The Impact of One Act

A greeting card we received ten years ago stands on our computer desk. We received it from someone we did not know, who wrote, “Dear Fran and Jerry, We have you on our “permanent” prayer list and have been fervently praying for you regularly.”
A neighbor of ours had asked prayer at her church for Jerry, after his leg was amputated. The card was sent from someone who knew of his slow process of healing, saying, “We are so thankful for your Godly example in dealing with adversity and staying so faithful to trust in our Sovereign Lord. We will continue to lift you up! For His glory, Sarina and Michael Roth
This card was among many others, with emails from those who were praying, encouraging and supporting us during that difficult time, but this one stood out from all the rest because it came from a sister-in-Christ that we had never met.
It was over three years, and a third surgery, before Jerry’s wound from the amputation was healed. For nine years I kept the card in a special place. Last year, after I published TWO FULL PLATES ~ Learning to be a Caregiver, I took the card out of the envelope, read the message again, and was led to find Sarina on Facebook. I contacted her to let her know how much her card had meant to Jerry and me, that we were still blessed by reading it. I told her about the book and sent her a copy. In the process of our communication, I learned that Sarina is a photographer and creator of her own greeting cards (perhaps another reason this card was so special to us).
Since our connecting on Facebook, she and Michael were involved in a motorcycle accident. Both sustained injuries, both are recovering, but Sarina cannot yet use her hand for her photography. My prayers for her and Michael are fervent and daily for their healing.
When she sent her card to us so many years ago, she had no idea how her act of compassion toward us would impact our hearts and lives.
Jerry and I were actually impacted by two acts. First, Sarina prayed.
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
Then Sarina, in an act of kindness to us, encouraged us by letting us know that she was praying.
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,” Colossians 3:12
We should never doubt that an act of kindness, no matter how small, will make a difference in someone’s life, and that kindness be returned to us when we least expect it.
 Dear Father in heaven. We praise you for working in the hearts of your people to care for one another. Thank you for revealing your love everywhere, especially in our kindness to others. Thank you for the blessing of Sarina’s card so many years ago, that proves a love that recycles, and truly is evident “all around us.” I ask for your continued healing for Michael and Sarina; for Jerry, as he still needs our care, and your mercy for all in need of healing. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
~ Fran

Onward and Upward

Often I think of life as a simple “spiral.”
It circles, and as it turns, advances a little at the time.

Nothing is required for us to move in a downward spiral.
A natural downward spiral begins when we are born into this world. Our minds are set on things of this world, which draw us and drag us down. We are unable, of our own volition, to change our direction. Life never stays the same, and nature itself, by its gravity, keeps pulling us to its depths and the impending death that waits for us.

Those who are born into a culture that teaches Biblical principles may hear of God’s grace and His means of changing our direction, but we are at a loss to apply these principles in our own power.

The Bible teaches us that the direction of our lives change when we are reborn of the work of God’s Spirit in our heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26).   God gives us a new life through His Son, Jesus Christ, and by the power of His Spirit within us turns us, from the power of the downward spiral. By His kindness He brings us in repentance and faith to Himself (Acts 20:21; Romans 2:4). He continues through this life to bring us onward and upward, and to eternity with Him.

There is much more we could say in this short treatise about life here on earth, including sin and evil in this world, which is the reason for the downward spiral. The world has been in this downward deathly movement since the beginning of time, when our first parents turned from their Creator to make and take their own lives, and ours, in a different direction than His.

Are you aware of how you are turning, which way your life is going? Do you want to know this onward and upward movement in your life? Do you want to know the power of God’s Spirit working in you to bring you to Himself? No one can do an about-face, turning themselves. Many have tried, but to no avail. It requires the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit working through our spirit to give us a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) This requires a new birth (John 3:3) which only He can give (John 1:12-13; 1 Peter 1:3). Regeneration, a new creation, and repentance is His spiritual work in us, and what a glorious experience to be turned and moving in the opposite direction from the world.

If you have yet to know this new life, I pray that you will reach for God’s Word, which He offers to you. Read the Holy Bible. If you have never read before, begin with the New Testament. Ask for His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13); pray and pour out your heart to Him. He knows where you are and what you need. Read and pray until He, by His Spirit, turns you to repentance and faith as a new creature in Christ. He gave His life to deliver us from the present evil age (Galatians 1:3).

If you have never heard the good news of God’s changing our lives and our direction, and want to hear more I would be blessed to tell you more. You can email me at f.rogers@bellsouth.net. There is oh, so much more of this glorious upward spiral that is ours in Christ through whom we, as God’s children, live.

