Friday, December 7, 2012

#253 - Christmas Overwhelmed?

Romans 9:21 (NKJ) - Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
John 15:1-7 - I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser.
Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit.You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned.If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
Proverbs 31:15-16 - She rises while it is yet night and gets [spiritual] food for her household and assigns her maids their tasks.16 She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. 

Good morning! Honestly, as I sit here sipping my 2nd cup of coffee, writing in my journal and just spilling everything in my heart and mind to the Lord, one sentence came to mind, "I'm ready for things to get back to normal." As I thought about it, that was a bit sad because it's ONLY December 6th!! The Holiday season is JUST starting. My whirlwind started at the beginning of November, North Carolina Leadership Conference, Florida Birthday with Grandparents, Georgia Thanksgiving, Kansas Business Trip, Mom's Night out Christmas Party (at my house), and blah, blah, blah... they were GREAT, but life has been anything but normal!

Do you know the feeling I'm talking about? I am not even unpacked from one event, to just dump my suitcase out and pack for another.... while the pile grows of things that need to be put away... or new suitcases come out while the others remain unpacked. 

So... here I sat, this morning in my Quiet Time, just spilling out my brain onto paper. Telling the Lord of all the things that I need to fix about myself, feeling frustrated and a bit like I'm still in the center of a whirlwind. Remembering the weird dream I had last night, waking up in a frenzy because I had "lost my basketball shoes and was running around looking for them and I didn't want to get left." (Weird! I don't have basketball shoes and haven't played since I was in 9th grade.)  So my dream was just another reminder of one area in my life I need to improve on...... argh..... getting more organized and being on time! 

I stopped my frenzy of all the things I "NEED" to do, the areas I "NEED" to improve on, the tasks that I "NEED" to get my head together on... I stopped. Then, I proceeded to just LISTEN. 

As I listened, this was what I heard: is all about staying connected to Me. Staying connected to the TRUE VINE. I will prune you & as a potter shapes, I will shape you. I will direct you in your tasks & priorities. 
Immediately the verses that came to mind were Romans 9:21 and John 15:1-7.

What happens when a branch is disconnected from a vine or tree? I had a "Mom's Night Out" Christmas Party for my mom's group on Monday night. Beforehand, I went out back and cut some branches off pine trees, got some sprigs of pine to make a centerpiece and decorate some random places. I even found a "Charlie Brown" looking pine tree and cut that down to decorate in a corner. Well... currently, my "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree in the corner of our eating area is staying artificially alive. It is in a vase with water. BUT, it will not stay alive forever. It is currently being artificially kept alive. It is disconnected from it's root system. As soon as I take it out of the water, it will begin to brown, dry up and die completely.

The reminder to me this morning.... as I've been feeling overwhelmed, a bit in a frenzy, my "To-Do" list of Christmas presents and exchanges growing, this morning as I slowed down long enough to LISTEN to the Voice of the Holy Spirit... I got a great reminder! Stay connected! Stay connected to the TRUE VINE. As I stay connected, like the potter directs the shape of the clay, the Holy Spirit will direct me. He will even direct me in keeping me productive on the tasks I NEED to be productive in. He'll direct me where to go and when to go. "No Amy, don't go there right now, they won't have what you need. Wait until Wednesday." Then, the store will receive a shipment, put items out and the item I was looking for will be newly placed on the shelf. I will not spend time in vain, or toiling because I will have taken time to listen.

It really is amazing!!! Because Jesus ascended into Heaven and left this earth, what a gift we have! But, even the disciples argued with Jesus. "NO Jesus, Don't go! Don't go!" Jesus responded, "But I am telling you the truth: it is better for you that I go away, because if I do not go, the Helper will not come to you. But if I do go away, then I will send him to you." (John 16:7 GNT) The Helper, Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit. Isn't it awesome that WHEN we got saved the HOLY SPIRIT comes to live inside of us!! I remember growing up and as a child we would say that Jesus lived in our hearts. Well, it wasn't actually Jesus (since he was human and it would be hard to fit him in our heart), but it was the Holy Spirit. The Spirit part of the Trinity. 

Why is that such good news today? Right now? Because SINCE we have the Holy Spirit living inside us, we have COMPLETE ACCESS! All we have to do, is quiet ourselves enough to listen! John 10 talks about the shepherd and his sheep, "...sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.

How cool! When we accept Jesus into our life, we have the SHEPHERD leading us. BUT... we must tune our ear into HEARING and KNOWING His Voice, so that the other voices (ie: the voice of the enemy), when we hear those, we will NOT follow them but flee from them. It's a process and it begins with just choosing to quiet ourselves and listen. Shutting off the TV, the radio, our iPhone, getting away from the hustle and bustle, before our kids are awake... and with no distractions, just sitting and listening. 

So today.... are you feeling the "Christmas Overwhelmed" feeling? My suggestion (to myself!!), STAY CONNECTED. Being connected to the TRUE VINE is crucial more than ever during times like this. I feel so much better after just having a true quiet time this morning. Stay connected. Don't allow yourself to be cut off from the vine! The life cut off from the vine is ARTIFICIAL and TEMPORARY.... it's inevitable that someone cut off from the True Vine will not last. So, this holiday season, stay connected. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide and direct you, to save you time, free your life from toil, to direct you to be at the right place at the right time. Allow the Holy Spirit to position you for Divine Favor!! :) Because as a CHILD OF THE MOST HIGH GOD, that is EXACTLY what our Father wants for HIS  children! Divine favor! 

Be blessed! :) 

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