I Can’t Write Fast Enough

As I begin to write this post, my heart overflows; so much so that I cannot know what to write first. There is more than enough for another book about the ills of a people in yet another generation that stand and live against the Creator of heaven and earth; a generation that is ignorant of the foundation of civilization, of what makes for freedom and peace. But, that is not why my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1).

It is the overflow Jesus promised in John 7:37-39 from the Holy Spirit to those who come to Him ~ those who are thirsty for something that this world cannot give.

While the world has hung Christianity out to dry ~ as Christ was hung on a cross ~ He continues to pour out His blessings from His majestic throne in heaven on those who seek freedom and peace in Him.

This early Monday morning dawns after a day of worship and seeking Him above all things. If the world knew the purpose and benefit of a day set apart for Christ in His glory, they would flock to His church. If they knew the King of kings and Lord of lords, they would put aside the things of this world at least for one day to have the blessings of heaven saturate and consume them.

I cannot, without it flowing into a full-size book, write everything that we continually experience in a relationship that turns me from the chaos of this world and enables me to focus on Christ. But, just for a bit, let me share His kingdom that is present and powerful in this world, a kingdom I continue to write about, the kingdom that He shares with all His people.

Currently, Jerry and I marvel at how Jesus Christ is real, the same today, as He was when He, with joy, endured the cross for us. Sometimes this is more the miracle than when He rose from the dead.  He is present always and speaks in and to every situation.

Jerry woke me last Tuesday night around 4:00, to tell me that there was a snake in the bathroom.

Normally, you would expect the man to take care of these things, but Jerry, being an amputee in a wheelchair, needs me to work things out.  We don’t think the snake was poisonous. Nonetheless, in all his (82) and my (79) years and together (57) we have never had to contend with snakes in the house. I say, snakes, because as I write this, there is another one under a butterfly net in our other bathroom, discovered yesterday morning. We hope to have this one removed when a pest control expert comes today. The first one got away when we were turning on lights and opening the front door; planning to catch him and throw him out.

His Promises
As I lay back down, the words came, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous, right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

These words ring true every time.

We never know what will happen next as we live in this wilderness, the wilderness into which God banished our first parents when they refused to listen to Him. The world’s ills are a combination of the individual ills of all His creatures. Those who follow Christ have to live in the middle of the sin and rebellion of the whole world. But, we don’t have to be slaves to the god of this world, and the news of its continued upheaval. We have a heavenly Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives true to His promises and witnesses through us of His grace and glory.

His Worship
Yesterday’s attendance of our Lord to His worship was another pouring out of His blessings to carry through this week. To hear again of how He loved us before the foundation of the world; how He proved that love when He sent His Son, and Jesus gave Himself to deliver us from this present evil age; to share this love with our brothers and sisters, is a life that leaves no room for the world’s sensationalism.

To write about the kingdom of God and His righteousness is a full-time job; one that I experience more than I can write about. It is worth more than all the world offers. It is worth all that we have to go through. His Word is the most precious thing to read. To meditate and memorize, to hear it preached, all in the power of His Holy Spirit, is His means of abiding with us and speaking to us in every circumstance.

I could write about all that I experienced yesterday as we jam-packed all that we could in one day, but it would not mean as much to you as it did to me. You had to be there. The personal relationship with the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ is His gift to all His children, those who are born of His Spirit, waiting to be poured out.

He must increase, the world and we decrease, in the sight of His grace and glory. In the showers of His blessings, the world is diminished. Satan and his forces are brought to nothing in our eyes and our world. The river of living water showers us with His blessings, and washes away the filth of the world (Ephesians 5:26-27). We see the triumphant Lord of glory ruling above the fading glory of man. He laughs them in derision (Psalm 2).

