One Month to LIVE ~ A Father’s Last Words

For the past three weeks I have been processing for publication the first book I wrote twenty-two years ago. Two years before, in 1994, I had walked through the valley of the shadow of death with my father. It was this time of year, last of August and first of September, that we learned he had esophageal cancer.

“He can go at any time, and I would not count on more than a month.”

I documented in a desk-top publication for family and close friends what was evidenced as the Lord’s presence during his last three weeks. There were no computers for consumers then, so I typed what was still fresh in my mind and heart; cut and pasted every page and took the little book to a printer. It was simply titled, Daddy.

During this formatting, which our granddaughter Kourtney retyped for me a few years ago, it seems I have relived this event that was a turning point in my life; at least one of the great ones. My dad “rested in the Lord” on Labor Day, after eighty-five years of struggle for peace.

Even so, those years were fruitful as he worked hard and long hours to find his place in the world. But if he could return and recount those years, he would say that he only began to live as he was dying. I witnessed it. I was there to see how God took a helpless dying man and gave him life and peace beyond understanding. It was at his bedside that I learned how to trust the only One who gives life; to live now as if living forever in the presence and power of my heavenly Father. It was there I began to learn to live my life for others. It was then that He started writing His love story on my heart and of which I continue to write. Fran

One MONTH to LIVE ~ A Father’s Last Words is available on Amazon.

Words of Life ~ ADORN (ed, ing)

At first glance I thought not to include the word ADORN in our list of Words of Life. There did not seem to be many references, but the more closely I looked, the more I saw the importance of this word in the Christian vocabulary, especially as it relates to women. Nontheless, men and women are together the bride of Christ and this word applies to both. Fathers and husbands can benefit from the references to women as they lead their households.

Old Testament H5709
Strongs Concordance
Defines ADORN 
âdâh (aw-daw’) a primitive root; to advance, i.e. pass on or continue; causatively, to remove; specifically, to bedeck (i.e. bring an ornament upon):—adorn, deck (self), pass by, take away.

Isaiah 61 is a chapter relating the salvation and restoration of the nation of Israel through the prophecy of the coming Messiah. The following is a wonderful verse on which to meditate as we consider our new creation in Christ, our relationship to the whole body of Christ ~ He as the bridegroom decketh (same word H5709) himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

“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

The following verse from Hosea describes the nation of Israel as an adulteress who “decked herself with her earrings and her jewels” to attract her lovers. We find a similar reference in the New Testament in 1 Peter 3:3-4 that expresses what the adorning of the bride of Christ should be.

“And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the Lord.Hosea 2:13 

New Testament G4737
Strong’s defines ADORN stephanoo stef-an-o’-o from 4735; to adorn with an honorary wreath (literally or figuratively):–crown.

The writer of Hebrews 2:7 quotes from Psalm 8:6 in reference to man being crowned (same word used here) with honor and glory, but not yet.

“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

“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;” 1 Timothy 2:9

NT G2885
Defines ADORN kosmeo kos-meh’-o from 2889; to put in proper order, i.e. decorate (literally or figuratively); specially, to snuff (a wick):–adorn, garnish, trim.
2889 (kosmei) is used throughout the New Testament for the word “world” as God put all things in proper order when He created the heavens and the earth.

Titus 2:10 refers to fidelity by adorning the doctrine of God in all things.

“Not purloining , but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”

We can compare the following verses in 1 Peter to Hosea 2:13 above, relating to the inner adorning of the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3-4
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:” 1 Peter 3:5

Our last reverence links to the first one from Isaiah 61 in the Old testament. Take a moment to go back and compare these two; then rejoice that we as His people are the bride of Christ.

“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:2

It is easy to see how what we wear is related to a heart relationship to Christ. What is the adorning that God desires for His people ~ “in the sight of God of great price?

Dear Father in heaven. We continue to find the wealth of the words of your kingdom as we search your Word ~ Words of Life that change not only our vocabulary, but our minds and hearts; to live in union with you and our Lord Jesus. Continue to work these words and meanings by the adorning of your Holy Spirit ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Holy, Holy, Holy               Covenant Choir

Photo by Min An from Pexels 

How Exciting Is Your God?

