Abide in Christ: The Seventh Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
As to Wisdom
But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. - I Cor. 1:30

"How often have you longed for wisdom and spiritual understanding that you might know God better, whom to know is life eternal! Abide in Jesus."
"Study much to know the written Word; but study more to know the living Word, in whom you are of God."
"Abiding in Him, the mind will be calmed and freed from passion, the judgment cleared and strengthened, the light of heaven will shine on earthly things and your prayer for wisdom like Solomon's will be fulfilled above what you ask or think."

I pray everyday for wisdom.  I say this literally.  I really do utter the words 99% of the time before leaving my bed in the morning: "Lord, give me wisdom."  My next thought is all the things I need wisdom for: parenting, friendships, being a wife. My next thought is not, "ok - He will supply it."  I know He will.  Now that I look back and see good decisions and right choices - I can see where He gave me wisdom.  But instead of resting in the fact that He gives wisdom, I pray the prayer in a worried, tired way.  The "Lord, give me wisdom" is said with almost a sigh. There is no trust there.  There is no rest. I say the prayer and contine to worry about all the "stuff" I have to do.
Taking time, before my really busy day today for God's Word is always the right choice. I have a lot of "stuff" to do.  The baby is awake in the next room fussing.  My boys are snooping in the kitchen for the hidden Halloween candy.  Yet, I knew that my day would be better if I spend time with the Living Word in His Word.
Today I am going to pray my normal prayer differently today, with a heart of rest and trust:
"Lord, I know that You are the giver of all wisdom. I find my life in You. While I am striving to abide in You, impart to me Your wisdom. Amen.

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Abide in Christ: The Sixth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
God Himself has united you to Him
My Father is the Husbandman. - John 15:1
"God would have us not only remember our union to Christ, but specially that it is not our own doing, but the work of God Himself."
"Take time, day after day, and let, in thy whole religious life with all it has of claims and duties of needs and wishes, God be everything."
God be everything- Theology that is easy to say. We learn it very early on as young children, if we grow up in church.  God made everything. God is in charge of everything.  God cares about everything.  All of life's meaning is God.
God be everything - Practicality that is hard to live. We are so self-reliant.  We want to do everything and be everything we should.  Instead, we find ourselves completely empty and inadequate.  Letting go of our Independence is a daily "dying" that is hard to do, but a necessity.  Learning to abide does not mean more work for me to do.  It means that I have the GOD of the UNIVERSE, tending to my abiding.  It is His work - this abiding.  He will sustain, He will hold, He will finish. 

What does that mean for me today? I have laundry to put away. I have dinner to cook. I have children to teach. What does it mean to me on a personal level, when I struggle with discontentment, doubt, or anger? It means that I need not give up when I fail.  I need not try harder when I fail.  It means that when I fail: look to God and depend on Him for strength.  Strength for the physical things (vacuuming, diapers, and dishes) - Strength for the emotional things (doubt, fear, anger) - Strength for the spiritual things (abiding).

Lord, I do not know how to be the mother and wife I need to be.  I fail all day long. You promised that the calling, equipping, and working were all of You. Let me humble myself and rest in You. Amen. 

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Abide in Christ: The Fifth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
As you come to Him by faith
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. - Col. 2:6-7

"Think not so much of thyself as a branch, nor of the abiding as thy duty, until thou hast first had thy soul filled with the faith of what Christ as the Vine is. He really will be to thee all that a vine can be...A soul filled with large thoughts of the Vine will be a strong branch, and will abide confidently in Him."

"He who offers us the privilege of an actual union with Himself is the great I AM, the almighty God, who upholds all things by the word of His power. And this almighty God reveals himself as our perfect Saviour, even to the unimaginable extent of seeking to renew our fallen natures by grafting them into His own divine nature."

