The Vine And The Branches

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John 15:1-17

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper.

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2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.

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3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.

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5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.

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6 If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

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7 If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.

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8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.

9 “As the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you. Remain in My love.

10 If you keep My commands you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commands and remain in His love.

11 “I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.

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12 This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you.

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13 No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.

14 You are My friends if you do what I command you.

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15 I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.

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16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.

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17 This is what I command you: Love one another.


“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus – Sweetest Name I Know”


“What A Friend We Have In Jesus”

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48 thoughts on “The Vine And The Branches

  1. This is one of my very favorite Scripture passages.
    We sang a beautiful adult choir anthem on a portion of this very Scripture years ago, and perhaps the music has continued to set it to life for me.
    This is sort of funny, regarding this passage, my Pastor says,
    “You’re pruned if you do (follow God) and you’re pruned if you don’t (follow God; actually, one is cut off and cast out).”

    Of course, I really like the Book of John, and especially all the “I am’s.”
    I am the Vine
    I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
    I am the Door
    I am the Bread that came down from Heaven
    I am the Good Shepherd
    (and more!)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is sort of interesting. My city of employment for 36 years was
    Vineland (VINE-land). The symbol of the city is a purple grape cluster
    (Welch’s grape juice was invented there by Rev. Welch, seeking an alternative to alcoholic communion.)

    Now, Bethel Mill Park is near me (Bethel=House of God.)
    LAMB’s (Lamb of God) Road is near it as well as Bethel Mill Road and Church Street……fun things to think of…..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The vikings named the Continental Us Vinland when Erik den Röde(Red) found northern Canada before Columbus in the mid 1000s IF memory serves.

      Thats where the name comes from Peggy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting, but my research into this 60 square mile city (largest city in area in N.J.) told me that the founder, Mr. Landis named it “Vineland” because of the multitude of grape-vines/grapes there!

        Now as for Vinland, that sounds amazingly like Finland!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Whoa….this afternoon I told a few people things were not as they seemed. It was met with retirement issues/trump will not allow this/etc
    Such a heavy heavy wave of grief….just outta nowhere and got a notification from Shannon this evening saying the same thing. Never have experienced this depth of grieving in the heart and spirit before.

    Prayers and blessings. Orders are being established for these times…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sonshine, it appears that most people would prefer to believe a lie than the truth. You can see this in so many areas and it appears to be gaining momentum. We have to stand strong in our faith no matter what distraction comes our way. Prayers needed for more to come to know Jesus.

      Prayers needed for all of our brothers and sisters in Christ too, so they don’t become distracted by things of this world and also allow someone or something to lead them off the narrow path.

      Sometimes our own wants can get in the way Lords will; we can want something so bad we may even think we are getting a confirmation from the Lord, but he is not part of it. Our wants may not be viewed as sin, but they may not be in Gods plans either.

      *********************************************************************************
      2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
      9 The coming of the lawless one is based on Satan’s working, with all kinds of false miracles, signs, and wonders, 10 and with every unrighteous deception among those who are perishing. They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness.
      **********************************************************************************
      1 Peter 5:8 Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.
      *********************************************************************************

      Ephesians 6:11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As for “our wants.” Wouldn’t it be great if the first thing we asked in the morning would be,
        “Lord, what do YOU WANT me to do today?” In reality, what He wants for us would be the bringing of our destiny (His plan for our life) written in a book in Heaven to be walked out by us on earth. In reality, there could be NOTHING better and more satisfying in the long run than that.
        Although, parts could feel painful at times (dying to the flesh; part of the necessary refinement process).

        “YOUR WILL be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”

        We have to beware of our “wants.” They could likely be coming from the un-sanctified soul realm of the mind, will, and emotions. Just now, I noticed that I’m speaking to myself here, also!

        GREAT picture of The Armor of God! (I know you had published it before,)

        Liked by 2 people

    2. This is what I keep hearing from others:
      Trump is going to straighten all of that out.
      Trump is picking GOOD people.
      Trump will not allow it (fill in the blank) to happen.
      That will end when Trump gets in. He’s already working on it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Remember etymology and personality Donald means world ruler and Trump means essentially deceiver coming from medieval french. Check Oxford etymology Word base for that!

        Like

      2. Hi Peggy, it’s idolatry, isn’t it? Here one more: “We have to pray for Trump.” Sounds so Christian, except I think God would have us pray for other things.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. New Post from Ali 12/09/16 — confirmation that others prefer a lie.
    A Watchman on the Wall (I reformatted this post for clarity):

    “You will understand the heart of God as you share the good news with others and they are not interested. When you speak the truth in love and your words are ignored. When you share and your words stir up anger and strife in your families. Then you will know My heart.

