“It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
Download the audio MP3 here
“It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
Download the audio MP3 here
We are each called to come before the King and Lord of glory to claim what He has promised. We are His image-bearers and servants to whom it is His pleasure to give His kingdom. King Ahasuerus offered Queen Esther only half his kingdom. Our Father holds nothing back but sent His Son to bring us to Him. We can expect He gives what is needed to proclaim His kingdom to the world, for Him to pour out His blessings upon us, even in the middle of persecution. Please walk with me in answer to His call. He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think. Eph. 3:21
“I have manifested Your name to the men
whom You have given Me out of the world.
They were Yours; You gave them to Me,
and they have kept Your word.
Continuing our study on The Excavation of John 17, Jesus spoke in His prayer to the Father in John 17:6 using a term translated into English as “manifested.” Some translations use the word “revealed.” This is from the Greek root word phaneroo, which means “to make something visible, recognizable, explained, or to declare.”
Just as the term used in chapter 1, logos implies a message or speech, this verse indicates that Jesus represented God the Father in His ministry to the disciples. Acting “in the name of” someone means to reveal their will and their authority (John 12:13; 14:26; 15:21; 16:26). (Bible Ref.)
John records in his first letter the experience of the disciples with Jesus.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—” 1 John 1:1-2
Jesus was revealing the Father (His name, His being, His authority, His power), Jesus, Himself, being the “image of the invisible God.” (Col. 1:15)
“who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power,” (Hebrews 1:3)
He revealed the Father’s name to “the men He had given Him out of the world.” We recall the parables Jesus spoke to the crowds but interpreted only to His disciples.
In verse 9, He says He prays for them, “but not for the world.”
The scribes and Pharisees were blind and could not see what Jesus was revealing to those whom the Father had chosen as his own.
Only to those who were predestined before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4: 2 Tim. 1:9), were the Father’s and given to Jesus.
They had “kept His Word.” They had believed and followed as He taught them for three years. In verse 12, He says He kept them “in His name.”
From the start of our study of John 17, we learn that Jesus reveals His Father (and our Father) as a giver and the work He sent Jesus to do reveals Him as a forgiver.
Jesus was given authority over all flesh. (vs. 2) His atonement was His means of giving eternal life to those the Father had given Him.
He finishes the work the Father had given Him to do. (vs. 4)
The Father gave those who were His to Jesus for their atonement and His keeping. (6, 12)
They knew all things which the Father had given Him were from the Father. (7
He gave them the Words the Father had given Him. (8, 14)
The glory the Father gave Him, He gave to them. (22)
He prayed that those the Father gave Him would be with Him in His glory. (24)
Jesus kept them in the Father’s name. (12)
He prays, “Holy Father, keep through your name those whom you have given me.” (11)
In His prayer to the Father, He reveals vividly His role as our Mediator.
In Him, the Father merged the creature who needed redemption with His name, His Words of truth, reconciliation, and His glory.
We will see in further study more of the work of Christ’s atonement between us and the Father.
“I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
Gracious Father, thank you for revealing your name and your Word to us through Christ, your living Word. His prayer to you is a blessing for us to know who you are and why you sent your Son. Reveal your glory to us as we read and meditate more on your Word. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,” and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might. which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, ” Ephesians 1:17-18
As with most of Paul’s phrasing in his letters, his prayers are long, also. He desires for the church the same revelation of Christ that has been given to him, and so he speaks of his prayers for them in the first and third chapters of Ephesians.
He always gives thanks for the believers in the early churches and prays that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory would give them:
“The spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;”
Under this one heading, he explains how the Spirit by which the believers have been sealed (1:13) works wisdom and revelation in them. First, he prays that the eyes of understanding be enlightened so that they may know three things about God, the Father.
He builds on each one to bring the believer to see Christ in his glory and the church as the fullness of him here on earth. (1:23)
“The eyes of your hearts enlightened that ye may know (these things)”
1. the hope to which He has called you.
