Abiding: Growth


Hopefully after 31 days of reading/studying about abiding I can see growth. 

"I do not seek, O Lord, to penetrate Thy depths. I by no means think my intellect equal to them: but I long to understand in some degree Thy truth, which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand that I may believer; but I believe that I may understand." - Saint Anselm

"Once the joy of intimacy with God has been experienced, life becomes unbearable without it." - J. Oswald Sanders
This last quote from Sanders does truly sum up my feelings.  I have tasted the life that abides in Christ.  It is good.  It truly is unbearable when I try to "do life" on my own.  I pray that I can continue this journey of intimacy. 
Practical Growth:
1. I see my heart is drawn in longing to know God.  I long to read about Him.  I long to pray to Him.  This also means that during my busy, hectic day, when feeling overwelmed, I remember the simple truths:
I am loved.
I am accepted.
I am held.
2. Nothing I face - nothing I do - will seperate me from my abiding.  The abiding is Christ's work.  I need only rest. 
3. I have stopped hurrying.  I do not get anxious about my to-do lists.  Sometimes (get ready for a shocker) I do not even make one for the day! *gasp* This is all me abiding.
 4. I keep messing up.  I still get mad at my kids.  I still huff and puff and have a bad attitude.  I still forget to read my Bible, pray, or even acknowledge God sometimes.  Goodness knows I am still a woman - hormonal!  But my heart has changed - even just a little.  I am at peace knowing that God holds me. I am at rest, knowing that this abiding is not a "stiving" but a "letting go." And there is grace for all of those other times I fail (and will fail again.) 
5. There is hope.  I can be hopeful that I will not always worry about what I worry about now.  I will learn to trust.  I can be hopeful that I will not get mad about what I get mad about during this season in my life.  I will learn to let things go.  There is hope that I will not be failing God so much.  I can have the power to say "NO!" to sin.
Keep growing, Christian.  And if you were blessed by any of my posts, let me know!  I want to know that you too are growing!

Since the Christmas Season is upon us, my next series will probably be on Christmas. 


Abide in Christ: The Thirty-First Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
The Glorified One
"Your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory" - Col. 3:3-4
"Blessed life! It is ours, for Jesus is ours. Blessed life! We have the possession within us in its hidden power and we have the prospect before us in its fullest glory. May our daily lives be the bright and blessed proof that the hidden power dwells within, preparing us for the glory to be revealed. May our abiding in Christ the Glorified One be our power to live to the glory of the Father, our fitness to share in the glory of the Son."

The glory that is to come is far more important than the dust, dirt, and messiness of this world.  When we abide, we see more clearly, feel more deeply, and understand more completely that this world is not our home.  Our home is in Christ.  You've heard it said, "Home is where the heart is."  If your heart is in Christ, then your home is with Him as well.  Remember well the lessons of abiding. Continue seeking.  Continue searching for a deeper relationship with Christ.  Rest in the fact that He holds you and the abiding is His job.  Keep your eyes on Christ.

Lord, help me abide.

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


Abide in Christ: The Thirtieth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
As the Surety of the Covenant
"Jesus was made a surety of a better testament." Heb. 7:22
"It is the glory of the New Covenant that has in the person of the God-man its living surety, its everlasting security."

Our assuance in salvation comes through this security in who Christ is. We can know that this convenant God makes with His people will never be void.  God holds up His end of the bargain, AS WELL AS our end of the bargain.  We cannot provide a surety that we will be faithful to Him.  But, He has provided Christ Jesus to ever-intercede for us and be our promise.  The more we abide, the more we see who Christ is to us - a promise that our salvation is sure.  Our salvation is final. Final. When we are unfaithful, we should cry out to Jesus - abide more. Seek Him.

You did nothing to come to God - You can do nothing to leave God.

Lord, let me live in my assurance that You will hold up the end of both sides of this covenant.  You will save me - even to everlasting. Amen.

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


Abide in Christ: The Twenty-Nineth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
And Not in Self
"In me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing." Rom. 7:18
"Bitter experience has taught him [the Christian] how, both in the matter of entire surrender and simple trust, his greatest enemy in the abiding life - is SELF."

"Cling to Him; rest on Him; hope on Him. Daily renew they consecration....He will teach thee to be humble and watchful. He will teach thee to be happy and trustful."

