The Nature of Humility (pg. 5)

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame:
but with the lowly is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2

“Pride is ours, from Adam, and rules in us with such terrible power, because it is ourself — our very nature. Humility (from Christ) must be ours in the same way; it must be our very self, our very nature.   As natural and easy as it has been to be proud, it must –it will be — to be humble. The promise is, “Where,” even in the heart, “sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20)

 A man’s pride shall bring him low:
but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”
Proverbs 29:23

“Nothing can avail but that the new nature, in its divine humility, will be revealed in power to take the place of the old. It will become as truly our very nature as the old ever was.

“We have our life from and in Christ, as truly, even more truly, than from and in Adam.” Humility Andrew Murray


There is as much difference in pride and humility as in night and day, light and darkness — good and evil. Jesus came to make the difference in His people. The Holy Spirit is doing His work in us now in preparation for eternity with Him. There will be no pride in heaven and without it we will never get there.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name as your kingdom has come and your will is being done in the hearts and lives of your children. Let the world see what Christ does in us. Continue to grow us in the new nature that is ours in Him — for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

free ebook Humility~the Beauty of Holiness Andrew Murray (free audio)
A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility (free copy upon request)

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Surviving and Thriving in Enemy Territory

To get to the depth of this twenty-first chapter (one more remaining) has been a tedious task. Even as I came to this, it seemed as facing one of those brick walls we run into close to the end of a project. There is something we can’t get over, around, under, or through, on our own.

I have described this overwhelming sense in other posts as finding more than I know how to handle. It is what I imagine winning the lottery would be like, only this is a spiritual windfall every time the Lord brings me to a new chapter in my life or to finishing a book.

Proving truth by our experience seems the easiest to write but much of the time, it is His working in us what we have not yet known. It is to find the joy of His presence, as He continues to teach and prepare us for eternity with Him. The Christian life is lived in the presence and power of the Lord God Almighty who brings us to imagine what is beyond where we are.

It is a life of growth that takes us from striving to surviving and finally, thriving in the middle of the common adversities that assail all human beings. As Christians, we face the controversies that exist between believers and unbelievers as well as among God’s people.

If we have been through the first twenty chapters of this book, we know that Christianity is not a two-bit religion or one by which we hitch our wagon to a star and hope it will carry us to heaven. It is not like any other religion but one that most people seem to be happy without.

Since the beginning, when God created a man and woman, there has been an antithesis ~ Satan and his angels gathering those who are captive to him to battle against God and His plan for His creation.

The Christian life is not an easy endeavor. The more we claim the promise of eternal life in Him, the more we are ridiculed and persecuted.

As the apostle Paul expressed the life of Jesus’ disciples, “We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Jesus said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,” Luke 9:23

Although I have not come to the point of thriving as I desire, Jerry and I have survived ~ experiencing joy and praise through much hardship. The vision is put before us when we study the life of Christ our Lord and the apostles who were chosen to continue His ministry of proclaiming the kingdom of God.

If we never catch sight of the victory Jesus gained for us in this world, then we believe in vain.

It is a victory of faith to overcome as He rules in every area of our lives, whether personal or relational. We need His presence and power to overcome that which makes us captive to this world.

He bought us and brought us from being an enemy, to serve Him as a soldier of the cross. He gives us every weapon in His arsenal to overcome the enemies that strive against Him and His kingdom here on earth (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

To get beyond striving to surviving in this world, we begin by knowing who and where we are. In John’s first letter, he describes the difference in God’s people and the world that “lies in wickedness.”

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

“We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” NKJV

“We know that we are from God, and the whole worldlies in the power of the evil one.” ESV

“We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” NIV

In this one verse, we see the opposing forces that have made up the antithesis since the world began.

KJV and NKJV agree that “we are of God.”

ESV states “we are from God.”

NIV says “we are children of God.”

These teach us that as disciples of Christ we belong to God, which makes us different from the world.

In the next part of this sentence, John describes those who are not children of God. Every translation describes the territory of unbelievers as “the whole world.”

