Bare or Blessed?

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Bare branches do not produce fruit and must be pruned so more fruit will grow. Trees have limited resources and energy. If they are not well tended, their energy will be zapped by the unfruitful branches. Pruning might give an initial appearance that the tree loses too much, but later the pruned tree produces more fruit.

It is the same in our lives. We might take our losses too seriously and wonder how we can go on with our lives, but we can actually benefit from our losses. When I have experienced the loss of a family member or a relationship, with God’s help, I have grown stronger. What about the loss of a job or a home? When I was laid off from one job, I found a better one. A man who lost his home in a hurricane, found these words written on the foundation of his home: “The Kingdom of God is at hand,” and it inspired him to want to know God, and he started going to church.


Jesus said, “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). His life flowing through us will make us more like Him–loving, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, helpful and giving to others. However, if we stop His life flow with self-centeredness, anger, anxiety, malice, bitterness, worry, or selfishness, our lives will not be fruitful. Seek God today and He will bless you. He will rescue you from the negative issues of life and give you a new and abundant life.


O Lord, help us not to settle for an ordinary or unfruitful life, but to trust you for a life flowing with your love to those around us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Five Steps to Abundant Life

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A branch that falls from the vine looks fine for a while, but when it can no longer draw nourishment from the vine, it dies. We are like that too. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Our Father, the Gardener, throws away dead branches and prunes good branches so they will bear more fruit. Pruning might be painful at the time, but it is beneficial. God disciplines us and teaches us how to bear the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). This cannot happen unless we abide in Jesus. The result is an abundant life. How do we abide so we can be fruitful? Pastor Warren Wiersbe said it this way:

  1. The more we know Jesus the more we will love Him.
  2. The more we love Him the more we will obey Him.
  3. The more we obey Him the more we abide in Him.
  4. The more we abide in Him the more fruit we will bear.
  5. The more fruit we bear the more abundant life we will experience.


If you and I abide in Jesus, we will have abundant life. God will fill our lives to overflowing, and they will spill into the lives of those around us. It’s a kind of spiritual chain reaction that begins with spending time with our Lord–reading His word, lingering in His presence and heart talks with Him about all that concerns us. He loves us and never grows tired of hearing our prayers. He never sleeps or slumbers. He is always available whether it is the dark of night or the light of day. That is a True Friend, indeed.


O Lord, send your Spirit on us. Draw us to your word. Speak to us and bless us so much that we will be your witnesses in this dark world. Let your light shine in us so others will experience your love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


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Jesus said, “I am the vine you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Have you felt inadequate in accomplishing something God has called you to do? I have often felt overwhelmed by an enormous project or service. One of the hardest things for me to do was serving as a hospital chaplain, because I never knew what was on the other side of the door. I spent time in prayer out in my car asking God to empower me to meet and pray with patients. I said to God, “I cannot do this unless you go with me.” He heard that simple prayer.

I grew to love my visits and cherished times of worship in a hospital room. The Bible on my phone and hymns on YouTube were valuable tools to me. With God as my partner, I became a beacon of light and hope. His love flowed through me, and I have missed serving during the COVID isolation. I think of the doctors and nurses who appreciate the chaplain’s service. I think of the patients who desperately need positive connections.


It is hard to reach out to the hurting people when we are isolated, but I have found this blog to be a way to encourage readers. When you feel overwhelmed, inadequate or like you just can’t go on, call out to God. Abide in Him and He will abide in you. He does that through a relationship with you. He talks to you through His word, teaching you how to think and live for Him, and you talk to Him in prayer. Pray about everything that concerns you knowing He cares for you: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).


Prayer: Heavenly Father, comfort your people during these hard times. Many are suffering. Many feel that you have forgotten them. O Lord, reveal yourself to them. In Jesus’ name, Amen.