“Absorbed in Prayer and Praise”

Everyone is absorbed in something. It may only be “self.”

It is no secret that our minds and hearts soak in what we see, read, hear, and think. Without a desire for what is good and the means to attain it, we are continually saturated with the things of the world. These are our gods ~ second to self ~ and rule our lives. This lifestyle is one of oppression that suppresses all that is good and true and leads to depression and destruction.

But, life does not have to be this way.

God, our Creator, planned a beautiful life for fellowship with Him. Though our first parents rejected Him choosing a life of sin and rebellion, we have a new life provided for us in His Son, Jesus Christ.

He gives us His Spirit and His Word whereby we can know Him and receive all He planned for us. He promises to share his bountiful kingdom with us (Luke 12:32).

Through our study of His Word, we are led by His Holy Spirit to communicate with him in prayer and supplication. He continues to pour out His blessings upon us as we acknowledge Him as our Father and Redeemer.

We Do Not Know How to Pray
Romans 8:26-27  teaches us that though we do not know how to pray, His Holy Spirit intercedes through us. Prayer is a matter of commitment and discipline of time with our heavenly Father, seeking His Spirit, His presence, and His will. He calls us to fellowship with Him in His Word so as to know what we should ask.

We ask, believing what He has promised, thanking Him as we wait for Him to fulfill His promise. When we come to Him, in humility and gratitude for who He is, speaking His Word, and interceding for others, we know He hears us. In the process, our faithful and fervent prayers turn to praise.

“But you are holy,
Enthroned in the praises of Israel.”

Psalm 22:3

 We cannot but praise Him when we live in fellowship with Him. The more we pray in the Spirit and with understanding of His Word, the more we will praise Him.

Our praise is a witness of Him to others. We can share the joy we have in Him even and especially, through adversity.

The phrase, “absorbed in prayer and praise” is found within the lyrics of the hymn Crown Him with Many Crowns by Matthew Bridges 1851.

Crown him the Lord of peace!
Whose power a scepter sways,
From pole to pole,–that wars may cease,
Absorbed in prayer and praise:
His reign shall know no end,
And round his pierced feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend
Their fragrance ever sweet.

At times, His presence may be overwhelming ~ it may seem as if heaven is opened to reveal a glimpse of His glory. This is a taste of heaven ~ a precious and joyful communion with Him.

More time in prayer and praise leads to a habitual lifestyle of obedience, continual trust, and dependence on Him. It may take years before we experience the depth and height of this life in Christ, but it is worth the practice and the wait.

Gracious Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Make us know your presence and power as we daily seek your kingdom and your righteousness. Let us not miss anything you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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One Life Given for Many

It has been four months since the initial post, An Excavation of John 17 ~ Unearthing the Truths of the Atonement.

Memorization and meditation on the first three verses of John 17 revealed more than we expected to find. In each of the first three verses, we had to stop and wonder what we had uncovered. 

We have been telling others what we found and bid all come to see this truth of “eternal life” and how this has come to be.

From the first verse of John 17, we see a three-way relationship. Jesus is the central figure and the mediator in this relationship between the Father and us. 

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son that your Son also may glorify you.’” 

Jesus has finished his three-year ministry of teaching His disciples who He is and why He was here. He turns from the world to look toward heaven, to His Father, His former home, His glory which He had with His Father and to which He will soon return. He acknowledges the preset time, “the hour,” that He will die and give His life (eternal life) as a ransom for those who belong to Him.

as you have given him authority over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as you have given him.”

A fundamental truth discovered in verse 2 is to be considered most important in two ways. 

The Father/Creator has given His Son “authority over all flesh.” His life was prepared before the foundation of the world, to be sacrificed and given as “eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him.” Jesus’ authority over all flesh is a distinct rule over all people. This authority relates to the Father’s desires for those who are to receive the eternal life Jesus is soon to give. We find an explanation of “eternal life” in verse 3 but there is more to be understood.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

We find many references for the words “eternal life” and the word “know.” Eternal life in Jesus Christ is given only through an intimate relationship with the Father and the Son at the Father’s initiation. The Father gives a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) to those He has given to His Son. Eternal life is a different life, making us new creatures in Him and He in us ~ a life that has no end ~ portrayed here by the life of Christ in and through His people. It is the “new birth” ~ the life of the Spirit preparing us for eternity with Him.

