Pruning the Vine- A Prophetic Glance at 2023

The King of Glory is Ready to Come Through You

No doubt you have heard many people spreading doom and gloom prophesies of the year ahead. Their prophetic words are concentrated on what Satan is doing without instruction on how to overcome. While I take heed of what the prophets are saying and know that many prophetic words may come with serious warnings that should not be ignored, I carefully sift each word before God, listening for Him to confirm or deny His Spirit on their lips. We are told to rightfully discern prophetic words (1 John 4:1). The nonbelieving world is afraid of the future. They are watching the events around the world, and they see no hope for the future. This cannot be true of God’s people. We must be different in this hour because we carry the hope of Christ. He is coming back soon, and we have a promise of love that cannot be taken away by any circumstance that greets us by surprise.

So wake up, you living gateways! Lift up your heads, you doorways of eternity!  Welcome the King of Glory, for he is about to come through you.
You ask, “Who is this King of Glory?” Yahweh, armed and ready for battle, Yahweh, invincible in every way! So wake up, you living gateways, and rejoice!
Fling wide, you eternal doors! Here he comes; the King of Glory is ready to come in. You ask, “Who is this King of Glory?”
He is Yahweh, armed and ready for battle, the Mighty One, the invincible commander of heaven’s hosts!  Yes, he is the King of Glory!

Psalm 24:7-10

This is going to be a year where God is pruning the vine of His Church, and it will be both tragic and beautiful to behold in the days ahead. Jesus Christ is the King of glory, ready to come through you, His Church. And when He comes through you, your whole thought life will be transformed to think like Him. When He dwells richly in your heart, your innermost being will begin to love like Him. When the fear of the Lord, like a flaming coal that touched the lips of the prophet Isaiah, touches your lips, you will begin to speak like Jesus. You are His body. You carry Him within you, not to hold Him captive, but to release His presence into your home, neighborhood, and workplace. Jesus is preparing His bride for the wedding feast. Can you feel the urgency? Can you feel the earth shake?

My Spirit remains in your midst. Fear not. For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all the nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts.

Haggai 2:5-7

A Time of Shaking

We are currently in a time where the whole earth is shaking. This shaking comes from the hand of God. It is God who shakes the heavens and the earth, not the devil. He is only the instrument of God to do this. God is doing the shaking, and he is doing it for a very great purpose described for us in this passage:

The earth was rocked at the sound of his voice from the mountain, but now he has promised, “Once and for all I will not only shake the systems of the world, but also the unseen powers in the heavenly realm!”  Now this phrase “once and for all” clearly indicates the final removal of things that are shaking, that is, the old order,  so only what is unshakable will remain. Since we are receiving our rights  to an unshakable kingdom  we should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights his heart  as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe.  For our God is a holy, devouring fire!

Hebrews 12:26-29

This is what God is working toward. He allows the shaking to come in order that what cannot be shaken may again become visible to men. One of the great encouragements of this day is to see that this is exactly what is happening. If you have both of your feet planted firmly in the Kingdom of Heaven, you will not be shaken. This is a time to choose a side. The people of Israel were asked to choose when Elijah confronted the false prophets of Baal. Our choice will determine our future, and many believers that have a foot in the world and a foot in the Kingdom will be shaken.

Growth and Pruning

When it comes to the believer who has both of their feet firmly planted in the Kingdom, they will be positioned for pruning. This process is different than shaking. Christ is coming back soon for His bride, and He is coming back for a bride without spot or blemish. This term for pruning is one that is used repeatedly in scripture to describe the discipline of God to His people. Depending on your childhood, the word discipline may provoke a particular emotion. For those that were abused as a child, it may sound like punishment, but that is not the way God disciplines us. When God disciplines, He isn’t doing it out of anger or disappointment. He isn’t seeking to control you, instead, He is aiming to guide you down the right path and keep you from danger.  Have you ever noticed the similarities between the word disciple and the word discipline? That is because the way the Father trains us is through discipleship. This is the way Jesus taught His followers. God disciplines those whom He loves.

My child, don’t underestimate the value of the discipline and training of the Lord God, or get depressed when he has to correct you. For the Lord’s training of your life is the evidence of his faithful love. And when he draws you to himself, it proves you are his delightful child.” Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for he is doing what any loving father does for his children. For who has ever heard of a child who never had to be corrected?  We all should welcome God’s discipline as the validation of authentic sonship. For if we have never once endured his correction it only proves we are strangers and not sons.

Hebrews 12:5-8

Correction from God is an invitation for intimacy. It is proof of God’s love. Remember when Jesus referred to Himself as the living vine in the gospel of John? He says, “I am a true sprouting vine, and the farmer who tends the vine is my Father. He cares for the branches connected to me by lifting and propping up the fruitless branches and pruning every fruitful branch to yield a greater harvest” (John 15:1-2). The Greek word used for “pruning” is the word kathairó, which means “to cleanse, purify, or purge.” The purpose of the grapevine is to produce fruit. It is the same with us, our purpose is connected to being fruitful. For the vine to continue to produce good fruit, it needs to be pruned. There are branches that may shoot out from the vine that produce nothing but leaves, and those are what need to be cut off. Areas in our hearts that are not bearing God’s good fruit, need to be purged.

