New Wineskins

Have you run into the grocery store bypassing the grocery carts because you only needed one or two items. Before you get to check-out your arms are loaded with other things you see. Something else you remembered you cannot get because your arms are loaded already.

Such is our going to worship without preparation and the proper vessel.

“But new wine must be put into new wineskins,
and both are preserved.”
Luke 5:38
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 36:26

Let us worship today in anticipation and prayer that the Lord enlarge our hearts, open them to receive and carry with us the new wine of His Word prepared for us.

Dear Father, you have preserved and prepared your Word for us. Open our eyes to see and our ears to hear the written Word. Open our hearts to conceive and receive what you have prepared for your people today. And let the Spirit of your Living Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, lead us through this week ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

The Recovering of Humility (pg. 3)

Humility is not new. In innocence and humility, our first parents were created. They depended on God and lived under His care with all their needs supplied.

UNTIL ~

In their disobedience and independence, they forfeited the relationship God had planned for them with Him. Humility was replaced by pride and occupation with self. That wonderful place of dependence upon our Creator was given up.

But Jesus came to restore us and to provide the power of humility by His Spirit. It must be His work for only He knows the place and the way. Only He can lead us out of our sinfulness to our rightful relationship with HIm.

It is the soul led through its sinfulness to be occupied with God in His wonderful glory as God, as Creator and Redeemer, that will truly take the lowest place before Him.”

If humility is to be our joy it must be understood apart from all sin as a covering with the very beauty and blessedness of heaven and of Jesus.”

“It is the revelation of God, not only by the law condemning sin, but by His grace delivering from it, that will make us humble. The law may break the heart with fear. But it is only grace that works that sweet humility which becomes a joy to the soul as its second nature.” 

 “Let us study the character of Christ until our souls are filled with the love and admiration of His humility.  And let us believe that, when we are broken down under a sense of our pride, and realize our inability to cast it out, Jesus Christ Himself will give us this grace as part of His wondrous life within us.
Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness

We must understand the life of Christ that He died to give us and know that we cannot work it in ourselves. Let us desire His humility, pray fervently, and wait in praise and thanksgiving for the promise to be fulfilled in us. Let us learn from Andrew Murray these powerful truths, meditate on them and share them with others ~ for the glory of our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ ~ and our joy in Him.

Dear Father, thank you that in Christ, we have the promise of receiving more than our first parents had. Send your Holy Spirit for conviction, bring us to repentance, faith, desire, and anticipation for what you want to do in us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Free ebook: Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness Andrew Murray (free audio)
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The Glory of the Lord’s Day

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For many years I have been convicted of what God not only says but what He implies in His own Word, about this day. With the conviction, has come more revelation, more understanding, more commitment, more discipline, and more joy.

In His Word, I see a continual pattern of God’s will, His working, and His way established for His kingdom here on earth. As His children and joint-heirs of His kingdom with Christ, His Son, we not only have the privilege of the written law, but we have the law by His Spirit written on our hearts and in our minds.

He not only reveals through His written Word what He wants us to know about Him and His kingdom but also by His Spirit works it in our hearts and lives.

The Pattern of Rest
The pattern from the beginning of time with His creation is continued through the work of redemption until we are brought to our final destination on what will be an eternal Lord’s Day.

The first was a resting from the Father’s labor; the second, the Son resting from His labor; and the third, a resting for His entire kingdom, as the Holy Spirit works in us, preparing us for that eternal rest in glory.

There is much that I could include in this document, but a lot of it would be what Jesus’ apostles, the early church fathers, the Puritans, the Reformers, and theologians have said. Documented in different Confessions, are the statements of faith concerning the Sabbath. Remember that what I write is all from “a sheep’s view.”

It is part of studying these, especially in the memorization of the Shorter Catechism with Scriptural proofs, that my convictions have been confirmed. Continuing to review these in prayer I seek to know and obey God’s word and glorify Him in this present day.

I share today a scheduled Bible reading from Luke 23:52-56.

“This man (Joseph of Arimathaea) went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”

Jesus had finished His work of redemption and His body was laid to rest until the day of His resurrection. It was the day of preparation for the Sabbath. Why was Jesus’ death scheduled for this day?

I have not searched this question, nor do I write here of its significance, except that it was God, the Father’s plan and He established the Lord’s Day in covenant with His Son as the Christian Sabbath, the day in which we would weekly celebrate the risen Lord and Savior.