Other references speak of those whom the Father will give to Him. (Matthew 1:21John 6:44-45John 6:65; 2 Timothy 1:9)

As we have discovered new facets of His glory, we understand that eternal life is through the revelation and the power of His Word. The disciples received the words Jesus had spoken to them. As we continue digging for the truths of eternal life, we will learn more of the nature and details of this treasure of the powerful life brought to earth in Christ.  

Simon Peter later, when asked if they would leave Him as the others had, replied, “To whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68

Jesus said in John 6:63, “My words are spirit, and they are life.”It is good that we have come to this remarkable discovery ~ more than we could ask or imagine. We shall report as often as we can of new findings.

Father in heaven, you continue to bring us to our knees in awe and reverence of you and Christ whom you sent. We praise you for giving us to your Son to reveal your grace and glory and the power of your written word and your living Word, Jesus, in whose name, we pray. Amen.

Something Greater than Christmas is Here

“Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.” Gen. 1:16

From the beginning of creation, God has proven some things to be greater than others. Without considering a lot of other comparisons, such as wealth, health, talents, etc., let us look at this time of year known as Christmas.

Many who live for the holidays end the year hopeless and depressed. For many, a warm fuzzy feeling turns into a prickly spur. When Christmas is over, most return to their abnormal lives.

Whether we observe this holiday as with the Roman Catholic Church and Christ in its Mass ~ or in gift-giving within family traditions, we are missing something greater. Far beyond the thought of the birth of Christ two thousand years ago, there is a reality that escapes us.

As hard as we try to ‘keep Christ in Christmas,” we miss Him because He is hidden in the lights, the glitter, the shopping, and the entertainment. Aside from what has become known as Christmas, there are blessings made null and void by man’s traditions.

What man has set up for a celebration is not enough to satisfy the hearts and needs of men. Only our creator knows and has planned a greater life than we can ask or imagine.

Many will not be gathering this season with family. Many have lost loved ones this year, but even for those who will celebrate with their families, let’s consider what is greater ~ what God our Father has prepared for us as heirs of His kingdom.

What can be greater than Christmas? What if it is observed by the traditions of the church and all is joyful and in unity with our fellowmen?

Once-a-year joy is nothing compared to the year-round joy in Christ.

Union in Christ between His people is not relegated to one season a year.

Greater than Christmas is our relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ by His Holy Spirit. 

We do not have to wait for gifts once a year. His gifts are given every day ~ love, joy, peace, comfort, hope. and more.

He is no longer a baby we can put back in a smelly stable.

He is no longer a man hanging on a bloody cross.

Christ cannot be brought down by hocus pocus in the Roman Mass to be crucified over and over. (transubstantiation)

Christ is King of kings, and Lord of lords, ruling in heaven and earth, blessing His people ~ dwelling in the hearts of men who worship and obey Him.

Greater than the Temple and Soloman ~ In Christ’s Own Words

  “But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.” Matthew 12:6.

“The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” Matthew 12:42

There is none greater than the Father and the Son who created and upholds all things by the “word of His power ~ sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” Heb. 1:3

He is still fulfilling His purpose for being here ~ to save His people from their sins, This is the “good news” every day.

