Followers of Christ Have CGCD

We live in an abbreviated society with many associations. We are described and labeled by our distinctions and dialect, our degrees, doctrines, diseases and disorders.

The description of the life of a follower of Christ is a wonderful thing, definitely not a disease or disorder, but a distinction. Let me explain according to the initials CGCD, the abbreviation for Conviction, Guidance, Commitment and Discipline.

Conviction
One becomes a follower of Christ by the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Jesus taught His disciples that when He left them to return to His Father He would send the Holy Spirit ~ the Spirit of truth. He would supernaturally birth them into His kingdom (John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:3-4).

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11

A follower of Christ is convicted. As the Spirit woos and wins us, we receive the guidance of the Spirit of Christ for new and eternal life.

Guidance
Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (john 14:6), promised that the Spirit of truth would guide them into all the truth. This is how He becomes our Shepherd.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:12-13

Commitment
The Spirit of truth is the “Spirit of the Lord”
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
He leads us by His hand of mercy to follow Christ, to offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” to serve Him (Romans 12:1-2).
He leads us to full commitment and obedience to Him, to the truth, and to actively seek His kingdom and righteousness.

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,” Romans 6:17

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:5

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3

Discipline
With commitment comes discipline as He establishes us as His own. We learn to discipline ourselves as we live under the discipline of the Holy Spirit and His Word.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”
Proverbs 12:1

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:19

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” Hebrews 12:6-9
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11The apostle Paul in his letter to Titus encourages him to be “hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined (Titus 1:8).

He says of his own life, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3

As followers of Christ we are His special people who gladly accept the description and label as He, by His Grace and His Word, makes us peculiar to the world. No others but those of His family have the life of Christ in them. What a joy it is for people to ask what makes us different, so that we can share Christ with them.

Gracious Father, you have made us precious in your sight. Let us wear the label for your glory. Make your Spirit within us contagious with joy and an excitement that overflows, to your glory and praise. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran, DDC (Devoted Disciple of Christ)

images: Google

The Power of One Man

There are some mornings I cannot get out of bed. My first prayers have been offered up, meditations to begin the day have strengthened my heart, and yet God, our Father holds me and will not let me go.

Monday was such a morning.

Jerry is usually up first, checking the news and weather. He came to tell me of the one-man massacre the night before. (I only know what he tells me. I do not go to the media for more details. I learned years ago that I cannot immerse myself in the news of this world). With such news, my heart melts and I draw close to the throne of grace to know what my Father and my Lord want to say.

He is the God of all comfort and He knows how much we need Him. In times like these, He knows I need this extra time with Him before we begin our day together and to know how to answer others.

Many things, thoughts of this man and all the people he destroyed and injured, news and details of the event, rummaged through my mind. My heart cried out to the living God, who created life in His image, breathed into us His breath of life with the plan through His Spirit to sustain that life in His creatures.

At other times when the world has been in chaos He has drawn me close and given me the hope that He desires to share with His people.

Is Anyone Safe
People wonder if there is safety anywhere. The imaginations run to and fro as we continue to experience the evil heart of man.

We wonder how one man has the power over so many others. Our Lord reminds us that the enemy, the god of this world, is able to deceive, capable of giving his power to man.

He is the same enemy that deceived the one man God created for His own. By one man (Adam) sin came into the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12, 15).

In Watchman Nee’s book The Latent Power of the Soul, he speaks of the power God gave Adam when He put him in charge of His creation. He reminds us that God did not take away these powers, but we see how Satan continues to harness this power through man for His evil deeds.

Safety in the Power of One Man

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

We are amazed when one man has the power of death over others. Let us be in awe of the power of the one man Jesus Christ, who has the power to give life for eternity to those who come to God through Him.

Our only safety in this world and the next is in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who was sent from the Father to save His people. Our only hope for now and the future is the steadfast hope that He alone gives.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

He came to destroy the one who had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14) and the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

Where will all this end? ~ at Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).
Then we shall see the power of the resurrected Christ, the Son of God, the one man with power to rule over all things and all people and put away evil forever.

In the meantime let us all draw near to the throne of grace, keep our lights burning bright with the oil of hope and gladness, continually praising our Lord for His power to save His people from the evil one, bringing hope to others who do not yet know Him. It is during these times that people may be open to the truth of the gospel of grace and hope.Gracious Father, our hearts cry out to you for mercy for this nation and the world. We need to see the power of our Lord Jesus Christ in the lives of your people who as your children without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation hold fast to the word of Life. Shine the light of Christ through us that draws others to Him. Fill us with the power of your Spirit of grace, love, joy and peace. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Image: Google

The Lens of Contentment

Most people see contentment in good health, relationships, possessions, fashions, the cars we drive and the homes in which we live, many of these indicating the measure of our personal success.