Thinking I would save time in my busy week, it seemed a good idea to just post a snippet from a dormant file.

Not so. Opening this manuscript only served to stir up the Spirit within me to the truths therein. Worship That Springs from the Heart of God ~ A Sheep’s View was an exciting work several years ago that became more than I could finish at that time. (Other books in the series Little Books About the Magnitufe of God are no more than a 100 pages.) A Table of Contents for two sections, The Meaning of Worship and The Means of Worship with many references and notes, including chapters of Roles and Positions, Rules and Conditions, brought me to that Spring that flows from the heart of God. Worship became something new and powerful in my own heart and life.

I learned and now experience the connection ~ the vital connection ~ between God’s Word and His Worship ~ with a capital W ~ beyond a mere worship.

In studying what it means to worship and praise the Lord, I related it to my grandchildren (an older sheep teaching younger sheep) by asking the question, “How exciting is your God?”

This depends on how He “incites” you.

INCITE
He, first, “provokes the action” by His Word and Spirit through my mind and heart—instruments that He created for this purpose. The word “provoke” is used many times in the Old and New Testaments to speak of provoking God and others to anger and jealousy.

There is only one reference that speaks of the power to provoke unto love and good works.

“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:”  Hebrews 10:24

Paroxysmo (pä-ro-ksü-smo’s) first means incite, incitement or second, irritate, contention.
(Had I not reviewed this for this post, I would not have found this little nugget hidden from plain view.)

It is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, who speaks through His written word, revealing the God who is worthy to be worshiped. The Living Word, Jesus Christ, lives within us to bring the worthy worship that He desires and deserves.

EXCITE
As I read and hear His word of truth, He does a work within me that “excites” me.

Through His Word from His own heart, by His Spirit, He quickens my spirit  (Romans 8:11). This understanding brings more light to Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 2, which is worthy for meditation in this matter of how the Spirit works to give us the mind of Christ.

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 2 Corinthians 2:4-5

RECITE
Worship is the continual effect of God’s own work within us.
Worship is the “reciting” of His Word and how He teaches us to relate to Him, the result of the Spirit of Christ working from within. No man can do this for me.  No man can teach me how to worship the Almighty God, my heavenly Father.

Worship begins with a new birth. With a new heart and spirit come an understanding of the object that I worship. This new creation lives by faith in a God I cannot see.

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

Worship is the reward of our diligence in seeking him. To seek Him through prayer and His written Word is a daily act of worship.

From His heart “inciting” our hearts for daily worship, He leads us in family worship and then to corporate worship on the Lord’s Day with His people “in the assembly of saints.”  All of this, from the individual, to the family, to the church, is preparation for that glorious gathering as one people in Christ, for an eternal worship (Ephesians 1:10).

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, 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.” Philippians 2:12-13

HE INITIATES, CALLS, and SAVES with His whole heart and soul.

“Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul.” Jeremiah 32:41

Worship is more than a mere gathering on any one day of the week, it is a continual practice of the Christian life.

“And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33

A Gripping, Thrilling and Fulfilling LIfe
The truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ produces a gripping and thrilling Life in Christ. The law of God that commands our worship comes alive in Christ—incited in us. To love His law is to love Him and worship accordingly (Psalm 1:2-3). Even in the middle of adversity, we can praise Him and worship through His Spirit and the power of His word that speaks to our difficulties.

His Spirit is in us, and surrounding us (Acts 17:28). We are Filled with His Grace, Wrapped in His Glory.

The same worship He deserved at the beginning of time is the same worship He incites in us today. HE HAS NOT CHANGED, but He changes us, humbles us, then exalts us to praise Him in an acceptable worship.

