New Wineskins

Have you run into the grocery store bypassing the grocery carts because you only needed one or two items. Before you get to check-out your arms are loaded with other things you see. Something else you remembered you cannot get because your arms are loaded already.

Such is our going to worship without preparation and the proper vessel.

“But new wine must be put into new wineskins,
and both are preserved.”
Luke 5:38
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 36:26

Let us worship today in anticipation and prayer that the Lord enlarge our hearts, open them to receive and carry with us the new wine of His Word prepared for us.

Dear Father, you have preserved and prepared your Word for us. Open our eyes to see and our ears to hear the written Word. Open our hearts to conceive and receive what you have prepared for your people today. And let the Spirit of your Living Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, lead us through this week ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

A New Level

A few days ago, a friend made reference to her daughter’s piano teacher who is taking her daughter “to a new level.” Music students rate themselves as beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Not many go from beginner to advanced, but from one level to another, as they are trained and practiced in what they are being taught.

This can be applied to our lives as disciples of Christ. Does not our Lord Jesus Christ challenge us to a new level of wisdom and understanding of His grace? If so, we will find ourselves more humble than we can imagine. We will be filled and enabled to thrive on the abounding grace and the abundant life that He promised.

As we continue to see our need for humility; to desire this abounding grace; to pray and believe as we wait on Him, He will not fail to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us.

Growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now live, should be an ongoing process as we pray, read, study, meditate, and wait.

We should be advancing in our faith to higher levels of knowledge and holiness. This is a process working in us that will not exalt us, nor of which we can boast, but rather one that will humble us more and more.

It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love ~ in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit ~ who cannot be anything but humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self.
Humility Chap. 8 Humility and Sin

Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride, whether of evil spirits or my own corrupt nature and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit. Humility: the Beauty of Holiness

Dear Father, you, the God of all grace, have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ.  You do not leave us to grow by ourselves.  You know what we need ~ grace and more grace.  Work in us according to your own good pleasure that we may be a witness of the abundant life in Christ that humbles us and glorifies you. In Jesus’ name, I pray and praise you.   Amen 
(Excerpt from A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility
Send a message on our contact page for a free PDF.
Fran

Showers of Blessing

And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing;
and I will cause the shower to come down in his season;
there shall be showers of blessing.
Ezekiel 34:26

I will not make this a long post ~ only to bring awareness again of the need for prayer and supplication.

I don’t know what the weather is like in other parts of the world, but we are in a drought here in Georgia, with record highs in the 90s even in October.

In our last post, I presented the remedy for spiritual paralysis. We can apply the same solution for a spiritual drought. We must pray fervently for mercy from God, our Father, and Creator ~ to send His Holy Spirit in power. We need the outpouring of His Spirit to bring awareness of our need.

We need Him not only for physical rain on this earth and relief from the heat. We pray for Him to bless hearts with His presence and fullness.

We need His power to draw His people to His Word. We need a hunger for His Word. We need a thirst for His Spirit to apply the Word to our hearts and lives.

The Welsh Revival
I am always moved when I remember the Welsh Revival of 1904-05. I cannot recall if it was from the book about this revival or a different awakening ~ but the thing that moved my heart and prayers was a scene resulting from the moving of the Spirit.

Crowds were so large that the meetings were held outside. When a downpour came, no one left. They tried to protect their Bibles from the rain, but they would not move from hearing God’s Word.

I would have loved to have been there. Even today, the Word of God is so precious I could listen to it preached all day, every day. I pray this for God’s people.

Showers of blessing begin with a love for Him, for Christ, His Word, and His Spirit.

“And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit,
and the earth shall yield her increase,
and they shall be safe in their land,
and shall know that I am the Lord,..”

