I Can’t Write Fast Enough

As I begin to write this post, my heart overflows; so much so that I cannot know what to write first. There is more than enough for another book about the ills of a people in yet another generation that stand and live against the Creator of heaven and earth; a generation that is ignorant of the foundation of civilization, of what makes for freedom and peace. But, that is not why my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1).

It is the overflow Jesus promised in John 7:37-39 from the Holy Spirit to those who come to Him ~ those who are thirsty for something that this world cannot give.

While the world has hung Christianity out to dry ~ as Christ was hung on a cross ~ He continues to pour out His blessings from His majestic throne in heaven on those who seek freedom and peace in Him.

This early Monday morning dawns after a day of worship and seeking Him above all things. If the world knew the purpose and benefit of a day set apart for Christ in His glory, they would flock to His church. If they knew the King of kings and Lord of lords, they would put aside the things of this world at least for one day to have the blessings of heaven saturate and consume them.

I cannot, without it flowing into a full-size book, write everything that we continually experience in a relationship that turns me from the chaos of this world and enables me to focus on Christ. But, just for a bit, let me share His kingdom that is present and powerful in this world, a kingdom I continue to write about, the kingdom that He shares with all His people.

Currently, Jerry and I marvel at how Jesus Christ is real, the same today, as He was when He, with joy, endured the cross for us. Sometimes this is more the miracle than when He rose from the dead.  He is present always and speaks in and to every situation.

Jerry woke me last Tuesday night around 4:00, to tell me that there was a snake in the bathroom.

Normally, you would expect the man to take care of these things, but Jerry, being an amputee in a wheelchair, needs me to work things out.  We don’t think the snake was poisonous. Nonetheless, in all his (82) and my (79) years and together (57) we have never had to contend with snakes in the house. I say, snakes, because as I write this, there is another one under a butterfly net in our other bathroom, discovered yesterday morning. We hope to have this one removed when a pest control expert comes today. The first one got away when we were turning on lights and opening the front door; planning to catch him and throw him out.

His Promises
As I lay back down, the words came, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous, right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

These words ring true every time.

We never know what will happen next as we live in this wilderness, the wilderness into which God banished our first parents when they refused to listen to Him. The world’s ills are a combination of the individual ills of all His creatures. Those who follow Christ have to live in the middle of the sin and rebellion of the whole world. But, we don’t have to be slaves to the god of this world, and the news of its continued upheaval. We have a heavenly Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives true to His promises and witnesses through us of His grace and glory.

His Worship
Yesterday’s attendance of our Lord to His worship was another pouring out of His blessings to carry through this week. To hear again of how He loved us before the foundation of the world; how He proved that love when He sent His Son, and Jesus gave Himself to deliver us from this present evil age; to share this love with our brothers and sisters, is a life that leaves no room for the world’s sensationalism.

To write about the kingdom of God and His righteousness is a full-time job; one that I experience more than I can write about. It is worth more than all the world offers. It is worth all that we have to go through. His Word is the most precious thing to read. To meditate and memorize, to hear it preached, all in the power of His Holy Spirit, is His means of abiding with us and speaking to us in every circumstance.

I could write about all that I experienced yesterday as we jam-packed all that we could in one day, but it would not mean as much to you as it did to me. You had to be there. The personal relationship with the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ is His gift to all His children, those who are born of His Spirit, waiting to be poured out.

He must increase, the world and we decrease, in the sight of His grace and glory. In the showers of His blessings, the world is diminished. Satan and his forces are brought to nothing in our eyes and our world. The river of living water showers us with His blessings, and washes away the filth of the world (Ephesians 5:26-27). We see the triumphant Lord of glory ruling above the fading glory of man. He laughs them in derision (Psalm 2).

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Psalm 2:1, 12

Gacious Father, as we begin a new week, let us continue to focus upon you through Jesus Christ, your Son, whom you have given to be our Lord. Give us repentant hearts, filled with your Spirit for obedience of faith; that we may live in anticipation of what you have planned for us. Make us to experience the truth of your presence and power. Let your words of grace, truth, love and peace flow and bless others so that they know the reason for our hope and peace. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Fran

Image:Google

GOOD WORKS

This post has been in process for a long time as I have gleaned references to “good works” from study over time in God’s Word. (It fits well as a chapter in Beyond a Mere Christianity.) It has been a blessing for me to put together these truths and to share them. It is longer than I had planned, with two sections; to bookmark if you need to come back to it. Comments are welcome.