Self-esteem is a tricky thing.  We speak about low self-esteem and high self-esteem.  We should know by now that the world's view is always contrary to God's view of things.  We must have a low self-esteem to abide in Christ.  We must study and read in God's word all the truths about "self" and realize NOTHING is good inside of me.  My natural self is proud, envious, hating, bitter, and evil.  It does not want to die.  Yet, with Christ, we have the power to kill this "self" and live a "new self" in Christ! We cannot kill our old self, but Christ can and He did.  On the cross, He killed the old man and made room for the new man.  We cannot die to ourselves on our own.  It is not something we can "muster up."  We can only kill that old man when we come to Christ in faith, surrender ourselves to Him, and trust that He will do the work.  We come to Him in humility and offer ourselves to be killed on the altar. Lord, let me trust the saving power of the Cross.  Not only does it free me from sin and kill the old man.  It allows me to abide in You. Amen.

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


Abide in Christ: The Twenty-Eighth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
As Your Strength
"All power (Authority) is give unto Me in heaven and in earth." - Matt. 27:18
"Be strong in the lord, and in the power of His might" - Eph. 6:10
"My power is made perfect in weakness." - 2 Cor. 12:9
"There is no truth more generally admitted among earnest Christians than that of their utter weakness.  There is no truth more generally misunderstood and abused."

"The Christians thinks his weakness his greatest hindrance in the life and service of God; God tells us that it is the secret of strength and success."

"The weakest believer may be confident that in asking to be kept from sin, to grow in holiness, to bring forth much fruit, he may count upon these his petitions being fulfilled with Divine power."

Abiding is the key to having this awesome power displayed day after day. Moment by moment we are given power to overcome sin, bear fruit, and strength for the trials. This teaching is throughout the New Testament.  Surrender is the hard part.  We want to hold on to our own strength so bad.  We want to see if we can "do it" first. 

My little 16 month baby is starting to look at her older brothers at the table and desires to have what they have.  She wants her food to look like theirs.  She wants to have the same cup and plate.  She now wants to use a fork or spoon as well.  Her little chubby fingers look cute hold a tiny fork.  Yet, her muscles are not developed enough to coordinate using the fork to stab the food and place it in her mouth without most of it spilling all over the table and herself.  Yet, she demands to "do it."  She cries and wines when it doesn't work right.  Yet, when we try to reach and help her, she pulls the fork away in difiances and gives us a look like, "I am doing this!  Leave me alone!  Let me do this in my own strenght!"

How many times do we try to do life on our own? The longer we live, the more we see that circumstances are out of our control and life is too hard to "do it" on our own.  We need Christ.  The beauty in weakness is that the weak are not always weak.  We are strong, when we Abide in Christ.

Lord, so many times I have tried living without You.  It is the little things I try to do - be a mom. Have a clean house.  Home school.  None of those things I can do on my own. Let me see my weakness and rejoice that YOU make me strong! Amen.

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


Abide in Christ: The Twenty-Seventh Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
 That you may not sin
"In Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not." - I John 3:5-6
"When the abiding in Christ becomes close and unbroken, so that the soul lives from moment to moment in the perfect union with the Lord its keeper, He does indeed, keep down the power of the old nature, so that it does not regain dominion over the soul."

It is daunting to think of "not sinning," for any period of time.  Let it not be so.  We have power of sin!  That means that we can choose not to sin.  We need not worry about trying not to sin for a whole day, weeks, months, or years.  We need only abide in the moment.  When we abide in the moment, Christ enables us to be sin-free.  We need only not sin in this moment.  Do not worry about any additional moments, but the moment you are in.  Continual abiding will free us from the power of sin. 

Lord, forgive me for my past mistakes. Let me walk with You, in close communion - so that I can overcome sin in my life.  Amen.

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


Abide in Christ: The Twenty-Sixth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
And in Love to the Brethren
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." - John 15:12
"Amid all diversity of character or of creed, of language, or of station, they are to prove that love has made them members of one body, and of each other, and has taught them each to forget and sacrifice self for the sake of the other."

"[We are to love] not simply with the liking that rests on points of agreement, but with the holy love that takes hold of the unworthiest, and bears with the most disagreeable for Jesus' sake."

"Understand that He who gave the command in such close connection with His teaching about the Vine and the abiding in Him, gave us in that the assurance that we have only to abide in Him to be able to love like HIM."

I admit it.  I *sighed* at the thought of loving others (especially other Christians) - it seemed way too hard. Rarely do we look at the context of this command.  We are commanded to love after learning first to abide.  When we abide in Jesus and His love is overflowing in our hearts, we can trust Him to help us love others.  It will not be our love that is poured out, but His. When we love each other, we have the proof that we are abiding.

