Jeremiah 17:7-8 (AMP) “Blessed [with spiritual security] is the man who believes and trusts in and relies on the Lord and whose hope and confident expectation is the Lord. “For he will be [nourished] like a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out its roots by the river; and will not fear the heat when it comes; but its leaves will be green and moist And it will not be anxious and concerned in a year of drought nor stop bearing fruit.

What happens when we go through the tough parts of life? Can we still have joy? As I was preparing for this past Sunday’s message, that was my hearts desire for those that would be listening. May is Mental Health Awareness month. Lately I have been listening to Neil T. Anderson and some of the things he placed on YouTube in his Freedom in Christ channel. A lot of it had to do with the mind and the battle of depression that many believers have to overcome.

Four and a half years ago I was rocked. I had already been going through some things at work. I was promoted, demoted, talked down to, shunned…then terminated. My character was tarnished. How could I put myself out there in the community? Our vision for Connect Church is to touch the world through our community. I am constantly encouraging the body to look for opportunities to glorify God.

Our first gut reaction is to hide. I did, but I did it differently. I hid in the Word. I did not occasionally open my Bible any more, I really set out to get to know the Word. I ran to the Word. In doing so, I did not hide myself for protection from the hurt. I was able to stand free and with confidence of who I am in Christ. When I stand up and speak in front of people it is not to share how much I know, but who I know.

So when I was walking the track, listening to worship music a couple of months ago, God spoke to me about what I needed to share for Mother’s Day. He told me that I needed to share why I am so passionate about His ways. Why do I speak with such boldness and conviction when it comes to His Word? The secret comes in what you are rooted in.

John 15:5 (AMP) I am the Vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

Ephesians 3:16-19 (AMP)  May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].

To abide in Him means that I have replaced my roots in Him, I give Him first place. When I looked again at the parable of the sower in Mark 4, He spoke to me that we have placed ourselves in the story that was not what He intended. We wanted to be the good soil, but He is. When we allow ourselves to be in the love that He is, everything changes. Do branches have roots? No, the vine does. Where do the nutrients to grow come from? The soil. We have called the soil our hearts for so long. We are responsible for allowing the Holy Spirit to remove the rocks and the thorns. All soil has potential. Just like all of us do. There is only one that can be called good, and that is Jesus. Do not limit your perception of “in Christ” as a follower or just a position, BE in Christ. We are loved by Him and nothing can take that away, you are in that position, but we have put it on. We have to abide in that love. When we do, we are truly abiding in Christ.

I love sunflowers. They would have been the flowers for my wedding if a farmer did not give us 1000 gladiolas. I had chosen sunflower bracelets to give away that day. Sunflowers show their seeds. Sunflowers are sun worshipers. They need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. They actually track the sun (desire His face). A single seed planted in the spring can produce many seeds. They grow so fast that they will choke out weeds. Sunflowers droop when they are not drinking enough water. The sunflower is a tap root. It is an elevator of nutrients. It brings water and other microbes from deeper soil layers closer to the soil for subsequent crops to have better access to. Sunflowers produce oil, and lots of it.

This was my summation: the seed (Word, Jesus is the Word John 1:1) from the sower (us), is planted in Christ (the soil) and we allow the roots (love in Christ) and the fruit we bear become more seeds because we are abiding on the vine (in Christ)…but they will have to be continued to be watered by the Living Water (Jesus, His Word).

I have more to this message, but for you to even get to the part of being free in every area of your life, you first need to know that depth of His love. To be in that love because you are in Christ. You have to realize that Jesus came for more than to save you from hell, that He came to restore you. Then you will no longer allow the things to shatter you and cause you to go into a cave of hiding. We are in Christ, He is all we need.

Dear God, our Creator, You are so full of majesty. We honor You today with our thanksgiving. Thank you for Your Son. Jesus took on every part of our lives so that we can walk in fullness. We are sorry that we have not walked in the fullness of that love. Let us be rooted in grounded in the love of Christ. We choose to abide in Him today. Holy Spirit, lead us to the areas of rocks and thorns that we need to be set free of. Renew our minds. We submit to You today. Let us be sowers of the Word. When we sow in Christ all of the ground is good ground and all that we sow is good. The Word is always good. Thank You for the Word. Thank You for the Word becoming flesh. Thank You for being the vine. We desire to bear fruit that glorifies You. We choose Love today. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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