Those who stayed around after Jesus’ crucifixion was Joseph, one of the counselors, who had not consented to Jesus’ death, and the women who had followed Him from Galilee. The apostles, in fear, had scattered. Joseph asked to take care of Jesus’ body, and the women returned home, and prepared spices and ointments for His burial.

But these would never be used because when they returned after the Sabbath, the law of a seventh-day had been displaced by a new law of life in Christ’s resurrection.

They rested the sabbath day according to the commandment, while Christ was establishing a new covenant for God’s people. He was resting while they were resting, but in a different rest for a different purpose.

Living in Projection of the Eternal Sabbath
Preparation for the Lord’s Day and the practice of it today is in the fulfillment of God’s promises for an eternal sabbath. When we live, projecting from one Lord’s Day to another, we are practicing and preparing for Christ’s glorious return and eternity with Him.

We go through each day of the week, in private worship, and making preparation under this projection, look forward to spending the day in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, as He has appointed in His word.

God had appointed Joseph to ask for and prepare Jesus’ body for burial. We are commanded by Him to observe the day in His honor and in celebration of our new life in Him. We are to worship God through Him and the Holy Spirit in spirit and truth each Lord’s Day.

We take part in the body of Christ, the church, in communion with His risen body, through the Lord’s Supper each Lord’s Day, remembering His death until He comes again.

Would I have waited to see what or who would have been there for Jesus after His death? How do we now remember His death and resurrection? This is no longer a question for me  but in response to His sacrifice for me, mine is a sincere desire and commitment to spend the Lord’s Day with Him, without any division of time for other things.

How do you prepare for the Lord’s Day?

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Words of Life ~ ABLE

ABLE may be one of the most powerful words in the English language. In God’s Word, it conveys meaning applicable to God in His greatness and power, and shows the weakness and utter dependence of man. This word, from Words of Life ~ A – Z ~ the Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian, dovetails into Weakness and Meeknessour last chapter in Beyond a Mere Christianity,  .

From ABHOR, to ABIDE, we come to another of our list of Words of Life ~ ABLE

In The Old Testament
ABLE in the Concordance H320
defines the word (yaòkoòl  yaw-kole’)
A primitive root; to be able, literally (can, could) or morally (may, might):

Two examples of ABLE in the Old Testament:
The first relates to man’s inability, then compared to God’s ability.

In Numbers 11:14, Moses admitted to God, “I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.”

In Daniel 3:17, we have the words of the three Hebrews about to be put in the fiery furnace.
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.”

In Daniel 6:20, the king speaks to Daniel after the Lord delivered him from the lions.
“And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

In the New Tesament
ABLE in the Concordance G1410
“defines the word (dunamai doo’-nam-ahee)
Of uncertain affinity; to be able or possible:—be able, can (do, + -not), could,
may, might, be possible, be of power.

The power of God is defined in the following references.

References to men who not able.

Not able to kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28)
“many shall not be able to enter in at the strait gate (Luke 13:24).
“adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist wisdom ( Luke 21:15).
“no man is able to pluck us out of the Father’s hand (John 10:29).
“nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39).
“no man is able to open the book  (Revelation 5:3) “who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:17)

References to what God’s Word is able to do.

“the engrafted word is able to save our souls” (James 1:21).
“the holy scriptures able to make wise” (2 Timothy 3:15).
“word of grace, which is able to build you up and to an inheritance (Acts 20:32).

References to what God enables us to do.

able ministers of the new testament” (2 Corinthians 3:6)
able to comprehend the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18).
“able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11).

References to what God is able to do.

“able of stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” (Matthew 3:9)
able to heal a blind man (Matthew 9:28).
able to perform what He promises (Romans 4:21).
able even to subdue all things unto himself.” (Philippians 3:21).
able to keep that which is committed unto HIm against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12).

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” Ephesians 3:20

Gracious Father, able and willing to make yourself known, even if through the stones you created, we praise you for all power that belongs to you. We thank you for enabling us as your children to comprehend with all saints the love of Christ for us, enabling us to stand against the wiles of the devil to witness of your promises, your presence and power of your Holy Spirit among us; to keep us and to present us faultless through Christ before the presence of your glory ~ all for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

    Scripture Tune Jude 1:24-25

 “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.”
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Find Your Blessings

