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“I Am The Vine You Are The Branches”

A timely lesson in submission, for all.

An incident that happened on July 24, 2005.
Sent in by a lady correspondent in the USA.

Someone said that Jesus is as far from us as our next thought about Him. How very true! However, have you noticed that it is very hard for us to stay constantly connected to Him in the spirit? We tend to ‘come’ to Him in prayer once or twice a day and while reading the Bible, but then we just switch Him off, as a radio!  This, I believe, is a reason for many troubles we have in our lives. 

This story is an example NOT to follow.

I have a ‘gypsy bug’ in my blood. When it hits me, I must get it out of my system! In the past we used to go to the mountains once or twice a year. I would get lost in the woods for a couple of days, and  that would give me relief for a while. In the worst case scenario, when we cannot go to the mountains, I go to the High Falls National Park about 60 miles north from us. Last Sunday I finally had both time and weather conditions to spend half a day hiking there. 

I have noticed that my day does not go well if I do not start it with prayer. That day, to catch some of the pleasant morning coolness, I decided to postpone my prayer until I got to the High Falls. Bad decision! Because of it I was not tuned in with the Spirit. Looking back at everything that happened on that day, I can see that I ignored a number of promptings of the Spirit, and nearly got into serious trouble.

Still at home, getting my back sack ready, I had a thought to take a cap. Then I remembered that my hair tends to get wet under a cap, so I decided against it. I thought that I would take a trail in the woods, and would not need it. However, when I parked my car at the registration office near the falls, I forgot all about my initial intention. I saw a road I had never hiked. It seemed to be going around the ‘lake’ and I decided to walk it instead. A small voice whispered to me about the danger of taking roads in unknown areas, but I dismissed it.

I did not have a map of the area and I did not even know what kind of a lake it was. The road was called Lakeshore Drive, and I assumed that it would take me around the lake and back to the starting point.

I soon discovered that the road was going mainly through a residential area. Most of the time I could not even get near the shore. A few times, however, I had a chance to come close to the water between two neighboring pieces of property. Each time it struck me as very peculiar that I could not see the end of the lake. Several times I had a prompting: “Turn around, go back!” Unfortunately, each time I ignored it.

It began to get hot. I had four bottles of water with me and had enough common sense to drink it the whole time. After about forty minutes, the road ended at another two-lane road. Even though I received another prompting to turn back, I took a right on this new road and went on.

Another hour went by and the falls were nowhere in sight. I went over a bridge once, thinking that it was one of the lake’s branches. Needless to say, I did not see the lake after that. I wondered, “What kind of a lake is it that one cannot go around?” Finally, I found myself approaching an exit to Interstate 75. I realized that I was lost and would have to go all the way back.

The prospect of two more hours of walking was not attractive. By now it was about one o’clock on a hot July afternoon. I was exhausted after the long walk in the heat without a cap, and there was no shade on the road. I was worried. I recalled the reports I had heard on TV about heat-related deaths. 

I saw a woman mowing her lawn. Hoping to find a shortcut, I stopped to ask her about directions to the High Falls. Her explanation confirmed that I had to take the same road back. In my mind I cried out: “I cannot do it!  If only I could have a ride for at least part of the way!” No more than 30 seconds later, a truck passed by and stopped just a few yards from me. The driver, a black man between 35 and 45, asked me if I needed a ride. I was not sure what I should do. A voice inside of me said: “Here’s your chance. It’s OK, take it.” This time I listened to the Spirit. Relieved, I got in the truck.

The man asked me where I was going. I told him, and he said he’d drop me off at Lakeshore Drive. The drive was short, less than five minutes, but it saved me over three miles of walking in the scorching heat. The man passed the Lakeshore Drive and stopped a dozen yards further, next to another road. He told me that it would also take me to my destination, but I was afraid to get lost again. Then he turned his truck around and drove off in the direction from which we had just come.

Walking back, I thanked the Lord for being merciful to me. On the way, I passed the road the man had recommended. I think it was a shortcut I had wanted so badly.

When I got to the registration office, I looked at myself in the mirror. My face was as red as a boiled lobster. I realized then that I had just been saved from a heat stroke.

