Is there still a Christian nation in this world?
Hear this good news.
Why contend with others about the Jewish Sabbath and the Christian Sabbath?
The First Sabbath
“Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” Genesis 2:3
The Old Testament Sabbath was the beginning of God’s good pleasure, rest, and rule after the first creation. But there was the ongoing anticipation in the prophecy for God’s people of a Messiah. God’s Word speaks continually of the salvation that would come through Christ.
The Second Sabbath
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26
The law concerning the first Sabbath was written in stone. The new Sabbath of our Lord is written on our minds and in our hearts. (Hebrews 10:16)
The Anointed One, Jesus Christ, has come and finished the work of redemption to a new life. The old has passed away. In Christ, we are a new creation. A new day, the day of the Lord was established to celebrate and worship our risen Lord, and to live the new life in Him, to rest in Him in anticipation of His second coming
The Eternal Sabbath
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.” Isaiah 64:17
“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13
As Jesus’ followers, instead of setting aside Saturday, the seventh day, for our own use and pleasure, let us use it for preparation for the Lord’s Day. We still need to prepare our hearts and our children for worship each week on His day in anticipation of the new heavens and new earth.
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for your first creation and the Sabbath rest for your worship then. We praise you that we, your children, are the second creation, the new creation. Set our hearts to worship you daily and prepare our hearts for the gathering of your saints for the Lord’s Day each week in preparation for that final gathering of your children when Christ comes again to bring us to you and your eternal glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
We find these truths throughout the Word of God, and Romans 8 expounds on the work of the Trinity. From the planning to the inception, God is sovereign; in control; and bringing to pass His plans for our salvation; made before the foundation of the world.
The power of the gospel that brings about the obedience of faith in all nations (1:5; 16:26) is the working of the Holy Spirit since the completion of Christ’s work (1:4); and will be finished as He has planned.
Connecting the Dots
The Holy Bible is a precious book; a canon; a volume of many books; but more than anything else, it is a workbook, which we must use for all time and endurance of life. It identifies the author, His work, and His workers. We go through, looking for God. He permeates the whole book. We find Him in the beginning and the end. We find Him in Jesus Christ. We find Him in the Holy Spirit. We see Him working in His creatures; in His creation and His redemption. All is His.
When we come to the book of Romans we go a little deeper in our understanding of truth that has been hidden from some because of the change in the teaching and preaching of the gospel in the last century.
It is only as we see that God has full control to work what He has planned from the foundation of the world; before the world began (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9) that we can be assured of “no condemnation” and “no separation.” We cannot save ourselves from God’s wrath; or keep ourselves through the suffering and temptation of this world.
This chapter connects these truths to each of the Trinity. They are united in this great plan for the power of the gospel for our salvation. As we meditate we look for the work of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In all study of the Bible we find Christ at the center; all things connecting to and pointing from and to Him for all things.
Treasure, Impact, Assurance
In the halfway mark in Paul’s letter to Romans we need to stop; take a breather; and sit down with this letter that is included in God’s word. I cannot in these notes unpack what has been recorded here for His people. If we take the time to read, meditate, saturate, and absorb what is here we find a treasure box from which God, by His Spirit, brings us to understand the fullness of the truth which we have been given in and through Christ Jesus, our Lord. To understood predestination we need to let God lead us to see the truth of His own work and glory in us. To get the full impact of the whole book of Romans we must allow the Holy Spirit, that intercedes for us, to lead us and teach us here and through the remainder of Paul’s letter.
In Romans 8:19-39 we can look for these words; meditate on the verses from which these come; experience the impact; and be assured of the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit to accomplish all His work within us ~ for His glory and our joy.
Dear Father, we are helpless, except for your life that is given us in Christ. I pray for the authority of your word to be commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit; to accomplish all that you have planned for each of us today. In Jesus name I thank you and praise you. Amen.
“It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
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“Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” Gen. 3:9
I remember as a young child crouching in the corner of a small coat closet. I don’t recall why except that I wanted to be alone. I had either done something wrong and dreaded facing the consequences or at the worst, been chastised already. I don’t remember how long it took my parents to find me. It was usually my dad who chastised me and knew where I was.
We can ask many questions in this life ~ “Who am I?” “Why am I here?
What is the purpose of life? “How did we get here? “Will there be an end?”, etc.
God asked the great question at the beginning of His creation to settle the consequences of our disobedience. When we know where we are, we know where to find the answer to all other questions.
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
The Lord was not looking for or calling Eve, but Adam, because it was to Adam He gave the commandment, “Do not eat…..”.
So Adam said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.”
