VIDEO Glorifying God, Benefits of Abiding in Christ

By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:8

In a modern vineyard, there are three elements: the grapes, the vines, and the vintner—the winemaker. When a wine wins an award, it is not the grape that is honored, nor is the vine dug up and rewarded. Rather, it is the vintner, the winemaker, who is praised for the quality of the wine.

Jesus drew a similar parallel in John 15 in His teaching on bearing fruit. He said His followers are branches that bear the fruit; He is the vine and the Father is the vinedresser or vintner (verse 1). His point is that when we as believers stay connected to the true Vine, Jesus, we will bear much fruit—or at least that is the plan. We stay connected by abiding in Jesus and allowing His words to abide in us (verse 7). The result is that the Father will be glorified when we abide in Jesus and bear much fruit. The glory is not ours; the glory is the Father’s (verse 8).

It is God’s will for us to bear much fruit in His Name—that is how we glorify the Father.

In short, good works are the fruit of saving faith.  R. B. Kuiper

The Benefits of Abiding in Christ, Part 1 (John 15:4–11)

God’s Footprints

How many are your works, Lord! Psalm 104:24

“I know where God lives,” our four-year-old grandson told my wife, Cari. “Where is that?” she asked, her curiosity piqued. “He lives in the woods beside your house,” he answered.

When Cari told me about their conversation, she wondered what prompted his thinking. “I know,” I responded. “When we went for a walk in the woods during his last visit, I told him that even though we can’t see God, we can see the things He’s done.” “Do you see the footprints I’m making?” I had asked my grandson as we stepped through a sandy place by a river. “The animals and the trees and the river are like God’s footprints. We know that He’s been here because we can see the things He’s made.”

The writer of Psalm 104 also pointed to the evidence for God in creation, exclaiming “How many are your works, Lord! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures” (v. 24). The Hebrew word for wisdom found here is often used in the Bible to describe skillful craftsmanship. God’s handiwork in nature proclaims His presence and makes us want to praise Him.

Psalm 104 begins and ends with the words: “Praise the Lord” (vv. 1, 35). From a baby’s hand to an eagle’s eye, our Creator’s artistry all around us speaks of His consummate skill. May we take it all in with wonder today—and praise Him for it!

By:  James Banks

Reflect & Pray

Where do you see God’s handiwork in creation? How might you point someone to it—and to Him—today?

I praise You for all You’ve made, God! Help me to live in wonder at Your wisdom and goodness today.

Reinforcing Our Faith

Jude 1:20-23

Though we’ve considered some ways to identify false teachers, it’s not possible to avoid this destructive influence completely. The best defense is a foundation of faith that enables us to stand firm against the subversive pull of the world. So how can we build a stronger faith?

First, we must saturate our mind with the Word of God. Then the Holy Spirit will bring new insights and help us mature.

Second, it is wise to do as Ephesians 6:18 urges: “Pray at all times in the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit understands exactly what truth we’ll need and when, so continually turning to Him for guidance leads to our protection.

Third, we must abide in the love of God. Of course, believers cannot fall beyond the scope of God’s love, but we shouldn’t take His amazing grace for granted. With that in mind, guard your intimacy with Him and the time you spend in His presence.

Fourth, eagerly await the return of Jesus Christ. The thought that He could return at any moment helps us maintain an eternal perspective (1 John 3:2-3).

Though there is no magic formula for strengthening our faith, the steps laid out in today’s passage will guide us toward God and away from the snares of the world.

Prayer for the Word

“I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O LORD: I will keep thy statutes. I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.” (Psalm 119:145-146)

One of the great privileges we have is the ability to speak directly to our heavenly Father, the Creator of the universe! However, our prayers are often “amiss” (James 4:3) and lack faith (James 1:6).

Not so with this psalmist! He prayed with his whole heart, begging that he “might be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Colossians 1:9). His petition shows a deep spiritual connection to God “with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22).

Note that although the prayer of need recorded in this stanza (Psalm 119:145-152) mentions those who “follow after mischief” (v. 150), most of his conversation with the Father verifies his love for and his hope in God’s Word (v. 147).

This prayer was not routine. “I prevented the dawning of the morning,” the psalmist wrote, and his “eyes prevent the night watches” (vv. 147-148). The matters that drove him to his knees to seek God’s face had kept him awake all night!

