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In the Christian faith, the cross not only represents where Jesus Christ died, but it is the place where we believers "crucify" those things in our lives that would cause harm either to our personal faith relationship to God or harm others. In other words, perhaps I am very strongly motivated to go tell someone off, yet I know that if I give in to my impulse to vent in that particular circumstance, it will be something I will regret later- not only will I get hurt deeper, but that other person will bare longer lasting and severe wounds from my verbal attack than deep down I want them to have to carry. In this case I would go to God in prayer and ask Him to help me not to walk in my immediate will, but to have wisdom and self control how to handle the situation. Thus, my own impulsive way is "put to death" so that a greater good can come from the experience... or at least disaster is averted.
The vine represents the Believer... in this case, it was representing me. I can see where God has caused me to "bear fruit" in this life that bring encouragement to others (represented by the grapes)... yet I am so prone to wander away and try to do things according to my own feelings, without stopping to think and look to God for a better way to approach life. Sometimes my words are too harsh. Sometimes my actions are selfish or thoughtless.
About 2 years ago, as I was having a quiet time with the Lord, I found myself praying to God to keep me back from what I wanted to do... so I wouldn't be like a wild vine controlled by every whim, thereby letting the precious fruit droop down to the ground to rot- but that I would be strong and supported by Him. And yet I felt too weak... to prone to react to feel strong enough to cling to Him in faith. So I asked him to order the circumstances in my life to be as the ropes holding this vine to the cross... sometimes restricting, yes, but for the purpose of bringing forth a higher good and to keep me from straying from loving God or loving those around me. It's not an easy prayer to ask God to have His way, even if it means me not getting everything I want, but in the long run, I knew by experience that it will bring better results than just living according to my every emotion and impulse.
God was faithful to answer my prayer, and keep me on His path, but I have to admit, it wasn't an easy time. Sometimes I felt trapped by the situations God used to keep me close to Him... sometimes I felt like I had rope burns in my soul by the sacrifices endured to keep me from following my own impulses. But as I worked through these times before the Lord, crying out to Him for strength and comfort, my relationship with Jesus deepened. I became more devoted to His friendship... more inclined to return to Him instead of trying to lean upon my own ways of dealing with issues. Indeed, the confining ropes became loosened as my I learned to rest in the loving arms of my Lord, and my chaffed my soul healed with a new layer of strength,hope, and compassion as God restored my heart.
January 23rd, 2012
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