Jesus’ Words Are Not Suggestions

As I taught my grandchildren, we would all do well to HEAR, HIDE, and HEED the words of Christ. He came to declare the kingdom of God through His life and His words. He set the record straight for truth and life for humanity.

Only a few people of Jesus’ day could stomach His words.

Jesus asked, after other disciples left Him, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:67-68

We would be blessed and filled with awe and life if we knew all His words, but in this short treatise, we want to express four particular things Jesus said about His words, and why we need to listen.

 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. John 12:47-48

In verses 49-50 Jesus states that He speaks on the authority of the Father, whose commandment through Him was for eternal life. His words bring life against judgment. Without them we will stand naked and without hope before God.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

To abide means to spend time, to dwell in time through the truths that were set for us in the New Testament where His words are recorded. His words mean nothing if we do not take them in hand, read, study, meditate and memorize that which pertains to eternity. As we look at food on a table and do not eat, so to have God’s word given through His Son without receiving it in the heart and mind, leaves us without true life, now and for eternity.

 It is said that Jesus spoke more warnings than promises of the eternal kingdom. We receive the promises, the freedom and the life of Christ when we know and heed His words and His warnings. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart and mind.

Dear Father, I pray that today these references stand alone as you draw your people to Jesus, your Son, who came to speak the words of life. Give us your Spirit to quicken and enable us to hear what He says, recorded for eternity with your love, mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

Image: Pinterest

Healing From the Inside

Ten years ago I learned how to dress a horrible wound that was a result of Jerry’s left leg amputation. The wound left from Jerry’s surgery three weeks ago is somewhat different, but both would be described as an open hole. These kinds of wounds have to be treated and healed from the inside, with medicated packing, so that it does not close on its own and leave a cavity underneath the skin.
This one seems to be more difficult for me to handle than with the amputation; perhaps, because I watched a visiting health nurse do the dressing for several weeks. Jerry and I came home from the hospital this time with simple instructions for cleaning and dressing the incision. But after a week we noticed the difference in the top of the incision from the four inches below.
The next visit to the vascular surgeon confirmed the need for wound care, which she began in her office, and gave me supplies to care for it every day at home, with an appointment for a return visit each week.
My inadequacy for this has kept me awake, but finally, I think I am able to do this without anxiety.
During these last two weeks the thoughts came of how we are all born into this world wounded from the Fall due to our first parents’ disobedience. Though the fault is not ours, we have this hole in our soul that can only be healed from the inside.
Just as jerry cannot care for his own wound, and must depend on me for his care and healing, so we cannot cure ourselves. Our wound is much more serious than a physical one. There is no one who can apply what is needed except our heavenly Father, through the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to fill the void that sin has left in us all. He is able and promises the witness of our healing from grateful hearts as we submit to His working, His tender care and comfort. He is the great physician and able to bring complete healing of the heart and soul.
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for providing all things pertaining to life and godliness through your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none on earth I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart fail, but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. We praise you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Find Your Blessings

Who knows how many eggs are hidden on any Easter weekend, and perhaps not found. For the toddlers, eggs are hidden in sight so that they are easily found. For older children, the eggs are hidden so that they are more difficult to find.
Our heavenly Father promises blessings to His children. He makes His blessings known to us as newborns and small children without much effort on our part. Our eyes are opened to His blessings through a new birth. He continues to bless us as we age, but we find them in different ways.
Last Wednesday the Lord gave me a direction as Jerry and I journeyed early in the morning before daybreak to the local hospital. We were instructed to “look for a blessing” in the day ahead. Little did we know that we would be there longer than planned and that He would continue to unfold blessings everywhere and everyday for the next six days.
Blessings came in the events of the first day with our daughter, who took time away from her job to be with us, and through the hours of the procedure with nursing staff, doctors, family and church family.
Because we did not come home the same day as we had hoped, Jerry was admitted as an in-patient, for major surgery on Friday. The direction to “look for a blessing” continued. Now I know that I should have journaled these blessings; they were too many to remember.
The experience of those six days, coming home on Monday, looking for the blessing of Jerry’s healing continues to bear fruit and the sharing of this blog.

How do we find these blessings that God has hidden for us?

There are three places in particular that we are “blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessings in heavenly places.”
  1. Blessings are hidden in the knowledge and wisdom of God’s Word. The more we read, study and look for these blessings the more we will find.
  2. Blessings are hidden in everyday circumstances, especially in times of adversity. This is where the Holy Spirit directs us to focus on God, our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. He is there in His promises to be with us always. It is during these times that we are more in need and able to see the blessings He has for us.
  3. Blessings are hidden in relationships, beyond those that seem the most affectionate and amiable. Loving our neighbors, no matter their disposition, is a blessing from our heavenly Father, and will multiply as we relate in the Spirit of Christ to those who are not blessed in Christ. We can be a blessing to them as we share our concerns for them in a way they are not used to.
There is much more we could say about these blessings hidden from us, but revealed by the Holy Spirit. Tired from this last week, needing for both of us to recuperate, I wanted to at least share this experience with you. As soon as possible, I will share The Patience That Leads to Contentment.
In the meantime, look for and find your blessings hidden in Christ, His Word and everyday circumstances. Thank Him and praise Him for all things.
Dear Father, you, indeed, are exceeding abundantly able to do more than we can ask or think by the power that works in and through us. Please continue to open our eyes to the blessings of your kingdom for your children here on earth and let us share them with others. In Jesus’ name, I pray, thank you and praise you. Amen.