Glorious, holy Father, we thank you that worship is not man-induced. We need no enticing words or actions from men to worship you. You are excitement enough. You have made Jesus Christ our worship leader, a worship that is the result of your work in our hearts and lives ~ the new life in Christ. By Him, let us offer up to you the sacrifice of praise continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks unto your name. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Fran
Praise the Lord       Covenant Choir

Photo by Henri Guérin from Pexels

The “Right” Man for the Job

Last year we were blessed to find an air-conditioning contractor who knew how our 21-year-old unit works. When we built our house in this small neighborhood, Jackson EMC was doing a joint project for the geo-thermal system and paid all but $3000. Expecting more than we knew was possible for a unit with an average life of 18 years, we tried one more contractor after the last one did all he could.

Joe from North Hall Heating and Air (I have to give him a plug for those who live in our area) answered our online request for someone who knows this system.

He charged us $45 for a service call, with guarantee to repair. He came a second time with an expert he had known for over twenty years, a friend who was retired after working in the field of geo-thermal systems in huge projects. He sat down with Jerry and me to explain how the system works and why we should be thinking of replacing the unit. While he was talking, Joe was working in the basement. We gently stopped his presentation (thinking of what this was costing us) and asked him to get to the chase. What was his advice at this point? Even if there was a short-term solution, we would eventually need a new unit.

The expert left; Joe came upstairs, saying he had changed a couple of connections. He left with no assurance of what he had done, but with no extra charge. We asked for an estimate for a new unit, expecting the inevitable.

We are aware that in the next year or two, we may be down-sizing again, and we will have to replace the system before we sell our home.

But, since Joe was here the last time, we have had heat for the winter and cool for the summer. This past month’s bill was $118.00, almost unheard of, even for a 2000 sq. ft. all-electric house.

In the middle of our adversities this, as well as other physical blessings, help us know the Lord’s continual care for us. We still need other contractors, including a technician to rid our house of ants and roaches (the one we were using failed after trying for two years).

Where is all this leading; where does this chapter fit to get us Beyond a Mere Christianity?

Our Spiritual House
How far do we go to find the man that has the knowledge and equipment to control the temperature in our physical house? We continue to search until we find the right man for the job.

Who has the expertise to fix what is needed in our spiritual house ~ the outdated workings of the human soul?

There is only one “right” man who knows the heart and the soul; who is qualified to come in to the basement of our lives, to examine, evaluate and estimate the cost of replacement.

The system that provides the air conditioning for our lives is an eternal system, and the continual connection is His own life and Spirit to the Father above.

“but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:14-17)

The Cost
This continual comfort comes by His own cost: a holy life in humility and submission to the whole law of God, His “righteousness” as ours, His life given as a sacrifice, His blood shed for the final price. Our final cost ~ our whole life given in exchange for His. This is the life of a true Christian. This is no mere Christianity. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior went beyond anything man could have imagined, even what was prophesied, to bring us beyond what we could ask or think of life.

What should we ask ourselves? Is our desire for comfort in this world based on our physical needs, or do we desire something more, based on what God is able and promises to do?

 Call To Me
We make the calls for our physical needs. He bids us to call Him for all of life.

 “Call to me and I will answer you,
and will tell you great and hidden things
that you have not known.”

Jeremiah 33:3

He knows that we will call when we come to the end of our own resources.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will
give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

We delight ourselves in the Lord when we come to the end of ourselves. And when we find our delight in Him, we desire to desire what He desires, even to the point of suffering for Him.

His eternal comfort and delight is ours when He makes the right connection for us.

There is only one “right” man. No other religion promises what Jehovah, the Lord our God promises. No other has the power to do what the Lord does, for, in and through His people.

“For there is one God,
and one mediator between God and men,
the man Jesus Christ.”
1 Timothy 2:15

Our Father in heaven, Father of lights, Father of glory, having sent your Son, the Lord of glory, we praise you; for your Holy Spirit we thank you; for your wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ and revealed to us in your Word and by the power of your Holy Spirit which we could never afford. We praise you that you planned before Creation to provide all that we would need here and for eternity through your Son, our Lord and Savior ~ all for your glory and our joy. In His precious and powerful name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Christ the Mediator

Endear and Endure

Hereby perceive we the love of God,
because he laid down his life for us:
and we ought to lay down our lives
for the brethren.”

