Christ's Friendship: Its Evidence

Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. - John 15:14

"He began with absolute surrender of His life for us. He can ask nothing less from us. This alone is a life in His friendship. This truth of the imperative necessity of obedience, doing all that Christ commands us, has not the place in our Christian teaching and living that Christ meant it to have. ...The secret thought that it is impossible to do the things He commands us, and that therefore it cannot be expected of us, and subtle and unconscious feeling that sinning is a necessity have frequently robbed both precepts and promises of their power....Surely our Lord ask nothing less than that we heartily and truthfully say: 'Yea Lord, what You command, that will I do.' These commands are to be done as a proof of friendship.  The power to do them rests entirely in the personal relationship to Jesus." - Murray

It seems that the Lord's commands
 to abide and obey
do seem like they are unattainable
...therefore why try? 
The point and very aim of scripture is to point us to this fact:
we can't do it. 
I can't do it. 
I cannot abide. 
I cannot obey. 

I need to be brought low to be lifted up. 
As I humble my heart and admit that I can't,
Jesus lifts my chin and meets my eyes and says,
"With God all things are possible."

So that it s the theme: 
you can't, but He can! 
Jesus is the enabler and strength we need to abide and obey. 



Click HERE  to hear the song below:

You dwell in the songs that we are singing
Rising to the Heavens, rising to Your heart, Your heart
Our praises filling up the spaces
In between and frailty and everything You are
You are the keeper of my heart

And I'm restless, I'm restless
'Til I rest in You, 'til I rest in You
I'm restless, I'm restless
'Til I rest in You, 'til I rest in You
Oh God, I wanna rest in You

Oh, speak now for my soul is listening
Say that You have saved me, whisper in the dark
'Cause I know You're more than my salvation
Without You I am hopeless, tell me who You are
You are the keeper of my heart
You are the keeper of my heart

And I'm restless, I'm restless
'Til I rest in You, 'til I rest in You
I'm restless, I'm restless
'Til I rest in You, 'til I rest in You
I wanna rest in You

Still my heart hold me close
Let me hear a still small voice
Let it grow, let it rise
Into a shout, into a cry

Still my heart hold me close
Let me hear a still small voice
Let it grow, let it rise
Into a shout, into a cry
And I'm restless, I'm restless
'Til I rest in You, let me rest in You
I'm restless, so restless
'Til I rest in You, 'til I rest in You
Oh God, I will rest in You
by Audrey Assad

I love the line, "you're more than my salvation." 
I don't want to be drawn to Him only for safety.
I want to be drawn to Him for my very existence.

Christ's Friendship: Its Origin

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. - John 15:13

"He gave His life for us in death not merely as a passing act that when accomplished was done with; no, but to make Himself ours for eternity. Life for life; He have His life for us to possess that we might give our life for Him to possess. This is what is taught by the parable of the Vine and the branch, in their wonderful identification, in their perfect union....His life for his friends. How wonderful the lessons of the Vine, giving its very life to its branches! Jesus gave His life for His friends. And that love gives itself to them and in them. My heavenly Vine, O teach me how wholly You long to live in me!" - Murray

My life comes from Christ.  What does that mean in the everyday?
It means I have the ability to eat when I'm a 0.
It means I have the ability to not yell at Jack all day.
It means I have the ability to glorify God all day long.

I want to live in You, O Christ.  I sometimes think of "hard things" that I must rely on You for....like forgiving a hurtful person....like keeping my tongue from evil....but You are my life so that I can do what is good and easy as well.  I can clean.  I can be patient. I can sit and play.  Lord, teach me what Your will is for me today...everyday.  I sometimes feel like I'm on a treadmill and I just keep doing the same things everyday.  Show the variety of life and the excitement of being a stay-at-home mom.


As I Have Loved You

This is My commandment, that ye love one another. - John 15:12

We are to love, as Christ loves.  That seems impossible.  You here "love others" and your mind immediately goes to that one person that has wronged you, shunned you, spread lies about you, etc.  In other words, we immediately think of those people that are "impossible" to love.  Then, we are discouraged because we cannot love them. So before we've even tried - we feel as if we've failed this one great commandment that Jesus so plainly lays out for us.  However, we miss the "even as I" phrase....loving like Christ means a few things.  First, it does mean love everyone (sorry!) - Second, it also means love in the power that Christ loves.  Where does Christ's love come from - Himself: THE VINE.  Where do we get the power, the ability, the love to love others?  THE VINE!  "even as I" means that we draw the power to love only through being completely connected to the Vine. 

Murray says:

"How are we to begin if we are really to learn the mystery? With the confession that we need to be brought to an entirely new mode of life, because we have never yet known Christ as the Vine in the completeness of His quickening and transforming power. With the surrender to be cleansed from all that is of self and detached from all that is in the world, to live only and wholly as Christ lived for the glory of the Father. And then with the faith that this "even as I" is indeed what Christ is ready to make true, the Vine will maintain that very life in the branch wholly dependent upon Him."


