Signs of Love

(August, 2010, six months before starting this WordPress blog)

Sitting in front of this new computer that bears no name—only a logo—I have determined that I will not fall in love with this thing. Thankfully, this is not the same temptation I had several years ago when we purchased a used Lexus.  It was a simple, clean-lined automobile but beautiful in my eyes from the moment I saw it, sat in it, and drove it.  Its satin ivory color was similar to this machine.  We purchased it at the Toyota dealership near us. Jerry and his brother returned it when it continued leaking oil and could not be repaired. I so wanted to keep that car because of its design and its special interior features.  Although I was not the least interested in the used gray Infiniti they brought home in its place, it has been a comfortable, dependable vehicle I have been blessed to drive for many years . The infatuation with the other car is revealed whenever I see others of that same model.  I can spot it anywhere. The Lord must have given me the experience so that I would know my proneness to such temptation.

Love at First Byte
Since we bought this no-name computer I have yet to speak to anyone who has not said that they “love” theirs.  Those who have family members with these machines also say that their brother and daughter “love” theirs.  For some it may have been love at first byte.  Understanding that when a person speaks of a thing that they “love,” it is much the same way in which the word “luck” is used; words that we hear often we seem to make part of our vocabulary.   We hear Christians speak of their being “lucky” instead of thinking or speaking of God’s sovereign goodness and blessing.

It used to be that the signs of love were seen on a person’s finger.  Former infatuations may have preceded and fallen by the wayside before that special person came into our lives with whom we covenanted to love “until death do us part.” Temporary signs are seen in a bouquet of flowers or other special gifts; and in faces that light up when we see or speak of the person we love; and in the wedding invitations and the ceremony.  But years of commitment through the hard times are the true signs of love in a marriage.

As I continue through this wilderness  into which our first parents brought us, I see many signs of love for the things of this world but not many signs of love for the things of God.  I hear much spoken of things that we love here on this earth, but not many things spoken about the things of God and heaven.  The signs of love for these things among the brethren of Christ are evident to unbelievers who love the same things.  A scripture reference in Revelation speaks of “the mark of the beast on the forehead or the hand,” and the “merchants that buy and sell,” even “the souls of men.”

Our heavenly Father has never said that we cannot have, or enjoy the earthly things, but to recognize that they are blessings from Him.  Knowing what our temptations would be, He has not only instructed us in how we are to look at these things, but He has given us a Savior and His Holy Spirit to work in us the deliverance from loving what is temporal, perishable, and corruptible. Neither of us is exempt from the temptations, and few are able to resist the things that we face everyday, whether they come by name or logo.  If we can’t afford to buy them, we are tempted to covet them.

When our last computer died, I had hoped for this special computer which our pastor used and spoke of, (although I never heard him say that he loved his); but because Jerry was leaning toward a PC to replace the other one, the Lord enabled me to accept his leading.  It did not matter what kind we bought, except that it be of equal quality as our last one.  As the Lord worked through our pastor and Jerry to give us this one, I am committed to pray that it will not become a love object but the blessing that He has given for me to use for His glory.

I pray that as I become familiar with this machine that I can use it for the hallowing of His name, to speak of His kingdom, His grace, His love, and His glory, according to His will. I pray that it will be used to bring others to know and love the one who knows and loves us with an unfathomable love, our Father who has our “names written in the palm of His hand,” and in “the Lamb’s book of life;” and to know the Son, Jesus Christ, who, through His sacrifice, has given us the signs of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper to remember His love, forgiveness of sin, and the eternal inheritance that He has promised us in His Word.

I pray that we, together, will continue to “grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”—that knowledge through which we are given “all things that pertain to life and godliness”—for His glory and our joy.

Fran 8/31/10   (Unedited excerpt from Growing Up and Growing Old, Gracefully)

Free to Love

(Introduction The Danger of Freedom and Bound by Grace brings us to this last post on the matter of freedom.)

When God sent Moses to Egypt, He had a single purpose for delivering the Israelites from their bondage. Like Adam and Eve, acting in rebellion against Him, they had been taken into captivity. For seventy years they had been in slavery (the same number of years they had rebelled against God’s Word in profaning the Sabbath).

It was an act of God’s grace, through Moses, that they were led out of Egypt to serve Him, to worship Him, to be brought into a land of promise – a new land where they would know the freedom God wanted for them.

Shortly after given this freedom from their hard labor, they rebelled against Moses’ leadership, even asking to go back to Egypt. They did not trust God to provide for them. Neither did they worship Him according to His will.
At Mt. Sinai, the multitude influenced Aaron to make a golden image and sinned in their idol-worship. They never experienced the reality of freedom. It was only the second generation that survived and entered the land of Canaan under Joshua’s leadership.

