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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Taking God Seriously

How many years does it take for God to reveal Himself to us? I don’t speak here of knowing God just by reading about Him, but knowing Him through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. He teaches us through His Word that He was in Christ reconciling us to Himself. (1 Corinthians 5:17-19) This was His supernatural means by His Holy Spirit to bring us in faith and repentance to know Him, and to love Him obediently. This is not to say that we live in perfect obedience, but that it is our desire. We all struggle against the flesh and the temptations of this world. We will do all that we are able to do, striving and missing the mark, failing time after time, until we understand that we cannot in this life be perfect children.

When we understand that He is our Father, and is not expecting more from us than He promises to do in us, we can live in joy and peace, knowing that He is leading and doing all in and through us. We seek His will and guidance through His Word and prayer, continuing to learn what He plans to do in us. When we fail, and when we fall, He is there to forgive, raise us up, dust us off, and put us back on the right path.

This has been my experience for all my decades, even when I didn’t know Him. Looking back, there is evidence of His presence and power in my life, even when I did not realize it. It is about these things that I continue to write. But my writing at first was simply documenting what He was revealing to me about Himself through His Word. Through His Word and His Spirit, He began to do phenomenal things in my life. Some of those things were shared in articles with other people. My sharing basically stopped because I was not getting any response, although, at times when I shared verbally, people would say, “You ought to write a book.”

Well, over a period of twenty-five years I have written several books, articles, and poems. For a while, the complaint of my heart was, “No one takes me seriously.” With this thinking, I then supposed that my writing was meant just for a legacy to my own family, tucked away in file boxes for future generations.

The Lord heard my complaint, and in His still small voice answered, “ No one takes you seriously because you do not take yourself seriously, and the reason you do not take yourself seriously is because you do not take me seriously.”

Whoa!

Things have really changed since then. With my desire to desire what He desires, taking Him seriously meant trusting Him to do in me what He wanted with what He has given me. And so, after six months of proofing, formatting, etc., and now a few last minute details, we will be ready to publish five of our books in paperback and eBooks. FIRST THINGS That Last FOREVER 1was written last month as an introduction to the series Little Books About the Magnitude of GOD and for a free gift. You can find this and other books on Amazon.

At first, we thought of giving all eBooks as gifts, but with His leading to donate the majority of the profit to missions and charity, we will give some and sell some.

What has God been doing in your life? Where is He leading you? If you don’t see His vision now, wait, continue in His Word and prayer.  Settle in to know Him and love Him above all things, then when His timing is perfect He will do all in and through you that will bring Him the glory.

Are you a writer?  Then write what He gives you for His glory.  File it away until He shows you where He wants you to share it.  As you mature you will correct some of the earlier things you have written. Be encouraged that He is doing a good work in you and will complete it.

If you are interested in how God continues to reveal Himself in power and love, especially into our old age, pray for us and join us here in proclaiming the legacy of God’s kingdomThank you for visiting.

We look forward to this new venture together with His family.

Dear Father, you have the spreadsheet.  Continue to guide me and your family with your counsel, according to your everlasting covenant.  Do your holy will in each of us today.  Thank you for loving us, and keeping us in your care.  Reveal yourself to those who do not yet know you as their heavenly Father.  In Jesus’ name, I pray, I thank you and I praise you.  Amen.

The Why and What of Where We Are

In light of all that has happened in the first half of this year it behooves each of us to stop and examine our own hearts and lives. What begins as a small secret sin, when brought out of the closet, can sometimes mushroom into acceptance by the highest court of the nation. If they had known the meaning of sin Adam and Eve would have thought theirs to be a little one, and yet their actions plummeted the whole world into a state of enmity with God. Jesus’ simple message to us all, is the same today as in His day, “Unless you repent, you, too shall perish.”

Perception and Perspective
Seeing where we are, corporately, and individually, may determine where this nation will be in the future. Perception, being the understanding of the way things are, not from our own viewpoint, but from an outside source, gives us a true perspective of the whole picture. Discernment comes, not from our own viewpoint, but from a greater source than our own. Input from God’s Word gives us the right perspective of where we are, why, and what we are to do. From the beginning God has made it known that man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from His mouth. (Matthew 4:4) There is no true life without it. God’s written word was Jesus’ means of resisting the tempting of Satan in the wilderness. He did not sin because He always relied on the word of His Father. He lived in complete obedience so that He could deliver us from this wilderness. He said that heaven and earth may pass away, but that His Word would never pass away.  His Word is the law that judges our thoughts, words, and actions; but also the power that brings us to the law of liberty and new life in Him.  It is His means to guide us and to check us as we continue to live in this world.

Where We Are
The apostle John wrote in one of his letters these words, “the whole world lieth in wickedness ~ in the power of the evil one.” (KJV and ESV)

The apostle Paul wrote, “ the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7

This is where we are; in the middle of darkness and decay.  God has already pronounced His judgment against this world.

