July 3 Devotional

Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, Thank you that you desire intimacy with us. Help us to always live in you. May we always be so intimately connected with you that we are closer to you than a vine and its branches. That way we cannot help but to bear fruit, by your power and for your glory. Amen.

Scripture: John 15:1-11

Journal: What about this image captures your heart or speaks to your soul? How is the process of abiding in him going these days? What are your typical abiding places, if not Jesus?

Reflection: Intimacy is all about connection. Nowhere do we see this more visibly portrayed that here in John 15:1-11. Jesus is speaking to his disciples in the upper room, trying to prepare them for what is to come and the ministry that will follow. He’s telling them what his deepest hopes are for their (as well as our) relationship with him in the days ahead. And just look at the picture he uses:

“I want to be so intimately connected to you that we are like a vine and its branches, so connected that you cannot tell where one stops and the other begins. So intimately connected that you draw your very lifeblood straight out of me. So connected that the fullness I give to you cannot help but become fruit bursting forth all over you. That’s the way this life of the Spirit works. Fruit cannot grow apart from the vine, it must grow because of it. As you draw your life and your nourishment, your joy and your love, straight from my heart it will bring about beautiful fruit on your branches. Fruit that was intended to draw others into relationship with me. Fruit that will allow everyone who comes in contact with you to taste and see that the Lord is good.”

So the mode of intimacy is connection, but the goal of intimacy is fruitfulness - for his kingdom and his glory.

Hymn for the Day

Prayer: for the church, for others, for myself

Bruce and Laura Harris run SEND International’s camp and conference ministry in the mountains of western Tokyo. In this ministry, their goal is to glorify God by serving the church of Jesus Christ through camping programs of evangelism and Biblical education. Pray today for Bruce and Laura as they are in the middle of the summer camping season. Pray also for salvation for campers during Joy Bible Camp and for God’s purposes to be fulfilled in all summer camp ministries.

Knoxville Christian Arts Ministries (KnoxCAM) is an outreach ministry directed by Dr. Jill Lagerberg. It uses the talents of singers, instrumentalists, dancers and handbell ringers. They minister primarily to prisons and the inner city. They perform up to 10 concerts each year, telling stories of God’s unfailing mercy and providence through fully integrated music dramas. Pray today for Jill’s family as her husband Gregg battles cancer that has recently been diagnosed.

Closing Prayer: O God of peace, who hast taught us that in returning and rest we shall be saved, in quietness and in confidence shall be our strength: By the might of thy Spirit lift us, we pray thee, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that thou art God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. - The Book of Common Prayer