Words of Life ~ AMAZED

References to the word amazed in the Old Testament (H926) relate to trouble and fear, specifically to the wrath of God.

We especially want to look at how this word was used in the New Testament, and consider this as one of the Words of Life as we use it in reference to Christ and the gospel.

New Testament G1839
Strong’s defines amazed existēmi eks-ē’-stā-mēto amaze, to astonish, throw into wonderment; to be beside oneself; the same word used for astonished.

Joseph and Mary were amazed when they found Jesus at the age of twelve “in the temple in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking questions.”

“And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” Luke 2:48

We fast-forward to Jesus’ ministry.

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?” Matthew 12:22-23

The people were amazed, but the Pharisees said Jesus had cast him out by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. (vs. 24)

After the encounter with the rich young man, Jesus said to his disciples, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

“When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?” Matthew 19:24-25

We rejoice that Jesus’ response is a hope and an amazement for any of us who are saved by His grace ~ a work possible only by Him and not us.

When Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take up thy bed”

“Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” Mark 2:12

After Jesus spoke to the wind and the waves “He went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.” Mark 6:51

When He came down from the mount of transfiguration, “Straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.” Mark 9:15

After the healing of the young boy, “they were all amazed at the mighty power of God” (Luke 9:43).

On the day of Pentecost, everyone heard the gospel in their native tongue.

“And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? Acts 2:7 and Acts 2:12

When the people saw the man healed at the gate of the temple, “they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him” (Acts 3:10).

The Amazing Conversion of Paul
How amazing is it to see those who have persecuted God’s people become one of them. We find the reaction of the people to Paul’s conversion in the book of Acts. Once a destroyer of the followers of Christ, he became Jesus’ strongest disciple and apostle to the Gentiles.

“But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?” Acts 9:21

We, who are disciples of Christ, know and live in amazement of all that Christ has done for us, in us, and through us, as He continues to sanctify and prepare us to share His glory.

Dear heavenly Father, we stand amazed in the presence of Jesus, who loved us and gave Himself for us. Continue to draw us to Him by your amazing grace. Cause us to stand in awe of Him, through your Word, by your Holy Spirit within us; that we may worship and obey you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

“Why Do the Heathen Rage?”

I am going out on a limb with this post. It is not my nature to tackle controversial issues.

This comes in response to the recent news of a young man who was killed in his attempt to share the gospel on an isolated island in the Indian Ocean. I do not know all the details, first learning of the event in a fellow blogger’s post accompanied by a video of the island. In the video is the scene of the inhabitants on the beach of North Sentinel island which the reporter called “wildmen.” This video left in me a sad image and the thoughts that I write here.

How different is the majority of people in any land to this small band of isolated people?

How few welcome people they do not know?

How hostile are most people to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?

People, in general, are ignorant of the good news of Jesus Christ and are antagonistic to those who want to share this good news.

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Psalm 2:1-3

Psalm 1 describes two types of people, the righteous and the ungodly. In Psalm 2, the heathen are the ungodly, described in Psalm 1; and the righteous are those whose delight is in the law of the Lord, Psalm 1:2. Kings of the earth and rulers are described as heathen. There are Biblical references to men as beasts.

“So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.” Psalm 73:22

Where is True Civilization?
How different is the scene of those islanders and others who demonstrate in the streets of our nation in anger of whatever comes against them?

How different are they than we are when someone disagrees with us? Only the laws of our land and God’s power of mercy keep us from destroying each other.

Why do we lock our doors? We live in fear of strangers who may come and harm us or take what is ours.

History of the Sentinelese
There seems to be in the history of the Sentinelese a time when their people were kidnapped. There is the story that centuries ago some were taken to another country where the two oldest died, then the others were taken back to the island. Imagine their fear passed from generation to generation. Does this not give us some understanding of their behavior against outsiders?

We cannot condone this savagery, but we do well to learn from this event.

Only one person has ever brought the gospel to an antagonistic people, died in the process, and rose from the grave ~ and His death by His own people who did not accept His good news.

The church leadership needs to train God’s people. There are many para-church organizations – even churches – that are encouraging young people to consider missionary work. Many have the will and the zeal, but not the skill. Jesus trained and sent His disciples in companies of two.

The church used to be the catalyst, ordaining and training for the mission field. Taking the gospel to an illiterate people is a dangerous endeavor, it is a work that requires counseling and training, in addition to faith and prayer.

