What Day is Today?

Jerry and I have our “senior moments,” sometimes asking, “What’s today?”  Since we no longer observe a five-day workweek, we often forget what day it is — except today.

TODAY IS THE DAY THE LORD PLANNED FOR US TO BE WITH HIM;

A DAY He set aside to be different from other days;

A DAY for the gathering together of His people,

A DAY for His glory, and His worship;

A DAY for His Word to be proclaimed, and received, in power.

A DAY OF SALVATION.

I praise the Lord for every day, but especially for this day, of all days.  It keeps me centered and focused on Him, and remembering the reason we are here.  Everything starts, revolves around, and progresses from this first day of the week. Imagine the central force of God’s power in this day through Jesus Christ, His Son, the impact that it has on the whole week, and all time.

Today is the day He prepares us to go into the following work week, refreshed, and renewed in His Spirit and truth, projecting us to the next Lord’s Day, and to that final rest in Him.

It is the Christian Sabbath, established in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  As Lord of the Sabbath, He brought the beginning of new life for His people and a day of celebration on the first day of the week.

Today is the day we are brought to, and receive, the Lord’s Supper, which is a time of the renewing of the Spirit, and the continuation of our salvation.

According to a quote from an unknown source—our forefathers called today “The Lord’s Day.”  Our great-grandfathers called it “The Sabbath.”  Our fathers and most of the world now call it “Sunday.” The first given evidence for a differentiation, between traditional Jewish “Shabbat” observance and the religious observance of the first day of the week, appears in Acts 20:7 where the disciples met and “broke bread” together.  The Apostle John also refers to the “Lord’s Day” (“kuriake hemera”) in Rev. 1:10. “Kuriake,” meaning “Lord’s,” later became the Greek word for Sunday. Wikipedia)

Let the world have this day as a Greek Sunday for its own pleasure. But, we set this day apart from all others and all things for His name’s sake.

TODAY IS THE LORD’S DAY

A DAY OF GRACE FOR HIS PEOPLE ~ FOR HIS GLORY

LET US REJOICE IN HIM.

“In thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right are pleasures evermore.”

Psalm 16:11

Gracious Father, pour out your Holy Spirit in the hearts and lives of those you have drawn to your Son. Fill us with your Spirit of grace to know you through our Lord Jesus Christ. Draw us closer to Him and you, today, through worship and your Word. Continue to grow us in grace and knowledge of Him as we begin this week in celebration of our eternal life in Him. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Preaching, Teaching, Reaching

Week after week we are blessed to witness of the Lord’s work through the ministers of our church. This gives me much by which to express my thoughts on the Christian life that is beyond what most experience in the world today (Beyond a Mere Christianity).

A mere Christianity may serve some who are independent of the church, but to see how God’s Word leads His minsters to serve Him, we experience the church that He creates. God’s Word teaches us that we are all members of one body, with each one having its special place. Some are leaders, knowing and preaching God’s Word on the Lord’s Day as the center of His worship. From this Word preached, the members are given direction as to how we are to live in faith during the week. We learn how to worship at home personally and with our families, and to prepare for worship on the next Lord’s Day; this all, in preparation for that eternal worship to which we live onward and upward.

 PREACHING

“Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Acts 8:4

“But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;” Titus 1:3

 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

Preachers are also pastors to the Lord’s sheep, knowing each family and its members.

“And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:4

TEACHING
But the pastor cannot do all the work. Elders are ministers who teach and serve the members, reaching out beyond what the preacher is able to do.

“And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” Acts 14:23

REACHING
Deacons are also servants of the Lord, knowing and attending to needs of the church.

Families and other members of the body of Christ are taught to reach out, to exhort one another; to love and teach as they are taught.
Everyone prays, interceding for other members of the church.
Before there is a need, a child of God knows their church family and knows where to turn; either to a close member or to a minister of the church.

It is through the body of Christ that He reaches those in need outside the church. When they see the work of Christ in us, He draws others to Him and His church.

THE TRUE CHURCH
This is the true church, growing in grace, knowledge, love and devotion to Christ and His people; knowing the Father, the Son; their presence and the power of the Holy Spirit in everyday life. Jerry and I have experienced this love and relationship with the whole of our church; blessed and praising the Lord everyday for the church family He has given us.

