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Archive for the ‘Abide’ Category

Boaz told Ruth to abide in the fields near his female field workers (Ruth 2:8).  Hannah left her son to abide in the Temple of the Lord God (I Sam 1:22).  Jonathan told David to “take heed” and “abide in a secret place”. (I Sam 19:2).  Psalm 91:1 assures us that “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.”  Jesus told Zacchaeus to “make haste and come down” for He was going to “abide” at his home.  (Luke 19:5).  The two disciples on the road to Emmaus constrained Jesus to “abide with us”.  (Luke 24:29)

Abiding is a place—could be a physical location or an emotional or mental state of mind.  But, clearly, it is making a choice or a decision to alter the present circumstances, to choose to be in a different place—as close to the heart of God as a branch is when grafted into a tree (vine).  Choose today to draw as close to Jesus as possible through quiet communion with Him and He will fill you with His joy to overflowing. (John 15:11).

When we abide, God rewards our efforts with supernatural power.  We learn to recognize God’s “still small voice” (I Kings 19:12) and become familiar with His ways.  Abiding helps us to accomplish more for His Glory because we are more in tune with His directions.   We consistently have more of the rich blessings of His grace just as Peter and John did in Acts 4:13, when we abide because “we are with Jesus” and are filled with His Mighty Power.

Abiding gives us strength and the rest we need to bear much more fruit.  Consider the symbol of abundance in the picture of the spies in the Valley of Eschol, when the cut down “a branch with one cluster of grapes” that required them to carry it “between two of them on a pole.” (Numbers 13:23).  The harvest that will be produced in our lives is a picture of fruitfulness that can only come from deep abiding.  It is the harvest that God has in store for us when we allow His Mighty Power to do its work in us and we abide in the resulting flow of love toward Him and others.

All

Because

I

Desire

Excellence

ABIDE!

Lord God, today my vocabulary seems too limited to express my heart.  Take me to that place where Your love flows through me like sap to a sapling so I may produce a harvest of good works in my life that spreads Your Good News of grace and love to my family and my community.  I want the fruit produced with my life to be proof of Your joy in me so my joy will be complete.  Amen

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In John 15, Jesus uses an agricultural illustration to try to help us understand the principle of abiding.  He describes the relationship between a vine and a branch.  I tried to grasp this, but not being scientific minded, I was left to research the topic.  Did you know:

If you’re trying to start an orchard and want to ensure you get good fruit, the only way to do that is by grafting. Grafting is also the best way to save a tree that has been damaged or broken. When you graft, you’re simply taking a twig or a branch from one fruit tree and inserting it into another. Grafting is an essential step for any fruit tree that you want to create good, edible fruit and a healthy tree. In fact, almost every tree you get in a nursery has been previously grafted by the grower. Grafts allow you to make the strongest, healthiest tree possible.

Read more: How to Graft a Fruit Tree | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_4494843_graft-fruit-tree.html#ixzz1Bcm8rmOe

The evidence of whether a graft is successful only becomes apparent once new buds start appearing.  So, it is with abiding.  Jesus used the illustration of the vine and the branches because the place of connection may be seen but whether there is life and new growth is out of sight.  Abiding isn’t about what happens on the surface in our lives, but what is happening inside us as we draw closer to the Source and allowing more of God into more areas of your life, in your activities, thoughts and desires.

In order to be healthy and strong, we need to be grafted into the vine—abide.  God is willing to graft us into His own tree. (Romans 11:22-24)

Immerse me Lord Jesus in your love.  Take what is damaged and broken in my life and insert Your healing power.  You are the grower, Lord Jesus, Your mighty power flowing inside me is the only way to ensure I produce good fruit in my life.  Do the invisible work that only Your Spirit can do.  Abide in me and…

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Additional Study:  Luke 13:6-9, John 15, John 12:46, John 14:16, Rom 11:23

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Communing with the Lord God is not about emotions or feelings, but about building a relationship that is steadfast and always reliable—better than a relationship with a friend who “always has your back.”  Just as in marriage where our love may be constant even though the emotions fluctuate up and down, we cannot measure the intensity of our relationship with Jesus Christ based on the feelings we have at a particular moment in time.

Abiding is an act of faith.  Abiding is allowing the unrestricted presence of Jesus Christ into every area of your life.  Perhaps, like me, it is easy to think of the Lord Jesus sharing a cup of tea near the fireplace in your living room, but the idea of allowing Him to have freedom to look in my closets, my dresser drawers or into certain areas of my heart is pretty uncomfortable.  Maybe the idea fills you with shame, guilt or even fear—that if you do, for certain He could never find you worthy of His love.

