The FEAST

(After a feast with my daughter and her family today, I am reminded of a vision of a feast years ago.)

********2014

For some reason my mind has been on food these last few days, not just on one item and not just on one meal, and not just for a common occasion.  My thoughts have been on a feast, in which I picture this long table that extends out of my sight, with so much food, and with such a variety, it is a smorgasbord that is more than you would ever have time to sample.

This sight affects all my senses.  What I see is an arrangement of colors, textures, and designs.  They all fit together so that we could not describe any one platter of such a banquet. It is a beautiful offering of a majestic kind, fit for a king and his court. The aromas capture my sense of smell, as I am drawn nearer to the table.

I am invited to come closer, to taste the delicacies spread before me.  What do I sample first?  It is all so magnificent, that I dare not spoil the display.  It is too glorious even to touch, but I must.  I am enthralled with the scene.

The questions come: “Who has prepared such a feast?”

“Where do such delicacies grow?  Why have I not seen or tasted such as this before?”

“How is all this food prepared and preserved?  Will it not spoil before it is eaten?”

“I cannot begin to partake of all this by myself.
There is no one here but me.  This is too much for me.  I must go and find others with whom I can share this banquet.  It is too wonderful!”

But, as I start to leave, a voice comes from the end of the table.  “Before you go, taste for yourself, before you bring someone else. Without tasting you will not remember where you have been, nor will you want to come back.”

And so, humbly I approach the table.  I see in the middle of all the other food, and my hand reaches for, a piece broken from a simple loaf of bread, the aroma of which I have never enjoyed before.  Slowly, and gently the bread is lifted to my mouth and the sensation is indescribable.  My eyes are opened to a throne at the end of the table where the King is seated.  Gathered around Him and around the table are all these people who have come and tasted of the feast in the simplicity of Christ, His Son.

The feast is too rich for us now; our palate must be prepared for it. It is designed by the Father and revealed to us by His Holy Spirit who draws us to the center of the table—the bread of life—Christ, Himself.  For now the bread of heaven is enough. He is our sustenance for this earth and our taste of heaven.  The Feast is for the Wedding and heavenly dining with the Father, and Son, in His great glory—for His glory and our joy.

“I am the living bread
which came down from heaven;
if any man eat of this bread,
he shall live for ever…”
John 6:51

“O taste and see that the LORD is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” 
Psalm 34:8

I pray that today we might taste of His divine goodness and bring others to His table.

9/29/07  (from Waiting is Not a Game ~ Articles of Faith, written during the three years that we waited for the wound to heal from Jerry’s amputation.)

 

No Separation

God sent His Son
God’s Son sent His Spirit
God’s Spirit lives in us

We find these truths throughout the Word of God, and Romans 8 expounds on the work of the Trinity. From the planning to the inception, God is sovereign; in control; and bringing to pass His plans for our salvation; made before the foundation of the world.

The power of the gospel that brings about the obedience of faith in all nations (1:5; 16:26) is the working of the Holy Spirit since the completion of Christ’s work (1:4); and will be finished as He has planned.

Connecting the Dots
The Holy Bible is a precious book; a canon; a volume of many books; but more than anything else, it is a workbook, which we must use for all time and endurance of life. It identifies the author, His work, and His workers. We go through, looking for God. He permeates the whole book. We find Him in the beginning and the end. We find Him in Jesus Christ. We find Him in the Holy Spirit. We see Him working in His creatures; in His creation and His redemption. All is His.

When we come to the book of Romans we go a little deeper in our understanding of truth that has been hidden from some because of the change in the teaching and preaching of the gospel in the last century.

It is only as we see that God has full control to work what He has planned from the foundation of the world; before the world began (Ephesians 1:4; 2 Timothy 1:9) that we can be assured of “no condemnation” and “no separation.” We cannot save ourselves from God’s wrath; or keep ourselves through the suffering and temptation of this world.

This chapter connects these truths to each of the Trinity. They are united in this great plan for the power of the gospel for our salvation. As we meditate we look for the work of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In all study of the Bible we find Christ at the center; all things connecting to and pointing from and to Him for all things.

Treasure, Impact, Assurance
In the halfway mark in Paul’s letter to Romans we need to stop; take a breather; and sit down with this letter that is included in God’s word. I cannot in these notes unpack what has been recorded here for His people. If we take the time to read, meditate, saturate, and absorb what is here we find a treasure box from which God, by His Spirit, brings us to understand the fullness of the truth which we have been given in and through Christ Jesus, our Lord. To understood predestination we need to let God lead us to see the truth of His own work and glory in us.  To get the full impact of the whole book of Romans we must allow the Holy Spirit, that intercedes for us, to lead us and teach us here and through the remainder of Paul’s letter.