I don’t know whether I had an angelic encounter, or the Lord used a man to get me out of my self-inflicted trouble. However, I am absolutely sure that His hand orchestrated my rescue. Everything that happened after I wished for a ride was simply too much for a mere coincidence, if you ask me.

This incident has taught me three very valuable lessons:

1. It is easy to claim to be a Christian, but it is not so easy to live one’s life as a new, spiritual being – constantly in tune with the Spirit.

2. Jesus is always with us, just as He promised. We are the ones who shut Him off.

3. Jesus is faithful. Despite our stubborn self-will and self-reliance in everyday life, He is always ready to help. We just have to give Him a chance. All we have to do is stay tuned, listen, and obey!

Jesus says that He is the good vine, and we (His disciples) are His branches. A branch that does not receive sap from the vine withers and dies in a matter of days! Also, if a branch received sap only sporadically, not continually, it would wither as well. That is why He tells us to remain in Him! His Spirit is our life-giving sap. But do we really take His warning seriously? Do we stay connected with Him in the Spirit at all times? Unfortunately, most of the time we don’t, and we simply forget that He is ALWAYS with us.  May the incident that happened to me teach us all to remember that we are no longer old beings of flesh, but new, spiritual beings in a cocoon of flesh. [End of correspondent’s account.]

Jesus Is Waiting To Help You

The examples of Jesus’ omnipresence and His complete care for us are many. I would like to relate just one recent instance in my own experience.

I find most computer work rather difficult. Having been a builder, and doing a totally different kind of work for 17 years – manual and very physical – most computer work for me is like learning to walk all over again! By contrast, Tonya is quick and proficient at it, and when there is something I can’t do, I ask for her help. She often does things with the PC that I can’t.

But on this occasion, Tonya was away. I was having to do a computer task that I was not familiar with, and I was bashing my head against a brick wall with it. I couldn’t ask for her help.

I was getting really frustrated, trying time and time again to get the programme to work. Something that should only take a couple of minutes was taking me over an hour! I banged the desk in my frustration – not that it would help, but it did express my despair.

At my wits’ end, a little thought came to ask God for help. So I did. “Father, please show me what to do.” In the next second, a thought came into my mind. I was staring at the screen and the thought drew my attention to an icon. I clicked on it and it opened up the very part that I had been looking for.

I persevered for a few more minutes, but again I was soon flummoxed and couldn’t go any further. But, as stubborn and independent as we humans are, I still didn’t ask God. I kept trying in my own strength, using my own intellect. The trouble was, my intellect was not up to the task. I was way out of my depth, being some- what computer illiterate. (I can type, because I did a typing course at college 33 years ago and was trained to touch-type.) Frustrated, I banged the desk again. (I’m good at that!) Then the same thought to ask God came back again, and I submitted myself to Him again. I should have been doing that before, instead of trying with my own strength alone.

“Father, please help me!”

Again, without a second’s delay, a thought came into my mind that pointed me to something on the screen. There again, was the answer to my problem!

My prayer had been answered immediately. How often do we try to do things by ourselves? Probably 99% of the time!

Such an example may be trite, I know. But it illustrates the human problem of independence. We all have it. Do you realise it denies God?

God is omniscient and all-caring. He is so good. But if we don’t acknowledge our need for God in our times of trouble, no matter how ‘insignificant’ they are, whom are we relying upon? Ourselves, not God. He is not our God then. We have taken His place, and that’s idolatry! It hurts Him terribly if we don’t rely on Him.

Now I realise that He expects us to use our intellect, and to do all we can with our own abilities. I’m not suggesting we abrogate our own responsibilities.

But, when we are unable to do something by our own ability and know-how, He is always ready and waiting to assist, especially if it is something to help another – which it was in this case. And when it’s something to further His Work on earth, He never lets you down!

As the little experiences above show, He is there for you, right at that moment! All you have to do is to call upon Him.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your care upon Him because he cares for you (1 Pet 5:7,8, NIV).

In the bigger crises of life, He may seem to take longer to run to your rescue, but He won’t fail you if you stand firm, resolute in doing His will.

Further Reading
: The Ten Virgins (£1.00)

Copyright: Midnight Ministries, PO Box 29, Aylesbury, HP17 8TL, UK