Words of Life ~ ADD(ED)

The word ADD is used in the Christian vocabulary in a particular way, in that it refers to God’s adding, not ours.

Old Testament H3254
Defines the word ADD yacaph (yä·saf).
A primitive root; to add or augment (often adverbially to continue to do a thing):— add, X again, X any more, X cease, X come more, + conceive again, continue, exceed, X further, X gather together, get more, give moreover, X henceforth, increase (more and more), join, X longer (bring, do, make, much, put), X (the, much, yet) more (and more), proceed (further), prolong, put, be [strong-] er, X yet, yield.  All references.

 Have you ever tried a recipe or a formula in which you added or changed something? You would not expect the results to be as what you may have experienced before.

God’s commandments were given to provide His people a guide to their relationship with Him. His word was enough, with no need for them to augment

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” Deuteronomy 4;2

His commandments were unsatisfactory for the people in Samuel’s day. God was not enough for them. They wanted what other nations had.

 And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.” 1 Samuel 12:19

New Testament G4369
Defines the word ADD  prostithēmi (pros-tē’-thā-mē) From G4314 and G5087; to place additionally, that is, lay beside, annexrepeat:—add, again, give more, increase, lay unto, proceed further, speak to any more.

In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) Jesus taught that life in His kingdom meant that we trust Him for all things, to depend on and live content with what God gives. The first thing needed is to find what was lost in the beginning ~ His kingdom and His righteousness. What He adds will always fit our needs.

“Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” Matthew 6:27

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

The same word for add is used in Luke 17:5 ~   increase our faith.

How the Lord Adds to His Church
Jesus taught then and now, through His recorded word, how the life of His followers is given and sustained. All that we have is God-given and maintained by His written and Living word within us. In the early church those “that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” Acts 2;41  

 “Praising God, and having favour with all the people.
And the Lord added 
to the church daily such as should be saved.”Acts 2:47 

Why the Law Was Added
The Commandments were added after the promise of restoration and life that would come through our relationship with Jesus Christ

 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.”  Galatians 3:19  (Read Galatians 3 to get full impact of Jesus as the seed.)

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;”
2 Peter 1:5

We are instructed to add with diligence that by which we are called. (1 Peter 5:10: 2 Peter 1:3) The virtue, knowledge and subsequent attributes are those of our Lord and Savior who, by promise lives within us, by His Spirit working all God requires of us. He is all we need.

Heavenly Father, we praise you that you have brought us full circle from being a disobedient people, wanting to establish our own way of life, to experience the restoration by your grace to know you as Father, Lord, Savior and King of all life. Let the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable unto you through your Son. We need add nothing except: In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Suggested Reading: First Things that Last Forever

Covenant Living and Giving

Life Beyond a Mere Christianity is possible in covenant with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

God relates to His creatures only through covenant.

“All true theology is based on some form of a divine covenant. The Christian religion must be understood covenantally, for that is how God has chosen to relate to man, whether in the garden or after the entrance of sin into the world. The goal of all divine–human covenants is summed up in the words found throughout the Bible: “I will be your God and you will be my people, and I will dwell among you” (Ex. 6:729:45Ezek. 11:202 Cor. 6:16Rev. 21:3).”  What is a Covenant?

A covenant is an agreement between two or more parties. There is an initiator, one who is responsible to reveal the covenant to another person. We can do all we can, thinking we live in relationship to God, with little success, until we understand how God initiates His covenant with His people. With the initiation, He provides the conditions and the means to live in covenant with Him. Just as He chose to create us without our help, He has chosen us as His people; presents His covenant to us with promise to fulfill every detail and draws us to Christ by His Holy Spirit. We enter into covenant with Him by faith, believing that He has the power to complete all that is specified in the covenant.

His is a covenant of grace, requiring no work of our own; a covenant of redemption through Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled the conditions; a covenant of love between Him and His people. This article cannot do justice to the subject of the covenants that were made to Adam (a covenant of works), everlasting covenants to Noah (Genesis 9:16), Abraham (Genesis 17:7) Isaac (Genesis 17:19) and David (2 Samuel 23:5), and fulfilled by the life and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 13:20-21). His Holy Spirit continues to complete the Father’s covenant in and through us for the promised inheritance that is ours through His Son, our Lord and Savior.