I will end this post by saying that your wedding day will not be the most wonderful day of your life. Neither will the birth of your children be the greatest experience you can know. There is nothing as wonderful as being born of the Spirit of God and living every day in Christ, in light of His promises and hope. It is the most uplifting experience of this life as He is preparing us for eternity with Him.

Gracious Father, how can we tell someone what it is like to know you and what life is like as your children? It is impossible to share the width, the depth and the height of your love. You must do the work in each of us. I pray that you would shine your light and the life of Christ through us, and by your Spirit, draw and birth others into your house and kingdom. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Essence of Contentment

The essence of contentment is distilled from the presence of the Father in His own children. It is a seventh sense that comes from the new birth. The birth of God’s Spirit within us springs up to eternal life with a new heart and a new spirit directing our course of life here, preparing us for the eternal glory with the Father and His Son. Most of us have something of our parents that is reflected in us, some trait or expression.  The same is true of our relationship with our heavenly Father who, in Christ revealed Himself.  We, too, as His children will exhibit His character, when by His Spirit and His written word we become more and more like Him.  He is content to have desired us, and sired us for His own family.

We are continuing to learn and proclaim the legacy of God’s kingdom through our books and here on God’s Grace ~ God’s Glory as He is leading and teaching us. We are each given short-term goals but none of us have arrived at His planned destination. We are learning to live in this wilderness of oppression trusting His Word, His presence and His power with us (Ephesians 3:20-21).93854-004-7fcc6b28

The Sixth Sense

We are normally born into this world with five senses. I believe that “faith” is a sixth sense that comes with the new birth. Regeneration brings us in faith and repentance to citizenship in God’s kingdom. There is a sense of new life, a difference from what we lived before. Faith brings a sense of distinction from the old life that we knew. Although it is a new sense of its own, it is connected to the other five senses. Faith is a spiritual sense that comes about through our physical senses of seeing, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.

Faith comes by hearing the gospel, the good news of Christ and our redemption (Romans 10:17). We read God’s Word and the Holy Spirit moves with our spirit to know that we are God’s children (Romans 10:17, Ephesians 1:18). We touch and hold His Word as He teaches us (Proverbs 4:13; 1 Timothy 4:16; Philippians 2: 14-16). We “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8; Matthew 4:4). We become a sweet fragrance of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15). These are but samples of how God uses the senses He created in us to birth us to a living hope and the inheritance that we have as joint-heirs with Christ. (1Peter 1:3-4)

Faith Leads to Contentment

Faith then affects how our senses are used to lead us and grow us in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and conform us to His image (2 Peter 3:18; Romans 8:28-29).

bridge-of-faithFaith becomes the bridge, the means to the whole of God’s kingdom. Here is where we connect faith and contentment, contentment being the seventh and complete sense in communion with the Father.

Remember the diagram of oppression, adversity, and contentment from an earlier post. Our Father uses faith to bring us out of the state of oppression, through adversity. We would rather say that His presence and power lift us above the adversity and brings us to the state of contentment. We do not escape adversity, but learn to live in conformity to the image of Christ. His Word and faith in His Word train our senses.  By these we are enabled to accept and live unmoved by our circumstances. We are being trained and we practice keeping our senses focused on God, our Father and our hearts centered in Christ and His promises, as we are led by the Holy Spirit.

Dear Father, Thank you for filling us with your fulness and spreading your love in our hearts; for becoming life to us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Continue to fill us with your Holy Spirit,and to work your contentment in us.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Born for Contentment

Everyone who comes into this world is  “born for adversity.”  God’s children are born for contentment.

Years ago, when our oldest granddaughter started elementary school, I asked her why children were going to school every day. Her reply was, “So that we can get a job, make money, and buy what we want.” She was learning well at an early age what the world teaches about contentment. Now, at the age of twenty-four she is married, has a two-year old daughter and a job. And through adversity, she is learning to be content with what she has.

In this world of oppression, we are taught that we have the power to accomplish whatever makes us happy.  This is not the contentment for which God’s people are born. Let’s leave behind the fallacy that we are responsible for our own contentment.

True contentment ~ divine contentment ~ comes to us by the supernatural power of God, our heavenly Father.  He desired us and sired us for His own pleasure and contentment.

Just as we learn from infancy how to survive physically, we must learn, at His feet,  how to be content in this world of oppression.

Desire to Desire What God Desires

We are reminded of the apostle Paul’s words, “ I have learned…..to be content.” (Philippians 4:11) What God gives us in our new birth is a new heart, and a new spirit with a desire for that which is eternal.

