Relation Ships

There are three words within the word “relationship” representing three different facets of a relationship.    imagesWe see the word “ship” as the most prominent word. Within the ship are people who relate to each other; and between these there is relation.

There are friendships, fellowships, memberships, partnerships, leaderships; and also relationships of marriage and family; parents with children, etc. In the spiritual realm there is a lordship and worship.

A ship is a means of transportation, a vessel that holds and carries one or more persons from place to place. A ship represents a unity of heart and spirit.   Two people in a ship usually have something in common. In a long lasting relationship the two are of the same mind, with the same desires, the same purpose and the same plans. Their destinations are the same.

Our neighbors have recently booked a passage on a ship for a fall cruise. They will not own the ship but will pay to enter the ship that will take them on a week’s voyage wherever the ship has planned to go. Relationships are not always cruises to beautiful and pleasant shores. But, we pay for these in our commitments to those with whom we are in a relationship. Marriage and family require a covenant vow of our money and time, and all our resources.

 Abandoned Ships
There are relationships that have been abandoned because one has changed his/her mind, plans or destination. One may have entered a different relationship. They are now relating to someone else with whom they have more in common.

Sometimes ships need to be abandoned, when plans and destinations have changed.
An example is when one has become a Christian and is following Christ and the other is not.  If the unbeliever is not interested in the direction that Christ takes us the believer cannot safely continue in the relationship. There cannot be two captains of one ship. The two may still have similar interests, but the lordship changes for one,  charting a different course than the unbeliever.   These relationships usually end on the rocks, sometimes after years of struggle in trying to keep the relationship afloat. Or believers are influenced by the unbelievers to abandon their faith.

Evaluation and Repairs
Marriages may begin to sink because other ships seem more attractive, or one simply loses interest in the one that they are in. Relationships of marriage and family need to be brought into the harbor, for evaluation, repairs and renovations. Others need to accept that the ship is going in a different direction than was planned, seeing the need for change of heart and mind.

While marriages are joint relationships, a partnership so to speak, God’s plans for this relationship requires the husband and father to be in a relationship with Him, so that he may know how to captain the relationship with his wife and family. He must first know the lordship of Christ and submit to this relationship.  Wives in relationship with God are given the plans and the means of submission to His plans under the leadership of the husband.

God’s Word, the manual for repairs of the ship needs to be sought, and obeyed. Both husband and wife need to enter into the relationship of prayer with the heavenly Father to seek His plans, means and power for renewal.

A Lifetime Relationship
In the case of lordship and worship, we have to repent and in faith submit to God’s will if we are to enter into a relationship with Him. He is the captain of all our ships, whatever relationship this may be. This one relationship determines all others for us. A circle of relationships will have the Lord, Jesus Christ at the helm. We can depend on Him to bring us through all the rough waters safely and victoriously to that glorious worship that He has planned for us.

(In Part 2 we will look at the context of a relationship.)

Dear gracious Father, who has booked a life voyage for us that will extend to eternity, please show us your plans. By your Holy Spirit work in our hearts and bring us willingly to embark upon this voyage with you and the family that you have provided for us. Reveal to us the greatest relationship that we will ever enter and experience ~ the relationship that is ours in your dear Son, Jesus Christ, that will bring us together to the shores of Paradise with you. In His name I pray and praise you.  Amen.

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The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul (Video Series)

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In 1986 this video series was filmed by a younger Sproul.  It is a classic in any Christian’s study of the character of God.  Whatever church you belong to you will be blessed to view these 30 minutes lectures. Go here to view all six.

Below is 5 minute clip from the first lecture, Holy, Holy, Holy.

The Best of God’s Grace

It has been said that a common grace is extended to all of God’s creatures ~ “In Him we live, and breathe, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) This is seen in that He allows us to accomplish all that we can do in this life apart from Him. Even in the daily rebellion and unbelief He holds back His omnipotent hand from a total destruction of all that defies His authority. The best of God’s grace is hidden from the world in the treasury of His written Word, the Bible. It is discovered in the life and work of His Son, His living Word as He reveals Him through the written Word. He draws us to His Word, written and living, by His Holy Spirit. It is the Amazing Grace that John Newton wrote about ~ “that saved a wretch like me.” How many times did I sing this hymn before I knew what it meant?

