Breakthrough

In February, Jerry and I were waiting in the podiatrist’s exam room for him to have his foot x-rayed. So as to encourage him, I said, “There is light at the end of the tunnel.”

His response was, “Are you sure it is not a locomotive?”

I said, gently, “Yes, I am sure.”

There was no definite meaning, nor explanation for my words, just sharing the spirit of God’s grace as we have experienced His presence through all our difficulties in the past.

The nurse wheeled him out, leaving me alone with my own thoughts in the cold, tiny room.

The still, small voice to which I have become accustomed in quiet times, asked, “Am I your God?’

Humbly, I answered, “Yes, Lord.”

“Then, trust Me.”

As simple as that, without audible conversation, I knew that however long this new episode would last, the Lord was assuring me of His presence and power with us.

Six Months Later
We have waited, as in times past, for healing, not only for treatment for the diabetic ulcer that podiatrists started in February, but for tests and an eventual stent for an aneurysm in his leg in April, to allow blood flow to the foot. Added to this was another wound from that incision

In July this wound closed after treatment with a wound vac. The same treatment did not work for the foot. This was their last resort after trying provadine, skin grafts, collagen, and foot baths. So, they sent us to the wound healing center thirty minutes away.

In this first visit last week, they took a culture that showed MRSA, a staph infection, for which they prescribed clindamycin. Yesterday, for our second visit, we were encouraged with the wound half the size as last week. The wound specialist believes this to be the reason for lack of healing, assuring us of complete healing soon.

At the outset of this sore, the primary care physician prescribed two rounds of antibiotics, but he, nor the podiatrist did a culture. There were no visible signs of infection while under the care of the podiatrist.

We are not resentful that they did not do a culture, but glad that it was done last week, believing that all things are revealed and healed in God’s timing.

Hidden Infection
This all reminds me of how things can be hidden. Just as we all carry the infection of sin within us, not knowing that we need healing, it manifests itself in different ways. Relationships are broken, families are torn apart, life can be emotionally and physically unhealthy because of hidden sin.

It is when we come to the only one who can do a culture for us that we know our sin, and accept the prescription, believing that He is able to bring total healing.

Jesus Christ came to earth as the Great Physician over 2000 years ago, He was, and still is, our breakthrough.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for all things; for Christ, your Son, whom you sent to reveal our sin and to heal broken lives. We thank you for wisdom given to men to solve physical problems and to provide healing, believing that all healing is from you, for your glory and for the purpose of our serving you, living in praise and thanksgiving for your mercy, your grace, your goodness and power in our hearts and lives. Thank you for the encouragement that Jerry might soon be able to wear his prosthesis, and that we will be able to worship with your people again. We ask for your healing for others who are ill, in need of physical and spiritual healing. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

A Whole Day With God?

How can this be?

Did He not plan it from the beginning when He created all things. Everything we needed was created before man needed it. All He had planned was ready when He took the dust from the earth, created a form, and breathed His Spirit into it, giving it life.  With all things finished and “good” ~ He created another day to enjoy what He had made. Did He not include the man and the woman in that day of rest? Did they not enjoy each other in fellowship?

But, then, the creatures, getting caught up in the joy of the creation, forgot the fellowship of the Father and created their own fellowship with the enemy. That special day with the God of Creation, the God of Life, was destroyed. Might it have been the seventh day they were out on their own?

That day was refused and abused, even when He was leading the nation of Israel, a special people chosen as His own. They did not understand that the Sabbath was a sample of forever; that seventh day, a reminder of His goodness and grace, was profaned and used for their own purposes.

The Power of Obedience and Observance
A seventh day has remained since the beginning of time for the honor of, and fellowship with, our Creator, and Redeemer. It was important to Him and is still important to His children. When He came to earth, it was to reconcile us, through His Son, Jesus Christ; to restore us to the fellowship that He desires with us. He has provided grace that pardons our sins, reconciles us and gives us the power of the gospel to know and observe the rules of His kingdom. Such love, as displayed in the redemptive work of Christ, serves and enables us to recognize, to acknowledge, and to respond in obedience.

