Onward and Upward

Often I think of life as a simple “spiral.”
It circles, and as it turns, advances a little at the time.

Nothing is required for us to move in a downward spiral.
A natural downward spiral begins when we are born into this world. Our minds are set on things of this world, which draw us and drag us down. We are unable, of our own volition, to change our direction. Life never stays the same, and nature itself, by its gravity, keeps pulling us to its depths and the impending death that waits for us.

Those who are born into a culture that teaches Biblical principles may hear of God’s grace and His means of changing our direction, but we are at a loss to apply these principles in our own power.

The Bible teaches us that the direction of our lives change when we are reborn of the work of God’s Spirit in our heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26).   God gives us a new life through His Son, Jesus Christ, and by the power of His Spirit within us turns us, from the power of the downward spiral. By His kindness He brings us in repentance and faith to Himself (Acts 20:21; Romans 2:4). He continues through this life to bring us onward and upward, and to eternity with Him.

There is much more we could say in this short treatise about life here on earth, including sin and evil in this world, which is the reason for the downward spiral. The world has been in this downward deathly movement since the beginning of time, when our first parents turned from their Creator to make and take their own lives, and ours, in a different direction than His.

Are you aware of how you are turning, which way your life is going? Do you want to know this onward and upward movement in your life? Do you want to know the power of God’s Spirit working in you to bring you to Himself? No one can do an about-face, turning themselves. Many have tried, but to no avail. It requires the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit working through our spirit to give us a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) This requires a new birth (John 3:3) which only He can give (John 1:12-13; 1 Peter 1:3). Regeneration, a new creation, and repentance is His spiritual work in us, and what a glorious experience to be turned and moving in the opposite direction from the world.

If you have yet to know this new life, I pray that you will reach for God’s Word, which He offers to you. Read the Holy Bible. If you have never read before, begin with the New Testament. Ask for His Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13); pray and pour out your heart to Him. He knows where you are and what you need. Read and pray until He, by His Spirit, turns you to repentance and faith as a new creature in Christ. He gave His life to deliver us from the present evil age (Galatians 1:3).

If you have never heard the good news of God’s changing our lives and our direction, and want to hear more I would be blessed to tell you more. You can email me at f.rogers@bellsouth.net. There is oh, so much more of this glorious upward spiral that is ours in Christ through whom we, as God’s children, live.

I will end this post by saying that your wedding day will not be the most wonderful day of your life. Neither will the birth of your children be the greatest experience you can know. There is nothing as wonderful as being born of the Spirit of God and living every day in Christ, in light of His promises and hope. It is the most uplifting experience of this life as He is preparing us for eternity with Him.

Gracious Father, how can we tell someone what it is like to know you and what life is like as your children? It is impossible to share the width, the depth and the height of your love. You must do the work in each of us. I pray that you would shine your light and the life of Christ through us, and by your Spirit, draw and birth others into your house and kingdom. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Born for Contentment

Everyone who comes into this world is  “born for adversity.”  God’s children are born for contentment.

Years ago, when our oldest granddaughter started elementary school, I asked her why children were going to school every day. Her reply was, “So that we can get a job, make money, and buy what we want.” She was learning well at an early age what the world teaches about contentment. Now, at the age of twenty-four she is married, has a two-year old daughter and a job. And through adversity, she is learning to be content with what she has.

In this world of oppression, we are taught that we have the power to accomplish whatever makes us happy.  This is not the contentment for which God’s people are born. Let’s leave behind the fallacy that we are responsible for our own contentment.

True contentment ~ divine contentment ~ comes to us by the supernatural power of God, our heavenly Father.  He desired us and sired us for His own pleasure and contentment.

Just as we learn from infancy how to survive physically, we must learn, at His feet,  how to be content in this world of oppression.

Desire to Desire What God Desires

We are reminded of the apostle Paul’s words, “ I have learned…..to be content.” (Philippians 4:11) What God gives us in our new birth is a new heart, and a new spirit with a desire for that which is eternal.

Learning about true contentment is not easy. It is as foreign to humanity as anything we can study or desire. It is beyond imagination, so supernatural that we cannot think about it without being overwhelmed. We are reminded of Jesus’ promise, “Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”(John 4:14)

rivers-of-living-waterThis eternal life becomes a fountain (Psalm 36:9), then a stream (Isaiah 35:6), then breaks forth into rivers of living water (John 7:37-39). The source is God, Himself, through Christ, His Son, and the power of the Holy Spirit working in the heart to produce His own life. This is what He meant when He said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21

The new birth is the spring. Growing by the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ brings the blessings of His presence and power, blessings we cannot fathom, or control, at times carrying us away with the flow.

Oppression ~~~~ Adversity ~~~~Contentment

Divine contentment is the opposite end of the spectrum from oppression, as far as heaven is from the earth. Between oppression and divine contentment, the reality of adversity remains part of every person’s life. Divine contentment is God’s blessing and gift of grace, that His children may live content in Christ, in the middle of adversity. It is more than just having what we think we need, but receiving what He has so graciously prepared for us ~ more than we could ask or think.
(1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 3:20)

As we continue to proclaim the legacy of God’s kingdom we will share what He is teaching us of this supernatural, phenomenal gift of His contentment.

