Beyond a Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity was a compilation of C.S. Lewis’ beliefs, in which he set aside definite doctrines. He stated, ”at the centre of each (religion) there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks the same voice.” 

Many, by reading the book, have been encouraged to embrace Christianity even as he did. My purpose in writing is to look beyond what he believed, spoke, and wrote, to discover a greater depth, beyond a mere Christianity; for a mere Christianity will not suffice to proclaim and live the legacy God has bestowed on His children. 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 revelation of the truths of God’s Word. When the gospel is watered down so that everybody can believe, we forfeit the wealth that comes only by personal relationship with the Father and Jesus, His Son. Christianity comes at a high price, the blood of Jesus Christ, and requires more from us than we are able to give. 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 from different perspectives. In the following articles (perhaps more) we will incorporate many facets of His 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 as many of these as He will bestow His grace and blessings, we pray He will make clear HIs role as a loving heavenly Father, Creator, Redeemer and Life; His presence, power, His name, His kingdom and His will. These are His truth, promises and blessings for a people who know Him, fear Him, love Him, obey, worship, serve, praise, pray, and proclaim in power the good news of Christ, who are being transformed as living sacrifices and conformed to His image, bearing the fruit of love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith, meekness and temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility and Godliness.

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

Inexhaustible Goodness
God, Who Is Here
Weakness and Meekness

Endear and Endure
Three Powerful Words in the Chrisitian Vocabulary
The Right Man For the Job
A Holy, High and Heavenly Calling
Covenant Living and Giving
Seeing Is Believing
How Exciting is Your God?

What is Jesus Doing in Your Life?
Good Works
Peace and Contentment

Bound by Grace ~ Free to Love
Abiding in Light and Truth
Surviving in Enemy Territory

Thriving Under Oppression
His Utmost For My Highest
Radical and Riveted
Focus, Love and Rejoice
Arrows in the Hands of a Mighty God

Many Religions
There are many religions ~ religions for the body, religions for the mind, religions for the spirit and soul ~ of man. Nations are formed by their religions. Children are born and grow up in their religions. We live by what we know and are continually taught. Everyone has a religion, even if they cannot express it verbally. The mind of every person is a tablet, written on from their birth into this world.

In my autobiography, I express my birth as if being given a coloring book and a set of crayons. At every age and stage, I was given a new coloring book and a new set of crayons. My mind, heart and spirit took in everything I saw, heard and experienced, so as to live accordingly.  What I read and was taught became my religion. I was given a Bible, learned what was written there sporadically, from sermons in church, Sunday School, and vacation Bible school. The principles were taught in our home, but not verbatim. The golden rule was prevalent, with a general understanding of right from wrong, but not Biblically profound. Neither my parents, nor I, understood anything beyond what you can see and touch, although I had a sense of something more. Anything spiritual was beyond comprehension, and so, not taught.

Difficult times were accepted as normal, with only dim hopes of improvement in this life. “When We All Get to Heaven” was the favorite hymn sung in church, with the accompanying  hellfire and brimstone sermon. 

How I got from there to writing this treatise on a Christianity that is far and beyond anything I learned in my childhood, is based on a powerful act of God’s grace that overtook, overcame, and overrides everything I had been taught. This Christianity of which I speak is not man’s religion but from heaven, from God, revealing Himself as Creator and Redeemer of the human race. He reveals His plans, His work, His presence, His power, His sovereignty in the writings of the Holy Bible. These are all beyond the normal scope of human wisdom and living.

If we read casually, we will reap a crumb or two of the religion we are looking for. If we study hard and often, diligently seeking something to believe and live by, we may see some difference in our lives. We may even sense a religion to share with others. We may worship with others of the same faith, but, in essence, it is still only man’s religion. It is nominal, or what we think of as normal Christianity.

It is what the world sees, and it colors God and the church with only a slightly different tone than the world’s colors. 

Mere living is below the standards of God’s kingdom. It is settling for the world’s goods.  It is negating the faith given from and in a living God to settle for man’s ideas of life. In the days ahead, let us leave these thoughts of man’s idolatry and look heavenward to the Lord, our God and the only true religion of which He is the focus, our Lord Jesus as the center, and the Holy Spirit, among us and within each of us directing all things according to the will of the Father. By His grace, we will complete all that He has planned for these articles. Please pray for us as we pray for you the reader.

