Childbirth is a Family Affair

Our granddaughter and her husband brought their first child home from the hospital yesterday. We did not have the privilege of waiting at the hospital for her delivery as we had with our six grandchildren. But, Jerry and I were a part of the event as we were there in spirit. Our daughter called us with updates throughout the time of waiting. With every report Jerry felt the pain in his leg that was amputated.

Ansley’s contractions had started on Monday. From her scheduled appointment she was hoping the time for their daughter’s birth was eminent. But contractions were not close enough. After a visit to the hospital she was sent home to wait. Tuesday passed with more pain, but no signs of time for birthing. She and her husband left the doctor’s office again with an appointment for 5:00 Wednesday morning. If things had not progressed as they hoped they would induce labor in order to take the pressure off the baby.

Tuesday night they did not sleep. Neither did I. I was awake off and on, praying continually for the Lord’s intervention; for mercy for Ansley and for Him to bring this baby into the world in His way, and in His timing.

They were at the hospital Wednesday morning with good news that the baby would be delivered before evening. Our daughter, our son-in-law and Ansley’s three younger sisters were there early to wait with them. Our daughter, remembering the four occasions she had gone through labor, was feeling Ansley’s pain. She wanted to tell her what to do, but she had to back off, and leave the room.

Our first great grandchild was born at 1:00. We were there to see them all at 3:00.

10689595_10205562289161019_3481855181802915142_nDuring this recent episode, when I mentioned the title of this article to my daughter, she reasoned that this is not true for all families.  Our children were born, with no one there but Jerry and me, the hospital staff ~ and the Lord. But family events have become more important as we have gotten older; and our family is learning the importance of sharing these experiences.

Spiritual Birth
Perhaps this sharing of family experiences, in births, marriages, and deaths has a connection with God and His family. Before this world began there was a relationship of love, joy, and peace between God, the Father, His Son, and His Holy Spirit. What they had together they have since the creation been sharing with His family here on earth. They covenanted together to birth a physical world that would soon be in rebellion and in need of a second birth ~ a spiritual birth.

His Spirit that moved across the face of the waters at the beginning of time is the same Spirit that moves in the spirit and heart of man to give new life. A second birth is required for a new start for true life, eternal life.

The same Light that God spoke into the world over darkness is the light of Jesus Christ given to men.

The same love, the same Word that was in the beginning with God was Jesus Christ. This is the seed that is planted in the hearts of men to form a new heart, a new spirit, and a new life. We have this living word in the written word that by His Spirit brings conception and in His timing He brings this deliverance of a new life in and through us.

There is rejoicing in heaven with every new birth. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10

 The apostle Paul was a spiritual father in his ministry of the gospel of Christ. In his letter to the Galatians he said, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. Galatians 4:19

It does not happen simply by saying a prayer.  Spiritual birth is in every way a miracle as a natural birth, with the greatest work and labor of love by our Lord, Jesus Christ.  We don’t experience it from a care-free, pain-free experience.  If left to ourselves we would refuse it. But, it is worth the pain and the struggle to be born of His Spirit for eternal life; knowing that we are delivered from the wrath of God, the pain of eternity without Christ.

Laboring for Others
We, who are of Christ, labor with others for the souls of those who will be born into His kingdom. We intercede, we pray fervently, and continually, for this conception and birth to take place in the hearts of our loved ones. But, we cannot make it happen by our own planning. We wait and rejoice in His timing and His way.

When Christ returns we shall all rejoice together for His glorious work on our own behalf and for those of all His family.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,
reserved in heaven for you,”
 

1 Peter 1:3-4

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your plan for perpetual life here on this earth, until you have gathered all into your fold.  Keep us by your own power until that day.  In Jesus’ name I pray.

God Just Doesn’t Get It

He does not see how wonderful we are
He does not know how intelligent we are.
He does not listen to our opinions.
He does not consider our good deeds.
He does not understand our boasting.
He is not impressed with our accomplishments.

            He is doing His own work.

            He is upholding all things by the word of His power.

            He is managing the universe.

            He is ruling and defending His kingdom.

            He is holding back His enemies.

            He is preventing wars and destruction.

            He is keeping a light on in the world.

            He is providing for our needs.

            He is working in the hearts of the humble.

            He is preparing a people to share His eternal glory.

As high as we can jump is the power we have to get God’s attention.
We would do better to fall flat on our faces, confess our weaknesses, inabilities and failures; and repent of our sin of pride. Then He would see us, raise us up, and bring us to Himself; provide for us, lead us, assure us, and nurture us as His own children.

