A Time of Pruning….Part 4 Make Yourself at Home

By: Marcy Barthelette
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.
John 15:7-8
Where do you feel most at home? Is your own house your refuge through thick and thin? Do you travel back to
Mom and Dad or your grandparents’ home to get that warm, fuzzy feeling of comfort. Wherever you bask in the
glow of love and maybe a little spoiling, remember that God spoils you most with His unconditional love. Before
you ever existed, you were provided an unlimited warranty. If you follow His path and serve Him, He will listen
to your prayers and travel with you on every journey. Your place in eternity is guaranteed.
I think we could all agree that God has been doing a large amount of pruning over the past few months. In my
lifetime, our world has seen some radical shifts in behavior and perspective. I was born at the end of World
War II. I never felt the pinch of rationing goods and doing without. I wasn’t able to understand the significance
of the atomic bomb until much later but I grew up with the stories of those who had experienced these changes
so I’ve always felt that they had a lot to do with shaping my life. My family worked hard and had few material
things during those times. They passed many of their economic and political views down to me, though it was a
number of years before their ideals really started to take root. Like most teens and young adults I went through
the desire to break away from what had governed my life to that point and start something new. But eventually
I had to admit that my parents got smarter as I got older.
As I became aware of the reality of Hiroshima and then the Cold War, I knew that I wanted to see a better,
more caring world. I tried to do my small part to educate children and soften the views adults held toward one
another. But the challenges kept coming. Our country went through assassinations of its leaders in the 1960s
and violent protests of various wars. The Civil Rights movement came to the forefront and made some strides
but never completed its mission. Then along came a group of terrorists who rocked our world, especially our
nation and all thoughts turned toward security. Political rhetoric has heated to the boiling point and our long
held fears of a global pandemic have become real and taken center stage. In the midst of that, racial injustice
reared its ugly head once again and protesters took to the streets in huge numbers. Soon looters and
vengeance seekers obscured the message we needed to hear. Our world and the safety of our nation have
been severely damaged by the pain of disease and the tragedy of violence. Where has God been in all of this?
He has been everywhere, all around us and wanting to dwell in us. The invitation has always been there. He
was in every foxhole and prison camp. He has wept with us when losses seemed too great to bear. When
theologies have clashed, He has never left our side. When anyone has been oppressed or lonely or hungry, he
was there to provide hope. And as we have watched our current lifestyle change in ways we couldn’t imagine,
He has been ready to pick us up and help us carry on.
He knew about all of these lifechanging events before they happened. He didn’t stop them because He gave
us free will to make our own decisions. But he did try to do a lot of pruning along the way. In so many personal
ways He tried to help us see His perspective. He has the ability to do anything, but He allows us to choose
where we want to dwell.
Are you ready to make yourself at home? Do you choose to dwell in Him and He in you
or do you choose to stand alone?
But He’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple. Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your
love. And don’t take yourself too seriously ─ take God seriously! Micah 6:8 The Message
We’ve looked at snippets of our scripture reference for this series but I believe it bears repeating in its entirety.
John 15:1-8 (MSG)
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.
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.
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.
My prayer:
Lord, always let there be less of me and more of You and let me be a really good gardener of Your people!

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