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 Him...in 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.

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: remain

"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 1. to remain; continue; stay

The most basic understanding of what it means to abide in Christ comes down to this first dictionary definition.

To remain.

In a culture which grows more and more weary of commitment, it is a difficult challenge to remain anywhere for anything.

There is a direct challenge to the heart of the Christian to remain with Jesus. He tells us to stay here. Do not wander off.

The truth of most people who give up on faith is they never really 'gave up' with one swoop; they wandered away.

It likely began with a stubborn isolation (as though they could do faith and life alone), and it lead to further wandering until, at some point, they realize just how far they have wandered out.

Jesus tells us to remain close. Stay close! This is the first understanding of abiding in Christ.


The most creatively you can, describe what it looks like to remain close to Jesus?


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

Abide: a pastor's prayer

Jesus, I need you. My heart is deflated inside itself. I want to make your name known to others, and I fear I have not done so well with this. My heart and spirit are faint within me right now. (Ps. 142) I do not want to miss the opportunities you have for me to spread your word and your name to the students I have in my life, but I have been discouraged lately. You know the cry of my heart. You know the discouragement I am up against.

I also know I have not been abiding in you much lately. I realize that without being near to you, I am never going to see fruit in my life or ministry. (Jn.15) If I am not abiding in you, I will not see fruit in the ministry you have placed before me to lead. If the ministry itself is not abiding in you, it will never see fruit.

If you, your leaders, and your ministry are not abiding in Christ, you will not see ministry fruit.

My Lord, help me abide. Please hear my prayer from a deflated heart that needs you so much. Only you are our vine. Only you can produce the fruit in my life and ministry, but that is only going to happen if I abide in you. If my leaders abide in you! If the ministry begins to abide in you.

You are a refuge. You are Inspiration. You are Counselor. You are Teacher.

Teach me, lead me, and move me. Teach us, lead us, move us.