It's all about LOVE...it always is!

As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. John 15:9

When I had finally come full circle to the harvest at the vineyard, my waking thought became a word from the Lord:  Abide in My love.

I visualized the Lord on His way to Gethsemane with his disciples.  He had just showed His love for them by washing their feet at supper and sharing His last loving instructions and encouragements before He went to the Cross.

Then Jesus and His beloved followers walked together through a vineyard: 

I am the vine...you are the branches....whoever abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing...Just as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:5, 9-10

I couldn't get away from it...abide in My love! Then I realized,

it's all about love.  It always is!

Deep in every human heart is the desire to love and be loved.  And it is also deep in the heart of God....because GOD IS LOVE!

So a harvest of fruitfulness is all about abiding in HIS LOVE!

WHOSE LOVE?

The Father's love for the Son.

As the Father has loved me... John 15:9a

For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. John 5:20a

The Son's love for the Father.

I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. John 14:31

I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10

The Son's love for us.

...so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9b

...when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

WHAT KIND OF LOVE?

The kind of love Jesus is talking about is agape...God's love, unconditional and  sacrificial.  It's the kind that esteems another more highly than himself.  It's a love that can express a oneness of will and purpose, because it's not primarily "touchy-feely" but rather a choice of the will.  And it's hard to find on this earth.

It's the love that moved the Father to send the Son to the Cross on our behalf.  It's the love that motivated Jesus to always do as His Father commanded.  It's the love that moved the heart of the Son to sacrifice Himself for us.

And it's this very love in which we are to abide!

HOW DO WE ABIDE IN HIS LOVE?

Jesus gives us the answer:

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10

So Jesus calls us to the same obedient life He lived...not by trying hard to live it, but by living with His obedient life.  Let me explain...

Because of the abiding life union of branch in the Vine, the obedient life of the Son of God courses through our spiritual veins.  Will we live from that from that Obedient Life?  That's always the question, isn't it?

WHAT ARE HIS COMMANDS?

They are those written in chapter and verse in the Scriptures...and on our hearts.

They are also the little Holy Spirit nudges that tell us to say a kind word or refrain from saying an unkind word....to pick up the phone and check on a friend...to stop and help someone in need instead of going our merry way.  Because in the context of John 13-17, the new command of the Lord is to love one another as He has loved us.

Or it may mean to stay away from a certain relationship or terminate one because it is ungodly and destructive.

His word may also come saying, "Put aside your own agenda and spend some time with Me, feeding on my Word and abiding in My love."

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS?

  • I can experience friendship with God. Jesus said that He has called us friends.  But friendships can't be just one-sided.  That's true in human relationships, and it's true in friendship with the Lord.  Jesus tells us that when we obey Him, we are His friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.  John 15:14
  • I can use His name with confidence in prayer to the Father. I can be a "name dropper" in the throne room of heaven :) If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you....whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.  John 15:7,16
  • I can be in on family secrets. This is the same perkthe Son has in relationship with the Father! No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.    John 15:15
  • I can bear fruit that remains. What I do and who I am can have eternal results because of my life union with Christ, abiding in His love. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples...I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide... John 15:8,16
  • I can experience exuberant joy :) These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.  John 15:11

Abide in His love, O beloved branch!

Because it's all about love...it always is!

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1John 5:3

We love because He first loved us! 1John 4:19

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z5cgajl1Kg&feature=related[/youtube]

Here is a moving presentation of the Gospel of John.  About 8:50 minutes into this segment, you will see John 15.  Rest, enjoy, and abide in His love.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=888_X8G3Yf0&feature=watch_response_rev[/youtube]

Kaden studying
Kaden the student

A project for Bible students:  Go through the epistle of 1 John and notice how the Elder Apostle John, years after writing his gospel, uses the same words and concepts...but with more depth.  Look for love, abide, keep His commandments...any others?

Ah! the Harvest...full-circle at the Vineyard

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit... This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:5,8

ripe grapes

ripe grapes

Ah! the harvest!  The reason the Vineyard exists!

Me & my Branch pruned

Me & my Branch pruned

March 2011

When our daughter and family lived in southern California, I was able to observe grape vineyards in all major stages of growth -- from pruning to blooming with green fruit and leaves and finally to the harvest of ripe fruit followed by early stages of the "dying" process.

blooming but not ripe

blooming but not ripe

All of this to begin again the Cycle of Life!

I love the metaphor of the Vine & the Branches in John 15! It encourages me in my FAITH in the Father, the Vinedresser, Who is doing His work... and in the Vine, His glorious Son and Source of Life. It gives me HOPE for a harvest of Christ-likeness (Gal 5:22-23)...and good works (Eph 2:10) as I allow the Living Christ to live through my human life as a Branch in the Vine. And it inspires LOVE for the Lord of the Vineyard who tenderly cares for me, His branch and fruit-bearer.

