An Open Letter to Our Granddaughter

Dear Ansley,

When you were a child, you asked me, “Gramama, what is beauty?”

I did not have an answer then and twenty years later, I am still learning.

I grew up hearing that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

“Beauty is only skin deep.”

“Beauty is where you find it.”

“Beauty is all around us, but the blind cannot see.”

There is no answer to describe what may be beautiful to every person.

The only true beauty is in holiness, beauty in God that He reveals to the clean heart; for the eyes reserved for Him to receive what He chooses to give.

Beauty is found in His Word ~ written and Living in Christ.

Beauty in the Heart

“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart
with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which in God’s sight is very precious.”
1 Peter 3:4

God sees the beauty of His own work in the hearts and lives of His children.

True beauty is seen by the soul; reserved for the humble heart.

There is beauty in the thoughts of those who know that God loves them.

Beauty is seen by the light (the light of Grace) that shines into the heart. The light that reveals the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

True beauty is hidden from the world because it is heaven-oriented, God-inspired, Spirit-breathed, and Christ-centered in His children.

True beauty, as God reveals it, is seen in His Son, Jesus Christ. Through His eyes, we see what He wants us to see, beyond the boundaries of our own little world.

Beauty is in the cross of the One who died, in Him who with open arms rejoices in those who come to Him.

Beauty is in the Shepherd that carries one of His sheep until he is able to walk on his own.

Beauty is following Jesus and sitting at His feet.

Beauty is the moment a person knows that He is God’s child, born of His Spirit for eternity.

It is His kingdom within us, making us aware of the beauty around us that others cannot see.

Beauty is in the heart that loves what God loves.

Beauty is seen in patiently waiting for the Master.

Beauty is accepting all that the Lord wills for our lives, in disappointments, trials, and suffering.

Beauty is the Spirit of Christ within the human heart speaking wherever we are, in our times of need, or prompting us to minister to someone else’s need.

“And let the beauty of our Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands;
yea, the work of our hands, establish thou it. “
Psalm 90:17

Beauty is in the hands of those who serve Him, and beauty in the work that we do for Him.

Beauty is in the peace of mind that only He gives.

Beauty is in the quietness of a moment, when the world around us is in chaos.

Beauty in Relationships

Beauty is living in humility to serve God and others.

Beauty is God’s love in action.

Beauty is seen in a smile when you least expect it.

Beauty is in gentleness.

Beauty is in an act of compassion.

Beauty is in the generosity of one who cares for others,

Beauty is responding to a need on a spur of the moment.

Beauty is in the sincere words, “I love you.”

Beauty is in a spontaneous hug for someone you don’t know.

Beauty in Nature

Beauty is seeing a butterfly light on a delicate flower petal, or a bee receiving the nectar of God’s provision.

Beauty is seen in the opening of a single flower that receives the rays of the sun after a gentle rain.

Beauty is seeing a flowing leaf find its resting place on the ground.

We have yet to see the beauty of His holiness. It is more than we can endure, now.

We will see His full beauty when He returns for His people, and the beauty of His world which He promises to us. 

I could not answer your question when you first asked. We have both been learning.   I can witness of the true meaning of beauty that is revealed by God to His children. You could add what you have learned since then.

If our eyes are opened to Him, we see His beauty around us and within us. We have the remainder of this life for Him to prepare our eyes to behold Him ~ and eternity to experience the beauty of His holiness and majesty.

As we wait, I am seeing His beauty in you.

In the love of our heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, a love that transcends all time and space ~ for His glory and our joy ~
Gramama

Images: Google

A Bloody Crown, a Bloody Cross, a Bloody Sacrifice

After posting Three Crosses, Two Crowns, One Sacrifice I  wanted to do this follow-up. In that article, images depicted everything clean as if the cross of Christ was never used. The crowns were those of earthly kings. The precious sweet lamb was untouched, alive in the green grass.

As the church plans to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ next Lord’s Day, I am reminded that we seldom think about the events that led to this celebration. Too often we skip the crucifixion and the tomb, forgetting the suffering and the sacrifice that made our salvation sure. Some people can look at blood and gore and are insensitive to it. I, like others, avoid it at all costs. Even the sounds of violence from a distance make me cringe.

Still others will not consider their need for a bloody Savior. The rich man of the South who said, “I don’t need anyone to die for me,” didn’t know his own heart.