Adam was not lost to the Lord, the Creator. He was hiding because of his shame and guilt. His disobedience separated Him from the Lord. Sin robs us of His presence with us.
11 And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
12 Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”
Adam shifted the blame for his sin to his wife, so the Lord turns to her to deal with her sin.
13 And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The Lord then turns to address the action of the serpent.
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her Seed;
He shall bruise your head,
And you shall bruise His heel.” Gen. 3:14-16
That done, He comes back to Eve to settle her account in the matter.
As the mother of all flesh, women fall under the same condemnation.
But let’s remember the first promise of a Savior is made through the punishment of the serpent which applies to all creatures in future generations.
“He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
The serpent’s seed is the power and spirit of the evil one and her Seed is the power and Spirit of the promised Messiah, the Son, Jesus Christ. Though Jesus’ heel was bruised as He hung on the cross, the head of the enemy, his power and rebellion were overcome. “Death, (the punishment for sin,) was swallowed up in victory” through Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection.
“To the woman He said:“I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception;
In pain you shall bring forth children;
Your desire shall be for your husband,
And he shall rule over you.”
We will not venture through all these verses, but focus on women’s “sorrow and conception,” and the pain of childbearing. We have seen how far the enemy has deceived so that women seem to have delivered themselves from the consequences of Eve’s sin. Refusing to bear children has come to pass by many forms of birth control, the most brutal of which we know as abortion.
“Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it? “Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.” Gen 3: 17-19
No longer would he have the joy of tending the Garden over which he had been given control, but to force it to produce what he needed to live. He became dependent on the earth instead of the Lord God who created him. That relationship was severed until the coming of the Redeemer who would bring reconciliation and restoration.
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”
8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.
21 Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.
The Lord sacrificed the animals to cover them – another significant sign of His mercy and promise of care and restoration.
The question remains for all His creatures, “Where are you?”
We have many reasons and many places for hiding from the Lord our Creator.
We sometimes can be found behind someone who has deceived us.
There are a lot of hiding places in this world.
The past has many closets, corners, holes, and crevices where we live our own lives independent of our Father who wants to bless us in our relationship with Him.
The most common is our sin and guilt. From these, fear makes our hiding place much broader and makes us harder to find.
In this age, parents no longer call or text their children to ask, “Where are you?’ The tracking devices on their phones make it easy to know where they are.
Have you ever wondered how God our Father knows where we are and how to get in touch with us?
He has His own tracking system.
“The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart.” Proverbs 20:27
“O Lord, You have searched me and known me
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in [c]hell, behold, You are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
Psalm 139:1, 7-10
Samuel and Isaiah
Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.” 1 Sam. 3:10
And the call came to Isaiah.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying:
“Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?”
Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
Our Father is calling us today. Will we remain in hiding, or answer His call as Samuel, and Isaiah did?
Dear Father, open our ears to hear your voice, and know your holy, high, and heavenly calling and to answer, for such a time as this. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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
Thirty years ago I was drawn to God’s Word to discover things I had never heard. Through adversity, God began to show me great and mighty things I had never known (Jer. 33:3). After searching different religions, including psychology, I came back to the roots of a poor, meager Christian faith that was never stoked and fed.
We live in a world that brings us to see our need for something beyond our understanding. It stirs up a fire that cries for help. If we come to His Word, God uses it in our adversity to burn away the dross of ourselves. Our anguish either turns us to seek the truth or it destroys us and others in the process. When we turn to Him, He uses our helplessness for His glory and our good.
Through years of study and prayer over God’s Word, I begian my life as a writer by formatting for chosen groups what I was learning. This happened to be for middle school students in our church and for youth discipleship groups.
In August 1992, what I was writing from head knowledge, became a fire of truth in my very soul. I know what Jesus meant when He said, “You must be born of the Spirit.” Some may say that the ember of faith was rekindled. Perhaps. It does not matter whether from an old faith that was put aside or from a totally new spark from God’s Word and His Spirit, there was a welling up of TRUTH within me that lighted a fire and new life that would feed on His Word and bear fruit to this day. I vividly remember my first writing of TRUTH. It was more than my thoughts could contain.
The whole gist of those years was “TRUTH cannot be contained.” Yet, it seemed then as if buried for many generations. I left those notes to continue in my search for TRUTH believing that it could not stay buried but one day would have to explode. You cannot bury TRUTH, just as you can’t bury LIFE.
The enemy has succeeded in hiding TRUTH from God’s creatures for thousands of years, but the power of God in His TRUTH is beginning to accumulate among His people. Those who continue in His Word know the TRUTH and are being set free.
