Soul Food for Sunday

“My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord:
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.”
Psalm 84:2

 I am addicted to the Word of God.  In it is the power of the life of Jesus Christ, the Lord. The power of the gospel to save, (Romans 1:16)  is the same power that raised Christ from the death, so that His life would be a continual flow of power in and through His people.  Feeding on His word daily is coupled with the Lord’s Day proclamation in the preaching of His word.  His word goes forth in power to those whose hearts and souls feed on Him.  How can we fast on the Lord’s Day when He has prepared a feast for us from His word?

Sword-Word-God-118735“For the word of God is quick, and powerful,
and sharper than any twoedged sword,
piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit,
and of the joints and marrow,
and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Hebrews 4:12

By His Word and Spirit He searches and knows my heart; He tries me and knows my thoughts, seeing any wicked way in me; and leads me in the paths of righteousness.

 “Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Matthew 4:4

I need His word ~ the same word that penetrated my being ~ to permeate, and perpetuate the life of Christ in and through me; for His sanctification by the “washing of the water by the word.” Ephesians 5:26

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

Through His Word are all God’s promises made and fulfilled in Christ.

“For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”
Psalm 107:9

“I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.”
Psalm 130:5

“Whom have I in heaven but thee?
and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart,
and my portion for ever.”
Psalm 73:25:26

sarasota-tropical-garden-design“And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

Isaiah 58:11

Dear Father, as you bring us this day into your gates with thanksgiving and your courts with praise, open our hearts to your word, that our souls may be fed, nourished, and receiving the bread of life in Christ, your Son, and your Spirit, knowing the abundance of His life within us. Let us this week, in obedience of faith be about our Father’s business of life, doing all your will ~ to your glory and our joy.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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Celebration of a Life

(Stay with me—the best wine is reserved for last.)
Our children and grandchildren came today to celebrate the birthday of our youngest child, our daughter, Lee. For more than forty years we have witnessed what God, our heavenly Father, has been doing in this one life—“beforehand ordained” to be born of the earth, and of heaven.
How grateful I am that she has a new mother, for I was not able to give her eternal life. As a child she exhibited traits of someone else’s child. (At times I thought she was perfect; she was not at all like me.)  She attested to her new birth at the age of fifteen when she was baptized and formerly became a member of Christ’s church.

Though we drifted apart over the years we have since been drawn together in a new way through the difficult times—“everything working together” to conform  both of us to the image of Christ.

I lived part of my life through her, for she had a life I did not have.  God enabled me to see what He can do, beyond what any earthly parent can do.  Perhaps this was part of His plan for me to see beyond myself to Him.

This week as I have been preparing for this celebration the thought came that revealed the blessing that God put in my life all these years.  If I could have lived the life of another woman here on this earth I would have wished for the life He gave my daughter.
That is how much I love the daughter that He gave me.

Celebration of  THE LIFE

Now that we have celebrated the life of our daughter today we are continuing our plans for tomorrow.  Every day and every week is the time for preparation for the Lord’s Day—the day we celebrate the Life from which all life comes.

“For by Him (Jesus Christ) were all things created that are in heaven and in the earth…and by Him all things consist.  For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness (life) dwell.” Colossians 1:16-19
And of His fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” John 1:16

Christ exhibited this Life in human form and then sacrificed that physical life that we might receive eternal life through Him.
Those who can testify of their new birth—new life in Christ—will celebrate the eternal life of Jesus Christ on the Lord’s Day.  It is the inheritance we have in Him as children of the living God, our heavenly Father.
We meet together with his other sons and daughters to worship and adore the one who gave His life that we might live with Him, forever.

At Christ Reformed Church we are invited every Lord’s Day to His table to feast on this life—His body broken for us; His blood shed for us—all for us, that we might be all for Him.

My heavenly Father blessed me with a precious daughter and son here on this earth, both originating with His Son.  Through new life in Him, supernaturally by His own Spirit, He continues to bless me and promises this for eternity.
Even in the years of my estrangement from Him Christ compensated for me and in His timing brought me to know His love for me.  Now the only life I desire is the life of Christ; His life in me, and my living in Him.   This is how much I love the Son given to me.