Please do not attack me for what I have written. I am not criticizing this young man, but believe he was doing what he thought he should do to share the good news. I am just sharing what I believe the Lord has put in my heart, and hopefully, give us things to consider when we think of sharing the gospel outside our own culture and time zone.

A Technological Thought
Another thought, which may seem a bit whimsical: We are not Christ. We either need bullet-proof vests or to pray and brainstorm some way to air-drop something to get and hold the attention of those we want to hear the gospel. Someone with the funds could build a robot that looks like the Islanders and program it to transcribe the gospel into their language.

I pray that this young man’s life is not a loss; that the Lord would show us what we need to reach the unreachable for His glory. What a joy it would be to see our modern technology used in such a way as this. Even this might be dangerous to their immune systems ~ win them to Christ and wipe them out?

Gracious Father, we thank you for sending your Son and for your Holy Spirit who reveals Him to us as our Lord and Savior. We ask you to show your church how to counsel and train those whom you call to the mission field. We ask that the Chau family know your comfort and peace and be drawn closer to you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image:Google

Necessary Interests

But seek ye first the kingdom of God
and his righteousness.
.
.”
Matthew 6:33

The first thought for this post was the title, Unnecessary Interests, as the Lord has been revealing interests that are not for my growth or are a waste of time. There are some that I need to let go, but as He has been leading me to stop looking at the underside of this world and its interests, and to focus on the upper side and the interests of His kingdom, my thoughts turned to where my interests should be.

From our thoughts to our words and actions, we have much to desire beyond normal and common interests. We can compare what is holy to what is unholy; what is common to what is uncommon; what is clean to what is unclean. Our interest in the news of the world keeps us from the interests of His Kingdom. The interests of the world ~ its entertainments and influences ~ impede our journey with Him.

For the child of God, known as a Christian, our life here has a definite purpose. The purpose of this physical life is to prepare us for eternal life with Him in His glory. We now live and serve Him in what is known as the Kingdom of Grace; His keeping us, sanctifying us, purifying us; making us compatible for Himself.

 If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 

Colossians 3:1

Necessary Interests for a Child of God
So, what are the necessary interests for a child of God? What raises us above the world’s standards; even Beyond a Mere Christianity?

We must start with an in-depth interest in His Word, where we learn to love what He loves. Here we find the truths of God and the filling and leading of His Holy Spirit to the necessary interests that He wants for us. He teaches us how He conforms us to the image of His own Son

Through His Word, He teaches us how to communicate with Him; to pray for the things He has prepared to give (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).

He leads us in the interests of His other children, of like-mind and heart; to participate in worship and the Word preached within His church.

He brings us to others with an interest in their souls, to witness of Christ to them.

There is much that we could cover here, but we don’t have the time or space. If you are reading with an interest in what is necessary for growth as a child of God, I implore you to take your Bible, shut out any other interests, ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit as you read His Word; to speak to you through His Word; to show you His will.

As He has been speaking to my heart, He has pointed out certain interests that I need to forsake and leading me to more of the interests He has for me. One thing for sure is the desire for me to draw closer to Him.

“Set your affections on things above,
not on things on the earth.”
Colossians 3:2

Gracious Father in heaven, whose name I want to hallow, draw me closer to you, to love you more; to seek a deeper understanding of what it means to be your child and a disciple of Christ. Open my mind and heart to those things of your kingdom and displace anything of this world that would hinder your image and your work in me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Show Me Thy Ways, O LORD Psalm 25:4-5

Related Post: Letting Go
(Suggested Reading: The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE Study)

Words of Life ~ AM

I thank the Lord that He is still teaching me. This week it would have been easier just to share  what He is doing in my life. My experiences in His grace and care are more than books can hold and the words seem to flow.

But, this newly published project Words of Life ~ A to Z ~ the Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian is not as easy as I thought it would be. It is taking more study and time than I had anticipated. Yet, it is doing its work in me. The language of a Christian is becoming more and more of a challenge and beginning to replace some of the common vocabulary I formerly used. The study of this word AM has drawn me to learn more of what I am to be in Christ, the Great I AM.

How difficult would you expect the research to be for the word AM?  I have gleaned and present the two most important uses. I readily admit that I cannot do justice to this word. If you have more to add, please comment.

The first and most important is the word used in quoting God’s own words about Himself ~ “I AM.”

The second is the quote of the people of God when they say “I am.”

