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Week 5 Day 4: Made Fruitful by Love

“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

Made Fruitful by Love
It’s important for us first of all to receive God’s love, before we can give it away. We need to stay connected to that love, in tune with that love, in communion with that love.

-Br. David Vryhof



Transcript:

Throughout this series we’ve noticed the deep connection and intimate union between Jesus and the one that he calls Father. And we have seen that in Jesus’ understanding the fruitfulness of his life and ministry is entirely dependent on maintaining this union and communion with the Father. He says, “I can do nothing on my own.” And he teaches his disciples and us, that our fruitfulness also depends on this living union with the Divine Life. And that to be fruitful, to produce works and character that have lasting influence in the eyes of God, we will need to abide in him as he abides in us.

I remember when I was in college, I worked with children who had special needs. And I remember one evening being at supper and watching a young boy who was struggling to cut a piece of meat, but his hands lacked the strength and coordination to be successful in the task. And finally he looked up and asked for help. And one of the staff members came around behind him, wrapped her arms around his, put her hands over his, and helped him cut the meat. And I thought that was an apt image for our relationship with God. When we realize that we can do nothing on our own, that we are dependent on God’s life and strength within us, then we yield ourselves to that strength, and God’s strength becomes one with our strength, so that we can’t tell where our strength leaves off and where God’s strength begins. It all becomes one.

John says, “We love because he first loved us,” so it’s important for us first of all to receive that love, before we can give it away. We need to stay connected to that love, in tune with that love, in communion with that love. So today, we invite you to take into your prayer this image of the vine and the branches. And consider how dependent branches are on the vine for their life and for their fruit. Consider how the vine grower may need to prune the vine to make it more fruitful. Bring this metaphor into your own life and ask yourself, “How do I stay connected to this source of life and light? What interferes with that connection? What stops the flow of that divine energy and how can I remain in intimate union with Jesus?” That connection is the source, the key, the secret, to our fruitfulness.

We invite you to share your answer in the comments below or using #MeetingJesus

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25 Comments

  1. pamela ann quarstein on March 23, 2018 at 01:50

    P R U N E
    P lace yourself in God’s hands/arms
    R emain dependent on His help
    U nify with His strength; be one with God
    We can do N othing on our own.
    Divine E nergy must be able to flow within you….OPEN UP

  2. Carol Niemand on March 22, 2018 at 02:13

    You cannot give love if you don’t have it for Jesus and then ultimately for yourself. On any given day, I sometimes like myself, love myself asnd hate myself – maybe all in the same day. If someone loves you, you can asbsorb that love and then nurture it in preparation for giving it away.

  3. Dorothy Wilson on March 21, 2018 at 02:01

    I cannot exist without God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are in my mind , ❤️ heart and soul. I even notice that my prayers are different. Sometimes I make a mistake, and I can feel my branches are being trimmed to make me a better person.

  4. Jaan Sass on March 16, 2018 at 22:40

    I guess that I am my own worst enemy. My actions choices fears all keep from connecting to that light. I do know that when I allow myself to let go and allow the light to come into my life, I feel alive. I guess many times in my life when I felt alone tired and ready to give up God came alongside and lifted me through the storms of anxiety and depression. Jesus come into my life
    bring the light of your grace
    the light that brings healing
    Change me from within
    Heal my broken mind
    Amen

    • Suzanne Crawford on March 21, 2018 at 14:14

      Your prayer I found to be so intimate….thank you. Peace and love be with you now and always. May you be sustained by the light and love of our Saviour.

  5. Mary on March 16, 2018 at 20:33

    As with any relationship, it is a matter of time. Devoting time to God. Sometimes it takes sheer discipline, because I can find endless distractions. As much as we would like it to be, it is not formulaic. Just when I think I have found the key, I lose it and have to find it again. I have found talking to other faithful people, listening to praise music, singing hymns help me reconnect when I’m feeling disconnected. I’m ever so grateful for all the ways God helps me reestablish my connection to the vine.
    I am finding this study to be extremely beneficial – being able to read, listen, and watch the brothers simultaneously helps me take in the message more fully. Thank you so much.

