Leaves, Debris, and the Distance In-Between

Close proximity to the vine does not a branch make you.


Imagine a mighty oak.


Lots of things can work their way close to the tree… The Source or root, if you will. Debris carried by wind… lost or fallen leaves… things tattered and scattered, the occasional plastic bag or scrap of paper can even get hung up or caught up in its reaches and branches. So very close but not close enough to bear fruit or BE ONE WITH.

A leaf resting on a branch but not still anchored, established, and supplied… will brown nonetheless.


CLOSE is not connected.

AWARE is not attached.


“Remain IN Me,” is not remain *near* me. “Abide in Me?” Well, it ain’t “Loaf around,” or “Float and flit around Me” either.


People wither and die in plain sight of the Savior, hearing His call, hearing His Word… and never opening the door and INVITING Him IN or accepting HIS invitation to COME and be changed and grafted into The Vine.


In-ness. Not nearness, Friend.

Are you aware of Jesus or still anchored and attached to The Life? There are not degrees of abiding, Amigos. It a “you are or you aren’t” kinda thing. Resting in, remaining in… sitting in. Whether eternal throne or IKEA chair, one is either sitting in it or they aren’t.


Almost abiding… is not abiding at all. And friend, “Abide” is not just a glorious invitation. It’s a command.


On His porch or easy-breezing around His yard… is not seated at His table.

Leaves, debris, and the distance in between. Makes all the difference.




  1. Lucille Gaither on January 10, 2024 at 6:09 PM

    Me being a Gentile am indeed grafted into the olive tree, our Lord Jesus Christ. I cannot claim DNA with the natural branches, but being called of God, I am in Christ and Christ is in me.

    When the nation Israel is in trouble, my knee hurts terribly:

    “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. For I heard the defaming of many, fear on every side. Report, say they, and we will report it. All my familiars watched for my halting, saying, Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.”

    That is why I limp, regardless of what the elders and pastors preach to me about being turned out of the way. Adversity gripped me terribly two weeks before September 11, 2001 so much so that I could hardly walk with my children around Six Flags that Saturday before, but they asked me, and so I hopped the whole day. {Got to see the owner Daniel Snyder and his daughter with their security detail.} Christ has been in me since August 1981 and has spoken thrice through me. So I am in the vine. I can see far and near at the same time, which all prophets do and did. I speak scripture into being. Is that what bothers the pastor and elder of the church? Or is it my color. Or is it my gender. Or is it a lack of a Phd or MDiv in theology? My age? These are unchangeable features that God created. The prophets of Revelation Chapter 11 are real pictures.

    Yes, I am close to God. That is the purpose of suffering. Christians fellowship with Christ through suffering. Maybe the pastors and elders could use some adversity in their lives. So that they can get close to God. Because right now, many of them, including many a senior pastor, live on the edge of the tree. Instead of rituals and man-made doctrines, they should try developing a real spiritual life, instead of going through the motions. Try to get some sap. It will work wonders. Maybe then, they would not say so and so should be persecuted as they said to me and did to me. Just maybe they will repent of their sin before our holy God and get rid of the leaves and debris flying around in them.

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