All of us need encouragement. We need somebody to believe in us. To reassure and reinforce us. To help us pick up the pieces and go on. To fuel our flame of determination as we face the odds against us.
Everyone struggles with some sort of weakness, deprivation, affliction, attack, or test from time to time. Jesus exemplifies how even in the face of such severe circumstances we can stand strong.
Clipping away the dead growth on a grapevine is hard work. But any gardener can tell you, pruning is an essential step if you want the vine to flourish! Chuck Swindoll describes how God prunes His children…so we can be healthy and produce spiritual fruit!
If you were to list the basic essentials for life, you would likely include air, water, food, and perhaps shelter. But what about friendship? Chuck Swindoll argues that companionship isn’t a perk, it’s a requirement for life.
There’s no shortage of preachers who offer a “prosperity gospel” promising health, wealth, and happiness. While those outcomes are wonderful, they’re not guaranteed! Chuck Swindoll reminds us that as followers of Christ, we will face persecution.
An allegory is an extended metaphor in which the characters are symbols representing other things. While a typical parable is told in order to teach one important matter, an allegory teaches numerous hidden truths throughout the story.
While Jesus was indeed gentle and kind, He also took a bold stand against sin. In fact, His formidable anger took many by surprise. From the example of Jesus, we learn how to stand up for the truth, even as we suffer persecution for doing what is right.
One of Jesus’ most vivid metaphors is of a vine and branches found in John 15:1–11. Pastor Chuck Swindoll unfolds the symbolism of the Father as the vinedresser, Jesus as the sustaining vine, and believers as the branches.
We have come to the fourth and final mental picture—a productive vine—another vivid analogy preserved for us in the Word of God. In fact, this one comes to us from the lips of Jesus as He left His disciples words of encouragement just before He was crucified. They have been recorded for us in the 15th chapter of John, a chapter that centres attention on three vital relationships the Christian must maintain.
When you accept Christ as your Saviour you have someone who is always your advocate; always in your corner. And when you forgive those who hurt you, you model Christ. And you become a little more like Him.