Breakthrough and Follow-through

So as not to miss any gods they might appease, the Athenians had set up an “unknown god” among the others. And so, Christianity today is seen as a religion among many others. The God of Christianity is “unknown” even to some who claim it as their faith. If we see little more than the surface of this way of life, we simply exist without the source and the power of this life. For the most part, we fail to differentiate between what other religions offer. We must be sure that it is an offering; a supernatural offering between our God and us. It is a spiritual gift from the Lord God of Christianity whom we know as Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of Jehovah, the Almighty God and Creator of the heavens and the earth and Redeemer of mankind.

Baptized as a child on a profession of faith, Christianity was basic but ineffective in my life until as an adult, I was drawn to read, then study; to write and teach what I was learning from the Bible. During those years, the Holy Spirit I was reading about in the Bible used God’s own words to transform my life. Through a new birth, with a new heart and spirit, my life was changed and has not been the same for decades. My books, articles, and poems attest to the revealed and fulfilled promises made to those He brings to Himself.

The best way I can describe this new way of life is with a parable I heard several years ago.

A prisoner was held captive for years, not knowing where he was. He existed in an obscure stronghold in a foreign country. His food and drink were barely enough to keep him alive. Since he knew no other way of life, he did not wish for anything else.

One day a stranger entered his cell and told him about life outside his captivity. He had come to deliver him. At first, the man could not vision anything beyond his own existence, and so refused to follow him out. Unknown to the prisoner, the stranger had broken through the outside barrier of the stronghold to save him. He was there, not to be refused; and so, stayed with him, living off the same fare by which the prisoner had been fed most of his life. At times he would open the cell door and lead him down a long dark hallway to show him the light outside. Not used to the light, the prisoner would soon move back to his comfortable cell.

With time, the stranger presented truths about the light, each day praying with him and leading him a little further out from his cell. Gradually getting used to the light, he was drawn more; then more, to it. One day, his eyes becoming used to the light, embraced the light, walking with the stranger into a new life outside himself.

As I contemplated writing this post, I was reminded of an old TV series Mission Impossible. A different mission presented to the team with every episode including the statement, “This is your mission if you choose to accept it.” The missions involved seemingly impossible situations providing an escape for captives.

I imagined what this would have looked like for Jesus before Creation. He and the Holy Spirit were the team, Jesus being the one who would suffer and sacrifice to bring His people out of their bondage. His mission from God the Father was to go down, go to, and live with the captives on earth; live in full obedience to God’s law, which no man had ever done, and provide a true understanding of the laws of His kingdom. He would be the light from heaven to people living in darkness, under oppression and sin. He would at the appointed time, be offered up as a means of appeasing the unknown God and ascend back to the Father, where He would live and reign for us as His people.  He would send His Spirit of light from heaven; through His Word bring us out of our captivity and guide us into all truth.

Jesus accepted and fulfilled His mission. His Holy Spirit is now fulfilling His mission in our hearts and lives as we continue to follow Jesus.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for so loving us that you sent your Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Lord Jesus, we thank you for being the author and finisher of our faith; for breaking through and enabling us to follow through this darkness until we see you in your full glory. Holy Spirit, we know your presence and power of the life of Christ in us. Continue to reveal and fulfill all that the Father has willed for us as your people. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

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The Secret Place

 We might have titled this The Secret Place of AFFLICTION because this chapter of Beyond a Mere Christianity is tied to our previous post, Words of Life ~ AFFLICTION.

The secret place of which we write is basically “the secret place of the Most High” referenced in Psalm 90:1. “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” But it has a deeper meaning as we will show in this chapter.

How do we get to this secret place? We must first know about it through the revelation of God’s Word (1 Corinthians 2). We must be born into it by His Spirit (John 3:3-8; John 1:12). It is a spiritual experience of our heart and spirit ~ He gives us a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). He makes us joint-heirs with His Son in His kingdom (Romans 8:17).

He has provided the means of communication with Him in this secret place. He speaks to us through His Word and receives our speech through prayer. His Word teaches us how to pray, and hears our prayers and our praises. As children, we are disciples and servants of His Son Jesus Christ; God gave Him for us as a propitiation for our sins showing His great love for us (1 John 4:10). Because we are believers and His followers, we will experience a taste of His persecution from those who do not believe in Him.

We experience affliction, suffering, and tribulation for His name’s sake.

We see this privilege, this honor of suffering in the life of the apostles in Acts 5:41; the apostles left those who had beaten them and had commanded their silence of the gospel, “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”.

The Secret Place is an honorable place for His people who in all generations follow Christ and if need be, to suffer persecution.

No other people can claim this honor except those who belong to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. As we look at the remainder of our references, I encourage you to take time to meditate on these, take them to heart and remember whose we are as pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land. If you don’t have time to read all the references now, I encourage you to copy and save them.

