You cannot love and control at the same time.  Fear controls. Love frees you to be. I’m still learning to  love myself.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (First John 4:18)

The word “perfect” in the Scriptures means to mature. We’re being matured, growing up. This is where we’re headed. We don’t just grow old, we mature in love  Because we are loved with a perfect love we mature in love. Knowing we’re loved and accepted simply because we exist is too good to be true. But it’s true. GOD loves you not because of you but in spite of you. And like a good father, he disciplines you. We need to remember that discipline is not punishment, it is teaching. Moreover, God is pruning us so we can bear more fruits. To be more productive in our service to others. Some things has to go if you want to grow and serve not expecting anything in return.

Years ago, we were driving up  California’s coast and saw a sign that says: Wine Tasting. We turned in direction to wine tasting place. We could see miles and miles of Vineyards that have been pruned. They were pretty ugly. There were only dark stumps lined up for miles. Ironically, I just finished reading a book on renewal and transformation of the soul.  Aha!  Renewal and transformation require pruning.  It is a hard thing for the gardener to do, but if you don’t prune, they won’t produce more grapes. And it is painful when God, the vinedresser, is pruning you.

Pruning comes after the harvest. I was being pruned. This was very lonely and dark.  I had to hang on to mustard seed size faith and kept hoping for the sun to come up. I was reminded of Matthew Chapter 5… expect persecution as Jesus did.  A blessing in disguise  I’d say.

After the first two years here GOD pruned my life into nothing but bare essentials like I still had air to breathe.  It was painful in the least. And it was right after a harvest [of my life].  I did things right so I couldn’t understand it all. Also it was lonely. Philip Yancey tells of his vintner friend explaining how the vines survive in the dry season. They send their roots down to find water deep in the earth to drink and produce fruits. It is in the dry season that deep calls to deep to survive. The fruirs (grapes) are the sweetest when the vineyards go through drought. 

Sometimes God takes some things away from you because they’re holding you back from maturity. Like a good parent  disciplines her child for a better life in the future.  And a good vintner prunes his Vineyards.

There are people and places I cut off from my life so I can grow more. I have to feel safe in  order to use the gifts God gave me to serve others, to build others up.  I have to feel safe doing what I was born to do – exportation.  I choose to stay away from toxic people. Toxic people want to control you. They want to change you and make you into their own image. They’re very unsafe people.  Unsafe people will do their best to interfere, to stumble you, to stop you from doing something GOD had called you to do.

God what we know not, teach us. What we have not give us. What we are not, make us for your Son’s sake. Amen.

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