KJV says “the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

NKJV says “the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.

ESV says, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.

NIV says, “the whole world is under the control of the evil one.”

2 Corinthians 4:4 describes the evil one as “the god of this world.”

Ephesians 2:2 describes him as “the prince of the power of the air.”

 “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.” 1 John 3:10

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth  in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1:1-2, 6

“And Pharaoh sent, and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.” Exodus 9:27

Satan’s Territory
During wartimes, we hear of servicemen taken captive as prisoners of war. Everyone since Adam and Eve, are born slaves into Satan’s territory. As the god of this world, he rules with power over the whole world.

A mere Christianity is not enough to survive the spiritual battles that come just by living here. A little faith will not stand against the onslaught of the enemy. Those who do not know Christ are destined to a final eternity with Satan and his angels.

Only Jesus Christ can save us from the enemy ~ the spirit of this world and his oppression.

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

Christ’s disciples are born again spiritually to belong to Him ~ predestined to eternity with Him.  It is Jesus Christ who delivers us from the power of the evil one.

“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” 1 John 5:18

“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” 1 John 5:4-5

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Titus 2:12 speaks of how God’s children are to live in this present world;  

 “And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Ephesians 4:24

The Power of the Holy Spirit
The Lord promises His people the power of His Holy Spirit ~ the same power that was with Him on earth. The same Holy Spirit by which Jesus was conceived of the virgin Mary is the same Spirit by which Christ is born in us ~ the same power to overcome sin and make us holy. The same presence with Jesus as He endured the suffering and death of the cross is the same presence of the Spirit of Christ within us ~ to live sacrificially for Him (Romans 12:1-2)..

It is the same power that raised Him from the dead and made Him to sit in heavenly places to rule at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:19-21; Ephesians 2:5).

It is the same power given to those in persecution: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Hebrews 11:33

We are chosen and born into the kingdom of God, and called for battle against the god of this world. The purpose as children of God is not to take over the world. The Father’s plan is for a new heaven and a new earth. We are to be light, holding forth the word of life to those that are in our paths. We are to provide the good news of Christ so that all who will believe the gospel of Christ will be joined to His family.

We are His Church, living in the wilderness provided for our first parents when they had to leave the Garden of Eden. Their rejection of God’s laws for His creation was the reason for their ejection. Every generation since the beginning has had to live and work under the control of the evil one.

We live in the middle of the battle between God and Satan, between good and evil ~ a constant threat to Satan and his kingdom.

“But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.” 1 Peter 3:14

Yet, if we suffer for Christ, we endure, growing closer to Him, knowing more of the joy and fullness of His Spirit ~ thriving as He brings forth His fruit in us.

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree:
he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”
Psalm 92:12

 “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall;
but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.”
Proverbs 11:28

The Holy Spirit is the inspiration for the writing of God’s Word and the presence and power in His Word for our defense against the evil one. The power of the Holy Spirit in us uses the sword of the Spirit ~ His Holy Word ~ to bring us from striving to surviving and victoriously thriving in Satan’s hostile territory. We do well to meditate on these to know ourselves and our enemy.

In a second part, we will post this storehouse of His Word concerning the difference in God’s people and the world. We will see from these verses who are the righteous and ungodly; those of light and those of darkness, those of truth and deceit, those of life and death, of peace and oppression, of the Spirit and flesh.

It is by the power of His Spirit and His Word that brick and mortar walls fall down as He leads us on victoriously, joyfully, and fruitfully.

Dear Father in heaven, you continue to teach us and lead us onward in the power of the cross. Let your Spirit and Your Word do their work in the hearts and lives of your children throughout this world. Bring those who are striving to the reality of surviving ~ and those who are surviving to thriving so that the world may know that we are your children. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

The Danger of Freedom

This is an introduction to our next post — Bound by Grace — an article written thirty years ago. We will be adding a second part –Free to Love, looking at who we are when we think we are free without God, and then to the beauty and power of God’s grace and liberty that  He gives through His Son, Jesus Christ.