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that as your sheep, we have been brought into your fold under the true Shepherd who leads us in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. Thank you for placing us in the care of your under shepherds from whom we receive the truth of your Word. We are taught the doctrines of your grace; to experience heaven opened to us so that we are able to witness of Christ to others, to reach out in love when there is a need, and to praise you together for all that you are and promise to be in and through us ~ to your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, we thank and praise you. Amen.
Fran

Photo:Pixabay

Sharing our Meds ~ Words of Life

Since turning 82 in April, Jerry has met new doctors and added more meds. He and I have lived much longer than we expected. (His mother died at the age of 59, and his dad, at the age of 71.) Since the wound on his foot has finally healed after eighteen months treatment, he is in physical therapy for strength and conditioning. After not being able to put pressure on his foot, our goal is for him to walk again with a diabetic shoe, an adjusted prosthetic, and a walker. In the meantime, he is being referred to a rheumatologist for further counseling after testing positive for lupus; and to a hematologist for abnormal protein in his blood.

Where does it end? Eventually, we all, excepting for a few, will contract something from this world that will cause our demise.

Jerry is now on twelve different medications that seem to alleviate his symptoms, but it would not be lawful for him to share any of these. He is not sure, at this point, if he will accept any more prescriptions.

In this last age and stage, we want to share different meds, those that are lawful to give others, and eternal; those that do not require a doctor’s prescription.

Medications and Meditations
These words are spelled the same except for one letter; they both are effective, but only one is prescribed by our Great Physician. They are both held in the hand; one to be given to children, continued until death. Both are taken with water; one physically, the other with the Holy Spirit. One is taken by mouth; the other through the spirit, mind and heart.

With every development in Jerry’s physical health, the Lord is here to add meaning to everything, guiding and strengthening with wisdom and grace for every new trial. Beginning this new month of July, and the last half of 2018, we will begin something else new. We will be sharing meditations with medications; a meditation each day as he takes his medications. We cannot and would not want to give anyone the meds Jerry is taking by mouth, but we will share meditations from a source we have in our files.

Words of Life
Several years ago, we began a project titled Words of Life ~ A to Z, The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian. Taking from Strong’s Concordance a list of words from the Bible that are common to the Christian faith, we had hoped to publish a simple guidebook (or devotional), unlike the Concordance that includes every word from the Bible.  From abhor to Zion, this would be a highlight of what our heavenly Father would want us to focus on; to meditate and base our lives on. Meditation on His Word is His means of addressing and prescribing His grace and truth to our basic and profound needs; for spiritual strength and conditioning. This would not negate the usual reading and studying the whole Bible, but these are extra blessings for those who meditate on the references that apply to each word.

The first one we share with you today is abhor, with the concept at the start, to use this as a meditation for a week. From this first word to the last, Zion, we find a striking difference in the things of God’s word and His kingdom, and the vocabulary and kingdom of this world. We welcome your comments.

Abhor
In the Old Testament, Concordance H1602 defines the word abhor (ga ‘al) as to detest; by implication to reject.  The word is used in the KJV Bible for abhor, fail, lothe, vilely cast away.  We find this word in the Old Testament relating both to God and man.

God describes His plan for His relationship with the people of Israel in Leviticus 26:11, And I set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.” 

In Deuteronomy 7:26, they are instructed to detest and abhor the “cursed things.”

“Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.

Though the references from the Old Testament speak of the history of God’s relationship with the nation of Israel they are an example for His people today.

David in Psalm 119:163 said:   I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.”
Here he speaks of the opposite of the word abhor, which is love.
This is echoed in the New Testament in Romans 12:9,

Abhor in the New Testament  (Strong’s Greek 655, from 575 and the base of G4767) is apostygeo, meaning to detest utterly. Apostasy is turning away from the gospel, the truth of God’s word, the act of despising, rejecting and abhorring it.

Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Romans 12:9

As children of the heavenly Father we are to abhor (despise and reject) what He despises.
We are to love what He loves.  To know the difference in the two ~ what He loves and what He hates ~ we must search His word; we must receive, read and love His law.

