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 idolatry 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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God is More

God is more than anyone knows.

God is more than we can see.

God is more than we can touch.

God is more than we can hold.

God is more than all the worldly treasures.

God is more than we can imagine.

God is more than anyone will ever know.

He alone can show us and teach us what He wants us to know.

He reveals Himself by the power of His Holy Spirit.

He reveals Himself through His creation and the writings of the Holy Bible.

He reveals Himself through Jesus Christ, His Son (Matthew 11:27).

Those who ask for His Holy Spirit, earnestly pray, read and meditate on His Word, will find the God of the Bible who wants to be known. It is a continual process, daily food for the soul. As physical food shapes the body, so spiritual food shapes the spirit and life to the image of Christ (John 6:63) (Romans 8:29).

“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:” 2 Peter 1:3

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you as Creator and Redeemer, for how you reveal yourself to us through your written word preserved and handed down through generations, and your living Word, your Son, Jesus Christ. We thank you that you do not leave us ignorant and miserable in this world, but that you planned to make your presence and power known, inspiring those who penned the truths of life, godliness and virtue so that we may live in and to your glory, now and forever. Open the hearts of those who read your word to know you and the eternal life you give us through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; in whose name we pray, thank you and praise you. Amen.
~ Fran
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Suggested Reading: The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE STUDY

Overwhelmed by Grace

Years ago, I used this title for another article; it was similar, but different in many ways. It spoke of an overwhelming grace experienced during an earlier time in my life. Jerry and I were still young with both feet on the ground.; we were enjoying what we considered success, our children and small grandchildren; the Lord was doing great things in our lives. We could easily have said, “Then was the best time of our lives.”

We had begun to learn and know God’s covenant of grace. The power of His grace was something fairly new, but it was becoming a great work in my life, a life I had never known. To “grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18) was a beautiful thing. The overwhelming grace that He had bestowed grew stronger and nothing seemed to hinder even during the few difficult times.

I don’t know where my former article is stored, but I know that His grace was stored within my heart and mind, so that in these last days they have not been lost. During these last days, when the adversities have become overwhelming, God’s grace is far more, able to temper with the greatest of difficulties in this life. God is Greater Than is an older article posted here years ago. His grace was working then and now, continuing to grow and bearing fruit for His name and glory.

“These are the worst of times, and the best of times” ~ the worst of this world, but the best of heaven, and that overwhelming grace is that by which He will wing us to heights unknown and to our eternal home with Him.

An older hymn sung at our church this past Lord’s Day attests to this grace in His faithfulness to us through all times and all things.

Dear Father in heaven, as we consider all that you have done in our lives, we can but know how powerful is your grace that fills and thrills, and spills over wherever we are. We praise you for such a work, a supernatural work, that only your grace can accomplish. We pray that you will continue to grow us as your people, as a witness of your presence and power through all of this life, however difficult and tedious it may become for us. Believing that all the darkness of this world is meant to be a backdrop for your light and goodness, keep us faithful, loving, and gracious; enable us to stand in the truth of your grace revealed through the life, death and resurrection of your Son, our Lord and Savior ~ in whose name we pray, thank you and praise you. Amen.
Related Article: Why Me?
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Grace, and Grace Alone

Grace, and grace alone,
could save a wretch like me.
I could not die for my own sins.
Christ had to die for me.
A thousand deaths would not atone
for my eternity;
Christ’s blood, and His alone,
bought my sanctity.

 His light, and His alone,
shined deep within my soul.
The darkness of my heart
was readily exposed.
His Word, and His alone,
could speak new life in me.
My sin is great, but greater still,
His grace has set me free.

His love, and His alone,
drew me to His Son;
In covenant with Him,
to be His very own.
In goodness, and in His alone,
He brought me to repent,
To turn, to trust, to follow Jesus,
whom He had sent.

His power, and His alone,
gives life beyond my dreams;
Life in Christ, the life of grace,
according to His means.
His glory, and His alone,
suffices as an end.
His purpose in heaven and on earth,
for Him; for me. Amen.

