Words of Life ~ ALIVE

How fitting that the word ALIVE would be one of our Words of Life. Let us spend a few minutes in God’s Word so as to understand who makes us ALIVE

Old Testament
H2416, 2417, 2418 
are derivatives of H2421
Strong’s ALIVE 
chayah khä·yä’to live, whether literally or figuratively; causatively, to revive:–keep (leave, make) alive, X certainly, give (promise) life, (let, suffer to) live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (X God) save (alive, life, lives), X surely, be whole.

Before the Lord destroyed all creatures, Noah was instructed to bring two of every living thing, male and female into the ark to keep them alive (Genesis 6:19-20).

“And every living substance was destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained aliveand they that were with him in the ark.” Genesis 7:23

In the following references, we understand that only the Lord makes us ALIVE.

“The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” 1 Samuel 2:6

“All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.” Psalm 22:29

“O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” Psalm 30:3

Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” Psalm 33:18-19

New Testament G2198
Strongs’s defines ALIVE záō, dzah’-o to live (literally or figuratively):—life(-time), (a-)live(-ly), quick.

The same Greek word is used for life, living and quick.

Luke 24:23 uses the word alive in reference to Jesus’ resurrection.

“And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.”

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles begins with the account of Jesus’ resurrected life before His ascension, showing “Himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3

 In relationship to Jesus’ death and resurrection, the apostle Paul refers to our being “dead to sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:11

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:13

 Jesus speaks of His own death and eternal life in Revelation 1:18

“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.” Revelation 1:18

1 Corinthians 15:22 uses G2227 zoopoieo dzo-op-oy-eh’-o from the same as 2226 and 4160; to (re-)vitalize (literally or figuratively):–make alive, give life, quicken.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

It is the same as used for quickening in other passages, meaning to restore to life; of the spirit, quickening as respects the spirit, endued with new and greater powers of life.

Gracious Father, who makes us alive through your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we thank you and praise you for not leaving us dead in our trespasses and sin, but that you make us alive in Him for evermore. Make us alive in Christ today and every day in the power of your Holy Spirit, to witness of your presence with us always. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Fran

Photo:Pixabay

Breakthrough and Follow-through

So as not to miss any gods they might appease, the Athenians had set up an “unknown god” among the others. And so, Christianity today is seen as a religion among many others. The God of Christianity is “unknown” even to some who claim it as their faith. If we see little more than the surface of this way of life, we simply exist without the source and the power of this life. For the most part, we fail to differentiate between what other religions offer. We must be sure that it is an offering; a supernatural offering between our God and us. It is a spiritual gift from the Lord God of Christianity whom we know as Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of Jehovah, the Almighty God and Creator of the heavens and the earth and Redeemer of mankind.

Baptized as a child on a profession of faith, Christianity was basic but ineffective in my life until as an adult, I was drawn to read, then study; to write and teach what I was learning from the Bible. During those years, the Holy Spirit I was reading about in the Bible used God’s own words to transform my life. Through a new birth, with a new heart and spirit, my life was changed and has not been the same for decades. My books, articles, and poems attest to the revealed and fulfilled promises made to those He brings to Himself.

The best way I can describe this new way of life is with a parable I heard several years ago.

A prisoner was held captive for years, not knowing where he was. He existed in an obscure stronghold in a foreign country. His food and drink were barely enough to keep him alive. Since he knew no other way of life, he did not wish for anything else.

One day a stranger entered his cell and told him about life outside his captivity. He had come to deliver him. At first, the man could not vision anything beyond his own existence, and so refused to follow him out. Unknown to the prisoner, the stranger had broken through the outside barrier of the stronghold to save him. He was there, not to be refused; and so, stayed with him, living off the same fare by which the prisoner had been fed most of his life. At times he would open the cell door and lead him down a long dark hallway to show him the light outside. Not used to the light, the prisoner would soon move back to his comfortable cell.

With time, the stranger presented truths about the light, each day praying with him and leading him a little further out from his cell. Gradually getting used to the light, he was drawn more; then more, to it. One day, his eyes becoming used to the light, embraced the light, walking with the stranger into a new life outside himself.