We will look at these three areas and end with a section on Chastisement:

AFFLICTION of Christ
AFFLICTION of Followers of Christ
AFFLICTION within the Body of Christ

AFFLICTION of CHRIST

H6031 ânâh, aw-naw’ to afflict, oppress, humble

The affliction of Christ prophesied in Isaiah is the same word used for other references in the Old Testament.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7

The prophecy was fulfilled at the end of Jesus’ ministry when by His affliction, He took upon Himself our punishment for sin. We are not exempt from afflictions in this life but saved from the afflictions that will come to those who do not accept His sacrifice for salvation.

In the following verses from God’s Word, we hope to prove that afflictions are part of this life for all humanity because we live in a fallen, sinful world. The afflictions of unbelievers are just a prelude to the forever tune of eternal suffering. But as believers, we accept affliction as a part of our unity with Christ, our Lord, and Savior. We follow Him in the paths of righteousness with the promise that He is with us in our suffering for the sake of the gospel.

The prophecy of Jesus’ sufferings bridges the gap between the Old and New Testaments, bringing us to the record of His life and HIs instructions to His disciples as He was preparing them for His crucifixion and resurrection.

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9

New Testament G2347
Strongs’s defines affliction thlipsis thlē’-psēs tribulation, affliction, anguish, persecution  References

The word is the same used for tribulation.

Jesus spoke of the tribulations that would come with discipleship. His encouragement was for peace and joy through His victory over death and the world. He promises all the physical blessings, including persecution (Mark 20:30).

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

 AFFLICTION of Followers of Christ
Paul wrote of this tribulation to the early church.

“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

To the disciples in the church in Rome Paul wrote to encourage them during those times. See how many times “joy” is related to affliction in these verses.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” Romans 5:3

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:3

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;” Romans 12:12

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” 2 Corinthians 4:17

“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 2 Corinthians 8:2

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” Colossians 1:24

“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”1 Thessalonians 1:6

G3804.pathemapath’-ay-mah from a presumed derivative of 3806; something undergone, i.e. hardship or pain; subjectively, an emotion or influence:– affection, affliction, motion, suffering. The sufferings of Christ; also the afflictions which Christians must undergo in behalf of the same cause which Christ patiently endured.

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:10

 “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 2:9

“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:11

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4;13

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:” 1 Peter 5:1

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

AFFLICTION within the body of Christ
G2347 thlipsisis the same word used for tribulation and trouble in 2 Corinthians 1:4

“Who comforteth 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.”

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5

 “And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 2 Corinthians 1:6

“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:” 2 Thessalonians 1:4

“Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” Hebrews 10:33

G4778. sugkakoucheo soong-kak-oo-kheh’-o from 4862 and 2558; to maltreat in company with, i.e. (passively) endure persecution together:–suffer affliction with.

The writer of Hebrews speaks of Moses choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Hebrews 11:25

In James 5:10 he speaks of the prophets who were an example of suffering affliction, and of patience ~ from G2552 kakopatheia kak-op-ath’-i-ah from a compound of 2256 and 3806; hardship:–suffering affliction.

In 1 Peter 4:14 we read: “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.”

Is this not the “secret place” in which we dwell with Him “under the shadow of the Almighty” who has sanctified us and is bringing us to glory in Him (Hebrews 2:10-11)?

Chastisement ~ the Secret Place  in the Life of God’s Child

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

“Though he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” Hebrews 5:8

It is interesting that we are writing about this secret place of affliction at the same our pastor is preaching through the book of Hebrews. Finishing the eleventh chapter with the list of martyrs, the last two weeks we have been in Hebrews 12, seeing the relationship between God and His children, the same kind of relationship between Him and the Israelites in the Old Testament. The Old Testament speaks not only of affliction but also of chastisement (Isaiah 26:16). While we might not like the idea that He afflicted His people because of their rebellion, we might also not hold to the idea that God causes pain to His children who fail to hear and obey the instructions of His Word. In hearing these sermons, I have been moved to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a child of God, to be blessed that He chastens me because He loves me. (Hebrews 12:5-14); and all this, so that I stay close to Him and partake of His holiness; which means I pray even for His chastisement, along with instructions and corrections as needed, so that I know Jesus did not bear my chastisement in vain but is my example in His suffering and obedience. Our chastisement fell upon Him, so that we may become the children of God. Any pain we have to suffer now will be worth it all for the glory that waits with Him in eternity. All pain and adversity, whether or not we are suffering for Christ’s sake, is accepted because the Lord our God is sovereign over all things.

