The Light of God’s Grace

*OUR OWN LITTLE WORLDS

On this planet earth many of us are living within our own little worlds—wombs that we think are protecting us from the rest of the world.  In essence we have imprisoned ourselves.

Before birth a baby is cradled, fed, and cared for naturally.  From the womb of the mother he exits to find himself in unknown territory, unprepared to deal with ‘life.’  This helpless bundle of blood, tissue and cells must depend on someone to show him how to survive on the outside.

Does he wonder where he is, where he came from, or how he got here?  No; his only thought is, “I need…” communicated by-way-of his natural mechanism.

But look:  Mommy cannot respond to his needs—he sees her in a fetal position, surrounded by a crystal-like ball. He is trying to tell her that he needs to be held, to feel the closeness they had while he was in the mother’s womb, to know that this world is a safe place for him to be.

She cannot break through; she has closed herself in.  Because of her own fears she is unable to convince her child that he can be secure, that his vital needs will always be met.

Soon he metamophorically forms his own outer shell and becomes one of the millions of bubbles floating around the universe, passing time and people without understanding the meaning of his existence.

(The mother is always the closest to the new-born — except for dire circumstances. Her relationship is crucial to her baby.  She is the first to nurture, to feed, to hold.  This bond between mother and child is the most important.  The person who carries him in her womb for nine months should be free for a period of time to love this baby and to meet its needs.  [I am not sure that I agree completely with Dr. William Sears, but in his book, Parenting Your Baby, he says that a new mother should plan to live in her nightgown for two weeks, nursing, holding, grooming, rocking and “securing” her new-born.  For the first year the new baby needs to know that he lives in a safe environment.]  The father’s role is to support and nurture this mother-baby relationship.  As a result he will be seen as a gentle, but strong, human being and will take his rightful place as head of his household. It is this family relationship that is the example for the future relationship this child will have with God, his heavenly Father, and His family.)

Families that have good parenting skills are rare.  We face the two most important lift-time decisions—marriage and parenting— without proper training.  We make our decisions based on feelings, from what we know, what we want, and what we see others doing.

Experience has shown that parents who were loved and ‘secured’ are able to love their children.  If you have been nurtured, you have been trained to nurture.  These are the people whose feet are on the ground—anchored to a purpose and a meaning for life—who see and respond to the needs of others.  These are the people who are trying to burst the bubbles of those whose cries were never heard.

How do these people convince others that they are loved and have a purpose for living?  —- to be continued)

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This above article was written in the 1980s during my times of conflict, doubt, and anxiety—the natural way I had learned to live.

The mother in this story is me at a time in my life when things seemed hopeless—a mother who could not help herself, not knowing where to turn, and not able to help anyone else. My own little world was all I knew.  This little world is a dark world which leaves no room for anyone but self.

Darkness is not a pleasant state in which to be. But then God began to shine the light into my heart. There was a calling to something from Someone I did not yet know.  My drawing was first to The Word of God which is contained in The Holy Bible.  Here I began to read and to love what I was learning, which eventually led me to Jesus Christ, who is revealed in His Word.  Then I began to love God, the Father, and God, the Son, that Someone whose light was strong enough to penetrate my darkness and bring me into His light.

Not only did the light become brighter and brighter, but I could also look back and see the darkness He had brought me through.  Still not knowing the meaning of life, nor my purpose, there was evidence that our heavenly Father had been with me all my life, protecting and guiding in a way that I did not fully understand.

During the four and a half years of caring for Mother in her last stages of dementia, and the first year in caring for Jerry after two surgeries on his left leg—the second one an amputation below the knee— the bubble formed again and my own little world seemed to be all I could handle.

Again, God, our heavenly Father,  by the power of His own light, penetrated my “little world”—the sharpness and piercing of the two-edged sword is like a laser.  (Hebrews 4:12) He continues to permeate my whole being, and perpetuate the light of His grace in my heart and through my life.  He works in each of us, by His own power, to see the needs of others, to care, intercede, and touch the lives of those for whom we pray—for His glory and our joy.