Think of where you are. Say it: I am in Christ. 
When doubts arise: Am I a good mother? Look, I've failed again. 
Remember and say it: I am in Christ. 
When fears attack: What about the future? Will I be able to handle that possible trail?
Remember and say it: I am in Christ.
When worry assails: Will I get it all done? What of this job? And this job? And this!
Remember and say it: I am in Christ.
No matter the circumstance: I am in Christ!  Remember who Christ is! He is the Mighty God! He is the Everlasting Father! He is the Prince of Peace! He is Wonderful! He is the Counselor! (Isaiah 9:5-7).  Remember all that Christ is: love, joy, peace, long suffering, mercy, faithfulness, righteousness, trustworthy, refuge, truth and so much more.  Pick only one of those things that you know Christ to be, and claim it for today.  Claim that identity in Christ - and say "I am in Your _______." Meditate on what implications come from that simple statement.

O Lord, I claim Your faithfulness.  I am in Your faithfulness.  I will fail, but You will not.  I will mess up and make wrong choices, but You will not.  I am weak, but You love me still.  I sin, but there is ALWAYS mercy.  Everyone I know will disappoint me - but You will not.  Let me rest in the simple fact that I am in You, and You are faithful. Amen.

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Abide in Christ: Fourth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
As the Branch and the Vine
I am the Vine, ye are the branches. - John 15:5
"The branch does not exist for itself, but to bear fruit that can proclaim the excellence of the vine; it has  no reason of existence except to be of service to the vine. Glorious image of the calling of the believer, and the entireness of his consecreation to the service of his Lord."
"instead of only thinking how hard and how difficult it is to live like a branch to the True Vine, because I thought of it as something I had to accomlish - shall I not now begin to look upon it as the most blessed and joyful thing under heaven?"
The imagery of the branch and the vine is stuck in my head.  [See here] The branch is so depedent on the vine.  Apart from the vine, the branch is dead.  It is just a stick (and when I think of sticks, I cannot help but think of play-swords, sorry, I am a mom of boys!).  We are dead without the vine.  Apart from the vine, we cannot bear fruit.  I will have no victory over sin in my life without connection to the vine.  There are certain sins in my life that I have been convicted about lately, and I cannot have any type of victory over them unless I am abiding.  The fruit that is produced by the vine is done on the branch.  It is credited to the vine, but it is the branches that bear the fruit.  I do not want to be a sad little branch, empty of fruit for my Saviour!  I want to be weighed down by the fruit.  My children are sometimes heavy and their constant needs are hard to hold.  So many days start out with a prayer for strength.  Strength to have love. Strength to have joy. Strength to correct and discipline.  Strength for the day-to-day.  Without the abiding in Christ, there is no strength.  This union with Christ is such a wonderful thing! All that Christ is, is found in this abiding. 
Do you  need joy? Do you need love? Do you need help or strength?  This union - abiding - is where you will find it!
Lord, let me not look at abiding as my duty - but as this "most blessed and joyful thing under heaven"! I am so humbled that you would chose to graft me into Your Vine.  Let me rest in You, and leave the fruit-bearing to You. Amen.

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Side note: if you are interested in The True Vine by Andrew Murray - it is worth every penny!  He goes through John 15 word by word and it is so amazing, this parable of Jesus!


Abide in Christ: Third Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
Trusting Him to keep you
I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus - Phil. 3:12
Where does the strength come from to Abide?
"Dear souls! How little they know that the abiding in Christ is just meant for the weak, and so beautifully suited to their feebleness...Our part is simply to yield, to trust, and to wait for what He has engaged to perform."
"The idea they have of grace is this: that their conversion and pardon are God's work, but now, in gratitude to God, it is their work to live as Christians and follow Jesus...The grace to come and the grace to abide are alike from Him alone."
"It is because Jesus has taken hold of me, and because Jesus keeps me, that I dare to say, 'Saviour, I abide in Thee.'"
There is no strength but Christ's. It is Christ who saved, it is Christ who sanctifies.  I am guilty everyday in thinking that this Christian life of abiding is too hard.  I see it as unattainable as holiness.  So many people say "I'll never be holy," so they stop striving for it.  Forgetting, that holiness is commanded (I Peter 1:16). Forgetting, that through Christ, all things are possible (Matt.19:26). Abiding, too, can be seen as a unreachable goal.  Abiding is only for the "super-Christians."  Murray rightly argues that abiding is for the weak.  We take Christ's yoke because it is easy! In our weakness, is Christ's strength made perfect (2 Cor. 12:9).  If you did nothing to earn your salvation, what then, can you do to keep it?  What then, can you do to live a life of abiding?  Our duty is simple:
yield - surrender (see previous post), give up those secret hidden areas of your life that you are holding onto.
trust - lift your arms to your Heavenly Father and let Him hold you, believing He will do what He says.
wait- let Him work in you and stop striving.
Heavenly Father, I lift my feeble, frail life to you.  I have no strength apart from You. I've trusted you with my salvation, let me trust You with this abiding.  Grace is enough to cover my sins and Grace is enough to keep me. Amen.
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Abide in Christ: Second Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
And ye shall find Rest to your Souls
Mat. 11:28-29 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

