Devotional Scripture: John 16
"I am the vine; you are the branches." - John 16:5
Antoher great chapter in the New Testament Gospel of John.
The first 8 verses got my attention.
Most of the people who know me very well know that I have spent time, off-and-on the past 10 or 15 years, learning about the Texas Wine industry, especially the vineyards around the Fredericksburg, Texas area. In our travels, Liz and I have gotten to know some of the people at the Sister Creek Winery in Sisterdale (a bit down the road from Luckenbach), and at Santa Maria Cellars located between Frederickburg and Kerrville. All are fine folks with a passion to make and education others about wine.
Some of the wineries in the Hill Country area do have their own vineyards . . . and the owners rely on a lot of help each year from volunteers to harvest the grapes.
However . . . that is usually not the case when it comes time to prune back the vines after the harvest. This is usually left to experts who know what they are doing. It is too important a task to leave to amateurs.
In creating new grapes for wines, growers sometimes graft one kind of grape onto the branch of another, hoping that the grapes, as a result, will have a new and unique taste and flavor that will help create a wine that many people will appreciate and purchase.
When one starts a journey to learn more about Jesus, they become, if you will, a branch that becomes grafted to a new vine. As a result, the fruit of his spirit can grow within us as we study, think, worship, share in discussions, experience fellowship, and as we join together with others as we rouch outward beyond the walls of church.
Another benefit of this grafting process is that God helps to develop his character in us in the process, so that we become more able to open our eyes and see where He is alive and active in the world. As well, we become more able to see the needs of others around us.
As you continue to clear away and make straight the road that leads to Easter . . . have you discovered yet what you are really "grafted" to in your life? Is it time for some selective and appropriate pruning? Is it time to change which vine you are grafted to?
Reminder . . . tonight I will lead our Monay night Lenten Pastor's Bible study in Leach Hall. We will be continuing to talk and learn more about the benefit of the disciplines of study and guidance in our lives. I invited you to attend if you live nearby. Looking forward to seeing you there.
God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>