The act of abiding

Story: Whitney Palmeter

I’ve been rolling around blog ideas for a few days now. Every time I sit down and start to type, I just don’t seem to go anywhere. I never want to just write to write either, and not have any purpose behind it. So I’ve decided to scratch writing about public transportation, my first week in Portland, good coffee I’ve had, and everything I’ve seen so far to just be honest with where I am.

God has really been pressing some truths into my heart over these past few days. Lots of things that I really need to hear. Through spending time in his word and time with people who love him, the word abide has consistently come up. However, this word is not new to me. I’ve heard it a thousand times.

Abide: (n.) to remain stable or fixed in a state; to continue in a place

Merriam Webster Dictionary

In fact, I have been consistently reminded of this word in the past year. Just a few weeks ago I got it tattooed on my foot, so obviously it has great meaning in my life! I hold fast the verses in John 15:

“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. 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.”

I love the picture that this verse paints. We are branches, secure in the vine. In an actual plant, the vitality of the branches depend totally on the health of the vine. The vine gives the branches nutrients…it gives them life.

The central reason that I get to be a part of GenSend is because my home church, Tri-Cities Baptist, sent out families to start Remedy City in Portland. This past Sunday, I got to be a part of a Remedy City gathering.

I’ll never forget what Josh Carter said at the end of the gathering on Sunday:

“To abide is a daily reminder that without Jesus, there is nothing in me that is life.”

Josh went on to say that before Jesus calls us to do a work, he first desires to do a work in us. We “abide” first, and “do” second. So many times we get these mixed up.

Usually, when we have new experiences, we expect to learn something completely new and groundbreaking that we had never even thought of before (or at least I know I do).

However, I’ve learned that God doesn’t operate like that. Sometime, he pulls us away to teach us basic, beautiful, rich truths about himself and how we relate to him. That is exactly what he has done with me in these past two weeks.

I am reminded of so many truths…

It’s Christ in me that is the source of power, wisdom, and love. | Colossians 1:27 |

Regardless of what I do for him to day, Jesus’ love for me is unchanging. | Romans 8:35–39 |

Christ bears fruit in me first before he send me out. | John 15:16 |

You will never have authentic Biblical community without first abiding in Christ. | Ephesians 2:18–22 |

It is truths like these that comfort me but not to the point of passivity. They propel me forward — in confidence — because I know that Christ “is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:6)

I am thankful that the Lord is so gracious to my wandering heart — he always has been. After all, he brought me all the way to Portland to show me the reality of this: I can do nothing without him.

“I have a great need for Christ; I have a great Christ for my need.”
― Charles H. Spurgeon

(All photos by Whitney Palmeter)

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