Jesus’ Words Are Not Suggestions

As I taught my grandchildren, we would all do well to HEAR, HIDE, and HEED the words of Christ. He came to declare the kingdom of God through His life and His words. He set the record straight for truth and life for humanity.

Only a few people of Jesus’ day could stomach His words.

Jesus asked, after other disciples left Him, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:67-68

We would be blessed and filled with awe and life if we knew all His words, but in this short treatise, we want to express four particular things Jesus said about His words, and why we need to listen.

 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.
The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. John 12:47-48

In verses 49-50 Jesus states that He speaks on the authority of the Father, whose commandment through Him was for eternal life. His words bring life against judgment. Without them we will stand naked and without hope before God.

For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

To abide means to spend time, to dwell in time through the truths that were set for us in the New Testament where His words are recorded. His words mean nothing if we do not take them in hand, read, study, meditate and memorize that which pertains to eternity. As we look at food on a table and do not eat, so to have God’s word given through His Son without receiving it in the heart and mind, leaves us without true life, now and for eternity.

 It is said that Jesus spoke more warnings than promises of the eternal kingdom. We receive the promises, the freedom and the life of Christ when we know and heed His words and His warnings. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart and mind.

Dear Father, I pray that today these references stand alone as you draw your people to Jesus, your Son, who came to speak the words of life. Give us your Spirit to quicken and enable us to hear what He says, recorded for eternity with your love, mercy and grace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

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Healing From the Inside

Ten years ago I learned how to dress a horrible wound that was a result of Jerry’s left leg amputation. The wound left from Jerry’s surgery three weeks ago is somewhat different, but both would be described as an open hole. These kinds of wounds have to be treated and healed from the inside, with medicated packing, so that it does not close on its own and leave a cavity underneath the skin.
This one seems to be more difficult for me to handle than with the amputation; perhaps, because I watched a visiting health nurse do the dressing for several weeks. Jerry and I came home from the hospital this time with simple instructions for cleaning and dressing the incision. But after a week we noticed the difference in the top of the incision from the four inches below.
The next visit to the vascular surgeon confirmed the need for wound care, which she began in her office, and gave me supplies to care for it every day at home, with an appointment for a return visit each week.
My inadequacy for this has kept me awake, but finally, I think I am able to do this without anxiety.
During these last two weeks the thoughts came of how we are all born into this world wounded from the Fall due to our first parents’ disobedience. Though the fault is not ours, we have this hole in our soul that can only be healed from the inside.
Just as jerry cannot care for his own wound, and must depend on me for his care and healing, so we cannot cure ourselves. Our wound is much more serious than a physical one. There is no one who can apply what is needed except our heavenly Father, through the blood of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit to fill the void that sin has left in us all. He is able and promises the witness of our healing from grateful hearts as we submit to His working, His tender care and comfort. He is the great physician and able to bring complete healing of the heart and soul.
Dear Father in heaven, thank you for providing all things pertaining to life and godliness through your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none on earth I desire besides thee. My flesh and my heart fail, but you are the strength of my heart and my portion forever. We praise you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

The Conclusion of What Matters

How amazing these last three days have been, and how blessed to see how God carries us through what He begins in us to where He wants us to be. When I write it is usually because I need to learn something new, or to confirm and shore up what I have been learning. Such is the case with the last post, What Matters?

The following are quotes from those who responded to the question.

Gail replied, “how we treat each other”

Jean, summing up her answer, which is worthy to be considered by us all, and in the same path that the Lord has been leading me as we have contemplated this question: “Peace with the Lord, this relationship of continuing to learn of His grace and mercy; He is our life as a loving Savior and Father, a faithful God. He is all in all.”

David expressed the desire for his family ~ “the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ that he has experienced.”

Andi: “preparing ourselves and others for the second coming of Christ; happiness and protection for children and grandchild.”

