Today is link up day for the Good Morning Girls Summer Book Club at Living in the Word Wednesdays.
I have to say that, with everything I've undertaken these past couple of weeks, the Reshaping It All Challenge and the 31 Days to Clean Challenge and now, this Summer Book Club... what I've learned so far in the bible passages we've had to read is SO APPLICABLE!
I have always loved this verse from Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me." It is a reminder that if I remain in Jesus, allow Him to be the source of my strength, my sustenance, I can do anything. Important to note though.. I can do anything He wants me to do... not what I decide I WANT to do.
Our first two days' readings..
Psalm 27:1 "If God does not build a house, in vain do its builders toil. If God does not guard a city, in vain do its guard keep watch" and
John 15:4-5 "Remain in me as I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself unless it remains part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty, for cut off from me you can do nothing." New Jerusalem Bible
These two readings are, for me, reinforcing what I learn in Philippians. See that last part of the verse in John .. "for cut off from me you can do nothing". Does this mean I am helpless... no, I don't think so. I can do many things under my own strength and in my own wisdom, but will they be things that are bearing fruits of the Spirit, things that honour and glorify God.
I can do nothing, nothing that bears fruit, without God. He is the source of my strength. I must abide in Him in order to be nourished and sustained by Him. How do I do that?
The King James version of the bible uses this word 'abide' in place of 'remain' in the John 15 verse. I happen to like that version a lot. The word abide has more punch to it. Here are some dictionary (Webster Dictionary) meanings for the word abide :
- to endure, sustain, submit to
- to bear patiently, to tolerate
- to stay, to continue in a place
- to remain stable or fixed in some state or condition
- to acquiesce, to conform to
We also have to avoid sin and the occasion of sin. We have to nourish ourselves with His Word and with prayer and exercise and strengthen our faith muscles with acts of faith. Then we will truly abide in Him and we, the branches, will bear the fruit that He, the vine, wants us to bear.
I want God to be the center of all things that I do. I want everything I do to glorify and honour Him. If He is there, an integral part of all aspects of my life, I know that my labours will yield good fruit. If I stop to consult Him every day in prayer about where He wants to lead me, I know that He will always bless my efforts.
Lord, I thank you for your Word which promises me that when I remain in your love and do your will that I will bear fruit in plenty. May the fruit that I bear be pleasing to you, honour and glorify you. May I always turn to you, the source of my strength and remember that, just as the vine sustains the branches, you sustain me and I can have no life without you.