The Sweet Fruit of a Faithful Relationship with God 


Faith in God coupled with our faithfulness to God are the legs that support our walk with Him. The more we trust God to be faithful to us, the more we will be willing to step out to do His will, the farther and faster we will move forward His kingdom on earth.


I Heard Him Through the Grapevine

Once upon a time while living on our little farm in Ohio, my husband and I found a dried-up grapevine among the department store markdowns at the end of the planting season. It was unpromising bit of vegetation, but we bought it anyway.

I had idyllic childhood memories of laying under the neighbor’s shady grape arbor on hot August days. Also of playing war with the ripening grapes (They were purple and we could always tell who was “wounded!”), sucking the luscious fruit out of the skin, and later eating jelly on homemade bread. I wanted my children to have some of those same experiences.

So Hubby and I dug a hole and plunked in the grapevine not at all sure it would survive.

But it did! The next year, it shot runners all over the makeshift arbor and produced a luxuriant abundance of leaves — and a few measly grapes.

I was disappointed. My jelly jars and I were all ready to put up royal purple grape jelly. Instead, the children and I ate about four grapes apiece and called it a year.

The next Spring armed with a gardening book, pruning shears, and high hopes, I set to work on the little vine. I learned that grapevines produce two kinds of branches: producing and non-producing suckers. The trick was to determine which was which.

With amateur skill and great enthusiasm, I hacked away. When I was finished, Hubby stroked his chin while regarding its sorry state and asked, “Have you called the funeral home to make arrangements?”

To everyone’s surprise, not least of all my own, the little vine bore grapes! Not a great abundance, but considering its tender age and unpromising beginnings, I was impressed. Each subsequent year, I got better at pruning and it got better at bearing grapes. A little fertilizer here, a little bug killer there, and the harvests began to be substantial.

As I worked on my grapevine, training the fruit-bearing limbs on the arbor and snipping off the non-bearing suckers, I often thought about Jesus tending the wild tendrils of my life. I mused about His high hopes for my fruit-bearing potential, and shamefacedly realized that He, no doubt, was disappointed with my crop of bug-ridden, disease prone spiritual fruit.

And then something occurred to me: The major difference between my fruit bearing and the branches on my little grapevine was that I had a choice as to how attached to the True Vine I wanted to be. My little grapevine did not. Its branches wholeheartedly clung to the vine and just naturally bore fruit as the result.

But I choose how much of the life giving, fruit-producing sap of the Holy Spirit I want flowing to my leaf-buds. By doing so, I choose how much spiritual fruit I will bear and of what quality.


Abiding in the Vine

How do you and I produce a harvest of faithfulness? It is by abiding in the True Vine and willingly submitting to whatever pruning the Master Gardener deems necessary (John 15).

How do we abide or remain connected? By letting the life-giving, fruit-producing Holy Spirit work in our lives through the Scripture and the spiritual disciplines of study, memorization, submission, fasting, and communication.


Fruit by Choice?

We cannot bear fruit by merely determining that we will bear it and then trying very hard to do so, no more than a grapevine can grow grapes because it wishes to. Or if it decides to bear grapefruit instead.

Like the grapevine, we will naturally produce fruit if we attach ourselves to the Vine and open wide our capillaries to the work of the Spirit.

Then watch the fruit grow!


How to Plant the Greatest Seed of Faithfulness

How-to Instructions

No matter how full your life is with religion, people, activities, or the peripheral, until you come to Christ, you’ll never get over your sheer loneliness for God.


The Root of New Life — One Day in Heaven

Whether it was a dream or a vision, I do not know, but I saw myself in a palace in another world. The air itself tingled around me. I could sense, smell, hear, and see things that I had never before detected.

In this beautiful palace — one that was beyond any words to describe — I gaped in awe at the bright beings who milled about me. I began to understand that they were excitedly awaiting a great dignitary. They noticeably drew back from me, for to my shame, I realized that I was raggedly dressed in stained, dirty clothing and my skin was caked with filth.

I thought that perhaps I had better leave. But as I was hunting the door, a great hush fell as the Lord God Himself entered the room and seated Himself upon the throne. Spontaneously, the beings bowed themselves before Him, casting all of their possessions at His feet.

