I am grateful to be able to share our pastor’s recent sermon from 1 John 2. Abiding and holding fast to Christ is not readily understood or experienced in the lives of many Christians today. This 45-minute message will encourage and strengthen your heart and spirit to experience the fellowship we have with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Or, you can download audio here.
“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world,
but for those whom you have given me. They are yours.
All mine are yours, and yours are mine.
And I am glorified in them.”
In our continued study of An Excavation of John 17, we find Jesus’ prayer to the heavenly Father. Before His crucifixion, He gave His disciples a clear understanding of His union with the Father “before the world was” and His purpose for being here. He did not pray for everybody.
“And she will bring forth a Son,
and you shall call His name Jesus,
for He will save His people from their sins.”
It is clear in Jesus’ prayer who was included and who was excluded.
He said, “I pray for them” – identified in the first three verses and throughout His prayer as “those” whom the Father had given Him. The purpose for the Father giving the men to Jesus, His Son, is so He would give them “eternal life.” (vs. 2)
Jesus specifically states, “I do not pray for the world.
Jesus did not give the Father’s Word and eternal life to the world but only to those men given to Him. They heard and believed. They received this truth from Him, knowing “the Father and Jesus Christ whom He sent.” (vs. 3)
“I have given them Your word;
and the world has hated them
because they are not of the world,
just as I am not of the world.” (vs. 14)
“I do not pray for these alone,
but also for those who will believe in Me
through their word;” (vs. 20)
We find many references to His prayers. Few others were heard and recorded by His disciples, His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and the brief statement at Lazarus’ resurrection are two others.
His purpose for being here was to set up His kingdom and prepare His people for eternity with Him and His Father. Through Him we who once were disobedient, living in and of the world, have become a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. We are a special people to Him, to proclaim the praises of Him who brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light — the people of God.” 1 Pet. 2:9-10
CHOSEN BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD
“ just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,” (Eph. 1:4-5)
BEFORE TIME BEGAN
“who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,” 2 Tim.1:9
There are many more references that teach the difference in God’s people and the world. (Psalm 1)
Jesus said, “They are yours.” He added, “Mine are yours and yours are mine.” As the Father and Son were one, having the same glory before the creation, the Father has given all to the Son in heaven and on earth. Jesus is glorified in His followers and will “bring many sons to glory with Him” in heaven. (Heb. 2:10-11)
If you believe and follow the humble Lamb of God, you can rejoice that Jesus prayed for you. He continues as our High Priest to pray for us at the right hand of the Father in heaven. We have the same privilege Jesus gave His disciples in The Lord’s Prayer. Many people quote this prayer without understanding its meaning between the Father and His children — those who are born of the Spirit as disciples of His Son. We belong to Christ and are one with Him and the Father.
Heavenly Father, we are blessed to know that you chose a people for yourself. We praise you for revealing Jesus to us, giving us eternal life in Him, giving us a new heart and a new spirit – bringing us to the light and writing on our hearts the truth of your Word. Let us proclaim your name and your kingdom of light in a dark world. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
How much protein does my body need?
We are continually alerted by the experts with information for what we need to live a healthy physical life. Yet, no matter how knowledgeable we are as human beings and how hard we try to take care of ourselves, there is a limit to the years we live in the flesh.
Jesus Christ, the giver of eternal life has much to say about how to live forever; but the majority of people don’t want to hear. We want to live here and now our own way ~ forget later. What will satisfy me now? We trust others like us to tell us.
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God,
“That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread, Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the Lord.”
If I have your attention, I want to share what I think Jesus meant when He quoted from Deuteronomy in Matthew 4:4.
After living in the desert forty days and forty nights without bread or water, He said to the devil who wanted Him to prove He was the Son of God by turning stones into bread ~
“Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Man ~ God’s creation ~ was made with an inner, spiritual need for his Creator. He was made in the image of God, filled with His Spirit to become a living soul through His power. This power was passed down from Adam’s generation to his posterity. Men still breathe through this same Spirit from generation to generation. His Spirit within us needs be to be fed and given new life.
Souls are living in poverty and dying in despair for lack of knowledge and resources for true life.
