Abiding in the Vine

January 27, 2015

Abiding in the Vine

1 John 2:24
Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.

John, the apostle and disciple of Jesus, was very passionate about certain things. Two of the things he is most passionate about is love and relationship. I believe John was a man of the heart and when he committed his love to you it was constant from then on. One area of emphasis is the place of “abiding”. This word speaks of a place where we remain; we don’t depart from, we continue to be present. It is a place we last and endure in and a place where we survive and live. It speaks of a state or condition that is constant and a place where we wait for someone. This concept of abiding is one that Jesus is passionate that we catch a revelation of.
Abiding is a two way street. It is a place of exchange of living and giving, and loving and receiving. That place where we live and abide in our heart is the key to what our life produces. Jesus shares the reality of this truth in John 15: 1-8, ““I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” Our place of abiding in Christ is the place where we grow up into Him in all things. It is the place where He loves us, trains us, corrects us and prunes us. It is the place where He makes us productive and fruitful with regards to the kingdom. It is the place where we learn that our life is one with His and the blood that flows in Him, flows in us. We are of one life and one nature as we abide there. If or when we sever and separate our life from His then that fellowship and circulation of His life ceases to work in us and we begin to spiritually die. Outside of Him we perish spiritually.
God is a God of mercy and restoration and I believe that through repentance and the redemption of the blood we can be restored should we leave this place of abiding. Many of us may have walked away from Christ for a time, but hopefully all of us realize how dead we are inside without His life and fellowship. It is in the place of abiding that we are living in eternal life, for we are living in Christ. 1 John 2:1-2 tells us, “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1 John 1:9 has told us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There is a place and provision for restoration when we fail, but our heart should be that we don’t want to fail Him. 1 John 2:17 tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Our abiding in eternal life is our abiding in obedience to the will and purpose of God. 1 John 3:6-9 tells us about the state of the believer in that place of abiding, “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” Our continual abiding in Christ is going to make us want to be like Him in every way. We are learning to love what He loves and hate what He hates. We are being conformed to His mind and transformed into His likeness from glory to glory. It is a process and a maturing, but it takes place as we abide in Christ.
It is important that we connect in our understanding our unity and oneness with Christ, if we are always seeing ourselves as outside of and apart from Christ then we always see ourselves separate and detached from Him. While our unity and oneness may not be in the manifest glory that it one day will be, we are robbed if we see ourselves as anything but one with Him. Otherwise we are trying in our efforts to live Christian lives and looking to heaven for God to help us. He has helped us sometimes more than we comprehend or have revelation of. He has placed His life in us and our lives are in Him so that we might live out of Christ and unto Christ. He is our being, we have become identified with His life in us, and we have disowned and are putting to death the former man that we were before Christ. We have to always remind ourselves that we are dead to our former identity and now our identity is in Christ where we abide in His love and His life. Lay hold of the truth of where you live, abide and have your being in Christ. It is Christ in you and His love that now lives through you as you abide in Him.
“These things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” 1 John 1:9 has told us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” There is a place and provision for restoration when we fail, but our heart should be that we don’t want to fail Him. 1 John 2:17 tells us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” Our abiding in eternal life is our abiding in obedience to the will and purpose of God. 1 John 3:6-9 tells us about the state of the believer in that place of abiding, “Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. 8 He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” Our continual abiding in Christ is going to make us want to be like Him in every way. We are learning to love what He loves and hate what He hates. We are being conformed to His mind and transformed into His likeness from glory to glory. It is a process and a maturing, but it takes place as we abide in Christ.
It is important that we connect in our understanding of our unity and oneness with Christ, if we are always seeing ourselves as outside of and apart from Christ then we always see ourselves separate and detached from Him. While our unity and oneness may not be in the manifest glory that it one day will be, we are robbed if we see ourselves as anything but one with Him. Otherwise we are trying in our efforts to live Christian lives and looking to heaven for God to help us. He has helped us sometimes more than we comprehend or have revelation of. He has placed His life in us and our lives are in Him so that we might live out of Christ and unto Christ. He is our being, we have become identified with His life in us, and we have disowned and are putting to death the former man that we were before Christ. We have to always remind ourselves that we are dead to our former identity and now our identity is in Christ where we abide in His love and His life. Lay hold of the truth of where you live, abide and have your being. It is Christ in you and His love that now lives through you as you abide in Him.

Blessings,
#kent

God’s Process

October 16, 2014

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift comes down from above, from the Father
of lights, with whom is no variation nor shadow of turning.