Who knows how many eggs are hidden on any Easter weekend, and perhaps not found. For the toddlers, eggs are hidden in sight so that they are easily found. For older children, the eggs are hidden so that they are more difficult to find.
Our heavenly Father promises blessings to His children. He makes His blessings known to us as newborns and small children without much effort on our part. Our eyes are opened to His blessings through a new birth. He continues to bless us as we age, but we find them in different ways.
Last Wednesday the Lord gave me a direction as Jerry and I journeyed early in the morning before daybreak to the local hospital. We were instructed to “look for a blessing” in the day ahead. Little did we know that we would be there longer than planned and that He would continue to unfold blessings everywhere and everyday for the next six days.
Blessings came in the events of the first day with our daughter, who took time away from her job to be with us, and through the hours of the procedure with nursing staff, doctors, family and church family.
Because we did not come home the same day as we had hoped, Jerry was admitted as an in-patient, for major surgery on Friday. The direction to “look for a blessing” continued. Now I know that I should have journaled these blessings; they were too many to remember.
The experience of those six days, coming home on Monday, looking for the blessing of Jerry’s healing continues to bear fruit and the sharing of this blog.

How do we find these blessings that God has hidden for us?

There are three places in particular that we are “blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessings in heavenly places.”
  1. Blessings are hidden in the knowledge and wisdom of God’s Word. The more we read, study and look for these blessings the more we will find.
  2. Blessings are hidden in everyday circumstances, especially in times of adversity. This is where the Holy Spirit directs us to focus on God, our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. He is there in His promises to be with us always. It is during these times that we are more in need and able to see the blessings He has for us.
  3. Blessings are hidden in relationships, beyond those that seem the most affectionate and amiable. Loving our neighbors, no matter their disposition, is a blessing from our heavenly Father, and will multiply as we relate in the Spirit of Christ to those who are not blessed in Christ. We can be a blessing to them as we share our concerns for them in a way they are not used to.
There is much more we could say about these blessings hidden from us, but revealed by the Holy Spirit. Tired from this last week, needing for both of us to recuperate, I wanted to at least share this experience with you. As soon as possible, I will share The Patience That Leads to Contentment.
In the meantime, look for and find your blessings hidden in Christ, His Word and everyday circumstances. Thank Him and praise Him for all things.
Dear Father, you, indeed, are exceeding abundantly able to do more than we can ask or think by the power that works in and through us. Please continue to open our eyes to the blessings of your kingdom for your children here on earth and let us share them with others. In Jesus’ name, I pray, thank you and praise you. Amen.

The Value of the Lord’s Day

The worth of what we have is proven by how we spend it. The person who values the small amount of money that he has will spend it wisely on what is important to him. He, in understanding his needs, will spend his money on necessities before he buys something trivial.

The same is true with the spiritual blessings that God gives us.   The Lord’s Day is one of those blessings and is needful for His children. If this was not so He would not have placed such a high priority on it and in it. If it is so valuable to Him it should also be to us as His children.

“The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
Who, when he had found one pearl of great price,

went and sold all that he had, and bought it.”  
Matthew 13:45-46

oyster-wound-brings-forth-a-pearlWhere do we find in God’s word the value of the Christian Sabbath? I believe that we discover this in the pattern that was given for the first Sabbath. I have read books that are focused on the Lord’s Day, its ordinances set forth by the Jewish Sabbath, and the transition to the first day of the week as the honor given to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath. I have come to my understanding, by way of prayer and study, to peace and commitment in the value of the Lord’s Day. My conclusion can be summed up in the statements and scriptural references found in the Shorter Catechism. Many have found this as a teaching basis for an introduction to the Christian Faith. Presbyterians and Baptists have used it alike, except for the doctrines on baptism.

Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy
Like many other things of Biblical teaching some things are spoken, but not practiced.
There is more written in the Scriptures and in the Shorter Catechism about the fourth commandment than any other commandment. Does this not prove the value God has placed on it? When he set aside the seventh day he blessed it and hallowed it. We understand this to mean that the Lord’s Day is also blessed because it the day of our Lord’s Resurrection, the day of victory over sin and death for His people. This is the value of the Lord’s Day that is placed on the Christian faith and by His grace given to us. Let me share with you what is derived from God’s word and the doctrine that was established and accepted in the early church, based on the first day as the Lord’s Day and the Christian Sabbath.

Q 60: How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?

A: The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.

 Q 61: What is forbidden in the fourth commandment?

A: The fourth commandment forbiddeth the omission or careless performance of the duties required, and the profaning the day by idleness, or doing that which is in itself sinful, or by unnecessary thoughts, words, or works, about our worldly employments or recreations.

