New Wineskins

Have you run into the grocery store bypassing the grocery carts because you only needed one or two items. Before you get to check-out your arms are loaded with other things you see. Something else you remembered you cannot get because your arms are loaded already.

Such is our going to worship without preparation and the proper vessel.

“But new wine must be put into new wineskins,
and both are preserved.”
Luke 5:38
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 36:26

Let us worship today in anticipation and prayer that the Lord enlarge our hearts, open them to receive and carry with us the new wine of His Word prepared for us.

Dear Father, you have preserved and prepared your Word for us. Open our eyes to see and our ears to hear the written Word. Open our hearts to conceive and receive what you have prepared for your people today. And let the Spirit of your Living Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, lead us through this week ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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

Advocates for Bill and Terri ~ A Spiritual Exercise

This follow-up to a previous post, Words of Life ~ ADVOCATE, is a means to share how the Lord has been working in my heart the last few days, and to ask you to join me for a life-changing experience.

The Lord brought Bill and Terri into my life several months ago. Bill lives in the southwestern part of the USA and Terri in the eastern region. They have become advocates for each other.

As they have shared how God is working in their lives, I have become an advocate for them before the throne of grace.

If you know Bill and Terri, you can skip this part and go to the exercise. But it may be a good thing to review who and where they are.

Bill and Terri each live in a physical state of paralysis. Their conditions are similar but different in how they operate in that state. They are mindful of their circumstances and have learned to function and communicate with others in a gift of clarity most of us do not have. They are each a special gift to us who know them.

Bill
Bill, diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) over twenty years ago, has been preserved long past the average two-to-five year expectancy. The Lord has done a miraculous work in Bill for a witness of the Unshakable Hope he has in Christ. With Mary, his wife and principal advocate, Bill lives at home, functioning with modern equipment that moves him from and into his bed and chair. He writes with his eyes with a computer designed for this purpose. For his blog and book project, Bill is filled with the Spirit of God, influencing and encouraging people throughout the world to know and trust their lives to Christ. His hope is not in himself or anything of this world but only in the promises of eternity when he will have full use of his body and faculties to praise and serve the Lord.

Even though ALS has drastically changed my life and that of my wife and our two daughters, I don’t believe anyone should allow a disease or any life-challenge to define who we are.

To do so is to give that challenge more credit than it deserves and is the first step on a dead-end road of hopelessness.

This trial has taught us that the only way to experience genuine and consistent hope, peace, and joy in the middle of a trial is to view our lives and situations through God’s eyes. For me, learning this was a long and difficult process—but a rewarding one; an ongoing process that will continue until the day I go to be with the Lord.

Terri
Terri, from a fall in her kitchen, has been a quadriplegic since 2013, She is single and dependent on medical staff in a nursing facility. She, too, is a witness for Christ, and attends her church for worship. Terri has siblings and church family who are advocates in the capacity of which they are able. She uses some of the same equipment as Bill and by her voice, communicates through her computer. In these six years, dealing with other medical issues, she has spent time in ICU and been moved to other facilities which upset any rhythm in her life, causing depression and anxiety. From one of her blog posts, I quote the following.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5

No matter how frustrated, disgusted, or depressed, I get about being a quadriplegic, I know I’m where I am meant to be. I don’t have to understand why this happened. I only need to acknowledge that God is sovereign, loving, and good. And he doesn’t make mistakes.

Bill and Terri’s readers continue to encourage and support them. The greatest encouragement comes from Bill and Terri to us when we read what the Lord is doing in them.

A SPIRITUAL EXERCISE AS AN ADVOCATE

We cannot, as advocates for Bill and Terri, appeal with the strength of the medical equipment they need. Those things are already provided for them. The idea and the means for advocacy on their part is for the spiritual strength and grace they need to endure and triumph as witnesses for Christ as they are bound, imprisoned in their bodies.

They are teaching us what the world is like ~ paralyzed ~ and in need of a heavenly outpouring of the Spirit to move in His people.

Here is where we can be a part of an awakening in the body of Christ.