1 John 3:16

If the Lord brings us to the heights of Christianity ~ Beyond a Mere Christianity ~ it will be according to the truth that the apostle writes here. What keeps us from reaching this height? It must be that we fail to perceive the love of God, who, in Christ, laid down his life for us. To perceive is to see with a spiritual reality ~ beyond our physical sight ~ how much He loves us and how He proved His love. We will look in depth in two other chapters at how His great love begins to work in the hearts of His children, but for this one we are led to write of those who, with time and experience of HIs grace, know the presence and power of the Holy Spirit of Christ working His own nature and disposition through them in relationship with others.

Several years ago, with a new birth (John 3:3), there was no real understanding of the difference He would make in my life. Baptism at the age of eleven did not change my heart; self-centeredness was still my nature. Years later, it was God’s Holy Spirit speaking through His Holy Word when He gave me a new heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) that I longed for the life of Christ within me. Repentance and faith was a work of His goodness and mercy in me (Romans 2:4); the effect of His Spirit in the new heart and spirit within me.

Everything changed on that beautiful day in 1992 when He brought me to Himself, so that I never looked back.

He endeared Himself to me, speaking through the written Word and His Spirit so that I could see Him as the loving Creator and Redeemer that He is. Since then, He has been an ever-present guide and protector of my mind, heart and spirit. He has endured with me through all the trials and adversities we have encountered. The more affliction we experience, the more of His love and care are ministered by His Holy Spirit and the more we are able to see and care for others. We continue to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). We could speak of many trials we have endured, but time and space do not permit here. We have published eight books that witness of His presence and teachings.

Most and best of all is how He endears Himself through us to others. At present we are formatting One Month to Live ~ A Father’s Last Words, the story of God’s abundant grace as we cared for my dad during the last three weeks of his life.

Never would I have known that being a caregiver for my dad, for grandchildren, for my mother with dementia and  for Jerry the last twelve years would have prepared me to practice this endearment. We, together, have learned to see the needs of others; to pray for them; to reach out to any that the Lord shows us. We don’t have to look far. Within our own family, and our church family, there are many who need encouragement. Just a word of support and hope is enough for most. These are the closest to us and the ones with which we have developed lasting relationships. In Prayer and In Touch is our email prayer ministry, whereby we stay in touch as we pray for others.

We are enabled to see the needs of others when we go for appointments. We may never see some of these again, but the Lord knows what they need. A smile, a “thank you,” a word of greeting or a short conversation can leave a lasting impression to the glory of our Lord.

It is those who are the closest whose needs we know and with whom we endure through their difficulties, sharing the promises of God’s Word, praying for special needs, taking a meal, etc. Whatever is needful, the Lord provides through us, His people.

We encourage those who are continually experiencing the hardships of this life to see others in need and pray with the desire to know how you can help them. Focus on the Lord and His will in how we can care for others greatly changes how we see our own needs. It is good therapy for the soul to count others in greater need than ourselves.

Is this what John meant in 1 John 3:16? What does it mean to lay down our lives? I believe it means that we first give ourselves to the Lord as the apostle Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 8:5. I have TWO FULL PLATES, but this does not keep me from seeing others in their needs, praying and reaching out when the Lord leads. He always provides more room on our plates for others, and gives the extra strength that we need and extra servings pf joy.

We are, by His mercy to us, called to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to serve Him and others (Romans 12:1-2).

He endured all the wrath and punishment for our sins, so that we as His people would be united in our love for Him and one another; to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2).

Jesus now and forever endears Himself to us, and endures with us as our Lord and High Priest. It is when we endear ourselves to each other and endure with one another that we are stronger. As we are united in Christ, members of one body, we stand against the enemy with great power. His Spirit is revealed through those who “in lowliness of mind esteem others better than themselves; who look not on his own things, but on the things of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

Father in heaven, open our eyes and hearts. Draw us heavenward to receive your humility, grace and love that extends to others ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
~ Fran
The following is from Philippians 2:5-11. Have This Mind is the title of an album of Scripture Tunes recorded in the last twenty-five years.

