I Can’t Write Fast Enough

As I begin to write this post, my heart overflows; so much so that I cannot know what to write first. There is more than enough for another book about the ills of a people in yet another generation that stand and live against the Creator of heaven and earth; a generation that is ignorant of the foundation of civilization, of what makes for freedom and peace. But, that is not why my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1).

It is the overflow Jesus promised in John 7:37-39 from the Holy Spirit to those who come to Him ~ those who are thirsty for something that this world cannot give.

While the world has hung Christianity out to dry ~ as Christ was hung on a cross ~ He continues to pour out His blessings from His majestic throne in heaven on those who seek freedom and peace in Him.

This early Monday morning dawns after a day of worship and seeking Him above all things. If the world knew the purpose and benefit of a day set apart for Christ in His glory, they would flock to His church. If they knew the King of kings and Lord of lords, they would put aside the things of this world at least for one day to have the blessings of heaven saturate and consume them.

I cannot, without it flowing into a full-size book, write everything that we continually experience in a relationship that turns me from the chaos of this world and enables me to focus on Christ. But, just for a bit, let me share His kingdom that is present and powerful in this world, a kingdom I continue to write about, the kingdom that He shares with all His people.

Currently, Jerry and I marvel at how Jesus Christ is real, the same today, as He was when He, with joy, endured the cross for us. Sometimes this is more the miracle than when He rose from the dead.  He is present always and speaks in and to every situation.

Jerry woke me last Tuesday night around 4:00, to tell me that there was a snake in the bathroom.

Normally, you would expect the man to take care of these things, but Jerry, being an amputee in a wheelchair, needs me to work things out.  We don’t think the snake was poisonous. Nonetheless, in all his (82) and my (79) years and together (57) we have never had to contend with snakes in the house. I say, snakes, because as I write this, there is another one under a butterfly net in our other bathroom, discovered yesterday morning. We hope to have this one removed when a pest control expert comes today. The first one got away when we were turning on lights and opening the front door; planning to catch him and throw him out.

His Promises
As I lay back down, the words came, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous, right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

These words ring true every time.

We never know what will happen next as we live in this wilderness, the wilderness into which God banished our first parents when they refused to listen to Him. The world’s ills are a combination of the individual ills of all His creatures. Those who follow Christ have to live in the middle of the sin and rebellion of the whole world. But, we don’t have to be slaves to the god of this world, and the news of its continued upheaval. We have a heavenly Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives true to His promises and witnesses through us of His grace and glory.

His Worship
Yesterday’s attendance of our Lord to His worship was another pouring out of His blessings to carry through this week. To hear again of how He loved us before the foundation of the world; how He proved that love when He sent His Son, and Jesus gave Himself to deliver us from this present evil age; to share this love with our brothers and sisters, is a life that leaves no room for the world’s sensationalism.

To write about the kingdom of God and His righteousness is a full-time job; one that I experience more than I can write about. It is worth more than all the world offers. It is worth all that we have to go through. His Word is the most precious thing to read. To meditate and memorize, to hear it preached, all in the power of His Holy Spirit, is His means of abiding with us and speaking to us in every circumstance.

I could write about all that I experienced yesterday as we jam-packed all that we could in one day, but it would not mean as much to you as it did to me. You had to be there. The personal relationship with the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ is His gift to all His children, those who are born of His Spirit, waiting to be poured out.

He must increase, the world and we decrease, in the sight of His grace and glory. In the showers of His blessings, the world is diminished. Satan and his forces are brought to nothing in our eyes and our world. The river of living water showers us with His blessings, and washes away the filth of the world (Ephesians 5:26-27). We see the triumphant Lord of glory ruling above the fading glory of man. He laughs them in derision (Psalm 2).