Lee: “resting in the finished work of Christ”

Joey: “God and people, in that order”

Kim: “knowing Him”

Gadol: a personal matter for “fulfillment of purpose, vision, call and will of God”

These were all good answers that attest to another thought.
What matters depends on who and where we are at any given time in our lives. It depends on our circumstances and our relationships. From these thoughts let us find a general answer that applies to all children of God, living as joint-heirs with Christ in His kingdom. What matters to us will be different than what matters to those of this world, who do not claim an inheritance in the kingdom of God.
What matters to those outside the kingdom are the things of this world, their possessions, their families, themselves. We will not list those things here, but let’s follow on to a conclusion of what matters to us.

What matters to us as God’s children can be summed up in one word, overall.

GOD matters ~ first, because He is our creator and redeemer, He has given us life twice, and continues to sustain us as His people, preparing us to share His glory, eternally.

God, the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit in each of their roles matter in every life, in every circumstance, in every relationship, as He becomes our main relationship and unites us in relationship to others of His family.

Prayer matters because this is His gift to us as His children and the means of communion and contentment with Him that carries over into our relationships with others.

God’s Word matters because He teaches from His Word what matters in our relationships. Love might be the first thing that comes to mind, but love alone, in how we perceive love, may not be enough. We see the manifestation of love in humility, commitment, faithfulness, discipline, accountability, patience, kindness, forgiveness and other marks of Christ’s nature and disposition in us. These apply to our relationships with the Lord our God and with others, even if they are not of the “household of faith.”

It matters that we keep the same obedience to the Lordcomposure, confidence, and self-control with those who are of the world.

This brings to mind another matter, that of light. No one can live without light. This light is given for new birth into His kingdom through the gospel, the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel matters to us and to His church for the matter of our salvation.
We need a certain time of physical darkness, for rest and sleep, but spiritual light is needed for the darkness of the mind and spirit. This too is given us by His Spirit in His Word so that we know how to live in this world, holding forth ‘the word of life” that is ours in Christ.

We learn about other things that matter from God’s Word, such as Philippians 4:8: “that which is true, honest, just and pure, that which is lovely, of good report, of virtue (excellence) that which is worthy of praise

What matters to God?
If we continue to think and write about it, we could go on and on, but hopefully we have posed a question that our hearts will consider as long as we live in this world, so that our Lord will continue to teach us what matters in His kingdom, in our lives, and our calling to serve Him in His kingdom. You and I matter to God. At one point this week we had considered that God is over all and that everything matters to Him. How then should we look at everything? Whatever we know and wherever we go, we should consider how God wants us to relate to the people and circumstances in which He places us. As Gadol pointed to the call and will of God, it matters to God how we respond as His people to those around us, in obedience and acceptance to where He wants us to be to fulfill His plan in us.

When looking in His Word for the word “matter” or “matters” we found one reference from the book of Ecclesiastes. Before we end with this, we will add one more to our list, that of wisdom. How does wisdom tie in with Ecclesiastes 12:13?

Since we are in the area of what matters to God, what other things from His Word would you add? What other things matter to God? We have but to read and glean these things that matter to God, our Father and to us.

Gracious heavenly Father, thank you leading us to consider what matters, and bringing us to see that the answers come from you. Thank you for being all that matters and that everything and everyone matter to you. Bring us to understand more and to find our contentment in you and your kingdom alone through the salvation that is ours in Christ. In Jesus’ name we thank you and praise you. Amen.

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What Matters?

Two days ago, Jerry set a record as we celebrated his eighty-first birthday. He has lived longer than any of the Rogers in his family. His brother died at the age of eighty, and all his dad’s brothers died in their seventies.

During this time, we are preparing for surgery to repair an aneurysm in his only leg, praying for blood flow and healing for the wound on his foot, and considering other things at this age and stage of our lives. Yesterday we were questioning if we should be delving into something we did not understand (while I try to remember what that was, I am watching the wind and rain assault the beautiful dogwood that we have enjoyed the last few days blooming outside the window. How easily our thoughts can change. I can’t remember the thing we were considering two days ago. It must not have mattered.) 🙂

After discussing whether or not, we asked if knowing would matter. That progressed to the question: “What matters?” We have never really asked that question before, so as to discuss and document the answers.

