Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: Prune Away, Lord
By David Story
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Looking at the picture made me laugh – and then remember…
We had just returned from Summer Camp. The camp that we went to that year was nestled in the mountains of New Mexico. It was a beautiful place, with a beautiful Prayer Garden. And it was in that garden that our Youth Director gave the morning and evening devotionals. And it was there that we rededicated our lives (as many youth do every year at camp) to Christ, telling the Lord that we would live for Him from that moment on. It was also there that we decided that our church back home needed its very own Prayer Garden.
So, once we got back to Texas, and after receiving permission from our parents and from the church leaders, off we went, into the woods, with no idea what we were getting ourselves into. The wooded area between our church picnic area and the creek was just that – wooded! For weeks we would show up everyday, tools in hand, slowly but surely ‘blazing’ that trail. I remember when we finally finished, scratch marks all up and down our arms, a few on our faces, but smiling the whole way as we carried that first cement bench to the very center of our Garden, where we had laid out an area for prayer and meditation. A few benches later, and after adding an eight-foot wooden cross and a spot for a bonfire, our Prayer Garden was complete.
The photograph for the church newsletter was taken on the first day we started our little project, full of confidence and purpose. But as the days turned into weeks, we began to realize what a hard job it really was. But we didn’t give up. Day after hot summer day we kept at it, until the job was finished.
He’s going to do that to us, you know. Day after day, Jesus is going to tear down the things that stand in the way of us becoming like Him.
Looking at that picture, looking at my life now, I think of all the things that He has brought me through. I am a recovering alcoholic (going on nine years now). I have lost both of my parents and two of my brothers. And while I’m not ready to say that these events are direct results of His tearing away, I know that events like these have brought me closer to Him, have stripped away all that is not real, revealing what is real, revealing what is truth. And that truth is that I cannot do anything apart from Him. He is the Vine, and I am the branch.
Here again is my life Lord. Take away everything as You see fit, so that I may be like You. I know it’s not an easy job, Lord…I know it may take a very large ‘trailblazing’ tool.
"Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. - John 15:5 (NLT)
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