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Psalm 2:1, 12

Gacious Father, as we begin a new week, let us continue to focus upon you through Jesus Christ, your Son, whom you have given to be our Lord. Give us repentant hearts, filled with your Spirit for obedience of faith; that we may live in anticipation of what you have planned for us. Make us to experience the truth of your presence and power. Let your words of grace, truth, love and peace flow and bless others so that they know the reason for our hope and peace. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Fran

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Words of Life ~ ALWAYS

The first mention of the word ALWAYS is found in Exodus 27:20. The children of Israel were instructed to bring pure olive oil for the lamps that would burn always where they were placed in the tabernacle of worship. It was to be attended by Aaron and his sons so that the light would never go out. It was a constant reminder of the Lord’s presence with His people.

Old Testament H8548
Strong’s defines ALWAYS tamiyd tä·mēd’, the same word used for continually, continual, daily, ever, perpetual, evermore, never

 There was a promise that it would go well with His people, if they would fear Him and keep His commandments always (Deuteronomy 5:29; Deuteronomy 6:24; Deuteronomy 14:23).

“Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations;” 1 Chronicles 16:15

“I have set the Lord always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” Psalms 16:8

New Testament G3842
Strong’s defines ALWAYS pantote pä’n-to-te; at all times

Even as the lamp in the tabernacle was always kept lit, so the Lord Jesus Christ is the light that will never go out, with the promise that He is with us always.

“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20

Jesus said that he always did those things that please His Father (John 8:29).

He said that His Father always hears Him (John 11:42).

Instructions to always pray are found in Luke 18:1; Luke 21:36; Ephesians 6:18

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 15:58

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” 2 Corinthians 2:14

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:” 2 Corinthians 9:8

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

“Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Colossians 4:6

“Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16

The same Greek is used for the word ever in Hebrews 7:25

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready alway to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1 Peter 3:15

With all His promises, why would we not rejoice in Him, ALWAYS?

Dear heavenly Father, we thank you for your promise to always be with us, to always cause us to triumph in Christ. We praise you for giving us peace always through Him, that we always have all sufficiency through Him and that He lives always to make intercession for us. By your Holy Spirit, enable us to always remain steadfast, unmovable, and abounding in our work for you; our speech be always with grace. Let us be rejoicing in you always and ready to answer those who ask us the reason of our hope that is in Christ our Lord. In His precious name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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GOD and Today

This title came to mind about a month ago, without any idea of this post.

This week it has come together. For two weeks Jerry was really going down. Last Saturday and Sunday he slept non-stop except to get up for what was necessary. After eating, he was so tired and weak that he had to lie down. He would not let me call 911 even though at times he was a little short of breath. He said that Dr. Jackson, his primary care physician would put him in the hospital when he went for his scheduled appointment on Monday morning.

We left the doctor’s office after an x-ray and blood work, with the instructions that they would call us in thirty minutes with the results. At first, we thought about going home fifteen minutes away, but he decided he wanted a Sonic burger. While he ate, I ran into Publick’s for fruit. We sat in the parking lot to wait for the call. The phone rang.

Tyler, the nurse told me Dr. Jackson wanted to talk to me. The bad news was that Jerry’s hemoglobin was down to 6. The last check was good at 13. He sent us to ER to get a blood transfusion. I was thankful that Jerry had lunch already. I hadn’t, but at times like these, even at my age, I seem to run on stored fuel. We checked into a crowded waiting room around 1:00. As usual, for the past twelve years, we had to find a parking place for Jerry’s wheelchair out of the way of other patients. And, it is usually a place where we have full view of all that is happening.

From triage for vital signs; waiting again for more blood work (they like to have their own and for more testing than the doctor’s staff did), we went back to the waiting room until an examining room was available.

During our waiting, we were privy to the sounds of names being called, coughing, babies crying, a two-year-old tantrum twice, and security officers coming and going. But during all this, I knew the Lord’s presence there. Even though Jerry has lost much of his hearing, (getting a hearing aid is at the bottom of our list) we had time to communicate as i sat close to his right ear.

