Category Archives: Bible study

My Father is The Vinedresser

John 15:1. Jesus says that His Father is the Vinedresser.

Let’s look at the second part of John 15:1

“… and My Father is the vinedresser” A vinedresser, or husbandman, is not merely a farmer. Grapes are more than an annual crop that is pulled up after harvest and forgotten. Here in New Hampshire, our growing time is not long. When my husband and I plant our garden, we know it will only be for a few short months. Come Fall, we harvest whatever has grown and we pull up the rest and put it in the burn pile. We do not have much of a chance to get to know our plants.

Not so, with grapevines.

The vinedresser’s grapevines remain with him for decades. He comes to know each one in a personal way, much like a shepherd with his sheep. In early Israel, the branches of cultivated grapes were either allowed to trail along the ground or were trained to grow over a pole. When the stems were trained along the ground the grape clusters were propped up to keep them from contacting the soil and rotting.  Vineyards were smaller and the vinedresser could know each vine. He knew how the vine was faring from year to year. He knew which ones were more productive and healthier than others. He would know what they responded to and what special care each one needed.

Much like us, each vine has its’ own personality ( so to speak) and the Vinedresser knows each one. He has been caring for each vine for years. He lovingly nurtures it, pruning off the dead areas in the correct amount and at just the right time. He fertilizes it, giving it the nutrients to grow strong and healthy. When the fruit or branch is dragging in the dirt or is low on the ground, He gently lifts the branches by propping them up and tying them. He is involved in the care and He takes measures to protect them from insects, disease

So, when Jesus calls His Father the Vinedresser, He is the only One. Again as Jesus uses the as a definite article to describe Himself in the first part of the verse in John 15:1. (See my previous blog post titles, “Jesus is The True Vine”). In sentences and speaking, we use the as a definite article when there is just one of something in that place.

As Jesus earlier described Himself as The True Vine, now Jesus is describing His Father, the Vinedresser, the Only Father, the only Vinedresser in charge of the branches. He is also describing Him to the disciples and to us in terms of His relationship to us, His attitude toward us, and His action in our life.

He cares for them (and us) personally and He is the only One wise enough to know us, to know our heart, to know our potential…to know exactly what to do to make them (and us) fruitful. God alone is responsible for the results. We cannot always see what the outcome will be. We must trust the vinedresser and His process.  

Rest assured, my fellow branches…with such a caring and intimately involved Vinedresser, as His branches, we can experience complete confidence and security.

Jesus is The True Vine

In John 15:1 Jesus says that He is the true vine

We are going to look at the first part of that verse today.

“I am the true vine…”

The True Vine. When Jesus describes Himself as the vine, He calls Himself the “true” vine. By “true” He means, “genuine, real, authentic.” Those of you who know me well, know that I love grammar and parts of speech. I noticed that He uses the word the — to describe Himself.  In sentences and speaking, we use the as a definite article when there is just one of something in that place. Here Jesus declares, I am “the” true vine, not “a” vine or one of the vines. But the True Vine.

Why does He say the “true” vine? What is happening in the culture? Who or what is being followed?

According to the NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon, the word used here is Alethinos (al-ay-thee-nos’) Adjective

  • Definition: real, true, genuine
  • The opposite of what is imperfect, defective, frail, uncertain.

 Who or what is the vine that was not true?

For Jesus to say it this way, Himself being “the” true vine…it must be in some type of contrast to something else that the disciples might have considered the true vine. What could that be?

Maybe following the Jewish law at the time or the many works and rituals that the Pharisees told people to follow. Looking forward in Galatians 2, we read about a dispute between Peter and Paul, it seems it is more likely to do with the thinking at that time,  that a person is part of God’s family simply by being joined to the nation of Israel; by being of Jewish descent… Jesus says they need to be joined to Him. In the Old Covenant, the vine is the symbol of Israel as God’s covenant people.  Jesus makes a new covenant. He is the true vine, the true Israel, of which all believers will grow from. He wants to make sure they understand that they need to stay connected to Him. To obey what He told them and to practice what they saw Him doing.

And it goes for us too…. As we can see all around us… the “world” certainly values other things, believing there are other ways to God, and allowing idols to fill our lives. Those worldly systems and beliefs contrast with who Jesus is saying He is. We need to be discerning. To follow Jesus, accept No substitute!

Jesus says in John 14:6, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I love this verse! Again, Jesus is using the definite article. The Way. The Truth. The Life. The Only One.

Question for us to ponder—Are there things in the world that look genuine to us, that look like the truth but they are false?

What is Spiritual fruit?

Bearing spiritual fruit is evidence of a life-giving connection to Christ.

What is this fruit Jesus is talking about? How do we produce or bear it? Galatians 5:22 (NLT) tells us:

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control…”

The works or practices that come out of us without Jesus is putrid & rotten. It is our sinful nature. It is of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21 AMP describes the characteristics this way:

 “Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Notice in Galatians 5:22, it says fruit of the Spirit, not fruits. I think the fruit develops together, like a cluster of juicy, sweet grapes. They are attributes of Jesus growing within us. They are in direct contrast to the workings of our flesh, the practices of the sinful nature that still lives within our earthly bodies.