Dear Father in heaven, many ask why you allow oppression and adversity. Keep us close to you as we are learning your thoughts and your ways concerning our place in your kingdom here on earth. We praise you for the contentment that is ours in Christ, for the legacy that is ours as joint-heirs with Christ now and for eternity. Show us your ways O Lord; teach us your paths; lead us in your truth and teach us.  For Thou art the God of our salvation.  On Thee do we wait all the day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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Angels from the Realms of Glory

Where are God’s angels today?

3_angels_flying_over_earth_-_x350“Angels from the realms of  glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye, who sang creation’s story,
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth.”

The angels that were present at the creation, have been present throughout all of history, waiting the time when God’s word would be fulfilled in the incarnation of His Son, Jesus.

Without doing a whole series on angels, we want to look at  one segment of the record of angels from God’s word, to compare the angel’s announcement of Mary’s conception,  to Jesus’ proclamation of our new birth.

The Angels Proclamation:
“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”  Luke 1:35

 Jesus’ Proclamation:  
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…except a man is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit…The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”   John 3:3,5-6

The same Holy Ghost (Sprit) that came upon Mary is the same Spirit that comes upon us to reveal Jesus Christ in us. The power of the Highest that overshadowed Mary is the same power that overshadows His people today; by which we conceive in our hearts the image and Spirit of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

He told His disciples that He would not leave them helpless, but would come to them, by His Spirit. When Jesus comes He does not just come unto us, but into us, by His Spirit.

Mary could not conceive a child of her own.  It was God’s gift to her and to us.
We cannot conceive a child on our own.  Whether flesh or Spirit, it is God’s gift to us.
We cannot will this gift to ourselves.  We cannot birth Christ in our own hearts.
We cannot decide to believe in Christ.  Only He can send His Spirit to be born in us.

Was Mary’s conception a phenomenon?  So is our faith in Jesus Christ.
Was the birth of Jesus Christ through a virgin a supernatural event?  So is our new birth.

Apart from Jesus Christ, we can do nothing.  As He continually sends His Spirit to do His work in and through us we can do all things that He wills for us, no less and no more ~ all miraculously!

“CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY
Colossians 1:27

What are the angels doing, now that Christ has accomplished His work on earth and “It is finished?” They are still winging their flight o’er all the earth; and in heaven rejoicing over every sinner that repents! images

The work of the Spirit of Christ keeps the angels singing. “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14

   Angels We Have Heard on High
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Glory to God in the Highest!

 “All creation, join in praising God, the Father, Spirit, Son,
Evermore your voices raising to the eternal Three in One.”

The Newest Year ~ The Best Wine

The Father has opened my heart to think of this new year as the newest year, one that will surpass all others.  Each year of my life has brought new revelation, new truths, new vision, new purpose.  Each year has brought me closer and closer to Him. With time, aging, experience, and trials we can witness that He keeps His covenant and fulfills His promises. So why should we not come to this year with even more expectation, with a great and joyful anticipation?

All my life I seem to have been motivated by new beginnings, though they come with mixed blessings.  For every new beginning there has to be an ending, which means we leave something behind or lose something.  We may have to let something, or someone, go.  We may have to start over completely.  Years ago there came the realization that endings are like deaths.  Some are good endings that we have looked forward to. Others may be accompanied with grief, which may take time to get over.  But in the process is the preparation for the future that our Father has for us, and for things that He has prepared for us.  We are not speaking of the future as a reference to an after-death experience in heaven.  What we refer to is for here and now, a taste of heaven here on earth, and preparation for glory.  Every year, every trial, every ending, every death, every beginning brings us more of His blessings, and the heavenly gifts He waits to give.

New Heart ~ New Birth

To experience the newest we have to set aside the old.  With the new birth we start over. With the new heart our desires change.  The things that we lusted for, even things that seemed good are easily left behind for something better.  With the new spirit we look forward to new experiences that the Father has planned for us.  The child-like faith gives us hope for further fulfillment of His promises, and we rest in believing that He will show us great and mighty things we have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)  The child-like spirit delights in the unexpected. We are not satisfied to live the same year again, but in anticipation that all things will be fresh and new from Him every day, and every year that we are here.  These new things are never lost, but added to year after year, with even greater anticipation.

We can expect the continued power of the Holy Spirit to guide us into and through the year, moment by moment, day by day, week by week, month by month until the ending of this year, unless He has chosen to bring us to glory  ( Psalm 73:24; Colossians 3:4) before then.  We anticipate further sanctification, cleansing and purifying of the heart and the hands, transforming by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:1-2) and conforming us to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29)

“He hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure;

 for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.”