“The path of the just is as a shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day.”

Proverbs 5:18

*(Introduction to God’s Glory and Our Joy, The Ministry of Intercession)

The Beauty of Grace in the Eye of the Beholder

cross“And when we shall see him, there is no beauty
that we should desire him.
We hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Isaiah 53: 2-3

Who can SEE what is heavenly?  Who can experience the supernatural beauty of that which is above and beyond us?  Where do we find the beauty of life apart from ourselves? The human eye cannot SEE what God has prepared for His children except His Spirit REVEALS it to us. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

“But we all with open face, BEHOLDING as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

From the mouth of a layman Spurgeon heard and saw the beauty of Christ in Isaiah 45:22, “LOOK unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.”

Our heavenly Father SAW in His Son what He wants us to SEE.

“He shall SEE of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death.
He bare the sin of many,and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Isaiah 53:11-12

 “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.”  Psalm 50:2

“They shall LOOK on him whom they pierced.”  John 19:37

SEEING IS BELIEVING

Paul prayed for the early church in Ephesians 1:17-18:  “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom, and REVELATION in the knowledge of him: The EYES OF OUR UNDERSTANDING ENLIGHTENED; THAT YE MAY KNOW what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”

“Wherefore SEEING we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, LOOKING UNTO JESUS, THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God…….LOOKING diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;” Hebrews 1-2, 15

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hst given me, be with me where I am;
that they may BEHOLD my glory, which thou hast given me,”
John 17:24

“Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key, that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready, my God, Thy will to see:
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!  ~ Clara H. Scott
Music:  Open My Eyes, That I May See

Father, draw us by your Spirit to your Word, the written and living Word of Christ, your Son, whom you have made to be our Lord, Master, and Life. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

GRACE ~ the Sky’s the Limit

Have you been outside today?

HAVE YOU BEEN OUTSIDE YOURSELF?

OUTSIDE YOUR OWN LITTLE WORLD?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Go outside, look up  ~  What do you see?  Clouds?

WHAT SURROUNDS THE CLOUDS?  GRACE!!!!!

GRACE  is in the air.  GRACE is in the wind; in the sun.

GOD IS EVERYWHERE!  AND WHERE HE IS ~ GRACE ABOUNDS!

IN HIM WE LIVE, AND MOVE, AND HAVE OUR BEING.” Acts 17:28

The most beautiful blue in the world is the color we see in the sky.

But how often do we even look up to see our Father’s grace in what He has created?

If we look up,He will reveal His panorama of grace.  If we take time to observe, and sense His presence, He will enable us to look beyond ourselves, our circumstances, the turmoils, and the evil of this world.  He will fill us with His grace, and surround us with His glory.

THIS CANOPY OF GRACE IS THE LINING

OF HIS EVERLASTING COVENANT THAT HOLDS US IN HIS LOVE

UNTIL HE REVEALS THE FULNESS OF HIS GLORY.

“Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus,
which is taken  from you into heaven,
shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Acts. 1:11

And then shall they see the Son of man coming
in a cloud with power and great glory.”
Luke 21:27

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 4)

To sum up our meditation of Jesus’ revelation of the Father—“our Father” of grace and glory—John’s recollections are used last. John was “the disciple that Jesus loved.” Being closer to John than any other man on earth Jesus perhaps made more of an impact on him than on any of the other disciples.  John is the writer of the fourth gospel, which is more personal than the other three; also, he wrote three letters, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation.  He quotes Jesus’ words in his gospel and in the book of Revelation.

We see in his writings four different facets of Jesus’ words, as He proceeds to unfold the work of the Father’s grace and glory: 1.  His relationship and unity with the Father. 2. Their purpose and work of grace for our redemption. 3. The relationship of disciples to the Father and the Son. 4. The end result—legacy, inheritance, and glory of His children with the Father and the Son.

