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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Little Kids Grow Up to be Big Kids ~ Goats

Jesus warns us that there will be a separation of the sheep from the goats.

“And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” Matthew 25:32

Where did parents get the idea of calling children “kids?”  I can’t find any solid information on this expression.  But besides searching for this in history, what are we saying when we use this word for the children God has given us?

Does God anywhere in His Word call us kids?  No ~ His children are sheep.  This puts a totally different light upon how we look at, and bring up our children.
They are lambs ~ not goats.  We may all act like goats at times, pushing and shoving one another, wild in our nature; but God, our Father has born us into a new nature through Jesus Christ’s work, and life,  and His Spirit within us.

Should we not also treat our children as if they are His children, though they do not yet act like it.  If we treat them as kids, letting them run wild in the field of this world they will indeed fulfill such vision as we have for them.

On the other hand if we consider them as “lambs,” doing for them what our heavenly Father does for us, we will provide for them, lead them, assure them, and nurture them ~ bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  (Ephesians 6:4) “discipline and instruction.” (ESV)

We will be a shepherd to them.  We will protect them, direct them, and correct them.
We will project to them the path, in which ~ and the goal ~ to which,  we are going together.  They will, in the process, come to understand their true role, and the purpose for their being a lamb of God.

The “kids” of this world are becoming the “goats” of tomorrow.  God’s “lambs” are becoming the sheep He expects them to be.  Only He can take a goat and make him a sheep.  “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17); “and have put on the new self, which is renewed in the knowledge of Him who created him.”  (Colossians 3:10)

The “lamb that was slain” became the shepherd that leads us to be the parents of His children ~  special gifts of life to us.  Give yourself to the “true Shepherd” and allow Him to work in you to bring up His children for His glory, your joy, and the joy of your family and others.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly more than we can ask or think,”
by His power of grace working in us.
Ephesians 3:20

Psalm 23

Dear Father in heaven, “hold me by my right hand; guide me with your counsel.”  “Lead me in the paths of righteousness, for your name’s sake.”  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

The Saints of God are Never Lucky

 The saints—children of God— are never lucky. We are blessed, whether in good times or adversity. And since we depend on God and not “luck” we are never “unlucky,” so Friday the 13th, which is supposed to be an “unlucky” day for some, has no meaning for us.

You will not find the word “luck” in the Bible; but you will find many references to “blessings” throughout God’s Word; and they always bear witness of God who promises them, and gives them.

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who, in Christ,
has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.”
Ephesians 1:3

 Superstition
We continue to hear Christians using the word “luck,” without realizing what they are saying.  It is a common expression in our culture, one that has held over through many generations of superstition.  I grew up in the 40’s & 50’s hearing the old wives’ tales, and the things that were supposed to be “bad luck”—“don’t let a black cat cross your path,” “don’t walk under a ladder,” etc.  And while they do not mean anything to us today, they were very real to people who believed in these sayings.

In the Reader’s Digest Illustrated Encyclopedic Dictionary printed in 1987 we found the meaning of “luck” —“The fortuitous happening of fortunate or adverse events; fortune.  The word fortuitous means “accidental or unplanned.” The online dictionary definesluck” as “good fortune, chance, event determined by chance.”

 Those who accept life that is controlled by chance are negating the sovereignty and power of God.  According to His Word these have been, before the foundation of the world, through its creation and the maintenance thereof, its only means of survival and its completion.  What hope do we have if the only thing we can depend on is chance?  If “luck” is all we have wherein is our faith?  This is the religion of those who will not accept “the whole counsel of God”—we are but as a clock wound by the creator and left to run on its own.  What happens when the clock runs down?  What use is a clock if that is all we have?   What use is God if all He gives us is a clock?

 No!  God, Almighty God, our heavenly Father, is an “ever present help in trouble.”  He is “the strength of my life.”  (Psalm 27)  Whatever He has “predestined is according to the counsel of His will,” (Ephesians 1:11) with a definite purpose and plan in mind for each of His children—that we should be to the praise of His glory.”

 The Almighty Has Afflicted Me
Though I have not lost a husband and two sons, I relate well to Naomi, in the book of Ruth.  Was she bitter, or understanding the hand of God ruling in her life when she said, “I went out full and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?”  Ruth 1:21
And from the Psalmist we read And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.” Psalm 77:10

 There is a great purpose in the adversity we experience in this world.  Knowing this gives us hope and faith in what lies beyond this world and our circumstances.

 John 16:33 “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.

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”     Count It All Joy

1 Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

Romans 8:28-29 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

Acts 14:22 “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.”

Hebrews 12:11 “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

1 Peter 3:14-15 “But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

1 Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 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.

Father, I thank you that you leave nothing to chance for us as your children, but that you know your plans for us, and that you will bring all things to completion for us in Christ, our Lord and Savior.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen.
(Join us for devotions at agoldentreasury.com)

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 3)

Meditation on the Father’s grace and glory did not come so easy this morning. It was not until after fellowship with Him, time in His Word, study, and meditation, that I was able to begin to think about this third part.  There is much more to this subject, and how Jesus, the Son, speaks of the Father, than I had known before.  The more desire to know, the more humbled He makes me, to realize that I know nothing as I ought to know; nor can I, in this life.