Today, I am especially asking, “What are the ingredients of His Word.” What are we needing that is so detrimental to the human spirit and soul? What are the nutrients and power for all of life provided in His Word?
I share only a few in this post.
Jesus said to those who believed in Him,
“If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The world is destitute of “truth.” We have an abundance of truth in Jesus Christ. For centuries the gospel, the good news of Christ, has been broadcast to all nations. The knowledge of the truth was sent by God to His creation in His Son. His Spirit gives this truth to those who are awakened to their need (their soul’s hunger) drawing them to God’s Word. To those who come to Him accepting His Son as their Savior, their mediator, and giver of eternal life, He opens His storehouse and fountain of living water.
Nothing is held back from those who admit their need, submit themselves to His care, and commit their lives to Him. He supplies every need of those who come to Him through Christ and the power of His Spirit.
Truth being the main ingredient, from Christ who is the “truth,” we see our need for righteousness. In the sermon on the mount Jesus spoke of the need for what we eat, what we drink, and for clothing. He assured His disciples that our heavenly Father would provide these material things if we first desire and ask for the spiritual things.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,
and all these things shall be added to you.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.”
It is a renewed relationship between a Father and His children that satisfies and gratifies the soul, and provides for all our needs ~ physically and spiritually.
Truth reveals the need and supply of love. Where most people look for what they think is love, God, our Father, who is love, feeds us with His love through His Spirit and His Son. Through this knowledge, truth, and love we experience a fulness we have never known.
“Nothing can separate us from the love of God (our Father)
which is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.“
In truth, righteousness, and love, a joy is given to prove our satisfaction of our Father’s righteousness, love and fulness.
“Strenthened with all might according to His glorious power
for all patience and long-suffering with JOY.”
In this relationship between our Father and His children, He establishes His peace within us. He continues to feed and fill us with Himself, transforming us by the renewing of our minds through His Word and Spirit. It is His fulness that conforms us to His image ~ and fulfills His purpose for our creation and redemption in Christ.
God’s Word reveals the storehouse of His provisions for us as His children, now and forever. We could also write about faith, obedience, hope, and many more.
We must take His Word in hand as His search engine, to find all He has prepared for those who come to Him.
“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all,
how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Dear Father in heaven, you have held nothing back from your children, promising to give us your kingdom. Thank you for revealing our needs and your provisions for this life and for the life to come. We praise you for your presence and power with us always, so we are never lacking anything we need. Keep us fruitful; able to share what we have with others. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
“You are the strength of heart and my portion, forever.”
Thirty years ago I was drawn to God’s Word to discover things I had never heard. Through adversity, God began to show me great and mighty things I had never known (Jer. 33:3). After searching different religions, including psychology, I came back to the roots of a poor, meager Christian faith that was never stoked and fed.
We live in a world that brings us to see our need for something beyond our understanding. It stirs up a fire that cries for help. If we come to His Word, God uses it in our adversity to burn away the dross of ourselves. Our anguish either turns us to seek the truth or it destroys us and others in the process. When we turn to Him, He uses our helplessness for His glory and our good.
Through years of study and prayer over God’s Word, I begian my life as a writer by formatting for chosen groups what I was learning. This happened to be for middle school students in our church and for youth discipleship groups.
In August 1992, what I was writing from head knowledge, became a fire of truth in my very soul. I know what Jesus meant when He said, “You must be born of the Spirit.” Some may say that the ember of faith was rekindled. Perhaps. It does not matter whether from an old faith that was put aside or from a totally new spark from God’s Word and His Spirit, there was a welling up of TRUTH within me that lighted a fire and new life that would feed on His Word and bear fruit to this day. I vividly remember my first writing of TRUTH. It was more than my thoughts could contain.
The whole gist of those years was “TRUTH cannot be contained.” Yet, it seemed then as if buried for many generations. I left those notes to continue in my search for TRUTH believing that it could not stay buried but one day would have to explode. You cannot bury TRUTH, just as you can’t bury LIFE.
The enemy has succeeded in hiding TRUTH from God’s creatures for thousands of years, but the power of God in His TRUTH is beginning to accumulate among His people. Those who continue in His Word know the TRUTH and are being set free.