(This poem is the result of waking this morning  around 5:00, hearing the steady refreshing rain that has been needful for so long.  The next thing that came to mind was God’s grace, and after a few minutes I got up and began to write. Following are the Biblical references that apply.  I pray that those who read may use one or both to discover and refresh your heart in the truth of God’s grace and His glory.)

Grace ~ Ephesians 2:7-9; 4:7; 2:1-4 2 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 Peter 1:18-20
Christ’s Blood ~ 2 Timothy 2:5-6; 1 Peter 1:18-20

His Light ~ 2 Corinthians 4:-6-7; Genesis 6:5
His Word ~1 Peter 1:3, 23-25; James 1:18; Romans 5:20-21

His Love ~ 1 John 4: 9-10; 1 John:1-3; John :44-45; Ephesians 1:4-5
His Goodness ~ Romans 2: 4; Psalms 107:8; John 17:3

His Power ~ Ephesians 3:19; Romans 8:1-4
His Glory ~ Psalm 73:24; Romans 11:36; 2 Cor. 3:18;Colossians 3:1-4

F.R. 2012
Related article:

How Could They? (An Ode to the Reformation)

How could they give all?
How could they lay it down?
Was it for crimes that they had done
~~~ or was it for a crown?

How could they die, so firm and sure
~~~ without a shade of doubt?
Was it for show or spectacle?
Was their faith that stout?

How could they stand ~~~ enduring flame?
How could they face the sword?
Were they unfeeling, so reserved?
Were they of another world?

If we but seek to truly know,
If, as they, we see and hear
The Savior, as He died for us ~~~
Is there anything we cannot bear?
Fran ~ 2010

(In praise to God, our Father; and in memory of those who died that we might have the Word of God, His truth, and the great salvation given through Jesus Christ, our Lord.)
The following is an audio sermon on 2 Thessalonians from a church in Northern Ireland about how the Word of God was the most important part in the Reformation.


Be Thou My Vision Ancient Irish poem,  8th Cen. David Evans 1927

Joy and Contentment

How can I experience joy and contentment during these grueling times? How do I write about joy and contentment in the middle of uncertainty? I don’t know how, but I must. It is part of our work for Christ and His kingdom. It is during these times that He proves His joy in us.

He teaches, and by working His will in us by the power of His Holy Spirit we live, not according to our circumstances, but by our focus upon Him and His calling on our lives. There would never be true joy or contentment if we did not know Him, but Christ in us is the reason for our joy and contentment, no matter how difficult our days.

It has been this Year of Contentment (2017) that He chose to prove an even greater working than before with more trials. Without them we would never know how precious and powerful is His presence with us. His Word is not only powerful and active but also filling and fruitful in the worst of times. From these thoughts we venture to share what His Word says about joy. Please take time to read and meditate on these truths and let them settle in your heart. They will mean more to us than our comments. His Word is truly a lamp to our feet and a light to our path of joy through this wilderness. It is His joy that keeps us content even through the worst of times.

We started this series on contentment stating that all contentment is a gift from God and His Spirit working in us. Joy begins with Him, as with all that describes His kingdom and our relationship with Him, He rejoices over us with joy.

“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17

Even as He initiates joy, there is no true joy apart from Him. Our joy is in Him.

“neither be ye grieved; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10

The meek also shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.Isaiah 29:19

Jesus speaks of the “good and faithful servant: who will enter into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21

“Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy.” Psalm 43:4

“for the Lord had made them joyful
(Ezra 6:22).

“Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.” Psalm 149:2

Joy in Our Salvation

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

We have joy in God “through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:11

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.” Habakkuk 3:18

“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation.” Psalm 35:9

 Joy of the Holy Ghost
Joy is fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”
1 Thessalonians 1:6

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Romans 14:17

The God of hope fills with all joy and peace through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 15:13).

