Happiest Christmas! I am amazed to be writing my last post of 2017. It has been a blessed journey with 66books this year, and I am grateful.
As I look to the year ahead, John 15 directs my heart and my mind; fills me with knowledge of my true priority (Jesus and abiding- to bear true, good fruit); exhorts me to lay down my life in love; and that difficulty and hatred should not surprise me, rather I should glorify God and find unity in Him in the midst.
Sometimes, I find myself lost amidst the shifting obligations of each day, even each hour, in my large, busy family. I find myself again in the truth of God’s Word.
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. 5 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. John 15 ESV
An exhortation to find my life in Christ. Now more than ever before, I find myself more easily consumed by the cares of the world. I need to value true fruit whose source is in Christ. Everything else will be burned and tossed away. I ponder: how can I invest myself in fruit that will last? As I face the new year, what changes will I make to invest more fully in the Lord and His calling?
9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15 ESV
Love. I recently read a profound blog post- found here that perfectly articulated the idea of God’s “given love.” It has been with me, resounding in heart, ringing in my mind ever since. “Abide in my love.” Beautiful command; O, my heart- Abide.
Christ speaks so that His joy may be in me and my joy may be full.
Much of this first half of the year has been consumed in senior year duties, responsibilities, and priorities for my first-born, and oldest, son. As I read this Scripture, the word joy throbs in my heart. This past week, my son submitted a college admission supplementary essay with the prompt: Celebrate the role of sports in your life. In the end, the essay was about a fullness of joy that basketball has brought him. I think about those words: celebrate, joy. Wonderful words! Wonderful, wild, happy words. I want my life to treasure Christ; therefore, to treasure His Words and be filled with fullness of joy.
2 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.15 No longer do I call you servants,[a] for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. John 15 ESV
I have always pondered the offering of self; the ministry inherent in laying down a life for love. It has informed much of what I do and have done since fully surrendering my life- or rather- growing in that surrender as a young college student. And even as I write that, I am reminded again, deep in my heart, that a life is a continual surrender, a continual re-orientation… and what do I need to do today, this week, this new year- to walk in this surrendered love?
Yet, today, my heart takes note: Christ calls me friend. And He will make known to me from the Father. It is only through reading Scripture and seeking the Lord, will I know and be able to do what Christ commands. And then… friend. And the command is for love. Verse 17: These things I command you, so that you may love one another.
Dear Lord, the hushed anticipation and celebration of Your birth is upon me… and the reality that Love came down; and Love comes near; and the miracle of Incarnation is kindling life and light in my heart. Help me live for You in this new year. Help me be a vessel of Your grace and a minister of Your love. Thank You for Christmas, Lord; and for 66books; and for a year in the Bible; and for the truth of Your Word. Bless the readers and writers. Draw our hearts near. In Christ, I pray.
Note: I am writing this Christmas Eve- and the bustle of my family is all about me; and I am not entirely sure of all the transitions in this post; my little girls are waving the jingle bells they were given at church all through the house, and my dear husband is calling…so I must go…but as always, I have tried to share my heart and a bit of my life. Deepest blessings and Merry Christmas dear 66books!!