1. Jesus’ relationship and unity with the Father is revealed in John 8:54-“the Father honoreth me;” John 10:30-“I and the Father are one;” John 14:9- “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” John 14:10-“I am in the Father, and the Father in me. The Father that dwelleth  in me, he doeth the work;”  John 14:13- “the Father is glorified in the Son;” John 15:23-“He that hateth me hatheth the Father, also;” “John 16;28-“I came forth from the Father, and I go to the Father.

2. Their purpose and work of grace for our redemption is seen in John 6:27-“everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed;” John 12:49-“For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave what I should speak;”  14:28-“I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I;” John 15:1-“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman;”  John 16:15- “All that the Father hath are mine;” John 18:11-“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

3. The relationship of disciples to the Father and the Son is revealed in John 6:37-“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;” John 6:44-“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him;” John 6:45-” Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me;” John 14:16-“And I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 14:26 “whom the Father shall send in my name, He shall teach you all things;” John 14:21-“he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him;” John 14:23-“If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him;”  John 15:8-“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples;” John 16:23-“Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you;” 17:11 “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are;” John 17:26-” I have declared unto them thy name and will declare it;” John 20:17-“I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God;” John 21:21-“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you;”   Luke quotes Jesus in Acts 1:4, speaking of “the promise of the Father”—that they would “receive power when the Holy Ghost had come upon them” (in the Father’s timing) to be witnesses of the gospel of the Father’s grace.

4. The end result—legacy, inheritance, worship, and glory of the children with the Father and the Son is seen in John 4:24-“true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him;”John 17:24-“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou has given me;” Revelation 2:26-27-“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; even as I received of my Father;” Revelation 3:5- “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life; but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels;”  Revelation 3:21-“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

WHO BUT A FATHER CAN SIRE CHILDREN OF HIS OWN?

Dear Father, make us to know who you are, that we may know whose we are, for your glory and our joy

Another Day of Grace

All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee,O Lord;

and shall glorify thy name.

For thou art great, and doest wondrous things, thou art God alone.

Teach me thy way, O Lord;

I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.

I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart;

and I will glorify thy name for evermore.

For great is thy mercy toward me, and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.”

Psalm 86:9-13

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 3)

Meditation on the Father’s grace and glory did not come so easy this morning. It was not until after fellowship with Him, time in His Word, study, and meditation, that I was able to begin to think about this third part.  There is much more to this subject, and how Jesus, the Son, speaks of the Father, than I had known before.  The more desire to know, the more humbled He makes me, to realize that I know nothing as I ought to know; nor can I, in this life.

Jesus is recorded in the New Testament as referring to His Father at least 171 times, and reference made to God, 166 times. When God spoke through the prophets and writers of the Old Testament they did not normally refer to God as Father.  Jesus was “the first-born among many brethren.”  (Romans 8:29)  It was Jesus, the Son, who was sent to reveal God as Father to His children.  As we found so many references, we will, in this 3rd part, share the most important things that are recorded in the Synoptic gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  In the concluding Part 4, we will share John’s recollection of Jesus’ words.

First, how is the name God, and the name Father, distinguished? Strong’s Concordance gives us the Greek word for God, as theos—a diety; the supreme Divinity; fig. a magistrate.  The word for Father is pater—father; near or more remote.  These definitions give me a clearer understanding of both. God is our lawgiver. His kingdom rules over all  (Psalm 103:19). Some people believe in God, as creator, and judge, but only those who have been born of Him, of His Spirit, know Him as Father.

As God, He is described by some (such as the deists) as transcendent, far removed from His creation, not relative to anything on the earth. As Father, He is “near” in Spirit, to His children.  As Spirit He is omnipotent (all-powerful),  omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (present everywhere). Although “we move, and breathe, and have our being in Him”  (Acts 17:28), not all acknowledge His power and presence.  As children we desire the presence and power of  “our Father.”  There is no fear of His judgment, but He is loved and worshiped, as a child loves a father.

