Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Helper for All Occasions

Today’s Text: John 16:7-15

But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to… (For the rest, see the Word)

Words of Ministry

The Holy Spirit is a very practical Helper who assists us in every aspect of our lives. When we pray, He intercedes for us according to the Lord’s will (Rom. 8:26). Because of our limited knowledge or self-centered desires, we sometimes ask for the wrong things, but the Spirit takes our petitions and aligns them with the Father’s will. Although you may think your prayer wasn’t answered, in reality, the Holy Spirit just straightened out your request in order to give you what was best.

God’s Spirit also helps us understand His Word (John 16:13). In fact, no one can comprehend the Bible unless the Spirit illumines his thinking. If you come to the Scriptures with a clean heart, a submissive will, and a dependent attitude, He will enlarge your spiritual senses to see the truth and understand His thoughts.
Perhaps one of the Spirit’s most under-appreciated works is His conviction of our sin (vv. 8-11). Although it’s unpleasant and sometimes painful, we should never want Him to stop, because this is the way He gets us back on track after we have strayed. But He doesn’t just point out our wrongs; He also empowers us to do right. True righteousness is achieved only by relying on 

Him to transform us and carry out His work through us.
Sometimes we don’t realize how much we need the Spirit. Though we acknowledge that salvation is accomplished by Christ alone, how many of us feel as if living the Christian life is now up to us? But self-reliance is a recipe for failure. Only when you know you can’t, will you find He can!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don’t miss the big picture

“Only he who knows the greatness of wrath will be mastered by the greatness of mercy.” —Gustav Stahlin

Today’s Text: Isaiah 6

Words of Ministry

Without the big picture view of human history, we can lose perspective on some of the most important elements of the Great Story. If you've ever walked into the middle of a movie, you know what I mean. It's hard to make sense of the middle and end of the story if you don't know how it began.

It's like that with our Christian faith as well. If we don't understand what life was like before Christ and before the cross, we don't get the full picture of God's character and don’t get an appreciation of who we are in Christ.

The problem is, of course, that we don’t view sin the way God does.  In fact, some of us, if we were really honest, would say, “I’m not even sure that God is a ‘wrathful’ God. I think He is a God of love, I think He will be nice to everyone in the end.” Many of us don’t really believe in God’s righteous wrath and only see Him as our “buddy pal.”

The Old Testament prophets knew better.   

The prophet Isaiah was blown away when he was given a vision of the glory of God. How did he respond?

"Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”—Isaiah 6:5.

We lose that perspective if we don’t look at sin the way God does. A biblical view of depravity gives us a much greater appreciation for the love of God and the cleansing forgiveness that we have in Christ. (By the way, it’s well worth it to read all of Isaiah 6 to get more of that perspective.) 

Can God be fully loving and fully wrathful at the same time? Absolutely! But if we lose perspective on either of these aspects of His character, we miss the big picture of the Great Story.

PRAYER: Holy Father, apart from what You did through Christ on the cross, I would still be a person of unclean lips, ruined, living among unclean people. Thank You, thank You that I am now in Christ—forgiven, cleansed by His blood, accepted by You as an heir and a child! What can I do except raise my voice in praise to You for what You have done for me?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Another Divine Helper

Today’s Text: John 14:16-18

And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.


Words of Ministry

Have you ever wished you had a 911 number that rang in heaven whenever you had a need? Well, I have good news for believers. We all have divine assistance that’s even closer than a phone call: our Helper dwells within us. But if we are unaware of Him, we’ll miss many opportunities to benefit from the greatest asset in our Christian life—the Holy Spirit’s presence.

Christ knew that when He left the earth, His disciples would be totally inadequate for the task He was giving them—to evangelize the world. Though they’d spent three years with Jesus, all they had seen and learned would still not sufficiently equip them for what lay ahead. They needed supernatural help, and so do we—someone who will come to our aid, and empowers our service, and transform us from the inside out.

