Nailing Our Theses

What does this week mean to a Christian? If we know our history, we have hope in Christ that was hidden until the 1500s. This post is not to educate Christians about the period of Reformation, just to relate the events to our individual lives.

We have Bibles available that others did not have before the Reformation. The Word of God, proclaimed to all men, was held in trust by only a few of the church. That was changed when the heart and life of a young monk named Martin Luther was changed. He saw the only hope of salvation apart from works as he searched the Scriptures for himself. His study of Paul’s letter to the Romans brought him to see and know Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. To make known his thoughts on the corruption of the church, he arranged his 95 theses and nailed them to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, thinking to arrange discussions or debate.

“But why October 31? November 1 held a special place in the church calendar as All Saints’ Day. On November 1, 1517, a massive exhibit of newly acquired relics would be on display at Wittenberg, Luther’s home city. Pilgrims would come from all over, genuflect before the relics, and take hundreds, if not thousands, of years off time in purgatory. Luther’s soul grew even more vexed. None of this seemed right.One of Luther’s 95 Theses simply declares, “The Church’s true treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That alone is the meaning of Reformation Day. The church had lost sight of the gospel because it had long ago papered over the pages of God’s Word with layer upon layer of tradition. Tradition always brings about systems of works, of earning your way back to God. It was true of the Pharisees, and it was true of medieval Roman Catholicism. Didn’t Christ Himself say, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light?” Reformation Day celebrates the joyful beauty of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ.” What is Reformation Day?

“Martin Luther claimed that what distinguished him from previous reformers was that while they attacked corruption in the life of the church, he went to the theological root of the problem—the perversion of the church’s doctrine of redemption and grace. Luther, a pastor and professor at the University of Wittenberg, deplored the entanglement of God’s free gift of grace in a complex system of indulgences and good works. In his Ninety-five Theses, he attacked the indulgence system,” Reformation, Encyclopedia Brittanica

We might ask, “Are there false teachings in the church today?” How far have we come even in this century, from the simplicity that is in Christ, having added our own traditions, programs, etc.?

Two main questions we are led to ask at this point in the life of the church are really personal. The church will not stand in final judgment with us. We will stand alone, either in Christ through the salvation offered to us through Him, or outside of the gospel, alone and without hope for eternity.

  1. What is our personal thesis or theses? What do we believe of Christ as revealed in God’s Word? Have we discovered the truths about our own salvation as Martin Luther did?
  2. Where have we nailed our theses? On what doors of our lives have we proclaimed Christ as our Lord and Savior?

We have the Bible. We hold the truth in our own hands. We claim the gospel alone as our attack against false teachings and against Satan’s power in the church and in our own lives.

We nail our beliefs to the door of our heart. We proclaim the truths of God’s grace in Christ alone, nailing these to the door of our homes, the door of our car, the door of our workplace, the door of our schools.

Wherever we are as faithful followers of Christ, we wear our theses as our armor of faith, we take them wherever we go; we testify of them without fear, and die with them if need be.

Are there enough of us as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) to challenge our churches today?

Have you taken the time to establish the truths of God’s Word for yourself, and to stand firm on His Word no matter the cost?

Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for leading the Reformers to know your Word and to stand firm. Thank you for those who died that we might have your Word in this generation. Guide your people to take a stand for the truth of the gospel in our churches and before the world. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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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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Seeing IS Believing

God gave us eyes to see the beauty of His creation. It is easy for us to see physically and to be distracted by the things of this world; to settle for the status quo.  But to see Beyond a Mere Christianity requires three things: light, revelation, and new eyes. And these three come from God through His Son, Jesus Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit.

At the foundation of the world God said, “Let there be light.” Before there was sun or moon, there was light, simply by His Word. Jesus was identified as the Light and the Word from heaven. He opened heaven for us to reveal the Father/Creator and heaven itself in Him.

All this ~ beyond this world ~ is revealed in God’s Word, the Holy Bible.

There was darkness before God said, “Let there be light.” We cannot see in the dark. So, it is with human hearts.
When speaking to Nicodemus, who came to him at night, Jesus knew His real need, and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” John 3:3

This was a reflection of Ezekiel 36:26 regarding the promise that the Lord would give His people a new heart and a new spirit; taking away the heart of stone and rebellion against Him. With the new heart and spirit come eyes of faith to see what others cannot see; to understand the things of God.

Jesus said to His disciples:

 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matthew 13:17

To the religious leaders and others who heard him:

 “But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.” John 6:36

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” John 8:56

 “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” John 9:39

 “And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” John 12:45

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

The eyes of faith enable us to endure through the most difficult trials. Stephen spoke of heaven opened to him in his persecution.

