Sunday, 24 May 2020

Is it time for some spiritual ‘weeding’?

When we feel that our spiritual reservoir is running dry we should search for living water, we should look for Jesus.

One place I continually see the miracle of creation is on my allotment.  This is such a wonderful, peaceful place where God’s creation is continually played out before me.  Make no mistake the allotment is hard work however it is enjoyable and provides a place of contemplation as I go about preparing, planting, maintaining, watering, weeding and so on in order to produce a harvest.  I often feel God prompting me as I go about these tasks where I’m continually reminded of different biblical scriptures.  

As I write this article we are currently coming toward the end of April in the UK and this is a particularly busy time for preparing and planting at the allotment.  The short message below is something that came to me whilst I was preparing strawberry plants a few weeks ago.

Strawberries are an amazing fruit and loved by most people.  As a plant the strawberry is quite durable.  At the very end of the growing season it will die right back, but not completely.  Over the winter months the plants appear almost dead as visibly there is very little sign of life, most of the previous year’s leaves will die, go brown and dry and fall away.  Then in the Spring when the temperature starts to increase a miracle happens.  New growth starts to appear and over a short period of time with a good mix of sunshine and rain the strawberry plants start to become healthy and vibrant in preparation for the fruiting season. White flowers then start to appear which will eventually become strawberries once pollinated. We then get a wonderful harvest of beautiful ripe strawberries.

The miracle however is not just in the production of the fruit themselves. Prior to and after fruiting the strawberry plants start to think about reproduction and start to push out ‘runners’ which are new shoots that can run for many metres.  Once the runners find suitable ground they will root into the ground and produce a ‘clone’ which is a new strawberry plant.  This is a miracle from God; Genesis 1:11-12 ‘Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds’. And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good’.

In order to maximize the harvest of a strawberry plant it is necessary to do some ongoing maintenance. If watering, weeding and general maintenance were neglected then the likely result would either be a poor harvest and/or even a dead plant. This is also true of our own spiritual lives which if neglected can negatively impact on our spiritual growth, our relationship with God and the ability for God to use us to reap a harvest in His Name. 

You do not need to be a horticulturist to know that fruit, vegetables and all other types of plants and vegetation need water in order to survive, it is essential.  In John 4:13-14 in His conversation with the Samaritan women Jesus talks about living water; ‘Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life’. Plants may thirst for earthly water however, as Christians we should continually thirst for the living water that Jesus is talking about. This world has an abundance of reservoirs that promise love, self-worth and acceptance etc.  however, these water supplies will never provide full satisfaction. When we feel that our spiritual reservoir is running dry we should search for living water, we should look for Jesus. He is the only way for our thirst to be fully satisfied, with His Spirit—if we let Him.

Weeds can be a particular problem for strawberries (and all other fruit and vegetables).  It never fails to amaze me how fast weeds grow and how healthy they always look.  Weeds compete with the strawberry plants for water, light and the nutrients in the ground therefore the strawberry plants do not get as much of these important elements as they should because the weeds are ‘stealing’ them away.  Weeds are major competition to a healthy strawberry plant which is why they need to be regularly removed.

I am sure that the Parable of the sower and the seed in Matthew 13 will come to mind to many Christians reading this and the analogy that I have described above demonstrates well what Jesus was trying to say to His disciples.  In the example above we (Christians) are the strawberry plants.  If we allow weeds to grow around us which in our case could be sin, distractions or anything that takes us away from God then we are effectively giving these weeds the right to compete for our soul.  They will be in completion with the nutrients we need for a healthy spiritual life.  If we fail to regularly remove these weeds then we are compromising our ability for a healthy relationship with God because they could so easily take all our nutrients/energy and overpower us.  In a worst-case scenario, we could even die.

To conclude, here is the good news. If you feel that your relationship with God has suffered because you have let the weeds of sin or the distractions of life over-power you then take heart. Just like the strawberry plants that appear to die off during the winter, it is possible for God to bring that plant back to life, to be vibrant and to produce an amazing harvest. Even where there appears to be no life at all God can revive a willing heart.  All you need to do is repent, remove the weeds from your life and drink the never-ending flow of living water. 

Isaiah 61:11 ‘For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations’

Be blessed.




Author: Anonymous


May God bless and enrich your life

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Sunday, 17 May 2020

Reputation

Good reputation can block true repentance and only in true repentance can true forgiveness flow.

