You will indeed drink my cup. Matthew 20:17-28 What parent wouldn’t do all that they could to gain favor for their child? The mother of James and John tried to do just that. She wanted them to have the best seats in God’s Kingdom. But there are some things a parent simply can’t do for her child. For example, we may be able to write their resume but we can’t take their place in the interview. At the time of the interview, it is the individual who’s name is on the resume, who must wear the shoes. In other words, it is by the child’s experience alone to which she must live and to which she must testify. James, John and the other disciples were chosen for a reason. Their lives would indeed fulfill God’s plan. We who believe must also wear the shoes according to God’s grace and we too will indeed drink of the same cup as we obtain access to the hope of sharing the glory of God. Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us… Romans 5:1-11
He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. John 15:1-11
In early May, apple trees are covered in apple blossoms. In order for the blossoms to become apples, they must be cross-pollinated.This means that the pollen must travel from one flower to another before fertilization can occur. Bees are responsible for this essential task. Pollen is made by the stamens of the blossom. When bees travel from blossom to blossom, they collect pollen and drop it from the stamens of one blossom onto the pistils of another blossom. The pollen travels from the sticky tips of the pistils—called the stigma—down a long tube called the “style,” and enters the ovary. It is at this point that fertilization occurs and ovules within the ovary become apple seeds. After the seeds develop, the petals from the blossoms fall off. Pruning is necessary for good health to prevent decay, to promote strength of its structure and stimulate it’s growth. As a perennial, apple trees bloom each spring and do not die in winter. The tree is always alive and active. With the living Christ as our true vine, the beauty of the blossom has its purpose, but it’s the fruit that continually feeds God’s people. By his pruning we know that we are loved.
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The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. the Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. Exodus 14:21-31 How phenomenal is that! Some would say it’s hardly believable. Yet, if we fast forward to today, with faith in God as our protector (1Peter 1:3-5), has he not caused those same “waters of destruction” to be divided in order that we may see our way through to the other side of whatever threatens to destroy? What others see or use as a deterrent, God uses for his glory! It’s nice to be on the side of the Lord, who in ways that not even the angels can see, works “all night,” never sleeps and never slumbers (Psalm 121), to prepare every passage in this journey that now leads beyond the cross to life in the resurrection, a living hope through the Gospel of Christ.