After talking about what we though mattered, I decided to pose this question to our readers. Before stating our answers in this blog, I would like you to share your responses to this question. If you need some time, think about it and come back later to comment. At different ages we may consider one thing that matters more than others. What matters and makes us content when we are young may not matter when we get older.

Let’s leave off the answer “love” for the time being. Love would probably be the first answer for a lot of people; it might also mean something different to each of us.

Please join me in this conversation, to which we will add, after your comments are made.

Oh ~ and please include your age; that matters in our answers. 🙂

Dear Father, I pray that you will give us insight for our answers to this question of what matters in this life. In Jesus’ name I pray. amen.

Contentment in Jesus Christ

Posting at 6:24;
awake since 3:34 with thoughts of all the things that are on my two plates for the week,
in addition to the ordinary work that we have to do:
*doctors’ appointments,
*last minute details for publishing our next book, GOD Is Our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan for His People
*writing this post
*writing a letter for our two-year-old great-granddaughter on the occasion of her dedication next Lord’s Day
*keeping a watch on and dressing the diabetic ulcer on Jerry’s foot, etc.
First and last of all these things is my duty as Jerry’s caregiver.
Yet, God has provided His grace for the other things He has planned for us, all to His glory.

How do we do all that He has planned without bouncing off the walls or ending in a tailspin? Where do we start and end with our list?

God, our Father was content before the foundation of the world with His Son, Jesus Christ.
They were content, together, to plan for Jesus to come to us, to live a perfect life for us, to give His life for us for our salvation.
They are content now with what they have done and what they are doing continually for us and in us.
The Course and the Source

This morning as I look at my two full plates, I see Jesus as the main course for this week and every week. Everything is arranged around Him. He is the physician. He is the reason for writing a letter to my great-granddaughter. He is the source of contentment in the middle of what could be confusion and frustration.

When things seem hectic, the Father says, “Listen to my Son.”
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden.”

He is the Shepherd, keeping and leading His sheep in the way we are to go. imagesIn time we learn that when we get ahead of Him, He lets us go until our impatient steam runs out. Then, we wait for Him to renew, refresh and restore us in Christ, to continue with joy and contentment in Him. At other times He holds us back, and keeps us close until He leads us out in the right path that He has chosen for the moment and for the day.

Some of God’s children live under the oppressive spirit of this world. It doesn’t have to be this way. The Father has given us His Son. The Son has given us Himself for a life of contentment now and forever.

Much more can be said about the contentment that is ours in Christ; perhaps Part 2, later this week.

Please comment on why our contentment is first and foremost in Christ; to add to Part 2.

Gracious Father in heaven, we thank you for granting us all things that pertain to life and godliness through Jesus Christ, your Son. Draw us today to Him; in and through Him keep us close to you, leading us to fulfill all that you have planned for us. Let our contentment be in Him and Him alone. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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Secret Councils

Yesterday, Jerry was sitting on the screened back porch, listening to Rush Limbaugh’s comments about the Presidential Inauguration. I sat with him a few minutes. Mr. Limbaugh stated that there is a bureaucracy that operates in Washington. Seemingly there are those who hold no public office that control everything. We imagine that the wealthy and influential meet in secret chambers to plan their schemes.

We remember that Haman, in the Book of Esther, unknowingly planned his own hanging.

There is the record of God’s council spoken in Acts 4:24-32. The same council that instigated Jesus’ death brought in Peter and John to stop them from speaking of the salvation that God had worked through their scheme (Acts 24:28). After reporting what was said to them, God’s people prayed, and “the place was shaken;” they were “filled with the Holy Ghost” and “spoke the Word of God with boldness.”

Lightnings, Thunderings, and An Earthquake

And there is the reference in Revelation 8:4-5 of the prayers of the saints.

“And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”the-white-house-1203537

There are two councils here on earth. From the Fall of man, the antithesis has been ongoing. God continues to rule under His covenant of grace, by His own Word and truth. Men, under the power of Satan, rule the other council, according to their plans. But, even this one has always been under God’s sovereign control.

