Followers of Christ Have CGCD

We live in an abbreviated society with many associations. We are described and labeled by our distinctions and dialect, our degrees, doctrines, diseases and disorders.

The description of the life of a follower of Christ is a wonderful thing, definitely not a disease or disorder, but a distinction. Let me explain according to the initials CGCD, the abbreviation for Conviction, Guidance, Commitment and Discipline.

Conviction
One becomes a follower of Christ by the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Jesus taught His disciples that when He left them to return to His Father He would send the Holy Spirit ~ the Spirit of truth. He would supernaturally birth them into His kingdom (John 3:3-8; 1 Peter 1:3-4).

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 
And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:7-11

A follower of Christ is convicted. As the Spirit woos and wins us, we receive the guidance of the Spirit of Christ for new and eternal life.

Guidance
Jesus, who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (john 14:6), promised that the Spirit of truth would guide them into all the truth. This is how He becomes our Shepherd.

“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” John 16:12-13

Commitment
The Spirit of truth is the “Spirit of the Lord”
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18).
He leads us by His hand of mercy to follow Christ, to offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” to serve Him (Romans 12:1-2).
He leads us to full commitment and obedience to Him, to the truth, and to actively seek His kingdom and righteousness.

“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,” Romans 6:17

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:5

“Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.” Proverbs 16:3

Discipline
With commitment comes discipline as He establishes us as His own. We learn to discipline ourselves as we live under the discipline of the Holy Spirit and His Word.

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.”
Proverbs 12:1

“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.” Revelation 3:19

“For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”
Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.” Hebrews 12:6-9
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11The apostle Paul in his letter to Titus encourages him to be “hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined (Titus 1:8).

He says of his own life, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:27

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Luke 9:23

“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.
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3

As followers of Christ we are His special people who gladly accept the description and label as He, by His Grace and His Word, makes us peculiar to the world. No others but those of His family have the life of Christ in them. What a joy it is for people to ask what makes us different, so that we can share Christ with them.

Gracious Father, you have made us precious in your sight. Let us wear the label for your glory. Make your Spirit within us contagious with joy and an excitement that overflows, to your glory and praise. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran, DDC (Devoted Disciple of Christ)

images: Google

The Power of One Man

There are some mornings I cannot get out of bed. My first prayers have been offered up, meditations to begin the day have strengthened my heart, and yet God, our Father holds me and will not let me go.

Monday was such a morning.

Jerry is usually up first, checking the news and weather. He came to tell me of the one-man massacre the night before. (I only know what he tells me. I do not go to the media for more details. I learned years ago that I cannot immerse myself in the news of this world). With such news, my heart melts and I draw close to the throne of grace to know what my Father and my Lord want to say.

He is the God of all comfort and He knows how much we need Him. In times like these, He knows I need this extra time with Him before we begin our day together and to know how to answer others.

Many things, thoughts of this man and all the people he destroyed and injured, news and details of the event, rummaged through my mind. My heart cried out to the living God, who created life in His image, breathed into us His breath of life with the plan through His Spirit to sustain that life in His creatures.

At other times when the world has been in chaos He has drawn me close and given me the hope that He desires to share with His people.

Is Anyone Safe
People wonder if there is safety anywhere. The imaginations run to and fro as we continue to experience the evil heart of man.

We wonder how one man has the power over so many others. Our Lord reminds us that the enemy, the god of this world, is able to deceive, capable of giving his power to man.

He is the same enemy that deceived the one man God created for His own. By one man (Adam) sin came into the world and death by sin (Romans 5:12, 15).

In Watchman Nee’s book The Latent Power of the Soul, he speaks of the power God gave Adam when He put him in charge of His creation. He reminds us that God did not take away these powers, but we see how Satan continues to harness this power through man for His evil deeds.

Safety in the Power of One Man

For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

We are amazed when one man has the power of death over others. Let us be in awe of the power of the one man Jesus Christ, who has the power to give life for eternity to those who come to God through Him.

