A GOLDEN TREASURY

 A GOLDEN TREASURY for the Children of God by C.H.V. Bogatzky

We have just published our second edition of A Golden Treasury, a devotional (reprinted in 1746 by the American Tract Society).
Twenty years ago, while browsing an antique store, I found this little book by C.H.V. Bogatzky consisting of writings and poetry “for every day of the year.” Flipping through, I was convinced that I had found a treasure.  At the time I did not know if I wanted to buy this book with pages that were discolored and printing so small and difficult to read, but the content, continually referring to the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, led me to purchase this book; and I was not disappointed.

After years of using this devotional, my daughter and I ~ neither of us knowing our way around a computer ~ meticulously typed these meditations, keeping to the same format. Month by month we published them in booklet form for our family and friends. For several years, we saved the document and forgot it. Then ten years ago, we formatted the book for publication through Amazon’s Kindle  program.

As this was my first eBook, I published with a scant knowledge of self-publishing. With this new edition, we have our own cover and the formatting is clearer and easier to read. Thankfully, after twelve of my own books, our publishing has improved.

We ask the Lord’s blessings on this new publication for those who will be reading this year. Even if you decide not to purchase, at least enjoy the sample reading for January on Amazon.

If you purchased the first edition, please contact me and I will send you a free copy of the new edition.

Much love and blessings in our Lord,
Fran

Our Greatest Gain

How we begin one segment of time determines how we end. How we finish also determines how we start another.

It is this ending I wish to consider as 2019 comes to a close;

None of us will pass this way again.

How does this year tally? What can we carry into another year?

What we have gained should give us hope for the new year.

2019 has supposedly been a good year on the stock market? What assurance do investors have that this gain will continue through another year?

If this is all we have, we are without hope.

In years past, failed relationships, our troubled marriage, my sins, sins of the world, and issues in the church led me through the whole year. When the holiday season rolled around, there was not much to celebrate, but despondency ruled and extended into the next year.

There never seemed to be any gain until 1992 when the Lord gave me a new heart, a new spirit, and a new life. In the last half of that year, He began to fill me, and I began to know the meaning of abundant life we receive in Jesus Christ our Lord.

I have not accomplished much in the last month due to issues with our computer, but my heart is filled with thanksgiving and praise for the blessings of this year. Our heavenly Father has heaped an abundance of His grace and mercy upon our family and me even in the middle of difficulties (this is where most of our blessings are hidden).

His presence is real and powerful as we seek His kingdom and His righteousness above all else. He inhabits our praises as He leads us through each day in His Word and close fellowship with Him in prayer and intercession.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” Philippians 3:8

What have we gained of Christ this year in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3)? It is the eternal hope we have in Him that carries us through each year and from this world into the next.

How will you end this year and this life? Though we gain the whole world, without Him, we miss true life and eternity, here, now, and forever. Christ is all to those who know Him.

Let His Spirit fill us with praise, thanksgiving, and hope as this year of our Lord 2019 closes and a new year begins.

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Isaac Watts

Gracious Father, thank you for your divisions of time. You knew well how to plan for beginnings and endings and transitions from one to the other. We praise you for beginning, sustaining, and ending all things in Christ, your Son. Fill us with your Spirit to keep us in Christ, and in your timing, bring each of us into your eternal glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

Beyond a mere Christianity (The Book)

After many obstacles, much time and patience to see this project finished, Beyond a mere Christianity is now available in paperback and eBook on Amazon.com.

Thank you ~ to all who have been reading this series since last year.

Introduction
When I began this series on my WordPress blog in June 2018, I did not know if it would be a book. Like Abram, not foreseeing what the end would be, I started with faith that the Lord was leading and blessing the process for me to seek His will, His instructions, and His provisions.

He continues to reveal amazing things of His kingdom. Even as I write this introduction, it is with knowledge I did not have a year ago. This treatise is meant to challenge us to take what we have received from all sources He has given over the years, to seek, and grow stronger in our faith.

Most of the valuable works for the kingdom are by men who are no longer living but the Lord still lives to lead us beyond what we have already—so as to be hungry for more than men can give us.

I want to continue on this course with joy and excitement to publish as many books as He wills for me. I had hoped to publish this one by my eightieth birthday on August 1 but decided to settle down and enjoy how the Lord would bring this to pass in His own timing.

Every day in obedience, there is communion and fellowship with Him as He continues to show me His ways, teach me His paths, and lead me in His truth—for He is the God of my salvation, and I wait on Him all day (Psalm 25:5).       

Why the title Beyond a mere Christianity? C. S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity was the first of the two other books and a sermon that came to mind when I posted the list of chapters for this series. I use each of these regarding the Christian faith of men who have died but whose works are still speaking to people today.

After reading and studying these books by C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Oswald Chambers, and Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, I retained the main things they taught. The Lord used each one to bring me to a greater knowledge of Him.

Though I have lived longer than these men, I can never know all they knew. But the Lord has challenged me during every decade to seek more and more of His kingdom through a committed and vibrant relationship with Him—to look further than what I learn from men.

