Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, May 3. Read Matthew 3:7-10. 1) What did Jesus call the Pharisees and Sadducees? 2) Why did he say that to them? 3) What did Jesus say to them about fruitless trees? Why?
Tuesday, May 4. Read John 6:52-59. 1) What did Jesus say that infuriated the Jewish religious leaders? 2) Why do you think Jesus used the metaphors of flesh and blood in this text? 3) What does this say about our relationship to him?
Wednesday, May 5. Read Matthew 7:15-20. 1) About what does Jesus warn his disciples? 2) How will you know who these people are? 3) What does Jesus say about the nature of trees?
Thursday, May 6. Read Galatians 5:22-26. 1) Paul writes that the Spirit actually produces fruit. What is it? 2) In what kind of person does this fruit appear?
Friday, May 7. Read Ephesians 4:11-16. 1) How does Paul describe the relationships that Christians have with each other? 2) What is the goal of these relationships?
Saturday, May 8. Read John 15:1-17. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Creative and fruitful God. I pray that you will give me insights and opportunities so that I may be a person in whom you are please. Bearing fruit. Nurturing those who eat from the fruit of my life. May I not be indifferent and unproductive. May I always look for way to honor you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
I am the vine, and ye are the branches
by Knowles Shaw, 1855
I am the vine, and ye are the branches,
Bear precious fruit for Jesus to-day;
The branch that in me no fruit ever beareth,
Jesus hath said, “He taketh away.”
“I am the vine, and ye are the branches,
I am the vine, be faithful and true;
Ask what ye will, your prayer shall be granted;
The Father loved me, so I have loved thee.”
Now ye are clean, thro’ words I have spoken,
Abiding in me, much fruit ye shall bear;
“Dwelling in thee, my promise unbroken,
Glory in heaven with me ye shall share.” [Refrain]
Yes, by your fruits the world is to know you,
Walking in love as children of day;
Follow your Guide, he passed on before you,
Leading to realms of glorious day. [Refrain]
Devotional Article of the Week:
I Will Bear Much Fruit
How productive are you going to be in your walk with the Lord?
by Tom Norvell
Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 NIV).
Within this one verse, Jesus reminds us of an essential truth, issues an important challenge, and makes an eternal promise.
The essential truth.
“I am the vine; you are the branches … apart from me you can do nothing.” It is absolutely essential that I remember that He is the vine, that I am a branch, and that apart from Him I can do nothing. Being connected to Him is essential to my spiritual life. I cannot make it alone in this world. Though there are times when I think I am big enough, and strong enough, and mature enough to strike out on my own, I cannot. I must be connected to the vine in order to live the life I have been called to live.
The important challenge.
“If a man remains in me and I in him …” Staying connected to the vine is not always easy. My independent spirit and my stubborn will make me prone to disconnect from the vine so that I can live life my way, not His way. Because I have free will I sometime choose to isolate myself, and distance myself from the vine. The “if” is there obviously for a reason. That part is up to me.
The eternal promise.
“… he will bear much fruit …” If I remember that He is the vine, that I am a branch, that I must remain connected to Him, I will bear much fruit. There is no uncertainty. There is no perhaps. There is no maybe. I will bear much fruit. My life will not be wasted. God’s gift and trust in me will not be wasted. My life will have meaning. I will serve a purpose.
So, how’s your spiritual walk this week?
Are you feeling independent and self-sufficient? Be careful, you cannot make it on your own. You need the life-giving resources of the vine.
Are you having a difficult time hanging on to the vine? Are other suppliers of energy looking pretty appealing? You must remain in the vine and allow the vine to remain in you.
Are you bearing much fruit? Are you realizing what a gift God has given you and using it to bring glory to Him? You are seeing the fruit of your labor. Life is good. Keep it up. Live the life you were called to live. Bear the fruit. Enjoy it.
When you remain in Him and he remains in you, you will bear much fruit, because He is the vine, and you are the branch. Let Him use you.