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.




Childbirth is a Family Affair

Our granddaughter and her husband brought their first child home from the hospital yesterday. We did not have the privilege of waiting at the hospital for her delivery as we had with our six grandchildren. But, Jerry and I were a part of the event as we were there in spirit. Our daughter called us with updates throughout the time of waiting. With every report Jerry felt the pain in his leg that was amputated.

Ansley’s contractions had started on Monday. From her scheduled appointment she was hoping the time for their daughter’s birth was eminent. But contractions were not close enough. After a visit to the hospital she was sent home to wait. Tuesday passed with more pain, but no signs of time for birthing. She and her husband left the doctor’s office again with an appointment for 5:00 Wednesday morning. If things had not progressed as they hoped they would induce labor in order to take the pressure off the baby.

Tuesday night they did not sleep. Neither did I. I was awake off and on, praying continually for the Lord’s intervention; for mercy for Ansley and for Him to bring this baby into the world in His way, and in His timing.

They were at the hospital Wednesday morning with good news that the baby would be delivered before evening. Our daughter, our son-in-law and Ansley’s three younger sisters were there early to wait with them. Our daughter, remembering the four occasions she had gone through labor, was feeling Ansley’s pain. She wanted to tell her what to do, but she had to back off, and leave the room.

Our first great grandchild was born at 1:00. We were there to see them all at 3:00.

10689595_10205562289161019_3481855181802915142_nDuring this recent episode, when I mentioned the title of this article to my daughter, she reasoned that this is not true for all families.  Our children were born, with no one there but Jerry and me, the hospital staff ~ and the Lord. But family events have become more important as we have gotten older; and our family is learning the importance of sharing these experiences.

Spiritual Birth
Perhaps this sharing of family experiences, in births, marriages, and deaths has a connection with God and His family. Before this world began there was a relationship of love, joy, and peace between God, the Father, His Son, and His Holy Spirit. What they had together they have since the creation been sharing with His family here on earth. They covenanted together to birth a physical world that would soon be in rebellion and in need of a second birth ~ a spiritual birth.

His Spirit that moved across the face of the waters at the beginning of time is the same Spirit that moves in the spirit and heart of man to give new life. A second birth is required for a new start for true life, eternal life.

The same Light that God spoke into the world over darkness is the light of Jesus Christ given to men.

The same love, the same Word that was in the beginning with God was Jesus Christ. This is the seed that is planted in the hearts of men to form a new heart, a new spirit, and a new life. We have this living word in the written word that by His Spirit brings conception and in His timing He brings this deliverance of a new life in and through us.

There is rejoicing in heaven with every new birth. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. Luke 15:10

 The apostle Paul was a spiritual father in his ministry of the gospel of Christ. In his letter to the Galatians he said, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you. Galatians 4:19

It does not happen simply by saying a prayer.  Spiritual birth is in every way a miracle as a natural birth, with the greatest work and labor of love by our Lord, Jesus Christ.  We don’t experience it from a care-free, pain-free experience.  If left to ourselves we would refuse it. But, it is worth the pain and the struggle to be born of His Spirit for eternal life; knowing that we are delivered from the wrath of God, the pain of eternity without Christ.

Laboring for Others
We, who are of Christ, labor with others for the souls of those who will be born into His kingdom. We intercede, we pray fervently, and continually, for this conception and birth to take place in the hearts of our loved ones. But, we cannot make it happen by our own planning. We wait and rejoice in His timing and His way.

When Christ returns we shall all rejoice together for His glorious work on our own behalf and for those of all His family.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away,
reserved in heaven for you,”

1 Peter 1:3-4

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your plan for perpetual life here on this earth, until you have gathered all into your fold.  Keep us by your own power until that day.  In Jesus’ name I pray.

The Ultimate Bible Study

It is interesting that as we get older we sometimes return to the simpler things biblewith which we began.  When I first started teaching there were three things I looked for in the text I was studying:
Identification (who are the characters in the text?)
Implication (what is going on in the text between      the characters—what, where, when?)
Application (what difference does studying this text mean to me?)
The truths of God Word were first to be understood in my own heart.
These, by the power of God’s Spirit, taught me what I needed to know before I could teach anyone else.

We can read God’s Word simply because of curiosity— someone we know reads it, talks about it, places their trust in what is written.  Some are new Christians seeking to know how they are to follow Christ and live the new life.  Others are older and continue to thrive on the bread of life.  They love it; they live it, preach it, and teach it.

Before the Reformation only the priests of the Roman Catholic Church had access to the Scriptures, and other people relied on them for their knowledge of God.  Now many people have access to God’s Word in many translations, but have no thought of how valuable it is.  The Word and the power of God that comes with it are available, but few really read and study it for its greatest purpose.  Considering the three things used for previous studies we tend to look for the Application before we have an Identification and Implication.

Why is this? —I think, because we already have a mind-set before we read it.  We have already learned through our own culture, and our human nature—our man-centeredness— to look for where we fit in and how things are going to affect us.  Are we not to read the Bible to learn how we are supposed to live, what we are supposed to say, what we are supposed to do in our relationship to God and others?  Yes, but not at the expense of the truth itself, which much of the time is twisted and distorted to fit our own preconceived notions.  We can easily take God’s Word and make it say what we want it to say, instead of allowing the Word to do its work in conforming us to it.

