Happy New Year!

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing . 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." John 15:1-11 (NASB)

Happy New Year! A new day, new year, and new decade has arrived filled with new opportunities, mercies and joy. How do you celebrate the new year? Do you have any traditions that set the pace and focus for the upcoming year? Do you reflect on the past with gratefulness for God’s faithfulness and pray He guides, grows and guards you in the present moment and future days? Do you journal or keep a prayer journal to record of your days and experiences? I like to keep what I call a disciple’s diary where I write down lessons that God teaches me throughout the year. The word “disciple” means student or pupil; as a teacher I knew that the best way for my students to learn and remember a lesson was to write it down and then put it into practice. My disciple’s diary is an effective way to learn, review and practice God’s lessons as well as remember how I have experienced His love and glory and the ways He has allowed me to express these to others.

Many Christ-followers commit to reading through the Bible each year. As I mentioned to you in earlier articles, 2020 is ‘The Year of the Bible.” I cannot think of a better way to observe this year than to read and live God’s Word. The verses above from John 15 are the words of Jesus telling His disciples (pupils) to abide in Him and the benefits of abiding such as a fruitful life. Abiding prayer is wrapped and wired in God’s Word and therefore whatever we ask will be done for us. By abiding in God’s Word, you know His commands and show your love for Him with obedience. I am thankful that God put His commands on paper and that even though the world and culture is constantly changing, His Word never changes. God never changes, pleasing Him is not a moving target. He wrote down the instructions to His creation so that they would live life to His glory and that our “joy may be made full.”

I pray that you will decide to abide in God’s love and Word. We will provide resources throughout the year on our website to help you read, pray, and live out the Word in everyday experiences and opportunities. Please join us as we pray His Word together beginning with this prompt to help launch you into a personal time of prayer.

Lord Jesus, it is my heart’s cry for the world to know You and be filled with Your glory. I commit to abide in You and Your Word. Please teach me as I read, help me to understand and to see the opportunities You put in my path every day to trust and obey You. You say that my obedience shows my love for You and I want You to know how much I love You. I want you to be glorified as Your Spirit bears fruit in my life as I abide in Your love. Strengthen me and give me focus and steadfastness to put my commitment of journeying through Your Word every day as my first priority; do not let me be distracted, discouraged or delayed in spending this time with You and for You each day. Teach me as Your disciple and child who prays to see Your glory fill the earth.

Serving Him with Gladness,

Kathy Branzell