Covenant living and giving is possible when we know the person who has the power to fulfill all the conditions for both sides. There is much to be said about life in covenant with our heavenly Father through His Son and the power of His Holy Spirit. I cannot in my own words express how the father of our faith, Abraham, lived in covenant with our heavenly Father, but if you have ever wondered how and why God could ask Abraham to sacrifice his only son, please take the time for the following message. I pray that, as I was, you may be moved to live and give as our Father and our Lord did for us. Don’t miss a blessing ~ please check the link below.

Abraham’s Fiery Trial

Dear Father, I pray that you would speak to other hearts through this sermoneven as you did to mine. Teach us what it means to live in covenant with you, to give all to you, for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Image:Google

Words of Life ~ ACCOMPLISH

The Hebrew word for accomplish appears many times in the form of the word “made.”  When God made the firmament, He accomplished what He had planned before the foundation of the world. The same word is used in Genesis 1:11 for yielding fruit after its kind. The Greek word for accomplish is used only one time in the New Testament but also used for fill, filled, fulfilled, full, fulness and complete.

The Old Testament H6213
Defines accomplish ʻâsâh(aw-saw’)
A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application:—accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, X certainly, have the charge of, commit, deal (with),

To see all Hebrew references: blueletterbible.org

The most well known in the Old Testament is Isaiah 55:11.

“So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Several verses refer to the wrath of God that He would accomplish upon the disobedient and ungodly.
“He that is far off shall die of the pestilence; and he that is near shall fall by the sword; and he that remaineth and is besieged shall die by the famine: thus will I accomplish my fury upon them.” Ezekiel 6:12

Daniel 9:2 speaks of seventy years the Lord would accomplish in the desolations of Jerusalem.

In the New Testament G4137
Defines accomplish plēroō (plā-ro’-ō)
to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram(a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute
(an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: — accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply. Greek references: blueletterbible.org.

The only reference to the word accomplish in the New Testament is from the scene of transfiguration when Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke of Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

“Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.”  (Luke 9:28:31).

When Isaiah recorded 55:11, would he have known that the Lord was speaking not only of His written word, but of His Living word, Jesus Christ, who would accomplish all He would send Him to do?

When God the Father planned His creation, it was with the power to accomplish His sovereign will.
1. God the Father completed His Creation, resting on the seventh day.
2. God the Son fulfilled the means of Redemption and rested on the seventh day; now seated at the right hand of the Father and upholding all things by the word of HIs power.
3. God the Holy Spirit is now revealing and fulfilling the plan and purpose for all things in the fulness of time (Ephesians 1:10).

We need not doubt but His Word and work will accomplish in each of us all His will in every generation until all is fulfilled ~ to His glory and our joy.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you that you accomplish all your sovereign will. What you planned before the world began has gradually come to pass according to your timing. Most gratefully do we thank you that when you sent your Son, your Living Word, He accomplished all you sent Him to do. He fulfilled your covenant of redemption for us. When He said, “It is finished” He accomplished fully and completely the means of eternal life for us. Teach us through your Word, and by your Holy Spirit, do your work in each of us. In Jesus’ holy, powerful and precious name we pray, thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran

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The “Right” Man for the Job

Last year we were blessed to find an air-conditioning contractor who knew how our 21-year-old unit works. When we built our house in this small neighborhood, Jackson EMC was doing a joint project for the geo-thermal system and paid all but $3000. Expecting more than we knew was possible for a unit with an average life of 18 years, we tried one more contractor after the last one did all he could.

Joe from North Hall Heating and Air (I have to give him a plug for those who live in our area) answered our online request for someone who knows this system.

He charged us $45 for a service call, with guarantee to repair. He came a second time with an expert he had known for over twenty years, a friend who was retired after working in the field of geo-thermal systems in huge projects. He sat down with Jerry and me to explain how the system works and why we should be thinking of replacing the unit. While he was talking, Joe was working in the basement. We gently stopped his presentation (thinking of what this was costing us) and asked him to get to the chase. What was his advice at this point? Even if there was a short-term solution, we would eventually need a new unit.

The expert left; Joe came upstairs, saying he had changed a couple of connections. He left with no assurance of what he had done, but with no extra charge. We asked for an estimate for a new unit, expecting the inevitable.

