Treasure Boxes

Years ago, I gave each of our grandchildren treasure boxes. The first one was given to our oldest grandchild, Ansley, to keep letters I had written to her. The first letter was written soon after she was born, recording the anticipation of her birth, family, and friends who were present when she was born and other details. In addition, I wrote things that the Lord put in my heart for her to read later. Letters were written for each birthday for several years until three sisters were born. I kept each one from the time they were three months old until they began kindergarten and during the summer months two days a week while Lee worked as a physical therapist. I did not have time afterward to write letters to the other grandchildren, but they all have the treasure boxes for storing things we studied together.

In them are workbooks that we used for our Summer of Psalms used for studying God’s Word over a fourteen-year period, plus awards they received for memory work, a CD of the music we sang, and crafts we used for activities. (To our one grandson we gave a solid red box.) In the last two years, we have given them copies of some of our published books. We no longer study together, but they have these treasures to review and remember what they learned when they were younger; hopefully to share with their own children and grandchildren. Our books may be of more interest to them when they are older. Our youngest, Emma, will be sixteen in March.These boxes serve as a place for them to keep the sources from which they have learned of God and of heaven ~ those eternal things that never fade or pass away. And should they forget and wander from the paths of their childhood, they can return and rediscover the truths of life that point them in the right way, along with the study Bibles we gave them.

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

I believe the idea for the boxes was a gift from God our heavenly Father and a replica of the new heart He gives us as His children. He has designed them as a place for His love, joy, and peace, His truth, wisdom, knowledge, and grace; for His songs and memories of growing up in Christ. Since the new heart belongs wholly to Him, He has the freedom to add whatever and whenever He wants. Unlike the earthly boxes I gave my grandchildren, He has the key to each of His. He opens and closes, reveals and adds His own heavenly treasures according to His heart and will.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
2 Corinthians 4:7 

There have been times I wished I had had these treasures for my children, but I did not have the new heart to receive these blessings when they were young. Our heavenly Father has no grandchildren but gives His treasures to those He desired and sired for His own.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 1:2

Gracious Father, how blessed we are that you call us your own; that we belong to you both by Creation and Redemption. Continue to reveal your grace and glory, fill us continually with your Holy Spirit of truth, wisdom, and knowledge, as you are preparing us to live with you forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Related Poem: God’s Beloved Son
image:Google

Breakthrough and Follow-through

So as not to miss any gods they might appease, the Athenians had set up an “unknown god” among the others. And so, Christianity today is seen as a religion among many others. The God of Christianity is “unknown” even to some who claim it as their faith. If we see little more than the surface of this way of life, we simply exist without the source and the power of this life. For the most part, we fail to differentiate between what other religions offer. We must be sure that it is an offering; a supernatural offering between our God and us. It is a spiritual gift from the Lord God of Christianity whom we know as Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of Jehovah, the Almighty God and Creator of the heavens and the earth and Redeemer of mankind.

Baptized as a child on a profession of faith, Christianity was basic but ineffective in my life until as an adult, I was drawn to read, then study; to write and teach what I was learning from the Bible. During those years, the Holy Spirit I was reading about in the Bible used God’s own words to transform my life. Through a new birth, with a new heart and spirit, my life was changed and has not been the same for decades. My books, articles, and poems attest to the revealed and fulfilled promises made to those He brings to Himself.

The best way I can describe this new way of life is with a parable I heard several years ago.

A prisoner was held captive for years, not knowing where he was. He existed in an obscure stronghold in a foreign country. His food and drink were barely enough to keep him alive. Since he knew no other way of life, he did not wish for anything else.

One day a stranger entered his cell and told him about life outside his captivity. He had come to deliver him. At first, the man could not vision anything beyond his own existence, and so refused to follow him out. Unknown to the prisoner, the stranger had broken through the outside barrier of the stronghold to save him. He was there, not to be refused; and so, stayed with him, living off the same fare by which the prisoner had been fed most of his life. At times he would open the cell door and lead him down a long dark hallway to show him the light outside. Not used to the light, the prisoner would soon move back to his comfortable cell.

With time, the stranger presented truths about the light, each day praying with him and leading him a little further out from his cell. Gradually getting used to the light, he was drawn more; then more, to it. One day, his eyes becoming used to the light, embraced the light, walking with the stranger into a new life outside himself.

As I contemplated writing this post, I was reminded of an old TV series Mission Impossible. A different mission presented to the team with every episode including the statement, “This is your mission if you choose to accept it.” The missions involved seemingly impossible situations providing an escape for captives.

I imagined what this would have looked like for Jesus before Creation. He and the Holy Spirit were the team, Jesus being the one who would suffer and sacrifice to bring His people out of their bondage. His mission from God the Father was to go down, go to, and live with the captives on earth; live in full obedience to God’s law, which no man had ever done, and provide a true understanding of the laws of His kingdom. He would be the light from heaven to people living in darkness, under oppression and sin. He would at the appointed time, be offered up as a means of appeasing the unknown God and ascend back to the Father, where He would live and reign for us as His people.  He would send His Spirit of light from heaven; through His Word bring us out of our captivity and guide us into all truth.

