What Day is Today?

Jerry and I have our “senior moments,” sometimes asking, “What’s today?”  Since we no longer observe a five-day workweek, we often forget what day it is — except today.

TODAY IS THE DAY THE LORD PLANNED FOR US TO BE WITH HIM;

A DAY He set aside to be different from other days;

A DAY for the gathering together of His people,

A DAY for His glory, and His worship;

A DAY for His Word to be proclaimed, and received, in power.

A DAY OF SALVATION.

I praise the Lord for every day, but especially for this day, of all days.  It keeps me centered and focused on Him, and remembering the reason we are here.  Everything starts, revolves around, and progresses from this first day of the week. Imagine the central force of God’s power in this day through Jesus Christ, His Son, the impact that it has on the whole week, and all time.

Today is the day He prepares us to go into the following work week, refreshed, and renewed in His Spirit and truth, projecting us to the next Lord’s Day, and to that final rest in Him.

It is the Christian Sabbath, established in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  As Lord of the Sabbath, He brought the beginning of new life for His people and a day of celebration on the first day of the week.

Today is the day we are brought to, and receive, the Lord’s Supper, which is a time of the renewing of the Spirit, and the continuation of our salvation.

According to a quote from an unknown source—our forefathers called today “The Lord’s Day.”  Our great-grandfathers called it “The Sabbath.”  Our fathers and most of the world now call it “Sunday.” The first given evidence for a differentiation, between traditional Jewish “Shabbat” observance and the religious observance of the first day of the week, appears in Acts 20:7 where the disciples met and “broke bread” together.  The Apostle John also refers to the “Lord’s Day” (“kuriake hemera”) in Rev. 1:10. “Kuriake,” meaning “Lord’s,” later became the Greek word for Sunday. Wikipedia)

Let the world have this day as a Greek Sunday for its own pleasure. But, we set this day apart from all others and all things for His name’s sake.

TODAY IS THE LORD’S DAY

A DAY OF GRACE FOR HIS PEOPLE ~ FOR HIS GLORY

LET US REJOICE IN HIM.

“In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right are pleasures evermore.”

Psalm 16:11

Gracious Father, pour out your Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of those you have drawn to your Son. Fill us with your Spirit of grace to know you through our Lord Jesus Christ. Draw us closer to Him and you, today, through worship and your Word. Continue to grow us in grace and knowledge of Him as we begin this week in celebration of our eternal life in Him. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Treasure Boxes (P.S.)

If you have just read Treasure Boxes you will not need to read this addition. If you read the original published on Wednesday, this is an explanation of why I first thought of the boxes. The first one was given to our oldest grandchild, Ansley, to keep letters I had written to her. The first letter was written soon after she was born, recording the anticipation of her birth, family, and friends who were present when she was born and other details. In addition, I wrote things that the Lord put in my heart for her to read later. Letters were written for each birthday for several years until three sisters were born. I kept each one from the time they were three months old until they began kindergarten and during the summer months two days a week while Lee worked as a physical therapist. I did not have time afterward to write letters to the other grandchildren, but they all have the treasure boxes for storing things we studied together.

Treasure Boxes

Years ago, I gave each of our grandchildren treasure boxes. The first one was given to our oldest grandchild, Ansley, to keep letters I had written to her. The first letter was written soon after she was born, recording the anticipation of her birth, family, and friends who were present when she was born and other details. In addition, I wrote things that the Lord put in my heart for her to read later. Letters were written for each birthday for several years until three sisters were born. I kept each one from the time they were three months old until they began kindergarten and during the summer months two days a week while Lee worked as a physical therapist. I did not have time afterward to write letters to the other grandchildren, but they all have the treasure boxes for storing things we studied together.

In them are workbooks that we used for our Summer of Psalms used for studying God’s Word over a fourteen-year period, plus awards they received for memory work, a CD of the music we sang, and crafts we used for activities. (To our one grandson we gave a solid red box.) In the last two years, we have given them copies of some of our published books. We no longer study together, but they have these treasures to review and remember what they learned when they were younger; hopefully to share with their own children and grandchildren. Our books may be of more interest to them when they are older. Our youngest, Emma, will be sixteen in March.These boxes serve as a place for them to keep the sources from which they have learned of God and of heaven ~ those eternal things that never fade or pass away. And should they forget and wander from the paths of their childhood, they can return and rediscover the truths of life that point them in the right way, along with the study Bibles we gave them.

