Tag Archives: abiding

21 Day Experiment-Day 15

I often go to God with big prayer requests. My big ask. For family, friends, people who need help. I believe God answers prayer.  The Bible encourages us to ask God for what we need—to go boldly with our heartfelt desires.

But in John 15, Jesus calls us to a relationship with Him as the starting point for prayer. He calls Himself the “true vine.” He reminds us that we’re His “branches.” Branches can’t bear fruit apart from the vine.

I’m likely to blow right past that relationship with Jesus in my quest for answered prayer. But Jesus stops me dead in my tracks with these words:  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7 NIV).

Remain is from the Greek word meno, which means “to abide, or dwell.”  I’m to make my home with Jesus.  To plant myself in Him. To plant His words in me. When I remain in Him and His words remain in me, I’m more likely to be praying His will—a prerequisite to answered prayer.

Powerful words. Powerful reminder. Do I really get that? I’m struck by the fact that Jesus uses the word remain eleven times in the first ten verses of John Chapter 15.  If I tell my kids something eleven times, you can sure as heck bet I mean it!

Here are the same words from Jesus in a different version—my watchword for today: If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you (John 15:7 ESV).

What does abiding look like for me practically?

  1. I carve out time with the Lord each morning.  I like to plant the seeds of His Word first thing.
  2. I try to pace myself throughout the day to keep in step with His leading.
  3. I remain alert to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
  4. I’m fierce with my “Sabbath.” Humans need to come apart or we “come apart.”  Rest is vital if we want to remain in Christ.
  5. I seek wise counsel from those who have learned the secret of resting, reflection, and abiding in Christ.

Prayer: Lord, it’s all about the relationship with You—answered prayer is just a by-product. And like any habit, the pay-off of abiding is long term. Help me to be faithful in the “dailyness.”

 


21 Day Experiment-Day 8

Has anyone ever told you to “get real?”  Take off the mask. Let go of pretense. Be authentic.

Sadly, we live in an age where people will do almost anything to create a good image.  Much more time, attention, and money is spent on our outer self than on our inner soul. We end up comparing our insides with everyone’s outsides. It’s not surprising that research tells us the main emotion people experience when they get on social media is envy.

Jesus is all about the truth—authenticity over image.  In John Chapter 8, He shakes up the religious leaders by claiming He has been sent by God.  But many Jews put their faith in Him (John 8:30). To those who believed, He made this promise:

If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31,32 ESV).

The Greek word for “truth” is aletheia.  It means “genuine, authentic, real.”  This Jesus-kind-of-truth is real. It sets us free. But the promise of freedom is conditional.

If I abide in His word, then I’m His disciple.  There’s a direct correlation between spending time in God’s Word and knowing the truth that sets me free.  In my busy, noisy world, I have to be intentional to abide in His word.

That’s why we’re doing the 21 Day Experiment. It helps us learn to abide. If you’re following along, that means you’re committing at least fifteen minutes a day to reading a chapter of John’s Gospel. Then a few minutes praying for specific needs that are on your heart.

I encourage you to stick with this experiment until the very end. Don’t evaluate whether it works until the END of the 21 days. You can even say to yourself, “Well, nothing seems to be happening today, but I’ll postpone judging its impact until after 21 days.”

Over the years, I’ve had friends tell me that they’re glad they stuck it out—sometimes God’s message for them came on the 21st day.

Being a doer of God’s Word sometimes means that we simply abide. The purpose of abiding is for Jesus to become more real. For His Word to come alive. And to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit within.

Prayer: Lord, thanks for the reminder in John 8 that it’s all about my relationship with you. Everything—even answers to prayer—come out of abiding in You. That’s the real secret to freedom. I pray for that same freedom today for those I love.


30 Days of Hopeful: Day 7

Did you know that hope can help you last long and finish strong? The Bible talks a lot about hope and its power to help us endure. Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica: “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 1:3).

Turns out there’s some research to back up the importance of hope to our survival. A study that took place in the 1950’s showed how hope helped laboratory rats persevere in a stressful situation. The group of rats were purportedly placed in a vat of water and swam for about fifteen minutes to the point of exhaustion and near drowning. They were rescued, dried off, fed, and allowed to recover, before being placed in the water again. This time, they kept swimming in the water for many hours before becoming exhausted and needing to be rescued again. Apparently, the rats sensed if they could be rescued once, they could be rescued again—thus giving them hope to endure.

The human version of hope, of course, runs much deeper. It was God Himself who placed the need for hope in our hearts. In fact, He is referred to as the “God of Hope”(Romans 15:13).  It makes sense that the Bible would remind us of how our endurance is “inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Bible also encourages us to wait for hope—and this takes perseverance. “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance” (Romans 8:25 NET).

What does it mean to wait for hope with endurance?  We discover an interesting secret by looking at the Greek word translated “endure,” hypomeno.  It actually comes from two words:  hypo or “under” and meno or “abide.”  Meno is the same word Jesus uses when He encourages us to abide in him (John 15:7).  So hypomeno, or endure is to “abide under” a time of trial as we wait for hope.

Friend, I don’t know what kind of trial you may be facing today. And I don’t know the dream you hold so dear in your heart. But what I do know is that abiding in Jesus can bring hope–and hope can inspire you to keep enduring while you wait.

So my prayer for you today is simply this: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).