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I the Lord do keep it.

Luke 13:6He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.  7Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?  8And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:  9And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

John 15:  1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.  3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.  4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

Isaiah 27  2In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine.  3I the LORD do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.

Here we see our Father is the Husbandman, the Keeper of the vine, the Overseer of our salvation, inspecting His vineyard.  See His desire for you to bear fruit, see His expectancy of this end result.

At this you may despair, saying “I have no fruit, and His eye is on me!”

But look! There is hope.  You are in Christ and He stands before the father saying, “Let me dig around them and fertilize them.  I will water them every moment. Unless anyone hurts them, I will watch over them day and night.  I will give them everything they need to bear fruit. I am the vine and as they abide in me, they will bear fruit for Your Glory, Father.”

Can you see the tenderness of the Husbandman? How His every effort and plan in your life is for your growth and your benefit?  Can you see how He guards you jealously, how He treasures you? See how He nurtures you and gives you time to mature and to grow!

You are not alone in your effort to abide in Christ.  The Lord and our Father are both endeavoring to keep you in Christ, to aid you in your walk.  Trust Him and let Him keep you in the Vine, knowing how great a price He paid to enable your grafting into the Vine.

Do you see Christ endeavoring on your behalf in your life? Have you experienced the joy of abiding? Do you have questions about the process? Feel free to ask a question or leave a comment.

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Through the waters

There you are, knee deep in the waters of life.  Maybe you made a mess of things.  Maybe someone else made a mess of things for you.  Maybe the devil has it out for you and he made a mess of things.   Maybe you let the faucet of the world flow into your life, and now you are flooded by fear and doubt.

Maybe you’ve responded to the Lord’s call on your life and you are sinking.

Matthew 14:29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink…”

Let’s pause there .

For a moment we won’t think about how you got knee deep in water.  You are wet and worried.  What now?

Isaiah 43:1But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.  2When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.

First, realize that He, the Lord Jesus Christ, is with you.  Whatever you are going through, you must grasp that the Lord is present as well, and He isn’t just a bystander, shaking His head at our pitiful performance.  What can He do?

He  “stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.” (Psalm 65:7)

He  “rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” (Psalm 89:9)

You might say ” The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.” (Psalm 93:3)

But look! “The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.” (Psalm 93:4)

Then, realizing He is there and can do something, Look at Him! Getting back to the sinking Peter…

“‘….and  beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?  32And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.

File your claim with the Lord, knowing He cares for you and is present (even mighty) to save you.  Quit looking at the problems, and get your eyes on Christ.  Isn’t He who promised faithful? Isn’t He able to perform His word in your life?  Absolutely.

Jesus desires you and His grace makes His greatness available to you and whatever mess you are in.

Day 14 Communion with the Holy Spirit

John 14: 15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

John 16: 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.

Has Jesus departed? Yes, of course, and He is glorified at the right hand of the Father. Now, don’t you think he did what he said? He has sent the Holy Spirit to YOU, child of God.

Do you realize that Jesus sent us a ‘Him’? We hear the term Spirit and automatically think of something misty or cloudy or unformed. But the Holy Spirit is a person. HE has come and we are supposed to be communing with him every moment. What does it mean to commune? To be in relationship with, as a person.

The person of the Holy Spirit dwells in you, and he abides with you forever. Praise God! You are not powerless. You are not alone. You are not abandoned of God.

Today I urge you to recognize the Holy Spirit as a person sent specifically to you, Christian. Realize his constant presence and his continual ministry in your life.

Day 13 For Me

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I would like to focus on the end of this verse. Many are familiar with the beginning, and rightly so because of the power it holds. Yet I love here how Paul displays how intensely personal the gospel is to him.  The Son of God loved ME. The Son of God gave himself for ME.

We know the gospel is for everyone. We know that God doesn’t want anyone to perish. Yet sometimes we lose our position in the sheer scope of the sacrifice. Sometimes we miss how personal this is to us. Jesus saw you. He gave himself for you. Specifically you. Intentionally you. He purposefully loved you. He, full of the knowledge of who you were, are and will be, gave Himself for you. Meditate on this. Chew on it. Think on it.

Now my goal, and I pray it’s yours as well, is that through faith in the Son of God, I can love Him and give myself for Him.  Isn’t it only reasonable to be as purposeful for Him as He was for me and you?

Day 12 Wellpleasing

Hebrews 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Such a beautiful verse that sums up so much of the Christian life. Here we have God, who is a God of peace, bringing Jesus back from the dead, accepting His sacrifice for us, forever. And in verse 21, it is God who is performing the action of making us perfect, working in us what is wellpleasing in His sight. Like so many other verses in the Bible we find ourselves coming back to this point of how it works- Through Jesus Christ.

Do you see how the whole Christian life revolves around your being in Christ? Not just accepting Him as Lord and Savior, though that is surely the first step. We continue abiding in Him that the working of God might be made perfect in us.

We read how it pleased God to have his fullness in Christ.  God is working His fullness in us through Christ. Why? To do His will.  What a tremendous empowering this is! God is working in me so that I may do His will!

No wonder His yoke is easy and His burden light. He is the one providing you and me the strength to bear it!

Abiding in His Word

His Word abiding in Me

Bearing much Fruit

Day 11 Absent of Everything

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

Isn’t this what we long for as a church today? If we heard about this group of people, who spoke with boldness, who walked in unity, who operated in power, wouldn’t we desire to go there and be a part of what was going on?

Yet, if we examine, we’ll find that this church was absent of almost everything we think a good church should have.  There was no soundboard. There wasn’t any advertising. They didn’t have a website. Nothing they did was tax-free. There was no record of giving.  They didn’t have a puppet team. Or a dance team. They didn’t have seminary taught preachers.  They didn’t even have evangelism, as we know it.

Oh, but what they did have was Jesus, displayed and made manifest through the Holy Spirit.  And they clung to Jesus like a babe clinging to her mother’s neck. They knew nothing except Christ and Him crucified. They were absent of everything, but Jesus.

All of those things we have now aren’t wrong, unless they replace Jesus. To a Christian, Christ is entirely and utterly, irreplaceable, and to be absent of everything except Him is to be blessed beyond compare.

Day 10 With or Without

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Luke 1: 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

My first prayer is that we truly realize that without Christ we can do nothing.  Oh, we can have activity and good works and motion all in the name of Christianity.  We can have prayer meetings and services and fasting. We can do all the things we feel a Christian is obligated to do. But to do them without Christ is to be doing nothing at all. All the striving, all the motion, all the effort is as nothing in Christ’s eyes.

But, bless God, with God through Christ, nothing shall be impossible for us. With God, the littlest activity possesses unimaginable power, the shortest sentence speaks life, and the smallest seed can bear the greatest fruit.

My second prayer is that we never forget that as Christians we are not without Christ.  He has made us His dwelling and abides in us.

Be ever-mindful of the abiding presence of Christ in you and you in Him as you go into this world to do as He commanded. Because the difference between with and without is the difference between “nothing impossible” and “nothing at all”.