The Day of All Days

All things in heaven and earth‘That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven
and which are on earth, even in him.”
Ephesians 1:10

Here, in a few words, is the “mystery of  God’s will” revealed. This supernatural event will surpass all others. Creation, the incarnation, and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ will all pale in comparison to this day that He has prepared for His people and His eternal kingdom.  That will be GLORY for you and for me.

As I look forward to this event, as I live in light of this promise and this vision, LIFE here has a profound meaning. Each day in prayer and Bible study, meditation, and intercession, fellowship, growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and proclamation of the gospel, is in anticipation of that day.

Every day is a day of preparation, especially today—THE LORD’S DAY.  Our heavenly Father prepared this day from the time of creation for that final Sabbath with Him. When Christ was raised from the dead the Christian Sabbath was established, not only for celebrating His resurrection and our new life in Him, but for each Lord’s Day to be a rehearsal for that grand and glorious day when He, the Lord, Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God…AND SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

“This is the day which the Lord has made;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24

Dear Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, make us to know the glory of your presence today, as we seek to worship you in Spirit and in truth with all your saints, here on earth and in heaven—for your glory and our joy. In Jesus name, we pray.  Amen.
Fran
(Original post ~ 2011)
Image: Google

Things the World Does Not Need to Know

The airwaves are contaminated with information that is clouding the heavens and the earth, shutting out the goodness and glory of the Lord our God. The world is polluted with a poison that spews from the heart, lips, and fingers. Instead of using social media as a place for our secrets, our complaints or our achievements, let us be spreading the Good News of Life in the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Should there be a difference in what we as Christians make public?
How do we determine what we share through social media?

These questions led me to search God’s Word for what He wants us to publicize. We will look at four areas: Our deepest secrets and sins; oudisappointments; our fears and anger; our achievements.
As we scan the following references, let us stop and meditate on those we should heed.

Our Deepest Secrets and Sins
Many consider that sharing our sins before the world can make others feel better about themselves. Let us read what our Lord has to say about our sins.

 I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
Isaiah 43:25

He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:19

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: Galatians 1:4

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Ephesians 1:7

What We Should Remember and Share with Others
We learn from the following references that we are to confess our sins to the Lord.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 1 John 2:1

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. Acts 3:19

We have been quickened (brought to new life) who were dead in trespasses and sinsEphesians 2:1

When James 5:16 speaks of confessing our faults one to another, this does not mean the sins of which we have been forgiven. He is speaking of needs in present circumstances when in times of prayer for one another. This might also relate to the confession of faults against one another.

Disappointments and Sorrows
If we continue to talk about our disappointments – either from childhood or as adults – about our griefs, and sorrows – our minds and hearts will not heal.
What does the Bible teach us about these things?

Our comfort is given by the Lord through His Word and His Spirit.

 This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. Psalm 119:50

Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. Psalm 119:76

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

One of the most remembered references is Psalm 23:4

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94:19

Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit as the Comforter in His place

 

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

We see in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 the means of comfort in the body of Christ among believers.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

Our Fears and Anxiety
Fear turns into anger toward those we think are responsible for the ills and chaos of the world. Social media is the means for many to strike out — to make their anger known. This does not alleviate the problems that cause our distress. It simply causes more upheaval.
What should we do as believers, followers of Christ our Lord?

Paul wrote the following to the Philippian believers.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:4-9

I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:12-13

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

Our Achievements
As children of our heavenly Father, we need not boast of our accomplishments. All that we have is of His mercy and grace and for His glory.

