Book Introduction

(The following will be the Introduction to the book, Beyond a Mere Christianity. As I begin the steps required for publishing this new book, I would like to do something I have never done — to share the process with our readers. It began as a series in June 2018, as we have posted what the Lord has given for this project. I appreciate all who have responded with Likes and Comments.

As I continue to write and publish, I want to start a beta group. Beta readers receive a copy of the book and read and reply with comments and critique. These read before the book’s final edit. For those who are interested in being a part of this group or of a review group, please leave a comment to let me know. Readers and reviewers receive free copies.)

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Introduction
When I began this series on my blog in June 2018, I did not know if it would become a book. Like Abram, not foreseeing what the end would be, I simply started with faith that the Lord was leading and blessing the process for me to seek His will, His instructions, and His provisions. He continues to reveal amazing things of His kingdom. Even as I write this introduction, it is with a knowledge that I did not have a year ago.

Now, I want to continue on this new course with joy and excitement to edit, and format as soon as possible. I had hoped to publish by my eightieth birthday on August 1 but decided to settle down and enjoy how the Lord would bring this to pass in His own timing. Every day in obedience, there is communion and fellowship with Him as He continues to show me His ways, teach me His paths, and lead me in His truth – for He is the God of my salvation, and I wait on Him all day (Psalm 25:5)

Why the title Beyond a Mere Christianity? C.S. Lewis’ book was the first of the two other books and a sermon that came to mind when I posted the list of chapters on the blog. Each of them is used in reference to the Christian faith, each by men who have died but whose works are still speaking to people today. After reading and studying these books by C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Oswald Chambers, and Jonathan Edward’s sermon, my memory retained much of what they taught. The Lord used each one to bring me to a greater knowledge of Him.

Though I have lived longer than these men, I can never know all they knew. But the Lord has challenged me during every decade to seek more and more of His kingdom through a committed and vibrant relationship with Him.

This treatise is meant to challenge each of us to take what we have received from all sources, to seek and add more and grow stronger in our faith. Most of the valuable works for the kingdom are by men who are no longer living but the Lord still lives to lead us beyond what we have already – so as not to be satisfied with what men give us.

He sits as our great High Priest, with the promise and power of the Holy Spirit, to teach us from His Holy Word. The more time we spend with Him personally in prayer and study of His Word, the more powerful our Christian faith becomes. From generation to generation, we learn and share with others.

Meaning of the Word Mere
Until beginning the introduction to the book, I did not do a thorough search for the meaning of the word mere.

There is a definition of mere meaning pure, simplebeing nothing more than specified.
From the same source is another definition: a small pond of standing water. Vocabulary.com

This meaning has become intriguing as the noun mere, which means lake; a shallow body of water. This definition lends itself to the meaning of this book.  Christianity is thought by some to be shallow – as a small pond of standing water. Such thoughts negate the moving of the Holy Spirit and the depth of His working in the hearts and lives of God’s people.

In a synonym study, Dictionary.com compares the words mere and bare, which imply a scant sufficiency. They are often interchangeable, but mere frequently means no more than (enough). Thus, a mere livelihood means enough to live on but no more; a bare livelihood means scarcely enough to live on

So, when I hear the title Mere Christianity, it seems from my former understanding  to mean that Christianity is nothing more than any other religion. When we try to make Christianity a common faith, we are in danger of dumbing down the power that Christ died to give us. We lose the essence of the faith that is by grace alone, the working of the Holy Spirit for revelation of the truths of God’s Word. 

Many, by reading Lewis’ book, have been encouraged to embrace Christianity even as he did. I believe God has used His work to bring many to a knowledge they never had and who may have become followers of Christ. My purpose in writing is to look beyond what he believed, spoke, and wrote, to discover a greater depth, beyond a mere Christianity; for a mere Christianity will not suffice for Christ’s followers to proclaim and live the legacy God has bestowed on His children.

