A Year for CONTENTMENT

youre-invited-mingle-before-you-jingle1-1r5pkol-1Knowing my own need, the Lord is leading me in the year of 2017 to continue in my desire and search for the contentment that is found in Him alone. It is easy to read about, to talk about, to search for its meaning and to hope and pray for it. Like “humility” which was our subject for 2014, and “meditation” for 2015, “contentment” has not only to be sought after, but prayed for, desired with the whole heart, soul, mind and strength, and more importantly, waited for with patient endurance.  All of these are possible only by His working them in us as His family in His kingdom.

This is our plan for this New Year, and we invite you to come with us, to help us to discover what the Lord wants and has prepared for us.contentment

Contentment is a subject not only to be studied and pursued, but can be described in many ways. It is the desire of most people, but misunderstood when it comes to knowing how contentment is achieved. Since the beginning of time, we learn that contentment does not come from the things of this world.   Without even using the word or a definition, our first parents experienced what I call a seventh sense (we will look at this later) in the Garden of Eden. They were content, until Satan convinced them that they needed more than God had given them.

We live in the same environment as our first parents, but with a greater need. Contentment is a state of being. No one is born with it. Like the apostle Paul, it must be learned, and the lessons do not come from other human beings. The enemy supernaturally instilled the spirit of discontent, and only one who is stronger than he can deliver us from it.

Divine Contentment

For many years Thomas Watson’s book, The Art of Divine Contentment has been a source of study and delight. You can download free and read with us or download free MP3. Unlike our review and study of Andrew Murray’s Humility, we will not be reading through this book chapter by chapter, but we will use some of Watson’s quotes.

We want you to come with us through this year and to add your comments. We will be posting one, two or three times a week. Not every post will be titled contentment, but relating to it in some way, as we continue our search for this precious state, which our Lord desires for us. He died to deliver us from this horrific power of oppression and discontent, which is opposite from life in His kingdom.

Our posts will relate also to a book that we will be finishing this year. Thriving Under Oppression is relative to the spirit that keeps us from contentment and the life for which Christ has saved us. Soon we will publish God Is Our Goal. This too is relative to the life that is lived here in anticipation of the eternal life that is ours in Christ.  Who knows; maybe this will end up being a book, and you will have helped me write it (Proceeds always designated for missions and charity).

We encourage you to share this invitation with your readers or others you would want to be a part of this movement for 2017.
YES ~ let’s call it a “movement for contentment” ~ long needed for the Christian community.
What effect would our contentment have upon the world?

“Blessed be the God and Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who in Christ, has blessed us
with every spiritual blessing
in heavenly places.”
Ephesians 1:3

Gracious Father in heaven, it is you who has created us so that we may delight ourselves in you; who has redeemed us and restored us to an even greater estate from which we fell. Only you can bring us from the power of the oppressor to you, to know your presence and power, to work in us supernaturally this contentment for which you saved us in Christ. Draw those that you want to be a part of this year’s blessings as you lead us and teach us by the power of your Holy Spirit. Open our hearts, our minds, our ears, our wills, to you, to our Lord Jesus Christ and your Holy Spirit, so that we do not miss anything you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.
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In Anticipation of The New Creation

In our last post An Incarnation for a New Creation we saw the means of God’s plan to reconcile His people to Himself. (2 Corinthians 5)
In Christ we are a new creation, but this is just a means to an end.

“I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot
inherit the kingdom of God,
nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”
1 Corinthians 15:50

Why do we need to be reborn spiritually? Otherwise we would not be compatible with the new heavens and the new earth where all is righteousness, and where we, who are being conformed to the image of Christ, will receive a crown of righteousness. (2 Timothy 4:8)
He promises that we shall rule with Him and share His glory. (Colossians 3:3-4; 1 John 3:1-3; Romans 8:17,30; Hebrews 2:10; Revelation 1:6)

We must be reformed, transformed, and conformed so that we may enter the heavenly city. Remember the wedding guest, who was thrown out because he was not wearing a wedding garment. We must be in Christ and robed in His righteousness to be acceptable.

The earth is our physical mother. Heaven, the New Jerusalem is our spiritual, eternal mother.
We are born of the Spirit for eternity with God in heaven.

“But the Jerusalem above is free,
and she is our mother. “
(Galatians 4:5-6)

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.~ and a kingdom that cannot be shaken.” (Hebrews 12:26-29)

 “But according to his promise
we are waiting for

new heavens and a new earth
in which righteousness dwells.”

2 Peter 3:13

8eec95a26defb892b7aad6e86aab7318“And he who was seated on the throne said,
“Behold, I am making all things new.”

