5 Steps to Abide in Love No Matter What

Power filled Positive Living—Chapter 18C—5 Steps to Abide in Love no matter what

In Christ we have everything that we need. Resting (Abiding) in Christ, we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us. We have the very presence of God’s Love for Christ and Christ’s love for the Father flowing through our being with all the power and might that Perfect Love can bring. That is the transforming power within us to lift us up—cause us to continue in Joy. Look, what Christ told the Apostles, “9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. …11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15) He is telling the very men who are about to have their whole world turned upside down by the death and crucifixion of Christ. At first, they will scatter confused until He appears to them in His resurrected body. Christ is telling the very followers who will be facing persecution, hunger, loss, beatings and even death to further the gospel that by abiding in His Love they might have His joy remain in them and their joy might be full. How?

future graceThe picture is used with permission of Good Salt, the writings I have added.

How do I have joy or hope when everything I had dreamed of or hoped for has fallen apart? How does one trust when their job is gone and they don’t know how they will provide for their family? What about when your children are sick, how can you have joy? Or when that dreaded diagnosis of cancer comes like a thief in the middle of your night to steal your joy—How? What about when your heart is broken? How do you abide in love and joy when all you want to do is cry?

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The Life Giving Vine-my Greatest Treasure

Power-filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 18B-The Life Giving Vine-my Greatest Treasure

To rest in God’s love, joy, and peace; we must first rest in the truth of our salvation by faith in Christ. That is what Christ was saying in the parable about the vine. Let’s look at those verses once more: ““1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15)

At first glance, one might think this supports the idea of losing one’s salvation, since the branch can be taken away and burned; but that would be contrary to the rest of the Bible’s teaching and even the remainder of what Christ is saying here. If we look throughout the Bible historically the grape vine and the fig tree were at times representative of the spiritual standing of the people of God. Just as salvation in the New Testament is by faith, so was salvation in the Old Testament. Without faith, there is no hope of salvation for fallen man. The Jewish nation were chosen by God to be His people; yet, many branches (including the Pharisees and Sadducees who were too blinded by self-exalting pride to recognize Christ as the Messiah) would have to be removed from the vine. Meanwhile, salvation came to the Gentiles through faith and all we who accept Christ as our Savior are grafted into the true vine. So the first question is:

Rest in God

Do you know Christ as your Savior? Do you have the life-flowing sap in your branches? If so, then you will bring forth fruit. It may require a lot of pruning; but, you will. We can rest in that truth. Christ has said that He is the true vine, the sap—the energy flows through Him into the branches. No branch has any life without the life-giving power of the vine.

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Resting in Christ-Abiding in Him

Power-filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 18 A-Resting in Christ-Abiding in Him

It was mid-November, 2000 Melissa had returned to her home in California, Alberto was at the University of Missouri, Ronald was at the Kubert School of Art in New Jersey, and I was all alone, still recovering from the surgery in which my colon was removed. I had planned it that way. I felt my children had been through and seen enough of suffering, illness and even death. I had not expected the setback, the high fevers which had required my driving myself 4 hours back to the hospital and then home a week later with all the equipment in hand to administer the antibiotics myself. I couldn’t afford home health nurses, so I knew I could do this and I did. Besides, I was never good at asking for anyone to help me—somewhat of a “do it myself” kind of girl. It would be soon that I would go back for the final stage of surgery where they would “take down” the ileostomy; but, for the moment I had a very unruly ileostomy. Awakened each night in the middle of the night because the bag broke, I would be forced to get up, take a shower and surrounded by towels, attempt to replace it. That ordeal could take hours to accomplish. Shivering with cold, tears pouring down; I felt desperately lonely in those moments. Yet, I had made the choice to do all this alone.

broken Artwork used by permission of Ronald Barba

Very often, in this Christian journey; I have done that. I have looked into heaven and said, “I can do it.” So often, I have wanted to prove to God that I was worthy of His love. If I just tried a little harder I would make God proud of me. What has taken me a lifetime to learn is that the only way I can bring Him Glory is to learn how to rest in Him. Abiding in Christ is the only way I can live forth a life that honors Him. There is nothing that these hands of mine can do apart from Him that could bring Him Glory.