God’s people are given a means of seeing what is different from the world. The new heart and new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3) given by God our Father, come with a lens that changes our focus from the world and our dependency on what we can achieve. Our view is upward, brought to see Him as the giver and supplier of all that we need. We see beyond the world’s offerings to the special blessings that are ours through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The writer of the book of Hebrews leaves an exhortation to God’s people in the last chapter:
“Keep your life free from the love of money.

The world trains our children to seek contentment through what our money can buy.
The followers of Christ are trained to “be content with what you have.”

Why can we be content with less than what the world offers?
~ “for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (13:5)

The giver of all things is more precious than all the money we could accrue in this world.
His presence is greater that any relationship, entertainment or possession offered in this generation.
His love and grace is of more value that anything money could buy.
His blessings are infinite and eternally ours, while the temporal things of this world will either be lost or fade away.
Nothing of this world can compare to what we experience in His supply of all things .

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

There are those who are suffering physically and financially from attempting to keep up with greater expectations than they are able. When they learn of life in Christ, they can let go of the world’s offerings and enjoy Him and what He gives.

But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12

It was the apostle Paul who said, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11). He rolled with the pushes, at the same time rejoicing and praising the Lord because He had experienced the presence and power of God. In His calling, devotion and service he was given “visions and revelations” of the Lord (2 Corinthians 12:1). As an evangelist/tentmaker he knew the God “who supplies all our needs” (Philippians 4:19). He lived with a “thorn in the flesh” ~ the buffeting of Satan through the religious and government leaders, living the last part of his life in prison because he was content with the Lord’s calling and promises of the gospel. Oh, that we might all say as he did, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

Gracious heavenly Father, creator and supplier of all things, open our eyes, turn them upward to see heaven opened as you pour out all that you have prepared for us in and through Jesus our Lord. Let the world see our contentment with you and all that you desire for us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Related Post: A Year for Contentment ~ Continued
image: Google

Launch Out

Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.  And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.” Luke 5:4-6

A story is told of a football coach on the sidelines of a very important game screaming to his players, “Give Willie the ball.” After several such calls without their response, he called time out.

As his players gathered around him, he asked, “Didn’t you hear me tell you to give Willie the ball?”

“Yes, coach, but Willie doesn’t want the ball.”

Challenges of the Christian Life
How many of us, when called to accept a challenge in our Christian life, often refuse, and so, never know the blessings of growing spiritually. When things seem too difficult, out of our comfort zone, we miss the opportunity of serving where the Lord wants us, or seeing His glory in uncharted waters and receiving the benefits He has there for us. It may mean that we serve Him where we are, but with a greater diligence and obedience to His Word. Not all are called to serve as missionaries in a foreign country, but to grow in our relationship with Him, to know and love Him more ~ to go deeper in fellowship with Him through His Word and His Spirit. It is in this relationship that we are prepared to serve Him wherever He places us.

When we think we have done all that needs to be done, our Lord promises that where He directs us He will be with us, having already planned the outcome.Launching out into the deep is where we find exceeding abundantly more that we can ask or imagine by His power working in us (Ephesians 3:20).

Gracious Father, forgive us for settling for the minimal Christian life. Work in our hearts, by the power of your Holy Spirit to hear the call of our Lord Jesus to follow Him past the mundane things of this life, to deny self as we take up our own cross to find the deep things that are hidden in Him. Enable us to plunge into the depths of your love and find the blessings you have for us. Let nothing hold us back from full surrender to your call and your holy will. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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Holding On and Letting Go

Since August 29, 1992, the Lord has led me in a different path than the former years ~ with a new heart, new spirit and new life.

We have together chronicled this path, leaving traces, patterns, and clues on the way. We have filled notebooks and file boxes, written letters, emails, blog posts and books with what He has been teaching me.

Celebrating these last twenty-five years has been a joyful experience as we continue through this wilderness in the power of His promises; in faith and the strength of His will to reach that eternal destiny to which He has called us.

At the age of seventy-eight I am near the riverside, having seen and tasted the glory of the Lord through His gift of grace. Through this pilgrimage, we come to a point where we no longer look back but toward the horizon to where He waits for us.

The Lord has these years in His service, been holding me and teaching me to hold to Him and all that He has given. He has shown me His plans for me, and with it the direction and wisdom in which to go, with the assurance to be with me all the way.

These last six months it seems that we have not gone forward but waiting for His instructions. During this time, we have been able to write sparingly through these blog posts. We have enjoyed being a part of the WordPress Christian Community, caught up with reading and commenting on other blog posts.