Revelation 21:5

What should we be doing in anticipation of the fulfillment of this promise? We should not be wasting our time and talents, but growing spiritually, glorifying Him and rejoicing in Him. (Philippians 4:4)

“But grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
To him be the glory
both now and to the day of eternity.”
Amen.
2 Peter 3:18

Dear Father, we praise you for your plan. Only you knew how it would work. Thank you for the power of your Spirit, through Christ and your written word, to reveal and fulfill your plan in us, now and for eternity. Thank you for planting the seed that died and now bears the fruit of righteousness in us. Water and bring to fruition that for which you came to us in Christ, your Son. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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An Incarnation for a New Creation

“The Incarnation of the Son of God is the terminology used to describe what happened when the second person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God, “became flesh” as he was miraculously conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary according to the Bible. In the incarnation, the divine nature of the Son was perfectly united with human nature in one divine Person. This person, Jesus Christ, was both “truly God and truly man.” Theopidia

The Incarnation

“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.
And the word became flesh
and dwelt among us.”

John 1:1, 14

For what purpose? Could not God from heaven continue His supernatural work by His own Spirit as He had in the Old Testament?

There are many Biblical references to explain why God chose to manifest Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Mediation

Just as there were prophets, priests, and kings in the old covenant as mediators between God and His people, they were not capable to accomplish God’s plan. His intention for the first creation was to have human beings bearing His image. That image was marred, distorted by disobedience to His Word; the relationship that He desired was put on hold.

So, there was a need and the plan for a mediation, which meant that there had to be a dual role, and so Jesus, the second person of the Trinity was born to be the mediator between God and men.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
1 Timothy 2:5

He came to fulfill the law, something no other human could do. (Matthew 5:17) As a mediator, He first had to do what the first man failed to do ~ obey the Creator. He had to show a full obedience to the word and will of the law. For thirty-three years He proved His humanity, by being tempted as we are, yet without sin, so that as our sacrifice, He would be offered as a permanent sacrifice for all who believe in Him.

All the promises of God are revealed and fulfilled in Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

God made Him to be our “Go To” for all things. What the law could not do for us, in us, or through us, He does in us through Christ.

Jesus’ words:
He reveals that He was the “bread of life” ~ “the bread of God who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John6:33-35)

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

The one whose birth the shepherds attended, became the good Shepherd .

“The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
John 10:28

“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world — to bear witness to the truth.
Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

John 18:37

John’s words:

“… he appeared to take away sins… 1 John 3:5

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:b

From the writer of Hebrews we learn that Jesus, in sharing flesh and blood, partaking of the same life as ours would, through death, destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver those who were subject to fear of death and the judgment of God. (Hebrews 2:10-15; 1 John 4:17-19)

The New Creation

Jesus, having lived a holy life, became the Lamb of sacrifice for our sins, He took upon Himself our sin and punishment, in exchange for His righteousness. (Romans 3:21-26; Romans 6:23: 2 Corinthians 5:21)images

Through His life and death we are given a new life by the power of His Holy Spirit; sent by the Father to draw us to Christ, He gives us a new heart and spirit. Through the written word of God, the Spirit reveals the living Word in us, and we are born again as a new creation. (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:3,21; 2 Corinthians 4:6-7;  2 Corinthians 5:17-19; James 1:18)

He fulfills the image of the Father in us. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:18)

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
1 Corinthians 15:21-22

In 1 Corinthians 15 we learn that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. There is first a natural body, a man of dust, inherited from Adam the first man. The spiritual, imperishable man is Jesus Christ, the man of heaven and those who are of heaven ~ born of His Spirit. (John 1:12-13)

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
(1 Corinthians 15:42-49)

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons.
(Galatians 4:4-7)

“Emmanuel” ~ God with us was the prophecy of Isaiah 8:10.  “And they shall call his name Immanuel.” Matthew 1:23

“The promised seed shall be Immanuel, God with us; let that word comfort you that God is with us. The strongest consolations, in time of trouble, are those which are borrowed from Christ, our relation to him, our interest in him, and our expectations of him and from him.” Matthew Henry

(There are so many more references in each of these categories of the incarnation, mediation, and new creation. A book has been written already. Please comment with some of your favorites.)

Dear Father, reveal and fulfill your plan for our salvation in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of your Holy Spirit in us ~ to your glory and our joy.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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Echo of Good Tidings

 0681a_christmasimage_2014 This good news was announced on earth to a few shepherds by a single angel, after which a multitude of angels rejoiced, in praise “to God in the highest.” One of the greatest events on earth took place that night.