He sits as our great High Priest, with the promise and power of the Holy Spirit, to teach us from His Holy Word. The more time we spend with Him personally in prayer and the study of His Word, the more powerful our Christian faith becomes. From generation to generation, we can all learn and share with others.

Meaning of the Word Mere 
One definition of mere is pure, simple, being nothing more than specified. Another definition for mere is a small pond of standing water. Vocabulary.com

This latter meaning has become intriguing in the use of the word as a noun; mere—a lake; a shallow body of water. This definition lends itself to the meaning of this book. Christianity is thought by some to be shallow—as a small pond of standing water. Such thoughts negate the moving of the Holy Spirit and the depth of His working in the hearts and lives of God’s people.

In a synonym study, Dictionary.com compares the words mere and bare, which implies a scant sufficiency. They are often interchangeable, but mere frequently means no more than (enough). Thus, a mere livelihood means enough to live on but no more; a bare livelihood means scarcely enough to live on.

So, when I hear the title Mere Christianity, it seems from my former understanding to mean that Christianity is nothing more than any other religion. When we try to make Christianity a common faith, we are in danger of dumbing down the power that Christ died to give us.

We lose the essence of the faith that is by grace alone, the working of the Holy Spirit for the revelation of the truths of God’s Word.

Many, by reading Lewis’ book, are encouraged to embrace Christianity even as he did. I believe God has used His work to bring many to a knowledge they never had and who have become followers of Christ. My purpose in writing is to look beyond what he believed, spoke, and wrote, to discover a greater depth, beyond a mere Christianity.

mere Christianity will not suffice for Christ’s followers to proclaim and to live the legacy God has bestowed on His children. We will see this in the testimony of Bill and Terri in chapters 36 and 37.

How Lewis Used the Word Mere   
Lewis may have used the word mere to express the Christian faith as pure and simple. It is pure. It is simple and needs nothing added for those who embrace Christ and who live by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But to those who do not know Him, Christianity is a complex, misunderstood faith. It is much, much more to those who are growing in the doctrines of the faith. It is a living faith—a powerful faith beyond any others. It is a way of life to those who are being transformed by the power of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Word of God—The Holy Bible.

When the gospel is watered down so as to satisfy everybody, we withhold the wealth that comes only by a personal relationship with the Father and Jesus, His Son. Christianity comes at a high price, the blood of Jesus Christ.

To receive the inheritance that is ours in Christ is a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit working through new hearts, drawn to and committed to Him. His grace does not relieve us of duty, but binds us to it and fulfills the requirement, whereby we experience this new life, a heavenly life above and beyond what most people know.

Others have written from Lewis’ theme but with a different perspective. In the following chapters, we will incorporate many facets of the kingdom that our heavenly Father reveals to us, through His Word and His Holy Spirit, in and through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Through these, we pray He will make clear His role as a loving heavenly Father, Creator, Redeemer, and our Life; His presence and power, His name, His kingdom, and His will.

These are His truths, promises, and blessings for a people who know Him, fear Him, love Him, obey, worship, serve, praise, pray, proclaim, and live in the power of the good news of Christ.

They are for those who are being transformed as living sacrifices and conformed to His image, bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility and compassion.

This is to live the “abundant life” (John 10:10) in the “fulness of God” Ephesians 3:19), “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) here in this life, as He continues to prepare us for eternity with Him. True Christianity is separate from any other religion—and the reality of a holy life in union with our heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit. (This needs repeating.)

To us and in us, He reveals Himself as Jehovah, the Lord our God. He sires children of His own as His image-bearers. Though not perfect, we are His offspring through His Son, as He continues to lead us through an imperfect world, shining through us His holiness and humility.

He calls us to discover the deep things of God. He leads us to more than floating or possibly a casual swim in a shallow pond. He brings us to the ocean’s edge and directs us to “Launch out into the deep.”

Gracious and glorious Father, continue to lead us in the paths of righteousness, leaving our shallow thoughts of you to plunge the depths of your grace, your love, your presence and power—to live the abundant life to which you call us in Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.  Fran 9/2019.

The Spirit Within

Is the spirit within you bubbly, sizzling, oppressive, or flowing?

A bubbly spirit is one that is aroused when we experience something good in life. We may experience a little joy but it soon settles down and waits for another experience to manifest itself.

A sizzling spirit is easily upset and reacts in anger at the things we hear and see around us. This spirit, without any hope of better things, is easily aroused at any sight or sound.

An oppressive spirit keeps us down and expecting the worst in every situation.

We may have more than one spirit when the flesh is in control. These can react to everything whether good or bad and have the tendency to turn something good into evil.

Recorded in John’s gospel is Jesus’ response when James and John thought to call fire from heaven upon the Samaritans who would not receive Him.

But He turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’” Luke 9:55-56

The Flowing Spirit
The flowing Spirit is the Holy Spirit of Christ within the believer. His Spirit controls and enables us to respond as Christ would respond to any situation.

Jesus promised His Spirit to those who come to Him.