The Joy of Christ is a Full Joy

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”
John 16:22

“And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” John 17:13

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

Joy Through God’s Word

Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: Jeremiah 15:16

Paul’s joy would not be abated during his last days of persecution, but it would carry him through the remainder of His ministry for the gospel.

 “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” Acts 20:24

Suffering and Temptation

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3

Paul spoke of exceeding joy in tribulation.
2 Corinthians 7:4

He prayed for the Colossian church that they may be “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” Colossians 1:11

Simon Peter wrote, “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4:13

James wrote about “joy through various trials (James 1:2).

Our Joy Is an Unspeakable, Everlasting, and Exceeding Joy

“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

Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” Isaiah 51:11

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 1:24

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you and praise you for your joy that is ours through your Son, Jesus Christ, Fill us more and more with your Spirit of joy that cannot be taken from us, no matter the circumstances of this life. Enable us to meditate on your Word, to hide your Word and your joy in our hearts and to live content within your Word, your promises and the great salvation that is ours for eternity. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Where Is My Joy?
Lucy Anne Adams
based on Psalm 42

Where is my joy when all around is sorrow?
Where is my light when night is all I see?
Why is my soul in agony despairing,
Where is my hope, my song of victory?

My joy is in the God of my salvation.
His Word will light the shadows of my heart.
So I will hope in God who is my comfort,
Who gives a song of joy when sorrows start.

When I get permission I will post the other four verses of this beautiful song.

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The Power of One Man

There are some mornings I cannot get out of bed. My first prayers have been offered up, meditations to begin the day have strengthened my heart, and yet God, our Father holds me and will not let me go.

Monday was such a morning.

Jerry is usually up first, checking the news and weather. He came to tell me of the one-man massacre the night before. (I only know what he tells me. I do not go to the media for more details. I learned years ago that I cannot immerse myself in the news of this world). With such news, my heart melts and I draw close to the throne of grace to know what my Father and my Lord want to say.

He is the God of all comfort and He knows how much we need Him. In times like these, He knows I need this extra time with Him before we begin our day together and to know how to answer others.

Many things, thoughts of this man and all the people he destroyed and injured, news and details of the event, rummaged through my mind. My heart cried out to the living God, who created life in His image, breathed into us His breath of life with the plan through His Spirit to sustain that life in His creatures.

At other times when the world has been in chaos He has drawn me close and given me the hope that He desires to share with His people.

Is Anyone Safe
People wonder if there is safety anywhere. The imaginations run to and fro as we continue to experience the evil heart of man.

We wonder how one man has the power over so many others. Our Lord reminds us that the enemy, the god of this world, is able to deceive, capable of giving his power to man.

He is the same enemy that deceived the one man God created for His own. By one man (Adam) sin came into the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12, 15).

In Watchman Nee’s book The Latent Power of the Soul, he speaks of the power God gave Adam when He put him in charge of His creation. He reminds us that God did not take away these powers, but we see how Satan continues to harness this power through man for His evil deeds.

Safety in the Power of One Man

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

We are amazed when one man has the power of death over others. Let us be in awe of the power of the one man Jesus Christ, who has the power to give life for eternity to those who come to God through Him.

Our only safety in this world and the next is in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who was sent from the Father to save His people. Our only hope for now and the future is the steadfast hope that He alone gives.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

He came to destroy the one who had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14) and the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

Where will all this end? ~ at Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).
Then we shall see the power of the resurrected Christ, the Son of God, the one man with power to rule over all things and all people and put away evil forever.

In the meantime let us all draw near to the throne of grace, keep our lights burning bright with the oil of hope and gladness, continually praising our Lord for His power to save His people from the evil one, bringing hope to others who do not yet know Him. It is during these times that people may be open to the truth of the gospel of grace and hope.Gracious Father, our hearts cry out to you for mercy for this nation and the world. We need to see the power of our Lord Jesus Christ in the lives of your people who as your children without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation hold fast to the word of Life. Shine the light of Christ through us that draws others to Him. Fill us with the power of your Spirit of grace, love, joy and peace. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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