Lewis may have used the word “Mere” to express the idea of the Christian faith as pure and simple. It is pure. It is simple and needs nothing added for those who embrace Christ and who live by the power of the Holy Spirit. But to those who do not know Him, Christianity is a complex, misunderstood faith. It is much, much more to those who are growing in the doctrines of the faith. It is a living faith — a powerful faith beyond any others. It is a way of life to those who have been transformed by the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Word of God – The Holy Bible

When the gospel is watered down to satisfy everybody, we withhold the wealth that comes only by a personal relationship with the Father and Jesus, His Son. Christianity comes at a high price, the blood of Jesus Christ, and requires more than we are able to give in return.

To receive the inheritance that is ours in Christ is a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit working through new hearts, drawn to and committed to Him. His grace does not relieve us of duty, but binds us to it and fulfills the requirement, whereby we experience this new life, a heavenly life above and beyond what most people know.

Others have written from Lewis’ theme but from different perspectives. In the following chapters, we will incorporate many facets of the kingdom that our heavenly Father reveals to us, through His Word and His Holy Spirit, in and through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. Through these, we pray He will make clear His role as a loving heavenly Father, Creator, Redeemer, and our Life; His presence, power, His name, His kingdom, and His will.

These are His truths, promises, and blessings for a people who know Him, fear Him, love Him, obey, worship, serve, praise, pray, proclaim, and live in the power of  the good news of Christ, who are being transformed as living sacrifices and conformed to His image, bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility and compassion.

This is to live the “abundant life” (John 10:10) in the “fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) — “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27)  here in this life, as He continues to prepare us for eternity with Him. True Christianity is separate from any other religion — and the reality of a holy life in union with our heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit. (I know that I am repeating myself.)

He reveals Himself to and in us as Jehovah, the Lord our God. He sires children of His own who are HIs image-bearers. Though not perfect, we are His off-spring through His Son, as He continues to lead us through an imperfect world, shining through us His holiness and humility.

He calls us to discover the deep things of God (1 Corinthians 2:10). He leads us to more than a casual swim in a shallow pond. He brings us to the ocean’s edge and directs us to “Launch out into the deep.”

Gracious and glorious Father, continue to lead us in the paths of righteousness, leaving our shallow thoughts of you to plunge the depths of your grace, your love, your presence and power — to live the abundant life to which you call us in Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

What is Jesus Doing in Your Life?

(Let me tell you!)

This is but a synopsis (though not a short post) of what I know of His presence and power in others and my own life. It is worth meditation on God’s Word to confirm our faith in what the Lord is doing in our lives.
(With this post, I will be concluding in the next two weeks the last chapters of Beyond a Mere Christianity as our next book to publish, Lord willing. I am still working on Filled with Grace and Wrapped in Glory.)

Things we will speak of here:

How Did Jesus Get into Your Life?
What is He Doing in Your Life Now?
Why is He in Your Life ~ to what end?
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How Did Jesus Get into Your Life?


We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that we have chosen Jesus to be our Savior. When we read Jesus’ words, we understand more than what others say about inviting Jesus into our hearts. Follow through with me to find the assurance that He gives.

As I am speaking of the supernatural presence of Jesus in the human body, soul, and spirit, I must say that Jesus did not come into my life by asking Him.

God, our Father revealed Jesus to me by His Holy Spirit through the knowledge of His Word. I knew of Him before I knew Him. In His timing, I understood the meaning of Ezekiel 36:26.

A new heart also will I give you,
and a new spirit will I put within you:
and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh,
and I will give you a heart of flesh.

There were those of His own people who believed Jesus when they saw His miracles and spoke the good news of the kingdom of God, but they left after He told them more of what the kingdom was. So, we see that they did not believe in Christ ~ they did not believe all that He said. There were things He specifically instructed those who heard His message.

“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are my disciples indeed.”John 8:31

This quote begins with a condition and ends with an effect. We do not naturally gravitate to His Word in our natural state. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit draw us to His Word according to the will of the Father (John 6:44-45, 65-66; Galations 1:4). The Holy Spirit that inspired the Word interprets the truths of Jesus Christ so as to bring us to repentance and faith in Him (Romans 2:4; Luke 5:32).