Jesus accepted and fulfilled His mission. His Holy Spirit is now fulfilling His mission in our hearts and lives as we continue to follow Jesus.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for so loving us that you sent your Son to be a propitiation for our sins. Lord Jesus, we thank you for being the author and finisher of our faith; for breaking through and enabling us to follow through this darkness until we see you in your full glory. Holy Spirit, we know your presence and power of the life of Christ in us. Continue to reveal and fulfill all that the Father has willed for us as your people. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Fran

Image:Google

Holding On and Letting Go

Since August 29, 1992, the Lord has led me in a different path than the former years ~ with a new heart, new spirit and new life.

We have together chronicled this path, leaving traces, patterns, and clues on the way. We have filled notebooks and file boxes, written letters, emails, blog posts and books with what He has been teaching me.

Celebrating these last twenty-five years has been a joyful experience as we continue through this wilderness in the power of His promises; in faith and the strength of His will to reach that eternal destiny to which He has called us.

At the age of seventy-eight I am near the riverside, having seen and tasted the glory of the Lord through His gift of grace. Through this pilgrimage, we come to a point where we no longer look back but toward the horizon to where He waits for us.

The Lord has these years in His service, been holding me and teaching me to hold to Him and all that He has given. He has shown me His plans for me, and with it the direction and wisdom in which to go, with the assurance to be with me all the way.

These last six months it seems that we have not gone forward but waiting for His instructions. During this time, we have been able to write sparingly through these blog posts. We have enjoyed being a part of the WordPress Christian Community, caught up with reading and commenting on other blog posts.

As Jerry’s appointments have lessened, though his foot is still not healed, we are now formatting and getting PRAYERS That Brought the House Down ready for publication. Thriving Under Oppression is the next project to finish ~ a continual work for the last three years. Our major work is not to promote and sell but to write and publish what we have already written, and finish others that we have started.

All are witness to God’s grace and His Glory in proclamation of the legacy of His kingdom. Under the name of Father and Family Books, these are the testimony of “laying hold of eternal life” to which He calls us. To continue on we must let go some of the things we have been doing these last six months. We cannot keep up the pace of reading and responding to other blog posts if we are to hold on and continue the work God has for us. I have read more blogs than I have written. We will visit as often as we can, but not on a daily basis as we have been this year.

Holding on means with both hands, eyes and face forward to the upward call. Letting go means not spending as much time where we have been.

We will still post occasionally and we are committed to finish our series on Contentment as the Lord leads.

My main role is as Jerry’s full-time caregiver. The Lord provides the time between our duties for writing and publishing. Please pray for the Lord’s leading and His holy will for all that we do in the service of His kingdom. Our books are Christian non-fiction, except for one book of short stories. They are for encouragement for Christian living and spiritual growth as we look to the hope that is set before us. We will post updates as often as possible.

If you are interested in any of our books on Amazon (one is free), remember that profits are designated for missions and charity. The Lord has provided for all our needs so that all our work is for His kingdom and glory.

Gracious Father, thank you for the precious friends you have given us here. I pray for your guidance for us all to continue holding to what you have given us; to let go the things of this world that would hinder our growth and continued progress in the way of your kingdom and eternal life. Show us your ways , O Lord, teach us your paths. Lead us in your truth and teach us. For you are the God of our salvation. On you do we wait all the day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.  

Related article: Laying Hold of Eternal Life

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

image: Google

No Strings Attached

Many will say that if God is sovereign and that He has predestined everything then we are no more than robots or puppets. We may use this description for those who live by the dictates of our world’s culture, but never to describe those whom God calls His own people. Robots and puppets have no mind and no heart for God or others.

When God created man it was so as to be close to him, and to give to him all of His love, joy, and peace. This relationship all depended on the creature’s faith and obedience to the word of God. When God breathed into man His own Spirit He gave all of us His life, to be passed down from generation to generation. That power of His Spirit and life for us was annulled when the first man and woman disobeyed, proving that man needs, and cannot live without, the presence and power of our Creator.

Until Christ came man was destined to live on his own, under the curse of the law of God, without any power for us to obey. Christ was the Son who obeyed and then gave His life as a substitute for us, so that we would receive God’s Spirit again and be reconciled to Him. It is His Spirit that gives us a new heart that willingly seeks and obeys God’s Word.
1014069_orig

There are no strings attached, but only the sweet Spirit of Christ, His Son, who lives in our hearts, enabling us to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him.

We willingly give ourselves to whatever draws us, whether to the things of this world, or to the things of God. God, our heavenly Father, draws us by His Spirit and His written word to Himself, and to all that is eternal. Those who know Him, desire to desire what He desires for us, and willingly give ourselves to Him. He woes us, and continues to draw us by His overwhelming love and grace.   He needs no physical attachments, only a humble heart and spirit, which from His own heart and Spirit, He works in us.

Jehovah appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Jeremiah 31:3

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for your eternal plan for us to live with you now and forever.  Thank you that you did not leave us alone in our sin; but that as a God of mercy, who loved us before the foundation of the world, now through your Word and Spirit, in your timing and in your way bring us to yourself through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord and Savior.  In His name we pray.  Amen.