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)

The Stress-Taker (Part 2)

(The following was somehow deleted from my last post.  So, I add it here as a second part.)

I have been asked during these last traumatic years how I handle the stress. Unless there is time for a broad explanation, I simply say what I continue to say every day ~ “The Lord is good.” But that is an overall statement that only reveals the surface of who He is and does in His goodness. The root of His goodness is hidden in His Word, and through its fruit and seed, planted in the mind and heart of His children.

As a child, Sunday School was not a regular attendance for our family, but Vacation Bible School was a big deal for me. I loved memorization; I still do, along with meditation and prayer. I don’t remember any of the fun we may have had with activities, cookies and Kool-Aid, but I remember the memory cards that were treasures to me. While I can’t recall all the verses I learned, one has stayed in my thoughts, rooted in my heart and borne fruit over the years. I do not remember the lessons connected to the Scriptures, but God’s Word proves true by itself. It is alive and powerful and produces His life in those to whom He gives it. If I had no other of the seed of His Word, it would have been enough. He has planted much more, but this one has borne its fruit many times over.

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

I did not understand these words as a child. If I had, life would have been much easier; I would have made different choices and I may not have suffered all the stress and caused the stress that I did. Believing that our heavenly Father is a sovereign God who planned all things for us and brings us by His own power to do His will, I live today as witness of His grace and goodness; His producing the fruit of His own Word from the seed He plants.

As a child, I was open to His Word, desiring to please Him, but the stress-makers of this world had their part in shaping my life to sin and rebellion against Him. Nevertheless, in His sovereignty and providence He has proven the power of His Word over my nature of sin. He has brought me through many trials and temptations, failures and mistakes, losses and traumas by His victorious truths and promises. When I stumble still, He is always there to raise me up and keep me, reminding me of His grace and power to take whatever is laid upon me and to give it to Him. He enables me to cast my burdens upon Him. His grace is sufficient, His strength in my weakness, so that I can be content even in my infirmities (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Dear Father in heaven, continue to draw us to Christ through the power of your Word and Spirit. Write your words on our minds and in our hearts and activate them in those times you have chosen, to prove your love and your great and precious promises. Enable us to abide in you and your Word to abide in us, to know your presence at all times. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

I Can’t Write Fast Enough

As I begin to write this post, my heart overflows; so much so that I cannot know what to write first. There is more than enough for another book about the ills of a people in yet another generation that stand and live against the Creator of heaven and earth; a generation that is ignorant of the foundation of civilization, of what makes for freedom and peace. But, that is not why my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1).

It is the overflow Jesus promised in John 7:37-39 from the Holy Spirit to those who come to Him ~ those who are thirsty for something that this world cannot give.

While the world has hung Christianity out to dry ~ as Christ was hung on a cross ~ He continues to pour out His blessings from His majestic throne in heaven on those who seek freedom and peace in Him.

This early Monday morning dawns after a day of worship and seeking Him above all things. If the world knew the purpose and benefit of a day set apart for Christ in His glory, they would flock to His church. If they knew the King of kings and Lord of lords, they would put aside the things of this world at least for one day to have the blessings of heaven saturate and consume them.

I cannot, without it flowing into a full-size book, write everything that we continually experience in a relationship that turns me from the chaos of this world and enables me to focus on Christ. But, just for a bit, let me share His kingdom that is present and powerful in this world, a kingdom I continue to write about, the kingdom that He shares with all His people.

Currently, Jerry and I marvel at how Jesus Christ is real, the same today, as He was when He, with joy, endured the cross for us. Sometimes this is more the miracle than when He rose from the dead.  He is present always and speaks in and to every situation.

Jerry woke me last Tuesday night around 4:00, to tell me that there was a snake in the bathroom.

Normally, you would expect the man to take care of these things, but Jerry, being an amputee in a wheelchair, needs me to work things out.  We don’t think the snake was poisonous. Nonetheless, in all his (82) and my (79) years and together (57) we have never had to contend with snakes in the house. I say, snakes, because as I write this, there is another one under a butterfly net in our other bathroom, discovered yesterday morning. We hope to have this one removed when a pest control expert comes today. The first one got away when we were turning on lights and opening the front door; planning to catch him and throw him out.

His Promises
As I lay back down, the words came, “Fear not, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous, right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

These words ring true every time.

We never know what will happen next as we live in this wilderness, the wilderness into which God banished our first parents when they refused to listen to Him. The world’s ills are a combination of the individual ills of all His creatures. Those who follow Christ have to live in the middle of the sin and rebellion of the whole world. But, we don’t have to be slaves to the god of this world, and the news of its continued upheaval. We have a heavenly Father, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives true to His promises and witnesses through us of His grace and glory.