“I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”

 By this revelation of His grace for our justification God produces the new heart and spirit that brings us to repentance and faith in Christ. This grace adopts us into His family. It is continually poured out for our sanctification, so that we, in a new state of being, love Him and desire to daily obey and please Him. A growing grace within us, like an ever-flowing stream, carries us through this life and death into His eternal glory. It is an abundant grace, an abiding grace, a sufficient grace, a marvelous grace that all who receive it can testify. 00015IDear Father, pour out your grace upon us.  Make us to know your presence and power carrying us through this day in obedience, honor, and glory to you.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen

Related Article: Jehovah Rophi

Meditation is a Moving Experience

What began this year with meditations in Galatians is developing into a treasured experience in God’s Word ~ the written Word and the Living Word ~ more blessed than ever before. This is proving true that the Word of God is active and powerful (Hebrews 4;12).

“Grace to you, and peace from God, our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
who gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil age,
according to the will of our God and Father,
to whom be glory forever. Amen.”

Galatians 1:3-5

Many other references in the Bible describe the Lord Jesus Christ, his person, his purpose, his accomplished work; and each one is specific as it applies to the needs of man in every generation of this evil age. This present evil age is in reference to all generations until the time of Christ’s return.

Years ago Galatians was a project for memorization and study, but now, in meditation, special and particular verses are even more applicable to where I am today, in sanctification, as I continue to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)

Through meditations in Galatians there is the reminder that “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
(Galatians 2:20-21)

6958018441f94a21c0baf9365b06c022Like Paul, “Be it far from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

These verses, among others from meditations in Galatians are the gleaning; the fruit, so to speak, of Christ’s work in me and all believers who meditate on His Word. Notice that Paul speaks of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then come with me to meditations in Philippians and the moving power of His Spirit through the written word to experience the Living Word, Christ Jesus.

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is quite different in content and intent than his letter to the believers in Galatia. He was writing to correct and protect them. To the Philippians he writes to encourage and support their growing faith and ministry.

He has more space in this letter to witness of God’s working in his own life, although it contains two less chapters than Galatians. In Philippians 3:8 is the moving experience. Paul begins this chapter with telling them to rejoice in the Lord. He carries this call forward into chapter four through the witness of the work of the Holy Spirit in his own life.

He first lists the confidence that he might have in the flesh; in his own accomplishments. In comparing these with knowing Christ he counts these as rubbish, as dung (KJV). (This reminds me of Isaiah’s reference to our own righteousness as filthy rags)

Cause and Effect

 “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” Philippians 3:7-8

Meditation on this expression “everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” has taken root and is bearing fruit. Instead of just going through the motions where I am His Spirit is moving me where He wants me to be. He is leading me from just growing in the knowledge of THE Lord Jesus Christ and sharing the cross of OUR Lord Jesus Christ to knowing Christ Jesus MY Lord.

There is a tremendous difference ~ a life-changing difference ~ from just having a mental knowledge of Christ and actually knowing Christ Jesus My Lord. It is this heart to heart knowing that moves us to live for Him and witness of Him where He wants us. Everything but Christ can be left behind in this present evil age as He brings us through victoriously and gloriously to Himself to share His glory and joy.

Gracious Father in heaven, who has so loved us and sent us your Son to save us from the world unto yourself, grant us your Holy Spirit to do the supernatural work in us to move us in the direction in which you lead; that we may be rejoicing in you and Christ Jesus our Lord ~ whom you have given to be My Lord.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Image: flicker.com

TRUE LIFE

True Life
Is not a matter of
Who or where I am;
What I am; or what I do;
What I think or what I say;
What I have or haven’t done;
What I should or shouldn’t do; or
What I plan to do.
 True Life
 Is a matter of
 Who God the Creator is;
 Where He is and What He does;
 What He thinks, and what He says;
 What He has and hasn't done;
 What He is doing; and
 What He plans to do.

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Locking our Wheels

The fear of falling is only second to the fear of death for the elderly. Many falls result in breaking bones that are weak from the “wasting away” of the body; and some falls end in death. Last night Jerry fell, the third time since his amputation eight years ago.