Especially, I write this for three types of people: 1. those who think they have to work for their salvation; 2. those whose salvation has made them fruitful, but who overextend themselves thinking they can never do enough; 3. those who are fruitful in “good works” because they live in full dependence in the Lord’s working in and through them.

  1. Many people fit into the first category, as they are taught that they must put in a certain number of hours of service in their lifetime, so as to merit God’s approval. They believe they have to measure up to the guidelines set by their religious leaders. Their good works supposedly produce a good life and entrance into heaven.

I am reminded of the words sung by Julie Andrews playing the role of Maria von Trapp in Sound of Music. In the garden scene, in response to Georg von Trapp’s proposal, she sings, “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good.”

  1. We count in the second category those of the Christian faith who enjoy their service to the Lord and His church. “Good works” for some of these include sacrificing family relationships to serve God. They cannot do enough to satisfy their own expectations. Years ago, as a young mother, I committed myself to the church in many different roles. Jerry traveled in his job, leaving me with time that other women didn’t have; sometimes giving 200% without realizing that I was taking time away from my children. I remember growing up in the church with the main emphasis on the Great Commission and evangelism. Being a missionary became the ideal for many young women. One of today’s para-church organizations’ main thrust is to send young women on missions.

We have known such young women to give up thoughts of marriage, in the hopes that their work for Christ is pleasing to Him. Their lives have ended in disappointment, burned out after years of traveling and serving in foreign countries, with no hope for the future.

  1. In the third category are those who have learned through service and experience that the only “good works” truly acceptable to God are those that He works through them. These rely totally on the presence and the power of His Holy Spirit to teach, lead and fill them with wisdom, strength and grace.

In the following references, we will see what the Lord teaches about “good works.”

Jeremiah 48:7 speaks of the result of trusting in our own works.

Jesus spoke of those who prophesied in His name, cast out devils and in His name had done many wonderful works. He said He never knew them because their work was not according to the will of His Father. (Matthew 7:21-24).

Matthew 23:5 speaks of works done to be seen of men.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9

In the books of Acts and James, we see that faith and repentance come before works.

“Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” John 6:28-29

 “that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance (Acts 26:20).

“Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” James 2:22

  2 Timothy 1:9 teaches us that salvation is not according to our works but according to his purpose before the world began.

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

Nothing we can do can save us. The following verses which explain His work of righteousness for us is worth our meditation. It has been through meditation that I have come to understand the power of God that saves us and works all His will through us. Understanding these brings the fruit of good works from the root of faith that He has planted within us.

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.” Titus 3:5-8

 Ephesians 2:10 teaches us that good works are God’s plan ~ making us His workmanship in our relationship with Christ ~ good works that God ordained before we ever knew Him, that we should walk in them ~ that we should do them in His timing.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

In the following we see that as His workmanship, in us and through us, He is the captain who begins and continues the work He has ordained for each of us.

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12-13

The Will, Zeal and Skill

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” Ephesians 3:20

“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14 (11-14)

Skill in the work of the Lord comes from knowledge of Him. Paul prayed for the Colossian church that they would be filled with wisdom and knowledge of God for the work of the kingdom.

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” Colossians 1:10

Our works are based on wisdom and knowledge and done in meekness.

“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.”James 3:13

Good works are the result of faith, love, and patience of hope in our Lord.

“Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;” 1 Thessalonians 1:4

Good works are done in love for one another and with one another. Good works are not done in solitary, but as part of the whole of the body of Christ in our love and faith in Him. Faith is the root of the living Christ in us.