Oh, how much we forfeit by settling for what seems good. The best and greatest of life is hidden in Christ for those who daily seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

The life of God, which in the incarnation entered human nature is the root in which we are to stand and grow. It is by the same almighty power that worked there and from then on to the resurrection which works daily in us. Our one need (now) is to study, to know, and to trust the life revealed in Christ as the life that is now ours. Humility ~ Andrew Murray

Gracious Father in heaven, send your Holy Spirit to reveal your Son as the eternal gift for man every day, now, and forever. For your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Articles: Before there was Christmas, cultures celebrated this time of year in other ways. See here and here)

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The Tension Between Life and Death

As Christians, we live between two extremes ~ between two worlds. We have been “delivered from the power of darkness.” Our heavenly Father has “translated us—conveyed us (NKJV) into the kingdom of His dear Son.” Col.1:13 

A follower of Christ knows the reality of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). 

While we live in this world, the Christ in us will be stalked like a lion.  

 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Pet.1:14

Even as Jesus was betrayed by those who lived in darkness, we experience this opposition by those who cannot rest unless the light is put out. While we want to bring others out of darkness, it is to live against the god of this world. 

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Pet. 5:8-9 

The oppressor is a constant foe against God’s people. This has been true since the beginning. The enemy – God’s enemy, and ours – will not leave us alone as long as we live in his territory.

It may seem, at times, that we are safe and let our weapons fall by our side. It is then, the foe within may raise its ugly head. Pride can remain dormant until our thoughts are taken captive to the world’s thinking. Whatever has our attention, politics, social media, or any earthly thoughts, we are at war. The tension will rise as death desires to subdue us.

When the enemy gained his stronghold and set up his kingdom, he set God’s creatures against each other. Death ensued to put down anything good. Cain murdered Abel and the pattern of this world was set. 

The Spirit and the Flesh
As God’s people, we still live in the flesh. It has been appointed that men shall die (Heb. 9:26-28). We cannot live forever in this body. Those who are born of the Spirit have eternal life – a life that transcends this one. As long as we are in this body, we will continually be at war with the flesh and its proneness to satisfy its desires.

This tendency flairs whenever we are faced with an opposition of some form, whether a lust of the flesh or in a relationship. “The old man” is stirred up when others will not see our point of view, agree to our leading, or bend to our will. This happens between husbands and wives, parents and children, siblings, friends, etc.Blessings and Curses
Recently, I have looked at this subject in light of God’s relationship with the Israelites. He promised blessings and life to his people as a result of their obedience – curses and death to those who rebelled (Deut.11:26-28). Does this not sound like His promise to Adam and Eve?

The nation of Israel was not able to acquire the blessings and life. They could not keep His commandments. Death continued to rule in the lives of men.

That curse was broken when, as He had promised to send a Messiah from among their people, Jesus came. And those who believe are given eternal life through His sinless life and death on the cross for us.

Eternal life does not mean we are free from temptation, but we have what Adam and Eve, and the Israelites did not have. As Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit is within the believer, setting up the kingdom of God within us, revealing the life of Christ.

He is the constant power and presence in us to keep us in God’s Word, training us to war against the flesh and pride that still lurks within – and to work obedience, and blessings in and through us to others.

I am tempted to make this a series and touch on the subject of curses handed down through generations, but I will stop here, else we have started another book. Our books already published proclaim the presence and the power of our heavenly Father, the legacy of His kingdom in His people, and His victory in Christ and His Spirit over our flesh, sin, and death.

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Pet. 5:10-11

Gracious Father, thank you for delivering us from the power of darkness and death. Though we suffer for the name of Christ, let us live by the indwelling of your Spirit and so, overcome the enemy’s tactics. Keep us always sober, fervent in prayer and your Word, knowing you and Jesus whom you sent to be our life here and forever. Let us with the humility of Christ face any opposition. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Books

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The Nature of Humility (pg. 5)

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame:
but with the lowly is wisdom.
Proverbs 11:2

“Pride is ours, from Adam, and rules in us with such terrible power, because it is ourself — our very nature. Humility (from Christ) must be ours in the same way; it must be our very self, our very nature.   As natural and easy as it has been to be proud, it must –it will be — to be humble. The promise is, “Where,” even in the heart, “sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20)

 A man’s pride shall bring him low:
but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.”
Proverbs 29:23

“Nothing can avail but that the new nature, in its divine humility, will be revealed in power to take the place of the old. It will become as truly our very nature as the old ever was.

