Thursday, May 31, 2012
These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. ~ John 15:11
How can my joy be full? Jesus says that He has spoken to us on how to have joy—even complete and utter joy. Doesn’t that sound great? The answer is in the verses that lie before John 15:11.
“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
“I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. ~ John 15:1-10
Producing much fruit in my life creates joy. Staying close to Jesus and learning from Him makes me joyful. Obeying Him brings much joy.
The key is in loving Him and listening to Him each day. But then I can’t stop there. I have to produce much fruit in the specific way that He has made me. He has made me for such a time as this—the exact time that I’m living in. He has made me for a specific purpose that He knew before I was born. I need to stay near to Him so I can know that purpose and then I need to stay in that purpose until much fruit is created. And with much fruit comes much joy!
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination! ~ John 6:18-21
Fear can overtake me at any moment. When I look at the winds and waves of my own feelings, I can become paralyzed. All that I see is a little me surrounded by overwhelming circumstances. But Jesus is right there too. He tells me to not be afraid, not because the circumstances aren’t alarming, but because He is with me. When I am in the middle of feeling fear, I need to recognize that Jesus is right there as well. Then if I let Him, He calms me and I arrive at my destination.