THIS and THAT

THIS is what I have.  THAT is what I don’t have.
THIS is what is near.  THAT is at a distance.
THIS is my own life.  THAT is Life in Christ.
THIS is within my reach.  THAT is beyond my grasp.
THIS is what I want.  THAT is what God says I need.
THIS is sin and misery.  THAT is peace and joy.
THIS is the world.  THAT is heaven.
THIS is darkness. THAT is light.
THIS is what I hold on to.  THAT is what I see when God reveals His Son to me.

When, through the authority of His Word, and the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ becomes the only true life, I see the offering, and sense the drawing of God, the Father to Him.

 THIS is exchanged for THAT.  THIS becomes THAT; and THAT becomes THIS.

THIS is now what I didn’t have.  THAT is what I gave up.
THIS is as near as a new heart.  THAT is no longer visible.
THIS is now my Life in Christ.  THAT is my former life.
THIS is freely given by God’s grace.  THAT is buried with Christ.
THIS is what I want.  THAT is the deception.
THIS is peace and joy. THAT is the past hopelessness.
THIS is light.  THAT is darkness.
THIS is heaven.  THAT is the world.
THIS is what I hold to in faith and hope.  THAT is what I used to be.

 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear,
then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 3:1-4

“Therefore being justified by faith,
we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand,
and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Romans 5:1-2

The Spirit and Heart of God’s Grace

Dear child of God,

As I look upward to our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who sits enthroned in sovereignty and majesty,
Ruling over all things,

My spirit cries, “Abba, Father.

 My hope and trust is in Him.

 At the same time my heart is aching for, and with you.

“This is my (our) affliction,
yet we will remember the days of the Most High.”
Psalm 77:11

All of this life is sandwiched between God’s promises revealed,
and His power to fulfill—
His presence always with us to make it palatable.

