GRACE ~ The High-Octane

In the quietness of the morning it seemed that I could hear the faint sound of a motor.  It was still dark outside, too early for the sound of lawn maintenance that we often hear early in the day.  I lay in bed wondering if this sound was outside, or in the house (running water, furnace, etc.) The only conclusion was that the sound was inside my head.  (Surely, you have heard such a sound. If not, you will when you’re old.) The sound is gone now, but it brought to mind the thought that there is a power within the world that keeps it going.  Since it encompasses, and works within the whole of the universe and creation it is beyond our comprehension, beyond our finding out.  It is revealed through various means—God’s Word, His Spirit, our circumstances, in relationships, in quietness, and in upheavals.

Without God’s mercy His wrath would have already been poured out upon the whole earth.  Since the flood He has promised this mercy until He has accomplished all His will on the earth.

Mercy, or Mercy and Grace?

 What is the difference in God’s mercy and His grace?  My understanding of the two is that mercy is “not receiving what we deserve.”  God has not destroyed the earth and all its inhabitants at one time, so that He may bring into His kingdom all those for whom Christ died—-that He may save a people for Himself; accomplishing His purpose for creation and His glory.   Mercy for some is living a good life here on earth, though they may not inherit the kingdom of God.

Grace is “receiving what we do not deserve,”CHRIST!  No one is born into this world deserving life in Christ. (Romans 8:2) It is freely given according to the counsel of God’s own will.  (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 1:11)

Mercy for some is to save us from our sin—not to leave us where we are, but to take us to something else.

Regular or High Octane?

As “regular” gas fills a vehicle and facilitates its movement, so, mercy may get us through this life, enjoying our own success and pleasure—our own life.

Grace, on the other hand, is the high-octane power of God within a man to move him in the life and joy of Christ here on this earth, continually filling to His praise and honor, and future glory, moving us onward and upward to the unknown heights of heaven.

Mercy is for earth or water movement only.  Grace is for God’s people, the power to raise us beyond this world to His glory.  When the apostle Paul spoke of being God’s “workmanship” he had no inkling of the extent to which a ship could rise—from this earth— and beyond to the glory of God and His presence.

Grace, which comes from Christ alone, is the only means whereby man can be lifted from this world to the next.  Grace is the means of God’s preserving this world, its turning, its beauty, its movement within, its working according to His own pleasure.

This world will turn on its axis until all God’s people are on board.

              AND THEN—THE GLORY!!!!!!

A Day to Worship

Who and Why We Worship                                        Where and How We Worship

                                                                PSALM 100

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD,
all ye lands.
2Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence
with singing.
 

3Know ye that the LORD
he is God:
it is he that hath made us,
and not we ourselves;
we are his people,
and the sheep of his pasture.

 4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him,
and bless his name.

5For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.”   MusicMake a Joyful Noise

Dear heavenly Father, by your own heart and word, draw us to worship.  Lord Jesus, “declare His name to your brethren.”  Lead us “in the midst of the congregation.” (Hebrews 2:12-13)  Holy Spirit, fill us; “inhabit our praises.”  Keep our hearts, minds and focus on you today.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen

Love the Lord? Love His Day

As simple as it may sound, I love the Lord’s Day because I love the Lord.

It is, and has been, for centuries, the day of celebration of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ. As our heavenly Father rested after His work of creation, and set aside the seventh day as the Sabbath, so, we rest in Christ and set aside the new day of worship on the day that He rose in victory from the grave, creating new life for His people.

This day is the day that I remember His atoning work on the cross for me.  All who are a part of His redeeming work meet together to give unto Him the glory due unto His name. I see this day as a new beginning; starting the new week in Christ and with His people.  Actually, at times it seems that this is the eighth day— ending the previous week with a day of praise for all that He has done —-and the first day, both rolled into one.

Years ago, when I realized that this day is a gift to His people, it became a goal every week for me, a projection from one Lord’s Day to the next, with everyday between as a day of preparation for the next Lord’s Day.  As mentioned in another post, each Lord’s Day is a taste of heaven, a prelude to that day when we will be worshipping our Lord eternally.  Then everyday will be a day of rest, and worship.

“And upon the first day of the week,
when the disciples came together to break bread,
Paul preached unto them.”
Acts. 20:7

Today is the day that I will celebrate my Lord Jesus Christ, His person, His work; the day that I will praise Him, serve Him, love Him and His people as we meet together; the day that I will “hunger and thirst” for Him and His righteousness, be filled more and more with His Spirit; and be in awe as I hear His Word proclaimed in power. This day I will, together with God’s people participate in the Lord’s Supper, “remembering His death until He comes.” Besides all this, He amazes me with great and mighty things I have not yet known, asked for, or imagined.

