Encouragement for the New Year (2)
As we go through this year, we’ll face some mountains and go through some valleys. We need both. The strength we gain from climbing and conquering the mountains is what helps us get through the valleys. And we need to face the valleys because they’re where the sweetest fruit grows as they’re watered by streams that flow from the mountains. Jesus said, ‘You should produce much fruit and show that you are my followers, which brings glory to my Father’ (John 15:8 NCV). This year Jesus wants us to be more fruitful in His service. ‘Remain in me, and I will remain in you. A branch cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in the vine. In the same way, you cannot produce fruit alone but must remain in me. I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce fruit. But without me they can do nothing’ (John 15:4-5 NCV). God is looking for us to be fruitful in the things we do for His kingdom. The Message paraphrases Paul’s words: ‘When we live God’s way...He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely’ (Galatians 5:22-23 MSG). So this year, when we face a mountain or go through a valley, let’s remember that God is with us every step of the way.
Get together with your friends and family again, and pray that you would all be fruitful for God’s kingdom this year. Ask Him to help you remember that He’s walking alongside you through everything you’ll face this year.
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