A Bloody Crown, a Bloody Cross, a Bloody Sacrifice

After posting Three Crosses, Two Crowns, One Sacrifice I  wanted to do this follow-up. In that article, images depicted everything clean as if the cross of Christ was never used. The crowns were those of earthly kings. The precious sweet lamb was untouched, alive in the green grass.

As the church plans to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ next Lord’s Day, I am reminded that we seldom think about the events that led to this celebration. Too often we skip the crucifixion and the tomb, forgetting the suffering and the sacrifice that made our salvation sure. Some people can look at blood and gore and are insensitive to it. I, like others, avoid it at all costs. Even the sounds of violence from a distance make me cringe.

Still others will not consider their need for a bloody Savior. The rich man of the South who said, “I don’t need anyone to die for me,” didn’t know his own heart.

Understanding how we are reconciled to God through the blood of His own Son is necessary ~ if we are to experience the power of His love and grace working in and through us.

Even as I continue to study the humility of Christ, I desire the Lord to give me a deeper understanding of His sacrificial atonement. I pray that you, the reader, will receive something of what He is showing me; to know the love that was in the blood that was shed for us; to let that love fill us so that we love Him even more.

And as Paul spoke to the Roman church, let us pray that we are so humbled by His mercy that we respond by offering ourselves as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2) for our God, “who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.” Ephesians 2:4

A Bloody Crownimages

Charles Spurgeon said in his sermon The Bloody Crown:

Beloved, I always feel as if my tongue were tied when I come to talk of the sufferings of my Master. I can think of them. I can picture them to myself. I can sit down and weep over them, but I know not how to paint them to others! Did you ever know pen or pencil that could? A Michelangelo or a Raphael might well shrink back from attempting to paint this picture! And the tongue of an archangel might be consumed in the effort to sing the griefs of Him who was loaded with shame because of our shameful transgressions.

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. John 19:2

And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium;
and they call together the whole band.
And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns,
and put it about his head,
And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!
And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him,
and bowing their knees worshipped him.
Mark 15:16-19

Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s Gospels record the scourging and mocking right before Jesus was led away to be crucified. But John’s gospel records (and he was an eye witness) Pilate bringing him before the chief priests, the elders, and the crowd before He was led away.

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! John 19:5

What did Pilate mean by doing this? He may have thought that all the blood would discourage the Jewish leaders and the crowd, but no ~ they wanted more. What they saw from Jesus’ beating and the thorns on His head was not enough. They must have his life. They must see Him destroyed; no matter how much blood it took.

They could not know how powerful that blood would be to save His people ~ and to condemn them. The envy, the anger, the hatred, the malice from the enemy was the very reason that Jesus had to endure such suffering.   God knew what was needed to accomplish our redemption ~ an innocent Lamb, a holy man, Himself in human form. He knew that in the presence of sinful men He would be massacred.

At any point, amid the pain and the humiliation from Pilate, the soldiers, and the Jews, Jesus could have shown His power and position as God. Even in His physical weakness He could have spoken the word, or called down heaven and destroyed all or part of Jerusalem. (That would happen later.) But, all that happened was part of the plan for our redemption. Jesus could not turn back now. From the sweat drops of blood in the garden, the betrayal of Judas, the forsaking of the disciples, the mocking of the soldiers, and the crown of shame, He was well into fulfilling the new covenant.

He was revealing the necessity for blood, the reality of atonement through His own blood. To endure all for our sake was the true manner of humility revealed to us.

The pain which He had endured from the scourges caused Him to throb with exquisite anguish—but we read neither of tears nor groans—much less of angry complaints or revengeful threats. He does not seek pity, or make one appeal for leniency. He does not ask why they torture or why they mock. Brave Witness! Courageous Martyr! Suffering exquisitely, You also suffered calmly! Such a perfect frame as His—His body being conceived without sin—He must have been capable of tortures which our bodies, corrupted by sin, cannot feel. Charles Spurgeon

Bloody-Cross-600x450A Bloody Cross

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Leviticus 17:11

The beatings and the blood on His head did not faze Jesus. He was the central figure in this greatest event in history. It is His story of redemption. The cross, saturated with His blood, is the main scene ~ the turning point for humanity and the gateway leading to eternal life with Him. In the last decade, I have given up watching mere men do this role in plays and movies. It is but an act. No man but Jesus Christ has done this part. It is better to read and meditate on His word for this reality in our own hearts than to see an imitation.

