Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ingrafted Branches

"If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, 'Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.' Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. (Romans 11:17-21.)

With the entire business of abiding in Christ I learn that nothing is of myself. I have no power to make abiding possible. I am just a dead branch and I can do nothing on my own. Left to myself I will dry out and disappear over time. But God steps in to make me one with Himself. I am grafted in and God does everything necessary to attach me to the olive tree. Abiding in Christ is so beautifully pictured as what happens with a real graft to a real tree. The bark of the tree (Christ) is torn away, revealing the soft moist pulp that is nourished by the sap of the root of the tree. The new branch is stripped back to reveal its inner layers and the two are bound together at the point of the "injuries." Jesus was stripped and laid bare at the crucifixion and it is at the cross where I come unto Him. At this point I meet Him stripped and lifeless. I am bound for eternity to Him. All I do is stay there at His side and again He does all the work. When a graft is placed on a tree, the tree grows out tiny microscopic hooks that burrow their way into the "flesh" of the branch. It is much like a velcro attachment. Those tiny little hooks go out into me, the branch, and the sap, the "life" of the tree begins to flow through me. It is the tree that does everything needed to accomplish the grafting process. The tree gives its life to the branch. I was a branch, dead and alone. But I have been bound to Christ and His life now flows through me. Again I do nothing to produce this. The Father is the vineyard keeper and he binds me to Christ, then Christ's sap flows through me, giving me life and strength and making it possible for Him to produce His fruit through me. Everything is done by the tree. As a branch I but accept the sap of life that flows through me. I do not have life of myself, in that I can't attach myself to the tree, I have but to calmly and gratefully accept His life as it begins to flow into me. When the graft has taken I am as much of the tree now as a branch that grew on the tree naturally. But just as the branch can be cut off in the first place, so the new branch can be cut off if it doesn't produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22). All that is required of me is that I abide. I remain. And fruit appears as naturally through me as if I were the original branch. But then I am warned that I must not get puffed up because just as easily as I was grafted on, I can be cut off again and be nothing but a dead branch, incapable to accomplishing a single thing. I must remember that it is all of the Lord. If I puff up and say, "Look what I have accomplished" I will miss the point entirely. It is not I who does anything. I but abide. I remain. I stand. I abide and let Christ do His work through me. Even in the very process of grafting I do nothing. Christ sends out His "hooks" and attaches Himself to me. So any time I think of me attaching myself to Christ, I must know that in reality it is Christ who does the attaching. What a marvelous God we have! He doesn't just come up with the way things are to be done, He gets in and does it all Himself.

That was just a short devotion but I still have my study to do for today so I will stop at this point and get on with other things that need to be done. I have no idea what to prepare for dinner and I'm so tired of trying to think up different things to eat that I could scream. I just stopped and took some ground beef out of the freezer. I don't know what I'll do with it but I'll think of something. Maybe with rice. That would be good.

I went to the Miss Calaveras pageant last night. My youngest granddaughter was running for the title. She did really, really well. She won the talent competition, Miss Congeniality, and second runner up! All together she won $600 in scholarships. Not bad for a night's work. I was so please that she at least placed in the county fair's Queen's Court. I would rather her have won the entire competition but we were so proud of her last night. She worked hard for those awards. She danced to a song that she had sang and recorded beforehand. She did such a great job. She plans on using her scholarships to further her education in veterinary medicine.

It's going to be a hot one today. We have reached 106 degrees so far this afternoon. I'm so glad we prepped the cooler last weekend because we've sure needed it today. But I better get on to my study or I won't have time to get it done today. I'm not sure when I will blog again but hopefully it won't be too long. It mostly just depends on the amount of studying I have and how much time it takes to get it done. I should really have done my study first today and then blogged but I was afraid if I did that I wouldn't get around to blogging at all today. Until next time...

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