“We have our life from and in Christ, as truly, even more truly, than from and in Adam.” Humility Andrew Murray


There is as much difference in pride and humility as in night and day, light and darkness — good and evil. Jesus came to make the difference in His people. The Holy Spirit is doing His work in us now in preparation for eternity with Him. There will be no pride in heaven and without it we will never get there.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name as your kingdom has come and your will is being done in the hearts and lives of your children. Let the world see what Christ does in us. Continue to grow us in the new nature that is ours in Him — for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

free ebook Humility~the Beauty of Holiness Andrew Murray (free audio)
A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility (free copy upon request)

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Conclusion to a Mere Christianity

In this conclusion, I hope to put to rest the idea that there is such a thing as a mere Christianity. It is simple, but profound. Enough, but much more than we can know.

We will add the following synonym study to the introduction of the book.

Merebare, imply a scant sufficiency.They are often interchangeable, but mere frequently means no more than (enough). Bare suggests scarcely as much as (enough). Thus a mere livelihood means enough to live on but no more; a bare livelihood means scarcely enough to live on. Dictionary.com

Our God and Father, the Creator and Redeemer of His people, did not bring the world into existence by a mere pittance of His grace. He did not send His only begotten Son into the world to provide only a possibility for salvation nor was His death upon the cross a means to provide a pitiful life here on earth.

Our meaning is not that of physical poverty or wealth but, spiritual. God, before the foundation of the world, planned to bless His people in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3-4).

King Ahasuerus offered Queen Esther half his kingdom; so, did King Herod offer the daughter of Herodias (Esther 5:3; Mark 6:23) .

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:3). He told His disciples, “It is the Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). He promises to share His kingdom and His glory with all His children.

We are not offered a bare existence as a follower of Christ, but the promise that we are new creatures with an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, reserved in heaven for us who are kept by the power of God until His appearing (1 Peter 1:7).

In this book Beyond a Mere Christianityposted chapter by chapter since June 15, 2018, I have referenced books by C.S. Lewis, Francis Schaeffer, and Oswald Chambers as points of those who wrote in the past and one sermon by Jonathan Edwards. Their works were not meant to be used against them but to be a means of reference to what the Lord is still doing, that others may experience things that they may not have writtenn ~ to encourage further personal study and gleaning of God’s Word.

If we take seriously what is written in the previous chapters of this book, we see the makings of the Holy Spirit’s work in the hearts and lives of men. We have written of the truth that there is no status quo to Christianity. While some may experience a low profile of faith, others have been called to live sacrificially.

Either of these requires the supernatural power and presence of God to change the hearts of men. In these following last references, we see the life Christ came to give. It is an abundant life (John 10:10) beginning here and now that transitions us from this life into the next. Those who have this life in Christ are willing to die for His name’s sake to keep this life forever.

Besides the following references that pertain to how we live as Christians, I am including the link to Biblegateway.com for references to the word life. Lord willing, this will be our next devotional study in the series What the Holy Bible Says.

Though this is the conclusion (except for testimonies by two other witnesses), this series will never end. God’s Grace ~ God’s Glory will continually be a platform for proclaiming the legacy of His kingdom.

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Matthew 7:14

Live by His Written Word

Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.” Psalm 119:17

The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding, and I shall live.” Psalm 119:144

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed,
but of incorruptible, by the word of God,
which liveth and abideth for ever.”
1 Peter 1:23

Live in Christ

For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:56

Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” John 5:25

I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” John 11:26

“For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Acts 17:28

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.” Romans 14:8

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
2 Corinthians 5:15

For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.” 2 Corinthians 13:4

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

“Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep,
we should live together with him.”
1 Thessalonians 5:10

“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:” 2 Timothy 2:11

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”
1 John 4:9

Live in the Spirit

 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
the words that I speak unto you,
they are spirit, and they are life.”
John 6:63

“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Romans 8:13

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.Galatians 5:25

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” Hebrews 12:9

Live in Peace

“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort,
be of one mind, live in peace;
and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”
2 Corinthians 13:11

Live Godly

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”
Titus 2:12

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24“

“That he no longer should live the rest of his time
in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”
1 Peter 4:2

Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
2 Timothy 3:12

  Live Sacrificially

Men hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 15:26).

