Jesus in a Wheelchair

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:37-40

Part of my meditation last week was on Jesus’ words describing His second coming to establish His glory.

“When the Son of man shall come in his glory,
and all the holy angels with him,
then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:”
Matthew 25:41

The nations shall be gathered before Him and He will separate the sheep from the goats. Those who ministered to others in His name will be honored with Him.

As I thought of the coming glory of our Lord, I remembered those to whom I have ministered in the past. My heart was warmed and quickened from twenty-five years ago in the three weeks I cared for my mother and dad when he was dying of cancer.

Then there were the times through the years of caring for four of our granddaughters.

At the same time, Mother was living with Jerry and me, enduring Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2006, a month after she died, Jerry had emergency surgery and the month after, His leg was amputated.

He recovered from a heart attack almost three years ago but has not walked in over two years due to problems with diabetes.

Wheelchairs are familiar to our family. Because these events happened after the Lord gave me a new heart and spirit ~ a new life in Christ ~ in 1992, my life has been consecrated to Him through my devotion to my family and others in need.

Tears sometimes flow from the joy of knowing all these years ~ especially the last thirteen ~ have been in my ministry to the needs of others as “unto the Lord.” He has always been as close as my immediate family, in our church family, and our neighborhood.

Endurance is experienced as we are ministering in His name. It is in His strength that we live unto Him and for His glory.

This joy of service in His kingdom here is but a taste of the eternal kingdom that is to come. There is no greater life here than living to serve Him and others.

“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand,
Come, ye blessed of my Father,
inherit the kingdom prepared for you
from the foundation of the world:”

Matthew 25:34

Gracious Father, we praise you for giving us eternal life in Jesus Christ, your dear Son. We thank you for the indwelling of your Holy Spirit ~ the Spirit of Christ, our Lord. No words or actions can pay for the precious gifts and blessings you bestow upon us as your children. Reveal your love, joy, and peace through us as we minister to others by your grace and for your glory.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Publication: TWO FULL PLATES ~ Learning to be a Caregiver

Words of Life ~ BREAD

This post follows Food for the Hungry Soul. The most well-known verse with the word BREAD is found in the Old and New Testaments, Jesus in Matthew 4:4 quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”.

Old Testament H3899
Strong’s Concordance defines BREAD in Hebrew:
lechem, lekh’-em;; food (for man or beast), especially bread, or grain (for making it):—(shew-) bread,
from H3898 lâcham, law-kham’; a primitive root; to feed on; figuratively, to consume; by implication, to battle (as destruction)

God’s Word speaks of bread not only as physical food but anything that is needful ~ something we feed on so as to ward off destruction. Men’s main concern is to satisfy his craving for the body. Not many consider bread for the soul. Only those who seek God and the bread He gives will be fully satisfied in this life and the next.

“I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” Psalm 37:25

The Psalmist would have been thinking of bread in terms of the righteous whose whole life is dependent on God and His provisions for all things. Paul speaks in these terms in Philippians 4:19

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

“The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.” Psalm 105:40

From the abundance of our provisions, we are to give even to our enemies who are hungry.

If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:” Proverbs 25:21 (Romans 12:20)

“Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.” Ecclesiestes 11:1

GEORGE MÜLLER (1805-1898): “Sixty-two years ago I preached a poor, dry, barren sermon with no comfort to myself and, as I imagined, with no comfort to others.  But a long time afterwards I heard of nineteen distinct cases of blessing resulting from that sermon.”

The Lord speaks through Isaiah to His people to hearken diligently to Him, to eat what is good and let their soul delight in fatness (Isaiah 55:2).

“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:” Isaiah 55:10

“Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house?” Isaiah 58:7

The Lord speaks through Amos of a famine of His Word.

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God,
that I will send a famine in the land,
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the Lord:

Amos 8:11

What greater verse than this from the Old Testament can describe the need for the sustenance of true life. We understand the hunger and thirst that is satisfied only by the words of the Lord. And what a refreshing we come to in the New Testament with the Living Word of God, His Son, Jesus Christ, who gives Himself as that bread of life.

New Testament G740
ártos, ar’-tos; from G142; bread (as raised) or a loaf:

From this Greek definition, it seems that bread was considered as one loaf not to be cut but broken. This would describe the body of Christ given for us in His sacrifice for us and in the communion of the Lord’s Supper and the breaking of bread.

