Pause

What good is love, really, unless it is true?

Actually, love requires trust, and none is more trustworthy than our Creator.

Trust God now to show you trustworthy love, and to grow it more deeply within you.

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Listen

I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

John 15:1-6

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Think

These words Jesus spoke used to frighten me a bit. Did you notice that every branch is subjected to the pruning shears – even the good ones? Yikes! I didn’t like the sound of that.

What relieved my fear was the realization that pruning is a natural part of everyday life. We trim our hair and nails so they don’t become nuisances. Our skin is constantly shedding off dead cells to make room for new ones. When we get too busy, we cut back our schedules. When our rooms become too cluttered, we get rid of the stuff we don’t use anymore.

An apple tree with lots of skinny branches will produce fewer apples than one with a few large, sturdy branches. Our lives are like that, too. Jesus wants to trim away the things that crowd our lives, so that we have more room to grow and bloom in him. We need not be afraid. Instead, we can be thankful.

Julie Ball

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Pray

Dear Jesus, my life gets so busy and crowded sometimes. Help me let go of excess stress, worry, want, and activity, so that I can be free to stretch my arms out to you. Thank you! Amen.

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Go

Hear the voice of God so tender, gathering us in righteousness.
Giving, as our sure defender,
Steadfast love and faithfulness.

Bless God's holy name together, as the Spirit brings new life.
Giving, as our sure defender,
Steadfast love and faithfulness.

Lavon Bayler

Julie Ball

Julie Ball is a wife and mother in Memphis, Tennessee. In her spare moments, she is pursuing her call to ministry and her love of writing. Julie shares her life and thoughts on her blog, Meeting God in Memphis.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Ken Medema

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