"Let the vow that not an unkind word of others shall ever be heard from our lips be laid trustingly at His feet."
We can truly promise to love better and better - to not say unkind words - because we have a Trustworthy Confident.  Our bitter tears can run over and into His hands.  They can stay there, and not enter our mouths in unkindness to others.

Lord, Oh God, You knew I needed to hear these words today.  Forgive me.  I am so guilty of unkind and unloving words.  Pour out your grace and mercy on my heart.  Let me be more guided by the Spirit and led by Him.  Let me trust You with my frustrations, anger, bitterness, and fears.  I need not pour out those unkind things on others, when You have my heart. Amen.

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


Abiding in Christ: The Twenty-Fifth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
That Your Joy May be Full
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might abide in you, and that your joy might be full." - John 15:11
"We all know the value of joy. It alone is the proof that what we have really satisfies the heart. As long as duty, or self-interest, or other motives influence me, men cannot know what the object of my pursuit or possession is really worth to me. But when it gives me joy, and they see me delight in it, they know what to me at least it is a treasure."

I must admit that I was looking forward to reading this chapter.  I have struggled, wrestled, and searched the Scripture about joy recently.  So, I couldn't wait to hear what Murray had to say concerning abiding and joy. I was not disappointed:

Joy is the proof that we have all in Christ.  When we have joy, we are satisfied.  If no joy can be found in the Christian life, it is not because of Christ, but the Christian.  For having Christ is having everything satisfied.  Having Christ is having joy.  We shine our light the brightest, not by preaching, teaching, or giving - but by the joy that is in our hearts.  When a hurting, dying world sees joy in a Christian, they know something is real. 

Murray goes on to talk about an "abiding joy."  A joy that "is never to cease or to be interrupted for a moment."  He gives Paul as an example of someone who endured such sorrows, but was always rejoicing (2 Cor. 6:10). He says "Even when weeping for the sins and the souls of others, there is the fountain of gladness springing up in the faith of His power and love to save."  Think back to the past twenty-four days and reflect on the beautiful picture of abiding.  When our hearts are so connected with Christ, His own joy will indeed be found in us.  We need not to summon our own joy or try to put on a happy face - we find that our hearts naturally overflow with joy when we are connected so intimately with Christ.

Lord, You surly do know that my heart's desire is to find more joy.  Let me look to abiding.  Let me remind myself that when I am so closely knit with You and Your heart, I not only have joy - but "fullness of joy."  Amen.

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


Abide in Christ: The Twenty-Fourth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
Obeying His Commandments
"If you keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in His love." - John 15:10
"It is only as long as salvation is to the sinner nothing but a personal safety, that he can be careless or afraid of the doing of God's will."

"Be not content to have them [God's commandments] in the Bible for reference, but have them transferred by careful study, by meditation and by prayer, by a loving acceptance, by the Spirit's teaching, to the fleshly tables of the heart."

It is hard sometimes to see on social media all of the people I once knew, talk about "church" and "God" and then in then next post, show a picture of something that is totally against what God teaches.  They have not made the connect that salvation is not just for your eternal safety, but your union with God-.  And that union can start in the here and now!  How do we abide? Obey.  I can point the finger at others, but know that God sees inside my heart as well.  I long to abide, but ignore Bible Study and prayer.  I long to abide, but still lash out and do not control my anger.  I long to abide, but still I do not obey!  Obeying God's commandments is the chief way to abide!  The action of "abiding" is obeying!  I have a perfect example in Christ Jesus.  He obeyed all of His Father's commandments.  He also abode in the Father perfectly.

Lord, let me not concern myself with others, but myself. Forgive me for my disobedience.  Let me live so that Your commandments are my nourishment. Amen.

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Abiding in Christ: The Twenty-Third Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
As Christ in the Father
"As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: abide in my Father's love." John 15:9, 10
"To our proud self-seeking nature the thought of dependence and subjection suggests the idea of humiliation and servitude; in the life of love which the Son of God lived, and to which He invites us, they are the secret of blessedness."

"Take and study His [Christ's] relation to the Father as pledge of what thine own can become."

Talk of the Trinity sometimes scares us.  We cannot understand all that it is, so we ignore it.  We know it is truth.  Yet, we glance over it and move on.  Oh the riches we miss when we neglect this awesome teaching!?  As you study further what the Son was to the Father, you can receive strength and joy knowing that same union is offered to you, through abiding in Christ.  Our job is simply to submit.  We are to be weak.  Give up your desires.  Give up your will.  Give up all, relying on Christ for everything.

Practically, pray every morning for Christ to: Show you His love.  Give you His Strength. Impart His joy into your soul.  Go throughout your day, as you wash dishes, make phone calls, file papers, or simply sit with a sick child - go throughout your day, holding fast to your weakness and looking to Christ to be all.