Ezekiel 34:26
Gracious Father of life and light, hear our plea. Pour out the blessing of your Spirit upon your people. Awaken, and by your grace, take away the stony heart and give us new hearts and new spirits that hunger for your Word and desires your Spirit’s fulness. We thank you for the truth of your Word; the authority of your Word; the glory of your Word; Christ, your living Word commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit. In His precious name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Suggested Reading:
The Garden of God’s Word ~ The Purpose and Delight of Bible Study
What the Holy Bible Says about GOD’S WORD: A Six-Month Study

Jesus’ Feet

After our pastor’s recent sermon from Luke 7:38, my heart was led to think of what it means to be “at Jesus’ feet.”

 “Behold, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat dining in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” Luke 7:38.”

“Gracious tears are wept at Jesus’ feet. Oh, if you would have your heart broken until the rock shall gush with rivers of repentance, stand at Jesus’ feet. Stand there now. If you would have a tender heart, think of the Beloved who died for you! Think of how those feet were pierced. This woman could not see that, for it was not then done; but you can see it, and note where the nail has bored each blessed foot.” At His Feet Charles Spurgeon

The first reference of Jesus’ feet is in Matthew 15:30

In recognition of Jesus’ power to heal, “great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:”

There were those who fell at Jesus’ feet to worship Him, and those who sat at His feet.

We come to His feet to pray for loved ones, knowing by experience He is the only one who can save.

Jairus, a rule of the synagogue, whose daughter was ill, ”fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:” Luke 8:41

In  Mark 7:25 “a certain woman, whose young daughter had an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet:

We find in Luke 8:35 the story of the man who had a legion of demons in him who used to cut himself, and who lived among the tombs.

“They went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the demons were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus.”

At Jesus’ feet” is the fitting place for a willing learner.

“She had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word”; Luke 10:39

In the healing of the ten lepers, only one returned to thank Jesus and acknowledge His healing.

“And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.” Luke 17:16

It is at Jesus’ feet that we recognize our place before Him and honor and acknowledge His power and authority over all things.

Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” John 11:32

After His resurrection “when they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.” Matthew 28:9

When we fall before Him, it is His feet we see and touch. We come to Him in gratitude for His condescension to us, for He walked this dusty earth to proclaim the kingdom of God, our Father; then climbed that hill to Golgatha to have those precious feet pierced for our sake.

His disciples tarried in obedience to the Master and were blessed to see those glorious feet as He ascended back to the Father to rule in power and as our High Priest to intercede for us.

“For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”
1 Corinthians 15:25

“And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,” Ephesians 1:22

We live under His authority, no longer enemies but friends and family ~ His church. We will not come under His feet in the wrath of God, but we will rule with Him at His feet, forevermore. We bow before Him now or will be brought under His feet in condemnation forever.

When He Reigns
“I think I see the angels and the blood-bought ones beginning one of their celestial chorales. Hear them as they begin the rapturous strain! Their notes how sweet, how seraphic, as they praise the eternal Father and the glorious Lamb of God and worship!

“We hear the song. How it swells! Listen to the soft touches of the harpists playing on their harps! Do you see how the singers and the players of instruments seem caught up in the ecstasy? But notice! as the song rises they begin to bow. As it rises higher they bow lower, and lower, and lower.

Listen!

“The enthusiastic fervour of their love has made them lift their loudest hallelujah; and lo ~ they cast their crowns at his sacred feet. The whole company are still lifting up the song to its utmost glory, but immediately they fall on their faces, prostrate before the throne. “At his feet” is their loftiest position. Let us imitate them, and making the worship more ecstatic than before, bow before him.

Lo, at his feet, with awful joy,
The adoring armies fall!
With joy they shrink to nothing there,
Before the eternal All.

“So let us praise him for all that he has done for us; and, as we praise him, let us sink lower, and lower, and lower, until in ourselves we are nothing and only Christ lives in us. Let no thought of self, nor wish for self, nor dream of self, intrude, but let Jesus be all in all.

