Emmanuel: Vine & Branches

pexels-photo-273011.jpegAs we approach the new decade, we’re in for an interesting year. Already the vying for the presidential race has begun, dire predictions are popping up all around. I’m so glad I’ve quit listening to much of the news, politics and weather reports. Not putting my head in the proverbial sand, not being uninformed, but refusing to let these things invade my thoughts and lead me to upset, anxiety or just plain fear!

Many of us endeavor to make “New Year’s Resolutions”. I’m keeping in mind that sustained small steps toward a goal are important. Our church does a 21 day fast in January, encouraging each of us to find our own way to do this and to know we’re being supported. It can be as simple as cutting out treats/sweets/desserts, electronics/media…or even a full fast if that’s what the Lord is leading you into. Our congregation has experienced many miracles and answered prayers as well as restored relationships in previous years of January fasts.

This January, I’m planning to go back to Eat Fat, Get Thin by Dr. Mark Hyman and doing the 21 day elimination I did three summers ago to reset my eating and my health. I recently read my journal from 6 months before the Spirit led me to this plan. I was a mess of inflammation, high blood pressure, allergy symptoms, lack of energy, foggy brain and skin problems. How far I’ve come from that!  But I’m definitely finding myself craving sweets and junk food (no where near as much as 3 1/2 years ago!), my pants getting tight, and not sleeping so well. Because my biggest challenge is finding time for praying/worshiping/meditating on the Lord when I fast, I’ve determined to minimize the time I spend meal planning and prepping by making daily or even weekly meal plans/menus . I will also curtail books I’m reading; only those that encourage my desire to draw deeper into fellowship with Emmanuel. Last year I used Jentezen Franklin’s book The Fasting Edge along with The Fasting Edge Journal. I plan to use these resources again this year.

several bunch of grapes
Photo by Luiz M. Santos on Pexels.com

With all this in mind, I ponder this verse:

John 15:5 “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.

In the natural, branches cannot bear fruit unless they are attached to a vine or tree. The branches do not grow the fruit, but the fruit grows out of the connection to the source, the part that’s planted in the soil and soaks up sun, rain and nutrients, which then flow through the branch. No matter how hard the branch tries, it cannot produce any  fruit on its own. Think about this: I can do a lot of things without Him, but none of them will add to eternal treasures in God’s heavenly kingdom. Going back to Paul’s words:

1 Corinthians 13: 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. In other words, without love drawn from the Source, all our efforts and great exploits come to nothing!

My dear readers, join me as I learn how to abide; Christ in me and I in Christ. Emmanuel, God with us in ALL things!

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