    In the coming days you will be given much opportunity to share My love. Expect to be scorned, mocked, poked fun at or ignored.

    Hard days are coming upon this world. Your faith will be tested, refined in the fires of affliction.

    None will be exempt from the judgments that will be poured out upon the nations. Great upheaval in many areas will open doors of opportunity for witnessing. Stand strong in the armor of JESUS Christ (Ephesians 6), share the goodness of your God, telling others of My love. This is the heart of God.”

    ******************************************************************
    John 15:20
    Remember what I told you, a servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

    Isaiah 48:10
    See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

    2 Chronicles 20:15
    and he said, “Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

    Acts 1:8
    But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

    *******************************************************************

    The word was received in the morning. The evening of the same day, 9 December while in prayer regarding this word I ask ‘Abba, are the warnings ending and now is the time we prepare for battle? I ask for scripture that would show me the direction, whatever it was, we as a nation were going. Holy Spirit lead me to read Jeremiah 6. I share that you might read and allow Holy Spirit to guide you. We are heading into unchartered waters and will desperately need His wisdom and knowledge in the days ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In Ali’s post, the words “in the coming DAYS” stood out. Things are getting closer. Also “UNCHARTED WATERS” and “DESPERATELY need HIS WISDOM.”

      Also the Scripture Jeremiah 6, which I plan to read today.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Also, I am experiencing the “not interested and “ignored” part right now of this portion of ALI’S word. The scorn, mocking, and poking fun at COULD be happening, too, without my being aware of it. The words I capitalized below, though, I am aware of.

        “You will understand the heart of God as you share the good news with others and they are NOT INTERESTED. When you speak the truth in love and your words are IGNORED. When you share and your words stir up anger and strife in your families. Then you will know My heart.

        In the coming days you will be given much opportunity to share My love. Expect to be scorned, mocked, poked fun at or IGNORED.”

        Liked by 1 person

    2. This is more confirmation. I noticed this morning I got into self…….UHG!! Holy Spirit stopped me, I repented. It gets lonely when we are mocked, ignored and yep, hear anger from people. I almost slid into self pity and anger. Well, I did for a bit. Thankfully a bit is all though. Now it’s just back to that heavy grieving and knowing we are walking in Jesus steps in real time.

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  5. Daily Devotional — 12/10/16

    DELIVERANCE COMES THROUGH ENDURANCE
    …if we endure, we will also reign with him…2 Timothy 2:12a

    Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church.”

    Christian testimonies on the whole tend to be dominated by those who experienced wonderful deliverances: deliverances of healing, from cancer or other life threatening diseases, or deliverances from debt, or romance less marriages. Even when it comes to reporting on the persecuted, we read of Chinese house church leaders released from the grip of a deadly fever, or border guards with eyes miraculously blinded to the Bibles sitting in plain view on the back seat.

    Yet it has to be said that deliverance stories—though they tend to grab the headlines—are not the norm. A dear old Christian in Beijing used to say to me, “Remember, for every deliverance story you hear, there are a hundred endurance stories.” He was right. The story of the persecuted is primarily one of endurance.

    I never saw this principle better illustrated than in the story of an old Chinese woman known throughout the world as “Auntie Mabel.” A doctor in Beijing, she was well known for her bright Christian witness. She never married in order to look after a sick brother. Her family was wealthy. They lived in a large house in central Beijing. All that changed abruptly in 1949. Her large house marked her out as one of the landlord class. She was evicted from her house and forced to live in a garden shed, with just a stove, two deck chairs and an old bed.

    The Red Guards—teenagers who were given power to direct the Cultural Revolution—began to visit her, beating her up, parading her in the streets, and forcing her to wear a placard with her crimes written on them. So thorough were the Red Guards that they erected a large sign outside her house declaring her a pariah because she had distributed “imperialistic literature.” Mabel was shunned by neighbors, victimized daily by her work gang, and regularly beaten by Red Guards.

    Many years later, she knew why she endured all this. In the early eighties, after Mao died, Mabel began to receive a stream of visitors saying, “During the Cultural Revolution, there was a large sign outside your house full of your crimes. One of them was that you had distributed Bibles. So I’m here on the chance that you have some left.”

    Amazingly that sign which made her life such a misery became the means of a new ministry. It kept people away from her during the Cultural Revolution, but afterwards, after she had endured, it drew them. A number of high-ranking members of the Communist Party in China today owe their faith to her endurance.

