As I am in the process of formatting our next book, Beyond a Mere Christianity, I am thinking of an analogy.
If you get down to details, you know there are many parts of a book. If you are an author or a publisher, you have many facets to consider.
To make this a simple analogy, let us look at three main components. The Cover, The Contents, and The Conclusion.
The cover is the first thing that is seen. An old adage is that we should not judge a book by its cover; but that is not practical. If you want someone to read your book, you need a cover design that will pique a reader’s interest so as to look inside.
The contents are the meat of your book, the reason for giving it a cover and putting it together. Your introduction will give the main points that you will unfold. Chapters break down your thoughts in ways that carry your reader to the end.
The conclusion sums up what you have written in the contents. The reader should have something to take away; hopefully, he is advantaged from reading your book. If so, he may write a review and recommend your book to others.
How Do People Read You?
We all have a wardrobe, clothes designed to present an image to those we want to know. Sadly, some either unknowingly mislead others by how they dress or are dressing to please others. Those who see them do not really care what they have to say but are looking with selfish desires. Our expressions are also an outward image of what is inside.
What is the intent and contents of your heart? What do you want to say to others?
Can you speak graceful words of kindness? Do you encourage and witness of the Lord Jesus Christ to those who are looking for godliness and hope from you?
What conclusion do you leave with those you meet? Do you share God’s Word and memorable truths? Will they want to talk to you again? Will they recommend you to others? Will they give you a good review before God and others?
“For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;”
2 Corinthians 1:12-13
Dear Father in heaven, we pray that your name will be hallowed in us. Open our eyes to see ourselves as you and others see us ~ from the way we dress to what we speak ~ the words and message we maintain in our own hearts and minds. Let our final words and actions leave no doubt as to who we are and whose we are. Through us, make your kingdom known, as your will is being done. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
This word in our list of Words of Life A to Z ~ The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian follows on the heels of our last post ~ God’s Utmost for My Highest. We don’t plan the order of these but rejoice at how He brings some of our posts so close together. By the revelation of the Holy Spirit, through the life and work of His Son, Jesus Christ, we have the assurance of His plans for our salvation and His keeping us here, now, and eternally.
Old Testament H983
Strong’s Concordance defines ASSURANCE, betach beh’takh; security, safety
The same is used for the words secure, safety, safely, safe, hope and confidence.
Deuteronomy 23 is a record of God’s blessings and curses to Israel. The blessings are for those who hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. The curses are for those who do not obey Him. They have no assurance of life.
“And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:” Deuteronomy 28:66
God’s work of righteousness by His Spirit within us is peace with definite and infinite effects in our lives ~ quietness and assurance forever.
“And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32:17
New Testament G4102
Strong’s Concordance defines ASSURANCE, pistis pē’-stēs
The same is used for the words, faith, belief, and hope.
It is reasonable to say that we have more references of assurance in the New Testament because of the fulfilled work of Christ for us. Again, in the following verse, we see the connection between righteousness and assurance.
“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” Acts 17:31
“That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;” Colossians 2:2
“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.”
1 Thessalonians 1:5
The writer of Hebrews speaks of the assurance of hope and faith.
“And we desire that every one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end.” Hebrews 6:11
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:22
Heavenly Father, we acknowledge there is only one assurance of hope and faith ~ that which you work in our hearts. Bless us with your Holy Spirit as you reveal the gospel in power among us. Knit us together in love, in full assurance of understanding, that we may acknowledge the mystery of your great salvation for and in us by your grace and for your glory. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
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
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.
Jerry and I are just coming through another one. Though still not where we hope to be (Jerry has not walked since January), as we wait for a reasonable recovery, we are resting in the will of the Lord where we are now.
We have been through many storms such as these, and expect that we may go through others before we get to the end of this life.
He has proven that storms are good for us (Romans 8;28-29).
They take us away from our home base.
They scatter our hopes for anything in this world.
They bring us in touch with people we have never known, some who have been hit worse than we have.
Through these times, He gives us hope and encouragement for others we meet, and find others whose hope is in Him.
We experience the Lord’s presence like no other time in our lives.
Just as Jesus’ disciples looked to Him and He spoke to the storm, He is with us through it and speaks peace to it in His exact timing.
Our love for Him is never stronger than when He endures with us.
Our joy is never greater; our faith never deeper planted in Him than through these times.
The sun is never brighter than when we come to a resting place in Him.
Our faith increases during these times.
Endurance, hope, strength, grace, and wisdom grow through these adversities.
The doors of heaven are opened for us, beyond our circumstances, to see the One who created us and redeemed us for Himself, so as to keep us by His power for eternity with Him.
The peace of our Lord is promised to all who endure the storms of this life for a life beyond this one.