If you ask different people what it means to be free, you will get a variety of answers. For a non-believer, freedom means that they are answerable to no one, able to do whatever they want without restrictions, especially without God.

What is the danger in this kind of freedom?

Imagine intersections without traffic lights and roads without speed zones. If everybody had this freedom, who would be safe? Everyone would have the license to destroy other people who get in their way.

The danger of freedom applies to a Christian as well as a person who has no faith in Christ. Many think all men have a free will with the ability to choose right from wrong, even to believe or not to believe in Christ. After years of thinking I had chosen Christ as my Savior, my thinking changed. Studies in God’s Word uncovered truths I had never heard.

Beginning in Genesis, I came to understand how God proved man is not capable of choosing what is right. Left to themselves, Adam and Eve showed that without the continual presence and leading of their Creator, they had no wisdom or knowledge to make the right decision. There was no protection from the danger in their own territory. Instead of being free, they became servants of Satan; the human race came under his bondage and except through  Christ, live in rebellion against God.

Jesus Christ is the mediator sent from our heavenly Father to restore us to Him – to bring us to that relationship He had planned for His Creation. Without our total dependence on Him, we will never live in true freedom. Without Christ, we are in danger of our own deceptive thinking and without protection in this world. Satan is always waiting for us to make our own decisions without knowing or wanting God’s will for us. God’s will according to His law is the only free will and the only law that matters to us as His people.

Tomorrow, we will look at what it means to be — Bound by Grace— and the liberty that is given in His kingdom to the children of God — followers of Christ.

Dear Father in heaven, we thank you for the freedom that is ours in Christ, based on the laws of your kingdom and the power of your Holy Spirit to reveal, enforce, and fulfill all your will in us. In Jesus’ name, I thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran

The Secret Place

 We might have titled this The Secret Place of AFFLICTION because this chapter of Beyond a Mere Christianity is tied to our previous post, Words of Life ~ AFFLICTION.

The secret place of which we write is basically “the secret place of the Most High” referenced in Psalm 90:1. “He that dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” But it has a deeper meaning as we will show in this chapter.

How do we get to this secret place? We must first know about it through the revelation of God’s Word (1 Corinthians 2). We must be born into it by His Spirit (John 3:3-8; John 1:12). It is a spiritual experience of our heart and spirit ~ He gives us a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). He makes us joint-heirs with His Son in His kingdom (Romans 8:17).

He has provided the means of communication with Him in this secret place. He speaks to us through His Word and receives our speech through prayer. His Word teaches us how to pray, and hears our prayers and our praises. As children, we are disciples and servants of His Son Jesus Christ; God gave Him for us as a propitiation for our sins showing His great love for us (1 John 4:10). Because we are believers and His followers, we will experience a taste of His persecution from those who do not believe in Him.

We experience affliction, suffering, and tribulation for His name’s sake.

We see this privilege, this honor of suffering in the life of the apostles in Acts 5:41; the apostles left those who had beaten them and had commanded their silence of the gospel, “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”.

The Secret Place is an honorable place for His people who in all generations follow Christ and if need be, to suffer persecution.

No other people can claim this honor except those who belong to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. As we look at the remainder of our references, I encourage you to take time to meditate on these, take them to heart and remember whose we are as pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land. If you don’t have time to read all the references now, I encourage you to copy and save them.

We will look at these three areas and end with a section on Chastisement:

AFFLICTION of Christ
AFFLICTION of Followers of Christ
AFFLICTION within the Body of Christ

AFFLICTION of CHRIST

H6031 ânâh, aw-naw’ to afflict, oppress, humble

The affliction of Christ prophesied in Isaiah is the same word used for other references in the Old Testament.

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4

“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7

The prophecy was fulfilled at the end of Jesus’ ministry when by His affliction, He took upon Himself our punishment for sin. We are not exempt from afflictions in this life but saved from the afflictions that will come to those who do not accept His sacrifice for salvation.