In Romans 8:19-39 we can look for these words; meditate on the verses from which these come; experience the impact; and be assured of the power of the gospel and the Holy Spirit to accomplish all His work within us ~ for His glory and our joy.

Expectation
Delivered
Liberty
Waiting
Saved
Hope
Patience
Spirit
Intercession
Saints
Everything
Know
Good
Purpose
Foreknow
Predestined
Conformed
Image
Called
Justified
Glorified
Intercession
Conquerors
Elect
Persuaded
Love
God
Christ
Lord

romans8_37-460x345

Dear Father, we are helpless, except for your life that is given us in Christ. I pray for the authority of your word to be commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit; to accomplish all that you have planned for each of us today. In Jesus name I thank you and praise you. Amen.

 

WHY WORDS MATTER

“Although we have always known it intuitively, science has confirmed the tremendous power our words have on ourselves, communities, and the world. In fact, words can literally shape the material world. The words we speak not only reflect, but shape our thoughts, and our thoughts shape the physical structure of our brains. An NPR interview between host Ira Flatow and science writer Sharon Begley, “Can Thoughts and Action Change Our Brains?” revealed how findings in neuroplasticity suggest the way we think can not only change the structure of our brains, but even lead to the re-growth of brain cells (something once considered impossible).” Chris Hazell VIEWPOINT July 2017

As death threatens to again bring me to its stronghold, I have been blessed to remember what my heavenly Father has taught me for the past fifty years . Coming to the anniversary of Jerry’s last week and his death on June 1, 2020, the Spirit of Christ is showing me the power of His stronghold.

For months, I have been in a maze, knowing my calling, waiting for others to move on my behalf, still not knowing when or how He will fulfill that calling in me. This physical life ~ nothing but a stronghold of death that eventually shows its power in the flesh, its desires, and accomplishments is overwhelming to those who do not know God, the Father and His covenant with His people. Words of death continue to keep the world under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19). Without the hope the heavenly Father gives through His Son, what is there to live for?


“Now they have known that all things
which You have given Me are from You.  
For I have given to them the words which You have given Me;
and they have received them,”
John 17:7-8

It is not a matter of what I have accomplished in my eighty-two years, what anyone else has done for me or where I am now. All that matters is what my heavenly Father has given me through Jesus Christ.

Now and forever, the Words of Life, are written on my mind and in my heart. Let death threaten as it will, I will remember His promises written in His covenant of grace to His children. He is faithful and will not forget He has given Life to those who believe in His Son. His Words accomplish all He has sent them to do (Isaiah 55:11)

They speak the Living Word of Jesus Christ in the lives of His people ~ the fruit of His Spirit ~ love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility, compassion and much more. The more we read, the more we live. The more we memorize and meditate, the greater the fruit of Christ in us and through us. The fullness of God is displayed in His church, the members of His body living the Life of Christ as a witness to a dying world.

Heavenly Father, we praise you for speaking the universe into existence, for continuing to rule by your sovereignty fulfilling the covenant established before the foundation of the world, revealed and fulfilled in Christ and through your people for your glory and our joy. Thank you that your Word is as alive and powerful now as at the Creation and the Resurrection of Jesus, our Lord, in whose name we pray. Amen.

The Great Scam

Anyone who has been scammed would probably say theirs was the greatest. When we know we have been scammed, we don’t take it lightly. Though angry and humiliated, we admit we took the bait and attempt to recover our losses.

Recently I read a report about pastors scamming the members of their churches. One woman gave her pastor access to her funds, supposedly to help women who were cancer patients.

She lost all her money to a deceiver she trusted.

In the Garden of Eden, our inheritance from God was stolen from the first man. Future generations were left destitute of anything valuable in this life. Gone was any hope for a relationship with our creator who provided all His creatures needed.

The deceiver has continued to manipulate every generation, attempting to keep men from their legacy.

Yet, from the beginning, the same God had a restoration plan, its beauty and glory revealing a more significant inheritance. Through another man, He makes us aware of the scammer. He gives us the knowledge we need to recover the Kingdom He promises His children.

Still, false shepherds are claiming to care for their sheep who do not know God and mislead the flock. They are blind, leading the blind to destruction. We live in a world of deceivers.

In His Word, our heavenly Father gives us explicit knowledge of Himself and His kingdom. We have His promises for all of life here and in eternity.

Through His leading, we know who to trust and are free to enjoy our fellowship with Him and with His Son, Jesus Christ, the true Shepherd. He is our prophet, teaching us; our priest, interceding for us with the Father; and our King, knowing and ruling over all things, protecting and providing for all our needs.

