Monday, March 26, 2012

Abide To Thrive

If you abide with Me and MY words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you. By this is MY Father glorified that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples. John 15:7-8

Jesus never danced around the edges of any issue. He always hit every issue right on the head. There is so very much in these short words about prayer; how it glorifies God, how it evidences our faith, how it can accomplish unlimited things.

For today lets look at the "prerequisite" of abiding.

A couple of definitions to "abide: are:

VERB: def.

To remain in a place.
To continue to be sure or firm; endure. See Synonym: stay

So Jesus is stating that if we want to see the power of God in our lives we must "continually remain is His word".

This seems prohibitive. How can we "live" in His word.

In another setting Jesus told those listening that the things that come our of our mouths originate in our hearts. It is the things that come out of our mouths that indicate what is in our hearts. We can easily determine, if we are honest with ourselves, whether or not the Word of God is dwelling in us.

The first part of the above scripture is a bit more difficult to get a grip on however. What does He mean about us abiding in Him? How can one continually remain in Him?

Once again if we take a look at another encounter that Jesus had with people we might be able to better understand this opportunity.

Jesus was standing by a vineyard and said to the people. "I am the vine, you are the branches"
The picture is a little more clear. If the branch is broken off from the vine it withers and dies.

How might we know if we are separated from the vine and lacking the spiritual nourishment?

Galatians 5:22-25 discusses the look of a branch that is connected to the vine by saying:
...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control....If we live by the Spirit let us also walk by the Spirit.

There is a saying that if something walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck chances are good that it is a duck. Much like determining whether or not the Word of God dwells in us, discovering the level of our connectedness with the vine, or "abiding" with Him is indicated by the fruits that flow out from us.

SO, we can ask whatever we want and see God glorified by the answer to our request IF we have

Monday, March 19, 2012

Time for a real change?

Do you have any idea how much God loves you? He is crazy about you; what else could He do to show you exactly much He cares about you? A better car? A higher income? A better behaved family? A bigger home? An unexpected windfall?

There was a memorable plaque that I came across a few weeks ago. It said, "Which is easier, for God to bring peace out of the storm or for Him to bring peace within the storm?"

I know that we all want the former; God prefers the latter because that is where faith sits!

The Kingdom of God works on a different system than the domain of this world. The Kingdom of God works entirely on faith; the domain of this world works on success, accomplishment, wealth, health and possessions. There is no greater disparity than that of the two sytems!

Maybe it time that we reposition our minds toward the things that God prefers. It make take some sincere repentance; for sure, it will take some degree of faith!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Flee your slavery!

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.       Galatians 5:1
Freedom is not easy.  Just look around the world and you will see that freedom is not easy.  Even the recent examples in our own "freedom loving" country we quickly surrender our freedom for security and for comfort.
Yokes of slavery abound:  
Image of success. Wealth, Fame, preconceptions of body types, internet traps of pornography, Twitter, email, Facebook, LinkedIn..., Television, the mirage of happiness, perfect homes, perfect kids, perfect spouses, perfect lives....
The list is limitless.  You could add a few of your own.
Scripture implores us:
 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?      Galatians 4:9
We have become accustomed to the "weak and worthless elemental things" of this world and have lost the hunger for the exotic, liberating, life-giving things of God's kingdom.
Life; true life; real vibrant life is waiting for you to let loose of the trappings.
We have been invited into the greatest adventure of life.  Movies pale in comparison to the gift God has prepared for us.
There is a adage that says:
It is impossible to explore distant lands while keeping your feet on solid ground.
Doesn't it seem silly to ignore His invitation.  We can easily talk about the glory and the excitement of a life of faith; but freedom is hard!
Take the leap!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Unveiled Eyes

Perhaps a quick memory, for others an introduction to a comics classic:

Dennis the Menace found himself in a familiar spot. Once again he sat on a stool facing the corner of the kitchen. “Time out” in the corner where he could be monitored was a common position.

As he took his place this time, while facing the corner, he was heard to mumble: “I may be sitting down on the outside but I’m still running around on the inside”.

You know what he's saying? It's just like that whenever I sit down to spend some quiet moments with God and His word. I'm sitting down on the outside but things are running around on the inside. Things may start out peacefully each day but it doesn't take long, most days, for things to begin to unravel. I may be driving quietly on the outside but I'm jumping up and down on the inside.

I have made this statement before. Some of the most wonderful words in all of scripture are the words of a young man named Elihu as he addressed the wrong thinking of an aquaintence named Job. You can find these words in Job chapters 32 through 42. The words of Job, upon coming to grips with the truth about God, are insightful: He said: "

(Until now) my ears have heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. I therefore despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. v 5-6

We become so easily distracted that we fail to see Jesus. Our ears give us false comfort but it is only when we see God with our eyes that we truely believe.

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know the HOPE of His calling, what are the RICHES of His glory of His inheritance in the saints (you an me)and what is the surpassing POWER toward us who believe!" Ephesians 1:18

Agree with me on the Ephesians prayer. Personalize it and pray it for yourself. Write it down and pray it for yourself regularly. Life is available if we begin to see Him!