The cross was the means that God had chosen; that Jesus knew He must bear; it was a revelation of God’s love and grace. It is the symbol for us to remember. We wear crosses around our necks.   Most of them are gold and silver. None are bloody. But we must remember the blood of the cross of Christ; His life that was shed for us.

That blood was the blood of the new covenant. The beatings and the bloody crown were only the preludes to our own lifeline. Without the blood of His hands, His feet, and His side, there would have been no reconciliation and peace between God and us. I use the words ‘God and us,’ instead of ‘us and God,’ because He is the initiator and the fulfillment of the covenant. We must see the blood, even as He had to see the blood, and therefore passed over our sins.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11

Mark his brow-they have put about it a crown of thorns, and the crimson drops of gore are rushing down his cheeks! . . . But turn aside that purple robe for a moment. His back is bleeding. ..They lift up the thongs, still dripping clots of gore; they scourge and tear his flesh, and make a river of blood to run down his shoulders! This is the shedding of blood without which there is no remission…They fling him to the ground; they nail his hands and feet to the transverse wood, they hoist it in the air…Blood from his head, blood from his hands, blood from his feet. . They pierce his side, and forthwith runneth out blood and water.   Charles Spurgeon

A Bloody Sacrificeimages

                “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:7

After that tremendous struggle, the strength of Love mastered the weakness of Manhood—He put that cup to His lips and never shrank—He drank right on till not a drop was left! And now the cup of wrath is empty—no trace of the terrible wine of the wrath of God can be found within it! At one tremendous draught of love, the Lord drank destruction dry, forever, for all His people. Charles Spurgeon

The blood on the crown of thorns and the stain on the cross was the blood of Jesus Christ. The pouring out of His blood on the ground was more than a sprinkling and spoke better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 13:24) There was life in that blood, the life of the Son of God who lived for one purpose ~ to lay down His life; to shed His blood for us.

“It is finished.” It was done according to His everlasting covenant. He was the bloody sacrifice for His people. We don’t have to look at a bloody cross anymore, but we must remember it. Nor do we need a crucifix with a figure of a man with no bloodstains.

He left us with two ordinances to remember His sacrifice; baptism and the Lord’s Supper. We need but to be baptized into His death once, but His sacrifice is to be remembered when we come together for worship. Blessed are we who celebrate the resurrection and remember His death with the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day.

Peace Through His Blood
Jesus is no longer a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, or a man on a cross, or wrapped in a linen shroud lying in a tomb. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords living today and forever as our merciful and faithful High Priest; sitting at the right hand of God, having offered the oblation of His blood for His people; making reconciliation for us; and now, as our mediator, interceding for us.

We would be blessed today and tomorrow to read and meditate on the crucifixion of our Lord, so as to come to worship and celebrate this Lord’s Day with a deeper sense of His mercy and grace.

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
through sanctification of the Spirit,
unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1 Peter 1:2

The blood is one of the strangest, the deepest, the mightiest, and the most heavenly of the thoughts of God. It lies at the very root of both Covenants, but specially of the New Covenant. The difference between the two Covenants is the difference between the blood of beasts, and the blood of the Lamb of God! The power of the New Covenant has no lesser measure than the worth of the blood of the Son of God! Your Christian experience ought to know of no standard of peace with God, and purity from sin, and power over the world, than the blood of Christ can give! If we would enter truly and fully into all the New Covenant is meant to be to us, let us beseech God to reveal to us the worth and the power of the blood of the Covenant, the precious blood of Christ!  The Two Covenants Andrew Murray

Dear heavenly Father, just as we cannot paint the picture of Christ, your Son, for others, neither can we put into words our praise and gratitude for so great a salvation, performed as planned and executed in your timing and place.  Let the blood of Christ, that is efficacious, doing all that you planned it to do, work in us the power over sin.  Cleanse us and keep us always looking to Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith. In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

 

Words of Life ~ ATTAIN(ed)

Every search of God’s Word uncovers a treasure. Let us seek to attain to all that He has for us as His people here, now, and forever.
The Old Testament uses the word ATTAIN in many references as it pertains to man’s inability to accomplish ~ always falling short of ~ what is expected of God’s creatures. The New Testament uses the word in reference to attaining the righteousness of Christ. We will look at different meanings of the word.

Old Testament  H7069
Strong’s concordance defines ATTAIN, qanah kä·nä’; to get, acquire, create, buy, possess by extension, to procure.