We watched as a mother who was there with her sick teen-age daughter take a snack to the screaming child. When a daughter became impatient because her mother was not getting the attention she wanted, she complained to a security officer. Soon after, another woman there with her son walked over to the impatient daughter to show her something on her IPhone.

It was a blessing to see that most of the patients were accompanied by a loved one. But one man got tired of waiting. When his name was called, someone said that he had left. The security officer and the other staff member went outside looking for him. There were other interesting patients, some with the whole family accompanying.

Well, we waited longer, but no room was ever available. (The last time we came on our own we sat in the hallway outside the ER rooms with the overflow of patients.  You get immediate attention when you call 911.)

They finally took us back to the same hallway as our last visit, but this time gurneys were lined up next to the wall, where Jerry lay while they continued their exam. We probably repeated why he was there at least ten times. There was a steady stream of doctors and nurses passing through the hall where they started the IV for the first transfusion.

We finally met the ER doctor, a young attractive woman who had passed by before. I thought she was a nurse. A doctor from the hospital talked with us about any signs of blood. Another one walked by two or three times with his hands in his pockets. Three student nurses walked single file past us several times. Jerry called them the three musketeers. A patient down the hall waited with his feet exposed and his head covered.

When the IV spilled when Jerry bent his arm, the techs were very compassionate and started another IV in his other arm. I was impressed of how well they all worked together, especially in such close quarters.

Volunteer pink ladies stopped to see if I needed anything. Water was enough for the time being. Our daughter, Lee came and waited until they took him upstairs to a room at 8:30. I came home just before dark, ate, got a shower and went to bed. She was there part of every day so that I had a respite.

He was taken off all three blood-thinners and Tuesday we understood the possibility of internal bleeding, with the suggestion for a colonoscopy.

He received a second transfusion on Tuesday, while they kept doing lab tests. Thankfully, they were putting in more than they were taking out.

We came home late Wednesday afternoon with plans for home health care until Jerry is stronger. If his hemoglobin does not return to normal even without the blood thinners, we will look at the options for further testing.

This was our fourth visit to ER in this new hospital. With all the doctor’s visits and close calls, we are reminded that whatever we must endure, God is present, with us through it all. It is in these times that we see the reality of His presence with others, hospital staff and patients working through the everyday trials of this world. More and more, we learn to wait patiently to see what the Lord’s plans are for us, and how we may help others through their difficulties. On elevators, with the staff ministering to Jerry and others, there are people who need the Light of Christ; a kind word, a smile, peace and patience where there is chaos. A touch of gentleness and compassion is sometimes better than medicine.

During Jerry’s blood transfusion, especially when it was spilled, I was reminded of the blood of Christ our Lord, spilled for us that saves us for eternity. We are thankful for the blood Jerry received from a donor, but it would not save his life. Jesus gave His blood to give us eternal life. How grateful we are to our Creator and Redeemer for all that He has done, is doing, and promises in the future.

Gracious Father, there was more to these last few days than I can recall and write, but as always, you are wherever we are. In the hallways of our lives, in the waiting rooms, in our yesterdays, the present days, future days and forever, your grace, your word are real. We thank you for Jerry’s care this week and that we will know your plans for him as you reveal them. We thank you that all is for your glory and our good. We praise you in the name of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Fran

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Nailing Our Theses

What does this week mean to a Christian? If we know our history, we have hope in Christ that was hidden until the 1500s. This post is not to educate Christians about the period of Reformation, just to relate the events to our individual lives.

We have Bibles available that others did not have before the Reformation. The Word of God, proclaimed to all men, was held in trust by only a few of the church. That was changed when the heart and life of a young monk named Martin Luther was changed. He saw the only hope of salvation apart from works as he searched the Scriptures for himself. His study of Paul’s letter to the Romans brought him to see and know Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. To make known his thoughts on the corruption of the church, he arranged his 95 theses and nailed them to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, thinking to arrange discussions or debate.

