Conclusion to a Mere Christianity

In this conclusion, I hope to put to rest the idea that there is such a thing as a mere Christianity. It is simple, but profound. Enough, but much more than we can know.

We will add the following synonym study to the introduction of the book.

Merebare, imply a scant sufficiency.They are often interchangeable, but mere frequently means no more than (enough). Bare suggests scarcely as much as (enough). Thus a mere livelihood means enough to live on but no more; a bare livelihood means scarcely enough to live on. Dictionary.com

Our God and Father, the Creator and Redeemer of His people, did not bring the world into existence by a mere pittance of His grace. He did not send His only begotten Son into the world to provide only a possibility for salvation nor was His death upon the cross a means to provide a pitiful life here on earth.

Our meaning is not that of physical poverty or wealth but, spiritual. God, before the foundation of the world, planned to bless His people in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3-4).

King Ahasuerus offered Queen Esther half his kingdom; so, did King Herod offer the daughter of Herodias (Esther 5:3; Mark 6:23) .

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:3). He told His disciples, “It is the Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). He promises to share His kingdom and His glory with all His children.

We are not offered a bare existence as a follower of Christ, but the promise that we are new creatures with an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, reserved in heaven for us who are kept by the power of God until His appearing (1 Peter 1:7).

In this book Beyond a Mere Christianityposted chapter by chapter since June 15, 2018, I have referenced books by C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, and Oswald Chambers as points of those who wrote in the past and one sermon by Jonathan Edwards. Their works were not meant to be used against them but to be a means of reference to what the Lord is still doing, that others may experience things that they may not have writtenn ~ to encourage further personal study and gleaning of God’s Word.

If we take seriously what is written in the previous chapters of this book, we see the makings of the Holy Spirit’s work in the hearts and lives of men. We have written of the truth that there is no status quo to Christianity. While some may experience a low profile of faith, others have been called to live sacrificially.

Either of these requires the supernatural power and presence of God to change the hearts of men. In these following last references, we see the life Christ came to give. It is an abundant life (John 10:10) beginning here and now that transitions us from this life into the next. Those who have this life in Christ are willing to die for His name’s sake to keep this life forever.

Besides the following references that pertain to how we live as Christians, I am including the link to Biblegateway.com for references to the word life. Lord willing, this will be our next devotional study in the series What the Holy Bible Says.

Though this is the conclusion (except for testimonies by two other witnesses), this series will never end. God’s Grace ~ God’s Glory will continually be a platform for proclaiming the legacy of His kingdom.

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Matthew 7:14

Live by His Written Word

Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.” Psalm 119:17

The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.” Psalm 119:144

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible, by the word of God,
which liveth and abideth for ever.”
1 Peter 1:23

Live in Christ

For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:56

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” John 5:25

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:26

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Acts 17:28

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” Romans 14:8

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
2 Corinthians 5:15

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.” 2 Corinthians 13:4

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

“Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep,
we should live together with him.”
1 Thessalonians 5:10

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:” 2 Timothy 2:11

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”
1 John 4:9

Live in the Spirit

 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.”
John 6:63

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:13

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.Galatians 5:25

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” Hebrews 12:9

Live in Peace

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort,
be of one mind, live in peace;
and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11

Live Godly

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”
Titus 2:12

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24“

“That he no longer should live the rest of his time
in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
1 Peter 4:2

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
2 Timothy 3:12

  Live Sacrificially

Men hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 15:26).

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Revelation 12:11

Dear Father in heaven, how can we with mere words thank you for who and what you are to us. Enable us to give ourselves willingly, gratefully, prayerfully and humbly to live as you have planned for us. Let us not be satisfied with a mere taste of your grace but fill us with your fulness, the fulness of your Spirit and the fulness of Christ, who in us is no mere hope but the hope of glory ~ eternity, here, now, and forever with you. In Jesus’ name, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran
Related Article: Living Sacrifices

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Arrows in the Hands of a Mighty King (Part 3)

In this last part of this last chapter of Beyond a Mere Christianity, we will look at how God has designed the other side of His arrows. Again we see Faith in Christ as the center ~ the heart of every Christian. We begin our relationship with Him as He has planned ~ for us to know Him, hear, see, fear, and love Him. This brings us to the point of obedience. Living by faith, we obey, serve, worship, praise, pray, and proclaim His kingdom in power.