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning;
and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:”
Proverbs 1:5

H5381 nasag nä·sag’; to reach, overtake, take hold upon
This word is used in reference to the duties of the priest in offerings.

“And he shall prepare a meat offering, an ephah for a bullock,
and an ephah for a ram, and for the lambs
according as his hand shall attain unto,
and an hin of oil to an ephah.” Ezekiel 46:7

<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high,
I cannot attain unto it.” Psalm 139:6

This is a well-known verse in which David speaks of the knowledge of God– whether the truth of God’s knowing him or the wonder of God’s ability to know all things – it is high, beyond his understanding. In search of the meaning of the word attain in this verse, I found a different link from the others.

H3201 yakol yä·kōle’: to prevail, overcome, endure, have power, be able refers to what he cannot do. He is not able to reach high enough, to prevail over his weakness, or to have the power to understand that which is heavenly. In the following quote, we have one of Charles Surgeon’s priceless gems.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. I cannot grasp it. I can hardly endure to think of it. Such knowledge not only surpasses my comprehension, but even my imagination. It is high, I cannot attain unto it. It seems to be always above me, even when I soar into the loftiest regions of spiritual thought. Is it not so with every attribute of God? Can we attain to any idea of his power, his wisdom, his holiness? We are not surprised that the Most Glorious God should in his knowledge be high above all the knowledge to which we can attain: it must of necessity be so, since we are such poor limited beings; and when we stand a tip-toe we cannot reach to the lowest step of the throne of the Eternal.

New Testament H2658
Strong’s Concordance defines ATTAIN, katantaō kä-tän-tä’-ōto; come to, arrive
In Philippians 3:11, Paul desires that he might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

G5348 phthanō fthä’-nō;  to come before, precede, anticipate, to come to, arrive at, to reach

“But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness,
hath not attained to the law of righteousness.”
Romans 9:31

 Phthano referred to Israel who had not attained to the law of righteousness because they trusted only in their own righteousness. But to the Philippian church, he speaks of those who are like-minded in the righteousness of Christ as coming to the same faith as other believers.

“Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained,
let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”
Philippians 3:16

G2983 lambanō läm-bä’-nō; to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it. to receive (what is given), to gain, get, obtain

“Not as though I had already attained,
either were already perfect: but I follow after,
if that I may apprehend that for which also
I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12

Paul’s purpose was to reach the destination set before him in the gospel. As he continued to preach, teach, and lead others in the way of righteousness, his focus was intentional, not to fall short, but to press on to reach his goal and to train others to follow him until they obtained the promised reward.

G3877 parakoloutheō pä-rä-ko-lü-the’-ō; so to follow one as to be always at his side.

“If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things,
thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ,
nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine,
whereunto thou hast attained.”
1 Timothy 4:6

Paul speaks of Timothy having attained the place of a good minister of Jesus Christ through faith and doctrine, following as to be always at His side and bringing others to walk with him.

Dear Father, what joy to know that we have attained to a like-faith with other believers; that we walk together with Christ in our pilgrimage toward our eternal home, encouraging and supporting, as we, like Timothy, are nourished in the words of faith and of good doctrine. Continue to lead us by the presence of your Holy Spirit and power. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

ABORTION

 “For thou hast possessed my reins:
thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:”
Psalm 139:13-14 

(Written years ago, this article was discovered in a notebook among many other notebooks. That I found it in this time of history is interesting. Laws concerning abortion have been passed to the degree that there seems to be no understanding or value of life anymore. The more laws, the more power is given to men and women to decide who lives.)

This was not written to judge those who have had abortions but to speak to a generation that sees nothing wrong with abortion. I ask the following questions to make some sense of the practice of deleting life according to man’s standards.

I use the plural pronoun, not that we all have considered abortion, but as citizens of a nation that has accepted it and made it a normal practice

What are we aborting?
To abort means we have the power to prevent human life from developing in the womb.

Not to abort means we believe that what starts as a seed planted in a physical body will develop into human life.

However we think about it – there is the potential of a full life in a fetus.

Why would we want to abort?
– because we have the power to make this decision?
We also have the power to choose life for one which has no power of its own.

Is it because we would have to bring up a child on our own?

Perhaps this is the means of God’s grace to show us His provisions for us and for the child.

For those who are single — is it because we would have to face the truth of our sin before God, our family, and friends? (This question can only be understood as we know God’s standard for intimacy with others.)

