Called to Abide

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Welcome to Abiding Hearts at Home!

I have long had the desire to start a blog with the purpose of encouraging others with the Word of God.  As a stay-at-home-wife of almost 10 years and a homeschooling mother of three under the age of seven I had started to convince myself that there was nothing special that I had to give. Sure, I have gifts that God has blessed me with, but isn’t this season of life about sacrificing those things to raise my family? Doesn’t the dream to write and create and teach have to wait?

Over the years God has grown me in so many ways and produced much fruit, but not without struggle, not without sin.  There has been a lot of repentance.  There has been lots of tears. And I still have so much growing to do.

So as I came to my journal one day and was considering the blogging world again, “abide” immediately came to mind.  “I am going to do it.  But, first I am going to pray, ” I said.    I prayed…I asked friends to pray.  I tinkered with themes and names when I had downtime.  And then, this week I read John 15 again.

And I thought to myself, “How can I not share this amazing truth with others?”

My hesitance to put myself out there is the exact reason I should put myself out there.  It is not I, but Jesus working in me and producing whatever good anyone may see. It is Jesus sanctifying me and bringing me back to His word.  “Abide” is my theme because it is where I am given the most of God’s grace on a daily basis. Let’s look at the scripture.

In the following verses, we are called by Jesus to “abide in me.”

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 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. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:4-11

In the modern English dictionary and in the context of the New Testament, “Abide” simply means to stay; to continue; or to dwell. We are called to “Stay in Jesus. Continue in Jesus. Make Jesus our dwelling place.”

Just as in the analogy of John 15 with the branches and the vine, abiding in Jesus is meant to happen for a lifetime. If we stay continually connected to Him, we will bear much fruit. In fact, we cannot bear any fruit apart from him. If we are not connected to the fountain of living water that is, “the true vine,” we will wither and dry out and eventually burn up.

Oh how many times have I felt so far from Him I could just burst into flames or blow away as dust if the right breeze came along?  No. He drew me back.  He called me back to His word. He showed me the meat of his truth and sometimes only the milk because that is all I could handle.  Abiding is a command from God that can feel riddled with struggle and under the constant attack of the enemy. But, take heart!

“We need to remind ourselves that Jesus does not leave us to ourselves. Even though he commands us to abide in him– and we are responsible to abide there, and guilty if we don’t abide–nevertheless he himself keeps us there.  And we would not abide there without his crucial keeping.”  -John Piper, What Jesus Demands from the World

Jesus Keeps us Abiding.  In John 10:27-29 Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Jesus Prays for us to Abide. In John 17:11 Jesus prays, “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”

Jesus Gives us an Example of How He Prays for Us. In Luke 22:31-32 speaking to Simon he says, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

Jesus prayed and knew Peter would turn back to him.  He didn’t say “if you turn,” he said, “when you have turned.”  Peter was not cut off from the vine.  Jesus prayed for him.

Why should we doubt he is doing the same for us?

In verse 4 and 5 Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I IN YOU… for apart from me you can do NOTHING.” (emphasis my own)  A branch broken off from the vine cannot produce fruit.  It may appear pretty in a vase on your table for a few days, but eventually it will dry out and die.  Just like I may be able to put on a pretty face and hike up my big girl panties and try and tackle this world and my sin, but in the end, I can do NOTHING that will take away the sin.  Only Jesus can do that.  So abiding is trusting, trusting in the one who keeps us abiding.

We abide when life is pleasant and we abide when it is painful.  With the Lord’s blessing, I pray this page can become a community of hearts abiding in Him in all walks of life. May we be an encouragement to each other and bring praise and glory to His name.

Let me close with a verse from one of my favorite hymns.

Abide With Me by Henry F. Lyte

I need thy presence every passing hour;

What but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?

Who like Thyself my guide and stay can be?

Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me!

I encourage you today; abide in Him in all we do; in our homes, in our marriages, in our parenting and in every good work.

Abiding in His Grace,

Melissa

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