Lord, You are my all in all.  May I lean even more on you.  May I glory in my weakness, for in it, I find Your perfect strength.  Make me one with You, as You are with the Father. Amen.

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Abide in Christ: The Twenty-Second Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
And in His Love
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: abide in my love." John 15:9
"Blessed Lord, enlighten our eyes to see aright the glory of this wondrous word. Open to our meditation the secret chamber of THY LOVE, that our souls may enter in, and find there their everlasting dwelling place."

What does this love look like?

It is eternal love.
Before the world began, Christ was predestined to come to earth.  He does not love with an "earthly love" but an "eternity love."  He has always loved us.  His love is everlasting.  Not only does it not have a beginning, it has no end as well. 
It is a perfect love.
Christ sacrificed His "throne and crown" for us.  He holds nothing back.  We have this crown now and righteousness.  Do not doubt His love.  Look to His humble birth, difficult life, and horrible death.  He did all of that for us.  He would do it all again if need be. 
It is a gentle and most tender love.
We need not fear the sin that is in our lives.  Christ's love cast out fear. In our sin, we see how much more powerful and beautiful Christ's love is for us.  Do not focus on how sinful you are.  Confess your sin.  And look above.  Look to Christ's love and see it shining so beautiful.  It truly is the most beautiful thing - Christ's tender, loving kindness.
It is an changeable love.
It is our own sin that first draws us to Christ.  It is through the lenses of our sinful hearts that we see how wonderful, tender, and glorious Christ's love is toward us.  Through our lives, as we still live in a sinful world with sin-natures, we are drawn to this love over and over again.  It will not change.  Nothing I do (or do not do) will change Christ's love for me. (Romans 8:31-38)

Lord, let these truths sink into my mind.  Let them reach the dark places of my heart.  All of my fears and anxieties, let me lay before you in Your perfect, unchangeable, eternal love. Amen.

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Abide in Christ: The Twenty-First Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
So will you have Power in Prayer
"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
"It is the abiding in Christ that gives the right and power to use His name with confidence. To Christ the Father refuses nothing. Abiding in Christ, I come to the Father as one with Him.  His righteousness is in me, His Spirit is in me; the Father sees the Son in me, and gives me my petition."

"Believer, abide in Christ, for there is the school of prayer - mighty, effectual, answer-bringing prayer."

When we are abiding, our prays change.  We pray "in accordance with the will of God" and "we seek the glory of God."  We are found in Christ and we are able to use His name.  Go to God boldly.  Approach Him often. My prayer life seems to have ups and downs.  I seem to pray for things as they come up through the day.  I rarely devote time solely for prayer.  But it is in the abiding that I will find the ability to pray.  It is in pray that I find the ability to abide.  The two should go together.  Sadly, I have tried to abide without the fervent prayer.  And I have tried to pray without the abiding.  How much more each would be if they were together?!

Lord, let me come now to You, petition that You will teach me more about prayer. Amen.

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Abide in Christ: The Twentieth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
That you may bear much fruit
"He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." John 15:5, 8
"The soul need but have one care: to abide closely, fully, wholly. He [Christ] will give the fruit. He works all that is needed to make the believer a blessing."

"If Jesus Christ is really to work through us, it needs an entire consecration of ourselves to Him, daily renewed."

When we abide, we bear much fruit.  Murray defines fruit as the winning of souls for Christ.  He says that when we abide in Christ, we have two things: first is the "love and compassion towards sinners."  We are normally selfish.  Even as Christians, we must fight the urge to be selfish.  We do not want to step out of our comfort zone and find the lost and dying souls.  Yet, when we abide, we will develop that desire!  The second is the "courage and strength for the work." We have the assurance that Christ works through us, a "feeble instrument." The excuse that it is too hard is not an excuse.  We have an all-powerful God on our side, a Son who died for us, and a Spirit who lives in us.  We have all that we need to do what we need to do!

Murray teaches two lessons:
1. Shine Your Light and Get to Work. Seek to influence those around you.  Accept where you are.  Accept who you are with.  Accept the circumstances you find yourself. Live your life joyfully.  Shine your light to the world around you! Even if that world is a husband, and three small children. Even if that world is the very place you never thought you'd be.  Even if that world is so different than you thought it would be.
2. Abide in Christ.  The more you depend on Christ, the more you see your own weakness.  The more humbled and weak, the more you rely on Christ - and draw from His strength! You may not think you can do the thing before you.  You cannot. Christ can.  Rely on His strength.  Renew daily your commitment to Him.  Renew hourly if need be!