This metaphor also reminds me that I'm part of something bigger than myself!

138_6101

138_6101

I'm one of many beloved branches,

brothers and sisters in Christ

, who live with the same Life and produce fruit -- the manifest Life of Christ, the Vine.  We are fruitful because of His Life flowing through our very beings.

In my next post, I'll share some reflections from John 15 on this final stage of growth -- the harvest.   But in the meantime, why not review the process by meditating on John 15:1-17 for yourself.

Here are some questions to get you started:

LIST the "persons" being talked about.  They are named in verses 1, 2, 8, 12, 13, & 15. Find the ACTION words...What does each "person" DO...and with what RESULTS? WHAT does it mean "to ABIDE"?  (Use a dictionary or think of what it might mean it the context) In WHOM/WHAT are we to ABIDE?  WHO/WHAT is to ABIDE in us? What has the Holy Spirit "highlighted" to your heart?  Make note of those verses and thoughts.

Then if you care to, take a look again at my meditations in their original form...

jan at the harvest

jan at the harvest

May you be blessed, as I have been, to reflect on the Father's work in and through His Son, the True Vine...and also His work in and through us, His branches in His Vine!

I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts and meditations on this rich passage:)  So please leave a comment, if you'd like!

Beth, Nate, Kaden & Eli...temecula 11/11

Beth, Nate, Kaden & Eli...temecula 11/11

A Word on Wednesday: REMEMBER

re·mem·ber   [ri-mem-ber]  verb (used with object)1.  to recall to the mind by an act or effort of memory; think of again: I'll try to remember the exact date. 2.  to retain in the memory; keep in mind; remain aware of: Remember your appointment with the dentist. 3.  to have (something) come into the mind again: I just remembered that it's your birthday today. 4.  to bear (a person) in mind as deserving a gift, reward, or fee: The company always remembers us at Christmas. 5.  to give a tip, donation, or gift to: to remember the needy.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you are younger (under the age of 50, new new 40 :)...

Remember your Creator in the days of your youth...  Eccl 12:1 NIV

Or as the Message translation says:

Honor and enjoy your Creator while you're still young,    Before the years take their toll and your vigor wanes,    Before your vision dims and the world blurs    And the winter years keep you close to the fire.

 In old age, your body no longer serves you so well.    Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen.    The shades are pulled down on the world.    You can't come and go at will. Things grind to a halt.    The hum of the household fades away.    You are wakened now by bird-song.    Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past.    Even a stroll down the road has its terrors.    Your hair turns apple-blossom white,    Adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body.    Yes, you're well on your way to eternal rest,    While your friends make plans for your funeral.

 Life, lovely while it lasts, is soon over.    Life as we know it, precious and beautiful, ends.    The body is put back in the same ground it came from.    The spirit returns to God, who first breathed it. Ecclesiastes 12:1-7  The Message

HOW are you remembering Him...honoring and enjoying Him today?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

No matter your age...

Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:7-8

WHO are your remembering today?  What did their faith look like in their life?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

If you are over 50...

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;     yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works     and meditate on all your mighty deeds. Psalm 77:11-12

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, he will grow like a cedar of Lebanon planted in the house of the Lord, he will flourish in the courts of our God. he will still yield fruit in old age; he shall be full of sap and very green to declare the Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him! Psalm 92:12-15

WHAT deeds of the Lord do you remember and proclaim?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

...and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of ME."

Love's Abiding Harvest

jan at the harvest

jan at the harvest

As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Abide in My love. John 15:9

When I returned home from California a couple weeks ago, I began meditating on John 15 from the "harvest" point of view.  Though my daytime thoughts were going in a different direction, my waking thought became a word from the Lord:  Abide in My love.

I visualized the Lord on His way to Gethsemane with his disciples.  He had just showed His love for them by washing their feet at supper and sharing His last loving instructions and encouragements before He went to the Cross.

Then Jesus and His beloved followers walked together through a vineyard:  I am the vine...you are the branches....whoever abides in me and I in him, bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing...Just as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:5, 9-10

I couldn't get away from it...abide in My love! Then I realized, it's all about love.  It always is!

Deep in every human heart is the desire to love and be loved.  And it is also deep in the heart of God....because GOD IS LOVE!

ripe grapes

ripe grapes

So a harvest of fruitfulness is all about abiding in HIS LOVE!WHOSE LOVE?

The Father's love for the Son.

As the Father has loved me... John 15:9a

For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. John 5:20a

The Son's love for the Father.

I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. John 14:31

I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10

The Son's love for us.

...so have I loved you. Abide in my love. John 15:9b

...when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. John 13:1

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

WHAT KIND OF LOVE?

The kind of love Jesus is talking about is agape...God's love, unconditional andsacrificial.  It's the kind that esteems another more highly than himself.  It's a love that can express a oneness of will and purpose, because it's not primarily "touchy-feely" but rather a choice of the will.  And it's hard to find on this earth.