As I contemplated writing this post, I was reminded of an old TV series Mission Impossible. A different mission presented to the team with every episode including the statement, “This is your mission if you choose to accept it.” The missions involved seemingly impossible situations providing an escape for captives.

I imagined what this would have looked like for Jesus before Creation. He and the Holy Spirit were the team, Jesus being the one who would suffer and sacrifice to bring His people out of their bondage. His mission from God the Father was to go down, go to, and live with the captives on earth; live in full obedience to God’s law, which no man had ever done, and provide a true understanding of the laws of His kingdom. He would be the light from heaven to people living in darkness, under oppression and sin. He would at the appointed time, be offered up as a means of appeasing the unknown God and ascend back to the Father, where He would live and reign for us as His people.  He would send His Spirit of light from heaven; through His Word bring us out of our captivity and guide us into all truth.

Jesus accepted and fulfilled His mission. His Holy Spirit is now fulfilling His mission in our hearts and lives as we continue to follow Jesus.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for so loving us that you sent your Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Lord Jesus, we thank you for being the author and finisher of our faith; for breaking through and enabling us to follow through this darkness until we see you in your full glory. Holy Spirit, we know your presence and power of the life of Christ in us. Continue to reveal and fulfill all that the Father has willed for us as your people. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

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Words of Life ~ AFTERWARD

The word AFTERWARD may not be a popular word for unbelievers, as it can signify an undesirable result of present circumstances. It is not used often in the Bible, but the few times are significant for us as children of God and disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. AFTERWARD relates to a time when one thing has ended, and a new thing and time have begun. We, as Christians, use this word as part of our vocabulary, for it relates to what God has done in the past for and in His people, and we are blessed to trust His promises for the future. There are many processes we must go through for the promises to be fulfilled.

Old Testament H268
Strong’s defines AFTERWARD as ‘achowr ä·khōre’ meaning hereafter (of time); the same word used for time to come.

The Lord promised Moses that when He had finished with the plagues He would send on Egypt, Pharaoh would afterwards let His people go (Exodus 11:1).

What a blessed part of our Christian language is seen in the Psalmist’s words, knowing that here we are guided by the counsel of the Lord for our future life with Him.

“Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:24

“Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.” Proverbs 20:17

“Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.” Proverbs 24:27

“He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” Proverbs 28:23

Through Hosea, the Lord promised that the children of Israel would return from their whoredom in the latter days.

Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:5

The Lord spoke through the prophet Joel of a time to come.

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”Joel 2:28

New Testament G5305
Strongs defines AFTERWARD hysteron hü’-ste-ron more lately, i.e. eventually:

Jesus promised Simon Peter that no one could follow Him while He was still on earth, but that he would follow Him afterwards (John 13:36).

The apostle Paul, in writing to the Galatians spoke of how faith came after the law.

“But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Galatians 3:23

From Hebrews 12;11 we learn the effect of chastening.

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

Dear Heavenly Father, we praise you that you teach us what comes before and what comes after in this life and eternity. We praise you that you are sovereign over the beginning and the end of all things. Guide us with your counsel to live in light of what comes afterward as you are preparing us for eternal glory with you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

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The Secret Place

 We might have titled this The Secret Place of AFFLICTION because this chapter of Beyond a Mere Christianity is tied to our previous post, Words of Life ~ AFFLICTION.

The secret place of which we write is basically “the secret place of the Most High” referenced in Psalm 90:1. “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” But it has a deeper meaning as we will show in this chapter.

How do we get to this secret place? We must first know about it through the revelation of God’s Word (1 Corinthians 2). We must be born into it by His Spirit (John 3:3-8; John 1:12). It is a spiritual experience of our heart and spirit ~ He gives us a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). He makes us joint-heirs with His Son in His kingdom (Romans 8:17).

He has provided the means of communication with Him in this secret place. He speaks to us through His Word and receives our speech through prayer. His Word teaches us how to pray, and hears our prayers and our praises. As children, we are disciples and servants of His Son Jesus Christ; God gave Him for us as a propitiation for our sins showing His great love for us (1 John 4:10). Because we are believers and His followers, we will experience a taste of His persecution from those who do not believe in Him.

We experience affliction, suffering, and tribulation for His name’s sake.