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:” Hebrews 10:24

“And let the beauty of the Lord be upon us and establish thou the work of our hands upon us. Yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it.” Psalm 90:17

“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:” Revelation 2:26

From the beginning of time in creation, from generation to generation, all work is attributed to God. Everything accomplished in creation and redemption has been His work through His Son Jesus Christ. From the physical birth of man to spiritual birth by His Holy Spirit, all is the work of His holy will. He worked through the prophets in the Old Testament. In the New Testament we see how He worked through His Son to accomplish our redemption – salvation by faith in the work of Christ alone. From the new birth, to growth and maturity, to the end of this world and eternity, all is from Him and all to His glory.

Dear Father in heaven, before whom we live and do all our work, we thank you for saving us by your grace that we may in your will, with the zeal of your Spirit within us, in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ be skilled in all you have ordained for us. Let us live, be led, walk in the Spirit and rejoice to serve you now and forever. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Fran

Photo by Benji Mellish from Pexels

Words of Life ~ ALWAYS

The first mention of the word ALWAYS is found in Exodus 27:20. The children of Israel were instructed to bring pure olive oil for the lamps that would burn always where they were placed in the tabernacle of worship. It was to be attended by Aaron and his sons so that the light would never go out. It was a constant reminder of the Lord’s presence with His people.

Old Testament H8548
Strong’s defines ALWAYS tamiyd tä·mēd’, the same word used for continually, continual, daily, ever, perpetual, evermore, never

 There was a promise that it would go well with His people, if they would fear Him and keep His commandments always (Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 6:24; Deuteronomy 14:23).

“Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;” 1 Chronicles 16:15

“I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalms 16:8

New Testament G3842
Strong’s defines ALWAYS pantote pä’n-to-te; at all times

Even as the lamp in the tabernacle was always kept lit, so the Lord Jesus Christ is the light that will never go out, with the promise that He is with us always.

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20

Jesus said that he always did those things that please His Father (John 8:29).

He said that His Father always hears Him (John 11:42).

Instructions to always pray are found in Luke 18:1; Luke 21:36; Ephesians 6:18

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:58

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” 2 Corinthians 9:8

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6

“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

The same Greek is used for the word ever in Hebrews 7:25

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready alway to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15

With all His promises, why would we not rejoice in Him, ALWAYS?

Dear heavenly Father, we thank you for your promise to always be with us, to always cause us to triumph in Christ. We praise you for giving us peace always through Him, that we always have all sufficiency through Him and that He lives always to make intercession for us. By your Holy Spirit, enable us to always remain steadfast, unmovable, and abounding in our work for you; our speech be always with grace. Let us be rejoicing in you always and ready to answer those who ask us the reason of our hope that is in Christ our Lord. In His precious name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Images:Google

GOD and Today

This title came to mind about a month ago, without any idea of this post.

This week it has come together. For two weeks Jerry was really going down. Last Saturday and Sunday he slept non-stop except to get up for what was necessary. After eating, he was so tired and weak that he had to lie down. He would not let me call 911 even though at times he was a little short of breath. He said that Dr. Jackson, his primary care physician would put him in the hospital when he went for his scheduled appointment on Monday morning.

We left the doctor’s office after an x-ray and blood work, with the instructions that they would call us in thirty minutes with the results. At first, we thought about going home fifteen minutes away, but he decided he wanted a Sonic burger. While he ate, I ran into Publick’s for fruit. We sat in the parking lot to wait for the call. The phone rang.

Tyler, the nurse told me Dr. Jackson wanted to talk to me. The bad news was that Jerry’s hemoglobin was down to 6. The last check was good at 13. He sent us to ER to get a blood transfusion. I was thankful that Jerry had lunch already. I hadn’t, but at times like these, even at my age, I seem to run on stored fuel. We checked into a crowded waiting room around 1:00. As usual, for the past twelve years, we had to find a parking place for Jerry’s wheelchair out of the way of other patients. And, it is usually a place where we have full view of all that is happening.

From triage for vital signs; waiting again for more blood work (they like to have their own and for more testing than the doctor’s staff did), we went back to the waiting room until an examining room was available.

During our waiting, we were privy to the sounds of names being called, coughing, babies crying, a two-year-old tantrum twice, and security officers coming and going. But during all this, I knew the Lord’s presence there. Even though Jerry has lost much of his hearing, (getting a hearing aid is at the bottom of our list) we had time to communicate as i sat close to his right ear.

