Monday, October 30, 2017


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 (John 15:4-5).

I had read the above scripture many times but never considered the deeper significance of the word abide until this week, when it flashed like a neon sign, capturing my attention. To my amazement, the definition of that small five-letter word holds more substance than we might have imagined.

"ABIDE" means to acknowledge, to live or dwell, to comply with, obey, observe, follow, hold to, conform to, adhere to, accept, respect, and defer to. For a greater understanding of what it means to abide in the Lord, I have taken the definition and defined each highlighted word as it applies to God's Word.

ACKNOWLEDGE - to confess, admit, and accept. If you acknowledge and "...confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9 NKJV). 

DWELL - to live as a resident; to reside. His Spirit leads us when we dwell (abide) in Him and He in us (John 15:4). Then our heart is glad and our flesh dwells securely (Psalm 16:8-9).

COMPLY - to conform, abide by, or act in accordance with a command or request. According to God's Word, obedience is better than sacrifice. He is much more interested in our listening and obeying Him rather than what we can offer Him (I Samuel 15:22).

OBEY - to carry out or fulfill a command, order, or instruction. "Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the Lord will be joyful" (Proverbs 16:20 NLT). Jesus said, "...if you love Me, you will obey My commands" (John 14:15 ESV).

OBSERVE - to watch attentively; to pay close attention. The Word tells us to "Keep watch and pray, so that we will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” (Matthew 26:41)

FOLLOW - to go behind; to go after in pursuit. Jesus said, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross (proclaim your faith) and follow Me (Matthew 16:24-25). Jesus had previously said, " If you refuse to take up your cross (proclaim the Good News) and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine (Matthew 10:38).

HOLD TO - to uphold or maintain; sustain. We can only maintain and sustain our faith by trusting God and obeying Him as we run, with perseverance, the race marked for us, while fixing our eyes on Jesus, the perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-3).

CONFORM - to submit; yield; surrender. Since man's fall in the Garden of Eden, mankind has been faced with choices. Do we surrender to the will of God or follow after our own inclinations and desires. When we became a Christian, we initially surrendered our heart with our verbal confession and profession of faith in Jesus Christ. However, that initial act of surrendering our will to God is to be repeated daily in our decisions, choices, attitudes, and behaviors. "...Give yourselves completely to God—every part of you—for you are back from death and you want to be tools in the hands of God, to be used for His good purposes" (Romans 6:13 LB).

ADHERE TO - to follow a belief system. We must ask ourselves, "What do I really believe?" If we don't believe that "all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work," then it will be very difficult to abide in Him. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV).

ACCEPT - to welcome and embrace. "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). We must embrace God's Word in order to know and accept the truth of His Word. And it is that truth that literally sets us free.

RESPECT - reverence; esteem, honor. "Therefore, since we receive a kingdom, which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe..." (Hebrews 12:28) For we who fear (reverence) and trust in the LORD, He is [our] help and [our] shield (Psalm 115:11).

DEFER TO - to submit or to yield to someone or something. King David said, "I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:8). Total submission to God requires the complete surrendering of our will to His will.

Jesus said, "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" (John 15:7-8). This scripture begins with the conditional "if." If we first abide in Him and His Words live within us, then we can ask and receive.

We live in dangerous and troubling times and for that reason, God has been impressing upon me the importance of His Word being firmly fixed and working in my heart and the hearts of His people. The level to which we abide in Him will determine how we weather the storms of life, the timing of answered prayers, where He uses our talents, and whether those gifts and talents will bear fruit for His kingdom. Without abiding in Him, all efforts and accomplishments are in vain (John 15:5).

Now is the "season" for us to abide in Him that we may produce fruits worthy of repentance (Matthew 3:8). Our responsibility is to love and serve God in such a way that our lives reflect His goodness, so that those who are groping for answers in a world of increasing darkness and rebellion against God, can find hope. Therefore, you and I are left to examine our own heart to see if we, each day, are truly abiding in Him in every sense of the word.

Father, help me to abide in You, in every context of its meaning. I surrender my will and my life to You and ask that You show me anything that could hinder Your plans for my life. Teach and guide me each day, so that Your purposes are fulfilled in and through me. In Jesus' name, amen.