Lord, today I look to You to bear fruit.  Let me shine my light into the hearts of my three little ones.  Into the hearts of those around me.  Amen.

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Abide in Christ: The Nineteenth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
In Affliction and Trial
"And every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." John 15:2
"Pray for grace to see in every trouble, small or great, the Father's finger pointing to Jesus, and saying, Abide in Him."

"The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, not only because He can suggest comforting thoughts of God's love, but far more because He makes us holy, and brings us into close union with Christ and with God."

Christ is there when trials come.  He is there to teach and to comfort.  We seem to want the comfort first and then the teaching.  Sometimes we do not even want the teaching, and only comfort.  Murray reminds us that God's first aim during trials is to teach us.  Yet, He does not neglect the second, which is to comfort.   The two go together. In becoming more like Christ, we find comfort.  We also have the promise of "bearing much fruit."  Christ knows that we will grow in spiritual things when we go through troubles.  I can look back at things in my life and give testimony to how the hardships brought forth much fruit. Can you? 

Lord, guide me during times of trial to abide in You.  You are nearer to me than any trouble.  You are ever close and loving, teaching me Your ways. Amen.

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Abide in Christ: The Eighteenth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
In Stillness of Soul
"In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." Isa. 30:15
"So that just in proportion as he [the Christian] yields himself a truly passive instrument in the hand of God, will he be wielded of God as the active instrument of His almighty power."

"And how slow many are to learn that quietness is blessedness, that quietness is strength, that quietness is the source of the highest activity - the secret of all true abiding in Christ!"

Working with Christ is not like a partnership.  It is not as if God does His part and we must do our part. We wait and let God work in us. To have the Spirit work in us, there must be a stillness and silence. It is totally contrary from what we normally think.  We think we must strive and work for Christ.  But our serving the Lord is empty without the communion with Him.  We can serve in Sunday School, sing in the choir, or even volunteer for every Vacation Bible School.  If we are not silent and rest in the presence of God and Christ, our serving will soon fizzle.  We will lose strength. It is so vital that we have that daily quiet time with Christ.  We do not call is quiet time because we are easily distracted or busy.  We must use that time (whether 5 minutes or 30 minutes) to meditate, pray, and read Scripture.  If you do not have a plan, here are a few Bible Reading Plans.  Some wonderful devotionals to guide you can also be found here. To do the work of God, we must spend the time resting and praying in His presence.  I am thankful that this journey through Andrew Murray's book "Abide in Christ" has allowed me to make the time for quiet time.  I pray the habit continues even after the 31 days.

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Abide in Christ: The Seventeenth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
Through the Holy Spirit
"The anointing which ye have received of Him, abideth in you...and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." - I John 2:27
"Above all He [the Holy Spirit] is the bond of fellowship between Christ and believers; He is the life-sap through which Vine and branch grow into real and living oneness; by Him we are one."

"if we would have the Spirit to guide us into the abiding life, our first need is quiet and restful faith."

Believe that the Holy Spirit will do the work of the abiding.  Even if you do not understand it, believe it to be true.  He is the great cord that binds us to the Father and Son.  Do not forget that our God is surly three persons.  We focus on the "three" and the great mystery of the Trinity, that we forget each of the three are actually persons.  They are separate and individual.  It cannot make sense to our intellect at times, but it is true nonetheless.  The Holy Spirit is the person we are to always be yielding.  He lives in us.  He breaths life into us.  He is the key to daily abiding.  We are to always be praying, reading Scripture, whenever we have a moment - we must keep that communion with the Spirit open. 

Lord, let me live today in devotion to yielding to the Spirit.  I cannot think of tomorrow.  Or even the next moment.  Let me live in the present and yield myself to You now. Amen.

On a Practical Note:
I used to be in the habit in leaving my Bible open on the kitchen counter.  I spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  I prepare meals, clean, etc.  I would try and take 3-5 minutes here and there to read God's word.  I used to be frustrated that I could not finish a passage without interruptions.  But those interruptions are my life.  Life is full of side roads and rabbit trails.  It is not important that I "finish" a passage anymore, it is important that I continually read.  In reading and praying all day long, I am more connecting to the Spirit and ultimately the Holy Spirit will connect me to Christ.

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Abide in Christ: The Sixteenth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
Forsaking all for Him
"I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ...And be found in Him." - Phil. 3:8-9
"Only in the emptiness that comes from the parting with what we have, that the Divine fullness can flow in."