0002Ue“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
  And do not return there,
But water the earth,
 And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
 And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; 
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
 And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”   Isaiah 55:10-11

Abba, Father, we need you.  Rend the heavens and come down, as the melting fire burneth, and make your name known to the adversaries.  Shine into our hearts the knowledge of your glory in the face of Jesus Christ.  In His name I pray.  Amen.

The Heart and Beauty of the Gospel

It has been said that one picture is worth a thousand words. While we sometimes need images to help us see a hidden truth there is no image that will portray the word “faith.” Many people look at the cross, but walk away unmoved and unchanged from their thinking. The picture means nothing to them. Some look but reject the truth of the gospel, thinking that they are good enough. They, like the Jews, in response to the good news of a Messiah and a Mediator have established their own righteousness. Without knowledge, they are ignorant of God’s righteousness; His righteousness established in and through His Son, Jesus Christ.

We, who have been born of His Spirit, given a new heart, a new spirit, and a new life, are brought through conviction and repentance by the goodness of the Lord and the power of the gospel, to see Christ as the end of the law for rightousness. (Romans 10:4)

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Romans 10 gives us the image of CHRIST, the only means of righteousness before God. Christ is the center, the heart, the beauty of the Gospel, its power and its glory. It comes to us through the knowledge of His word. We need nothing else but the truth of the gospel and the Holy Spirit to work His righteousness in us. We do not need to bring anything else down from heaven, or anything up from the dead.

Since Jesus’ life, death, resurrection and ascension we have ample witness to the righteousness that has been supplied for us. We have all that is needed.  We have the gospel that has been preserved for centuries, but the power of the gospel that brings nations to obedience of faith is not in the word itself, but in God’s will and compassion to fill our hearts with grace for believing it; for faith and obedience.

“The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”. Romans 10:8-10  Compare the following from Ephesians 2:8-10

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

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Those who have the word of faith in the heart know the beauty of it. We carry it; we confess it, not just to God, Himself.   We preach it in all that we say and do, wherever we go.  We live it to His glory and our joy.

Dear Father, let those who see us and hear our hearts speak, know that all is from you, the beauty of Christ, the center and whole of life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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The Blessing to Parents

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To the glory and praise of our heavenly Father I wrote this poem for our oldest grandchild, Ansley and her husband Dustin, who are expecting their first child this month. Art was added by our second oldest, Kourtney.

 

Turning Everything Heavenward

Having lost a sister-in-law and a brother-in-law in less than a month has brought me to think beyond my own state of existence to something higher than man and life here on this earth. Such is the case with recording my notes as we continue hearing the   preaching of Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Again, Paul’s purpose for writing to the Roman Christians is to bring not just one or two, but, some from every nation, to obedience of faith. It is in the power of the gospel that accomplishes what God sent His Son to do; the Son of God with power (1:4) the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. (1:16-17). We start with God and continue in a God-centered gospel through the book of Romans.

As we come to the most unpopular and unsettled passages of God’s word (for some) in Romans 9 we must, as Paul, let God speak for Himself. In chapter eight Paul begins writing on the doctrine of predestination. If that is not enough he drives the point home dramatically in the next three chapters, to the point of showing that God has the last word on the subject.  Getting through these we come to chapter twelve; to which we are brought in response to His mercy; to present ourselves, as living sacrifices to Him.

Not a Man-centered Gospel
A man-centered gospel cannot save anyone. It tends to bring God down to our own level and make Him what we want Him to be and to say what we want to hear.

Paul answers this kind of reasoning in his day, not by using his own understanding or his own words, but even as Jesus when He was tempted answered with the recorded word of the Father, words that had already been established centuries before.

In Romans 9:14-15 Paul states, in defense of God’s own choice of who He loves, “Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

Then in Romans 9:21 he puts man in the hands of a potter. A pot has no mind of its own, nor power of its own to decide what shape or for what use it is made.

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“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth,
but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Romans 9:16

As the creature we are at God’s mercy. Read the book of Romans and any part of God’s word, and our mouths will be shut, until we know His mercy and grace to us.
Then we will be thanking and praising Him for giving us a new heart and a new spirit. A new life beginning in faith and repentance will prove the power of God in our obedience to His word. The Lord our God leaves no room for argument, only the invitation and power to believe and live heavenward, to His glory and our joy.

“And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy,
which he had afore prepared unto glory.”
Romans 9:23

Sheet Music: I Sought the Lord

Gracious and merciful Father, thank you that we live today only as you give us the Spirit of your Son to accomplish the work for which you created and redeemed us. We praise you for your grace and yours alone that has saved us from your wrath and made us a vessel for your own use. Fill us with your fullness that you may pour out your grace and love through us today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.