We are aware that in the next year or two, we may be down-sizing again, and we will have to replace the system before we sell our home.

But, since Joe was here the last time, we have had heat for the winter and cool for the summer. This past month’s bill was $118.00, almost unheard of, even for a 2000 sq. ft. all-electric house.

In the middle of our adversities this, as well as other physical blessings, help us know the Lord’s continual care for us. We still need other contractors, including a technician to rid our house of ants and roaches (the one we were using failed after trying for two years).

Where is all this leading; where does this chapter fit to get us Beyond a Mere Christianity?

Our Spiritual House
How far do we go to find the man that has the knowledge and equipment to control the temperature in our physical house? We continue to search until we find the right man for the job.

Who has the expertise to fix what is needed in our spiritual house ~ the outdated workings of the human soul?

There is only one “right” man who knows the heart and the soul; who is qualified to come in to the basement of our lives, to examine, evaluate and estimate the cost of replacement.

The system that provides the air conditioning for our lives is an eternal system, and the continual connection is His own life and Spirit to the Father above.

“but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,” (Romans 8:14-17)

The Cost
This continual comfort comes by His own cost: a holy life in humility and submission to the whole law of God, His “righteousness” as ours, His life given as a sacrifice, His blood shed for the final price. Our final cost ~ our whole life given in exchange for His. This is the life of a true Christian. This is no mere Christianity. Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior went beyond anything man could have imagined, even what was prophesied, to bring us beyond what we could ask or think of life.

What should we ask ourselves? Is our desire for comfort in this world based on our physical needs, or do we desire something more, based on what God is able and promises to do?

 Call To Me
We make the calls for our physical needs. He bids us to call Him for all of life.

 “Call to me and I will answer you,
and will tell you great and hidden things
that you have not known.”

Jeremiah 33:3

He knows that we will call when we come to the end of our own resources.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will
give you the desires of your heart.”

Psalm 37:4

We delight ourselves in the Lord when we come to the end of ourselves. And when we find our delight in Him, we desire to desire what He desires, even to the point of suffering for Him.

His eternal comfort and delight is ours when He makes the right connection for us.

There is only one “right” man. No other religion promises what Jehovah, the Lord our God promises. No other has the power to do what the Lord does, for, in and through His people.

“For there is one God,
and one mediator between God and men,
the man Jesus Christ.”
1 Timothy 2:15

Our Father in heaven, Father of lights, Father of glory, having sent your Son, the Lord of glory, we praise you; for your Holy Spirit we thank you; for your wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ and revealed to us in your Word and by the power of your Holy Spirit which we could never afford. We praise you that you planned before Creation to provide all that we would need here and for eternity through your Son, our Lord and Savior ~ all for your glory and our joy. In His precious and powerful name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Christ the Mediator

GOD, Who is Here

To quote directly from Francis Schaeffer’s book,The God Who Is There, I would have to read it again. Time does not permit, so I took these notes from the Publisher’s Description.

 More than ever, The God Who Is There demonstrates how historic Christianity can fearlessly confront the competing philosophies of the world. The God who has always been there continues to provide the anchor of truth and the power of love to meet the world’s deepest problems.

It is from this last sentence that I use the title, GOD, Who is Here, in relation to the overall heading, Beyond a Mere Christianity.

While Schaeffer was revealing the shift in Christianity due to philosophy, science, history and the arts, my purpose is not to address the gainsayers, but those who follow Christ and desire a greater zeal for God and the Christian life.

GOD is More was leading to this series of articles as a means of piquing the interest of those who read HIs Word, yet do not really know the greatness of His power in the heart and life.

The only degree that qualifies me to write in this fashion is a DDC (devoted disciple of Christ). Knowing GOD, Who is Here has been a humbling experience over decades of need, searching, studying, in meditation of God’s Word, memorization and personal encounters with a living God who is not just ruling and reigning in heaven. From His throne in heaven, He is revealing Himself to His creatures and present with each one. To speak of these things is beyond my expertise and knowledge, but with prayer, I desire to write simply of how God has revealed Himself to me through His Word, His Holy Spirit and HIs presence and power in Jerry’s and my life. I quote Andrew Murray, who at times apologized for not spending more time editing his work; “The Lord loves to use the feeble for His glory.” Waiting on God

We will present this treatise in three parts:
WHO GOD IS
HOW HE IS HERE
WHY HE IS HERE

WHO GOD IS
From my childhood, there is no memory of anyone speaking of any God, except the one revealed in the Holy Bible. There is only one name of the God of Christianity. He is the LORD GOD, Jehovah, or Yahweh in Hebrew.