The first time was after his healing. Standing at the edge of the garage I watched as he confidently wheeled out to check the mail. He did well until he started up the slight incline on the street. He did not have the strength to make it in the turn toward the mailbox. The wheelchair slid backward dumping him. At first I wanted to laugh, but didn’t have time as I ran down the driveway to help. How to help ~ I did not know. With my holding the wheelchair behind he gradually was able to pull himself up backward. By God’s grace we did not require any other help that time. That was the last time he checked the mail in his wheelchair.

A second time he forgot to lock his wheels when he stood up. It took close to an hour for him to get close enough to a chair for me to help him pull up. During these times he has his own idea of how to remedy the situation. There is a trauma when a person falls that we cannot understand. Disoriented in thinking there is also a problem accepting and following instructions.

Last night He had simply reached down to pick up something off the floor. He forgot to lock his wheels and he hit the floor when the wheelchair slid from under him. He is not as strong as he was when he fell the first time; and so after thirty minutes of trying to help him I called our daughter. It doesn’t matter that she is a physical therapist; any two people strong enough could have lifted him back into the wheelchair. She came with our son-in-law and got him situated.

How to Keep From Falling
Wheels are wonderful to get us where we need to go. A wheelchair has four wheels, two large ones and two small, enabling you to go forward, backward, and around as you direct the two large wheels on the side. But, unless you stay in the chair and control the wheels the chair rolls wherever ~ it seems to have a mind of its own.

Upon leaving this contraption you must lock your wheels to help keep you from falling. In the same perspective we see the concept of falling from the security that is ours in Christ. Following are some of the ways to lock our spiritual wheels.

“Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:12

 “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”   Proverbs 11:14

“Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.” Proverbs 11:28

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” 2 Peter 1:10

 “Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.” Proverbs 28:14

“Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:30

“The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” Psalm 145:14

“For I will surely save you, and you shall not fall by the sword, but you shall have your life as a prize of war, because you have put your trust in me, declares the Lord.’” Jeremiah 39:18

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Romans 8:15

“Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.” Psalm 37:24

Jude 24-25
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M&Ms ~ The Delight of Souls

imagesM&Ms are a favorite candy for children, and adults who are still “children at heart.”  It doesn’t take much time to eat these; simply pop them in your mouth and enjoy. Depending on how long you want them to last you either chew and swallow; or if you want them to last longer you suck on them until you have removed the outer coating; then suck on the chocolate, or allow it to dissolve in your mouth.

As this has become a special year for meditation coupled with memorization the idea of M&Ms came to mind. There is a similarity between how one consumes physical food and how we process and digest God’s Word.

Some people do not eat M&Ms. They don’t buy them because they don’t eat chocolate or sugar; or they don’t like coatings. Similarly, there are people who don’t like God’s Word. They don’t buy it, for many different reasons.

There are those who quickly chew and swallow the candy without too much thought of what they are consuming, while they go about their business.   Similarly, there are those who read God’s Word, even daily, but chew only as long as it takes to get through the selected passage scheduled for the day.

Then there are some who take time to relish the moments, the taste and the joy of the sugar and chocolate.   imagesSimilarly, there are some who sit down with the intentions of getting the most and the longest lasting benefit from God’s Word.

At some point the sugar and the chocolate with the other ingredients from the M&Ms kick in and do their work, stimulating and giving energy. In the same way, memorization and meditation in God’s Word have their effect.

Memorization is the outer coating that capsules for our hearts and minds what we want to remember, enabling us to take it with us wherever we go; and making it last longer. Meditation is the process of discovering the inner delicacy; it is the means of experiencing more of the hidden truths of God’s Word, those that most affect the heart and life.

 Fruit of Our Thoughts
What, through the mind is hidden in our hearts, continues to affect our thinking; and eventually our actions. The truths of God, of Christ, and the power of His Holy Spirit are the sugar and chocolate that become a part of our spiritual system and activates God’s Word in our souls. But, better than candy, God’s word provides eternal nourishment. M&Ms are addictive; and so is meditation in God’s Word. Once you taste, and experience the delight and goodness, you cannot live without it.

Dear Father, in a fast food and instant gratification culture we need the quietness and stillness of your Spirit to lead us and keep us in your Word daily. Help us; we need you to do this work in us, so that we experience its effectiveness in our hearts and lives. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

(Excerpt from The Purpose and Delight of Bible Study)