As Jerry’s appointments have lessened, though his foot is still not healed, we are now formatting and getting PRAYERS That Brought the House Down ready for publication. Thriving Under Oppression is the next project to finish ~ a continual work for the last three years. Our major work is not to promote and sell but to write and publish what we have already written, and finish others that we have started.

All are witness to God’s grace and His Glory in proclamation of the legacy of His kingdom. Under the name of Father and Family Books, these are the testimony of “laying hold of eternal life” to which He calls us. To continue on we must let go some of the things we have been doing these last six months. We cannot keep up the pace of reading and responding to other blog posts if we are to hold on and continue the work God has for us. I have read more blogs than I have written. We will visit as often as we can, but not on a daily basis as we have been this year.

Holding on means with both hands, eyes and face forward to the upward call. Letting go means not spending as much time where we have been.

We will still post occasionally and we are committed to finish our series on Contentment as the Lord leads.

My main role is as Jerry’s full-time caregiver. The Lord provides the time between our duties for writing and publishing. Please pray for the Lord’s leading and His holy will for all that we do in the service of His kingdom. Our books are Christian non-fiction, except for one book of short stories. They are for encouragement for Christian living and spiritual growth as we look to the hope that is set before us. We will post updates as often as possible.

If you are interested in any of our books on Amazon (one is free), remember that profits are designated for missions and charity. The Lord has provided for all our needs so that all our work is for His kingdom and glory.

Gracious Father, thank you for the precious friends you have given us here. I pray for your guidance for us all to continue holding to what you have given us; to let go the things of this world that would hinder our growth and continued progress in the way of your kingdom and eternal life. Show us your ways , O Lord, teach us your paths. Lead us in your truth and teach us. For you are the God of our salvation. On you do we wait all the day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.  

Related article: Laying Hold of Eternal Life

“What Do You Want Me To Do For You?”

Mark 20:46-52 is the record of a blind man who called, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”
Having Bartimaeus brought to Him, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, that I might receive my sight.”

This question has been resurfacing in my heart for a while. If Jesus were here today, and I could be blessed for Him to physically pass my way, what would I want from Him?

Considering that, of all who approached Him, Jesus asked this question only to a blind man, my answer would apply to my sight.

“jesus, have mercy on me. Open my eyes to see you as you truly are.”

“Show me the beauty of your holiness and the work that you have done for us, so that we may love you more and diligently follow you as did Bartimaeus.”

‘”I ask this not just for me but for your people everywhere. Let us see you as our refuge at all times.”

“Open the eyes and hearts of men and women who have been in the destruction of this recent storm to look to you for all they need.

“Open our eyes to see their need. Unite our hearts in this time of disaster.
Give us hearts of compassion, that we trust in you for our own needs and that we would even sacrifice for food and shelter for others in need.”

“Shine your light into our hearts for new life and joy, even in the middle of adversity. I ask to see your work in hearts and hands, for your glory and for the sake of others. Turn hearts to you during this time.”

“Dear Father, send your Holy Spirit, open our eyes to see Jesus, to know Him, to love Him and obey Him. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”Jesus may pass our way only one time in our lives. Cry out to Him. He will hear and answer. He promised to show Jeremiah great and might things not known. Jesus still hears and answers. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Image: Google

Which is the True Image?

When I saw the picture on the right posted as “The Best Image of Eclipse 2017” on Facebook Wednesday, I was impressed. When I went back to share it on Thursday, it was no longer there. When I searched Google, I understood why.

Neither of these are a true image of the 2017 eclipse. Brandon, the designer created his own image in 2011 and posted on Devianart. Someone copied the image and turned it so that the light appeared as a cross and posted it on Facebook.

True Image of Christ
This reminded me of all the images of Christ that have appeared throughout many generations. Yet, none of them are the same. Some are embarrassing and blasphemous. There are none that I care to look at. He remains but a silhouette until I see Him face to face.There were no paintings of Him by anyone who saw Him in the flesh. There were no cameras.

Who has a true image of Jesus Christ?

There are as many images conjured up in our own minds as there are painted.

How do we know a true Christian when we see one?

Paul speaks to the church in Corinth of false apostles.

And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”  2 Corinthians 11:12-15

There are those who have claimed to be Christ. Jesus warned His disciples that there would be false prophets.

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look,
here is the Christ!’or
‘There he is!’ do not believe it.
Matthew 24:23

Dear Father in heaven, give us wisdom to know you and your Son as our Lord and Savior. Keep us from those who are impostors. So fill us with your Spirit and your Word that we can recognize the false images of Christ. Make us true image bearers. Enable us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ so as to share His true image with others ~ for your glory. In His name, I pray. Amen.