Jesus’ Feet

After our pastor’s recent sermon from Luke 7:38, my heart was led to think of what it means to be “at Jesus’ feet.”

 “Behold, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat dining in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” Luke 7:38.”

“Gracious tears are wept at Jesus’ feet. Oh, if you would have your heart broken until the rock shall gush with rivers of repentance, stand at Jesus’ feet. Stand there now. If you would have a tender heart, think of the Beloved who died for you! Think of how those feet were pierced. This woman could not see that, for it was not then done; but you can see it, and note where the nail has bored each blessed foot.” At His Feet Charles Spurgeon

The first reference of Jesus’ feet is in Matthew 15:30

In recognition of Jesus’ power to heal, “great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:”

There were those who fell at Jesus’ feet to worship Him, and those who sat at His feet.

We come to His feet to pray for loved ones, knowing by experience He is the only one who can save.

Jairus, a rule of the synagogue, whose daughter was ill, ”fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:” Luke 8:41

In  Mark 7:25 “a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:

We find in Luke 8:35 the story of the man who had a legion of demons in him who used to cut himself, and who lived among the tombs.

“They went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the demons were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus.”

At Jesus’ feet” is the fitting place for a willing learner.

“She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word”; Luke 10:39

In the healing of the ten lepers, only one returned to thank Jesus and acknowledge His healing.

“And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:16

It is at Jesus’ feet that we recognize our place before Him and honor and acknowledge His power and authority over all things.

Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” John 11:32

After His resurrection “when they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.” Matthew 28:9

When we fall before Him, it is His feet we see and touch. We come to Him in gratitude for His condescension to us, for He walked this dusty earth to proclaim the kingdom of God, our Father; then climbed that hill to Golgatha to have those precious feet pierced for our sake.

His disciples tarried in obedience to the Master and were blessed to see those glorious feet as He ascended back to the Father to rule in power and as our High Priest to intercede for us.

“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”
1 Corinthians 15:25

“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” Ephesians 1:22

We live under His authority, no longer enemies but friends and family ~ His church. We will not come under His feet in the wrath of God, but we will rule with Him at His feet, forevermore. We bow before Him now or will be brought under His feet in condemnation forever.

When He Reigns
“I think I see the angels and the blood-bought ones beginning one of their celestial chorales. Hear them as they begin the rapturous strain! Their notes how sweet, how seraphic, as they praise the eternal Father and the glorious Lamb of God and worship!

“We hear the song. How it swells! Listen to the soft touches of the harpists playing on their harps! Do you see how the singers and the players of instruments seem caught up in the ecstasy? But notice! as the song rises they begin to bow. As it rises higher they bow lower, and lower, and lower.

Listen!

“The enthusiastic fervour of their love has made them lift their loudest hallelujah; and lo ~ they cast their crowns at his sacred feet. The whole company are still lifting up the song to its utmost glory, but immediately they fall on their faces, prostrate before the throne. “At his feet” is their loftiest position. Let us imitate them, and making the worship more ecstatic than before, bow before him.

Lo, at his feet, with awful joy,
The adoring armies fall!
With joy they shrink to nothing there,
Before the eternal All.

“So let us praise him for all that he has done for us; and, as we praise him, let us sink lower, and lower, and lower, until in ourselves we are nothing and only Christ lives in us. Let no thought of self, nor wish for self, nor dream of self, intrude, but let Jesus be all in all.

“At his feet,” there our heaven shall be found. When our soul is deepest bathed in grateful praise we shall fall down on our faces and worship the Lamb. May the Lord bless you, and keep you at his feet for ever. Amen. At Jesus’ Feet Charles Spurgeon

 “And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever andever.” Revelation 514; Revelation 19:4

Image:Google

Words of Life ~ BLESS(ed)(ing)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings
in heavenly places in Christ:”
Ephesians 1:3

If our main purpose in seeking God is to receive a blessing, then our blessing will most likely be in vain. The blessings we seek for ourselves are usually selfish and without substance. True blessings will be returned to the sender from grateful hearts with the fruit of praise unto His name.

