Trimming Back

It has cooled off here in the mountains so I have started working outside again. I love it! Fall is such a lovely time in our area and the cool air just makes me want to stay out in all the beauty and soak it in.

Phil got me a new tool – a battery operated hedge trimmer. It has been so easy to use and I have been trimming up a storm. Some of our shrubs haven’t been attended to in so long that I had to trim in stages. I would cut back a bit, gather the trimmings so I could see what was left , then cut some more. The end result is plants that look neater, but are also healthier.

The old dead stuff has been cut away.

As I was doing this work in our yard, I felt a Spiritual lesson being impressed on me. (This is often the case with me – I feel God’s presence so closely in my garden)

What old, dead stuff am I clinging to?

In thinking about this, I realized that we humans can cling tenaciously to traditions, beliefs, and even forms of worship that no longer bring life to us spiritually. That is because once a branch or limb is disconnected from the trunk or stem, it starts to die.

If our spiritual life is not connected to Jesus, the True Vine, what may have once been spiritually beneficial will soon die.

In John 15:1-4 Jesus is instructing His disciples just before He will be taken to die on the cross. Jesus wants these 12 men He has poured His life into to REMAIN connected to Him, even as He dies, is buried, and rises again.

So, Jesus says –

15 “I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

The challenge for me is to remain connected to Jesus, and allow Him to cut out anything that won’t produce fruit.

A Legacy Lives On

It has been a year since my Mother passed on to her eternal reward. As others who have experienced this loss, you know how you miss your mother every day. So many thoughts pass through my mind, and an instant response is “oh, I need to tell Mother”. I see something and I think, “oh, Mother would like that.”

Yet I am so thankful for all the wonderful memories I have and treasure. Esther Barker lived 90 blessed years!

Mother loved Bible study. While visiting our daughter Hannah recently, I started working on my study of Hebrews while I was waiting for the rest of the children to wake up. Our granddaughter, Adella, asked me what I was doing and when I told her, she went and got her Bible and said she would help me. She certainly did! After looking up a passage and reading the question, Adella came up with very good answers.

I noticed Adella had highlighted verses and I asked her about that.

“Mom said I couldn’t underline in my Bible any more so she gave me a highlighter to use instead.”

After seeing where Adella had underlined, I understood my daughter’s concern. (she had drawn lines right through the words instead of UNDER the words) Adella showed me her favorite verse in Psalms and I showed her my favorite verse, Romans 12:2.

I had forgotten my Bible in the car, so I found Hannah’s old Bible. She had used this Bible while in college and she had written many notes and underlined verses special to her.

So, the legacy Mother left of Bible study and loving God’s Word is living on in myself, our three daughters (who all attend Bible studies) and on to the next generation as well.

Psalm 119 states –

73 You made me; you created me.
    Now give me the sense to follow your commands.
74 May all who fear you find in me a cause for joy,
    for I have put my hope in your word.

103 How sweet your words taste to me;
    they are sweeter than honey.
104 Your commandments give me understanding;
    no wonder I hate every false way of life.

105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
    and a light for my path.

We are blessed!