Explore the Bible Lesson for December 29: Stay Open and Obedient
December 17 2013 by Sherra Still, writer, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte

Focal Passage: John 15:1-17
Gardening is an area of limited knowledge for me, and I am thankful for the work my husband puts into our yard and garden.
One thing I have been able to observe is that if you prune something at the wrong time of year, you can kill it. We are aware that pruning is part of the spiritual life, and thankfully God always does it at the right time.
In John 15:2, Jesus states that it is the vine that bears fruit and that the Father prunes so it will bear more fruit. Therefore, being pruned can be an encouraging experience because that means we have been bearing fruit.
After all, the options stated are being taken away or pruned, so let’s embrace pruning! Jesus does not leave us wondering how we can bear fruit. In John 15:5-8, Jesus states that as we abide in Him, we will bear fruit.
As Christians, we must understand that in John 15:5 we can do nothing apart from the Lord. As we obey Him, we remain in Him and bear fruit. It is a daily challenge for a Christian to choose to abide with Christ in a world that so often denies Him.
So, how do we abide in Christ?
For me that means starting each day with Jesus by reading His Word and praying. The Word enables us to go out into the world to live for Him. 
John 15:9-10 brings us back to the fundamental truth that our obedience is rooted in love. Jesus exhorts His disciples to love as the Father has loved Jesus and as Jesus has loved them.
He makes sure they understand that as they continue to be obedient and keep His commandments, they will be able to abide in His love. 
We then take the love that Jesus has lavished on us and show it to those around us.
John 15:11-17 challenges all believers to be ready to love others.
Jesus chose you “so that you will love one another.”
12/17/2013 12:38:58 PM by Sherra Still, writer, University Hills Baptist Church, Charlotte | with 0 comments
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