The Holy Spirit is the only one who can achieve all this. Consider His qualifications:

1. He is a personal Helper, not some inanimate force. God’s Spirit is a member of the Trinity and coequal with both the Father and Jesus Christ.

2. He is a practical Helper who involves Himself in every aspect of our lives.

3. He is an adequate Helper because He’s omnipotent (All-Powerful), omniscient (Knowing Everything), and omnipresent (Everywhere at the Same Time).

4. He is an available Helper who always lives within us.

Do you have any need that requires more power than omnipotence? Are you facing a decision that requires more knowledge than omniscience? Nothing we encounter is bigger than the omnipresent One who lives within us. Be calm and confident. No matter what challenges you face, He can help.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Getting a glimpse of God’s Holiness

Today’s Text: Isaiah 59:1-3

Words of Ministry

You have to admit, the Bible starts out pretty darn sweet. In a flash, God creates everything from nothing. It's so good that He calls it, well, “good.” After He creates a man and a woman to live in it, He actually calls it “very good.” In short, there was God, His perfect world, and a man and woman walking together with Him in perfect unity.

This was Eden.

It lasted for a good three pages.

When the man and woman chose to doubt what God said and chose instead to believe the deception of the serpent, this perfect world was thrown into complete crisis. Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden. One of their sons murdered their other son. Insurance rates went way up. The stock market crashed. The consequences were all over the place—and all of these consequences emerged from one central, fundamental problem:

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. —Isaiah 59:1-3.

This, indeed, is the central crisis of the Great Story: A perfect and Holy Creator is separated from the creatures He loves because of their choice to live independently of Him, because of the barrier of sin between them.Have you recently pondered the full consequences of sin separating humans from our Holy God?

PRAYER: Jesus, by the power of Your Spirit and the description of Your Holy Word, allow me to imagine the great gulf that existed between You and me before my redemption. Give me a glimpse of Your staggering Holiness. Give me this bigger picture so that I can more fully celebrate the incredible things that You accomplished on the cross. Amen!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Man Made by God and...

...for God

Today’s Text: Psalm 139:1-10

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything…

Words of Ministry

Our culture greatly values outward appearance and athletic prowess. As a result, many of us think negatively about our bodies. We compare ourselves with others and conclude we do not measure up to society’s ideal. Such unhealthy comparisons can lead us into an emotional downward spiral. But the Lord sees things differently.

First, God made us—male and female—in His image, and then called what He had created “good” (Gen. 1:31). He knitted each of us in the womb (Ps. 139:13); no one is exactly like anyone else. From the Lord’s perspective, we are each uniquely made, with both value and purpose.

Second, our importance to the Father is seen in His Son’s sacrifice on our behalf. Christ shed His blood and paid for our sins so that we might be set free from the penalty and power of sin. God loved us so much that He sent Jesus to take our place on the cross (1 John 4:10).

Finally, God designed man to be in relationship with Him. Adam and Eve lived in the Garden and had communion with the Creator. Abraham followed the Lord and was called God’s friend (James 2:23). Through faith in Jesus, we have become children of God and co-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). Our whole being—body, soul, and spirit—belongs to Him.

The media bombards us with how to be prettier, stronger, and more popular. But such pursuits don’t bring lasting satisfaction. Contentment is found when we remember how precious we are to God: He created us, our Savior died for us, and the Holy Spirit lives in us.

Friday, August 26, 2011

God's Ways:

Ordinary and Miraculous

Today’s Text: 1 Kings 17:2-7

Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to… 

Words of Ministry

God declared, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways" (Isa. 55:8). And in fact, one of the biggest frustrations of the Christian life has to do with a lack of understanding about God's ways. There are times when we could really use a miracle, and yet He does not come through for us. Unmet expectations lead to confusion, disappointment, and even anger. Why did God let me down?

There are two schools of thought regarding the miraculous. Some people don't believe God works miracles at all, while others are convinced that if He's not doing the miraculous every day, then something is wrong with their faith. We need a balanced perspective, which we find in the Bible.