His Worship
Yesterday’s attendance of our Lord to His worship was another pouring out of His blessings to carry through this week. To hear again of how He loved us before the foundation of the world; how He proved that love when He sent His Son, and Jesus gave Himself to deliver us from this present evil age; to share this love with our brothers and sisters, is a life that leaves no room for the world’s sensationalism.

To write about the kingdom of God and His righteousness is a full-time job; one that I experience more than I can write about. It is worth more than all the world offers. It is worth all that we have to go through. His Word is the most precious thing to read. To meditate and memorize, to hear it preached, all in the power of His Holy Spirit, is His means of abiding with us and speaking to us in every circumstance.

I could write about all that I experienced yesterday as we jam-packed all that we could in one day, but it would not mean as much to you as it did to me. You had to be there. The personal relationship with the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ is His gift to all His children, those who are born of His Spirit, waiting to be poured out.

He must increase, the world and we decrease, in the sight of His grace and glory. In the showers of His blessings, the world is diminished. Satan and his forces are brought to nothing in our eyes and our world. The river of living water showers us with His blessings, and washes away the filth of the world (Ephesians 5:26-27). We see the triumphant Lord of glory ruling above the fading glory of man. He laughs them in derision (Psalm 2).

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Psalm 2:1, 12

Gacious Father, as we begin a new week, let us continue to focus upon you through Jesus Christ, your Son, whom you have given to be our Lord. Give us repentant hearts, filled with your Spirit for obedience of faith; that we may live in anticipation of what you have planned for us. Make us to experience the truth of your presence and power. Let your words of grace, truth, love and peace flow and bless others so that they know the reason for our hope and peace. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Fran

Image:Google

Words of Life ~ ABBA and ALPHA

 In this post I am including the word ABBA. It was not in the first list, but appropriate to post here with the word ALPHA. It will be the first word in the revised list. And of interest in this combination is that the meaning of ABBA is Father. A father carries the seed of life. Such was our Father in heaven who created life. He was the first ~ ALPHA ~ the first of all beings and all things. I appreciate that I am able to post this on the first day of the week.

An interesting note from searching the word ABBA is that it is found in the Old Testament sandwiched in the word Sabbath. Let us turn that over in our minds and hearts as we continue our search for the Words of Life.

ABBA G5 
Strong’s defines abba äb-bä  Aramaic for “father”
“father, customary title used of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee “ABBA” through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek speaking Jews added the name from their own tongue.” This does not indicate that ABBA would be a casual name for Father, as some have thought it to be the word for Daddy which is an informal name. We don’t have to bring Him down to our level to reach Him. He has already condescended to us through His Son and made us His children. Jesus instructs us in the Lord’s Prayer to call Him Father. Abba seems to be an expression used with the name Father with the concept of crying out to Him in special times of need.

ABBA, as Father, is only found in the New Testament, first recorded from Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” Mark 14:36

The apostle Paul associated the word ABBA with the working of the Holy Spirit in our new birth and adoption. We are no longer in bondage to the law and sin, no longer children of wrath and fear, but reconciled through the blood of Christ to know God as our Father.

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

As we are born of His Spirit and joint-heirs with Christ and His Spirit dwelling in our hearts we can cry, calling to Him for all our needs. Note that from Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane Paul relates this to all God’s children, the Spirit of his Son that cries through us.

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6

ALPHA G 1
Strong’s defines alpha ä’l-fä, first letter of Greek alphabet
“Christ is the Alpha to indicate that he is the beginning and the end.”

 ALPHA is found four times in the Book of Revelation as quoted from Jesus.

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come , the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

“Saying , I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest , write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11

“And he said unto me, It is done . I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:6

“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Revelation 22:13

Gracious Father, we are in awe when we think of how you have arranged your words of life for us. You are Abba to your children. You created us for your own. From the beginning to the end you have planned and are gathering your family to yourself through Jesus Christ your Son. We praise you that by your grace you have made Him to be Life to us, the Alpha and Omega. In His name we thank you and desire to live as your children for your glory and our joy. Amen.
Fran

Photos:Tom Pumford, Unsplash
David Besh, Pixel

 

The Need for a True Christianity

As we near another year in celebration of the Protestant Reformation ~ October 31, 1517, there seems to be a need for two articles from this heart that beats for the Lord Jesus. Before Nailing Our Theses next week, my thoughts are turned to how far we have come from the corruption that ruled the church in the century of Martin Luther and other reformers. Though the church will never be perfect here in this world, we do have God’s Word available for every person who desires to know the truth; not depending on man for the knowledge of our relationship with God.

We have enough wickedness in the world. I can’t bear to see it in God’s house. Having experienced almost eight decades of this wilderness, I think of the song Leaving on a Jet Plane and want to take that plane home, but like Jesus, I have a purpose here for now. “Stop the world; I want to get off” is an expression from past decades which reflect the thoughts of many who wonder where the world is going.

