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Abiding in the Vine

Text: John 15:1 - 11 - the topic I was given was prayer

The top 5 biblical ways to find a wife:

1. Find an attractive prisoner of war, bring her home, shave her head, trim her nails, and give her new clothes. Then she's yours. - ( Deuteronomy 21:11-13)

2. Find a prostitute and marry her. - ( Hosea 1:1-3)

3. Find a man with seven daughters, and impress him by watering his flock (Ex 2:16-21)

4. Purchase a piece of property, and get a woman as part of the deal ( Ruth 4:5-10)

5. Go to a party and hide. When the women come out to dance, grab one and carry her off to be your wife. - ( Judges 21:19-25)

We invest a great deal of ourselves in finding a mate. There is the looking, the talking, the spending time together.

Hanging out in places where, just maybe there is someone for you.

Then when you find someone who may be the right person, there are the dates, the meals, the gifts. The time spent with that person.

There are sometimes many false starts on the road to finding a life partner and when you do it is not much better.

In 2001 17% of Australian marriages ended in Divorce within 5 years, and 43% within the first 10 years. While what we were looking for was someone to share our lives with.

Dear God, Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother. Larry

So why do it? Because living your life with someone else is a key way of being happy.

Yet despite the great desire we have for a life partner, despite the emotional, physical energy and money we spend on finding one, Often we leave that partner within a short period of time.

Dear God, I bet it is very hard for you to love all the people in the world. There are only four people in our family and I can never do it. Nan

I don't want to trivialise the issues in maintaining a relationship with a spouse, but one thing my mother said struck me:

My mother and father came to the realisation that they were too busy. Despite the key thing being their relationship, they never seemed to spend time together.

We truly believe that our marriages, our relationships are one of the most important things we have but a large number of us allow them to wither and in a short period die.

It is very easy to do, and I know that I struggle with it. It is not so much what we do but the little things we don't do

Spending time together, appreciating each other, communicating etc.

Dear God, I do not think anybody could be a better God. Well, I just want you to know that I am not just saying this because you are God already. Charles

John records Jesus talking about the relationship between Christ and the church or Christ and the Christian:

"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser"

"Abide in Me and I in you, As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in me'

I am reminded of marriage. To find a partner, to do the work to create a relationship, to commit to that other person. - a huge investment in time and emotion.

This relationship, Christ and the Christian, was created out of the costly work on the cross, out of the commitment we made to Christ, and Christ made to us.

And that was just the beginning.

Then there is the abiding

Dear God, If you watch me in church Sunday, I'll show you my new shoes. Mickey

The correct answer is that being a Christian, is the most important thing in our lives. The correct answer is that our marriages are most important to us.

The question I struggle with is to what extent is being a Christian - being focused on God - central to my life? Less than it should be - there are always things that I am quite willing to do instead.

Dear God, I think about you sometimes, even when I'm not praying. Elliott

Praying is really weird. There are people who have been in church, been Christians for many years and the only way they can pray is to use the Lords prayer.

Sometimes we think that the only way we can approach God is formally with language that we would never use in another situation.

Sometimes our prayer lives consist of set times and periods with a waste of no communication between.

Dear God, Did you mean for the giraffe to look like that or was it an accident? Norma

Dear God, I didn't think orange went with purple until I saw the sunset you made on Tuesday. That was cool! Eugene

Abiding in the vine, being in relationship, calls us beyond set times, set ways of talking to real intimacy. It means being as comfortable formally praying as discussing a sunset with God.

Think of marriage. If married people are together, do they talk? Do they share each other's company? Do they share things that are important to one or both of them?

If we describe this relationship with God in terms of marriage, the challenge is that God is always with us.

Brother Lawrence wrote in the second half of the 1600s

"There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God. Only those can comprehend it who practice and experience it." ... Brother Lawrence

One of the things I really love about Canberra is the views you get of the Brindabellas. I frequently share the experience of surprise and delight I feel when I see them with God.

Dear God, I want to be just like my daddy when I get big, but not with so much hair all over. Sam

Dear God, I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions. Ruth

As we abide, as we live prayer, as we practise the presence of God we become alined with him. His attitudes, his beliefs, his values and his way of thinking become ours.

Pursuing the presence of God, remembering him instead of being focused on other things, actively molds and changes us to be more like him.

We the branches are grafted into the vine, we are attached and the Vine's life flows through us. We become like Christ.

The direct result is answered prayer because we pray in the will of God. His mind becomes our mind.

Dear God, My brother told me about being born, but it doesn't sound right.

Dear God, Instead of letting people die and having to make new ones, why don't You just keep the ones you have now? Jane

Prayer is more than formal times and formal words, although they will be part of it, but an ongoing relationship on many levels. Like any relationship, like marriage, it is the day to day, on-going work on that relationship that makes it strong.

I would encourage you to begin to abide in the vine, begin to practise the presence of God. Our relationship, our connection to the vine and even our fruitfulness are a result of how we build that relationship.

It really doesn't take much to make a change to an attitude that remembers that God is beside you and as the most important thing in your life you will acknowledge him.

Adam was walking around the garden of Eden feeling very lonely, so God asked him,

"What is wrong with you?"

Adam said he didn't have anyone to talk to.

God said that He was going to make Adam a companion and that it would be a woman.

He said,

"This person will gather food for you, cook for you, and when you discover clothing she'll wash it for you. She will always agree with every decision you make. She will bear your children and never ask you to get up in the middle of the night to take care of them. She will not nag you and will always be the first to admit she was wrong when you've had a disagreement. She will never have a headache and will freely give you love and passion whenever you need it.

Adam asked God, "What will a woman like this cost?"

God replied, "An arm and a leg."

Then Adam asked, "What can I get for a rib?"

The rest is history..