I am writing this on day 48 of lockdown, that is 48 days since we have met together with anyone, gone to church or family and if you think about it, that it is now longer than the time Noah spent in the Ark! No wonder we are all doing things we never really done before.

This week I made a rash decision, I decided to give a positive comment on a facebook site for the new ` Chosen` free you tube presentation.  I have watched it twice and thought it excellent, so I thought I would just add a few personal views to their face book page.  Well you never know what one single action will do.  As you might expect (and I didn’t, as I did not post this on my personal site) there were a few comments back.  Most I ignored but one I felt drawn to replying to.  It personally challenged the character of Jesus.  

There were then a few posts to and fro between us discussing the nature and validity of the Bible etc. I prayed before each one and felt led to reply.  They were reasonably good natured (from the person) and I felt I could stand back and answer unemotionally as I was defending the Lord and the Bible. I did feel the person was slightly goading me from time to time but was completely able to detach from being drawn into attacking the person on a personal basis right up until the last posting when he chose both to attack me personally and be inaccurate in detailing my actions and motives.

Well this was the moment the little green imp of anger and resentment jumped on my shoulder and even though I knew it would be wrong, unhelpful and really against what the Lord would want me to do I really just wanted to tell this person they were WRONG!! And to stop twisting the truth blah, blah, blah, and to defend my actions publicly…...I didn’t. 
Thank you Lord, for reminding me I needed to get showered and ready at that moment.  Off to the shower I went and as so often happens in the quiet and isolation of the shower the Lord quietly questioned why I so wanted to put things right. “Because they were wrong Lord and didn’t represent me truthfully and sought to damage my integrity”.

Then these words came so powerfully to me ''let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.  Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant'' (Philippians 2:5-7 KJV)
Reputation: I was thinking about maintaining my reputation, the comment was personal, it was against my character, my integrity. When the Lord chose to remind me, that for me “Jesus gave up all His divine privileges” (NLT) for my redemption

Our Pastor has been encouraging us to return to the cross the truths of the cross and lay everything down at the cross and go back to the place where we first met Jesus, and connect again with the simplicity of giving everything to Him. And here was I thinking about defending myself over the smallest thing.
    
I then started to think about Jesus and His selflessness.  When you read Jesus prayer in John chapter 17 you realise the agony of His journey, to want so much for His disciples, for those He knew would believe and follow after He had gone.  He wanted so much to know that He had fulfilled His mission, that He had brought Glory to His Father and to experience the awful wrench that He was now leaving these precious followers in a world that would hate them because they would share such an important message. And He also knew what was ahead. 

Isaiah tells us He would be – despised and rejected -  a man of sorrows  - oppressed and treated harshly – His life would be cut short midstream – die without descendants -  buried like a criminal -and what`s more it was His Fathers plan do all this to Him to crush Him and cause Him grief.  He would be left with nothing and even His reputation would be destroyed, so that the Lords plan could be fulfilled. The only blessing was that He would see all He has accomplished by His anguish and be satisfied, because of His experience He would make it possible for many to be counted righteous for He would bear their sins. He will lose His reputation so they can gain salvation.
His prayer in the garden of Gethsemane was very real ''Father if you are willing please take this cup of suffering away from Me, yet I want Your will to be done not Mine'' (Luke 22 v 42 NLT). The suffering was not just pain but the public removal of all credibility and reputation.  He was tried and executed as a criminal.
  
Our pastor was right when he said that we need to come to the cross, to lay down our all at its foot; rediscover our first love there and the simplicity of giving all our sinfulness to Jesus and receive all His purity.  As a new Christian it's hard to do but in many ways it's simple. It’s a simple transaction (although not cheap by any means) we give our old selves we get a new self, His self, a new life.

After many years following the Lord I think it's harder. We've accrued so many 'good things' about ourselves including our reputation that we cherish and hold on to but the best reputation in the world can still get in the way of what Jesus might be wanting to do now and next. Good reputation can block true repentance and only in true repentance can true forgiveness flow.  

Oh Lord today thank You for teaching me such a lot from a simple facebook interaction. My prayer is that this process won't just be for today in the heat of the emotion, but day after day as You seek to bring Your people to a new awareness and obedient walk with You. And thank You that You counted equality with God not something to be grasped but gave up everything for me.


   
Author: Jan Pearson 

May God bless and enrich your life


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Sunday, 10 May 2020

The Cloak

This wrap around presence talks of love and protection. It is the covering we need and with it we can rest in the knowledge that God will be with us in any challenge we may find ourselves having to face and that we can be at peace regardless of the outcome.