Even as He draws, abiding in His Word is the work of His Spirit. We abide as He continues to lead us to read, that we may seek by the power of the Holy Spirit what He wills for us as His disciples.

The Holy Spirit reveals the Living Word (the logos, John 1) Jesus Christ, who was in the beginning: The Word was with God and was God. He was made flesh to dwell among us (John 1:14) and bring us to Him through the sacrifice of Himself ~ through His death, resurrection, and ascension.

Through God’s Word, the Holy Spirit convicts of sin~ our rebellion against God; of righteousness~ the righteousness of Christ given to us; and judgment ~ the judgment that is upon the world and for eternity for those who do not believe and follow Him. (John 16:8-11)

Jesus told His disciples He had many things to say to them but that they could not bear them while Jesus was with them.

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. John 16:12-14

It is the Holy Spirit that does the supernatural work of bringing us by faith into the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We did not birth ourselves naturally into this world nor do we birth ourselves spiritually into the kingdom of heaven. Any interest in Jesus Christ and the things of God begin with the new birth (John 3:3-8).

The new birth is not by our free will but by the will of God as we spoke earlier of the new heart and spirit.

“Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:13

To fully understand everything God wants for us, we must continually read His Word as the Spirit reveals more and more of Jesus, the Living Word that dwells within us.

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive,
because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him:
but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you,
and shall be in you.” John 14:17

He has made us in Christ to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: Colossians 1:12-13
Though we were alienated from God and enemies, yet now hath he reconciled. Colossians 1:21
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Ephesians 1:7-8

What is He Doing in Your Life Now?

For it is God which worketh in you
both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Philippians 2:13

 Jesus’ disciples were sorrowful at the news that He would be returning to the Father and sending His Holy Spirit in His stead (John 16:4-7). They were a privileged few whom Jesus personally lived among and taught ~ those who afterward recorded what He taught and spread the knowledge of Jesus, the Living Word.

The more we know of Jesus, the more we know what He is doing in us.

Continuing (abiding) in His Word convinces us that He is abiding in us, transforming our minds, and conforming us to His image.

 “I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly.”
John 10:10

I have often thought of the difference in Jesus and Superman. Superman, an imaginary character of a man’s creation, changes from a mild-mannered reporter to a super-hero. He flies down into the dire circumstances, scoops up the person in danger, returns them to their original state, and goes back to his newsroom, undetected. He has no personal relationship with those he saves.

Jesus, however, not only knows our need for salvation but reveals Himself as the Savior. He knows each of us by name. He saves us, lives with us by His Spirit and Word  ~ to love, care, and share His kingdom with us forever.

He is preparing us for eternity with Him. As we wait, we grow in grace and knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:12-18).

Continuing through His Word, we read how He enables us to live in the world, separate and sanctified for His use and to be a light to others of His saving grace.

God the Father has given us His Word through His Son.
The following is only part of Jesus’ high-priestly prayer for His people which we do well to know and meditate on what He purposes to do for us and in us.
He speaks of those who have believed that the Father sent Him (vs. 8) for them~ not for the world (vs. 9).
Believers belong to Him and the Father; Jesus is glorified in them (vs. 10).
His joy would be fulfilled in them (vs.13), He gave them the Father’s word and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
We are kept from the evil, sanctified through His Word; His Word is truth(vs.15-17)
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. (15)
Jesus sanctified Himself that they also might be sanctified through the truth. John 17:19
Jesus did not pray for them alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; (vs.20).
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (vs. 21).
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them (26).

Paul described the work of Jesus on our behalf.