When a grapevine is ready for harvest, what are the signs that we look for??? …ripe grapes. Juicy, sweet, full of flavor

What about from a Christian truly abiding in Christ? What do we look for? We should see the temper, disposition, and lifestyle mimicking Jesus. We must love and honor God, love one another, and do good; this is bearing fruit.

When we are squeezed by day-to-day events, people, and situations…what comes out?? Sweet spiritual fruit or sour grapes reflecting our sinful flesh??

As I mentioned earlier, God wants Quality fruit, Lasting fruit, Kingdom fruit. It is only produced, like anything we plant…the seed only grows, matures, and bears fruit by meeting certain conditions.

What is needed to develop & bear fruit: what does a plant need?

  • Good soil or good rootstock. God has already taken care of this part. We are attached to the Perfect and True vine …Jesus. We can bear fruit wherever we live & regardless of what is happening or not happening in our lives… as long as we remain in Him.
    • Don’t break the branch. Stay connected by being wholly and fully committed to Jesus the true vine.
    • Water— John 7:37-38 “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
    • Nourishment—John 6:48 I am the bread of life”.
    • Light—John 8:12 “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”
    • Air—The Holy Spirit flows through us and around us to aerate our lives with truth, guidance and direction. By allowing the Holy Spirit to be the breath of circulating air within us and around us. To give Him the freedom to change us, to produce Christ-like qualities within us that develop and show to the watching world, the fruit of the Spirit…and to keep it from dying or rotting on the branch.
  • Pruning & supervision is Required.
  • By allowing the Father, the vinedresser to lift us up or prune us as He sees fit, to understand and accept that He is in control. By knowing God that sees the whole picture and He knows & does what is best for each of His children. Weeding is required to remove unwanted foreign plants that could choke out the branch.
    • God may take someone, something, or some situation out of lives that is hindering our productivity and development of mature fruit.
    • God may allow storms and trials come into our lives to shape us. Where we get our nourishment will determine how we grow and what “fruit” we bear.
    • God has the right to adjust our position or place in life.
    • God may move us from a place of comfort and self-assurance to a place of uncertainty, so we develop a greater trust in Him.
    • God may move us away from people or things that we have developed an unhealthy reliance on.
    • God may move us next to other people to help us or help them share the load and journey.

As we sincerely abide in Jesus…as we stay connected…He offers us privileges that we would not naturally have any claim to. We have privileges that we can “Own” as part of our inheritance because of His sacrifice and His restoration of our relationship with God.

One of those privileges and a fruit that develops in us that I want to mention today so we can lay claim to is… His Peace. Jesus tells us Himself that He gives us His peace.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV

He knew we would be disheartened, persecuted, and fearful. Again, He encourages His disciples right before He goes to the cross and the promise flows to us…  that we may have peace in Him.

We will bear or produce much fruit. Grapes grow in a cluster. They may ripen at different times and speeds even though they are in the same cluster. Our fruit is developing through the Holy Spirit but it is up to us on the speed it develops and what is included in our cluster.

For example—Perhaps you have one or two characteristics that are ripe and ready to use. Maybe you have patience but your fruit is not mature in the area of kindness, love, and lack of self-control. When encountering a difficult situation or difficult person, you react from the flesh, speaking with hurtful words and unkind actions. Those are areas that the flesh still rules, areas you haven’t given over for the Holy Spirit to work with you on.

Patience is another fruit I would like to briefly mention. When we are patient, it puts us in control of ourselves. Being patient gives us time to choose how to respond to a given event or circumstance, rather than let rampant emotions take over. Often times impatience makes us react in damaging ways as we look for shortcuts and quick fixes.

The enemy of God’s children, Satan uses impatience & other practices of then flesh to derail us from achieving God’s purpose in our lives. We do not have to let him win. He does NOT have the power. WE DO! We have more POWER than he even dreams of WITHIN us! He is a defeated foe. That is why he hates us.

As we learn from Jesus and the Scriptures, and as we allow the Holy Spirit to develop Spiritual fruit, His fruit in us—we have the fruit available and we learn when to act and how to react.

What comes out when you are squeezed?

But Without Faith, Part 2

Welcome back! This is part 2 of a blog I published about a month ago entitled, “But without Faith” where we discussed what faith is. Today we will continue with this topic and look at answering the following questions:

Where does faith come from?

How do you and I get faith?

How does our faith grow?

First, let us recap a bit and look at some definitions for faith:

allegiance to a duty or person,

belief and trust in and loyalty to God,

a firm belief in something for which there is no proof.

The Bible tells us that, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

If we cannot see faith…how can we get it? To have the faith that is talked about in the Bible, we must open the Book and read the Words of God. As I delve into this topic, please know that this is not based on my own opinion. I highly encourage you to open God’s Word and read for yourself, that is where we find our answers. It is the Holy Spirit that teaches, not I.  I can pick a topic and write about it, but I must rely on the Holy Spirit (and so must you) to impart the truth. He does this by the revealing truths in the inspired Word of God.

