A word about what God is doing, March 4 2019.
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“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away:
and every branch that bears fruit he prunes….if anyone does not abide in Me,
he is cast out as a branch and is withered;
and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
Today I had the pleasure of praying in the spirit for two hours with a couple of faithful Christian friends. By this I don’t mean that we spoke in tongues, although there was some of that as well. I mean that the Holy Spirit spoke freely through us, placing His words in our mouths (Isaiah 51:16) as we took turns to be His mouthpiece. What had started out as a prayer to dedicate our get-together to the Lord quickly became a delectable taste of prophetic house-keeping and warfare.
After my friends left, I spent some time with my son, and then I mowed the lawns. As the sun went down, I was gripped by an impulse to prune a fuchsia and a couple of small trees, all huddled near my front door. I believe that this was a prophetic act, and an opportunity for God to teach me about what he is doing right now in His Church.
I pray that you have eyes to see and ears to hear.
One of the trees was mostly dead wood. It had clearly been there a long time, and had been pruned before – but not for some time. It showed little sign of life itself, and crowded out the fuchsia, strangling it for lack of light and nutrients. On the surface of it, the fuchsia had a lot of foliage and many branches, most of them relatively young. Hidden beneath the fuchsia was another tree the same kind as the dead one, which had somehow stood its ground and staked its claim on a place in the light. It grew strong and healthy and upright, but took up remarkably little space for its size. It didn’t have any dead branches and had no weak or wayward growth. I only noticed this tree after I had heavily pruned the other plants around it.
I found that the dead wood was brittle, and snapped easily – it was usually easy to remove, even coming away easily from the base of the trunk. Sometimes a living branch was entangled with a dead branch, making it harder to remove the dead branch and putting the live branch at risk of being damaged or removed in the process. This only happened with the weaker, stringy branches – not strong ones which had been established for a long time and were still thriving.
The trees hadn’t been pruned for a long time. The dead wood had made it difficult for the fuchsia’s branches to reach the light. As a result there were many sickly, weak, spindly branches on both plants, competing with each other for sun-light. Some branches were diseased.
I was compelled to ruthlessly remove every branch which didn’t show signs of life, or was weak or growing out of place. Google later confirmed for me that this was the right thing to do – ‘the removal of dead wood, sickly branches and wayward growth would allow new growth to flourish with bounteous foliage and flowers’.
So much dead wood had accumulated at the center of the trunk, that new shoots had been forced to come forth further from the trunk – these were all stringy and weak. They were very flexible but had less foliage and flowers, if any. Many branches only bore signs of life at the tips of the branches, where they were exposed to light. When I pulled out the dead branches (particularly the larger ones), from the base of the tree, spiders and their webs were exposed. Without the dead wood they will have no-where to hide. It will also be easier to access the ground around the trees, to feed them and remove debris, enriching the soil.
I feel that this was a prophetic act, and that the Lord used it to show me what He is doing with His Church as we speak.
Friends are you producing fruit? Do you bear signs of life? If you are an older branch are you dead wood, getting between new growth and their source, and crowding out the light? Or are you a strong branch, contributing to the growth of the whole tree including the new branches? Are you new growth, and if so, are you growing where you can reach the light easily? Or are you crowded out by dead wood or other branches competing for light? And what of the trees? Is your ministry mostly dead branches? Are you involved in one ministry which would be thriving if it wasn’t being crowded out and choked to death by a ministry which is barely alive? Is your ministry strong and healthy and upright? Or is it a tangled mess of wayward branches, competing with each other and growing crooked as they weakly reach for the light?
Heavenly Father thank-you that you use your beautiful creation to teach us your ways. In Jesus’ name I ask you to give us the wisdom and understanding to recognise how we and our ministries may be represented in this picture, and to take any action we feel compelled to, in order to contribute to the overall health of the trees, or to take time and humble ourselves to receive your wisdom and instructions, and then have the courage to step out in faith and obedience – that your will be done. Amen.