Learning about true contentment is not easy. It is as foreign to humanity as anything we can study or desire. It is beyond imagination, so supernatural that we cannot think about it without being overwhelmed. We are reminded of Jesus’ promise, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”(John 4:14)

rivers-of-living-waterThis eternal life becomes a fountain (Psalm 36:9), then a stream (Isaiah 35:6), then breaks forth into rivers of living water (John 7:37-39). The source is God, Himself, through Christ, His Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit working in the heart to produce His own life. This is what He meant when He said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21

The new birth is the spring. Growing by the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ brings the blessings of His presence and power, blessings we cannot fathom, or control, at times carrying us away with the flow.

Oppression ~~~~ Adversity ~~~~Contentment

Divine contentment is the opposite end of the spectrum from oppression, as far as heaven is from the earth. Between oppression and divine contentment, the reality of adversity remains part of every person’s life. Divine contentment is God’s blessing and gift of grace, that His children may live content in Christ, in the middle of adversity. It is more than just having what we think we need, but receiving what He has so graciously prepared for us ~ more than we could ask or think.
(1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 3:20)

As we continue to proclaim the legacy of God’s kingdom we will share what He is teaching us of this supernatural, phenomenal gift of His contentment.

Dear Father in heaven, many ask why you allow oppression and adversity. Keep us close to you as we are learning your thoughts and your ways concerning our place in your kingdom here on earth. We praise you for the contentment that is ours in Christ, for the legacy that is ours as joint-heirs with Christ now and for eternity. Show us your ways O Lord; teach us your paths; lead us in your truth and teach us.  For Thou art the God of our salvation.  On Thee do we wait all the day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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The Glad Rule

A few months ago the Lord gave us this new rule in our house. Since then Jerry and I have looked at every situation from a different perspective. The Glad Rule keeps us looking up, toward the Lord our God in all circumstances.

Instead of dwelling on the difficulties we now look at everything in light of what we have. We can see above the things that we are facing with grateful hearts. In the middle of what seems impossible to deal with we look to the one who has been with us through fifty-four years. In times of disappointment we were sometimes overwhelmed with the difficulties. Now, we are overwhelmed with God’s grace to either bring us through, or to overcome, victoriously.

His love, joy and peace are the ultimate fruits of His working through our difficult times.

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Even those who are not Christians could make their own Glad Rules, but they do not have the promises and assurance that God’s children have.

 For the LORD comforts Zion;
he comforts all her waste places
and makes her wilderness like Eden,
her desert like the garden of the LORD;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the voice of song.”
Isaiah 51:3
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“To grant to those who mourn in Zion–

to give them a beautiful headdress
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD,
that he may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3images (1)

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17
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Thank you Father for your omnipotence, your omniscience and your omnipresence; for proving your care for us as your children. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

NO PROBLEM ~

We often hear the reply “No Problem” to a “Thank You” ~meaning that the good deed was no big deal, something perhaps done just in the line of duty, not requiring much from the giver.

Can we imagine this response from God? Whatever He does is as He has planned and for which He has prepared to give, and for us to receive.

Let’s take this thought a little further and apply it to all things, not just the good that He gives but also to all of life.

The word problem is not in the Bible ~ not in the original KJV. This gives us a clue as to who gave us this word and why it has become a major word in the English language. God’s and our adversary would have us go from day to day as if all of life is a problem.

This is life focused on men and self ~ striving through and barely surviving because our view of God seems to be what we would naturally say is problematic.

I want to suggest that we change our vocabulary to one that is compatible with God’s. Let us consider the Psalmist view ~ 103:190001OU

In our heavenly Father’s view there is no problem. Let us think with the mind of Christ who came to reveal the Father to us. Instead of problems what can we know and see in this physical world of God’s creation?

We are faced with :

Abnormalities and uncertainties

Absurdities and obscurities

Adversities and necessities

Atrocities and monstrosities

We encounter:

Authorities and majorities

Calamities and subtleties

Complexities and perplexities

Difficulties and anxieties

We are confronted with:

Iniquities and inequities

Insincerities and insecurities

Sensitivities and inabilities

But none of these are a problem to God. More so, they are all part of His overall plan. These are all the underside of God’s tapestry, as He is weaving all things together with His presence and power in us.  These are all His means of bringing His will to be made known; and to work His own life and joy in us.  All things are for our good, so as to conform us to the image of His dear Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (Romans 8:28-29) He endured all these that we too might endure to the end and enjoy His victory and glory.