Who gave himself for our sins,
that he might deliver us from this present evil world,
according to the will of God and our Father:
Galatians 1:4

To be Filled and Fruitful
Paul spoke to the Philippians of being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:11

“Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:” Colossians 1:6

Paul prayed for the Colossian church that they might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Colossians 1:9-11

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:32

 To Be Strengthened and Rooted and Grounded in Love

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19

To Be Transformed and Conformed to His Image

We are being transformed from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:18; Romans 12:1-2) and conformed to His image (Romans 8:28-29)

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:32

 Why is He in Your Life ~ to What End?

“That he might sanctify and cleanse it (the church ~ His people) with the washing of water by the word,
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:26-27

To present us holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: Colossians 1:22

 He is working in us what is well-pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:29-21).

“to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,” Jude 24

“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:” Ephesians 1:10

“Being confident of this very thing,
that he which hath begun a good work in you
will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” 
Philippians 1:6

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us,”
Ephesians 3:20

We can never in one chapter of a book present a full answer to the questions we have asked. As we pray and continue in His Word, He will reveal more, bringing us closer to Him, beyond anything we have known (Jeremiah 33:3).

Gracious Father in heaven, we do not deserve the life you have given us in Christ. We thank you and praise you for your Word and for sending your Holy Spirit to draw us to Christ. Fill us with your fullness that we may bear the fruit of righteousness for your kingdom and your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Pixabay

 

 

Words of Life ~ Abundant(ly)

ABUNDANT may be the most misunderstood word in the Bible. We may think of an abundance of the things of this life from God, or we may fail to understand the abundance of the spiritual things that God promises. There is one prominent verse in the Old Testament and one well known in the New that uses this word or the word ABUNDANT(LY). As we look at the meanings and how it is used in the Scriptures, we notice that the word originates with God and focuses on God and the Lord Jesus Christ. All that is ABUNDANT comes from God and revealed to and in His people. It is similar in origin to our last word ABLE, as we learned that God is the one who is ABLE, and who enables us.

In The Old Testament
ABUNDANT  in the Concordance H7227
defines the word (marbeh mar-beh’)
By contraction from H7231; abundant (in quantity, size, age, number, rank,
quality):—(in) abound (-undance, -ant, -antly), captain, elder, enough,
exceedingly, full, great (-ly, man, one), increase, long (enough, [time]), (do,
have) many (-ifold, things, a time), ([ship-]) master, mighty, more, (too, very)
much, multiply (-tude), officer, often [-times], plenteous, populous, prince,
process [of time], suffice (-ient).

ABUNDANT is prominent in Exodus 34:6 as God responds to Moses when he asked Him to show him His glory.

“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,”

In a earlier post Inexhaustible Goodness we learned of the abundance and endurance of His goodness.

In the New Testament
ABUNDANT  in the Concordance G4121
defines the word perisson, meaning exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, superfluous, a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than what one would expect or anticipate.
From G4119; (plan, plane) to do, make or be more, that is, increase(transitively or
intransitively); by extension to superabound:—abound, abundant, make to
increase, have over.

The apostle Paul speaks of the abundant grace of the Lord in 2 Corinthians 4:15.

“For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

And in 1 Timothy 1:14:

“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”

The apostle Peter speaks of the abundant mercy by which we are given new life in Christ.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” ` Peter 1:3

ABUNDANTLY H8317 in the Old Testament :
A primitive root; to wriggle, that is, (by implication) swarm or abound:—
breed (bring forth, increase) abundantly (in abundance), creep, move.

Our first parents were instructed to multiply abundantly in the earth (Genesis 9:7)

Isaiah speaks of the LORD’s mercy to those who return to Him, “for he will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:7).

ABUNDANTLY  G4053 In the New Testament
From G4012 (in the sense of beyond); superabundant(in quantity) or
superior(in quality); by implication excessive; adverb (with G1537) violently;
neuter (as noun) preeminence:—exceeding abundantly above, more abundantly,
advantage, exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure, more, superfluous,
vehement [-ly].

We come now to this most significant verse in God’s Word, from the mouth and life of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

This is a reminder of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2:9.“No one has conceived of what God has prepared for those who love HIm.