Love One Another

This is My commandment, that ye love one another. - John 15:12

God is love
In His love He brought forth creatures,
that He might make them partakers of His blessedness.

Christ is the Son of God's love,
the bearer,
the revealer,
the communicator of that love.

The Holy Spirit is the
Spirit of love.
He cannot impart Christ's life without imparting His love.
Salvation is nothing but love
conquering and entering into us;
we have just as much of salvation as we have of love.

Love your brethren as the way to abide in the love of your Lord.
Christ means it: You must obey, or you cannot abide in His love.

But I have tried and failed.
I see no prospect of living like Christ.
that is because you have failed to take in the first word of the parable -
"I am the true Vine: I give all you need as a branch, I give all I Myself have."

He will teach you to love, even as He loved.



Sometimes I feel as I need a whole year on the topic of "joy"!  Maybe that will be good for 2011....

Joy: as explained by Andrew Murray in "The True Vine":
(John 15:11)
"That my joy may be in you. -  We are to have Christ's own joy in us. And what is Christ's own joy? There is no joy like love. There is no joy but love. Christ had just spoken of the Father's love and His own abiding in it and of His having loved us with that same love. His joy is nothing but the joy of love, of being loved and of loving. It was the joy of receiving His Father's love and abiding in it, and then the joy of passing on that love and pouring it out on sinners. It is this joy He wants us to share: the joy of being loved of the Father and of Him; the joy in our turn of loving and living for those around us. This is just he joy of being truly branches: abiding in His love and then giving up ourselves in love to bear fruit for others. Let us accept His life, as He gives it in us as the Vine; His joy will be ours: the joy of abiding in His love, the joy of loving like Him, of loving with His love."

So many times I look around me to find joy.  And then I look inside me (as told to do by the world) to find joy.  Neither provide the true joy!  Only looking to Christ will I find joy - contentment in my circumstances.  How can I be content in Christ? By realizing that He loves me and the Father loves me as well.


Born to Die - Bebo

Christmas from the angel's perspective:

They never knew a dark night
always had the Son's light
on their face
Perfect in glory
Broken by the story
of untold grace...
come that day

Majesty had come down
Glory had succumed now
to flesh and bone
In the arms of a manger
In the hands of strangers
that could not know
Just who they hold
And the angels filled the sky
All of heaven wondered why
Why their King would choose to be
Be a baby born to die

And all fell silent
For the cry of an infant,
the voice of God
Was dividing history
For those with eyes to see,
the Son would shine
From earth that night
To break the chains
Of guilt and sin
To find us here
To pull us in
So we can join in Heaven's song
And with one voice around the throne

All the Angels filled the sky
And I can't help but wonder why
Why this King would choose to be
Be a baby born for me
Be a baby born
Be a baby born to die

Ye, Even As I

If ye keep My commandments, ye shall abide in My love, Even as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love." - Joh 15:10

"He was made like us in all things,
that we might be like Him in all things.
He opened up a path in which we may walk
 even as He walked.
He took our human nature
to teach us how to wear it,
and show us how obedience,
as it is the first duty of the creature,
is the only way
to abide in the
favor of God
and enter into
His glory.
And now He cames to instruct
and encourage us,
and asks us to keep His commandments,
even as He kep
His father's commandments
and abides in His love....
In accepting
and doing
His will,
I rise into fellowhip
with Him.

The branch cannot
bear fruit
except as it has exactly the same
life as the Vine.
Our life is to be
the exact counterpart
of Christ's life....

Do let us take from our Lord
the lesson of
as the secret of
Let us confess that simiple,
universal obedience
has taken too little the place it should have.
Christ diedf or us as enemies,
when we were
He took us up
into His love,
now that we are in Him,
His Word is:
'Obey and abide; ye, even as I.'
Let us give ourselves
to a willing
and loving obedience.
He will keep us abiding in His love."

How do I abide?
Live in obedience.
Obey the commands.
Live a life marked by
Have a life marked by


Obey and Abide

Many of my friends, with whom I grew up, have forsaken all things related to God.  They may still claim to be Christians....maybe attend church once in a blue moon, but their lives are stark contrasts to everything that God has asked them to do.  They have forsaken His commandments and done what they wanted.  

I have to admit, sometimes I am overwhelmed with all the things that God has commanded me to do.  Usually it is in a particular character trait or attitude that He is trying to instill in me.  For example, forgiveness was the theme of last year.  After weeks, and then months of struggling to forgive, I gave up trying to do it on my own.  It was a very freeing event to have surrendered to God my inability to forgive on my own, and then see Him transform my heart so that I can honestly say I have forgiven that person.  Even though I did let God forgive through me, I still had to do my part.  I had to chose to think right things about that person.  I had to make myself forgive, and then the feelings came much later (still working on the feelings!)  I am still called to obey and although God does give me this power....there is still something for me to do.

