Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. John 15:4 (NIV)

I am not much of a gardener. In fact, for years I have paid people to be the keepers of all the green stuff that surrounded my house. But, in Arizona, small rocks of various shades of brown surround me—by design! In fact, we cannot even have grass. The landscaper added a few shrubs and trees but that is not my area to manage and I still have to call a couple of times a year for someone to do general maintenance. So to soothe my need for color and green, I have some pots, which I change out seasonally. In addition, I am a great weed killer. I know that Mark secretly chuckles when he sees me roaming the yard with my spray bottle of Roundup. However, it gives me great satisfaction to watch my pots bloom and flourish and survey my weed-free domain. I know from the little gardening that I do that if I want more flowers instead of just dead stems; I have to do some pruning. The drip system must also be working properly and the weeds kept under control. Jesus, the ultimate gardener, tells his disciples in John 15 about the importance of the branch remaining attached to the vine. Without that connection, the branch is useless. He was using an everyday situation to explain a heavenly thought. We are those branches that must stay connected to Him, our vine, if we want to bear any fruit. Last week when I spoke to the MOPS group, I was tired both physically and emotionally and felt like I really had nothing to give to those girls. I knew that I needed that connection to my source of life if there was going to be any fruit. I found an out-of-the-way room and prayed asking God to give me His supernatural strength and His words. And, He did! Many girls spoke with me afterwards of the hope that they had received. Thank you, Lord, for the life-giving power that comes from remaining in You.

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