In the following verses from God’s Word, we hope to prove that afflictions are part of this life for all humanity because we live in a fallen, sinful world. The afflictions of unbelievers are just a prelude to the forever tune of eternal suffering. But as believers, we accept affliction as a part of our unity with Christ, our Lord, and Savior. We follow Him in the paths of righteousness with the promise that He is with us in our suffering for the sake of the gospel.

The prophecy of Jesus’ sufferings bridges the gap between the Old and New Testaments, bringing us to the record of His life and HIs instructions to His disciples as He was preparing them for His crucifixion and resurrection.

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.” Matthew 24:9

New Testament G2347
Strongs’s defines affliction thlipsis thlē’-psēs tribulation, affliction, anguish, persecution  References

The word is the same used for tribulation.

Jesus spoke of the tribulations that would come with discipleship. His encouragement was for peace and joy through His victory over death and the world. He promises all the physical blessings, including persecution (Mark 20:30).

“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 16:33

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

 AFFLICTION of Followers of Christ
Paul wrote of this tribulation to the early church.

“Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

To the disciples in the church in Rome Paul wrote to encourage them during those times. See how many times “joy” is related to affliction in these verses.

“And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” Romans 5:3

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:3

“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;” Romans 12:12

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;” 2 Corinthians 4:17

“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 2 Corinthians 8:2

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:” Colossians 1:24

“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.”1 Thessalonians 1:6

G3804.pathemapath’-ay-mah from a presumed derivative of 3806; something undergone, i.e. hardship or pain; subjectively, an emotion or influence:– affection, affliction, motion, suffering. The sufferings of Christ; also the afflictions which Christians must undergo in behalf of the same cause which Christ patiently endured.

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:10

 “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9

“Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” 1 Peter 1:11

“But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 1 Peter 4;13

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:” 1 Peter 5:1

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

AFFLICTION within the body of Christ
G2347 thlipsisis the same word used for tribulation and trouble in 2 Corinthians 1:4

“Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5

 “And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 2 Corinthians 1:6

“So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:” 2 Thessalonians 1:4

“Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.” Hebrews 10:33

G4778. sugkakoucheo soong-kak-oo-kheh’-o from 4862 and 2558; to maltreat in company with, i.e. (passively) endure persecution together:–suffer affliction with.

The writer of Hebrews speaks of Moses choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Hebrews 11:25

In James 5:10 he speaks of the prophets who were an example of suffering affliction, and of patience ~ from G2552 kakopatheia kak-op-ath’-i-ah from a compound of 2256 and 3806; hardship:–suffering affliction.

In 1 Peter 4:14 we read: “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you.”

Is this not the “secret place” in which we dwell with Him “under the shadow of the Almighty” who has sanctified us and is bringing us to glory in Him (Hebrews 2:10-11)?

Chastisement ~ the Secret Place  in the Life of God’s Child

“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

“Though he was a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;” Hebrews 5:8

It is interesting that we are writing about this secret place of affliction at the same our pastor is preaching through the book of Hebrews. Finishing the eleventh chapter with the list of martyrs, the last two weeks we have been in Hebrews 12, seeing the relationship between God and His children, the same kind of relationship between Him and the Israelites in the Old Testament. The Old Testament speaks not only of affliction but also of chastisement (Isaiah 26:16). While we might not like the idea that He afflicted His people because of their rebellion, we might also not hold to the idea that God causes pain to His children who fail to hear and obey the instructions of His Word. In hearing these sermons, I have been moved to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a child of God, to be blessed that He chastens me because He loves me. (Hebrews 12:5-14); and all this, so that I stay close to Him and partake of His holiness; which means I pray even for His chastisement, along with instructions and corrections as needed, so that I know Jesus did not bear my chastisement in vain but is my example in His suffering and obedience. Our chastisement fell upon Him, so that we may become the children of God. Any pain we have to suffer now will be worth it all for the glory that waits with Him in eternity. All pain and adversity, whether or not we are suffering for Christ’s sake, is accepted because the Lord our God is sovereign over all things.

