The One Necessary Relationship
Dr. Norman Wise
38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up [to Him] and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but [only] one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
[Luke 10:38-42 NASB]
We live in a world that evaluates us by our performance.
Doing things in our Western culture is more important than “being”. If we perform well, then people don’t really care about the state of our soul. Hard work is its own reward as long as it produced profit.
Now we can be sympathetic to Martha in this story.
The Messiah Jesus had come to their house. No greater honor could come to anyone. Everyone should do all they could to prepare a great meal and make everything perfect.
There was much to do for the Lord.
Yet, in the midst of all this need to work to do thing for the Lord, Mary simply stopped to sit at his feet and listen to HIS words.
How could she do this, didn’t she see how much had to be done?
Martha of course even doubted the Lord at this point.
She felt he did not care that an injustice was occurring. That Mary was treating her in an unfair way, making her do all the work.
So, while working for the Lord, she started to doubt the fairness of the Lord.
Yet, here the Lord gives her a reality check.
There will always be things to do, but only one thing is necessary, vital, and supremely important. That is simply “being” with the LORD Jesus. Abiding with HIM. Listening to HIM.
To simply be with Messiah Jesus was vital. Gaining from HIM life, light, wisdom, and HIS presence. This is the only thing that really matters in the end.
This fellowship with Messiah Jesus no amount of being busy for the LORD could ever replace.
This same lesson is hard for us to learn. The LORD Jesus reinforces this truth in John 15 and we are going to spend some time now meditating on this reality.
That the one thing that is necessary, vital, and of ultimate importance; is simply being in a focused, friendly, and firmly loyal relationship with Messiah Jesus
Prayer: Lord Jesus, it is so easy for me to be like Martha. There are so many things that need to be done for YOU. How can I spend time just being with YOU when so many tasks need to be done? They are important, practical, and needed. Yet, Lord, you tell me no there is one truly necessary thing that must be done. I must stop, sit, and be with YOU for without YOU I can do nothing. This is much harder than working hard for YOU. Stopping is not easy. Help me to know that without pausing to be with YOU, nothing I do will really matter. Amen
- Note for Martha: What you do is vital. It would have to be done. But learning to first spend time with the LORD and then while enjoying the fruit of that fellowship taking up the tasks is a better approach. I think that in the context there would have been a time for Mary to help Martha, but first she wanted to soak in as much time with the Lord as she would. But, yes there is work to be done in the strength of the LORD and it flows from the fellowship with Jesus.
- Why does Martha seem right in this story?
- What makes Mary look selfish?
- How could you in your life stop and simply spend time with the Lord Jesus?
- What hinders you from doing this more often?
“”I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1
“So, what is Christianity?
It is Christ. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Christianity is not an ideology or a philosophy.
Neither is it a new type of morality, social ethic, or worldview. Christianity is the “good news” that beauty, truth, and goodness are found in a person. And true humanity and community are founded on and experienced by connection to that person.
Conversion is more than a change in direction; it’s a change in connection.”
We are going to look at John 15:1-8. It is one of the most important teachings of the Lord Jesus. In fact, if we can experience what Jesus the Messiah teaches in this portion of scriptures then we will live successful and effective lives for God.
Let us try to understand how these eight verses are organized
1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every [branch] that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither [can] you unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6 “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and [so] prove to be My disciples. [Jhn 15:1-8 NASB]
Basic Structure of John 15:1-8
- VS. 1-3 – I am the vine and you are the branches – Teaching
- Vs. 4 – Abide in me – Command
- Vs. 5 – I am the vine and you are the branches – Teaching
Negative warning Vs 6 – If there is no abiding there is no life or fruit.
Positive promise Vs 7-8 – If you do abide there will fruit, the FATHER will be glorified
We see that the main point here is to learn to “abide in Jesus” and that without that there is no life or fruit; but with that we will be effective and bring glory to God the Father.
This teaching clearly states that success or failure all rests on experiencing this one reality; which is “abiding”
The first truth is that we must know who Jesus is and the role of God the Father in giving us an effective and meaningful life. Without know who Jesus is we cannot abide.
“”I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1
Jesus is the true vine and God the Father is the vinedresser or gardener.
Since Jesus says that HE is the “true” vine there must be at least one “false vine”.
The Messiah Jesus may be thinking of Jeremiah 2:21 in which Israel instead of being the faithful planted vine of the LORD, has become a foreign vine bearing ungodly fruit.
HE is the true Israel, the faithful vine, and the one that will now be the source of a great harvest from God. The LORD Jesus will be the source of life, fruitfulness, nourishment, and strength.
if I am looking to anyone outside Jesus to be the source of life, fruitfulness, nourishment, and strength I am connected to a “false vine” which will never produce the good fruit of true loving holiness.
Outside of Jesus where do I turn to find energy, effectiveness, and enjoyment?
This is my idol. We all have idols.
It must be Jesus only Jesus that I depend on as my Savior, hope, helper, healer, leader, teacher, prophet, priest, and king.
I come to know and experience Jesus as the source of healthy and holy life in me.
The Apostle Paul seems to reflect this when he says:
“”I have been crucified with Messiah Jesus; and it is no longer I who live, but Messiah Jesus lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
Only when we as we grow in our vision of Jesus can we grow in our abiding in HIM.