Father in heaven, our Lord and God, we thank you for all that you are, more than we can ask or think, for our Lord, Jesus, and for your Holy Spirit. We praise you for your Word, the truth of your Word, the authority of your Word, for your Living Word, Jesus Christ, commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit. Speak to the hearts of your children as you dwell within us. Make us aware, through your Word, written and Living within us, of something more than we have been told about you. Give us a deeper understanding of who you are, so that we know whose we are, so that we may continue to proclaim the legacy of your kingdom, to your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Fran

Image:Google

Emma’s Heart

From the age of three, Emma, our youngest grandchild, has actively shown the love of Christ in her heart; not anything she knew she was doing, but wherever she was, with Jerry and me, and especially with Mother. Emma was three years old; Mother was ninety-one, with dementia, living with us over four years. At the same time, we also cared for Emma and Olivia, our next oldest grandchild two days a week. 

This week, at the age of fifteen, Emma is in Haiti, with a mission group from her church.

Mother was there with her church thirty years ago.

Dear Father in heaven, Thank you for grace beyond measure to us as your children, putting within our hearts the love of Christ, which is the ministry you give us to share with others. We ask you to bless those who live in this love and desire to minister to others in His name. Thank you for loving us and filling us so that it spills over wherever we are. Use your Word through these to draw others to Christ. Bless the young who minister in His name this summer, for your glory and their joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Fran
Related article:Chasing Butterflies and Blowing Bubbles

 

God is More

God is more than anyone knows.

God is more than we can see.

God is more than we can touch.

God is more than we can hold.

God is more than all the worldly treasures.

God is more than we can imagine.

God is more than anyone will ever know.

He alone can show us and teach us what He wants us to know.

He reveals Himself by the power of His Holy Spirit.

He reveals Himself through His creation and the writings of the Holy Bible.

He reveals Himself through Jesus Christ, His Son (Matthew 11:27).

Those who ask for His Holy Spirit, earnestly pray, read and meditate on His Word, will find the God of the Bible who wants to be known. It is a continual process, daily food for the soul. As physical food shapes the body, so spiritual food shapes the spirit and life to the image of Christ (John 6:63) (Romans 8:29).

“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:” 2 Peter 1:3

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you as Creator and Redeemer, for how you reveal yourself to us through your written word preserved and handed down through generations, and your living Word, your Son, Jesus Christ. We thank you that you do not leave us ignorant and miserable in this world, but that you planned to make your presence and power known, inspiring those who penned the truths of life, godliness and virtue so that we may live in and to your glory, now and forever. Open the hearts of those who read your word to know you and the eternal life you give us through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ; in whose name we pray, thank you and praise you. Amen.
~ Fran
Image:Google
Suggested Reading: The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE STUDY

Expect Great Things

As I was getting out of bed yesterday morning I was given the words “Expect Great Things.” This kind of leading is not unusual, but this one seemed profound, so I hit the floor running. When the Lord speaks, we don’t always receive clarification, just direction. We are reminded of Abraham’s story and his obedience to God’s calling. He did not know where he was going but trusted the Lord’s direction.

Three such words as these ~ “Expect Great Things” ~ carry a lot of weight when we consider the source. No one could have given these words except God, the Father, through the presence and power of His Holy Spirit in me.

Upon first hearing these words, the temptation was to think that God had something special in store for me. But then, the same Spirit brought correction to my first and fleshly inclination. The next thought was for me to focus on the source of the words; not the words, but on God, Himself.

Consulting the concordance for the word “great” we find that God created “two great lights” (Genesis 1:16).

His work of Creation was just the beginning of the revelation of His “greatness.”

He promised to make of Abraham a “great nation” and to make his name “great” (Genesis 12:28).

He did a “great work” upon the Egyptians (Exodus 14:31).

(Every time I go to the concordance, I find more than I intended for one article; enough for another book. So, for sake of time and space, I encourage you to search other references for yourself.)

How do we then, understand these three words? If not for me, then who are they for?

In the end, I was led to realize that God is the great One, doing great things even before the beginning of the world. He will always be doing great things beyond my knowing. Where ever He has chosen, He reveals these great things; to whomever He desires. It is just for me to believe who He is, as God, Creator and sustainer of all things, and Redeemer, accomplishing all things He has planned for His own glory and our good.