“ If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable: and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words.” Isaiah 58:13

Here was the settling point for me, and how I arrived at the value God has placed on the Lord’s Day, in honor of Christ Jesus, His Son, and our Lord. The same value placed on the Jewish Sabbath after God’s work of creation applies to the day that is honorable to Christ, the second person of the Trinity, after His work of redemption.

Commands and Promises
With His commands come promises. If we spend our time as He desires for us, of which He is worthy, here is the promise that follows in verse 14.

“Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

How much more is the importance of sanctifying the Lord’s Day? His purpose for the first day of each week is that we spend our time with Him, in the public and private worship and fellowship of the Father and the Son in Spirit and truth. As He was refreshed after His six-day work of creation (Exodus 31:17) His desire for us is to experience this refreshing after our work week.   This promise was made to the heritage of Jacob. The Israelites were God’s people and so are we, as Abraham’s offspring ~ children of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; and the church and body of Christ.

The Lord’s Day is meant to be a delight for us as we spend the whole day on Him, with Him. This is the practice and the preparation for that eternal day with Him. If you have never experienced a whole day with the Lord on His day, I encourage you to pray and seek His guidance for how He wants you to meet Him, in obedience to His word. You will not be disappointed. Your week will take on a different meaning as He causes you “to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feeds you with the heritage of His dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ~ the eternal bread of life.

“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious;”
1 Peter 2:7

Dear heavenly Father, as you created and rested; and was refreshed after your labor, teach us how to rest on the Lord’s Day; in you and all that you and your Son and your Holy Spirit have done for us.  Refresh us by your word and your Spirit in all that is holy and valuable to you.  Keep us holy, that we may keep your day holy.  Fill us with your presence and power for the work you have planned for us this week; and bring us to your refreshing in Christ next Lord’s Day.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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elated article: A Summary of John Owen on the Sabbath

The Purpose of the Lord’s Day

 

green-grass-and-blue-sky-landscape-472-Through time and observations we come to conclusions about this life and what comes after. Such has been my experience; and especially of the Lord’s Day. If I were to write the book it would be titled The Lord’s Day ~ It’s Purpose, Program and Practice. Each Lord’s Day has become a means for me to put into words what the day now means to me. It has not always been as it is now, but through the process of time I believe the Lord has led me to conclusions about His day.

I have been back through the channel of time (in God’s word) to see the Sabbath in the Ten Commandments not just as a law given to the Israelites, but also as a pattern of what was to come. It was not just a program for the Jewish worship day, but a vision set for the church that would be established through His Son, Jesus Christ. It was not for their practice alone, but a future plan for all God’s people through His everlasting covenant.

When the Old Testament prophesied the coming of the Messiah it was the purpose and the promise of something greater than what they already had. The Jews had observed the Sabbath as the seventh day. “From the beginning of the world until the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath; and the first day of the week since then until the end of the world to be the Christian Sabbath.” This quote is from the Shorter Catechism taken from the Westminster Confession of Faith.

When I look back to the quotes of Jesus in the New Testament I see the program that He was establishing. He spoke often of His death in “going up to Jerusalem,” where He will be killed and “shall rise again the third day.” Mark 10:31-34

On the third day He was raised as He said.

What happened in His resurrection? Before anyone else knew He established Himself as Lord of the Sabbath, Lord of His own day ~ a new day, for a new creation, a new assembly of saints who would practice on this day what He established for eternity.  The same power of the Holy Spirit that raised Him from the dead is the power that gives us new life  in Him and brings us to this worship of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

An eternal life and a new day of worship replaced the old. The new wine, the good wine was saved until Christ came and bled, and died and gave us His own life. This day He brings His people, those whom He has saved by His own life and death, in special remembrance of this union with Him and the Father, reconciling us to Him and making us joint heirs in His kingdom. We are joined this day with other saints here and in heaven, in observance of His suffering and sacrifice for our atonement (remembering His death in the Lord’s Supper). We worship through prayer, praise and His Holy Word as we practice for the celebration of this feast that will take place in eternity.

The purpose and the promise, the program and the practice do not end in a weekly worship service. The Lord’s Day is a full day; its purpose is for a whole day, not just an hour in a church service with other saints. This is the hard part and the unusual part of the practice. We will look in subsequent weeks at the preciousness and value of the Lord’s Day ~ the whole day ~ and how it is to be spent with the Lord.

“But the path of the just is as the shining light,
that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
Proverbs 4:18

Dear Father, let us live in praise and worship to you today.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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