Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Abiding with Christ

In the last blog, I spoke of the need to stay in contact with Jesus and when you feel empty or drained, it is an indicator that you need to go get filled.  Being empty is not to condemn us, it is only to be our indicator of our need to be with Jesus. 

Same with sin.  It is not for our condemnation, but it is for us to take action.  When the indicator light on your dashboard of your car shows you that you are in need of gasoline, you do not condemn the car, you just go get it filled.  Let sin, emptiness, even the unsatisfied appetite that drives those scales up, let that be your indicator to ABIDE with Christ.

I have a walking buddy that I have been talking with regarding abiding, and much of what I will share here, is a result of my discussions with her.  Also it includes my prayer time, my personal research and study time in the word to include what I have concluded.

I knew she had studied this topic through BSF in the writings of John several years ago.  So I really wanted her input on abiding.  As she and I discussed this topic, I asked her what it looks like to abide since we are told to abide in the scriptures. 

Her response made so much sense, and I will try to do it justice.  We live our life and as we do, we consult with Him; if we respond wrongly, we ask Him why.  It’s simply recognizing Him in our day, during our day, as we go throughout our day.  We talk with Him, spend time with Him, think about Him, and acknowledge His presence. (In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path)  (He is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path)  

Abiding in Christ is living and remaining in Christ.  We walk in the Word that we study.  We do the will of the Father when we remain IN HIM.  We measure our thoughts against what we know about God through His Word.  A friend posted this quote yesterday by Oswald Chambers: “God will not make me think like Jesus, I have to do it myself; I have to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”  

Abiding is remaining connected to the life source.  (Click here for scripture verses regarding abiding) By being connected, we are one with Him.  We walk as Christ walked, treat others as He treated them, embrace His desires, think His thoughts and become more and more dependent upon Him.  So that I become a walking, living, breathing message of who He is.

She said we must know who He is.  She stressed that He is the measuring stick of righteousness.  The verse in Matt 28 tells us to immerse in who God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is.  According to this scripture we are to "go make disciples of every nation, and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit."  Their names are simply attributes to describe who they are.  (Click here to see the 7 “I Am” statements of Christ)

According to an article from Real Truth Matters, when we remain in Christ, connected to the vine, the character of Christ is displayed.  If this is not happening then it is an indicator that we have not been interacting with the Savior.  (Click on this link to read further)  The following is from this link.  In this article, it goes on to say, to be fruitful we must remain in Him and Him in us.  If we abide, His joy will remain in us.  Boredom implies we are missing contentment.  It means we are looking to be entertained and stimulated.  If Christ is no longer stimulating our mind, heart or emotions that means we are having no real interaction going on between us and Him. (this is where I believe the eating issues result)  Click here to see Empty Stomach or Empty Spirit

So to abide with Christ is the same as being filled with His Holy Spirit.  We need to be desperately dependent on the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.  We need to have conscious interactions with the Spirit of Christ. 

The last thing from this link, Real Truth Matters, is we need to be actively in fellowship with the Holy Spirit.  We need to humble ourselves and confess our disregard of His commands to abide.  We need to repent for forsaking the living water so we could live by our own strength.  He says we try to be both the vine and the branches.

Remember that apart from Christ we can do NOTHING!

Sin, Emptiness, Feeling Void and Dissatisfied, Filling the Void with something; are all INDICATORS of our need to ABIDE.
Abide – Be dependent upon, connect to and interact with our Lord daily and throughout the day.  (STAY connected to the vine- do not be cut off)
Be immersed in who God is; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Display the character of Christ.

Take your thoughts captive and line them up with Christ’s thoughts

Empty Stomach or Empty Spirit??

Today I wanted to talk about our eating habits; empty stomach or is something else empty.  I know, I know, we really don’t want to hear about it.  But let’s be honest, many of us tend to eat the way we eat, not out of hunger, but to fill a void in our lives.  Food is seen as THE ONLY VICE that a good Christian can have without much judgment from the church.  I believe that overeating is not only deadly when taken too far, but can compare to alcoholism or drug addiction especially when we use it to self-medicate, fill our loneliness and boredom.  (Note: Obesity is an epidemic in our society and the church is not exempted from that.) 