“The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Shorter Catechism

As God’s children, we live under His constant showers of blessings. We are continually blessed even ~ and sometimes more so ~ in our most dire circumstances. Let’s explore this word used extensively in the seasoned Christian’s vocabulary.

Here is the link to the 463 words BLESS, BLESSED, or BLESSING(S) recorded  in the KJV.

Old Testament H1288
bârak, baw-rak’; a primitive root; to kneel; by implication to bless God (as an act of adoration), and (vice-versa) man (as a benefit);

If blessing begins with God, it must mean that He kneels ~ or should we say, He condescends to us ~ in order to bless us. He must, from His height of glory, look down upon us in pity and love. This is itself our blessing ~ that He has any interest in us as mere creatures. This is where our hearts are warmed to receive what He has planned and is willing to pour down upon us.

When we experience His blessings, it becomes our second nature to return the blessing to Him.

The first use of the word BLESS is found in Genesis 1:22 refering to God’s blessing Adam and Eve and His creation, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.

In Genesis 2:3,  “God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

In Genesis 9:1 God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”

Genesis 12:2 records God’s blessing for Abraham,“I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:”

Genesis 14:20 is the first record of God being blessed

“And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

God blesses Sarah to give her a son in Genesis 17:16

Genesis 27:35 relates to Jacob’s deception in taking away Esau’s blessing.

Genesis 32:26 speaks of Jacob’s wrestling with God. “And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”

The following is a well-known blessing we use for others.

“The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.”
Numbers 6:24-26  

“Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you this day:” Deuteronomy 11:26-27

The blessing refers to life.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

One of the most familiar verses shows us in a negative way how a man is blessed. Then the next verse in the positive showing the connection of blessings and delight.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord.” Psalm 1:1-2

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”
Psalm 32:1

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.Psalm 33:12

“The curse of the Lord is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just.” Proverbs 3:33

“Blessed is every one that feareth the Lord; that walketh in his ways.” Psalm 128:1

 Blessings returned to the Lord

“Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.” Psalm 72:18

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Psalm 103:1

“The Lord liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.” Psalm 18:46

“I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.” Psalm 145:1

“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1

 The promise of blessing in our obedience of bringing our tithes to Him.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10

New Testament G3107
makários, mak-ar’-ee-os; supremely blest; by extension, fortunate, well off:—blessed, happy(X -ier).

The word in Greek carries with it a greater meaning. We should understand this as relating to the greater blessing we have in Jesus Christ.

The most familiar are the blessings Jesus promised in the Sermon on the Mount ~ commonly called the Beatitudes. He taught that happiness is not based on the physical things of this life but in the spiritual life He came to give.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, they that mourn, hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness’ sake and when men shall revile you. The blessings that come after are recorded after each of these.

With the promised blessings is the command for us to bless those that curse us (Matthew 5:44).

Because our Lord has stooped to bless us, we are able to bless others as well as kneel before Him and bless Him for His work in and through us.

Blessings are promised to those who hear the word of God, who keep it, do His commandments, and endure temptation.

 “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28

“Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
Revelation 22:14

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12

  Jesus’ last blessing to them before His ascension.

“And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.” Luke 24:50-51

He is the blessed and only Potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords.

“Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” 1 Timothy 6:15

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” 1 Peter 1:3

As children of God ~ the blessed people of God living in His abundant mercy and hope ~ let us live daily in obedience to Him.

Dear Father, fill us with the Spirit of Christ today. In humility and reverence to you, let us  experience your blessings flowing through us to others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Divine Power to Know, Be, and Do

“Ignorance is bliss” — perhaps this is true for children of the world, but not for the children of God. Our Heavenly Father desires children, and sires us into His kingdom by the divine power of His Spirit. By the same power, He continues to show us, teach us, and lead us in the truth of His Word and will, as He is preparing us for eternity with Him ~ by His grace, for His glory and our joy.