Weakness and Meekness

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

When I began this article, there were seven young boys and their soccer coach still trapped in a cave in Thailand. They knew that they could not save themselves, to get through the water that had blocked their passageway. Four were brought through the waters by an international team of rescuers, but the others waited. (As we publish, all have been rescued.)

Could they have shared their thoughts as they waited, no doubt they would admit their weakness in saving themselves and their total dependence on anyone who could save them.

In our natural state, human pride pretends to be strong, rather than admit its weakness. It is in cases of despair that men will admit their weakness, and in meekness, cry out and accept help from anyone who can save them.

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

The apostle Paul followed in the footsteps of the Master as he endured the hardships of the Christian life. He admitted his weakness, but rather than let his weakness keep him from his work of the gospel, he endured in meekness as he counted that “the power of Christ rested upon him.”

As a disciple of Christ, he suffered in his “infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distress” (2 Corinthians 12:10) for the sake of Christ. If the only result of his suffering was endurance, we might not be impressed, but he understood the reason for his weakness, so that he would experience the “strength that is made perfect in weakness.” His pleasure was through his suffering as he experienced the strength of Christ in his weakness. When the little “I am” is submitted to Him, the great “I AM” proves His strength.

Beyond a mere Christianity, the sum total seems to be: weakness plus the power of Christ equals pleasure in the presence and power of Christ, no matter the circumstances. No wonder Paul lived a life of meekness, in total dependence on the Lord.
He understood the Master’s words in John 15:4,“without me you can do nothing.”

 This “power of Christ” that rested upon Him was the humbling of the Lord in his weakness, enabling him to submit in his weakness to the strength of Christ. Even in prison, he and Silas worshipped; prayed and sang praises unto God.

“I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

Paul understood the role of the creature in relationship to our Creator. He made us weak, so that we would need Him. When He left our first parents alone to their free will, He proved they were unable to take care of themselves and to fulfill their purpose. It is only when we come in our need to the Savior, in weakness admitting our nothingness and need for Him, that He can save us and be all to us that our Father planned for Him to be. We must in meekness, in true humility, come to Him and experience the difference He makes in our lives. If we mumble through, thinking we can accomplish anything on our own, we miss the true nature of the Christian life. To be humble is the only means of going beyond a mere Christianity to discover the power of Christ and His abundant life within us.

“It is the indwelling Christ who will live His life in us, meek and lowly. We must long for this, above everything, seeking this holy secret of the knowledge of the nature of God as He works all. We must set aside our ordinary religion to secure this, the first and chief of the marks of Christ within us. And begin to praise God that there is opened up to you in Jesus a heavenly humility of which you have hardly known, and through which a heavenly blessedness (which you possibly have never yet tasted) can come into you.” Andrew Murray ~ Humility, the Beauty of Holiness

Dear heavenly Father, how blessed we are that you call us your own, having saved us in Christ, your Son. We praise you that even meekness is the work of your Holy Spirit within us. Enable us to see and admit our weakness and our need for you, so that we can glorify you even when we are afflicted and in distress, taking pleasure in your presence and power with us always. In Jesus’ name we pray and praise you. Amen.
And the Lord Said Unto Me ~ Scripture Tunes
(Suggested Reading: A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility
Image:Google

Beyond a Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity was a compilation of C.S. Lewis’ beliefs, in which he set aside definite doctrines. He stated, ”at the centre of each (religion) there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks the same voice.” 

Many, by reading the book, have been encouraged to embrace Christianity even as he did. My purpose in writing is to look beyond what he believed, spoke, and wrote, to discover a greater depth, beyond a mere Christianity; for a mere Christianity will not suffice to proclaim and live the legacy God has bestowed on His children. 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 revelation of the truths of God’s Word. When the gospel is watered down so that everybody can believe, we forfeit the wealth that comes only by personal relationship with the Father and Jesus, His Son. Christianity comes at a high price, the blood of Jesus Christ, and requires more from us than we are able to give. 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 from different perspectives. In the following articles (perhaps more) we will incorporate many facets of His 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 as many of these as He will bestow His grace and blessings, we pray He will make clear HIs role as a loving heavenly Father, Creator, Redeemer and Life; His presence, power, His name, His kingdom and His will. These are His truth, promises and blessings for a people who know Him, fear Him, love Him, obey, worship, serve, praise, pray, and proclaim in power the good news of Christ, who are being transformed as living sacrifices and conformed to His image, bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness and temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility and Godliness.