“On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39

The Spirit of Abundant Life
He promised abundant life to His followers ~ life that does not depend on the circumstances of this world.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

The Spirit of Truth
Jesus promised and has sent the Holy Spirit to His people to abide with us forever.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:16-18

The Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father,
He will testify of me

John 15:26

“He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak.” John 16:13-14

 Jesus teaches us to Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

Paul reminds us to “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; Galatians 5:16-17

Have you asked for the Spirit of Christ? We initially receive the Holy Spirit when we believe and come to Christ. It is continually given and we can receive even more as we desire with all our hearts the abundant life of Christ within us, especially in times of trial. Jesus, our Lord and Master teaches us to ask the Father in His name for what we need.

He only spoke of asking for the Holy Spirit in one reference (Luke 11:13). We need the Holy Spirit to rule within us. Otherwise, we have only the flesh and self that will bring us to destruction as we battle against the power of Christ.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, kindness, goodness, 
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”
Galatians 5:22-23

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for your Holy Spirit, our Helper, who dwells within us. Pour out your Spirit, even as the rivers of living water flow from your heart to ours through your Son, our Lord, and Savior. We praise you for this abundant life in Jesus, that does not depend on the flesh or the circumstances of this world. It is in His holy and precious name I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Articles: Ask, Seek, Knock
How the Holy Spirit Works

Image: Peter H, from Pixabay

Words of Life ~ JOY

Not being able in my lifetime, to cover all words that pertain to the life of a Christian, I will continue as the Lord leads in this series Words of Life ~ A to Z  ~ the Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian.
A few days ago, when I asked a young sister-in-Christ what I could pray for, she spoke this simple word ~ JOY. And so, we will share what the Word of God says about this precious word describing the nature and the fruit of His children.

JOY is recorded 187 times in the Bible. You can find them here. We will only highlight certain references.

There are many ~ too many and varied ~ definitions for joy in Hebrew and Greek for me to list but you can find them here.

In the Old Testament, joy is referred to as the sound of lifting the voice in 1 Chronicles 15:16 as singers with instruments were appointed for worship.

“O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.” Psalm 95:1

“But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.” Psalm 5:11

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.”
Psalm 100:1

Isaiah 35:10 speaks of “the ransomed who return to Zion with songs and everlasting joy and gladness.”

“Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.” Isaiah 52:9

Joy from the heart produces rejoicing (1 Chronicles 29:9).

For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart. Ecclesiastes 5:20

“Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.” Psalm 32:11

Jeremiah 15:16 speaks of God’s Word as the joy and rejoicing of the heart.

True joy has always been associated with the Lord. It is a heavenly gift known only to His people.

“The joy of the Lord is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life:
in thy presence is fulness of joy;
at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Psalm 16:11

Joy is in the Lord and in His salvation.

“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation. Psalm 35:9”

“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
Psalm 51:12

“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
Habakkuk 3:18

Joy is often learned and experienced more during or after a time of trial. Difficulties are the means of the Lord planting within us the seed of joy that springs up as it is watered by our tears. Joy may never be known except we go through the dark times. Even His chastisement produces the end result of His joy in us.

“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.” Psalm 126:5

“The meek and the poor rejoice in the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 29:19

Jesus promised His disciples they would be sorrowful at His death.
“ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” John 16:20

All of the Lord’s blessings ~ “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness are appointed for His people. that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” Isaiah 61:3

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; James 1:2

Jesus taught that those who are persecuted for the Lord’s sake are to “Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.” Luke 6:23

Paul was “exceeding joyful in all his tribulation.” 2 Corinthians 7:4

Nothing moved Paul, but he was determined to “finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24

Paul spoke of the churches in Macedonia ministering to the saints in Jerusalem.

“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

“Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power,
unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;”
Colossians 1:11

Hebrews 10:34 speaks of those who “took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.”

In Proverbs 12:20 joy is related to peace.

Zephaniah 3:17 speaks of the Lord’s salvation and His rejoicing over His people.

“He will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”

I often wondered why Paul listed the fruit of the Spirit in its order ~ love, then joy, then peace. Joy must be the fruit that comes through God’s love for us.

In Matthew 28:8 fear is mixed with great joy.

“Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” Luke 15:7

John the Baptist’s joy was fulfilled because he was the friend of Jesus, the bridegroom.” John 3:29

Jesus’ joy was promised to His disciples.

“These things have I spoken unto you,
that my joy might remain in you,
and that your joy might be full.”
John 15:11

“Your heart shall rejoice, your joy that no man taketh from you.” John 16:22

“Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:24

“And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. John 17:13

 At His ascension, Jesus’ disciples “worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:” Luke 24:52

Paul spoke of our “joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:11

Our pastor often reminds us of the nature of God’s kingdom.

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink;
but righteousness, and peace,
and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
Romans 14:17

“And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.” Acts 13:52

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13

“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

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”
Galatians 5:22

“The good and faithful servant will enter into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” 1 Peter 1:8

What a blessed promise of the joy that awaits us in the presence of His glory.

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory
with exceeding joy,”
Jude 1:24

Dear Father, we praise you that you sent your joy to us in Jesus your Son. Thank you, Jesus, that you sent your Holy Spirit to work this joy in us as proof that we belong to you. Holy Spirit, continue to work your power, bearing the fruit of the life of Christ in us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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