How Could They? (An ode to the Reformation)

How could they give all?  How could they lay it down?

Was it for crimes that they had done ~~~ or was it for a crown?

 

How could they die, so firm and sure  ~~~ without a shade of doubt?

Was it for show or spectacle?  Was their faith that stout?

 

How could they stand ~~~ enduring flame?  How could they face the sword?

Were they unfeeling, so reserved?  Were they not from this world?

 

If we but seek to truly know ~~~ If we can see and hear

The Savior, as He died for us ~~~Is there anything we cannot bear?

(In praise to God, our Father; and in memory of those who died that we might have the Word of God, His truth, and the great salvation given through Jesus Christ, our Lord.)

The Day of All Days

‘That in the dispensation of the fullness of times

he might gather together in one all things in Christ,

both which are in heaven and which are on earth, even in him.”

Ephesians 1:10

Here, in a few words, is the “mystery of  God’s will” revealed. This supernatural event will surpass all others. Creation, the incarnation, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ will all pale in comparison to this day that He has prepared for His people and His eternal kingdom.  That will be GLORY for you and for me.

As I look forward to this event, as I live in light of this promise and this vision, LIFE here has a profound meaning. Each day in prayer and Bible study, meditation and intercession, fellowship, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and proclamation of the gospel, is in anticipation of that day.

Everyday is a day of preparation, especially today—THE LORD’S DAY.  Our heavenly Father prepared this day from the time of creation for that final Sabbath with Him. When Christ was raised from the dead the Christian Sabbath was established, not only for celebrating His resurrection and our new life in Him, but for each Lord’s Day to be a rehearsal for that grand and glorious day when He, the Lord, Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God…AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD.”  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

“This is the day which the Lord has made;

we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

Dear Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, make us to know the glory of your presence today, as we seek to worship you in Spirit and in truth with all your saints, here on earth and in heaven—for your glory and our joy. In Jesus name we pray.  Amen.

Jesus’ Blog

“COME TO ME…AND LEARN OF ME.”  Matthew 11:28

How often do people ask, “What are you reading?”  Sometimes the question is, “Who are you reading?”  Besides God’s Word—the Bible, my answer may be Thomas Watson, Horatio Bonar, Charles Spurgeon, or any of the Puritans or Reformers. Last year it dawned on me that I have never heard anyone say that they are reading Jesus Christ.  This set me to begin and record my study on what He specifically spoke and taught.  This has opened a new world to me beyond what anyone else teaches.higher ground

I am amazed at the many blogs that are witnessing to the name of Jesus Christ. I am blessed and encouraged to read how He is working in the lives of the younger generation, leading them to seek “higher ground.”  He is bringing many out of the modern church to find the true “manna” from our heavenly Father.  Instead of letting them feed on husks He is giving His children the “bread of life,” bringing to reality the truth of His Word that, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Matthew 4:4

News and music blogs seem to be the most popular. Jesus came to proclaim and show us the most important news of every day—“Glad Tidings of the Kingdom of God.” Luke 8:1 Jesus puts a “new song” in our hearts.  Heaven is opened that we may hear the angels singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty! Who was, and is, and is to come.”

Jesus said, “MY WORDS ARE SPIRIT, AND THEY ARE LIFE.”  John 6:36

We who live on Jesus Christ—in Christ, and Christ in us—are JESUS’ BLOG.

His words become our words; His life becomes our life.

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord:

I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds.

 And I will be their God, and they shall be my people”

Hebrews 8: 10; 10:16

From the apostle Paul’s blog—“And  he (God the Father) put all things under his (Jesus’) feet and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him WHO FILLS ALL in ALL.  IN WHOM the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple to the Lord. IN HIM you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 1:22,23; 2:21,22

“And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3

Speak to my heart, Lord Jesus, Speak that my soul may hear;
Speak to my heart, Lord Jesus, Calm every doubt and fear.

Jesus, Jesus, Speak to my heart, I pray;
Yielded and still, seeking Thy will, Oh, speak to my heart today.

B.B. McKinney, 1886-1952

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Sd7Z0-9Ono    Listen. Be blessed; and be a blessing with the good news today.    (original tune by Gene Roth)

Rainbows and Promises

A rainbow is a symbol of God’s grace.    Bow in the clouds

We don’t usually find one if we are looking for one.  They come with no planning on our part.  This one appeared while the sky was still very cloudy. And only then, through a small sweep of the sky between the trees.

Had I not been been looking through the kitchen window at a certain moment I would have missed it.  And even then it was very dim, disappearing soon after I took this picture.

Why does God continue to display a rainbow? What good is it, actually, and practically?

What is its purpose except to cause us to look, and in seeing, remember our heavenly Father’s promise to Noah and his sons, recorded in Genesis 9:11-16.