“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56

“As one looks and discovers that almost everything down here is in confusion, chaos, and ruins, it seems as though Satan were getting the better of the conflict. But as one looks above, instead of around, there is plainly visible to the eye of faith a Throne, a Throne unaffected by the storms of earth, a Throne that is “set,” stable and secure; and upon it is seated One whose name is the Almighty, and who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11). This then is our confidence-God is on the Throne.Though God’s governing hand is invisible to the eye of sense it is real to faith, that faith which rests with sure confidence upon His Word, and therefore is assured He cannot fail.” The Sovereignty of God ~ A. W. Pink

We find in Hebrews 11 a list of those who saw Jesus and heaven with eyes of faith; who endured to the end. And as spoken of Moses:

“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27

And these are the promises that the world cannot see.

 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:17

“But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.” Romans 15:21

Paul prayed for “the eyes of understanding to be enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18).

“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18

How we see determines our joy in this life.
To see Christ is to live joyfully in anticipation of eternity with Him, “even in this vale of sin, for he illumines and gives the beauty of grace, forgiveness, and hope. When the curtain of this life drops, it will rise to the sight of his loving gaze, his exalted splendor, his unending, satisfying presence.” The Lord of Glory ~ Chris Strevel

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” 1 Peter 1:8

“and we shall be like him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for sending the Great Physician to be your light in our darkness; for birthing us into your kingdom with a new heart, spirit, eyes, and life in Him. Fill us with your Spirit of truth ~ the Spirit of Christ ~ that we may see you and live in light of your glory. This is our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

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Words of Life ~ ACCEPTED (ACCEPTABLE)

Continuing Words of Life A-Z The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian, we are encountering the phenomenal connections of all Words to the center of Christianity, which is Christ, Himself. As we look at both Old and New Testaments we learn what is accepted for true life, Life as God our Creator means it to be. As we study we see that God our Father alone can work what is acceptable for the Life of a follower of Christ.

ACCEPTED (ACCEPTABLE) in the Concordance H7521
Defines the word (ratsah rä·tsä’)
A primitive root; to be pleased with; specifically to satisfy a debt:—(be)
accept (-able), accomplish, set affection, approve, consent with, delight (self),
enjoy, (be, have a) favour (-able), like, observe, pardon, (be, have, take) please (-
ure), reconcile self.

ACCEPTABLE is used in two references from Proverbs.

“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.” Proverbs 10:32

“To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3

The Lord’s acceptance of His people was based on His own work of bringing them out from the other nations.

“I will accept you…….when I bring you……….and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. (Ezekiel 20:41).

We see in the New Testament the same means of acceptance through the work of His Son for us on the cross.

In The New Testament
ACCEPTED (ACCEPTABLE) 
in the Concordance G1184
defines the word (dektos dek-tos’)(an adjective derived from 1209 (dexomai) – properly, what is received favorably (acceptable), describing what is welcomed because pleasing.

The most prominent reference is from Ephesians 1:6.

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

What a state of privilege! It includes our justification before God, but the term “acceptance” in the Greek means more than that. It signifies that we are the objects of divine complacence, nay, even of divine delight.   But it is only “in the beloved”  ~  accepted in One who never alters, in One who is always the beloved of God, always perfect, always without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing  Rejoice, believer, in this: thou art accepted “in the beloved.” Know by full assurance thy glorious standing. Even glorified souls are not more accepted than thou art. They are only accepted in heaven “in the beloved,” and thou art even now accepted in Christ after the same manner. Charles Spurgeon

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“But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Acts 10:35

Whereas the Lord brought His people from other nations, now in Christ, He brings people of every nation to “fear Him and work righteousness.”

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

Accepted as holy in the beloved Christ and by His mercies, we are led to present our bodies a living sacrificeacceptable to God (vs. 1) to prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God (vs. 2).

“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

When we suffer for His sake and take it patientlythis is acceptable with God (1 Peter 2:20).

Dear Father, mighty to save, holy and merciful, making us acceptable to you in Christ, we thank you and live in praise to you. Continue to renew our minds and prove your acceptable will in and through us. Fill us, as living stones with your Spirit to offer the sacrificial life and the spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to you. Fill us with the Life of Christ that witnesses of your presence to the world around us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Fran

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Weakness and Meekness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To quote directly from Francis Schaeffer’s book,The God Who Is There, I would have to read it again. Time does not permit, so I took these notes from the Publisher’s Description.

 More than ever, The God Who Is There demonstrates how historic Christianity can fearlessly confront the competing philosophies of the world. The God who has always been there continues to provide the anchor of truth and the power of love to meet the world’s deepest problems.

