From our Pastor’s Heart
We always receive encouragement to start our week after the Lord’s Day worship. The following is the blessing of this week’s email.
How lovely is God’s dwelling place, those upon whom he has placed his name, made his temple by sovereign, quickening grace, and beautified with salvation, his precious church! I count worshipping with you the highlight of life and pray that you were encouraged by being with the Lord and his people. Much of what we obtain from the Lord in worship is determined by what we seek in the days leading up to worship — the world or Christ? To see his beauty and splendor must be our aim. Then and only then can we be wise and courageous in fighting against the devil, suffer patiently, and have the heart to seek strength from our Savior constantly in prayer, for we have no strength or wisdom but what he gives to us. May our blessed Savior be more and more our life and joy, our peace, our wonder, and the Advocate upon whom we constantly attend in worship and fellowship, joyful service, and in the hour of need.
Let us in His Word and prayer prepare this week for worship next Lord’s Day.
Yet I Will Rejoice
From the writings of the prophet, Habakkuk, we learn of God’s judgment upon His people.
The Lord’s words are recorded in Chapters 1 and 2. Well-known promises are interspersed between God’s judgment and Habakkuk’s response in Chapter 3.
“Behold the proud,
His soul is not upright in him;
But the just shall live by his faith.
“For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord,
As the waters cover the sea.”
“But the Lord is in His holy temple.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.”
“A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.
O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid:
O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years,
in the midst of the years make known;
in wrath remember mercy.”
And, as God’s people, in this generation, let us remember the source and the joy of our salvation. Neither are derived from good health, prosperity or anything of this world.
In times of adversity, we must consider what God is saying to each of us. We cannot point the finger at others. Let us use this opportunity to search our hearts, and in faith and repentance “humble ourselves before God and men.” (Andrew Murray, Humility)
Gracious Father, God and ruler of heaven and earth, give us wisdom and grace to turn our hearts to you. Revive your work in us and make us witnesses of your mercy ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Scripture Tunes ~ Habukkuk 3:17-18
As I continue to talk about our newest project ~ Filled with Grace and Wrapped in Glory ~ responses are varied. From those who never heard of Christ living in us, to not understanding the power of the Holy Spirit in human life, I sense the great need for this work and ask you to please pray for the wisdom to assimilate the great store of God’s Word that speaks to the truths of our relationship to God the Father through His Son and our Lord Jesus Christ, in the power of His Word and His Holy Spirit.
“And hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured into our hearts
through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
God the Father is the main source of Life, giving us His Life through His Son Jesus Christ, by the power of His Holy Spirit. The power to think spiritually was lost in the beginning with our first parent’s disobedience to His Word. The spiritual (supernatural) Life our Creator intended for His creatures was rejected. Except for a few who were given faith to believe the promise of a Messiah, the world lived in rebellion. In the Father’s timing, Jesus came to earth, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit to be born of a virgin and live in full obedience to the will of the Father. In so doing, we are given the same power of the Holy Spirit for Christ to be born in us.
Christ in you ~ Filled with Grace ~and you in Christ ~ Wrapped in Glory~ is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, the mystery of the heavenly Life working in the physical lives of God’s children. It requires a change in our way of thinking ~ from a fleshly, earthly mindset to a transformed, heavenly, spiritual Life of words, thoughts, and actions. Such a Life in God’s children brings Light into the darkness of this world ~ proves the difference in good and evil, truth and deception, and draws others to Him and His kingdom. Truth has been buried for centuries. The world would rather keep Jesus buried but He lives victoriously at the right hand of the Father with the power of the Holy Spirit directing all things according to His will. It is time for truth and goodness to descend and penetrate the wilderness in which we live. We must pray for the Holy Spirit’s work in our own lives and the lives of our families and churches. In faith, we must anticipate the power of His Life consuming us by His grace as we have never before experienced. He wants to overwhelm us with His Word, His Spirit, and His glory.
Dear Father, from whom all creation receives its true name and true life, hear our prayer for you to descend in power. By your Holy Spirit bring the two-edged sword to our own hearts, divide asunder between heaven and earth, between the spiritual and the flesh. Make new in your image new creatures in Christ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Just When We Thought
We were beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel……
It was mid-2006. Mother had continued to decline in the four years she lived with us. Her physical condition was adding its toll to her dementia. We had done all we could since my dad died of cancer several years before. While caring for her, we kept two of our granddaughters two days a week ~ a joy and a respite for us and Mother.
But, something had to give.
Her month in a nursing home before she died did not make life any easier. Even so, we hoped this would end our adventures with adversity. No so. Five weeks through the settling of her small estate, Jerry had emergency by-pass surgery on his left leg.
A month later, his leg had to be amputated. After three years of not healing, he had a third surgery to remove the graft inserted for the by-pass. The stump finally healed seven months later and for a short while he used a prosthesis with a walker. But it is still painful.