Why does the world continue to reject His Word and His Son? Because “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) We, too, who claim Christ as Lord, and yet live in disobedience to His word, are blinded. God’s people, the nation of Israel, faced His judgment for their own sins. They profaned His name, His Word, and His Sabbaths; and were taken captive to another land because of their disobedience. We, as God’s children cannot point our fingers at others and blame them for where we are as a nation. It is in times like these that He brings us all to account, to prove who and what we are. (Hebrews 4:12-13)

It is in times like these that we learn the difference in God’s kingdom and the kingdom of the world.
It is in times like these that God’s Word becomes precious.
It is in times like these that God in His goodness brings His people to repentance.
It is in times like these that God’s people forget their differences and band together for the truth that is ours in Christ.
It is in times like these that we pray for God’s presence and power to be seen in the world.

Who We Are
Discerning the changes in this world and responding Biblically depends on what God is doing in our own lives. Our hopes for a better world lie in how we, by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:5) We need not fear what the courts of men and the world pass as law, but true perception enables us to fear, with wisdom and love, the final court of judgment that will come in God’s timing according to His Word.  I am glad that He is the one appointed as my judge; for He is my only Savior, the one who has redeemed me from my sin, and the King who sits at the right hand of the Father, ruling and reigning until He has put all enemies under His feet. His Holy Spirit, the greatest power in heaven and earth continues to rule in the hearts and lives of His people.  This we shall see this as the antithesis proceeds to its end.

What are we to do?
With perception from God’s Word we view the world with a right perspective ~ from God’s point of view.  We persevere, knowing that He is preserving and protecting His own in the middle of this wilderness. The following verses have served to help me remember that I am but a sinner saved only by His grace, and in need of constant awareness of where I am in this pilgrimage to a new world of righteousness.  Continually seeking “His kingdom and His righteousness” with faith and assurance through Jesus Christ we stand and live in the truth of His grace.  We prepare as soldiers of the cross for the trials and tribulations that He, as “the author and finisher of our faith,” leads us through; with prayer and supplication for all saints.

 “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

“Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober , and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” 1 Peter 1:13

 “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:21-22


“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:12-14

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning,
15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,
16 holding fast to the word of life.” Philippians 2:12-16

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  According to your promises, keep us, your children, from the evil one; bearing the fruit of your Spirit. Give us fervency in prayer, and a diligence in the study of your Word. In the middle of the chaos let us live joyfully the abundant life in Christ that He gives so that others may see a distinct difference in your light and the darkness of this world, and be drawn to Christ. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

0001OM 

Experiencing the New Birth ~ Part 2

Proof of New Birth
A newborn baby once delivered is given to its parents by the hands of the doctor, a midwife, or a nurse. You would not see this done by only one hand. Similarly, the new birth is not a one-handed event. The two hands of faith and repentance bring the new life to its parents for feeding and care.photolibrary_rf_photo_of_parents_with_newborn

We are brought to the new mother, heaven, the new Jerusalem, who is free; (Galatians 4:16) and to the heavenly Father who sired us; and to the milk of His word, whereby we grow. (1 Peter 2:2)

We are never the same after the new birth, but in repentance and faith turn from our former way of life, continuing to pray, read, study, memorize and meditate on the truths of God’s Word. We are continually growing closer to God, being transformed by the renewing of our minds as He, through His Word and Spirit, conforms us to the image of Christ, His Son. (Romans 12:1-2 and 8:29) We desire to know and love Him more; to please Him in all things; we love the things He loves; we serve and worship Him above all things.

Proof of a new birth will be seen as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Physical life does not stop after we are born. We are not left in a crib the rest of our lives. We are fed, and we grow and develop into adulthood. And so, our new birth in Christ will show the signs of the nature and disposition of Christ in us as we grow in our relationship with Him. The love of God, by which He brings regeneration, is the same love that keeps us, and continues to grow in and through us. The love that is spread abroad in our hearts is the love by which we love Him and others. We could not love God and others before this new birth. John speaks plainly in his letters of this love.

Love Begets Love
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”  1 John 4:7

We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:14,16

Love takes on a different meaning in our new birth. Love for the things of God displace our love for the world.

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

Some Christians say that they cannot tell you the day or time of their new birth; but, they know that their life was changed; that as God brought them in faith and repentance to Christ He has kept them by His power to persevere and to be victorious over sin. They have not turned back, but have continued to walk with Him and to grow in their relationship with Him.

 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” 1 John 5:2

The new birth, with the new heart, keeps us to God’s Word for the instructions that He has set forth for His people and His kingdom. Our applying ourselves to know, believe and obey is part of His work in us, for our pattern of life so that we can say, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

(From The Purpose and Delight of Bible Study)
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