Our only safety in this world and the next is in Jesus Christ, God’s Son, who was sent from the Father to save His people. Our only hope for now and the future is the steadfast hope that He alone gives.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

He came to destroy the one who had the power of death (Hebrews 2:14) and the works of the devil (1 John 3:8).

Where will all this end? ~ at Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).
Then we shall see the power of the resurrected Christ, the Son of God, the one man with power to rule over all things and all people and put away evil forever.

In the meantime let us all draw near to the throne of grace, keep our lights burning bright with the oil of hope and gladness, continually praising our Lord for His power to save His people from the evil one, bringing hope to others who do not yet know Him. It is during these times that people may be open to the truth of the gospel of grace and hope.Gracious Father, our hearts cry out to you for mercy for this nation and the world. We need to see the power of our Lord Jesus Christ in the lives of your people who as your children without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation hold fast to the word of Life. Shine the light of Christ through us that draws others to Him. Fill us with the power of your Spirit of grace, love, joy and peace. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Image: Google

“What Do You Want Me To Do For You?”

Mark 20:46-52 is the record of a blind man who called, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”
Having Bartimaeus brought to Him, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, that I might receive my sight.”

This question has been resurfacing in my heart for a while. If Jesus were here today, and I could be blessed for Him to physically pass my way, what would I want from Him?

Considering that, of all who approached Him, Jesus asked this question only to a blind man, my answer would apply to my sight.

“jesus, have mercy on me. Open my eyes to see you as you truly are.”

“Show me the beauty of your holiness and the work that you have done for us, so that we may love you more and diligently follow you as did Bartimaeus.”

‘”I ask this not just for me but for your people everywhere. Let us see you as our refuge at all times.”

“Open the eyes and hearts of men and women who have been in the destruction of this recent storm to look to you for all they need.

“Open our eyes to see their need. Unite our hearts in this time of disaster.
Give us hearts of compassion, that we trust in you for our own needs and that we would even sacrifice for food and shelter for others in need.”

“Shine your light into our hearts for new life and joy, even in the middle of adversity. I ask to see your work in hearts and hands, for your glory and for the sake of others. Turn hearts to you during this time.”

“Dear Father, send your Holy Spirit, open our eyes to see Jesus, to know Him, to love Him and obey Him. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.”Jesus may pass our way only one time in our lives. Cry out to Him. He will hear and answer. He promised to show Jeremiah great and might things not known. Jesus still hears and answers. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Image: Google

Which is the True Image?

When I saw the picture on the right posted as “The Best Image of Eclipse 2017” on Facebook Wednesday, I was impressed. When I went back to share it on Thursday, it was no longer there. When I searched Google, I understood why.

Neither of these are a true image of the 2017 eclipse. Brandon, the designer created his own image in 2011 and posted on Devianart. Someone copied the image and turned it so that the light appeared as a cross and posted it on Facebook.

True Image of Christ
This reminded me of all the images of Christ that have appeared throughout many generations. Yet, none of them are the same. Some are embarrassing and blasphemous. There are none that I care to look at. He remains but a silhouette until I see Him face to face.There were no paintings of Him by anyone who saw Him in the flesh. There were no cameras.

Who has a true image of Jesus Christ?

There are as many images conjured up in our own minds as there are painted.

How do we know a true Christian when we see one?

Paul speaks to the church in Corinth of false apostles.

And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”  2 Corinthians 11:12-15

There are those who have claimed to be Christ. Jesus warned His disciples that there would be false prophets.

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look,
here is the Christ!’or
‘There he is!’ do not believe it.
Matthew 24:23

Dear Father in heaven, give us wisdom to know you and your Son as our Lord and Savior. Keep us from those who are impostors. So fill us with your Spirit and your Word that we can recognize the false images of Christ. Make us true image bearers. Enable us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ so as to share His true image with others ~ for your glory. In His name, I pray. Amen.

A Whole Day With God?

How can this be?

Did He not plan it from the beginning when He created all things. Everything we needed was created before man needed it. All He had planned was ready when He took the dust from the earth, created a form, and breathed His Spirit into it, giving it life.  With all things finished and “good” ~ He created another day to enjoy what He had made. Did He not include the man and the woman in that day of rest? Did they not enjoy each other in fellowship?