"It is only into the thirst of an empty soul that the streams of living waters flow. Ever thirsting is the secret of never thirsting."

What are we to forsake?
Sin. Sin no longer has power over me.  I am no longer in chains to sin.  I do not have to lie.  I do not have to be angry.  I do not have to hurt or harm.  We are commanded to forsake sin.  To argue that we will never be sin-free is a poor excuse.  We are to forsake all, and all means sin.
Self-righteousness. We are to give up the idea that we can do anything apart from God.  We cannot do any good deed.  Our hearts are desperately wicked.  In us there is no good thing.  We are only righteous through Christ.  We have no righteousness of our own.
Occupations and Possessions. All of our work, all of our things, are gifts from God.  We are to give them up.  This does not mean stop doing the work or give away all your things.  It means, stop making work the most important thing in life.  Stop making things the most important thing in life.
Our very Spiritual Gifts.  Christ desires even our talents and gifts to be given to Him. Our abilities will not make us abide in Christ.
The only way to abide is to surrender.

Lord, surrender is a hard word.  Let me learn to surrender daily.  I must die everyday to sin, self-righteousness, my work and possessions, and my own abilities. Amen.

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Abide in Christ: The Fifteenth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
At This Moment
"Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." II Cor. 6:2
"It is not a matter of feeling - it is not a question of growth or strength in the Christian life - it is the simple question whether the will at the present moment desires and consents to recognize the place you have in your Lord, and to accept it."
"Each time thou hast, amidst the bustle of duty, the opportunity of self-recollection, let its first involuntary act be: 'I am still in Christ, abiding in Him now.'"

Do it now.  Surrender your life to Christ at this moment.  Is there sin?  Is there fear?  Is there doubt?  Is there anxiety?  Surrender it all to Christ at this moment.  You need only abide moment by moment.  Christ holds you in this moment.  Do not think of "every moment" - only of this moment.  As I think back through my day and see so many ways I failed, I cringe coming to Jesus.  Late at night, I am weary and worn.  Mostly because I lived today not in the moment, but constantly looking at the next moment.  I kept saying "I'll abide later.  I'll read His Word later.  I'll pray later."  Today, with all of its mistakes and sins, is over.  The only thing I have is this moment. I am still in Christ.  I abide in Him now. 

Lord, this moment belongs to You.  Let me now abide in You.  Be my all in all right now.  I may have a lot to do tomorrow, but in this moment is where I am living.  Let me rest in You, just one moment at a time. Amen.


Abide in Christ: The Fourteenth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
Day by Day
"And the people shall go out and gather the portion of a day in his day." - Ex. 26:4
"We are so easily led to look at life as a great whole, and to neglect the little today, to forget that the single days do indeed make up the whole, and the value of each single day depends on its influence on the whole."

I am a planner.  I like things in order.  I make lists.  I check things off.  I love looking ahead to my calendar for the next month and already see things listed there.  I like to see the big picture, but when I do, I miss the little details.  I am already looking at my list at this moment, and realizing that I have yet to check anything off and it is already noon! That is NOT the Christian way to abide.  I have tried it.  I have tried to think of a faithful life and the only thing I get is overwhelmed.  What an encouragement to someone like me today!?  Murray reminds us that God made the day (and night).  He did not give us our whole life all in one, long, never ending day.  He broke it up into smaller, 24-hour days.  He gives us the grace for today.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just as the children of Israel gathered manna for just that day, God provides the ability to work at the abiding ONE day at a time.  I need not worry about my list.  I need not stress over tomorrow's duties.  I need only to bend my head down and do the work today.  If nothing on my list is accomplished today, and yet I spend time in God's word and had the right reactions to situations, today was a success.  Do not look at your day's success by the number of check marks.  Look to how your heart was knit with Christ's and the joys and happiness that followed you today.

Lord, I give you my list.  I know I cannot do any of it without You. Let me just abide in You today and get done what I get done.  Amen.


Abide in Christ: The Thirteenth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
Every Moment
"In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment; lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day." - Isaiah 27:2-3
"Is it possible for the believer always to abide in Jesus?"

"A loving wife and mother never for one moment loses the sense of her relation to the husband and children, the consciousness and the love are there, amid all her engagements."
"If the things look dark and faith would fail, sing again the song of the vineyard: 'I the Lord do keep it, I will keep it night and day.'"

