Getting into the Zone!

“If you live in Me [abide in Me, vitally united to Me] and My word remain in you [are alive in you]and continue to live in your hearts [daily, constantly], then ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7) 

Is it possible for us to grasp what Jesus is saying in this verse?  These words over-whelm me.  I read them and wonder what kind of faith I really have.  Am I living and abiding with Jesus or am I living and abiding in the world?  Those are hard and important questions to answer.  I don’t know about you, but everything I ask of God is not done for me.  Some people would say that proves God does not exist or that He doesn’t care.  I see something different.  I know enough about the Word of God and God’s character to know that the problem is me not Him!

Jesus said if.  I wish that little word was not in this verse, but it is and that matters. If I am living in Christ Jesus that would mean that my will and God’s will are so entwined that the thing I ask of Him will be the things He wills to do and I will get what I’ve asked.

Jesus said, “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing….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….You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. (John 15: 5b,7-8,16 ESV)

His will must be my will and His thoughts my thoughts; my heart will be His home; my heart, His heart.  At this point I would have true unity with the Father and the Son.  At this point He would refuse me nothing because my asking would finally be in line with the will of my loving Father.  I would finally be praying “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done” in such a way that it’s meaning would overwhelm me.  My silly, fickle desires would flee from my mind.  I would cease from always seeking and asking for temporal things that are not for my good, because they are not God’s perfect plan.  God has a perfect plan for my life and your life.  That’s what we want.  How I long to find myself in that perfect place!

How can I ever get there where I long to be?  I will only get there by changing my foolish thinking for God’s perfect thoughts.  I can only get God’s perfect thought by feeding on His Word.  I can only get His Word by studying the Bible.  There are no short cuts or Cliff notes with God.  God does not do the “microwave” thing.  Just like a running back has to do hard work before the game and during the game to finally make it into the end zone and score points, so to the work of the spirit.  I must work my spirit to get it to line up with God’s spirit.

Unity! Oneness with the Creator of the universe.  Oneness with the God who created me in His image.  That isn’t what I see in the mirror each day, but that is what God sees.  God is a spirit.  A spirit can not be seen or perceived with the human eye.  A spirit can only be seen by a spirit.  God is a spirit and Jesus said God seeks people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.  My spiritual work requires reading my Bible.  Working to understand what I read.  Applying what I have read.  And then the most important part – talking to God like I would my most loving, trusted friend, which He is!

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Words, Words, too Many Words

Now don’t misunderstand me, I really like to talk and I actually like to write.  The problem is that sometime words get me into a lot of trouble.  Do you know what I mean? Sometimes it is because I say the wrong thing, but often it is just that I don’t know when to shut-up. Or, most often, it’s because I engage my mouth before consulting my brain!

Words are useful.  That’s how we communicate with one another.  Often the problem isn’t that we are trying to communicate, but that we are trying to debate and we are determined to win the debate!  Now that is a prescription for a disaster.  I ought to know since I’ve had a few of those and I’d bet you have too.

I have notice that when someone is talking to me and maybe I don’t agree or I’m getting a little upset at what they are saying, if I will just be quiet on the inside and listen to that still small voice, I will say the right thing instead of upping the heat of the moment.  We could save ourselves a lot of heartache by doing that and wouldn’t that be nice?

I don’t know about you, but I could stand more peace and less turmoil in my life.  We need to learn to be civil to one another.  We need to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.  I know how to see that and apply that to other people.  The problem is that often I don’t see my own failures in the matter.  I think that is what Jesus was talking about when he said we need to remove the board from our own eyes before we can take the splinter out of someone else’s eye (Matthew 7:3).

Lets look at some of the things the Bible has to say about our words.

Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer”.  We could just park right there and sit awhile.  Breath that thought in.  What if we made that our prayer each day? If I pray this each day and if I mean what I’ve prayed, that is bound to effect what comes out of my mouth.

Here’s another thought: 1 Thessalonians 2:5 the apostle Paul says, “For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed”.  It’s time to get out that trusty thesaurus and look at a couple of words here. Flattery implies cunning or deceiving.  Cunning can be maneuvering for a better position.  Cunning might be concealing facts or information.  Cunning might be termed “finesse” or “politics”. Flattery again involves deceiving. Flattery is a misrepresentation for our own benefit. Flattery is building someone up falsely in order to take advantage of them.  So none of this sounds very good does it?   Paul said that he didn’t talk with a pretext for greed. So, what is greed but trying to get something in a deceiving manner!  Christians are to avoid all such speech.  Our words are to be honest and simple.

Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person”

Fewer words.  More thought.  More grace.  More kindness.  Equals less harsh words, less fights, less hurt feelings, and less regrets.

Praise God with Words

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.

Such awesome life lessons are contained in this one Scripture, yet many other Scripture say the same thing or have the same idea.  I have heard people say, “well, God knows my heart, he knows how I feel”.  Yes, God does knows your heart and yes, He does knows how you feel.  That isn’t the point being made.  God isn’t interested in the words of your mouth and the meditations of your heart for His sake, but for your sake.  God is quite secure on the Throne of Heaven.  He will still be there whether you praise Him or not.  Nevertheless, praising God out loud with the words that are in your heart does many great things for you. I am assuming, of course, that you truly do meditate on God as Lord and Rock, and Redeemer.  I am also assuming that you have a love for God in some measure in your heart.

For starters, praising God lifts you up into His Throne Room.  I once heard Billye Brim say that “praise is a vehicle to bring one near to God much like a car is the vehicle that brings you near to your home.”