A weeping, flowering
cherry tree is one of the most beautiful of all of the ornamental trees. We
bought my mother-in-law one for Mother’s Day many years ago. She was so
excited. Being a certified nurseryman, I planted the tree exactly the way it
should be done. The next year it bloomed nicely—and even better the next year.
However, after about
four or five years, my mother-in-law called me right after the tree had
bloomed. She expressed concern because the tree barely bloomed at all that
spring. In fact, she said it was pitiful. The next time we went for a visit, I
took my pruning clippers and small pruning saw. While she watched, I got the
ladder and went to work. Several times I heard her say, “O my,” and “O dear.”
pruning is different than just “shearing” the tree to look like a lollipop.
There are two basic types of branches that need to be removed. The first is a
branch that is growing the wrong
direction. These branches rub the other
branches and can cause disease. They also block out the sunlight that is needed
for flower buds to form.
The other type of
branch to prune is a “sucker” branch
that shoots out beneath the graft. These branches are incredibly dangerous to
the life of the tree. They will draw all of the strength and energy from the
tree into themselves, and the tree will often die—but only above the graft, which is where the blooms grow.
When I completed
pruning, there were enough trimmings to fill a pickup truck. My mother-in-law
had gone inside and explained to the rest of the family that she was very sure
I had killed her tree. I told her to trust me, but it was pretty obvious that I
had lost “favorite son-in-law” status.
Then, nine long
months later, I received a phone call from her. She was so excited. Her tree
had bloomed—and not just bloomed. It was covered in so many blooms that it looked like
a huge pink snowball. And my “status” was instantly reinstated (whew).
John 15 says that we are the
vine, and that our heavenly Father is the Vinedresser. Verse 2 says that “every branch that bears fruit (blooms), He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit (bloom even more)” (NASB,
Hebrews 12 tells us
that the Father disciplines the children He loves. We picture that as the
proverbial “spanking,” or punishment. In reality, the word discipline has the same root as the word disciple. Our Father loves us
so much that He wants to disciple us—and
sometimes He uses pruning to do just that.
He prunes the “branches” of our lives that are
growing the wrong way. He prunes the branches that are growing from
beneath the “graft,” sprouting out of our flesh. This pruning is not done to hurt us or punish us.
We are not being sent into the corner, grounded until we decide to “be good.”
No! That’s not it at all. He is simply pruning us to make us more like His Son. He
lovingly disciples us to look and act like Jesus. How deeply
He loves us! He loves us enough to prune branches that have some blooms—in order that we can have many blooms.
This week in your
Christ walk journey, understand that the “testing and trial” time that you are
going through may in fact be a time of pruning. Try to understand that this is
a sure sign that your Father loves you—that He desires for you to “bloom.” Not
just a few small simple blooms, but tons of blooms with lots of fruit.
Perhaps some of your
branches have begun to grow in the wrong direction. Or maybe your flesh has
“sprouted” a branch that, if left un-pruned, would drain the strength out of
your spirit and your spiritual life. It’s an unholy branch that would
eventually destroy your effectiveness, causing you to have no beautiful blooms
and no fruit. Blooms display a
healthy, vibrant, intimate walk.
Relax! Your Father
is lovingly pruning you.
When the “springtime” of your journey comes around again (and it will), you
will bloom more beautifully than ever. I
PRAYER POWER FOR THE WEEK OF 6/4/2012
This week thank God that He prunes the “branches” of
your life that are growing the wrong way, and that He knows what He is doing to
get the most beautiful results. Determine to stay connected to the vine (Jesus)
so that you can produce the abundance of fruit He desires for you.
Continue to pray for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit around
the world, and especially in our own country. Pray that the body of Christ
would unite in prayer and purpose to see God’s will done on earth as in heaven.
Continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the upcoming elections. John
15; Heb. 12; I Tim. 2:1-4
To enrich your prayer life and learn how to strategically pray with power by using appropriate scriptures, we recommend the following sources by Apostle John Eckhardt: Prayers that Rout Demons, Prayers that Bring Healing, Prayers that Release Heaven on Earth and Prayers that Break Curses. To order any or all of these click here.