    She reflected, “It’s been nice to know why. It helps my faith. But it was hard. Every day was hard. I can’t say I saw Jesus, or even felt him close most of the time. I just got the strength to keep going, and that was enough.”

    God can deliver us by transforming a situation, but more often He delivers by giving us the strength to endure the situation. That way, others are transformed as well as ourselves.

    RESPONSE: Today I will endure all challenges knowing that God has a purpose and I am in His hands.

    PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for saints like Aunty Mabel who are such an inspiration and testimony.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ALI WINTERS has a good point in her word above.
      It sounds like that even in DESPERATE TIMES, we can still expect to be met with disinterest, ignoring, mocking, scorning, and being made fun of. I have always thought that the desperate times would automatically make all people RECEPTIVE, but it’s good to be aware that it may not be the case with (who knows how many or few) people. Forewarned is forearmed!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Please pray that the Lord gives this man courage and clarity to call upon his name even at the last minute of life.

    Prayer request was sent to me via email:
    **********************************************************************
    “Have urgent prayer request for a neighbor , Mr. Jack Bitzer , he’s had a massive heart attack and pneumonia . 76 YRS old . been sharing the Word of God with him. praying he doesn’t die without Jesus Christ”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I prayed last evening and I stand in agreement
      for the Salvation of Jack Bitzer.

      Often, if there is someone there with a dying person, observing his/her final minutes, that tells the story (provided a person is not overly medicated).
      Is it a transition of peace or the opposite.

      I’ve read the book “Dying Testimonies of the Saved and Unsaved.”
      Plus, I’ve heard a number of first-hand accounts, as probably many of you have also.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Daily Devotional — 12/11/16

    FAITH IS NOT A SECRET
    And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ… Colossians 4:3

    Some twenty-five years ago Boutros from a Middle East country became a Christian. Since then he has revealed a big heart for evangelism. Wherever he goes, he is always very open about his Christian faith.

    A couple of years ago he was arrested and questioned by the police. They asked him if he had baptized people and he replied, “I told them that I had baptized 1,000 people—the real figure at that time was only 700 but I increased the numbers because I knew I would probably soon reach that number.” Boutros is a secret believer that when guided by God doesn’t make a secret of his faith.

    An Open Doors co-worker reported it was a great joy to meet him. After a visit with Boutros he commented, “At his work place he has a cross hanging. Everyone who comes to his place sees the cross. Recently his chief started asking Boutros if he could go and work for another company. Family members who work for the government told Boutros’ brother that certain people wanted Boutros killed. Our co-worker asked him if he was afraid at all. He paused for a second and then nodded and said, ‘A little bit, now.’”

    Boutros meets many people who want to know more about his Christian faith. They ask him, because he openly and clearly is a Christian. “I don’t have enough time in the day to talk with them. I have to work hard to make enough money for my living”, he apologizes. “I earn just enough to buy my daily food.” But even though he has to work hard, sometimes he can work and speak at the same time. “Then I have long conversations about the Christian faith.”

    Boutros shared a vision he had recently. “I was lying in a pool of water in a beautiful garden and all around me were many people that I’ve known previously who had since left my country and were living in other countries. All of them were praying for me. Through this I felt that God was assuring me that many people around the world were praying for me.”

    Our co-worker was impressed and encouraged meeting Boutros. “What a great testimony of how God uses our prayers for the persecuted Christians. The prayers really are a comfort and support to the secret believers,” he concludes.

    After some prayer time together, Boutros and the co-worker moved to a safer place where no one would overhear what they were praying about. “It seemed important for him to have some form of physical contact, so we held hands and prayed for just a few moments before he indicated that we should get back. Although admitting that he was a little afraid at that moment, he seemed in a good mood, and very much encouraged by the vision he had of people praying for him. He did add though that he really needed prayer.”

    RESPONSE: Today I will not keep my faith a secret but share openly with everyone I contact.

    PRAYER: Pray for Boutros and other secret believers who are so bold in sharing their faith and winning many to Jesus.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This scripture came to me this morning and it appears to be relative to an “issue” someone is dealing with.
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    2 Timothy 3

    Difficult Times Ahead
    3 But know this: Difficult times will come in the last days. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people!

    6 For among them are those who worm their way into households and capture idle women burdened down with sins, led along by a variety of passions, 7 always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men who are corrupt in mind, worthless in regard to the faith. 9 But they will not make further progress, for their lack of understanding will be clear to all, as theirs was also.