Understanding how we are reconciled to God through the blood of His own Son is necessary ~ if we are to experience the power of His love and grace working in and through us.

Even as I continue to study the humility of Christ, I desire the Lord to give me a deeper understanding of His sacrificial atonement. I pray that you, the reader, will receive something of what He is showing me; to know the love that was in the blood that was shed for us; to let that love fill us so that we love Him even more.

And as Paul spoke to the Roman church, let us pray that we are so humbled by His mercy that we respond by offering ourselves as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2) for our God, “who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” Ephesians 2:4

A Bloody Crownimages

Charles Spurgeon said in his sermon The Bloody Crown:

Beloved, I always feel as if my tongue were tied when I come to talk of the sufferings of my Master. I can think of them. I can picture them to myself. I can sit down and weep over them, but I know not how to paint them to others! Did you ever know pen or pencil that could? A Michelangelo or a Raphael might well shrink back from attempting to paint this picture! And the tongue of an archangel might be consumed in the effort to sing the griefs of Him who was loaded with shame because of our shameful transgressions.

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. John 19:2

And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium;
and they call together the whole band.
And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns,
and put it about his head,
And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!
And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him,
and bowing their knees worshipped him.
Mark 15:16-19

Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s Gospels record the scourging and mocking right before Jesus was led away to be crucified. But John’s gospel records (and he was an eye witness) Pilate bringing him before the chief priests, the elders, and the crowd before He was led away.

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! John 19:5

What did Pilate mean by doing this? He may have thought that all the blood would discourage the Jewish leaders and the crowd, but no ~ they wanted more. What they saw from Jesus’ beating and the thorns on His head was not enough. They must have his life. They must see Him destroyed; no matter how much blood it took.

They could not know how powerful that blood would be to save His people ~ and to condemn them. The envy, the anger, the hatred, the malice from the enemy was the very reason that Jesus had to endure such suffering.   God knew what was needed to accomplish our redemption ~ an innocent Lamb, a holy man, Himself in human form. He knew that in the presence of sinful men He would be massacred.

At any point, amid the pain and the humiliation from Pilate, the soldiers, and the Jews, Jesus could have shown His power and position as God. Even in His physical weakness He could have spoken the word, or called down heaven and destroyed all or part of Jerusalem. (That would happen later.) But, all that happened was part of the plan for our redemption. Jesus could not turn back now. From the sweat drops of blood in the garden, the betrayal of Judas, the forsaking of the disciples, the mocking of the soldiers, and the crown of shame, He was well into fulfilling the new covenant.

He was revealing the necessity for blood, the reality of atonement through His own blood. To endure all for our sake was the true manner of humility revealed to us.

The pain which He had endured from the scourges caused Him to throb with exquisite anguish—but we read neither of tears nor groans—much less of angry complaints or revengeful threats. He does not seek pity, or make one appeal for leniency. He does not ask why they torture or why they mock. Brave Witness! Courageous Martyr! Suffering exquisitely, You also suffered calmly! Such a perfect frame as His—His body being conceived without sin—He must have been capable of tortures which our bodies, corrupted by sin, cannot feel. Charles Spurgeon

Bloody-Cross-600x450A Bloody Cross

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11

The beatings and the blood on His head did not faze Jesus. He was the central figure in this greatest event in history. It is His story of redemption. The cross, saturated with His blood, is the main scene ~ the turning point for humanity and the gateway leading to eternal life with Him. In the last decade, I have given up watching mere men do this role in plays and movies. It is but an act. No man but Jesus Christ has done this part. It is better to read and meditate on His word for this reality in our own hearts than to see an imitation.

The cross was the means that God had chosen; that Jesus knew He must bear; it was a revelation of God’s love and grace. It is the symbol for us to remember. We wear crosses around our necks.   Most of them are gold and silver. None are bloody. But we must remember the blood of the cross of Christ; His life that was shed for us.