There was a sermon called “That’s My King” that always has helped me remember the greatness of the Lord Messiah Jesus.
You can listen to this message online at and if you can do so now! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzqTFNfeDnE&feature=emb_logo
Another summary of who Jesus is found in the message by Dr. James Allan Francis
“Here is a man who was born in an obscure village as the child of a peasant woman.
He grew up in another obscure village.
He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty and then for three years was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never owned a home.
He never had a family.
He never went to college.
He never put his foot inside a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born.
He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness.
He had no credentials but himself.
He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of his divine manhood.
While still a young man the tide of popular opinion turned against him.
His friends ran away.
One of them denied him.
Another betrayed him.
He was turned over to his enemies.
He went through the mockery of a trial.
He was nailed upon the cross between two thieves.
His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he had on earth while he was
dying, and that was his coat.
When he was dead, he was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.”
And then God raised HIM from the dead
Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today he is the center of the human race and the leader of the column of progress.
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon the earth as powerfully as has this one solitary life.”
This is the vine that we as branches are connected to and get our life from. This is the Lord King Jesus who we have a connection with and are in relationship with. Wow!
We are not saved by a doctrine or teaching, although we have to accept the truth about the Messiah Lord Jesus. But one can accept a doctrine and not know the person. To have life in us we have to be connected to the living person of the Messiah Jesus who died for our sins and was raised from the dead.
All who call out to the Lord Jesus Christ believing that HE died for their sins and was raised from the dead and now want HIM to be in their life as the ultimate source of truth, the ultimate forgiver of their sins, and the ultimate leader of their life, who ask HIM to come an dwell in them, be their life; will be connected and will have the eternal life of God the Son who became the Son of God; Jesus in them. Have you with sincerity and faith cried out to the LORD Jesus to save YOU? If not, now is a good time to do that and get connected to the Vine and have HIS life invade YOU.
The second truth of this first verse is that God the Father is the “vinedresser” or gardener. The heavenly Father takes care of the vineyard and HE oversees, cares for, nurtures, trims, and defends the garden and the vine (Matthew 21:33).
The eternal loving Father has planted HIS SON, giving HIM to be the source of life, grace, mercy, and love to HIS people. The effective Divine Gardener has great investment, care, and love for HIS vineyard. HE manages the vineyard to produce the greatest amount of production and profit for HIS kingdom.
The wise and compassionate Father is the ultimately good, great, committed, caring, and involved gardener of my life in Messiah Jesus.
How is God the Father active as a gardener in your life?
Living Triune great, good, and eternal Redeeming Creator, give me practical and real faith in the LORD Jesus to be the one and only source in my life that can produce in me wisdom, righteousness, love, holiness, purpose, and redemption. Help my heart to see that Messiah has a monopoly on everything good and that the only thing that I have to boast about is that HE is in me and I am in HIM (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
Good gardening Eternal Father, King of the Universe, help me believe that regardless of how chaotic my life appears, YOU are watching over, caring, and providing me daily opportunities to grow and give in a useful way. YOU are working all things out for good. Help me trust YOU heavenly Father when I am in the dark that YOU never sleep or slumber but are a faithful Watchman over my daily life and soul every moment of every day.
Give me faith LORD Jesus to trust YOU to be my vine and the Father to be my vinedresser.
1. What outside of Jesus do you trust in to give to you, life, productiveness, and effectiveness?
2. Do you trust that God the Father is a good gardener in your life? Do you believe HE cares for you? Why or why not?
“”Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2
The person who is a branch of the VINE Jesus is one who has professed that HE is the Messiah, the God the Son and who has become the Son of God. (John 1:1-18)
I am a branch if I have claimed Messiah Jesus as my DIVINE personal Messiah and am united with HIM by faith.
If I have sincerely asked Jesus to be my personal Prophet, Priest, and King; then I am united to the vine and have connection with HIM. The LORD will always bear fruit in every person who has a true relationship with HIM.
This is a true faith, trust, commitment, and acceptance of the Lord Jesus as my one source of hope, forgiveness, and life.
Every person who really believes in the Messiah Jesus will bear some fruit of the Spirit in their lives.
The question is “Do I know HIM” not just a doctrine about HIM; but do I know HIM. If I know HIM then I am a branch connected to HIM.
Now some who claim to have such a relationship do not bear the fruit of Messiah Jesus which is love (1 Corinthians 13; Gal 5:22).
To the degree that people have God’s unconditional love for others and love for Jesus then to that degree we can know that they have a real relationship with Jesus. When people have no fruit of love in their lives then their professed faith is not real faith (James 2).
Most every translation translates the Greek word (airo) as “He takes away”. This would seem to be an understandable translation in light of John 15:6 in which it is clear that some do not abide and therefore without the fruit of love face a judgment of fire.
This would be seen as a person who made an outward profession of faith in the LORD Jesus but never truly was possessed by the LORD Jesus. Such would be the case of Judas and others who leave the faith after professing it. (Matthew 13:21)
Yet the word itself has a primary meaning of to “lift up” or “carry”.