The Law presented at Mt. Sinai, was not written in stone for their freedom. It was God’s means of showing them and future generations His kingdom of love. Through His law, He planned to bring to Himself a helpless and hopeless people who knew they could not live in full obedience to His Law. Even as He proved Adam and Eve helpless without His continual presence and leading, so He proved man cannot live in obedience to His will except by His continual power spiritually working in them. In Ezekiel 36:26, He promised He would displace the stony heart of man with a new heart and spirit.

A New Covenant
The writer of Hebrews quoted to the Hebrew Christians the promise of a new covenant in Jeremiah 31:33 to the house of Israel. The Law through Moses was the old covenant – the Old Testament revelation of God’s kingdom. The new covenant would be written in their hearts.

For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:8-10, 13

This new covenant — the New Testament revelation — is a covenant of redemption through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. His death was counted as the punishment for our sins – a propitiation (1 John 4:10).

His sacrifice was planned to appease the wrath of God and set us free from condemnation under the law and from the power of sin.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4

The Covenant of Grace
This new covenant is the Covenant of Grace, by which He binds us to Himself and through which, we are delivered from our bondage to serve Him. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that fills His people with the desire and the freedom to obey His written Law. It is the new heart and a new spirit that loves as God loves – a heart that loves His law (Psalm 1) and a spirit that rejoices to live in obedience to Him.

As we are bound to Him through His covenant, we are free to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Every hindrance has been removed that would keep us from loving Him and others.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

  But if you are led of the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:1, 13-18

Those led by the Spirit of truth (John 16:13) understand that the law is written in our hearts; as we meditate on His Law – His Word, we hide it in our hearts so that we will not sin against Him (Psalm 119:11). We are not under the law but we live freely under the power of His Spirit to love Him and others; we establish the law (Romans 3:31) by faith in His salvation from the bondage of sin.

Dear heavenly Father, you bought us by the blood of your Son.  You sought us as your lost sheep, brought us to yourself, bound us by your Covenant of Grace, and taught us the law of your kingdom so that we live freely in love and obedience within a corrupt society. Guide us each day by your Holy Spirit. Let us love as you love – for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran
O Wretched Creature That I Am

Images: Google

Things the World Does Not Need to Know

The airwaves are contaminated with information that is clouding the heavens and the earth, shutting out the goodness and glory of the Lord our God. The world is polluted with a poison that spews from the heart, lips, and fingers. Instead of using social media as a place for our secrets, our complaints or our achievements, let us be spreading the Good News of Life in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Should there be a difference in what we as Christians make public?
How do we determine what we share through social media?

These questions led me to search God’s Word for what He wants us to publicize. We will look at four areas: Our deepest secrets and sins; oudisappointments; our fears and anger; our achievements.
As we scan the following references, let us stop and meditate on those we should heed.

Our Deepest Secrets and Sins
Many consider that sharing our sins before the world can make others feel better about themselves. Let us read what our Lord has to say about our sins.

 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Isaiah 43:25

He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: Galatians 1:4

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Ephesians 1:7

What We Should Remember and Share with Others
We learn from the following references that we are to confess our sins to the Lord.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:1

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19

We have been quickened (brought to new life) who were dead in trespasses and sinsEphesians 2:1

When James 5:16 speaks of confessing our faults one to another, this does not mean the sins of which we have been forgiven. He is speaking of needs in present circumstances when in times of prayer for one another. This might also relate to the confession of faults against one another.

Disappointments and Sorrows
If we continue to talk about our disappointments – either from childhood or as adults – about our griefs, and sorrows – our minds and hearts will not heal.
What does the Bible teach us about these things?

Our comfort is given by the Lord through His Word and His Spirit.

 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. Psalm 119:50

Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Psalm 119:76

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

One of the most remembered references is Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19

Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit as the Comforter in His place

 

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

We see in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 the means of comfort in the body of Christ among believers.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Our Fears and Anxiety
Fear turns into anger toward those we think are responsible for the ills and chaos of the world. Social media is the means for many to strike out — to make their anger known. This does not alleviate the problems that cause our distress. It simply causes more upheaval.
What should we do as believers, followers of Christ our Lord?

Paul wrote the following to the Philippian believers.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9

I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

Our Achievements
As children of our heavenly Father, we need not boast of our accomplishments. All that we have is of His mercy and grace and for His glory.

For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:43

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boastersproud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2

Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. Psalm 49:12

 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Daniel 4:37

The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Psalm 12:3

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. Proverbs 27:2

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

 

Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power,
and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:
for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine;
thine is the kingdom, O Lord,
and thou art exalted as head above all.
1 Chronicles 29:11

Dear Father in heaven, search us and know our hearts, try us and know our thoughts and see what is in us that needs to be displaced with your thoughts and words. Forgive us for wasting your time and the talents you have given us; enable us to use the means of communication in this world to proclaim your love, truth, grace, righteousness, and glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Images: Google

What the Holy Bible Says about The Word of GOD

Second in the series What the Holy Bible Says is available on Amazon.