The Disciples Get Pruned

In Luke 9, Jesus, commissioned his disciples to proclaim God’s kingdom and to heal the sick to demonstrate that the kingdom had arrived. In verse 6 it says that the apostles departed and went into the villages with the wonderful news of God’s kingdom, and they healed diseases wherever they went. That was fruit! Now, notice what happened in the verses following their fruitfulness. It says that they began to argue and became preoccupied over who would be the greatest one among them. That pride, or arrogance is a wild branch that produces only leaves. The gifts inside the Lordship of Jesus bring Him honor and glory, and they produce fruit. But gifts outside the Lordship of Jesus cause us great harm, and they become those wild branches that starve the other branches from the energy produced by the vine. Jesus prunes the argument of who is the greatest by gathering the children unto himself and telling his disciples that, “The one who is least important in your eyes is actually the most important one of all.”

The disciples don’t get it, they need more pruning. They excitedly told Jesus that they found someone casting out demons in His name and because they weren’t one of the twelve, the disciples tried to stop them. Jesus was not impressed with their humanistic loyalty. He said, “You shouldn’t have hindered him, for anyone who is not against you is your friend.” What was Jesus pruning? Jealousy that blinds our hearts. Jesus snipped off that jealousy branch so that it wouldn’t hinder their calling.

In the same way, Jesus is pruning the Church. All the branches of pride, jealousy, carnality, shame, deception, bitterness, envy, unforgiveness, and gossip are about to be cut off. Remember that the purpose of this is oneness, and these are the branches that are connected to the vine. Those outside of the Lordship of Jesus are not connected to the vine, and they will not undergo pruning. Feel sorry for them and pray that they would become grafted in by accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior!

Instruction

The Lord has not called me into the office of a prophet, but I move in the prophetic enough to know my responsibility to my readers is to give biblical instruction. King David, known for being a man after God’s own heart, was pruned when God exposed an area of his life that was not surrendered to Yahweh. You may be familiar with the story of Bathsheba, where David sexually exploited another man’s wife, and then secretly had that husband killed when he learned that Bathsheba was pregnant. This is an example of someone who can fully love the Lord and yet have an area of their life that does not line up with God’s heart. Since the Lord loved David like a son, He wasn’t going to allow David to get away with this sin without correction. He pruned David’s desires, ambitions, pursuits, motives, and dreams. God removed the branches that would eventually harm David, and that pruning is what brought David closer to God’s heart. To see the process that David went through, read Psalm 32.

Before I confessed my sins, I kept it all inside;

my dishonesty devastated my inner life,

causing my life to be filled with frustration,

irrepressible anguish, and misery.

The pain never let up, for your hand of conviction

was heavy on my heart.

My strength was sapped, my inner life dried up

like a spiritual drought within my soul.

verses 3-4

David is displaying for us what living with a fruitless branch feels and looks like when you refuse to be open about an area of sin in your heart. It causes frustration, anguish, and misery. It also removes strength! Our inner life dries up when we are not honest with God. Remember that this is all about a relationship with the Father. And we cannot have a strong relationship without honesty. Our intimacy with God is built by mutual trust, just like a marriage. If you are hiding something from God, David says that it will cause great harm. Let’s look at what David did next:

Then I finally admitted to you all my sins,

refusing to hide them any longer.

I said, “My life-giving God,

I will openly acknowledge my evil actions.”

And you forgave me!

All at once the guilt of my sin washed away

and all my pain disappeared!

verse 5

When David opened himself up and was honest with God, the Lord cleansed him! Remember what that Greek word used for pruning means? It implies cleansing! When we confess our sins, Jesus forgives us and cleanses us. This cleansing is a vital part of the pruning process that Jesus wants to do in us in the year 2023. Here is what David instructs us to do:

All believers should confess their sins to God;

do it every time God has uncovered you

in the time of exposing.

For if you do this, when sudden storms of life overwhelm,

you’ll be kept safe.

Lord, you are my secret hiding place,

protecting me from these troubles,

surrounding me with songs of gladness!

Your joyous shouts of rescue release my breakthrough.

Verses 6-7

We must keep a repentive heart before God this year. Keep your heart soft and allow the Lord to mold you and transform your mind. This does not mean that you will never go through hard things in life, but it means that you will have peace in the middle of the storm. The waves will not be able to overwhelm you, no matter how destructive they are. When there are things inside of your heart that dry up your inner life, Satan will use that to destroy you from the inside out. But Jesus has already prayed for you to overcome by the power of His blood and the Word of the testimony. Just like with David, the Lord wants to grow closer to you. Will you let Him in? David then tells us what God was saying to Him after he confessed his sin:

“I will stay close to you,

instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life.

I will advise you along the way

and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide.

So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn

when I take you where you’ve not been before.

Don’t make me tug you and pull you along.

Just come with me!”

Verses 8-9

Notice how God has said that He will lead us, with His eyes. God is instructing us with His eyes this year and the only way that you will be able to know where He wants you to go, is if you look at His face. Years ago, I went through an extremely hard season where I was in a great deal of pain without relief or explanation. I began to seek the Lord’s hand, because I desired healing. God took me by the hand and whispered in my ear, “Janell, you are seeking my hand for healing. I will certainly show you my hand, but I do not want you to seek me only for healing. I want you to seek my face.” The Lord is more than His mighty works and deeds. He is beautiful to gaze upon, and we all have been called to have a face-to-face encounter with Him. We begin with His written word, and then wait upon Him to speak to our hearts. My prayer for you is that you would lean into the presence of the Lord, valuing His Word, seeking His face, and finding your purpose in Him in 2023.

Blessings,

Janell Kremer

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