“But why October 31? November 1 held a special place in the church calendar as All Saints’ Day. On November 1, 1517, a massive exhibit of newly acquired relics would be on display at Wittenberg, Luther’s home city. Pilgrims would come from all over, genuflect before the relics, and take hundreds, if not thousands, of years off time in purgatory. Luther’s soul grew even more vexed. None of this seemed right.One of Luther’s 95 Theses simply declares, “The Church’s true treasure is the gospel of Jesus Christ. That alone is the meaning of Reformation Day. The church had lost sight of the gospel because it had long ago papered over the pages of God’s Word with layer upon layer of tradition. Tradition always brings about systems of works, of earning your way back to God. It was true of the Pharisees, and it was true of medieval Roman Catholicism. Didn’t Christ Himself say, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light?” Reformation Day celebrates the joyful beauty of the liberating gospel of Jesus Christ.” What is Reformation Day?

“Martin Luther claimed that what distinguished him from previous reformers was that while they attacked corruption in the life of the church, he went to the theological root of the problem—the perversion of the church’s doctrine of redemption and grace. Luther, a pastor and professor at the University of Wittenberg, deplored the entanglement of God’s free gift of grace in a complex system of indulgences and good works. In his Ninety-five Theses, he attacked the indulgence system,” Reformation, Encyclopedia Brittanica

We might ask, “Are there false teachings in the church today?” How far have we come even in this century, from the simplicity that is in Christ, having added our own traditions, programs, etc.?

Two main questions we are led to ask at this point in the life of the church are really personal. The church will not stand in final judgment with us. We will stand alone, either in Christ through the salvation offered to us through Him, or outside of the gospel, alone and without hope for eternity.

  1. What is our personal thesis or theses? What do we believe of Christ as revealed in God’s Word? Have we discovered the truths about our own salvation as Martin Luther did?
  2. Where have we nailed our theses? On what doors of our lives have we proclaimed Christ as our Lord and Savior?

We have the Bible. We hold the truth in our own hands. We claim the gospel alone as our attack against false teachings and against Satan’s power in the church and in our own lives.

We nail our beliefs to the door of our heart. We proclaim the truths of God’s grace in Christ alone, nailing these to the door of our homes, the door of our car, the door of our workplace, the door of our schools.

Wherever we are as faithful followers of Christ, we wear our theses as our armor of faith, we take them wherever we go; we testify of them without fear, and die with them if need be.

Are there enough of us as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2) to challenge our churches today?

Have you taken the time to establish the truths of God’s Word for yourself, and to stand firm on His Word no matter the cost?

Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for leading the Reformers to know your Word and to stand firm. Thank you for those who died that we might have your Word in this generation. Guide your people to take a stand for the truth of the gospel in our churches and before the world. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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The Need for a True Christianity

As we near another year in celebration of the Protestant Reformation ~ October 31, 1517, there seems to be a need for two articles from this heart that beats for the Lord Jesus. Before Nailing Our Theses next week, my thoughts are turned to how far we have come from the corruption that ruled the church in the century of Martin Luther and other reformers. Though the church will never be perfect here in this world, we do have God’s Word available for every person who desires to know the truth; not depending on man for the knowledge of our relationship with God.

We have enough wickedness in the world. I can’t bear to see it in God’s house. Having experienced almost eight decades of this wilderness, I think of the song Leaving on a Jet Plane and want to take that plane home, but like Jesus, I have a purpose here for now. “Stop the world; I want to get off” is an expression from past decades which reflect the thoughts of many who wonder where the world is going.

We praise the Lord that He, as our Lord God Almighty, is still and always reigning and ruling His universe. We are still learning to live in the language of a new world order with Christ as King and to spread this vocabulary wherever we can. Others need to hear and know that this world is not all there is. We will look briefly at why Christianity is necessary in the world in every generation.

What we advocate is not what is normally seen, but what is real in the true Christian life and the difference we make, being who we are in Christ. We see this in the individual life and the life of the true church. We see the difference between Christianity and other religions.

