Why I Need the Church

Praying this morning on the eve of another Lord’s Day, praising God, my Father, desiring His name to be hallowed, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, and His will to be done here on earth, it was with worship in mind.

Tomorrow He will meet with us who are gathered in the name of our Lord on the day of our Lord, January 10, 2021. This Eve has become a day of preparation for me, remembering that every day is the day of our Lord for over two thousand years. But, specifically, the first day of the week belongs to Him. According to His atoning work, we, who are His by grace, plan for this day to honor Him. He is the beginning of eternal life for us through His death and resurrection.

So, what difference does it make if I honor Him on His day? And what happens in this celebration of His atoning work of grace? New thoughts came to mind as I prayed for Chris, our pastor. He has specifically asked for prayer that He may preach more faithfully, more pointedly, and more Christ-centeredly. Daily praying for the Holy Spirit to work in Him in His preparation to preach the word in power, we pray more fervently the day before for the sword of God’s Word that will pierce our hearts. We pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts to receive the truth of His Word and that it will find its resting place to root and grow and produce its fruit in and through us as His children.

 This means more than just saying “Amen” to what we hear. A prepared heart comes to listen to what our Father has given His servant for us. If we “have an ear to hear,” we will take in what He intends to reveal of Himself. The truth in the power of His Word will change our minds and hearts and conform them to His.

So, why do I need to be in church? The church is the place for gathering God’s people to honor His Son and receive the eternal life He came to give. It is the place of His worship and His Word. I need to know and hear from heaven the Father/Creator and Redeemer of my soul. The church was His plan, not man’s. We need under-shepherds who know Christ and the life He came to give His people, who are filled with the Holy Spirit, and who feed His sheep with the manna from heaven.

I need the cutting edge of the sword of His Word, not to desire what makes me feel good about myself, nor to be entertained, but to have all sense of pride and deception stripped from my being. I need to be cleansed of thoughts of, and plans for, myself.

Individual reading and study are good, but these are not all we need. We need the “body of Christ” listening collectively to how He plans to shape us into His image.

Christ died and rose again to give us His life, that we may live through Him (1 Jn. 4:9). The more we know of Him as revealed through the preaching of His Word, the more we become like Him, understanding the reality of His dwelling in us and our dwelling in Him (1 Jn. 4:13; Jn. 14:17, 23), Filled with Grace ~ Wrapped in Glory.)

The supernatural, spiritual work in His incarnation, His resurrection, and His ascension is the same divine power working in us through the sword of His Spirit ~ the Holy Spirit working His Word in our hearts and lives.

His sanctifies us individually and collectively.

We must submit ourselves to the weekly preaching of God’s Word to know His transforming power in the days ahead, lest we lose ourselves in the overwhelming chaos and uncertainty of the world. His Word defines who we are in Christ. We must plan, prepare, and anticipate a newness of life in Christ we have hardly known.

Dear Father, we ask for the unction of your Holy Spirit for the preaching of your Word tomorrow. Prepare our hearts to receive what you have given your ministers. Enable us to receive the truth of your Word for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. Let us willingly accept what your Word reveals of the intentions of our hearts, deliver us from our sins, and conform us to the image of Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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One Life Given for Many

It has been four months since the initial post, An Excavation of John 17 ~ Unearthing the Truths of the Atonement.

Memorization and meditation on the first three verses of John 17 revealed more than we expected to find. In each of the first three verses, we had to stop and wonder what we had uncovered. 

We have been telling others what we found and bid all come to see this truth of “eternal life” and how this has come to be.

From the first verse of John 17, we see a three-way relationship. Jesus is the central figure and the mediator in this relationship between the Father and us. 

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son that your Son also may glorify you.’” 

Jesus has finished his three-year ministry of teaching His disciples who He is and why He was here. He turns from the world to look toward heaven, to His Father, His former home, His glory which He had with His Father and to which He will soon return. He acknowledges the preset time, “the hour,” that He will die and give His life (eternal life) as a ransom for those who belong to Him.

as you have given him authority over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him.”

A fundamental truth discovered in verse 2 is to be considered most important in two ways. 