Jesus is recorded in the New Testament as referring to His Father at least 171 times, and reference made to God, 166 times. When God spoke through the prophets and writers of the Old Testament they did not normally refer to God as Father.  Jesus was “the first-born among many brethren.”  (Romans 8:29)  It was Jesus, the Son, who was sent to reveal God as Father to His children.  As we found so many references, we will, in this 3rd part, share the most important things that are recorded in the Synoptic gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  In the concluding Part 4, we will share John’s recollection of Jesus’ words.

First, how is the name God, and the name Father, distinguished? Strong’s Concordance gives us the Greek word for God, as theos—a diety; the supreme Divinity; fig. a magistrate.  The word for Father is pater—father; near or more remote.  These definitions give me a clearer understanding of both. God is our lawgiver. His kingdom rules over all  (Psalm 103:19). Some people believe in God, as creator, and judge, but only those who have been born of Him, of His Spirit, know Him as Father.

As God, He is described by some (such as the deists) as transcendent, far removed from His creation, not relative to anything on the earth. As Father, He is “near” in Spirit, to His children.  As Spirit He is omnipotent (all-powerful),  omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (present everywhere). Although “we move, and breathe, and have our being in Him”  (Acts 17:28), not all acknowledge His power and presence.  As children we desire the presence and power of  “our Father.”  There is no fear of His judgment, but He is loved and worshiped, as a child loves a father.

Jesus speaks first,and last, of the Father’s glory. (See God’s Glory  ~  First and Last.)  In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:16) Jesus reveals to His disciples that the Father is glorified through them. In Matthew 16:27 He reveals that He, Himself, will, in the end, come in the glory of his father, with his angels.

He reveals the Father’s omniscience in Matthew 6:4, the Father sees in secret and rewards openly; in Matthew 10:29, the falling of a sparrow, the number of the hairs of our head; and, in Matthew 6:8, knowing all our needs before we ask Him.

He tells us to pray to the Father, in Matthew 6:6; that He forgives, in Matthew 6:14; and that He feeds His creatures, in Matthew 6:26.

He reveals the importance of the Father’s will, in Matthew 7:21; only those who do the will of the Father shall enter the kingdom of heaven.

He teaches us that it is the Spirit of the Father that speaks through His servants, in Matthew 10:20.

All things that were delivered to Jesus is from His Father, hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed to babes. Matthew 11:25-27.

He reveals the omnipresence and protection of the Father for His children in Matthew 18:10, 14; that not one of His little ones should perish.

The Father is said to be merciful in Luke 6:36

Jesus said that He would send the promise of His Father upon his disciples in Luke 24:49

Jesus reveals the sovereignty and omnipotence of the Father, in Matthew 20-23; and Matthew 24:36.  The Father has prepared everything, according to His will; and He alone knows when all will be fulfilled.  Our prayer~(Parentheses, mine.)

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,

 may give unto you (us) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.”

Ephesians 1:17

The Father of Grace and Glory

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ

according to the purpose of his own will,”  Ephesians 1:7

“In the beginning” God was a Father.  Before He said, “Let there be light,” He desired light.  No one can put out that light because it was born of the Father.  For the Father so loved what He was and had that He desired and planned for sons to share in the wealth of His glory. He “so loved the world”  that He created because it was meant to be the realm through which He would reveal Himself, His glory, and His promises.

He could have sired children to share His glory anyway that He desired, but He chose to do it through this realm that we know as “grace “. Now is the day and time of grace.  The glory of this physical world shines brightly for the majority of human creatures.  It draws us to seek our own glory by its sights and sounds, its promises of happiness and success.  God, our Father draws us to His Son, Jesus Christ, whose life is the “light of all men” to see beyond this world to the glory of the Father, and the promises that await His children in the eternal realm.

Just as God the Father is Spirit (we cannot see Him) so is this realm of grace.  It has been provided for us; we live in the middle of it.  We are surrounded by it.  We learn about it by reading God’s Word, which even by His grace He has provided for us.  But, we must read with a heart that accepts it as His Word to us individually.  As sons and daughters we desire to know Him, to love, Him, fear Him, obey Him, worship, serve, praise, pray to Him, proclaim the truth of His grace in Jesus Christ, and live for Him. All of this comes from His own Spirit of grace working in and through us.

Much of how we understand God is based on how we see the role of fathers.  The light of the Father’s grace is mostly hidden because not many earthy fathers know the Heavenly Father.  And the world does not want to recognize any creature having authority over another, but if we are to receive anything beyond what this world offers we must understand the role of the father.  We have a tendency to read the Bible with out own slant, instead of accepting it as a means of God’s grace to inform us of His intentions, His desires, His plans, and the fulfillment of those plans in the different roles that He has created.

Before there can be a son there must be a father.  Fathers are first in origin.  Our Heavenly Father was first and will always be first of all, in heaven and on earth.  He must be first because He started it all.  If we believe this, then we must look to Him, “seek His kingdom and His righteousness,” ask for His Spirit of grace to fill us and guide us, knock at the door of His heart continually, to know Him, and as His children, to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  This is the grace that prepares us to share His eternal glory and keep us rejoicing in Him as we wait.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,

that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

1 John 3:1

(Excerpt from Three Facets of God’s Glory That Every Christian Must See—in process.)