Can we imagine what was going on in heaven? Could it be that after thousands of years of planning and waiting for this day heaven was quiet? 

Joseph’s purpose and greatness in this life was to serve as Jesus’ earthly father.  He attended the birth and accepted Jesus as his own son. But God, His heavenly Father begat Him for an even greater purpose. His physical birth was the result of the heavenly Father’s desiring, and siring, to fulfill all His promises of redemption for His people of every race and nation.

Would not He and all of heaven been in a holy expectancy in anticipation of this event with its celebration and proclamation?

While the people of Bethlehem may have been sleeping and the world clueless to God’s plans during this historical event, can we not think that God, Jesus’ heavenly Father was present, with the attendance of the angels, for the delivery of His own Son? Would not Gabriel who had announced the conception to Mary been present? And might Michael have been there to keep the enemy at bay? This is only speculation, but surely there was much going on that was not recorded for us.

If “the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner that repents,” imagine what all the heavenly hosts were doing that night when the Redeemer, who has brought that means of repentance, was born.

A few were privileged to experience the reverberation that night—from the heavenly Father came the proclamation of new life here on earth, as promised from the beginning, and prophesied through the ages. The shepherds heard, believed, and came to see “that which had come to pass,” and glorified and praised God for all they had heard and seen.

“And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.”
Luke 2:17

The echo continues, as it has for thousands of years. God, the Father is still proclaiming the majesty of His Son over all things, and His love for all His children. For those who hear, Christ is conceived in the heart, bringing faith and repentance. The heavenly hosts are still rejoicing as God, the Father, through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit give true life ~eternal life ~ to new sons and daughters.

We do not know what happened the night of Jesus’ birth other than what has been recorded in His Word, and passed down through the centuries. We celebrate the season of this birth in many different ways according to our culture and traditions. There are many reverberations heard and experienced throughout the world that have nothing to do with the purpose and truth of the birth of the Son of God. But, in a few, from the hearts of those to whom this truth has been revealed there is an echo resounding, not from speculation or imagination, but from the Father, and Christ, Himself.

He is present, and the heavenly hosts rejoice with each new birth. He has made us His children, His family, His people, His church, His echo here on earth, heard not just for one season or another, but for all time and eternity.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace with whom he is pleased.”
Luke 2:14

“Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.”
Hebrews 13:21

Dear heavenly Father, as you planned that your only begotten Son would be the first of many brethren, bringing many sons to glory, let us gratefully echo the good tidings that the angels announced that holy night.  Fill us with the Spirit of the life of Christ, so that forever He will be glorified in you and us.  In His name we pray. Amen.

Related Article: Angels From the Realms of Glory
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A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s HUMILITY

a-broad-reviewOur newest book, A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s HUMILITY, is now available on Amazon.
Kindle .99  Paperback: $5.59    (A free copy is available for anyone who would review this book.)

Murray’s books have been a great influence in my life, but none as significant as this one on humility. We wrote this Broad Review in 2014 and shared it each month on  God’s Grace ~ God’s Glory.

If you have never read Humility ~ The Beauty of Holiness by Andrew Murray, this is your opportunity. Included in our book is a link to a free audio or ebook download of HUMILITY, so that you can read each chapter before each chapter’s review.
This would be a great way to start the new year.

Profits from our books are designated for missions and charity (especially MTW, Heart Cry Missionary Society, and Samaritans Purse).

Asking in the Spirit

As I was thinking of a title for this post, Paul’s words in his letter to the Ephesians came to mind. In relation to spiritual warfare, he said at the end of his description of “the armor of God” ~ “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-10-16-56-am-1

As I am blessed to be a part of the WordPress Christian community, getting to know some of you and how God is working in your hearts, I am learning how to be vulnerable, putting aside fear of rejection. In this post I am looking for joint-heirs of God’s kingdom, who are “about the Father’s business.”

Even as I pray in the Spirit, I am asking in the Spirit for your help as I continue in my ministry of publishing our Little Books About the Magnitude of God.

There are three reasons I am asking for your support and three things that you can do to help.

  1. Jerry and I do not receive any of the profits. They are designated for missions and charity (Missions To The World, Heart Cry Missionary Society, Samaritans Purse, and others as God leads.)
  2. The expenses for the first five books published in August were out of pocket, and we don’t expect to recover this.
  3. After twenty-five years of writing and six years blogging on the truth of God’s grace, we entered a dimension of this world that we never expected to indulge. WordPress is an Internet experience that is mild in comparison to publishing books. For almost a year, we researched, read books about the process of publishing, watched videos and webinars, and sought to follow those who are making the six and seven figure incomes. After book cover designs, editing and formatting, our hopes were not to get rich from selling our books. We are already “rich” in Christ, and only wanted to give away our books at first. Then we were led to seeking a profit for His glory ~ for missions, so as to extend the message of the kingdom to the world.

