THE WAR ZONE

I started this post yesterday thinking it would be a short one not assosiated with our current series, but as it was the Lord’s leading, it will probably be an added chapter.

The closer we are to the Lord, the greater is the warfare. He and we are still being attacked today. In every age, until the end of this world and His coming again to save His people from the evil one, He is drawing us nearer and keeping us close to Him.

We must understand the battle to which He brings us. It is a spiritual war within a physical world.

This world is not just a physical, visible world. It is encompassed within a spiritual world.
The battle between the two ~ the antithesis ~ began in the Garden of Eden and will continue until He comes again.

As we draw closer to that time of departure in the enemy’s last effort through death, we are witness to this warfare between the spiritual and the physical world. We live in the center of the warzone, with the weaponry used from all sides seemingly coming at the same time. We were experiencing this attack yesterday.

This comes now for Jerry and me as I am in the process of publishing One Month to LIVE ~ A Father’s Last Words; a recollection of the last three weeks with my dad as he was dying of cancer. He died on Labor Day, 1994, but while working on this project, the event has been almost as real as those days twenty-four years ago. We are close to the same ages as my parents were then; going through the same stages as they were before my dad was diagnosed with cancer. (Praise the Lord, the day ended amazingly victorious and fruitful; the first draft submitted, waiting for review.)

To Admonish
I share all this to alert those who are still young, to know where you are; who you are in Christ: to admonish you to draw nearer to HIm now, with all diligence through His Word, prayer, worship in a close-knit, Bible-led congregation of those whose lives are spent for His name’s sake, through His grace and for His glory. Herein, is the means of enduring as we understand the fiery trials that come.

  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

The WAR is real, unlike any physical battles on this earth. Unless you are prepared beforehand for the ending of your life for eternity with Him, you will perish when your world starts spinning out of control; your flesh wasting away, while losing all your mental faculties. You will have lost the battle without even knowing it.

You will pass into eternity in the arms of the Lord Jesus or into outer darkness with the enemy of God. If you believe HIs Word, you will see now, Beyond a Mere Christianity, the goal that lies ahead and prepare for the battles that all creatures will face in this lifetime. Among other things, it a battle for truth (Ephesians 6:10-18).

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-11, 13

Dear Father, how do we hold to your Word or stand in these days of the battle? The spirit and the flesh are always at odds, and we have no means of holding or standing except in Christ who has called us to eternity with Him. You know that this puts us right in the middle between you and the evil one. You know we cannot endure except as you stand with us and fill us with the power of your Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Lead us in the paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. This is our only hope and our assurance of salvation. We thank you and praise you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Fran

Please listen to these two sermons from Northern Ireland on Things That are Eternal, Things That are Eternal Part 2. You will be graciously blessed.

Image:Google

Words of Life ~ ADMONISH

What a blessing it has been to share these Words of Life ~ A to Z The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian. Every word brings new insight into this vocabulary that leads us in our thoughts, our speech and actions. Each word is building on the previous ones. Imagine if we could eleminate the words of the English language that do not apply to our lives in Christ. As Jim, a fellow blogger, commented about the wealth of these words related to our life as a Christian, we do well to study these words in application to our lives and relationships.

To ADMONISH one another is a lost art, along with church discipline ~ lost because of its true meaning. It is a special gift used in relationship to one another, those who are of the people of God. Outside the household of faith, it is simply a means of ciritcism without concern for the hearer, but those who know and love each other have the Spirit of truth to see and speak the truth in love wherever it is needed.

We see the word admonish  linked to humility, wisdom, goodness and knowledge, which are other words of our vocabulary. These attributes are needful if we are to warn, teach and shine; the same word for admonish applies to these actions on the part of a child of God. 

Old Testament  H2094
Defines ADMONISH zahar (zä·har‘) warn, admonish, teach, shine  All references.

“Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.” Ecclesiastes 4:13

It is the wise who can admonish others and the wise who are able to accept admonition from others. If we could focus on these Words of Life, we would always be able to admonish and to understand what others are saying when they admonish us.

New Testament   G3560
Defines ADMONISH noutheteō (nü-the-te’-ō) warn, admonish
G3867 paraineō (pä-rī-ne’-ō) admonish, exhort

 “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15:14

This is the means of admonishing one another; able to admonish and to accept admonition.