We see this privilege, this honor of suffering in the life of the apostles in Acts 5:41; the apostles left those who had beaten them and had commanded their silence of the gospel, “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”.

The Secret Place is an honorable place for His people who in all generations follow Christ and if need be, to suffer persecution.

No other people can claim this honor except those who belong to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. As we look at the remainder of our references, I encourage you to take time to meditate on these, take them to heart and remember whose we are as pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land. If you don’t have time to read all the references now, I encourage you to copy and save them.

We will look at these three areas and end with a section on Chastisement:

AFFLICTION of Christ
AFFLICTION of Followers of Christ
AFFLICTION within the Body of Christ

AFFLICTION of CHRIST

H6031 ânâh, aw-naw’ to afflict, oppress, humble

The affliction of Christ prophesied in Isaiah is the same word used for other references in the Old Testament.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7

The prophecy was fulfilled at the end of Jesus’ ministry when by His affliction, He took upon Himself our punishment for sin. We are not exempt from afflictions in this life but saved from the afflictions that will come to those who do not accept His sacrifice for salvation.

In the following verses from God’s Word, we hope to prove that afflictions are part of this life for all humanity because we live in a fallen, sinful world. The afflictions of unbelievers are just a prelude to the forever tune of eternal suffering. But as believers, we accept affliction as a part of our unity with Christ, our Lord, and Savior. We follow Him in the paths of righteousness with the promise that He is with us in our suffering for the sake of the gospel.

The prophecy of Jesus’ sufferings bridges the gap between the Old and New Testaments, bringing us to the record of His life and HIs instructions to His disciples as He was preparing them for His crucifixion and resurrection.

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9

New Testament G2347
Strongs’s defines affliction thlipsis thlē’-psēs tribulation, affliction, anguish, persecution  References

The word is the same used for tribulation.

Jesus spoke of the tribulations that would come with discipleship. His encouragement was for peace and joy through His victory over death and the world. He promises all the physical blessings, including persecution (Mark 20:30).

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

 AFFLICTION of Followers of Christ
Paul wrote of this tribulation to the early church.

“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

To the disciples in the church in Rome Paul wrote to encourage them during those times. See how many times “joy” is related to affliction in these verses.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” Romans 5:3

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:3

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;” Romans 12:12

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” 2 Corinthians 4:17

“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 2 Corinthians 8:2

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” Colossians 1:24

“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”1 Thessalonians 1:6

G3804.pathemapath’-ay-mah from a presumed derivative of 3806; something undergone, i.e. hardship or pain; subjectively, an emotion or influence:– affection, affliction, motion, suffering. The sufferings of Christ; also the afflictions which Christians must undergo in behalf of the same cause which Christ patiently endured.

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:10

 “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 2:9

“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:11

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4;13

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:” 1 Peter 5:1

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

AFFLICTION within the body of Christ
G2347 thlipsisis the same word used for tribulation and trouble in 2 Corinthians 1:4

“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5

 “And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 2 Corinthians 1:6

“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:” 2 Thessalonians 1:4

“Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” Hebrews 10:33

G4778. sugkakoucheo soong-kak-oo-kheh’-o from 4862 and 2558; to maltreat in company with, i.e. (passively) endure persecution together:–suffer affliction with.

The writer of Hebrews speaks of Moses choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Hebrews 11:25

In James 5:10 he speaks of the prophets who were an example of suffering affliction, and of patience ~ from G2552 kakopatheia kak-op-ath’-i-ah from a compound of 2256 and 3806; hardship:–suffering affliction.

In 1 Peter 4:14 we read: “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.”

Is this not the “secret place” in which we dwell with Him “under the shadow of the Almighty” who has sanctified us and is bringing us to glory in Him (Hebrews 2:10-11)?

