Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Secret Of Abiding In The Vine

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you,
you will ask what you desire,
and it shall be done for you.
By this My Father is glorified,
that you bear much fruit;
so you will be My disciples"
John 15:7-8
"If!" - The great condition to answered prayer and bearing fruit is an abiding RELATIONSHIP with Christ and His words. Abiding is all about the most important FRIENDSHIP of your life. Abiding doesn't measure how much you know about your faith or your Bible. In abiding, you seek, long for, thirst for, wait for, see, know, love, hear, and respond to ... a person. More abiding means more of God in your life, more of Him in your activitives, thoughts and desires.

If our need for this RELATIONSHIP is so deep and constant, why do so few of us fervently pursue it? One of the primary reason is that we don't really believe that God wants to abide with us even more than we want to abide with Him. God's longing for intimacy with His people has never ceased or changed, for this very desire is continually revealed in His Word, and reflected in Paul's passionate prayer,

[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight into mysteries and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17 - Amplified Bible)

He has made His passion known. God desires every born-again child to know Him deeply and intimately.

The Principles Of Abiding:

When we start with the PERSON of abiding and realize how much He loves us and wants us to share His life with us, we have taken the most important step toward the practice of abiding. Think again about the meeting place of vine and branch. Why would Jesus give us a picture of a living thing whose life force - the sap - is mysteriously out of sight? One reason could be that in abiding, what happens on the surface doesn't count; what happen inside does. Abiding begins with visible spiritual disciplines, such as Bible reading and prayer. Yet it may shock us to find out that we can can do these things for years without abiding. After all, reading a book about a person isn't the same thing as knowing the person who wrote the book. The challenge in abiding is always to break through fom dutiful activities to a living, flourishing RELATIONSHIP with God.

Principle 1: To break through to abiding, we must deepen the quality of our devoted time with God

Devoted time in Biblical sense has to do with setting apart for God. In Psalm 27:4, David expresses his desire for this kind of time with God: "One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in His temple."

Principle 2: To break through to abiding, we must broaden our devoted time - taking it from a morning appointment to an all-day attentiveness to His presence

Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century lay Christian who worked in a monastry kitchen, described his practice of abiding in God: "I do nothing else but abide in His holy presence, and I do this by simple attentiveness and habitual, loving turning of my eyes on Him. This I call ... a wordless and secret conversation between the soul and God which no longer ends."

Abiding More And Doing Less - leads us to more results for God. These have to do with the benefits of abiding - what happens to us and through us when we consistently practice it:

1) Abiding helps us to sense the leading of the Lord - We learn to recognize God's "still small voice" (1 Kings 19:12) and become familiar with His ways. Abiding helps us to accomplish more for Him because we are more in tune with His directions

2) Abiding helps us to tap into all of God's spiritual riches - In Acts 4:13 we read, "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus." When we abide, we are "with Jesus" and are filled with His Spirit and power

3) Abiding gives us the "rest" we need to bear a much greater yield and carries with it promise of answered prayer (John 15:7-8) - The element of dependence is why God is glorified when we bear fruit. If we achieved things for God, we would be glorified, not Him. But our incapability give Him a platform to work in the Spirit. He can work in an insufficient life to much greater honour than He can in a self-sufficient life. Our inabilities can be turned into an act of WORSHIP, if we'll offer them up to His power

Have you learned yet that your abiding on God - your manifest weakness, in fact - is an occasion for His GLORY? Let Him be honoured in you. Learn to abide.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


"Be joyful always ...
give thanks in all circumstances
for this is God's will for you."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
There is a great difference between JOY & HAPPINESS. Joy is the realm of the spirit whereas happiness is related to our emotions and circumstances. When things are going well, we have happiness. It is good to have happiness, but we cannot have it all the time.

To illustrate: If I lost my wallet, I would be very happy when the founder returned it to me. After a few days, I would no longer have the feeling of happiness although my wallet is still with me. What I have actually lost is the feeling of happiness at the time of finding it.

Joy on the other hand, is not dependent on feelings or circumstances. There is only one source of Joy and that is God - God Himself! That is why it is possible to "Rejoice in the Lord always!" In Philippians 4:4-7, Paul actually commands the Philippians to "Rejoice in the Lord always "(verse 4) and they are able to do so because "the Lord is near" (verse 5). You will note that while submitting they are also encouraged to submit their petitions; their prayers include the spirit of thanksgiving. (verse 6) And the resultance is having "the peace of God" (verse 7) in midst of whatever circumstances.