This could be God’s timing to bring us in faith and repentance to Him. He loves, forgives, and proves His care and provision in all things.

Some may say, “Because I have a miserable life.”
It does not have to be that way. This may be God’s plan to start a new life.

There is Help!
There are organizations that support women through pregnancy, for the mother to keep the baby or to consider offering and blessing a family through adoption.*

I would encourage the first and best thing: to keep a baby, to accept God’s provisions of faith in Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, to love and bring up this baby in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). There is no greater blessing than for Him to love a parent and a child, for the mother (and father, if willing) to know His love and to love the child as He loves.

There is a great purpose and a promise in carrying a baby full term. It is believing God is the creator of all life and has given this child as a blessing. He uses even our faults and mistakes for His purpose and His glory.

I pray that the Lord will do a work in hearts to allow Him to lead through full-time pregnancy and to bring children to Him for His instruction and joy.

*If you need help to determine if you are pregnant, want an ultrasound, or considering an abortion, please check at the bottom of this link to find a pregnancy resource center near you. A mobile service is available in some areas.

(IF YOU ARE PRO-LIFE, CONSIDER MAKING A DONATION TO YOUR LOCAL PREGNANCY RESOURCE CENTER.)

For a look at the truth of Planned Parenthood, please see the movie Unplanned scheduled in theaters on March 29, 2019.

“….. CHOOSE LIFE.”
Deuteronomy 30:19

 Dear Father, we are in need of your Spirit’s conviction; to understand your will for our holiness. We need to know you as the giver of every seed of life and the sustainer of what you give. Search us and know our hearts. try us and know our thoughts. Turn us to confession, repentance and true life in Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

All Things New

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things
are become new
.
2 Corinthians 5:17

In awe for the last decade, I have been given another new year to express the all-glorious presence and blessings of our Almighty God. Ten years ago, I was thinking how close I might be to leaving this planet to be with our Lord. Now in my eighth decade, I sense more and more my weakness and dependence on my Creator and Redeemer as He continues to prepare me for eternity with Him. It is a second childhood I heard about in my first childhood, but, oh so much more than I had imagined. And, I am loving it!

Learning to leave behind those things I thought were so precious years ago, I have been blessed for the Lord to reveal His kingdom of grace in me enabling me to experience a taste of that which is to come.

Trust in the One Who Gives Life
Did I say that these years have been comfortable and pleasant? Not by any stretch of the imagination; they are being spent in trust and leaning upon the One who gave me life twice ~ as Creator and Redeemer ~ a new life that will never end.

Giving me the responsibility as a full-time caregiver for Jerry has been the Father’s way of grooming me as His servant. And there is no greater joy than this. Having served in many roles (too many to list) the role of a servant tops the list for joy and fulfillment in His kingdom.

With one of my favorite verses of His Word, I end my first prayer each day before getting out of bed.

“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” Psalm 90:17

There is always new work to do. With this expectation, we know this new year of our Lord, 2019 will be filled with newness of life. With every day and every trial in the last several years, we have experienced a greater sense of His presence and His goodness.

Lovecraft ~ A New Look
After eight years of blogging, we are using a new format. In searching, I chose a fitting theme Lovecraft~ not knowing the name of the theme until afterward. We will be tweaking it until we decide on the final look. One difference in this theme is the overlay of the area for the text. Images are good, but we want to focus on the truths of God’s Word and His kingdom. A physical image cannot aptly portray the spiritual truths of His love and grace.

We have also just published a new book which we will review the end of this week; What the Holy Bible Says about The Word of GOD, second in the series What the Holy Bible Says.

Our God is the Living God, the God of wonders, the God who never leaves us. He desired us before the world began and sired us in His timing ~ to bring us to Himself through His Son’s redemptive work and the power of His Holy Spirit. He continues to show us great and mighty things we have not known (Jeremiah 33:3) ~ to us, in us and through us. All this; all that He does is for His glory and our joy.

Dear Father in heaven, you have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ, your Son. We thank you for your mercy and grace, by your Holy Spirit, to accomplish all that you have planned for us in this new year. Whether to keep us here to proclaim the legacy of your kingdom or to bring us home with you, we praise you now. Continue to fill us all with the outpouring of your Spirit to speak and write the truth of your Word that others may know you and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image is from Christian Poetry by Deborah Ann. 
You would be blessed to visit her blog.

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

Image:Google

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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