But, then, the creatures, getting caught up in the joy of the creation, forgot the fellowship of the Father and created their own fellowship with the enemy. That special day with the God of Creation, the God of Life, was destroyed. Might it have been the seventh day they were out on their own?

That day was refused and abused, even when He was leading the nation of Israel, a special people chosen as His own. They did not understand that the Sabbath was a sample of forever; that seventh day, a reminder of His goodness and grace, was profaned and used for their own purposes.

The Power of Obedience and Observance
A seventh day has remained since the beginning of time for the honor of, and fellowship with, our Creator, and Redeemer. It was important to Him and is still important to His children. When He came to earth, it was to reconcile us, through His Son, Jesus Christ; to restore us to the fellowship that He desires with us. He has provided grace that pardons our sins, reconciles us and gives us the power of the gospel to know and observe the rules of His kingdom. Such love, as displayed in the redemptive work of Christ, serves and enables us to recognize, to acknowledge, and to respond in obedience.

His Holy Spirit dwells within us as His children, born anew through His Son, who, as Lord of the sabbath (Mark 2:28), provided a new day of worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10), in celebration of His resurrection, of His finished work. We are called to this “fellowship with the Father and the Son” (1 John 1:2-3). Jesus has made it possible, through His sacrifice for us.

But ~ A Whole Day?
What was your first thought when reading the title of this post? Did it arouse thoughts of how beautiful such a day would be, or “Do I have to spend a whole day with Him?”
I committed to this, years ago. When we were able to attend worship services, the remainder of my day, other than Jerry’s and my time together, was spent in private worship, reading, study, prayer and meditation, viewing an evening worship online, and playing the Psalms and hymns for the Lord and Jerry. It was a glorious time with my Lord. The next six days were a continuation through ordinary or difficult times, in prayer, study, meditation, praise and thanksgiving for His presence and power with us.

It has not been as easy, without public worship for the last six months, to have the whole day at home without distractions. This too, has been a matter of prayer, and we experience that He is able to direct our way to this fellowship. We, like our first parents, are prone to be caught up in our own interests and amusements, our families’ activities and conversations, leaving Him on the sidelines for another time that we choose.

He has blessed to bring us to discover worship services on Sermon Audio Webcasts; one in particular is in Magherafelt, Northern Ireland. He also leads through meaningful posts online; sometimes in fellowship with others who observe this day as holy unto Him.

The Importance of A Day With the Lord
It is indicative, a shadow of a time that is to come. Worship in one of seven days is an observance, not only of what the Lord has done, in victory over the enemy and sin, but observing a day that is totally different from the others of the week. It is indicative of the eternal fellowship with the Lord; a difference between heaven and earth; between the kingdom of God and the world. It is a day of separation, a day of preparation, a day of practice for the eternal life to come. If we cannot devote one day out of seven now, why would we want to spend eternity with the Lord? The day that Christ Jesus, our Lord, rose from the dead, to secure our eternal rest with Him and the Father, should be the most important day of the week to us as His children. It should be part of our abiding in Him always, rejoicing always, living in praise to Him for His glory.

Where are our thoughts, our voices, our hearts and our choices, our eyes, our ears and our hands on His day? What are we teaching our children on this special day He has created for Him and us?  If ever we join Him in this whole day of worship, we shall become addictive to it, and life will not be the same.

Dear Father, thank you for desiring, for planning, and making a day possible for us to spend time in fellowship with you; to set aside all that we normally do for the majority of the week, from our own pleasure and work. Thank you for reconciling us to yourself through the atoning work of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Lead us by your Spirit to plan, commit, and lead our families in this endeavor to keep this day holy unto you, in worship and fellowship with you and your children. Enable us to love you more, to see you and know you as you desire us to. Make us to experience your presence and power with us throughout the new week, as we wait for that glorious day that will be the first day of our eternal fellowship with you. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sanctify us for it.

Raise us to it.

Work it in us.

For your glory and our joy.

Contentment vs. Anxiety

Why has it taken so long for me to write this post?