Therefore, when our circumstances cause us nothing but grief, fears, doubts, anger, depression ... we can still rejoice because our joy is not based on fluctuating circumstances, but has it's source in the One Who loves us and is the object of our love. Beloved, if we but exercise our faith and choice to "rejoice in the Lord", in the midst of our adverse circumstances, these negative feelings of grief, fears, doubts anger and depressions will just melt away!

Why It Is Important For A Christian To Have JOY OF THE LORD?

1) The JOY of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10)
2) Without it we could have lost the JOY of our salvation. (Psalm 51:12) As a child of God, JOY is our Christian testimony to reflect to the depressed world that in any situation, God is good all the time.
3) A healthy Christian is one that is JOYFUL because he is actively connected to "The Vine and bearing fruits." (John 15:5 & Galatians 5:23)
4) A JOYFUL believer is one that has his prayers answered. (John 16:24)
5) We are commanded to "Rejoice In The Lord Always!" (Philippians 4:4)
6) It is God's will to be JOYFUL! (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
7) JOY is one of the key to God's presence! (Psalm 100:4)
8) JOY is the evidence of one who is living in a Victorious Abundant Life. (John 10:10)

Apostle John in 1 John 1:4 - "We write this to make our JOY full."
This verse shows that:

a) We need to read, mediatate and be a doer of the Word so that we do not leak. Some Christians may be walking with either half tank or worst still with an empty tank without JOY! We let the emeny rob (like a thief - John 10:10) us of our JOY through the circumstances and pressures of life. The key to a JOYFUL and abundant life is to stay connected to The Vine (John 15:5). Only then we can "Count it all joy even when we fall into divers trials or testings" (James 1:2) because it is "The Joy of the Lord" which is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) that will carry us through.


Saturday, February 13, 2010


I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24

David discovered God's principle of pouring out in 2 Samuel 23:13-17. Here, in response to an uttered wish by king David for water from the well of Bethlehem, three of his mighty warriors broke through the army of Philistines that surrounded them and obtained that water for him. Yet, instead of drinking it, David poured it out before the Lord; saying, "Is this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives?" He had a legal right to drink that water, but he realized that there was a higher principle involved than merely drinking it and satisfying himself and his desire, and so he poured it out on the ground before the Lord as an offering.

A similar episode is found in John 12:3, Mary poured out an alabaster box or precious perfume upon Jesus. It was a posture and act of a glorious worship seen in the Bible (PROSKUNEO - to kiss, to knee down in reverence and adoration). WORSHIP IS VERY COSTLY! The alabaster box of purest perfumes part of her entire future. It was a dowry for her to be given to her groom on the day of her marriage. Yet when she poured it upon the Lord, the whole house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

What is our motive for going to the house of the Lord? Do we complain, "The Lord did not touch me tonight."? Do we go to ask for blessing or to pour out our worship to the King of kings? There is a difference between going there for Him to please our hearts and going there for us to please His heart. We touch a higher dimension in God when we learn to give up the deepest desires of our hearts and pour them out before the Lord. It does not mean we do not care any more about these desires; in fact we will care more about them than we have ever cared in our lives. But when we touch this principle of pouring out in worship, it will not really matter as long as He receives the glory, and God will accept our offering, turning the barren earth in our hearts into new life.

Abraham knew the meaning of pouring out in worship. When God told him to sacrifice Isaac to Him, Abraham did not bargain but obeyed. He knew God so well that in Genesis 22:5 he could say, "... I and the lad will go younder and WORSHIP and come again to you." As a result of his obedience, Abraham met the God of resurrection (Hebrew 11:17-19), and God promised him He would bless him and multiply his seed. Only that which is offered in death will spring forth in resurrection life.

