Beyond a mere Christianity (The Book)

After many obstacles, much time and patience to see this project finished, Beyond a mere Christianity is now available in paperback and eBook on Amazon.com.

Thank you ~ to all who have been reading this series since last year.

Introduction
When I began this series on my WordPress blog in June 2018, I did not know if it would be a book. Like Abram, not foreseeing what the end would be, I started with faith that the Lord was leading and blessing the process for me to seek His will, His instructions, and His provisions.

He continues to reveal amazing things of His kingdom. Even as I write this introduction, it is with knowledge I did not have a year ago. This treatise is meant to challenge us to take what we have received from all sources He has given over the years, to seek, and grow stronger in our faith.

Most of the valuable works for the kingdom are by men who are no longer living but the Lord still lives to lead us beyond what we have already—so as to be hungry for more than men can give us.

I want to continue on this course with joy and excitement to publish as many books as He wills for me. I had hoped to publish this one by my eightieth birthday on August 1 but decided to settle down and enjoy how the Lord would bring this to pass in His own timing.

Every day in obedience, there is communion and fellowship with Him as He continues to show me His ways, teach me His paths, and lead me in His truth—for He is the God of my salvation, and I wait on Him all day (Psalm 25:5).       

Why the title Beyond a mere Christianity? C. S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity was the first of the two other books and a sermon that came to mind when I posted the list of chapters for this series. I use each of these regarding the Christian faith of men who have died but whose works are still speaking to people today.

After reading and studying these books by C. S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, Oswald Chambers, and Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, I retained the main things they taught. The Lord used each one to bring me to a greater knowledge of Him.

Though I have lived longer than these men, I can never know all they knew. But the Lord has challenged me during every decade to seek more and more of His kingdom through a committed and vibrant relationship with Him—to look further than what I learn from men.

He sits as our great High Priest, with the promise and power of the Holy Spirit, to teach us from His Holy Word. The more time we spend with Him personally in prayer and the study of His Word, the more powerful our Christian faith becomes. From generation to generation, we can all learn and share with others.

Meaning of the Word Mere 
One definition of mere is pure, simple, being nothing more than specified. Another definition for mere is a small pond of standing water. Vocabulary.com

This latter meaning has become intriguing in the use of the word as a noun; mere—a lake; a shallow body of water. This definition lends itself to the meaning of this book. Christianity is thought by some to be shallow—as a small pond of standing water. Such thoughts negate the moving of the Holy Spirit and the depth of His working in the hearts and lives of God’s people.

In a synonym study, Dictionary.com compares the words mere and bare, which implies a scant sufficiency. They are often interchangeable, but mere frequently means no more than (enough). Thus, a mere livelihood means enough to live on but no more; a bare livelihood means scarcely enough to live on.

So, when I hear the title Mere Christianity, it seems from my former understanding to mean that Christianity is nothing more than any other religion. When we try to make Christianity a common faith, we are in danger of dumbing down the power that Christ died to give us.

We lose the essence of the faith that is by grace alone, the working of the Holy Spirit for the revelation of the truths of God’s Word.

Many, by reading Lewis’ book, are encouraged to embrace Christianity even as he did. I believe God has used His work to bring many to a knowledge they never had and who have become followers of Christ. My purpose in writing is to look beyond what he believed, spoke, and wrote, to discover a greater depth, beyond a mere Christianity.

mere Christianity will not suffice for Christ’s followers to proclaim and to live the legacy God has bestowed on His children. We will see this in the testimony of Bill and Terri in chapters 36 and 37.

How Lewis Used the Word Mere   
Lewis may have used the word mere to express the Christian faith as pure and simple. It is pure. It is simple and needs nothing added for those who embrace Christ and who live by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But to those who do not know Him, Christianity is a complex, misunderstood faith. It is much, much more to those who are growing in the doctrines of the faith. It is a living faith—a powerful faith beyond any others. It is a way of life to those who are being transformed by the power of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Word of God—The Holy Bible.

When the gospel is watered down so as to satisfy everybody, we withhold the wealth that comes only by a personal relationship with the Father and Jesus, His Son. Christianity comes at a high price, the blood of Jesus Christ.

To receive the inheritance that is ours in Christ is a supernatural act of the Holy Spirit working through new hearts, drawn to and committed to Him. His grace does not relieve us of duty, but binds us to it and fulfills the requirement, whereby we experience this new life, a heavenly life above and beyond what most people know.