His Holy Spirit dwells within us as His children, born anew through His Son, who, as Lord of the sabbath (Mark 2:28), provided a new day of worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10), in celebration of His resurrection, of His finished work. We are called to this “fellowship with the Father and the Son” (1 John 1:2-3). Jesus has made it possible, through His sacrifice for us.

But ~ A Whole Day?
What was your first thought when reading the title of this post? Did it arouse thoughts of how beautiful such a day would be, or “Do I have to spend a whole day with Him?”
I committed to this, years ago. When we were able to attend worship services, the remainder of my day, other than Jerry’s and my time together, was spent in private worship, reading, study, prayer and meditation, viewing an evening worship online, and playing the Psalms and hymns for the Lord and Jerry. It was a glorious time with my Lord. The next six days were a continuation through ordinary or difficult times, in prayer, study, meditation, praise and thanksgiving for His presence and power with us.

It has not been as easy, without public worship for the last six months, to have the whole day at home without distractions. This too, has been a matter of prayer, and we experience that He is able to direct our way to this fellowship. We, like our first parents, are prone to be caught up in our own interests and amusements, our families’ activities and conversations, leaving Him on the sidelines for another time that we choose.

He has blessed to bring us to discover worship services on Sermon Audio Webcasts; one in particular is in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland. He also leads through meaningful posts online; sometimes in fellowship with others who observe this day as holy unto Him.

The Importance of A Day With the Lord
It is indicative, a shadow of a time that is to come. Worship in one of seven days is an observance, not only of what the Lord has done, in victory over the enemy and sin, but observing a day that is totally different from the others of the week. It is indicative of the eternal fellowship with the Lord; a difference between heaven and earth; between the kingdom of God and the world. It is a day of separation, a day of preparation, a day of practice for the eternal life to come. If we cannot devote one day out of seven now, why would we want to spend eternity with the Lord? The day that Christ Jesus, our Lord, rose from the dead, to secure our eternal rest with Him and the Father, should be the most important day of the week to us as His children. It should be part of our abiding in Him always, rejoicing always, living in praise to Him for His glory.

Where are our thoughts, our voices, our hearts and our choices, our eyes, our ears and our hands on His day? What are we teaching our children on this special day He has created for Him and us?  If ever we join Him in this whole day of worship, we shall become addictive to it, and life will not be the same.

Dear Father, thank you for desiring, for planning, and making a day possible for us to spend time in fellowship with you; to set aside all that we normally do for the majority of the week, from our own pleasure and work. Thank you for reconciling us to yourself through the atoning work of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Lead us by your Spirit to plan, commit, and lead our families in this endeavor to keep this day holy unto you, in worship and fellowship with you and your children. Enable us to love you more, to see you and know you as you desire us to. Make us to experience your presence and power with us throughout the new week, as we wait for that glorious day that will be the first day of our eternal fellowship with you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sanctify us for it.

Raise us to it.

Work it in us.

For your glory and our joy.

Grace Greater Than Any Sin

In 1911, Julia H. Johnston wrote the text of the hymn Marvelous Grace (Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin).

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

The emphasis of grace is taken from the text of Romans 5:20b.


but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,”

The apostle Paul, in writing to the church in Rome, compares the sin of man (which we inherited from the first man, Adam) to the grace of God (which is His means for our salvation through the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ (the second Adam).

Grace exceeds but is not excessive; no more than is needed. None is wasted. Grace wins over any sin of His children, overcoming sin and revealing His grace through us to others.

As I have sung this hymn through my childhood and into my adult life, in relation to Paul’s letter, God has revealed the power of His grace as paramount to the power of sin in my life. The truth of His grace to related to our own sins, and the sins of all believers (vs. 4).

This past week, He has shown me something even greater.

Grace Greater Thank Any Sin or Circumstance

What place does grace play in our relationships to other people, believers and unbelievers?

If His grace exceeds our sin and our guilt; if the blood of the Lamb was spilled; if His grace pardons and cleanses us within, what happens to this grace when someone sins against us, hurts or disappoints us?

Do we forfeit His grace when someone offends us?

Or does this same grace ~ grace that is greater than all our sin ~  remain strong and prove to be greater than anything man can do to us?

If a wealthy man meets a poor man, does the poor man, through his status, take away his wealth?