So many commands by God can seem like a major burden!  Maybe that is why so many of my friends have drifted away....maybe that is why I seem to struggle so. 

So why do I continue obeying?  Why do I still strive to be holy....live a life that is God-honoring?  Because of the reward.  No, not the eternal reward (although I am looking forward to throwing my crown at the feet of Jesus).  It is the reward spoken about in John 15.

Murray put it this way:
"Obedience has reference to the positive keeping of the commandments of our Lord and the performance of His will in everything in which we know it. This is a possible degree of grace, and our Savior speaks here of the acceptance in Christ's strength of such obedience as we purpose in our heart. Faith in Christ as our Vine, in His enabling and sanctifying power, fits us for this obedience of faith and secures a life of abiding in His love....It is the wholehearted surrender in everything to do His will that gives access to a life in the abiding enjoyment of His love...Obey and abide. Gracious Lord, teach me this lesson, that it is only through knowing Your will that one can know Your heart, and only through doing that will one can abide in Your love. Lord, teach me that as worthless as is the doing in my own strength, so essential and absolutely indispensable is the doing of faith in Your strength, if I would abide in Your love."

I spoke in my last post about Abiding in God's Love...and the joy, peace, and comfort that comes in abiding in that love.  Here is the key: obedience.


Abide in My Love

As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you; continue ye in my love. - John 15:9

We speak of a man's home as his abode.
Our abode,
the home of our soul,
is to be the
love of Christ.
We are to live our life there,
to be at home there all the day:
this is what Christ means our life to be
and what He really can make it. 
You have probably heard or read of what is called
the higher
or the deeper life,
of the richer
or the fuller life,
of the life abundant...
The love of the Father to the Son is not a sentiment -
it is a divine life,
an infinite energy,
an irresistible power....

The feebleness of our Christian life
is that we do not take time to believe that His divine love
does really delight in us
and will possess
and work all in us.
We do not take time to look at the Vine bearing the branch so entirely,
working all in it so completely. 
We strive to do for ourselves what Christ alone can,
what Christ,
oh so lovingly,
longs to do for us...

To believe that everything that makes it difficult
or impossible
will be overcome by Christ Himself;
to believe that love really means
an infinite longing
to give itself wholly to us and
never leave us;
and in this faith to cast ourselves on Christ to work it in us;
this is the secret of the true Christian life....

And how to come to this faith?
Take more time with Jesus,
gazing on Him as the heavenly Vine,
living in the love of the Father,
who wants you to live in His love...

Abiding means going out from everything else to occupy one place and stay there.
Come away from all else,
set your heart on Jesus and His love,
and that love will waken your faith
and strengthen it.

O Love of Christ,
come live in my heart.
Be the center of my life. 
Be the strength of my flesh. 
Be the change in my attitude. 
O Love of Christ,
Make your home
in my soul.
Be the patience I long for with my children.
Be the forgiveness I desire for those that have wronged me.
Be the wisdom to guide those around me.
O Love of Christ
Permeate all of my life.
So that I may have life - and have it abundantly!


The Wonderful Love

As the Father hath loved Me, so have I loved you - John 15:9

"We are in danger of looking to Christ as a Savior and a supplier of every need, appointed by God, accepted and trusted by us, without any sense of the intensity of personal affection in which Christ embraces us and alone in which our life can find its true happiness....Even as the Father loved Him, He loves us. His life as Vine dependent on the Father was a life in the Father's love; that love was His strength and His joy; in the power of that divine love resting on Him, He lived and died....And now, if Christ loves us with such an intense, such an infinite divine love, what is it that hinders it triumphing over every obstacle and getting full possession of us? The answer is simple. Even as the love of the Father to Christ, s His love to us is a divine mystery, too high for us to comprehend or attain to by any effort of our own. It is only the Holy Spirit who can continually shed abroad and reveal in its all-conquering power this wonderful love of God in Christ." - Murray

So many times do I try and try and strive and strive to overcome the obstacles in my life: to love this person; to forgive this person; to give this; to persevere.....yet I need only rest.  Rest in Christ' love for me.  I talk about Christ's love for others, but what about me?  Christ loves me, as the Father loves Christ. Amazing. Astonishing. Reassuring. Comforting....strengthening!  And through the power of the Holy Spirit, I can overcome all that the world tries to throw at me. 