2. the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
3. the immeasurable greatness of his power toward those who believe
1. The hope to which He has called you.
Paul has written earlier in this chapter of the dispensation of the fullness of time (1:10) when God shall gather together in one all things in Christ, “having chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world” (1:4). As new Christians, they were still learning what it meant to be adopted into God’s family (1:5). They did not yet know the wonder and glory of this supernatural birth through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They needed to know and grow in their new birth.
2. The riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.
This adoption (1:5) that Paul speaks of, brings with it an eternal inheritance. As a recipient, he knows the riches of the glory that God the Father gives to His children. He has experienced this inheritance already. He has spoken of this inheritance in verses eleven and fourteen and is praying that they experience more and more the riches of this spiritual inheritance that they received when they heard the word of truth, and trusted in Christ. They needed to understand this inheritance that begins here in their own life.
3. The immeasurable greatness of his power toward those who believe.
Now comes the crescendo of Paul’s prayer as he is explaining how revelation, faith and believing, the calling, and the inheritance, are by the greatness of God’s mighty power. This power he explains, ~ “that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places.” Verse 20.
It is a lengthy explanation that spreads over two chapters. Paul’s prayer begins in verse fifteen to the end of the chapter, without a period.
The same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him at His right hand is the mighty power that quickens the sinner who is dead in trespasses and sin (2:1, 5). This is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward those who believe, our eyes enlightened by this power for salvation.
Paul could have inserted a parenthesis in verses twenty to twenty-three in which the roles and purpose of Christ and the church are revealed, but it all fits together. It is a matter of wisdom and revelation, and requires study and meditation, for believers to understand how we are related to Christ and the church; and how we get there.
Christ having been raised and seated at the Father’s right hand, is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Verses 21-23
The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, is the only one who can reveal Himself to us. He does this when he opens our eyes to see his Son, head over all things, and given to the church. His body of believers that He brings to life by the power of His Holy Spirit continues to experience His filling, the inheritance in the saints.
Dear Father, thank you for this prayer that you inspired Paul to write, not just to the early churches, but also for us. We pray this prayer for your people everywhere, that we will experience this filling, and together, this fullness of Christ. Pour out your Spirit upon us for new revelation, for we shall never have all the wisdom and knowledge here on this earth. Prepare us for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
(Excerpt from PRAYERS That Bring the House Down)
Walk into any “old folk’s home” and you will see very few men. On the average, women outlive men. It would be interesting if we could search the hearts of the women in these facilities to see what they remember of their childhoods and their marriages. From those who can still speak of their own, you hear very little of their joy in marriage. Most have a complaint against their parents or their husbands. Few are content. Is it possible that husbands could change this? No; but God can, through husbands who seek His will in their own lives and their families’ lives.
What can a husband do? First, you can ask the Lord to show you what you already have. Take inventory of what He has given you.
Is your wife content? Praise the Lord! Thank Him that He has given you a gem. Treasure what you have and ask how to cherish her, love her, and polish this jewel to His expectancy ~ notice ~ not yours, but His. She is not yet all she will be. She will need to grow to conform to the image of Christ. Caring for her will not preserve her so that she will live longer than you, but to enable her to give you the best care possible should you fall into the average pattern.
Remember that your former years together may be an example for her should she become your caregiver. And should you in the end outlive her, she will be much easier to care for.
The Marriage God Intended
We see in Ephesians 5 the analogy of marriage as it relates to the church ~ Christ and its members (His bride). This is another treatise altogether, but as a starting point, let’s look at four things Paul mentions for a husband and wife. I am not using the plural as relating to all husbands and wives, but singular, so as to draw you, the reader, to look at your marriage apart from others you know.
There are good marriages and bad marriages that you could compare, but here we want to settle you, the husband, as one husband, and the person God created you to be and especially to you as God’s son, redeemed by the blood of His first-born Son, Jesus Christ. I doubt that many who are not born-again believers and disciples of Christ will understand what this is all about.
