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Abiding on the Vine Intro

John 15:5
I
am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

 

I have a plant that I love.  It sits on a table and flows clear to the floor. Imagine if I picked off one of the leaves and threw it on the ground. For a time the leaf would look fine. Eventually it would turn brown. It would wither and die.  So it is with us. We must stay connected to our Lord or we too will wither and die.

One way to stay connected is through reading and praying scripture.  Abiding On The Vine provides us with a variety of topics and related scripture verses.  Set aside some time to visit Abiding.  Read through the scriptures.  If one in particular speaks to you, write it down on a notecard, sticky note, or some place where you will have easy access to it throughout the week.  Claim it.  Memorize it. It will become a powerful force in your life.

Following each topic will be a related prayer.  You can use it as a model, or pray your own.

Hebrew 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

May your life bring forth abundant fruit as you purposefully stay connected to The Vine!

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Waiting

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

The Hebrew Lexicon describes waiting as:
To wait, look for, hope, expect, to wait or look eagerly for

Waiting is something that most of us don’t like to do.  We have microwaves and fast food and drive up windows.  We use high speed internet to reduce download time, and computer banking so we don’t have to stand in line.  We map out our lives, work hard so we can buy more, and have high expectations of ourselves and others.  But time and again things don’t go according to our schedule.  God asks us to wait.  Waiting is a part of life.

So the question becomes: How am I going to wait?

Am I eagerly looking for, hoping, and expecting good things from the Lord?  Am I giving thanks for what He is going to do in my life?  Will I choose to praise and serve and trust Him as I focus on today?   Will I allow my strength to be renewed as I turn my eyes towards Him? 


Or will I grumble and complain?  Will
 I waste time worrying and fretting or being angry?  Will I turn my gaze impatiently towards the future instead of living and loving and serving others this very day?

*******

It is likely that there is something you are waiting for right now:

*For life to become easier for a child who is struggling.
*
For that child to begin making better choices.
*A family member who doesn’t believe in God.
*A job.
*Someone step up and help you at the job you have.
*A husband or a wife.
*Greater faith.
*
More free time.
*A bigger house.
*The pain of loss to lessen.
*A healing of disease in your body.

No matter what it is we are waiting for, it is up to us.
How will we choose to wait?

Reflecting On God’s Word

Take a moment and reflect.
Has waiting caused you to draw closer to God, talking to Him about your pain and struggles, and releasing them to Him?  Or has it caused you to turn from Him in hopelessness?  Is waiting causing you to store up bitterness and resentment? Or is it strengthening your patience and perseverance and character?  We do have a choice.  Let us determine this day to wait well.

Our Prayer

Lord, I thank You that your timing is perfect.  Help me to trust in You as I wait.   Forgive me Lord, for the times I have grumbled and pulled away from You in disappointment.  Instead Lord, I choose to rest in peace as you work out Your plan for my life.  Lord, help me not to waste even a moment in self-pity, or anger, or disobedience.  Instead Lord, may I serve you with a grateful heart, as I remember Your Love for me.

God’s Word

2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.  (KJV)

Lamentations 3:25 The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

Psalm 37:7 Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait , and in his word do I hope .

 Galatians 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

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Alive, Active and Powerful

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Ephesians 6:17(KJV)
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

God’s word is alive and active.  It is quick and powerful.  But to be effective it must be released.  Imagine being in a battle.  You have a sword that is far superior to any weapon that the enemy has.  Yet you never take your sword out of its sheath.  It hangs useless by your side.  If we keep God’s Word enclosed in the pages of its binding, never reading or speaking it, it will still be true, but ineffective in our circumstances.  We must learn how to use it.  We must take it out, become comfortable with it, and allow its power to work in our lives.  The more we read and speak God’s Word, the more effective our prayers will be.

Let us learn to wield our swords with skill!


Reflecting on God’s Word 

Consider an area of your life that needs prayer.  Ask God to lead you.  Open your bible and find applicable verses.  Copy them down on notecards. Carry them with you and proclaim them out loud.  Include them in your prayers to the Lord.  Pray as you take a walk, run errands, drive to work.
No matter the need in your life, God addresses it in His word.  Talk to Him about your needs and ask Him to show you how to pray.
Following are some brief examples of scriptures that have been combined with prayer, or have become a personalized prayer. Remember, these are just examples.  There is no “right” way to pray.  God hears us when we call and loves our prayers, no matter how they come to Him.  This week find your own favorite verses.  Verses of praise, of healing, of promise.  Read and pray them, both silently and aloud.  Memorize them.  They are a mighty weapon!

Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Isaiah 50:7
For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

Isaiah 41:13
For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.

Lord, I can’t do this myself.  But by Your strength, I can do all things.  Send Your strength to me as I move forward.  Thank You.
And now Lord, I set my face like a stone.  I know that I will not be put to shame, for You are with me.  You are holding me by my right hand.  You are helping me.  I do not need to be afraid.  Thank You Lord that You love me.  Amen


It is good to allow scripture to remind us just how great God’s love for us is.  Especially when we are feeling unloved by those around us!  Following are just a few of the many scriptures about God’s love. Find your own favorites and memorize them.  Thank God for the Truth of His love.

Mathew 10:30
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Isaiah 43:4
Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. (NIV)

Jeremiah 31:3
Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. .

Romans 8:39
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Thank you Lord that You love me. That as I gaze at each hair that has come out in my brush, I know You are keeping count.  If You care enough to number my hair, how much more must You care for the bigger things that concern me.
Thank you Lord that I am honored and precious in Your sight.
That your love for me is everlasting.
That NOTHING can separate me from Your Love.
Help me to love You in return.   In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

*Side note:  I must chuckle and say, the older I get, the bigger the job God has in keeping track of my hairs! (Even though I am a girl.)


I like to put my name or the name of a loved one into God’s Word.  It is especially powerful when you pray it out loud. Following are some examples.

Ephesians 3:16
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

I pray Lord that You would grant me, according the the riches of Your glory, to be strenghtened with the might of Your Spirit in my inner man; that Jesus would dwell in my heart by faith; and that I, being rooted and grounded in love would be able to understand with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Jesus which passes all knowledge, that I might be filled with the fullness of You.

Isaiah 49:25
. . . . I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. (NIV)

 You will contend with those who contend with me, and my children you will save.

Isaiah 43:2
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, the Saviour. . . . .

When I pass through the waters You will be with me, and through the rivers, they will not drown me: when I walk through the fire, I will not be burned, nor will the flames set me ablaze.  For You are the Lord my God, the Holy One of Israel, my Saviour.
or
When (name, for example Betty) passes through the waters, you will be with her, and through the rivers, they will not drown her: when Betty walks through the fire, she will not be burned, nor will the flames set her ablaze.  For You are the Lord her God, the Holy One of Israel, Betty’s Saviour.


Following is Psalm 18:1-3 as a prayer directly to God.

Psalm 18:1
I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. 2The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
I love You Lord, my strength. You are my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, You are my God, my strength; I trust in You. You Lord are my buckler, the horn of my salvation and my hightower. I call upon You Lord. You are worthy to be praised. You save me from my enemies.

Our Prayer
Lord, thank you for Your Word.   May our lives be a prayer as we walk with you each day.  AMEN!

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Peace, Not Confusion

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace . . .

Psalm 71:1 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion

Ours is a world of many voices and many choices. As we try to determine God’s will for our lives questions and doubts can arise.

Lord, do you hear me?
Is this the direction you want me to go?
Is this Your voice or mine?
Do I take this job?
Do I stay in this relationship?
Why did this happen?
Why didn’t that happen?
It can be down right baffling! But as children of God we need not be confused. For our God is the Author of Peace. He gives us the ability to say:

“I will trust in God to guide and protect me. I choose to place my confidence in Him, not in my own ability to figure things out. As I walk in peace I know that He is faithful to lead me and to show me The Way.”

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Reflecting on God’s Word

Today if your mind is in turmoil, talk to The Lord about it. Turn to Him, not from Him. Ask God to fill you with His peace. Pray about those things that are confusing and release them. Spend time reading His Word and memorizing scripture that is helpful to you and your circumstance. Share that scripture with someone you trust so that they can encourage you in your journey of faith.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Our Prayer

Lord, thank you that you are not a God of confusion, but that Your will for me is peace. Help me to recognize when confusion is trying to settle upon me, and to rebuke it the moment it comes. Help me to take captive my thoughts and to cast down any that are not from You. Help me Lord to replace those thoughts with a reminder that I can trust You. Thank you Lord for Your Presence in my life, and for Your Overwhelming Love for me. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen

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God’s Word

2 Corinthians 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Philippians 4:6,7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying , This is the way, walk ye in it , when ye turn to the right hand , and when ye turn to the left

Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

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Prayer From Psalm 91

 

Wrap yourself in the rest of God as you read this Psalm and prayer.