How do we find rest for our souls?  What is the next step in abiding?

"He now not only says, 'Come unto me,' but 'Take my yoke upon you and learn of me;' become my scholars, yeild yourselves to my training, submit in all things to my will, let your whole life be one with mine - in other words, abide in me."

"...enteire surrender to Jesus is the secret of perfect rest."

"taking and bearing [Christ's yoke]...appeared to them [Christians] to require such a strain of effort and such an amount of goodness as to be altogether beyond their reach."

"...the yoke gives the rest, because the moment the soul yeilds itself to obey, the Lord Himself gives the strength and joy to do it."

On this second day:
Abiding means to surrender. "A full surrender is to obey as well as to trust, to trust as well as to obey." 
Trust and obey
For there is no other way
To be happy in Jesus
But to trust and obey
Sometimes we put emphasis on either the "trust" or the "obey" part.  But full surrender is BOTH. Faith and obedience go hand-in-hand.  To obey Christ is to place our trust in Him.  To have faith in Christ is to obey Him.  We must learn from Christ.  It is not a strain to take His yoke - "it is easy" - surrendering, in it's very meaning is a "giving up" attitude.  We do not strive to obey.  When we are close to the heart of Jesus, trusting Him to keep us and teach us, we will not struggle with life.  Think of those that you know that seem to be at peace all the time.  I am not talking about the plastic-smiley people, but the people that you get to know and see that within them, they have such a peace about things.  They seem not to worry.  They seem to have real joy deep inside.  They are resting.  They trust that the Maker of the heavens will take care of every situation.  They are abiding.

Lord, I desire to live close to Your heart today.  I fully surrender my day to You.  Guide and teach me today.  I am under on Your yoke.  Amen.

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"Abide in Christ" by Andrew Murray


Abide in Christ: First Day

Abide in Christ
 by Andrew Murray
"Come to Me" - Matt. 11:28
"Abide in Me" - John 15:4
 What is the connection with the "Come to Me" (salvation) and the "Abide in Me" (Christian life)?

"It was not to refresh you for a few short hours after your conversion with the joy of His love and deliverance and then to send you forth to wander in sadness and sin."

"In very truth, there is nothing that moved you to come, that does not plead with thousandfold greater force: 'Abide in Him.' You did well to come; you do better to abide."

On this first day:
The call to "come" - our conversion and all the implications - was only the beginning of something so much more.  There have been seasons in my life that I have felt closer to God and experience more of His "abiding presence."  It is in those seasons, it seems, that I also experienced the most joy, love, and fruit-bearing.  Although this season in my life may differ with circumstances, duties, and available time, it cannot be the excuse for not abiding and experiencing all of those same fruits that I once did.  No more excuses.  I must teach my heart again to abide, only with difference outward circumstances. God has not changed.  The call to "Abide in Me" has not changed.  Christ still calls people to "come" - Christ still implores those same people to "abide." 

Lord, God, I see that you  are never-changing.  Life changes, but You do not.  Lead me in this journey to learning to abide.  Guide me, help me make the time during my day to spend reading and abiding.  All this I do out of love for You and a deep desire to know You more. Amen.

check it out:
"Abide in Christ" by Andrew Murray


Where do I find joy?

Joy can be so elusive. 