True Disciples

Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit, so shall ye be my disciples. - John 15:8

"And are those who do not bear much fruit not disciples? They may be, but in a backward and immature stage.  ...There have always been a smaller number of God's people who have sought to serve Him with their whole hearts, whereas the majority have been content with a very small measure of the knowledge of His grace and will....[Those that seek to be His true disciples] - Their cry is to bear as much fruit as they possibly can, as much as their Lord ever can desire or give in them....Let our desire be nothing less than perfect cleansing, unbroken abiding, closest communion, abundant fruitfulness - true branches of the true Vine." - Murry


The Father Glorified

Herein is my Father glorified: that ye bear much fruit.  John 15:8

"How can we glorify God? Not by adding to His glory or bringing Him any new glory that He has not.  But simply by allowing His glory to shine out through us, by yielding ourselves to Him, that His glory may manifest itself in us and through us to the world. In a vineyard or a vine bearing much fruit, the owner is glorified, as it tells of his skill and care. In the disciple who bears much fruit, the Father is glorified. Before men and angels, proof is given of the glory of God's grace and power; God's glory shines out through him....We have sometimes mourned our lack of fruit, as a loss of ourselves and our fellow men, with complaints of our feebleness as the cause. Let us rather think of them in and shame of little fruit as robbing God of the glory He ought to get from us." - Murry

My life cannot just automatically give God glory, it is working through the ability that He has given.  It is my life looking a lot less like me and more and more like Him.


If Ye Abide

If Ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. - John 15:7

"If we are to live a true prayer life, with the love and the power and the experience of prayer marking it, there must be no question about the abiding....Be wholly occupied with Jesus. Sink the roots of your being in faith and love and obedience deep down into Him. Come away out of every other place to abide here. Give up everything for the inconceivable privilege of being a branch on earth of the glorified Son of God in heaven. Let Christ be first. Let Christ be all. Do not be occupied with the abiding - be occupied with Christ. He will hold you; He will keep you abiding in Him. He will abide in you." - Murray

Sometimes I keep striving to abide, when I simple must just focus on Christ.  Focus on Him and Who He is.  He will see that I'm abiding.


What Ye Will

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. - John 15:7

"The promise is given in direct connection with fruit bearing. Limit it to yourself and your own needs, and you rob it of its power; you rob yourself of the power of appropriating it, Christ was sending these disciples out, and they were ready to give their life for the world; to them He have the disposal of the treasures of heaven...Let us realize that we can only fulfill our calling to bear much fruit by praying much....And let us equally remember that we cannot appropriate the promise without a life given up for people. Many try to take the promise, and then look around for what they can ask. This is not he way, but the very opposite. Get the heart burdened with the need of souls, and the command to save them, and the power will come to claim the promise....Souls are perishing because there is too little prayer. God's children are feeble because there is too little prayer. We bear so little fruit because there is so little prayer. The faith of this promise would make us strong to pray; let us not rest till it has entered into our very heart and drawn us in the power of Christ to continue and labor and strive in prayer until the blessing comes in power." - Murray


Withered Branches

If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered, and men gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. John 15:6

"The lessons these words teach are very simple and very solemn. A man can come to such a connection with Christ that he counts himself to be in Him, and yet he can be cast forth.  ...There is such a thing as a withered branch, one in whom the initial union with Christ appears to have taken place, and in whom yet it is seen that his faith was but for a time....And what may be the cause of this 'not abiding'? With some it is that they never understood that the Christian calling leads to holy obedience and loving service. They were content with the thought that they had believed and were safe from hell; there was neither motive nor power to abide in Christ - they knew not of the need of it.....Let each of us turn within. Is our life fresh, and green, and vigorous, bringing forth its fruit in its season [See Psalm 1:3; 92:13-14; Jeremiah 17:7-8) Let us accept every warning with a willing mind, and let Christ's 'if a man abide not' give new urgency to His 'abide in Me.'...Withered! O my Father, watch over me, and keep me, and let nothing ever for a moment hinder the freshness that comes from a full abiding in the Vine. Let the very thought of a withered branch fill me with holy fear and watchfulness." - Murray


Ye Can Do Nothing

Without Me ye can do nothing. John 15:5

"As little as I created myself, as little as I could raise a man from the dead, can I give myself the divine life. As little as I can give it myself, can I maintain or increase it: Every motion is the work of God through Christ and His Spirit. It is as a person believes this that he will take up that position of entire and continual dependence that is the very essence of the life of faith....The sense of helplessness, and the abiding to which it compels, leads to true fruitfulness and diligence in good works....Look again at that little branch, utterly helpless and fruitless except as it receives sap from the vine, and learn that the full conviction of not being able to do anything apart from Christ is just what you need to teach you to abide in your heavenly Vine....Without me - you nothing. Lord, I gladly accept the arrangement: I nothing - You all. My nothingness is my highest blessing, because You are the Vine that gives and works all. So be it, Lord! I, nothing, ever waiting on Your fullness. Lord, reveal to me the glory of this blessed life." - Murray

How many times do I despise my weakness?  Wishing I could do more, be more to others, give more to others, know more how to help, have more time.  The answer lies in that I don't have anything.  I am nothing.  Christ will enable to do, give, be, and love.  And what a perfect life He will live through me! 

Lord, my prayer is the same as Murray's....let me be nothing.  Let myself fade away.  Let me abide and gain all of myself from You.  Give me Your strength. Give me Your love. Give me Your wisdom. Give me Your life. Amen.