God works in both supernatural and ordinary ways, and He determines the method. Elijah ate food miraculously delivered by ravens, but his water supply from a brook was completely natural. When the water dried up, the Lord could have made more spring from the ground, but He didn't.

Sometimes God uses ordinary means to move us in a new direction. The curtailment of his water supply opened the door for Elijah's next "assignment." When the Lord withholds miraculous intervention and lets your brook dry up, He has something else planned for you. 

Seeing the work of God in the miraculous is easy, but He's just as involved in the commonplace aspects of life as He is in any supernatural event. Look for His "fingerprint" in the day's mundane activities. He is there, opening and closing doors, drying up one opportunity but initiating another. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Authority of Our Message

Today’s Text: 1 Kings 17:1

Now Elijah, who was from Tishbe in Gilead, told King Ahab, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!”

Words of Ministry:

King Ahab's first thought after encountering the prophet Elijah may well have been, "Of all the nerve! Just who does this guy think he is?" Bursting onto the scene out of nowhere, Elijah confronted Israel's wicked king with a message that would soon disrupt life throughout the entire region.

The validity of the revelation rested with the Source, not the mouthpiece. Elijah was a man of great faith who believed what God told him; he could boldly speak with authority because he knew and trusted the One who gave the message. He spent time alone with the Lord and listened as he stood before Him.

Our Father doesn't speak to us in exactly the same manner that He spoke to the Old Testament prophets, but the process of receiving His message hasn't changed. It begins with being alone in His presence and involves listening as He speaks through His Word. But it shouldn't end there.

Prophets had the responsibility of telling the people what the Lord revealed to them. Similarly, we are to share with others what we learn from God's Word. Devotional time with the Lord is not just about our own interests and needs. The Father reveals His treasures to us so that we can share them with others.

Begin each day alone with God in His Word and in prayer, listening as He speaks to your heart. Believe what He says in Scripture, apply it to your life, and then share with someone else what He has revealed. Be bold and remember that the authority of your message comes from Him.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Lifestyle of Obedience

Today’s Text: Genesis 6:9-22

So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him. Vs. 22

Words of Ministry

A lifestyle of obedience requires commitment and perseverance. Noah needed both as he obeyed the Lord’s instructions to build a large boat with a roof, doors, and three decks. God spelled out the exact measurements, the type of wood to use, and the way to make the vessel watertight. It was essential that Noah adhere to every detail if the ark was to house all the animals and stay afloat.

Scripture does not describe reactions to the project, but knowing human nature, we can imagine the disbelief and rejection Noah probably experienced. Yet he worked faithfully to the end and  “did everything just as God commanded him” (v. 22).

The Lord wants us to follow His instructions precisely. Unfortunately, we like to add some of our desires to His plan. We are like a child whose parent assigns three chores. The first is done satisfactorily, the second is put off until another day, and the third is skipped because the girl deems it unnecessary. This is not obedience.

In our case, we know we’re called to show compassion and kindness, forgiving others as the Lord forgave us (Col 3:13). However, our human nature wants to pick and choose which parts of Scripture we’ll obey. God blesses those who wholeheartedly follow Christ (John 12:26).

Many people in the Bible saw obedience as their goal. Abraham determined to go wherever God led. Moses felt inadequate but still carried out the Lord’s plan. Paul did an about-face to become Christ’s disciple. Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to follow the path of righteousness.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grace Being with Our Spirit

Today’s Devotional is from Witness Lee

Today’s Text:

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Phil. 4:23

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. 2 Tim. 4:22

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6

Words of Ministry:

When Paul says, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,” he means that the supply and enjoyment of the Triune God by and through the bountiful supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ should be with us. When we have such a supply, we enjoy and experience the Triune God all day long. The here is our regenerated spirit indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. It is in this spirit of ours that we enjoy Christ and experience Him as Paul did. 

Many Christians today have missed the mark of the regenerated spirit. They speak a lot about the Holy Spirit, but not the human spirit. Because of this neglect of the regenerated human spirit, there is very little experience of Christ or enjoyment of the all-inclusive grace.

