God is so faithful.
This weekend, Abbey and I were so fortunate to be able to be apart of Fort Bluff Camp's Seasons of Life Women's Retreat in Dayton, TN. We were absolutely blown away at not only the facilities and event in general, but the heart behind the work that their staff is accomplishing for the Kingdom.
Friday night I got the opportunity to share my heart for 818 and get the ladies excited about our breakout session on Saturday. Saturday morning, we made hats and wrote letters with MANY of the women at the retreat and the Lord really blessed the time we shared. Below are some pictures of the weekend!
Also, if your church or family is looking for a place to have a retreat, camp or event, check Fort Bluff Camp out if you live in the Southeast!
To wait for.
To endure without yielding.
To bear patiently.
To accept without objection.
If you were to Google the word “abide” and read what Miss Merriam Webster has to say, that is what you would find.
I have always been fascinated by the use of the word abide in terms of explaining our relationship with Christ. We wait for His answers to our prayers. We endure hardships without yielding, knowing He is there to protect us. We bear our burdens knowing He is the ultimate Comforter. We accept His will without objection, trusting He knows what is very best for us.
Abide also means to remain. I am to remain in His word, on my knees in prayer and seeking His discernment.
I simply cannot expect to bear the fruit of the Vine that I do not remain in.
“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 does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 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.” (John 15:1-4)
Not only can I not expect to bear the fruit of the Vine I do not remain in, but when I remain in that Vine, it will not come without some pruning.
When I abide in Jesus, He corrects me. He refines me and molds me into the women He created me to be just like a potter molds clay. But I can’t bear spiritual fruit without that molding, pruning and correction.
I am thankful the Lord continues to reveal the deepest parts of me that are not of Him so that slowly, as the Potters’ wheel turn round and round, I can become more like Him.
Maybe we should all go back to pottery class every once in a while.
Lord, prune me so my fruit only bears witness of Your glory in my life. Mold me that my image looks more like Yours with every turn.
One thing I’ve learned from writing is that people love stories. Stories are real and relatable, easy to recall, and easy to pass on to others. In my blog last month I used a story about a good friend of mine in an effort to display love. Well, bear with me, because you’re in for another story about another friend of mine.
About a year ago, two of my best friends were in a car accident. The damage done to their vehicle was extreme, but they, by the grace of God, got out with only a few cuts and bruises. I got word they were in an accident, got scared, called to check on them, asked about it the next time I saw them, and that was pretty much the end of it. It wasn’t until almost a semester later that a conversation led back to their wreck. I was sitting with one of these friends outside of her apartment, pouring my heart out to her about some different ways the Lord was working on me, when she began to tell me the details of the night of her accident.
The previous summer (about two months before the wreck) both friends were working at a camp. It was a Christian camp, so the counselors did a summer-long Bible study together. That particular summer the study focused on John chapter 15. My friend began to talk about how verse 5 of that chapter had penetrated her heart all summer. Verse 5 reads, “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.”
Well God has a funny way of reminding us of things. Stepping out of the car the night of the accident, she realized they had crashed into what looked like the side of a cliff. The side where their car hit was covered from top to bottom in vines.
What she said to me next has stuck with me ever since. “I was running from abiding in the vine, so He literally crashed me into it. He crashed me into Him.”
Now, am I saying that Jesus is going to wreck your car to give you a wake up call? No. But I’m not saying it couldn’t happen either. I am saying though, that sometimes, it takes being wrecked to realize where we have been abiding.
See, it’s easy to focus on the middle of verse 5. “Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit.” But read on, and read carefully. Read it over and over again until you get it.
“…for apart from Me, you can do nothing.”
Did you get it? Read it again. Is it sinking in? Where you abide…in whom you abide…that is everything. Because if you aren’t abiding in Him, you are apart from Him. And apart from Him, you can do nothing. I can do nothing. The church can do nothing.
How mighty, supreme, and omnipotent of a God we serve, that apart from Him there is nothing we can do, because we have no strength of our own.
How gracious a God we serve, that He would be patient and loving enough to allow us to depend on Him for our every need.
Oh, but in Him, there is fruit. There is mercy, faithfulness, grace, hope, and so much goodness. In Him there is saving of souls, life eternal, joy everlasting, and a peace that passes understanding. Abide there. Allow Him to break your heart if it means coming back to a place of abiding in Him. Let Him wreck you and reveal to you where you are and what you are—no matter how far away, or how filthy, or how sinful. Let Him draw you back to Himself, because being apart from Him is like being a branch cut off from the vine: fruitless, dead, and futile.
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