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Every branch that bears fruit must be pruned to bear much more fruit. I have a tomato plant that has been living for over two years now. Every winter the cold weather and heavy breeze kill more than half of the vines and leafs. If I don't prune the dead, it will spread and kill the whole plant. Therefore, I must prune what is wilted to save the rest of the plant. In turn, the plant grows bigger, stronger, and bears more tomatoes than before. The tomatoes don't only multiply, but they are much more pleasing in their flavor.

We must allow God to prune the wilted friends, habits, thoughts, and possessions out of our lives. By allowing this to happen, we will grow stronger and bear more fruit for the Kingdom of God. We will not only add to the Kingdom in quantity, but also in quality. The fruit we bear will be much more pleasing to God. Like David did, ask God to search your heart of any offense. David wrote, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24).

Jesus said that His Father prunes His children. The richest, fullest, most fruitful lives are those that have been strengthened through the painful process of tribulation. We have no right to think God will use us until He cuts away whatever may hinder our growth. What we see as tragedies may be only blessings in disguise, and the very opportunities through which God chooses to exhibit His love and grace.

Has the dearest in life been torn from you? Have all your dreams faded? Remember that if you could see these problems from the standpoint of God's wisdom and of eternity, you would be able to dry your eyes and praise the Lord for all of these. God will not withhold any good thing "from those who walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11). Even in your painful situation, you can trust Him to so what is best.

Christ cuts away the unusable only to make us more usable.

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