For the last few days, the Lord has uniquely led me to pray and intercede. At first, the thought was only for Bill and Terri. Then the blessings came for me, my family, my church, and the whole church worldwide.

Three things will come as a result of this exercise.

1. Bill and Terri will be strengthened in their witness of Christ.
2. We and other Christians will be strengthened in our witness for Christ.
3. God, our Father and our Lord, Jesus Christ will be glorified.

This exercise began when I awoke. I lay still as if paralyzed like Bill and Terri. Quietly I waited, arms at my sides, imagining their immovability; then, remembering Psalm 46:10 ~

Be still, and know that I am God,

I again waited ~ motionless.

Stillness is not easy in a world that is spiritually paralyzed. The body does not want this stillness and will not succumb to it except by His Spirit.

“I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

This exercise is an excellent means to realize that every breath is by His Spirit and through Christ alone.

The Spirit then moved me to the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Our whole of living moment by moment, day by day, is for this purpose. He wants us to know Him as our Father. Through us, He is exalted, honored, and His name hallowed in this world.

This prayer and this thought of His overall sovereignty and exaltation led me to ask for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit from His throne of grace to fill me and enable me to pray in the Spirit for power as an advocate for Bill and Terri.

From the Holy Spirit’s leading, then came the request for the Spirit’s filling for them. I prayed for the continual work in their lives to overcome in the battle against weariness, discouragement, uncertainty, depression, and anxiety. Among other requests, I prayed for the Lord’s filling and leading for Bill to finish his book.

There was a third request for the filling of the Spirit for His people everywhere. (You need facial tissue for this exercise.)

I went to the next petition, which the paralyzed body of Christ needs ~ asking for His kingdom to come in power by His Spirit, and His will to be done in the hearts and lives of His people everywhere.

“God hath made with me an everlasting covenant |
ordered in all things and sure,
this is all my salvation and all my desire.”
2 Samuel 23:5

Even as with David, this everlasting covenant revealed and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, is God’s means to establish His kingdom’s rule here on earth and His will to be operative in the hearts and lives of His people.

It is by His divine power that we destroy strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring every thought captive in obedience to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Before getting up to start my day, I finished petitions for which I usually ask. I asked for the Spirit to raise me and His people everywhere for the work He has for us to do ~ to be the moving witnesses Bill and Terri encourage us to be.

These are only the beginnings of what I have experienced in this new intercession.

During the day, this exercise can be done anywhere and anytime you can lie down, or even sit quietly and still ~ as you desire the Holy Spirit’s filling and moving in your heart and spirit for you, Bill, Terri, all who are ill or physically handicapped, and especially for the moving of God’s Spirit.

Teach your children and do this as a family exercise. Let this exercise displace some of the time you usually spend with your devices. Set your timers and stop and pray throughout the day.

If possible and you feel led, continue this exercise for a week. We may post some of the responses and address any concerns next week.

Advocates for Bill and Terri could become a movement in this world to bring an awareness of the need for God’s Spirit for all people. Let us share this need and call others to join this exercise of intercession for His glory.

Since getting to know Bill, and Terri, through her blog, emails, and my phone conversation with her, Jerry appreciates his wheelchair, and the use of his one leg though he has not been able to walk for over two years. It is amazing how your life can change when you are aware of the more significant needs of others.

Please share this with your Christian friends even as you become an advocate for Christ’s sake.

Gracious Father in heaven, Whom have we in heaven but thee and there is none on earth we desire beside thee. Draw your people to this intercession with understanding and the Spirit. Fill us and enable us to pray in the power and intercession of the Holy Spirit and Christ, our High Priest, who sits at your right hand calling us to Him, for thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Switch-off

This is not the follow-up mentioned in my last post. That will be here tomorrow, Lord willing. Please check back.

This new post is only to switch readers from a Content page that appeared before this post. Since I could not delete it, I will ask WordPress to move it to the sidebar.

Switch-off was the suggestion for my grandchildren when they were in a little pain or anxious about something. To turn our minds from ourselves or from an anxious thought to other thoughts is a habit we should form with the aid of God’s Word.

