Godly Contentment

If you were with us in 2017, you may
remember our series on Contentment.

We have edited, revised, and published these posts as chapters in our newest book. Godly Contentment is seventh in our series Little Books about the Magnitude of God.

Never in eighty years have I seen these truths so desperately needed. I have been reviewing these for my own encouragement since January.  Our cover image (as well as our header) is a personal photograph by a sister-blogger, Heidi Viars – Wings of the Dawn. 

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 3 – The Essence of Contentment

Faith Leads to Contentment
Faith affects our senses as we “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:28-29).

Faith becomes the bridge, the means to the whole of God’s kingdom. Here is where we connect faith and contentment, contentment being the seventh and complete sense in communion with the Father.

Our Father uses faith to bring us out of the state of oppression through adversity. We would rather say that His presence and power lift us above the adversity and brings us to the state of contentment. We do not escape adversity, but in it, we learn to live in conformity to the image of Christ. His Word and faith in His Word train our senses. By these, we accept and live unmoved by our circumstances. We practice keeping our focus on God, our Father, and our hearts centered in Christ and His promises, as the Holy Spirit leads us.

Godly Contentment is available on Amazon and soon through other distributors.
Proceeds are designated for missions and charity. Paperback      Ebook
Fran

Conspiracy, Controversy, and Consolation

After a holy day when it seemed the whole world joined in the celebration, let us look at the reason for our Lord’s death and resurrection and why we should be observing every Lord’s Day as a holy day.

Is there a conspiracy in the world? Yes!

The controversy concerns the identity of the conspirators and when and where the conspiracy began. Consolation is for those who live in peace, while enduring the conspiracy and the controversy.

Our sovereign God, Creator of heaven and earth,  has been, and always will be in control if the conspiracy, the controversy, and the consolation.

Our Lord God, ruler over His creation, keeps heaven holy, preserving His kingdom for His people – those who live in obedience to the rule of His kingdom.

The enemy uses every means and opportunity to war against God’s kingdom here on earth. This is the spiritual warfare the Christian encounters as we live for Christ and the truth.

The great conspiracy has always been “against the LORD and His Anointed” (Psalm 2). But the final attempt failed as Jesus rose from the dead, victoriously ruling in power over heaven and earth. This victory is now ours over every conspiracy the enemy may use against the Lord, His kingdom and His people.

Even as the conspiracy began with our first parents in the Garden of Eden, so did the controversy. Men want to blame other men as conspirators, not realizing that God’s enemy is not man, but as Paul identifies them.

“Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
Ephesians 6:11-13

Even as the enemy conspires through men to overcome God’s rule on earth, he continues to stir up contention among God’s people for unrest and anxiety, fear, and chaos. People use the sword of God’s Word against each other only to prove their inability to discern the truth.

God is Achieving His Purposes
As God rules over all (Psalm 103:19) He uses the works of the enemy to achieve His purposes.

Joseph’s brothers conspired against him, only that God would use their evil for good. (Gen. 37:18; Gen. 50:20)

The enemy was given permission to make Job’s life a hell on earth, but God used the enemy’s work to refine Job and make him an example for His people (Job 2:6; Job 42).

The religious leaders conspired to destroy Jesus and the truth He came to reveal. but it was the Father’s means to deliver His people (Acts 4:24-28). The conspirators were turned on their heels and the victory of our Lord was executed over death and the enemy (2 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 2:14-17).

Paul was part of the conspiracy until Jesus confronted Him on the road to Damascus and turned Him to repentance (Acts 9:1-6). Afterward, Paul witnessed God’s working through his afflictions to conform him to the image of Christ (Phil. 3:7-10).Consolation
The enemy was defeated on the day Jesus rose from the dead, He lives forever and we live through Him. (2 Cor. 13:4; 1 John 4:9).

We live in the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. No longer tossed to and fro by the enemy’s lies and upheaval, we can console others with the good news of the victory in Christ.

Even as Isaiah prophesied against God’s people because of their rebellion, he was instructed to comfort His people (Isaiah 40:1). God judged, chastened, and sent His people into captivity. He restored them after seventy years ~ the number of years they had profaned His Sabbaths. God promised comfort through their affliction.

“I, even I, am He who comforts you.
Who are you that you should be afraid
Of a man who will die,
And of the son of a man who will be made like grass?” Isaiah 51:12

“And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.” 2 Cor. 1:7

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercies… be of one mind,” Phil. 2:1

We will continue tomorrow with more of God’s Word on comfort.