How well Paul knew the promise of the Father, that “everything works together for good, to those who love Him, to those who are called according to His purpose—that we might be conformed to the image of Christ, His Son.”  Romans 8:28-29.

~~~~~~

Christ while here on earth looked to the Father in His sovereignty for all things. Knowing His promises, presence and power, His heart was, is, and has always been with us.  As one of us He knows, feels, and cares for us in all our heartaches.   As He reigns in heaven today His heart still bleeds for us, and bids us to come to Him.  He bears the yoke of this life and all its adversity with us.           Music: Whispering Hope

Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, make us to know your presence with us today. Open our eyes to see you in the midst of all this life.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen. 

The Eternal Sabbath

Let us not “neglect to meet together” with God’s people to worship on this Lord’s Day—keeping in mind the words of Trelcatius 1542-1602.

“Shall we not esteem the days of this life very short, if we compare them with the eternal Sabbath, which shall not only give an end to all our labours, but also change our six days into eternity?

Let us aspire with a holy desire and firm hope to the enjoying of this eternal life; sighing under the vanity and shortness of this frail and earthly life.  Jesus Christ saith, ‘For certain I come soon:’ let us, with the church, answer with holy affection, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”

Dear Father, gather us, as your children, to remember and celebrate this day—for your glory and our joy.  In Jesus name, I pray. Amen

Three Crosses, Two Crowns, One Sacrifice

There is not only the foreordained plan of God (Ephesians 1:11) according to the counsel of His will; but also significance in all that He has planned and does.  (Romans 8:28)

THREE CROSSES

When I consider three men dying on individual crosses at the same time—Jesus being the middleman—I see the significance in this event for all humanity. What is this that took place and was symbolized for us?

Three men were tried and convicted of crimes.
Two men were guilty by reason of their own actions.
Jesus was termed “guilty” by reason of God’s decree,
as a substitute for His people who were guilty in their own sins.

                                  TWO CROWNS

A crown in heaven awaited two men. Jesus earned the crown for Himself,     in obedience to God’s will—and for the other man.  The other man earned nothing for himself, but while dying for his own sin was    offered the gift of pardon and eternal life in heaven with Jesus.

ONE SACRIFICE

One man for all eternity was offered as a sacrifice for many, by God, the Father, for propitiation, and by Jesus’ own willingness; and through His one sacrifice took their punishment upon Himself. (1 John 4:10)

Christ was crucified in the middle of all humanity.  On the one side is a man who may represent all unbelievers, who received no mercy, but all that his own sin deserved.  On the other side is the man who may represent all believers, those who see and hear and receive Jesus Christ through the message of this “great salvation” for which Jesus died.  (Hebrews 2:1-3)

All humanity is hanging. All men are born into this world under the “death” penalty.

One group is:
1. Unaware of its condition,
2. Trusting in their own merits, with hope that they can save ourselves, or
3. That someone greater than Jesus Christ will come along and offer a better deal.        Without Christ, and repentance, these will die in their sins and receive the just penalty—eternal death and hell.  (Luke 5:32; 13:3; Acts 5:31; 20:21; Romans 2:4)

One group is:
1. Seeing their condition of sin and misery, their dying, and need of a Savior.
2. Seeing and hearing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
3. By regeneration of the Holy Spirit (how else could one sinner have turned to Jesus, and not the other?) turning in faith and repentance to Him, alone, for this “great salvation,” promised in and through Him.
With, and in Christ, these are “living” now and forever “unto God” with assurance and the abiding hope that is ours in Him.

On which side do you hang?  Is it with those who have no hope, except for what they can do for themselves or by their works—alone for the rest of your life and eternity?

Which cross have you been given?

Be joyful if your can “envision” Jesus next to you, having suffered the penalty that you deserve.  Be thankful if He has bid you to look to Him, “the only begotten Son of God” who hung in your place.  Praise Him if He has been “high and lifted up” for you.

As a “new-born” believer be adamant, fervent, and diligent as you “present your body to Him as a living sacrifice.” By the power of His grace “live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present age.”  (Romans 12:1-2; Titus 2:10)

“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 2:11-14
Music: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Related Articles:
A Bloody Crown, A Bloody Cross, A Bloody Sacrifice
Grace Crowned with Glory

I Will Extol Thee, My God, O King ~ Psalm 145

Praise on the Lord’s Day ~ March 11, 2012

 “I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.

2Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.

3Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.     Music:  Psalm 145

4One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
5I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.
6And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.
7They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.
8The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
9The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
10All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee. 11They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;
12To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. 
13Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
14The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
15The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season.
16Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.
17The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
18The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
19He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. 
20The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
21My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

Grace Crowned with Glory agoldentreasury.com

In the Spirit on the Lord’s Day

What must it have been like—exiled on the Isle of Patmos,
because of his testimony for Christ? (Revelation 1)

John had no live band to lead him in worship, no accompaniment, no artificial light, no props, and no company. But he had his past experience with the Lord Jesus, the memories of living and walking in His footsteps, and the presence of the Holy Spirit.  The testimony for which he was exiled was the same power that was constantly with him.

He was chosen and prepared to receive such visions as he was given, and to put it in writing to be preserved for us.  John’s visions recorded in the Book of Revelation are not your everyday experience, or even a weekly example, of a worship that any of us can expect or hope for here on earth.  But it does serve to bring us to an understanding of the special day that the Lord’s Day became for His people.

It is a day to which we look forward, in anticipation of more of the revelation of the Spirit in our lives and our worship, when we are alone with the Lord or gathered with His people.  The same Spirit, by which we are born into His kingdom, is the same Spirit that leads to greater heights of understanding and finally to His glory.  He is the same presence and power that opens our minds and hearts to Christ, so that we desire to hear His voice, to see that just one, high and lifted up.  Being the center and focus of all our desires and worship, He is all that we seek.  We avoid all hindrances and distractions that take our attention away from Him, His Word and His plan for His worship.

The Holy Spirit and His Word (truth that is in and of Christ) lead us to cast all our crowns before Him, to humble ourselves before Him in silence, praise and adoration.  The same Spirit of which we are born, led, live, and walk, directs our hearts to Him, and reveals the things of God that He will never show us otherwise. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)  This is worship in Spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

The power of His Word will separate us from the world, its methods, sounds, and designs, and by His Spirit bring us to discover Jesus Christ in a new light.  Who does not desire to see the lightnings, thunderings, and earthquakes that prayer and true worship bring to this earth—of which we are in such great need?

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom
which cannot be moved,
let us have grace,
whereby we may serve God acceptably
with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28-29

Dear Father, fill us more and more with your Spirit, especially today; lead us, open our eyes and ears and our hearts to conceive of what you have prepared for us.  Show us great and mighty things we have not known—things that will enable us to bear witness of Christ in all that we do; even it means separation from everybody and all that we know; even if it means that some who claim the name of Christ will throw stones at us.  Lead us to seek Christ, to live for, and worship You, and Christ alone.  In His name we pray and praise you. Amen.