The Vine and the Branches
1-3 “I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.
Father, do not cut me off. Help me to bear fruit. I have a friend who raises grapes. When he prunes them, he cuts the branches back. Does this mean You will cut the unneeded things out of my life so I can concentrate on being fruitful to You. I’m sure it does. father I know that has to be painful. Perhaps it explains what we are struggling with now. Give me the strength to endure it for I am weak. Thank-you for the pruning, though now it hurts. I am Yours, do as You please.
4“Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
Jesus, how often will You have to tell me this for me to change how I live? It seems like this has been a theme all week, yet I go to work and hardly give You a minute. Please change me so I live in You and bear fruit in You and do Your will because we are one. Change me!
5-8“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
Jesus, will the harvest be abundant Lord? I know Your Word is at home in me. I know You are in me. But I also know I am not always one with You. I stress our relationship and pull away from You sometimes. But Lord, You say there will be a harvest. I am counting on that harvest Lord. I am not perfect by a mile. I don’t deserve a harvest. But Lord, if You promise a harvest, I am going to believe You. Use me Lord.
9-10“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.
Jesus, how do I keep Your commands? I feel like I cannot go an hour without sinning. Because I struggle, am I not at home in Your love? I fell Your love. I see Your love. I know You love me. But I sin so much I wonder: do I love You? Lord, how close can we be? How do I break through to the point where I am so intimate with You that I do not sin? Jesus, can’t You just miraculously change me? I am tired of this fight. I want to rest in You, one intimate love and being. Rest.
11-15“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.
Jesus, why do I refuse to give up my life, my desires, what I think are my needs, to follow You? You promise so much, and You always keep Your promises. You have loved me so much, and I love You so little in return. When will I finally commit everything to You. Help me Lord. Change me.
You are my friends when you do the things I command you.
Jesus, I was about to say that I don’t know what You command, but I do. I know You really just command me to be loving. Love You, love the Father, love the Holy Spirit and love my neighbor as myself. Most of the time, if I stop and think, I know exactly what You command. Help me to do what You command. Help me to truly love.
I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.
16“You didn’t choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won’t spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.
Jesus, this sounds like You chose me before I was born. Why, and who was I before that or how did You know me? Or did You just know me by who You knew I would become? It is all too much for me to understand. But this I know, I did nothing to deserve Your love. I did nothing for You to choose me. I beg for Your mercy and protection to keep me.
I am here to bear fruit. I hope and pray that I can be of some use to You. Help me to be a fruit bearer. change me so i am useful to You. change me quickly Lord. Help me with the pain of change, but change me so much. why can’t I change more, faster. I have so far to go and so little time to get there. Change me Lord, change me.
17“But remember the root command: Love one another.
Jesus, I forget about this love so often. Help me remember. Why is it easiest to forget to be loving to the people who are closest to me? I know I am to be their loving servant. Help me to always act in love.
Hated by the World
18-19“If you find the godless world is hating you, remember it got its start hating me. If you lived on the world’s terms, the world would love you as one of its own. But since I picked you to live on God’s terms and no longer on the world’s terms, the world is going to hate you.
Jesus, if the world doesn’t hate me, does that mean I am sinning? And who is the world? Some people do hate me, and it is surprising who they are. Some are people I think do belong to You. Some aren’t.
I know that I cannot expect life here on earth to be wonderful. I know I can’t really expect to be even at home here. That is good. Help me to not be surprised when I am hated and tortured here. Help me to see it as a blessing some how. I know this is not home to me, so I must belong to You. Help me not to sin just to fit in Lord.
20“When that happens, remember this: Servants don’t get better treatment than their masters. If they beat on me, they will certainly beat on you. If they did what I told them, they will do what you tell them.
21-25“They are going to do all these things to you because of the way they treated me, because they don’t know the One who sent me. If I hadn’t come and told them all this in plain language, it wouldn’t be so bad. As it is, they have no excuse. Hate me, hate my Father—it’s all the same. If I hadn’t done what I have done among them, works no one has ever done, they wouldn’t be to blame. But they saw the God-signs and hated anyway, both me and my Father. Interesting—they have verified the truth of their own Scriptures where it is written, ‘They hated me for no good reason.’
26-27“When the Friend I plan to send you from the Father comes—the Spirit of Truth issuing from the Father—he will confirm everything about me. You, too, from your side must give your confirming evidence, since you are in this with me from the start.”
Jesus, help me to give evidence of You. Help me to live as You want. Holy Spirit, work in me. Help me to give in to You and follow Your leading. Stir and grow my faith. Let us live as one. change me.