John 15:1-11 says, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He [a]prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already [b]clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit [c]of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 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. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so [d]prove to be My disciples. 9 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 10 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. 11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.”
This passage is pretty popular and often preached on, but what does it really mean to “abide”? Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary has this for the definition:
: to accept or bear (someone or something bad, unpleasant, etc.)
: to stay or live somewhere
: to remain or continue
I like the 2nd line, to stay or live somewhere. That’s what I’m settling on in my spirit. God is telling me I need to stay in Him, I need to live in Him. I saw a picture of one of our friends that recently had a baby boy and the mom had the baby tucked into her shirt, right on top of her heart, now THAT’S abiding! I want to be tucked into God’s arms, right next to His heart. I want to abide in Him. Not so I can be fruitful, I truly don’t care if I’m fruitful except that I want to please my Father. No, I want to abide in my Father because I KNOW He loves me and will comfort me and protect me.
My 7 year old crawled into my bed this morning around 0400 hrs and laid down between my wife and I, but toward the foot of the bed. I reached down and pulled him up and tucked him under the covers and put my arms around him and snuggled him into my chest. He didn’t miss a beat; he snuggled up and was fast asleep. That’s abiding. God, I want to abide in You, I want to abide in Your Word. That is the place of protection, the place of unconditional love, the place of peace.
Strip away all the commercialized junk that has been attached to one of our biggest holidays (like a pilot fish eating scum off a whale’s belly) Thanksgiving is truly a wonderful time of reflecting on the importance of family, heritage, and God’s grace to us. For the first time in a long time, I am going to be without family on Thursday and even though I will be able to play in the 3rd annual turkey bowl (football game) and eat food with friends from church, it really isn’t even a close third to spending the day with family.
With that being said, Charlie, Margaret Ann, Katherine, Lenkie, Janie, Sandra, Mark, Elliott, I love you and miss you very much. I am SO thankful to have brothers and sisters that aren’t perfect, but we DO love each other and for that, I am blessed. To my children, Andie, Shelby, and Caleb, you truly are my GREATEST accomplishments. To be able to be your dad has been the greatest gift God has given me on this earth. To all my nieces and nephews, Lisa E. Matthew E. Amy, Jeanie, Emily, Sarah, Andrew, Shari, Paul, Stephen, Amanda, (I have MANY MANY more), I love you all and I am proud to be a part of such a large, wonderful family!!
God, I want to give you thanks for my family. I pray You will continue to bless us and keep us for Your purpose. Use us as You see fit, keep us in Your house. Amen!
Matthew came over Saturday afternoon and we headed to the “China Wall” trail (forestry service road 212) with Ryan to do some snow “jeeping”. The view of the Taryall valley draped in snow was quite impressive. With the snow falling, no wind, and 22 degrees, the cold was not intimidating or oppressive, but inviting, peaceful. We stopped to prep for the trail ahead, airing down my tires to 14 lbs. We took the trail up to the left and down the other side of the ridge. From the top of the ridge, you could see the snow covered valley and Pike’s Peak off in the distance. With no one else out there, the inviting beauty is deceptive. To get stuck out here in this cold would be a dire mistake. We made our way down the ridge into the meadow, heading towards the river, surprising several mule deer on the way. We made our way to the rocks. The traction was pretty good as the snow was a dry snow. I got out and guided Matt as he drove Wasabi over the first obstacle. We drove down to the next and biggest obstacle on the trail, surprising a few more mulies on the way. I got out to ground guide again while Matt drove, and he insisted I “video” him driving, so I only got pictures of the obstacle. We got down close to the river, and decided to put a few rounds down range. We packed up and headed back to the trail head. We capped this short trip off by stopping by “Rudy’s” on the way back home and got some of the best brisket in town.
There are so many facets to King David’s life that reveals the worst and best of what our relationship with God can be. I Samuel, chapter 27:1 states “Then David said [a]to himself, “Now I will perish one day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than [b]to escape into the land of the Philistines. Saul then will despair of searching for me anymore in all the territory of Israel, and I will escape from his hand.”
When David focused on God, he prospered, he thrived, even among his enemies. But when David took his eyes off God and focused on Saul, it drove him deeper into sin; David went to live with the Philistine, the very people that he had fought against for mocking God. We all do the same thing David did. We all tend to retreat into our sin when we focus on ourselves, or the people around us, instead of focusing on God. Why? For me, I know that when my focus is on God, I am acutely aware of the grace and mercy that is extended to me on a daily basis because of my sin and God’s righteousness. This awareness makes it very easy for me to extend grace and mercy to the people around me, to be more loving to them because of the love shown to me from God. But when I am not focused on God, I am only aware of unattainable expectations (usually perceived, not real), false impressions or emotions (gossip, he said she said stuff), and anger.
Lord, help me to stay focused on you. I want You to be my filter for the rest of this world. I want to see my neighbors, my coworkers, my children, and my wife THROUGH You.