Day 2: Top Tip
Go at you own pace with this. Perhaps some days you’ll want to spend longer on a certain passage and therefore don’t get all the verses looked at. Don’t worry – in a way that’s a good sign because you’re obviously taking time to think about what you have read and some of you will naturally write more than others in your journal. The important thing is that you have spent time with God and He has spoken to you. So if you want to take two or even three days over one session, then just do that! God deals with us each as individuals since we’re all at different places in life and He’s working on different areas of our lives. It’s exciting!
Decide to Abide
If there was one thing you wanted to see happen to the people in your life that you love most, what would it be? Good health? More money? Better job? Paul loved a group of people called the Philippians. Here’s what he wanted above everything for them:
Philippians 1 v 9-11
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.
He wanted them to become fruit-growers. This didn’t involve a change of career; no, he longed for them to have love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness in their lives.
- Note where it says in this verse the fruit comes from
- Note who gets praise when we produce fruit
John 15 v 1-17
So another lesson in fruit-growing today before we start looking individually at each of the types of fruit that we already have the seeds of stored within us.
Focus on verses 4-5 today. These are ideal verses to write out (perhaps on postcards as well as your journal) and try to memorise as the day goes on.
The first word in verse 4 is different depending on your translation. You may read it as
Well I did warn you we’d need to dig hard! Why not look up what these words mean and write down any useful definitions you come across?
Think about what it means for you every day to ‘remain in Christ’.
List two or three things you could do this week to remain/dwell/abide in Christ.
In verse 2 Jesus describes how God will ‘prune’ us so that we will bear more fruit. Again, this is another word you could look up in your dictionary.
Are there things you think God would need to ‘prune’ in your life to let you be more fruitful? Pray and ask Him to show you this week what these might be. You could record in your journal that you’ve made this prayer, so that when He answers and shows you what needs to be pruned you’ll be able to record that answer too.
Pruning can be painful – it often involves giving up things that we’ve been holding on to and enjoying – but remember God loves us more than we can ever understand. He can see the future as well, so He knows exactly what we need in preparation. So remember any time He wants to prune us it is for our own good.
Isobel Kuhn describes a pruning experience in her life, in the classic book “By Searching”. Isobel had been spending a lot of time one summer reading romance novels late into the night. They weren’t harmful books in themselves and she loved the excitement of the moonlight and thrills involved in these love stories, but she describes how this obsession affected her spiritual life:
“I finished the book and took up my Bible for evening devotions. But I got no blessing from it. Never had the Bible seemed so drab and dull. When I tried to pray the Lord seemed far away…. “O Lord, what is wrong with me?” I prayed. Why can’t I sense Your Presence now as I have lately? Why has the Bible become so dry?”
“When a child fills her stomach with ice-cream and soda pop,” the Lord seemed to answer “why does she lose her appetite for meat and potatoes?”
Isobel Kuhn gave up the late night reading sessions and the Bible started to be exciting and alive to her once again. God’s Presence was with her, speaking to her, and eventually He even called her to Bible College and the mission field in China. I wonder what would have happened had she ignored this situation and resisted God’s pruning.
Let’s not be like greedy children at a party who stuff ourselves on ice-cream and sweets (which do us absolutely no good) and then lose our appetite for the good food that can make us strong!
What ‘ice-cream and sweets’ could be taking away your appetite for reading God’s Word?