“And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:3-4

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11

Jesus taught His disciples to ask the Father who gives all that we need but to ask for one day’s supply at a time. This prayer keeps us close to Him and dependent daily on Him.
The following sermon is from Ryan McKee in Northern Ireland as he is preaching through the Sermon on the Mount. Give us This Day our Daily Bread

“And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?” Matthew 15:33

Jesus satisfies all who come to Him. His life is given to the multitudes with no limitation and with satisfaction for all our needs.

The Living Bread

Let us meditate on the following verses where Jesus speaks of Himself as the true bread from heaven, that comes down from heaven, the bread of God as life to the world, the bread of life, the living bread, the bread that He gives and the results.

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” John 6:31-32 (Jesus quoting Psalm 105:40)

For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.  Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.” John 6:33-34

 “And Jesus said unto them,
I am the bread of life:
he that cometh to me shall never hunger;
and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
John 6:35, 48

“This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:50-51

“This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.” John 6:58

The Lord’s Supper

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.” Matthew 26:26

Jesus instituted what would become the practice of those who have accepted Him as their Life. The Apostle Paul speaks of the bread of the Lord’s Supper. Even as Jesus spoke of being the bread of life, the breaking of bread in the Supper is the communion of the members of His body, partakers of that one bread.

“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42

“The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? or we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.” 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” 1 Corinthians 11:26

Jesus used the word bread as symbolic of the doctrine of the Pharisees, even as Paul used it in terms of fruit, both signifying the results of what men produce from their spiritual life. Instead of malice, our fellowship with Christ and each other should be in sincerity and truth.

“How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matthew 16:11-12

 “Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 1 Corinthians 5:8

“Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)” 2 Corinthians 9:10

Dear Heavenly Father, your Word speaks and spreads the seed of life, watered by your Holy Spirit. We praise you that you sent the Seed of Life in your Living Word, Jesus Christ, to give us His life ~ abundant life that satisfies every longing. Send your Spirit in power to awaken our need for the bread of your Word. We thank you in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Fran

The Original Rock

“And did all drink the same spiritual drink:
for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them:
and that Rock was Christ.”
1 Corinthians 10:4

Modern hymnals sport a new tune to a traditional hymn I have heard for eighty years. Many dislike the old Rock of Ages because they never heard it as it should be sung.

The audio of our last Lord’s Day Call to Worship sung by our Covenant Choir is below. The link to the preaching of the Word of God from Luke 8:41-56 is added (watch or download and take ti with you).

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion:
in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me;
he shall set me up upon a rock.”
Psalm 27:5

Rock of Ages

Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and pow’r.

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfil thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress,
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the Fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyelids close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee. Amen.  Augustus Toplady 1763

Jesus Christ, Our Powerful Savior  Luke 8:41-56  10/20/19 Chris Strevel

Dear Father, lead us by your Holy Spirit in our worship today. Fill your messengers with your Spirit and your Word and open our hearts to hear and obey. We thank you and praise you for the foundation of Life you have given us in Christ, the Rock of our salvation, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Fran

 

Food for the Hungry Soul

Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Matthew 4:4

In my continued study on prayer and intercession, I am amazed at how our heavenly Father answers our prayers when we know why and what to pray.

Two main points of this thing called Prayer are essential if we are to experience answered prayer. And these two  are the essence of Christian life ~ not just for prayer.

Christian living and Prayer are two sides of the same coin. Our petitions are selective and representative of our lives.

Asking from the Heart

As earthly creatures, we speak from the heart the first thing that comes to mind.

James speaks of those whose prayers are not answered because they ask selfishly.

Jesus speaks of answered prayers spoken according to what our heavenly Father promises.

Jesus did not come to earth from His glory in heaven to receive the scorn of sinners, to die, and to open heaven so that we could continue in our selfish state.

There are many facets of prayer. We will consider two in this article. One facet of prayer is the understanding of why we pray. The other facet is knowing what to pray

When we consider who we are in Christ, living to the glory of God ~ whether we eat or drink ~ or pray ~ it is all to the glory of our heavenly Father
(1 Corinthians 10:31)

Our main course of eating should be the Word of God. Our main drink should be the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). We know why we pray when we are feasting at His table. We pray for the resources revealed in His Word for His glory and the benefit of others.