Much Fruit

"Have you ever noticed the difference in the Christian life between work and fruit? A machine can do work; only life can bear fruit. A law can compel work; only love can spontaneously bring forth fruit. Work implies effort and labor; the essential idea of fruit is that it is the silent, natural, restful produce of our inner life....Begin each day with Him in the morning, to know in truth that you are abiding in Him and He in you.  Christ tells us that nothing less will do. It is not your willing and running; it is not by your might or strength, "but by my spirit, saith the Lord" (Zechariah 4:6)...You see to the abiding; He will see to the fruit, for He will give it in you and through you." - Murray

Everyone gets tired of working for Christ.  It is time to abide in Christ.  It is then that the fruit comes.  I pray that for my own life.  That I stop striving to do, do, do, do and just abide in Christ.


Ye the Branches

I am the vine, ye are the branches - John 15:5

We must be nothing less or nothing more than a branch.

"Your life and strength and fruit depend upon what your Lord Jesus is! Therefore worship and trust Him; let Him be  your one desire and the one occupation of your heart. And when you feel that you do not and cannot know Him aright, then just remember it is part of His responsibility as Vine to make Himself known to you. He does this not in the thoughts and conceptions - no - but in a hidden growth within the life that is humbly and restfully and entirely given up to wait on Him." - Murray


I the Vine

I am the Vine, ye are the branches. - John 15:5

He now repeats the words. He would have us understand - note well the lesson (as simple as it appears, it is the key of the abiding life) - that the only way to obey the command "Abide in me" is to have eye and heart fixed upon Himself....(Gaze upon Christ)....The vision of Christ is an irresistible attraction; it draws and holds us like a magnet.....How much weary labor has been in striving to understand what abiding is, how much fruitless effort in trying to attain it? Why was this? Because the attention was turned to the abiding as a work we have to do, instead of to the living Christ, in whom we were to be kept abiding, who Himself was to hold and keep us. We thought of abiding as a continual strain and effort - we forget that it means rest from effort to one who has found the place of his abode...And so it sometimes comes that souls who have never been especially occupied with the thought of abiding are abiding all the time, because they are occupied with Christ....(Christ says) 'Come out of every other place, and every other trust and occupation, come out of self with its reasonings and efforts, come and rest in what I shall do.'" - Murray

So this is abiding:
being occupied with Christ. 
Striving to know Christ, be like Christ, and rest in Christ is the key to abiding! 
My home with Christ means that I am ever pursuing a relationship with Him.  T
hat I'm constantly trying to understand Who He is. 
That I am striving to be like Him in every action. 
I need not worry whether I am abiding or not. 
If all of my attention is focused on Christ, then I am abiding.


Except Ye Abide

As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me. - John 15:4

"We know the meaning of the word except. It expresses some indispensable condition, some inevitable law....Let me learn the lesson. Abiding is to be an act of the will an the whole heart. Just as there are degrees in seeking and serving God, "not with a perfect heart," or "with the whole heart," so there may e degrees in abiding. In regeneration the divine life enters us, but it does not all at once master and fill our whole being. This comes as a matter of command and obedience....There is unspeakable danger of our giving ourselves to work for God and to bear fruit, with but little of the true abiding, the wholehearted losing of ourselves in Christ and His life....Our blessed Lord desires to call us away from ourselves and our own strength, to Himself and His strength." - Murray

So it is not like a light switch - I'm abiding, then suddenly not abiding.  It is a process.  It is the process that I have known and worked for my entire life - to gain a close relationship with Christ.  To be so intimate with Him, that I do not care what others say, or what others do, or what others think.  I am only thinking of Christ and bending my thoughts, actions, and will towards Him.

Lord, my prayer is that I do not let myself get into the way of abiding in You.  Give me the power to obey this command.  For abiding isn't something that is just beneficial to me and I should strive to do it. You have commanded it of me.  I must obey.



John 15:4 - Abide in Me, and I in you.

"'Abide in Me' refers more to that which we have to do. We have to trust and obey, to detach ourselves from all else, to reach out after Him and cling to Him, to sink ourselves into Him. As we do this, through the grace He gies, a character is formed and a heart prepared for the fuller experience: 'I in you.' God strengthesn us with might by the Spirit in the inner man, and Christ dwells in the heart by faith....It is as we follow Christ in lowly obedience, even in external things, denying ourselves, forsaking the world, and even in the body seeking to be conformable to Him, as we thus seek to abide in Him, that we shall be able to recieve and enjoy the 'I in you.'.....In - The two parts of the injunction have their unity in that central deep-meaning word in. There is no deeper word in Scripture. God is in all. God dwells in Christ. Christ lives in God. We are in Christ. Christ is in us: our life taken up into His; His life received into ours; in a divine reality that words cannot express, we are in Him and He in us....No thinking or teaching or praying can grasp it; it is a divine mystery of love. As little as we can effect the union can we understand it.....Here I am Lord, a branch, cleansed and abiding - resting in You, and awaiting the inflow of Your life and grace." - Murray

That is the cry of my heart!!