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Proverbs 13:5

“And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” Revelation 7:14

Gracious Father, we thank you for revealing the truth of your Word to us by your Holy Spirit. Enable us to accept all things, pain, sickness, and all adversity at your hand, working for our good and conforming us to the image of Christ, as we continue to abide in your word and under the shadow of your wings. Thank you for that secret place you prepared for us in Christ our Lord, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Fran

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Words of Life ~ ADOPTION

What a difference it would make if we knew the true meaning of Christian adoption.
Our relationship with God is not based on a biological birth just by happenchance, but by a desire on the part of our heavenly Father to make us His own children.

We can start with what we know about human adoption. First: there is a couple’s desire to take a child, born to another family, into their home; to love, care, provide, and protect this child.

Secondly: there are rules and conditions that govern the process of adoption. Needy children are not just dumped on a family’s doorsteps; nor does a child choose its parents.

Third: there is the process of finding a child compatible to the couple who are adopting; unless there is a child the couple already knows. Still there is a legal process they must go through.

Fourth: there is a cost to adoption, which we will not go into here, except as we consider the cost of our adoption into the family of God.

Our heavenly Father has only one true Son, Jesus Christ, but before the foundation of the world He desired many sons and daughters and planned for our adoption (Ephesians 2:4-5).

The rules and conditions of His kingdom govern the process, by which He finds and makes known His desires.

His cost was the price of His own dear Son, given for us, to make us joint-heirs with Him (1 Corinthians 6:20).

How do we separate the price our Father paid and what the Son paid?

(Let me share a precious moment with our Lord and Savior this past week during the busyness of my duties as Jerry’s caregiver, and the research of the word “adoption.” The Lord revealed to me the meaning of true love that I have never known. I cannot fully describe this, but He opened my heart to see Him before He came to earth. I saw His great love for the Father, His great love for us and His longing to come to bring us to Him. He was not only willing, but desiring with His whole heart, ready to give His whole life, to live and to die for me. Imagine Him, an only child, desiring more children for the Father and at the same time desiring sisters and brothers with whom to share His monumental estate, His wealth, and His eternal life with the Father in heaven.)

No biological birth or human adoption can offer this.

No biological birth or human adoption requires this process.

No biological birth or adoption comes at such a price as the life of another human being, who is willing and ready to sacrifice with such a love for his father and brothers and sisters.

True, He knew He would be resurrected, but He was, for the joy set before Him, coming to endure the anguish and pain of the cross for those in need of a loving Father and the Life He gives through His Son. (I do not limit this Life to an after-death experience, but to Life now and forever.)

We are not negating the need for “new birth” but understand that He gives His adopted children a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3).  

ADOPTION into the kingdom of God begins here; our heavenly Father protecting, providing all our needs, loving, leading, assuring, and nurturing us as His children through this wilderness and on to glory with Him and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ came to bring many sons to glory with Him (Hebrews 2:10-12).

And He pursues us, knowing whose are His.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…Behold, now are we sons…(1 John 3:1-3).

We do not include any references from the Old Testament for the word  ADOPTION. Though there were incidents of adoption in the Old Testament, it was not a practice of the Israelites. It is only associated with the understanding of our relationship with God as our heavenly Father through Jesus’ redemption.

New Testament G5206
Defines ADOPTION  huiothesia (hwee-oth-es-ee’-ah) from a presumed compound of 5207 and a derivative of 5087; the placing as a son, i.e. adoption (figuratively, Christian sonship in respect to God):–adoption (of children, of sons).

 
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry , Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23

 “To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons”. Galatians 4:5

How blessed we are to know that before the foundation of the world we were chosen to be His children, in love 
”Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” Ephesians 1:4-5

Dear gracious, heavenly Father, who is rich in mercy, the love wherewith you loved us can never be fully understood. It was all planned before we were born, before we sinned and needed a Savior. Open our hearts to such love that would give your one and only Son to die for our sins. We cry, “Abba, Father” in love, thanksgiving and praise for bringing us into your family. Conform us to the image of your precious Son, our Lord and Savior. By your Spirit, spread abroad your love in our hearts so that we love you with all our hearts, our brothers and sisters and our neighbors as ourselves.
Fran

For a related article on adoption see Truth or Tradition.