The four things we will speak of are: 1) Submission 2) Love 3) Sacrifice 4) Sanctity.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” Ephesians 5:22-23
Your first thoughts will probably be, “The author should be speaking to women, not men.” Bear with me, please. Think about it. Christ is the head of the church. Who came first, Christ, the head, or the bride, (the church)? Would there be a bride without Christ? Would there be a church, a body of believers, without Christ’s work of bringing believers together in one accord, for His name’s sake?
The practice and custom of a bride taking on the name of her husband is indicative of the action of a man who loves a woman, woos her, and proves his ability to take care of her. She takes his name, willingly, submitting to his proposal, entering into a covenant that he has presented to her. Marriage in this century does not have many good examples, or patterns, to follow.
Christian marriage is not much different from other marriages of our culture. This treatise is not meant to go into the various problems but rather to get a picture of what marriage could be and would be if we each see the model and the potential God gives us.
Women are getting this same teaching from other women and many are trying to adhere to this, even in marriages where the husband has no true love for them. Submission is difficult in any situation, but in marriage, where God meant it to be a pleasant and blessed thing, submission has become an oppressive word. It is difficult for those who truly want to submit, to understand how, when the husband is not able to love and lead her.
“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3
Husband, I implore you to cease from observing marriage from the world’s view, the example, and patterns that pervade our culture. In this first point of thinking of your wife’s submission, there are three things that apply to you.
Submit yourself to be the husband God wants you to be. Turn to God your Creator and Redeemer. In prayer and humility, submit yourself to the Lord. You may have done this at other times in your life as a new believer or in commitment to a special work for the church or God’s kingdom. The first and most important work for you as a husband is to shepherd your wife. She must see you as her leader and companion through the pilgrimage of this life. You must initiate this relationship if you want her to submit to you as she should. The love of Christ for His church is the only factor that we have to bring us into submission to Him.
Even so, your love for your wife will be portrayed in how you cherish her, lead her, protect her and preserve her. But, you cannot expect her to submit to you if you have not submitted totally to Christ, as your Lord and Savior. You cannot love her as you need to love her unless you understand the love of Christ for you, and in your love for Him, live in submission to do His will in all things.
Submission should be followed by admitting your failures, mistakes, sins, or misunderstandings about your role as God’s Son and as a husband. Time in humility and prayer, for the purpose of His searching your heart, will reveal and enable you to see, confess, and repent of those failings, even though they come from ignorance. Admitting, consenting to what He puts His finger on, is second to submission as a means of clearing the way for His working in your heart and life.
Third, committing your way, your will, your life, to the Lord as your head, will give the freedom for Him to lead you, to shepherd you and in turn for you to shepherd your wife. You are setting the example for her to follow.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
Commitment to the Lord will include presenting all that you are to be transformed by the renewal of your mind. This means you must, for yourself and your wife, have a plan for this transformation and renewal; for when your mind is renewed everything in your life will be changed. God’s Word is the means of His grace for this transformation. Through His Word, Christ will speak to your heart and write on your mind and heart His plans for your renewal. He will continue to lead you and your wife in the love that He has for you and her.
He does not marry you ~ through Christ making us His Bride ~ and leave you to yourself, but in patience and longsuffering, bears with you. Understanding His love, and His strength in preserving you, will make you stronger, more loving, and more gracious. Here is where the bond of marriage cannot be broken by anything the enemy or the world would throw at you. Christ is the head, the center, the radius, the circumference, the all of life, for the union He performs.
When you understand and experience the love of Christ and His sacrifice for you, you will know what it means to sacrifice for your wife. There is not much I will say here, because I can’t imagine; I can’t get my mind around the sacrifice Christ made for me. I can’t know what this means for a husband. Any sacrifice I have made for my husband and family are no comparison to Christ’s sacrifice or to what He asks of a husband. Each of these is personal and occurs in different circumstances for each one.
When and where He leads you will bring you up to the task. Your submitting, admitting, and commitment will prepare you in love to sacrifice for your wife. Like Christ, you will not have to ask what God’s will is for you. Christ’s love for you will work in you a supernatural love for your wife.
“For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one,” Hebrews 2:11
Jesus sacrificed and sanctified Himself for His bride. He set Himself apart for His people. Such is the oneness of a husband and wife brought into Christ, united in Him. Joined together in Christ, “let no man put asunder.”
