One Month to LIVE ~ A Father’s Last Words

For the past three weeks I have been processing for publication the first book I wrote twenty-two years ago. Two years before, in 1994, I had walked through the valley of the shadow of death with my father. It was this time of year, last of August and first of September, that we learned he had esophageal cancer.

“He can go at any time, and I would not count on more than a month.”

I documented in a desk-top publication for family and close friends what was evidenced as the Lord’s presence during his last three weeks. There were no computers for consumers then, so I typed what was still fresh in my mind and heart; cut and pasted every page and took the little book to a printer. It was simply titled, Daddy.

During this formatting, which our granddaughter Kourtney retyped for me a few years ago, it seems I have relived this event that was a turning point in my life; at least one of the great ones. My dad “rested in the Lord” on Labor Day, after eighty-five years of struggle for peace.

Even so, those years were fruitful as he worked hard and long hours to find his place in the world. But if he could return and recount those years, he would say that he only began to live as he was dying. I witnessed it. I was there to see how God took a helpless dying man and gave him life and peace beyond understanding. It was at his bedside that I learned how to trust the only One who gives life; to live now as if living forever in the presence and power of my heavenly Father. It was there I began to learn to live my life for others. It was then that He started writing His love story on my heart and of which I continue to write. Fran

One MONTH to LIVE ~ A Father’s Last Words is available on Amazon.

Words of Life ~ ADORN (ed, ing)

At first glance I thought not to include the word ADORN in our list of Words of Life. There did not seem to be many references, but the more closely I looked, the more I saw the importance of this word in the Christian vocabulary, especially as it relates to women. Nontheless, men and women are together the bride of Christ and this word applies to both. Fathers and husbands can benefit from the references to women as they lead their households.

Old Testament H5709
Strongs Concordance
Defines ADORN 
âdâh (aw-daw’) a primitive root; to advance, i.e. pass on or continue; causatively, to remove; specifically, to bedeck (i.e. bring an ornament upon):—adorn, deck (self), pass by, take away.

Isaiah 61 is a chapter relating the salvation and restoration of the nation of Israel through the prophecy of the coming Messiah. The following is a wonderful verse on which to meditate as we consider our new creation in Christ, our relationship to the whole body of Christ ~ He as the bridegroom decketh (same word H5709) himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

The following verse from Hosea describes the nation of Israel as an adulteress who “decked herself with her earrings and her jewels” to attract her lovers. We find a similar reference in the New Testament in 1 Peter 3:3-4 that expresses what the adorning of the bride of Christ should be.

“And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the Lord.Hosea 2:13 

New Testament G4737
Strong’s defines ADORN stephanoo stef-an-o’-o from 4735; to adorn with an honorary wreath (literally or figuratively):–crown.

The writer of Hebrews 2:7 quotes from Psalm 8:6 in reference to man being crowned (same word used here) with honor and glory, but not yet.

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” 1 Timothy 2:9

NT G2885
Defines ADORN kosmeo kos-meh’-o from 2889; to put in proper order, i.e. decorate (literally or figuratively); specially, to snuff (a wick):–adorn, garnish, trim.
2889 (kosmei) is used throughout the New Testament for the word “world” as God put all things in proper order when He created the heavens and the earth.

Titus 2:10 refers to fidelity by adorning the doctrine of God in all things.

“Not purloining , but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”

We can compare the following verses in 1 Peter to Hosea 2:13 above, relating to the inner adorning of the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:” 1 Peter 3:5

Our last reverence links to the first one from Isaiah 61 in the Old testament. Take a moment to go back and compare these two; then rejoice that we as His people are the bride of Christ.

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:2

It is easy to see how what we wear is related to a heart relationship to Christ. What is the adorning that God desires for His people ~ “in the sight of God of great price?

Dear Father in heaven. We continue to find the wealth of the words of your kingdom as we search your Word ~ Words of Life that change not only our vocabulary, but our minds and hearts; to live in union with you and our Lord Jesus. Continue to work these words and meanings by the adorning of your Holy Spirit ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Holy, Holy, Holy               Covenant Choir

Photo by Min An from Pexels 

How Exciting Is Your God?