Cover me Lord in the strength of Your Love.
Cover me Lord with Your Feathers.
Cover me Lord in the strength of Your Love.
I need to rest in Your Shadow.

Cover me Lord in the strength of Your Love.
I run into Your shelter.
Cover me Lord in the strength of Your Love.
Your faithfulness is my armour.

Cover me Lord in the strength of Your Love.
And I will not be afraid.
Cover me Lord in the strength of Your Love.
I am safe in the night and by day.

Cover me Lord in the strength of Your Love.
When evil falls at my side.
Cover me Lord in the strength of Your Love.
Your angels guard my way.

Cover me Lord in the strength of Your Love.
You hear me when I call.
Cover me Lord in the strength of Your Love.
You rescue me, for I know Your Name.

Psalm 91

1
 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” 3 Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence. 4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. 5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, Nor of the arrow that flies by day, 6 Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you. 8 Only with your eyes shall you look, And see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, 10 No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling; 11 For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways. 12 In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. 13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra, The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot. 14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. 15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, And show him My salvation.” (NKJV)

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Trust

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

The day held much in store.  My list of “things to do” seemed to be a mile long, and each “thing” was important.  It was all overwhelming.  I didn’t know where to begin.  Then an anagram I had learned many years ago came to my mind.  I let out a sigh of relief as I remembered:

TRUST

To
Rest
Utterly
Surrendering
Totally

TRUST

I had almost forgotten.  I could trust the Lord to direct my path.  I just needed to acknowledge my need for His help.

Reflecting On God’s Word

What does this today hold for you?  Are you lonely?  Overwhelmed?  In a struggle with a family member or a boss or your own self?  Are you facing an illness, or a task that seems too big?  The Lord knows.  He sees.  Stop for a moment, take a breath, and rest.  Determine to trust Him.   Place your circumstances into His hands.  Ask Him to help.  Then rest utterly.  Surrender totally.  Listen for His voice.  He will speak to you.  Trust. 

Our Prayer

Thank you Lord.  Thank you that I can trust you with my days.  That I can rest in You as I go about my way.  That I do not need to strive, but to look to you for strength and wisdom.  Lord, I pray for Your strength and wisdom.  I pray for your peace.  I surrender this day to you.  I choose to TRUST.  I choose to walk in your peace.  I choose to rest in the knowledge of Your Love.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.

God’s Word

Psalm 37:5  Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass

Psalm 73:28  But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord  GOD, that I may declare all thy works.

Psalm 91:2  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

Jeremiah 31:3 Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

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Starving Faith: Blackjack

For 18 years we were fortunate enough to live in the farm house where my husband grew up.  It was a wonderful place to raise our children.  It was also a dumping ground for unwanted pets.

I will never forget “Black Jack”.  He was on our lawn one day when we returned home from town.  You could see that he was once a beautiful animal.  Jet black hair and a perfectly conformed head.  Yet he was starving.  The bones of his ribs were clearly visible through his skin.  There was no flesh on his body.  We weren’t able to approach Black Jack.  When we got close, he would snarl and growl at us and warn us not to come near.   

I don’t know what happened to Black Jack before we met him, but as I write this article, he brings humanity to mind.  Every day we come into contact with people who snarl and growl at us.  They are starving.  Starving for love.  Starving for affection.  Starving from the the lack of knowledge of the truth of God’s great love for them.  They may even be snarling at God Himself, warning Him not to come close.  And so, at times, may it be with you and I.

It can be easy to starve our spiritual selves.  Busyness, guilt, anger, disappointment; any number of things can take away our appetite for the things of God.  Yet to remain healthy, to maintain the beauty with which we were designed, we must remember to fill ourselves.  Otherwise we may find that we too are snarling; at ourself, at others, and at God. 


Reflecting on God’s Word:

It is likely that Black Jack relied on the hand of man to feed him.  Not so with us.  The Lord has given us everything we need.  This week lets make a conscious effort to partake of the spiritual food He has provided.

Following are some ideas of how we may do so.