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Psalm 2:1, 12

Gacious Father, as we begin a new week, let us continue to focus upon you through Jesus Christ, your Son, whom you have given to be our Lord. Give us repentant hearts, filled with your Spirit for obedience of faith; that we may live in anticipation of what you have planned for us. Make us to experience the truth of your presence and power. Let your words of grace, truth, love and peace flow and bless others so that they know the reason for our hope and peace. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Fran

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Breakthrough and Follow-through

So as not to miss any gods they might appease, the Athenians had set up an “unknown god” among the others. And so, Christianity today is seen as a religion among many others. The God of Christianity is “unknown” even to some who claim it as their faith. If we see little more than the surface of this way of life, we simply exist without the source and the power of this life. For the most part, we fail to differentiate between what other religions offer. We must be sure that it is an offering; a supernatural offering between our God and us. It is a spiritual gift from the Lord God of Christianity whom we know as Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of Jehovah, the Almighty God and Creator of the heavens and the earth and Redeemer of mankind.

Baptized as a child on a profession of faith, Christianity was basic but ineffective in my life until as an adult, I was drawn to read, then study; to write and teach what I was learning from the Bible. During those years, the Holy Spirit I was reading about in the Bible used God’s own words to transform my life. Through a new birth, with a new heart and spirit, my life was changed and has not been the same for decades. My books, articles, and poems attest to the revealed and fulfilled promises made to those He brings to Himself.

The best way I can describe this new way of life is with a parable I heard several years ago.

A prisoner was held captive for years, not knowing where he was. He existed in an obscure stronghold in a foreign country. His food and drink were barely enough to keep him alive. Since he knew no other way of life, he did not wish for anything else.

One day a stranger entered his cell and told him about life outside his captivity. He had come to deliver him. At first, the man could not vision anything beyond his own existence, and so refused to follow him out. Unknown to the prisoner, the stranger had broken through the outside barrier of the stronghold to save him. He was there, not to be refused; and so, stayed with him, living off the same fare by which the prisoner had been fed most of his life. At times he would open the cell door and lead him down a long dark hallway to show him the light outside. Not used to the light, the prisoner would soon move back to his comfortable cell.

With time, the stranger presented truths about the light, each day praying with him and leading him a little further out from his cell. Gradually getting used to the light, he was drawn more; then more, to it. One day, his eyes becoming used to the light, embraced the light, walking with the stranger into a new life outside himself.

As I contemplated writing this post, I was reminded of an old TV series Mission Impossible. A different mission presented to the team with every episode including the statement, “This is your mission if you choose to accept it.” The missions involved seemingly impossible situations providing an escape for captives.

I imagined what this would have looked like for Jesus before Creation. He and the Holy Spirit were the team, Jesus being the one who would suffer and sacrifice to bring His people out of their bondage. His mission from God the Father was to go down, go to, and live with the captives on earth; live in full obedience to God’s law, which no man had ever done, and provide a true understanding of the laws of His kingdom. He would be the light from heaven to people living in darkness, under oppression and sin. He would at the appointed time, be offered up as a means of appeasing the unknown God and ascend back to the Father, where He would live and reign for us as His people.  He would send His Spirit of light from heaven; through His Word bring us out of our captivity and guide us into all truth.

Jesus accepted and fulfilled His mission. His Holy Spirit is now fulfilling His mission in our hearts and lives as we continue to follow Jesus.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for so loving us that you sent your Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Lord Jesus, we thank you for being the author and finisher of our faith; for breaking through and enabling us to follow through this darkness until we see you in your full glory. Holy Spirit, we know your presence and power of the life of Christ in us. Continue to reveal and fulfill all that the Father has willed for us as your people. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

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Words of Life ~ ACKNOWLEDGE

 To acknowledge someone or something is more than just to know. Know is the middle of the word with the prefix ac and the suffix ledge. Ac adds direction toward what we know. Ledge denotes action or practice.

Picture your heart as the storehouse of the knowledge of God; your mind as the prefix of what you know, leaning forward, striving toward the knowledge He has given from His Word; His Spirit leading you to act upon and practice what you know ~ hands and feet in response to the blessings of knowing Him.