Again, I ask that you share your comments about how the Lord leads you on this day.  What difference does the Lord’s Day make in your life?  What impression does the Lord’s Day make in your life for eternity?

May you be blessed today as you “delight yourself in the Lord and His Day.”  Isaiah 58:13-14

~~~~~~~~
Someone who reads my posts concerning the Lord’s Day (Sabbath) has blatantly attacked this blog by his/her comments. (I say “this blog” because I, personally, will not accept such comments).

This blog was not set up as forum to discuss different religious beliefs, but to encourage those who are of “like faith” in Jesus Christ.  The title itself is meant to bring all attention to God’s grace working in every believer, for His own glory.  The sub-title “growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ” is to encourage others in this growth.  If you are only looking for a debate this blog is not for you.

The Path to Glory (Part 2)

Which is the right way to heaven?  How do we find this path whereby we share in God’s glory?  It isn’t at all where or what we think it might be.

It is the same path our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, took, the way that was laid out for Him.  And if we are to “come” to this path—the only way to heaven—it must be “after” Him. (Luke 9:23) He said clearly that the only way is by “self-denial”—taking up our own cross to “follow” Him.  It is not a matter of, “But, wait Lord, until I have done “my thing;” when I have made a name for myself; then I think I might be ready to start on this path. Then I might have an interest in your glory.”
No, there is a cost to enter through this “strait gate”—my life, my own desires, my own glory.

The disciple is not above his master,
nor the servant above his lord.”
Matthew 10:24

 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution.”
2 Timothy 3:12

Bitter and Sweet Promises

The promises that are given in this way to God’s glory are both hard to swallow, and pleasing to our senses.  Our heavenly Father knows how, and has planned, to direct us and minister to our needs.  On the way, and at the end, are great and precious promises that others will never know or understand because they have not yet entered through this strait gate that leads to the narrow way.

As we look at these promises from God’s Word let us meditate on the connections between Christ, our suffering with Him, and the results.  For example, in the following we are promised that we shall have tribulation; with it—in Christ, we are promised peace, and victory in overcoming the world.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.1 John 5:4

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” 
1 Peter 4:12-14

The Heirs of Glory

The path is laid out for, and revealed to God’s children.

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God
.”  Romans 8:17-19

The Humbling and Proving

 This is the time of testing and proving, here on this earth, of those who are His.

 “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”  Deuteronomy 8:2-3

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:7

 His Presence and Power with Us

He promises all that we need for the way, though long and tedious it may be.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10

 “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”  
Psalm 32:6-8

“But 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; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

“So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”
Psalm 73:22-24

The Nature of Those On This Path

God, our Father uses His own children to draw others to the path.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

“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.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
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 world; holding forth the word of life.”
Philippians 2: 12-15

The Holy Bible, God’s Word, is our guide book.  The Holy Spirit is our constant companion and help in time of need.  Through prayer, and in Christ, we are never alone, He is our  joy and the assurance of our safety and endurance to the destination to which He has called 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.
bringing many sons unto glory
Hebrews 12:2; 2:10
Music: My Grace is Sufficient for Thee

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The Path to Glory

The path to heaven and eternal glory with God, which is presented by some today, is unreal.  Even in the name of Christianity most of it is only “hype.” Another four-letter word that I see plastered all over the Internet describes how people feel about what they read and hear.  The apostle Paul used the word “dung” (which is more graceful) to describe the things in this world, things that have no link to heavenly things, but are simply earthly.  Compared to the real thing they are but waste, worth nothing.

But in order to get past the earthly, and the dung, we have to address it.  It is a reality.  We have to see it for what it is, and know how to deal with it.   How do we know what we are dealing with, and how do we get through it.  It is all part of the understanding of the path that God calls us to.

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory
by Christ Jesus,
after that ye have suffered a while,
make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
1 Peter 5:10

The path to glory, by some, is paved with good intentions.  When the veneer cracks and crumbles they and their followers, like the Kohathites, (Numbers 16:32) will be swallowed up.  They want people to be a part of their ministry and so they make everything inviting; promising comfort and ease in joining their ranks.  Some hope for others a good life and try to make it look easy for them.  They have not yet understood, nor can they lead others in this path.

This path is not a “glory path” here on this earth. God, our heavenly Father does not promise us a path back to the Garden of Eden, but one that leads to Gethsemane.

Hidden and Narrow

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,  because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”