If this is what it means in this verse this would mean that the Infinite Father would be lifting this branch up out of the darkness where it cannot bear fruit to a place where it would bear fruit.
This would be a translation that focuses on the idea of the branch being “in the Vine” as more than a formal outward profession but a real spiritual connection.
In this case the lack of fruit of the branch would be temporary and the lifting up would allow it to bear fruit.
That the great GARDENER of our souls does do this is without question. For when a branch does bear some fruit, then he “prunes” that branch to make it more productive. The word for prunes is καθαίρει (kathairei) which means really that the Great loving Divine Father cleans us. 
This may well be the chastising discipline promised to all God’s children for their good and the increase of their productivity as disciples given to us by the author of Hebrews.
“You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. (Hebrews 12:4-6)
I can only bear fruit because I am “in the VINE Jesus” because the power of life and love are in my union and communion with HIM. That connection is vital for me becoming a person of unconditional love for other people and passionate love for the one true TRIUNE God. If I am without love in me then this may indicate that I am not really in a life-giving relationship “IN the VINE”.
Perhaps, I am only professing faith in the LORD Jesus without really being possessed by the LORD Jesus. When I lack love for God and other people, I need to examine myself to see if I really am in a real relationship by faith with the LORD Jesus (2 Corinthians 13:5). However, none of us love perfectly or are “abiding perfectly” because none of us love perfectly yet. So the Father cleanses us to make us more able to be vessels of love.
Yet, a season of lacking fruit, what is called a “dark night of the soul” may occur in a true believers life and the loving and compassionate Heavenly Father will lift me up and carry me into the light where I can experience and share Jesus’ love with others again.
The purpose of the Heavenly Gardener is to care, nurture, correct, discipline, and cleanse me so that my life may bear abundant fruit of loving actions, words, and attitudes.
God the Father has destined and determined that I will be effective in reflecting HIS love to a dark world because of the life of the LORD Jesus in me and the loving concern He has in actively being involved and watching over me.
May I become more and more aware of being connected to the LORD Jesus in a living relationship of faith and love, that will produce in me a life worth living.
May I see the intervention of the Heavenly Gardener my Father, helping me to become ever more effective in living a good, noble, and praiseworthy life for HIS glory.
Father, Son, and Spirit are involved in producing in me a life reflecting the character of Jesus’s love into the world (Ephesians 2:10)
Great Living Lord Jesus, allow YOUR life to flow into me and bear fruit.
Make me more and more aware of our union and communion in the SPIRIT. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.
Heavenly Father cleanse me so that I will bear more abundant faith, hope, and love in my life.
Help me to produce an abundant life of loving words, actions, and attitudes for YOUR glory.
Help me feel, see, and understand YOUR active work in me.
Let me hear YOUR word and believe YOUR word so that I may live in the light of YOUR word.
Thank YOU for making me a branch attached to YOU. Make me fruitful. Amen
- Do you see the fruit of love in some way coming out of your relationship with Christ Jesus?
- Have you ever been lifted up out of a “dark night of the soul” by the heavenly Father?
3. Have you ever seen spiritual discipline by the Heavenly Father produce greater love in your life?
“”You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” John 15:3
The disciples have already been cleansed by the gospel of the kingdom that has come to them in the revelation of the Messiah Jesus. They have been forgiven their sins, removed from the world. taken out of the false vine of the unbelieving culture and transplanted into the true vine, Jesus. They are now clean in that new relationship with HIM as the vine. This may remind them of what HE had said earlier in the evening when HE had washed their feet.
“Jesus *said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.”” John 13:10
While the washing of feet is needed to maintain purity from the culture of unbelief the disciples have been radically removed from that culture of rebellion to now become citizens of King Jesus’ kingdom. The Lord Jesus wants them to know they can bear much fruit because they have that relationship with HIM.
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14
Our forgiveness, purification, and spiritual cleaning comes through the power of the WORD of the gospel of the kingdom of God. The gospel of God’s love for us by sending God the Son to become the Son of God, bring us the light of HIS life, die as the LAMB of God for our sins, and be raised from the dead to give us eternal life in joyful relationship with the Triune God has given us new birth, new life, and cleansed us of our sins.
“”For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
The basis of our abiding in the VINE Jesus, is knowing that we are in the VINE and HIS life is flowing into us. We are able to bear fruit because that relationship already exists. Bearing fruit is the natural result of being in the VINE.
We just have to believe in Messiah Jesus and keep on believing more and more in Messiah Jesus. The just shall live by faith in Messiah Jesus.
The Father must prune from us those remaining doubts, lack of trust, idols, sins, and distractions that hinder our being as fruitful as we could be “In Messiah JESUS”.
But we must not forget.
We are clean in Messiah Jesus!
We are forgiven in Messiah Jesus!
We belong to Messiah Jesus!
We are connected to Messiah Jesus!
We have life in us in Messiah Jesus!
Knowing that we are clean, that we are connected to the vine, that the life of the Lord Jesus flows into us, and that we are the branches of the VINE; this gives us the joyful anticipation of bearing much fruit.
We must grow in our faith and trust in Jesus being our personal ultimate Prophet, High Priest, and absolute King of our lives. As our faith in Messiah Jesus grows, we will bear more and more fruit.