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

Inexhaustible Goodness
God, Who Is Here
Weakness and Meekness

Endear and Endure
Three Powerful Words in the Chrisitian Vocabulary
The Right Man For the Job
A Holy, High and Heavenly Calling
Covenant Living and Giving
Seeing Is Believing
How Exciting is Your God?

What is Jesus Doing in Your Life?
Good Works
Peace and Contentment

Bound by Grace ~ Free to Love
Abiding in Light and Truth
Surviving in Enemy Territory

Thriving Under Oppression
His Utmost For My Highest
Radical and Riveted
Focus, Love and Rejoice
Arrows in the Hands of a Mighty God

Many Religions
There are many religions ~ religions for the body, religions for the mind, religions for the spirit and soul ~ of man. Nations are formed by their religions. Children are born and grow up in their religions. We live by what we know and are continually taught. Everyone has a religion, even if they cannot express it verbally. The mind of every person is a tablet, written on from their birth into this world.

In my autobiography, I express my birth as if being given a coloring book and a set of crayons. At every age and stage, I was given a new coloring book and a new set of crayons. My mind, heart and spirit took in everything I saw, heard and experienced, so as to live accordingly.  What I read and was taught became my religion. I was given a Bible, learned what was written there sporadically, from sermons in church, Sunday School, and vacation Bible school. The principles were taught in our home, but not verbatim. The golden rule was prevalent, with a general understanding of right from wrong, but not Biblically profound. Neither my parents, nor I, understood anything beyond what you can see and touch, although I had a sense of something more. Anything spiritual was beyond comprehension, and so, not taught.

Difficult times were accepted as normal, with only dim hopes of improvement in this life. “When We All Get to Heaven” was the favorite hymn sung in church, with the accompanying  hellfire and brimstone sermon. 

How I got from there to writing this treatise on a Christianity that is far and beyond anything I learned in my childhood, is based on a powerful act of God’s grace that overtook, overcame, and overrides everything I had been taught. This Christianity of which I speak is not man’s religion but from heaven, from God, revealing Himself as Creator and Redeemer of the human race. He reveals His plans, His work, His presence, His power, His sovereignty in the writings of the Holy Bible. These are all beyond the normal scope of human wisdom and living.

If we read casually, we will reap a crumb or two of the religion we are looking for. If we study hard and often, diligently seeking something to believe and live by, we may see some difference in our lives. We may even sense a religion to share with others. We may worship with others of the same faith, but, in essence, it is still only man’s religion. It is nominal, or what we think of as normal Christianity.

It is what the world sees, and it colors God and the church with only a slightly different tone than the world’s colors. 

Mere living is below the standards of God’s kingdom. It is settling for the world’s goods.  It is negating the faith given from and in a living God to settle for man’s ideas of life. In the days ahead, let us leave these thoughts of man’s mere faith and look heavenward to the Lord, our God and the only true religion of which He is the focus, our Lord Jesus as the center, and the Holy Spirit, among us and within each of us directing all things according to the will of the Father. By His grace, we will complete all that He has planned for these articles. Please pray for us as we pray for you the reader.

Father in heaven, our Lord and God, we thank you for all that you are, more than we can ask or think, for our Lord, Jesus, and for your Holy Spirit. We praise you for your Word, the truth of your Word, the authority of your Word, for your Living Word, Jesus Christ, commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit. Speak to the hearts of your children as you dwell within us. Make us aware, through your Word, written and Living within us, of something more than we have been told about you. Give us a deeper understanding of who you are, so that we know whose we are, so that we may continue to proclaim the legacy of your kingdom, to your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Fran

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