It is not because I have been at my task of caring for Jerry. It is not because there are not enough hours in the day to witness of the Lord’s goodness ~ this is the reason I write.

Titles come so very easily, but the meat is not always simple to come by. We long to publish the truths of the Father’s kingdom, but it must come by experience. And so this is true of the subject matter of contentment and anxiety.

Growing up in an environment of anxiety stamps a person for life, until we encounter Christ and learn of Him.

Then, we are born and sealed with His Spirit of promise, sanctified, and set apart for His use.

But even as Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord, so we wrestle for the promises that are ours in Him. This wrestling is the work of the Holy Spirit within us, bringing us to know the promises through God’s Word, claiming them, and working through life with the two-edged sword to destroy the strongholds that have have been set up in our lives.

There is as much difference between contentment and anxiety as between day and night. The difference is as light and darkness; as good and evil. And each has its ownership and connotations.  Books have been written, messages spoken and songs sung, and we could say more, but we post very simply today of how the Lord brings us from the anxiety of this life to contentment in Him.

The Source and the Fruit
Anxiety is the abnormal attitude of human beings; the seed thought of every man; flowing from the spring of unbelief.

“O, ye of little faith.”

“Yes, Lord, I hear you. I recognize your voice. I acknowledge my lack of faith.”

“Why do you doubt?”

“I have no excuse. My thoughts carry me where I do not want to go. They seem to have a power of their own.”

“Have I not proven that I love you and am able to provide all that you need?”

“Yes, Lord, I am guilty of forgetting you and your goodness when my thoughts wonder away from you. When times are difficult I am carried away by the moment. I am still learning to be content in every circumstance. I confess my sin, and ask that your Spirit keep me in your Word, to always remember your promises. Let me not dwell on the things of the world, and the power of the enemy. But let your Word be the source of my thoughts, to do its work. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and the contentment that is ours in you. Bear in and through me the fruit of your Spirit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, temperance; the fruit of holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, and humility. Fill me with your fullness, so there is no room for doubt or fear, but only thoughts of you, your grace and your glory.”
Fran

image: Google

Another Year Older and Deeper in Debt

The country song, Sixteen Tons, was written and recorded by Merle Travis in August, 1946. Based on life in the coalmines of Kentucky, the song was one that I remembered from my childhood. It included the lyrics, “Another day older and deeper in debt.”

When I woke yesterday morning to another birthday (two short of eighty years), many thoughts crossed my mind and ended with this one, using the words “another year.”

How many years do we need before we realize how indebted we are for all God does for us? Biblically speaking, I thought my life might end after my seventieth birthday. But, the Lord had different plans than I knew. Even before then I owed my whole life to Him, but with each subsequent year, He so blesses us to see and to bless and praise His name; to live with a thankful heart.

I am indebted to Him for His creation of me, and His plans for me before I knew Him.

I owe Him for giving me the knowledge of Himself through His Word and the power of His Spirit.

I am indebted to Him for opening my eyes to see my sinfulness and my need for a Savior, for His forgiveness; indebted to Christ, His Son, for the debt He paid for my sins.

I owe Him for a new heart, a new spirit, and a new life in His Spirit.

I thank Him for making me His child, taking me by the hand, and continuing to guide me with His Word and Spirit through this wilderness.

The more He blesses, year after year, especially through the difficult times, the more I owe. The more He gives, the more I know I can never repay.

56-78
I am indebted to Him for a husband for 56 of 78 years; for two children and their spouses, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and another on the way. There are friends, pastors, teachers and others who have been a blessing to us, whom we can never repay.

We could go on praising Him for the next seventy years and would be even more indebted.  His blessings never end, and His promises are forever and ever. And, more is to come. We can never stop His blessings from being poured out upon us, and these only samples of what awaits us for eternity.

Dear heavenly Father, even as I give all to you, it will never be enough to repay you for all that you are, all that you have done, and are doing in my life. Thank you for your mercy and goodness that you cause to follow me all the days of my life, that I may dwell in your house forever. In Jesus’ name I thank you and praise you. Amen.

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