The Holy Spirit calls you, sparks your interest, guides you and teaches you.  Do not be afraid to dig deep. The Holy Spirit is your Helper, He will help you to understand.

As a child of God, He longs for you to know Him. Take out your Bible and let’s get started.

Where does faith come from?  

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God.”    Ephesians 2:8 (NKJV)

Faith comes from God in the form of a gift. We would not have faith if not for God having His plan and reaching down to offer it to us. We then have the option to choose to accept faith through salvation. Salvation and redemption through Jesus Christ.

God uses faith as the way to bring salvation to His people. God gives faith because of His grace and mercy, because He loves us, His creation, so very much. He desires for us to have a way to know Him.

How do you and I get faith?

“So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Romans 10:17

As we hear the Word of God and the Salvation plan, which is what Jesus accomplished on the cross, we are given faith. Faith to believe that there is something more to life than just existing and going through the motions of living day to day…faith to have HOPE in Someone bigger than us, Someone who has a unique plan for each of His beloved children!

It is the Word of God that produces faith. A person could receive faith while reading about Jesus in the  Bible or by hearing a sermon teaching the Good News or by you or I sharing the story of Jesus—any time the true gospel of Jesus is communicated, there is potential for faith! How exciting! That you and I can be part of the chain of events that God has orchestrated!

How does our faith grow?

If we are not in control of even getting faith on our own…how can you and I increase our faith. I wish to be more faithful.

We can pray and ask for more faith just as the apostles asked of Jesus in Luke 17:5,

“And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’”

Our faith grows as we build our lives on the truth of Jesus Christ, what we are taught about Him in and directly from God’s Word. We model our lives after Him. It is built on the truth of what God says, not what man says. When we are listening to pastors, preachers, spiritual songs, or fellow Christians, we must hold those words/that teaching up to God’s Word. We must stay away from teaching that is not in line with Biblical truths. We need to be careful about who is teaching us.

“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7

We need to always remember that faith was given to each believer as a gift. We cannot take credit for it or tout it in the face of others or think of ourselves in a prideful way.

“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 (NKJV)

By knowing our saving faith comes from God alone, it should encourage us as Christians to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought; but remember that God decides the measure of faith each one receives.

So, as we can see from reading God’s Word…that receiving faith comes from God and our faith increases by spending time in His Word.

I want to end on a note of thanksgiving. We should be thankful always for the faith God has given us, thankful that He chooses to use us in ministering to others. It is a privilege and honor to serve the Lord and His people.

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 1:12-14

May God bless you with wisdom and increased faith as you dig deep into His Word.

Abounding in Hope

This world is full of disappointments, heartaches and sadness. Wouldn’t it be great to have hope?! How about to be abounding in hope?

Abounding means to have or possess in great quantity, existing in or providing a great or plentiful quantity or supply.

I do not know your situation or what you have been dealing with, but God knows. There have been times in my life when I have felt a sense of hopelessness, stemming from helplessness. I think we all go through it at one time or another. The important thing to note, is to NOT stay in the state or feeling of hopelessness. Easy to say, but harder to do.

How can you and I find hope? The world shifts under our feet, people let us down, we let people down, life is hard. Can someone just tell me how?!

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

God has the answer. in fact, He IS the answer. He IS a God of hope and He fills His children with hope. Filled, not just a tiny quantity…but abounding in hope! He knows we need it to survive and thrive here. Not that all of our problems magically disappear but it puts them in a brighter perspective, knowing that God IS in control.

We are given a hope that does not disappoint, because this hope comes from Gods love directly poured into our hearts, it is a hope that helps us hold on and endure hardships and pain.

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:5 (NKJV)

When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and we walk with God, we receive within us, the power of the Holy Spirit.

After Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven, a Helper was given to all believers. Look up John 16:5-15 and see the Power believers are given!

The Holy Spirit was given to us by God to help us. If we choose to allow the Holy Spirit to guide and help; we can experience joy and peace during our darkest times. He will walk with us through our troubles, sorrows and heartaches.

We need to hold on to hope. There will come a day when all will be made right and evil will be defeated and forever erased!

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, as the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4 (NKJV)

May you abound in the hope of God, and may He fill you with His peace and joy.

Anchored In Him Bible Study published

I apologize for not posting lately. Exciting things have been happening! I was busy writing a Bible study called, Anchored In Him. It was recently published and is scheduled for release on January 9 wherever you purchase your favorite books!

Here is a little bit about the study:

“You can rarely avoid them; the storms of life show up to blow you off course, suck you into a vortex of wavering faith and make you doubt the direction you are going. Storms can drown you, devastate you, and cause you to fall into despair on ever finding your destination safely.“

However, there is hope for peace and direction in the storms of life, and that is through GOD.

anchored in Him cover
This Bible study consists of twelve chapters reflecting on aspects
of God’s provision and love that create “anchors” for us to hold
onto when the storms of life batter us relentlessly. I wrote this during
a difficult storm in my own life. I will pass on to you what God revealed to me during quiet times spent in His Word. I pray that you will find this study helpful to you as an individual or to use in a small group…to everyone trying to find refuge in life’s storms.

Let me know what you think at anchoredinhim7@gmail.com