The Pruning Knife

Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. - John 15:3

"What is the pruning knife of this heavenly Husbandman?...it is the Word of God that is the knife, sharper than any two-edged sword, that pierces even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and that is quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart....It is the soul gives up its own thoughts and men's thoughts of what is religious and yields itself heartily, humbly, patiently to the teaching of the Word by the Spirit, that the Father will do His blessed work of pruning and cleansing away all of nature and self that mixes with our work and hinders His Spirit....Father, I pray, cleanse me through Your Word. Let is search out and bring to light all that is of self and the flesh in my religion.  Let it cut away every root of self-confidence, that the Vine may find me wholly free to receive His life and Spirit.  O my Husbandman, I trust You to care for the branch as much as for the Vine. You only are my hope." - Murray The True Vine


The Cleansing

"It is not the removal of weeds or thorns or anything from outside that may hinder the growth.  No; it is the cutting off of the long shoots of the previous year, the removal of something that comes from within, that has been produced by the life of the vine itself...What a solemn, precious lesson! It is not to sin only that the cleansing of the Husbandman here refers.  It is to our own religious activity, as it is developed in the very act of bearing fruit.  It is this that must be cut down and cleansed away.  We must, in working for God, use our natural gifts of wisdom, or eloquence, or influence, or zeal. And yet they are ever in danger of being unduly developed, and then trusted in.  And so, after each season of God, God has to bring us to the end of ourselves, to the consciousness of the helplessness and the danger of all that is of man, to feel that we are nothing.  All that is to be left of us is just enough to receive the power of the life giving sap of the Holy Spirit....O our holy Husbandman, cleanse and cut away all that there is in us that would make a fair show, or could become a source of self-confidence and glorifying. Lord, keep us very low, that no flesh may glory in Your presence. We trust You to do Your work." - Murray

It is amazing that God, our Husbandman would be so wise and loving.  He does not call us to do works for Him and then leave us to ourselves.  He cuts away all that is "us" and fills it with Himself.  To be able to be filled, we must be emptied.  To bear fruit, we must be pruned.  My prayer is that I don't see the pruning as a weakness, but as an opportunity for Christ to be glorified in me.  There are many times I feel that I can do something with my own talents and abilities.  It is then that God needs to prune away my self-confidence.  I pray that He will prune me, so that I may bear fruit.


More Fruit

"The word is a most encouraging one.  Let us listen to it.  It is just to the branch that is bearing fruit that this message comes: more fruit. God does not demand this as Pharaoh the taskmaster, or as Moses the lawgiver, without providing the means He comes as a Father, who gives what He asks and works what He commands.  He comes to us as the living branches of the living Vine and offers to work the more fruit in us, if we but yield oursevles into His hands.  Shall we not admit the claim, accept the offer, and look to Him to work it in us?" - Murray

That we don't work in vain is an encouragement.  That we don't labor alone is even more of a comfort.  We are a part of the Vine.  We are His.  He is our life and the strength and wisdom to make it through (sometimes day-by-day). 

Thank You, O my Father.  For giving us your life.  For connecting us to Your eternal Vine. Amen.


The Fruit

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away. - John 15:2
"The fruit is the one thing the branch is for, and that if it bear not fruit, the husbandman takes it away.  ...The one reason for the existence of the branch, the one mark of being a true branch of the heavenly Vine, the one condition of being allowed by the divine Husbandman to share the life of the Vine is bearing fruit...Christians think their own salvation is the first thing, then temporal life and prosperity, with the care of their family, the second; and what time and interest is left may be devoted to fruit bearing, to the saving of men....Your first aim in life, your first aim everyday, should be to know how Christ desires to carry out His purpose in you." - Murray

I used to think like this!  I used to think that my family and my own spiritual life was the chief aim of my life, and winning souls for Christ would come "naturally" or that God would somehow save people by just me living a good life.  What an error that is!  Sure, people can look at my life and see God working in my life and maybe be pointed to Him.  Yet, as Murray said, that is not fruit.  Winning souls is fruit. 

That is easy to say, but hard to do!  Who in my life, as a stay-at-home-mom, do I have to witness to.  Sure, my children.  Yet, right now I have a baby and a toddler.  They are not ready to hear the Gospel message.  Do I then just wait until their ready and not worry about witnessing?  Surely not!  I will pray and seek out those in my life that need to hear the Gospel message. 

I think I have been focusing on encouraging others, which isn't a bad thing.  Yet, I think that I need to maybe be bolder and seek out those who need to hear God's truth and be saved!

Lord, work in my heart.  Give me the strength and willingness to share the Gospel with those I know.  Let me not wait until someone "crosses my path."  May I seek out those who need to hear your truth, especially in my own family. Amen.

