4: The Essentiality of God as FATHER

Where are the fathers of those rioting in the streets?
Who are the fathers who sired aborted babies?
Why do fathers desert their children?
How does the world describe a father?
When will fathers come to understand who they are?
Is the father’s relationship with his child essential?
What is a father?

These are questions difficult to answer by common man ~ by common, I mean those who do not know God as their heavenly Father.

 “There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.” Proverbs 30:11

The ordinary understanding of the word “father” is of one who sires a child by progeneration.

“The begetting of offspring; procreation, reproduction.” Lexico

Without a Biblical worldview, we cannot get past this definition to understand the true purpose of a father and his relationship with his offspring.

We must search the Scriptures to discover what it truly means to be a father.

In this fourth chapter of The Essentiality of God, we hope to show how God is our heavenly Father and His example for His people. We will consider the difference in a father as the world portrays it and how God, our heavenly Father reveals the true example.

“Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me.” Isaiah 43:27

In Isaiah, we have this statement from the LORD of the first man’s disobedience to Him.

God, who created Adam, was his father and since then because of his sin, men do not know who they are. He was the representative of fallen men and in him we see the propensity, the proneness to sin and disobedience. Man continues to live outside the parameters of His boundaries, doing whatever comes naturally without considering the consequences.

We have only a few references in the Old Testament relating to God as father.

“A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in his holy habitation.” Psalm 68:5

“He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation.” Psalm 89:26

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

“But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8

“For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” Proverbs 3:12

“When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” Psalm 27:10

  New Testament references to our heavenly Father

“Our Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
“Not a sparrow falls on the ground without our Father.” Matthew 10:29
“There is but one God, the Father.” 1 Corinthians 8:6
“The Father gives the Comforter.” John 14:16
“He is the Father of mercies.” 2 Corinthians 1:3
“He is the Father of glory,” Ephesians 1:17
“He is the Father of spirits.” Hebrews 12:9
“He is the Father of lights.” James 1:17

  The relationship between the Father and Jesus, His Son.

“The Father reveals the Son.” Matthew 16:17
“No man knows who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” Luke 10:22
“The only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, has declared him.” John 1:18
“The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand.” John 3:35
“The Father has life in himself; and gives life to the Son.” John 5:26
The works which the Father hath given the Son are the witness that the Father sent Him.” John 5:36
“I am come in my Father‘s name” John 5:43
Jesus said, ‘I must be about my Father‘s business?” Luke 2:49
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me” John 6:37
“No man can come to Jesus except the Father draw him.” John 6:
“my Father hath taught me. John 8:28
“my Father honoureth me John 8:54

“Therefore doth my Father love me,
because I lay down my life,
that I might take it again.”
John 10:17

“I and my Father are one.” John 10:30
“the Father is in me, and I in him.” John 10:38
“if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” John 12:26
“Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”John 14:6
“he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” John 14:9
“The Father is glorified in the Son” John 14:13
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” John 15:1
“the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, testifies of the Son:” John 15:26
“I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” John 16:32z
“The Father, keeps those He has given to the Son that we may be as one, as they are.” John 17:11
“I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.” John 20:17
“as our Father sent Him, even so He sends us.” John 20:21
“the seasons, the Father has put in Jesus’ power.” Acts 1:7
“Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father.” Romans 6:4
“He is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:31
“For through Christ we have access by one Spirit unto the Father.” Ephesians 2:18
“His disciples waited for the promise of the Father,” Acts 1:4
“the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world”. 1 John 4:14
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7
“Those who overcome will rule with Him as He is “set down with his Father in his throne.” Revelation 3:21
“The Son shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels;”   Matthew 16:27
“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.” 1 Corinthians 15:24

The Father’s relationship to us as His children.

Behold, what manner of love
the Father hath bestowed upon us,

that we should be called the sons of God.”
1 John 3:1

“We are children of our Father which is in heaven:”  Matthew 5:45
“He is a Father to us and we are His sons and daughters.” 2 Corinthians 6:18
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6
“We pray to the Father which is in secret.”  Matthew 6:6
“Our Father knows what we need before we ask him.” Matthew 6:8
We are to pray, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Matthew 6:9
“We forgive as our heavenly Father forgives us.  Matthew 6:14
“We are to be merciful even as our Father is merciful”. Luke 6:36
“Those who enter into the kingdom of heaven are those who do the will of the Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21
“Grace and peace are according to the will of our Father.” Galatians 1:3

“Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works,

and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16

“And call no man your father upon the earth:
for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Matthew 23:9

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings
in heavenly places in Christ:”
Ephesians 1:3

“It is our Father‘s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.” Luke 12:32
“The Father gives the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” Luke 11:13
“having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost,” Acts 2:33
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15
“True worshippers worship the Father in spirit and in truth:”John 4:23
“With one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:6
“The Father is glorified when we bear much fruit.” John 15:8
“he that acknowledges the Son hath the Father also.” 1 John 2:23
“We are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ Jude 1:1
“our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3
“We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ.” 1 John 2:1
“He has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father.” Revelation 1:6

O, Father in heaven, it is all so wonderful to share what you give us as your children ~ that we may know you, and our Lord and Savior whom you sent to bring us to yourself by the power of your Holy Spirit. That we may call you Abba, Father as we know your love for us is more than we can understand. Continue to overwhelm us with the greatness of your redeeming love. Keep us humble so you can reveal yourself in us as your children. Bring others to yourself through us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Pixabay

 

An Excavation of John 17 ~ Unearthing the Truths of the Atonement

As I have read through the Bible every year for years on end, grace has abounded to me in wisdom and understanding. With the aid of the Holy Spirit, the finger of God pointed out certain truths. Light was shone on the things that seemed to matter each year as I read.

In the Old Testament, the chapter I could not get through without lingering and memorizing was Isaiah 53.

In these last days, even as I meditate on other parts of God’s Word, I have not been able to get past John 17.

Memorization and meditation have required me to stop so as to know that I am standing on solid ground. That is not enough. This hard surface needs to be broken up. There are layers here, a covering over of the truth hidden for centuries. The atoning work of Christ has been trampled underfoot. Buried deep within the world’s way of education are the nuggets of truth we now have to dig for.

John 17 is a source of one of these truths, but without this main one, revealed in Jesus’ open prayer to the Father in heaven, none of the others are explainable. And now, at this point, I am not able to speak of what is hidden here. I just know at this time in my life, in this new age and stage, I cannot go anywhere, be anywhere ~ even alone ~ without having my Father’s revelation in the twenty-six verses of this chapter of John’s gospel.

I have for weeks been eating, drinking, sleeping with these words recorded the last night of Jesus’ life before His crucifixion. I sense here the means of finishing my course with joy ~ the treasures hidden here are worth every moment of my thought and time, meditation, memorization and documenting.

I invite you to pray, to join me in reading, studying, meditation and memorization. Lend me not only your ear but share whatever you uncover of this lost treasure so that I can record our findings. I have read commentaries, but so far, these do not speak of the deeper truths I am looking for. Sometimes, we are the few our Father puts to the task.

As I venture to be a part of a small prayer group in our church and to perhaps begin a ministry for Christian widows, I believe this project of John 17 will be a major source of wisdom and knowledge and also, for our other series and books. I will post again on this subject as the Lord leads. Thank you for your prayers and comments.

Gracious Father, as you woke me this morning, you reminded me how we begin each week. “Now upon the first day of the week, ….. they came to the sepulcher, bringing the spices they had prepared, and others with them. And they found the stone rolled away.” I come from the empty tomb having worshipped my risen Lord and Savior yesterday. I come to this day with pick and shovel, to be “about my Father’s business.” I desire to find in this day those truths needful for faith and obedience and, as those who are taught, “to speak a word to the weary.” I pray we all seek to discover the truths of life you have given us through your written Word and your precious Living Word, Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.

2. The Essentiality of God as Creator

In the beginning

I have never before been aware of my need to return to my roots.  I was almost twenty-two years in my father’s house. Now, there is a void after fifty-nine years with my husband, Jerry. But my heart is still full of the life my Heavenly Father gave me twenty-eight years ago. This is my reason for living and reaffirming “the rock from which I have been hewn” (Isaiah 51:1).

There are few who can discern the times and live in accordance with the foundation that was set in the beginning. As I continue to consult the one true source of life, I am being brought back to the basics.

As I contemplate going back, I am overwhelmed even with the words themselves. And as with other projects that concern my relationship with God, this one seems more than I can handle. But I will begin and see where He takes me.

In the beginning GOD

My dad taught me much about foundations. He had no more than an eighth-grade education, yet he was a faithful son, husband, father, brother, employee, manager of a retail store, and owner of an auto-parts store. During those times, he was also building single-family houses and built a small church. He retired in his seventies as a swimming pool contractor.