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Proverbs 13:5

“And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14

Gracious Father, we thank you for revealing the truth of your Word to us by your Holy Spirit. Enable us to accept all things, pain, sickness, and all adversity at your hand, working for our good and conforming us to the image of Christ, as we continue to abide in your word and under the shadow of your wings. Thank you for that secret place you prepared for us in Christ our Lord, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Fran

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Words of Life ~ AFFLICTION

Fifteen years ago, I started thinking how good it might be to have a handbook that Christians could use concerning our particular language; the ordinary vocabulary that believers could study about our everyday life in Christ. All those years I shared some of this work with three of our granddaughters. Two years ago, we put together a list of words using the English alphabet to form Words of Life ~ A to Z ~ The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian.

Part-way through the list of A’s, we have been overwhelmed with our research and believe that this is a valued gift for all Christians. We come this week to the word AFFLICTION, one that will surprise and amaze all who truly understand how this word applies to us as God’s children.

We may not like what God’s Word teaches us, but hopefully, we will come away with a greater understanding of why we as God’s children have to endure AFFLICTION.

We are using a lot of references and not a lot of my own comments so God’s Word can speak for itself. Please take time to read these, so as to understand why affliction is an important element of the Christian life.

We will divide this into five areas:

The first two will be highlighted in this post.

AFFLICTION of the Israelites

Hope During AFFLICTION

The last three will be included in our next post.

AFFLICTION of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Master

AFFLICTION of followers of Christ; 

AFFLICTION within the body of Christ

 AFFLICTION of the Israelites
STRONG’S defines AFFLICTION H6031 ânâh, aw-naw’ to afflict, oppress, humble  All References  online.

“But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were grieved because of the children of Israel.” Exodus 1:12 The more the Israelites were afflicted, the more they multiplied and grew and became a threat to the Egyptians.

“And the LORD said , I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows;” Exodus 3:7

Seeing their affliction from the Egyptians, God brought them out of Egypt. They believed, bowed their heads and worshipped. (Exodus 3:17; Exodus 4:31) Yet, afterward, they rebelled in the wilderness.

The word used for affliction is the same word used for humble; when the Lord led them out of Egypt.

And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.
“And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.” Deuteronomy 8:2-3

All their suffering was meant for God to prove what was in their hearts and that they would learn that man does not live by bread only, but true life depends on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.

We may not like the idea that the Lord afflicts His own people, but affliction is His means of teaching His children, to bring attention to their sin and rebellion and to turn them to repentance. He does not afflict other people for the same purpose. We will look at this further in our next post: this week’s chapter The Secret Place in Beyond a Mere Christianity.

“Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10

“Why criest thou for thine affliction? thy sorrow is incurable for the multitude of thine iniquity: because thy sins were increased, I have done these things unto thee.” Lamentations 1:3  

“Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy.” Lamentations 1:5

“I am the man (Jeremiah) that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath.” Lamentations 3:1

“For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Lamentations 3:33

“But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the Lord the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.” Amos 6:14

The Psalmist understood the Lord’s judgment and faithfulness in affliction. His afflictions are according to His judgments, His word, and His statutes.

“I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.” Psalm 119:75

“Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.” Psalm 119:67

“It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” Psalm 119:71

Hope During Affliction

“And when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, the Lord heard our voice, and looked on our affliction, and our labour, and our oppression:” Deuteronomy 26:7

“When the heaven is shut up, and there is no rain, because they have sinned against thee; yet if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them;” 2 Chronicles 6:26

 “I am afflicted very much: quicken me, O Lord, according unto thy word.”Psalm 119:107

 “Consider mine affliction, and deliver me: for I do not forget thy law.” Psalm 119:153

 “Many a time have they afflicted me from my youth: yet they have not prevailed against me.” Psalm 129:2

 “O Lord, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction,” Jeremiah 16:19

The Lord promised to restore those He had afflicted (Micah 4:6; Nahum 1:12).

The word is the same used for troubled when God’s people had no shepherd. Zechariah 10:2

Gracious Father in heaven looking down, even as we are looking up to you in our afflictions, have mercy upon us. Open our eyes to the truth of afflictions in generations of the past. Help us to understand why you afflicted your people then and guide us by your Spirit of truth to know that if we belong to you, you will afflict us as you see fit. Prepare our hearts through this first offering, to look further into the New Testament in our next post to see the afflictions, tribulation, and suffering of those who follow Jesus, your Son. In His name, I pray.
Fran

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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

A Holy, High and Heavenly Calling

If we are to live Beyond a Mere Christianity, we must understand that Christianity is not man’s idea, it is a calling from God. From the highest heaven, God created all things for His own purpose; in HIs plans He brings us into a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ. He rules and reigns through His Son, and by His Holy Spirit calls us to follow Him; to know Him and to live for Him.