The Branch

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away. - John 15:2
"I have been redeemed and I love for one thing. As exclusively as the natural branch exists only to bring forth fruit, I too; as exclusively as the heavenly Vine exists to bring forth fruit, I too.  As I have been planted by God into Christ, I have wholly given myself to bear the fruit the Vine desires to bring forth." - Murray

As the branch, I have no life of my own.  I have no strength on my own.  I have no purpose on my own.  Only when I am connected to the Vine do I have life, strength, and purpose.  Only in Christ do I find that life has meaning.  Only in Christ do I find the strength to wade through the day-to-day of life.  Only in Christ do I see what my purpose in life truly is.


The Husbandman

My father is the husbandman - With such a Husbandman as His Father, He could enter death and the grave. Before He ever uses the word, or speaks at all of abiding in Him or bearing fruit, He turns their eyes heavenward to the Father watching over them and working all in them. At the very root of all Christian life lies the thought that God is to do all,that our one work is to leave ourselves in His hands....Christ the Vine points to God the Husbandman....As surely as the Husbandman made the Vine what it was to be, will He make each branch what it is to be. Our Father is our Husbandman, the surety for our growth and fruit.

The Vine

The True Vine
by Andrew Murray

Chapter One: The Vine
"All earthly things are the shadows of heavenly realities - the expression, in created, visible forms, of the invisible glory of God. The life and the truth are in heaven; on earth we have figures and shadows of the heavenly truths. When Jesus says: "I am the true vine," He tells us that all the vines of earth are pictures and emblems of Himself. He is the divine reality, of which they are the created expression.  They all point to Him, and preach Him, and reveal Him. If you would known Jesus, study the vine....And what are you to do, if you want the mystery, in all its heavenly beauty and blessing, opened up to you? With what you already know of the parable, bow down and be still, worship and wait, until the divine Word enters your heart and you feel His holy presence with you and in you.....Holy Lord Jesus, the heavenly Vine of God's own planting, I beseech You, reveal Yourself to my soul.  Let the Holy Spirit, not only in thought, but in experience, give me to know all that You, the Son of God, are to me as the true Vine."


Oct. 31, 2010

Sunday morning, on October 31, 2010 my grandmother, Delma Anna Whitt Pruden went home to be with the Lord.  She was 77 years old.  She was my last living grandparent.  She was my Mama.  I have experienced loss now in my adult life.  I hadn't before now.  I haven't been able to write, or even think for that matter, all week.  The first thing I wrote was this:

Tears, quiet tears, gentle sobs, silent wet tears down my face.
Stand still
The world doesn't move on, my life is at a stand still.
Loss of life
A hole has appeared in my heart, who will fill it up?
God will take my grief and give me His wonderful joy.

Isaiah 61:3
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Through my suffering, God will be glorified. 
What a thought!
What a comfort.



my life has changed.
never to be the same.
check this off the list.
God has granted me my wish.

it's a boy!
A son.
A buddy.
A pal.
What do I do with a boy?

it is finished,
labor, delivery
I survived it,
even a surgery.

sorry I couldn't deliver you
yet, God delivered you
For months, 9, you were
cared for

now here you are
in my arms
cared for

So tiny (lips, fingers, toes, eyelashes, arms, legs, knees, ears, and even fingernails)
So small
So helpless
So bald!
So precious
So priceless
So breakable
So weightless

and miraculous.

this is the one who had been kicking me.

you sleep
you eat
you cry
you gaze
at me
You see
and I see

this is love.


Sing Over Me

From Bebo Norman's newest CD: Ocean

Find me
Where You can find me
So tired of hiding
Behind these songs

Take me
Where You will take me
Back to a place
I've known all along
The voice that calms the waves
Sing out
And call my name

Sing over me
Sing over me
Sing above the noise
That I've been making
And sing over me
Sing over me
All I've ever needed was to hear Your melody
All I've ever needed was to hear Your melody

Wake me
Come on and wake me
So tired of living
Like I'm asleep

And hold me
The way You hold me
How You unfold all this unbelief
The voice that calms the waves
Sing out
And call my name

Sing over me
Sing over me
Sing away the silence that is breaking
And sing over me
Sing over me
All I've needed is to hear Your melody
All I've needed is to hear Your melody

Sing out

Sing out

Sing out, my Love

Sing out

Sing out

Sing out, my Love

And sing out! Sing out!  Sing out, my Love!

And sing over me
Sing over me
Sing above noise that I've been making
And sing over me
And sing over me
All I've never needed was to hear Your melody!
 And sing over me
Sing over me
Sing away the silence that is breaking
And sing over me
Sing over me

Sometimes in the midst of a trial or hardship the only thing that we hear is hurt, pain, and discouragement.  Yet, God is there.  In our hearts, singing to us, drawing us close to Him.  Listen, He is there singing over you!

Zeph. 3:17
"The LORD your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs."