The apostle Paul instructed the Colossian believers in how they were to admonish one another.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:18

How wonderful it is to relate to those in whom the word of Christ dwells. It is these we would desire to teach and admonish us. This is the means of a brotherly unity in Christ. Look again at this statement: it begins with the word of Christ dwelling in them and from them singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. This seems to indicate that psalms and humns and spiritual songs in our worship, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord is a means of admonition. As we worship, our singing can not only be directed to the Lord, but toward each other. The Psalms and hymns that have been preserved over the years are packed with truth and instruction for us. The words of Christ have never changed, always powerful for the truth to do its work when human words are inadequate.

To the Thessalonian church, Paul used the words exhort and admonish in 2 Thessalonians 3:11-16  concerning those who were disorderly, not working, and disobedient to the teachings they had received from him.

 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother”

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for your Word that instructs us in how we are to live as your children. Teach us all so that we may teach each other in love, and accept personal teaching from others who love us and see things in us that we may not be able to see. Unite us as your people through your Word in the power of your Holy Spirit to be light in this world ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Image:Google

Seeing IS Believing

God gave us eyes to see the beauty of His creation. It is easy for us to see physically and to be distracted by the things of this world; to settle for the status quo.  But to see Beyond a Mere Christianity requires three things: light, revelation, and new eyes. And these three come from God through His Son, Jesus Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit.

At the foundation of the world God said, “Let there be light.” Before there was sun or moon, there was light, simply by His Word. Jesus was identified as the Light and the Word from heaven. He opened heaven for us to reveal the Father/Creator and heaven itself in Him.

All this ~ beyond this world ~ is revealed in God’s Word, the Holy Bible.

There was darkness before God said, “Let there be light.” We cannot see in the dark. So, it is with human hearts.
When speaking to Nicodemus, who came to him at night, Jesus knew His real need, and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” John 3:3

This was a reflection of Ezekiel 36:26 regarding the promise that the Lord would give His people a new heart and a new spirit; taking away the heart of stone and rebellion against Him. With the new heart and spirit come eyes of faith to see what others cannot see; to understand the things of God.

Jesus said to His disciples:

 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matthew 13:17

To the religious leaders and others who heard him:

 “But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.” John 6:36

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” John 8:56

 “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” John 9:39

 “And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” John 12:45

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

The eyes of faith enable us to endure through the most difficult trials. Stephen spoke of heaven opened to him in his persecution.

“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56

“As one looks and discovers that almost everything down here is in confusion, chaos, and ruins, it seems as though Satan were getting the better of the conflict. But as one looks above, instead of around, there is plainly visible to the eye of faith a Throne, a Throne unaffected by the storms of earth, a Throne that is “set,” stable and secure; and upon it is seated One whose name is the Almighty, and who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11). This then is our confidence-God is on the Throne.Though God’s governing hand is invisible to the eye of sense it is real to faith, that faith which rests with sure confidence upon His Word, and therefore is assured He cannot fail.” The Sovereignty of God ~ A. W. Pink

We find in Hebrews 11 a list of those who saw Jesus and heaven with eyes of faith; who endured to the end. And as spoken of Moses:

“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27

And these are the promises that the world cannot see.

 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:17

“But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.” Romans 15:21

Paul prayed for “the eyes of understanding to be enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18).

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18

How we see determines our joy in this life.
To see Christ is to live joyfully in anticipation of eternity with Him, “even in this vale of sin, for he illumines and gives the beauty of grace, forgiveness, and hope. When the curtain of this life drops, it will rise to the sight of his loving gaze, his exalted splendor, his unending, satisfying presence.” The Lord of Glory ~ Chris Strevel

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” 1 Peter 1:8

“and we shall be like him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for sending the Great Physician to be your light in our darkness; for birthing us into your kingdom with a new heart, spirit, eyes, and life in Him. Fill us with your Spirit of truth ~ the Spirit of Christ ~ that we may see you and live in light of your glory. This is our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Image:Google

Words of Life ~ ADD(ED)

The word ADD is used in the Christian vocabulary in a particular way, in that it refers to God’s adding, not ours.

Old Testament H3254
Defines the word ADD yacaph (yä·saf).
A primitive root; to add or augment (often adverbially to continue to do a thing):— add, X again, X any more, X cease, X come more, + conceive again, continue, exceed, X further, X gather together, get more, give moreover, X henceforth, increase (more and more), join, X longer (bring, do, make, much, put), X (the, much, yet) more (and more), proceed (further), prolong, put, be [strong-] er, X yet, yield.  All references.

 Have you ever tried a recipe or a formula in which you added or changed something? You would not expect the results to be as what you may have experienced before.