For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:43

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boastersproud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 2 Timothy 3:2

Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him. Psalm 49:12

 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Daniel 4:37

The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: Psalm 12:3

Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. Proverbs 27:2

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

 

Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power,
and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty:
for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine;
thine is the kingdom, O Lord,
and thou art exalted as head above all.
1 Chronicles 29:11

Dear Father in heaven, search us and know our hearts, try us and know our thoughts and see what is in us that needs to be displaced with your thoughts and words. Forgive us for wasting your time and the talents you have given us; enable us to use the means of communication in this world to proclaim your love, truth, grace, righteousness, and glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Images: Google

A Panoramic View

How blessed we would be if we could see in God’s Word a panoramic view of Him working from beginning to end —the Alpha and Omega— through it all to bring the first and the last scene together.

How blessed we are to be in the middle as God’s people—the body of Christ—to take it all in; turning from page to page to behold His glory, His kingdom, at work in His people; His strong arm upholding His sovereign will and authority over life and death, His hand holding and molding each heart and life taken out of the degradation of sin.

How blessed we are to be turned by the power of His own Holy Spirit to see Him greater than all the circumstances of the human will and the power of the enemy combined; triumph shared with His people for eternity.

This is a view that comes through a lifetime here on this earth. The view is so breathtaking that we cannot bear it except slowly and as God, the Father, in the wisdom He gives through the righteousness and atoning work of Jesus, His Son, prepares our hearts by His Holy Spirit to conceive of Divine reality—“enlightening our eyes” to see what He allows our ears to hear.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

The tour through His Word is conducted one-on-one so that we do not miss anything that He has for each of us. It is the preparation for that which will come in eternity ~ from glory to glory ~ so that we will share in His glory forever.

The glory of God is hidden in Christ and it will take an eternity for us to behold.

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 3:19

Dear Father in heaven, we praise you for all that you have prepared for us, what our physical eyes cannot now see; what our ears cannot yet hear; the glorious life for which we are being prepared. Continue to work by your Holy Spirit, in light of the truth of your Word, in our minds and hearts to look beyond this present world to the glory that awaits us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Image:Pixabay

 

Treasure Boxes

Years ago, I gave each of our grandchildren treasure boxes. The first one was given to our oldest grandchild, Ansley, to keep letters I had written to her. The first letter was written soon after she was born, recording the anticipation of her birth, family, and friends who were present when she was born and other details. In addition, I wrote things that the Lord put in my heart for her to read later. Letters were written for each birthday for several years until three sisters were born. I kept each one from the time they were three months old until they began kindergarten and during the summer months two days a week while Lee worked as a physical therapist. I did not have time afterward to write letters to the other grandchildren, but they all have the treasure boxes for storing things we studied together.

In them are workbooks that we used for our Summer of Psalms used for studying God’s Word over a fourteen-year period, plus awards they received for memory work, a CD of the music we sang, and crafts we used for activities. (To our one grandson we gave a solid red box.) In the last two years, we have given them copies of some of our published books. We no longer study together, but they have these treasures to review and remember what they learned when they were younger; hopefully to share with their own children and grandchildren. Our books may be of more interest to them when they are older. Our youngest, Emma, will be sixteen in March.These boxes serve as a place for them to keep the sources from which they have learned of God and of heaven ~ those eternal things that never fade or pass away. And should they forget and wander from the paths of their childhood, they can return and rediscover the truths of life that point them in the right way, along with the study Bibles we gave them.

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

I believe the idea for the boxes was a gift from God our heavenly Father and a replica of the new heart He gives us as His children. He has designed them as a place for His love, joy, and peace, His truth, wisdom, knowledge, and grace; for His songs and memories of growing up in Christ. Since the new heart belongs wholly to Him, He has the freedom to add whatever and whenever He wants. Unlike the earthly boxes I gave my grandchildren, He has the key to each of His. He opens and closes, reveals and adds His own heavenly treasures according to His heart and will.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7 

There have been times I wished I had had these treasures for my children, but I did not have the new heart to receive these blessings when they were young. Our heavenly Father has no grandchildren but gives His treasures to those He desired and sired for His own.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 1:2

Gracious Father, how blessed we are that you call us your own; that we belong to you both by Creation and Redemption. Continue to reveal your grace and glory, fill us continually with your Holy Spirit of truth, wisdom, and knowledge, as you are preparing us to live with you forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Poem: God’s Beloved Son
image:Google

Words of Life ~ AMAZED

References to the word amazed in the Old Testament (H926) relate to trouble and fear, specifically to the wrath of God.