We watched as a mother who was there with her sick teen-age daughter take a snack to the screaming child. When a daughter became impatient because her mother was not getting the attention she wanted, she complained to a security officer. Soon after, another woman there with her son walked over to the impatient daughter to show her something on her IPhone.

It was a blessing to see that most of the patients were accompanied by a loved one. But one man got tired of waiting. When his name was called, someone said that he had left. The security officer and the other staff member went outside looking for him. There were other interesting patients, some with the whole family accompanying.

Well, we waited longer, but no room was ever available. (The last time we came on our own we sat in the hallway outside the ER rooms with the overflow of patients.  You get immediate attention when you call 911.)

They finally took us back to the same hallway as our last visit, but this time gurneys were lined up next to the wall, where Jerry lay while they continued their exam. We probably repeated why he was there at least ten times. There was a steady stream of doctors and nurses passing through the hall where they started the IV for the first transfusion.

We finally met the ER doctor, a young attractive woman who had passed by before. I thought she was a nurse. A doctor from the hospital talked with us about any signs of blood. Another one walked by two or three times with his hands in his pockets. Three student nurses walked single file past us several times. Jerry called them the three musketeers. A patient down the hall waited with his feet exposed and his head covered.

When the IV spilled when Jerry bent his arm, the techs were very compassionate and started another IV in his other arm. I was impressed of how well they all worked together, especially in such close quarters.

Volunteer pink ladies stopped to see if I needed anything. Water was enough for the time being. Our daughter, Lee came and waited until they took him upstairs to a room at 8:30. I came home just before dark, ate, got a shower and went to bed. She was there part of every day so that I had a respite.

He was taken off all three blood-thinners and Tuesday we understood the possibility of internal bleeding, with the suggestion for a colonoscopy.

He received a second transfusion on Tuesday, while they kept doing lab tests. Thankfully, they were putting in more than they were taking out.

We came home late Wednesday afternoon with plans for home health care until Jerry is stronger. If his hemoglobin does not return to normal even without the blood thinners, we will look at the options for further testing.

This was our fourth visit to ER in this new hospital. With all the doctor’s visits and close calls, we are reminded that whatever we must endure, God is present, with us through it all. It is in these times that we see the reality of His presence with others, hospital staff and patients working through the everyday trials of this world. More and more, we learn to wait patiently to see what the Lord’s plans are for us, and how we may help others through their difficulties. On elevators, with the staff ministering to Jerry and others, there are people who need the Light of Christ; a kind word, a smile, peace and patience where there is chaos. A touch of gentleness and compassion is sometimes better than medicine.

During Jerry’s blood transfusion, especially when it was spilled, I was reminded of the blood of Christ our Lord, spilled for us that saves us for eternity. We are thankful for the blood Jerry received from a donor, but it would not save his life. Jesus gave His blood to give us eternal life. How grateful we are to our Creator and Redeemer for all that He has done, is doing, and promises in the future.

Gracious Father, there was more to these last few days than I can recall and write, but as always, you are wherever we are. In the hallways of our lives, in the waiting rooms, in our yesterdays, the present days, future days and forever, your grace, your word are real. We thank you for Jerry’s care this week and that we will know your plans for him as you reveal them. We thank you that all is for your glory and our good. We praise you in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Fran

Image:Google

Nailing Our Theses

What does this week mean to a Christian? If we know our history, we have hope in Christ that was hidden until the 1500s. This post is not to educate Christians about the period of Reformation, just to relate the events to our individual lives.

We have Bibles available that others did not have before the Reformation. The Word of God, proclaimed to all men, was held in trust by only a few of the church. That was changed when the heart and life of a young monk named Martin Luther was changed. He saw the only hope of salvation apart from works as he searched the Scriptures for himself. His study of Paul’s letter to the Romans brought him to see and know Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. To make known his thoughts on the corruption of the church, he arranged his 95 theses and nailed them to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, thinking to arrange discussions or debate.