Some of these chapters have been more than a normal post but necessary for this book. There is much here of God’s Word that you may possibly only scan but hopefully, a quote will speak to your heart and you can keep them all for future reference.

From the center of living by faith in Christ, we will follow the design in the Conclusion to what it means to LIVE Beyond a Mere Christianity.

LIVING BY FAITH

(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
2 Corinthians 5:7

And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.” Galatians 3:12

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

“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

OBEY

“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” Genesis 22:18

“And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Daniel i7:27

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29

“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” Acts 6:7

In four verses, Paul speaks in his letter to the Romans of obedience to and of faith (See The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans).

 “By whom we have received grace and apostleship,
for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:”
Romans 1:5

 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” Romans 6:16-17

But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” Romans 16:26

 “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Corinthians 10:5
Exodus 19:5;Zechariah 6:15;Acts 5:32;1 Peter 1:22

SERVE

“Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.” Psalm 2:11

“Serve the Lord with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.”
Psalm 100:2

“Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walketh in a perfect way, he shall serve me.” Psalm 101:6

“That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,” Luke 1:74

“If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” John 12:2

“But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:6

“For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.” Romans 14:18

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:24

For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9

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

“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:” Hebrews 12:28

And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:” Revelation 22:3

 WORSHIP

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Psalm 29:2

“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.” Psalm 45:11

“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” Psalm 138:2

“God is a Spirit:
and they that worship him must worship him
in spirit and in truth.”
John 4:24

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” John 9:31

Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.” Revelation 15:4

PRAISE

 “Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:13

While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.” Psalm 146:2

“I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.” Psalm 7:17

“Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalm 18:49

“Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength:
so will we sing and praise thy power.”
Psalm 21:1

“But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” Psalm 22:3

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” Psalm 28:7

“I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:1

And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:3

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.” Psalm 42:5

Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” Psalm 50:23

O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.” Psalm 51:15

In God will I praise his word: in the Lord will I praise his word.” Psalm 56:10

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” Psalm 57:7

Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.” Psalm 66:2

“But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.” Psalm 71:14

Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” Psalm 106:1

Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” Psalm 107:8

“From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised.” Psalm 113:3

“He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 147:20

“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;” Psalm 149:6

“O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.” Isaiah 25:1

“To the praise of the glory of his grace,
wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
Ephesians 1:6

Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:7

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;” 1 Peter 2:9

PRAY

“And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the Lord, the fire was quenched.” Numbers 11:2

Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the Lord filled the house.” 2 Chronicles 7:1

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” Matthew 5:44

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6

Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:38

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:22

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35

And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25

And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.” Luke 11:2

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;” Luke 18:1

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Luke 21:36

“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” John 9:31

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26

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

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” Ephesians 6:18

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6

“Pray without ceasing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17

“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;” 1 Timothy 2:1

“Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” James 5:13

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

“And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:15

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,” Jude 20

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” Revelation 8:4


PROCLAIM

 “And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Exodus 9:16

“And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”Exodus 34:6

“Declare his glory among the heathen;
his marvellous works among all nations.”
1 Chronicles 16:24

They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.” Psalm 22:31

Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” Psalm 66:16

But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.” Psalm 73:28

And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.” Psalm 145:6

A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.” Proverbs 14:25

“I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.” Isaiah 43:12

Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.” Isaiah 44:8

Thou hast heard, see all this; and will not ye declare it? I have shewed thee new things from this time, even hidden things, and thou didst not know them.” Isaiah 48:6

Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob.” Isaiah 48:20

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

“The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.

Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.” Jeremiah 31:10

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14

Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” John 1:8

 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 1:8

And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.” Acts 15:4

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” Acts 20:27

“For thou shalt be his witness unto all men
of what thou hast seen and heard.”
Acts 22:15

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;” 1 Corinthians 15:1

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,” Ephesians 6:19

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” 2 John 1:5

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.” 1 John 5:9

He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.” 1 John 5:10

Conclusion of a Mere Christianity will be our next post. Please pray for two of our WordPress bloggers whose witness shall be added to this book.