2 Samuel 23:5 

We look forward to His instructions, to His order of the things with which we are still unfamiliar, but that He promises to reveal to us. (Deuteronomy 29:29; John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10)

On this first day of 2008 the question is asked, “Am I willing to give up my own ideas, the desires of my own heart, and seek, with diligence, the kingdom of God and His righteousness?”  (Matthew 6:33)  The Father has promised us an abundant life in His Son. (John 10:10)  The newest and the best are given only in Christ. All beginnings are of His grace—not a cheap grace, but one secured for us by the Father and the Son through the sacrifice of His life, a covenant of grace made for us before time began. (2 Timothy 1:9)

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”  John 3:30 

We enter this newest year with an open calendar and the prayer, “Lord, fill it with your plans for me—for your glory, and for my joy and the joy of others. Let there be less of me and more of you.”  And this same prayer we ask for all His people, for the building of His church and His kingdom. “Fill our hearts and prayers with more love for you and others, more praise, more gratitude, more of your grace. Let there be new springs, new fountains, new rivers of living water flowing in hearts, families, and churches.”

“Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.  This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.”  John 2:10-11

At the marriage feast at Cana Jesus turned water into wine. Much of what we have seems good until we, in the times of our seasoning, come to what the Father has for us. It is but as water, or only a good wine, compared to the better. We can afford to wait for the best that the Father has planned for us.  “The heirs can afford to wait.”  (Andrew Murray) He has promised a heavenly life for His people who live in anticipation of the spiritual things from His heart and kingdom. (Ephesians 1:3)  He has promised new wine in new wine skins.  He keeps filling our hearts with His Word, His promises, His Spirit, His power (Ephesians 3:20; Colossians 21:27,29) and excitement that spills over into each year.  Still, the newest year and the best wine are yet to come, in Glory with Him.

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all,

how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” 

Romans 8:31

Keeping our eyes on Christ we live in daily anticipation of the filling of His Spirit, and the bread from heaven, the Spirit of the life of Christ given to us by a loving heavenly Father, and we pray, “Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-13; Revelation 4)  Before anything else we desire the honor of His name, the coming of His kingdom in our hearts, and His will to be done in our lives, as it is in heaven.  If these requests are fulfilled we can know that the others will be also.  The rest of the Lord’s Prayer is a petition for our needs based on our faith in what He promised and is able to do—for His glory and our joy.

“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,

unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:” 

Ephesians 4:7,13

(Fran 1/1/08  Article from 50 Days of Prayer and Praise ~ Articles and Stories of Faith)   Join us for our daily devotional  agoldentreasury.com.

Wings of Grace

 Wings of Grace

 How the photographer got this close to the scene I do not understand.  I only know what I see in the picture.  And it reminds me of the words of the Psalmist who experienced the wings of God’s grace.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty,
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
Psalm 91:1,3 ESV

It also reminds me of the need for stronger and larger wings as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In Waiting on God, Andrew Murray aptly describes the work of God’s grace in us.

“They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”
 Isaiah 40:31

“You know what eagles’ wings mean.  The eagle is the king of birds; it soars the highest into the heavens.  Believers are to live a heavenly life, in the very presence and love and joy of God.  They are to live where God lives; they need God’s strength to rise there.  It will be given to them that wait on Him.

You know how the eagles’ wings are obtained.  Only in one way — by the eagle birth.  You are born of God.  You have the eagles’ wings.  You may not have known it; you may not have used them; but God can and will teach you how to use them.

You know how the eagles are taught the use of their wings.  See yonder cliff rising a thousand feet out of the sea.  See high up a ledge on the rock, where there is an eagle’s nest with its treasure of two young eaglets.  See the mother bird come and stir up her nest, and with her beak push the timid birds over the precipice.  See how they flutter and fall and sink toward the depth.  See now how she “fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: (Deuteronomy 32:11), and so, as they ride upon her wings, brings them to a place of safety.  And so, she does once and again, each time casting them out over the precipice, and then again taking and carrying them.  “So the Lord alone did lead him.”  Yes, the instinct of that eagle mother was God’s gift, a single ray of that love in which the Almighty trains His people to mount as on eagles’ wings.

He stirs up your nest.  He disappoints your hopes. He brings down your confidence.  He makes you fear and tremble, as all your strength fails, and you feel utterly weary and helpless.  And, all the while He is spreading His strong wings for you to rest your weakness on, and offering His everlasting Creator-strength to work in you.  And all He asks is that you sink down in your weariness and wait on Him.  Allow Him in His Jehovah-strength to carry you as you ride upon the wings of HIs omnipotence.

Dear child of God, I pray you, lift up your eyes, and behold your God!  Listen to Him who says that He “fainteth not, neither is weary,” who promises that you too shall not faint or be weary, who asks nothing but this one thing, that you should wait on Him.  And, let your answer be, With such a God, so mighty, so faithful, so tender—My soul, wait thou only upon God!”   God’s grace for God’s glory and our joy!” (Waiting on God  ~ Andrew Murray)