Thinking I would save time in my busy week, it seemed a good idea to just post a snippet from a dormant file.

Not so. Opening this manuscript only served to stir up the Spirit within me to the truths therein. Worship That Springs from the Heart of God ~ A Sheep’s View was an exciting work several years ago that became more than I could finish at that time. (Other books in the series Little Books About the Magnitufe of God are no more than a 100 pages.) A Table of Contents for two sections, The Meaning of Worship and The Means of Worship with many references and notes, including chapters of Roles and Positions, Rules and Conditions, brought me to that Spring that flows from the heart of God. Worship became something new and powerful in my own heart and life.

I learned and now experience the connection ~ the vital connection ~ between God’s Word and His Worship ~ with a capital W ~ beyond a mere worship.

In studying what it means to worship and praise the Lord, I related it to my grandchildren (an older sheep teaching younger sheep) by asking the question, “How exciting is your God?”

This depends on how He “incites” you.

INCITE
He, first, “provokes the action” by His Word and Spirit through my mind and heart—instruments that He created for this purpose. The word “provoke” is used many times in the Old and New Testaments to speak of provoking God and others to anger and jealousy.

There is only one reference that speaks of the power to provoke unto love and good works.

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:”  Hebrews 10:24

Paroxysmo (pä-ro-ksü-smo’s) first means incite, incitement or second, irritate, contention.
(Had I not reviewed this for this post, I would not have found this little nugget hidden from plain view.)

It is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, who speaks through His written word, revealing the God who is worthy to be worshiped. The Living Word, Jesus Christ, lives within us to bring the worthy worship that He desires and deserves.

EXCITE
As I read and hear His word of truth, He does a work within me that “excites” me.

Through His Word from His own heart, by His Spirit, He quickens my spirit  (Romans 8:11). This understanding brings more light to Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 2, which is worthy for meditation in this matter of how the Spirit works to give us the mind of Christ.

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 2 Corinthians 2:4-5

RECITE
Worship is the continual effect of God’s own work within us.
Worship is the “reciting” of His Word and how He teaches us to relate to Him, the result of the Spirit of Christ working from within. No man can do this for me.  No man can teach me how to worship the Almighty God, my heavenly Father.

Worship begins with a new birth. With a new heart and spirit come an understanding of the object that I worship. This new creation lives by faith in a God I cannot see.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Worship is the reward of our diligence in seeking him. To seek Him through prayer and His written Word is a daily act of worship.

From His heart “inciting” our hearts for daily worship, He leads us in family worship and then to corporate worship on the Lord’s Day with His people “in the assembly of saints.”  All of this, from the individual, to the family, to the church, is preparation for that glorious gathering as one people in Christ, for an eternal worship (Ephesians 1:10).

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, 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.” Philippians 2:12-13

HE INITIATES, CALLS, and SAVES with His whole heart and soul.

“Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.” Jeremiah 32:41

Worship is more than a mere gathering on any one day of the week, it is a continual practice of the Christian life.

“And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33

A Gripping, Thrilling and Fulfilling LIfe
The truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ produces a gripping and thrilling Life in Christ. The law of God that commands our worship comes alive in Christ—incited in us. To love His law is to love Him and worship accordingly (Psalm 1:2-3). Even in the middle of adversity, we can praise Him and worship through His Spirit and the power of His word that speaks to our difficulties.

His Spirit is in us, and surrounding us (Acts 17:28). We are Filled with His Grace, Wrapped in His Glory.

The same worship He deserved at the beginning of time is the same worship He incites in us today. HE HAS NOT CHANGED, but He changes us, humbles us, then exalts us to praise Him in an acceptable worship.