He had no formal training for construction, but following a blueprint, he physically dug the ground, poured a concrete foundation, laid concrete blocks, sawed (he did not have an electric skill saw) and nailed wood plates, joists, flooring, walls, rafters, roofing, etc.to provide a secure habitation for a family.

God, Himself, is our blueprint, revealed through His written Word. Without Him, we have no blueprint ~ no foundation ~ no concrete plans. All is left to chance and circumstances which only lead to chaos.

Those who have no blueprint for their lives only destroy what others have built and, in the end, destroy themselves and each other.

At this point, I want to share an acrostic that has helped me keep GOD in His highest habitation.

Glory ~ Himself all glorious in His person and place.

 Order ~ His constant attendance within His kingdom.

Dominion ~ His authority over all things.

In the beginning God created

I will never fully understand God. I can only read, listen to others who know Him, and pray for Him to continue to reveal Himself to me through His Word, through others, and my circumstances. I cannot comprehend His ability to create. I simply accept the words, ask Him to write them on my heart and in my mind to believe He is the Creator, “who rewards those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6).

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The first ten words of the Holy Bible are the most basic words in a human vocabulary. We can talk about everything in the world. We can talk about God and all we know about Him. We can say we believe in God, but what will that mean if we do not start with the first statement of God’s Word?

These ten words are the first words and the foundation of our knowledge of Him. These words form the basis of truth for the Christian. We cannot skip to the middle or to the end for a foundation of our faith and our hope.

God, as Creator, sets Himself first and above all else. Before anything was, He was. Reading and listening to other opinions only serve to confuse and unsettle us.

There are many references added at the end of this chapter that speak and verify the truth of these ten words. But here we want to direct our attention to the importance, the necessity, the essentiality of writing these ten words on our hearts and minds, and the minds of our children.

Without this basis ~ this foundation ~ any structure we try to build will fall or be destroyed by others. This basis will eventually lead us to the spiritual foundation ~ the Spiritual rock of our salvation and eternal life, Jesus Christ (Luke 6:46-49; 1 Corinthians 3:11).

Mentally ~ if not literally ~ print these words on each of your fingers and the fingers of your children. Print them on heavy paper and set them on your table. And if ever we needed this tattoo on our hearts, it is now (Heb. 10:16).

A few days ago, from our backyard neighbors, I heard their young son chanting the words, “I will….” over and over. I could not understand the words after the word “will” but it reminded me of the world’s chanting for what it wants. There is no mutual chant. Each person or group has its own desires which change even as the wind. While others are shaking their fists, we can show a difference with outstretched hands with the truth of God’s Word.

Now is a good time to begin to catechize your children. From the Shorter Catechism, the first question is, “Who made you?” The answer, “GOD.”

The second question is, “What else did God make?” The answer, “God made all things.”
The third question is, “Why did God make you and all things?” The answer, “For His own glory.”

“Everyone who is called by My name, Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”
Isaiah 43:7

From this foundation, we go on to build our houses in His kingdom, to live according to His blueprint, and to show others the difference in His kingdom and the world, in life and death, truth and deception, light and darkness, construction and destruction.

“He created them male and female, and blessed them
and called them Mankind in the day they were created.”
Genesis 5:2

“Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it, And spirit to those who walk on it:”
Isaiah 42:5

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.”
Isaiah 65:17

Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:3; Genesis 2:4; Genesis 5:1; Genesis 5:2;  Psalm 148:5: Isaiah 40:26; Isaiah 45:7;Isaiah 45:8; Isaiah 45:12; Isaiah 45:18; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11

References to what God MADE

 “So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth?
Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind?
Have not I, the Lord?”
Exodus 4:11

Genesis 1:7; Genesis 1:16; Genesis 1:25; Genesis 1:31; Genesis 2:3; Genesis 2:4; Genesis 2:9  Genesis 2:22

Gracious Father, our Creator and Sustainer, providing all things you have prepared for us before the foundation of the world, I thank you and praise you for your order and dominion which redounds to your glory and our joy. Thank you for creating all man would need before you created him. Grant us your Spirit to know you, keep us in your Word, and through us, speak your Word to others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
© 2020 Fran Rogers

Images: Google

 

The Essentiality of God

When this title came to my mind, I assumed someone else had written it. Surprisingly, in my search, I found no one had. So, in this first part of a series that may end in another book, I have claimed the copyright. In this first post, I will make a few comments with an introduction and a partial Table of Contents. I welcome anyone’s input as to any part of God’s essentiality we may need to include. And quotes are encouraged if relative to the subject matter.