“For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” 1 Corinthians 8:5-6

Paul speaks of the necessity for spiritual understanding that is apart from man’s natural comprehension (Corinthians 2:9-16). We will expand on this in the second part.

Let us look briefly at who God is from HIs Word, remembering that He is more than we can know and understand. We grow in our conception and the reality of who and where He is through continual study and meditation. We pray and wait in faith and anticipation, desiring with all our hearts for Him to reveal Himself.

GOD our CREATOR
Our core belief is in the GOD who is our Creator. We will not waste space to debate the philosophers, scientists and historians. Genesis 1:1 is an emphatic declaration of His role as Creator of the heavens and the earth. How He created and how we are individually a part of the earth He created is simply understood by taking Him at His Word. Believing means that we start with that truth, move on, read more, pray for His Holy Spirit to work faith and truth in our hearts and minds and live according to what we read. This means we must put away any pre-conceived ideas if we come across a contradiction to what we have heard before.

Christianity is not an Old Testament reality, but rather the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

Christianity is based, not on how men define it, but how Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and life of the Christian faith, defines it. John 1:1-5 speaks of Jesus being in the beginning as The Word. The Word was with God and was God. He was the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, a promise of redemption for a fallen and rebellious people.

Rather than going into all the different names and characteristics of our GOD, we will look at the mainstream of His being. Christ, the Son of God, was in the beginning, for the purpose of fulfilling the prophecy of man’s redemption.

GOD, our REDEEMER

“Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6

Other references in the Old Testament, reveal that Jesus, being the Son of God, in the beginning with Him, was in an active role of redemption before His incarnation.

The LORD God, as creator and redeemer — Isaiah 44:24

The LORD God, redeemer, the Holy One of Israel — Isaiah 46:17

The LORD thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob — Isaiah 49:26

GOD, our FATHER
In Jesus’ life and teachings, He revealed GOD as His, and our heavenly Father. His disciples carried forth this most profound truth of Christianity through the early church’s foundation. The supernatural work of His Holy Spirit produces a new heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26), a regenerating work that is beyond man’s capacity to produce, or to reason. Our heavenly Father desired children to share the wealth of HIs love and glory and sires them according to His own choosing to inherit His eternal kingdom. Living in faith and hope of this legacy is more than a mere, passing thought, but an assurance, as we serve our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ as living sacrifices in His kingdom now.

As we have mentioned already,He is much more than we are covering here and more than we can ever know. Again, we encourage you to commit your life to seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness if you want to know the true and living God. We can never know all there is to know, but we can all be a witness of who He reveals Himself to be to each of us. Please add your personal knowledge in the comment section.

HOW HE IS HERE ~ By His Spirit
GOD is Spirit (John 4:24), not bound to any place or time, with the prerogative to reveal Himself wherever He pleases.

There is no place we can go from His presence (Psalm 139:3-10).

No one can hide himself from God (Jeremiah 23:23-24).

He sees everything, the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3).

Though He is omnipresent (in all places at all times) not everyone can witness to this truth.

We cannot arrive at the truth of our God from philosophy, science, or any other way, but only through His Word. Natural man cannot come to an understanding of truth, because truth comes from God and is revealed by His Holy Spirit. We can read the Bible, which is God’s book, but not understand it except the Spirit of truth interprets for us. Jesus spoke of sending the Holy Spirit for this purpose (John 14:17; John 15:26; John 16:13).

If we read and believe what the Bible says, it will be through the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

Again, we read from the Bible what we believe to be true and live accordingly; this is faith that His Spirit and His Word work in us. Nothing can shake this faith when we know that God is here with us by His Spirit.

By HIs  Promise
His Word is His promise to reveal Himself and to fulfill every promise that He has made to us as His children.

He promises never to leave us, nor forsake us Hebrews 13:5.

He is with us; He is our God (Isaiah 41:10).

We understand through faith in His Word by the Holy Spirit, that He was incarnate in His Son, Jesus Christ. Let us go now to our next truth.