The Father/Creator has given His Son “authority over all flesh.” His life was prepared before the foundation of the world, to be sacrificed and given as “eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him.” Jesus’ authority over all flesh is a distinct rule over all people. This authority relates to the Father’s desires for those who are to receive the eternal life Jesus is soon to give. We find an explanation of “eternal life” in verse 3 but there is more to be understood.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

We find many references for the words “eternal life” and the word “know.” Eternal life in Jesus Christ is given only through an intimate relationship with the Father and the Son at the Father’s initiation. The Father gives a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) to those He has given to His Son. Eternal life is a different life, making us new creatures in Him and He in us ~ a life that has no end ~ portrayed here by the life of Christ in and through His people. It is the “new birth” ~ the life of the Spirit preparing us for eternity with Him.

Other references speak of those whom the Father will give to Him. (Matthew 1:21John 6:44-45John 6:65; 2 Timothy 1:9)

As we have discovered new facets of His glory, we understand that eternal life is through the revelation and the power of His Word. The disciples received the words Jesus had spoken to them. As we continue digging for the truths of eternal life, we will learn more of the nature and details of this treasure of the powerful life brought to earth in Christ.  

Simon Peter later, when asked if they would leave Him as the others had, replied, “To whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68

Jesus said in John 6:63, “My words are spirit, and they are life.”It is good that we have come to this remarkable discovery ~ more than we could ask or imagine. We shall report as often as we can of new findings.

Father in heaven, you continue to bring us to our knees in awe and reverence of you and Christ whom you sent. We praise you for giving us to your Son to reveal your grace and glory and the power of your written word and your living Word, Jesus, in whose name, we pray. Amen.

Clear the Clutter for a New Year

What is your vision for 2021?

Will the next year be any different than this year of chaos and upheaval?

Can you see clearly what lies ahead?

We must look more than ever with eyes of faith toward the unknown.

We must prepare to face a new year with a renewed and a clearly defined purpose.

We must remove the clutter of our being, clear our vision of the waste we have around us, leaving room for the newness God has prepared for us as His people.

Our rooms are cluttered with things we don’t need; our minds are filled with thoughts that drag us down or keep us in a tailspin; our lives are wasting away with the sights and sounds of the world.

2020 has either opened our eyes to see the condition of our world and our part in it, or it has served to bury us in its avalanche of fear and degradation. We must each survey our own personal environment, pray for wisdom to know where we are in the scheme of things, and respond obediently and passionately to God’s leading.

In response to my own needs,  I have begun~~~~~

I have cleared my desktop, physically and digitally, filing so that if what I am saving is significant, I can come back to it ~ if not, it is out of sight and mind until the time I can go through all my files.

Paper to be recycled is deposited in a bin in the garage ready for weekly pick-up.

Paying bills online has become the norm.

Removing clothes I don’t wear frees space in the closet, plus someone at Goodwill is blessed by my discards.

There are many other ways and areas to de-clutter physically ~ these our hands have to deal with ~ but the most important is to declutter the mind and heart. Our eyes and ears are manipulated by what we see and hear. With the continual onslaught of the world’s condition in our face, we cannot see clearly with the eyes of faith.

We clear our thinking by daily closing our eyes and ears to man’s words and our own thoughts, taking hold of God’s Word, and praying fervently for a steadfast faith in Christ. We must pray for others and ourselves to know our heavenly Father and from Him, the eternal life Jesus came to give. Then we can see clearly the kingdom that rules over all creation and mankind, and live in the hope that is in Him.

And even as the majority of the world lives in oblivion, we have the promise, the presence, and the power of almighty God, our Father, opening heaven so that our focus is on Him and His plans for us as part of His kingdom rule on earth.

This is not a new year’s resolution but the Way of eternal life our heavenly Father has prepared for His children. Are you God’s child? How do you know and what difference does this make? Is your life any different than the life of an unbeliever? What do you want in this new year?

We are not left to ourselves but have the words and power of eternal life through the Word of God, and by His Spirit, we can live victoriously through whatever a new year brings.

Father, we praise you that your grace is sufficient for us to face an uncertain year. We thank you that your kingdom and your Word endures forever through every obstacle and every trial, as light in the darkness of this world. You never leave us or forsake us but supply every need ~ to your glory, and for our joy, In Jesus’ name, I thank you and praise you. Amen.

 

 

 

The Tension Between Life and Death

As Christians, we live between two extremes ~ between two worlds. We have been “delivered from the power of darkness.” Our heavenly Father has “translated us—conveyed us (NKJV) into the kingdom of His dear Son.” Col.1:13 

A follower of Christ knows the reality of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). 

While we live in this world, the Christ in us will be stalked like a lion.  

 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Pet.1:14

Even as Jesus was betrayed by those who lived in darkness, we experience this opposition by those who cannot rest unless the light is put out. While we want to bring others out of darkness, it is to live against the god of this world. 

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Pet. 5:8-9 

The oppressor is a constant foe against God’s people. This has been true since the beginning. The enemy – God’s enemy, and ours – will not leave us alone as long as we live in his territory.

It may seem, at times, that we are safe and let our weapons fall by our side. It is then, the foe within may raise its ugly head. Pride can remain dormant until our thoughts are taken captive to the world’s thinking. Whatever has our attention, politics, social media, or any earthly thoughts, we are at war. The tension will rise as death desires to subdue us.

When the enemy gained his stronghold and set up his kingdom, he set God’s creatures against each other. Death ensued to put down anything good. Cain murdered Abel and the pattern of this world was set. 

The Spirit and the Flesh
As God’s people, we still live in the flesh. It has been appointed that men shall die (Heb. 9:26-28). We cannot live forever in this body. Those who are born of the Spirit have eternal life – a life that transcends this one. As long as we are in this body, we will continually be at war with the flesh and its proneness to satisfy its desires.

This tendency flairs whenever we are faced with an opposition of some form, whether a lust of the flesh or in a relationship. “The old man” is stirred up when others will not see our point of view, agree to our leading, or bend to our will. This happens between husbands and wives, parents and children, siblings, friends, etc.Blessings and Curses
Recently, I have looked at this subject in light of God’s relationship with the Israelites. He promised blessings and life to his people as a result of their obedience – curses and death to those who rebelled (Deut.11:26-28). Does this not sound like His promise to Adam and Eve?

The nation of Israel was not able to acquire the blessings and life. They could not keep His commandments. Death continued to rule in the lives of men.

That curse was broken when, as He had promised to send a Messiah from among their people, Jesus came. And those who believe are given eternal life through His sinless life and death on the cross for us.

Eternal life does not mean we are free from temptation, but we have what Adam and Eve, and the Israelites did not have. As Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit is within the believer, setting up the kingdom of God within us, revealing the life of Christ.

He is the constant power and presence in us to keep us in God’s Word, training us to war against the flesh and pride that still lurks within – and to work obedience, and blessings in and through us to others.

I am tempted to make this a series and touch on the subject of curses handed down through generations, but I will stop here, else we have started another book. Our books already published proclaim the presence and the power of our heavenly Father, the legacy of His kingdom in His people, and His victory in Christ and His Spirit over our flesh, sin, and death.

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Pet. 5:10-11

Gracious Father, thank you for delivering us from the power of darkness and death. Though we suffer for the name of Christ, let us live by the indwelling of your Spirit and so, overcome the enemy’s tactics. Keep us always sober, fervent in prayer and your Word, knowing you and Jesus whom you sent to be our life here and forever. Let us with the humility of Christ face any opposition. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Books

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The Eyes of Agony

Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Titus 2:13

Jerry was taken to ER on May 26 where the medical staff did not see a possibility of his surviving. I paced and prayed outside while Lee was with her dad. Then, seemingly better, after I was with him, he was taken to ICU.

As we waited at home, overnight, to hear results from tests and an ultrasound of his heart, my most excruciating thoughts turned to the stark probability of losing the man with whom I had spent the last fifty-nine years.

I agonized, seeing what seemed inevitable ~imagining what my life would be without him.

Then, came the vision of how I would have to let go of what I held dear and precious, the man I loved, especially the last thirteen years as Jerry’s caregiver.

As I agonized over what I faced, I was reminded of the agony of my Lord and Savior.

First, in the garden of Gethsemane, he saw the vision of His cross, sweating drops of blood as He prayed. What awaited Him was the fierce reality of separation from His Father as He would suffer for the sins of His people.

Then, he knew that in order to save us, He would have to let go of His own will and life. He gave way to the will of the Father and gave all to Him for our salvation.

“NOT MY WILL”

“Not my will, but thine be done” is only possible in our lives through the humble, sacrifice Jesus made for us.

As I write this, three weeks after Jerry’s death, June 1, the words, “Not my will” are late in coming. But I must give all to Him, submitting to the will of the Father even as He did. Jesus’ death and resurrection are the means for me to live without Jerry until He brings me to glory with them.

As He leads, I must walk hand-in-hand and heart-to-heart with Him through this valley of tears and agony, keeping my eyes on the hope that is set before me ~ the hope He secured for me on Calvary.

By His grace, Andy, our son, Lee, and I were blessed to be with Jerry the second night in ICU and the last four days in Hospice. It was during those days He was preparing us to see the Father’s will and to hope in His will for our future.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down
at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2

Keep yourselves in the love of God,
 looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ 
unto eternal life.”
Jude 1:21

Dear Father in heaven, by the precious gift of eternal life through Jesus, your Son, you have made it possible for us to endure the pain and sorrows of this world. Thank you for the love, mercy, and hope you bestow on us as your children. Let me remember you are my Maker and my Husband and you have made me to be a bride of Christ. Continue to prepare me to share your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Fran

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GOD IS GREATER THAN

GOD IS GREATER THAN
our circumstances;

HIGHER THAN
our expectations;

BIGGER THAN
the universe;

MORE POWERFUL THAN
death:

&

NEARER THAN
our very breath.

“IN HIM WE LIVE AND BREATHE AND HAVE OUR BEING.”
Acts. 17:28

AND WE ARE IN HIM WHO IS TRUE, IN HIS SON JESUS CHRIST.
HE IS THE TRUE GOD AND ETERNAL LIFE.”
1 John 5:20

Dear Father, interweave between my human thoughts the truths and the authority of Your Word.  I thank you and praise you that Your Words are Spirit and Life to me.  In Jesus’ precious and powerful name Amen
Fran

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The Best is Yet

If we know anything of the past and the future according to God’s eternal plan, we understand the times in which we live. This is not all there is, nor are we even near the end of what we must go through.

Eternity is called the Promised Land because it is planned for the future. The blessing of the children of God is that we have glimpses, mostly when least expected. We miss them when our attention is on what is happening around us and in the world or on ourselves. They are revealed in the preaching of His Word, in worship, in fellowship with other believers, in the study of His Word and prayer. Especially in intercession for others, He opens heaven to us.

We are traveling through this wilderness on our way to our true home. The enemy would have us wearied and weighed down with the cares of this world. We are drawn, caught up, and carried away in fear of what will happen next. We miss the most glorious of the revelations He has for us in our times of fellowship with Him, in our daily lives and as He overcomes the work of the enemy in us and others.

The promises of eternity with our Lord are given to those who, in faith, believing the promises, live in light of the promises now, here, and forever. Instead of  repeating the same fears of the multitudes, we exhort one another in the hope and fulfillment of God’s Word.

The older and nearer I am to the Riverside, the more and clearer I see the vision of the promises.

We don’t need to wait until we are old for this vision. As we receive the promises, we continue to our goal looking forward and upward in the blessed light He has given us in Christ, by His Spirit and His Word. We seek those things above where He is seated at the right hand of the Father. We set our affections on things above, not on things of the earth. Colossians 3:1-3

“He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6-7

We hold forth God’s Word to encourage others. If we could only see how our heavenly Father sees and what He is doing behind the scenes, we would be rejoicing always and letting our moderation be known to all men
(Philippians 4:4-5).

Jerry and I were recently discussing the possibility that God could be discontent. Is God ever discontent in His sovereign rule? That would mean He is depending on His creatures for the way things will end. If that was so, then we would have no hope in His promises. We have a living hope by the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3).

“Looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God
and our Saviour Jesus Christ;”
Titus 2:13
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

“Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;
lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you,
and thereby many be defiled;”
Hebrews 12:15

“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God,
wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved,
and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”
2 Peter  3:12

“Keep yourselves in the love of God,
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Jude 1:21
We praise Him that He is in control ~ according to His own plans to bring us through by His grace to Himself.  We must keep our focus on Him, our hearts and minds centered in Christ ~ our spirit in continual unity with His as we cry, “Abba, Father.” Let us see your glory in the face of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Keep us looking upward. In His  name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Related article: Onward and Upward
Suggested reading: GOD is our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan for His People
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Words of Life ~ BEGOTTEN

 BEGOTTEN is not a word used every day but one that all Christians should know as it speaks of our birth into the kingdom of God.

The Old Testament has only a few references to this word concerning men who have begotten children. One reference in Psalm 2:7 and repeated in Hebrews 1 relates to God and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Old Testament H3205
Strong’s Concordance defines begotten yâlad, yaw-lad’ to bear, bring forth, beget, gender, travail

 “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me,
Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”
Psalm 2:7

New Testament G3439
monogenḗs,
 mon-og-en-ace’; from G3441 and G1096; single of its kind, only used of only sons or daughters (viewed in relation to their parents; used of Christ, denotes the only begotten son of God

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” John 1:18

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18

The following references are used by Paul, Peter, and John pertaining to the new birth of all God’s children.

G1080  gennáō, ghen-nah’-o; from a variation of G1085; to procreate (properly, of the father, but by extension of the mother); figuratively, to regenerate:

“For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 4:15

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again
unto a lively hope by the resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

1 Peter 1:3

“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” 1 John 5:1

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

John speaks of Jesus being the first begotten of the dead—the first to be raised from the dead; the promise and the means of our salvation (see 1 Peter 1:3 above).

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
and the first begotten of the dead,
and the prince of the kings of the earth.
Unto him that loved us,
and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
Revelation 1:5

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us,
because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world,
that we might live through him.”
1 John 4:9

Except Jesus died and was raised from the dead, we would not have become children of God but now have hope of eternal life. Because the Father loved us, He desired us and sired us to be His own. He gave His one child ~ one of a kind ~ to birth many children into His family.

Gracious Father, how blessed we are to call you Father and Jesus our Lord and brother. Because, you draw us to Him and birth us by the power of your Holy Spirit, we desire your continual presence and power to conform us to His image. By the same Word and living hope, keep us close and growing in Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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Surviving and Thriving in Enemy Territory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ESV states “we are from God.”

NIV says “we are children of God.”

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

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

KJV says “the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who gave himself for our sins,
that he might deliver us from this present evil world,
according to the will of God and our Father:”
Galatians 1:4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE WAR ZONE

I started this post yesterday thinking it would be a short one not assosiated with our current series, but as it was the Lord’s leading, it will probably be an added chapter.

The closer we are to the Lord, the greater is the warfare. He and we are still being attacked today. In every age, until the end of this world and His coming again to save His people from the evil one, He is drawing us nearer and keeping us close to Him.

We must understand the battle to which He brings us. It is a spiritual war within a physical world.

This world is not just a physical, visible world. It is encompassed within a spiritual world.
The battle between the two ~ the antithesis ~ began in the Garden of Eden and will continue until He comes again.

As we draw closer to that time of departure in the enemy’s last effort through death, we are witness to this warfare between the spiritual and the physical world. We live in the center of the warzone, with the weaponry used from all sides seemingly coming at the same time. We were experiencing this attack yesterday.

This comes now for Jerry and me as I am in the process of publishing One Month to LIVE ~ A Father’s Last Words; a recollection of the last three weeks with my dad as he was dying of cancer. He died on Labor Day, 1994, but while working on this project, the event has been almost as real as those days twenty-four years ago. We are close to the same ages as my parents were then; going through the same stages as they were before my dad was diagnosed with cancer. (Praise the Lord, the day ended amazingly victorious and fruitful; the first draft submitted, waiting for review.)

To Admonish
I share all this to alert those who are still young, to know where you are; who you are in Christ: to admonish you to draw nearer to HIm now, with all diligence through His Word, prayer, worship in a close-knit, Bible-led congregation of those whose lives are spent for His name’s sake, through His grace and for His glory. Herein, is the means of enduring as we understand the fiery trials that come.

  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

The WAR is real, unlike any physical battles on this earth. Unless you are prepared beforehand for the ending of your life for eternity with Him, you will perish when your world starts spinning out of control; your flesh wasting away, while losing all your mental faculties. You will have lost the battle without even knowing it.

You will pass into eternity in the arms of the Lord Jesus or into outer darkness with the enemy of God. If you believe HIs Word, you will see now, Beyond a Mere Christianity, the goal that lies ahead and prepare for the battles that all creatures will face in this lifetime. Among other things, it a battle for truth (Ephesians 6:10-18).

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-11, 13

Dear Father, how do we hold to your Word or stand in these days of the battle? The spirit and the flesh are always at odds, and we have no means of holding or standing except in Christ who has called us to eternity with Him. You know that this puts us right in the middle between you and the evil one. You know we cannot endure except as you stand with us and fill us with the power of your Spirit, the Spirit of Christ. Lead us in the paths of righteousness for your name’s sake. This is our only hope and our assurance of salvation. We thank you and praise you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Fran

Please listen to these two sermons from Northern Ireland on Things That are Eternal, Things That are Eternal Part 2. You will be graciously blessed.

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