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Bear Even More Fruit

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” – John 15:2 I was talking with a gentleman the other day who was talking about pruning Crape-Myrtles, those flowering trees that often line our roadways or medians. They’re very pretty in bloom. Anyway, the gentleman said that pruning Crape-Myrtles properly can make it look like you “Crape-murdered” it! Meaning, you need to prune it way back to bring forth good, new growth and greater blossoms. Pruning the trunks not as far back leaves unsightly, dead stubs that provide a potential entry for insects and diseases. I don’t think this COVID-19 pandemic is solely for the purpose of discipline or judgment upon the earth. As John 15:2 says, “every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” So even those who are in Christ, following Christ, and loving Christ, from time to time, are pruned. They get cut back. They are lopped. They experience loss. But this too is for a good purpose: to be even more fruitful! Just as the Crape-Myrtle must be cut back severely in order to bloom better, bigger, and brighter, so too must those who are blooming God’s sweet fragrance be severely cut back, if they are to bloom even more. With Florida’s “Stay at Home” order now in effect, it may feel like we are now even more severely cut back. But I want to encourage you: regardless of why God is allowing this pandemic to go on like this, please LET GOD DO HIS GOOD WORK IN YOU. This may be an incredible time for you to bear even more fruit in your life for Him. Whether it’s shaping your character, time in God’s transformative presence, dusting off your Bible, or just going further in prayer, please know that God is wanting to do a good work in you. But you have to let the Master Gardener make His cuts – regardless of how uncomfortable it feels. I’ll let Jesus’ words in John 15:5 have the last word: “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.” Let us pray: "Lord, I don’t like feeling cut back. It hurts. But I want to be fruitful for You. And so if this brings glory to You by helping me to be more fruitful, help me please to be still and let You cut. Give me grace and faith to trust Your good, steady hand and knowledge. You see the greater picture of me in bloom, and You delight in me, Your planting. Thank You for Your desires and dreams for me that are far greater than I know. Your will be done. For your sake, Lord. Amen."

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