God's Goodness and Peace

The meek shall inherit the earth,
And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.
Psalm 37:11

I will listen to God the Lord.
He has ordered peace for those who worship Him.
Don't let them go back to foolishness.
God will soon save those who respect Him,
and His glory will be seen in our land.
Love and truth belong to God's people;
goodness and peace will be theirs.
On earth people will be loyal to God,
and God's goodness will shine down from heaven.
The Lord will give His goodness,
and the land will give its crops.
Goodness will go before God
and prepare the way for Him.
Psalm 85:8-9

Look at those who are honest and good,
for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.
Psalm 37:37

What more do we seek in this life than goodness and peace? 
God is the source of it.

O Lord, thank you that You not only give us good things, You are good.  Thank You fora ll the good things You have given me, but of everything I have, You are my most valued possession.  I love You so much!  You are the source of peace in my life.  When I try to live my life without connecting to You, it all seems so empty.  Fill me with Your Spirit so that peace might reign in my life. Amen.

You Take Care of the Earth

You visit the earth and cause it to overflower;
You greatly enrich it;
The stream of God is full of water;
You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth.
You water its furrows abundantly,
You settle its ridges,
You soften it with showers,
You bless its growth.
You have crowned the year with Your bounty,
And Your paths drip with fatness.
The pastures of the wilderness drip,
And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing.
The meadows are clothed with flocks
And the valleys are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, yes, they sing.
Psalm 65:9-13

Of old You laid the foundation of the earth,
And the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You will endure....
But You are the same,
And Your years will have no end.
Psalm 102:25-27

We hear that we, humans need to recycle to protect "mother earth." That we need to be "green" and more environmentally informed.  But really, God is in charge of the earth!  He controls the process that bring water, air, and food to us.  He manages the seasons and tides.  He is in charge of protecting the earth.  He created it.  Why wouldn't He take care of it?  Why wouldn't He protect it?  No more worrying about "global warming" or running out of natural resources.  God is taking care of His creation....and that means us as well!! 

Sacrifice of the Heart

I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
Psalm 27:6

I will fulfill my vows to You, O God,
and will offer a sacrifice of thanks for Your help.
For You have rescued me from death;
You have kept my feet from slipping.
So now I can walk in Your presence, O God,
in Your life-giving light.
Psalm 56:12-13

O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare Your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
You do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 51:15-17

Lord, I know that I try to do things to show that I love You.
But You really want a heart that obeys, that finds thanks and joy in You.
Create in me a heart like that.
I want to long for you more.  I want to bent towards You.
I don't want to worry about what I do anymore.
I want to worry whether You and I are connected and in communion together.
Help me be connected to You


What God Wants

8 I have no complaint about your sacrifices
or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.
9 But I do not need the bulls from your barns
or the goats from your pens.
10 For all the animals of the forest are mine,
and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
11 I know every bird on the mountains,
and all the animals of the field are mine.
12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
for all the world is mine and everything in it.
14 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
15 Then call on me when you are in trouble,
and I will rescue you,
and you will give me glory.
Psalm 50:8-12, 14-15

God wants us to be thankful,
Offer praise to Him
Keep our promises
That we will do what we should
Not do do what we shouldn't
He also desires us to call on Him.
He isn't up in heaven waiting anxiously
For us to call...
But He wants it.
The God of the universe
Who created the entire WORLD
Wants us to reach out to Him?
What does He need with us?
We are nothing compared to Him.
Yet, He desires us.
What a strange and lovely mystery...
They God that is
Desires to know me.
Desires for me to abide in Him.
Can I think about that today?
Can I dwell for more than five minutes on that thought:
God wants me.
He is waiting...for me?
For me.
Brings tears to my eyes, and a catch in my throat.
O Lord,
You want me?
Here I am....

Who Can Compare with You, O Lord

Lord, today I want to spend time in simple praise to You! 
Not for what you have done,
but for Who You are! 
You are faithful. 
You not only do faithful things...
the very essence of You is faithful. 
You cannot be unfaithful. 
You are kind and merciful. 
The essence of Your being is full of kindness and love and mercy.
For so many generations
You have shown You are the mighty Creator! 
It is Who You are,
not simple what You did. 
You continue to sustain life,
but are this majestic ruler as well!
You are King. 
You do reign,
but everything about your presence is about Lordship and Kingship.
You are set apart,
holy in every single way.
Your love is holy.
Your mercy is holy.
Your faithfulness is holy.
Your justice is holy.
You are so amazing and I'm in awe of Who You are.
Who can compare?
No one on earth.
Not a human.
Not an animal.
No one in heaven.
Not an angel or any other being is like God.
He is...
savior :)

All heaven will praise Your great wonders, Lord;
myriads of angels will praise You for Your faithfulness.
For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord?
What mightiest angel is anything like the Lord?
The highest angelic powers stand in awe of Ogd.
He is far more awesome than all who surround His throne.
O Lord God of Heaven's Armies!
Where is there anyone as mighty as You, O Lord?
You are entirely faithful.

Ps. 89:5-8
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
There God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.
Ps. 45:6-7