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In Christ, Sweet Victory is Mine

In Christ, Sweet Victory is Mine

By Effie Darlene Barba

In Christ, Sweet Victory is mine

Resting in Christ, Such Joy sublime!

In Christ my hope eternity

Redeemed, Beloved in Christ I be

Beauty and Grace in Christ I found

Glorious Hope in Christ abound

 

A heart so filled with pain and grief

How deep I plunged with no relief

From battles fought and battles lost

My search for joys whate’er the cost

I could not bear my weight of shame

My heart cried out “I am to blame”

 

Then in that deepest darkest hour

Rays of light did hope empower

It was the truth of God’s dear word

A whispering sound of grace I heard

Glorious hope did then abound

Love’s arms engulfed me all around

 

I gazed upon a cross of pain

While tears fell down like pouring rain

His hand reached out to set me free

As sorrow turned to joy filled glee

I realized in God’s dear Son

The greatest treasure I had won

 

And herein lies the mystery

The one the world doth shun to see

That in the midst of sorrows here

I’d learned to see His Glory clear

I lay all else as loss behind

The one true source of joy is mine

 

His Glory shining brighter still

As I conforming to His will

Rejoice amidst my darkness hour

Weakness turns to mighty power

While drenched beneath torrential rain

My spirit singing this refrain:

 

In Christ, Sweet Victory is mine

Resting in Christ-Such Joy sublime!

In Christ my hope eternity

Redeemed, Beloved in Christ I be

Beauty and Grace in Christ I found

Glorious Hope in Christ abound

©2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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The Validity and Reliability Testing of Faith

Power filled Positive Thinking Chapter 17C- The Validity and Reliability Testing of Faith

When we evaluate anything in our life we search to know whether it is valid and whether it is reliable. This is true of relationships, thoughts, new ideas, inventions, items we purchase, new “breakthroughs” in science, the cars we drive, and even, the diets we choose to eat. We don’t wish to look gullible or foolish. We test things in order to find out if they really are valid and are really reliable. We want to know, “can we trust them.”

How then can I hold firm to peace when all around me there is chaos? When all my human desires lay broken and shattered at my feet, how can I move forward knowing that “all is well”? When my heart is crushed by the weight of this world’s sorrows, where do I find that fountain of joy that allows me to tenderly, genuinely smile?

the power to live

Where is the power that allows me to live positively and to think positively in every situation of this life? That is what I have found in Christ. As my Savior and King, He has purchased and sealed for me a relationship with God—one that has been tested and tried throughout my lifetime and been proven both valid and reliable.

It has been through the trials that I have come to know how faithful God is. It has been through dark valleys that I have learned how to feel his presence ever with me. It has been in the silence of my loneliest and darkest nights that I have heard His gentle, soft voice whispering a word of comfort or singing a song of joy over me.

But you might ask, “Where is the proof that the gospel is true?”

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Hope and Joy in the Midst of Tragedy

Power-filled positive living-Chapter 17B-Hope and Joy in the Midst of Tragedy

Hope that rises out of tears. Joy that sustains in the midst of tragedy. Strength that arises in the midst of pain. A spark of glory that shines through the darkness. All that sounds like fairy tales when you are in the midst of suffering. Ahh, my dear friends and readers; how, I wish I could take your heavy, wounded hearts and hold you close so I could tell you, “It really is going to be ok.” God has a plan for your good, for your joy and all of heaven is at work to bring that to pass. How can I be so certain and where is the proof to calm your weary soul? My certainty? It comes from having seen the mighty hand of God reach out to this frightened, weary soul in the midst of tragedy. I have seen His light of Glory shine through the veils of my own tears to lift my spirit to soar on heights beyond my greatest dreams through it all. I can tell you with assurance that God will calm the storm in your heart only because I have been in that storm many times. Isn’t that what Paul also said? Look again at 2 Corinthians 6 very closely. “in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” The proof of Paul’s ministry was the strength, hope, love and joy to keep proclaiming the name of Christ in the midst of persecution, afflictions, and sorrow.