Others have written from Lewis’ theme but with a different perspective. In the following chapters, we will incorporate many facets of the kingdom that our heavenly Father reveals to us, through His Word and His Holy Spirit, in and through the life of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Through these, we pray He will make clear His role as a loving heavenly Father, Creator, Redeemer, and our Life; His presence and power, His name, His kingdom, and His will.

These are His truths, promises, and blessings for a people who know Him, fear Him, love Him, obey, worship, serve, praise, pray, proclaim, and live in the power of the good news of Christ.

They are for those who are being transformed as living sacrifices and conformed to His image, bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility and compassion.

This is to live the “abundant life” (John 10:10) in the “fulness of God” Ephesians 3:19), “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27) here in this life, as He continues to prepare us for eternity with Him. True Christianity is separate from any other religion—and the reality of a holy life in union with our heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit. (This needs repeating.)

To us and in us, He reveals Himself as Jehovah, the Lord our God. He sires children of His own as His image-bearers. Though not perfect, we are His offspring through His Son, as He continues to lead us through an imperfect world, shining through us His holiness and humility.

He calls us to discover the deep things of God. He leads us to more than floating or possibly a casual swim in a shallow pond. He brings us to the ocean’s edge and directs us to “Launch out into the deep.”

Gracious and glorious Father, continue to lead us in the paths of righteousness, leaving our shallow thoughts of you to plunge the depths of your grace, your love, your presence and power—to live the abundant life to which you call us in Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.  Fran 9/2019.

Urgently Knocking

A most unusual discovery in our study of the words “Ask, Seek, and Knock” is that Jesus expresses only one thing for each of these.

In Luke 11:13, He says to “ASK for the Holy Spirit.”
In Matthew 6:33 He commands us to “SEEK the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
In Luke 13:25 He mentions those who wait too late to “KNOCK at the door.”

We must be born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8) in order to see, to seek His Kingdom, to knock and to enter His kingdom.

We find in the following verses the diligent seeking and the urgent knocking.

In Luke 11:6-10 is the widow’s persistent asking, seeking, and knocking until the master of the house opens the door to her request.

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:” Luke 13:25-26

The strait gate leads to the master’s house. But when He has shut the door, man’s knocking and crying, Lord, Lord, will be to no avail.

We who are born of His Spirit will continue to ask Him to lead us. We walk and live by His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25and continue to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Unless we knock at the door of His heart in His timing, He will not know us, and the doors of heaven will be shut.

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came;
and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage:
and the door was shut.”
Matthew 25:10

When Jesus Knocks

The Book of Revelation records Jesus’ words in the letter to the church at Laodicea.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Knocking indicates a separation (a door that must be opened from the other side) between the person knocking and the person  on the other side. There is a need and the only fulfillment of that need rests in the promise of someone who can provide that need.

Does the door swing both ways? Had Jesus knocked at the door of the heart of those who were left out?

 “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Hebrews 3:7-12

By His Holy Spirit and His Word, Jesus knocks at the door of our sin and unbelief. He calls us to put away our sin ~ to repent and believe ~ to allow Him to lead us out of the bondage of self and sin.

We cannot seek or knock of our own volition. It must be the work of His Spirit within us drawing us to Christ even as He draws near to us. John 6:44; John 6:63-65

 The Doors of Wisdom

“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Proverbs 8:34

The Doors of Heaven

They are “the doors of heavenPsalm 78:23,

 In Revelation 4:1, “a door was opened in heaven to John where he saw and recorded what would come to pass.

 Jesus is the Door to the Kingdom of Heaven

“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
I am the door of the sheep.”  
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
John 10:7,9

 A Door of Hope

“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:15

The Door of Faith

 “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27

In this brief study of Jesus’ words, we learn that asking, seeking, and knocking are descriptive of the work of prayer by His people, for His kingdom. His Holy Spirit brings us to repentance and faith in Him so that as we continue to ask for His Spirit, we are led to seek His kingdom and His righteousness and to knock at the door of His heart for all He has promised.

We understand that this practice is not just for us individually, for our own needs, but in unity with His people ~ the body of Christ ~ for the needs of others. Intercession involves a greater degree of fervency, diligence, and urgency as we pray continually at His throne of grace.