What the Holy Bible Says about The Word of GOD follows What the Holy Bible Says about LIGHT, published two years ago

Both are devotional studies using references from Strong’s Concordance with questions and suggestions for discovering what God has to say about these topics. The first study on LIGHT is a ten-week study.

The second study on The Word of GOD is a twenty-six-week study. It not only involves a longer time than the first book but will produce a greater understanding of who God is, what He spoke and reveals about Himself.  Going through this study twice, I have experienced a deep humility and relationship with God which I did not have before. This devotional study starts slow but quickens its pace and brings the reader to a greater knowledge of the Word of God. It ends with fullness and joy, giving the student a bountiful love for God and His Word.

(The third study, not published, is What the Holy Bible Says about LIFE.)

The first two books are in paperback and Ebook with others on Amazon.
We began publishing two years ago as a means to archive our work in proclaiming the legacy of God’s kingdom to future generations. Profits from sales are designated for missions and charity. Free copies of any book are available to those who cannot afford to buy.

Dear Father in heaven, we praise you for another opportunity to share the truth of your Word. We pray for your Holy Spirit to lead readers to know you through this study. In Jesus’ name, we pray, thank you and praise you. Amen.

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.

Words of Life ~ AMEN

AMEN  may well be the most used word in the Christian vocabulary; one of simple exclamation for what we believe is true; in answer to, or addition to, things with which we agree.

It seems fitting to end the year in our series Words of Life with the word AMEN.

It is also interesting that I did not plan it. We began in July sharing this list once a week, from word to word, without knowing where each one would fit. So, in His providence, let us look at what the Lord has for us in this word now and in the coming year.

Old Testament H543
Strong’s Concordance defines AMEN ‘amen ä·mān’ verily, truly, so be it.
It is the same word used for truth.

The word AMEN is found in 24 verses of the Old Testament, 12 of these are found in Deuteronomy after each of the curses.
We want to concentrate on the following verses which use the word AMEN twice. These verses begin with the word “Blessed” referring to the Lord God and His name, ending with a double AMEN.

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, and Amen.” Psalm 41:13

“And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.” Psalm 72:19

New Testament G281
“The word “amen” is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best known word in human speech. The word is directly related — in fact, almost identical — to the Hebrew word for “believe” (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean “sure” or “truly”, an expression of absolute trust and confidence. — HMM”

It came to be used as an adverb by which something is asserted or confirmed: at the beginning of a discourse, surely, of a truth, truly; so frequent in the discourses of Christ in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.” Blueletter Bible

The Greek word is the same for verily. Until this research, I did not realize that Jesus prefaced all His teachings with the word, verily, verily. Verily is used at the beginning of a sentence; Amen at the end to verify the truth of a statement.

The first use of AMEN is quoted by Jesus after His prayer given to His disciples; appropriate, as His prayer was to our Father in heaven.

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen (Matthew 6:13).

The second time is “And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. AmenMatthew 28:20  

The last of the gospels to record the word AMEN is John’s statement summing up Jesus’ ministry.

“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” John 21:22

In the remainder of the New Testament, more AMENs (29) are attributed to the apostle Paul than to any other author, most of these in his letter to the Romans (not surprising, since more of the New Testament is attributed to him than any other author.) Below are a few of these.

 “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

 “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.” 2 Corinthians 1:20

 “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” 2 Corinthians 13:14

 “To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:5

 “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:21

 “Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Philippians 4:20

 “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17

 “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:16

Peter uses the word 4 times.

“That God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11

 “To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:11

 “Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:14

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18

John ends his first two letters with AMEN (1 John 5:21;  2 John 13).

The writer of Hebrews ends the letter with a prayer and an AMEN.

“Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”Hebrews 13:21

It is fitting that the last book of God’s Word would use the word 9 times. The last two verses of the Bible end with AMEN.

“Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.” Revelation 7:12

“And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.” Revelation 19:4

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” Revelation 22:20

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” Revelation 22:21

As we end another year of our Lord, 2018, let us sound a strong “AMEN” to His sovereign grace and rule over all things. Let us be grateful for His presence and His blessings this year. Let us echo the AMENs of the writers of His precious Word.

As we enter a new year, let us be in anticipation, with a verily, verily to what He has planned. Let us practice our AMENs, begin praising Him for whatever may be ahead and focus on Him and His Word; not ourselves and our circumstances.

Gracious Father, thank you for giving us what seems to be a simple word, yet packed with power. Fill us with your Spirit to know, accept, and submit to your Word. Enable us to not only say “Amen” to all that you speak to us but to live in agreement with all that we read in your Word. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran
Jude 24-25 Music