Jesus said, “I am the true vine; My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of Mine that does not produce fruit. And He trims and cleans every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce even more fruit. You are already clean because of the words I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I will remain in you. A branch cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in Me.

“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing. If any do not remain in me, they are like a branch that is thrown away and then dies. People pick up dead branches, throw them into the fire, and burn them. If you remain in me and follow my teachings, you can ask anything you want, and it will be given to you. You should produce much fruit and show that you are my followers, which brings glory to my Father. I loved you as the Father loved me. Now remain in my love. I have obeyed My Father’s commands, and I remain in His love. In the same way, if you obey my commands, you will remain in my love. I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.”
(John 15:1-11, The Inspirational Study Bible)

The Lord led me directly to this scripture today. Oh, I would love for you to think that I was in a very holy place and that under the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit I turned immediately to the Gospel of John.

Divine inspiration? Yes.
Me in a very holy place? No. Unfortunately.

I was in a fog all day. My body is rebelling against old age, my mind is struggling to keep it all together and my spirit…well, my spirit was hanging by a thread to the vine.

That’s why my Jesus led me to this verse.

I was trying to do everything in my own strength rather than drawing life from the vine. I am ashamed to say that I have not been hungering and thirsting after God’s Word. My spirit has been hungry, but my flesh has been lazy and selfish. I’m like Paul who said, “The things I want to do, I don’t do and the things I don’t want to do, I do! Oh wretched man, who will deliver me?” (Romans 15)

The answer to that question is JESUS, through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the “sap” that runs from the vine into the branches giving it life. It is the life-force, the power, the strength.

You know, God doesn’t squeeze our nostrils shut so we’ll open our mouth in order for Him to pour in His Word. He expects us to feast on His Word, to drink from the fountain of Living Water because we want to, because we desire His Presence. He expects us to obey the nudging of His Holy Spirit when He is “quietly yelling” at us to remember that He, alone, is God and that there can be no other gods before Him! After all our God is a jealous God.

He has so much for us. He is a good God – a great God! He wants us to achieve our dreams, to fulfill our purposes. He wants our joy to be the fullest possible joy! And He knows how difficult this old world can be if we try to find our way on our own.

So, please, don’t let this be a downer today. Let it be a reminder that apart from Jesus we can do nothing. My Father spoke these words to me because He loves me enough to discipline me. He loves you enough too.

Rise early and join Him at the table set for you. He has a delicious feast prepared.

Father, Great is Your faithfulness! Your mercy endures forever and Your love is from everlasting to everlasting. Thank You for loving us enough to discipline us when we need it. You promise that when we are weak, You are strong. I feel weak, Lord. My body wants to rest, but my spirit needs You. Help me rise early to spend time with You before my little world gets crazy with activity. Be strong in me, Lord. I don’t want to miss a single Word You have for me. Thank you, Father.