For the last two years, he has not driven a car, walked, or worn a shoe because of issues with wounds that would not heal. His heart disease and diabetes are not our best friends.
Why am I rehashing these affairs? One reason is to witness of the fulness of God’s grace during trials in this life and to compare the lives of God’s children to the children of Israel as He delivers us from our bondage to self and sin and brings us through this wilderness to His promised land for us.
A Worse Scenario
God’s people had been in bondage four hundred years when the Lord sent Moses and Aaron to Egypt. Their case before Pharoah to deliver Israel only made their condition worse. Not only were they still required to make bricks, but they had to find their own straw. They could not understand how the Lord was working for their freedom.
“Then, as they came out from Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron who stood there to meet them. And they said to them, “Let the Lord look on you and judge, because you have made us abhorrent in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us.” Exodus 5:20-21
Like the people of Israel, we cannot see how the Lord is working on our behalf until we get past a breaking point. Adversity is His means of proving His presence and power in the lives of His children, enabling us to live in the assurance He gives and to praise Him every day.
“My brethren, count it all joy
when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this,
that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
But let patience have her perfect work,
that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”
More and more, we are learning what Paul meant when he said, “I have learned to be content.” Jesus becomes more precious with each trial, endears us to Him and excites our hope for eternal life with Him.
It is in the “something has to give” times that He fills us with His grace and shows His mercy ~ growing us in the process to understand the truth and reality of His promises. Christ in you ~ the hope of glory is experienced in every turn of this life, bringing us closer and closer to Him, His glory and His joy.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time
are not worthy to be compared with the glory
which shall be revealed in us.”
Dear Father, as we are still learning what it means to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray your Holy Spirit to prove us to be yours. Fill us with your grace and make us know your goodness and mercy that follows us all the days of our lives; that we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Suggested Reading: TWO FULL PLATES ~ Learning to be a Caregiver
All Things New
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17
In awe for the last decade, I have been given another new year to express the all-glorious presence and blessings of our Almighty God. Ten years ago, I was thinking how close I might be to leaving this planet to be with our Lord. Now in my eighth decade, I sense more and more my weakness and dependence on my Creator and Redeemer as He continues to prepare me for eternity with Him. It is a second childhood I heard about in my first childhood, but, oh so much more than I had imagined. And, I am loving it!
Learning to leave behind those things I thought were so precious years ago, I have been blessed for the Lord to reveal His kingdom of grace in me enabling me to experience a taste of that which is to come.
Trust in the One Who Gives Life
Did I say that these years have been comfortable and pleasant? Not by any stretch of the imagination; they are being spent in trust and leaning upon the One who gave me life twice ~ as Creator and Redeemer ~ a new life that will never end.
Giving me the responsibility as a full-time caregiver for Jerry has been the Father’s way of grooming me as His servant. And there is no greater joy than this. Having served in many roles (too many to list) the role of a servant tops the list for joy and fulfillment in His kingdom.
With one of my favorite verses of His Word, I end my first prayer each day before getting out of bed.
“And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us; and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” Psalm 90:17
There is always new work to do. With this expectation, we know this new year of our Lord, 2019 will be filled with newness of life. With every day and every trial in the last several years, we have experienced a greater sense of His presence and His goodness.
Lovecraft ~ A New Look
After eight years of blogging, we are using a new format. In searching, I chose a fitting theme Lovecraft~ not knowing the name of the theme until afterward. We will be tweaking it until we decide on the final look. One difference in this theme is the overlay of the area for the text. Images are good, but we want to focus on the truths of God’s Word and His kingdom. A physical image cannot aptly portray the spiritual truths of His love and grace.
We have also just published a new book which we will review the end of this week; What the Holy Bible Says about The Word of GOD, second in the series What the Holy Bible Says.
Our God is the Living God, the God of wonders, the God who never leaves us. He desired us before the world began and sired us in His timing ~ to bring us to Himself through His Son’s redemptive work and the power of His Holy Spirit. He continues to show us great and mighty things we have not known (Jeremiah 33:3) ~ to us, in us and through us. All this; all that He does is for His glory and our joy.
Dear Father in heaven, you have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ, your Son. We thank you for your mercy and grace, by your Holy Spirit, to accomplish all that you have planned for us in this new year. Whether to keep us here to proclaim the legacy of your kingdom or to bring us home with you, we praise you now. Continue to fill us all with the outpouring of your Spirit to speak and write the truth of your Word that others may know you and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Image is from Christian Poetry by Deborah Ann.
You would be blessed to visit her blog.
Seeing IS Believing
God gave us eyes to see the beauty of His creation. It is easy for us to see physically and to be distracted by the things of this world; to settle for the status quo. But to see Beyond a Mere Christianity requires three things: light, revelation, and new eyes. And these three come from God through His Son, Jesus Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit.