What should we think ~ always?

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
  honest, just, of good report;
if there be any virtue,

and if there be any praise,
think on these things.”

Philippians 4:8

Thank you for liking the Content page. I would love to hear from you when it is working.

Much love and blessings to you from God, our Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Fran

 

Words of Life ~ ADVOCATE

Everyone needs a personal advocate. Do you have at least one person who has your interests at heart, one who knows your needs? Do you have someone who can step in, stand up, and speak for you?

We may have many “fair-weather friends” who cheer us on. But how many are actually close enough to know who we are, committed and able to offer a hand when we need it? Who will sacrifice their own agenda, when push comes to shove in our lives?

The word ADVOCATE was not in our original list of Words of Life ~ A to Z ~ the Ordinary Vocabulary of the Christian, but various circumstances in the last few days have brought this word to my mind and heart.

The Lord has been revealing how many advocates He has given Jerry and me. I am Jerry’s closest advocate. We have a son and daughter, our pastor and his wife and family and other members of our church family who know us well and when we have a need. We also have others who intercede for us and would respond if we needed them.

And the Lord has brought other people into our lives who need an advocate. Besides knowing our family and our church family, there are some who cannot fend for themselves. (I will write about these in our next post.)

We know an attorney who is an advocate to secure reimbursement for tragic personal injuries and loss caused by the neglect of others.  His clients are paralyzed or traumatized to the point of needing continued care from medical staff or a close family member. Their cases have settlements in the millions.

Because these usually have no knowledge of how to manage the money that they have received to support them for the remainder of their lives, the attorney, without charge, also counsels the client in how to manage his money.

Such is the advocate we have in Christ, who knows our dire circumstances. We have sustained the nature and sinful life our first parents brought us into by the seduction and deception of the enemy. Without an ADVOCATE, we have no hope of life in this world or the next.

There is only one reference to the word ADVOCATE in the Bible, which is found in the New Testament.

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.
And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father,
Jesus Christ the righteous:”
1 John 2:1

The word ADVOCATE in Greek means paráklētos, par-ak’-lay-tos; which means intercessor, consoler: the same word is used for advocate and comforter.

Paráklētos is the word used for the Comforter in John 14:26

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost,
whom the Father will send in my name,
he shall teach you all things,
and bring all things to your remembrance,
whatsoever I have said unto you.”

The word intercessor is found only one time, and that, in the Old Testament.

“And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.” Isaiah 59:16

“Man’s extremity was Christ’s opportunity. There was no one left to save poor fallen manhood, no one who could lift a hand or a finger for our rescue; therefore, Jesus came, and fought, and bled, and died, and conquered on our behalf.” Charles Spurgeon

Before His crucifixion, Jesus promised to send another Comforter to abide with us forever (John 14:16) who would “proceed from the Father and testify” of Jesus (John 15:26).

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth;
It is expedient for you that I go away:

for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you;
but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”
John 16:7

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter, the Spirit of Christ, our ADVOCATE. The Holy Spirit is the power of conviction in our hearts and lives. He intercedes through us to Christ our High Priest who sits at the right hand of God. He pleads our case by the blood of the everlasting covenant on our behalf. Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to comfort us in our times of need and enables us to know the needs of others and to comfort and intercede for them.

As the Holy Spirit reveals the Father’s will for His people, we become ADVOCATES for our brothers and sister in Christ. This is the point of this article. We will elaborate on this last statement in our next post. Please look for it, as it will make a huge difference in your life, bringing you to understand more of what it means to be an ADVOCATE for the family of God.

Dear Father, we praise you that you are the Father of all comfort. We thank you that you sent your Son, the only one capable as an advocate for your people. We are blessed to have the indwelling of your Holy Spirit as our eternal advocate, knowing us better than we know ourselves, able to intercede and to intervene for us. By your Spirit, continue to guide us by the truth of your Word and to be advocates for each other, both physically and spiritually. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

 

 

 

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