God’s Process

In the light of day there is no darkness, but shadows still move away from the direction of the light much the way our hidden sins move away from the conviction of the Holy Spirit. It is when we come into the noon day of His presence that there is no shadow of turning and there all things are exposed to the light. When the light of God is put directly over every area of our life then whatever shadows were there fall beneath you and are no longer projected from you.
A fire will seek to consume everything combustible and the hotter the fire the more completely combustibles are burned. All that is considered of the sinful nature is combustible and subject to the fire. When we pass through the baptism of the fire of Christ’s love He is not rejecting you, but accepting you and promoting you. What His love is burning up may be very grievous to our flesh, but it is purifying us from all the flesh and defilement that has held us back from a deeper walk in His presence. When we don’t understand the process we can become angry, disappointed and offended with God. We don’t fully understand the principle and concept that before a seed can bring forth much fruit it first must fall into the ground and die outwardly so that the life within it can spring forth and bring forth much fruit. If we want to be fruitful there is a process.
It wasn’t in the natural desire of Jesus to suffer what He had to suffer and die like He had to die. He prayed and asked the Father, ‘If there is any way let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.’ When we make our commitment to fully give our lives to Christ, we probably don’t really grasp what that might entail. Father is gracious, He doesn’t confront us with everything at once, but He begins to take us through the process of refinement. He begins to expose those shadow areas in our lives and desires to bring the light of His purification to illuminate them, dispel them and consume them. In a lot of this process we have our will to submit or withdraw from this process. In others we go through experiences that are beyond our control and often through those difficult times we may find God in a greater dimension than what we had previously known Him. Sometimes in the things that we must pass through, they are not just for us, but they are to train us up and make us forerunners for those who must pass through similar circumstances. We then have the experience and the grace of God to speak into their lives from a heart of empathy and understanding just as Jesus was tempted in all areas just as we are.
There are many different types of terrain that we pass over as we journey with Jesus. The truth we must always keep close is that we don’t journey it alone. Even though all others would forsake us, Father never will. In Hebrews 13:5 we are given this exhortation, ” Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
6So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
7Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Jesus has never changed His mind toward you. His love for you has never wavered. His faithfulness is always the same and steadfast.
Father is taking us through the process of purification. It is not by our works or efforts, but more by our submission and obedience to Him. We co-labor in the process of purification that is taking place within us. Romans 8:12-17 shares with us, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” The power of overcoming is by our partnering with the Spirit of God within us, to put to death the misdeeds of the body. It is not by just our strength, but neither is it by our passivity. We are in the midst of a commitment to Him to allow the DNA of His Spirit to transform us from what has been put to death into what is of His life and godliness. Thereby we are called the Sons of God if we are led by the Spirit of God. You also notice that it is in sharing the suffering of Christ that we also share His glory.
At every juncture, at every turn, at every circumstance and in every encounter may we have the heart to say, “Yes, Lord Jesus, have your way, whatever that entails and whatever that takes me through. I just want to be conformed to You.”

Blessings,
#kent

Our Children

May 13, 2013

Our Children

Psalms 127:3
Lo, children [are] an heritage of the LORD: [and] the fruit of the womb [is his] reward.

There are perhaps fewer things in life that can bring us greater joy or deeper sorrow than our children. There are perhaps fewer things in life that can help us relate with our heavenly Father than our children. In our children we see the individual and we also see ourselves. Through our children many of us may have tried to live out a part of ourselves, our children thus becoming an extension of ourselves in their youth. We are given the awesome responsibility to raise them up into adulthood, to be their examples, their mentors, their disciplinarians, and the ones they turn too and trust in. Our heavenly Father has given us a role in a much smaller sense, yet similar to the role He plays in our lives.
Our children, while under our authority, still have a free will to make right and wrong choices. Through those choices they can either bless our hearts or break them. The Lord tells us in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 concerning raising our children, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Our foremost responsibility, besides caring and providing for our children is to raise them, seeking every opportunity to instill in their hearts the Word of God. We do this through our personal instruction, our lifestyle, example, and the atmosphere in which we raise them. Hopefully we learn to instruct our children in the love and grace of God, not just in harshness and legalism. In our exuberance to have them conform to godly ways we may use God like a club to beat them over the head, using condemnation and judgmental tactics to try and control them. This may not be so different than what many of you grew up in. On the other hand some may give there children too much lee way, not providing a loving atmosphere of discipline and correction to guide them and train them into maturity. The bottom line is most of us try and do the best we can to raise our children in a right way. Being human ourselves, we are prone to make mistakes along the way and we pray God’s grace will fill in the potholes of our shortcomings.
Sometimes our children grow up fulfilling all of our expectations to our delight and joy. Sometimes our children falter, but then recover to still grow up and bless our hearts. Sometimes our children become headstrong, rebellious and turn away from the principles of right and wrong we endeavored to instill in them. They may reject our values and us to go their own way. As a result many have ended up in trouble with the law, have broken homes and marriages, have children and relationships outside of marriage, or have adopted lifestyles and behaviors contrary to the way we sought to raise them in. They may be the source of our greatest hurt and heartache today. Even as much as we disapprove of their actions we never stop loving them. Our natural tendency is to some how take responsibility for their actions and the choices they made. Sometimes it leads to marital strife and tension because one spouse blames the other because of some weakness or failure on their part. We all have shortcomings, but at some point our children choose to no longer submit to our authority as their parents. At that point they take the responsibility upon themselves for their choices. Many of us know that while we may no longer have control in the natural we continue to take our petition into the heavenlies unto the throne of our Father. We begin to identify with how we must break the heart of our heavenly Father through our own rebellion, self-will and defiance of His authority. Yet, He is our example of patience, grace and love that is unconditional and whose arms are always open to receive us back into relationship with Him.
Wherever you are at today with your children we know that God knows our heart as a parent. Hopefully your children are an area of blessing and delight to your soul, but even if they aren’t you are their greatest ally and intercessor. Rather they appreciate you or curse you, you are still the heart and example of the Father to them. They have to know that your love is unconditional even if your approval isn’t. They have to know that in their darkness you are the one that lights their candle before the Lord through your faithful prayer and intercession. As the prodigal’s father stood believing and watching in faith for his son to come home, so many of us must stand, watching and believing God to bring our children back home. Faint not, the Father knows and feels your heart. If you have planted good seed in their hearts and lives, never give up looking for the harvest. “For as a man sows that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7).”

Blessings,
kent

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