At the foundation of the world God said, “Let there be light.” Before there was sun or moon, there was light, simply by His Word. Jesus was identified as the Light and the Word from heaven. He opened heaven for us to reveal the Father/Creator and heaven itself in Him.
All this ~ beyond this world ~ is revealed in God’s Word, the Holy Bible.
There was darkness before God said, “Let there be light.” We cannot see in the dark. So, it is with human hearts.
When speaking to Nicodemus, who came to him at night, Jesus knew His real need, “and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” John 3:3
This was a reflection of Ezekiel 36:26 regarding the promise that the Lord would give His people a new heart and a new spirit; taking away the heart of stone and rebellion against Him. With the new heart and spirit come eyes of faith to see what others cannot see; to understand the things of God.
Jesus said to His disciples:
“For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matthew 13:17
To the religious leaders and others who heard him:
“But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.” John 6:36
“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” John 8:56
“And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” John 9:39
“And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” John 12:45
“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8
The eyes of faith enable us to endure through the most difficult trials. Stephen spoke of heaven opened to him in his persecution.
“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56
“As one looks and discovers that almost everything down here is in confusion, chaos, and ruins, it seems as though Satan were getting the better of the conflict. But as one looks above, instead of around, there is plainly visible to the eye of faith a Throne, a Throne unaffected by the storms of earth, a Throne that is “set,” stable and secure; and upon it is seated One whose name is the Almighty, and who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11). This then is our confidence-God is on the Throne.Though God’s governing hand is invisible to the eye of sense it is real to faith, that faith which rests with sure confidence upon His Word, and therefore is assured He cannot fail.” The Sovereignty of God ~ A. W. Pink
We find in Hebrews 11 a list of those who saw Jesus and heaven with eyes of faith; who endured to the end. And as spoken of Moses:
“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27
And these are the promises that the world cannot see.
“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:17
“But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.” Romans 15:21
Paul prayed for “the eyes of understanding to be enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18).
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18
How we see determines our joy in this life.
To see Christ is to live joyfully in anticipation of eternity with Him, “even in this vale of sin, for he illumines and gives the beauty of grace, forgiveness, and hope. When the curtain of this life drops, it will rise to the sight of his loving gaze, his exalted splendor, his unending, satisfying presence.” The Lord of Glory ~ Chris Strevel
“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” 1 Peter 1:8
“and we shall be like him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).
Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for sending the Great Physician to be your light in our darkness; for birthing us into your kingdom with a new heart, spirit, eyes, and life in Him. Fill us with your Spirit of truth ~ the Spirit of Christ ~ that we may see you and live in light of your glory. This is our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen
Where Do We Go From Here?
(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.
There was a cross at Golgotha
Where my Savior bled and died;
Where I meet Him face to face
And look into His eyes.
And when I look I see the love
Our Father has for me.
For through His clear, bright eyes of pain
I see E T E R N I T Y ———-
A home where Love and Joy abound
Within the heart of God;
A place beyond what man can dream,
Where no human feet have trod.
God’s children all are there:
There’s room for every one.
He knows each heart; He knows each name.
To Him He bids me, “Come.”
With outstretched hands He calls my name;
Not one I’ve heard before.
He’s not at all as I had thought;
He’s more, oh, so much more.
So gracious as the Father is
My speech will not allow
To tell in human words
What can be seen, even now.
When first I look at God’s own plan
To bring me to Himself
The cross looms high, but then bro’t low
It forms a human shelf.
From heaven He came, and here He stayed
Until His work was done.
The cross I knew was meant for me;
He suffered for His own.
I knew that He released me there
When He bid me, “Come.”
Jesus gives me joy and peace
For now and later on.
Eternity is God’s own life,
Given for my good.
He gives His love to be my own
Through Spirit, Deed and Word
The Glad Rule
A few months ago the Lord gave us this new rule in our house. Since then Jerry and I have looked at every situation from a different perspective. The Glad Rule keeps us looking up, toward the Lord our God in all circumstances.
Instead of dwelling on the difficulties, we now look at everything in light of what we have. We can see above the things that we are facing with grateful hearts. In the middle of what seems impossible to deal with, we look to the one who has been with us through fifty-four years. In times of disappointment, we were sometimes overwhelmed with the difficulties. Now, we are overwhelmed with God’s grace to either bring us through or to overcome, victoriously.
His love, joy, and peace are the ultimate fruits of His working through our difficult times.
Even those who are not Christians could make their own Glad Rules, but they do not have the promises and assurance that God’s children have.
“For the LORD comforts Zion;
he comforts all her waste places
and makes her wilderness like Eden,
her desert like the garden of the LORD;
joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the voice of song.”
“To grant to those who mourn in Zion–
to give them a beautiful headdress
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD,
that he may be glorified.”
“The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Thank you Father, for your omnipotence, your omniscience, and your omnipresence; for proving your care for us as your children. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.