The Old Testament
The expression “I AM the LORD” is quoted 161 times in the Old Testament, sometimes with the addition of “your God.” Other times He describes His role.

“And he said unto him, I AM the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” Genesis 15:7

In Exodus 15:6 He describes Himself, “I AM the LORD that healeth thee.”

In Exodus 31:13 “I AM the LORD that doth sanctify thee.”

“I AM the LORD that maketh all things” (Isaiah 44:24);

“I AM the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:24).

The following quote from Isaiah 44:2-8 includes “I AM the first and I AM the last” from the LORD and from His witnesses “I am the Lord’s.” Take these words to heart as you read this passage of God’s Word and rejoice that you can say, “I am the Lord’s.”

“Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
One shall say, I am the Lord‘s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.
Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

Ezekiel 39:7 is only one of many quotes from the prophet using the terms they shall know that  “I am the LORD.”  This quote identifies Him as the Holy One in Israel.

“So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.”

New Testament
The term “I AM” is quoted 200 times in the New Testament.

The first is in the negative “I am not worthy” from John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11, but here he attributes the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire to one who is coming, “mightier than I.”

How appropriate is the first positive “I AM” when at Jesus’ baptism, came “a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17

The same expression is recorded in Matthew 17:5 at the Transfiguration.

And second is the first “I AM” expressed by Jesus in Matthew 5:17, in which he states His purpose for being there.

So as not to make this entry any longer, I ask that you use the link to discover all the uses of Jesus’ expression. You will also find Paul’s uses of the term that would be good for us to study and claim as our own.

1 Corinthians 15:10 is Paul’s well-known use of these words.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Revelation 1:18 is the last use of the words “I Am”. How blessed are we to know the one who spoke these words to John for our knowledge and faith.

 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

Our gracious heavenly Father, who spoke creation into existence, who is the God of the living and gave us your Son who has given us eternal life, we praise you. By your Spirit, enable us to hallow your name and to say with all confidence, “I am the Lord’s.” In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Photo:Pixabay
Image:Google

The Stress-Taker (Part 2)

(The following was somehow deleted from my last post.  So, I add it here as a second part.)

I have been asked during these last traumatic years how I handle the stress. Unless there is time for a broad explanation, I simply say what I continue to say every day ~ “The Lord is good.” But that is an overall statement that only reveals the surface of who He is and does in His goodness. The root of His goodness is hidden in His Word, and through its fruit and seed, planted in the mind and heart of His children.

As a child, Sunday School was not a regular attendance for our family, but Vacation Bible School was a big deal for me. I loved memorization; I still do, along with meditation and prayer. I don’t remember any of the fun we may have had with activities, cookies and Kool-Aid, but I remember the memory cards that were treasures to me. While I can’t recall all the verses I learned, one has stayed in my thoughts, rooted in my heart and borne fruit over the years. I do not remember the lessons connected to the Scriptures, but God’s Word proves true by itself. It is alive and powerful and produces His life in those to whom He gives it. If I had no other of the seed of His Word, it would have been enough. He has planted much more, but this one has borne its fruit many times over.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I did not understand these words as a child. If I had, life would have been much easier; I would have made different choices and I may not have suffered all the stress and caused the stress that I did. Believing that our heavenly Father is a sovereign God who planned all things for us and brings us by His own power to do His will, I live today as witness of His grace and goodness; His producing the fruit of His own Word from the seed He plants.

As a child, I was open to His Word, desiring to please Him, but the stress-makers of this world had their part in shaping my life to sin and rebellion against Him. Nevertheless, in His sovereignty and providence He has proven the power of His Word over my nature of sin. He has brought me through many trials and temptations, failures and mistakes, losses and traumas by His victorious truths and promises. When I stumble still, He is always there to raise me up and keep me, reminding me of His grace and power to take whatever is laid upon me and to give it to Him. He enables me to cast my burdens upon Him. His grace is sufficient, His strength in my weakness, so that I can be content even in my infirmities (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Dear Father in heaven, continue to draw us to Christ through the power of your Word and Spirit. Write your words on our minds and in our hearts and activate them in those times you have chosen, to prove your love and your great and precious promises. Enable us to abide in you and your Word to abide in us, to know your presence at all times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

The Stress-Taker

There are many stress-makers in the world, but only one Stress-Taker.

