To Abide In Jesus Is Your Number One Priority

What’s your primary concern today? Is it your marriage? Your children? Your relationships? Your finances? Your home? Your job? Your health? If you’re like most of us, you probably spend a lot of time and energy trying to figure out how to change your situation and circumstances. Finding the solution – no matter what problems occupy your mind today – begins with a single step: to abide in Jesus. In fact, abiding will always be Your Number One Priority.

I hope yesterday’s post started you thinking about Who God is for you and helped you remember where your identity originates. There’s a lot more to say on those topics, so we’ll get back to them later. But for today, let’s consider your mental focus.

[callout]Jesus said, “I am the Vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. ” (John 15:5)[/callout]

That’s the perfect picture of what it means to abide in Jesus!

  • Stay attached.
  • Keep your mental focus on Him.
  • Remember that He will never leave you.

How do you do that? It takes work to be sure. But it’s pleasant work.

  1. Start your day – even before your coffee – by thanking Him for being with you.
  2. Whenever your thoughts wander to something troubling, bring them back into focus by recalling Scripture that addresses your situation.
  3. Thank Him that it’s His pleasure to instruct you, to bless you and keep you, and to provide for your needs.

QUESTIONS

  • What is your Number Once Concern today? Right now. This very minute.
  • What Scripture comes to mind for your situation? If nothing pops up, you can do a quick keyword search here.

Post your comments here or send me a message > mail@drdebismith.com

Is there more to being a Christian?

I’ve always believed that being a Christian should make a real difference – not only in terms of where we spend the hereafter – but also in the here-and-now of our daily existence. So how do we connect the dots between what we believe about our relationship with The Trinity and what happens to us in “real” life? Or do we?

As you may recall from Genesis 3, the serpent started up a conversation with Eve back in The Beginning. The most crafty of beings, he got her to question …

  • God’s goodness and
  • her own identity.

If you’re going to connect those dots …

… between what you believe and what you experience, you need to know the Truth about those same 2 Things!

[callout]“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” ― A.W. Tozer[/callout]

The enemy probably tries to do the same thing to you he did to Eve – virtually every day. He plants doubt to get you to question God’s care and personal involvement in your life.

But mostly, he distracts you with what’s going on in the physical realm – what you can know with your five senses. He wants to keep you thinking the spiritual realm is just something that happens in the movies.

He doesn’t want you to know who you really are in Christ because he knows he wouldn’t stand a chance against you. So he does the only thing he can do: confuse and intimidate you with everything that’s going wrong – to keep you living your life in the flesh.

My Prayer for You (Purloined from Paul)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

~ Ephesians 3:14-19, NIV

And that’s where I’m heading this year. Are you with me?

Joyful Anticipation

“I know the plans I have for you. They will stretch you. They are stretching you now. My plans are for your good and the only way you will be truly happy. Trust me. You are more dear and precious to me than you realize. I put those desires in your heart, and I am the only one who can fulfill them.

Walk closely to me. You cannot screw this up. You cannot even delay it when you become fearful because I’m at work in your anxious times, too.

  • Do not let shame rule over you. Do not listen to those lies.
  • I will turn your mourning into dancing.
  • You will face challenges, and you will overcome them all.

Watch me. Watch what I do next. You’re going to love this one!

Love, Papa

Destiny … via Detours

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

If you’ve read Our Vision, you know Divine Destiny can create some pretty cool concepts. But if you only look at what’s happening right now – and if you don’t know the Lord’s ways, you might begin to wonder about me and my ability to hear God’s voice.

But if you do know The Lord,
then you totally understand the cool concept of detours.

Right now, I live in Los Angeles.
But my office is still in the OC.
It’s interestingly complicated.

Google Maps helps me find my way to work each day. Depending on the time of day I leave and the current flow of traffic, the mysterious voice (small “v”) coming through my car’s audio system tells me which way to go.

Most of the time, the voice sends me east on the 101, then south on the 405. But some days, the voice tells me to take the 118 to the 5. Which is actually 2 miles longer. But still may be the fastest route.

For today, that is.

Once I’ve heard the instructions and headed in the given direction, the voice (small “v”) reassures me:

You are on the fastest route, and your route is clear.
You will arrive at ____ (the quoted time).

Pretty cool.

GPS > God’s Positioning System

I realize that God is the One Who has put me where I am today – for His purposes. And – just as He’s promised – it will all be for my good. And being on a Detour puts me in Good Company.

