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Be Pruned! Be Fruitful! Remain! Love!


“You have been pruned for greater fruitfulness by the message I have given you” (John 15:3NLT). The fruitfulness he's talking about is what is listed in Galatians 5:22, 23: love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. These become more fruitful in us when Jesus prunes us. We can't produce this fruit apart from Jesus. We must remain in Jesus and Jesus in us to produce a lot of fruit. We can't just come to him once or twice in our lives or even once or twice a year to produce this fruit. We must remain in him and he must remain in us. Chase him away because of sin in our lives and the fruit withers. Confess our sins and he will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 NIV) and if we make a habit of this, he will remain in us and we in him.

And the thing is, Jesus prunes us (that is, cuts parts of us off) so we can produce greater fruit than if he left us alone to grow as we want—naturally. This pruning shows up as the painful things that happen in our lives—cutting parts of us off hurts! But imagine having more love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control! Wouldn't the pain be worth it? I think it is.

If we stay joined to Jesus and his words remain in us (read your Bibles and memorise Scripture, folks!), we can ask any request we like and it will be granted (John 15:7). That's powerful. But it hinges on staying joined to Jesus and having his words sunk so deeply into us that they stay there.

Jesus loves us, just as the Father loves Jesus. Well, we know that the Father (God) loved Jesus incredibly—so much that Jesus is seated at the right hand of God's throne in heaven. Jesus loves us and asks us (begs us?) to stay in this love of his (v.9). How do we do this? By obeying him (v. 10). Jesus loves us, but the only way to remain in that love is to obey him.

And what is one of his commands? To love each other in the same way Jesus loves us. How do we do this? We lay down our lives for our friends (v. 13). Yikes! What does this mean? How do we lay our lives down for others? (Several very good novels I've read lately demonstrate this: Heaven's Wager, When Heaven Weeps and Thunder of Heaven of the Martyrs Song series by Ted Dekker and A Voice in the Wind,, An Echo in the Darkness and As Sure as the Dawn in the Mark of the Lion series by Francine Rivers--I highly recommend them.)

Jesus chose me, not the other way around, and he has appointed me to go and produce fruit (love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control) that will last (as opposed to fruit that withers and falls off). For what purpose? So that God will give me whatever I ask for using Jesus' name (v. 16)! And I must love the other followers of Jesus (v. 17) even if I don't like them or agree with some of the things they say. Jesus wants to choose you too for the same purpose, if you but let him.  

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About the Author

DEBBIE HAUGHLAND CHAN
WINNIPEG, MANITOBA, CANADA

I'm married (35 years in December 2008) with four grown sons. I love my city (Winnipeg) and my country (Canada) and promote them both to whoever will listen. God (through Jesus Christ) is the biggest part of my life. I am learning to let him take control of all areas--though I do better at this some times more than others.

I have written a book that's recently been published about part of my journey with God. In it I tell how God confronted me with the same-sex attraction issues I've struggled with all my adult life and how he led me through them to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with him. God is amazing—his forgiveness, his love, his movement in our lives when we allow him and so much more. I suspect God will never run out of things to teach me or ways to make me grow and that’s a good thing (though often very painful).

I suppose I can say that what gives me the greatest pleasure in life is telling others about…

Memories of Mikael Vincent Tien Doe Chan

Reviews of Searching for Love

If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts on it. You may e-mail me at debbiehaughland@gmail.com or post them in the comments section below.

A Real Testimony
I finished your book. A real testimony to what God does for us.
Leona March 3, 2009
I Had Tears Coming

I sat down to read it about a week later and ended up finishing it the same night. At first I admit I was a little bored and thought that the whole book was about a battle all in your mind, but as I continued reading this creeping thought came over me of a different...struggle in my own life, that I would never in my right mind have shared with anyone accept maybe God. I've mentioned your book to a few people because it stirs up age-old controversies that I have myself argued and wondered about, namely about whether or not homosexuality can be cured or just managed like alcoholism--you just have to stay away from temptation. I noticed at the end of your book that your struggle story …