Introduction
It seems 2020 has become a year for deciding what is essential to humankind.

What may be considered essential to one person may not be essential to another. It depends on how we define “essential.” At first, we may think the term to mean “what is necessary to sustain life.” Then we are brought back to the same reasoning. What is necessary for one person may not be thought of as necessary for all.

And a problem surfaces when more than one authority wants to decide for everybody.

And in all this ~ from the beginning of time ~ the only real authority has been usurped. We need a revelation from ~ and a return to ~ the authority that began and continues to sustain human life. This statement will be refuted by any who do not recognize and acknowledge the only True God and ruler of the universe.

But for the sake of those who do, we will attempt to show how the Creator of heaven and earth is the first and greatest need for all men and the only answer for the ills of humankind.

Table of Contents

as Creator
as Redeemer
as Father
as the living God
as only true God
as Provider
as Lord
as Savior
as Life and the sustainer of life
as power
as ruler over all things
as protector
as shepherd
as strength
as healer
as counselor
as comforter
as King
as deliverer
as judge
as Almighty
as refuge
as salvation
as wisdom
as truth
as our only hope
as love
as peace
in His mercy and grace
in His glory

Please pray for me. Your comments are always an encouragement.

Gracious Father, again I take upon myself a work of which I am not worthy. At a time when I might feel more like settling down in my loss and loneliness, I desire for you to use me. Fill me with your Spirit to search and share the blessings we have from you as our God, Lord, and Savior. In Jesus’  name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
© 2020 Fran Rogers

Image: Google

Memorize Your Children

The world would call this “brainwashing.” And they would be right.

“Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
that He might sanctify and cleanse her
with the washing of water by the word,”
Ephesians 5:25-26

If we don’t minister to the minds and spirits of our children, the world will. They are drawn to, caught up, and carried away by the spirit of the world ~ the spirit of oppression. They will learn how to satisfy their lusts and cravings. They will die to you in their pursuit of a world that caters to the flesh and its selfishness.

And they will not come back to you if you do not give them a foundation for life. Except God does a miraculous work to bring them to Himself, you will not see them outside themselves and their depravity.

All this may seem harsh and unreal ~ and it is.

If you, as a parent, have ever had a chaotic moment, you can relate to how children grow up if they do not have a firm footing in a faith-based education.

We understand the need for children to learn how to work and acquire what they need physically. The world’s educational system provides these instructions. But, because we are creatures of a living God, and created in His image living by His Spirit, we need more than physical food and instruction. We do not live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4).


If you are a Christian parent, believing in the things of God, you are obligated to teach your children who He is and why they are here. Each parent is accountable and will be answerable to Him for how we have instructed them while in our care.

We do not let children go hungry; we know their needs and provide their physical food.

The spirit of man needs to be fed with “manna from above.” Spiritual food is found in God’s Word. “Every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” is available for us and our children.

From the time they are born, they are privy to hearing. From the time they begin to speak, they are capable of repeating what you tell them. They need to hear from your heart and spirit what you believe is the foundation for true life. They need you to put the words into their mouths and their hearts. No one else is going to do this. It is your work as a parent.

How many Bible verses do you know? How many have you taught your children?

It may be that you have to learn together. You have to take the initiative to pray, seeking the Lord’s guidance, and finding the means to begin the process whereby you daily have a verse to memorize. Without this, nothing else they learn will have any true meaning.

We all need a foundation, a basis for living. God’s Word is the only source for this.
His manual for life has been preserved through the centuries and never fails to work the truths in the minds, hearts, and spirits of those who memorize and meditate on what He gives.

Wisdom and knowledge bring us and our children through the worst times in this world of oppression. It has been proven as a help as relating to other subjects that are taught. It is also our means of ministering to others.

One of the easiest means of teaching our children is with a catechism (Protestant questions and answers of the Christian faith with Bible references.)

Means for memorization can be found in the following links. The first is a parent’s seminar from Intoxicated on Life that is very informative and valuable. Hip Homeschool Moms and Faith Gateway are sites among others you will find online.

Dear Father in heaven, forgive us for failing to feed our minds and spirits with your provisions. Show us your ways, teach us your paths, lead us in your truth, and teach us and our children how to fulfill our purpose and to glorify and enjoy you now and forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Suggested Reading: Child Keeping ~ God’s Blessing to Parents

Image: Google

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

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“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