So, what is the challenge here—for me, in going back to this simple method (but concentrating on the one point of Identification) and for you, as you read this?  After all my years of reading and studying I have come to the conclusion that the ultimate Bible study is to begin with our Bible in hand before the throne of grace, then opening it with new hearts, new minds, new eyes, expressing our need for a new vision of Him.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy,
and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews 4:16

We are in need of the Father’s mercy.  He has given us a great high priest who knows our infirmities, who sits at the Father’s right hand to intercede for us.  He has promised the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.  (Luke 11:13) As I write these articles/letters/prayers I continue to teach my grandchildren what I think is the most important thing in life, according to the first and great commandment taught by our Lord—that we shall love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and our neighbor, as ourselves.  (Matthew 22:37:37-40) We cannot love Him unless we know Him.  This is our greatest need, and we can only know Him as He reveals Himself to us.  As we would go “online” looking for information, our main “Search” in the Holy Bible is for God.  He has His own “site” with His own profile.  Throughout His Word, from Genesis to Revelation, the person of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, reveals Himself.

“And this is life eternal,
that they might know thee the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
John 17:3

I challenge you, and myself, to read through the Bible this year with this main purpose – Identify the person, purpose and power of God.  The implications that we find as relating God to man will by His Holy Spirit become evident, and in time will place us in relationship with Him. The supernatural power of God draws us out of ourselves to Him.

The power of the Trinity is the work of our Creator in His creation.  The authority of God’s own Word effectually transforms us by the renewing of our minds.  (Romans 12:1-2)  No longer am I looking for what I am supposed to be, do, or say, but, as I am caught up in Him the Word of God does its work in and through me, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:6,12,14).  As the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) supernaturally circumcises my heart, regenerating, renewing, sanctifying, living out the truth in my circumstances, He is conforming me to the image of His Son.  (Romans 8:29)

If we read and study, seeking to see Him only, to know Him, and what He reveals of Himself, the things we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer—His name, His kingdom, His will,  become evident as uppermost in our hearts and minds.  Instead of being man-centered we can be His God-centered, Christ-focused people, a people after His own heart, in the unity of the Spirit, together seeking to do all His will.

”For the word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any two-edged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow;
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 

If we accept this challenge, He can, in light of His beauty and holiness and our great need for His Word to do its work in our hearts, bring us to see ourselves as sinners.  The same authority of His Word  brings the needed salvation, repentance and sanctifying work through His power working in us.  We find that over the centuries, throughout all of history Jesus (God) is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,

according to the power that worketh in us.”
Ephesians 3:20

Those who truly seek Him are drawn to Christ and to each other.  The conversation of His people are more and more about what we have learned from our Father, and our Lord, of His Spirit, His power, and His kingdom, than what we have learned about man and ourselves.  There is an excitement about the new wine, the new things that he teaches us about Himself everyday.  His Spirit, by his Word of power (Hebrews 1:3)  make us a people of prayer, praise and proclamation of our great God and Father, Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ.  Our desire and understanding of the preaching of the Word are continually heightened.

You may have already done this; if not, I pray that you will, with me, take this challenge.  Whenever we read, let us stop, and ask the Holy Spirit to focus the light of our reading on God, what He says about Himself, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He promises to do.  In the Old Testament we may read for awhile without finding any mention of His name, and then suddenly come to where He fits in the events and relationships, and see how He is in control of all things.  In the New Testament we focus on Christ, the Son, as He reveals God, the Father.  What is said about the three persons of the Trinity?  What does Christ say about Himself, what does He do, and what is said about Him?  We may want to jot down in a journal anything new that He reveals of Himself.  We will find many things about Him that we never saw before. Let us meditate on what we read about Him. I believe the eyes of our understanding will be enlightened (Ephesians 1:17) and our lives changed.

I pray that He will erase any pre-conceived ideas, distortions, and false images we have of Him.  I pray that the authority of His Word, by the power of His Holy Spirit, will identify the true and living God to us. (1 Corinthians 2:10, Romans 10:17)  As we continue daily at His throne of grace let us first seek His kingdom and His righteousnessWhere there is no vision—when we are lacking the true and powerful revelation of God— people perish.  Let us ask for faith to believe all that we read about Him. Let us pray that He will transform our lives and reform His church, bringing light into the darkness of this world. (Philippians 2:15-16)

“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.”
Isaiah 55:11

He promises that we shall find Him, if we each, seek Him with all our heart.  We may not fully understand what we find, but if we accept it at face-value—the truth revealed in His Word and in His Son, Jesus Christ, the living word ~ we, beholding, as in a glass the image of the Lord, shall be changed into His image, from glory to glory.
(2 Corinthians 3:18)

The Bible with its many books is a canon in itself, revealing God and His covenant relationship with man.  We need no other book to reveal God to us, but I believe that what His Spirit and His Word are doing in us is being recorded in heaven. (1 Peter 1:12; Ephesians 3:9-10)  He is making history in us for future generations to know Him—not us, but Christ, revealed in and through us—for His glory and our joy.

“And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery,
which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God,
who created all things by Jesus Christ.
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:9, 21

Dear Father, by your grace, let the authority of your word be commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit; that we may know you, and love you and our neighbor  ~ more and more.  In Jesus name ~  Amen.

Fran 1/08 (From Waiting Is Not a Game ~ Articles of Faith)

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