How can I, while being a mother, wife, friend, etc. always abide in Jesus?  How can I do the work that is set before me: laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and all of that while still abiding? Here is the key: I do not keep myself abiding - God does.  In that blessed assurance, I have peace, rest, and joy. While I am busy doing my work, in my heart, the love and fellowship of Jesus is ever present.  I can recall it at any moment.  What about sin? How can I have unbroken abiding and fellowship when I KNOW I am going to sin?  The answer is simple: Grace. Grace enough to cover all.  It sounds too simple.  But there it is.  That is the truth. 

When life overwhelms and despair tries to reach out and grab me - I must hold on to the truth that God will keep me.  Doubts, fears, and despairs arise either because of my never ending work and my never ending battle with sin.  Hold fast to Psalm 121: "Jehovah shall keep thee from all evil; He shall keep thy soul."

Lord, again, I sing the song of the vineyard: You will keep me.  Day and night you will water and keep me. Amen.

Practically speaking, I have to insert a small note here:
Since I have been reading this now for almost two weeks, I have seen such a change.  God has placed in my heart such a sense of peace.  My children still scream.  They still fight and cry and disobey.  My house still has messes [ALL THE TIME]. I still have to homeschoo I still do not have children who can help with chores.  I still have to go places and be on time. 

One thing that has changed is my heart's reaction.  I am not perfect and have a LONG way to go, but I do not stress about those things like I used to.  I can handle the arguments so much more calmly now.  When there is a crazy moment [believe me, we have several a day], I find myself a lot more calm then I used to be. I have not raised my voice as much. I have not rolled my eyes or huffed as much.  I can only attribute it to God changing my heart and helping me to trust Him more. 

If my house does not stay clean, I still can take a nap.  If my children are all screaming, I do not cringe and yell above them to be quiet.  If we are late for anything, I no longer worry or stress.  It does not matter if I was 15 minutes late for a doctor's appointment.  It matters that my heart was calm and I did not snip at my children! God be glorified that someone like me can change!


Abide in Christ: The Twelfth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
God Himself will establish you in Him.
"He which established us with you in Christ,...is God." II Cor. 1:21
"What they (Christians) need is the simple faith that the establishing in Christ, day by day, is God's work - a work that He delights to do, in spite of all our weakness and unfaithfulness, if we will but trust Him for it."
"I have a God to see that each day I become more firmly united to Christ...Expect it confidently, ask it fervently.  Count on God to do His work."
God will do it.  It seems to be the theme of the past few days.  I cannot come to Jesus but through the will and call of the Father.  I cannot abide in Jesus but through the will and call of the Father.  It strikes against my self-reliant nature to rely on the Father for even my abiding.  Yet, what hope waits with trusting God in the abiding!? I cannot hope to abide the way I desire on my own.  I have tried it.  I have felt the highs and lows of abiding in my own strength.  Like a roller coaster ride, I am at the whim of my own abilities.  They will fail me every time.  Now, it is clear from scripture, that God will do it.  God will establish me in Christ.  It is God's work, and the Ultimate, Faithful God will do what He says!  How many times have I told children "God does what He says....He keeps His promises."  He has promised this thing: "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ" Phil. 1:6. He will do it.  What peace awaits me, when I place my trust in that promise.

O Faithful God, You have promised many things.  You have promised to do the work of establishing me in Christ.  Let me rest in that.  Let me stop striving to abide, and just abide. Amen.



Abide in Christ: The Eleventh Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
The Crucified One
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." - Gal. 2:20
"We have been planted together in the likeness of His death." - Rom. 6:5
"I must learn to look upon the Cross ....not only a deliverance from guilt, but also from the power of sin."
"When Christs comes in my place, He remains what He was, the beloved of the Father; but in the fellowship with me He shares my curse and dies my death.  When I stand in His place, which is still always mine, I am still what I was by nature, the accursed one, who deserves to die; but also united to Him, I share His blessing, and receive His life."
I never liked the image of "dying to myself."  I felt that I would lose who I was.  I felt I would no longer matter.  I thought of it as I did a physical death.  Yet, this death, is a death of the old man.  My old self I hate. I hate the sin that reigns so freely sometimes.  To abide with Christ on the cross means that I am freed from all of that.  The freedom over physical death was not the only freedom that Christ secured on the cross and offers to believers now!  I have freedom to love my God.  I have freedom to not sin.  I have freedom from the world and its passions and lust.  The freedom Christ offers is freedom daily from the pulls of the world and sin.
My Sweet Saviour, my heart is full of gratitude for the Cross anew.  I am awe-struck that You would save me once, but to rescue me from the chains day-after-day-after-day, I am indebted to You.  My heart longs even more for a deep communion.  The deeper the communion, the deeper the abiding, comes the deeper freedom from this world and sin. Amen.