The world has its volcanoes – the nation of America being one of the most volatile. It seems the emotions of human nature are overflowing with the lava of hell itself.
The world can only see what men are doing to themselves. They cannot see what God has planned and is doing at this very moment.
I write this post today as I am led to stir this fire of TRUTH in the hearts of His people who read this.
We as individuals have little power over “the powers that be.” Recent news uncovers things happening in this world that are beyond my imagination – things not worth repeating.
Repetition of the promises of our heavenly Father overpower the words of the enemy.
“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” – that lies in wickedness.”
God’s kingdom rules in the middle of the turmoil. In and through what we are seeing of man’s exploits and deviations is the working of His power stirring up His church. I know this because my church and I am part of this volcanic explosion of TRUTH.
Deuteronomy 29:29 was one of the truths I discovered in those first years of new life.
“The secrets belong to God but are revealed to us and our children.”
They are revealed as we continue in His Word – “you are truly my disciples”—children of God—1 John 3:1-3. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Free from what and free for what?
We are freed from deception and death. We are free to LIVE in light of TRUTH. TRUTH works the power of God in His people.
So, let us believe beyond what we can ask or think, of His kingdom in the lowest part of this volcanic action happening in our nation bursting through in an explosion of JOY to His glory.
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
Lord willing, I will share how our heavenly Father is working in His church today.
In the meantime, I would share with you the link to our pastor’s present series on Philippians in our morning worship and Raising Godly Children in the evening. You would be blessed to see what the Lord is doing in our midst for humility, unity, and joy to His glory.
Please begin to pray this prayer for His church with us. He is beginning a great and mighty work.
That we may be “FILLED with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that we may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with JOY;” Colossians 1:9-11
Gracious Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done in earth as it is in heaven. You have set your throne in the heavens and your kingdom rules over all. From the rising of the sun to its setting, we praise you. Stir up your Spirit within the hearts of your people, gather us before your throne to praise you. Let our fervent prayers to your throne of mercy bring lightnings, thundering, and earthquakes to this earth, the power of your TRUTH and LIFE in us through Jesus our Lord surge and bring forth your JOY through us to your glory. Let the world know who you are in us. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Jesus suffered and died that we may be free from the threat of eternal death. How do we live in light of the truth of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Everyone is absorbed in something. It may only be “self.”
It is no secret that our minds and hearts soak in what we see, read, hear, and think. Without a desire for what is good and the means to attain it, we are continually saturated with the things of the world. These are our gods ~ second to self ~ and rule our lives. This lifestyle is one of oppression that suppresses all that is good and true and leads to depression and destruction.
But, life does not have to be this way.
God, our Creator, planned a beautiful life for fellowship with Him. Though our first parents rejected Him choosing a life of sin and rebellion, we have a new life provided for us in His Son, Jesus Christ.
He gives us His Spirit and His Word whereby we can know Him and receive all He planned for us. He promises to share his bountiful kingdom with us (Luke 12:32).
Through our study of His Word, we are led by His Holy Spirit to communicate with him in prayer and supplication. He continues to pour out His blessings upon us as we acknowledge Him as our Father and Redeemer.
We Do Not Know How to Pray
Romans 8:26-27 teaches us that though we do not know how to pray, His Holy Spirit intercedes through us. Prayer is a matter of commitment and discipline of time with our heavenly Father, seeking His Spirit, His presence, and His will. He calls us to fellowship with Him in His Word so as to know what we should ask.
We ask, believing what He has promised, thanking Him as we wait for Him to fulfill His promise. When we come to Him, in humility and gratitude for who He is, speaking His Word, and interceding for others, we know He hears us. In the process, our faithful and fervent prayers turn to praise.
“But you are holy,
Enthroned in the praises of Israel.”
We cannot but praise Him when we live in fellowship with Him. The more we pray in the Spirit and with understanding of His Word, the more we will praise Him.
The phrase, “absorbed in prayer and praise” is found within the lyrics of the hymn Crown Him with Many Crowns by Matthew Bridges 1851.
Crown him the Lord of peace!