Come away with me,
Come and pray with me
Let me hear your voice in prayer
Don’t you know your voice is sweet to me
And I have much I want to share

Come away with me,
Come and pray with me
Your words are music to my ears
I’ve made this time for you to be with me
You have been rushing round for years

Come away with me,
Come and pray with me
Come and set yourself apart
Don’t you know your place is here with me
In the chambers of my heart

Come away with me
Come and pray with me
Come prepare for all you need
So when you’ve rested here a while with me
You can go where ‘ere I lead. 

One morning last week I was reading a book on prayer when I felt compelled to write the above poem, which I believe came from God. Many have said similar things in recent weeks so I think we can take it that God is telling us LOUD AND CLEAR that we must come away with Him, that we must abide in Him, focus on Him, that we must humble ourselves before Him, confess our sins, get rid of worldly ways, get rid of self if we want to bear fruit.
 As the late Sheila Hill once said, not so very long ago, everything must be ‘God given, not man driven.’

A few days ago, when we were on Zoom with the overseers, Lyn said that she had a picture of God wrapping a cloak around us. She said she didn’t know what it meant or what it was to do with but she would leave it with us. I found myself thinking about this a lot and believe it is significant. I started to wonder what this cloak was all about.

Was this cloak the wrap-around presence of God that the Passion Translation uses multiple times? 
This wrap around presence talks of love and protection. It is the covering we need and with it we can rest in the knowledge that God will be with us in any challenge we may find ourselves having to face and that we can be at peace regardless of the outcome. His wrap around presence is preparing us to step into the unknown, trust that He sees what we can’t see and follow His instructions, just like Lyn did when she felt an urgency to share about the cloak without knowing why. 

Psalm 62:1-2 (TPT)
 I stand silently to listen for the one I love, waiting as long as it takes for the Lord to rescue me.
For God alone has become my Saviour. 2 He alone is my safe place; His wrap-around presence always protects me. For He is my champion defender; there’s no risk of failure with God. So why would I let worry paralyse me, even when troubles multiply around me?

Psalm 114:1-2 (TPT)
There is only one strong, safe and secure place for me; it’s in God alone, and I love Him! He’s my shelter of love and my fortress of faith, who wraps Himself around me as a secure shield. I hide myself in this One who subdues enemies before me!


Was it the ‘cloak’ that we have been told to put on in Colossians 3:12
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. (NLT)

The Greek word for clothe is ‘’endysasthe’’, which means to put on. It is in the continuous form meaning that Christians must continuously display God’s characteristics. Paul is telling them to dress appropriately in the garments for the person they have been transformed into, to permanently wrap themselves in the Christian virtues.  The Message says, “Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you.” This seems to imply that these characteristics are not natural to us but we have to take action and put them on.
We have to take the character of Jesus and clothe ourselves in it. We need to unselfishly have empathy with the hurting, to respond with acts of kindness no matter how we have been treated, to have humility, get rid of self, to repent of our sins and to recognise our total dependence on God, to place others first in our thinking and in our actions, to be long-suffering, to forgive others so that God may forgive us. We cannot do this on our own but through the Holy Spirit, as we learn to grow in Christ, his character wraps around us and helps us to be transformed by grace into the person God wants us to be.

Was it the ‘cloak’ (or the mantle) like the one Elisha took up after Elijah was taken up to heaven? (From which we get the expression ‘pass the mantle’)

2 Kings 2 11-15
As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two. 13 Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.15 The company of the prophets from Jericho, who were watching, said, “The spirit of Elijah is resting on Elisha.” And they went to meet him and bowed to the ground before him.

Elisha strikes the water with Elijah’s cloak after Elijah was taken up. The water parted the same as it had for Elijah. The ‘Spirit of the Lord’ ministry was indeed passed on to Elisha. The God of Elijah continued to speak through Elisha. 
When Jesus quoted Isaiah in the synagogue, he said: 

Luke 4 1
‘’The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,’’

He added afterwards “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” 

When he ascended into heaven Jesus passed the mantle of His ministry onto us. The spirit of the Lord is upon us. He has anointed us to proclaim good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners and the oppressed, to open the eyes of the blind. We need to take up His mantle, come along side people as He would have done and encourage them to meet Him for themselves. 


So which one of those cloaks do we think it is? Honestly, I believe it is all three. We need to come away with Him for a while where He will give us His wrap around love and protection. He will help us in this resting time to put on the cloak of kindness, mercy, humility, gentleness and patience and then we must take up His mantle, when this special time with him is over, and proclaim the Good News of Jesus to those around us.