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” Revelation 2:10 

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb,
and by the word of their testimony;
and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
Revelation 12:11

Dear Father in heaven, how can we with mere words thank you for who and what you are to us. Enable us to give ourselves willingly, gratefully, prayerfully and humbly to live as you have planned for us. Let us not be satisfied with a mere taste of your grace but fill us with your fulness, the fulness of your Spirit and the fulness of Christ, who in us is no mere hope but the hope of glory ~ eternity, here, now, and forever with you. In Jesus’ name, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
Fran
Related Article: Living Sacrifices

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The Lens of Contentment

Most people see contentment in good health, relationships, possessions, fashions, the cars we drive and the homes in which we live, many of these indicating the measure of our personal success.

God’s people are given a means of seeing what is different from the world. The new heart and new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26; John 3:3) given by God our Father, come with a lens that changes our focus from the world and our dependency on what we can achieve. Our view is upward, brought to see Him as the giver and supplier of all that we need. We see beyond the world’s offerings to the special blessings that are ours through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The writer of the book of Hebrews leaves an exhortation to God’s people in the last chapter:
“Keep your life free from the love of money.

The world trains our children to seek contentment through what our money can buy.
The followers of Christ are trained to “be content with what you have.”

Why can we be content with less than what the world offers?
~ “for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” (13:5)

The giver of all things is more precious than all the money we could accrue in this world.
His presence is greater that any relationship, entertainment or possession offered in this generation.
His love and grace is of more value that anything money could buy.
His blessings are infinite and eternally ours, while the temporal things of this world will either be lost or fade away.
Nothing of this world can compare to what we experience in His supply of all things .

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

There are those who are suffering physically and financially from attempting to keep up with greater expectations than they are able. When they learn of life in Christ, they can let go of the world’s offerings and enjoy Him and what He gives.

But, as it is written,
“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.
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12

It was the apostle Paul who said, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Philippians 4:11). He rolled with the pushes, at the same time rejoicing and praising the Lord because He had experienced the presence and power of God. In His calling, devotion and service he was given “visions and revelations” of the Lord (2 Corinthians 12:1). As an evangelist/tentmaker he knew the God “who supplies all our needs” (Philippians 4:19). He lived with a “thorn in the flesh” ~ the buffeting of Satan through the religious and government leaders, living the last part of his life in prison because he was content with the Lord’s calling and promises of the gospel. Oh, that we might all say as he did, “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8).

Gracious heavenly Father, creator and supplier of all things, open our eyes, turn them upward to see heaven opened as you pour out all that you have prepared for us in and through Jesus our Lord. Let the world see our contentment with you and all that you desire for us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Related Post: A Year for Contentment ~ Continued
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Hidden Treasure

“As a child I had a recurring dream of walking a dirt path, and seeing the reflection of the sun on something in the dirt. Reaching down I discovered a penny. (When I was a child we picked up lost pennies.) As I picked it up, I found other pennies. Picking up the pennies, I found nickels underneath, and then dimes, and quarters and half-dollars in the dirt. The more I picked up the more I found buried in the dirt.

I could not understand this dream until,  as an adult, the Lord brought me into His Word. Then, I began to understand the treasures that are hidden there. The more we take, the more we see and desire and receive. As we continue to look to the path and take what He gives, more of the riches of God’s covenant and kingdom are revealed.

Jesus said, “It is the Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). It is His pleasure to open these treasures through His Word, that we may know the heritage that is ours.