Songwriter Mosie Lister wrote “How Long Has It Been?” based on this stanza of Psalm 119:

How long has it been since you talked with the Lord
And told him your heart’s hidden secrets?
How long since you prayed, how long since you stayed
On your knees till the light shone through?

Fortunately, Jeremiah recorded this promise from our Lord: “Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). HMM III

Personal Discipline

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. —1 Corinthians 9:25

Another trap into which the preacher is in danger of falling is that he may do what comes naturally and just take it easy. I know how ticklish this matter is and, while my writing this will not win me friends, I hope it may influence people in the right direction. It is easy for the minister to be turned into a privileged idler, a social parasite with an open palm and an expectant look. He has no boss within sight; he is not often required to keep regular hours, so he can work out a comfortable pattern of life that permits him to loaf, putter, play, doze and run about at his pleasure. And many do just that.

To avoid this danger the minister should voluntarily impose upon himself a life of labor as arduous as that of a farmer, a serious student or a scientist. No man has any right to a way of life less rugged than that of the workers who support him. No preacher has any right to die of old age if hard work will kill him.   GTM094-095

Help us to work hard and faithfully, driven by a sense of passion. Amen.

I Am the Sum of My Thoughts

Casting down imaginations…and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. —2 Corinthians 10:5

Anyone who wishes to check on his true spiritual condition may do so by noting what his voluntary thoughts have been over the last hours or days. What has he thought about when free to think of what he pleased? Toward what has his inner heart turned when it was free to turn where it would?

When the bird of thought was let go did it fly out like the raven to settle upon floating carcasses or did it like the dove circle and return again to the ark of God? Such a test is easy to run, and if we are honest with ourselves we can discover not only what we are but what we are going to become.

We’ll soon be the sum of our voluntary thoughts. BAM046-047

It is possible to have our whole life so possessed by the Holy Spirit that our very thoughts and intuitions will come to us in quietness and simplicity, with the consciousness that they have been touched by His thoughts and illumined by His light, that we are walking continually with our Father, and receiving constantly the testimony that we please God. CTBC, Vol. 2/093

Face to Face

1 Corinthians 13:12

Could anyone question the assertion that there is a great deal more sorrow in the world than joy? A pall of sorrow covers the world. We learn from this statement of Paul, first, that no soul is left totally in the dark. Though as “through a glass darkly,” (1 Cor. 13:12 KJV) yet we see. Abundant mercy has swung in the conscience a lamp which gleams in every man’s path and has fastened a guiding star in the horizon of every man’s soul.

Second, I learn in this “glass darkly” that this world’s clearest and best vision is but a misty and imperfect one. How sadly too many have lost their hold of God simply because they could not trace the full meaning of His dealings, either concerning themselves or those dear to them. How much safer and better do we remember that it was within the planning of God’s love that we should not know now, but know hereafter. This world is not our home—it is a place of sojourn.

Lastly, I see that there is to be an inestimable and indescribable difference between our present day and our eternal tomorrow. We are to enter into His presence; we are to look upon His countenance, nothing between—no glass, no cloud, no time intervening—but “face to face” with Jesus! Now the beclouded view, then a fadeless shining! Now the tumult and the strife, then the rest and eternal life! Now the weeping and the sighing, then the song and the tearless eyes! Now the children dying, then no more parting! Now the graves’ hearts breaking, then the resurrection greeting! Morning with an eternity in it!

Oh, the transforming touch of that hour! We shall find our bereavements; they will meet us as reunions. We shall find our loss rebounding in eternal gain. We shall find our hidden struggles crowned in open victory. We shall find the complete fulfillment of every promise of the Bible, verifying the fondest dreams of the saints. The gates of strife will be closed behind us, the boundary crossed, the veil torn, the morning broken.

Sight unequaled, sound unparalleled, light unrivaled, as the heavenly orchestra catches the strain of the numberless multitude and bursts in with the chorus of the Hallelujah anthem. Oh, it is the “face to face” time! No one can describe the glory. The redeemed break out as every eye is cast on the wounded hands, the riven side, the thorn-pierced brow of the conquering Lord.

Evangeline Booth, Love Is All