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Echoes From the Campfire--January 2

"Each day must be approached as a unit; each day must be lived with care; and if this was done, the procession of days would turn out all right. Tomorrow must be a shadow at the back of his thinking, something of which he must think while living out today."
--Louis L'Amour (Last of the Breed)

"That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless."
--Ephesians 5:27 (NASB)
A new year is upon us, now what do we do with it? A time of resolutions, and no, these are not suggestions if they are truly resolutions. A resolution is not something that is to be broken. By the very name it is something that you "resolve" to do. And that is as much as I'll say about that--at least for now.
     I have pondered what would be some good verses to start out the New Year. Verses that can lay a foundation for the year--for life. In doing some reading the past few days I came to the conclusion that John 15 would be good.

"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. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned."
--John 15:4-6 (NKJV)

As believers, we know that we are the branch and that Jesus Christ is the vine. With that in mind what is the branch supposed to do? Not hard, so don't try to think too much. Simply, we are to live an abiding life. We are supposed to abide in Him, so that our purpose may be fulfilled and that is to bear much fruit. It is a sobering thought that when the Lord looks at us and we are not connected, not abiding in Him we will wither and He will cut us off and throw us into the fire.
     If you look at the first three verses, it is clear that to bear fruit and to maintain proper nourishment from the vine that pruning must take place. Ouch! Oh me, oh my! Yes, it can hurt, but only for our betterment. Jesus tells us that "by our fruit we shall be known." What did you produce in 2018? Hmmm.... In other words, what kind of character do you have and are you developing it in Christ? Look at a person, their actions, their habits, their entertainment, and you can pretty much tell what type of fruit they are producing. If they declare, "I can do this," "don't be so legalistic," or "that's only your opinion, I don't agree with it," you pretty much know if they are hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
     One of the most important aspects of this--does His Word abide in you? Do you simply your duty and read a verse once a day? Maybe you get a little vaccine or booster shot once in a while at church and do a "spiritual jig" and come out feeling that you are righteous and holy. Sorry, that won't cut it. "Be ye holy, for I am holy," (1 Peter 1:16) When the Gardener comes He will find you withered.
     But you say, I can't do this all day long. I have to work, I have this or that to do. "The "abiding" work is the work of the heart, not of the brain or the muscle, the work of the heart clinging to and resting in Jesus, a work in which the Holy Spirit links us to Christ Jesus." (Andrew Murray) Don't be led astray in this last days thinking that you can be partakers of the world, joining in with the earthly indulgences. No, Christ will come back for those without spot or wrinkle and perhaps in 2019, we best be ironing out the wrinkles.

D.C. Adkisson

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