Dear Father, full of mercy and truth, thank you for saving us to be your own children. Fill us with your Spirit and increase our knowledge and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us hear, see, fear, and love you to the point of obeying your Holy Word. Instruct and equip us to serve you, worship, praise, pray and proclaim your kingdom in power. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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Words of Life ~ AUTHOR(ITY)

We originally intended to use only the word AUTHORITY, but reconsidered when we searched the meanings. Hopefully, the reader will understand our starting with the word AUTHOR used only in the New Testament.
G159 Strong’s concordance defines AUTHOR; aitios ī-‘tē-os
that in which the cause of anything resides, causative, causing
Hence, the author of a cause

God our Father is the cause (author) of creation, the author of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33), in Christ, the author of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9), and the author of our faith (Hebrews 12:2)

Old Testament H7235
Strong’s Concordance defines AUTHORITY; rabahrä·vä’; be or become great
The same word is used for more, much, multiply, and increase

Proverbs 29:2 speaks those who are in authority.

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

New Testament G1849
Strong’s Concordance defines AUTHORITY; exousia eks-ü-sē’-ä;
from G1832 in the sense of ability; force; competency; mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control) delegated influence:—authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.
It is the same word used for power. Use the above link to see all references for this word.

Jesus’ Authority

 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18

And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.” John 5:27

In Matthew 8:9, the centurion’s recognition of Jesus’ authority was relative to his authority over his soldiers, in that he trusted Jesus to say the word and His servant would be healed.

The people recognized Jesus’ authority in the way He taught and in His authority casting out unclean spirits.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22

And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out”. Luke 4:36

When questioned by the chief priests and the elders about His authority to teach, heal, and command what He did, Jesus asked them a question which they would not answer for fear of disqualifying themselves (Matthew 21:23-27).

Men’s Authority
 Luke 9:1 records Jesus giving His twelve disciples power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
But when two of them desired to rule with Him, Jesus had to rebuke them, teaching that authority is given by Him but not in this life.

But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28

Luke 19:17 speaks of the authority given to a good servant; thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

Paul’s Authority
Paul speaks to Jesus on the road to Damascus of authority he received from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name (Acts 9:14).

Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.” Acts 26:10; Acts 26:12

Paul’s authority from the chief priests changed to authority from the Lord.

2 Corinthians 10:8  speaks of Paul’s authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification of the church.

In 1 Timothy 2:2, Paul, recognizing that all is under God’s authority, speaks of praying for all men that are in civil authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Paul speaks to Timothy, instructing him in the area of teaching.

But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Timothy 2;12

And to the young minister Titus:

These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authorityLet no man despise thee.” Titus 2:15

John records in Revelation 13:2 the authority given to the beast.

Final Authority

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” 1 Corinthians 15:24

There is a promise for those who obey, serve Him, and overcome the opposition.

The one who conquers (overcomes) and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority (power) over the nations.” Revelation 2:26 (ESV)

He is the first and final authority over all the world ~ giving peace, eternal salvation and faith to His people. With authority and power, He will usher in His new heavens and earth in His timing. He is the author ~ therefore, the authority ~ over all time, over all things and circumstances.

From the beginning of creation to the end of this world, God’s authority stands. He rules in power over all even though not all believe or accept His authority. The antithesis began in the Garden of Eden and will continue until Christ’s second coming when all those against His authority in Christ will be put under His feet ~ all to His glory.

Gracious Father, we praise you for Christ our Lord whom you made to be the author and finisher of our faith when you raised Him from the dead and seated Him at your right hand with authority and power over all things. Enable us to remember through your Spirit and your Word to whom we belong and who we serve. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Words of Life ~ ATTENTIVE

(We are blessed to have Valerie Caraotta as our guest writer for this week’s Word of Life. Visit her Facebook page and encourage her to start her own blog at WordPress.)

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When I studied the word attentive, what struck me most was our responsibility and necessity as believers to heed the Word and draw closer to the Lord. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia describes ATTENTIVE as: Expresses the direction of thought and interest towards some one point.

The KJV, from which we find our list of Words of Life, uses the word ATTENTIVE six times. We will look first at the five references found in the Old Testament.

Old Testament H7183
Strong’s Concordance defines ATTENTIVE; qashab kash·shäv’ attentive.
The same word is used for attend; to hear, hearken, incline, heed (you can find these references at H7181).

Three of the verses are prayers that appeal to God for Him to be attentive to His servants.
 Nehemiah 1:6 is a prayer for the sins of the children of Israel.

Let your ear now be attentive and your eyes open that you may listen to the prayers of your servant, which I pray before you at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel your servants while I confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against you; both I and my father’s house have sinned.