Full Definition of JOY

1a: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires b: the expression or exhibition of such emotion
2 a state of happiness or felicity
3 a source or cause of delight
beatitude, blessedness, bliss, blissfulness, felicity, gladness, joy, elatedness, delight, cheerfulness, comfort, contentedness
(found here)
I find that discontentment, distrust, worry, fear, and just plain sin all seem to steal my joy.  In losing my joy, I lose so much else.  I lose love.  Without joy, love is impossible.  I lose kindness and patience.  Without joy, look out kids!  Without joy in my house, my house is not a home.  A mother whose heart is following God's ways must have joy.  I can cook, clean, and teach - all without joy.  If I do, those things get done - but not done well.  I have been so focused on what steals my joy, that I have missed what brings me joy!
What can I do to regain joy?  I know I have lost something because I remember having it.  Not very profound, but true.  I once had joy.  I am tempted to look "back" to circumstances:
without kids.
in college.
in high school.
as a child.
clean house.
nice clothes.
Although joy was found in each of those places or circumstances, they did not provide for me joy.  So, where is joy found?  I am on a journey to find joy - mainly through the psalms.  After doing a quick search, here are some initial thoughts:
Joy is found in:
1. Prayer
Psalms 5:11
2. The Presence of God
Psalm 16:11, 63:1,5, 65:13, 67:4, 81:1, 89:15, 95:1,2
3. Strength and Salvation
Psalm 21:1, 35:9, 51:12
4. Forgiveness and Mercy
Psalm 32:1ff, 106:1
5. Praising God in Church/Nature
Psalm 32:11, 33:3, 42:4, 43:4, 66:1, 9612, 98:4-8, 122:1, 132:9, 137:6, 149:2-5
6. Mount Zion
Psalm 48:2, 126:1
7. Broken Bones
Psalm 51:8
8. Sacrifices
Psalm 27:6
Psalm 113:9 – He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children
I am on a journey to regain joy - for the sake of my husband, my kids, my laundry, and especially my relationship with God!


What Happens When We Abide?

John 15 - Abide: rest, remain, continue, stay, rest, sit, dwell, reside. -
What happens when we abide?

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust."
-Psalm 91:1
We know He is mighty to keep us and protect us.

Yet, we fear.
What do you fear the most?
My God is stronger than those lies that cloud the way.
It does not matter that we do not know the next step.
We are to rest and dwell in our God.
No matter the season
He is our refuge.
No matter the storm, wind, and rain
He is our fortress.
Even my faith is sustained by Him.
I can't muster up in myself the faith to move
God is the one who gives it to me.
God is adequate as our keeper...
Your faith will not fail
while God sustains it;
you are not strong enough to fall away
while God is revolved to hold you.
-J.I. Packer
God, who is our dwelling place, is also our fortress.
It can only mean one thing, and that is,
that if we will but live in our dwelling place,
we shall be perfectly safe and secure from every assault.
-Hannah Whitall Smith
I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain. - John 15:16

"There is work that leaves its mark for generations or for eternity. In it the power of God makes itself lastingly felt.....The more of man with his wisdom and power, the less of stability; the more of God's Spirit, the more of a faith standing in God's power....What is the secret of bearing fruit that abides? The answer is simple,. It is as our life abides in Christ, as we abide in Him, that the fruit we bear will abide....The purpose is His, He will carry it out; the fruit is His, He will bring it forth; the abiding is His, He will maintain it." - Murray

Fruit is many things - joy, peace, love, long-suffering, etc.  Fruit can also mean salvation in others.  Whatever the fruit, a true Christian who is living a life of abiding produces TRUE fruit.  Fruit that will last.
Joy that will endure through trials.
Peace that will calm through sorrows.
Love that will cover all.
Patience that has no end.

That my joy may be in you. John 15:11

"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."
- Andrew Murray in "The True Vine"

Joy comes from an inward place. Joy is found in loving others.  Joy is found in contentment.  Joy is found in resting in God's plan, giving up our own control. 

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 joy. Give me Your fruit. Give me Your strength. Amen.