|photo courtesy of As I See It Photography|
I'm reading John 15 today and thinking it is the perfect place to be with friends. So much truth to be realized and laid hold of in these verses! I'm sipping on my snickerdoodle decaf coffee and getting ready to settle down in a nice, comfy chair for an afternoon with friends, that's you by the way. Normally, I would select a few key verses and visit about them. Today, however, I feel impressed not to visit long; I'll simply share the chapter. We'll begin our time together with prayer. Heavenly Father, I thank you for this time with friends. Time we can spend visiting about and learning of you, together. I ask that our time today be blessed as we come before You, as we study Your Word. May we have clarity and understanding to know and receive Truth. May our hearts be open to You. In Jesus' name, Amen.
1I AM the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
2Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.
3You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].
4Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.
5I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.
6If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned.
7If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
8When you bear (produce) much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine.
9I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me].
10If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father's commandments and live on in His love.
11I have told you these things, that My joy and delight may be in you, and that your joy and gladness may be of full measure and complete and overflowing.
12This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you.
13No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.
14You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do.
15I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.]
16You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you.
17This is what I command you: that you love one another.
18If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you.
19If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you.
20Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours.
21But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the One Who sent Me.
22If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin [would be blameless]; but now they have no excuse for their sin.
23Whoever hates Me also hates My Father.
24If I had not done (accomplished) among them the works which no one else ever did, they would not be guilty of sin. But [the fact is] now they have both seen [these works] and have hated both Me and My Father.
25But [this is so] that the word written in their Law might be fulfilled, They hated Me without a cause.
26But when the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth Who comes (proceeds) from the Father, He [Himself] will testify regarding Me.
27But you also will testify and be My witnesses, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
Have a blessed weekend in Jesus dear ones! Find a gathering of fellow believers in Christ, one where the entire Word of God is preached/taught and join with them. This is a time to be networked with other followers of Christ. It's a new season. The former Lone Ranger mentality won't work any longer. Hebrews 10:21-25 - especially 24,25 - Because of Him(Jesus), WE ARE BLESSED!