Jesus’ Donkey

Have you ever seen a donkey standing out in a field? I am not familiar with donkeys but whenever I see one, it seems to be waiting for something or someone to direct it.

God could just as easily have called us his donkeys instead of his sheep. But there are only a few special donkeys; many special sheep.

There are two donkeys mentioned in the Bible. It seems they were created to be “beasts of burden.” In the Old Testament Balaam had a donkey that could talk; he warned him and saved his life (Numbers 22:22-35).

Balaam’s donkey was probably older, beaten down under the burden of his master.

Jesus’ colt was waiting for his master when the disciples found it and took it to Jesus.

As the gentle master He rode the colt through the gates of Jerusalem.

There may be much that we could learn from the scenario of the Triumphal Entry that we now call Palm Sunday, but one in particular comes to mind this morning.

There are times when we may feel like nothing but a donkey (you many call it whatever you please) but that is not how God created us. The oppressor would have us believe that we have to carry the burdens of the world; that we have no worth except as the scum of the earth. We, as His children, were born in His image, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and directed by His Word and His Holy Spirit to bear His image and the fruit of the Spirit of Christ.

Would we have been honored to be Jesus’ colt? Yes, but that honor was predestined for one only. That colt carried Jesus into the fiercest battle that anyone can wage ~ the battle against Satan and our sin. He won the victory a few days after, and since then calls us to Him to fulfill His purpose in each of us. The memory of the first verse held in my mind since childhood is in Matthew 11:28-30. He has not redeemed us to ride us, but to free us from our bondage and to share our lives here while preparing us for His glory. In meekness He is able to fulfill His will in each of us as we tell others of Him and His victory in us.Dear Father, Thank you that each Lord’s Day, you call us to come in worship to Christ, your Son, who has won our hearts to serve Him and to be a part of the battle against the oppressor in our own lives and the lives of others. We praise you that our calling is not to tread through this life alone, but in unity with Christ, our master, and His other sheep. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.

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What Matters?

Two days ago, Jerry set a record as we celebrated his eighty-first birthday. He has lived longer than any of the Rogers in his family. His brother died at the age of eighty, and all his dad’s brothers died in their seventies.

During this time, we are preparing for surgery to repair an aneurysm in his only leg, praying for blood flow and healing for the wound on his foot, and considering other things at this age and stage of our lives. Yesterday we were questioning if we should be delving into something we did not understand (while I try to remember what that was, I am watching the wind and rain assault the beautiful dogwood that we have enjoyed the last few days blooming outside the window. How easily our thoughts can change. I can’t remember the thing we were considering two days ago. It must not have mattered.) 🙂

After discussing whether or not, we asked if knowing would matter. That progressed to the question: “What matters?” We have never really asked that question before, so as to discuss and document the answers.

After talking about what we though mattered, I decided to pose this question to our readers. Before stating our answers in this blog, I would like you to share your responses to this question. If you need some time, think about it and come back later to comment. At different ages we may consider one thing that matters more than others. What matters and makes us content when we are young may not matter when we get older.

Let’s leave off the answer “love” for the time being. Love would probably be the first answer for a lot of people; it might also mean something different to each of us.

Please join me in this conversation, to which we will add, after your comments are made.

Oh ~ and please include your age; that matters in our answers. 🙂

Dear Father, I pray that you will give us insight for our answers to this question of what matters in this life. In Jesus’ name I pray. amen.

The Spirit of Contentment

As we begin this chapter we want to remember the three main things that pertain to contentment.

1.  Divine Contentment is supernatural, possible only for God’s people.
2. It is the result of a relationship between God and His children.
3. He teaches us how He works contentment in us.

From the first point, we consider contentment to be of a different realm than the natural.
It is a divine working of God’s own kingdom here on earth as He is preparing us for eternity with Him.
It is established by the will of the Father for His children through the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ.
It is a relationship brought about by the revelation and fulfillment of the power of His Holy Spirit.
We have looked at Contentment with God Our Father, Contentment in Jesus Christ, The Reason and Season for Contentment, and The Center of Contentment, all relating to the expectation and anticipation of contentment in this life.
Again, all is based, not on our own working, but on the promises of God’s Word as revealed by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19-21).

The Power of the Holy Spirit

We look now at the power of the Holy Spirit that makes what the Father and the Son willed and accomplished for us a reality.

How did we come to hear and to know God? How did we first believe?
How do we continue to believe when others scoff and ridicule the truths of God’s Word and His kingdom?
How can we be content in this life without all that the world offers?
How do we continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness, while others seek happiness and contentment in material possessions or human relationships?