Thank YOU, LORD Jesus, for making me clean. Thank YOU for forgiving me my sins! Thank YOU for giving me YOUR life in me. Help me live in this reality. Let my faith in YOU grow. Let me see YOU more clearly, love YOU more dearly, and follow YOU more dearly, that YOU may be glorified, manifested, and revealed in me. Amen
1. Do you feel “clean” from the sins of the past or do you still struggle with a sense of shame and guilt? How do you think you could become free of these feelings of guilt and shame?
2. Faith come by hearing the Word of Christ Jesus! What could you do to become more aware of the goodness, greatness, and grace of the Lord Jesus in your life?
3. What are the most important “Words of Christ Jesus” that have come to your life? What impact have they had on you?
“”Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4
I am 100% percent dependent on the Vine Jesus to bear spiritual fruit in my life. This would seem to be the fruit of the Holy Spirit who is the presence of the Messiah Jesus in me.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25
What does it mean to abide, remain, or sojourn in the Vine Jesus?
The Lord Jesus provides us with a bit more insight in these words:
“He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” John 6:56
In the context of John 6 the eating and drinking of the flesh and blood of the Messiah Jesus is to believe in HIM as the Messiah, the incarnate Word, and Son of God.
“Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”” John 6:29
“”Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”
Now part of my practice as a believer is to receive because of my faith, the communion or Lord’s Supper as a way of remembering and participating in the act of salvation that Jesus accomplished by dying for my sin. The connection between the eating and drinking and remaining in the VINE Jesus by faith can be seen. Part of my abiding in Jesus takes place in my worship of HIM both in private and with others.
I abide, dwell, and sojourn in the Vine Jesus as I have a relationship of trust in HIM to be my Lord, Savior, Prophet, Priest, and King.
This means that I do not turn away from HIS word or teachings and that I actively focus my faith, trust, gratitude, and loyalty on HIM as my one source of life and love.
Remaining in HIM would normally mean that I am connected to HIS body the Church through participating in loving relationship with other believers and participating in worship with them.
Part of what it means to abide can be seen in the story of Martha and Mary. This is the story we started with, but I want us to remind ourselves of it at this point.
“Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”” Luke 10:38-42
Spending time with the LORD Jesus, resting before HIM, and paying close attention to HIS words is part of the way we abide with HIM and HIS life flows through us bearing the fruit of love (John 15:3).
Like Martha, I can become busy with many good things that I think will serve the LORD Jesus but then fail to simply be with HIM to listen to HIM.
Jesus is telling me that living a life of love, good works, self-denial, and mercy is just a natural process and is as easy and normal as a branch bearing abundant fruit who are attached to a vine. It is the result of having a relationship of living faith with the VINE Jesus by dwelling in HIS words, worshipping HIM, and focusing on HIS suffering for my sins to give me forgiveness and eternal life.
Prayers of faith through and to Jesus would be part of this abiding. The one reality is that I do abide in the VINE Jesus and HE abides with me, but I need to get in touch with this reality in my experience to fully benefit from that reality and to practically bear the fruit of obedient love.
All my effectiveness as a disciple of the Messiah Jesus depends on my abiding, remaining, and sojourning with HIM. My success as a follower of Messiah Jesus depend on abiding in HIM. This is the most critical reality to experience in my life.
Great Savior, Lord, Prophet, Priest, and King Jesus; teach me how to experience and benefit from abiding in YOU. Let me see that without YOU I can do nothing of any worth. So good LORD, who fully understands what it means to abide, please let me become a fruitful branch attached to YOU. I am weak and easily distracted with many things like Martha. Give me the heart of Mary that day that she sat at your feet listening to YOUR words. Please bear your fruit of obedient love through me this day. Without YOU LORD Jesus I can do nothing of any worth this day. Bear YOUR fruit through me. Amen
- Why does it seem we can do many “things” without abiding in the Vine Jesus?
- How can we overcome the lie that this is true?
3. What step could you take in your relationship with Christ Jesus that would be one in which you feel it would help you experience “abiding”.
“”I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
Jesus is the vine, the source of life, character, and true effectiveness and I am a believing disciple in union and communion with HIM. HE has placed me into HIM
“”You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. “This I command you, that you love one another.” John 15:16-17
I need to moment by moment remain in a trusting relationship of total dependence upon the LORD Jesus the vine. I must recognize that I have no power, life, or ability to bear an effective loving life apart from HIM. I have no ability to produce real good works outside of HIS life flowing through me. Every action of love that I have ever done is really the result of the LORD Jesus’ work in me.
The more I can really remember and rely on this reality then I can cooperate with this process of bearing the fruit of God’s love and love for God in my life.
Even my desire to abide is really the life of Jesus in me producing a hunger and thirst to be in HIM.
I can glorify the Father and the Son for making this possible. I can deeply believe that without the LORD Jesus I can do nothing worth doing for the kingdom of God. My effectiveness is 100% dependent on HIM and HIM alone.