A wealthy man does not change. He may, in generosity, offer the poor man money, food, or whatever he needs, but the poor man has no power to make him poor.

In the same way, we who are born of the Spirit of God’s grace, made rich in heavenly blessings, do not give up our status as God’s children by allowing the person who offends us to take away our grace. Rather, we respond to those who offend us, or who sin against us, by remembering who we are, in Christ. We, in grace, forgive, pray for them, bless them as we would our enemies (Matthew 5:44), and return good for evil (Romans 12:21). Grace abounds through us, even beyond the sin of unbelievers.

Grace That is Sufficient for All Things

Paul also speaks of grace that is sufficient in weakness and infirmities. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

This is the amazing, marvelous, infinite, matchless grace of our loving Lord living and reigning within us. God’s grace rules and wins over all else.

Gracious, heavenly Father, whose love for us exceeds our expectations, and whose grace is greater than our greatest sins, continue to show the extent of your love and grace through us to others, even when they offend or betray us. Make our relationships and our circumstances the means of revealing your greatness and power in all things. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Fran

I AM a Perfectionist

I AM is a Perfectionist. Remember those italicized words in the King James Version, those smaller words that added clarity to the sentence from the Hebrew translation? I speak here as I have learned from the Great I AM.

I AM is a holy God, a perfect Father, Creator and Redeemer. The realm of His kingdom is perfect, nothing lacking, nothing out of order, no frustration, no oppression, no war, no anxiety, no fear, violence, sickness, death, disappointment or tears. In His kingdom there is no criticism, anger, jealousy, envy, dishonesty, or falsehood. He is surrounded by righteousness, humility, peace, harmony, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and temperance.

The LORD has established his throne
in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Psalm 103:19

Through His Son, Jesus Christ, He rules in power, truth, grace, mercy and glory. From His own mind, heart and Spirit He lives and lavishes His own Being throughout His heavens. As a Perfectionist, He created the heavens and the earth, with expectation of having a perfect family bearing His image.

Did He go wrong somewhere? Then He is not a Perfectionist, and He is not able to rule and govern what He created.

Or is all still going according to His plans? Is providence the working out of His holy will?

Human Perfection
If we were perfect, then we would understand His plans and agree that He is perfect.

If we could see the end of all things as He has planned, we would understand His perfection.
We cannot, so we must look to the Perfect One who makes all things perfect.

“The trying of your faith works patience.
But let patience have her perfect work,
that you may be perfect and entire,
wanting nothing.”
James 1:3-4

Special revelation comes by the power of His Spirit in the lives of those who are His children, born of His Spirit through His Word. Within us He enables us to see beyond this world and its imperfections  (the list is too long). We are brought beyond the power of sin to be occupied with God. The heavenly Father, Creator and Redeemer, whose perfect, heavenly love, humbles us, and begins the process of perfecting us by the power of HIs Son and His Holy Spirit, to share His eternal kingdom.

We give up our human perfectionism when we understand that only He can make things perfect, and His plan for perfection was not intended for this earth, but for eternity with Him. The only perfect thing here on this earth is His love. In the end, it will perfect all those who are in Christ, His Son. We are holy and acceptable in Him, now and forever  (Romans 12:1)

Gracious and blessed Father, Perfect in all things, with the plan to perfect the disciples of Christ, your Son: in the power of your Holy Spirit, birth and train us according to your perfect will through your Word. Through us, by transforming our minds and hearts, make known your love to a perishing world . Fill us with your light that pierces the darkness and brings your children to a perfect love, joy and peace, as we wait for our Lord. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Fran
Related article: The Power of God’s Holy Will

Psalm 18:32
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

Psalm 19:7
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: .

Psalm 138:8
The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me:

Proverbs 4:18
But the path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Luke 6:40
 but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.

2 Corinthians 12:9
 strength is made perfect in weakness.

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,

1 Peter 5:10
But the God of all grace…make you perfect.

1 John 2:5
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected.

Frozen or Sluggish?

You need restoration.

You need to update, clear your history, empty your caches, cookies and trash.


You need RECOVERY.

Last week, after things kept failing on our computer, Facebook was frozen with the twirling beach ball (We use it for sharing our posts and our books). I called Apple with my list, talked to a technician who walked me through his chosen steps without success, and set up a date to take the computer to the Apple store for evaluation.