The prayer life of a Christian is a daily dwelling in His presence. He dines and sups with us continually as He opens His Word and His promises to us and proves His presence and His power in our lives.

In Christ, we dwell in the throne room, in unity with His Spirit ~ knowing His power to accomplish all He desires for our good and His glory.

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

Ephesians 2:6

We ask what we will because we ask in faith according to His will, seeking His glory in all things, continually knocking at the door of His heart as He intercedes and presents our petitions to our Father.

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

We are continually filled with his grace, nestled in His goodness, and wrapped in His glory. In Christ and Christ in us, we are kept by His power now and forever.

Dear Father, we cannot thank you enough for all you have prepared for us and given by your grace. We are unworthy stewards of your blessings but you have entrusted us with the knowledge of your Word and your will so that we know what to ask, what to seek and where to knock. Continue to draw us to Christ by the power of your Spirit, to dwell in Him and receive your heavenly blessings as well as all our earthly needs. We praise and bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Fran

Suggested Reading: GOD is Our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan for His People
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Blessings in Intercession

A short note today in relation to last Saturday’s post Advocates for Bill and Terri:

I had thought to reference this during the week but did not have time.
Much of the week has been spent in intercession for Bill and Terri.
Too, I have spent a considerable amount of time reading Terri’s blog ~ having only known her a few months, I have kept up with Bill’s blog for years.

One thing I want to mention here is in reference to those who have been interceding. Have you been blessed by your intercession for them? I certainly have, and in the process been brought closer to the throne of grace.

As our great High Priest, he Lord waits for our petitions.

Do You Sense Your Prayers are Being Heard?
Does it ever seem that your prayers are not getting through? I was reminded of this possibility this week. When there is something between us and the Lord that has not been settled, our petitions are not heard.

Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

When there is hidden sin in our lives, the way is closed to His presence.
Confession of our sins, repentance, and faith open the door to His heart.

Intercession is not just for others but it is a means of grace to strengthen our relationship with the Lord. He willingly accepts our requests and grants them when our hearts are clean before Him.

Be Blessed by Reading Their Blogs
Another thing I suggest, if you are not acquainted with Bill and Terri, is to peruse their blog sites. Their posts will be a blessing and minister to you. Whatever your state in this world, their witness of God’s grace will change your perspective of your own life. They testify of the fulfillment of God’s promises to us as His children.

Bill’s blog: Unshakable Hope

Terri’s blog: Diary of a Quadraplegic

Please continue to intercede for them and for all God’s people. Continue to pray to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life and the lives of others.

Gracious Father, thank you for a Spirit-filled week and for the preparation for our worship tomorrow. Fill us with your Spirit and teach us how to pray continuously and fervently. Search our hearts, try our thoughts and see if there be anything in us that is keeping us from you. Forgive, and lead us onward and upward in pursuit of your blessings for us and others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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A New Level

A few days ago, a friend made reference to her daughter’s piano teacher who is taking her daughter “to a new level.” Music students rate themselves as beginner, intermediate, or advanced. Not many go from beginner to advanced, but from one level to another, as they are trained and practiced in what they are being taught.

This can be applied to our lives as disciples of Christ. Does not our Lord Jesus Christ challenge us to a new level of wisdom and understanding of His grace? If so, we will find ourselves more humble than we can imagine. We will be filled and enabled to thrive on the abounding grace and the abundant life that He promised.

As we continue to see our need for humility; to desire this abounding grace; to pray and believe as we wait on Him, He will not fail to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us.

Growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now live, should be an ongoing process as we pray, read, study, meditate, and wait.

We should be advancing in our faith to higher levels of knowledge and holiness. This is a process working in us that will not exalt us, nor of which we can boast, but rather one that will humble us more and more.

It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love ~ in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit ~ who cannot be anything but humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self.
Humility Chap. 8 Humility and Sin

Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride, whether of evil spirits or my own corrupt nature and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit. Humility: the Beauty of Holiness

Dear Father, you, the God of all grace, have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ.  You do not leave us to grow by ourselves.  You know what we need ~ grace and more grace.  Work in us according to your own good pleasure that we may be a witness of the abundant life in Christ that humbles us and glorifies you. In Jesus’ name, I pray and praise you.   Amen 
(Excerpt from A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility
Send a message on our contact page for a free PDF.
Fran

Divine Power to Know, Be, and Do

“Ignorance is bliss” — perhaps this is true for children of the world, but not for the children of God. Our Heavenly Father desires children, and sires us into His kingdom by the divine power of His Spirit. By the same power, He continues to show us, teach us, and lead us in the truth of His Word and will, as He is preparing us for eternity with Him ~ by His grace, for His glory and our joy.