We praise the Lord that He, as our Lord God Almighty, is still and always reigning and ruling His universe. We are still learning to live in the language of a new world order with Christ as King and to spread this vocabulary wherever we can. Others need to hear and know that this world is not all there is. We will look briefly at why Christianity is necessary in the world in every generation.

What we advocate is not what is normally seen, but what is real in the true Christian life and the difference we make, being who we are in Christ. We see this in the individual life and the life of the true church. We see the difference between Christianity and other religions.

The True Christian Life
Christians are those who individually and adamantly follow Jesus Christ, learning, knowing, believing and loving with all the heart, soul, mind and strength the Lord and Master who lived and died sacrificially for His people. We follow and obey Him through a knowledge of His Word, and by His Holy Spirit live daily by His example. This world is not our home. We are only here to witness of Him and the salvation He came to give. This life is preparation for eternity with Him and our heavenly Father in their kingdom.

The true church is not the visible church that meets every week for planned programs and entertainment, but the invisible body of Christ whom He has brought to Himself, living where we are in every generation with others who join in worship around His Holy Word and His Supper renewing faith and love. From this gathering we go into the world as salt, light, a sweet fragrance and full of His Spirit bearing the fruit of His kingdom ~ love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility, godliness, mercy and compassion.

True Christianity is revealed to the senses  of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.

Salt was necessary is Jesus’ day to preserve food. Salt is needful in a world that is in decay.

Light is necessary in the darkness of this world, as we “hold forth the word of life.”

“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 worldHolding forth the word of life;” Philippians 2:15-16

Good fruit is produced by true Christians.

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” Matthew 7:17

Fragrance is needful to cover the stench of this world.

 “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.” 1 John 5:19

The world needs Jesus’ touch.

“And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.” Matthew 17:7

The world filled and overflowing with oppression, sin, and corruption has no recourse in other religions, nor in a false Christianity. Only a true Christianity has the answer to sin through the only person who has claimed to be God and became a sacrifice for the sins of those who believe His claim on their lives.

We live, proclaiming LIFE over death. If we die for our faith, it will not be to take other lives with us, but to witness of the life of Christ who loved us and gave His life to deliver us from this evil age (Galatians 1:4).

We must know who we are in Christ and live accordingly. True Christianity makes a difference.

Gracious Father, we could say so much more, but you have said it all. It is but for us to read your Word faithfully, intentionally seeking your guidance for us as your people. Enable us to speak your truth wherever you lead us, living our faith to the fullest and most fruitful with our families, in our churches, and in the workplace. Shine your light in and through us into the darkness of this world.  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Post: Beyond a Mere Christianity
Photo:Pixabay
Image:Google

Words of Life ~ ALIVE

How fitting that the word ALIVE would be one of our Words of Life. Let us spend a few minutes in God’s Word so as to understand who makes us ALIVE

Old Testament
H2416, 2417, 2418 
are derivatives of H2421
Strong’s ALIVE 
chayah khä·yä’to live, whether literally or figuratively; causatively, to revive:–keep (leave, make) alive, X certainly, give (promise) life, (let, suffer to) live, nourish up, preserve (alive), quicken, recover, repair, restore (to life), revive, (X God) save (alive, life, lives), X surely, be whole.

Before the Lord destroyed all creatures, Noah was instructed to bring two of every living thing, male and female into the ark to keep them alive (Genesis 6:19-20).

“And every living substance was destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained aliveand they that were with him in the ark.” Genesis 7:23

In the following references, we understand that only the Lord makes us ALIVE.

“The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” 1 Samuel 2:6

“All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.” Psalm 22:29

“O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.” Psalm 30:3

Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.” Psalm 33:18-19

New Testament G2198
Strongs’s defines ALIVE záō, dzah’-o to live (literally or figuratively):—life(-time), (a-)live(-ly), quick.

The same Greek word is used for life, living and quick.

Luke 24:23 uses the word alive in reference to Jesus’ resurrection.

“And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.”

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles begins with the account of Jesus’ resurrected life before His ascension, showing “Himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” Acts 1:3

 In relationship to Jesus’ death and resurrection, the apostle Paul refers to our being “dead to sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:11

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:13

 Jesus speaks of His own death and eternal life in Revelation 1:18

“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.” Revelation 1:18

1 Corinthians 15:22 uses G2227 zoopoieo dzo-op-oy-eh’-o from the same as 2226 and 4160; to (re-)vitalize (literally or figuratively):–make alive, give life, quicken.

“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

It is the same as used for quickening in other passages, meaning to restore to life; of the spirit, quickening as respects the spirit, endued with new and greater powers of life.

Gracious Father, who makes us alive through your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we thank you and praise you for not leaving us dead in our trespasses and sin, but that you make us alive in Him for evermore. Make us alive in Christ today and every day in the power of your Holy Spirit, to witness of your presence with us always. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Fran

Photo:Pixabay