    Struggles in the Christian Life
    10 But you have followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, and endurance, 11 along with the persecutions and sufferings that came to me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from them all. 12 In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. 13 Evil people and impostors will become worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed. You know those who taught you, 15 and you know that from childhood you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are able to give you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the post on Timothy also! Holy Spirit is so good! Same verses I shared, yet upon sharing them asked Him to reveal anything that I needed to see in them. The post from Glynda certainly confirms it all.

      I shared something I got from the Lord this morning to take to prayer. This has been an area seriously bugging me. I see all the current and most new admin as evil/part of the end game plan. BUT, seeing them all that way I had trouble separating them and getting a witness in my heart.

      As I said, no confirmation yet this was strong. Trump is a type of/false one of John the Baptist, preparing the way for the A/C. It had to be someone that could turn the religious church fully against the Bride. I won’t go into detail here but would like prayer for this and if anyone else has heard this in prayer?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Ok, another question for those who are watching and waiting:
    I never noticed this before. There’s a rapture somewhere, I do not know when, there’s a fairly good argument on each one. My personal belief is we will go through persecution. BUT I am not putting this part out for discussion

    What I did have the question about:

    Revelation 22: 11He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.
    12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

    This follows on the heels of letting those in darkness stay there etc. What jumped out at me is the righteous and holy are in separate places. Pondering on trib saints, holy vs righteous. Holy would be what God has called the Bride to be, awake and filled with oil, eagerly seeking Jesus and home.. perhaps righteous are those about to get a wake up call via the trouble ready to hit America……….

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    1. Its interesting Sonshine that the bible separates the righteous and Holy to different groups. It says that people of faith should be Holy as i am Holy! Righteousness is more attributed to deeds done in the right spirit? Just My little brain tickle here but IT might have to do with those WHO will be put in to safe zones around the globe to preserve faith until the Lord comes and those WHO dont have the luxury in tribulation times.

      Example would be the desert where Israel flees to from the Ac in the end times, and prior to that Israel might be a safe zone for christians also before the Ac comes. At least parts of IT!

      But these are human opinions not researched thorougly only from long time bible reading!

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  10. Sonshine, I think that many people will be truly surprised when things unfold. I personally don’t know who the Anti-Christ is yet — we’ve been all told many people fit this category. One thing we know for sure is what scripture tells us about the Lawless one and that whoever it is, will make himself known and proclaim himself to be God and also stand in a rebuilt temple according to the Book of Daniel. “Abomination of Desolation”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve even heard someone proclaim that the False Prophet is Pope Francis — I don’t know if that is true or not either. The important thing for me is to stay clean, stand strong in my faith and not compromise for anyone or anything.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree with you about the persecution part — it’s backed in scripture and its been going on for years in other countries. You can see that in some of the Daily Devotional stories shared. Most don’t want to read the entire scripture that says, (paraphrasing here) “He that endures until the end will be saved”. We know that the times will be shortened for the elect sake, but there’s nothing that says anyone will get “poofed out” before all of the stuff happens.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Another thing to consider is that Christ said every believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Genetic manipulation and tampering with that structure the body might make IT unfit for that duty! So an genetech of universal nature in the world that tampers and recreates human genes from their natural use might be considered an abomination that makes one desolate ie unfruitful ground for the seed of salvation to take root!

      Christ used this analogy specifically of seeding the ground in the gospels!

      Thats one more to consider, A physical temple might just be an distraction to lead believers astray!

      Like

  11. I totally agree James. Thank you for answering also. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt the pope is part of the end system. Things are happening so very fast. I do not see us poofed out of here either. Although I enjoyed watching the “Left Behind” movies when they came out, there was a MEGA check in my spirit regarding us not going through the persecution. Just much to consider and yet the one thing holds true……….The Lord has us, no one can snatch us out of His hand as long as we are seeking and trusting in Him. What a journey!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Daily Devotional — 12/12/16

    KEEPING FAITH SIMPLE
    The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them. Psalm 25:14

    Our Open Doors colleague, Ron Boyd-MacMillan, shares the following insight from his teaching, “Why I Need to Encounter the Persecuted Church.”

    On his first visit to America, I took a Chinese Bible teacher to a Christian bookstore. I was not prepared for his reaction. I thought he would be overwhelmed by the variety of Bibles, reading aids, books and multi-media material on show. He was, but not in the way I expected. He stopped in the middle of the store, turned to me and said, “It must be very hard to be a Christian here.”