Matthew 11:25

It is a hidden path.  Only those to whom the Father reveals the Son and draws them to Him will find the path. (John 6:44-45)  It is always in following Him that He leads us to it.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.”
Matthew 7:13=14

The path begins through a gate so slim that we can take nothing with us.  More so, there is a compression of all that we are that enables us to get through.  Humility, faith, and repentance empty us of our baggage, and shrink us to the size we need to be.

It is a narrow path.  This is the path that Jesus describes to his disciples.

He says that only a few will come to Him. The multitudes won’t lead us to it. The crowded path leads to destruction. The path to glory is not a wide path, but one that we most often will have to walk alone; not that others are not on the path, but there are times when they will not understand what we are dealing with or going through.  We may be too slow for them; we only get in their way. For the most part, only Christ can understand and lead us through.

Not Our Choosing

It is never the path we would choose for ourselves.  We would choose the easier way, but if we are to follow Christ it must be His way or not at all.  This is why many cannot find, know, or walk this path here on earth.  We must know our calling in Christ to be one of suffering and sacrifice for His name’s sake—for “righteousness’ sake.”

It is a walking path, not a bike lane or busy highway; we have no vehicle, only feet and body for the endurance; for proving of His own grace and power in our perseverance.

What God teaches us is — the path to His glory is difficult.  He has said it; and His saints are witnesses to the fact and experience that it is a struggle to endure the pains and trials of the Christian life.  It does not get easier as we get older; we simply require more of God’s grace and strength.

Steep, Rocky, and Dark

The path is steep, sometimes turning like a spiral, leading round and round, onward and upward. It is rocky; it seems that things are literally thrown into the path.  There we stumble and oftentimes we fall—right into the dung. There are times when it seems that we cannot take another step; our arms get so tired; or when we can no longer walk, the wheels on our chair get bogged down and won’t turn.

It is sometimes dark, with only the Word of God as a “light for our path, and a lamp for our feet.” It can lead to the mountains, where the sky is the bluest; the air is the freshest, and the aroma as heavenly as the very presence of God.  Other times it leads to the valley, or through a tunnel where all that we have is a glimpse of light at the end; other times we are led into a cave where all is black, and the only thing we can do is sit still, and wait.

Unless you are on the path that we describe, and you know the purpose in all your struggles, and striving, stop and examine where you are.  Stay with us for Part 2 to look at the promises that are posted on this path to encourage us and bring us gracefully, triumphantly, and gloriously into the presence of God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, here and for eternity.

“Confirming the souls of the disciples,
and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Acts 14:22

Whose Holy Day?

“For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”
Matthew 12:8

“Let every one that loves Christ keep holy the Lord’s day–,the queen of days, the resurrection day, the highest of all days.”  Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, A.D. 101

“On the Lord’s day, every one of us Christians keeps the Sabbath.” Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, who also lived in the second century, and who was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a companion of apostle John, speaks of the Lord’s Day as the Christian Sabbath.

“A Christian, according to the command of the gospel, observes the Lord’s day, thereby glorifying the resurrection of the Lord.”  Clement of Alexandria

An Everlasting Covenant

Twelve years ago, through the following devotional, the Lord opened my heart to the truth of the following verses.  This “everlasting covenant ordered in all things, and sure” is to this day “all my salvation, and all my desire.”

“He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things,
and sure; for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.”  2 Sam. 23:5.

“I have made a covenant with my chosen.”  Psalm 89:3.

“This was David’s plea and confidence, when, with eternity full before him, he was just going to make his appearance before an infinitely pure God.  This must be our plea also, if ever we would obtain the approbation of our Judge.  After a life of the most eminent holiness, the best of men will have reason to cry out, “Enter not into judgment with thy servant, O Lord.”  It is true, indeed, the believer will discover some evidences of grace, just to show the child of God, and no more; but all so imperfect, that he dares not ground his expectations on them.  Here the covenant of grace steps in to his relief, wherein he sees ample provision made for the security of his eternal interest: for the covenant is made with Christ and his seed.  It is an everlasting covenant, not only made before time, but extending its beneficial effects through the ages of eternity.  It is ordered in all things, therefore nothing can be wanting in it, either to promote the glory of God, or the salvation of believers.  It is sure also:  depending on no conditions, requiring nothing but what it gives, conferring its blessings freely, and making them sure to all the seed, being established upon better promises.  Happy souls, who are interested in this well-ordered covenant.  May it be all my salvation, and all my desire.”

Thy word, O God, begetteth faith;
From thence our hope doth spring,
Founded alone on what God saith:
My soul, adore and sing.

Thy word is truth, thy promise sure;
Hence faith and hope abide:
True faith in Jesus will endure;
Naught can from Christ divide.
________
(Bogatzky’s Golden Treasury ~ February 8)