The Beauty of Grace in the Eye of the Beholder

cross“And when we shall see him, there is no beauty
that we should desire him.
We hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Isaiah 53: 2-3

Who can SEE what is heavenly?  Who can experience the supernatural beauty of that which is above and beyond us?  Where do we find the beauty of life apart from ourselves? The human eye cannot SEE what God has prepared for His children except His Spirit REVEALS it to us. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

“But we all with open face, BEHOLDING as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

From the mouth of a layman Spurgeon heard and saw the beauty of Christ in Isaiah 45:22, “LOOK unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.”

Our heavenly Father SAW in His Son what He wants us to SEE.

“He shall SEE of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death.
He bare the sin of many,and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Isaiah 53:11-12

 “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.”  Psalm 50:2

“They shall LOOK on him whom they pierced.”  John 19:37

SEEING IS BELIEVING

Paul prayed for the early church in Ephesians 1:17-18:  “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom, and REVELATION in the knowledge of him: The EYES OF OUR UNDERSTANDING ENLIGHTENED; THAT YE MAY KNOW what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.”

“Wherefore SEEING we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 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…….LOOKING diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;” Hebrews 1-2, 15

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hst given me, be with me where I am;
that they may BEHOLD my glory, which thou hast given me,”
John 17:24

“Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key, that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready, my God, Thy will to see:
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!  ~ Clara H. Scott
Music:  Open My Eyes, That I May See

Father, draw us by your Spirit to your Word, the written and living Word of Christ, your Son, whom you have made to be our Lord, Master, and Life. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 3)

Meditation on the Father’s grace and glory did not come so easy this morning. It was not until after fellowship with Him, time in His Word, study, and meditation, that I was able to begin to think about this third part.  There is much more to this subject, and how Jesus, the Son, speaks of the Father, than I had known before.  The more desire to know, the more humbled He makes me, to realize that I know nothing as I ought to know; nor can I, in this life.

Jesus is recorded in the New Testament as referring to His Father at least 171 times, and reference made to God, 166 times. When God spoke through the prophets and writers of the Old Testament they did not normally refer to God as Father.  Jesus was “the first-born among many brethren.”  (Romans 8:29)  It was Jesus, the Son, who was sent to reveal God as Father to His children.  As we found so many references, we will, in this 3rd part, share the most important things that are recorded in the Synoptic gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  In the concluding Part 4, we will share John’s recollection of Jesus’ words.

First, how is the name God, and the name Father, distinguished? Strong’s Concordance gives us the Greek word for God, as theos—a diety; the supreme Divinity; fig. a magistrate.  The word for Father is pater—father; near or more remote.  These definitions give me a clearer understanding of both. God is our lawgiver. His kingdom rules over all  (Psalm 103:19). Some people believe in God, as creator, and judge, but only those who have been born of Him, of His Spirit, know Him as Father.

As God, He is described by some (such as the deists) as transcendent, far removed from His creation, not relative to anything on the earth. As Father, He is “near” in Spirit, to His children.  As Spirit He is omnipotent (all-powerful),  omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (present everywhere). Although “we move, and breathe, and have our being in Him”  (Acts 17:28), not all acknowledge His power and presence.  As children we desire the presence and power of  “our Father.”  There is no fear of His judgment, but He is loved and worshiped, as a child loves a father.

Jesus speaks first,and last, of the Father’s glory. (See God’s Glory  ~  First and Last.)  In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:16) Jesus reveals to His disciples that the Father is glorified through them. In Matthew 16:27 He reveals that He, Himself, will, in the end, come in the glory of his father, with his angels.

He reveals the Father’s omniscience in Matthew 6:4, the Father sees in secret and rewards openly; in Matthew 10:29, the falling of a sparrow, the number of the hairs of our head; and, in Matthew 6:8, knowing all our needs before we ask Him.

He tells us to pray to the Father, in Matthew 6:6; that He forgives, in Matthew 6:14; and that He feeds His creatures, in Matthew 6:26.

He reveals the importance of the Father’s will, in Matthew 7:21; only those who do the will of the Father shall enter the kingdom of heaven.

He teaches us that it is the Spirit of the Father that speaks through His servants, in Matthew 10:20.

All things that were delivered to Jesus is from His Father, hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed to babes. Matthew 11:25-27.

He reveals the omnipresence and protection of the Father for His children in Matthew 18:10, 14; that not one of His little ones should perish.

The Father is said to be merciful in Luke 6:36

Jesus said that He would send the promise of His Father upon his disciples in Luke 24:49

Jesus reveals the sovereignty and omnipotence of the Father, in Matthew 20-23; and Matthew 24:36.  The Father has prepared everything, according to His will; and He alone knows when all will be fulfilled.  Our prayer~(Parentheses, mine.)

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,

 may give unto you (us) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.”

Ephesians 1:17

The Father of Grace and Glory

In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ

according to the purpose of his own will,”  Ephesians 1:7

“In the beginning” God was a Father.  Before He said, “Let there be light,” He desired light.  No one can put out that light because it was born of the Father.  For the Father so loved what He was and had that He desired and planned for sons to share in the wealth of His glory. He “so loved the world”  that He created because it was meant to be the realm through which He would reveal Himself, His glory, and His promises.

He could have sired children to share His glory anyway that He desired, but He chose to do it through this realm that we know as “grace “. Now is the day and time of grace.  The glory of this physical world shines brightly for the majority of human creatures.  It draws us to seek our own glory by its sights and sounds, its promises of happiness and success.  God, our Father draws us to His Son, Jesus Christ, whose life is the “light of all men” to see beyond this world to the glory of the Father, and the promises that await His children in the eternal realm.