That blood was the blood of the new covenant. The beatings and the bloody crown were only the preludes to our own lifeline. Without the blood of His hands, His feet, and His side, there would have been no reconciliation and peace between God and us. I use the words ‘God and us,’ instead of ‘us and God,’ because He is the initiator and the fulfillment of the covenant. We must see the blood, even as He had to see the blood, and therefore passed over our sins.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11

Mark his brow-they have put about it a crown of thorns, and the crimson drops of gore are rushing down his cheeks! . . . But turn aside that purple robe for a moment. His back is bleeding. ..They lift up the thongs, still dripping clots of gore; they scourge and tear his flesh, and make a river of blood to run down his shoulders! This is the shedding of blood without which there is no remission…They fling him to the ground; they nail his hands and feet to the transverse wood, they hoist it in the air…Blood from his head, blood from his hands, blood from his feet. . They pierce his side, and forthwith runneth out blood and water.   Charles Spurgeon

A Bloody Sacrificeimages

                “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

After that tremendous struggle, the strength of Love mastered the weakness of Manhood—He put that cup to His lips and never shrank—He drank right on till not a drop was left! And now the cup of wrath is empty—no trace of the terrible wine of the wrath of God can be found within it! At one tremendous draught of love, the Lord drank destruction dry, forever, for all His people. Charles Spurgeon

The blood on the crown of thorns and the stain on the cross was the blood of Jesus Christ. The pouring out of His blood on the ground was more than a sprinkling and spoke better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 13:24) There was life in that blood, the life of the Son of God who lived for one purpose ~ to lay down His life; to shed His blood for us.

“It is finished.” It was done according to His everlasting covenant. He was the bloody sacrifice for His people. We don’t have to look at a bloody cross anymore, but we must remember it. Nor do we need a crucifix with a figure of a man with no bloodstains.

He left us with two ordinances to remember His sacrifice; baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We need but to be baptized into His death once, but His sacrifice is to be remembered when we come together for worship. Blessed are we who celebrate the resurrection and remember His death with the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day.

Peace Through His Blood
Jesus is no longer a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, or a man on a cross, or wrapped in a linen shroud lying in a tomb. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords living today and forever as our merciful and faithful High Priest; sitting at the right hand of God, having offered the oblation of His blood for His people; making reconciliation for us; and now, as our mediator, interceding for us.

We would be blessed today and tomorrow to read and meditate on the crucifixion of our Lord, so as to come to worship and celebrate this Lord’s Day with a deeper sense of His mercy and grace.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit,
unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:2

The blood is one of the strangest, the deepest, the mightiest, and the most heavenly of the thoughts of God. It lies at the very root of both Covenants, but specially of the New Covenant. The difference between the two Covenants is the difference between the blood of beasts, and the blood of the Lamb of God! The power of the New Covenant has no lesser measure than the worth of the blood of the Son of God! Your Christian experience ought to know of no standard of peace with God, and purity from sin, and power over the world, than the blood of Christ can give! If we would enter truly and fully into all the New Covenant is meant to be to us, let us beseech God to reveal to us the worth and the power of the blood of the Covenant, the precious blood of Christ!  The Two Covenants Andrew Murray

Dear heavenly Father, just as we cannot paint the picture of Christ, your Son, for others, neither can we put into words our praise and gratitude for so great a salvation, performed as planned and executed in your timing and place.  Let the blood of Christ, that is efficacious, doing all that you planned it to do, work in us the power over sin.  Cleanse us and keep us always looking to Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith. In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

 

Focus, Love, and Rejoice

The words focus, love, and rejoice came clearly from time in prayer, meditation in God’s Word, and in my circumstances. The first word, focus, is included in the title of a book I started a few years ago. Focus, Balance, and Order came during a time when things were difficult to sort through. Still working on this book, my hope is to finish it soon as the Lord continues to show me these three facets of the Christian life. In the meantime, the Lord placed Focus, Love and Rejoice in my heart to experience the outcome of our focus on God our Father, the balance of life through our Lord, Jesus Christ and the order of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

It is the work of a triune God that produces the focus, love, and joy in us as His children. Briefly, let us look at this fruit that shows His work in and through us.

Concentration has never been my nature. The Lord knows my weakness and blesses me to know my need for Him — to seek His presence to accomplish in me what He desires. I would venture to say that we all are distracted by the physical world, with difficulties in training our minds to look to and keep our eyes upward, looking to Him for all things. Focus is not within from birth. Some may say that we are all focused on something.

We, as earthlings, are prone to switch from image to image looking for something new, something different every day. We are easily entertained by whatever comes in view of our senses.

The focus we speak of here is a steady, non-altering gaze that is immovable from its one object.