In 1993 a year after my new birth, I began writing what our heavenly Father was teaching me of our inheritance through Jesus Christ. (1Peter 1: 3-4) I began writing a little book called The Legacy. It speaks of a will written by an ancestor who wanted to bequeath His fortune to future descendants. The Legacy speaks of itself through me of how God was revealing His love and kingdom to His children who would be born of His Spirit.

God’s Word is such as a father would write in His own written will to pass on all the wealth that he has to his children. Those who read and study, meditate, and take to heart in faith what is written, will discover that this wealth is indeed meant for them individually and corporately with other members of the household of faith ~ those whom God births into His own family. He desires us and sires us according to His own will and His timing, in different generations. He brings us through His Word and Spirit to know Him, to be born of Him, to believe and repent, turning in faith to receive all the promises of His inheritance, and to live the abundant life that is ours through His Son, Jesus Christ. There is no life that can compare to this life. It fulfills God’s purpose for our creation and redemption and becomes a delight for us as His children.“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). As we come to this garden that He has prepared for His children we find all our delight in Him. This is His ultimate purpose. God is our goal. His purpose is to satisfy us to the fullest in Himself. His desires become our desires.” The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE STUDY

Dear Father in heaven, how can we know you, your promises of the life that is ours in Christ, your Son, without your calling, and giving us a new heart and spirit to hear and respond? We praise you for your power to give us physical life and spiritual life through your Holy Word, making us your own children. Thank you for the delight we have in you. Nothing compares to the treasure of your Word and the power of your Holy Spirit to activate your Word in us. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.

Fran

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After the Storm ~ Peace

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.

Peace is never as real and powerful as when He brings us through.

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

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The Price of Contentment

For the world, contentment cost nothing more than what money can afford.
A divine contentment was purchased by the blood of Christ; for those who are His followers, born of His Spirit. The love of God was revealed for His children by the death of His Son; purchasing and redeeming us from the bondage of sin and death (Romans 8:2). We are born to a living hope by His abundant mercy and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; to an inheritance in Him that no one can take away (1 Peter 1:3-4).
It is a legacy that we do not deserve, could not pay for, nor earn by any good work.
Not to be content with the finished work of Christ that assures and provides a pardon from sin, and an abundant life in Him, is to doubt this free gift of His own righteousness for us and to live without Him.
“You Are Not Your Own”
“You have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God so loved us, desired us, sired us and made us His own, to lavish His grace, His provisions, His protection, His goodness, His own life for us, in us, and through us. To His own glory He has shined His light into our hearts to shine through us His grace, mercy and power. He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) through Christ His Son (Romans 8:32).
He has given all for us to reflect His presence, His goodness and His wealth in and upon us. He has spread abroad His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which He has given us (Romans 5:5).
Our Response to His Sacrifice and Mercy
In response to His sacrifice and mercy in taking our sin and punishment upon Himself, Paul urges, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Here is the reality of a life of contentment according to His will. His sacrificial death works through us for a sacrificial life devoted to serving Him and others while He is preparing us to share His glory. True contentment cost Jesus His life, and it costs us ours. He denied Himself for us to give us eternal life in Him. To experience this life of contentment we deny ourselves for Christ’s sake. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 
Understanding the Terms of Sacrifice
Eternal life in Christ begins when we are born of His Spirit; a new heart and spirit are joined to Christ from that moment. Eternal life is not experienced just when we die, but here, now, and forever. The new birth, faith and repentance separate us from the world’s way of life. We are no longer our own, being conformed to this world, but sanctified, being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ until He calls us home to be with Him.
Jesus paid the price for our contentment. Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice  means that we have received, understand, accept, and enter into the covenant of life that is ours in His death and resurrection.
Gracious Father, We thank you for your covenant of redemption and grace made with Christ, your Son, before the foundation of the world. We praise you for the work of your Holy Spirit in revealing and fulfilling your covenant with us. Enable us to know the power of Christ’s resurrection through the continued work of the gospel, bringing us to submission and surrender of all that we are, so as to live in covenant with you, in Christ, now and forever. In Jesus’ name we pray and thank you. Amen.