Category Archives: Refined by the Word

So how do we “abide”?

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A friend who faithfully reads the Journey and often sends me back her thoughts (which I dearly love hearing), mentioned that we often confuse “abide” with “abode.” I was so thankful to see this in print because it was an aha! moment for me. 

Because yet again I thought I understand the word and no, I don’t.

Abode in my mind is my house, which is very much true..but again the linguists have left a rabbit trail for the “house” of which we abide in…is temporary. 

Again we find that our abode is a place where we wait…stay…an active kind of remaining in one place. 

So we understand that abiding, dwelling, remaining is not a stagnate state but instead a waiting full of activity.

As a sojourner we are making a place of stopping, while always doing the work required in that place and readying ourselves to move on in the same way. 

Which leaves me yet again at the question, what does it mean to “abide” in Christ and Him in me…what does it look like, this place of remaining?

There are several references in Scripture that allude to the answer:

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in my word, you really are my disciples.” John 8:31     

Anyone who does not remain in Christ’s teaching but goes beyond it does not have God. The one who remains in that teaching, this one has both the Father and the Son. 2 John 9

It would seem that abiding in Him and Him in me involves me continuing to study and apply His teachings. Every single time you and I listen to a sermon, study through one of the many lessons available to us online and through our churches, follow a rabbit trail through Scripture or ponder what we read that morning and pray for God to show us how to live it…we are abiding/remaining/sojourning in Him and Him in us. 

The one who says he is in the light but hates his brother or sister is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother or sister remains in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother or sister is in darkness, walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he’s going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 1: 8-11

If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him – how does God’s love reside in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in action and in truth. 1 John 3: 17-18

Abiding in Him and Him abiding in us should be stirring up love and compassion for our brothers and sisters in Christ. We live in a world where not agreeing with someone is equated with hating them. This is not the case. 

Don’t let the propaganda of political correctness override the truth that love has nothing to do with agreeing with people. Affirming everyone’s “truth” in order to keep peace and harmony is not love. 

However, neither is spouting Truth and slinging arrows hither and yon, in the name of Jesus. 

Look deeply into either of those passages and you will see the hard work of overcoming our human preferences for people and loving them as God does. 

I heard a quote this week about an avowed atheist who said he had no respect for Christians who didn’t openly share their faith. He said basically, if you believe that Jesus saves and you are unwilling to share that because of fear, than you don’t really love as you say He loved. 

Ouch…ouch…ouch…

Abiding means that I live in how God loves and I let His love live in me and override my preconceived notions about what His work might look like in someone else’s life. 

If someone is a believer, whether I agree, like, prefer, would choose to have coffee with them once a week or not….every time I fight off my flesh and love that one well, I abiding in Him and He is abiding in me. 

Truly praying for people is often the starting point for that place of love and compassion to be fueled with the power of God’s Spirit in me. Actions flow as he guides me in how to speak truth, act in truth, and love those He has placed with me on the journey. 

If you want a little study exercise to do, look up the passages that include the word “abide” and “remain” and start listing what God’s word describes this to look like in daily life. Then meditate and pray for Him to show you how to do it better. 

I will be back with my own discovery tomorrow…hope you join me <3

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Glad you “remained” around for another day of this little word study <3

www.laurareimer.net

It’s a rainy day here in the prairie and we are starting to feel a little soggy. However, a bright spot has occurred as I look out on our patio. For the first time in the history of us deciding we wanted to put up a couple of bird feeders, the past few days have been a treat because some a couple of couples of goldfinches have been frequenting the premises. Between those and our cardinal couple that nests in the tulip bush every year, I am in bird-watching heaven. 

It’s the little things…always. 

But for today we turn our thoughts to the current topic of abiding. 

I have been enjoying keeping the laptop, concordance, Bible and some pieces of notepaper on the counter already this week, stopping when a moment or two allows to do some more exploring on this word search.

Yesterday I found notes for a sermon given on December 30, 2019 about what we can expect when we “abide” in Jesus. Pastor Billy Johnson of new Covenant Christian Ministries was kind enough to leave his outline on the internet. I wish he had put a P.S. since he had no idea how powerful his words would be as 2020 played out. 