The Pipeline of Grace

Prayer is the pipeline of grace that reaches the heights of His glory, whereby we ask and receive what He has prepared for His people. Heaven is the storehouse of the goodness and provisions we need for His life and preparation for eternal life with Him.

We, as His creatures, know what to ask because we know Him. We must know His Word and His promises.  His promises are much more applicable to our needs than what we usually ask.

We ask to be relieved from our troubles. The Lord promises to be with us in our troubles. In His sovereignty, He plans to use our trials and difficulties as His means of grace to draw us closer to Him and to grow us in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We are called to pray for others. When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored him.

The Storehouse

Getting back to the point and title of this article, we, as God’s people, have access to the storehouse of God’s Word that replenishes and satisfies the human soul.

We speak it in power to others, and it opens the storehouse of heaven when we ask it for others. What we ask in prayer has to do with what He wants to give.

We ask according to His Word, knowing Him and His Word. We pray because our lives are dependent on Him and because we live according to His Word and for His glory.

 It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing:
the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.
John 6:63

We experience prayer in its true light when we see it from God’s point of view.

Imagine you are God, waiting with glorious things prepared for your people, blessings unimaginable to the human mind. They do not receive because they do not know your great heart and love for them. They do not read the good news you sent them with the order form, or they would come and ask and partake of the glorious bounty you have promised in your Word.

Then Simon Peter answered him,
Lord, to whom shall we go?
you have the words of eternal life.”
John 6:68

Gracious heavenly Father, you have blessed us by your grace to know your goodness and to see your glory. In your Word, you have revealed the greatest gift ~ eternal life through Jesus Christ your Son. By your Holy Spirit, you open our eyes to the promises revealed in Christ. Thank you for drawing us to Him to receive Him, to live in and through Him here, now, and forever. In Jesus’ name, I praise you. Amen.
This will lead us into our next post ~ Words of Life ~ BREAD
Fran

Urgently Knocking

A most unusual discovery in our study of the words “Ask, Seek, and Knock” is that Jesus expresses only one thing for each of these.

In Luke 11:13, He says to “ASK for the Holy Spirit.”
In Matthew 6:33 He commands us to “SEEK the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
In Luke 13:25 He mentions those who wait too late to “KNOCK at the door.”

We must be born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8) in order to see, to seek His Kingdom, to knock and to enter His kingdom.

We find in the following verses the diligent seeking and the urgent knocking.

In Luke 11:6-10 is the widow’s persistent asking, seeking, and knocking until the master of the house opens the door to her request.

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:” Luke 13:25-26

The strait gate leads to the master’s house. But when He has shut the door, man’s knocking and crying, Lord, Lord, will be to no avail.

We who are born of His Spirit will continue to ask Him to lead us. We walk and live by His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25and continue to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Unless we knock at the door of His heart in His timing, He will not know us, and the doors of heaven will be shut.

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came;
and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage:
and the door was shut.”
Matthew 25:10

When Jesus Knocks

The Book of Revelation records Jesus’ words in the letter to the church at Laodicea.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Knocking indicates a separation (a door that must be opened from the other side) between the person knocking and the person  on the other side. There is a need and the only fulfillment of that need rests in the promise of someone who can provide that need.

Does the door swing both ways? Had Jesus knocked at the door of the heart of those who were left out?

 “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Hebrews 3:7-12

By His Holy Spirit and His Word, Jesus knocks at the door of our sin and unbelief. He calls us to put away our sin ~ to repent and believe ~ to allow Him to lead us out of the bondage of self and sin.

We cannot seek or knock of our own volition. It must be the work of His Spirit within us drawing us to Christ even as He draws near to us. John 6:44; John 6:63-65

 The Doors of Wisdom

“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Proverbs 8:34

The Doors of Heaven

They are “the doors of heavenPsalm 78:23,

 In Revelation 4:1, “a door was opened in heaven to John where he saw and recorded what would come to pass.