The Old Testament H3045
Defines the word acknowledge yada (yä·dah’)
A primitive root; to know (properly to ascertain by seeing); used in a great
variety of senses, figuratively, literally, euphemistically and inferentially
(including observation, care, recognition; and causativelyinstruction,
designation, punishment, etc.):—acknowledge, acquaintance (-ted with), advise,
answer, appoint, assuredly, be aware, [un-] awares, can [-not], certainly, for a
certainty, comprehend, consider,
The same Hebrew word is used for “know, knowledge, discern, perceive, respect.”

All references to acknowledge are here.

“In all thy ways acknowledge him,
and he shall direct thy paths.”
Proverbs 3:6

 We are to acknowledge Him in all our ways and in our relationship with Him acknowledge our sin.

I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Psalm 32:5

acknowledge thine iniquity” (Jeremiah 3:13). acknowledge our wickedness, and the iniquity of our fathers” (Jeremiah 14:20).

“I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.”  Hosea 5:15

“Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel; Like these good figs, so will I acknowledge them that are carried away captive of Judah, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans for their good.” Jeremiah 24:5

“Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might.” Isaiah 33:13

The New Testament  G1921
Defines the word acknowledge epignōsis (e-pē’-gnō-sēs)
From G1909 and G1097; recognition, e.e. (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement:—(ac-) knowledge (-ing, – ment): perceive.

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 14:37

“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;” Colossians 2:2

“Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” 1 John 2:23

Dear Heavenly Father, We acknowledge our sin before you, in the promise of your forgiveness through the sacrifice of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We seek your face, even as we understand the affliction that we must endure because of our offenses toward you. We acknowledge your might as you acknowledge us in our captivity. We thank you for the wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ, and acknowledge Him as our only means of reconciliation with you. Continue to direct our paths. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

The Lens of Contentment

Most people see contentment in good health, relationships, possessions, fashions, the cars we drive and the homes in which we live, many of these indicating the measure of our personal success.

God’s people are given a means of seeing what is different from the world. The new heart and new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3) given by God our Father, come with a lens that changes our focus from the world and our dependency on what we can achieve. Our view is upward, brought to see Him as the giver and supplier of all that we need. We see beyond the world’s offerings to the special blessings that are ours through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The writer of the book of Hebrews leaves an exhortation to God’s people in the last chapter:
“Keep your life free from the love of money.

The world trains our children to seek contentment through what our money can buy.
The followers of Christ are trained to “be content with what you have.”

Why can we be content with less than what the world offers?
~ “for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (13:5)

The giver of all things is more precious than all the money we could accrue in this world.
His presence is greater that any relationship, entertainment or possession offered in this generation.
His love and grace is of more value that anything money could buy.
His blessings are infinite and eternally ours, while the temporal things of this world will either be lost or fade away.
Nothing of this world can compare to what we experience in His supply of all things .

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

There are those who are suffering physically and financially from attempting to keep up with greater expectations than they are able. When they learn of life in Christ, they can let go of the world’s offerings and enjoy Him and what He gives.

But, as it is written,
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12

It was the apostle Paul who said, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11). He rolled with the pushes, at the same time rejoicing and praising the Lord because He had experienced the presence and power of God. In His calling, devotion and service he was given “visions and revelations” of the Lord (2 Corinthians 12:1). As an evangelist/tentmaker he knew the God “who supplies all our needs” (Philippians 4:19). He lived with a “thorn in the flesh” ~ the buffeting of Satan through the religious and government leaders, living the last part of his life in prison because he was content with the Lord’s calling and promises of the gospel. Oh, that we might all say as he did, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

Gracious heavenly Father, creator and supplier of all things, open our eyes, turn them upward to see heaven opened as you pour out all that you have prepared for us in and through Jesus our Lord. Let the world see our contentment with you and all that you desire for us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Related Post: A Year for Contentment ~ Continued
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Jesus’ Donkey

Have you ever seen a donkey standing out in a field? I am not familiar with donkeys but whenever I see one, it seems to be waiting for something or someone to direct it.