Glorious, holy Father, we thank you that worship is not man-induced. We need no enticing words or actions from men to worship you. You are excitement enough. You have made Jesus Christ our worship leader, a worship that is the result of your work in our hearts and lives ~ the new life in Christ. By Him, let us offer up to you the sacrifice of praise continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks unto your name. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Fran
Praise the Lord       Covenant Choir

Photo by Henri Guérin from Pexels

Words of Life ~ ADOPTION

What a difference it would make if we knew the true meaning of Christian adoption.
Our relationship with God is not based on a biological birth just by happenchance, but by a desire on the part of our heavenly Father to make us His own children.

We can start with what we know about human adoption. First: there is a couple’s desire to take a child, born to another family, into their home; to love, care, provide, and protect this child.

Secondly: there are rules and conditions that govern the process of adoption. Needy children are not just dumped on a family’s doorsteps; nor does a child choose its parents.

Third: there is the process of finding a child compatible to the couple who are adopting; unless there is a child the couple already knows. Still there is a legal process they must go through.

Fourth: there is a cost to adoption, which we will not go into here, except as we consider the cost of our adoption into the family of God.

Our heavenly Father has only one true Son, Jesus Christ, but before the foundation of the world He desired many sons and daughters and planned for our adoption (Ephesians 2:4-5).

The rules and conditions of His kingdom govern the process, by which He finds and makes known His desires.

His cost was the price of His own dear Son, given for us, to make us joint-heirs with Him (1 Corinthians 6:20).

How do we separate the price our Father paid and what the Son paid?

(Let me share a precious moment with our Lord and Savior this past week during the busyness of my duties as Jerry’s caregiver, and the research of the word “adoption.” The Lord revealed to me the meaning of true love that I have never known. I cannot fully describe this, but He opened my heart to see Him before He came to earth. I saw His great love for the Father, His great love for us and His longing to come to bring us to Him. He was not only willing, but desiring with His whole heart, ready to give His whole life, to live and to die for me. Imagine Him, an only child, desiring more children for the Father and at the same time desiring sisters and brothers with whom to share His monumental estate, His wealth, and His eternal life with the Father in heaven.)

No biological birth or human adoption can offer this.

No biological birth or human adoption requires this process.

No biological birth or adoption comes at such a price as the life of another human being, who is willing and ready to sacrifice with such a love for his father and brothers and sisters.

True, He knew He would be resurrected, but He was, for the joy set before Him, coming to endure the anguish and pain of the cross for those in need of a loving Father and the Life He gives through His Son. (I do not limit this Life to an after-death experience, but to Life now and forever.)

We are not negating the need for “new birth” but understand that He gives His adopted children a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3).  

ADOPTION into the kingdom of God begins here; our heavenly Father protecting, providing all our needs, loving, leading, assuring, and nurturing us as His children through this wilderness and on to glory with Him and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ came to bring many sons to glory with Him (Hebrews 2:10-12).

And He pursues us, knowing whose are His.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…Behold, now are we sons…(1 John 3:1-3).

We do not include any references from the Old Testament for the word  ADOPTION. Though there were incidents of adoption in the Old Testament, it was not a practice of the Israelites. It is only associated with the understanding of our relationship with God as our heavenly Father through Jesus’ redemption.

New Testament G5206
Defines ADOPTION  huiothesia (hwee-oth-es-ee’-ah) from a presumed compound of 5207 and a derivative of 5087; the placing as a son, i.e. adoption (figuratively, Christian sonship in respect to God):–adoption (of children, of sons).

 
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry , Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23

 “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”. Galatians 4:5

How blessed we are to know that before the foundation of the world we were chosen to be His children, in love 
”Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” Ephesians 1:4-5

Dear gracious, heavenly Father, who is rich in mercy, the love wherewith you loved us can never be fully understood. It was all planned before we were born, before we sinned and needed a Savior. Open our hearts to such love that would give your one and only Son to die for our sins. We cry, “Abba, Father” in love, thanksgiving and praise for bringing us into your family. Conform us to the image of your precious Son, our Lord and Savior. By your Spirit, spread abroad your love in our hearts so that we love you with all our hearts, our brothers and sisters and our neighbors as ourselves.
Fran

For a related article on adoption see Truth or Tradition.

Image:Julie Johnson (Unsplash)