Monday, May 31, 2021

Guest Post - Growing Well by Cheryl Holmes

I met Cheryl virtually via the Beloved Women website, where I'm a regular contributor.
When I saw her devotional, I smiled because this verse has meant so much to me. It's part of Jesus' last words to His disciples, which I've shared in my book The Comfort of Night.


Cheryl Holmes is first and foremost a believer! She believes in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. She lives in rural Southwest Louisiana with her pastor husband of almost 32 years and is the proud mother of two adult children. She is also a grandmother, a daughter, and the youngest sister of seven siblings.
Simply put, she loves the Lord, loves His Word, and has come to love sharing His Word by way of pen and paper.  "I am richly blessed beyond measure by every opportunity the Lord gives me to re-present Him, as I serve, as I encourage, and as I inspire others." 
Read on. I hope you are encouraged by Cheryl's words. 

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭KJV."


In my latter years, I have taken an interest in plants. I find satisfaction in watching them grow and thrive.  But I've also had many disappointments forcing me to start over after losing a plant to what I have since learned was a lack of proper feeding, improper hydration, or exposure to light. 

You see, what I have been told by more experienced green thumbs is any living thing such as a plant, whether a tomato plant or an ivy, will need the appropriate amount of feeding for nutrients, proper watering for hydration, and plenty of light for strengthening. These are great instructions for planting and growth of any living being, especially if thriving in our Christian walk is our goal. 

Feeding
Just as a plant needs to be fed, so do we. Our nutrients, so to speak, come from the Word of God, for He is the Bread of Life (John 6:48). When we read and meditate on His Word, we fill our mind, body, and soul with more of Him. Jesus is our sustainer; it is the knowledge of His word that makes us spiritually strong. We can only truly know Him by learning of Him through a relationship grown by faith through the wisdom taught in His scriptures.

Hydration
In addition to proper feedings, like plants, we also need adequate hydration. We must be hydrated by the living water of God. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14)
‭‭As I mentioned before, those green thumbs have stressed the importance of proper hydration, as water is a lifeline to green life if it is to succeed, so it is for the Christian. Jesus has promised to be the living water for those of us who thirst after Him. 
Let me tell you how excited I was to find water globes. These globes, when refilled, are a continuous flow of water to drying soil, eliminating the need to constantly check the hydration of the plant. Here is where I really began to see how Jesus differs from those wonderful water globes; He never runs out. When we remain connected to Jesus, He becomes our internal water spring! Imagine a continuous flow of living hope, love, peace, joy, and contentment deep down in our soul that never needs to be re-filled. We will definitely experience times of drought in our lives, such as sorrow, pain, and problems. Still, when we thirst after Jesus, we can trust and be assured that we never have to worry about running dry because Jesus is our life-giving supplier - our water globe.

Light
So, we have fed and watered; the next part of the growth equation exposes these little beauties to the appropriate amount of light.‬ ‭
The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple. Psalms 119:130
‭‭Sometimes with my inside plants, I forget to open the curtains. After a few days of no exposure to the sunlight, their leaves begin to wither. As for my outside tomato plants, too many days of clouds and gloom in the forecast, and they become droopy. I hope you see the connection. When we fail to expose our hearts and minds to the Light of God, through His word, our lives wither and droop. We literally become lifeless and blind as if living in a room with closed curtains all the time and days filled with nothing but bad dreary weather. Allowing Jesus, the S-O-N Light, into our lives through scripture sheds light and opens up our understanding of His ways and His will for us.

Pruning
Finally, and probably the most crucial step in growing healthy, beautiful plants, or in our case, healthy, beautiful lives, is a pretty tough step, one we usually don’t like to do, and that is the pruning process.  Sometimes, no most times, if we are going to produce bountifully, we must cut away any parts that no longer contribute. We must prune away the dead leaves that drain nutrients from the healthy ones.  Unfortunately, in our lives, sometimes that means cutting away people or activities that no longer contribute to our wholeness. 

Jesus beautifully gives us this illustration in a vineyard planted in John 15, how we are to stay connected to Him, for He is the True Vine by which we, who are the branches, receive everything we need to thrive and grow. Not only is Jesus our primary source, but God, the Father, is the Vinedresser, the Overseer! Oh, what a wonderful visual. We can produce beautiful fruit and be pleasing to the Lord by allowing Jesus to feed our souls, hydrate our thirst, light our path and cut away anything that does not serve Him.

Prayer- Lord, we praise You for being everything we need; we thank You that all of our resources are found in Your word. Help us daily to seek You more as we thrive to grow closer to You.  Amen.

Are you growing well?

Blessings.

--Nylse

Thanks for reading. Please take a moment to share using the buttons below. Like my Facebook Page and follow along on Instagram. Don't forget to subscribe. If you're reading my new book, The Comfort of Night, please leave a review on Amazon or the publisher's site. Stay Encouraged!

16 comments:

  1. Thank you for introducing Cheryl to us. Praying daily for this kind of positive growth.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Lauren... prayers for continued growth in your journey!

      Delete
  2. What a great analogy! I often resist the pruning (and even the sunshine sometimes!) But God is so full of grace and gentleness to keep showing me how important it really is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen to that Rebecca! Thank you for commenting.
      Cheryl

      Delete
  3. Nylse, thank you for sharing Cheryl with us. This analogy was just beautiful. I am so grateful the Lord knows exactly what we each need and He doles it out in the needed measure so that we thrive. "We can produce beautiful fruit and be pleasing to the Lord by allowing Jesus to feed our souls, hydrate our thirst, light our path and cut away anything that does not serve Him." May we submit to our Vinedresser. Blessing to you both!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Joanne, He certainly knows just what we need and when we need it…
      Blessings

      Delete
  4. Nylse, I love Cherly's description of lives underexposed to Him. What a wonderful comparison! Lord, may we abide in you.

    Blessings from your neighbor at Soaring With Him,
    Tammy

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you, Cheryl and Nylse. We live and move and have our being in The Vine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Michelle & Amen we must stayed rooted in the The Vine!

      Delete
    2. Thank you Michelle & Amen we must stayed rooted in the The Vine!

      Delete
  6. Cheryl is right on. Light, Water, Pruning, Sunshine, etc. He is all those things and so much more. Snip Snip go the holy shears.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely Susan! It’s the Holy shears that will get it us in the right shape. Thank you so much, Cheryl

      Delete
    2. Absolutely Susan! It’s the Holy shears that will get it us in the right shape. Thank you so much, Cheryl

      Delete
  7. This is so beautifully written! The analogy water glob to Jesus paints a picture so detailed. Lord help me always stay plugged in, and prune me so i can flourish!
    God bless you Mrs.Holmes and Mrs.Nylse

    Queen Cammon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Queen for your comment, pruning is such a vital part of the process, Lord help us all , blessings!

      Delete

I love reading your comments; but please be kind. Unkind comments will be removed.