Whose power a scepter sways,
From pole to pole,–that wars may cease,
Absorbed in prayer and praise:
His reign shall know no end,
And round his pierced feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.
At times, His presence may be overwhelming ~ it may seem as if heaven is opened to reveal a glimpse of His glory. This is a taste of heaven ~ a precious and joyful communion with Him.
More time in prayer and praise leads to a habitual lifestyle of obedience, continual trust, and dependence on Him. It may take years before we experience the depth and height of this life in Christ, but it is worth the practice and the wait.
Gracious Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Make us know your presence and power as we daily seek your kingdom and your righteousness. Let us not miss anything you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
We are excited to publish our granddaughter’s first art book Where Jesus Is.
Today through Friday, you can download and share the kindle version free.
Next week it will be listed for $5.99.
It will be available soon in paperback and hardbound.
We hope to do versions for men and children and audio.
Used as a means for memorization and meditation, we trust the Holy Spirit to use God’s Word in and through us to conform us to His image.
Daily doses serve to prepare us for the rule of Christ within us.
Please pray that we, as God’s children and followers of Christ, will use this little book personally, and with our families, to arm ourselves against temptation and the powers and principalities of this world. He lives forever ruling in heaven ~ and by His Holy Spirit and Word within us, we are His kings and priests in this world.
Praying this morning on the eve of another Lord’s Day, praising God, my Father, desiring His name to be hallowed, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, and His will to be done here on earth, it was with worship in mind.
Tomorrow He will meet with us who are gathered in the name of our Lord on the day of our Lord, January 10, 2021. This Eve has become a day of preparation for me, remembering that every day is the day of our Lord for over two thousand years. But, specifically, the first day of the week belongs to Him. According to His atoning work, we, who are His by grace, plan for this day to honor Him. He is the beginning of eternal life for us through His death and resurrection.
So, what difference does it make if I honor Him on His day? And what happens in this celebration of His atoning work of grace? New thoughts came to mind as I prayed for Chris, our pastor. He has specifically asked for prayer that He may preach more faithfully, more pointedly, and more Christ-centeredly. Daily praying for the Holy Spirit to work in Him in His preparation to preach the word in power, we pray more fervently the day before for the sword of God’s Word that will pierce our hearts. We pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts to receive the truth of His Word and that it will find its resting place to root and grow and produce its fruit in and through us as His children.
This means more than just saying “Amen” to what we hear. A prepared heart comes to listen to what our Father has given His servant for us. If we “have an ear to hear,” we will take in what He intends to reveal of Himself. The truth in the power of His Word will change our minds and hearts and conform them to His.
So, why do I need to be in church? The church is the place for gathering God’s people to honor His Son and receive the eternal life He came to give. It is the place of His worship and His Word. I need to know and hear from heaven the Father/Creator and Redeemer of my soul. The church was His plan, not man’s. We need under-shepherds who know Christ and the life He came to give His people, who are filled with the Holy Spirit, and who feed His sheep with the manna from heaven.
I need the cutting edge of the sword of His Word, not to desire what makes me feel good about myself, nor to be entertained, but to have all sense of pride and deception stripped from my being. I need to be cleansed of thoughts of, and plans for, myself.
Individual reading and study are good, but these are not all we need. We need the “body of Christ” listening collectively to how He plans to shape us into His image.
Christ died and rose again to give us His life, that we may live through Him (1 Jn. 4:9). The more we know of Him as revealed through the preaching of His Word, the more we become like Him, understanding the reality of His dwelling in us and our dwelling in Him (1 Jn. 4:13; Jn. 14:17, 23), Filled with Grace ~ Wrapped in Glory.)
The supernatural, spiritual work in His incarnation, His resurrection, and His ascension is the same divine power working in us through the sword of His Spirit ~ the Holy Spirit working His Word in our hearts and lives.
His sanctifies us individually and collectively.
We must submit ourselves to the weekly preaching of God’s Word to know His transforming power in the days ahead, lest we lose ourselves in the overwhelming chaos and uncertainty of the world. His Word defines who we are in Christ. We must plan, prepare, and anticipate a newness of life in Christ we have hardly known.