It is not meant that we are to understand His plan ~ it is too much for us to comprehend; but in faith to believe what He says and reveals to us as He works in us, in others, and all circumstances. When we, as His children, know Him and see His great and mighty power in His creation and redemption we will no longer view things as problems, but accept all things as opportunities and possibilities in how we are to live and fulfill our purpose to glorify our heavenly Father. Read the whole Psalm with this mind-set and you will begin to think differently so as to glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.

It matters not whether I sleep or wake ~ God is God.

All that matters is for His sake ~ God is God.

Glorious Father, you planned according to your sovereign will all that you wanted to do in your creation and redemption.  And now in this generation, as always, you are working through your providence for all that you planned.  THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.  And I hear Him answer, “No Problem; it is all my pleasure to give you the kingdom.

God Blows Us Away

When have you been stunned by a revelation of God? When is the last time that you were speechless, standing in awe of what you knew only God can do? When have the mouths of God’s people been shut so as to hear and see Him? He is still in the process of sifting His wheat and blowing away the chaff, so that He can use His grain to feed His people.

This is the way He has been dealing with me for many years, but especially in the last few days. Such a time as this Thursday led me to spend Friday morning in fellowship with the Father. As I said “Amen” I pushed up on the sides of the chair, but was unable to stand, feeling that my feet were being held.   Sitting back, wondering at my inability, I asked Him what was happening. His silent answer, through His Spirit seemed to be, “I have planted your feet in the field of humility; so that you can receive from me and be a means of sharing what I give you.” After a few minutes of pondering what that meant I stood and went about my work for the remainder of the day.

Saturday was a seemingly usual day, and the Lord’s Day was again that special day ~ the eighth day and the first day of the week when we enjoy the fellowship of God’s family in worship and in private worship and reading and however He leads for the rest of the day.

This morning from about two the Spirit of the Lord has been continuing to bring His Word to bear in my mind and heart. The vision of standing with my feet covered with dirt in a wheat field was prominent as I wondered what it was leading to.

For years my ministry has not been public, relegated to the home only with Jerry. His ministry to me has continually been fulfilled. Every promise, every hope given has been real and shared with others wherever He opened a door. He continues to amaze me, and open heaven as if it is here on earth. So phenomenal it is, that it seems unbelievable at times, and unexplainable. He blows me away, and I don’t know what to say; sometimes He takes my breath away and I stand in awe and reverence, receiving, and praying to share what He wants me to.

My thoughts this morning ~ as I was planted in the field of wheat ~ the reminder of Jesus’ words, “I came to cast fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled!” Luke 12:49; and in Mark 9:49, “Everyone will be salted with fire.”

Fire in the Bible refers to God’s judgment, and in my thoughts came this vision of the wheat field wherein I am rooted being set fire by the breath of God. Again I am blown away by the revelation that He makes us usable by removing the dross in our lives with whatever He chooses. How did the vision end? What was revealed in this new open field? I had been blown away and all that was left was a fresh loaf of bread that He can share wherever He desires.

In addition to His working in my own life I see Him working in others also. This applies to how He may be working in this nation and the world. From His Word and recent sermons I believe that God is able and will reveal Himself in such a way that will make us stand in awe, to know His presence and power at work to cleanse His temple and His people. The apostle Paul knew this presence and power as He wrote to the Corinthian church, “For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:9

Jesus said in Matthew 13:24 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.” He sows the good seed of His Word in us as His field. Our bodies are the temple of His Holy Spirit to do with as He pleases, so that we may share Christ, the bread of life.big_thumb_fb317feed7b7129b6f4c8db3604b0f2c

It may be the time for Him to start fresh again in this nation. We see the cloud of persecution looming and wonder what His plans are. When He blows by the breath of His nostrils and speaks the Word we shall see and praise Him though we as His people have to endure His wrath upon the whole. The fire that brings judgment upon the rest of the world will be that which removes the dross of His church.

Listen to a recent sermon based on the book of Habakkuk, which the minister speaks of as the closest book of the Bible to the conditions of our nation today.

“When God Does Not Respond As We Expect” ~ Dr. C.

Music ~ Yet I Will Rejoice ~ Habakkuk 3:17-18
Dear Father, I pray that you would reveal your truth, your Word, to your people today; that you would prepare us for days ahead as we need such a revelation of your presence and power in our midst. Rend the heavens and come down as the melting fire burneth to make your name known among the adversaries. Show us your mercy and mighty hand upon us as you remove all that hinders your working in and through us. Make us loaves of the bread of life for your glory, for others and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Related Article: Yet I Will Rejoice