If we would enjoy the grace which is with our spirit, we need to exercise our spirit. The way to exercise the spirit is to pray, read the Word daily, and call on the name of the Lord Jesus. Whenever we call on the Lord Jesus or pray to God the Father, we automatically exercise our spirit…When we call on the Lord, pray in a proper way, and read the Word daily, we truly exercise our spirit. Exercising our spirit in this way is the secret to enjoying the grace with our spirit. Oh, we all need more exercise of the spirit to enjoy the Lord!!

We all know that man has three parts: the spirit, the soul, and the body. Bodily exercise is necessary and profitable. When one exercises physically, they tend to sleep better at night. It is hardly necessary to speak of the exercise of the soul, especially of the mind, since this emphasized so much in our schools. But there is great need to emphasize the need to exercise the spirit. 

The more we exercise the spirit, the more we will be healthy and strong in our entire being. Our physical body will be healthy, our mind will be fresh and alert, and our spirit will be energized. Again I say, the exercise of the spirit is the secret, the unique way, to participate in the very grace that is the Triune God as the all-inclusive Spirit. As we enjoy Him, we become healthy and strong in our spirit and in our whole being.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A reality check for you

The unexamined life is not worth living.” —Socrates.

Words of Ministry

Everyone knows that things aren't always what they appear to be. But I’m pretty sure the original disciples were pretty shocked by the betrayal of Judas, even though there is no place where you see him bearing any fruit at all. When he does come to the forefront of the action, he’s complaining about spending too much money on perfume for Jesus, etc. But even those who lived with him for years were stunned when he walked away from the Last Supper to commit treason against Jesus. This means you can hang around with disciples for a long time, and not truly be one yourself.

In Matthew 7:20-23 Jesus gives us a very clear warning about this

By their fruit you will recognize them. “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you, away from me you evildoers!’”

What He is pointing out is that there are some people who kind of look like they’re in Him, but they’re not really! They look like a disciple, they’re going through the motions, they’re doing all the things that disciples do, but they don’t really know Him and aren't producing the true fruit that comes from remaining in the true vine. And the eternal consequence is? “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit.” 


If the life of Christ is in a believer, fruit and growth are inevitable—that naturally happens. The lack of true fruit is one possible indicator of the lack of the life of Jesus. But just because there appears to be fruit in our lives doesn't mean that it's true fruit either. The only true test is a self-test, where we look deep into our own hearts and ask the questions: Have I really become a branch on the true vine? Am I resting in Him? Does His love abide in me?

PRAYER: Father, Thank You for forgiving me of all my shortcomings and the things that I do and think that are wrong. Thanks for taking the punishment for these things to the Cross. I sense You calling me into an intimate, abiding, “remaining” relationship with You. Only You can do this. Please come in and create that kind of relationship between us.

With eternal thanks,
Your Child

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Priority of Obedience

Today’s Text: John 14:23-26

Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. Anyone who doesn’t love me will not obey me. And remember, my words are not my own. What I am telling you is…

Words of Ministry

The Creator gave two commands to Adam and Eve—first, to fill the earth and rule over it, and second, not to eat from a certain tree in the Garden (Gen. 1:28; 2:17). Because they chose to disobey, their relationship with God was broken, and they had to leave Eden.

The first couple’s rebellion not only impacted their own lives but also had far broader implications: all future generations have suffered. In Romans 5:12-19, the apostle Paul explained the reason. Through the sin of one man, Adam’s sin made its entrance into the world, and death resulted for all mankind. 

Because Adam was head of the human race, his actions affected everyone born after him. His disobedience resulted in each of us having an inclination to turn away from the Lord and a desire for self-rule.

By contrast, Jesus made conformity to the Lord’s will the priority of His life. He obeyed God in both word and deed (John 8:28-29). Having lived a perfect life—one entirely without sin—He qualified to be our Savior (2 Cor. 5:21). Through the death of one man, Christ Jesus, payment was made for the transgressions of all mankind. God’s acceptance of the Son’s sacrifice brought us forgiveness and freedom from sin’s power.