Gracious Father, we pray that you continue to work in the hearts of your people. Even while we are apart, strengthen our hearts to comfort and exhort one another, to be of one mind, and edify the body of Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

“What is Truth?” in Times Like These

Many are living in fear and confusion because they do not understand what is happening. Governments are accused of deceiving the people with false reports and keeping the public in suspense. Who really knows the truth about the virus that has spread throughout the world ~ even to the smallest towns and near all of us? Who knows what would happen if we did not observe the restrictions imposed upon us?

“What is truth? is a question for all times, especially while  we remember these words spoken by Pilate as he conducted the trial of Jesus.

Pilate’s question was a casual response to Jesus’ words,

 “To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.
Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

John 18:37

Jesus had previously spoken of the truth to the people and privately to His disciples.

“Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him,
If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
” John 8:31-32

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 14:6

Our human nature causes us to doubt what we hear. We are inundated by data that only serves to confuse and distract us from our only true source of life.

The world continues to turn its back on the King and Lord of truth and so we live in a world of fantasy and fiction with no sure foundation for living.

Truth and Authority
When our trust is in Jesus Christ ~ the only bearer of truth ~ we do not have to rely on human sources. Our minds and hearts need to be turned to Him. He teaches us to trust Him even as we live in uncertain times under the human authorities placed over us. The truth in Jesus Christ brings us to trust in Him.

While He warns the sinner with the truth, it is good news of truth for those who come to Him in repentance and faith.  Whatever we hear falls under the authority of our Lord, Jesus Christ. All ~ including sickness and death ~ is under His jurisdiction as He upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). Let us bring every thought captive to Him and live in love, joy, and peace as He rules in all times and circumstances, and through all our tribulations (2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Galatians 5:22).

He never  changes. He, in truth, rules  forever, leading us onward and upward in His grace to His glory.

 “be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for sending your Son to reveal your truth to your people. Keep us by your Spirit in your Word to seek the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name, I pray, thank you, and praise you. Amen.
Fran

Related Article: Onward and Upward

Image: Google

“Thy Will be Done”

How often do we pray the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer with our whole heart?

Sometimes we need to look at familiar things with new insight.
As God’s children, we are prone to wander from what we have heard most of our lives. Or we may think we have it down and experienced it already.

Hearing these sermons for the last few weeks as our pastor is preaching through the Gospel of Luke, some of us are being awakened to look again ~ more closely at what Jesus was teaching His disciples.

View this sermon on the third petition and you may sense the need to hear the sermons on the other petitions as well.

Dear Father, please bless those who hear the preaching of your Word with the same convictions and renewal of your Holy Spirit in their hearts and lives. as you have blessed me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

 

The Faith-Driven Life

How do you know your faith is real?

Faith in Christ can be determined by what we call the Faith Triangle.

The only true faith is the reality of living “in Christ” and “Christ in us” (Romans 8:9-11).
It is the supernatural working of His Spirit.

Faith does not come by our imagination or our efforts.
We cannot conjure up a life of faith.
We cannot just say, “I believe what Jesus said.”

“For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Ephesians 2:8-9

He said, “If you continue in my word, you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

As we read and hear His Word, the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of our need for a new life in Christ. His Spirit brings conviction of sin with the power to turn us from our sin in faith and repentance to obedience of faith.

The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God as we cry, “Abba, Father” ~ the cry of a new, separate life in Christ (Romans 8:15-16)

This is the beginning. Let’s look at the simple plan of God’s work in His children.

There are three facets of being “In Christ” and proof of  “new birth”: Faith, repentance, and obedience.

Faith and repentance are God’s dual work in the heart and life of the believer.

“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,
repentance toward God,
and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Acts 20:21

“I came … to call … sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:32

Jesus’ “call” upon our lives and our response constitutes the dual work of faith. When we “come” to Him, we turn from our own way. Repentance indicates “turning” in a new direction, forsaking our own will and way for the new life “in Christ.”

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
John 6:37

“And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.” John 6:44, 65

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.” John 10:3

“Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Romans 2:4

“For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation:
2 Corinthians 7:10

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,” Hebrews 6:1

Obedience is always connected to faith. It is the continual proving of our faith.

“For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

Jesus confronted those who called Him Lord.”

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” Luke 6:46”

“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

In Paul’s letter to the Romans, Paul explicitly proclaims the purpose of his letter to the Romans in Romans 1:5 and 16:26 ~ “for obedience to the faith” and “for the obedience of faith.” (See The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans)

He was expressing the result of the “power of the gospel unto salvation” (Romans 1:16)

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

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

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;1 Peter 1:15

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Faith as prescribed by the Lord before His return to the Father in Acts 1:8 is presented in a nutshell in Acts 26:20

“but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” (ESV)

Faithfulness is the state of those who remain faithful through this life until the next. Those who live by “faith in Christ” will overcome and be with Him forever.

