have me do. Then I must trust that what I'm doing amounts to "something."
Today, do you want to do "something?" Let's concentrate on Jesus and then trust him. If we can join him, know him, grow our trust in him, believe him, study him. If we can learn about him from our local church and from trusted teachers and friends who follow him, then we can expect we're doing something. Our life makes a difference. This is one of the reasons we say, what we do because we follow Jesus matters, forever. If you'd like to grow closer to Jesus and abide in him, get around his people. One place you can do that online is at https://community.FollowerofOne.org.
1018 Focus on the Vine - John 15:4
In the day-to-day, where are you focused? What do you pursue?
"Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me." John 15:4 NASB
What does it mean to abide? Some translations use the word "remain," or "stay." I think of resting, persisting, persevering, hanging on. To abide in Jesus means that I don't abandon him and try to do things my own way. No branch can bear fruit unless it is connected and drawing it's life from the vine.
We're pretty powerful and wealthy. It's easy to believe that we have the power to do the things we want. But we can't make ourselves right with God. And I wonder what we miss because we do things on our own instead of trusting and waiting for Jesus.
We even mentioned about focusing on Jesus yesterday, too. When we focus on him, he makes things work. I confess I even struggle with this from time to time. I want to trust him. I want to remain in him. I turn to him to make that happen. I don't have the power in and of myself. Trusting God is an active choice. I have to choose to abide or remain. Deep down, I know I can't do anything without him. However sometimes abiding in him takes a long time.
I hope I can remember to stick to my pay grade. How long is God's problem. How much fruit is also his problem. What I have to do to be pruned, again, that's God's problem. My challenge is to remain.
What would help you remain? For me, I'm a community person. I need people around me to help me abide, as well as friends who are also abiding and waiting on Jesus. If you need a community like that, check out a local church. Or, you can also connect with us at https://community.followerofone.org. Remember what we do because we follow Jesus matters, forever.
1017 Starting Clean - John 15:3
When a branch has been pruned, they say it was cleaned. Have you been cleaned by God recently?
"You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you." John 15:3 NASB
Jesus is speaking. The disciples and Jesus are walking (see John 14:31). We think they may have walked by a vine and Jesus started this analogy of the vine and the vinedresser. He's talking about pruning which we discussed in yesterday's episode. Today, Jesus tells the disciples that at this moment, they're clean. The fruit hasn't come yet. There's nothing to prune. What Jesus has told them has placed them in this state.
When the word of God transforms us, we are clean. That's one way God prunes us. His word changes our behavior. Changing behavior isn't easy. left to ourselves, we drift. the the Bible, the Word of God, transforms us. It causes us to change our behavior. It causes us to re-think our practices. This is one way we're pruned.
Some people feel that pruning is God taking away things we love. I think it means that God is both harvesting his fruit and planning for the future. He is the owner, the vinedresser. The fruit belongs to him. As a branch, my job is to remain or abide in the vine. I concentrate on the vine. The vinedresser focuses on the fruit. He does the pruning. Something in God's word may challenge me, but if I can concentrate on the vine, I live. When I focus on anything else, things don't go so well.
What are you going to focus on today? Your circumstances are an opportunity to show others Jesus. Whatever you do, you can do it with all your will, focused on your Lord and God will bear fruit through you. Let's concentrated on Jesus' word and be transformed, cleaned and ready for the next work.
1016 When We Bear Fruit - John 15:2
What does it mean to be "pruned?" It doesn't sound very pleasant.
"Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit." John 15:2
Pruning is the act of removing leaves and branch tips and even budding flowers in order to make room for more. The way a vinedresser prunes, what they remove and what they leave, can direct the way the branches grow and how many blooms there are. Vine-dressing is a skill that is learned. It takes time and care.
Jesus states that God prunes us. We're branches. The life of Jesus flowing through us produces fruit. When that fruit is ready, the vinedresser will cut it off. If he leaves it, it will just rot and nothing else will grow there either.
Bearing fruit is the first step in pruning. We want to bear fruit, but we don't like the idea of being pruned. Jesus is giving us a fact of life. Pruning is necessary for us to reach our destiny. The reward outweighs the cost.
We know this principle. We need a community of friends to help us remember this principle and live in it. That's why we created Follower of One, an online community for marketplace Christians. We want our faith to produce fruit every day. Why not join us at https://community.followerofone.org and watch God bear fruit through you, too?
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Mike Henry and Follower of One are the real deal. The guests and content can help us all live out our faith better every day! Best of all - teaching that we are workplace missionaries is such a needed Avenue. Thanks for sharing your passion with others.
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This podcast is an encouragement to listen to each morning before heading off to work. It helps you focus on ways to show encouragement to your coworkers who struggle just like you do in living out their lives pleasing to God. But we can encourage each other and those around us to follow God who is always there to help us throughout each day. Thank you Mike Henry for this podcast.