  6. David John Drew on March 16, 2018 at 08:50

    Lord God,

    Over the past few days you have enabled me to experience and understand that we are all connected as branches to the one true vine – that is you. There are not multiple lives, not two, or four, or even billions of lives… there is only one life. Each of us have different experiences in relation and in the expression to this, your life – we may all have various views, perspectives, emotions, thoughts and actions – but they come from the foundation of your life and love in which we find our only existence. Such is the nature of your life and love – it extends, touches and embraces all things.

    Lord God,

    To fully experience the dimensions of your life and love we must embrace you, acknowledge and return that love – and in doing so, overcome whatever has separated us. In contemplating this definition, this reality of life, you have led me beyond the human scientific view of something that possesses ‘life’ – that only considers something that grows, breathes, ingest and digests, procreates then dies – as life. No, life is more than that – it encompasses all things, even inert things like rocks, a blade of grass, every atom, – all things possessed and animated by you, everything has its rightful place in the totality of your thought and expression.

    Lord God,

    There are many like me, who find in this fact an intoxicating treasure, a revelation… I pray that the flow of your Divine energy and power will always be within me and others – connecting us all to the eternal stream of your life and love. Let us hope and pray that all things will be restored to that harmony as it was intended by you in your first act of creation.

    + Amen

    Pax – David.

  7. James on March 15, 2018 at 21:03

    When I was a wee boy, I recall the day I graduated from a tricycle to a bicycle. I was afraid because I wasn’t sure how things would turn out. I was worried that I might fall and hurt myself. My earthly father was by my side as he carefully balanced and gently pushed me in the right direction to get me started. Did I fall and hurt myself as I feared? You bet I did! But guess what? Dad was right beside me to pick me up, administer to my scrape, provide words of encouragement, and help me get back on the bike. How much more so will our Heavenly Father be with us when we step out in faith and love as we abide in His Word?

  8. james on March 15, 2018 at 06:48

    i can do nothing without His involvement in my life. It is so because I am just an instrument in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ. Like any instrument, I am of no use unless my master holds me in His hands and use me. So that I remain fruitful I have to stay connected with my tree (Jesus Christ) and my roots (God the Holy Father). The Sacred Spirit motivates me to my goal to stay connected with the source of my life (God the Father, God the Son and God the Sacred Spirit)

    • Suzanne Crawford on March 21, 2018 at 14:18

      Your expression is beautiful and moved me to tears in my heart as well as my eyes. Thank you.

  9. Pamela Forbes on March 15, 2018 at 06:00

    Of late, it seems to me that the profound connection given to me in centering prayer has a continuing thread that pulls me back into prayer and contact. The entire series of meditations has built the connection and fostered the contact, day by day and week by week.

    Thanks be to God for the work the brothers and VTS have put into this offering. More, please.

  10. Agatha Nolen on March 15, 2018 at 04:22

    It is only when I am very intentional that I stay connected to God as my source of life and light. I am easily distracted daily with frustrations or things I don’t understand in the world. If I let them, they make me anxious and even sad. I have to constantly remind myself that I am God’s child and intimately connected with Him, no matter what. When I put my day in perspective, I am still God’s child and full of divine energy, no matter what. It is the no matter what at the end of the day that makes me laugh at my huge worries that turn out to be just distractions.

    I will abide in God today, no matter what.

  11. Bryan Cook on March 14, 2018 at 21:00

    I guess there is danger in taking any metaphor too far. I thought that Jesus died that we may all be healed and forgiven in the eyes of God. I can see that I am a branch that needed and still needs a lot of pruning to allow full flow of God’s love; full embuement with the Holy Ghost. But there are days when I wilt and loose faith and hope.

    • Dana on March 19, 2018 at 23:39

      As God’s children we are a work in progress. I agree with Bryan there are many days I loose faith and hope. Remember tomorrow is another day. My wife and I are volunteering with a neighbourhood ministry working with homeless and vulnerable men and women. When you are able to help get them off the street and into housing there is no more rewarding feeling, seeing God in action.

      • Suzanne Crawford on March 21, 2018 at 14:28

        Bryan and Dana spoke words that I understand and relate to, also. There are times when I wonder about The Mystery of the divine vine and the branches….I also volunteer with homeless and teach illlegal immigrant children in a school where 98% of the student body is at or below the poverty level. God is in those places…..I feel it and to be honest sometimes it is very painful and dirty and smelly, and the work is emotionally exhausting, and yet, and yet I continue to go….I am pulled. When it is time to go home, I am glad and I then rest. It certainly is for me a push pull dynamic.