 According as his divine power hath given unto us
all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him
that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:
that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:3-4

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20

Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: 
for thou art the God of my salvation; 
on thee do I wait all the day.
Psalm 25:4-5

 

The Mentality and the Centrality of the Christian Faith

This is not a second part to our last post but again, we can interchange “the Christian Faith” with “the Gospel.”

The Christian faith is the effect of “the gospel” on the mental state of a follower of Christ.

Every religion has its power over the human mind. We see this example in those who are willing to destroy themselves while destroying others.

The  Gospel ~ the good news of Jesus Christ ~ has the power to change the mind and enables a person to think differently. A person who is brought under the authority of the Word of God changes their direction from the natural state of destruction to a spiritual state of  an abundant life here and forever ~ a new life we desire for others.

The gospel  ~ read and preached from the Holy Bible ~ changes the whole mindset and fixes it on Jesus Christ.

Every religion has a figurehead, someone who instigated and orchestrated the religion according to his beliefs.

None make the same claims as Jesus Christ and they are too many for us to copy for this post. Reading God’s Word reveals these claims; and should the Spirit of God move in the heart of the reader or the hearer of God’s Word, their hearts and minds will be changed.

The same power of the Spirit that inspired its writing is the same power that works in the reader and hearer.

 “For prophecy never came by the will of man,
but holy men of God spoke 
as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 
2 Peter 1:21

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
but the Spirit who is from God,
that we might know the things
that have been freely given to us by God.”
1 Corinthians 2:12

It is the Spirit of God that reveals what was written centuries ago.

We have no power of our own to change our minds or our lives. We must have a new heart and a new spirit that accepts the new power of the Spirit of God that turns the mind and the life in a new direction.

When Jesus said, ““Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” he was drawing on the promises from the Old Testament.

 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:26.

“I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; 
and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Jeremiah 31:33

Reading from God’s Word moves the meaning of the words from the page to the mind. The mind then works to bring the actions of what is written.

None of this is new. What any person watches, listens to, and reads will shape their minds and their behavior. Their lives witness to what they know and believe.

Such is the mentality of those whose lives are shaped by the reading and hearing of God’s Word.

As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 2:13,

“These things we also speak,
not in words which man’s wisdom teaches
but which the Holy Spirit teaches,
comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

The Centrality of our Faith
The Christian faith is centered on Christ. The centrality of the gospel is Jesus Christ. Because He was the power of creation and in person revealing the kingdom of God, He is the power to reveal Himself and draw us to Him. Because He is now ruling in power at the right of God, He is the power to give us eternal life; to turn us from our own evil nature to follow Him.

Because He lives forever, He has the power to keep us now and forever with Him. His Spirit is His power here on earth to finish the work of redemption for, in, and through His people.

We cannot be too emphatic when we say that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is powerful to change our whole being. By the way we think, we live. When our minds are filled with the truths of Christ we become new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17)

We are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Roms. 12:1-2) and have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2). We have divine power to bring every thought in obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

We must read and pray for the Holy Spirit to move in our hearts to keep us in His Word, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us,”
Ephesians 3:20

Dear Father in heaven, we praise you for the power of your Spirit to draw us to your written Word and through your written Word to reveal Christ your Son. Do your work today in the hearts and lives of your people. By your grace, make us a channel of blessing to others for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Suggested Reading: Free eBook First Things that Last Forever
The Garden of God’s Word ~ The Purpose and Delight of Bible Study
What the Holy Bible Says about the Word of God

 

The Immensity and Intensity of the Christian Faith

Or, we might use the title, The Immensity and Intensity of the Gospel.
They are the same.
There is no Christian faith without the Gospel.