God’s commandments were given to provide His people a guide to their relationship with Him. His word was enough, with no need for them to augment

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4;2

His commandments were unsatisfactory for the people in Samuel’s day. God was not enough for them. They wanted what other nations had.

 And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.” 1 Samuel 12:19

New Testament G4369
Defines the word ADD  prostithēmi (pros-tē’-thā-mē) From G4314 and G5087; to place additionally, that is, lay beside, annexrepeat:—add, again, give more, increase, lay unto, proceed further, speak to any more.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus taught that life in His kingdom meant that we trust Him for all things, to depend on and live content with what God gives. The first thing needed is to find what was lost in the beginning ~ His kingdom and His righteousness. What He adds will always fit our needs.

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” Matthew 6:27

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

The same word for add is used in Luke 17:5 ~   increase our faith.

How the Lord Adds to His Church
Jesus taught then and now, through His recorded word, how the life of His followers is given and sustained. All that we have is God-given and maintained by His written and Living word within us. In the early church those “that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 2;41  

 “Praising God, and having favour with all the people.
And the Lord added 
to the church daily such as should be saved.”Acts 2:47 

Why the Law Was Added
The Commandments were added after the promise of restoration and life that would come through our relationship with Jesus Christ

 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”  Galatians 3:19  (Read Galatians 3 to get full impact of Jesus as the seed.)

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;”
2 Peter 1:5

We are instructed to add with diligence that by which we are called. (1 Peter 5:10: 2 Peter 1:3) The virtue, knowledge and subsequent attributes are those of our Lord and Savior who, by promise lives within us, by His Spirit working all God requires of us. He is all we need.

Heavenly Father, we praise you that you have brought us full circle from being a disobedient people, wanting to establish our own way of life, to experience the restoration by your grace to know you as Father, Lord, Savior and King of all life. Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable unto you through your Son. We need add nothing except: In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Suggested Reading: First Things that Last Forever

Covenant Living and Giving

Life Beyond a Mere Christianity is possible in covenant with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

God relates to His creatures only through covenant.

“All true theology is based on some form of a divine covenant. The Christian religion must be understood covenantally, for that is how God has chosen to relate to man, whether in the garden or after the entrance of sin into the world. The goal of all divine–human covenants is summed up in the words found throughout the Bible: “I will be your God and you will be my people, and I will dwell among you” (Ex. 6:729:45Ezek. 11:202 Cor. 6:16Rev. 21:3).”  What is a Covenant?

A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties. There is an initiator, one who is responsible to reveal the covenant to another person. We can do all we can, thinking we live in relationship to God, with little success, until we understand how God initiates His covenant with His people. With the initiation, He provides the conditions and the means to live in covenant with Him. Just as He chose to create us without our help, He has chosen us as His people; presents His covenant to us with promise to fulfill every detail and draws us to Christ by His Holy Spirit. We enter into covenant with Him by faith, believing that He has the power to complete all that is specified in the covenant.

His is a covenant of grace, requiring no work of our own; a covenant of redemption through Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled the conditions; a covenant of love between Him and His people. This article cannot do justice to the subject of the covenants that were made to Adam (a covenant of works), everlasting covenants to Noah (Genesis 9:16), Abraham (Genesis 17:7) Isaac (Genesis 17:19) and David (2 Samuel 23:5), and fulfilled by the life and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:20-21). His Holy Spirit continues to complete the Father’s covenant in and through us for the promised inheritance that is ours through His Son, our Lord and Savior.

Covenant living and giving is possible when we know the person who has the power to fulfill all the conditions for both sides. There is much to be said about life in covenant with our heavenly Father through His Son and the power of His Holy Spirit. I cannot in my own words express how the father of our faith, Abraham, lived in covenant with our heavenly Father, but if you have ever wondered how and why God could ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son, please take the time for the following message. I pray that, as I was, you may be moved to live and give as our Father and our Lord did for us. Don’t miss a blessing ~ please check the link below.

Abraham’s Fiery Trial

Dear Father, I pray that you would speak to other hearts through this sermoneven as you did to mine. Teach us what it means to live in covenant with you, to give all to you, for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Image:Google

Words of Life ~ ACKNOWLEDGE

 To acknowledge someone or something is more than just to know. Know is the middle of the word with the prefix ac and the suffix ledge. Ac adds direction toward what we know. Ledge denotes action or practice.