Dear Father, we ask for the unction of your Holy Spirit for the preaching of your Word tomorrow. Prepare our hearts to receive what you have given your ministers. Enable us to receive the truth of your Word for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. Let us willingly accept what your Word reveals of the intentions of our hearts, deliver us from our sins, and conform us to the image of Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.
It has been four months since the initial post, An Excavation of John 17 ~ Unearthing the Truths of the Atonement.
Memorization and meditation on the first three verses of John 17 revealed more than we expected to find. In each of the first three verses, we had to stop and wonder what we had uncovered.
We have been telling others what we found and bid all come to see this truth of “eternal life” and how this has come to be.
From the first verse of John 17, we see a three-way relationship. Jesus is the central figure and the mediator in this relationship between the Father and us.
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son that your Son also may glorify you.’”
Jesus has finished his three-year ministry of teaching His disciples who He is and why He was here. He turns from the world to look toward heaven, to His Father, His former home, His glory which He had with His Father and to which He will soon return. He acknowledges the preset time, “the hour,” that He will die and give His life (eternal life) as a ransom for those who belong to Him.
“as you have given him authority over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him.”
A fundamental truth discovered in verse 2 is to be considered most important in two ways.
The Father/Creator has given His Son “authority over all flesh.” His life was prepared before the foundation of the world, to be sacrificed and given as “eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him.” Jesus’ authority over all flesh is a distinct rule over all people. This authority relates to the Father’s desires for those who are to receive the eternal life Jesus is soon to give. We find an explanation of “eternal life” in verse 3 but there is more to be understood.
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
We find many references for the words “eternal life” and the word “know.” Eternal life in Jesus Christ is given only through an intimate relationship with the Father and the Son at the Father’s initiation. The Father gives a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) to those He has given to His Son. Eternal life is a different life, making us new creatures in Him and He in us ~ a life that has no end ~ portrayed here by the life of Christ in and through His people. It is the “new birth” ~ the life of the Spirit preparing us for eternity with Him.
As we have discovered new facets of His glory, we understand that eternal life is through the revelation and the power of His Word. The disciples received the words Jesus had spoken to them. As we continue digging for the truths of eternal life, we will learn more of the nature and details of this treasure of the powerful life brought to earth in Christ.
Simon Peter later, when asked if they would leave Him as the others had, replied, “To whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68
Jesus said in John 6:63, “My words are spirit, and they are life.”It is good that we have come to this remarkable discovery ~ more than we could ask or imagine. We shall report as often as we can of new findings.
Father in heaven, you continue to bring us to our knees in awe and reverence of you and Christ whom you sent. We praise you for giving us to your Son to reveal your grace and glory and the power of your written word and your living Word, Jesus, in whose name, we pray. Amen.
How can we have the mind of Christ?
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” Eph. 2:1-3
Both Christ and His enemy (Matt. 4:8-10) claim power in this world.
“Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.” Jn. 17:1-2
Jesus told His disciples, “All authority (power KJV) has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matt: 28:18 (See also Hebrews 1:3)
Scripture clearly describes those who are controlled by the spirit of this world and those who are led by God’s Spirit through Jesus Christ, His Son.
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.” Col. 1:21-22
The Bible teaches that believers in Christ are born of His Spirit, and willingly submit to Him for the transforming of their minds.
“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Ps. 110:3
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:17-18.
In the transforming of our minds through His Spirit and His Word, we have wisdom and knowledge as weapons against the strongholds of our minds ~ to exercise the mind of Christ daily and ready to use this power against the enemy of our souls.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the [wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13
Our strength and power are from the Lord to withstand the assaults of the enemy.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
The power by which He was raised from the dead is the same power that raises us to new life, filling us with His grace while the world lives in fear and confusion.
Gracious Father, we need your almighty power to overcome the deception and lies of the enemy. Keep us in communion with you and teach us your Word. Let us memorize, meditate on, and know how to speak your truths in this world of evil and darkness. We praise you for transforming us by renewing our minds. Let us exercise daily the mind of Christ, always ready to use the Sword of the Spirit to defend your truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.