“He who has the Son has Life.”
1 John 5:12

Father, open our eyes to see ourselves as we are without you.  Reveal Christ to us as our only hope of life for this world and for eternity.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen

Observation of the Sabbath

“It is a gross mistake to consider the Sabbath as a mere festival of the Jewish Church, deriving its whole sanctity from the Levitical law.  The abrogation of that law no more releases the worshippers of God from the observation of the Sabbath, than it cancels the injunctions of filial piety, or the prohibitions of theft and murder.  The Christian stands obliged to the observance of a Sabbath.  By keeping a Sabbath, we acknowledge a God and declare we are not atheists; by keeping one day in seven, we protest against idolatry, and acknowledge that God who made the heavens and earth; and by keeping our Sabbath on the first day of the week, we protest against Judaism, and acknowledge that God who, having made the world, sent His only begotten Son to redeem mankind.  The observation of the Sabbath is a public weekly assertion of the two first articles in our creed–the belief in God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.” ~  Samuel Horsley (1733-1806)

Profaning the Sabbath

“My soul, how hast thou profaned that day thy God hath sanctified! How hast thou encroached on that which Heaven hath set apart!  If thy impatience cannot act a Sabbath twelve hours, what happiness canst thou expect in a perpetual Sabbath?  Is six days too little for thyself, and two hours too much for thy God?”
~ Francis Quarles 1592-1644 (From Horatius Bonar‘s Words Old and New)

Dear Father, let us not presume to think that we have an interest in Heaven if we have no interest in You.  Why would we want to spend eternity with You if we have no desire to spend a day with You now?  Forgive us, and by Your own Spirit draw us to Yourself in Christ with Your people today. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

The Lord’s Day ~ The Christian’s Day of Deliverance

“The Christian as well as the Jew, after six days spent in his own works, is to sanctify the seventh, that he may profess himself thereby a servant of God, the Creator of heaven and earth.  For the quotum the Jew and Christian agree; but in designation of the day they differ.  For the Christian chooseth for his holy day that which, with the Jew, was the first day of the week, and calls it the Lord’s day, that he might thereby profess himself a servant of that God who, on the morning of that day, vanquished Satan, the spiritual Pharaoh, and redeemed us from our spiritual thraldom by raising Jesus Christ our Lord from the dead; begetting us, instead of an earthly Canaan, to an inheritance incorruptible in the heavens.  The Christian, by the day he hallows, professes himself a Christian.  The Jew and Christian make their designation of their day on like ground: the Jews, the memorial day of their deliverance from the temporal Eqypt and temporal Pharaoh; the Christians, the memorial day of their deliverance from the spiritual Egypt and spiritual Pharaoh.”
~ Joseph Mede 1586-1639    (From Horatius Bonar’s Words Old and New)

The Eternal Sabbath

Let us not “neglect to meet together” with God’s people to worship on this Lord’s Day—keeping in mind the words of Trelcatius 1542-1602.

“Shall we not esteem the days of this life very short, if we compare them with the eternal Sabbath, which shall not only give an end to all our labours, but also change our six days into eternity?

Let us aspire with a holy desire and firm hope to the enjoying of this eternal life; sighing under the vanity and shortness of this frail and earthly life.  Jesus Christ saith, ‘For certain I come soon:’ let us, with the church, answer with holy affection, Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.”

Dear Father, gather us, as your children, to remember and celebrate this day—for your glory and our joy.  In Jesus name, I pray. Amen

A Day to Worship

Who and Why We Worship                                        Where and How We Worship

                                                                PSALM 100

“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD,
all ye lands.
2Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence
with singing.
 

3Know ye that the LORD
he is God:
it is he that hath made us,
and not we ourselves;
we are his people,
and the sheep of his pasture.

 4Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him,
and bless his name.

5For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endureth to all generations.”   MusicMake a Joyful Noise

Dear heavenly Father, by your own heart and word, draw us to worship.  Lord Jesus, “declare His name to your brethren.”  Lead us “in the midst of the congregation.” (Hebrews 2:12-13)  Holy Spirit, fill us; “inhabit our praises.”  Keep our hearts, minds and focus on you today.  In Jesus name I pray.  Amen

Love the Lord? Love His Day

As simple as it may sound, I love the Lord’s Day because I love the Lord.

It is, and has been, for centuries, the day of celebration of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ. As our heavenly Father rested after His work of creation, and set aside the seventh day as the Sabbath, so, we rest in Christ and set aside the new day of worship on the day that He rose in victory from the grave, creating new life for His people.

This day is the day that I remember His atoning work on the cross for me.  All who are a part of His redeeming work meet together to give unto Him the glory due unto His name. I see this day as a new beginning; starting the new week in Christ and with His people.  Actually, at times it seems that this is the eighth day— ending the previous week with a day of praise for all that He has done —-and the first day, both rolled into one.

Years ago, when I realized that this day is a gift to His people, it became a goal every week for me, a projection from one Lord’s Day to the next, with everyday between as a day of preparation for the next Lord’s Day.  As mentioned in another post, each Lord’s Day is a taste of heaven, a prelude to that day when we will be worshipping our Lord eternally.  Then everyday will be a day of rest, and worship.