The True Christian Life
Christians are those who individually and adamantly follow Jesus Christ, learning, knowing, believing and loving with all the heart, soul, mind and strength the Lord and Master who lived and died sacrificially for His people. We follow and obey Him through a knowledge of His Word, and by His Holy Spirit live daily by His example. This world is not our home. We are only here to witness of Him and the salvation He came to give. This life is preparation for eternity with Him and our heavenly Father in their kingdom.

The true church is not the visible church that meets every week for planned programs and entertainment, but the invisible body of Christ whom He has brought to Himself, living where we are in every generation with others who join in worship around His Holy Word and His Supper renewing faith and love. From this gathering we go into the world as salt, light, a sweet fragrance and full of His Spirit bearing the fruit of His kingdom ~ love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility, godliness, mercy and compassion.

True Christianity is revealed to the senses  of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.

Salt was necessary in Jesus’ day to preserve food. Salt is needful in a world that is in decay.

Light is necessary in the darkness of this world, as we “hold forth the word of life.”

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the worldHolding forth the word of life;” Philippians 2:15-16

Good fruit is produced by true Christians.

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” Matthew 7:17

Fragrance is needful to cover the stench of this world.

 “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” 1 John 5:19

The world needs Jesus’ touch.

“And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.” Matthew 17:7

The world filled and overflowing with oppression, sin, and corruption has no recourse in other religions, nor in a false Christianity. Only a true Christianity has the answer to sin through the only person who has claimed to be God and became a sacrifice for the sins of those who believe His claim on their lives.

We live, proclaiming LIFE over death. If we die for our faith, it will not be to take other lives with us, but to witness of the life of Christ who loved us and gave His life to deliver us from this evil age (Galatians 1:4).

We must know who we are in Christ and live accordingly. True Christianity makes a difference.

Gracious Father, we could say so much more, but you have said it all. It is but for us to read your Word faithfully, intentionally seeking your guidance for us as your people. Enable us to speak your truth wherever you lead us, living our faith to the fullest and most fruitful with our families, in our churches, and in the workplace. Shine your light in and through us into the darkness of this world.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Post: Beyond a Mere Christianity
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Words of Life ~ ALMIGHTY

Our search for Words of Life is becoming more and more interesting and exciting. We find the first reference of ALMIGHTY in Genesis 17:1 when the LORD appeared to Abram and said unto him, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.”
He is in this one verse identified by three names, “the LORD” “Almighty” and “God.”

 Old Testament H7703
Strong’s defines Shadday shad·dah’·ē; almighty, most powerful. Shaddai, the Almighty (of God) a masculine noun with reference to diety.

Some may say that God can be male or female. However you want to conceive Him to be, there is no doubt, no confusion that the authority and power of Almighty God is masculine in these references from the Holy Bible.

The second use is in Isaac’s blessing to Jacob.

And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful , and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;” Genesis 28:3

In Genesis 35:11, Jacob receives the blessing and instructions for the plans God has for him and the nation of Israel.

“And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply ; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;

Jacob in the last stages of his life submits to the sovereignty of God when he sends his sons back to Egypt with his beloved son, Benjamin (Genesis 43:14).

As God Almighty had blessed Jacob, Jacob blesses Joseph and his sons (Genesis 48:3).

In Jacob’s gathering of his sons before his death, he spoke these words to Joseph.

“Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.” Genesis 49:25

God spoke to Moses of His covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 6:3). 

Naomi speaks that the Almighty dealt bitterly with her and afflicted her (Ruth 1:20) (Ruth 1:21) .

We find the reference to ALMIGHTY ten times in the Book of Job.

Job speaks of the chastening of the ALMIGHTY.

“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth : therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:” Job 5:17

“For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.” Job 6:4

Job 6:14  speaks of “the fear of the Almighty.”

Job 8:3   asks “doth the Almightpervert justice?”

