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-B - Bow before the Lord daily in prayer and worship (7b&8)
"...you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."
Again, this doesnít mean just rushing through a list of prayer requests, asking God to be your personal "genie." But rather, praising and worshipping Jesus for all He is and has done, speaking openly and honestly with Him about our needs, listening to Him respond to our questions by His Spirit in our hearts. Truly fellowship with Jesus in prayer (Rev. 3:20) "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me."
-I - Imitate His love (9+12)
"As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My loveÖ.No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."
Another way we stay close to Jesus is by seeking to be like Him in our relationships with others. It is allowing the love we experience in our quiet times with Jesus to spill over to people all around us. How does Jesus love us? He loves warmly, passionately, fully, sacrificially. Jesus commanded: "As I have loved you, so love one another." (John 13:34)
-D - Do what He says (10+14)
"If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Fatherís commandments and abide in His love...You are My friends if you do whatever I command you."
It is not enough to just listen to the voice of Jesus, we must believe what He says and act upon it. We know we are walking in harmony with Christ when He says, "Do this," and we do it! When He says, "Donít do that" and we donít do it. And when we mess up, we ask His forgiveness and the enabling power to do it right the next time.
-E - Ever praise Him (11)
"These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full."
If youíre really close to someone, you canít help but compliment them, praise them and magnify them to others. When our hearts are full of the joy of our relationship with Jesus, it canít help but spill out of us in joyous praise. That is why our worship time at the beginning of the service isnít just "a few songs to warm up for the preaching"- it is the time when we get close to the Lord in praise - God says that He "inhabits the praise of His people" (Ps. 22:3) Without the presence of God, there is no point in preaching His Word!
This Thanksgiving week, get in the habit of "EVER PRAISING HIM." Thatís our part - passionately, wholeheartedly seeking the presence of God in His Word, prayer, love, obedience and praise. What is Jesusí part? Just being there! "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." (James 4:8) "Abide in Me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me." (v. 4).
One final question: "What are the benefits of abiding in the Vine?" What will happen if we stay close to Jesus? (even in times of discipline and pruning - especially in times of discipline and pruning). Four wonderful benefits:
(V-I-N-E) "Grape Expections"
-V- VITALITY (v. 6)
"If anyone does not abide in Me,
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