The Apostle Paul seems to reflect on this same truth when he says:
“”I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” Galatians 2:20
My relationship with the LORD Jesus is then the most critical factor in determining my ability to live a life that has a legacy of loving word, deeds, and attitudes. The more deeply I am “in the vine” and the life of the VINE Jesus flows into me then I will produce an eternally productive way of life day by day. It all depends on my Messiah Jesus.
All my worship, prayer, bible reading, meditation, practicing HIS presence while living and working, needs to be aimed at experiencing the reality of the relationship HE has given me and recognize the wonder of my abiding life that is “IN HIM”. To feel and to allow to flow HIS life in me to accomplish HIS will on earth as in heaven.
Good, great, and merciful Living Messiah Jesus, allow me to be a fruitful branch this day. I don’t want to waste today by trying to bear fruit in my own strength. I have no strength. I have no life but the life YOU give me. I am barren and broken outside of YOU. I can produce nothing truly productive outside of YOU. My one hope is that YOUR life will flow through me and produce in me words, actions, and attitudes of LOVE. Regardless of what I do, if I don’t have YOUR LOVE in me it profits me nothing at all. LORD, pour out YOUR love into me this day. I cast my many cares on YOU. They are greater than my strength to bear them. Carry them for me. Lift me up, cleanse me, and make me a fruitful branch this day for YOUR glory and my good. Thank YOU for having mercy on me. Amen
1. If all the love you have ever expressed after your acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior in your life is the fruit of HIS life in you, how does this change how you look at your Christian life?
2. What care and concern do you need to cast on Jesus at this present moment? Give it to HIM now!
“”If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” John 15:6
There are those who never were in the Vine Jesus and so these are seen as useless branches whose only use is to put into the fire to burn.
This verse raises the question if some branches who were in the Vine Jesus were “cut off” because they were fruitless (John 15:2). In this case we would have to see the branches as not true believers but those that were formally connected through outward profession to the Vine Jesus, but HIS life was never in them.
The LORD Jesus warns us of such a reality when HE says:
“”Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'” Matthew 7:21-23
There can be those who profess faith in the LORD Jesus, even do miracles in HIS name, but who never bear the fruit of character transforming love which is the fruit of KNOWING HIM. Their hearts are still lawless and filled with rebellion even when they outwardly preach and minister in the name of the Messiah Jesus. Without love, nothing they do profits them for they never had a personal relationship with Jesus the LORD.
Judas is of course the perfect example of this type of formal relationship which is really without life. Such people do not lose their salvation for the Messiah Jesus says that he “never knew them”. Christ Jesus has taught that HE does not lose any of HIS true sheep.
“”My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. “I and the Father are one.”” John 10:27-30
The Messiah Jesus most likely had Ezekiel 15:1-8 in mind as HE taught these words.
“Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Son of man, how is the wood of the vine better than any wood of a branch which is among the trees of the forest? “Can wood be taken from it to make anything, or can men take a peg from it on which to hang any vessel? “If it has been put into the fire for fuel, and the fire has consumed both of its ends and its middle part has been charred, is it then useful for anything? “Behold, while it is intact, it is not made into anything. How much less, when the fire has consumed it and it is charred, can it still be made into anything! “Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, ‘As the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest, which I have given to the fire for fuel, so have I given up the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I set My face against them. Though they have come out of the fire, yet the fire will consume them. Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I set My face against them. ‘Thus, I will make the land desolate, because they have acted unfaithfully,'” declares the Lord GOD.” Ezekiel 15:1-8
Jerusalem would again be facing destruction by fire by the Romans in 70 A.D. due to their rejection and murder of the Messiah. What happened with the Babylonians will happen again as the legions of Rome bury Jerusalem because of her sins. The Lord Jesus’ teaching has both personal and corporate warning to it.
The Messiah Jesus is teaching clearly that HE is the way, the truth, and the life and no one can be in fellowship with the Father but through HIM (John 14:6).
This seems hard to believe that there is such a narrow way to have eternal life and salvation.
The reason is that we are worst then we think we are and outside of the LORD Jesus we cannot produce any true works of unconditional love. Each of us are radically and massively moral failures.
As the Apostle Paul teaches reflecting on Psalm 51:1-6 and Psalm 14:1-7.
“as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE, WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,” “THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”; “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”; “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD, DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS, AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.” “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:10-20
Because the Lord is just, HE will render to everyone what their lives deserve, but what I deserve justly and rightly is to be thrown as a fruitless branch into the fire of hell forever. This is true of me and of all humanity.
I am in desperate need of a Savior to forgive our sins and a regeneration of my heart that I might produce real words, actions, and attitudes of love.
The LORD Jesus is that suffering Savior that has paid the price of my moral failures by bearing the just wrath of God for them on the cross and now as the risen LORD and Messiah can grant me forgiveness and an abundant life in union and communion with HIM. I can be by HIS grace a fruitful branch sharing HIS LOVE in words and deeds to the entire world.
But outside of a living relationship with Jesus there is only despair, death, and destruction. The most vital issue of my life is “Do I know HIM?” Paul will urge the Corinthian believers to “”Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5
It is vital that I test and examine myself to try to ensure my soul that I have a real relationship with the Living Christ Jesus for this is the most critical concern of my life. The Apostle Paul will tell us:
“Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”” 2 Timothy 2:19
While the LORD alone knows exactly who HIS true branches are I can by abstaining from wickedness and seeking to purify myself as HE is pure, demonstrate my living relationship with HIM by faith. May I keep this reality always fresh in my mind.