The Bible is a love letter from Someone who is real, authentic and ever present.  Read it, ponder it, savor it as though a tasty dessert.  Unlike the calories of a rich dessert that add inches to your hips, feasting on God’s word will add to your life and give you the courage to obey His commands, which will bring the reward of fruitfulness to your life and to those lives you have the opportunity to impact.  Abiding, obeying and bearing fruit are like three strands of a rope—intertwined.  You don’t have one without the other.  Yet, we are assured of bearing much fruit when we abide (John 15).

Overcoming barriers to abiding is only possible when we obey, but oh, the rewards that we enjoy because we obey!

Lord Jesus, I want the intimacy of abiding I glimpse in these devotions, but what are you asking of me? I can’t even obey Your word without abiding; for apart from You I can do nothing.  You promise that obeying You means living in fellowship with You and You with me.  I need that today.  It is a cold, windy, silent day outside and my heart needs the warmth of your tender love.  Holy Spirit, fill me with the peace that comes from abiding in the Light of God’s love.  Show me how to pass that love on to others today.  Amen

Additional Study:  John 15:6, I John 4:7-11, Matt 7:21,

 

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Abiding isn’t about just going through activities.  While abiding begins with visible spiritual disciplines, such as prayer and reading scriptures, we can do all of those things for years without abiding.  After all, there is a big difference between reading a book about a person and getting to know the person intimately.  We can spend time in God’s Word and in prayer out of duty or habit, but devotions or quiet time will not allow us to break through to a flourishing, living relationship with God unless we meet with the Person of God—Jesus Christ—like we would a friend.

God is not someone just “out there” in some far off place.  Rather, He wants you to talk with Him like you would a friend.  He wants to hear your requests, your worries, your exciting news and your thanks.  Risk being authentic and He will make Himself and His love real to you in return.

There is a classic hymn, In the Garden, that has a line in the refrain, “…and He walks with me and He talks with me and He tells me I am His own…”  This is the picture of abiding.  This is walking intimately with your head on His shoulder or arm –in-arm through a place that brings peace and joy.  The garden may be in full bloom or covered with snow, but there can always be the confident assurance that there is a Person who wants to abide with us and share His life with us because He loves us.

Abiding is being attentive to His presence throughout the day.  Brother Lawrence, a 17th century lay Christian who worked in a monastery kitchen, described this practice of abiding in God, “I do nothing else but abide in His holy presence, and I do this by simple attentiveness and an habitual, loving turning of my eyes on Him.  This I call…a wordless and secret conversation between the soul and God which no longer ends.”

Lord Jesus, You are here with me, in me and around me.  Go with me Jesus wherever I go today; be my constant companion.  Whether dealing with stress at work or circumstances at home that leave me feeling vulnerable and frazzled, remind me of Your presence.  Today, abide with me and fill me with the peace that comes from abiding with You. Amen.

Additional Study:  Col 3:16, Psalm 91:1, I John 2:28


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Apostle John wrote the Gospel of John and I and II John.  In those three rather small books of the Bible, he uses the word “abide” 43 times.  It is used as a command, a warning, as a call to a more intimate love relationship, as a promise, and as an invitation to godly living.

The word “abide” conveys remaining close, attached to something or someone in a firm and immovable manner. Abiding means to long for, thirst and hunger for more of something in your life.  I can relate to that with my friend who just moved back to Michigan after living in a western state for the past few years.  I want to spend every possible minute close to her because I am so grateful she is nearby.

Abiding with Jesus Christ is like the important relationships in our life—we want to spend all the time we can simply enjoying His company.  But, equally because Jesus Christ loves us, He wants us to stay close to Him; to stay in His love.

In fact, Jesus Christ—our Friend—wants to abide with you and me more that we might want to abide with Him.  Jesus said, “As the Father loved me, I also have loved you; abide in my love.” (John 15:9)

Staying close to God’s love means staying close through prayer, listening and talking with Him, mediating and reading His word and remaining obedient to the principals He has laid out so He can bless us with more—more of Himself and His grace.  If we really understood the power and blessings that would flow through abiding, we would come away feeling so full, so nourished and so cherished by His love that we would race back to Him whenever we could.

Oh, Lord Jesus, I know Your Word assures me that You love me, but the idea of abiding means drawing near to You and sometimes, I am so ashamed of my failures and shortcomings that I doubt You are happy with me or even like me enough for me to feel comfortable seeking You let alone asking to abide with You.  Help me, Lord Jesus, to understand and accept Your forgiving grace because I know Your word assures me that You are trustworthy and patient; that you have forgiven my sins and, most of all, that You see me as a loving child—your beloved.  My head and my heart need to be single-minded; in harmony and confident of those assurances.  Abide with Me Lord Jesus.  Nourish me with your cherishing love.  Enfold my bruised heart in your warm arms of grace today.  And, then Lord Jesus, use me as a vessel to flow that out into the lives of those I love.  Amen

Additional Study:  John 15, Psalm 42:1, Jeremiah 31:3, Psalm 25:6-7, Deut 4:32-40, Deut 7:7-8

 

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