As with most people, stress was an integral part of my life as a child and into my young married life. But, at a very young age, I was given the knowledge of how to handle the stress that comes from this world. At the time, I did not realize what God had given me, so, could not use this knowledge. He gives the gift and treasure from His heart to ours. It starts in the mind and takes root in the heart as He nurtures the seed of His Word in us. Even before He gave me a new heart and a new spirit for a new spiritual birth, the seed of life was doing its work. Humbling and preparing a fertile heart for His Word to take root was His continual work.

Words from Many Sources
Words from any source can fill a void and produce the fruit thereof. Much more so, the Word of God is the most powerful to do its transforming work in the mind and heart of man. Never underestimate the work of God’s Spirit to bring forth the fruit of His Word when we spend time with Him in His Word; when we teach our children the rudiments of true life that are recorded there.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

The child may be a senior citizen before the Lord brings the fruit of the seed He plants in his heart.

Continuing in His Word
Over the years, the Lord has written more of His Word in my mind and my heart, but the ones I remember from so long ago are preeminent in my thinking and in my life.

Psalm 23 and Psalm 100 were two that I have treasured since childhood ~ more precious and more powerful now than ever.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalm 100 is one of our album of Scripture Tunes, and helpful to teach young children to remember this Psalm. We are working with a musician to record accompaniments for these.

In the meantime, here is Psalm 100, vocal without accompaniment.

Are you a stress-maker or do you point others to the Stress-Taker, our Lord Jesus Christ?

Dear Heavenly Father, how blessed we are as your children, for you to train us in your Word to know you, love you, trust you and obey you. Thank you for loving us, for adopting us as your own; planting your seed, watering and bringing forth the fruit of your own work in us. Teach us to lay all the world’s ills and our concerns at the feet of Jesus our Lord and in so doing, witness to others of His love and care for us, always ready to share your Word of life with them. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Control or Solution

Treatment for pests have become more intense since we discovered snakes in our bathrooms. The supervisor with the company that covers our termite inspections gave me a lengthy explanation of why their company offers pest solutions instead of the usual pest control. He described the differences in how they would treat one home that might be different in another. There are solutions that work for ants and roaches, but not for spiders, which I will not go into here. You certainly would not expect the same treatment for snakes as you would for spiders. The general rule for rats and snakes is to prevent their entry, which means that you will be charged an enormous free for them to seal all the crevices in your home, including cracks under your roof line. Snakes climb and can come into your attic. They are after the rats that come in the same way.

All this may seem impossible to imagine, especially for old folks like Jerry and me. But, it is just more of the same happenings of the wilderness in which we live.

Since we started living by the Glad Rule, we never cease to find something good in all the episodes we experience. In every event, the Lord teaches us and grows us in our faith in Him (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Peter 3:17-18).

We thank the Lord for the snakes. When the exterminator came, he took a video of the water gushing down the back foundation in our basement. We think the solution to stop the water may be unclogging a downspout. We will know when the rain comes today or tomorrow.

Where were we going with the title Control or Solution? Everything of this physical life seems to have a parallel in the spiritual realm. Andrew Murray stated in his book Waiting on God that “all nature becomes a preacher” in our relationship with God.

In this case, my thoughts this morning ran to a recent sermon on the first commandment from the book of Exodus. The difference in the physical and the spiritual is, God gave the commandments for His people to reveal their sin and His requirements. Though they are the rules of His kingdom, He knew they would not control the sins in our lives. They were like putting a No Trespassing sign outside our home for the pests. Even if they could read, they would not understand. They would still come into any opening available. God’s plan was to post what He wanted, but the commandments were, as Paul wrote in Galatians 3, only a precursor to what He would accomplish through the life, death and resurrection of His Son. The law could not keep His people from sinning. The solution for treatment for the pests in our lives would come later.

“Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Galatians 3:24

The difference in how the Lord works as our exterminator is, that He covers His people with the blood of Christ. He draws us to the cross where we are washed in the blood of the Lamb. He covers the crevices. No place is left open to the enemy of our souls.

We are filled with His Holy Spirit, with saturation of all the counsel of God and under a consuming fire, being kept by His power until the day of Christ’s return (1 Peter 1:5). His Word continues to fill us with His grace, written on our hearts and in our minds, spoken by His Spirit within us to remind us of who He is and whose we are. We are His dwelling place, and will He not take care of His house? Let us relinquish all to Him ~ for His glory and our joy.

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:11

Gracious Father, we have no defense of our own; no solution for the cleansing of our sin, except by your provision for us. Fill us with the power of your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray and live. Amen.
Fran

Image:Google