The Gospel is the means to a life of faith. It is more than just words spoken by men. The good news of Christ is more than men can ask and more than men can imagine. It is the revelation of the kingdom of God by the Spirit of God within the spirit of men.

It is meant to be experienced within the mind, the heart, and the life of men ~ beyond our own doing.

The Christian faith is different than any other faith. It is the only religion that addresses, deals with, and resolves the issues of sin and death.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ promises more than any other ~ promises we can trust ~ greater than any man could plan for himself.

Its immensity is little known because man cannot desire what he has never tasted. We do not taste unless we are drawn to and search God’s Word. The kingdom of God is the kingdom of the Christian faith to which the Gospel brings His people.

“It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.”
Luke 12:32

Who can describe such a kingdom?

The intensity of the Gospel and the Christian faith that excels through the Gospel is the working of the Gospel itself by the power of the Holy Spirit in the heart and life of men. Yes, I am repeating myself. The Gospel bears repeating even as preachers continue to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10).

It is not puny words of men that fall to the ground, but it is the power of God for salvation to those who believe (Romans 1:16). It is power to quicken those who are dead in their trespasses and sin, awakening their senses to their sin and need of a Savior.

The power of the Gospel is the good news of Christ raising the dead to life in Him.

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,
and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Even when we were dead in sins,
hath quickened us together with Christ,

(by grace ye are saved;) 
Ephesians 1:19-20; 2:5

No minister, worth his salt, will throw out a dry bone to his congregation. Dead men need the meat of God’s Word to live. Those who have been revived ~ made new through the new birth of the Gospel ~ need the continual Gospel to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as we wait for the promise of eternal life in Him.

The man of God digs deep into the treasury of God’s Word and presents those treasures to his hearers.

The Gospel works its immensity within the hearts of the ministers of the Gospel.

They must be overwhelmed with the greatness of God’s redeeming love.

They must know the reality of a heavenly Father who, in the covenant of redemption, planned to sacrifice His own Son to secure our place with Him for eternity and the reality of His Son, in agreement with this covenant to sacrifice Himself.

What love! What sacrifice! ~ immensity of grace greater than can be comprehended by mortal men.

This should bring forth an intensity of the Gospel which the man of God cannot keep to himself.

He should be zealous, always ready to present the Gospel wherever He is called, to whoever hears.

Are there such ministers in the world today? Yes! I would not be writing on this subject if it were not so.

Our own pastor, Chris Strevel, is such a minister of the Gospel and the Christian faith. Preaching for thirty years, he holds Christ in the center of every sermon, continuing to unfold the treasures of His kingdom. My heart is weekly quickened, opened and enabled to receive the Good News of Christ ~ His grace and His glory. You can listen or view all his sermons on Sermon Audio. He is presently preaching through the Gospel of Luke and Exodus.

Another pastor, Ryan McKee, in Northern Ireland, is younger, but also preaches the immensity of the Gospel with the intensity of Christ. I began watching these services in 2016 when we were unable to attend church for ten months. Five hours ahead, their morning worship is at seven. Their evening worship is at two. Ryan is preaching through the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew’s Gospel.

We have one among us here on WordPress from California. Check Jim’s blog here.

I mention these who are devoted to Christ and His Gospel as they serve God’s people. The Gospel and the Christian Faith are too valuable to take for granted ~ too precious to keep hidden. If you know other local pastors, please let me know.

We should pray for a revival among the ministers of God’s Word in our local churches. Some preach to the masses in conferences, etc. but we need daily, weekly oversight of pastors who shepherd God’s people in the name and power of Christ.

Gracious heavenly Father. Lay it upon the hearts of your ministers to draw near to you ~ to seek the face of Christ as never before. By your Spirit, draw them to your Word, fill their hearts with the zeal for the power of the Gospel. Enable them to proclaim your Word to your people. Open the hearts of your people to hear and to live the Christian faith Jesus died to give. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Five Lessons for Preachers  Charles Spurgeon