Adam’s disobedience brought judgment and death upon us, whereas Jesus’ obedience resulted in new life for all who believe in Him (Rom. 6:4). Our Savior calls us to deny selfish desires, live sacrificially, and follow Him (Matt. 16:24). A godly life will bring Jesus honor and influence others for Him.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Becoming a Patient Person

Today’s Text: Acts 24:1-16

Paul demonstrated the power of patience when he was brought to trial before Festus. Instead of letting his accusers’ false claims interfere with his calm demeanor, the apostle patiently went through the legal process while remaining faithful to the Lord. He refrained from attacking the opposition or decrying the injustice of the charges. His peaceful manner found favor with the governor and earned him a hearing for the gospel (Acts 24:24-25).

Today’s Notes from the Scriptures

Because our “flesh” is inclined towards impatience, we need to seek the Lord during difficult situations. Through prayer, we can ask Him to take control over our . . .

Thoughts… It is important that we shift our attention away from the circumstance and onto our heavenly Father. His Spirit will help us gain the right perspective.

Emotions… When the Holy Spirit oversees our feelings and reactions, we will find ourselves becoming calmer. Then He will empower us to respond in a godly manner.

Speech… Asking Him to help us have self-control over our tongue is essential. A timely word can defuse a situation; speaking defensively or shouting angrily at the other person can inflame it (Prov. 15:18, James 3: 3-12).

The Holy Spirit will answer our prayers and provide what we need, just as He did for the apostle Paul.

Patience requires self-control and a desire to please God. Paul had need of both when standing before Festus and King Agrippa. Despite the injustice of those situations, Paul held his ground and was not provoked. Imagine what God will do through you as you grow in the virtue of patience.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Developing Patience

Today’s Text: Colossians 3:12-14

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and

Words of Ministry

On any given day, we may encounter frustrating people and situations, such as the slow driver, mischievous child, or uncooperative co-worker. We may feel like lashing out, but God wants us to stay calm and be patient with everyone (1 Thess. 5:14).

Why should we want to develop patience?

Our calling. Though once alienated from the Lord, we have been made part of His family through Jesus’ shed blood. As God’s children, we’re called to live a life worthy of Him—one that is characterized by humility, gentleness, and patience (Eph. 4:1-3).

Biblical teaching. Scripture tells us to be tolerant of one another, bearing each other’s burdens, and responding with kindness.

Jesus’ example. The Lord demonstrated patience toward Peter’s impetuous actions, the crowd’s demands, and the leaders’ false accusations. We are to cultivate an attitude of composure.

Healthy relationships. Our impatience can hurt others and close off dialogue. Responding calmly gives room for the other person to confess wrongdoing, explain his or her attitude, and make changes.

God’s approval. The apostle Paul wrote that we are to be joyful in hope and patient in affliction (Rom. 12:12). When we quietly endure our suffering, we find favor with the Lord (1 Pet. 2:20).

The Holy Spirit is conforming us to Christ’s image daily. Our personal relationship with Him will develop in us the ability to be patience—without becoming agitated—when waiting or provoked. A calm demeanor in times of delay or adversity can be a powerful witness to the transforming work of God.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Coming with the Clouds

Today’s Text: Revelation 1 

“Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.” - Key verse 7 

Today’s Notes from the Scriptures 

In the days before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that He would return at a time when “all the tribes of the earth” would see Him“ coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). 

Then, when He ascended into Heaven, the disciples watched as “a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). 

In His revelation to John, in keeping with His promise, Jesus said that He would come again “with the clouds.” This was more than a prophecy—it was a declaration of the attitude that should shape our lives. 

In our time, as in John’s, it can be tempting to look down, to focus on the problems we face, to dwell on our finances, relationships, or other issues in our daily lives. “Looking down” can demonstrate that our minds and hearts are discouraged or that we don’t have much hope. 