“I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood. This is the token of the covenant between me and the earth.  And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I MAY REMEMBER THE EVERLASTING COVENANT.” (condensed)

When we look up He is looking down.  Our eyes look upon this token, and remember the other promises of His everlasting covenant of grace, through our Lord Jesus Christ, for eternal life.  There will be another day of judgment and destruction, not by a flood, but by fire, (2 Peter 3:10-13)

~ ~ ~ ~ NEVERTHELESS ~ ~ ~ ~

“We, ACCORDING TO HIS PROMISE,

 LOOK for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

    Ye, therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before,

       beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

2 Peter 3:14,17-18

“And he that sat was to LOOK upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.

and there was a RAINBOW round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”  

Revelation 4:3

Grace and the Beast

  “So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.” Psalm 73:22

Why am I so foolish?—because I am ignorant.  Why am I ignorant?—because I do not know God.  Without the knowledge of Him I am but a sinful creature, no different than the other creatures that He has made.  How many times, through the means of His grace, has my heart been”grieved” at the revelation of my beastliness beofre HIm and before men.

 In this Psalm Asaph sees himself in the middle of sinful humanity. He sees himself as one of the whole of humanity, identifying with the pride of  the wicked.  Envious of their prosperity his “feet were almost gone.”  His steps had “well nigh slipped.”  But, he goes on to speak of God’s  relationship to His people—to those whom He has delivered by His grace.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~  NEVERTHELESS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What a blessed word is this to me and those who are being tamed by the grace of our Father, and His Spirit—to those He has brought to faith in His Son, Jesus Christ

I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.”

Which is greater—the Father’s wisdom, or my foolishness?  Which is dominant—the Father’s knowledge, or my ignorance?  Which is the overwhelming and overcoming factor in the life of God’s children—His grace, or our sin?

Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”guidance

Psalm 73:23-24

Father, you know that we have none in heaven but you, that there is none upon earth that we, as your children, desire beside you.  Our flesh and our hearts fail in our own endeavors, but you are ‘the strength of our hearts, and our portion forever.”  This is all the power of the working of your grace within us. We praise you for all things, and for this day of grace.  In Jesus’ name we pray, and thank you.”

A Child’s Plea for God

A Child's Plea

     Give me not a god,
a god that I control.  

 Don’t give me a god
that I can mold.

 I need GOD, the REAL GOD,
who knows more than I know.

Give me GOD, THE LIVING GOD,
who’s free to come and go.

   GOD, Himself, who created Life,
and all living things—

  GOD, who lives, and to my life
His own LIFE He brings.

   I  want  GOD, the HOLY GOD,
who has a master plan.

  GOD, the GOD who acts in grace,
though I can’t understand.

 Where is GOD, the GOD OF TRUTH,
who tells it like it is; 

  Though painful it may seem to me,
shapes my heart like His? 

   I see GOD, the MIGHTY GOD,
when I look at the cross, 

      Who gave His life that I might live,
removing all the dross.

This GOD, THE GOD I’m looking for,
is greater than the world;

       Able to do anything,
simply by His Word.

     I will wait for GOD, THE LOVING GOD,
the GOD of POWER, still,

        Who can, in JESUS, fill my heart,
and conform me to HIS will.

(Written for our oldest grandchild for her fourth birthday.  She turns nineteen tomorrow.)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ANSLEY!


 

Wings of Grace

 Wings of Grace

 How the photographer got this close to the scene I do not understand.  I only know what I see in the picture.  And it reminds me of the words of the Psalmist who experienced the wings of God’s grace.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
Psalm 91:1,3 ESV

It also reminds me of the need for stronger and larger wings as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Waiting on God, Andrew Murray aptly describes the work of God’s grace in us.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
 Isaiah 40:31

“You know what eagles’ wings mean.  The eagle is the king of birds; it soars the highest into the heavens.  Believers are to live a heavenly life, in the very presence and love and joy of God.  They are to live where God lives; they need God’s strength to rise there.  It will be given to them that wait on Him.

You know how the eagles’ wings are obtained.  Only in one way — by the eagle birth.  You are born of God.  You have the eagles’ wings.  You may not have known it; you may not have used them; but God can and will teach you how to use them.

You know how the eagles are taught the use of their wings.  See yonder cliff rising a thousand feet out of the sea.  See high up a ledge on the rock, where there is an eagle’s nest with its treasure of two young eaglets.  See the mother bird come and stir up her nest, and with her beak push the timid birds over the precipice.  See how they flutter and fall and sink toward the depth.  See now how she “fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: (Deuteronomy 32:11), and so, as they ride upon her wings, brings them to a place of safety.  And so, she does once and again, each time casting them out over the precipice, and then again taking and carrying them.  “So the Lord alone did lead him.”  Yes, the instinct of that eagle mother was God’s gift, a single ray of that love in which the Almighty trains His people to mount as on eagles’ wings.

He stirs up your nest.  He disappoints your hopes. He brings down your confidence.  He makes you fear and tremble, as all your strength fails, and you feel utterly weary and helpless.  And, all the while He is spreading His strong wings for you to rest your weakness on, and offering His everlasting Creator-strength to work in you.  And all He asks is that you sink down in your weariness and wait on Him.  Allow Him in His Jehovah-strength to carry you as you ride upon the wings of HIs omnipotence.

Dear child of God, I pray you, lift up your eyes, and behold your God!  Listen to Him who says that He “fainteth not, neither is weary,” who promises that you too shall not faint or be weary, who asks nothing but this one thing, that you should wait on Him.  And, let your answer be, With such a God, so mighty, so faithful, so tender—My soul, wait thou only upon God!”   God’s grace for God’s glory and our joy!” (Waiting on God  ~ Andrew Murray)