Just as God the Father is Spirit (we cannot see Him) so is this realm of grace.  It has been provided for us; we live in the middle of it.  We are surrounded by it.  We learn about it by reading God’s Word, which even by His grace He has provided for us.  But, we must read with a heart that accepts it as His Word to us individually.  As sons and daughters we desire to know Him, to love, Him, fear Him, obey Him, worship, serve, praise, pray to Him, proclaim the truth of His grace in Jesus Christ, and live for Him. All of this comes from His own Spirit of grace working in and through us.

Much of how we understand God is based on how we see the role of fathers.  The light of the Father’s grace is mostly hidden because not many earthy fathers know the Heavenly Father.  And the world does not want to recognize any creature having authority over another, but if we are to receive anything beyond what this world offers we must understand the role of the father.  We have a tendency to read the Bible with out own slant, instead of accepting it as a means of God’s grace to inform us of His intentions, His desires, His plans, and the fulfillment of those plans in the different roles that He has created.

Before there can be a son there must be a father.  Fathers are first in origin.  Our Heavenly Father was first and will always be first of all, in heaven and on earth.  He must be first because He started it all.  If we believe this, then we must look to Him, “seek His kingdom and His righteousness,” ask for His Spirit of grace to fill us and guide us, knock at the door of His heart continually, to know Him, and as His children, to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  This is the grace that prepares us to share His eternal glory and keep us rejoicing in Him as we wait.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us,

that we should be called children of God; and so we are.”

1 John 3:1

(Excerpt from Three Facets of God’s Glory That Every Christian Must See—in process.)

Allowances and Investments

Do you pay your children to work, or do you give them an allowance and teach them how to use what you give them?

After bringing up two children, caring for and helping train four granddaughters, I have become an advocate for the system of allowances. I base my convictions on what our heavenly Father teaches us as it pertains to the system of His grace.

As a Father He adopts us into His family.  We have nothing before then. We could not work for it, and were worth nothing to Him—we were not worth saving or adopting. The allowance of any amount of grace to us cannot be earned. He makes this investment in us, making us a part of His family.

A family that is united in Christ through the head of the family is brought up with the understanding of “grace.”  The father shares with each member of the family what he has worked for, and teaches the child how to spend or invest what is given.  This applies in the area of money, and other resources that are needed for this physical life.

TRUTH                                 TRUST

But more than these is the allowance of eternal things that are given.  Our heavenly Father gives each of His sons “truth.”  He entrusts them with this heavenly commodity, and expects a return on that investment.  By His grace, in love, we put our “trust” in our heavenly Father, who has given us this truth. As part of His family each one is part of a unit of return that strengthens and grows His whole family.  This investment brings dividends for generations to come.

As His sons share His truth with their families this investment continues to grow, as part of God’s plan of redemption.  Generation after generation of those, for whom He gave His Son, live in love and devotion to Him. Wives and children do not break away from the family to go their own way when each one understands the truth of the Father’s grace.

In His truth, living and walking by the Spirit of His grace, we learn how to spend and invest our lives, so that all we do is a return for His glory, and our joy.

In him you also, when you heard the word of truth,

the gospel of your salvation, and believed n him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,

who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,

to the praise of his glory.”

 Ephesians 1:13-14

The Spirit of Grace ~ Heaven Sent and Heaven Bent

“According to the riches of his grace; wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

according to the good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.

Ephesians 1:7-9

This morning, before I could think “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,” the Father was pouring out His grace.  Before I could say,  “Abba, Father,”  He was filling my mind with His grace, and by His Spirit, filtering it to my heart.  There is never a day that His Spirit of grace is not working to obtain His end.  Before I am even aware of my wakefulness He has already begun His day of faithfulness—to the last that it lead to His glory.  I forget sometimes that He never sleeps.  His kingdom is on-going in heaven and on earth.

I was reminded that on this date, September 7, 2007, He began pouring out a “river” that carried me away. For 50 days I wrote, in prayer and praise of His grace and glory.*  (The season was almost a year after much adversity.  In August, 2006, my mother died, having lived and shared with Jerry and me her battle with Alzheimer’s disease for 4 1/2 years. Barely had we settled her estate, when in September, Jerry had emergency by-pass surgery on his left leg, due to what the surgeon thought was an aneurysm.  This was not so simple a case.  We waited until October to verify the need for amputation.  We were encouraged before this surgery that he would afterward be able to resume some activity with a prosthesis.)  Those 50 days were in the middle of a four-year period of continual dressing of the wound left from the amputation.  The Lord was working in my writing to verify His working of grace in the past and for the future. (Not to leave you hanging–it was discovered that Jerry’s body was rejecting a graft implanted when he had the by-pass surgery. After a four-hour surgery for its removal, and five months with a wound-care specialist, both wounds were healed.  While he still has limited use of a prosthesis, he can do more for himself, and my time of daily dressing wounds was relieved. The Lord is good, and His mercies are new every morning.

His Word, His Grace, His Spirit, does not dissipate here on earth, and does not return to Him void.  He draws us to His Son, binding and bending our hearts and minds to Himself. We cannot resist His Spirit of grace, in what the Father has decreed.  His kingdom is coming, and His will is being done.

For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

2 Corinthians 4:15

* “50 Days of Prayer and Praise ~ Articles and Stories of Faith