Abide in Love

“We love because He first loved us.” – 1 John 4:19

Since the beginning, it’s been about love.

  • He formed us to love us, not as a science experiment
  • He warned Adam out of love, not to keep anything from him
  • He parted the Red Sea out of love, not to show off
  • He poured manna from Heaven out of love, even though we grumbled while chewing
  • He thought of the Cross out of love, though He knew some would politely decline

There is much emphasis put on love throughout His word. It’s the first fruit of the Spirit mentioned. Out of faith, hope & love, it’s proclaimed as the greatest. God even declares Himself AS love.

Since we are created in His image, you know what that means. We are called to love as well. Better yet, we are called to love like Him. Is that even possible? Somewhat, yes. The intensity of our love could never come close. However, we can choose to mirror His style of loving & allow Him to love through us.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.” – 1 John 4

There’s that word again…abide. That has been a theme each time I’ve studied fruit of the Spirit. Abide means to dwell, remain, or sojourn. The image that comes to mind is a baby bird under the wing of it’s mother. It is there in that secret place that He transforms us. It is in the abiding that we began to look like Jesus. The fruit begins to grow, and we start to flourish.

Love comes from abiding in Love Himself. 

 

Lead Me

This week has been full of confirmation. The Holy Spirit loves to confirm when we are on the right path, and encourage us to keep going.

Ever since beginning the study on the Fruits of the Spirit, I have felt Jesus dropping breadcrumbs for me…everyday, He is showing me where to go next. I will be honest…it takes some surrender and stillness on my part to be still & listen. I have to quiet my soul. But He never fails to speak. His method of getting my attention changes. He loves to keep it interesting.

For those of you studying with me, I hope that you’re finding the breadcrumbs. We may be on different paths, some rockier than others. But they are there. Don’t rush ahead, because you may miss them. Don’t get discouraged if you’re having a hard time seeing them. Pause…look harder. Use your flashlight, the Word of God. It’s the only Light strong enough to find them. And don’t give up

Speaking of pausing, let’s pause to worship the One leading us…

Reflection

“God loves us just as we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way.”

From the moment the Holy Spirit makes His home in your heart, He begins a work in you.

“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” – Romans 6:22

Sanctification is the process of becoming holy. It prepares us for the Day that we come face to face with the Holy One Himself. The end result? To bear the Family resemblance.

If we were to look in a mirror right now, we would see ourselves…flawed, imperfect, but saved. What we don’t see is the inner work of the Holy Spirit that is changing us from the inside out.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:18

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” – 1 Corinthians 15:49

There’s no instant gratification along this journey. Holiness takes time. Fruit doesn’t appear overnight. We must be patient with ourselves during growth. The end result will be worth the wait.

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12

Why Fruit?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22

Throughout the Bible, emphasis is put on the importance of bearing fruit. There is no doubt that these are lovely traits to have, regardless of your faith. But as a follower of Jesus, we are called to pursue them wholeheartedly.

But, why are these traits called “fruit”? Why not good habits, or best practices? Why not use laymen’s terms?

He always has a reason. Psalms & Jeremiah shed some light:

 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORDand on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” – Psalm 1

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:8

Do you see the common thread here? We are likened to trees…rooted, flourishing, and bearing fruit. That is, if we are trusting, delighting, and abiding in the Lord.

Study Scripture: John 15

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 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.”

 

Dear Robin

Dear Robin,

Since yesterday, there have been many different reactions to the news of your passing. Sadly, the opinions and insensitive comments about your cause of death have overshadowed what should be a time of honoring you & your unique imprint that you left on this world.

Right now, our world is in upheavel. We can’t go a day without hearing some disturbing or frightening news. Your death sent many into a tailspin of sadness, which is probably the last thing that you want anyone to feel since you suffered with that yourself.

Can I be forthright? For a moment, I felt guilty about possibly focusing too much on a “celebrity” death. With the genocide in Iraq occuring, I didn’t want to shift my attention from what I was deeming a bigger issue. I forgot for a moment that we are all human, celebrity or not. This is a tragedy, Hollywood or not.

The Holy Spirit reminded of something that He taught me not too long ago. When we lost Paul Walker so tragically, I was very affected by it. So young, and such a horrific He brought a phrase to my heart:

“For Whom the Bell Tolls”

It is an expression from a sermon by John Donne. ‘Donne says that because we are all part of mankind, any person’s death is a loss to all of us’: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

This statement rings truer than ever before. It’s ok for us mourn someone that we didn’t know personally. It’s ok for us to honor someone who touched our lives and taught us to laugh. It doesn’t mean that we care less about other happenings in the world. Rather, we are allowing ourselves remain compassionate towards all loss…all pain…and not pick and choose when we care.

Robin, we already miss you. May your spirit rest in peace.

#RobinWilliams

Business as Usual

This morning has been your typical Friday morning. My regular routine was no different than usual…have breakfast & cruise Facebook. The news feed is a mix of different things as it usually is, with current events, funny videos, and inspirational quotes. As I’m soaking it all in and catching up, something started to well up in me.

As I read of horrific, unthinkable things being done in Iraq…Ebola in Africa…Israel under attack…hurricanes near Hawaii…reality kinda slapped me in the face. Across the oceans, people are experiencing hell on earth.

Meanwhile, I am occupying my time researching the new Facebook Messenger app, and my “safety”.

Can I just say how embarrassed I was when my eyes were opened in that moment? The conviction of the Holy Spirit always rocks me to the core when it happens, but this was on a different level. I always joke about ‘first world problems’, but I became the butt of my own joke. How minuscule are my problems in comparison? We are blessed to live in a country that is not as bad off as some citizens like to think. The danger of living in this safety is that we get comfortable…we grow numb. We are appalled & outraged at the injustice we see, but we return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Prophecy has been and is happening before our eyes. Please read in depth and research further as He leads. We need to step in spiritually & cry out to God for those who can’t help themselves. It’s time to shake ourselves awake & shake off self pity. The world needs us. Let’s not continue with business as usual. We have to make ourselves raise the bar.

I feel led to post these verses because in that moment, they were echoing in my spirit.

Matthew 24:3
Signs of the End of the Age

3As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

9“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then many will fall awaya and betray one another and hate one another. 11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

The Abomination of Desolation

15“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. 22And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you beforehand. 26So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.

The Coming of the Son of Man

29“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

32“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 33So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. 34Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

No One Knows That Day and Hour

36“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son,b but the Father only. 37For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant,c whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 47Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ 49and begins to beat his fellow servantsd and eats and drinks with drunkards, 50the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know 51and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.