Job 8:5    speaks of “supplication to the Almighty;”

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?” Job 11:7

Job speaks of the ALMIGHTY and God in the same sentence.

“Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.” Job 13:3

“What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?” Job 21:15

“Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.” Job 37:23

Who can contend with, instruct or reprove the Almighty?  (Job 40:2).

“the Almighty scattered kings.” (Psalm 68:14).

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1

Isaiah (Isaiah 13:6) and Joel (Joel 1:15) speak of “the day of the LORD as a destruction from the Almighty.

When the word of the LORD came to Ezekiel in the land of the Chaldeans, he describes the creatures and the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters,and the sound of the cherubims; wings as the voice of the Almighty (Ezekiel 1:24 Ezekiel 10:5).

New Testament G3841 
Strong’s defines pantokrator pan-tok-rat’-ore from 3956 and 2904; the all-ruling, i.e. God (as absolute and universal sovereign):–Almighty, Omnipotent. This also is a masculine pronoun.

In the beginning of the Old Testament, we see the LORD’S revelation to Moses as the ALMIGHTY. We end in the New Testament with eight references in the Book of Revelation.

But before we get to those, let’s look at Paul’s use of a quote from 2 Samuel 7:14 to the church at Corinth as he relates to the ALMIGHTY as Lord and Father. His promise is to those who are separate from the world of unbelievers.

“And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

We will look at the references from Revelation in their entirety.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come , the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

 “And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Revelation 4:8

“Saying , We give thee thanks , O Lord God Almighty, which art , and wast , and art to come ; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. Revelation 11:17

“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying , Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.” Revelation 15:3

“And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.” Revelation 16:7

“For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Revelation 16:14

“And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.” Revelation 19:15

“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.” Revelation 21:22

What a glorious and ALMIGHTY God is our heavenly Father!

Gracious Father, how blessed we are to know you as LORD, GOD, ALMIGHTY, FATHER. Thank you for the Lamb that was slain so that we will never know your fierceness and wrath, or come under your destruction. By your Holy Spirit, continue to teach us from your Word your true and righteous judgments, your great and marvelous works, your just and true ways. We praise you as the Alpha and Omega, reigning in power now and forever. In Jesus’ name, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran

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Preaching, Teaching, Reaching

Week after week we are blessed to witness of the Lord’s work through the ministers of our church. This gives me much by which to express my thoughts on the Christian life that is beyond what most experience in the world today (Beyond a Mere Christianity).

A mere Christianity may serve some who are independent of the church, but to see how God’s Word leads His minsters to serve Him, we experience the church that He creates. God’s Word teaches us that we are all members of one body, with each one having its special place. Some are leaders, knowing and preaching God’s Word on the Lord’s Day as the center of His worship. From this Word preached, the members are given direction as to how we are to live in faith during the week. We learn how to worship at home personally and with our families, and to prepare for worship on the next Lord’s Day; this all, in preparation for that eternal worship to which we live onward and upward.

 PREACHING

“Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.” Acts 8:4

“But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;” Titus 1:3

 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

Preachers are also pastors to the Lord’s sheep, knowing each family and its members.

“And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 23:4

TEACHING
But the pastor cannot do all the work. Elders are ministers who teach and serve the members, reaching out beyond what the preacher is able to do.

“And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.” Acts 14:23

REACHING
Deacons are also servants of the Lord, knowing and attending to needs of the church.

Families and other members of the body of Christ are taught to reach out, to exhort one another; to love and teach as they are taught.
Everyone prays, interceding for other members of the church.
Before there is a need, a child of God knows their church family and knows where to turn; either to a close member or to a minister of the church.

It is through the body of Christ that He reaches those in need outside the church. When they see the work of Christ in us, He draws others to Him and His church.

THE TRUE CHURCH
This is the true church, growing in grace, knowledge, love and devotion to Christ and His people; knowing the Father, the Son; their presence and the power of the Holy Spirit in everyday life. Jerry and I have experienced this love and relationship with the whole of our church; blessed and praising the Lord everyday for the church family He has given us.