LORD, let me know the truth as YOU know the truth. I don’t want to just imagine that I abide in YOU while the truth is that I am cut off, fruitless, and damned. Assure me through YOUR SPIRIT within me and by bearing fruit through me that I am “IN YOU”. Lord cleanse me and help be bear more abundant fruit today. Maximize my ability to produce words and actions of YOUR perfect love in my life. Allow me to reach my full potential for YOU and YOUR kingdom. Amen
1. Do you have a living relationship with the Living Christ Jesus? Why do you believe this is true?
2. Some Christians are too quick to claim the Lord Jesus as “fire insurance” and live for the devil while claiming heaven as their home and others are too quick to doubt their relationship with the LORD Jesus, causing them to despair instead of hope. How would you keep yourself free of both extremes?
“”If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:7
This abiding, remaining, and sojourning in the VINE Jesus is connected to HIS words remaining in us. This would imply that one of the ways that I am connected to the Living Lord Jesus is through HIS words which are found in the gospels. Part of being a believing disciple is the desire to master and be mastered by the words of my Master Jesus.
What does it mean to be a believing disciple?
“Typically in the Jewish world, a disciple would voluntarily join a school or otherwise seek out a master rabbi; however, Jesus seeks out and chooses those whom he wants as his disciples (Mk 1:17; 2:14; Lk 5:1–11; cf. Mt 4:18–21). A dedicated disciple was generally expected someday to become a rabbi himself, yet Jesus teaches his disciples that he will always be their rabbi and they will have a lifetime of discipleship (Mt 23:8; cf. Mt 10:24–25, 37; Lk 14:26–27; Jn 11:16). Jesus’ disciples are bound to him and to God’s will (Mt 12:46–50; cf. Mk 3:31–45). They are called to a lifetime of work and service (Mt 16:15–19; Mk 1:17; Lk 5:10),” (Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament words: Zondervan)
A disciple was one who had found a “master teacher”; who one was so awed by their lives and wisdom that they wanted to think, feel, and act as a clone of that person. There as a deep admiration, love, devotion, and following of this teacher. In Jesus’ case HE chose those who would be HIS most intimate followers and they responded to this call by following, learning, and striving to imitate HIM.
Abiding in the LORD Jesus, is actively engaging in the teachings and life of HIM so that they saturate my head, govern my heart, and guide my hands in all that I do. It is to have the life teachings of Jesus empowered by the Holy Spirit deeply abide in my soul so that out of these words of Jesus, my world view, attitudes, goals, hopes, and dreams are created. John Piper says:
“What that means for letting the words of Jesus abide in us is that we do not just read the Bible, and do not just memorize and meditate on the Bible, and do not just listen to preaching and teaching from the Bible. It means that we seek the words of Jesus as living words — words that come not in the abstract but come from the heart and on the lips of a living Person whom we love more than any other person in the world.”
At this point the LORD Jesus gives an astonishing promise that the disciple who is so dominated by HIS words can ask whatever they wish in prayer and it will be done for them. He had said this earlier.
“”Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14
Now to ask in the “name” of the LORD Jesus is to make our prayers by HIS authority, for HIS purposes, and for HIS pleasure. Whatever I ask for the will of the LORD Jesus to me done on earth as in heaven by the HIS Messianic authority. In the context of John 15 it would be prayers to bear the fruit of love in every relationship in my life and to have the wisdom of Christ Jesus totally dominate my thoughts, attitudes, and actions. Such a promise is not to be used for my selfish desires but for HIS kingdom desires in my life and the lives of others.
My prayers are focused on bearing “Jesus fruit” if I am abiding in HIM and HIS WORD. Such prayers will be answered. They are “Kingdom Focused Prayers” and deeply informed prayers guided by the wisdom and life of my Master Jesus.
Great Redeeming Creator in the Messiah Jesus, put in me a deeper awe of YOUR greatness, goodness, and grace. Open my mind and heart to YOUR WORDS Messiah. Let them deeply abide in my inner core and soul. Allow them to guide my petitions and desires. Allow me now to pray the prayers that will allow fruit to be released in my life. Forgive me for thinking I don’t need YOUR WORDS but only my own words to govern my head, heart, and hands. Forgive my pride, rebellion, and independent attitude. Help me to see that without YOU and YOUR WORDS, I can do nothing that matters or will last. Help me to have a humble, submissive, and dependent attitude that relies and rests in YOU moment by moment. Amen
1. How would having “Kingdom Focused” prayers change the way you pray?
2. What “Kingdom Focused” prayer is the Lord leading you to pray today?
“”My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:8
The heavenly Father’s goodness, greatness, and grace is proclaimed and manifested before all creation when the life of the VINE Jesus flows into believing disciples and they bear the fruit of lives filled with actions, attitudes, and words of true love.
The ultimate evidence that I truly have become a disciple of the LORD Jesus with a living relationship with HIM is when HIS unconditional and sacrificial love for others is seen in me (John 15:12).