Ephesians 3;20 links our last Word of Life ~ ABLE ~ to this one;

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” 

Paul also speaks of us His mercy that saved us, regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

“Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;” Titus 3:5-6

Simon Peter spoke of the “divine power,” the “great and precious promises” the “divine nature” and life that is preparing us “For an entrance ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-11)

Dear Father, we thank you that you began creation with your abundant goodness and truth, passing down your promises of abundant pardon in the Old Testament; this pardon revealed in the New Testament through your mercy and grace in our Lord Jesus Christ, for an abundant entrance into your everlasting kingdom. Truly, this is your Word of Life to us as your children. Let us live and witness of this abundant life that is ours in Christ, our Lord; in whose name we pray. Amen.
Fran
Words of Life A-Z The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian

Weakness and Meekness

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

When I began this article, there were seven young boys and their soccer coach still trapped in a cave in Thailand. They knew that they could not save themselves, to get through the water that had blocked their passageway. Four were brought through the waters by an international team of rescuers, but the others waited. (As we publish, all have been rescued.)

Could they have shared their thoughts as they waited, no doubt they would admit their weakness in saving themselves and their total dependence on anyone who could save them.

In our natural state, human pride pretends to be strong, rather than admit its weakness. It is in cases of despair that men will admit their weakness, and in meekness, cry out and accept help from anyone who can save them.

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10

The apostle Paul followed in the footsteps of the Master as he endured the hardships of the Christian life. He admitted his weakness, but rather than let his weakness keep him from his work of the gospel, he endured in meekness as he counted that “the power of Christ rested upon him.”

As a disciple of Christ, he suffered in his “infirmities, reproaches, necessities, persecutions, and distress” (2 Corinthians 12:10) for the sake of Christ. If the only result of his suffering was endurance, we might not be impressed, but he understood the reason for his weakness, so that he would experience the “strength that is made perfect in weakness.” His pleasure was through his suffering as he experienced the strength of Christ in his weakness. When the little “I am” is submitted to Him, the great “I AM” proves His strength.

Beyond a mere Christianity, the sum total seems to be: weakness plus the power of Christ equals pleasure in the presence and power of Christ, no matter the circumstances. No wonder Paul lived a life of meekness, in total dependence on the Lord.
He understood the Master’s words in John 15:4,“without me you can do nothing.”

 This “power of Christ” that rested upon Him was the humbling of the Lord in his weakness, enabling him to submit in his weakness to the strength of Christ. Even in prison, he and Silas worshipped; prayed and sang praises unto God.

“I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

Paul understood the role of the creature in relationship to our Creator. He made us weak, so that we would need Him. When He left our first parents alone to their free will, He proved they were unable to take care of themselves and to fulfill their purpose. It is only when we come in our need to the Savior, in weakness admitting our nothingness and need for Him, that He can save us and be all to us that our Father planned for Him to be. We must in meekness, in true humility, come to Him and experience the difference He makes in our lives. If we mumble through, thinking we can accomplish anything on our own, we miss the true nature of the Christian life. To be humble is the only means of going beyond a mere Christianity to discover the power of Christ and His abundant life within us.

“It is the indwelling Christ who will live His life in us, meek and lowly. We must long for this, above everything, seeking this holy secret of the knowledge of the nature of God as He works all. We must set aside our ordinary religion to secure this, the first and chief of the marks of Christ within us. And begin to praise God that there is opened up to you in Jesus a heavenly humility of which you have hardly known, and through which a heavenly blessedness (which you possibly have never yet tasted) can come into you.” Andrew Murray ~ Humility, the Beauty of Holiness

Dear heavenly Father, how blessed we are that you call us your own, having saved us in Christ, your Son. We praise you that even meekness is the work of your Holy Spirit within us. Enable us to see and admit our weakness and our need for you, so that we can glorify you even when we are afflicted and in distress, taking pleasure in your presence and power with us always. In Jesus’ name we pray and praise you. Amen.
And the Lord Said Unto Me ~ Scripture Tunes
(Suggested Reading: A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility
Image:Google

Bountiful Compensation

How many times I have quoted David’s words, “The Lord hath dealt bountifully with me” are without number. Today I was brought to a new understanding of how bountiful the Lord is toward His people. It seems that His dealing bountifully with us is experienced more in the difficult times. It is as if by all the heavenly blessings He gives, He is compensating for the troubles that we go through; as our first parents robbed us of our original legacy, leaving us in a state of sin and misery. He gives mercy when we deserve His wrath; grace and more grace beyond what we are worth; love, joy and peace that we can never know apart from the power of His Spirit within us.

Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;
Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.” Psalm 13:3-6

The compensation is much greater than anything we have lost. The heavenly blessings are ours in Christ, His Son, who is our life, and as He promised, it is life, abundantly. We can give up everything here, even through persecution, and He blesses beyond all that we can ask or imagine.

In Psalm 142:5-6 David seems to be speaking from the experience of the Lord’s care. He was trusting Him to again deal bountifully with him when he was in the cave; Saul in pursuit.

“I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.
Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I.
Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.”

Psalm 116:7  is another reference to the Psalmist’s experience of the Lord dealing bountifully with him.

Psalm 119:17 is David’s prayer that the Lord would again deal bountifully with him.

The apostle Paul speaks of this in how we live and use what we have been given.  If we sow bountifully, giving sacrificially, the compensation will be bountiful in what we reap.

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.”
2 Corinthians 9:6

As we trust and receive all the heavenly blessings that compensate for the lack in this life, we live joyfully in the care of our heavenly Father, who loves us and gave His Son for us, a bountiful compensation for our need of a Savior and Lord, now and for eternity.

Dear Father, we cannot thank you enough for first knowing our need for salvation, a salvation that is more than sufficient for all who believe. You do not leave us to fend for ourselves, but know that you supply abundantly all that we need ~ from your riches in glory. We praise you for dealing bountifully with us; that we can experience the abundant life that Jesus came to give. We praise you, that though this life takes us through what sometimes seems impossible, you never fail to be with us, prevailing through us and blessing us beyond comprehension with eternal things. These are worth the loss of all temporal things. Thank you for loving us and caring for us as your beloved children. Enable us to share the bountiful life that is ours in Christ, your Son. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.

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An Incarnation for a New Creation

“The Incarnation of the Son of God is the terminology used to describe what happened when the second person of the Trinity, the eternal Son of God, “became flesh” as he was miraculously conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary according to the Bible. In the incarnation, the divine nature of the Son was perfectly united with human nature in one divine Person. This person, Jesus Christ, was both “truly God and truly man.” Theopidia

The Incarnation

“In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.
And the word became flesh
and dwelt among us.”

John 1:1, 14

For what purpose? Could not God from heaven continue His supernatural work by His own Spirit as He had in the Old Testament?

There are many Biblical references to explain why God chose to manifest Himself in the person of Jesus Christ.

The Mediation

Just as there were prophets, priests, and kings in the old covenant as mediators between God and His people, they were not capable to accomplish God’s plan. His intention for the first creation was to have human beings bearing His image. That image was marred, distorted by disobedience to His Word; the relationship that He desired was put on hold.

So, there was a need and the plan for a mediation, which meant that there had to be a dual role, and so Jesus, the second person of the Trinity was born to be the mediator between God and men.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
1 Timothy 2:5

He came to fulfill the law, something no other human could do. (Matthew 5:17) As a mediator, He first had to do what the first man failed to do ~ obey the Creator. He had to show a full obedience to the word and will of the law. For thirty-three years He proved His humanity, by being tempted as we are, yet without sin, so that as our sacrifice, He would be offered as a permanent sacrifice for all who believe in Him.

All the promises of God are revealed and fulfilled in Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

God made Him to be our “Go To” for all things. What the law could not do for us, in us, or through us, He does in us through Christ.

Jesus’ words:
He reveals that He was the “bread of life” ~ “the bread of God who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (John6:33-35)

“I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

The one whose birth the shepherds attended, became the good Shepherd .