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you that as your sheep, we have been brought into your fold under the true Shepherd who leads us in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. Thank you for placing us in the care of your under shepherds from whom we receive the truth of your Word. We are taught the doctrines of your grace; to experience heaven opened to us so that we are able to witness of Christ to others, to reach out in love when there is a need, and to praise you together for all that you are and promise to be in and through us ~ to your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, we thank and praise you. Amen.
Fran

Photo:Pixabay

Words of Life ~ ALIVE

How fitting that the word ALIVE would be one of our Words of Life. Let us spend a few minutes in God’s Word so as to understand who makes us ALIVE

Old Testament
H2416, 2417, 2418 
are derivatives of H2421
Strong’s ALIVE 
chayah khä·yä’to live, whether literally or figuratively; causatively, to revive:–keep (leave, make) alive, X certainly, give (promise) life, (let, suffer to) live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (X God) save (alive, life, lives), X surely, be whole.

Before the Lord destroyed all creatures, Noah was instructed to bring two of every living thing, male and female into the ark to keep them alive (Genesis 6:19-20).

“And every living substance was destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained aliveand they that were with him in the ark.” Genesis 7:23

In the following references, we understand that only the Lord makes us ALIVE.

“The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” 1 Samuel 2:6

“All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.” Psalm 22:29

“O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” Psalm 30:3

Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” Psalm 33:18-19

New Testament G2198
Strongs’s defines ALIVE záō, dzah’-o to live (literally or figuratively):—life(-time), (a-)live(-ly), quick.

The same Greek word is used for life, living and quick.

Luke 24:23 uses the word alive in reference to Jesus’ resurrection.

“And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.”

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles begins with the account of Jesus’ resurrected life before His ascension, showing “Himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3

 In relationship to Jesus’ death and resurrection, the apostle Paul refers to our being “dead to sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:11

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:13

 Jesus speaks of His own death and eternal life in Revelation 1:18

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:18

1 Corinthians 15:22 uses G2227 zoopoieo dzo-op-oy-eh’-o from the same as 2226 and 4160; to (re-)vitalize (literally or figuratively):–make alive, give life, quicken.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

It is the same as used for quickening in other passages, meaning to restore to life; of the spirit, quickening as respects the spirit, endued with new and greater powers of life.

Gracious Father, who makes us alive through your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we thank you and praise you for not leaving us dead in our trespasses and sin, but that you make us alive in Him for evermore. Make us alive in Christ today and every day in the power of your Holy Spirit, to witness of your presence with us always. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Fran

Photo:Pixabay

Breakthrough and Follow-through

So as not to miss any gods they might appease, the Athenians had set up an “unknown god” among the others. And so, Christianity today is seen as a religion among many others. The God of Christianity is “unknown” even to some who claim it as their faith. If we see little more than the surface of this way of life, we simply exist without the source and the power of this life. For the most part, we fail to differentiate between what other religions offer. We must be sure that it is an offering; a supernatural offering between our God and us. It is a spiritual gift from the Lord God of Christianity whom we know as Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of Jehovah, the Almighty God and Creator of the heavens and the earth and Redeemer of mankind.

Baptized as a child on a profession of faith, Christianity was basic but ineffective in my life until as an adult, I was drawn to read, then study; to write and teach what I was learning from the Bible. During those years, the Holy Spirit I was reading about in the Bible used God’s own words to transform my life. Through a new birth, with a new heart and spirit, my life was changed and has not been the same for decades. My books, articles, and poems attest to the revealed and fulfilled promises made to those He brings to Himself.

The best way I can describe this new way of life is with a parable I heard several years ago.

A prisoner was held captive for years, not knowing where he was. He existed in an obscure stronghold in a foreign country. His food and drink were barely enough to keep him alive. Since he knew no other way of life, he did not wish for anything else.