Chastisement ~ the Secret Place  in the Life of God’s Child

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

“Though he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” Hebrews 5:8

It is interesting that we are writing about this secret place of affliction at the same our pastor is preaching through the book of Hebrews. Finishing the eleventh chapter with the list of martyrs, the last two weeks we have been in Hebrews 12, seeing the relationship between God and His children, the same kind of relationship between Him and the Israelites in the Old Testament. The Old Testament speaks not only of affliction but also of chastisement (Isaiah 26:16). While we might not like the idea that He afflicted His people because of their rebellion, we might also not hold to the idea that God causes pain to His children who fail to hear and obey the instructions of His Word. In hearing these sermons, I have been moved to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a child of God, to be blessed that He chastens me because He loves me. (Hebrews 12:5-14); and all this, so that I stay close to Him and partake of His holiness; which means I pray even for His chastisement, along with instructions and corrections as needed, so that I know Jesus did not bear my chastisement in vain but is my example in His suffering and obedience. Our chastisement fell upon Him, so that we may become the children of God. Any pain we have to suffer now will be worth it all for the glory that waits with Him in eternity. All pain and adversity, whether or not we are suffering for Christ’s sake, is accepted because the Lord our God is sovereign over all things.

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Proverbs 13:5

“And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14

Gracious Father, we thank you for revealing the truth of your Word to us by your Holy Spirit. Enable us to accept all things, pain, sickness, and all adversity at your hand, working for our good and conforming us to the image of Christ, as we continue to abide in your word and under the shadow of your wings. Thank you for that secret place you prepared for us in Christ our Lord, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Fran

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Words of Life ~ AFFLICTION

Fifteen years ago, I started thinking how good it might be to have a handbook that Christians could use concerning our particular language; the ordinary vocabulary that believers could study about our everyday life in Christ. All those years I shared some of this work with three of our granddaughters. Two years ago, we put together a list of words using the English alphabet to form Words of Life ~ A to Z ~ The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian.

Part-way through the list of A’s, we have been overwhelmed with our research and believe that this is a valued gift for all Christians. We come this week to the word AFFLICTION, one that will surprise and amaze all who truly understand how this word applies to us as God’s children.

We may not like what God’s Word teaches us, but hopefully, we will come away with a greater understanding of why we as God’s children have to endure AFFLICTION.

We are using a lot of references and not a lot of my own comments so God’s Word can speak for itself. Please take time to read these, so as to understand why affliction is an important element of the Christian life.

We will divide this into five areas:

The first two will be highlighted in this post.

AFFLICTION of the Israelites

Hope During AFFLICTION

The last three will be included in our next post.

AFFLICTION of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Master

AFFLICTION of followers of Christ; 

AFFLICTION within the body of Christ

 AFFLICTION of the Israelites
STRONG’S defines AFFLICTION H6031 ânâh, aw-naw’ to afflict, oppress, humble  All References  online.

“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” Exodus 1:12 The more the Israelites were afflicted, the more they multiplied and grew and became a threat to the Egyptians.

“And the LORD said , I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;” Exodus 3:7

Seeing their affliction from the Egyptians, God brought them out of Egypt. They believed, bowed their heads and worshipped. (Exodus 3:17; Exodus 4:31) Yet, afterward, they rebelled in the wilderness.

The word used for affliction is the same word used for humble; when the Lord led them out of Egypt.

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
“And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” Deuteronomy 8:2-3

All their suffering was meant for God to prove what was in their hearts and that they would learn that man does not live by bread only, but true life depends on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

We may not like the idea that the Lord afflicts His own people, but affliction is His means of teaching His children, to bring attention to their sin and rebellion and to turn them to repentance. He does not afflict other people for the same purpose. We will look at this further in our next post: this week’s chapter The Secret Place in Beyond a Mere Christianity.

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10

“Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.” Lamentations 1:3  

“Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy.” Lamentations 1:5

“I am the man (Jeremiah) that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.” Lamentations 3:1

“For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Lamentations 3:33

“But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the Lord the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.” Amos 6:14

The Psalmist understood the Lord’s judgment and faithfulness in affliction. His afflictions are according to His judgments, His word, and His statutes.

“I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.” Psalm 119:67

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalm 119:71

Hope During Affliction

“And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:” Deuteronomy 26:7

“When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;” 2 Chronicles 6:26

 “I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word.”Psalm 119:107

 “Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.” Psalm 119:153

 “Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.” Psalm 129:2

 “O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction,” Jeremiah 16:19

The Lord promised to restore those He had afflicted (Micah 4:6; Nahum 1:12).

