This past week we have been away at Blairmore House in the Highlands of Scotland – the Ellel Centre to which Pastors and Leaders are coming from all over the world, for a time of personal restoration and healing. On Operation Blairmore we are privileged to see people who have reached the limit of their capacity to cope with the pressures of life, and for various reasons have had to withdraw from the fight for a season, while God restores and rebuilds their lives.
While sharing coffee with other members of the Leadership I casually picked up the Blairmore House Visitors Book and began to read out some of the comments left there by people before they returned home, ready to get back on the road of life and fulfil their destiny under God. As my American friends say, they were ‘awesome’! If we’d asked someone to write a piece for our Handbook, telling people what God is doing at Blairmore House, they couldn’t have written anything more powerful than the amazing things already written down on those precious pages. Their words described nothing less than miracles wrought by the hand of God in their lives. We were laughing at the fact that often we struggle to find words to tell people in our brochures what they will experience, when they come on a course or a retreat at one of our Centres. It crossed my mind that all we really needed to do was let them read the Blairmore House Visitors Book!
Then, on the way home I called to see a friend who himself had reached the limit of his (and his wife’s) capacity to handle the reality of a life which was supposed to be that of a distinguished Christian leader, but which, on the inside, had all the hallmarks of a man who had left morality behind in his search for answers to the pain of his past. He was one of those who, reluctantly at first, went to Blairmore House for help, but really believing that there was little hope for him. Today he is so radically transformed that his wife marvels at the joy his restoration has brought to them both. The enemy was wanting to rob them of their destiny, and had almost succeeded in convincing my friend of the hopelessness of his case. But God had other plans.
Then, yesterday, after returning home, I went to inspect the fruit trees I planted about ten years ago, on a bit of land at the bottom of our garden. They were absolutely laden with fruit. The apples and the pears are not ready yet, but the plums and the greengages were a different story. They were deliciously ripe – their taste was fantastic. So we had a family harvest time and I am writing this blog at the kitchen table surrounded by baskets of wonderful fruit. The team at Ellel Grange are in for a surprise!
But as I walked round the plum trees, I saw something that grieved my heart. Some of the branches were so laden with fruit that they had gone beyond their breaking point. Sadly, the branches had snapped under the strain of bearing so much fruit. As I looked at those broken branches, I sensed God speaking to me about a coming time of harvest. We see a world that his running headlong into its own end-times rebellion against a holy God. But in that world God sees that there are still many who are desperate for an answer which is not tainted by the lusts of the flesh, greed, futile wars, religious battles, economic collapse and which is controlled by fear. For the day will come when there are ‘multitudes in the valley of decision’ (Joel 3:14) looking for someone to show them the only Way out of the mess.
Then the Lord spoke to me saying ‘time is short and my people are not ready. If all the harvest were to come in now, the branches of my Church would break under the strain of trying to bear fruit on branches that are weak and ill-equipped for the season that is to come. Many branches have forsaken their trust in My Word, no longer believe that My Son is the only Way of salvation and no longer understand what I am saying to My people. Some branches are morally rotten on the inside and will snap under the strain. Other branches are so preoccupied with themselves, and their own petty arguments, that they’ve forgotten what a branch is for. Yet other branches are weak because they have not been taught what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, And some, even, like the Laodicean Church are blind, having lost sight of the work I still have for them to do on Earth.’
I was tempted to think about all the other branches there are in the Body of Christ, thinking that this was their problem, when I sensed a loving, gentle but firm rebuke from the Lord, saying, ‘This is for you. I’m only pointing out the obvious things you see around you, so that you can use them as a mirror to look at yourself.’
And so it is that I know I have to do my own heart searching and business with God. A time of fruitfulness is coming and God is looking to the branches which our lives represent. He wants to prepare them for harvest because He has planned that they should not break under the strain of bearing much fruit (John 15:1-17). Will you join me?
