John 15

Power in the Presence


Today, I have had eternal life and power on my mind and heart. Even this morning on my walk, I had the prayer on my lips: "God has not give me eternal life; He has given me himself, and HE IS LIFE!" That is to say the Holy Spirit does not give power, the Holy Spirit is the power within me. 

Romans 6:9-11 says, "Death hath no more dominion over that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God."

When I finally lay down my own life to be dead to who I once was, the gift I receive is not a new life. The gift I receive is the very presence of God in the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is life and power that now resides within me. Any power or life I receive cannot be separated from God's presence or utilized apart from Him because the life and power IS Him. 

When Jesus says in John 15, "Remain in me as I remain in you" I am reminded that the eternal life I have is in this in-dwelling of Christ. That is to say life is in the very presence of God. Power is in the presence of His Spirit, and that presence is at the center of who I am.

When I live in connection and entanglement with that presence, there is power and life in my days. When I am disconnected and distracted, I live my days with less power and life than is actually available to me.

In Dark Times: why I'm not freaking out on facebook

We are truly in dark times right now. This I understand and am not naive to. But alas there are some ways I do not find myself reacting with the larger population when I see the realities of our world playing out. There are a couple things I keep hold of in my heart and mind. 1. I do not place my faith, trust, or confidence (or lack thereof) in what I see on the news or in the world. 2. I have to clamor for more of the important dependence of life instead of living in fear of what I see outside.

First, truth is not anchored in my feelings or my circumstances. I believe truth is anchored in God's Word, and I will align all my confidence there. The Christian life is one of faith lead by Scripture (Jn. 15:7). In all parts of life it is critical that I have the Word of God and always ask, "God, what are YOU saying?" My ears need to be far more in tune to His voice than to the world around us (Ps. 28:1-2, 7). I am not moved by what I see, I am moved by what God says (2 Cor. 5:7). So is it does not matter what I see on the news; I do not pray what I see on the news, I pray what God says.

Secondly, a German philosopher said, "the more a man has in his own heart the less he will require from the outside; excessive need for support from without is proof of the bankruptcy of the inner man." In times that are truly dark, I am more frustrated by own and others' dependency on what they see outside themselves. My level of worry reveals the emptiness of my heart; it reveals how little I trust God. AW Tozer wrote, "Is it not a strange thing that in an hour when mature saints are so desperately needed vast numbers of believers should revert to spiritual childhood...?" We are in a dark time, yes, but I fear more for the faint of heart Christians with eyes dimmed.

We have come to be affected far more by what we see around us, and this is because we have not spent inordinately more time taking care of our inner lives. We ought to be clamoring to hear from God far more than we hear from FOXNews and facebook posts.

We cannot, and I do not propose here, we avoid reality by sticking our heads in the sand like an ostrich, but we also cannot run around like another bird with its head cut off. As my pastor, Banning said, "We are so impressed by darkness, we have all the statistics about it. My prayer life is not based on statistics."

When we and my daughters are in the way

helps I was installing floating shelves in the bathroom the sight of daddy's tools draws my daughter "I want to help, Dadda!" By this, she means, "I want to see what you are doing, and be where you are." She began to take tools away from my work space She picked up necessary screws and hardware

She is not helping. She was in my way. But my love would not turn her away

Jesus said, "My Father is always at work...the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do ONLY what he sees His Father doing...For the Father loves the Son and shows him all He does." (John 15:17, 19-20)

My God, I know you are at work around me all the time. While I realize I am only going to slow you down and get in your way I trust that you love me and purposely show me what you are doing. I want to join you. I want to be a part of what you are doing and be where you are.

Abide Week: wait

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

a*bide [uh-bayhd] verb, a*bode or a*bid*ed, a*bid*ing 4. to wait for; await

Remember that time when you were doing what you assumed God had intended for you, and still nothing happened as you thought they would or should?

Remember when you prayed frequently; when you asked, seeked, and knocked to no avail? Remember wondering why God would ask you to do these things if he was not going to answer you?

Those are moments of waiting. They are moments of abiding.

A significant part of my story over the course of the last 7-8 years has been an education in waiting and abiding. It is incredible looking back on those moments when I had certain expectations, which were never  granted. 

Moreover, it is incredible the things God has shown me since then. He has shown me on a few different moments what would have happened if I had been granted what I thought should have happened, and those results would have been detrimental on every occasion.

Abiding in Christ is learning a sense of waiting with patience. It is learning that the things you think should happen may be more detrimental to you than you had thought they would. It means learning to trust the intent and wisdom of a Father with your best interests in mind and has no intention of giving you everything you think you want and need.

Abiding is a practice of patience. It is...


Abide Week: continued condition

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

a*bide [uh-bayhd] verb, a*bode or a*bid*ed, a*bid*ing 3. to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship; last

Negativity is a powerful snare we often feel entrapped in. Days and weeks are wasted with our incessant inner fight to get rid of our negative thoughts. When willing them away reveals itself an empty attempt we find ourselves layering the negativity of our inability to change it onto the layers, which had initially brought us to that place.

None of us desires to be stuck in this trap, or it would not, by definition, be a trap at all. Relief, though minimal, is found in the realization we are not the only one who wrestles with this negativity within. Our sense of loneliness is not reality, but realizing that in theory is easier than it is in practice.

This negative person within us, which we spend the bulk of our time and energy wrestling is possible to be released when we are able to be in a continued condition and attitude toward Christ. We can lose the negative person within.

In order to lose him, we have to realize where the negativity came from. We also have to realize we do not create emotion. Think of every emotion you have: anger, sadness, happiness, negativity. You do not create those emotions by an illustrious act of will or thought.

Emotions are not creations; they are reactions.

Every emotion is a reaction to something else that has happened to us and created a certain belief. Every behavior we do is a reaction to something we believe in our core. Realizing this, the way of losing the negative person within us means, first, determining what it is that has created the negativity. What has happened to us to create within us the emotion of negativity?

Once you realize, after searching, what that thing is, you have to change it. We cannot change the behavior alone because it does not get to the root of the real issue. In order for the behavior to change, the real change must be in the belief. Search yourself and determine what it is that makes it okay for you to be negative and change that thing within yourself.

That change will bring the loss of the negativity, but more importantly we are getting at the real understanding of having a continued condition and attitude toward Jesus.

Abide Week: held continually

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

a*bide [uh-bayhd] verb, a*bode or a*bid*ed, a*bid*ing 2. to be held or kept continually

Repeated throughout the Psalms you see a sense of being held by God. In many instances it is a protection from danger found in being kept by God.

There is a protection. There is a rare tenderness. There is an empathy found in being held. I can think of only a few moments in my life when I was physically held. They were moments of brokenness and sadness. They were moments when I simply had nothing left to stand on or hold myself up.

My daughter is 4 months old right now. She is incapable of walking or crawling; she is barely able to hold her own body up for any significant amount of time. She has a dependant need for me to hold her. She would not get anywhere or anything if someone does not hold her and carry her.

Jesus is telling us very plainly, "You are incapable of anything or getting anywhere unless I hold you and keep you...continually."

There are moments when my daughter does not want to be held, and in those moments she has no choice but to stay right where she is.


As creatively as you can, describe what it is like to be held continually?


Abide week

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." -John15:5

a*bide [uh-bahyd]

verb, a*bode or a*bid*ed, a*bid*ing

1. to remain; continue; stay 2. to be held or kept continually 3. to continue in a particular condition, attitude, relationship;          last 4. to endure, sustain, or withstand without yielding or submitting 5. to wait for; await 6. to accept without opposition or question 7. to pay the price or penalty of