 Jesus is the Door to the Kingdom of Heaven

“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
I am the door of the sheep.”  
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
John 10:7,9

 A Door of Hope

“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:15

The Door of Faith

 “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27

In this brief study of Jesus’ words, we learn that asking, seeking, and knocking are descriptive of the work of prayer by His people, for His kingdom. His Holy Spirit brings us to repentance and faith in Him so that as we continue to ask for His Spirit, we are led to seek His kingdom and His righteousness and to knock at the door of His heart for all He has promised.

We understand that this practice is not just for us individually, for our own needs, but in unity with His people ~ the body of Christ ~ for the needs of others. Intercession involves a greater degree of fervency, diligence, and urgency as we pray continually at His throne of grace.

The prayer life of a Christian is a daily dwelling in His presence. He dines and sups with us continually as He opens His Word and His promises to us and proves His presence and His power in our lives.

In Christ, we dwell in the throne room, in unity with His Spirit ~ knowing His power to accomplish all He desires for our good and His glory.

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

Ephesians 2:6

We ask what we will because we ask in faith according to His will, seeking His glory in all things, continually knocking at the door of His heart as He intercedes and presents our petitions to our Father.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
1 Corinthians 2;9

We are continually filled with his grace, nestled in His goodness, and wrapped in His glory. In Christ and Christ in us, we are kept by His power now and forever.

Dear Father, we cannot thank you enough for all you have prepared for us and given by your grace. We are unworthy stewards of your blessings but you have entrusted us with the knowledge of your Word and your will so that we know what to ask, what to seek and where to knock. Continue to draw us to Christ by the power of your Spirit, to dwell in Him and receive your heavenly blessings as well as all our earthly needs. We praise and bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Fran

Suggested Reading: GOD is Our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan for His People
CONTACT us and request a free PDF of paperback.

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Diligently Seeking

As I continue this search for the meanings of Jesus’ words, I am impressed with the thoughts of fervently asking, diligently seeking, and urgently knocking. We are sharing what God’s Word reveals of diligently seeking in this post.

When Jesus told His disciples to ask, seek, and knock, He had certain things and conditions in mind. Being brought up with the Law and the Prophets, He reiterated the first thing we should seek. He emphasized seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness which we find repetitive in the Old Testament.

Seek the Lord

“If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;” Job 8:5

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee:
my soul thirsteth for thee,
my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land,
where no water is;”

Psalm 63:1

Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.” Psalm 105:3

“The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him
(Ezra 8:22).

“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,
call ye upon him while he is near:

Isaiah 55:6

Seek “the commandments of the Lord our God” (1 Chronicles 28:8; “His precepts” Psalm 119:45); “wisdom” (Proverbs 2:4): “knowledge “(Proverbs 18:15)

“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”
Psalm 27:4

“Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance.” Ezra 8:21

“Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness:” Zephaniah 2:3

“Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” Psalm 105:4

Seek His Face

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee,
Thy face, Lord, will I seek.”
Psalm 27:8

Seek Peace 

“And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” Jeremiah 29:7

” seek peace, and ensue it1 Peter 3:11

Who will seek?

They that know thy namePsalm 9:10

 “such as love thy salvation” Psalm 40:16

“The Lord is good unto them that wait for him,
to the soul that seeketh him”.
Lamentations 3:25
 

“the Gentiles seek” Isaiah 11:10

ye that follow after righteousness.” Isaiah 51:1

“the children of Israel and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the Lord their God.” Jeremiah 50:4; Hosea 3:5

How will we seek?

with all their heart and with all their soul;” 2 Chronicles 15:12; Deuteronomy 4:29

seek him with the whole heart.”  Psalm 119:2

“With my soul, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early:” Isaiah 26:9

by prayer and supplications, with fasting,” Daniel 9:3

Seek First the Kingdom of God

The only thing Jesus tells us to seek is the first and most important thing, for with the kingdom of God and his righteousness we will have everything we need.

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

Matthew 6:33

“To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:” Romans 2:7

“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.” 1 Corinthians 14:12

“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

“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

“For they seek a country.
Hebrews 11:14; Hebrews 13:14

Our Father in heaven, forgive us for not seeking you as we ought. Thank you for teaching us through your Word how to seek you. We praise you for your Son, our Lord Jesus who teaches us to seek your kingdom and your righteousness above all things ~ and for Paul who teaches us to seek those things above. Fill us with your Spirit and with the power to seek and find you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Suggested Reading: Free Ebook First Things that Last Forever
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