July 3rd, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Read:   John 14:15

Looking around in my backyard, I see a carpet of grass surrounded with lush greenery.  A rainy spring resulted in fast growing wisteria, blooming crepe myrtles, and gorgeous hostas.  Amidst all this beauty are our hydrangea plants.   Hydrangeas are my favorite, mainly because they remind me of my grandmother's gardens.  

Currently, our hydrangea plants are struggling.  There are brown spindly sticks which seem to be growing faster than the green leaves underneath.  With their vibrant pinks and blues, the hydrangeas are normally the focal part of our yard.  Though I am not much of a gardener, I wonder if they would benefit from pruning.
 
Much like the hydrangeas, we sometimes need pruning.  We may need pruning from our work, our friends, or our hobbies.   John 15:1-8 reminds us that the branches that do not bear fruit should be pruned to become fruitful.   Though it is difficult to leave things behind that we love or enjoy, God prunes us so we can grow in our faith.
 
Not only does He prune us, but He sustains us.  He is the vine, we are the branches.  Like a plant, we cannot bloom without a vine providing us nutrients.  When we are apart from God, it is difficult to bloom and grow.
 
Surround yourself with lush plants-remain close to Him by abiding in His word.  He will provide what you need to bloom, even if it is a painful pruning.

Pray:
 

Adoration: God is holy, mighty, gracious, and merciful. Spend time declaring your love for Him and expressing your thoughts of praise and worship. 

Confession: Ask God to search your heart and reveal any areas of unconfessed sin. Acknowledge these to the Lord and thank Him for His forgiveness. 

Thanksgiving: Express your thankfulness to God for the blessings He has given you. When we consider that we deserve punishment because of our sinfulness, and instead God gives to us His love and mercy, our only response should be one of thankfulness. 

Supplication: Petition God for spiritual insight and understanding of His Word.  Ask Him to help you know what is His direction and purpose for your life.  Intercede for other believers, personal friends, those in ministry and those who are oppressed and in need. Offer prayers for your activities for this day and any special concerns you might have. 

Sing: Great Is thy Faithfulness

Verse
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
there is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not;
as Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Chorus
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

Verse
Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.

Chorus
Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,
great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.