    “Why do you say that?” I asked.

    “How are you going to keep your faith simple with all this available?” We walked around the store as he told me what he meant. He picked five books off the shelf. All had similar titles like The Christian’s secret of a happy life. He leafed through them and said, “Each book seems to say there’s a secret to living a happy life in Jesus. But their secrets are all different. They all say there is one secret, but each has a different secret? That’s confusing.”

    “Well, that’s just marketing” I explained a little defensively. But he went on. “Does that mean I have to buy all five books to really know Christ? That makes me anxious. What other secrets might I not be aware of? I have to buy more books. And soon, I would have more books than I could read, and I would not be happy, but guilty that I had spent money on all these books that I had no time to read.”

    He put the books down on the floor and said quietly, “In China, I prayed for God to bring me books. He did, but only at the rate of about four per year. So I read those books thoroughly. I copied out passages. I made summaries for teachers. I learned whole chunks by heart. These books really formed me. The point I’m trying to make is that if you have too many books, it’s difficult to read one properly. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just hard. And this variety actually makes faith more complicated than it really is.”

    He taught me a daily habit he learned in prison. “Every morning when you wake up, don’t get up; just stay in bed and for ten minutes thank God for anything that comes into your mind. It might be the wallpaper, it might be for friends, it might just be for life. Anything. Once you get going you discover that the world is full of grace, God’s grace. With that attitude you are ready to live the day for God because you are overwhelmed at how generous God is to you.”

    It’s so simple, and yet isn’t there something in us that finds the simplest activities so hard to keep up? Maybe that is why we pack our lives with an infinite variety of routines and habits. Anything but just continually doing what is simple.

    A Vietnamese evangelist said, “We are to stay in the first grade, grateful to Jesus, repentant for our sins, expectant of his coming. Don’t graduate or you’ll leave the basics behind.”

    RESPONSE: Today I will live my life simply – back to basics of praising, praying, witnessing, awaiting.

    PRAYER: Help me, Lord, to stay in first grade so that I will never leave behind the basics.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Post From Ali — 12/12/16 — Confirms what I’ve been thinking: so many things are becoming a distraction that people are forgetting their personal relationship with the Lord. The Luciferian crowd wants everyone to focus on “Trump”, “Hillary” or “Obama”; meanwhile, they are making plans for chaos on a Global Scale. I seriously doubt that all of the fires, pipeline breaks, riots, shootings were all just coincidental. Let’s not allow the Luciferian bunch to win — instead let’s remember that there’s more souls out there for the kingdom.

    http://awatchmanonthewall.blogspot.com/2016/12/my-children-must-know-i-am-that-i-am.html

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  14. Daily Devotional — 12/13/16

    SHARING FAITH UNDER PRESSURE
    The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

    Twenty-nine-year-old Maryam Rostampour and thirty-two-year old Marzieh Amirizadeh spent 259 days in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison in 2009 in Iran. They had to overcome the fear of life imprisonment and the possibility of execution because they loved and followed Jesus Christ. They had to remain strong through weeks in solitary confinement, and endless hours of interrogation by Iranian officials and religious leaders. They had to endure months of harsh living conditions and debilitating sickness. In their first interview (with Sam Yeghnazar of Elam Ministries), they shared what life was like in prison and how they survived.

    Maryam commented, “When we were arrested most of the guards treated us badly, especially when they knew we had been involved in evangelism. They would curse us and would not let us drink water from the public tap or use the wash basin. But this changed and eventually they asked us to pray for them.”

    Marzieh said, “Some [prisoners] called us ‘Dirty, unclean, apostates,’ but their opinion changed and they asked for forgiveness. We had become an example to them and they would take our side.”

    Maryam added, “At Evin Prison the well-educated political and business prisoners called us ‘Mortad Kasif’ (Unclean apostates). In less than a month everything changed. As they got to know us, they were curious about our faith, they respected us and called upon us to sort out arguments they had between themselves.”

    When asked if any prisoners came to faith, she said, “Yes. There were those who accepted Christ. When we were in Vozara [the first prison the women were taken to] we prayed the sinner’s prayer with many of the prostitutes. They prayed themselves and we prayed for them. But there were others who were too frightened to confess their faith. There were many who were impacted.”

    Even in prison, under tremendous pressure, it is possible to share one’s faith.

    RESPONSE: Today I will resolve to use my freedom to share my faith with others in spiritual darkness.

    PRAYER: Lord may other Christian prisoners around the world have the courage and opportunity to share their love for You today.

    Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.

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