John 15: 5-11
5 “I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me. 6 Whoever doesn’t live in me is thrown away like a branch and dries up. Branches like this are gathered, thrown into a fire, and burned. 7 If you live in me and what I say lives in you, then ask for anything you want, and it will be yours. 8 You give glory to my Father when you produce a lot of fruit and therefore show that you are my disciples. 9 “I have loved you the same way the Father has loved me. So live in my love. 10 If you obey my commandments, you will live in my love. I have obeyed my Father’s commandments, and in that way I live in his love. 11 I have told you this so that you will be as joyful as I am, and your joy will be complete.
I have been forming this drawing in my head and on paper since attending the Life in the Spirit seminar a few weekends ago. Part of the prophecy that was spoken over me during that event was this: “The Lord wants to rejoice over you with singing. Be ready for the joy of the Lord. Expect the unexpected! “
I hesitated to share my experience here because it has been so personal and so deep-one that I will never forget, but if we are going to be authentic people of God we need to share what GOD IS DOING in our lives! I share so that God will be glorified and while I cannot put it into words-I have put it into a drawing. What you see here is really not what you think it is…let me explain!
In John 15 we often focus on the verse, “ I am the vine, you are the branches.” While this is so very true-we fail to miss this line in verse 11- ( at least I did!) “ I have told you this so that you will be as joyful as I am, and your joy will be complete.”
Jesus is saying to us, “ I have told you this..” He is talking to us…” so that you WILL be as joyful as I AM!” ( my emphasis added) Are we listening? Do we have ears that hear God or ears that hear the world? Scripture says that if we can’t hear God we aren’t of God-that we don’t believe in God. ( John 8:47) It takes believing ears to hear the Truth of God-His Words live deep inside of every believer and we, as followers of Christ, must do all that we can to feast on God’s heavenly manna daily. It is only when we do this that we can come to know our Lord for who He is and not who we have made him to be.
Through this seminar I made some realizations about gifts. We each have unique gifts in things that we do bodily, like sing, cook, or dance, but we also have spiritual gifts. My focus had been on the bodily, the physical gifts, and this seminar turned my focus toward the spiritual gifts. These are the gifts we are given when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. These gifts are meant for the building up of the Body of Christ. To spread the gospel and bring salvation to the lost.
1 Corinthians 12: 4-11
There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. 5 There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served. 6 There are different types of work to do, but the same God produces every gift in every person.7 The evidence of the Spirit’s presence is given to each person for the common good of everyone.8 The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak with wisdom. The same Spirit gives another person the ability to speak with knowledge. 9 To another person the same Spirit gives courageous faith. To another person the same Spirit gives the ability to heal. 10 Another can work miracles. Another can speak what God has revealed. Another can tell the difference between spirits. Another can speak in different kinds of languages. Another can interpret languages. 11 There is only one Spirit who does all these things by giving what God wants to give to each person.
These gifts are to be used to glorify GOD !
I had such an amazing experience that it has totally changed my perspective. I now know, without a doubt, that the power of God-through the Holy Spirit, DOES live inside of me. It is a power that I have never felt before. It truly is unexplainable. All I had to do was ASK for it. But before I could receive it, I had to let go of some baggage I had been carrying. I had to be empty so I could be filled with the JOY that God had waiting for me! It’s a rather peaceful sense of knowing that God IS with me in ALL that I do and that He WILL equip me with what I need and when I need it. It’s like this, “ I know, that I know, that I know because I know! “ Haha! Because you know what? THIS is how I know- He has already begun the equipping by releasing me from my fear! Fear keeps us stranded on the sidelines and it can cause the good work of God to be put on hold. When we let our fear strangle us we aren’t looking to God. We are looking at the fear. It becomes a stumbling block. So, we need a change of perspective and God did that through this seminar! Woohoo! Yippee! Let’s go!
A few months back I met a woman who I have since become friends with. She always has the most joyful countenance on her face and I began to say to myself and to God, “ I want what she’s got.” I talked with her about it and one day she came to my home to share her story with me. While here, she anointed and prayed over me and she spoke words of Truth over me. She told me she saw “ rivers of Living Water flowing from me” and since then, I have changed my view of myself. I began saying things to myself like, “ I am to speak Life and Light into people.” My thought process has changed and I have been diligently practicing just that. It’s not easy and I have stumbled, however, God hears the yearnings of our heart and answers in His way and time. The time for me was during this seminar ! The rest of verse 11 has come alive for me… “ and your joy shall be complete.”
The vine is Christ-the branches are me abiding in Christ. ( John 15:5) The fruit is the result of the abiding and come out as joy. ( John 15:11) The green leaves are new growth clamoring for more and clinging to the cross. The blue drips ( 3) are the Holy Spirit that lives inside of me-the fuel that I am to draw from to do the work that God has planned for me to do. It keeps the branches from drying out-it is the sap of life-drip, drip, drip. I need to be infused with it daily. I draw from it by praying and staying in the Word of God. Abiding. Without it I can do nothing. With it, I can do ALL things! ( Phil 4:13) The yellow behind the cross is the Glory that is coming-my future home. The whole piece is standing in Living Water-the Holy Spirit. It flows up and through and out of me as I draw nearer to God. The empty cross stands as a sentinel over the whole piece. It speaks, “ I am empty-I have gone home to prepare a place for you and while I have left you physically, I now reside inside of you spiritually, so that my power lives inside of you. I will guide you and speak to you from the inside. ( John 16:13) You will not see me, but I will be with you! This is my promise to you- now you will believe!” ( John 16:31)