As all of God’s children are one in Christ, how much more a husband and wife in Christ. A true Christian marriage is a shining example to the world of this beautiful union.
Image: Stock Photos
via The War Of Faith
Jerry received his degree in Industrial Engineering on December 15, 1961, from Auburn University. The following excerpts are from the President’s message, one you would not hear from a secular institution, today. We see how far we have come from the foundation of our nation and its institutions of higher education.We pray the Lord would bring us back to our humble beginnings.
“My dear Friends,
You have completed your work for the degree in a time of the tremendous expansion of knowledge and in the midst of a world ferment of exploration of all the areas of thought.
I have the distinct feeling that the impact of new knowledge, which is producing so much of change is also reflected in changing outlooks among governments. I believe that you will live to see the effects of these forces also in the individual attitudes and beliefs of men.
We of the Western World have been conditioned in our thought and our morality largely through the beneficent influence of the Christian ethic. Although as individuals and as a nation, we have departed often from this ideal in individual acts, over the years and in the long view, we have been generally governed thereby. I would hope that the growth of knowledge, with the attendant dislocations which harass the world today, may serve to strengthen the influence of the Christian ethic and, eventually, ring wisdom and understanding among men and nations.
The prospects of that hope do seem dim at present, but I hope that you will cherish the ideal because I believe mankind must respond to the spirit of good and recoil from the spirit of evil. If this can’t be believed by men, there is little hope that civilization can survive.
I think that, perhaps, the best wish I could make for you on this occasion would be that each of you may be guided by the philosophy of the love of your fellowmen; goodwill; sensitivity to just and honorable relationships; and willingness to stand on the side of good against evil.
I wish for you, also, the joy of hard labor for worthwhile ends, and an awareness of the struggle in which you will be engaged throughout your lives. I wish for each of you good health, happiness, and success in that struggle, and I hope your lives may be blessed by the hope, the wisdom, and the influence of the Christian ethic.”
Ralph B. Draughon
The Auburn Creed includes seven points, the last of which is:
“I believe in my Country, because it is a land of freedom and because it is my own home, and that I can best serve that country by “doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with my God.” (quote from Micah 6:8)
A new thought for Filled with Grace ~ Wrapped in Glory.
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”
1 Corinthians 3:16
Christ in you, the hope of Glory (Colossians 1:27) ushers in a new life in which He changes everything. You are His building, His temple, His field. All belongs to Him. He cleans house ~ every nook and cranny He knows intimately. If He is to live there, He must have full reign to make things suitable for Him.
He casts out the spirits within and takes up residence so that they cannot return. (Matthew 12:45)
“But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Hebrews 3:6
Praise the Father for His indwelling power to conform us to the image of His dear Son (Romans 8:28-29) ~ through His Word and Spirit, by His grace and for His glory. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.
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.
Image is from Christian Poetry by Deborah Ann.
You would be blessed to visit her blog.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution,
or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
As we prepare to spend an hour or so in a comfortable worship environment tomorrow, please consider that not all Christians have this privilege. Such is the church in China. Please read the following statement written by Pastor Wang Yi before he and his wife were arrested.
“Editor’s note: Over 100 members of Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, China, were arrested beginning Sunday, December 9. At the time of publication of this translation, arrests are still being made. Among those taken away were Pastor Wang Yi, senior pastor of Early Rain, and his wife, Jiang Rong, who have not been heard from since Sunday.
Foreseeing this circumstance, Pastor Wang Yi wrote the declaration below to be published by his church should he be detained for more than 48 hours. In it, he explains the meaning and necessity of faithful disobedience, how it is distinct from political activism or civil disobedience, and how Christians should carry it out.”
The translated statement can be read from the December 12 post of China Partnership.
I pray that we begin to understand what freedom and blessings we have, now. But also that we see the need to prepare, at least our children, for the persecution that lies ahead for those who follow Christ. Let us pray for those who stand firm for the gospel of the kingdom of our Father and His Christ in China and throughout the world. Fran