The apostle Paul wrote these words: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Gal. 5:1

Simon Peter left us this truth: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Pet. 1:3-5

Dear Father, Paul prayed that we may be filled with a knowledge of your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. We need this filling, knowledge of you, wisdom to live in this world without fear of deception and enjoy the inheritance you have given us through Jesus our Lord. Let us live in fellowship with you and Jesus, by the power of your Holy Spirit that we may be light and salt, a sweet fragrance of Christ, and fruitful for your name’s sake. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 

Clear the Clutter for a New Year

What is your vision for 2021?

Will the next year be any different than this year of chaos and upheaval?

Can you see clearly what lies ahead?

We must look more than ever with eyes of faith toward the unknown.

We must prepare to face a new year with a renewed and a clearly defined purpose.

We must remove the clutter of our being, clear our vision of the waste we have around us, leaving room for the newness God has prepared for us as His people.

Our rooms are cluttered with things we don’t need; our minds are filled with thoughts that drag us down or keep us in a tailspin; our lives are wasting away with the sights and sounds of the world.

2020 has either opened our eyes to see the condition of our world and our part in it, or it has served to bury us in its avalanche of fear and degradation. We must each survey our own personal environment, pray for wisdom to know where we are in the scheme of things, and respond obediently and passionately to God’s leading.

In response to my own needs,  I have begun~~~~~

I have cleared my desktop, physically and digitally, filing so that if what I am saving is significant, I can come back to it ~ if not, it is out of sight and mind until the time I can go through all my files.

Paper to be recycled is deposited in a bin in the garage ready for weekly pick-up.

Paying bills online has become the norm.

Removing clothes I don’t wear frees space in the closet, plus someone at Goodwill is blessed by my discards.

There are many other ways and areas to de-clutter physically ~ these our hands have to deal with ~ but the most important is to declutter the mind and heart. Our eyes and ears are manipulated by what we see and hear. With the continual onslaught of the world’s condition in our face, we cannot see clearly with the eyes of faith.

We clear our thinking by daily closing our eyes and ears to man’s words and our own thoughts, taking hold of God’s Word, and praying fervently for a steadfast faith in Christ. We must pray for others and ourselves to know our heavenly Father and from Him, the eternal life Jesus came to give. Then we can see clearly the kingdom that rules over all creation and mankind, and live in the hope that is in Him.

And even as the majority of the world lives in oblivion, we have the promise, the presence, and the power of almighty God, our Father, opening heaven so that our focus is on Him and His plans for us as part of His kingdom rule on earth.

This is not a new year’s resolution but the Way of eternal life our heavenly Father has prepared for His children. Are you God’s child? How do you know and what difference does this make? Is your life any different than the life of an unbeliever? What do you want in this new year?

We are not left to ourselves but have the words and power of eternal life through the Word of God, and by His Spirit, we can live victoriously through whatever a new year brings.

Father, we praise you that your grace is sufficient for us to face an uncertain year. We thank you that your kingdom and your Word endures forever through every obstacle and every trial, as light in the darkness of this world. You never leave us or forsake us but supply every need ~ to your glory, and for our joy, In Jesus’ name, I thank you and praise you. Amen.

 

 

 

2020 ~ Year of Separation

Without delving into details of this year, I want to specifically come to the subject of separation, and to quickly get to the main one that led me to write this post.

Many have died from the virus. More have died from heart disease and cancer and most of these separated from their loved ones because of the restrictions in medical facilities. Our children and I were blessed to be with Jerry when he died on June 1 from heart failure. 

Among many others, one of the areas has been the separation of the children of God from their heavenly Father and His family, and between His family members.

While it is tragic, we can find something good in all this. We have a closer look at who are truly God’s people. It is in times like these that a sifting takes place, and we see a separation of true believers from those who are only habitual worshipers.

There has been a hunger and thirst among some who love the Father and Jesus, the Son ~ those who have not had a place to worship. Many churches are still closed, and their members are not even looking for one that is open. 

We have been blessed to increase our membership during these last few months, not only because of other churches being closed but because some have adopted new movements that have sprung up this year. This is proof that the teaching may not have been sound when we had the liberty to worship. 

It is evident that when the church is shaken, there will be revision. God’s kingdom could not go on the way it had been. It is being turned upside-down and inside-out. If we return to what we consider even half-normal it will never be the same.

“And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.” Leviticus 20:26

The separation of God’s people from the world will continue as we see who will worship during these times, and who simply do not care anymore. 

‘Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
2 Corinthians 6:17

Other activities on the Lord’s Day are becoming more and more prominent, but He is forming a family for Himself who love and worship according to what pleases Him. These are the ones who live in peace and blessings from Him. These will be more prepared for the next round of separation. If God’s people do not turn in repentance and true faith, we will see another wave of chaos and violence leading to a greater separation.

Be joyful, if you are able to meet with God’s people. Pray fervently for His mercy and healing so restrictions may be lifted. But, more than anything, pray for those closest to you to be brought safely into the fold of the great Shepherd. 