It is from this last sentence that I use the title, GOD, Who is Here, in relation to the overall heading, Beyond a Mere Christianity.

While Schaeffer was revealing the shift in Christianity due to philosophy, science, history and the arts, my purpose is not to address the gainsayers, but those who follow Christ and desire a greater zeal for God and the Christian life.

GOD is More was leading to this series of articles as a means of piquing the interest of those who read HIs Word, yet do not really know the greatness of His power in the heart and life.

The only degree that qualifies me to write in this fashion is a DDC (devoted disciple of Christ). Knowing GOD, Who is Here has been a humbling experience over decades of need, searching, studying, in meditation of God’s Word, memorization and personal encounters with a living God who is not just ruling and reigning in heaven. From His throne in heaven, He is revealing Himself to His creatures and present with each one. To speak of these things is beyond my expertise and knowledge, but with prayer, I desire to write simply of how God has revealed Himself to me through His Word, His Holy Spirit and HIs presence and power in Jerry’s and my life. I quote Andrew Murray, who at times apologized for not spending more time editing his work; “The Lord loves to use the feeble for His glory.” Waiting on God

We will present this treatise in three parts:
WHO GOD IS
HOW HE IS HERE
WHY HE IS HERE

WHO GOD IS
From my childhood, there is no memory of anyone speaking of any God, except the one revealed in the Holy Bible. There is only one name of the God of Christianity. He is the LORD GOD, Jehovah, or Yahweh in Hebrew.

“For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

Paul speaks of the necessity for spiritual understanding that is apart from man’s natural comprehension (Corinthians 2:9-16). We will expand on this in the second part.

Let us look briefly at who God is from HIs Word, remembering that He is more than we can know and understand. We grow in our conception and the reality of who and where He is through continual study and meditation. We pray and wait in faith and anticipation, desiring with all our hearts for Him to reveal Himself.

GOD our CREATOR
Our core belief is in the GOD who is our Creator. We will not waste space to debate the philosophers, scientists and historians. Genesis 1:1 is an emphatic declaration of His role as Creator of the heavens and the earth. How He created and how we are individually a part of the earth He created is simply understood by taking Him at His Word. Believing means that we start with that truth, move on, read more, pray for His Holy Spirit to work faith and truth in our hearts and minds and live according to what we read. This means we must put away any pre-conceived ideas if we come across a contradiction to what we have heard before.

Christianity is not an Old Testament reality, but rather the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

Christianity is based, not on how men define it, but how Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and life of the Christian faith, defines it. John 1:1-5 speaks of Jesus being in the beginning as The Word. The Word was with God and was God. He was the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, a promise of redemption for a fallen and rebellious people.

Rather than going into all the different names and characteristics of our GOD, we will look at the mainstream of His being. Christ, the Son of God, was in the beginning, for the purpose of fulfilling the prophecy of man’s redemption.

GOD, our REDEEMER

“Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6

Other references in the Old Testament, reveal that Jesus, being the Son of God, in the beginning with Him, was in an active role of redemption before His incarnation.

The LORD God, as creator and redeemer — Isaiah 44:24

The LORD God, redeemer, the Holy One of Israel — Isaiah 46:17

The LORD thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob — Isaiah 49:26

GOD, our FATHER
In Jesus’ life and teachings, He revealed GOD as His, and our heavenly Father. His disciples carried forth this most profound truth of Christianity through the early church’s foundation. The supernatural work of His Holy Spirit produces a new heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26), a regenerating work that is beyond man’s capacity to produce, or to reason. Our heavenly Father desired children to share the wealth of HIs love and glory and sires them according to His own choosing to inherit His eternal kingdom. Living in faith and hope of this legacy is more than a mere, passing thought, but an assurance, as we serve our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ as living sacrifices in His kingdom now.

As we have mentioned already,He is much more than we are covering here and more than we can ever know. Again, we encourage you to commit your life to seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness if you want to know the true and living God. We can never know all there is to know, but we can all be a witness of who He reveals Himself to be to each of us. Please add your personal knowledge in the comment section.

HOW HE IS HERE ~ By His Spirit
GOD is Spirit (John 4:24), not bound to any place or time, with the prerogative to reveal Himself wherever He pleases.

There is no place we can go from His presence (Psalm 139:3-10).

No one can hide himself from God (Jeremiah 23:23-24).

He sees everything, the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3).

Though He is omnipresent (in all places at all times) not everyone can witness to this truth.

We cannot arrive at the truth of our God from philosophy, science, or any other way, but only through His Word. Natural man cannot come to an understanding of truth, because truth comes from God and is revealed by His Holy Spirit. We can read the Bible, which is God’s book, but not understand it except the Spirit of truth interprets for us. Jesus spoke of sending the Holy Spirit for this purpose (John 14:17; John 15:26; John 16:13).