I was so moved by your words Peter, not only because of the powerful truth that was in them but also because of the powerful message I beleive it was speaking to the leaders and lay-pastors in the church around the world. The Lord has been speaking to me about the weak branches, as you say, in my life that I needed to gain the victory over in Jesus’ name. Yet it seemed the more I tried the worst it got and it almost felt as if ther enemy was winning the battle. Then I read your post, which by the way are always so filled with truth and power, and I was so refreshed that I can’t begin to explain it. Peter please continue to speak the bold word the Holy Spirit has given to you and not some sickening sweet message that will only bring spritual decay to the body of Christ. The church desperately needs more men like you Peter to speak good solid, life building truth to any who would hear.
Thank you for this blog. I am seeing it for the first time. I think we become a strong branch holding up the fruit by the knowledge of what Jesus did 2000 yrs ago.
Jesus said the harvest is ripe. I know I am just realizing how to harvest the heavy-laden fruit of peace in my own life… and how that fruit harvest leads to mega healings both physical and emotional.
We are the strong branch that does not need to break when we show others how to harvest the fruit that is ours for the taking.
Yes I will join you. I too believe God’s harvest is coming.Yes I want to be ready prepared equipped and enabled to bear much fruit. I know it will be in Gods strength alone I ask for God to help me by his Saving Grace and Mercy. I am ready to step out in faith. I choose to let go of all self. I am open and ask for the Holy spirit to do that work within me only he can do so I can serve Christ effectively in all his fullness. All things are possible with God.
I submit myself completely into his loving hands to help teach me and prune me knowing
In my weakness he is strong.
In my brokeness he heals and renews.
In my loss of vision and of way ahead he restores my sight.
In my insecurity and lack confidence I am secure in Christ and confident in him to finish the work he has begun in me so I can serve him for his kingdom purposes.
I loved your beautiful illustration of the broken branches and as I pondered it, I also thought of another analogy. When we accept Christ as our Savior our old man dies and all He is is placed within us. The problem is without discipleship the believer doesn’t know or understand that he possesses all that Christ is. Being in Him and He in us is a mystery to be revealed more than understood. So, I was thinking about how many Christians are full of possible fruit harvests but have simply been to insecure or untaught as to the basics of the Christian life. I’m grateful for what Ellel 365 has done for our household. Thank you for YOUR fruit freely given and shared with others.
With all my heart…YES !!!!! 🙂 gbu for this message !!!!!!
Hmmm…Peter, this is good stuff. Thank you so much. Definately need to do some searching and planning. Many of us are not ready because we haven’t taken time to build the capacity. We haven’t remained with the master for him to teach us and prune of. Many of us will confess that we are not doing enough to build our spiritual capacity but just as many of us will confess further that even after realising this, we still do not do anything much to change. I sometimes heave a sigh and say this like ‘God help me’ or ‘it is well’, which of course doesn’t cut it. We desperately need to make a conscious spiritual growth plan and submit to God to teach us and prune us to make us stronger…. This is serious,urgent stuff…Thanks once again.
I wonder what it means to be ready and able to bear the weight of the harvest? I think we cannot do it without one another, and we cannot do it without grace. When I think of the way some of us relate to one another, I’m tempted to feel only despair at the state of the church, but that would be to underestimate our God. The first thing I realised as I began to search my own heart was how much more love I need for the lost, and how much more grace to cope with other Christians who think differently to me 🙁 – and that’s just for starters! “seek My face” says the Lord, and He also says, “no-one can see My face and live” – therefore we need to die to self in order to see Him, and in seeing Him to understand our calling. May each of us draw closer to Him by dying to self and to this world so that we can “bear much fruit”
many branches are not ready because they are not really expecting a great end time harvest. They’re looking for the Lord to come and snatch them away any moment. We need to have our spiritual eyes and ears open to receive the ongoing truth of the Word. The popular endtime scenario of the Rapture at any moment has closed a lot of Christians to the great things God wants to do through His Church like completing the Great Commission to bring the nations to Christ http://valpym.blogspot.com Val
Yes, I want to join you. It is so wonderful how practical God speaks to us and how gentle He works with us. Such unbelievable grace. Great message once again, thank you.
Yes, I want to be a strong bough that holds up under pressure! I am due to go on a healing retreat and so want to be healed and begin working for the Lord in whatever way He desires in His strength. I am at a crossroads waiting for direction…………Lead on Lord.