Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

A powerful simple truth

27th August 2007

Today’s message at church was so very simple, yet it struck a chord deep within me. In a nutshell: Apart from Christ, we can do nothing of value for the Kingdom of God.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. –John 15: 4-5

I’ll be honest. I’m not doing a very good job of "remaining" in Him. I’ve got the "pray without ceasing" part down, but mostly it’s frantic prayers for grace and patience in the midst of day-to-day struggles. Maybe if I was "remaining" a little better, there wouldn’t be the need for the desperate prayers.

Before kids, I was a bit better about taking some time in my day to soak up some of God’s word and spend some quiet time in prayer. But lately, my life is go-go-go, and I’m lucky to get 36 seconds on my own to go to the bathroom! Brian and I have both realized recently how much we need to bring the Word back to a place of priority in our lives. He’s setting a great example for us by starting his day out with the Bible during breakfast. I’m trying to do the same, but I’m not doing as well as he is. On the days that I do make God’s word a part of my early day, it definitely makes a difference in my spirit.

Here’s another excellent translation of these verses:

Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me. I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.

At this point in my life, my children are my biggest mission field. This is all the more reason that I need to be "making my home in Him", so that He’s living in me, through me, so my children see Him everyday. Apart from Christ, I can do nothing of value for the kingdom of God. I can be a good parent. And there are days that I feel like I’m doing ok. Doing ok on my own doesn’t make an eternal impact, though. But when I’m remaining in Christ, abiding in Him, making my home in Him, the promise is endless, and I can know that every moment of mothering and loving I do is making a difference for God’s kingdom in my children.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. This parenting thing is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But God’s grace is enough, and with Christ, my harvest is sure to be amazing.

Lord, today, I just want to pray for all my parent-friends. May they find themselves in You today. Draw them to a place of abiding so that their home can be filled with You. Amen.

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