Here are five things he points to that we can count on when we “abide”:

Pruning…we will be pruned. Old and dead and non-producing parts of our lives will be snipped off. Fruit-bearing parts will also be subject to removal. It hurts. It is not fun. But it will happen when we abide.

Purity…if we are abiding in Christ we are clean. He says the word of God flows through us as we remain in Christ and His teachings. Our perspectives and attitudes are changed and transformed to match His. And He is holy and pure so we are being purified and cleansed on the regular. 

Power…God has given us the full power of the Holy Spirit at work in us and through us when we abide in Him

Productivity…all that pruning and all that purifying and all that power are given so that we don’t just bear fruit, but we bear MORE fruit. 

Prayers are answered…As we abide in Him our prayers are prayed from His perspective, according to His will and we will see and experience God at work as we pray. 

Pastor Billy Johnson

All of these points are found in John 15: 1-8

I read through that passage several times today and circled the word ‘remain’ every time it appears. Let me just tell you, an English teacher or the Yoast SEO app would highly criticize this method.

Repeating a word over and over in several paragraphs is a big no-no in the writing world. 

I love how God breaks the no-no’s of human logic.

If He, who spares words so often in filling in the blanks of many accounts in the Scriptures, uses a word that many times…perhaps we need to tune in and see what He is telling us. 

Hope you will continue to “remain” with me this week as we continue to see what He might be trying to get us to understand <3 

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Are you up for chasing rabbits today?

www.laurareimer.net

Well we missed a few days here on the Journey. 

Thursday we woke in the wee hours of the morning to realize the power was off. With an early morning start up north for the day, Lola got ready with neither a curling iron nor a cup of coffee. 

Some things we just need to put in the past and move onward…it’s all I can say. Except it should be added, I married a saint because he made sure we stopped at the nearest Casey’s and even offered to go in for me to spare my dignity. 

Friday was just a hurry up and go morning, too and I let it get away from me so no post that day either…sigh.

I DID have something I wanted to share with you, so better late than never. 

Maybe I shared with you about the Graceland Quarterly offered by Ruth Chou Simons. I think annual subscriptions are no longer available this year, but you might be able to order individual quarters now. 

This is a perfect size both physically and material-wise for a weekly addition to my journaling time. The spring edition is called “Sow” and fittingly with the season we associate with planting seeds, it has been a Vitamin C to my anemic devotional time after finishing the Elijah study. 

Last week, she talked about abiding and had me look up the word in a dictionary. 

Have you ever thought you knew the meaning of a word and glossed over it or used it in your writing or speaking and not really understood it?

Me too.

I would love to just ask each of you to define “abide” in your own words and see what we come up with. 

I have to say for me, I tended to associate the word “abide” with what it is for me to live in our home. 

So anytime I read how I should abide with Jesus as He abides with God, I kind of pictured my daily existence within this brick and mortar and siding and decorated house. Moving about, maintaining, doing what needs to be done, living out daily life…abiding. 

Not so. 

Using our well-loved and much-used Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary published in 1973, I found these definitions:

Archaic: to wait for. 

Current: Await, endure without yielding, withstand. To bear patiently. To accept without objection. To remain stable or fixed in a state, to continue in place. To sojourn (to stay as a temporary resident).

Synonyms: stay, continue, bear

The basic idea is a patient waiting, a temporary stay where one remains in a stable and fixed state…

This led me to a further search for meaning and understanding. Sometimes I find that discovering the antonyms helps me better comprehend what the meaning of a word. By seeing what the opposite would be, I can lock in the essence of the word I am studying. 

Antonyms: abandon, avoid, depart, forfeit, forfend, journey (uh-oh), migrate, move, proceed, reject, resist, shun. 

So to abide, it would seem at first glance, is to stay, remain, sojourn, for the amount of time designated. To live, dwell and yes to make a home in the temporary nature of the place where you are for whatever season. 

I will have to do some more pondering it would seem…and I have to say that part of the journey…is the sojourning…so there is that. 

On we will head today to the concordance and a few commentaries and see what we find…I love a good rabbit trail. I hope you will join the fun and ponder a bit for yourself what it means to abide in Him and have Him abide in you <3

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