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A Word for this Week - Pastor Bill Mugnolo

Week of May 3-9, 2021: “Visual Illustration” … John 15:1-8.

Throughout the four Gospels, we see how Jesus loved to make use of visual illustrations, such as in His parable stories, to point out the truths of the kingdom of God. Some were in short, “sound bite” form while others were lengthy. One final visual illustration of length that Jesus gave to His disciples on the night before He died is found in John 15:1-8.

Here, Jesus speaks of Himself as being our true vine and we are joined to Him as the branches. He first warns of the consequences of being severed from Him as He then reminds us, “Apart from Me, you can do nothing.” But to those who have been joined to Him as the vine, as we have been through Baptism and faith, He speaks of how we are continually pruned so that we might bear even more fruit—as in the fruit of the Spirit that we hear about in Galatians 5:22-23.

The pruning process is never easy as our sinfulness is continually exposed and dealt with. We would rather avoid it all. But we not only need it--our going through it is a sign that we are truly in Christ (Hebrews 12:5-11, James 1:2-4, 12). He assures us, even as we are being pruned, that we are already clean through His word—a word that comes to us in power (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

Having been continually pruned through His word, may each one of us truly be a visual illustration to those around us as to what a Christian truly is meant to be as fruitful branches joined to our true vine.

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Replace today's negative thoughts with God's eternal truths, guided by the following list passed down to us from an unknown source. This is especially important in dealing with the Coronavirus and all the bad news we are hearing. Keep God's Word close at hand to combat the negative thoughts.

The world says: "Its impossible." God says: "All things are possible." (Luke 18:27)

The world says "I'm too tired." God says: "I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28-30)

The world says: "Nobody really loves me." God says: "I love you." (John 3:16, 34)

The world says: "I can't go on." God says: "My grace is sufficient." (2 Corinthians 12:9; Psalm 91:15)

The world says: "I can't figure things out." God says: "I will direct your steps." (Proverbs 3:5- 6)

The world says: "I can't do it." God says: "You can do all things." (Philippians 4:13)

The world says: "I'm not able." God says: "I am able." (2 Corinthians 9:8)

The world says: "It's not worth it." God says: "It will be worth it." (Roman 8:28)

The world says: "I can't forgive myself." God says: "I forgive you." (1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1)

The world says: "I can't manage." God says: "I will supply all your needs." (Philippians 4:19)

The world says: "I'm afraid." God says: "I have not given you a spirit of fear." (2 Timothy 1:7)

The world says: "I'm always worried and frustrated." God says: "Cast all your cares on Me." (1 Peter 5:7)

The world says: "I'm not smart enough." God says: "I give you wisdom." (1 Corinthians 1:30)

The world says: "I feel all alone." God says: "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)