We especially want to look at how this word was used in the New Testament, and consider this as one of the Words of Life as we use it in reference to Christ and the gospel.

New Testament G1839
Strong’s defines amazed existēmi eks-ē’-stā-mēto amaze, to astonish, throw into wonderment; to be beside oneself; the same word used for astonished.

Joseph and Mary were amazed when they found Jesus at the age of twelve “in the temple in the midst of the doctors, hearing them and asking questions.”

“And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.” Luke 2:48

We fast-forward to Jesus’ ministry.

“Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?” Matthew 12:22-23

The people were amazed, but the Pharisees said Jesus had cast him out by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. (vs. 24)

After the encounter with the rich young man, Jesus said to his disciples, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

“When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?” Matthew 19:24-25

We rejoice that Jesus’ response is a hope and an amazement for any of us who are saved by His grace ~ a work possible only by Him and not us.

When Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take up thy bed”

“Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.” Mark 2:12

After Jesus spoke to the wind and the waves “He went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.” Mark 6:51

When He came down from the mount of transfiguration, “Straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.” Mark 9:15

After the healing of the young boy, “they were all amazed at the mighty power of God” (Luke 9:43).

On the day of Pentecost, everyone heard the gospel in their native tongue.

“And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? Acts 2:7 and Acts 2:12

When the people saw the man healed at the gate of the temple, “they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him” (Acts 3:10).

The Amazing Conversion of Paul
How amazing is it to see those who have persecuted God’s people become one of them. We find the reaction of the people to Paul’s conversion in the book of Acts. Once a destroyer of the followers of Christ, he became Jesus’ strongest disciple and apostle to the Gentiles.

“But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?” Acts 9:21

We, who are disciples of Christ, know and live in amazement of all that Christ has done for us, in us, and through us, as He continues to sanctify and prepare us to share His glory.

Dear heavenly Father, we stand amazed in the presence of Jesus, who loved us and gave Himself for us. Continue to draw us to Him by your amazing grace. Cause us to stand in awe of Him, through your Word, by your Holy Spirit within us; that we may worship and obey you. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Necessary Interests

But seek ye first the kingdom of God
and his righteousness.
.
.”
Matthew 6:33

The first thought for this post was the title, Unnecessary Interests, as the Lord has been revealing interests that are not for my growth or are a waste of time. There are some that I need to let go, but as He has been leading me to stop looking at the underside of this world and its interests, and to focus on the upper side and the interests of His kingdom, my thoughts turned to where my interests should be.

From our thoughts to our words and actions, we have much to desire beyond normal and common interests. We can compare what is holy to what is unholy; what is common to what is uncommon; what is clean to what is unclean. Our interest in the news of the world keeps us from the interests of His Kingdom. The interests of the world ~ its entertainments and influences ~ impede our journey with Him.

For the child of God, known as a Christian, our life here has a definite purpose. The purpose of this physical life is to prepare us for eternal life with Him in His glory. We now live and serve Him in what is known as the Kingdom of Grace; His keeping us, sanctifying us, purifying us; making us compatible for Himself.

 If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 

Colossians 3:1

Necessary Interests for a Child of God
So, what are the necessary interests for a child of God? What raises us above the world’s standards; even Beyond a Mere Christianity?

We must start with an in-depth interest in His Word, where we learn to love what He loves. Here we find the truths of God and the filling and leading of His Holy Spirit to the necessary interests that He wants for us. He teaches us how He conforms us to the image of His own Son

Through His Word, He teaches us how to communicate with Him; to pray for the things He has prepared to give (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).

He leads us in the interests of His other children, of like-mind and heart; to participate in worship and the Word preached within His church.