God could just as easily have called us his donkeys instead of his sheep. But there are only a few special donkeys; many special sheep.

There are two donkeys mentioned in the Bible. It seems they were created to be “beasts of burden.” In the Old Testament Balaam had a donkey that could talk; he warned him and saved his life (Numbers 22:22-35).

Balaam’s donkey was probably older, beaten down under the burden of his master.

Jesus’ colt was waiting for his master when the disciples found it and took it to Jesus.

As the gentle master He rode the colt through the gates of Jerusalem.

There may be much that we could learn from the scenario of the Triumphal Entry that we now call Palm Sunday, but one in particular comes to mind this morning.

There are times when we may feel like nothing but a donkey (you many call it whatever you please) but that is not how God created us. The oppressor would have us believe that we have to carry the burdens of the world; that we have no worth except as the scum of the earth. We, as His children, were born in His image, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and directed by His Word and His Holy Spirit to bear His image and the fruit of the Spirit of Christ.

Would we have been honored to be Jesus’ colt? Yes, but that honor was predestined for one only. That colt carried Jesus into the fiercest battle that anyone can wage ~ the battle against Satan and our sin. He won the victory a few days after, and since then calls us to Him to fulfill His purpose in each of us. The memory of the first verse held in my mind since childhood is in Matthew 11:28-30. He has not redeemed us to ride us, but to free us from our bondage and to share our lives here while preparing us for His glory. In meekness He is able to fulfill His will in each of us as we tell others of Him and His victory in us.Dear Father, Thank you that each Lord’s Day, you call us to come in worship to Christ, your Son, who has won our hearts to serve Him and to be a part of the battle against the oppressor in our own lives and the lives of others. We praise you that our calling is not to tread through this life alone, but in unity with Christ, our master, and His other sheep. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.

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The Reason and Season for Contentment

Jesus is the reason and the season for contentment. We cannot say this strongly enough.
We looked at the role of God, the Father, last week. We will look at the role of the Holy Spirit next week.

Why are we centering on Jesus, the second person of the Trinity? There are many reasons.
(I have to, at this point say as I remind myself, everything I write is something the Lord is teaching me. At this point in our writing about contentment, I am excited about what we are learning.)

Our last post on Jesus could not be enough. Remember John’s last statement of his gospel, “the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” So, if you want to be richer and content with what God has prepared for us as His children, don’t skim this article, but stay with me to hear what He wants us to know.

With a Christian worldview, we see through the eyes of the church, the body of Christ. He is the head and we are growing up into Him as we continue in His Word. We are set free from the bondage of ignorance, the power of death and sin, of fear and the world’s influence.

How is this possible without Jesus Christ? We would still be in our sin, and in the chaotic upheaval of the world. I doubt that the world would still be here. At the precise time that was planned, He was born into this world to fulfill the promises that had been made. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Why are Jesus’ followers not rioting, and complaining? Jesus makes the difference.

How the Trinue God Works His Plan and Power on Earth

Let’s look at how His plan is established in Jesus His Son. God, the Father sent His Son to make the difference ~ between the world and His kingdom ~ a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy.

Jesus lived a perfect life of righteousness under the law, fulfilling every jot and tittle.:) His life is the center point of God’s plan.
He is the Son, whose life we are given through his death and resurrection (1 Peter 1:3). Since His ascension and ruling at the right hand of the Father on our behalf, He is calling those who are His to live in union with Him. This life is a new life, a supernatural life, in a new relationship with Him and the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit working all things according to His will and covenant with His people.

Let’s look more closely: God, the Father  + God, the Son + God, the Spirit = The Trinity.

Take away God, the Son ~ We would not know God the Father, nor would the Holy Spirit have been sent to us.

From all the Biblical references we see how the Father focuses all things on His Son. We understand that the whole of God’s Word, from beginning to end, is about Jesus Christ, the promised, living, dying, living, ruling and reigning Messiah. He is the First and the Last, the Alpha and Omega.trinity

We do not have room or time to include all references to Christ, but only a few that relate to His role, His relationship to the Father, the Holy Spirit and to us. I would ask that you reply with the references that you know.

