Friends, as we move towards the end of the year, together let’s take time to reflect on 2015, and prepare for 2016. God’s word says “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16.9 And while we are to make our best practical effort, we are also called to walk in faith, knowing he will guide and direct our path.
This time every year, our family gets together and talks about how the past year has gone. We talk about the triumphs, victories, and successes, and we also talk about our disappointments, hurts, and failures. In doing so, we give it all back to Him. We give Him all the praise and glory for the blessings of the current year. And we give him all our hurts, worries, and fears, and pray for his guidance, wisdom, blessing, and favor for the year to come. And we know and have faith that by including and having relationship with Him, that His presence will change everything and be the difference in our lives. “God blesses those who realize their need for him.” Matthew 5:3
As we move into 2016, Paul tells us this from the book of Philippians, “dear brothers and sisters, I have not yet achieved it, but I focus on this one thing; Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,” Philippians 3:13 No matter what the situation and results of 2015, together let’s press forward to what lies ahead. Hebrews 12:1-2 “And let us run with endurance, the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom or faith depends.”
In the book of John, chapter 15 gives us wisdom and insight to think about things we should cut out in our lives, as well as things we should continue growing – for God’s glory and purposes. HE is the vine and WE are the branches…
verse 1-2: I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardner. He cuts off every branch that doesn’t produce fruit, and prunes the branches that do produce fruit so they will produce even more.
What area of your life is growing and needs to be cultivated?
What area of your life is dying and needs to be cut off?
What greater thing is God preparing for you?
verse 4;7: Remain in me and I will remain in you. (Jesus tells us) For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful apart from me. But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!
What do you take away from what Jesus is telling us here?
What immediately comes to mind?
Today I pray that you and your loved ones will be protected and blessed. I pray that he put on your heart and mind anything that needs to be severed or let go of. I pray that in making your effort and following the path laid before you, that you will hear God’s voice and know what he wants and requires of you. Then, I pray for blind obedience and faithfulness to the plan, where fruit will be produced and you will tangibly see the mighty power of God’s presence in your life. Then, you will know HE is God and you will have peace and joy knowing you are one of his and a part of the family of God, through his son and our savior, Jesus Christ.