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Daily Boost

  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

August 19, 2013 - Abiding Life

By Patty Kennedy

"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5, NASB).

Jesus gave us many parables in which He used principles of gardening/farming to illustrate the kingdom of God. He told us that if our faith was as tiny as a mustard seed, we could tell a tree to be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it would be so (Luke 17:6). He told a wonderful parable about seed sown on fertile ground and seed sown in rocky soil. He told about a man who threatened to cut down his fig tree because it was unfruitful.

In John 15, Jesus tells us that we (believers in Him) are branches, and that He is the vine. He tells us, "If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned" (John 15:6, ESV).

A couple of summers ago, we had a beautiful plum tree in our yard. It was a young tree, and we never even got to enjoy the fruit of it due to an infestation of Japanese beetles. They literally ate the life out of our little tree. We thought about cutting it down, but decided to wait and see if it bore fruit the next year. Then web worms attacked it, and our little tree just wasn't strong enough to withstand it.

As happens quite frequently, this series of events inspired a spiritual application. It made me wonder how closely I am abiding in Jesus. I have often been like our little plum tree, in that I have allowed pests to come and devour me. Instead of abiding in the Vine, I allowed the stresses of life to overcome me to the point that I bore no fruit.

The Greek word for "abide" in these verses means to "dwell" or "continue" or "endure." It speaks of staying power. This is not a butterfly flitting from place to place.

Remember Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42)? Martha's fault was not so much that she was busy. In fact, it wasn't about what she was doing nearly as much as it was about her posture. She was like the butterfly, flitting here and there in a frenzy to make everything perfect. Conversely, Mary's posture was one of worship; she sat at the feet of Jesus, realizing that nothing was as important as simply being in His presence.

Which are you today? Is your posture one of worship and communion with your Lord? Are you like Martha, busily working but not stopping to abide in Jesus? Or are you like the seed in Matthew 13:22, allowing the cares of the world to render you unfruitful?

I am learning the blessedness of abiding in Jesus. Things that normally would upset me or cause me to lose my temper simply don't affect me the same way when I am truly abiding in Him. When Jesus is first and foremost in my thoughts, I find I can see things through His eyes, rather than the filters of my own frailties and sinfulness.

If you have not "turned off the world" in a while, I encourage you to begin today. Your text messages and tweets and Facebook posts can get along without you for an hour or two, I promise.

A very old hymn (from 1922, to be exact) is titled "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus." The lyrics to the refrain perfectly describe the process of abiding:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Turn your eyes upon Him today. You will be surprised at how things you thought were insurmountable suddenly shrink in size. He is almighty God, and He knows your every need. Cast "all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7).

— Patty Kennedy describes her life as "a powerful illustration of God's matchless grace and redemption." She lives in Springfield, Mo., with her husband, John, who serves as news editor for the Pentecostal Evangel.

 

 

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