In the process of realization, His greatness, through His power of creation, came to mind, His awesome deeds of deliverance for His people, His miracles of incarnation, resurrection and ascension, His redemption for us to whom He reveals His greatness, the new birth by His Holy Spirit and new life through Jesus Christ, His Son, and the continual leading of His Holy Spirit in the lives of HIs people. His greatness is revealed through HIs Holy Word. We read and believe though we cannot always understand.

Is He doing “great things” today? Do we need to ask? Or do we trust His revelation to us as the Great One who does “great things” every day, even though we cannot know or see them. And wherever He is working, His greatness has a ripple effect throughout humanity.

Dear Father in heaven, “The Great I Am,” whose “great love” is beyond our understanding, we praise you for your greatness, for the greatness of your grace and your glory. We are not always the direct recipients of what we would consider “great things,” but knowing you, we believe you are everywhere present and powerful every moment of everyday. Let us forever live in this joy and expectation, desiring to hear where you are now working; knowing this in our own hearts and lives as you are continuing to “conform us to the image of your dear Son” ~ in whose name we pray. Amen.

Image:Google

Chasing Butterflies and Blowing Bubbles

(This is an older post that I needed to read and remember as Jerry and I continue to deal with difficult issues.)

Another year ~ and in these latter years I now realize that I am in my second childhood ~ butterfly-net-clipart-A_Girl_with_a_Butterfly_Net_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100224-130807-147053and loving it.

This morning my thoughts were brought back to years ago when our home was a busy hub. On one of those days Jerry and I were sitting at the dining room table, observing an eventful scene at the kitchen counter between my mother and our youngest granddaughter, Emma. as they were eating ice cream.

Mother, who had Alzheimer’s disease and was living with us, was crying, and saying that she needed to go home. Emma had her hand on Mother’s knee and was talking to her. This three-year-old child was consoling a ninety-one-year old woman, who was listening and responding to her encouragement. I wrote about the incident as I related a young child’s understanding of what it means to want to go home.
Jerry and I could not remember the words, but only that it was an extraordinary, moving experience. Scan 152400000
Olivia was in the back yard chasing butterflies.Scan 152400002  I had just brought her home from kindergarten. She ministers in her own way.

My second childhood seems to be between a three-year-old and a five-year-old. Writing has become the main outlet for my witness to the grace and glory of my Lord. There are times when I get down to the nitty-gritty, really serious stuff that the Lord gives me, but it is difficult to keep at it until it is finished. He has done much for me, in me, with me, around and through me over the years. Much has been finished, but there is still much that lacks completion.

At this age my life is somewhat correspondent to my writing. Childlikeness is good, but always needs a goal, guidance and discipline, which comes from the heart and hand of our Father. The joy of life in Christ seems at times as if I am enjoying the things I used to do with the grandchildren ~ chasing butterflies, and blowing bubbles.Scan 152400001 But the Lord is not through with me yet. This is the second time around ~ and now I need to get back to the ice cream.

Gracious Father, thank you for your patience, your mercy and your grace with your children.  You know how weak we are, and how much we need you.  Thank you for the days and the years of guiding, of teaching, of training.  Thank you that no one can snatch us out of your hand.  Thank you for a love that is the homing device by which your Holy Spirit draws us home to you.  In Jesus’ name I thank and praise you.  Amen.

First Things for the First of a New Year

If ever we begin a new year without focus and direction, we will surely fail to know our purpose, to go through and end the year with any success. As a believer, a follower of Christ, we must start with wisdom and knowledge of Him and His teachings.

He left us with specific directions and expectations. As our Shepherd, He continues to lead us by the written Word of God and His Spirit. He teaches three specific things, first things that we need to know and remember at all times, especially as we begin a new year.

These “first things” are shared in our free ebook, First Things That Last Forever, as an introduction to the series Little Books About the Magnitude of God.

These books were originally written and published to preserve a legacy for our family of what the Lord has taught me for seventy-eight years. They are available here for anyone who desires to know how God’s presence and power work in the best and the worst times of this life. Jesus finished His work, left us His example and teachings, and has sent His Holy Spirit to reveal and fulfill the promises made through Him.

We invite you to begin this year of 2018 with these teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to share them with others.

The Lord bless you, keep you and lead you in the paths of righteousness this New Year.