“At his feet,” there our heaven shall be found. When our soul is deepest bathed in grateful praise we shall fall down on our faces and worship the Lamb. May the Lord bless you, and keep you at his feet for ever. Amen. At Jesus’ Feet Charles Spurgeon

 “And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever andever.” Revelation 514; Revelation 19:4

Image:Google

A Sinner’s Prayer

In 2014, at the age of 75, I wrote this hymn as a witness of how, over many years, the Lord brought me to Himself. I set it to a tune to be sung as a solo but I plan to use a  familiar tune, instead, so that it can be sung in corporate worship. It is a hymn all true Christians should be able to sing.

I share only the text in this post. I will share the musical version when it is available.

A SINNER’S PRAYER

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:19

1. LORD, be merciful to me, a sinner.
What have I to bring to you?
I am poor, and lost, and helpless;
Show and teach me what is true.

Hear me calling, gracious Father,
I am deaf and cannot see.
I am hopeless; I am dying.
No one here can answer me.

2.  Lord, you said that you would save me 
If I trust in you alone.
What is faith; what is believing?
It is your work, not my own.

Hear me crying, dear Lord Jesus;
Hear my pleading; see my tears.
In my sin and in my anguish,
I have struggled through the years.

3. All my trying, all my labor
Are but vanity to you.
I am dust in need of Spirit.
Breathe in me your life anew.

I confess Lord, that I need you.
I repent of all my sin.
By your Spirit, live within me.
Be my strength and be my Friend.

4. Lord, you promised life abundant
When you came and bled and died.
Let me see and hear you clearly —
Jesus Christ, the crucified.

O, I can see you, I can hear you.
You have opened eyes and ears.
You have covered sin and sorrow;
You have banished all my fears.

5. Lord, let this poor, ransomed sinner
Know you, love you, and obey;
With your guidance, daily leading,
Showing me your will and way.

Hear me calling, blessed Redeemer,
In my nights and in my days.
I am helpless, but your grace, Lord,
Will lift these weak lips to praise.

© Fran Rogers 2014

Ten Most Important Words ~ A Survey

Continuing our thoughts on words, I want your input on this one, and it is not as easy as you may think.

Words form our thoughts.  Even images are described by words.  Words convey our thoughts in our speech.  Our thoughts and words initiate our actions.  The words that we live by determine our relationship with God and with others.

Concerning the fact that words are our means of communication, and in them is meaning in how we think, speak and live, what would you consider the ten most important words in the English language? The words we are looking for are those that pertain to our relationships with God and others ~ from a Christian view.

At some time in life, we may come to feel the point of the following video. What are the words we want to hear, that we need to hear and to use often?

If you can’t think of ten, share as many as you wish to ~ even five or less. If only one, we welcome your comment. Take your time ~ we are in no hurry for this.

LOVE  may very well be the most popular word and if so, it must be with a proper understanding of the source ~ GOD, Himself.

 Thank you for your response.

Image: Pixabay
Image: Pixabay

Words of Life ~ BLOOD

We are blessed again to have Jim from The Domain for Truth post a special Word of Life. Thank you, Jim. You are a precious example and a great teacher of the Life we have in Christ.

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(All Bible verses are from the NASB with Strong’s definitions)

How rich is the theme that leads us to the blood of Christ – the blood of the everlasting covenant through which His people are united in Him for eternity.

There are 392 references to blood in the Bible (KJV) with meanings.

A study of the meaning of blood shows the wonderful grace of God through Jesus Christ.

The Old Testament lays the foundation.  Starting with the book of Genesis, we see the early use of the term blood testifies of the seriousness of sin.

Old Testament H1818
םדָּ dâm, dawm; from H1826; blood (as that which when shed causes death) of man or an animal; by analogy, the juice of the grape; figuratively (especially in the plural) bloodshed (i.e. drops of blood):—blood(-y, -guiltiness), (-thirsty), + innocent

In Genesis 4:10-11 we find what God says the blood of the innocent did after the matter with Cain murdering Abel:

“He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground.
Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.