Image:Julie Johnson (Unsplash)

Words of Life ~ ADMONISH

What a blessing it has been to share these Words of Life ~ A to Z The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian. Every word brings new insight into this vocabulary that leads us in our thoughts, our speech and actions. Each word is building on the previous ones. Imagine if we could eleminate the words of the English language that do not apply to our lives in Christ. As Jim, a fellow blogger, commented about the wealth of these words related to our life as a Christian, we do well to study these words in application to our lives and relationships.

To ADMONISH one another is a lost art, along with church discipline ~ lost because of its true meaning. It is a special gift used in relationship to one another, those who are of the people of God. Outside the household of faith, it is simply a means of ciritcism without concern for the hearer, but those who know and love each other have the Spirit of truth to see and speak the truth in love wherever it is needed.

We see the word admonish  linked to humility, wisdom, goodness and knowledge, which are other words of our vocabulary. These attributes are needful if we are to warn, teach and shine; the same word for admonish applies to these actions on the part of a child of God. 

Old Testament  H2094
Defines ADMONISH zahar (zä·har‘) warn, admonish, teach, shine  All references.

“Better is a poor and a wise child than an old and foolish king, who will no more be admonished.” Ecclesiastes 4:13

It is the wise who can admonish others and the wise who are able to accept admonition from others. If we could focus on these Words of Life, we would always be able to admonish and to understand what others are saying when they admonish us.

New Testament   G3560
Defines ADMONISH noutheteō (nü-the-te’-ō) warn, admonish
G3867 paraineō (pä-rī-ne’-ō) admonish, exhort

 “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” Romans 15:14

This is the means of admonishing one another; able to admonish and to accept admonition.

The apostle Paul instructed the Colossian believers in how they were to admonish one another.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” Colossians 3:18

How wonderful it is to relate to those in whom the word of Christ dwells. It is these we would desire to teach and admonish us. This is the means of a brotherly unity in Christ. Look again at this statement: it begins with the word of Christ dwelling in them and from them singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. This seems to indicate that psalms and humns and spiritual songs in our worship, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord is a means of admonition. As we worship, our singing can not only be directed to the Lord, but toward each other. The Psalms and hymns that have been preserved over the years are packed with truth and instruction for us. The words of Christ have never changed, always powerful for the truth to do its work when human words are inadequate.

To the Thessalonian church, Paul used the words exhort and admonish in 2 Thessalonians 3:11-16  concerning those who were disorderly, not working, and disobedient to the teachings they had received from him.

 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother”

Dear Father in heaven, thank you for your Word that instructs us in how we are to live as your children. Teach us all so that we may teach each other in love, and accept personal teaching from others who love us and see things in us that we may not be able to see. Unite us as your people through your Word in the power of your Holy Spirit to be light in this world ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

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The Image of Contentment

Let’s remember the main points from this series on Contentment.

  1. Divine Contentment is supernatural, possible only for God’s people.
  2. It is the result of a relationship between God our heavenly Father and His children.
  3. He will teach us and show us what He is doing in us.

In this post we want to meditate on God’s Word and what we learn from Him, concerning His image and how He works His image in us as His children. He is content with His own work in and through us. Therefore, we must learn to be content with what He is doing.

From the beginning He saw that everything He had made was “good.”

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:” Genesis 1:26a

He is still working all things for our good and conforming us to the image of His Son.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;”
Romans 8:28-29

We are being transformed to the image of the Lord as we continue to look to Him for all things.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:182-corinthians-3-18-orange-copy

The apostle John and the Psalmist speak of the future when we will see God in all His glory.

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”
1 John 3:2

“As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.” Psalm 17:15

While we wait for His second coming we can be content in our role as a servant, even as He served while He was here.

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.
Matthew 10:25

Dear Father, You have created us in your image, and given us new hearts so as to fill us with your Spirit and to conform us to the image of your Son. It is enough for us to be like our Master, and to one day behold your face in righteousness and be satisfied with your likeness. Make us content in the work you are doing in us now, by your grace and for your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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