  12. marta engdahl on March 14, 2018 at 19:22

    The images of God’s LOVE this morning are beautiful:
    a caring adult with her arms surrounding a child who needs help cutting up his dinner;
    the trees which support each other with their roots, with their branches, a beautiful Celtic image;
    and an image of each of us surrounded by God’s love as a buffer between the distractions of this world and God’s love, creating the opportunity for an enriched relationship in prayer life with God. Thanks be to God!

  13. Suzanne Haraburd on March 14, 2018 at 17:33

    Thank you for this..the image of us not knowing where our strength stops and Gods strength starts is a wonderful one.

  14. Bobbi on March 14, 2018 at 17:02

    One way I stay connected to the source of life and light is by expressing, in concrete terms, gratitude for all the grace-filled moments in my life. I do a pretty good job of this in the morning as I start my day by naming specific things for which I am grateful. But then, as I become immersed in the everydayness of life, I forget God, I forget grace, I forget to be grateful. Saying the Jesus Prayer is one way I reopen the flow of divine energy.

  15. Robert Donaldson on March 14, 2018 at 16:27

    I will stay connected if I yield. Psalm 46:10 paraphrased: cease striving and know I can do nothing apart from you God.

    I would like to post a picture of two trees at my pond with intertwined upper branches. Viewed north to south there are two trunks. Viewed easy to west there is one trunk with intertwined branches. A symbol of abide set in nature. In tune in commune He is the vine

  16. Meg on March 14, 2018 at 16:22

    I loved the image of God wrapping His arms around me to help me.

  17. Virginia on March 14, 2018 at 16:22

    I was very much moved by Brother David’s story of how the staff member put her arms around the boy who was struggling with cutting his meat, then put her hands over his. She did not cut the meat for him. Sometimes, even in my hospital ministry I want to “fix the situation” and I take my focus off the patient. Today I will visualize the LORD putting arms around me and putting hands over mine, so that I might better abide in HIS strength.
    What interferes? What blocks the flow of divine energy? In me, it is usually fear, anxiety of the unknown, things in the future that haven’t even happened yet and probably won’t! Today I have a lot of time to pray, meditate as I clear snow from my car and go about small tasks. I will visualize the LORD’s arms around me.

  18. Bev Cone on March 14, 2018 at 16:06

    It’s wonderful to be…………JUST the branches. I just let go of some very sad parts of lives of people around me. I am listening to God’s Word to help me. I need to feel God’s love first in my life, then share it with others. The needs around me are great but I am not in charge. God is.

  19. John David Spangler on March 14, 2018 at 14:59

    BROTHER DAVID CONCLUDES THIS MEDITATION ASKING FOUR QUESTIONS: HOW DOES ONE STAY CONNECTED?; WHAT INTERFERES WITH THAT CONNECTION?; WHAT STOPS THE FLOW OF “DIVINE ENERGY”?; AND, HOW CAN ONE REMAIN CONNECTED?. FOR ME, THE ANSWERS ARE RESPECTIVELY: BY LISTENING FOR GOD’S VOICE; MY EGO AND THE WORLD’S BEING WITH US “TOO MUCH, LATE AND SOON”; OUR LETTING THE WORLD TAKE CONTROL; AND, BY LETTING GOD TAKE CONTROL AND BY OUR BEING ALERT TO HIS VOICE. FOR EXAMPLE, WE AWAKE THIS MORNING WORRYING ABOUT DONALD TRUMP AND THE ELECTION IN PENNSYLVANIA. THESE THINGS ARE IMPORTANT, BUT WE ARE BETTER SERVED IF SEEK TO CONNECT TO OUR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. THEN, EVEN OUR MUNDANE CONCERNS ARE PUT INTO THEIR PROPER PLACE. ALL IS ACCOMPLISHED BY GOD’S GRACE, NOT BY OUR DOING.

  20. Keith Aldred on March 14, 2018 at 14:22

    Help me and all your children Lord to be with you and put you first.

  21. Susan Marengo on March 12, 2018 at 16:28

    Thank you for using this verse. I really like it and I’m able to retain the information when it is simple and straight forward. I can do nothing without God’s strength. Amen

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