 According as his divine power hath given unto us
all things that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him
that hath called us to glory and virtue:
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:
that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2 Peter 1:3-4

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,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Ephesians 3:20

Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.
Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: 
for thou art the God of my salvation; 
on thee do I wait all the day.
Psalm 25:4-5

 

A Sinner’s Prayer

In 2014, at the age of 75, I wrote this hymn as a witness of how, over many years, the Lord brought me to Himself. I set it to a tune to be sung as a solo but I plan to use a  familiar tune, instead, so that it can be sung in corporate worship. It is a hymn all true Christians should be able to sing.

I share only the text in this post. I will share the musical version when it is available.

A SINNER’S PRAYER

He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. Psalm 145:19

1. LORD, be merciful to me, a sinner.
What have I to bring to you?
I am poor, and lost, and helpless;
Show and teach me what is true.

Hear me calling, gracious Father,
I am deaf and cannot see.
I am hopeless; I am dying.
No one here can answer me.

2.  Lord, you said that you would save me 
If I trust in you alone.
What is faith; what is believing?
It is your work, not my own.

Hear me crying, dear Lord Jesus;
Hear my pleading; see my tears.
In my sin and in my anguish,
I have struggled through the years.

3. All my trying, all my labor
Are but vanity to you.
I am dust in need of Spirit.
Breathe in me your life anew.

I confess Lord, that I need you.
I repent of all my sin.
By your Spirit, live within me.
Be my strength and be my Friend.

4. Lord, you promised life abundant
When you came and bled and died.
Let me see and hear you clearly —
Jesus Christ, the crucified.

O, I can see you, I can hear you.
You have opened eyes and ears.
You have covered sin and sorrow;
You have banished all my fears.

5. Lord, let this poor, ransomed sinner
Know you, love you, and obey;
With your guidance, daily leading,
Showing me your will and way.

Hear me calling, blessed Redeemer,
In my nights and in my days.
I am helpless, but your grace, Lord,
Will lift these weak lips to praise.

© Fran Rogers 2014

Words of Life ~ BEGOTTEN

 BEGOTTEN is not a word used every day but one that all Christians should know as it speaks of our birth into the kingdom of God.

The Old Testament has only a few references to this word concerning men who have begotten children. One reference in Psalm 2:7 and repeated in Hebrews 1 relates to God and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Old Testament H3205
Strong’s Concordance defines begotten yâlad, yaw-lad’ to bear, bring forth, beget, gender, travail

 “I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me,
Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”
Psalm 2:7

New Testament G3439
monogenḗs,
 mon-og-en-ace’; from G3441 and G1096; single of its kind, only used of only sons or daughters (viewed in relation to their parents; used of Christ, denotes the only begotten son of God

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” John 1:18

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18

The following references are used by Paul, Peter, and John pertaining to the new birth of all God’s children.

G1080  gennáō, ghen-nah’-o; from a variation of G1085; to procreate (properly, of the father, but by extension of the mother); figuratively, to regenerate:

“For though ye have ten thousand instructers in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.” 1 Corinthians 4:15

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again
unto a lively hope by the resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead,”

1 Peter 1:3

“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” 1 John 5:1

“We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” 1 John 5:18

John speaks of Jesus being the first begotten of the dead—the first to be raised from the dead; the promise and the means of our salvation (see 1 Peter 1:3 above).

“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness,
and the first begotten of the dead,
and the prince of the kings of the earth.
Unto him that loved us,
and washed us from our sins in his own blood,”
Revelation 1:5

“In this was manifested the love of God toward us,
because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world,
that we might live through him.”
1 John 4:9

Except Jesus died and was raised from the dead, we would not have become children of God but now have hope of eternal life. Because the Father loved us, He desired us and sired us to be His own. He gave His one child ~ one of a kind ~ to birth many children into His family.

Gracious Father, how blessed we are to call you Father and Jesus our Lord and brother. Because, you draw us to Him and birth us by the power of your Holy Spirit, we desire your continual presence and power to conform us to His image. By the same Word and living hope, keep us close and growing in Christ. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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