Sovereign plan of joy

Oh, I don’t want pain, trials and sufferings; but, I have come to recognize that my Sovereign and Gracious Heavenly Father only allows the trials on the pilgrimage journey so as to bring ultimate joy, hope, faith, and glory to my life. I have learned that He allows me to even fail at times so that I might see Him clearer and be filled with the awe and wonder of His magnificent beauty.

My own journey through many tragedies has lead me to understand that God allows these pains and trials in our lives for 5 reasons.

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If I am God’s Child, then why pain?

Power filled Positive Thinking—Chapter 17a-If I am God’s Child, then why pain?

It was late October, 1998 in the midst of my Master’s Program. I was to start a new assignment that week, so I had delayed my 4 hour trip to Vanderbilt until Monday morning so I could stay home with my sons one more night. I made the trip every week to Vanderbilt where I stayed in the dorm and returned every Friday. It had been a family decision that I go; yet, there was still a part of me that wondered if I was doing the right thing. Well that particular morning, I could not find my car keys. I searched for hours—the boys were already off to school as I frantically searched to no avail. At 11 am I called a locksmith, who was able to create a key and I could start my journey toward Vanderbilt.

 

hope arises from darkness

Along that drive, I wondered why the delay; but, something inside kept saying, “God is Sovereign and my delay must have had a purpose beyond proof of my own disorganization; but, I was uncertain as to what that purpose could be.”

There was a 30 minute stretch of road where I could hear a Christian station on the radio and as I neared that area, Alistair Begg’s voice came on. I had never heard of him before, but was quickly drawn in as he preached on, “When the wheels fall off.” I scratched down the phone number quickly at the end of the broadcast and later in the evening called to order the tapes. That evening when I called home, Alberto asked me why I left my keys in his bathroom—so they were found in plain sight. The next morning, full of hope, faith and vigor I went to see the Doctor for the results of a breast biopsy. My step was bouncing, I knew God had this controlled and my prayers had been heard. Suddenly, in an instant my world twirled around as I heard the surgeon say,

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God Sends You A Note

When I look back over my life, I cannot help but see how God’s Sovereign hand has orchestrated every tear, every heartbreak, every aspiring hope, every spark of love in my heart,  every laugh of joy and every awe struck moment in which I saw a glimpse His Glory. It is that mighty hand of Sovereign Grace which has brought so many people into my life throughout this journey.  Some I barely saw for an instant, some have been present throughout my lifetime and some have interwoven  my life like a needle and thread on a tapestry, entering and leaving. The amazing thing is how God has used each and everyone to step by step transform and heal the brokenness within my own heart. In His Sovereignty, He allows the joys, the dreams, the loves, the hopes, the desires, the pains, the rejections and the sorrows. He knows each and every scar that I carry in the darkest crevices of my heart which weighs me down and prevents me from being able to see the magnitude of His Glory, His Love and His Joy.  He knows where I am most vulnerable to Satan’s whispering lies. He knows that there are scars from this world of sin which can only be healed by a Surgeon’s knife reopening that scar and revising it with great skill. God does just that. I thank God for each and every person that God has used in my life for that purpose. Those whom unwittingly have been used to cut open those scars and those who have been there to heal them. My prayer is that God fills the heart, each and everyone, with His Joy and His peace.