For a time, I was aware of only Him. His brightness. His beauty. With creeping dread, I became conscious of His awesome holiness. In the bright light that emanated from His presence, I saw myself without any illusions. My clothing was not merely stained, it was loathsomely foul. My skin was not mere dirty, it was fetid and revolting. Now, in a desperate hurry to be out of His presence, I tried to hide.

Then to my horror, God spoke, pointed directly at me: “What is that doing in my Presence?”

All of the bright beings shrank away from me, now more frightened of what would happen to me rather than revulsion.

Except One. This Person put His arm around me and squeezed me comfortingly.

“It’s okay, Father,” He told the Almighty. “This one’s with me.”

Then, before my very eyes, my ragged, dirty clothing was transformed into a blindingly spotless white robe. My skin and hair became immaculate. I stared at my now clean hands in disbelief until the Person held out His nail-scared one and I took it, placing my hand in His. Around me, the bright beings began to sing and clap with joy.

“In that case,” said the One on the throne, “come here, my child.”

He reached down and picked me up then sat me on His lap. Although I could not see His face for the extreme brightness, I could feel His tenderness. His heart throbbed in my ear.

“Now,” He said, “tell me everything.”


Beginning New Life — Commonly Asked Questions About How to be Connected to the Vine

Can only “good” people become Christians?

No, only sinners can be saved by the grace of God. Unless a person recognizes that he or she is a sinner, they cannot be saved.

God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)


Can a person do enough good deeds so that they don’t need Christ’s sacrifice?

Sorry. A person can do many, many wonderful things, but they do not cancel out the bad things he/she has done.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)


Can a person sin so much that they cannot be forgiven by Christ?

This is one of many reasons why the Gospel of Jesus Christ literally means the “Good News of Jesus Christ.” No matter how much a person has sinned, Christ still is the sacrifice for his or her sin.

Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; (Isaiah 1:18b)


How does one receive Christ’s forgiveness?

Prepare to be pleasantly surprised: Ask. Simply ask! He’s waiting to forgive you from you sins and put His Holy Spirit into your heart.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him and he with me. (Revelations 3:20)


Does believing in Jesus as the sacrifice for my sins allow me to go to Heaven?

Yes! And it allows Heaven to begin on earth for you because you will live in the presence of God.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)


Reaping a n Eternal Harvest

Mr. Gooddeeds was a pillar in the church and community, so when he died, he expected to be ushered directly into Heaven. Instead, he was stopped outside the Pearly Gates by Saint Peter.

“You can’t enter Heaven with passing a test,” Saint Peter told him. “Our test is based on points, and you must score 100 points for admittance.”

“No problem,” said Mr. Gooddeeds, thinking he was well prepared.

“Did you attend church regularly?” asked Saint Peter, consulting the test questions.

“Oh, yes!” replied Mr. Gooddeeds. “I never missed a Sunday except when I was sick.”

“Excellent!” said Saint Peter. “That’s worth 1 point!”

“One point!” protested Mr. Gooddeeds, a little disappointed. “Only one point? Very well, what’s the next question?”

“Were you actively involved in church activities?” asked Saint Peter.

Mr. Gooddeeds expected to pick up a lot of points on this subject. He ticked off a long list of offices he had held, Sunday school classes taught, and related church activities in which he had been active.

“Excellent!” said Saint Peter. “That’s worth 2 more points!

“Two points! Two points!” Mr. Gooddeeds was now quite agitated.

“Calm down!” said Saint Peter. “You still have plenty of room for additional credits! Now let’s see…” Saint Peter consulted his list. “What extracurricular good deeds do you have to report?”

“I served food in a soup kitchen in the ghetto,” said Mr. Gooddeeds. “That should be worth some points!”

“Oh, it is!” replied Saint Peter. “That’s worth 3 points!”

“Three points! Three points!” exclaimed Mr. Gooddeeds in frustration. “At this rate, the only way I can get into Heaven is by the grace of God!”

“Right!” said Saint Peter. “And when you add that to your total, that gives you 106 points!”


I’m living proof that God uses recycled goods.

Sarah Whiteside



Disciplines To Grow a Faithful Soul

Planting for an Eternal Harvest

It requires real dedication for a teenager to get out of bed at 6 a.m., but on any given school day, Suzanne crawled out of her warm blankets to spend time with the Lord. Challenged by her youth club director to have daily devotions, she decided to try it.