The word is the same used for troubled when God’s people had no shepherd. Zechariah 10:2

Gracious Father in heaven looking down, even as we are looking up to you in our afflictions, have mercy upon us. Open our eyes to the truth of afflictions in generations of the past. Help us to understand why you afflicted your people then and guide us by your Spirit of truth to know that if we belong to you, you will afflict us as you see fit. Prepare our hearts through this first offering, to look further into the New Testament in our next post to see the afflictions, tribulation, and suffering of those who follow Jesus, your Son. In His name, I pray.
Fran

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Intent, Tender a​nd Tenacious

It has been a blessing to see how two current series are dovetailing. We are bringing Words of Life ~ A to Z ~ The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian into our chapters of Beyond a Mere Christianity. We are finding the language of God’s kingdom fitting and powerful to take us beyond the ordinary Christian life.

Our Word this week is AFFECTION, seeing that it relates to what we love most and set our minds on. This word and its meaning work to establish the intents of our hearts. With this as a beginning, let us look into the life of our Lord Jesus Christ to understand how a believer follows the Master.

Latin for the prefix ten means to hold and to stretch. We will look at how this works in the words intent, tender and tenacious.

INTENT
(
mind, understanding, will; manner of thinking and feeling) see a deeper meaning as we understand it, considering purpose, goal, attention, etc. here.

Hebrews 4:12 speaks of the power of God’s Word that searches our hearts. 

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

The Word of God detects the deepest affections of our being. When the Word of God quickens us to a new birth, the intents of our hearts are changed from the natural desires of the flesh to “make us his workmanship” (Ephesians 2:1-10); to desire and love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbor as our self.

Instead of following our own path in life, in faith and repentance, we deny self and follow hard after Christ. What is this path of righteousness in which He leads us? We will know this as we look into the intent of our Lord’s heart when He came to earth.

He was conceived of the virgin Mary to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

Because of His love for His Father and for those he came to save, He lived with one intent, to do the will of the Father (John 5:30) knowing he would lose none of those whom the Father had given Him (John 6:39). There was an intensity of His affection for His Father and for us.

“For the love wherewith He loved us” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

“He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

~ “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:42 Timothy 1:9).

The covenant of redemption was made between the Father and the Son before creation. By the power of His Word and His Holy Spirit, He would reveal and fulfill this covenant here on earth in and through His people whom He would bring to love Him. His everlasting love through Jesus Christ was revealed on the cross when He shed His precious blood for our redemption. When we hear and read His Word, the Holy Spirit moves in the hearts of His people to initiate affection toward Him so that we turn and follow that which we love.

TENDER
In the Old Testament, the same word for tender is used for compassion, mercy, pity.

The Psalms speak often of the tender mercies of the Lord.

“The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” Psalm 145:9

Jesus knew His purpose for being here; His affections were set on His Father and His people, those for whom He came to live and die, but nothing and no one could change His character of grace and mercy while He was here. He showed a righteous anger toward the religious leaders who were “blind, leading the blind,” but He showed tender mercies toward the “sheep who were being led astray.” He healed all that were sick, cast out devils, spoke truth to all the multitudes, and loved those who would eventually join their hearts against Him and shout, “Crucify him!”

He knew no one could come to Him with the affection, love, and intent to endure with Him except the Father draw them to Him. And we remember that only one of those was at His feet as He was dying on the cross. His true character was shown even in His compassion in healing the ear of one who came to arrest Him.

When He was dying, His tenderness for His mother was shown as He looked down and committed her care to John. His love for humanity was expressed in His dying words, “Father, forgive them.” He understood that none of us know what we are doing; that was His purpose for living in complete obedience to the Father, then giving that perfect life as a sacrifice for the atoning of our sins. He finished the work He came to do so that we can come boldly to the throne of grace in His name for reconciliation through His shed blood for us; for new life to follow Him with great and precious promises ~ beyond a mere hope ~ to live as He lived.

TENACIOUS
Though Peter and Satan, himself, tried to keep Jesus from His appointed mission, He did not waver, but “when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51

“Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death,” Matthew 20:18

Jesus knew when His hour had come. The hour of darkness (facing death and taking our punishment upon Himself) was His destination here on earth in order to save His people. He spoke of His death, but His disciples did not understand until after His ascension and the Holy Spirit’s coming at Pentecost.