WHY HE IS HERE
GOD is here ruling and reigning through His Son, Jesus Christ. When Jesus came to earth and lived thirty-three years, it was to fulfill His promise and His purpose to save a people for Himself; a remnant, to share His glory. He lived a perfect life in obedience to the will of His Father, so that He would offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. That sacrifice offered, His dying to redeem all who believe, resurrected from the dead, ascending back to the Father, sending the Holy Spirit to rule in each heart, was the plan of creation and redemption.
Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father, upholding all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:1-3).

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

Before the foundation of the world He chose His people to be holy and blameless before Him through the sacrifice of HIs son, so that we would believe and live as HIs children. (Ephesians 1:3-5).

The promise of the Father to send His Spirit was fulfilled at Pentecost after Christ’s ascension (Acts 1:8).
By His Spirit working in us, He is conforming us to the image of His Son, in preparation for eternity with Him. (Romans 3:28-29) In all things that seem unfair and not to our liking, we experience the humbling and meekness of spirit that we need.

We will stop here, but continue His promises and purposes in the articles that follow, especially in What is Jesus Doing in Your Life? It is through these that we will learn more of the truth of Christianity and begin to live beyond our former thoughts and expectations. Writing these articles are the Lord’s means of teaching me what I still need to know. And what a blessing it is to read, study, meditate and memorize His promises, and experience this relationship that He planned for us.

Dear heavenly Father, we understand that your will for us as your children is to know you, Let us continue to know more of who you are as our Creator, Redeemer and Father; to live in anticipation of more than we have experienced, and to be a witness to others of your relationship with us as your redeemed ones, those who are beloved in Christ. Thank you for blessing us with the revelation of who you are by the power of your Holy Spirit. We praise you that you have brought us to you through Jesus Christ your Son, whom we love, even as we love you, and in whose name we praise you and thank you. Amen.

 

Beyond a Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity was a compilation of C.S. Lewis’ beliefs, in which he set aside definite doctrines. He stated, ”at the centre of each (religion) there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks the same voice.” 

Many, by reading the book, have been encouraged to embrace Christianity even as he did. My purpose in writing is to look beyond what he believed, spoke, and wrote, to discover a greater depth, beyond a mere Christianity; for a mere Christianity will not suffice to proclaim and live the legacy God has bestowed on His children. When we try to make Christianity a common faith, we are in danger of dumbing down the power that Christ died to give us. We lose the essence of the faith that is by grace alone, the working of the Holy Spirit for revelation of the truths of God’s Word. When the gospel is watered down so that everybody can believe, we forfeit the wealth that comes only by personal relationship with the Father and Jesus, His Son. Christianity comes at a high price, the blood of Jesus Christ, and requires more from us than we are able to give. To receive the inheritance that is ours in Christ is a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit working through new hearts, drawn to and committed to Him. His grace does not relieve us of duty, but binds us to it and fulfills the requirement, whereby we experience this new life, a heavenly life above and beyond what most people know.

Others have written from Lewis’ theme, but from different perspectives. In the following articles (perhaps more) we will incorporate many facets of His kingdom that our heavenly Father reveals to us, through His Word and His Holy Spirit, in and through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ. Through as many of these as He will bestow His grace and blessings, we pray He will make clear HIs role as a loving heavenly Father, Creator, Redeemer and Life; His presence, power, His name, His kingdom and His will. These are His truth, promises and blessings for a people who know Him, fear Him, love Him, obey, worship, serve, praise, pray, and proclaim in power the good news of Christ, who are being transformed as living sacrifices and conformed to His image, bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness and temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility and Godliness.

This is to live the “abundant life” (John 10:10) in the “fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19) ~ “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27)  here in this life, as He continues to prepare us for eternity with Him. True Christianity is separate from any other religion ~ and the reality of a holy life in union with our heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit. He reveals Himself to and in us, not as Someone, but as Jehovah, the Lord our God. He sires children of His own who are HIs image-bearers. Though not perfect, we are HIs off-spring through His Son, as He continues to lead us through an imperfect world, shining through us His holiness and humility.

Inexhaustible Goodness
God, Who Is Here
Weakness and Meekness

Endear and Endure
Three Powerful Words in the Chrisitian Vocabulary
The Right Man For the Job
A Holy, High and Heavenly Calling
Covenant Living and Giving
Seeing Is Believing
How Exciting is Your God?

What is Jesus Doing in Your Life?
Good Works
Peace and Contentment

Bound by Grace ~ Free to Love
Abiding in Light and Truth
Surviving in Enemy Territory

Thriving Under Oppression
His Utmost For My Highest
Radical and Riveted
Focus, Love and Rejoice
Arrows in the Hands of a Mighty God

Many Religions
There are many religions ~ religions for the body, religions for the mind, religions for the spirit and soul ~ of man. Nations are formed by their religions. Children are born and grow up in their religions. We live by what we know and are continually taught. Everyone has a religion, even if they cannot express it verbally. The mind of every person is a tablet, written on from their birth into this world.

In my autobiography, I express my birth as if being given a coloring book and a set of crayons. At every age and stage, I was given a new coloring book and a new set of crayons. My mind, heart and spirit took in everything I saw, heard and experienced, so as to live accordingly.  What I read and was taught became my religion. I was given a Bible, learned what was written there sporadically, from sermons in church, Sunday School, and vacation Bible school. The principles were taught in our home, but not verbatim. The golden rule was prevalent, with a general understanding of right from wrong, but not Biblically profound. Neither my parents, nor I, understood anything beyond what you can see and touch, although I had a sense of something more. Anything spiritual was beyond comprehension, and so, not taught.

Difficult times were accepted as normal, with only dim hopes of improvement in this life. “When We All Get to Heaven” was the favorite hymn sung in church, with the accompanying  hellfire and brimstone sermon. 

How I got from there to writing this treatise on a Christianity that is far and beyond anything I learned in my childhood, is based on a powerful act of God’s grace that overtook, overcame, and overrides everything I had been taught. This Christianity of which I speak is not man’s religion but from heaven, from God, revealing Himself as Creator and Redeemer of the human race. He reveals His plans, His work, His presence, His power, His sovereignty in the writings of the Holy Bible. These are all beyond the normal scope of human wisdom and living.

If we read casually, we will reap a crumb or two of the religion we are looking for. If we study hard and often, diligently seeking something to believe and live by, we may see some difference in our lives. We may even sense a religion to share with others. We may worship with others of the same faith, but, in essence, it is still only man’s religion. It is nominal, or what we think of as normal Christianity.

It is what the world sees, and it colors God and the church with only a slightly different tone than the world’s colors. 

Mere living is below the standards of God’s kingdom. It is settling for the world’s goods.  It is negating the faith given from and in a living God to settle for man’s ideas of life. In the days ahead, let us leave these thoughts of man’s mere faith and look heavenward to the Lord, our God and the only true religion of which He is the focus, our Lord Jesus as the center, and the Holy Spirit, among us and within each of us directing all things according to the will of the Father. By His grace, we will complete all that He has planned for these articles. Please pray for us as we pray for you the reader.

Father in heaven, our Lord and God, we thank you for all that you are, more than we can ask or think, for our Lord, Jesus, and for your Holy Spirit. We praise you for your Word, the truth of your Word, the authority of your Word, for your Living Word, Jesus Christ, commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit. Speak to the hearts of your children as you dwell within us. Make us aware, through your Word, written and Living within us, of something more than we have been told about you. Give us a deeper understanding of who you are, so that we know whose we are, so that we may continue to proclaim the legacy of your kingdom, to your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Fran

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Emma’s Heart

From the age of three, Emma, our youngest grandchild, has actively shown the love of Christ in her heart; not anything she knew she was doing, but wherever she was, with Jerry and me, and especially with Mother. Emma was three years old; Mother was ninety-one, with dementia, living with us over four years. At the same time, we also cared for Emma and Olivia, our next oldest grandchild two days a week. 

This week, at the age of fifteen, Emma is in Haiti, with a mission group from her church.

Mother was there with her church thirty years ago.

Dear Father in heaven, Thank you for grace beyond measure to us as your children, putting within our hearts the love of Christ, which is the ministry you give us to share with others. We ask you to bless those who live in this love and desire to minister to others in His name. Thank you for loving us and filling us so that it spills over wherever we are. Use your Word through these to draw others to Christ. Bless the young who minister in His name this summer, for your glory and their joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Fran
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