By Ruth Knoke, Florida Sun Coast Circuit

(Jesus said) "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples." John 15:8

Every morning among my Scripture readings for my morning devotion, I read a Psalm and a chapter in the book of John. No matter how many, many times I've read and reread those 21 chapters, I find new insights from God's Word.

Today I read chapter 15, and the above verse reminds us to "bear much fruit" as we live as Jesus' disciples, his ambassadors here in this world. In God's world of nature, to bear much fruit or produce a good crop, both sunshine and rain must come. Farmers and gardeners will tell you how essential it is. So it is with our lives. Some days will be sunny and bright, some just cloudy, and some bring refreshing rain. When there's a long drought the land ceases to be productive. So it is with God's people. A "drought" from his Word, away from his refreshing rain and sunshine for our souls, brings a "crop" failure for our day. We complain, instead of counting our blessings. We read the newspaper to find out what's going on in the terrorist world or listen to the TV while neglecting our Bible reading. Instead of peace, our souls become fearful. Only in God's Word with the comfort the Holy Spirit brings, will we find peace. We must be in the Word.

We also must have both sunshine and rain, clouds and storms to "bear much fruit", for that's how we grow. That's how we become God’s strong persevering disciples. Just as he uses sunshine and rain storms to bring good crops from the land, so also he uses sunny and storm-filled days in our lives to help us grow spiritually. And grow we will until our dying day, if we continue in his Word and the Sacraments.

Read all of John chapter 15, and especially note the first two verses. Our Father trims our lives as a vineyard caretaker trims his vines so we will bear much fruit to his glory!

Thank You, Jesus, for loving us so much that you trim from our lives unnecessary things and bless our lives with the rain and sunshine of your Word to help us grow and “bear much fruit". Thank you for your saving grace. Amen.