The purpose of my life is to reflect the character, competence, and compassion of the God as manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ. As I become an imitator of HIM by having HIS life flow into me and bear fruit through me, I reach the full potential of my life.
This is a far cry from the purpose of my life is to find personal peace and prosperity since to love as the Lord Jesus loved means that I will have to sacrifice my personal peace and prosperity for the good of others and HIS kingdom. I will have to take up my cross and follow HIM.
I am tempted many times to live for my own glory and not to see the Father be glorified in me. I want my goodness, my greatness, and my grace proclaimed. I don’t want my good deeds seen as the life of Christ Jesus in me but as a demonstration that I am better and brighter than others. I want to build my own ego through acts of self-righteousness instead of having Christ’s righteousness flowing through me that people might see my good works so that they may give glory to my Father in heaven.
As Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount; “”Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
When I was in Bible college a few of us came to the realization that the purpose of life was to “glorify God” and not just to “win souls”.
Our schools one focus was just on seeing people become believers so that they could go to heaven. We were spiritual “fire rescue people” who were snatching people out of the flames by preaching the gospel of grace to them. The only thing that mattered is that they become “believers in grace” that they might escape hell fire. Now my school had little vision of really making them disciples except that they also could become “fire rescue people”. The focus was a spiritual type of humanitarianism and not about the greatness, goodness, and grace of the heavenly Father being seen before a watching world.
As we read passages from Paul; “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31. We could see that our only concern should not just be evangelism but to “glorify God”.
Yet this truth just became for me evidence that I was “better and brighter” than those who were “fire rescue” Christians. I had become part of an elite group of those who knew the real purpose of life. So instead of this truth leading to the glory of God it led to me glorifying myself for having greater knowledge than other people.
It is so easy to even have truth misused in my life.
As Pastor John Piper says; “We live to make Christ look magnificent!” As John the Baptist said must be true of my life; “HE must increase but I must decrease” (John 3:30). On the day of judgment, the LORD will not be focused on how much we knew but on how well we had shown our love for HIM by demonstrating HIS love to others.
“”But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'”Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”” Matthew 25:31-46
To really be a true disciple I have to have deeds of love which comes from the abiding life of the VINE Jesus flow into me and out of me for the purpose of all creation seeing reflected in me the goodness, greatness, and grace of the heavenly Father. This is why I was, born and reborn. This is supposed to be the ultimate concern of my life, to see the heavenly Father glorified.
Good, great, and merciful Father in heaven who has brought infinite grace to me in my Messiah Jesus, forgive me for my pride, self-centeredness, and spiritual blindness. Forgive me for even turning truth into something that serves me, to exalt me, instead of serving YOU. Give to me the gift of humility. Save me from my pride. For YOUR glory save me from myself.
Broken as I am, still allow YOUR life LORD Jesus to come flowing through me. Good Father prune me that I will bear more fruit. Allow me to be a true branch with true union with YOU and bring acts of love through me that the Father might be glorified in some ways through the tangled messy life I live.
LORD, have mercy, lift me up, cleanse me, and make me a fruitful branch. Amen
1. Do you live to have people see the “glory of the gospel” in your daily attitudes, words, and actions by having the life of Christ flow through you? Is this part of your daily and normal approach to daily life? Explain your answer.
2. How would you define success? Do you think that your definition is the same as God has for your life?
Practical Tools for Abiding in Christ
The Seven Rs and Seven Kingdom Prayers
Spend two minutes in silence before the presence of the Living Christ and ask HIM to reveal himself to you.
- Request the Seven Kingdom Prayer
- Give me good soil in my heart that I may bear your fruit (Matthew 13:23).
- Give me the gift of faith to believe in Lord Jesus as a true disciple (Romans 10:17).
- Give me a changed renewed mind that can think Jesus’ thoughts after HIM and reject the thoughts of the unbelieving culture in which I was raised (Romans 12:1-3)
- Let not my will but YOUR will be done in my life. (Luke 22:42)
- Fill me with the Holy Spirit that I may be controlled by the Holy Spirit and filled with divine love through HIM (Romans 5:1-5; Ephesians 5:17-21)
- Let me abide in the Vine Jesus as a branch and bear much fruit. (John 15:1-8)
- Deliver me from the evil one, the world, and my own unbelief. Defeat the purpose of the devil in my life. (Matthew 6:13)
- Review the last twenty-four hours.
- What good did the Lord bring into your life and what good did you bring to the lives of others?
- What bad things happened in your life? How did you see the Lord working even through loss, pain, abuse, and suffering?
- What ugly actions, words, or attitudes did you have in the last twenty-four hours. Where did you hurt or sin against others?
- Where did you most see God active in the last twenty-four hours? Did God disappoint you today in some way? What questions do you have for God? What praise could you give God.
3. Repent – Confess to God the ugly things you have done, accept his forgiveness in Christ Jesus, and seek to turn away from these sins. Ask yourself, “Why did I do this?” or “What caused me to act this way”. Confess these root attitudes as well as the actual sin. (1 John 1:8-10)
4. Rejoice – Look at the good you received as the gift of God to you through others and the good you did to others as the life of Christ being released through you. Praise God for HIS blessing you in these ways,
5. Release – Cast all your cares of the day upon the Lord for the LORD Jesus cares for you and loves you. Look to the day coming up and give it to God, surrendering each event and saying, “not my will but your will be done.” (1 Peter 5:7; James 4:15)
6. Read – Take time to meditate upon a paragraph of scripture, a portion of a psalm, or some short segment that you can deeply meditate upon.