Fran and Jerry

Gracious Father, as we offer this book to your people, we ask that you lead by your Spirit those who will accept this free offer, even as you offer eternal life through your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. I pray we all will continue to learn to focus on you as our heavenly Father, and what it means to hallow your name; to learn what it means to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness, and to love you with all our heart, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Bless us as your people in this new year for your own glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Heavenly Overtones

Music is designed with a melody that runs throughout the whole piece.  Other parts add harmony.  The melody is the beginning, and the ending.  It is what holds the piece together.  Lose the melody or make it a monotone—the same tone over and over— and it ceases to be music.  Overpower the melody and the music loses its meaning.

Music is a sound that began in heaven with God, our Father and Creator.  It is a major means that He provided to help us worship Him—“Holy, Holy, Holy”—one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Ghost, is sung by the angels in heaven. (Isaiah 6:3  and Revelation 4:8)

Anthems are compositions for music that include all parts —melody, harmony, and sometimes, a descant.  A descant is a part that is sung by a higher range of voices.  It is not meant to overpower but provide an extra lift to the other parts.

Together all the parts speak to the senses to lift the spirit and the heart toward God.

Some of The Psalms that we sing from the Trinity Psalter have descants.  If you have never sung The Psalms you have not only missed hearing the command of the Lord in Ephesians 5:19, but also the blessings that come with them when they are sung.

In Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs we worship with Biblical texts and heavenly music.

(For centuries The Psalms were sung in all the churches.  They are God’s Word sung in worship to Him.  But most churches for the past two hundred years have thrown them out in the same way that the true gospel has been pushed aside.)

And for the most part, all we hear is a monotone—the same thing over and over.  Melody and harmony have been replaced with the performances of one person’s voice or drowned by instruments that overpower the melody.

Hymns have been replaced by compositions that have no harmony—difficult to sing and remember—and have separated generations of families.

I picture it according to His Word—the melody was begun in heaven with Jesus, His Son—“Holy, Holy, Holy”  from the foundation of the world.  He would not only be the beginning of music, but the melody throughout the span of time here on earth, onward into eternity.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes…”

He was wrapped in our humanity—the melody of heaven was here—to gather around Him those that would add the harmony to Himself, and provide the music for His family, the music that the Father wanted to hear.

“On the same night there were shepherds with flocks of sheep in the field. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them”the music and the worship were about to begin.

And the glory of the Lord shone round about them with good tidings of great joy”the prelude—the introduction to the first anthem of true worship.

To all people—unto you is born a Savior, Christ the Lord”the music begins.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest”the descant.

“And on earth peace.”   Christ Jesus, our Lord, is the melody of heaven, the melody of life, as God has composed it, and plays it for us by His Spirit and through His Word.

“I will declare thy name (the Father) unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.” “Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.”  (Hebrews 2:12-13)— the harmony of His familyNow He has a full choir.

The Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs that we learn throughout our childhood are the anthems that are carried into heaven with us, as we join that celestial choir. Others are added along the way as He gives us a repertoire.  The only soloist is the one who carries the melody—Christ, Himself.

As we live by the Spirit, and walk by the Spirit, He opens our ears to hear the melody, and to follow Him.  Our off-keys and monotones are tuned to harmonize with other voices.  And walking humbly with our Father, in the obedience of faith, loving the Lord, our God, and our neighbor, we are surrounded by the heavenly overtones echoing His praise in heaven and earth. In our devotion to Christ He opens our hearts to hear compositions we have never heard before, especially during the difficult circumstances of life.

I pray that we know the Lord as our strength and song.”  (Exodus 15:2)

I pray that we would experience “the new song” as He fills us with His Spirit.

On the Lord’s Day we go to His House with a great expectation of hearing the melody—a strong and sure foundation for our worship—hearing the other parts, and the distant sound of the descant of the angels in affirmation that our worship is accepted.

I pray that each day we will practice our singing, individually, and in family worship, so that we are prepared for worship on the Lord’s Day—all in preparation for the great day when we see Him and praise Him in all His glory with the angels.

Our Father has composed the music and directs the choir.

Let us sing with full hearts to His glory and our joy.

“Holy,—-Holy,—-Holy,

The LORD of hosts:

The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Lord’s Day 9/23/07 (Article from Waiting Is Not  A Game~Articles and Stories of Faith.)