Abide in Christ: The Tenth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
As your redemption
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

"The word redemption, though sometimes applied to our deliverance from the guilt of sin, here refers to our complete and final deliverance from all its consequences, when the Redeemer's work shall become fully manifest."
"The resurrection of the body is no longer a barren doctrine, but a living expectation."
 The redemption that we have in Christ is first found in that very moment of salvation.  To experience the full redemption and glorified end that God the Father and Christ has planned for us will not be found til we enter heaven.  We need not fear death or sin.  Sin no longer has power over us.  We have been redeemed.  No longer do we need to fear that sin will win.  It won't.  It lost 2,000 years ago - not only on the Cross of Jesus, but more importantly in the tomb.  Jesus' victory is seen now, where He sits next to God on the throne of heaven.  Practically, what does that mean?  It means that I can have victory of the sin in my life.  I am redeemed.  The Holy Spirit gives me power to overcome my sin. I also need not fear death - but look forward to it as the completion of God's word on my body, soul, and spirit.
Lord, God, please forgive me for the sin in my life.  Let me live in the power of the redemption that You have provided.  Let me rest and abide in that power. Amen.

"Abide in Christ as thy redemption. Nothing will fit thee for this but the faithfulness in the previous steps of the Christian life. Abide in Him as thy wisdom, the perfect revelation of all that God is and has for thee...Abide in Him as thy righteousness, and dwell clothed upon with Him in that Inner sanctuary of the Father's favor and presence to which His righteousness gives thee access....And abide in Him as thy sanctification; the experience of His power to make thee holy..."


Abide in Christ: The Ninth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
As your sanctification
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

"Abiding by faith in Christ our sanctification is the simple secret of a holy life."
"Christian, fear not to claim God's promises to make thee holy....That holy life (new man, new nature) is mightier than thy evil life; under the watchful care of the Husbandman, that new life can keep down the workings of the evil life within thee."
"Look not upon a life of holiness as a strain and an effort, but as the natural outgrowth of the life of Christ within you."
Living a holy life seems so impossible at times.  I am so quick to list all of my failures. No excuses now.  Christ in me allows me to live a holy life.  I am not saying NEVER failing, but failing less and less each day.  I have no strength in myself to live a holy life - even as a Christian.  Prayer in not enough.  Gratitude is not enough.  Love for my Saviour is not enough.  The very act of God is the only thing that can help me live a holy life. 
As Christans, we have a new nature! Our old and new will always fight, but I loved how Murray emphasizes that the new man is stronger than the old man.  No longer do we need to strive for holiness in a deary, defeated, and downcast way!  We need to embrace holiness as a natural outpouring of our abiding in Christ!  The more we abide, the more we are holy. Let God do the work of santification - only He can anyway!
Lord, God, be my Husbandman.  Graft me into the tree so that even if my sap is evil, the evil buds have been always cut away to help me bear the good fruit. I submit to Your pruning.  Prune away all of the old man, so that only the new man remains. Amen.

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Abide in Christ: Eighth Day

Abide in Christ
by Andrew Murray
As your righteousness
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
"The union to Jesus has effected a change not only in the relation to God, but in the personal state before God."
"Live your daily life in the full consciousness of being righteous in God's sight, an object of delight and pleasure in Christ."
What do you see when you look in the mirror?  If your heart wore clothes, what would they look like?
I can tell you, that before reading today's devotional, what I would have said: I am wearing tattered, hand-me-downs. I have holes in my jeans (and not the fashionable ones). I have a dirty shirt (maybe with some baby food smeared on it). One word: UGLY. If I looked in the mirror at my heart, I would cringe - remembering all the times I've raised my voice today, spoken a harsh word, thought a bad thought.  I would see my heart in the light of all the ugliness that sin has caused. 
Friend, that is NOT what God sees.  If we are in Christ, born again, saved, redeemed, rescued, we are none of those things!  We have the very imputed righteousness of Christ!  In the Bible, Christ's righteousness is described as "white robes." Christ's righteousness given to us (imputed to us) is surly a mystery.  Scholars have argued over the exact meaning of Romans 3:21-26 and other similar passages.  The one thing we can remember is: we do not need be ashamed.  Christ has clothed us with His righteousness.  Picture putting away your old, dirty dress that no longer fits right and putting on a brand-new wedding dress!  You are pure. You are beautiful! You are fresh and new!  You are right before God!  Live your life reminding yourself of this truth: Christ's righteousness is Yours!
Lord, I walk around holding on to guilt from past mistakes.  Help me put off these old clothes and remember that my white garments are all that You see me in! Amen.

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