1. Read it out loud and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the passage.
2. Paraphrase the scripture in your own words and read this out loud. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you through this passage.
3. What is God specifically saying to you in this passage today? What words or phrases most strike you? Put your name in the passage and read it with your name put into the verse so that God is speaking to you. Pray the Holy Spirit to speak to you through the Word.
4. Read the passage out loud and ask the Lord how you are to apply it. Write out the application. Commit this to God in prayer.
7. Rest in the Lord – Sing a song to the Lord and just be with HIM for a time. End in at least two minutes of silence open to be led by the Lord’s Spirit.
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Make the subject: My thoughts about the one essential thing
Closing Serenity Prayer
Heavenly Father, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as my LORD Jesus did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that the LORD Jesus will make all things work together for good
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.
“That’s My King”
A message by Rev. Dr. Shadrach Meshach Lockridge (1913 – 2000).
“My King was born King.
The Bible says my King is a seven-way King:
He’s the King of the Jews. That’s a
He’s the King of Israel. That’s a
He’s the King of righteousness.
He’s the King of the ages.
He’s the King of Heaven.
He’s the King of Glory.
He’s the King of Kings and He is
the Lord of Lords.
Now, that’s my King.
Well, I wonder, do you know Him? Do
you know Him?
Don’t try to mislead me, do you know
David said, “The heavens declare the
glory of God and the firmament
showeth His handiwork.”
My King is the only one whom…
There’s no means of measure can
define His limitless love.
No farseeing telescope can bring
into visibility the coastline of His
No barrier can hinder Him from
pouring out His blessings.
Well, Well, He’s enduringly strong.
He’s entirely sincere.
He’s eternally steadfast.
He’s immortally graceful.
He’s imperially powerful.
He’s impartially merciful.
That’s my King
He’s God’s Son.
He’s the sinner’s Savior.
He’s the centerpiece of civilization.
He stands alone in Himself.
He’s august and He’s unique.
He’s the loftiest idea in literature.
He’s the highest personality in
He’s the supreme problem in
He’s the fundamental doctrine of
He’s the core and necessity of
That’s my King!
He’s the miracle of the age.
He’s the superlative of everything
good that you choose to call Him.
Well, He’s the only one able to supply
all of our needs simultaneously.
He supplies strength to the weak.
He’s available for the tempted and
He sympathizes and He saves.
He our guard and He guide.
He heals the sick.
He cleanses the lepers.
He forgives sinners.
He discharges debtors.
He delivers the captives.
He defends the feeble.
He blesses the young.
He serves the unfortunate.
He regards the aged.
He rewards the diligent and
He beautifies the meek.
Do you know Him?
Well! My King is the Key of
He’s the Wellspring of wisdom.
He’s the Doorway of deliverance.
He’s the Pathway of peace.
He’s the Roadway of righteousness.
He’s the Highway of holiness.
He’s the Gateway of glory.
He’s the Master of the mighty.
He’s the Captain of the conquerors.
He’s the Head of the heroes.
He’s the Leader of the legislators.
He’s the Overseer of the
He’s the Governor of governors.
He’s the Prince of princes.
He’s the King of kings and
He’s the Lord of lords.
That’s my King! Yeah! Yeah!
That’s my King. My King.
Yeah, His office is manifold.
His promise is sure.
His life is matchless.
His goodness is limitless.
His mercy is everlasting.
His love never changes.
His word is enough.
His grace is sufficient.
His reign is righteous.
And His yoke is easy and His
burden is light.
Well… I wish I could describe Him
But He, He’s indescribable. He’s
He, He’s incomprehensible.
I’ve come to tell you, the heaven of
heavens cannot contain Him let
alone a man explain Him.
You can’t get Him out of your mind.
You can’t get Him off of your hand.
You can’t out live Him and
You can’t live without Him.
Well, the Pharisees couldn’t stand
Him, but they found out they
couldn’t stop Him.
Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him.
The witnesses couldn’t get their testimonies to agree.
Herod couldn’t kill Him.
Death couldn’t handle Him and the
grave couldn’t hold Him.
That’s my King, yeah!
He always has been, and he
always will be.
I’m talking about… He has no
predecessor, and He’ll have no
There was nobody before Him and
there’ll be nobody after Him.
You can’t impeach Him, and He’s
not going to resign.
That’s my King!
Great is the Lord! That’s my king!
Thine, thine is the Kingdom and
the power and the glory. Yeah!
Thine is the Kingdom and the
power and the glory.
For ever and ever and ever and
How long is that?
And ever and ever, and ever and
And when you get through with all
of the forevers, then Amen!”
If that’s how Dr Lockridge
described God while seeing Him
‘through a glass, darkly’ here on
Earth, how do you think he’d
describe God now he’s seen Him
face to face in Heaven?
 Sweet, Leonard; Viola, Frank. Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ (Kindle Locations 204-208). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.