If we read and believe what the Bible says, it will be through the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Again, we read from the Bible what we believe to be true and live accordingly; this is faith that His Spirit and His Word work in us. Nothing can shake this faith when we know that God is here with us by His Spirit.

By HIs  Promise
His Word is His promise to reveal Himself and to fulfill every promise that He has made to us as His children.

He promises never to leave us, nor forsake us Hebrews 13:5.

He is with us; He is our God (Isaiah 41:10).

We understand through faith in His Word by the Holy Spirit, that He was incarnate in His Son, Jesus Christ. Let us go now to our next truth.

WHY HE IS HERE
GOD is here ruling and reigning through His Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus came to earth and lived thirty-three years, it was to fulfill His promise and His purpose to save a people for Himself; a remnant, to share His glory. He lived a perfect life in obedience to the will of His Father, so that He would offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. That sacrifice offered, His dying to redeem all who believe, resurrected from the dead, ascending back to the Father, sending the Holy Spirit to rule in each heart, was the plan of creation and redemption.
Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father, upholding all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:1-3).

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5

Before the foundation of the world He chose His people to be holy and blameless before Him through the sacrifice of HIs son, so that we would believe and live as HIs children. (Ephesians 1:3-5).

The promise of the Father to send His Spirit was fulfilled at Pentecost after Christ’s ascension (Acts 1:8).
By His Spirit working in us, He is conforming us to the image of His Son, in preparation for eternity with Him. (Romans 3:28-29) In all things that seem unfair and not to our liking, we experience the humbling and meekness of spirit that we need.

We will stop here, but continue His promises and purposes in the articles that follow, especially in What is Jesus Doing in Your Life? It is through these that we will learn more of the truth of Christianity and begin to live beyond our former thoughts and expectations. Writing these articles are the Lord’s means of teaching me what I still need to know. And what a blessing it is to read, study, meditate and memorize His promises, and experience this relationship that He planned for us.

Dear heavenly Father, we understand that your will for us as your children is to know you, Let us continue to know more of who you are as our Creator, Redeemer and Father; to live in anticipation of more than we have experienced, and to be a witness to others of your relationship with us as your redeemed ones, those who are beloved in Christ. Thank you for blessing us with the revelation of who you are by the power of your Holy Spirit. We praise you that you have brought us to you through Jesus Christ your Son, whom we love, even as we love you, and in whose name we praise you and thank you. Amen.

 

Beyond a Mere Christianity

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

Many, by reading the book, have been encouraged to embrace Christianity even as he did. My purpose in writing is to look beyond what he believed, spoke, and wrote, to discover a greater depth, beyond a mere Christianity; for a mere Christianity will not suffice to proclaim and live the legacy God has bestowed on His children. When we try to make Christianity a common faith, we are in danger of dumbing down the power that Christ died to give us. We lose the essence of the faith that is by grace alone, the working of the Holy Spirit for revelation of the truths of God’s Word. When the gospel is watered down so that everybody can believe, we forfeit the wealth that comes only by personal relationship with the Father and Jesus, His Son. Christianity comes at a high price, the blood of Jesus Christ, and requires more from us than we are able to give. To receive the inheritance that is ours in Christ is a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit working through new hearts, drawn to and committed to Him. His grace does not relieve us of duty, but binds us to it and fulfills the requirement, whereby we experience this new life, a heavenly life above and beyond what most people know.

Others have written from Lewis’ theme, but from different perspectives. In the following articles (perhaps more) we will incorporate many facets of His kingdom that our heavenly Father reveals to us, through His Word and His Holy Spirit, in and through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. Through as many of these as He will bestow His grace and blessings, we pray He will make clear HIs role as a loving heavenly Father, Creator, Redeemer and Life; His presence, power, His name, His kingdom and His will. These are His truth, promises and blessings for a people who know Him, fear Him, love Him, obey, worship, serve, praise, pray, and proclaim in power the good news of Christ, who are being transformed as living sacrifices and conformed to His image, bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness and temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility and Godliness.

This is to live the “abundant life” (John 10:10) in the “fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) ~ “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27)  here in this life, as He continues to prepare us for eternity with Him. True Christianity is separate from any other religion ~ and the reality of a holy life in union with our heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit. He reveals Himself to and in us, not as Someone, but as Jehovah, the Lord our God. He sires children of His own who are HIs image-bearers. Though not perfect, we are HIs off-spring through His Son, as He continues to lead us through an imperfect world, shining through us His holiness and humility.

Inexhaustible Goodness
God, Who Is Here
Weakness and Meekness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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