“But why October 31? November 1 held a special place in the church calendar as All Saints’ Day. On November 1, 1517, a massive exhibit of newly acquired relics would be on display at Wittenberg, Luther’s home city. Pilgrims would come from all over, genuflect before the relics, and take hundreds, if not thousands, of years off time in purgatory. Luther’s soul grew even more vexed. None of this seemed right.One of Luther’s 95 Theses simply declares, “The Church’s true treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That alone is the meaning of Reformation Day. The church had lost sight of the gospel because it had long ago papered over the pages of God’s Word with layer upon layer of tradition. Tradition always brings about systems of works, of earning your way back to God. It was true of the Pharisees, and it was true of medieval Roman Catholicism. Didn’t Christ Himself say, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light?” Reformation Day celebrates the joyful beauty of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ.” What is Reformation Day?

“Martin Luther claimed that what distinguished him from previous reformers was that while they attacked corruption in the life of the church, he went to the theological root of the problem—the perversion of the church’s doctrine of redemption and grace. Luther, a pastor and professor at the University of Wittenberg, deplored the entanglement of God’s free gift of grace in a complex system of indulgences and good works. In his Ninety-five Theses, he attacked the indulgence system,” Reformation, Encyclopedia Brittanica

We might ask, “Are there false teachings in the church today?” How far have we come even in this century, from the simplicity that is in Christ, having added our own traditions, programs, etc.?

Two main questions we are led to ask at this point in the life of the church are really personal. The church will not stand in final judgment with us. We will stand alone, either in Christ through the salvation offered to us through Him, or outside of the gospel, alone and without hope for eternity.

  1. What is our personal thesis or theses? What do we believe of Christ as revealed in God’s Word? Have we discovered the truths about our own salvation as Martin Luther did?
  2. Where have we nailed our theses? On what doors of our lives have we proclaimed Christ as our Lord and Savior?

We have the Bible. We hold the truth in our own hands. We claim the gospel alone as our attack against false teachings and against Satan’s power in the church and in our own lives.

We nail our beliefs to the door of our heart. We proclaim the truths of God’s grace in Christ alone, nailing these to the door of our homes, the door of our car, the door of our workplace, the door of our schools.

Wherever we are as faithful followers of Christ, we wear our theses as our armor of faith, we take them wherever we go; we testify of them without fear, and die with them if need be.

Are there enough of us as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) to challenge our churches today?

Have you taken the time to establish the truths of God’s Word for yourself, and to stand firm on His Word no matter the cost?

Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for leading the Reformers to know your Word and to stand firm. Thank you for those who died that we might have your Word in this generation. Guide your people to take a stand for the truth of the gospel in our churches and before the world. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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Words of Life ~ ABBA and ALPHA

 In this post I am including the word ABBA. It was not in the first list, but appropriate to post here with the word ALPHA. It will be the first word in the revised list. And of interest in this combination is that the meaning of ABBA is Father. A father carries the seed of life. Such was our Father in heaven who created life. He was the first ~ ALPHA ~ the first of all beings and all things. I appreciate that I am able to post this on the first day of the week.

An interesting note from searching the word ABBA is that it is found in the Old Testament sandwiched in the word Sabbath. Let us turn that over in our minds and hearts as we continue our search for the Words of Life.

ABBA G5 
Strong’s defines abba äb-bä  Aramaic for “father”
“father, customary title used of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee “ABBA” through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek speaking Jews added the name from their own tongue.” This does not indicate that ABBA would be a casual name for Father, as some have thought it to be the word for Daddy which is an informal name. We don’t have to bring Him down to our level to reach Him. He has already condescended to us through His Son and made us His children. Jesus instructs us in the Lord’s Prayer to call Him Father. Abba seems to be an expression used with the name Father with the concept of crying out to Him in special times of need.

ABBA, as Father, is only found in the New Testament, first recorded from Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Mark 14:36

The apostle Paul associated the word ABBA with the working of the Holy Spirit in our new birth and adoption. We are no longer in bondage to the law and sin, no longer children of wrath and fear, but reconciled through the blood of Christ to know God as our Father.

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

As we are born of His Spirit and joint-heirs with Christ and His Spirit dwelling in our hearts we can cry, calling to Him for all our needs. Note that from Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane Paul relates this to all God’s children, the Spirit of his Son that cries through us.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6

ALPHA G 1
Strong’s defines alpha ä’l-fä, first letter of Greek alphabet
“Christ is the Alpha to indicate that he is the beginning and the end.”