In the Noahic covenant, God established the penalty of blood for blood.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” Genesis 9:6

Then there is the extended discussion in the Laws of the Old Testament about the sacrificial system which involves blood.  Why is it a bloody matter?

“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

That is the Old Testament reference from Leviticus the writer of Hebrews uses:

“And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Hebrews 9:22

This verse states that without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It is fitting imagery given to show blood is needed for physical life – so in the spiritual realm, the blood of Christ is needed for spiritual life.

The blood of Christ is sufficient for the forgiveness of sins; an accomplishment that is multi-faceted.  We will survey some of these aspects below. We can learn much about the order of salvation from tracing the theme of the blood of Christ.

New Testament G129
αἷμα haîma, hah’-ee-mah; blood, literally (of men or animals), figuratively (the juice of grapes) or specially (the atoning blood of Christ); by implication, bloodshed, also kindred:—blood.

The Blood of Christ Justifies 

God is a Holy and Just Judge. In order for us to be saved from hell, Jesus Christ had to pay the penalty for our sins.  Justification is to be declared legally righteous on the basis of what Christ has done.  Yet Romans 5:8-9 teaches that justification is accomplished by the blood of Christ:

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”

Verse 8 reveals that God has shown His love to sinners. The means is stated in the second half of the verse – Christ died for us.  Verse 9 unpacks this truth by revealing to us that believers have been justified by His blood.  The effect of being justified by His blood means we are saved from God’s wrath and judgment.  What wonder – that the blood of Christ can declare us legally righteous!

The Blood of Christ Provides Propitiation

Remember Romans 5:9 – the blood of Christ justifies us and therefore we shall be saved from the wrath of God.  To appease the wrath of God against sinners, that is, to have the wrath of God against us satisfied, requires the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9). This is called the doctrine of propitiation.

Those who trust in the atoning work of Christ live in gratitude for His work of grace to and in us.

The Blood of Christ Redeems 

The Bible reveals that as nonbelievers we were at one time slaves to sin.

“For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” Romans 6:20

In the New Testament era, the purchase of slaves by a new master was called redemption. God uses this motif to say He has paid the cost to make us His people that we may be servants of righteousness (Romans 8:6).

 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace” Ephesians 1:7

Redemption is only through Christ’s blood. This is not because we deserved it. No – the verse makes it clear – it is because of the riches of God’s grace.

This doctrine has implications and practical application for church members.

“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28

The Blood of Christ Provides Communion with God

When I say the blood of Christ provides communion with God, I mean that the blood of Christ brings us close to God.

“Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:12-13

Verse 12 explains our condition before we became believers – we were separated and far from God.  But in verse 13 we see the opposite for us as believers.  How are we brought near to God?

By what means? – by the blood of Christ. Knowing what it cost should change how we view our time with God and our worship.

The Blood of Christ Sanctifies

The blood of Christ also washes us and changes us in a practical and ethical way.

“Therefore, Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” Hebrews 13:12

Christ sanctifies us. That’s amazing, since Christians often think of the Holy Spirit’s sanctification. The truth is that it is both Christ and the Spirit!  Yet what is the means by which Christ sanctifies us? The verse here says, through His own blood.  This is associated with the crucifixion of Christ as the verse references His suffering outside the gate of Jerusalem.

This should change the way we view holiness and sanctification.  It is a privilege to pursue godliness to please God and Christ in light of what Christ has done for us.

The shedding of the blood of Christ is the means God has provided to save us.  Tracing the theme of the blood of Christ reveals the beautiful jewels of Christ’s work of salvation.  His blood has justified us, provided propitiation, redeemed us, draws us near to God, and sanctifies us in Christ, making us His – here, now, and forever.

Have you appreciated these treasured truths of the Gospel to such a point that you are motivated to serve and live for Christ? Let this be our prayer.

“And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb
and because of the word of their testimony,
and they did not love their life even [when faced with death.”
Revelation 12:11

Related Article: A Bloody Crown, A Bloody Cross, A Bloody Sacrifice