Author: Thelma Cameron 

May God bless and enrich your life


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Sunday, 3 May 2020

We're Running Out Of Time.

God has given us a glimpse as to what can happen to the world through a single virus, just consider what it will look like when He pours out His wrath.

One of the most common statements that you hear these days is that ‘we are in unprecedented days’, and so we are, because of a single virus that has brought the world to its knees and shut down cities, towns, villages and the economies of every country on the globe. 

Thousands of people have sadly died through the corona virus and it has shown both the best and worst sides of people as we have tried to cope with its onslaught to the degree that our attention has been taken off everything but the virus. And yet we must not forget the millions who die each year through starvation, Malaria and other curable diseases, that don’t get the same attention as Covid19 has by all the powerful world leaders.

The determination to find a cure for this disease has focused every mind in the medical and political world, and when it’s found it will be used to wipe out this killer disease. So why when we have enough food to feed the hungry and enough drugs to cure most of the other killer diseases in this world aren’t we using the same determination to do so?  Maybe it’s because most of the wealthy nations of this world aren’t affected by them, there’s enough food on the shelves of the supermarkets, enough drugs on the shelves of the pharmacy’s to not have to worry about hunger or common illnesses. It’s only when something strikes us personally which we can’t control, that we take notice.

Billions of pounds have and are still being spent to overcome the effects of this virus by every nation that can seemingly afford it, and debts are mounting up so that the economies of the world might stand a chance of recovery. Then what? 

Covid19 is completely insignificant to the millions of people who will still die this year through hunger, malaria and other curable diseases as the rest of the world stands by and watches.

As you ponder these thoughts, consider seriously the words of Jesus from Matthew 25:31-46 
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

We need to be a light in this dark world, to share the Gospel of Jesus with those who are perishing and to set an example of how to walk with Jesus so that others will follow that example. The world needs to know and see that there is a better way, and we have been commissioned to do that.

Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

Besides our brother’s and sister’s in Christ, there are people of the world setting the example of Jesus, such as the brave, selfless frontline workers who are prepared to lay down their own lives to save others, people they’ve never met. Yet because of the passion and love that drives them they won’t give up until the job is done, regardless of the cost. 

‘Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.’ John 15:13.

How much more should we be prepared to do the same, and follow the calling of Jesus on our lives and follow His example?

1 John 4:16-17 
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgement: in this world we are like Jesus. 

The way to make sure we are like Jesus in this world is to listen to what the Spirit is saying to the church in these days, such as ‘Abide in Me’, ‘Obedience’, ‘Surrender’, ‘Love’, ‘Lay down your baggage’ and much more.

God has given us a glimpse as to what can happen to the world through a single virus, just consider what it will look like when He pours out His wrath.

The world is being held captive by fear. Jesus died to set the captives free.
So let God's redeeming Love be that which drives us.

Church, we’re running out of time.




Author: Kevin Hunt 

May God bless and enrich your life


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Sunday, 26 April 2020

Abiding Part 2

We have to be fully convinced that without Jesus we can do absolutely nothing.

So I am an introvert (though now this is not as strong in me as it used to be) but I well recognise ‘our’ tendency to have many rooms in our heads that we can visit to stop us getting bored! Projects, ideas, pet theories, ways of looking at things – they are all there and I can go into them at any time especially as I am also a “thinker” rather than a “feeler”. This, like every other way of being has its strengths and weaknesses and can drive people crazy! 

My wife is an extrovert and just at the time that she wants to talk things out – I want to think them through! Or she may want me to share something that is troubling me and yet I can’t find a way until I understand it myself. Sometimes my response is – I can’t tell you because I don’t know what it is yet!

Of course, these tendencies also apply to my walk with Jesus. I get distracted easily – I go to the scriptures to look up something and find myself looking at emails, WhatsApp’s, online news etc. Now I know that this isn’t just an introvert’s or “thinker’s” problem. From talking to others, I understand that we can all easily get distracted from our purpose for all sorts of reasons.
Nonetheless the picture that I mentioned last time I wrote a blog about a room full of tables of food and the Lord waiting at one table whilst the Christians browsed everything in the room is very significant for me. The thought that He actually wants us to absorb, experience and use the meal that He is giving us and not browse the latest ideas, the flavour of the month, and what titillates and interests us, is getting deep into my heart. It is making me consider my ways and cry to the Lord because I have not taken in and absorbed what He set before me nor grown properly.