It's the love that moved the Father to send the Son to the Cross on our behalf.  It's the love that motivated Jesus to always do as His Father commanded.  It's the love that moved the heart of the Son to sacrifice Himself for us.

And it's this very love in which we are to abide!

HOW DO WE ABIDE IN HIS LOVE?

Jesus gives us the answer:

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10

So Jesus calls us to the same obedient life He lived...not by trying hard to live it, but by living with His obedient life.  Let me explain...

Because of the abiding life union of branch in the Vine, the obedient life of the Son of God courses through our spiritual veins.  Will we live from that from that Obedient Life?  That's always the question, isn't it?

WHAT ARE HIS COMMANDS?

They are those written in chapter and verse in the Scriptures...and on our hearts.

They are also the little Holy Spirit nudges that tell us to say a kind word or refrain from saying an unkind word....to pick up the phone and check on a friend...to stop and help someone in need instead of going our merry way.  Because in the context of John 13-17, the new command of the Lord is to love one another as He has loved us.

Or it may mean to stay away from a certain relationship or terminate one because it is ungodly and destructive.

His word may also come saying, "Put aside your own agenda and spend some time with Me, feeding on my Word and abiding in My love."

WHAT ARE THE RESULTS?

  • I can experience friendship with God. Jesus said that He has called us friends. But friendships can't be just one-sided. That's true in human relationships, and it's true in friendship with the Lord. Jesus tells us that when we obey Him, we are His friends.You are my friends if you do what I command you. John 15:14

  • I can use His name with confidence in prayer to the Father. I can be a "name dropper" in the throne room of heaven :)If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you....whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.John 15:7,16

  • I can be in on family secrets. This is the same perk the Son has in relationship with the Father!No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing;but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

  • I can bear fruit that remains. What I do and who I am can have eternal results because of my life union with Christ, abiding in His love.By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples...I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide... John 15:8,16

  • I can experience exuberant joy :)These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11 ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Abide in His love, O beloved branch!

Because it's all about love...it always is!

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1John 5:3

We love because He first loved us! 1John 4:19


Kaden the student

Kaden the student

A project for Bible students:  Go through the epistle of 1 John and notice how the Elder Apostle John, years after writing his gospel, uses the same words and concepts...but with more depth.  Look for love, abide, keep His commandments...any others?

Back to the Vineyard: "Full Circle"

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit... This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. John 15:5,8

ripe grapes

ripe grapes

October 2011

Ah! the harvest!  The reason the Vineyard exists!

I've come full-circle since that first trip to southern California back in March. 

Me & my Branch pruned

Me & my Branch pruned

March 2011

Since our daughter and family moved there early this year, I've been able to observe grape vineyards in all major stages of growth -- from pruning to blooming with green fruit and leaves and now to the harvest of ripe fruit followed by early stages of the "dying" process.

blooming but not ripe

blooming but not ripe

June 2011

All of this to begin again the Cycle of Life!

I love the metaphor of the Vine & the Branches in John 15!  It encourages me in my FAITH in the Father, the Vinedresser, Who is doing His work...and in the Vine, His glorious Son and Source of Life.  It gives me HOPE for a harvest of Christ-likeness (Gal 5:22-23) and good works (Eph 2:10) as I allow the Living Christ to live through my human life as a Branch in the Vine.  And it inspires LOVE for the Lord of the Vineyard who tenderly cares for me, His branch and fruit-bearer.

This metaphor also reminds me that I'm part of something bigger than myself!

138_6101

138_6101

June 2011

I'm one of many beloved branches, brothers and sisters in Christ, who live with the same Life and produce fruit -- the manifest Life of Christ, the Vine.  We are fruitful because of His Life flowing through our very beings.

In my next post, I'll share some reflections from John 15 on this final stage of growth -- the harvest.   But in the meantime, why not review the process by meditating on John 15:1-17 for yourself.

Here are some questions to get you started: LIST the "persons" being talked about.  They are named in verses 1, 2, 8, 12, 13, & 15.  (I've found seven...how about you?) Find the ACTION words...What does each "person" DO...and with what RESULTS? WHAT does it mean "to ABIDE"?  (Use a dictionary or think of what it might mean it the context) In WHOM/WHAT are we to ABIDE?  WHO/WHAT is to ABIDE in us? What has the Holy Spirit "highlighted" to your heart?  Make note of those verses and thoughts.

Then if you care to, take a look again at my meditations as

jan at the harvest

jan at the harvest

October 2011

I've "walked through" the stages of vineyard growth this year.  May you be blessed, as I have been, to reflect on the Father's work in and through His Son, the True Vine...and also His work in and through us, His branches in His Vine!

I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts and meditations on this rich passage:)  So please leave a comment, if you'd like!

Beth, Nate, Kaden & Eli...temecula 11/11

Beth, Nate, Kaden & Eli...temecula 11/11