Then, in Nehemiah 1:11, he prayed before he went before the king of Babylon that God would grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer. He prayed again before he answered the king’s question of his sadness which was for the affliction of his people in Jerusalem.

Psalm 130 is a short Psalm of degrees and worth reading these eight verses to understand where the Psalmist is in relationship to the Lord.

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. Psalm 130:1-2

The fourth reference is also from Nehemiah after he had come to Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall — when the people were attentive to the book of the law.

And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. Nehemiah 8:3

Elihu speaks of the power and greatness of God in Job 36 and continues in Job 37:

At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. Job 37:1-2

“The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silent before Him“ Hab.2:20 — evidence of souls that long to be attentive to his Word and promptings.

Attentiveness is not forcing God but posturing ourselves so that when He speaks we are more apt to hear.

Samson was spiritually blind before the Philistines blinded him physically. He didn’t know the Spirit of God had left him. How long does the Lord have to be absent before we miss him? Being aware of His presence in our lives requires our constant attention.

New Testament G1582
Strong’s Concordance defines ATTENTIVE ekkremamaie k-kre’-mä-mäi to hang from, hang upon (the lips of a speaker).

There is only one reference to the word ATTENTIVE in the New Testament.
The chief priests were already envious of Jesus’ popularity and when He turned over the money tables in the temple, they sought to destroy him.

And could not find what they might do; for all the people were very attentive to hear him. Luke 19:48

Are we carriers of the anointing to break yolks off others or mere noise — clanging symbols that have no eternal significance.

Where is our zeal? Did we once burn with passion to spend time in His presence and Word? Has it waned over time or do we love Him more today than ever?

The more attentive we are to the presence and activity of God, the more clearly we will discern His will. He is our Father, attentive to what we need before we ask (Matt.6:8)

We may not perfectly interpret God’s will, but it pleases Him when we stay in His Word, desiring His presence as we grow in our relationship with Him.

As believers, we are called to cultivate attentiveness to God. His Word and prayer are given for us to gain His perspective. This is vital because, in our own thinking, things may appear right, but the wisdom gained from above is far greater than we can imagine. In His leading, we can accomplish more in less time and gain strategies we need for the hard issues of life.

Dear Father in heaven, how blessed we are to have ears to hear – ears that are opened to your calling. We praise you for wisdom and knowledge through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and your Holy Spirit. Draw us closer so that we do not miss anything you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Image: Google

Focus, Love, and Rejoice

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

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

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

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

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

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

If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:1

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

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

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

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

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

Images: Google

John Bunyan on the Lord’s Day

 For he waited for the city which has foundations,
whose builder and maker is God.

Hebrews 11:10

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OF THE LORD’S DAY, SERMONS, AND WEEK DAYS
John Bunyan

 “Have a special care to sanctify the Lord’s day; for as thou keepest it, so it will be with thee all the week long.

Make the Lord’s day the market for thy soul; let the whole day be spent in prayer, repetitions, or meditations; lay aside the affairs of the other part of the week; let thy sermon thou hast heard be converted into prayer: Shall God allow thee six days, and wilt not thou afford him one?

In the church, be careful to serve God; for thou art in his eyes, and not in man’s.

Thou mayest hear sermons often, and do well in practicing what thou hearest; but thou must not expect to be told thee in a pulpit all that thou oughtest to do, but be studious in searching the Scriptures, and reading good books; what thou hearest may be forgotten, but what thou readest may better be retained.

Forsake not the public worship of God, lest God forsake thee, not only in public, but in private.

In the weekdays, when thou risest in the morning, consider,

1. Thou must die.
2. Thou mayest die that minute.
3. What will become of thy soul.
4. Pray often.

At night consider,

1. What sins thou hast committed.
2. How often thou hast prayed.
3. What hath thy mind been bent upon.
4. What hath been thy dealing.
5. What thy conversation.
6. If thou callest to mind the errors of the day, sleep not without a confession to God, and a hope of pardon.

Thus every morning and evening make up thy accounts with Almighty God, and thy reckoning will be the less at last.” John Bunyan’s Dying Sayings.

Gracious Father, as you spoke through your servant in centuries past, speak these truths in our hearts today. Fill us with your Holy Spirit as we live in your presence every day — in our private devotions as well as our public worship. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

 

For to speak the truth, there are
but few that care thus to spend their time.
John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress