Words of Life ~ ABBA and ALPHA

 In this post I am including the word ABBA. It was not in the first list, but appropriate to post here with the word ALPHA. It will be the first word in the revised list. And of interest in this combination is that the meaning of ABBA is Father. A father carries the seed of life. Such was our Father in heaven who created life. He was the first ~ ALPHA ~ the first of all beings and all things. I appreciate that I am able to post this on the first day of the week.

An interesting note from searching the word ABBA is that it is found in the Old Testament sandwiched in the word Sabbath. Let us turn that over in our minds and hearts as we continue our search for the Words of Life.

ABBA G5 
Strong’s defines abba äb-bä  Aramaic for “father”
“father, customary title used of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee “ABBA” through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek speaking Jews added the name from their own tongue.” This does not indicate that ABBA would be a casual name for Father, as some have thought it to be the word for Daddy which is an informal name. We don’t have to bring Him down to our level to reach Him. He has already condescended to us through His Son and made us His children. Jesus instructs us in the Lord’s Prayer to call Him Father. Abba seems to be an expression used with the name Father with the concept of crying out to Him in special times of need.

ABBA, as Father, is only found in the New Testament, first recorded from Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Mark 14:36

The apostle Paul associated the word ABBA with the working of the Holy Spirit in our new birth and adoption. We are no longer in bondage to the law and sin, no longer children of wrath and fear, but reconciled through the blood of Christ to know God as our Father.

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

As we are born of His Spirit and joint-heirs with Christ and His Spirit dwelling in our hearts we can cry, calling to Him for all our needs. Note that from Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane Paul relates this to all God’s children, the Spirit of his Son that cries through us.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6

ALPHA G 1
Strong’s defines alpha ä’l-fä, first letter of Greek alphabet
“Christ is the Alpha to indicate that he is the beginning and the end.”

 ALPHA is found four times in the Book of Revelation as quoted from Jesus.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come , the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

“Saying , I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest , write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11

“And he said unto me, It is done . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:6

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Revelation 22:13

Gracious Father, we are in awe when we think of how you have arranged your words of life for us. You are Abba to your children. You created us for your own. From the beginning to the end you have planned and are gathering your family to yourself through Jesus Christ your Son. We praise you that by your grace you have made Him to be Life to us, the Alpha and Omega. In His name we thank you and desire to live as your children for your glory and our joy. Amen.
Fran

Photos:Tom Pumford, Unsplash
David Besh, Pixel

 

GOD’S GLORY ~ First and Last

How do you bring children up “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?”  Where do you begin?  My first grandchild was six years old, her sister was three, when the Lord impressed upon me the need for me to teach them.  I cared for them while Lee, our daughter, a physical therapist, worked two days a week.  During the summer months we began a series of study called Summer of Psalms, which we have been doing for thirteen years.  Ansley has outgrown the study, but Kourtney, now fifteen, and her sisters, Olivia, 10, and Emma, 8, just finished six days (one day a week) of Psalm 146.

What began with Psalm 100 has grown in the hearts and minds and lives of these children.  Many seeds have been planted each summer and we have watched the girls grow in the understanding that everything comes under one heading—GOD.

Everything begins with GOD

I didn’t know that those first lessons with the name GOD at the top of the blackboard would always be our starting point, and that we would always come back to that main point.  The whole series of study, consisting of seven particular Psalms, has stressed the person of GOD, His Lordship, and His glory.  The curriculum was built around His Word, His work, His salvation, His Son—Jesus Christ, His Holy Spirit, His name, His creation, His presence, His power, His kingdom, His grace, etc.

Even though we have booklets the Holy Spirit adds notes during our time of study.  I continue to learn as I am teaching.  The last day of study, which we call The Gathering (Christ, the shepherd and his sheep) we were looking at the meaning of the Alpha and the Omega as it relates to the beginning and the end, the first and the last.  So, when we asked the question,  “Where do we always begin,” their answer, as usual, was, “GOD.”

It was rather simple to follow that question with, “Where do we end?”

And right on time, in unison, they knew the answer—“With GOD.”

*Years ago the first question they learned from our church’s children’s catechism was, “Who made you?”

Answer: “God.”

The second question: “What else did God make?”

Answer:  “All things.”

Third question:  “Why did He make you and all things?”

Answer:  “For His own glory.”

Everything ends with GOD

First and last GOD will have all the glory.  There is much that will take place in our lives between the beginning and the end.  This is the time of His grace.  There are generations that will come and go between the beginning and ending of time on this earth. Within, and from His own glory, He has planned His work—“before the foundation of the world;” now He is working His plan—“according to the counsel of His will,” a plan that will end in His glory.

As He is leading me to place all things in the light of His glory, from beginning to end; seeing Him as head over all things in Christ; looking diligently to Him, “the author and finisher of our faith,” His glory is becoming the dominant factor and thought on my mind and in my heart.  By His grace He is revealing Himself to be the Alpha and Omega of my life, and the life of all those who are in Christ.

As He continues to shine into my heart “the light of the knowledge of His glory in Christ” more and more of my life is for His glory.  The more glory He reveals through His Word and His Spirit, and the more glory He receives from His work of grace in me, the more joy I experience in my heart and life.  The “unsearchable riches of Christ” given by a gracious Father are unfathomable, but ever growing to reveal more and more of His glory, until He is ready to receive us unto Himself—where His glory will be never-ending.

“I was brutish and ignorant, I was like a beast toward you.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”

Psalm 73:23,24 ESV

* Foundations is a children’s catechism used at Christ Reformed Church (Reformed Baptist).  If you are interested I have this on a PDF File for loose-leaf binder.