The world has its volcanoes – the nation of America being one of the most volatile. It seems the emotions of human nature are overflowing with the lava of hell itself.
The world can only see what men are doing to themselves. They cannot see what God has planned and is doing at this very moment.
I write this post today as I am led to stir this fire of TRUTH in the hearts of His people who read this.
We as individuals have little power over “the powers that be.” Recent news uncovers things happening in this world that are beyond my imagination – things not worth repeating.
Repetition of the promises of our heavenly Father overpower the words of the enemy.
“He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” – that lies in wickedness.”
God’s kingdom rules in the middle of the turmoil. In and through what we are seeing of man’s exploits and deviations is the working of His power stirring up His church. I know this because my church and I am part of this volcanic explosion of TRUTH.
Deuteronomy 29:29 was one of the truths I discovered in those first years of new life.
“The secrets belong to God but are revealed to us and our children.”
They are revealed as we continue in His Word – “you are truly my disciples”—children of God—1 John 3:1-3. “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Free from what and free for what?
We are freed from deception and death. We are free to LIVE in light of TRUTH. TRUTH works the power of God in His people.
So, let us believe beyond what we can ask or think, of His kingdom in the lowest part of this volcanic action happening in our nation bursting through in an explosion of JOY to His glory.
“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
Lord willing, I will share how our heavenly Father is working in His church today.
In the meantime, I would share with you the link to our pastor’s present series on Philippians in our morning worship and Raising Godly Children in the evening. You would be blessed to see what the Lord is doing in our midst for humility, unity, and joy to His glory.
Please begin to pray this prayer for His church with us. He is beginning a great and mighty work.
That we may be “FILLED with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that we may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with JOY;” Colossians 1:9-11
Gracious Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done in earth as it is in heaven. You have set your throne in the heavens and your kingdom rules over all. From the rising of the sun to its setting, we praise you. Stir up your Spirit within the hearts of your people, gather us before your throne to praise you. Let our fervent prayers to your throne of mercy bring lightnings, thundering, and earthquakes to this earth, the power of your TRUTH and LIFE in us through Jesus our Lord surge and bring forth your JOY through us to your glory. Let the world know who you are in us. In His name, I pray. Amen.
“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.
“Although we have always known it intuitively, science has confirmed the tremendous power our words have on ourselves, communities, and the world. In fact, words can literally shape the material world. The words we speak not only reflect, but shape our thoughts, and our thoughts shape the physical structure of our brains. An NPR interview between host Ira Flatow and science writer Sharon Begley, “Can Thoughts and Action Change Our Brains?” revealed how findings in neuroplasticity suggest the way we think can not only change the structure of our brains, but even lead to the re-growth of brain cells (something once considered impossible).” Chris Hazell VIEWPOINT July 2017
As death threatens to again bring me to its stronghold, I have been blessed to remember what my heavenly Father has taught me for the past fifty years . Coming to the anniversary of Jerry’s last week and his death on June 1, 2020, the Spirit of Christ is showing me the power of His stronghold.
For months, I have been in a maze, knowing my calling, waiting for others to move on my behalf, still not knowing when or how He will fulfill that calling in me. This physical life ~ nothing but a stronghold of death that eventually shows its power in the flesh, its desires, and accomplishments is overwhelming to those who do not know God, the Father and His covenant with His people. Words of death continue to keep the world under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). Without the hope the heavenly Father gives through His Son, what is there to live for?
“Now they have known that all things
which You have given Me are from You.
For I have given to them the words which You have given Me;
and they have received them,”
It is not a matter of what I have accomplished in my eighty-two years, what anyone else has done for me or where I am now. All that matters is what my heavenly Father has given me through Jesus Christ.
Now and forever, the Words of Life, are written on my mind and in my heart. Let death threaten as it will, I will remember His promises written in His covenant of grace to His children. He is faithful and will not forget He has given Life to those who believe in His Son. His Words accomplish all He has sent them to do (Isaiah 55:11)
They speak the Living Word of Jesus Christ in the lives of His people ~ the fruit of His Spirit ~ love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility, compassion and much more. The more we read, the more we live. The more we memorize and meditate, the greater the fruit of Christ in us and through us. The fullness of God is displayed in His church, the members of His body living the Life of Christ as a witness to a dying world.
Heavenly Father, we praise you for speaking the universe into existence, for continuing to rule by your sovereignty fulfilling the covenant established before the foundation of the world, revealed and fulfilled in Christ and through your people for your glory and our joy. Thank you that your Word is as alive and powerful now as at the Creation and the Resurrection of Jesus, our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.