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Celebrating 30 Years of March Retreat, Devotional #18

We hope by now you have received your 30-Day Devotional Guide created by your Flourish Committee. If you haven't, we may not have a correct address for you. You can find a printable pdf version of the Devotional on our website or at Over the next several months, we will be posting each devotional on our blog as well, helping us to celebrate this milestone throughout the year. Today's blog post commemorates the eighteenth year of the March Retreat.

#18 2009 Speakers: Elisa Morgan; Suze Fair

Musicians: Ange & Ris; The Mossburgs Growing Together

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him,

bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

~John 15:5~

I have a large, fire-red climbing rose bush on a trellis on my front porch that I absolutely adore. I had always wanted one, and when we moved here, I saw that trellis and knew I was going to get one. The first summer, I ordered one from one of the many seed catalogs we receive. I babied it to make sure the roots took. The first 3 years, I didn’t prune it at all; I just couldn’t bear the thought of cutting it back from this nice big bush full of branches that gave me beautiful red roses in early summer to a little, scrawny bush. After all, I helped it to get where it was.

We had an older gentleman in our church who was a master gardener, and his forte was growing roses. He grew some of the most beautiful roses around. He encouraged me to prune it, that it would make it full of roses the next time it bloomed. I remember standing by it with the pruning shears, afraid to make that first snip. I finally did, and when it bloomed, oh my goodness, it was the most beautiful climbing rose bush I had ever seen, full of big beautiful red roses.

In the first 8 verses of chapter 15 in the book of John, Jesus talks about the vinedresser or the pruner (which signifies God), the vine (which refers to Jesus), and the branches (which signify us as disciples of Christ). God will always initiate seasons of pruning in our lives, which are initially unwelcome until we realize that God knows what He is doing. A wise response would be to allow God to come in and snip out the dead branches in our life that keep us from being more Christ-like. Nobody likes the thought of being pruned. It can be a painful, embarrassing experience. I promise you, if you submit to God, allowing him to start working and snipping, you will blossom and bloom into a beautiful, God-fearing woman who is on fire for Christ—not unlike my fire-red rose bush that I was afraid to prune for fear of killing it. It produced more and better blooms after snipping out the dead areas, which only absorbed energy without producing flowers.

Christ wants the best for us. To have the best, we need to allow Him to work on, in, and through us.

Lord, we want to be used by you. We want to be more Christ-like, and we ask that if there are any areas in our lives that we need to allow you to snip out that you would do it, Lord. Show us these areas and help us to let go of them.

Thoughts to meditate on:

1. Are there areas in my life that I need to allow God to prune?

2. What can I do to remain united to Christ?

Author: Kathy Odegard

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