 ALPHA is found four times in the Book of Revelation as quoted from Jesus.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come , the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

“Saying , I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest , write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11

“And he said unto me, It is done . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:6

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Revelation 22:13

Gracious Father, we are in awe when we think of how you have arranged your words of life for us. You are Abba to your children. You created us for your own. From the beginning to the end you have planned and are gathering your family to yourself through Jesus Christ your Son. We praise you that by your grace you have made Him to be Life to us, the Alpha and Omega. In His name we thank you and desire to live as your children for your glory and our joy. Amen.
Fran

Photos:Tom Pumford, Unsplash
David Besh, Pixel

 

The Need for a True Christianity

As we near another year in celebration of the Protestant Reformation ~ October 31, 1517, there seems to be a need for two articles from this heart that beats for the Lord Jesus. Before Nailing Our Theses next week, my thoughts are turned to how far we have come from the corruption that ruled the church in the century of Martin Luther and other reformers. Though the church will never be perfect here in this world, we do have God’s Word available for every person who desires to know the truth; not depending on man for the knowledge of our relationship with God.

We have enough wickedness in the world. I can’t bear to see it in God’s house. Having experienced almost eight decades of this wilderness, I think of the song Leaving on a Jet Plane and want to take that plane home, but like Jesus, I have a purpose here for now. “Stop the world; I want to get off” is an expression from past decades which reflect the thoughts of many who wonder where the world is going.

We praise the Lord that He, as our Lord God Almighty, is still and always reigning and ruling His universe. We are still learning to live in the language of a new world order with Christ as King and to spread this vocabulary wherever we can. Others need to hear and know that this world is not all there is. We will look briefly at why Christianity is necessary in the world in every generation.

What we advocate is not what is normally seen, but what is real in the true Christian life and the difference we make, being who we are in Christ. We see this in the individual life and the life of the true church. We see the difference between Christianity and other religions.

The True Christian Life
Christians are those who individually and adamantly follow Jesus Christ, learning, knowing, believing and loving with all the heart, soul, mind and strength the Lord and Master who lived and died sacrificially for His people. We follow and obey Him through a knowledge of His Word, and by His Holy Spirit live daily by His example. This world is not our home. We are only here to witness of Him and the salvation He came to give. This life is preparation for eternity with Him and our heavenly Father in their kingdom.

The true church is not the visible church that meets every week for planned programs and entertainment, but the invisible body of Christ whom He has brought to Himself, living where we are in every generation with others who join in worship around His Holy Word and His Supper renewing faith and love. From this gathering we go into the world as salt, light, a sweet fragrance and full of His Spirit bearing the fruit of His kingdom ~ love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility, godliness, mercy and compassion.

True Christianity is revealed to the senses  of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.

Salt was necessary is Jesus’ day to preserve food. Salt is needful in a world that is in decay.

Light is necessary in the darkness of this world, as we “hold forth the word of life.”

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the worldHolding forth the word of life;” Philippians 2:15-16

Good fruit is produced by true Christians.

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” Matthew 7:17

Fragrance is needful to cover the stench of this world.

 “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” 1 John 5:19

The world needs Jesus’ touch.

“And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.” Matthew 17:7

The world filled and overflowing with oppression, sin, and corruption has no recourse in other religions, nor in a false Christianity. Only a true Christianity has the answer to sin through the only person who has claimed to be God and became a sacrifice for the sins of those who believe His claim on their lives.

We live, proclaiming LIFE over death. If we die for our faith, it will not be to take other lives with us, but to witness of the life of Christ who loved us and gave His life to deliver us from this evil age (Galatians 1:4).

We must know who we are in Christ and live accordingly. True Christianity makes a difference.

Gracious Father, we could say so much more, but you have said it all. It is but for us to read your Word faithfully, intentionally seeking your guidance for us as your people. Enable us to speak your truth wherever you lead us, living our faith to the fullest and most fruitful with our families, in our churches, and in the workplace. Shine your light in and through us into the darkness of this world.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Post: Beyond a Mere Christianity
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