In the book Focus, Balance, and Order, we survey that on which we focus, the object of our focus. Of course, we will ascertain that it is the Lord God, our heavenly Father who is our focus and why it is must be Him alone on which we set our sight, our desires, our hopes, and our faith. There, the word focus is a noun as is balance and order. Here, focus is a verb, just as love and rejoice. I hope this post will encourage and excite you to pray for me and to look forward to how He will develop this project through me
In the meantime, let’s think of what He wants to work in us as a result of His focus, balance, and order in our lives.

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

Focus
He wants us to focus — to continually keep our eyes — upon Him. We can love and rejoice as we receive His Words by a direct concentration and meditation on Him and His Word. We receive from Him with open hearts and minds. Imagine a thirsty man holding a cup to receive water without focusing on the source. The stream of water is the life of Christ given to us from our heavenly Father by His Holy Spirit. In prayer and through His Word, we direct our hearts and minds to receive the life He gives. But our eyes are on the Father, the giver of all life. Jesus directs us to the Father in His prayer on the mount.

Love and Rejoice
When He says, focus, love, and rejoice, He teaches us that love is the fruit, the life of Christ poured in and through us as we receive it from Him. Both love and joy are His character traits shared with His children. He gives us His love and His joy— the fruit of His Spirit within us. We, therefore, love as He loves, unselfishly. His joy causes us to rejoice.

Most will say they cannot keep such a focus. None of us can. Like humility and all that He requires of His children, He teaches what He wants to do in us. He gives us the desire of His heart until it becomes our heart’s desire. We pray and wait for Him to do His work in us. As Andrew Murray says in Waiting on God — we can afford to wait. These are parts of our inheritance given to enjoy here on this earth and preparation for eternity with Him.

When we learn to focus upon Him, it will not matter what may be our circumstances. Focus enables us to keep steadfast in the life of Christ, not changing our actions based on what is happening around us. The world cannot change our character when we know who we are in Christ. We continue to love the unlovable and rejoice through the most difficult times of this life when we set our affections on Him and the things above.

Dear Father in heaven, we are most blessed when we keep our eyes heavenward, knowing you lead us through the most difficult places by your Spirit of love and joy. Bring us to desire with all our hearts to focus upon you. Make us a channel of your love and joy, we pray, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

Living Sacrifices

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service.”
Romans 12:1-2

These verses in Romans 12 cannot be taken out of context but in relation to the whole letter to the Roman Church. Paul gives the means and the reason for His beseeching. Presenting our body (our whole being) is our response to the mercies of God. Afterward, we see the results of the presentation and the commitment of ourselves to Him.

The Reason
Here, Paul brings the believer to consider the truths he has presented in the previous eleven chapters. The key words in this verse are by the mercies of God. Before we do can anything with or for God, there has to be a revelation of Him and the work of His mercy for us.

In Romans 11:29-36 we find the capsule of God’s mercies opened–the door–therefore–for Paul’s beseeching the reader to consider and respond. He calls us as brethren–believers and followers of Christ–to bring to God the Father, the gift of His mercies in earthen vessels for His use. When, by His mercies, He gives us new hearts (Ezekiel 36:26) and lives in Christ, our only reasonable response is to bring ourselves in dedication and commitment to His service and worship

Peter speaks of God’s abundant mercy that has given us new life in Christ.

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

A Covenant Relationship
We are made holy and acceptable unto God through Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

Before the foundation of the world, the covenant of redemption was planned between the Father and the Son. In the power of His Holy Spirit, through the knowledge of His Word, this covenant–the covenant of grace as we know it–is revealed as God’s plan to win us to Christ, His Son.

We are betrothed to Him through His sacrifice for us.
Paul’s teaching in Romans 12:1-2  show how we are to accept and enter into this covenant with Him. As a wife submits to her husband in the covenant of marriage, we submit to His covenant for life here and for eternity.

It is our agreement with Him that we are His temple, His building, His people, His children.

This is His means to accomplish all He desires in and through us.

“For ye are bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
1 Corinthians 6:20

Paul’s purpose of ministry to the Gentiles was that they might glorify God for his mercy (Romans 15:9).

In Romans 10:3 Paul speaks of those who have not submitted themselves unto Him.

We must be humbled to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. The proud cannot present themselves; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5-6).