At first, the “thees” and “thous” obscured the meaning of the text in her King James Version Bible, but as she persisted with her studies, she eventually could look past the ancient English to the eternal truths contained in the words. She said she also used other translations of the Bible, but she always came back to the poetry of the King James translation.

“I was reared in a Christian home, and I had made a commitment to Jesus at a young age. But it wasn’t until I began to study the Bible for myself that the Holy Spirit sparked in my heart a passion for God. Before that, I would hear about God, but not experience Him.

“I came to look forward to my private time with God as the best moments of the day. I derived such strength and growth from those times that they were more vital to me than food or drink.”

Suzanne said that since she has become an adult, she has tried to keep alive her personal moments with God, but that she hasn’t always succeeded.

“When my children were little and I was up all night with colicky babies, I sometimes skipped devotions, but I always paid for it. I would find myself faintly depressed, sad, and overeating junk food, and then I would realize that I hadn’t fed my soul and that I was fainting from hunger,” said Suzanne.

“Also, kids have a secret antennae so that they know when Mom is up early trying to spend a few minutes alone. My time with God was so private and precious that I felt self-conscious on my knees praying in front of them — kind of like having toddlers in the bedroom during intimate moments! But God showed me that He wanted me to pray in front of my children. He wanted some of their earliest memories to be of their Mom on her knees.

“My spiritual life not only flourished when I had my quiet time with God, but my whole day was better when I began the day in the throne room of God.”


Fertilizer for the Faithful Soul

The Bible is a miracle itself. Not only is its history and accuracy miraculous, but it will also amaze you every time you open its pages because it is a living document.

Immersed in and inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures are an infallible, mysterious work of God that reveals new truths to your heart each time you open it. Even verses studied diligently will suddenly be thrown open like a treasure chest by the Spirit to reveal to you new, hitherto unseen gems and pearls of wisdom.

Showers of Blessing

You will also receive a promised blessing on your life for studying the Word of God.

Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, not sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper. (Psalm 1:1-3)

Expect Pests

Studying the Bible is wonderful, but it isn’t necessarily easy. Expect distractions to grow up around your study times like wild choking vines bearing thorns!

The phone will ring; the kids will fight. Satan will kick up a dust storm of diversions. He doesn’t want you to read the blessed report that is outlines your inheritance and power as a child of the King. Satan wants you to remain weak and ignorant.

Satan will also seek to prevent you from studying God’s word by whispering that you can’t possibly understand the Bible. But know this: The same Holy Spirit who inspired the pens of the writers of the Scripture, will quicken your mind in Christ Jesus, revealing the truth of His Word.

Some of the Occupations of the Authors of the Bible

(And you thought your job was commonplace!)

Peter and John were fishermen.

Moses was a murderer and a shepherd.

David was a shepherd, errand boy, musician, and king.

Paul was a troublemaker and a tentmaker.

Matthew was a tax collector.

Luke was a physician.

The Holy Spirit spoke to and through them. He will you, too!

Developing Deep Roots of Faithfulness

Just as in any growing relationship, you must spend time with God in order for a faith love for him to bud and bear fruit. Try to set aside a certain time each day for this.

Feeding the Roots

Don’t think you have to digest the whole Book in one sitting. Rather, understand that rightly dividing the Word of God is like cutting a whole steer into small, eatable pieces. It’s preferable to start with a couple of verses, really chew them over then digest them thoroughly.

However, because a little knowledge on any subject can be dangerous, keep in mind that just because you understand a couple of verses pretty well, it doesn’t mean that you understand everything there is to know about God. Recognize that even the most able Bible scholar has a lot to learn about God.

Fertilizer Application: Apply three times a day for rapid growth; twice a day for moderate development; once a day to maintain health.

The prophet Daniel — whose employer was a despotic Eastern king inclined toward lopping off people’s heads without much provocation — set aside three times each day to worship God (Daniel 6:10). You may work for or be married to someone with a similar disposition. Try praising and praying three times a day. You need it!

David recommended in the Psalms that we seek God early and also meditate on His word morning and night.

Whenever you choose, make a conscious decision to make a daily date with God — and keep it.