So was Jesus Christ poured out for us upon the cross of Calvary, "the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). Philippians 2:6-8 tells us of Christ's willingness to be poured out for us. In the same way, there is a realm in God where we are willing not only to pour out but to be poured out, just as stated in John 12:24. If Christ had been willing to pour out His greatest desire but not to be poured out Himself, He would probably have said something like, "Father, I love You too much to leave You" and we would still be lost in sin. But because God was willing to pour out His Son and His Son was willing to be poured out, we have a precedent for any act of pouring out that God might ask of us - our ministry, friends, possessions and desires of our hearts - and become a kernel of wheat that falls into the ground and dies, that it might bear much fruit. (An extract from "On Eagles Wings - by E. Charlotte Baker)

Closing thoughts - Why This Waste?
As we ponder on the story of Mary who broke the alabaster box (John 12:3; Matthew 26:8-9). may I draw your attention to the disciples' indignant remarks ... "Why this waste?"
Waste means giving more than necessary. To Judas and the disciples the waste of money, time and efforts of worship poured out upon the Lord could ahve been channelled for better use. But if the Lord is worthy, then can it be waste? HE IS WORTHY to be worshiped, worthy to be served, worthy for me to be a prisoner and worthy for me to be in ministry ... HE IS WORTHY! Once we see this revelation, what others say about this does not matter anymore
The Lord said, "Do not trouble her". So let us not be troubled. The Lord's approval upon Mary's action lays the principles of pouring out to Him: that in our worship we need to pour all that we have, our self, upon Him. It is not first of all a question of whether "the poor" (Matthew 26:9) have been helped but a question of whether the Lord has been satisfied.

Share with you this awesome song - Pour Out My Love (by Phillips, Craig & Dean). As you worship, lavish your love upon Jesus the lover of our soul on this Valentine Day!


Saturday, February 06, 2010


Mary took a pound of ointment of pure liquid nard
[a rare perfume] that was very expensive,
and she poured it on Jesus' feet
and wiped them with her hair.
And the whole house was filled with
the fragrance of the perfume.
John 12:3 (Amplified Bible)
The account of Mary's anointing of our Lord is found also in Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:3-9. But it must not be confused with the account given in Luke 7:36-50, where a former harlot anointed Jesus in the house of simon the Pharisee. Mary was a virtuous woman, and she anointed Jesus in the house of Simon the (former) leper (Mark 14:3). The Luke 7 event took place in Galilee, while the account we are now considering occurred in Judea. The fact that there are two "Simons" involved should not surprise us, for Simon was a common name in that day.

When you combine all three accounts, you learn that Mary anointed both Jesus' head and His feet. It was an act of pure love on her part, for she knew her Lord was about to endure suffering and death. Because she sat at Jesus' feet [A Worshiper] and listened to Him speak, she knew what He was going to do.

In a sense, Mary was showing her devotion to Jesus before it was too late. She was "giving the rose" while He was yet alive, and not bringing them to the funeral! Her act of love and worship was public, spontaneous, sacrificial, lavish, personal, and unembarrassed. Jesus called it "a good work" (Matthew 26:10; Mark 14:6) and both commended her and defended her.

It would have required a year's wages from a common labourer to purchase that ointment. Like David, Mary would not give to the Lord that which cost her nothing (2 Samuel 24:24). Her beautiful act of worship brought a fragrance to the very house in which they were dinning, and the blessing of her deed has spread around the world (Matthew 26:13; Mark14:9). Little did Mary realize that night that her love for Christ would be a blessing to believers around the world for centries to come!

When she came to the feet of Jesus, Mary took place of a slave. When she undid her hair (something Jewish women did not do in public), she humbled herself and laid her glory at His feet (see 1 Corinthians 11:15). Of course, she was misunderstood and criticized; but that is what usually happens when somebody gives her best to the Lord.

What Mary did was a blessing to Jesus and a blessing to her own life. She was also a blessing to the home, filling it with fragrance (see Philippians 4:18); and today, she is a blessing to the church around the world. Her one act of devotion in the little village of Bethany still sends "ripples of blessing."

As we look at this event, we see some "representative people" who are examples for us. Martha represents work as she served the dinner she had prepared for the Lord. This was just as much a "fragrance offering" as was Mary's ointment (see Hebrews 13:16). Mary represents worship, and Lazarus represents witness (John 11:9-11). People went to Bethany just to be able to see this man who had been raised from the dead! Lazarus' miraculous life was an effective witness for Jesus.

Actually, the Christian life ought to be a beautiful balance of worship, work, and witness (in the right order). This event must have brought special encouragement and strength to the Saviour's heart as He faced the demands of that last week before the Cross. we should examine our own hearts and homes to ask whether we are bringing joy to His heart by our worship, work, and witness.
(an extract from Be Alive by Warren W. Wiersbe)