God Sends You a Note

By Effie Darlene Barba

God sends you a note

Though someone else wrote

A text or a rhyme or a quote

And through what was said

A hope fills your head

As down some path you felt lead

Joy fills your heart

And flames with a spark

Like a dream, a beginning, a start

Then something goes wrong

Like some sad country song

And you feel like you just don’t belong

Then you lift up your eyes

Filled with tears toward the skies

And you ask God to please tell you why

While tears fall like rain

And your heart breaks with pain

Your sorrow no truth can explain

It had nothing to do

With the one before you

As the truth your dear heart doth pursue

God saw deep within

Saw the scars held therein

Left behind from the past where you’d been

So God sent you this oar

To help find the shore

And to force you to unlock that door

So the wound could now heal

And that burden so real

Could be crushed so that now you might feel

The release from that chain

That had caused so much strain

So, God’s joy and His Glory might reign

©2015 Effie Darlene Barba

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post.  I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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The Gravest Type II Error of Mankind

Power filled Positive Thinking-chapter 16c- The Gravest Type II Error of Mankind

As we began this chapter, I spoke of the Power to reject the null hypotheses of life. We are not mere victims of whatever chance may bring. In Christ we have the power to reject the null hypotheses and find meaning, purpose, peace and joy in this world. We can have the power that can give us hope in the midst of our darkest trials—the power that can cause a bleeding broken heart to love again, and the power that lifts us out of our darkest moments of despair, causing us to sing with joy. The knowledge of who I am in Christ fills me with just that kind of power. It is not a power based on what I can do to make myself better. It is not based upon my “thinking myself” into being a better person. It is not a power based upon my own abilities to transform myself into someone worthy of God’s love or even man’s love. It is a power based upon the truth of the Gospel.

jesus christ pictureArtwork courtesy of Ronald Barba and is protected under copyright.  Copies may be purchased at:  http://fineartamerica.com/art/all/ronald+barba/all

The power that can bring true joy in the midst of trials can only be found in a relationship with God. That power was purchased by God’s grace and freely bestowed upon this broken vessel right where I am. It is His power in me that is my hope. It is knowing that He is Sovereign over my life.

The power to always rejoice in praise comes from knowing that I am His beloved, chosen, blessed, redeemed Child—heir of royalty. He will complete the work He began in me. My futile human efforts can never measure up; however, His mighty work in and through me cannot be thwarted by my stumbling and bumbling. Only a mighty, powerful God can take all my failures and turn them into His success story. That is amazing!! That is Grace!! That is the gospel!!

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Don’t Be Victim of the World’s Type I Error of Life

Power-filled Positive Thinking-Chapter 16 B- Type I Error of Life

There has been a huge movement throughout the churches as well as the secular world regarding positive thinking. It is based upon the belief that through positive thinking, we as individuals can achieve great and mighty things. I can transform myself by focusing on only positive thoughts of who I want to be—I can become anyone I choose and become the world’s next rags to riches success if I only believe hard enough. I can face the mirror each morning and tell myself how young, beautiful, amazing, slender, successful, and wonderful I am. The idea being that the mind is a very powerful thing and by performing this type of ritual, I will become the person I have proclaimed myself to be.

abounding joy

The problem with the world’s positive thinking philosophy being, if I need to be continuously propping myself up by telling myself these things; that, in itself is an indicator that there is something broken inside me. I need a power greater than me to transform me and to be my hope.

Kenneth Lay, was considered one of the greatest rags to riches success stories. He was awarded the Horatio Alger’s Award by Norman Vincent Peale who was the reigning President of this prestigious club in 1998. The club was founded by Kenneth Beebe and bestows its honorary award and indictment into membership on those who despite adversity have rose to success—the rags to riches. Kenneth Lay, the founder and CEO of Enron fully believed in positive thinking and never allowing doubt to slow you down. Then Enron, which was built on one man’s optimism, was found to be no more than a “house of cards” which tumbled into bankruptcy taking with it the retirement funds of thousands of people who had been fooled into believing the same false positivism based on nothing but words and fictitious accounting.

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