I did not bother him with the other items on my list, so I decided to call again, talked to a different technician about a different item, which he was able to fix. While I had him, I asked him about the trouble with the beach ball. He used a completely different approach, led me through what he knew to do, advised me to update, and set up a callback time to see if the update took care of the problem.

Technician three shared our screen, and tried to clear our history on Safari. This did not work, but after a few questions about our transferring data from our older Mac to this one, she guided me through emptying our caches and cookies. I remember the 40,000 items that took so long to load. Now we had to set up another callback after this procedure that took over 30 minutes.

Technician four reminded me of Malware which detected and removed three things, then we emptied the trash, where all these items had gone.

Not only is Facebook unfrozen, but all systems are faster and efficient.

We canceled our appointment for the Apple store, excited about continuing to share what the Lord is doing in all areas.

The Analogy

This analogy was too good to pass up.

If a computer can store over 40,000 items (without our knowing) in a matter of seven years, so our minds and hearts store the things of this world (unknown). Just think ~ every word, every image, everything we have ever heard is stored, and affects our whole being. Older generations did not have access to all that we have now. Is it any wonder that we are so bloated and overloaded with the sights and sounds of this world?
When the thoughts of all that our children are bringing into adulthood, of thousands of images that used to be hidden from human eyes, my heart and spirit offer up prayers of mercy.

What should we do? How can we personally update, clear our history, discover what is hidden, empty the caches, cookies and the trash from our own lives?

We can’t!

Just as a computer cannot do this for itself, (it can only store and empty what we desire) we must depend on someone greater than we are, someone who knows how the system works. The Creator is the Redeemer who knew the need for His creatures before He made us. God, our Father, in covenant with His Son, in the power of His Holy Spirit planned for restoration, as our technician, to recover us from our fallen state, update, reveal what is hidden, clear our history, empty us of the things of this world, to trash the old self, to make us new in Christ, by the knowledge of His Word and the power of His Holy Spirit.

Our Frozen State

Let’s look back to Adam and the fall in the Garden of Eden and then see what God does for men frozen in relationship to Him.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked,
following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air,
the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh,
carrying out the desires of the body and the mind,
and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  
even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—

and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith.
And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:1-10

There are times when we become sluggish as His workmanship. Then, we realize that we are not operating by the power of His Spirit according to His Word. We should call the technician for restoration daily, even moment by moment, as all of life depends on His operation, knowing what we need and when we need to trash. He is continually at work by His divine power (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

He works and leads us to meditate, update, evalulate and clean the slate. He does not need to screen share with us. He already has the inside details on everything (Psalm 139). He puts the arrow of His Holy Spirit upon each step that needs to be taken, to restore our soul and have us up and running clean and ready for every good work for the kingdom. (Psalm 90:17)

We meditate:
In His Word, the Holy Spirit points to the steps we need to take.
We update:
According to the Spirit’s conviction we have new insight into God’s will for us.
We evaluate:
In prayer we ask for forgiveness and guidance for what He reveals.
We clear the slate:
We empty ourselves of all that His Word and Spirit reveal to us.

 “Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
Psalm 139:23-24

Dear Father, thank you for your plans before the beginning of time, as we know it. We praise you for knowing what we need, and when we need it, in order to fulfill your plan in each of our lives. We pray for the power of your Holy Spirit to stop us where we are in our own exploits, show us our need, fill us with your Spirit for updating your system in our lives. Clear, empty and clean our minds and hearts for your service, your glory and our joy. In Jesus ‘ name I pray. Amen.

Create In Me A Clean Heart, O God
And renew a right spirit within me
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation
And uphold me with thy free Spirit.
Then will we teach transgressors thy ways,
And sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Psalm 51:10, 12
Suggested reading: The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE STUDY
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A Year For Contentment ~ Continued

We are almost halfway through this year in our series on Contentment. I have personally learned much as I have prayed, studied, and written on this subject. Through these six months we have continued to see the extreme between oppression and contentment. We are writing articles for the blog and working on one of our new books, Thriving Under Oppression. We are seeing how contentment is the work in and through us by the Spirit of the Lord even in the middle of oppression. Please pray for this project, a much needed work of grace for God’s people, for His glory and kingdom in this year of our Lord.