As His people, we are promised His presence and power at all times, in any distress or dilemma we may encounter.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
NOTHING ~ nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35, 37-39

I post this today for disciples of Christ as the particular day we prove our devotion to Him ~ the day separated from other days of the week. Observing this day is a projection toward the final day when He will separate His people from this world and eternally to Himself.

“All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.” Matthew 25:32

“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” Hebrews 12:28-29

Dear Father in heaven, send your Holy Spirit to bring us to repentance. Turn us from the world, its fear and chaos ~ to worship you in spirit and truth, in reverence and awe. Show us your great and mighty work in your church today ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 

Image: Google

A Year Worse than 2020?

2006 was a different year with different circumstances and the only reason I record the events here is as an archive for our family. So, if you who are reading, don’t like to hear how God brings His children to love and depend on Him more, you may want to skip this post.

The first six months of that year were the last for Jerry and me to care for my mother with Alzheimer’s disease. After four and a half years with us, she died on August 2 and was buried on August 7.

August 9, we learned our pastor and half the families in our church were moving to Tennessee ~ a drastic division in the church.

September 19, Jerry had an emergency by-pass surgery on his left leg.

October 24, his leg was amputated.

November 8, he came home from rehab.

For the remainder of the year, we waited for healing which did not happen until three years later, after another surgery to remove the graft inserted in the by-pass.

We experienced a physical and a spiritual amputation in our church that year that took years to reconcile. Recovery from both came about the same time as we were drawn closer to the Lord.

That was 2006. Fast-forward to 2020. 

On this day, fourteen years ago, I am recalling that day of amputation and the years that followed until Jerry’s death on June 1, five months ago.

Of the fourteen years, he did not walk for the first three years. As we waited for healing, he was fitted for a prosthesis but every time he tried to use it the wound opened.

After the last surgery, he still experienced spasms and pain, soreness and discomfort that he finally accepted. He used a walker for eight years as he was able. He drove again for about five years, until 2017 when he could no longer wear a shoe and resigned himself to a wheelchair for the last three years. During these three years, we knew the Father’s care through our church family and our children and their families.

The date, October 24, 2006, and the anniversary, startled me as I lay in bed this morning. I was frozen as I imagined how he faced that day until after 5:00 P.M. His life would no longer be the same. He was 70; I was 67. We were both still strong enough to face that trial physically. It was not until the week before his death, we understood how strong our heavenly Father had made us, spiritually.

All we lost was for our gain, for eternity.

He did not complain; I did not complain ~ we both learned to praise Him in all things ~ to establish and live by the Glad Rule our heavenly Father taught us. 

In his last days, Jerry would say, “I wonder what it will be like.”

Could he tell us, we might listen and take heed to what waits for us beyond this wilderness ~ and praise Him. 

Heavenly Father, thank you that you gave us a spirit of praise and thanksgiving. You showed us your grace, mercy, and glory in the middle of the worst times in this life. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that lives in your children to declare the love of Christ and your kingdom on this earth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 
Fran

Image: Google

“I Am Not Alone, My Father is With Me”

As I woke up on a Lord’s Day morning a week ago, these words of Jesus from John 16:32 were my words. From my heart and soul, I would say in the reality of His presence and power, “I am not alone. My Father is with me.”

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples as He ended His teachings of three years, before His High-Priestly prayer to the Father, then to the Garden of Gethsemane ~ on His way to the crucifixion.

But, we may say, His Father turned His back on Him while He was suffering for our sins, in obedience to His will. Yes, but it was for one time, and so that we may know His everlasting presence with us. He will never leave us, nor forsake us because He looks upon us as His own, now joined to Christ, His Son. We dwell in Him and He, in us, by His Spirit which He has given us (1 John 3:24).

We never fear that He may turn His back on us. He has given His Son as a propitiation for our sins, appeasing His anger, that we never know His wrath. We turn to Him in repentance and faith for the abundant life He gives in Christ (John 10:10).

How blessed to know even when we are alone physically, He is always with us. I have been a sister, a wife, and a mother, but always, I am a daughter to my heavenly Father.

Gracious Father, thank you for your promises that make us your own, not by anything we can do, but because you have desired us and sired us by your will here, and forever. We praise you for revealing your plans for our relationship with you through Jesus Christ, your Son, and for keeping us always in your care, leading us by your Holy Spirit, for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I thank you and praise you. Amen.

God is at His Best in Times Like These

The most difficult the times, the closer our Heavenly Father draws us to Him.
When things are well with us, we are prone to forget Him.

 “Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness:
he is gracious,

and full of compassion, and righteous.”
Psalm 112:4

He waits to be gracious to us. In times like these, He opens heaven and His sanctuary to us, drawing us ever so close.

Dear Father, send your light and and by your Spirit, lead us to seek you, your kingdom and your righteousness. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.