“The Lord has prepared his throne in the heavens;
and his kingdom rules over all.”
Psalm 103:19

He calls us, as His saints, to meet in His secret chambers to offer up prayers so that His council may be made known here on earth (Ephesians 6:18). Places can be shaken, lightnings and thunderings can wake even the most powerful in our nation and the world. We must pray, expecting great things, even an earthquake ~ for our salvation and His glory.

Gracious Father, you have taught us to know you and your Almighty power over all things. We believe that you are able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Unto you be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. In Jesus’ name, whom you have given all authority and power, we pray, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
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Heaven in a Bucket

The Lord said to me, “At the end of each day bring me all your thoughts from that day in a bucket. This will be your test of how much you have of heaven.”

I found a small bucket, but before the end of the first day I needed more than one. Little did I realize how many thoughts one mind could have in a single day. With three small buckets I approached God’s throne. He sifted through my buckets, asking where I had gotten each thought.

In reply I answered, “That one from a book; that one from a magazine; that one from a friend.”   Others I tried to remember, but didn’t know how they got there.

“There’s not much here of heaven ~ a few words of prayer for a friend, but not much else.” He said.

As I returned home I wondered why there were no more thoughts of heaven in my buckets that day. I decided that I would do better, and have some thoughts the next day that would please God.

I found a larger bucket the next morning and set about to collect what I thought God wanted. Looking in the library I came across the writings of the great philosophers.   As I diligently searched through these I could see the Lord’s pleasure; my bucket was filling up. I felt so good about my new thoughts and myself. Then, I went to talk to a friend ~ who had a brilliant mind and a PHD in science and physics. Before the day was over my bucket was almost full. Let’s see ~ what else can I put in my bucket? There’s an excellent movie playing at the local theater ~ one destined for an academy award. And it was a wonderful movie. My bucket was full.

Well, how did I do today, Lord.”

“You have really been busy,” He said, as He examined the contents, “But I find nothing here of heaven, not even a prayer.”

“If this isn’t part of heaven, what is all this that I thought was so good.” I asked.

“It’s all of the world, dear.” I’ll see you again, tomorrow.”

That night before bed I knelt and acknowledged that I didn’t know what He wanted, but I would try harder tomorrow.

The first thought the next morning was that, perhaps the bucket itself was all wrong. Maybe it attracts the wrong thoughts. So I set out to find the best and biggest bucket I could find for that day’s thoughts. I found the perfect one ~ advertised as the one “that you need for your best thoughts” ~ quite expensive, too, but knowing that this would be what God was looking for, it was worth the price.

But that day dragged on without success. And becoming depressed about what I should have in my bucket, my tears began to fill the bucket. It was almost too heavy as I carried it ~ and it became heavier as I continued crying. The way seemed longer that day, but the closer I came the lighter the bucket seemed.leaky

As I reached God’s throne of grace He smiled, and said, “Seems that you have sprung a leak in that expensive bucket.”

“Why can you smile, Lord, when I feel so terrible ~ and look~ after I searched all day my bucket is empty?”

“I can smile, my child, because you have finally discovered the secret. No bucket in the world will attract and contain the things of heaven. As the creator and ruler of my kingdom, I have determined the kind of receptacle you need, and the thoughts that will fill it.”

As I bowed before Him I asked for this vessel and His knowledge of heavenly things. I submitted, as He said I must, my bucket and all my human efforts of pleasing Him.

He gave me a “new heart and a new spirit” that only “seeks His kingdom and His righteousness,” and makes me continually aware of His presence, spreading His love of Jesus in and through me. Through His Word and prayer, morning by morning He wakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. Isaiah 50:4

“By His mercies” each morning “I present myself’” to Him to be “filled with His fullness” all day ~ no longer “conformed to this world, but being transformed by the renewing of my mind. His thoughts are kept and “obeyed” in my heart and life as He keeps me by His own power.

His kingdom is coming and His will is being done, in me, as it is in heaven.

“And the God of peace ….
make you perfect in all things….
working in you that which is pleasing in His sight
through Jesus Christ,
to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
Hebrews 13:20-21

(From The Little Boat and other Short Stories of God’s Grace)
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