The first promise of the Messiah, Conqueror, and Savior ~ Genesis 3:15
Promise of a Son ~ Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23

He is the image of the invisible God ~ “for by Him were all things created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And He is before all things and in him all things hold together.”  Colossians 1:15-20

 “Making known to us the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose,
which he set forth in Christ

as a plan for the fullness of time,
to unite all things in him,
things in heaven and things on earth.
Ephesians 1:9-10

John, the Baptist’s witness of the Son ~ Matthew 3:11
The Father’s witness of His Son ~ Matthew 3:17; 11:27; 17:5; 1 John 5:6-12;  John 17:1-7, 24;
The Holy Spirit’s witness of the Son ~ John 14:26; John 15;26; John 16:7, 12-15

“He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.

All that the Father has is mine;
therefore I said that he will take what is mine
and declare it to you.
John 16:14-15

We have only begun to scratch the surface. There is layer and layer, precept upon precept of “the way, the truth, and the life” that is ours in Jesus Christ, our Lord. All that we need for life, godliness and contentment is all rolled up in this one “ball of wax” and beyond us, to discover what is ours in Him. He is the center and root of all things blessed and beautiful, filling and overflowing with the goodness and grace for all that we need. All that is precious, amazing, and fathomless is promised in Him, revealed and fulfilled in those who are His children.

The Season for Contentment

Because Jesus Christ holds the secret, the means and the power for all things for contentment, we must continue to keep our eyes, ears and all our senses on Him. He is the reason for our contentment. Therefore, the season for our contentment in Him is year-round, never ending, now and forever.8a98b22c4e447787d8764dd91bbbad54

Gracious Father, We thank you for your plan for true life, in and through Jesus Christ, who is to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, who upholds all things by the word of His power, who sits at your right ruling and reigning until you have put all things under His feet. We praise you that your greatness and power in Him is unsearchable. Thank you for this unspeakable gift of grace and life in Him, now and for eternity. Open our eyes to see and live in the wonder of who and what He is to us as your people. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Secret Councils

Yesterday, Jerry was sitting on the screened back porch, listening to Rush Limbaugh’s comments about the Presidential Inauguration. I sat with him a few minutes. Mr. Limbaugh stated that there is a bureaucracy that operates in Washington. Seemingly there are those who hold no public office that control everything. We imagine that the wealthy and influential meet in secret chambers to plan their schemes.

We remember that Haman, in the Book of Esther, unknowingly planned his own hanging.

There is the record of God’s council spoken in Acts 4:24-32. The same council that instigated Jesus’ death brought in Peter and John to stop them from speaking of the salvation that God had worked through their scheme (Acts 24:28). After reporting what was said to them, God’s people prayed, and “the place was shaken;” they were “filled with the Holy Ghost” and “spoke the Word of God with boldness.”

Lightnings, Thunderings, and An Earthquake

And there is the reference in Revelation 8:4-5 of the prayers of the saints.

“And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”the-white-house-1203537

There are two councils here on earth. From the Fall of man, the antithesis has been ongoing. God continues to rule under His covenant of grace, by His own Word and truth. Men, under the power of Satan, rule the other council, according to their plans. But, even this one has always been under God’s sovereign control.

“The Lord has prepared his throne in the heavens;
and his kingdom rules over all.”
Psalm 103:19

He calls us, as His saints, to meet in His secret chambers to offer up prayers so that His council may be made known here on earth (Ephesians 6:18). Places can be shaken, lightnings and thunderings can wake even the most powerful in our nation and the world. We must pray, expecting great things, even an earthquake ~ for our salvation and His glory.

Gracious Father, you have taught us to know you and your Almighty power over all things. We believe that you are able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Unto you be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. In Jesus’ name, whom you have given all authority and power, we pray, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
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