Dear Father, as we begin to share these meditations, make us to know their full meaning, so that we know how to live in accordance with your word and your will.  Work in us to receive your written word ~ your law for our lives ~ even as we receive Christ, the living word, by your Spirit, to live within us and teach us your law of liberty in Him. For your glory, write your law on our hearts and in our minds so that we will love your law even as you teach us to love you. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

A Whole Day With God?

How can this be?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sanctify us for it.

Raise us to it.

Work it in us.

For your glory and our joy.

But, Not TODAY

There are things I need to do;
But, Not TODAY

I need to do laundry;
But, Not TODAY

I need to clean house;
But, Not TODAY

I need to shop;
But, Not TODAY

I need to reply to emails;
But, Not TODAY

I want to meet a friend for lunch;
But, Not TODAY

Yard work needs to be done;
But, Not TODAY

Cooking needs to be done for Saturday’s family reunion.
But, Not TODAY

This day is the gift of one day out of seven for me to spend with the Lord, to celebrate His atoning work; the day He provided for me to acknowledge my rest in Him; a day different from all others, in preparation and practice for that day when He, my Lord, shall return, to take me with all His family to that eternal rest with Him.

He has something each Lord’s Day for us, a special blessing that is different from the blessings on other days. I do not want to miss what He has prepared for me.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for giving us your Son, the Lord of the Sabbath, to lead us in your path to a perfect day of rest. By the power of your Holy Spirit, engage our hearts today to worship you through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We bring all that we are, spirit, soul, and body, as a living sacrifice to you. Let this day be holy unto Him in honor of His great love and sacrifice for us. In His name, we pray. Amen.

The Lord is in His holy temple;
The Lord is in His holy temple;
Let all the earth keep silence.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.
Keep silence, keep silence, before Him.
Habakuk 2:20

Today is the Lord’s Day

In my world

In my thoughts

In my heart

In my plans

In my words

In my actions

In my hands

In me.

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride
on the heights of the earth;

I will feed you with the heritage of
Jacob your father,

    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” 

Isaiah 58:13-14

“Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on earth I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73:24-25

Dear Father in heaven, you have given us this day to celebrate life in Christ your Son, to set aside the world and our participation in it; to remember and praise you; to worship you. Today we worship in anticipation of the day of our Lord, when He shall bring us to that eternal glory with you. Lead us today, by your Spirit. Though we cannot meet with your people in worship, make us to know your presence with us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Jesus’ Donkey

Have you ever seen a donkey standing out in a field? I am not familiar with donkeys but whenever I see one, it seems to be waiting for something or someone to direct it.

God could just as easily have called us his donkeys instead of his sheep. But there are only a few special donkeys; many special sheep.

There are two donkeys mentioned in the Bible. It seems they were created to be “beasts of burden.” In the Old Testament Balaam had a donkey that could talk; he warned him and saved his life (Numbers 22:22-35).

Balaam’s donkey was probably older, beaten down under the burden of his master.

Jesus’ colt was waiting for his master when the disciples found it and took it to Jesus.

As the gentle master He rode the colt through the gates of Jerusalem.

There may be much that we could learn from the scenario of the Triumphal Entry that we now call Palm Sunday, but one in particular comes to mind this morning.

There are times when we may feel like nothing but a donkey (you many call it whatever you please) but that is not how God created us. The oppressor would have us believe that we have to carry the burdens of the world; that we have no worth except as the scum of the earth. We, as His children, were born in His image, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and directed by His Word and His Holy Spirit to bear His image and the fruit of the Spirit of Christ.

Would we have been honored to be Jesus’ colt? Yes, but that honor was predestined for one only. That colt carried Jesus into the fiercest battle that anyone can wage ~ the battle against Satan and our sin. He won the victory a few days after, and since then calls us to Him to fulfill His purpose in each of us. The memory of the first verse held in my mind since childhood is in Matthew 11:28-30. He has not redeemed us to ride us, but to free us from our bondage and to share our lives here while preparing us for His glory. In meekness He is able to fulfill His will in each of us as we tell others of Him and His victory in us.Dear Father, Thank you that each Lord’s Day, you call us to come in worship to Christ, your Son, who has won our hearts to serve Him and to be a part of the battle against the oppressor in our own lives and the lives of others. We praise you that our calling is not to tread through this life alone, but in unity with Christ, our master, and His other sheep. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.

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