One day a stranger entered his cell and told him about life outside his captivity. He had come to deliver him. At first, the man could not vision anything beyond his own existence, and so refused to follow him out. Unknown to the prisoner, the stranger had broken through the outside barrier of the stronghold to save him. He was there, not to be refused; and so, stayed with him, living off the same fare by which the prisoner had been fed most of his life. At times he would open the cell door and lead him down a long dark hallway to show him the light outside. Not used to the light, the prisoner would soon move back to his comfortable cell.

With time, the stranger presented truths about the light, each day praying with him and leading him a little further out from his cell. Gradually getting used to the light, he was drawn more; then more, to it. One day, his eyes becoming used to the light, embraced the light, walking with the stranger into a new life outside himself.

As I contemplated writing this post, I was reminded of an old TV series Mission Impossible. A different mission presented to the team with every episode including the statement, “This is your mission if you choose to accept it.” The missions involved seemingly impossible situations providing an escape for captives.

I imagined what this would have looked like for Jesus before Creation. He and the Holy Spirit were the team, Jesus being the one who would suffer and sacrifice to bring His people out of their bondage. His mission from God the Father was to go down, go to, and live with the captives on earth; live in full obedience to God’s law, which no man had ever done, and provide a true understanding of the laws of His kingdom. He would be the light from heaven to people living in darkness, under oppression and sin. He would at the appointed time, be offered up as a means of appeasing the unknown God and ascend back to the Father, where He would live and reign for us as His people.  He would send His Spirit of light from heaven; through His Word bring us out of our captivity and guide us into all truth.

Jesus accepted and fulfilled His mission. His Holy Spirit is now fulfilling His mission in our hearts and lives as we continue to follow Jesus.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for so loving us that you sent your Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Lord Jesus, we thank you for being the author and finisher of our faith; for breaking through and enabling us to follow through this darkness until we see you in your full glory. Holy Spirit, we know your presence and power of the life of Christ in us. Continue to reveal and fulfill all that the Father has willed for us as your people. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Image:Google

Words of Life ~ AFTERWARD

The word AFTERWARD may not be a popular word for unbelievers, as it can signify an undesirable result of present circumstances. It is not used often in the Bible, but the few times are significant for us as children of God and disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. AFTERWARD relates to a time when one thing has ended, and a new thing and time have begun. We, as Christians, use this word as part of our vocabulary, for it relates to what God has done in the past for and in His people, and we are blessed to trust His promises for the future. There are many processes we must go through for the promises to be fulfilled.

Old Testament H268
Strong’s defines AFTERWARD as ‘achowr ä·khōre’ meaning hereafter (of time); the same word used for time to come.

The Lord promised Moses that when He had finished with the plagues He would send on Egypt, Pharaoh would afterwards let His people go (Exodus 11:1).

What a blessed part of our Christian language is seen in the Psalmist’s words, knowing that here we are guided by the counsel of the Lord for our future life with Him.

“Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” Psalm 73:24

“Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.” Proverbs 20:17

“Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.” Proverbs 24:27

“He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” Proverbs 28:23

Through Hosea, the Lord promised that the children of Israel would return from their whoredom in the latter days.

Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.” Hosea 3:5

The Lord spoke through the prophet Joel of a time to come.

“And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”Joel 2:28

New Testament G5305
Strongs defines AFTERWARD hysteron hü’-ste-ron more lately, i.e. eventually:

Jesus promised Simon Peter that no one could follow Him while He was still on earth, but that he would follow Him afterwards (John 13:36).

The apostle Paul, in writing to the Galatians spoke of how faith came after the law.

“But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Galatians 3:23

From Hebrews 12;11 we learn the effect of chastening.

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

Dear Heavenly Father, we praise you that you teach us what comes before and what comes after in this life and eternity. We praise you that you are sovereign over the beginning and the end of all things. Guide us with your counsel to live in light of what comes afterward as you are preparing us for eternal glory with you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Photo: Pixabay