“And upon the first day of the week,
when the disciples came together to break bread,
Paul preached unto them.”
Acts. 20:7

Today is the day that I will celebrate my Lord Jesus Christ, His person, His work; the day that I will praise Him, serve Him, love Him and His people as we meet together; the day that I will “hunger and thirst” for Him and His righteousness, be filled more and more with His Spirit; and be in awe as I hear His Word proclaimed in power. This day I will, together with God’s people participate in the Lord’s Supper, “remembering His death until He comes.” Besides all this, He amazes me with great and mighty things I have not yet known, asked for, or imagined.

Again, I ask that you share your comments about how the Lord leads you on this day.  What difference does the Lord’s Day make in your life?  What impression does the Lord’s Day make in your life for eternity?

May you be blessed today as you “delight yourself in the Lord and His Day.”  Isaiah 58:13-14

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Someone who reads my posts concerning the Lord’s Day (Sabbath) has blatantly attacked this blog by his/her comments. (I say “this blog” because I, personally, will not accept such comments).

This blog was not set up as forum to discuss different religious beliefs, but to encourage those who are of “like faith” in Jesus Christ.  The title itself is meant to bring all attention to God’s grace working in every believer, for His own glory.  The sub-title “growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ” is to encourage others in this growth.  If you are only looking for a debate this blog is not for you.

Whose Holy Day?

“For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”
Matthew 12:8

“Let every one that loves Christ keep holy the Lord’s day–,the queen of days, the resurrection day, the highest of all days.”  Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, A.D. 101

“On the Lord’s day, every one of us Christians keeps the Sabbath.” Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, who also lived in the second century, and who was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a companion of apostle John, speaks of the Lord’s Day as the Christian Sabbath.

“A Christian, according to the command of the gospel, observes the Lord’s day, thereby glorifying the resurrection of the Lord.”  Clement of Alexandria

You Had to Be There

The authority and power of God’s Word is such that sometimes hearing it second-hand—either a recording, or someone quoting part of a sermon—does not have the same effect as hearing it personally.  What I am sharing from this past Lord’s Day may not mean anything to you, but I am writing about it as a witness of this authority and power in my own hearing.

Pastor Truelove did not use his microphone because he thought the batteries were dead. (Someone else had turned it off.) As we are ending the study of the Gospel of Mark, he was bringing us to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It was not a sermon preached with great oratory, but in spirit and truth.  His desire is always to convey the Word of God and not his own opinions and personality; and so he relies heavily on the authority of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit to deliver it.  It needs nothing added from man.

 What we hear depends on the preparation of the heart.  When I am in the presence of a man that God has appointed and anointed as a messenger of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ I fear that I might miss something that He has for me, so I prepare with prayer and reading during the week for this special time on the Lord’s Day.

Just a few weeks ago our pastor took us to the Garden of Gethsemane to the scene of Jesus’ arrest.  There were no special effects that were used for that sermon either, but I think I will never forget the words of Christ (simply spoken by our pastor) as He responded to those who were looking for Him. Just as His words “I AM HE,” when spoken to the soldiers knocked them backward, so I heard them as if He had spoken them directly to me.  There was a similar effect of fear, but not in the same sense as theirs.  His words were affirmation for my heart, strong words for my own soul, confirming Who was being arrested, how He was arrested, and the purpose to accomplish His ministry and   fulfill prophecy of the scriptures. He and His disciples were always, “going up to Jerusalem” for this event.  He was ready now to “finish” the work He had come to do.

In the sermon on Christ’s resurrection this past Lord’s Day the same thing happened.  When the two Mary’s came looking for Jesus, it was not our Lord who spoke, but His messenger.  The man in white said, “HE IS RISEN,” and again my heart leaped after Him—not the angel, but Jesus, my Lord.  Here was another confirmation of the truth of God’s Word working awe, wonder, and faith in this old heart of mine.

With this authority and power I can stand, sit, and walk daily in the knowledge and reality of Who He Is.  There is a testimony of God, through His written Word, in me and through me.  His Spirit fills this temple, using His Word to cleanse, purify, separate, and sanctify me for Himself, and to proclaim Who He Is.

You have to be there.  The message is for those who come to Him, hungering and thirsting for Him, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.  Hearing a recording or watching on television is not the same as gathering as one people  “all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee (the messenger) of God.”   Acts 10:33

“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace,
and bring glad tidings of good things?”
Romans 10:14

Gracious Father, today, speak to us through your Word.  We pray for the authority of your Word to be commanded in us by the power of your Holy Spirit. Prepare our hearts to come together with your people to hear, believe, and live in the light of your truth.  In Jesus name we pray, praise you and thank you.  Amen.