Jesus speaks first,and last, of the Father’s glory. (See God’s Glory  ~  First and Last.)  In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:16) Jesus reveals to His disciples that the Father is glorified through them. In Matthew 16:27 He reveals that He, Himself, will, in the end, come in the glory of his father, with his angels.

He reveals the Father’s omniscience in Matthew 6:4, the Father sees in secret and rewards openly; in Matthew 10:29, the falling of a sparrow, the number of the hairs of our head; and, in Matthew 6:8, knowing all our needs before we ask Him.

He tells us to pray to the Father, in Matthew 6:6; that He forgives, in Matthew 6:14; and that He feeds His creatures, in Matthew 6:26.

He reveals the importance of the Father’s will, in Matthew 7:21; only those who do the will of the Father shall enter the kingdom of heaven.

He teaches us that it is the Spirit of the Father that speaks through His servants, in Matthew 10:20.

All things that were delivered to Jesus is from His Father, hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed to babes. Matthew 11:25-27.

He reveals the omnipresence and protection of the Father for His children in Matthew 18:10, 14; that not one of His little ones should perish.

The Father is said to be merciful in Luke 6:36

Jesus said that He would send the promise of His Father upon his disciples in Luke 24:49

Jesus reveals the sovereignty and omnipotence of the Father, in Matthew 20-23; and Matthew 24:36.  The Father has prepared everything, according to His will; and He alone knows when all will be fulfilled.  Our prayer~(Parentheses, mine.)

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,

 may give unto you (us) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.”

Ephesians 1:17

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 2)

“Meditating on my bed” about the Father’s grace and glory since 4:00, by 6:00 several titles and articles had come to mind.  In the Draft file already are Musings vs. Amusements, Seeds of Grace, and Graceful Contentment.  Like a child my thoughts run to and fro from one subject to another, but this morning “our Father” has held me close, so that I may delight myself in Him, to know the desires of His heart.

Is this a last stage of His grace for me, or the flourishing of old age, promised in Psalm 92?  It really does not matter; each moment of each day is the working of His grace, for all ages and stages of this life. It is mostly in this latter part of life that I am coming to understand God as my Father, but more than this—that He has made me a part of His family; that He is “our Father.”  My only sibling is a brother who is eight years older, so my former years were as if I was an only child.  There is very little that I remember of his presence as I was growing up.  We were latch-key children (actually, living in Pepperell textile mill village, we did not even lock our doors), so, coming home to an empty house was never a pleasant thing.  This was one of the main reasons that I never wanted to work outside the home.  The few jobs that I had were either temporary, or, as in the building business, during school hours, and mostly building homes in our subdivision.

Enough of those memories—our heavenly Father is displacing those with better thoughts, better things, better promises. I can dwell on those that bring me down, or I can, with Him, walk in the light of His grace, looking up, thinking of those things that He is teaching me in His Word, and confirming by His Spirit of grace.  I could stay to myself, and get those dishes done (I am a keeper-at-home).  I can, like Mary, sit at Jesus’ feet (and I do). I have a biological family (whom I love more than they know).  I have a husband, (with whom I am preparing to be the bride of Christ.) But all of this is within a larger family, an eternal family of which I am a part. Our Father has desired us and sired us as His own to first, love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; from this relationship we love others, whether brothers and sisters in Christ, or those outside the faith.  (Matthew 22:37-40; I Thessalonians 3:12-13)  It is this relationship with the family in Christ, through which He sustains His people, bringing His kingdom to come here on earth.

It is our Lord Jesus Christ, “the first-born of many brethren” (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2: 11) who reveals the Father to us.  It is the Father who reveals the Son to us.  The two are one, and have brought us together in one body with them—in Christ.  (John 17:21)  In our next post we will ponder how and what Jesus, the Son, reveals to us of the Father.

All things have been handed over to me by my Father,

and no one knows the Son except the Father

and no knows the Father except the Son

and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”  

Matthew 11:27 ESV

In His Grace—for the Father’s glory and our joy.  ~  Fran