“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” Revelation 17:14

Dear heavenly Father, you have called us by the Spirit to live a new life of faith in your Son. As you have turned us by His calling, drawn us to Him, and keep us in Him, we pray for the continual power of your Holy Spirit to lead us in obedience of faith. Show us your ways. Teach us your paths. Lead us in your truth and the abundant life that is ours in Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

What is a Sacrifice?

When the Holy Spirit waters the Word planted in fertile soil, fruit comes from and of itself. Such is the case for this article, an inspiration from the same Word, 1 Peter 2:9-10, preached last night from two different ministers, two different pulpits, and two different countries.*

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;
Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10

These words brought to memory other references to sacrifices. From the Old Covenant, that spoke of the shadows and types concerned with the physical realm, to the New Covenant and the fulfilling of the promises in a spiritual realm, I could see the evolving of another book (this is usually the overwhelming of the Spirit using the Word).

But I had to rein in my thoughts so as to present a succinct and concise meaning of sacrifice in the Christian life.

So, let’s look at the sacrifice (sacrificial system) in the Old Covenant as we consider the facets of sacrifice. For the Christian, all things originate with our Lord. He initiates and commands. He initiated the Covenant of Grace, promised it through Abraham and his seed, and fulfilled it in Jesus Christ and through His seed.

God Commands a Sacrifice from His People
He specified the object of sacrifice and how it was to be offered.
Sacrifices were commanded for different occasions in the Old Testament ~ the main blood sacrifice was to atone for the sins of His people through the killing of animals.

No other nation was required or privileged to offer these sacrifices. Sacrifices were the response of God’s people to His rule and authority over them.

We see the mercy of the Lord our God when we compare the sacrifices other nations made by offering their own children as sacrifices to their gods.

The people brought their sacrifice to be offered on the altar by the Levitical priests.   They were a shadow or type commanded and offered until the New Covenant was ratified in the sacrifice of His Son.

“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,
sat down on the right hand of God;”
Hebrews 10:12

A study of the book of Hebrews provides an overwhelming explanation of this brief review. Every believer needs this study under his belt of truth.

In these references. sacrifice is the main subject. Hebrews 5:1; Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 8:3; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 9:23;Hebrews 9:26;Hebrews 10:1;Hebrews 10:3;Hebrews 10:5;Hebrews 10:6;Hebrews 10:8;Hebrews 10:11;Hebrews 11:4;Hebrews 13:15

The Point of Sacrifice for the Christian
Jesus was the last blood sacrifice ~ offering Himself willingly to fulfill the covenant of redemption on behalf of His people. The physical altars of sacrifice were shut down when Jesus hung on a cross, sacrificing Himself for those who would come in faith and repentance to Him as Lord and Savior.

His blood atoned forever and commands a response from us as His chosen generation, His blood-bought people.

“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

What are these spiritual sacrifices?

 “ to show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

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

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Hebrews 13:15
“But to do good and to communicate forget not:
for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Hebrews 13:16

 “And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Mark 12:33

All we have of His mercy, His goodness, and His love, are the results of His sacrifice for us. 

Mercy begets mercy

Sacrifice begets sacrifice

Goodness begets goodness

Love begets love

Gracious and glorious Father in heaven, send your Holy Spirit to quicken your Word spoken to us by your servants. Speak to us through your Word this week. Bring forth the praise that you command by your Spirit and your Word through us. Make us to know your presence and power as you prepare our hearts for your worship and Word next Lord’s Day ~ all for that glorious day when we shall praise you face to face. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

*Chris Strevel,  Buford, Georgia: Exodus 40  From Slavery to Glory
*Ryan McKee, Northern Ireland: 1 Peter 2:9-10 Who We Are in Christ 

Image: Google

Divine Power to Know, Be, and Do

“Ignorance is bliss” — perhaps this is true for children of the world, but not for the children of God. Our Heavenly Father desires children, and sires us into His kingdom by the divine power of His Spirit. By the same power, He continues to show us, teach us, and lead us in the truth of His Word and will, as He is preparing us for eternity with Him ~ by His grace, for His glory and our joy.

 According as his divine power hath given unto us
all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him
that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:
that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:3-4

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20

Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: 
for thou art the God of my salvation; 
on thee do I wait all the day.
Psalm 25:4-5