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John 15:1-8

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.   Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. so that it will be even more fruitful.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

This is my 2008 reflection….

2008 was a GROWTH year for us as a family….and individually as Christians.   It’s the year that all of us became tired of being just an “average” Christian and stepped it into HIGH gear.

I know that sounds really odd, but it’s honest.  We are no longer coasting through life, but making drastic changes into making us AND our family MORE LIKE CHRIST.

We are no longer content to sit back and enjoy the ride.  We don’t want to be just normal, ordinary, natural….but EXTRAORDINARY and SUPERNATURAL in Christ Jesus.   And for us that has made all the difference.

We DESIRE to do mission work wherever God sends us.

We DESIRE to read our Bibles everyday, not just hit and miss.

We DESIRE to be in contact with Christ Almighty daily.

We DESIRE to make ourselves BETTER people.

And our wonderful Pastor had us do the NEATEST thing Sunday.  He had us write down all the things we’ve been holding onto in our PAST (past hurts, past sins, etc) and during the invitation, we were to go up to the alter and SHRED them in the paper shredder.   And I did….I wrote down all my past hurts, all my past sins…because I have NO plans on carrying those into 2009 with me.  I desire to BE better and DO better…and be more like Christ.

(For those that may live close:  Gordon Small, Eastwood Baptist Church, Tulsa OK:  and you can go HERE to my church website…and down the left hand column you can HEAR the sermons!  The ones on GIVING…WOW!  But the sermon on Forgiving and Forgetting will be up soon.  A REALLY good one!  Please go when you have some time to listen…you will enjoy it!)

But for 2008, this growth in Christ has had the BIGGEST impact on me, and our family.  We are not the same people we were last year.  The years before.  We have GROWN….

And I am MOST grateful and THANKFUL for that.

This year also marked a change in my Mom’s health.   Thankful doesn’t even cover it….I have my Mom back…ALMOST good as new.  And MAN, does she have a STORY to tell!  I’ll have to have her blog about her experience.  God took her from the brink of death into nearly perfect health!  And she is still PRAISING GOD!

2008 was a great year….2009 promises to be EVEN better!  And no, I’m not looking at the gloom and doom that I see all over the place forecasted for this New Year….financially, my faith is in Christ Almighty…..my trust is in Him.  And we are trying to make intelligent decisions in regards to our finances for the upcoming “gloom and doom”.   We’ll be alright….we are thankful to each have JOBS!  THANK YOU LORD FOR JOBS!

I do have a challenge though for each of you….I’m going to be reading the Bible through 2009 for the FIRST time in my entire life, and I encourage you to try it with me!  Even if you’ve done it every year since you were 12, do it again.  If you’ve never done it, TRY it with me!  If you can’t start TODAY, then start tomorrow!  Commit with me to do it!  Bigger challenge….if you are NOT a Christian, I challenge you to read it anyway…if nothing else, it’s a GREAT book!  It won’t bite you, turn you into a frog, or make your hair fall out…..just read it.   At least try it!   I’m excited to do it and already started 2 days ago!  HAAAAA!!  I’m a rebel like that.   😉

2009 I just want to be a BETTER person in Christ.  I want to bear MUCH fruit with Christ Almighty.   So keep me accountable.   No….I’m serious….keep me accountable.  If I’m slacking off, please tell me.  I’m a big enough girl to handle it.   I may need those gentle reminders, and I’m counting on you to help me!

Happy New Year everyone!  May God be glorified and reveal Himself to you like NO OTHER time in your life!