A Holy Calling

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” 2 Timothy 1:9

It is a holy calling, from a Holy God, who calls us to a separation from the world to live holy before Him (1 Peter 1:15) and to serve Him in His kingdom. We cannot work for this relationship, but He, by His own purpose reveals His grace to us in Christ. This was determined before the world began, made possible through His Son, and administered by His Holy Spirit.

A High Calling

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

The apostle Paul knew the calling of a Christian to be the high calling of God in Christ, where Christ sits enthroned at the right hand of the Father, ruling and reigning as King of kings and Lord of lords. This high calling is beyond our earthly thinking, and comes from above.

A Heavenly Calling

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.” Hebrews 3:1

The writer of Hebrews 2 spoke of Jesus being made like us, partakers of flesh and blood, made a High Priest for us, being tempted Himself, so that He can succor those who are tempted(Hebrews 2:17-18).

The Purpose
What is the purpose of His calling, and what are the expected results? We find this explained vividly in Paul’s letter to the church at Thessalonica. To get the full impact of this calling and the end result, we need to read Thessalonians 1. Here Paul writes, describing their patience and grace through the endurance of persecution and tribulation.

This calling includes the testing of our faith by those who do not obey the gospel.

“that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer (2 Thessalonians 1:5).

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:” 2 Thessalonians 1:11

This holy, high and heavenly calling begins and ends with our Lord God in heaven; with His intentions to create and redeem a people with all the good pleasure of His goodness

“That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:12

Paul speaks of the reasons we are called:
Called to be saints (1 Corinthians 1:2) into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9); into His kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12):

Simon Peter makes reference in the following:

Called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9); that we should inherit a blessing (1 Peter 3:9); called to His eternal glory in Christ (1 Peter 5:10); to glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3).

The Work of Grace
Look back to the Holy Calling in 2 Timothy 1:9 in the previous text ~ “according to His own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” In every generation He is calling His saints, and by His grace, working faith in us with power not only to believe but to suffer for the sake of His name and the gospel.

The common denominator, Christ Jesus, is found in every reference to God’s holy, high and heavenly calling.

Gracious Father, who has called us, according to your purpose and the precious grace that works in the hearts of those whom you call, we thank you. We praise you that you save us and call us to a life beyond any mere thoughts of faith that man can speak of; a faith that enables us to suffer for your sake and to endure to the end. Your Son, our Lord, Savior and High Priest calls us to follow in His footsteps. Do your work in our hearts to see beyond this world to the place of our calling and glorify your Son in us. In HIs precious name we pray. Amen.
Fran

Words of Life ~ ACCOMPLISH

The Hebrew word for accomplish appears many times in the form of the word “made.”  When God made the firmament, He accomplished what He had planned before the foundation of the world. The same word is used in Genesis 1:11 for yielding fruit after its kind. The Greek word for accomplish is used only one time in the New Testament but also used for fill, filled, fulfilled, full, fulness and complete.

The Old Testament H6213
Defines accomplish ʻâsâh(aw-saw’)
A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application:—accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, X certainly, have the charge of, commit, deal (with),

To see all Hebrew references: blueletterbible.org

The most well known in the Old Testament is Isaiah 55:11.

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Several verses refer to the wrath of God that He would accomplish upon the disobedient and ungodly.
“He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.” Ezekiel 6:12

Daniel 9:2 speaks of seventy years the Lord would accomplish in the desolations of Jerusalem.

In the New Testament G4137
Defines accomplish plēroō (plā-ro’-ō)
to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram(a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute
(an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: — accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply. Greek references: blueletterbible.org.

The only reference to the word accomplish in the New Testament is from the scene of transfiguration when Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

“Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.”  (Luke 9:28:31).

When Isaiah recorded 55:11, would he have known that the Lord was speaking not only of His written word, but of His Living word, Jesus Christ, who would accomplish all He would send Him to do?

When God the Father planned His creation, it was with the power to accomplish His sovereign will.
1. God the Father completed His Creation, resting on the seventh day.
2. God the Son fulfilled the means of Redemption and rested on the seventh day; now seated at the right hand of the Father and upholding all things by the word of HIs power.
3. God the Holy Spirit is now revealing and fulfilling the plan and purpose for all things in the fulness of time (Ephesians 1:10).

We need not doubt but His Word and work will accomplish in each of us all His will in every generation until all is fulfilled ~ to His glory and our joy.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you that you accomplish all your sovereign will. What you planned before the world began has gradually come to pass according to your timing. Most gratefully do we thank you that when you sent your Son, your Living Word, He accomplished all you sent Him to do. He fulfilled your covenant of redemption for us. When He said, “It is finished” He accomplished fully and completely the means of eternal life for us. Teach us through your Word, and by your Holy Spirit, do your work in each of us. In Jesus’ holy, powerful and precious name we pray, thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran

Image:Google

 

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