“The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
John 10:28

“For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world — to bear witness to the truth.
Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

John 18:37

John’s words:

“… he appeared to take away sins… 1 John 3:5

“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 1 John 3:b

From the writer of Hebrews we learn that Jesus, in sharing flesh and blood, partaking of the same life as ours would, through death, destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver those who were subject to fear of death and the judgment of God. (Hebrews 2:10-15; 1 John 4:17-19)

The New Creation

Jesus, having lived a holy life, became the Lamb of sacrifice for our sins, He took upon Himself our sin and punishment, in exchange for His righteousness. (Romans 3:21-26; Romans 6:23: 2 Corinthians 5:21)images

Through His life and death we are given a new life by the power of His Holy Spirit; sent by the Father to draw us to Christ, He gives us a new heart and spirit. Through the written word of God, the Spirit reveals the living Word in us, and we are born again as a new creation. (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:3,21; 2 Corinthians 4:6-7;  2 Corinthians 5:17-19; James 1:18)

He fulfills the image of the Father in us. (Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:18)

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.”
1 Corinthians 15:21-22

In 1 Corinthians 15 we learn that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. There is first a natural body, a man of dust, inherited from Adam the first man. The spiritual, imperishable man is Jesus Christ, the man of heaven and those who are of heaven ~ born of His Spirit. (John 1:12-13)

“Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.”
(1 Corinthians 15:42-49)

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons.
(Galatians 4:4-7)

“Emmanuel” ~ God with us was the prophecy of Isaiah 8:10.  “And they shall call his name Immanuel.” Matthew 1:23

“The promised seed shall be Immanuel, God with us; let that word comfort you that God is with us. The strongest consolations, in time of trouble, are those which are borrowed from Christ, our relation to him, our interest in him, and our expectations of him and from him.” Matthew Henry

(There are so many more references in each of these categories of the incarnation, mediation, and new creation. A book has been written already. Please comment with some of your favorites.)

Dear Father, reveal and fulfill your plan for our salvation in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of your Holy Spirit in us ~ to your glory and our joy.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
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Praying For Our Nation ~ Week 4

give-us-this-day“In the fourth petition we pray that of God’s free gifts we may recieve a competent portion of the good things of this life and enjoy His blessing with them.” Shorter Catechism

As one of the most affluent nations in history, Americans live daily in the abundance of things that other nations only imagine. We have all the technical devices, all that we want to entertain us, and more food than we need ~ yet Jesus taught us, His people,  to pray for our “daily bread.”  We understand that our prayers are not just for us and our family, but for all people. We are reminded that He taught us to “seek first the kingdom of God our Father, and His righteousness”  before anything else, believing that He would supply all our physical needs.

As with the other petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, this one alludes to our trusting God our heavenly Father, whose name, kingdom and will are first and over all things in heaven and on earth, so that all our hope for all things is in Him.

Dear Father, as we anticipate a transition of leadership in a few weeks, let us as your children continue to examine our hearts and our faith. Show us your leading for all things. Make us to know that all that we need comes from you.

Even as we ask you to give us (all of us) our daily bread, give us understanding that we need not fear what man can do, nor hope that any man or woman can do more than you enable them to do. Again, I ask that you enable us to encourage others, and that you will grow the faith of all your people as we see you supplying all our needs.  More than physical food, enable us to understand the more needful, spiritual food that comes only from your Holy Word. Turn us to the truth and power of your Word, that we may know the abundant life that you promise us in Christ, your Son.screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-2-46-50-pm
Pour your Holy Spirit on us; give us a hunger for your Word; draw us to your Word for all that you desire for us.

Let us enjoy you and your blessings today, without anxiety of what we may need tomorrow. Show us our extravagance, and how to live simply in obedience, confidence, and contentment in you, so that we may share with others what you so graciously pour out upon us.

Make us the answer to the prayers of others who are in need, for the spirit, soul, and body.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

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