Anything, including food, used to excess has the potential to become a problem.   We don’t need to allow anything to have mastery over us except God.  We have been given self-control as part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  The definition of self-control is the ability to control oneself.  It involves moderation, constraint, and the ability to say “no” to our baser desires and fleshly lusts.  All substances, whether food, drink, drugs etc., can be managed.  Drugs when used properly can offer relief to the body and even allow it an environment to heal.  We have to eat and drink to nourish our bodies.  But even too much water can harm the body.  We need to exercise our self-control in order to become managers of our lives.  When anything in our lives is controlling us, we are not managing our own lives.

So how do we force the hands of food to release its grip on us?  I was listening to Rick Warren’s radio program where he talked about a book, “The Daniel Plan”.  It’s not just a diet and exercise plan, it includes faith, food, fitness, focus and friends.   I HAVE NOT read the book, but those 5 areas make sense.  There are a multitude of things we can do to alter ourselves.  However, I believe that community is a great aid to encourage us to make healthy changes in our lives.  According to the advertisement for the book, “Accountability helps provide us with the power to make changes.”

There are many food plans available to choose, and some are good, healthy and satisfying.  Make a decision based on what works for you based on preferences and taste; to determine your food road map that others can journey on with you.  Also, there is a multitude of ways to exercise the body.  A decision needs to be made to get the body moving, (be a body in motion as much as possible).  This determines your exercise road map.  Find exercise you enjoy and couple it with a companion or two.  Every trip is better when we go with family or friends. 

That addresses, food, fitness, friends but I also firmly believe that many of us will not be successful if we do not address our faith.  God created us to be in fellowship with Him.  Mankind spends a great deal of time trying to fill this void whether saved or not. Sadly, many never understand the deficit they are experiencing can only be filled with God through faith in His Son by the Holy Spirit.  We as the body of believers can and should have the answer demonstrated in our lives, but I believe the problem is we approach it incorrectly.

Many times we are approaching Christianity in the flesh and using world standards and approaches to understand it.  This approach brings moral conformity, but that is not fulfilling.  Christianity is not conformity but transformation.  It is not beating the flesh into submission to a set standard, but it is a spiritual connection between two spiritual beings.  This connection not only satisfies the soul, but it also enables us to accomplish those standards and morals.   That is the different approach.

To put it another way, we are doing empty religious activity instead of having a vibrant, satisfying relationship with our creator.  We sit in the pews of our church singing praise songs lifelessly.  We are reading our bible, yet not connecting with the true meaning of what the Word is saying to us.  We are serving the Lord and His people out of duty/obligation, and we are being drained of all our strength.   We are trying to be good, trying to keep the commands of our Lord, trying to love the world but it is just not bringing joy, or even real change.  All I hear is DUTY, DUTY, DUTY!!!  Guess what, that is not what God intended. 

We were meant to be in communion with our creator and out of that will spring all manner of praise, obedience and joy that is unspeakable.  We will love the unlovable, and we will serve out of the overflow (and if we are really connecting with Christ in our service, we will continue to be filled even as we serve).  When we do get drained, we need that to be our indicator to go to the source for filling.  He is our “filling station.”  That is what gas stations used to be called.  When our car is empty, we go to the FILLING station to get full.  Let’s recognize we need to be walking with the source of our joy, strength, love etc.  ONLY this relationship can fill us. 

If you find you identify with what I am saying, take some time to BE with Jesus.
This is where I believe we begin to ABIDE!  And when we abide, our spirit receives nourishment, just as when we are hungry, we eat healthy foods and our bodies receives nourishment.

Choose the maps; Food and Exercise
Choose who will be your companions

Determine to stay connected to your Creator

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Abiding Scripture Verses

John 15:2 -10
Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

John 8:31
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;

2 John 1:9
Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

Galatians 2:20
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Colossians 2:6
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

Colossians 3:1-3
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

1 John 2:28
 Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

1 John 2:6
the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

Colossians 1:27
to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Revelation 3:20
`Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

Romans 8:9-10
However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Ephesians 3:17-19
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

1 John 2:24
As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.

John 3:6-9
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. "Do not be amazed that I said to you, `You must be born again.' "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit." 

1 John 3:24
 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.

John 14:17
 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

1 John 2:27
As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Romans 8:1
 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

John 10:28-29
 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. "My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

1 John 3:6
 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

1 John 4:13
 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.

John 16:33
 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

Philippians 3:9
and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

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