Allegedly, this day is the day that I was born. I say allegedly, because I don’t really remember it! And so, I can be the first to use the word allegedly three times in a 2020 devotional. This birthday is one of those “significant ones,” a “decadal” one. And tragically, this decade no longer rhymes with a cool word like nifty! Events like this become invitations to reflect upon one’s life and legacy.
Our reading in John beautifully describes our relationship with God. Jesus uses the metaphor of the vineyard and tells us that he is the true vine and the Father is the true gardener. The Father prunes his vineyard to both purify the vine, and to cause it to be even more fruitful. We are challenged to “abide” or “remain” in Jesus. It is only in our connection to him that we will live consequential, impactful lives. For, “apart from him, we can do nothing” of significance in life. (John 15:5b)
Here’s the greatest promise of the Gospel: we don’t have to live apart from him!
He loves us! And just as significantly, he sends us “the Advocate” – the Holy Spirit – to be with us and to extend to us the truth we need to navigate life.
His purpose for our lives is clearly stated in our passages: that we might be connected to him, fruitful in life and secure in his love even in the face of trials and temptations.
In 1 Samuel 16, we see the remarkable selection of the second king of Israel. Samuel is told to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to succeed Saul. David, the youngest son, isn’t even initially considered because of his age and stature. His older siblings were bigger and stronger, but he Lord reminded Samuel (and us): “Do not consider this appearance or height … the Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7) In a world consumed with image management, the Lord only cares about our character development. He prunes away dimensions of our lives to shape our character, so that our lives will matter and make a difference for him in a lost a confused world.
“May the Lord be gracious to us today and bless us and make his face shine on us – that his ways may be known on earth and his salvation among all nations.” (Ps. 67:1,2)
May our hearts reflect his grace and blessing this day, all day and every day!
Lead Pastor and now one of the “OG’s” of Foothills Alliance Church!