Listed are articles we have posted. Following are titles of future posts. If we have not covered something of interest to you, or you have a suggestion or question for a post, let me know. We are still praying and waiting for the Lord’s leading for each one.

A Year for Contentment
Born for Contentment
The Authority of Contentment
The Essence of Contentment
The Image of Contentment
Contentment With God Our Father
Contentment in Jesus Christ
The Reason and Season for Contentment
The Center of Contentment
The Spirit of Contentment
Humility and Contentment
The Voice of Contentment
The Price of Contentment
The Patience That Leads To Contentment
The Flow of Contentment
Future Posts
Contentment vs. Anxiety
The Lens of Contentment
Joy and Contentment
Peace and Contentment
Contentment vs. Satisfaction
Obedience and Contentment
When Will I Be Content?
The Power of Contentment
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for taking us in hand to explore from one end of the spectrum ~ from the state of oppression in which the whole world lives ~ to the other end ~ the state of contentment to which you call us ~ through your plan of redemption in Jesus, your Son. Please continue to brighten our hearts and our hopes while living in the middle of the oppression. We praise you for such a great love that overwhelms us and brings us in your blessedness in the Spirit of Christ to a life of worship and adoration now and for eternity. Continue to lead us in this divine contentment to share your grace with others; for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Appointments

Yesterday, as I was thinking of all the medical appointments we have had for Jerry these last six months (sometimes five a week), it became clear that we are constantly making appointments for the things that pertain to this life. All are to minister to our needs, as we desire wellness and what will benefit us physically. In addition to these, most calendars are filled with various appointments for children and the family, for education and amusements.

In the middle of these thoughts, I realized that the day was wearing on, and I had not had the time that I needed with the Lord. Our heavenly Father seeks those who worship Him in spirit and truth. I knew He was seeking me to come away from my busyness as a caregiver and a keeper at home, to spend time with Him.

Then I considered that if we can make appointments with everybody else, we ought to schedule more time in each day with Him.

How much time, we may ask, is needful?

Think about how much time we spend in our other appointments, whatever is required for lab work, for a doctor’s evaluation or treatment or for any other concern and relationship. We would do well to do an evaluation and comparison. Considering eternity in relation to the short time we have on this earth we should be spending more time on that which is eternal, especially with our heavenly Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ in prayer and in His Word; sometimes in quietness, waiting for Him to lead. The more time we spend with Him, the more precious it becomes, and the more natural it is to plan these times, and even spontaneously to be drawn to Him.

God’s Appointments
Consider that just as office personnel call to set up appointments for us, God has set up certain appointments for His creation.

He appointed seasons (Numbers 9:3 , 7,13 Psalm 104:19; Jeremiah 5:24).

He appointed cities of refuge (Joshua 20:2).

He appointed a place for his people (2 Samuel 7:10).

He appointed rulers, kings and the Levites for service in the temple.

He appointed prophets (Nehemiah 6:8)

He appointed the foundation of the earth (Proverbs 8:28).

He appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth (Jeremiah 33:25).

He appoints over the kingdom of men whomsoever He will (Daniel 5:21).

He appointed the end time (Daniel 11:27).

He appointed times, days and bounds (Job 14:5).

He appointed a law for Israel (Psalm 78:5).

He appointed a kingdom to the apostles (Luke 22:29).

He appointed times and bounds of men’s habitation (Acts 17:26).

He appoints our afflictions (1 Thessalonians 3:3).

He appointed His Son heir of all things (Hebrews 1:2).

He calls us to meet with Him to consider the more important things that pertain to eternity with Him.

He is not only the Great Physician, but a financial advisor, a consultant for all things, and Judge of all.

We do well to set all our appointments according to His.

Gracious Father, forgive us for focusing on ourselves, appointing times and things only for ourselves, and leaving little time for you. We praise you for your Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, your Son, who finds us, and draws us to you through Him. Call us regularly for the times you want with us. Let nothing keep us from our appointed times with you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

“Well done, good and faith servant…”
Matthew 25:21

Related article: Onward and Upward
Related article: Man’s Calling
Suggested reading: GOD is Our Goal