But the Bible tells us that we need to look up. This was the message Jesus proclaimed as He talked about His Second Coming. Yes, tribulation is coming on the world, but, as Jesus said, “when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28) 

In our time, the signs of His coming are everywhere. We see the evidence all around us! Many in the world are filled with uncertainty and fear. But for Believers, these are times to rejoice and remember His promises. 

Don’t let your heart be filled with fear or worry. Remember, you serve a risen Savior. He is reigning even now. And He is coming again, of that we can be certain: “So it is to be.” 

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that You are coming again. I long to see You and spend eternity with You! Even so, come Lord Jesus! In Your name Amen

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Message from the Father

Today’s Text: - Revelation 1:1-3 

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants…He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John…Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” 

Today’s Notes from the Scriptures

Some people find the book of Revelation to be confusing. They find its language and symbols difficult to understand. Others don’t want to grapple with its mysteries or think about the issues it raises. Many have questions or even doubts. But the opening words of this book contain a powerful Promise, and a process, that reveal why Revelation is so important for every Believer!

Just think of all that’s revealed in these opening words! We see the plan of God Himself, for it was the Father who “gave” this revelation to Jesus. Then Jesus “sent and communicated” this revelation to an angel, who communicated it to John. Here we see the Father, the Son, and the angelic hosts all working together, just to deliver this one book!

There is one final element to complete the process: the readers. Yes, this book was given for us. But each of us has a choice whether or not we’ll read it. We can decide if we will accept God’s challenge, if we’ll believe that these words come from God Himself.

To demonstrate the importance of this book, we’re given a special incentive: We will be blessed if we read, hear, and heed these words! What a promise!

In your life, stop and think about the great care God took to deliver this book! Remember that Revelation was given because He had a special message for you! Accept His challenge. Read Revelation. Read it aloud. Read it silently. Study it. Be prayerful and serious…and receive God’s special promise of blessing.

PRAYER: Father, give me insight into the book of Revelation. Give me understanding. Open my eyes to see how You are at work in the world today. In Jesus’ name  Amen

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Looking at life through the lens of Christ’s love

“For when I know the love God has for me, then my mental confusion disperses like fog on a summer’s morning.” —Malcolm Smith


Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in Me. John 15:4

Today's Notes from the Scriptures

Life can be plenty confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes, a lot of religious talk only seems to make things more confusing. H. L. Mencken said, “A philosopher is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there. A theologian is the man who finds it.” Gee, that helps clarify!

Thankfully, when Christ used the analogy of the vine and the branches, He gave us a simple word picture that we can imagine. We can conceptualize truth and see ourselves in it. What’s it all about? He invites us to remain in Him, just as a branch remains in the vine, with this being the only way for it to produce true fruit. Then, a little bit further in the passage, He gives us another sentence to think about: 

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” – John 15:9.

What does it mean to “remain in Christ,” or “abide in Christ”? The meaning is obviously closely linked to “love.”

It means to continue to dwell and to celebrate and to live in His love, experiencing it fully day by day, moment by moment.

It means to rejoice in the reality of God and in the reality of His unconditional acceptance.

It means to engage in what delights the Lover by letting His passion become our passion.

It doesn’t just mean to keep believing in Jesus; it means continue to live in union with Him.

In the end, it means we have the opportunity to trust in Him even when everything else seems to be falling apart around us in a heap of confusion. 

Tough times at work? Family difficulties? Financial struggles? When we abide in Christ and remain in His love, knowing that God is real and that His love is real—and that we can actually dwell in that love—our problems don't magically disappear, but the confusion in our heart can.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I want to remain in Your love in a way that puts everything else in perspective. I take the challenges that I am facing this week, and I ask You to help me see them through Your lenses. By the power of Your Spirit in me, live through me so that I would be a reflection of the truth that God the Father is real, and that His love for me is real. May my life naturally proclaim, “God lives! Jesus loves me, this I know!” Amen!