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

I believe the idea for the boxes was a gift from God our heavenly Father and a replica of the new heart He gives us as His children. He has designed them as a place for His love, joy, and peace, His truth, wisdom, knowledge, and grace; for His songs and memories of growing up in Christ. Since the new heart belongs wholly to Him, He has the freedom to add whatever and whenever He wants. Unlike the earthly boxes I gave my grandchildren, He has the key to each of His. He opens and closes, reveals and adds His own heavenly treasures according to His heart and will.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7 

There have been times I wished I had had these treasures for my children, but I did not have the new heart to receive these blessings when they were young. Our heavenly Father has no grandchildren but gives His treasures to those He desired and sired for His own.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 1:2

Gracious Father, how blessed we are that you call us your own; that we belong to you both by Creation and Redemption. Continue to reveal your grace and glory, fill us continually with your Holy Spirit of truth, wisdom, and knowledge, as you are preparing us to live with you forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Poem: God’s Beloved Son
image:Google

Peace and Contentment

Who today, can write of peace and contentment, first-hand?
This post was meant for the series Contentment and was the most difficult of all, so it did not make it in that series. However, we thought it would fit well as a chapter in Beyond a Mere Christianity. In seeking to share what I know, and what I have discovered from God’s Word, this may have been the one I needed the most. It is one thing to write what I have learned, second-hand, but quite different to share it from experience. I wanted to do more with this post. I do not do the subject of peace justice. Except I write a book, I cannot cover it all. So I pray the Lord’s blessings for what we offer here.

I know the peace that is “the fruit of the Spirit” of God (Galatians 5:22). I can share no other peace than what God has given me through His Son, Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). It has been tried and I have many times been lacking; not because I do not have peace, but because it is not a natural trait. It will always be tested while we live in the midst of chaos.

Here, we will pose some questions and attempt to answer from the Word of the Lord.

How do peace and contentment relate to each other? There is no Biblical reference that combines these two. Since we have written many other posts on contentment, we will document what we know of peace, seeing that the two are similar, understanding that one compliments the other. If we have the peace of God through His Son, Jesus Christ, we will be content in His peace.

The Source of Peace
The question is not, “what” but “where and who is the source of peace?” Peace comes from the Lord, our God, who originally created all things for peace in His kingdom.

He is still the source and the giver of His peace.

“The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” Numbers 6:26

“The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.” Psalm 29:11

We are “led forth with peace.” Isaiah 55:12

He has “made a covenant of peace, an everlasting covenant with His people.” Ezekiel 37:26

“He keeps in perfect peace those whose mind is stayed on Him and trusts in Him.” Isaiah 26:3

“Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. Isaiah 26:12

He promises His people a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; Isaiah 32:18

Peace is associated with His light. Isaiah 45:7

He creates “the fruit of the lips; ‘Peace.’” Isaiah 57:19

He extends peace to His people “like a river,” Isaiah 66:12

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

He reveals his “abundance of peace and truth.” Jeremiah 33:6

HE IS THE GOD OF PEACE   

 “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.”  1 Corinthians 14:33

 In letters to the early churches, the apostle Paul included greetings from the God of peace Romans 15:33, Romans 16:20, 2 Thessalonians 3:16

He is “the God of hope that fills believers with joy and peace.” Romans 15:13

As the God of peace, He established the everlasting covenant through Christ. Hebrews 13:20 and sanctifies and preserves His people until Christ returns. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

PEACE OF GOD
The peace of God “rules in our hearts,” Colossians 3:15

 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

 PEACE FROM GOD
Paul spoke of “grace and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ to the saints and brethren“ in Romans 1:7, Colossians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, 2 Thessalonians 1:2, Titus 1:4, Philemon 1:3.

John spoke of “grace, mercy, and peace, in truth and love.” 2 John 1:3

PEACE WITH GOD
There is only one reference to peace with God, which comes by faith, through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 5:1

RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE
There are many references that associate peace with righteousness.

The most familiar may be Romans 14:17

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The Psalmist speaks of peace that comes by righteousness. Psalm 72:3

“Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Psalm 85:10

“the righteous flourish; with abundance of peace.” Psalm 72:7

“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32:17

 And “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” James 3:18

Hebrews 12:11 says that “chastening yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

Paul instructs Timothy to “follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22

WISDOM AND PEACE
Peace is the result of wisdom.

“For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Proverbs 3:2

“Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Proverbs 3:17

The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, James 3:17

GOSPEL OF PEACE
Paul speaks of “our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15 and “the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace! Romans 10:15

GOD’S LAW AND PEACE
Those who love God’s law have “great peace: and nothing shall offend them.” Psalm 119:165

Great peace comes from the Lord as we are taught by Him. Isaiah 54:13

Gracious Father of grace and peace, we thank you for giving us your Son that we may be brought to you in His peace; that we may live in peace with you and Him through the power of your Holy Spirit. Fill us with your Spirit, that we may live in this peace, content with whatever you have chosen for us as you prepare us for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Artice: The Peace of Christ at Christmas
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Image 2

Words of Life ~ AMAZED

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

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

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

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

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

We fast-forward to Jesus’ ministry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Why Do the Heathen Rage?”

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

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

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

How few welcome people they do not know?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image:Google

Necessary Interests

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

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

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

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

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

Colossians 3:1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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