(photo credit: Laquetta Brand)
My husband and I went to eat seafood recently at a restaurant on Mobile Bay. As we sat, enjoying our meal, we calmly looked out at the water. We were hoping to get a glimpse of the notorious alligator that peruses the shore line of the bay. There is always much activity to entertain on the shores of Mobile Bay. If not people watching, then bird watching for sure.
There were jumping fish jumping out of the water, mosquitoes galore buzzing around, ducks ducking their heads under the water hoping to catch their dinner, Sea Gulls swooping in and out of the water, and the Sandpipers who stood atop the pier posts.
The Sandpipers reminded me so much of what it means to abide, at all times. They stayed their course in spite of the billowing winds. Water lapped around them as other birds splattered, squealed and squawked, focused they stood strong.
They would raise one leg and then the other. Possibly telling their body, I know it is a little uncomfortable, but this is what we are meant to do. This is where our Creator, God, has placed us, and we will abide no matter the distractions, or storms coming our way. These birds surely must know the secret of abiding.
The word abide means to live well; continue without fading.
He that dwells in the secret place of the most High
shall abide (live well)(continue without fading) under the shadow of the Almighty.
The shepherds understood the importance of abiding.
Luke 2:8 (KJV)
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding (living)(staying) in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
The shepherds were not griping or complaining because they were not the wise men coming from the east. They were simply abiding, being content to be shepherds.
We must choose to abide, like the birds, and shepherds.
Matthew Henry said: "It is the duty of every Christian to be content with his lot, (to abide) and to conduct himself in his rank and place as becomes a Christian. Our comfort and happiness depend on what we are to Christ, not what we are in the world. He should quietly and contentedly abide in the condition in which he is placed by Divine Providence."
Learn from the birds. The Sandpipers were happy being who God made them to be. They didn't appear discontent. The other birds were allowed to make their own noise without the Sandpiper being disturbed. God made them each for a purpose; content to be Sandpipers, doing what Sandpipers do.
As humans, we can have so much of our past hanging onto us until we have problems "abiding" and functioning in the present.
Wrapped up in selfish dreams for the future, until we have problems abiding in the here and now. Satan loves this state of mind. He sits back and watches as we lose our effectiveness for today.
"When abiding, we must ignore the negative voice of the critics and faithfully focus on the Father's voice."
Abiding is all about choices.
Choosing to listen. Choosing to ignore.
Choosing to act. Choosing to be still.
Choosing to live content.
Choosing to be dissatisfied.
What you choose to do, affects you and those in your corner of the world. If we jump headlong into the beautiful pools of the living water, we cause glorious ripples, and our actions lead others closer to Christ.
In contrast, jumping headlong into the cesspools of this world, our actions cause ripples, and our actions affect others negatively. The choice seems obvious to me, we must choose life. Choose the Living Water. Abide, live well, continue without fading, cling to Christ, and live from the secret place.
John 15: (NKJV) 4 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. ...7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
Sing a song of deliverance and stand in your unique place encouraged. Remember the words of this famous hymn and choose to abide.
He abides! He abides!
Hallelujah He abides with me!
I'm rejoicing night and day as I walk this narrow way,
for the Comforter abides with me!