“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

Living Sacrifices for a Living God
Paul speaks to the Thessalonians of how they turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 1 Thessalonians 1:9

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14

For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. Luke 20:38

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 2 Corintians 3:3

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, Hebrews 12:22

 But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15

The Results

“And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” 
Romans 12:2

When we read all of Romans 12, we find the results of the whole body of Christ living sacrificially for His glory. Except for the offering of ourselves to Him, the remainder of the chapter would mean nothing to us.

When we understand the love and mercy in the sacrifice of our Lord, we willingly bring all to Him to do what He wills in and through us. He died, sacrificing all in His death for our salvation. We sacrifice all to Him to live and prove His perfect will in us. He performs His covenant in our lives when we enter into His covenant with Him, agreeing to His working to conform us to His image (Romans 8:29).

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Romans 7:4 

 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 21

Dear Father in heaven, Only you, by your Holy Spirit, can draw us to Christ. Only through your Holy Word, do we know who you are and your purpose for us. Do your holy, acceptable and perfect will in our lives for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Image and Song
Related Article: Radical Mercy

Things the World Does Not Need to Know

The airwaves are contaminated with information that is clouding the heavens and the earth, shutting out the goodness and glory of the Lord our God. The world is polluted with a poison that spews from the heart, lips, and fingers. Instead of using social media as a place for our secrets, our complaints or our achievements, let us be spreading the Good News of Life in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Should there be a difference in what we as Christians make public?
How do we determine what we share through social media?

These questions led me to search God’s Word for what He wants us to publicize. We will look at four areas: Our deepest secrets and sins; oudisappointments; our fears and anger; our achievements.
As we scan the following references, let us stop and meditate on those we should heed.

Our Deepest Secrets and Sins
Many consider that sharing our sins before the world can make others feel better about themselves. Let us read what our Lord has to say about our sins.

 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Isaiah 43:25

He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: Galatians 1:4

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Ephesians 1:7

What We Should Remember and Share with Others
We learn from the following references that we are to confess our sins to the Lord.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:1

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19

We have been quickened (brought to new life) who were dead in trespasses and sinsEphesians 2:1

When James 5:16 speaks of confessing our faults one to another, this does not mean the sins of which we have been forgiven. He is speaking of needs in present circumstances when in times of prayer for one another. This might also relate to the confession of faults against one another.

Disappointments and Sorrows
If we continue to talk about our disappointments – either from childhood or as adults – about our griefs, and sorrows – our minds and hearts will not heal.
What does the Bible teach us about these things?

Our comfort is given by the Lord through His Word and His Spirit.

 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. Psalm 119:50

Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Psalm 119:76

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

One of the most remembered references is Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19

Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit as the Comforter in His place

 

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforts 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.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

We see in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 the means of comfort in the body of Christ among believers.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Our Fears and Anxiety
Fear turns into anger toward those we think are responsible for the ills and chaos of the world. Social media is the means for many to strike out — to make their anger known. This does not alleviate the problems that cause our distress. It simply causes more upheaval.
What should we do as believers, followers of Christ our Lord?

Paul wrote the following to the Philippian believers.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9

I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

Our Achievements
As children of our heavenly Father, we need not boast of our accomplishments. All that we have is of His mercy and grace and for His glory.

For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:43

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boastersproud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2

Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. Psalm 49:12

 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Daniel 4:37

The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Psalm 12:3

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. Proverbs 27:2

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

 

Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power,
and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:
for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine;
thine is the kingdom, O Lord,
and thou art exalted as head above all.
1 Chronicles 29:11

Dear Father in heaven, search us and know our hearts, try us and know our thoughts and see what is in us that needs to be displaced with your thoughts and words. Forgive us for wasting your time and the talents you have given us; enable us to use the means of communication in this world to proclaim your love, truth, grace, righteousness, and glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Images: Google

The Power of Redemption

As I continue to study Andrew Murray’s, Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness, the end of this year seems a good time to share some treasures from this book. We can take into the new year these special truths that can change our thinking and our lives. Considering if we live in pride or humility is to know if we live by the flesh as in the first Adam, or by the Spirit in the second Adam.

Think of the power of sin that was within us before we were born of the Spirit. Then meditate on the following quotes from Andrew Murray. Let us take these with us into the new year as we continue to study the power of the new life, the life of redemption that is ours in our Lord, Jesus Christ.

