It was great to be home with my Alife family in Bellingham. Quite a few people are battling that bug that comes around in the school season and weather transition time of the year, but there were a few in church and others watching online. Pastor Jonathan did an awesome job challenging us to embrace imagination that comes by the Holy Spirit. Surely 2020 is connected to what we see. I saw, I experienced God, and I fell in love with Jesus again!
I concluded last week’s blog with challenging us to honor God with all we possess. Sometimes we can get confused concerning honor. Parents are to honor their children and children are to honor their parents. We must honor one another. This doesn’t mean that there are no boundaries, actions, or consequences in honor. God shows honor to us so we can find the freedom of life to honor God and to honor one another. This is seen in the harvest of our lives.
Jesus compared our relationship with Him with that of being branches on a vine. The purpose of the vine is the harvest that comes from the vine. The vine brings honor to God and life to the world. Sometimes God honors the vine by pruning it. God honors us by pruning us. He cuts away the things that are dead. He trims back the things that grow quickly but will not carry the weight of the destiny of the future. This is part of a culture of honor.
John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
John 15:5-6 “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. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Pruning is an honorable thing to do for the vine. The objective is to prune it for its own destiny and purpose. I have fruit trees in my garden. I also have grape vines and with grape vines you cut a lot off vines every year. In the fall of each year I cut my grape vines way back. During the dormant season, I prune my apple trees and I examine how they were shaped. I cut off the branches that were not matching the destiny of fruit so that the other branches will be able to bear more fruit. In that process I am honoring the destiny of each tree. There are branches on the tree that if I don’t tend to them, they will grow straight up. They will consume the life from the tree, but they won’t produce fruit as they tree. They are called ‘sucker branches’ and they are only consumers of life that is in the tree. Their focus is the sky! They want to get big, but they are not shaped or focused correctly to bear fruit for the tree. If I have feelings for the branches of the tree that are beyond the feelings of a creator, or less than the feelings of a creator, I will look at that tree and I say, “I will never cut a branch off this tree.” I might think that I am being kind and I don’t want to hurt anything, but I am being less than a creator in my thinking. In my own life God honors me by removing things that are not beneficial to my destiny. He shapes my attitudes. He shapes my desires so I will bear more fruit. It is the same in a family. A family’s attitudes are shaped. A family’s attributes and characteristics are shaped so the family will fulfill a family purpose. That is honorable. God honors the vine by pruning it. God honors us by pruning us. He cuts away the things that are dead and trims back the things that grow quickly but cannot carry the weight of the fruit of the future. That is part of a culture of honor. When I properly prune my trees each year in my garden, I am applying part of the laws that serve harvest so that I will have many apples and pears. I trim the living branches that need to be trimmed and I cut off the dead branches that will not grow.
When we talk about honor, we are not just saying anything goes. We are talking about relationship. When we talk about honor, we are not just talking about kind love on the surface. We are talking about a relationship filled with destiny.
Ted J. Hanson
Help us finish the year strong. We are already facing the need to purchase tickets for travel in January and February of 2020. If God gives you the means to help, please consider making a donation to House of Bread Ministry.
Thanks Again – Ted J. Hanson
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House of Bread Ministry, 3210 Meridian St., Bellingham, WA 98225