There are other, stronger words in scripture about continually ignoring what the Lord wants to say in pursuit of our own ideas. These verses are from Proverbs 1:30-31, they are again talking about feeding on what we see as attractive and interesting: “They would have none of my counsel, and despised my every rebuke. 31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies”.
There is a saying – “we are what we eat” which is meaningful here. Consider the state of someone over time who eats only cream cakes. Well-fed they may be, but for a whole number of reasons their medium- and long-term health is bound to deteriorate. Not eating what the Lord sets before us has consequences. He sets before us meals that will do us good. Eating whatever we like takes us in other directions even if its “good Christian fare”.

Imagine the consequences if what we allow in to our lives is from another source entirely – eating form tables in another room – we need to look at what we are feeding ourselves on and where it has come from?
For me not finishing the Lord’s meal has meant that I have not been “ready” to be used by the Lord and therefore not useful to the Him on many occasions, nor born the fruit that He would wish, nor had the authority in my Christian life that Jesus had, or certainly at least the authority that He would want me (and I believe all of us) to have. 

This corona virus “shutdown” has brought all of this into sharp focus as Linda’s Easter Sunday blog pointed out. We must not decide to move on to another table until we have finished the meal that the Lord has prepared for us. We must not decide that “we’ve had enough” of this particular process while the Lord is still working on our hearts.

Now this might feel like familiar territory to you if you have read our recent blogs. I once heard of a pastor who for several weeks (it may have been longer) preached on the same scripture. Setting aside the members of his congregation who didn’t even notice, he was challenged by alert members of his congregation after a while – why are you preaching effectively the same message over and over? His reply was a challenge – that the Lord hadn’t given him permission to move on yet because those in the fellowship were not being obedient to the word that was being preached.
Philippians 3 v 1 says: “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe”. So apparently Paul was conscious of the need to remind people of the same word until it had not only gone in but also been absorbed, and started to bear fruit. 

In our fellowship, you may remember we were going to study the Gifts of the Spirit for use in our “ministries” but the Lord effectively told us:
“Don’t study the gifts of the Spirit. If you are serious about this rather learn to abide (dwell, live and remain) in Me, and I will tell you what to do, equip you to do it and you will be fruitful and glorify the Father”. Equipping here includes both the gifts necessary to do what the Lord has prepared for us to do and vitally the authority to do it. I can’t get over the number of times Jesus’s hearers commented on His authority. “He taught them with authority and not as the scribes”. There was no gap between the words that He spoke and the authority in His life. Similarly, in Acts the Lord testified to the words of the disciples with signs and wonders following the preaching of the word. Acts 14 v 3: “Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands”. 

This surely is the fruit of knowing the giver and abiding in the vine. So, we are still thinking, sharing, talking and looking at “abiding” and we are still learning how to abide. John 15:5-8 says:
“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. 6 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. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
We have to be fully convinced that without Jesus we can do absolutely nothing. If we are convinced and there is no doubt in our minds, we seek the remedy urgently – to abide in Him. 
The other side of the coin is totally the opposite – “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire and it shall be done for you”. Hallelujah to Jesus – fruitfulness is the result, bringing glory to the Father.

The thing that we are learning afresh is that the abiding comes from repenting and obedience. I had thought that I could make myself “ready” for what the Lord wants me to do. I am finding that it is not me who gets ready but through being in the place of abiding, the Holy Spirit makes me ready. With some folk this seems to be a quicker (and possibly more enjoyable) process. With me it is surrendering myself to the Lord, agreeing to do it His way, agreeing that He can decide what’s right (and not me – I have trouble with that one!) and allowing Him to strip layer after layer off until I am emptied to receive. Don’t get me wrong the journey is amazing in itself and the Lord’s grace and presence wonderful but I have to keep asking “how do I do this next bit Lord”? as I watch others slip with what appears to be blessed ease into the place where God wants them to be.

To finish, it turns out that the Bible presents us with a test of whether we are truly abiding or not: 1 John 2:3-6 says:
 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.

1 John 2 is worth a read and there is more to say about it another time. Basically though, if we say that we are abiding in Him we need to be keeping His (Jesus’s) commandments. 
So let us eat the whole meal that the Lord has given us (“greens” and all – some of it may give us indigestion), let’s continue to seek to abide in Him through repentance and obedience, let’s rest in that place until the Lord moves us on, Let us ask the Holy Spirit to get us ready – for today.




Author: Chris Pearson 

May God bless and enrich your life

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