Colossians 2 and 3 speak of our relationship with Christ and how His work of redemption affects our living.

Colossians 2 teaches us that we are “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” Colossians 2:12-13

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Ephesians 3:1-4

We set our minds, our affections, and our goal on the glory He has prepared for us with Him. With the same intensity as He went to the cross, we hold to our purpose for being His disciples. We stretch ourselves forward and upward in our calling with Him.

As we continue to follow Him, we are tenderhearted toward others, even when they misunderstand who we are in Christ.

In the same spirit of tenacity, we continue to follow His lead until He has finished His work in us here.

Gracious Father, whose will your Son came to fulfill, make us to know our purpose in following Him. Keep our focus and intentions true by the power of your Holy Spirit. Let nothing of this world deter us from following Him. Keep our hearts tender toward others, enabling us to witness of Christ. Bring us steadfast and immovable in the work of our Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Photo by Wendy van Zyl from Pexels

Words of Life ~ AFFECTION

As we look at the word AFFECTION, we understand its meaning from the beginning of God’s Word, seeing that everything good begins with God. Affection is related to what we love; what we find to be pleasant and desirable. The right love is first revealed in God. He, through His Word, shows us true love and where our affections should be. Deuteronomy 33:3 speaks of the love of God for His people when Moses gave them His commandments. He gave His rules only to His people because He loved them; derived from H2245 chabab (khaw-bab) meaning to cherish (with affection) – love. Biblical affection seems to be a special love from God, and us to Him, the things of God and His people.

Old Testament H7521
Strong’s ratsah rä·tsä’a primitive root; to be pleased with, be favourable to, accept favourably. (See references)

King David, before his death, had planned to build the temple, but was only able to prepare for it. It would be his son, Solomon, who would build it. But because of his affection ~ his love ~ for God, he gave his gold and silver for it.

“Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house,”
1 Chronicles 29:3

New Testament G3804
Strong’s defines affection: pathema pä’-thā-mä
subjectively, an emotion or influence:– affection, affliction, motion, suffering; affection for (denoting personal attachment, as a matter of sentiment or feeling) Galatians 5:24

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”

G5426 phroneo fron-eh’-o from 5424; to exercise the mind, i.e. entertain or have a sentiment or opinion; by implication, to be (mentally) disposed (more or less earnestly in a certain direction); intensively, to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience):–set the affection on,   regard, savour, think. phroneo is used in several references for the word savour, Colossians 3:2

“Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

The Spirit of Christ turns us from the affections of the flesh and the things of the world to “things above.” (We will elaborate on Colossians 3:1-4 in our next post, Intent, Tender, and Tenacious.)

4698 splagchnonc splangkh’-non probably strengthened from splen (the “spleen”); an intestine (plural); figuratively, pity or sympathy:–bowels, inward affection, + tender mercy.

Regarded by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, esp. kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence our heart (tender mercies, affections, etc.) In 2 Corinthians 7:15, Paul speaks of Titus’ affection toward the believers at Corinth.

“And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.”

Paul’s affection for the Gentile Christians uses the word homeiromai ho-mā’-ro-mī G2442 meaning to desire, long for, esp. the longing of love.

“So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
1 Thessalonians 2:8

Romans 12:10 uses the word philostorgos fil-os’-tor-gos G5387 from G5384, (cherishing one’s kindred; parents, children, natural relatives, i.e . fraternal towards fellow Christians.

“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;”

From God’s affection for His people in the Old Testament, King David’s affection for God and His house, to the love of Christ in the New Testament, we are taught and delivered from our natural affections. Being raised with Christ to new life, we set our affections on Him and the heavenly life that awaits in glory with Him. In the meantime, our hearts are trained to show mercy and compassion on those of our own household and fellow believers.

Gracious Father, thank you for the example of your affections for your people, through the nation of Israel and us, who are new creatures in Christ. Teach us to exercise our minds in the things of your Word, so as to displace our affections for the things of this world with the things above which are eternal  In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

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