There is an even greater desire to publish since we began almost a year ago, which has to do with why others are making the big money in publishing. The best sellers are what the world is looking for ~ thrillers, violence, mystery, fantasy, the occult, erotica, everything immoral and in opposition to the kingdom of God. The air waves are filled with and supplying the spirit of this world, and we hear, and see the results every day.screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-9-47-22-am-1

With a click, the world is spending money to advance its own kingdom. My hope is to channel some of those clicks and money to the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. The greatest competition seems to be our niche ~ Christian non-fiction.

Three ways you can help (simpler than the reasons).

  1. Pray in the Spirit with supplication for all saints, those who write and those who read, that we may discern the truth in what we write and what others read. And as Paul asked his readers, “and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:19
  2. Read our books. (eBooks or print) They are short reads and inexpensive compared to others. (Someone has said that they are dirt cheap) We do not ask that you buy unless the Lord leads and you want the profit to go to missions or charity. We do not ask for donations.
  3. Rate and write a short review on your blog and Amazon. For all who are willing to rate these, we offer a free copy of any of our books. We need these for encouragement to others.

You can view all our books on Amazon. We will be publishing our sixth book next week ~ A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s HUMILITY.

As a joint-heir in Christ, of the family of God,  if you feel led to be a part of this ministry, Father and Family Books ~ Proclaiming the Legacy of God’s Kingdom,  please comment and let me know how you can support us, or how to send you a copy.

Sometime in the near future I would like to spotlight other authors, as we are discovering others who are publishing for the kingdom. We ought to do this for each other and the kingdom.

Dear Father, we thank you for those we have met online as we have been proclaiming your grace and your glory.  We pray for these as they write what you put on their hearts, recognizing with joy how you are working in each one.  This encourages me to believe that you are doing a great work in the next generation to publish the good tidings that are found in your written word and your Living Word, your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Lead those whom you want to read the truths that you have given me over the years, for your glory and our joy.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Three Advents

Some people of the Christian faith are celebrating the season of Advent ~ the anticipated coming of the Messiah. (See related article for a longer explanation.)

Advent emphasizes two main things, “coming” and Jesus Christ ~ the one who was to come, who has come, who is coming and will come again a last time.

According to promise throughout the Scriptures, the Israelites were expecting Emmanuel ~ “God with us.”
Their prayer and song was “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel.”

The Messiah has come (the reason for celebration now) and in His coming Christ has saved a people for Himself.

Those who anticipate His second coming celebrate Advent also. This will be the third advent.

The Second Advent is the lifelong celebration of the coming of Christ by those who have experienced it personally. What does this mean?

Think of the Holy Spirit that “hovered over the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light.” Genesis 1:2-3

lightPromise of a Savior

Then in the first chapter of Luke we see how Christ came into the world in fulfillment of the promise of a Savior.

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” Luke 1:35

The Holy Spirit came upon Mary, a young virgin, as God’s means to bring light into the world, the light that had been extinguished.

The Holy Spirit comes upon us to birth Christ the Savior in us. He cannot save us outside of ourselves. He must overwhelm us with His holiness, His love, His power, and fill us with the light of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:7; 1 Peter:3)

Mary’s and Joseph’s hearts were tender and fertile to receive the infant Jesus and to care for Him, to bring Him up in the nurture of God’s Word.

“A new heart and a new spirit “(Ezekiel 36:26) is God’s promise and gift to us so that we can receive the life of Christ in us. It is this advent in our own lives that enables us to live in the power of the Holy Spirit in anticipation of the Last Advent.

“No ear may hear His coming
But in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive him still
The dear Christ enters in

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today.”
(O Little Town of Bethlehem)

Jesus is no longer a baby in a manger, nor a man on a cross, but our Almighty Savior, High Priest, Lord and King, who is interceding for us now, , by His Holy Spirit intervening, and who will come and take us to Himself for eternity.

Dear Father, we praise you for the power of your Holy Spirit to complete your work here on earth. Continue to shine your Light through the advent of our lives. We pray the gift of new hearts, the Holy Spirit and the life of Christ throughout the coming year. Come, Lord Jesus. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Related article:  What is Advent?
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