Abiding in Him... Devotional Day 4

Good morning!

How is the Abiding devotional going for everyone? I hope the Lord is showing you a fresh look at drawing closer to Him through this devotional. It’s so wonderful to hear your kind messages on here and through FB and IG… it brings such JOY to me to know that the Holy Spirit is working through this devotional.

Today’s devotional is at the bottom of this blog post, and it talks more about abiding on the vine… like a beautiful vineyard in Italy! I know we are not in Italy right now, but take a moment to picture what that would look like and get an image in your mind for this devotional today, as I think it will help you visualize the parable we will be talking about. The photo below is one of the restaurants we went to, but take a look at the beautiful grape vines above us.

For those who are still following along with us as we take a trip down memory lane from last month…

We left off on Sunday night when we went to the Top Chef of Italy’s restaurant right in the hills of Bellagio!

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We had quite a large L shaped table on his terrace and it was a beautiful night for Luigi to showcase his culinary talents! Luigi is a friend of ours that takes great care to bring you the best meal with amazing presentation. He also picks you up, takes your order, prepares the food, and drives you back when you are done… he’s got the energy of the energizer bunny for sure! He’s also quite the character and everyone always enjoys Luigi and his restaurant very much! Here he is explaining one of the courses he has prepared.

The next morning we took everyone on a little adventure! We walked from the classroom down to Pescalo, a little cove on the other side of Bellagio that most people never wander too. It’s such a peaceful place that I knew it would be the perfect spot for our morning devotions with Ruth Chou Simons that day.

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We also took the time after devotions to sketch in our Traveler’s Notebooks or journal our thoughts. This is a very inspiring location so a lot of the ladies got out their watercolors and spent some time painting the scene before them. I love how the Lord brought us to this place and allowed His beauty to soak in and fill our hearts that morning. I wish we could go back in time to that day… but I’m so glad they have the memory in the form of a little sketch or written word or photo they can look back on.

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That afternoon we went back into the event room and had our first class with Ruth in watercolor! She wrote a beautiful little book for us to explain some of the techniques she uses and shared with us some great tips to improve our watercolor art. It was awesome to get to watch her God given talent at work in the class.

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That night was dinner and an Affogato at a restaurant on the “point of Bellagio.” This is as far as you can go in Bellagio without falling into the lake. Bellagio is somewhere you come to, you can’t pass through… as Rita explains. And if you’ve never had an Affogato… you MUST. Google it and you’ll see how simple it is, yet life changing! haha

We will leave off here for today and share more of our week in Italy tomorrow on the blog. Tuesdays are a day that we go exploring during our retreat and it’s a FUN day for sure, so come back tomorrow to see where we went.

Don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY if you haven’t yet… we will pick a winner on Saturday, the last day of the devotional this week.

Here’s Day 4 of our Abide Devotional:

Abiding in Him - Day 4

John 15 explains our abiding like a growing vine.  Since we are in Italy, I think this is the perfect place to talk about this parable!

Let’s take a look at John 15:1-4 ~

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”

Jesus, the True Vine.  I picture a scene of a beautiful vineyard in Tuscany with rows and rows of grape vines.  Jesus is the vine, while we, as believers, are the branches. Our Father God, Jesus says, is the vinedresser – He is the gardener who tends to the branches. He prunes the fruitful branches so they will bear more fruit and takes away the unfruitful branches, throwing them into the fire.  When we are abiding in Christ, connected to the vine, we will see a process of pruning in our lives.  There’s no getting around it, there is going to be pruning.  I looked up how to prune vines and it talked about how to rejuvenate the vines by cutting away the old wood. It talked about how it is hard work, but much needed to grow healthy vines that bear fruit.  This “cutting away” is part of the process.  Just like it is in our lives.

So how do we abide in the vine so that we will bear fruit and it will be evident. 

1. Jesus invites us to connect.  He wants us to stay connected to His life-giving vine for our life and sustenance. Only in Him can we bear fruit.  The branch is connected to the vine, and the vine to the branch, there is relationship here between the vine and the branch. We abide in Him and He abides in us. If there is no true connection, there is no life, no fruit and the branches die off. Jesus is inviting us to stay connected.

2. Dependence on the vine.  Abiding also implies dependence. This part of abiding, unlike connection, is not reciprocal. The branches (you and I) are totally dependent on the vine, but the vine is not dependent on the branches. The branches derive their life from the vine. Without the vine, the branches are useless, lifeless, powerless.  Life-giving power flows from the vine to the branches, supplying water, minerals, and nutrients that make it grow.  We as believers receive these much needed “nutrients” of Christ’s GRACE through our dependence on Him. We are fully dependent on Jesus for everything that counts as spiritual fruit. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. John 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Jesus invites you to abide today.

Ask yourself today:
1. As the branch, do you feel connected to Christs life-giving vine?  If not, how can you re-connect with Him here and go forward with a refreshed connection?

2. When difficulties happen in our life, how can we look at them as “pruning” and God’s work in our lives, instead of worrying and not seeing the good in them?

3. Take this time to ask the Holy Spirit to show you where He wants you to bear fruit.  What areas your life need pruning so you can bear the beautiful fruit He has for you.

4. Journal or draw what you see as the branch connected to the vine.


Have a GREAT day everyone! If you have enjoyed us sharing about our retreat last month and would like to join us on one of our retreats… we will share tomorrow what we still have open for 2020.

Hugs,

Laura McCollough