6639130a860b96331bde612f927e440dA Mind-set of the New Birth

This contentment is a heavenly mind-set of those who have been born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8).

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ; His life by the power of His Spirit in us.

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.
For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. (See 2 Corinthians 6-16)

From the beginning of time, the Holy Spirit has been working to bring light into our darkness, to reveal the will and the work of the Father in His children.

This Spirit of contentment is the same as the power that raised Jesus from the dead; the same power that “made alive in Christ” those who were dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1-5).
Paul prayed for the early Christians to know of their inheritance in Christ; and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,”  Ephesians 1:19-20

 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,” Ephesians 3:16

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’s Working

In many of Paul’s letters He makes reference to the three persons of the Trinity.

” being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:11-14

The Things of the Spirit

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:5-6

If you are in Christ and Christ in you, you have been bought with the blood of Christ. Your body is the temple of His Holy spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

“And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:24

Contentment is for those who are led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:18); for those who walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) and for those who live by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Who is not content who bears the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)?

Dear Gracious and Holy Father, who has created us and redeemed us by revealing the good news of Christ and bringing us to Him according to your will, we thank you and praise you for your mercy, and for your grace. Your work of love and compassion has restored us to a right relationship with you, and made possible the freedom in Christ that brings contentment. Continue to teach us from your Word, and by your Holy Spirit write your promises on our hearts and minds. Enable us to crucify the desires and passions of the flesh that we may bear the fruit of the Spirit of Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

See the following posts, beginning with How the Holy Spirit Works.
There were too many references of the Holy Spirit for us to include in this post. What is your favorite that we did not use?

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Contentment With GOD Our FATHER

 As I sit in contemplation, praying how to start this post, the reminder comes that everything we as children of the Kingdom do, starts with GOD. This is a reminder that my thoughts, my words, my actions all play off of this truth that only our heavenly Father can teach us.

This is how I have always taught, especially with my grandchildren for fourteen summers, with the premise, “In the beginning, GOD.” Add to this, the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father …. Hallowed be Thy name,” In these, we learn where to start our thinking. From these, we witness to others who we are, and live what we believe.

What we learn from Him never changes because He never changes. “The world lies in wickedness” (1 John 5:19) “under the power of the evil one” (ESV). And we as His children are all prone to forget that He leads us in “the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” According to His will and the power of His light, He brings every generation through the darkness of this world, each heart, and each person to His designated end. From start to finish, it is and always will be, GOD

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us,
that we should be called children of God;
and so we are.
The reason why the world does not know us
is that it did not know him.”
1 John 3:1

The difference is in how we each relate to Him. GOD, to some people, is nothing; purely speculation. He may pass as a thought through the minds of others. But in His kingdom, we relate to GOD as our Father. There is a huge, magnitudinal difference in the minds, hearts, and lives of those who know Him as FATHER. The key word here is “know.”

“Knowing” in God’s Word denotes intimacy; being close enough to live in assurance, without doubt, with the one we know. A child who lives with a father who takes loving care, promises and fulfills his promises, can live content. We are living “with” God our Father. He is not just a supernatural being that has “set His throne above the heavens…His kingdom ruling over all.” He is transcendent so as to encompass all, but He is also, supernaturally, living in our hearts, our minds and our strength.neverthelessHe is always with us. He is GOD to His children when He is nothing to others. He is caring for us in the smallest detail, and the greater things. While the world lives in despair and hopelessness, He is able to supply every need, whether physical or spiritual. If we fail to know, trust and live in light of these truths, then we must set our minds on Him as GOD, in prayer and in meditation on His Word. He is able, “exceeding abundantly able” to “hold us by the hand and guide us with His counsel” to know Him as Father beyond what we can ask or think of Him by His power working in us (Ephesians 3:20-21).psalm-73GOD Is Our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan For His People is our newest publication (next week). This book is a summary of what I taught my grandchildren and relates to God’s goal for us as His children. He, in His purpose for our creation and redemption before the beginning of time, planned how He would bring us through this wilderness to Himself. He has not, and will not fail, to be GOD and Father to us.

Are we His children? Has He ever failed in His promises? Are we content with Him as our GOD and Father? What more does He need to do for us? Let us draw near to Him; stay close to Him, and we will through all our trials and temptations, learn to be content with Him and all He has planned for us.psalm-73

Gracious Father in heaven, you teach us in your Word what you want us to know about you. By your Spirit of Christ working in us, you bring us to yourself so that you may fill our minds and hearts with your love and grace. You are a Father like no other, who promises all that we need for this life and for eternity. Send out your Holy Spirit today; mark us as your own that we may be witnesses of your promises and the fulfillment in us of all that you have prepared for us. Make us to know you as Father in the middle of a world that does not hold this role sacred; a world that lives in the state of oppression. Thank you for leading us to keep our eyes on you, no matter the circumstances. In Jesus’ name, I pray.