He brings us to others with an interest in their souls, to witness of Christ to them.

There is much that we could cover here, but we don’t have the time or space. If you are reading with an interest in what is necessary for growth as a child of God, I implore you to take your Bible, shut out any other interests, ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit as you read His Word; to speak to you through His Word; to show you His will.

As He has been speaking to my heart, He has pointed out certain interests that I need to forsake and leading me to more of the interests He has for me. One thing for sure is the desire for me to draw closer to Him.

“Set your affections on things above,
not on things on the earth.”
Colossians 3:2

Gracious Father in heaven, whose name I want to hallow, draw me closer to you, to love you more; to seek a deeper understanding of what it means to be your child and a disciple of Christ. Open my mind and heart to those things of your kingdom and displace anything of this world that would hinder your image and your work in me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Show Me Thy Ways, O LORD Psalm 25:4-5

Related Post: Letting Go
(Suggested Reading: The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE Study)

Words of Life ~ AM

I thank the Lord that He is still teaching me. This week it would have been easier just to share  what He is doing in my life. My experiences in His grace and care are more than books can hold and the words seem to flow.

But, this newly published project Words of Life ~ A to Z ~ the Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian is not as easy as I thought it would be. It is taking more study and time than I had anticipated. Yet, it is doing its work in me. The language of a Christian is becoming more and more of a challenge and beginning to replace some of the common vocabulary I formerly used. The study of this word AM has drawn me to learn more of what I am to be in Christ, the Great I AM.

How difficult would you expect the research to be for the word AM?  I have gleaned and present the two most important uses. I readily admit that I cannot do justice to this word. If you have more to add, please comment.

The first and most important is the word used in quoting God’s own words about Himself ~ “I AM.”

The second is the quote of the people of God when they say “I am.”

The Old Testament
The expression “I AM the LORD” is quoted 161 times in the Old Testament, sometimes with the addition of “your God.” Other times He describes His role.

“And he said unto him, I AM the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.” Genesis 15:7

In Exodus 15:6 He describes Himself, “I AM the LORD that healeth thee.”

In Exodus 31:13 “I AM the LORD that doth sanctify thee.”

“I AM the LORD that maketh all things” (Isaiah 44:24);

“I AM the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:24).

The following quote from Isaiah 44:2-8 includes “I AM the first and I AM the last” from the LORD and from His witnesses “I am the Lord’s.” Take these words to heart as you read this passage of God’s Word and rejoice that you can say, “I am the Lord’s.”

“Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.
One shall say, I am the Lord‘s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel.
Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them.
Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

Ezekiel 39:7 is only one of many quotes from the prophet using the terms they shall know that  “I am the LORD.”  This quote identifies Him as the Holy One in Israel.

“So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.”

New Testament
The term “I AM” is quoted 200 times in the New Testament.

The first is in the negative “I am not worthy” from John the Baptist in Matthew 3:11, but here he attributes the baptism of the Holy Spirit and fire to one who is coming, “mightier than I.”

How appropriate is the first positive “I AM” when at Jesus’ baptism, came “a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17

The same expression is recorded in Matthew 17:5 at the Transfiguration.

And second is the first “I AM” expressed by Jesus in Matthew 5:17, in which he states His purpose for being there.

So as not to make this entry any longer, I ask that you use the link to discover all the uses of Jesus’ expression. You will also find Paul’s uses of the term that would be good for us to study and claim as our own.

1 Corinthians 15:10 is Paul’s well-known use of these words.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Revelation 1:18 is the last use of the words “I Am”. How blessed are we to know the one who spoke these words to John for our knowledge and faith.

 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

Our gracious heavenly Father, who spoke creation into existence, who is the God of the living and gave us your Son who has given us eternal life, we praise you. By your Spirit, enable us to hallow your name and to say with all confidence, “I am the Lord’s.” In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Photo:Pixabay
Image:Google