  • Read God’s Word every day this week.
  • Talk to God on your way to work, while you take a walk, as you drive home from the store.
  • Call a friend.  Share a story that builds your faith.  Ask them to share one with you.  Pray for one another. 
  • Sing songs of praise to the Lord
  • Start the day before you get out of bed with a prayer of thanks.  Be specific. At the end of the day, as you lie in bed, do the same.
  • Pray for someone every day this week. 
  • Pray for your enemy.
  • Think upon good things.
  • Choose one of your scripture note cards.  Declare  it aloud this week.
  • Tape and/or watch your favorite Christian TV show.
  • Listen to your favorite Christian CD on the way to work and on the way home.

Our Prayer:

Lord, thank you.  Thank you that you have given us all that we need to walk in peace and in the fullness of knowledge of You.  That we do not rely on the hand of man to fill us, but that it is Your hand by which we are fed.  Thank you that as we lift our hands to You, we are satisfied.  That as we do your will, it becomes our spiritual food.  Please help us to fill ourselves with the good things that you have provided.  Help us to turn away from the “junk food” that does not strengthen us nor build our spirits.  In the Name of Jesus we pray.  Amen.


God’s Word:

Mathew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Mathew 4:31-34  Meanwhile the disciples were urging Jesus to eat.  32“No,”  he said, “I have food you don’t know about.” 33“Who brought it to him?” the disciples asked each other.  34Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God who sent me, and from finishing his work.

Psalm 4Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. 5My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: 

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Pray It Through

When God doesn’t answer our prayers immediately, we can become discouraged. We think He doesn’t hear us. But as soon as a prayer is prayed, God answers. (Isaiah 65:24)

As my husband and I were settled in about 7:00 p.m. Sunday evening to watch a movie, our phone rang.

“Mom, would you pray for me? I have a test tomorrow worth 10% of my grade, a midterm Tuesday worth 30% of my grade, and a paper due Wednesay worth 25% of my grade, and I am SICK.”

“What kind of sick?”

“Throwing up really bad. Chills, stomach ache.”

After determining our son had everything he needed for the moment, we hung up and I prayed for him.

Two hours later, our son was delivered to our doorstep by a friend. He had not been exaggerating. Violent and frequent vomiting was taking place.

During a break, in the quiet of the darkened room, I prayed aloud, asking for God’s mercy, grace, and for a quick healing. I left our son resting and headed for the couch with my blanket and pillow. But not for long. Soon the sounds of violent wretching returned.

“Well Lord”, I thought, “I guess you are not going to answer”.

Then a gentle impression came.  “Pray it through”.

And so I continued to pray. On my way to the store for anti-nauseant. As I got him more water. As I listened to the awful sounds that result from stomach flu. Finally, around 1:30 a.m. . . . silence.

At this writing it is 8:45 the next morning. The chicken is simmering on the stove, waiting to have noodles and spices added. Our son is sleeping soundly. I will awaken him around 11:00 and we will see what is next. And I will continue to pray. For I know that the Lord has His hand on our son. That He is aware of the tests and the graduation requirements. Above all, I know God loves him. He is interested in his faith and teaching him to trust. He is interested in the same things for you. He is interested in the same things for me. Each day, as we walk with Him, may He teach us to “pray it through”.

Reflecting on God’s Word

I have heard it said that sometimes God’s answer is “yes”, sometimes it is “no”, and other times it is, “not yet”. God says yes when it is good for us. He says no if it is not His best. Not yet comes when His perfect timing is not in place, or when we need to learn something in the waiting. It is also good to remember we are often not the only one involved in our request. I cannot imagine how the Lord does it when a farmer prays for rain for his crops, while a bride prays for good weather for her outside wedding. Yet He answers them both.

Consider those things on your heart for which you pray. Those that are recent, or those that you have carried with you for a very long time. Determine not to become discouraged, but to continue to pray them through. For God will move on our behalf when we seek Him and ask Him to do so.

Our Prayer

Lord, thank you. We thank you that before we finish speaking, you answer our prayers. That you see the beginning from the end, and that you always, always, have our best interests in mind. We thank you Lord that we can trust you, even when we do not understand. For we see things dimly now, but one day, when we stand face to face with You, You will explain the questions of our heart. Lord, help us to perservere in our prayers. Give us strength and help us to grow as we bring them before You. Above all Lord, in all circumstances, place deeply in our hearts the knowledge of Your love for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen

God’s Word

Isaiah 65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

1Corinthians 13:12
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (NIV)

1 Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.