Monday, October 23, 2017


We have all experienced times when we waivered between belief and unbelief. We knew that God was able, but we questioned if He was going to meet our particular need. Even John the Baptist was troubled with doubts that caused him to question the Lord.

God had revealed to John his mission to preach repentance. In fact, when he was born, his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: "...And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people in the forgiveness of their sins..." (Luke 1:67-79). Those prophetic words were realized when John came preaching in the wilderness of Judea and stated, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matthew 3:11-12).

Jesus came to the River Jordan to be baptized by John, so that scripture would be fulfilled. When Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and rested on Jesus. Then John heard a voice from heaven, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:15-17). That miraculous event should have forever sealed and secured John’s faith in Jesus as Redeemer and Savior.

Fast-forward to John as he sat in a cold, dark, and damp prison cell and questioned if he had rightly believed that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah. Had he been mistaken? Had he sacrificed all for nothing? He faced death and needed to have his doubts alleviated by the One in Whom he had believed and trusted. So when he received word about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Luke 7:19)  Had John forgotten the words of the prophets and what had transpired the day he baptized Jesus?  John had sent word to Jesus, the incarnation of God's Word, and without recrimination, Jesus returned His Word to John so that his faith would be strengthened.

If John the Baptist, "the prophet of the Most High," had doubts, then we shouldn't berate ourselves when doubts besiege us? We are vulnerable human vessels that can succumb to doubts, fears, and unbelief in an unguarded moment or during the most trying of circumstances. That is why God's Word tells us not to be anxious about anything, but in every situation with thanksgiving, prayer, and petition, we are to present our requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-8 NIV).  This truth demands repeating: God's peace, that surpasses our understanding, will guard our hearts and minds, if we remain steadfast in placing our requests before Him with continual prayer, petition, and thanksgiving. 

Has God made a promise to you, and you have not seen the first sign of it coming to pass? Is doubt creeping in and pushing out the promise? Do you have a prayer that is yet to be answered? Have you questioned whether you really heard from God? Have you appeared foolish to others for obeying God's instructions and believing for the impossible? Are you questioning that God's promises might have applied only for biblical times and not for today?

When those doubts and negative thoughts question God's goodness and His promises, then it is time to accelerate our praying and our reading of scripture. For "Every Word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him (Proverbs 20:5-6). For the Word of God is alive and active and sharper than any double-edged sword; it penetrates, even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). The Word reveals God's heart, His love for us, and truths that the world dismisses. His Word encourages, convicts, corrects, instructs, strengthens, redirects, reassures, comforts, and gives hope, faith, and wisdom.

Therefore, we are told to read and speak the Word as Jesus spoke the Word. "So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:11). We have been given that same authority, for Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will [you] do, because I am going to the Father (John 14:12 ESV).

The Centurion understood authority and the power of God's Word, when he said, "Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof, but speak the Word only, and my servant will be healed." His servant was healed at that very moment (Matthew 8:8 NKJV). There is power and authority in God's Word, but we must believe it and speak it.

I have seen the wisdom of God's timing of events in my life and the lives of others. So, when doubt comes knocking at the door of your heart, know that His delays are not His denials. He has proven over and over again that His ways, purposes, and thoughts are above and beyond human understanding. Faith patiently waits and trusts in God's plan, the means by which He delivers His plan to us, and His timing. Our task while waiting is to rejoice always, trust, pray without ceasing, and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus (I Thessalonians 5:16).

The enemy is a master manipulator. If he can convince us that all that we have believed has been in vain, then he has us in that valley of despair and unbelief, where hope is deferred or lost. Remember, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).

Faith believes before it sees. Jesus said that those who believe His promises, without first seeing proof, will be the ones who receive His promises. For all the promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him Amen, meaning "so be it" to the glory of God through us (II Corinthians: 1:20-21 NKJV). Therefore, let not our hearts be troubled, but believe the LORD who is faithful and whose promises are Yes and Amen.


LORD, the man in Mark 9:20-27 brought his boy to Jesus to be healed. When Jesus questioned the father's ability to believe, he responded, "I do believe; help my unbelief." LORD, I believe that You can do all things, but I confess that there are times when I doubt that You will meet my need. Help my unbelief. Help me to study and memorize Your Word so that its truths are inscribed upon my heart and I am able to say with certainty, "I believe and trust You to meet my every need." In Jesus name, amen.