He does not allow us to be overcome, but enables us to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14
Gracious heavenly Father, we give you thanks for your grace, power and presence with us during the storms of life. You have always been faithful to keep us through all our circumstances, no matter how difficult they seem. There are many who are struggling. Please be with these; guide them and give them peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Related post: God is Greater Than
Often I think of life as a simple “spiral.”
It circles, and as it turns, advances a little at the time.
Nothing is required for us to move in a downward spiral.
A natural downward spiral begins when we are born into this world. Our minds are set on things of this world, which draw us and drag us down. We are unable, of our own volition, to change our direction. Life never stays the same, and nature itself, by its gravity, keeps pulling us to its depths and the impending death that waits for us.
Those who are born into a culture that teaches Biblical principles may hear of God’s grace and His means of changing our direction, but we are at a loss to apply these principles in our own power.
The Bible teaches us that the direction of our lives changes when we are reborn of the work of God’s Spirit in our heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). God gives us a new life through His Son, Jesus Christ, and by the power of His Spirit within us, urns us from the power of the downward spiral. By His kindness, He brings us in repentance and faith to Himself (Acts 20:21; Romans 2:4). He continues through this life to bring us onward and upward, and to eternity with Him.
There is much more we could say in this short treatise about life here on earth, including sin and evil in this world, which is the reason for the downward spiral. The world has been in this downward deathly movement since the beginning of time, when our first parents turned from their Creator to make and take their own lives, and ours, in a different direction than His.
Are you aware of how you are turning, which way your life is going? Do you want to know this onward and upward movement in your life? Do you want to know the power of God’s Spirit working in you to bring you to Himself? No one can do an about-face, turning themselves. Many have tried but to no avail. It requires the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit working through our spirit to give us a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) This requires a new birth (John 3:3) which only He can give (John 1:12-13; 1 Peter 1:3). Regeneration, a new creation, and repentance is His spiritual work in us, and what a glorious experience to be turned and moving in the opposite direction from the world.
If you have yet to know this new life, I pray that you will reach for God’s Word, which He offers to you. Read the Holy Bible. If you have never read before, begin with the New Testament. Ask for His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13); pray and pour out your heart to Him. He knows where you are and what you need. Read and pray until He, by His Spirit, turns you to repentance and faith as a new creature in Christ. He gave His life to deliver us from the present evil age (Galatians 1:3).
If you have never heard the good news of God’s changing our lives and our direction, and want to hear more I would be blessed to tell you more. You can send me a message on our CONTACT page. There is oh, so much more of this glorious upward spiral that is ours in Christ through whom we, as God’s children, live.
I will end this post by saying that your wedding day will not be the most wonderful day of your life. Neither will the birth of your children be the greatest experience you can know. There is nothing as wonderful as being born of the Spirit of God and living every day in Christ, in light of His promises and hope. It is the most uplifting experience of this life as He is preparing us for eternity with Him.
Gracious Father, how can we tell someone what it is like to know you and what life is like as your children? It is impossible to share the width, the depth and the height of your love. You must do the work in each of us. I pray that you would shine your light and the life of Christ through us, and by your Spirit, draw and birth others into your house and kingdom. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
(We are closing our website, Father and Family Books, and concentrating all our efforts here and on Facebook, as we continue to proclaim the legacy of God’s kingdom. Our first ministry of writing (second to caring for Jerry) will still be through the publishing of our books, but we will maintain this blog as a means of sharing what our heavenly Father gives for the edifying of His people. And so, we will seek the blessing from Him as we post in the future.)
As we wrote in an earlier post A World in Crisis (before the election) we now see the scenes of this reality unfolding in our country. Even as God’s people, we wonder where He is and what He is doing.
In the next few posts, I want to document for our legacy as God’s children things that we need to remember so that we see God’s work unfolding in the middle of the chaos of this world. How can we maintain our faith, hope and joy in such times as these? We are challenged not only to endure; not only to strive, and to survive, but to thrive through all things, in the power, the love, the wisdom and grace of our God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Growing up I was often reminded that when we see the devil’s work, we can be assured that God is doing something greater. We are distracted by the physical elements of the world and how Satan works in and through men. God, our heavenly Father teaches us to look beyond what we can see with the physical eye, to catch a glimpse of His greatness and glory. In this we can see the working of His grace and goodness. The Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation happened at the same time. There were two kingdoms operating from two perspectives, which is the history of this world, since the antithesis began in the Garden with our first parents.
Let us, as God’s children, be about the Father’s business in the only kingdom that will survive all generations, until in the fullness of time, all things are united in Christ, “things in heaven and things on earth.” Ephesians 1:10
Dear Father in heaven, we need you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, to reveal your presence and power to us as your children, as we live in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Give us your love, joy, and peace; shine your light through us to draw others to Christ. Make us an open door to your kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.