“Even as we need to look to the first Adam and his fall to know the power of the sin within us, we need to know well the Second Adam and His power to give within us a life of humility as real and abiding and overmastering as has been that of pride.  We have our life from and in Christ, as truly, even more truly, than from and in Adam.”

“The life of God, which in the incarnation entered human nature, is the root in which we are to stand and grow.  It is the same almighty power that worked there, and from then on to the resurrection, which works daily in us.  Our one need (now) is to study and know and trust the life that has been revealed in Christ as the life that is now ours.”

There is no greater blessing than a life of humility; serving the Lord and others.

Gracious Father, we thank you for the new life that is ours in Christ. We praise you that you showed your power in His incarnation, resurrection, and redemption so that we can experience the power of His humility working in us. In Jesus’ name, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran
Have This Mind Among Yourselves
Philippians 2:5-11 Music

Suggested Reading: A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility

Heavenly Overtones

Music is designed with a melody that runs throughout the whole piece.  Other parts add harmony.  The melody is the beginning, and the ending.  It is what holds the piece together.  Lose the melody or make it a monotone—the same tone over and over— and it ceases to be music.  Overpower the melody and the music loses its meaning.

Music is a sound that began in heaven with God, our Father and Creator.  It is a major means that He provided to help us worship Him—“Holy, Holy, Holy”—one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Ghost, is sung by the angels in heaven. (Isaiah 6:3  and Revelation 4:8)

Anthems are compositions for music that include all parts —melody, harmony, and sometimes, a descant.  A descant is a part that is sung by a higher range of voices.  It is not meant to overpower but provide an extra lift to the other parts.

Together all the parts speak to the senses to lift the spirit and the heart toward God.

In Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs we worship with Biblical texts and heavenly music (Ephesians 5:19).

I picture it according to His Word—the melody was begun in heaven with Jesus, His Son—“Holy, Holy, Holy”  from the foundation of the world.  He would not only be the beginning of music but the melody throughout the span of time here on earth, onward into eternity.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes…”

The melody of heaven was here
~ He was wrapped in our humanity ~
to gather around Him those that would
add the harmony to Himself,
and provide the music for His family,
the music that the Father wanted to hear.

“On the same night, there were shepherds with flocks of sheep in the field. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them”

 ~ the music and the worship were about to begin.

And the glory of the Lord shone round about them with good tidings of great joy”

  ~ the prelude
the introduction to the first anthem of true worship.

To all people—unto you is born a Savior, Christ the Lord”

 the music begins.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest”

 ~ the descant.

“And on earth peace.” Luke 2:7-14

Christ Jesus, our Lord, is the melody of heaven, the melody of life, as God has composed it, and plays it for us by His Spirit and through His Word.

“I will declare thy name (the Father) unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.”  (Hebrews 2:12-13)

~ the harmony of His family.
Now He has a full choir.

The Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs that we learn throughout our childhood are the anthems that are carried into heaven with us, as we join that celestial choir. Others are added along the way as He gives us a repertoire.  The only soloist is the one who carries the melody—Christ, Himself.

As we live by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit, He opens our ears to hear the melody and to follow Him.  Our off-keys and monotones are tuned to harmonize with other voices.  And walking humbly with Him in the obedience of faith, loving the Lord, our God, and our neighbor, we are surrounded by the heavenly overtones echoing His praise in heaven and earth. In our devotion to Christ, He opens our hearts to hear compositions we have never heard or sung before, especially during the difficult circumstances of life.

I pray that we know the Lord as our strength and song (Exodus 15:2).

I pray that we would experience “the new song as He fills us with His Spirit (Psalm 149:1).

On the Lord’s Day, we go to His House with a great expectation of hearing the melody—a strong and sure foundation for our worship—hearing the other parts, and the distant sound of the descant of the angels in affirmation that our worship is accepted.

I pray that each day we will practice our singing, individually, and in family worship, so that we are prepared for worship on the Lord’s Day—all in preparation for the great day when we see Him and praise Him in all His glory with the angels.

Our Father has composed the music
and directs the choir.

Let us sing with full hearts
to His glory and our joy.

“Holy,—-Holy,—-Holy,

The LORD of hosts:

The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Fran ~ Lord’s Day 9/23/07 (Article from Waiting Is Not A Game ~ Articles and Stories of Faith. Unpublished)