  • Remember Joseph? Dr. Tony Evans has an inspiring sermon series called Detours to Destiny, which you can download … or watch on YouTube. Or read a summary here.
    • Joseph was the spoiled, favored son of Israel.
    • And he had a lot to learn on his way to his destiny.
  • Remember the Exodus? Moses led the Hebrews out of Egypt toward The Promised Land. It could have been an 11-day walk. But it took them 40 years.
    • The Hebrews had been slaves for 400 years.
    • And they had a lot to learn about how to follow Yahweh.

Learning to Follow

Am I taking the Long Road? Yes. The Scenic Route. I still have a lot to learn. And The Lord is faithful to His Promises. And He is making my path straight. That is, He is in the process of positioning me (physically and relationally) and preparing me (spiritually and emotionally) to fulfill His Purpose in my life.

As I listen to the Lord’s instructions and follow Him – even if it seems illogical, His Voice (Capital “V”) reassures me:

You are on the fastest route, and your route is clear.
You will arrive on time.

Hallelujah!

QUESTIONS: How about you? What is your Destiny?

  • If you don’t know, ask. God will be happy to tell you. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • If you already know, are you on a Detour? Ask The Lord what He where He wants you and what He wants to teach you during this season of you life. He will be happy to tell you. (Jeremiah 33:3)

How cool is that?

When it’s more blessed to receive …

If you’ve been following me or have read my most recent book, you know that I grew up without my dad. Back then moms were expected to stay home with their kids. So that’s what my mom did.

She took very good care of my brother and me, but we didn’t have a lot. Christmas meant one gift each … often bought through the genius of my mother’s financial expertise, which could best be described as the Robbing-Peter-to-Pay-Paul method of survival.

On more than one occasion, we were the recipients of Holiday Cheer bestowed on needy families by a local charity. I remember receiving a food basket one year. Literally, it was a bushel basket filled with all kinds of tasty goodies … and some items we’d never seen nor heard of … and never opened.

But the time I remember most was the year of the Shopping Spree. I was in junior high. I don’t know how many kids were involved, but I do know I was one of them. The local discount store was still closed when a bunch of us kids were bused to the front door and turned loose inside to made purchases for ourselves.

What was the limit? I never asked.

I remember a volunteer trying to get me to make a decision about what I wanted. I’m sure we were there for more than an hour. It actually seemed like several hours, though I don’t recall. I ended up with one pair of dark teal slacks – made of lightweight material – and a coordinated printed cotton blouse. Not the warmest choice for a Kansas winter.

The volunteer tried to talk me into other things, but I respectfully declined. It wasn’t that I thought I was above receiving. I was just taught that you should never ask for anything. Never. Not even when something’s freely offered to you.

The enemy still uses that one against me today.

  • He has continually attacked my finances, my relationships … and my identity.
  • He tells me I can’t have what the Lord Himself has promised.
  • All of Heaven’s resources are available to me.
  • Yet – when I fall for the lies, I still opt for my own limitations.

Yes, I have far too often believed the enemy’s lies.

Maybe you have, too. We believe that we must suffer in silence … payment for our mistakes as well as our blatant sins. And we fail to receive the blessings the Lord has stored up for us. Wait! Didn’t Jesus die to pay for all of that?

That’s all a lie! And this means war.

If you’re like me, and you’re still struggling with the same old mindset … and the same problems keep you up at night, you’re probably stuck in some sort of Negative Cycle. We clearly need a new Strategy for Life.

One of my favorite Bible teachers is Priscilla Shirer, author of Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. She puts it this way:

Strategies? Yes. Because as you may have noticed, the battles your enemy wages against you – especially the most acute, consistent ones – possess a personality to them, an intimate knowledge of who you are and the precise pressure points where you can most easily be taken down. Random accident? Lucky guess? I don’t think so. There areas of greatest fear and anxiety in your life are clues to some important spiritual information. They reveal, among other things, that a personalized strategy has been insidiously put in place to destroy your vibrancy and render you defeated. It’s been drawn up on the blackboard by someone who knows where you live and whom you love, knows your customary tendencies, and knows from long experience how best to exploit every single on of them. And maybe up until now, it’s been working.
(pp. 6-7)

But those days are over! Are you with me?

Théoden: I will not risk open war.
Aragorn: Open war is upon you, whether would risk it or not.

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers