Hi everyone! How is your new year going? We just said good bye to our final guests last night after spending time with them for two weeks. It’s always bittersweet to say good bye. My older kids bawled like crazy when my sister, BIL and niece left. It was sweet, sad, and funny all at the same time. I love their tender hearts.
We’re still setting some goals and visions for our family and Jimmy and I have been talking about some spiritual goals we wanted to set. As 2016 was setting in, I asked the Lord to give me one word to focus on this year and the word, “abide,” was pressed upon my heart.
Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. John 15:4-6 NRSV
Some other translations replace the word, “abide” with “remain” or “join.” One thing that I found clear is that when I am not abiding, I will wither like a branch and there will be no fruit. Abiding in Christ will show a heart of trust, obedience, and devotion. Abiding in him produces fruit only because I am the branch that is attached to him who is the vine. Everything I need comes from him. Abiding in him produces a naturally transformed heart, mind, and soul. I think it’s important to note that the verses don’t say that it will produce perfect fruit or even huge fruit but that there is fruit. These “fruits” are evidence of our relationship with Jesus.
I’ve been craving more time in the word. When we’re living in a battlefield all day every day, we need to be ready and equipped. I’m learning the best way to do this is knowing God’s word and abiding in him. I decided to study the book of Psalms for this year and write it all out. I’m finding writing out scripture allows me to meditate on it better and helps me focus on what I’m actually reading. The book of Psalms is known as Jesus’ songbook. Through Psalms, we can better know, understand, and see God’s character. I’m praying for a revival in my prayer life. Abiding in him means welcoming him into my all aspects of my life. I can abide in him through my speaking, child rearing, cooking, cleaning, praying, seeking, counseling, and even DIY-ing.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
I got the kids in on it and had them write out a verse too. Even Emmy wanted to participate although she did it by drawing lots of scribbles in her Frozen dress. I will say that as much as I want my kids to understand and desire this type of discipline, I need to be the one to demonstrate it to them first. After about 10 minutes, one kid started whining about how they didn’t want to do it anymore. I’ve committed to doing this with them at least once a week even if it doesn’t appear to be “successful.” It’s a little different than the typical family devotional we’ve been doing and I want to try it out and see how it goes. I think consistency is key and even though they are young, I really pray that they develop a hunger for God’s word and they learn what it also means to abide in Christ.
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:7-11
Jimmy happened to receive this book for Christmas after I had already decided to study Psalms. It goes perfectly with my plan for the year.
Before the new year began, we received a health scare regarding a family member. Just this morning, I spent a lot of time working on logistical issues. Situations have already arisen where stress is inevitable and it reminded me how much more time I need to spend “abiding” in him. I can either choose to rely on my own strength and do things on my own or rely on his strength. My natural flesh chooses the first on most days but I want to change that because I know I need his grace all the more especially because my strength is not enough. Plus, who wants to be stressed? #notme
How are you starting the new year? Have you already hit challenges?
I want to encourage you because
He knows you
He sees you
He loves you
He cherishes you
He pursues you endlessly
Will you abide in him?
If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love John 15:10