Picture your heart as the storehouse of the knowledge of God; your mind as the prefix of what you know, leaning forward, striving toward the knowledge He has given from His Word; His Spirit leading you to act upon and practice what you know ~ hands and feet in response to the blessings of knowing Him.

The Old Testament H3045
Defines the word acknowledge yada (yä·dah’)
A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great
variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially
(including observation, care, recognition; and causativelyinstruction,
designation, punishment, etc.):—acknowledge, acquaintance (-ted with), advise,
answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware, [un-] awares, can [-not], certainly, for a
certainty, comprehend, consider,
The same Hebrew word is used for “know, knowledge, discern, perceive, respect.”

All references to acknowledge are here.

“In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.”
Proverbs 3:6

 We are to acknowledge Him in all our ways and in our relationship with Him acknowledge our sin.

I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:5

acknowledge thine iniquity” (Jeremiah 3:13). acknowledge our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers” (Jeremiah 14:20).

“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.”  Hosea 5:15

“Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.” Jeremiah 24:5

“Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might.” Isaiah 33:13

The New Testament  G1921
Defines the word acknowledge epignōsis (e-pē’-gnō-sēs)
From G1909 and G1097; recognition, e.e. (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement:—(ac-) knowledge (-ing, – ment): perceive.

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 14:37

“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;” Colossians 2:2

“Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” 1 John 2:23

Dear Heavenly Father, We acknowledge our sin before you, in the promise of your forgiveness through the sacrifice of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We seek your face, even as we understand the affliction that we must endure because of our offenses toward you. We acknowledge your might as you acknowledge us in our captivity. We thank you for the wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ, and acknowledge Him as our only means of reconciliation with you. Continue to direct our paths. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

A Holy, High and Heavenly Calling

If we are to live Beyond a Mere Christianity, we must understand that Christianity is not man’s idea, it is a calling from God. From the highest heaven, God created all things for His own purpose; in HIs plans He brings us into a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. He rules and reigns through His Son, and by His Holy Spirit calls us to follow Him; to know Him and to live for Him.

A Holy Calling

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” 2 Timothy 1:9

It is a holy calling, from a Holy God, who calls us to a separation from the world to live holy before Him (1 Peter 1:15) and to serve Him in His kingdom. We cannot work for this relationship, but He, by His own purpose reveals His grace to us in Christ. This was determined before the world began, made possible through His Son, and administered by His Holy Spirit.

A High Calling

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

The apostle Paul knew the calling of a Christian to be the high calling of God in Christ, where Christ sits enthroned at the right hand of the Father, ruling and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords. This high calling is beyond our earthly thinking, and comes from above.

A Heavenly Calling

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” Hebrews 3:1

The writer of Hebrews 2 spoke of Jesus being made like us, partakers of flesh and blood, made a High Priest for us, being tempted Himself, so that He can succor those who are tempted(Hebrews 2:17-18).

The Purpose
What is the purpose of His calling, and what are the expected results? We find this explained vividly in Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica. To get the full impact of this calling and the end result, we need to read Thessalonians 1. Here Paul writes, describing their patience and grace through the endurance of persecution and tribulation.

This calling includes the testing of our faith by those who do not obey the gospel.

“that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer (2 Thessalonians 1:5).

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:” 2 Thessalonians 1:11

This holy, high and heavenly calling begins and ends with our Lord God in heaven; with His intentions to create and redeem a people with all the good pleasure of His goodness

“That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:12

Paul speaks of the reasons we are called:
Called to be saints (1 Corinthians 1:2) into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9); into His kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12):

Simon Peter makes reference in the following:

Called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9); that we should inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9); called to His eternal glory in Christ (1 Peter 5:10); to glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3).

The Work of Grace
Look back to the Holy Calling in 2 Timothy 1:9 in the previous text ~ “according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” In every generation He is calling His saints, and by His grace, working faith in us with power not only to believe but to suffer for the sake of His name and the gospel.

The common denominator, Christ Jesus, is found in every reference to God’s holy, high and heavenly calling.

Gracious Father, who has called us, according to your purpose and the precious grace that works in the hearts of those whom you call, we thank you. We praise you that you save us and call us to a life beyond any mere thoughts of faith that man can speak of; a faith that enables us to suffer for your sake and to endure to the end. Your Son, our Lord, Savior and High Priest calls us to follow in His footsteps. Do your work in our hearts to see beyond this world to the place of our calling and glorify your Son in us. In HIs precious name we pray. Amen.
Fran