First Things for the First of a New Year

If ever we begin a new year without focus and direction, we will surely fail to know our purpose, to go through and end the year with any success. As a believer, a follower of Christ, we must start with wisdom and knowledge of Him and His teachings.

He left us with specific directions and expectations. As our Shepherd, He continues to lead us by the written Word of God and His Spirit. He teaches three specific things, first things that we need to know and remember at all times, especially as we begin a new year.

These “first things” are shared in our free ebook, First Things That Last Forever, as an introduction to the series Little Books About the Magnitude of God.

These books were originally written and published to preserve a legacy for our family of what the Lord has taught me for seventy-eight years. They are available here for anyone who desires to know how God’s presence and power work in the best and the worst times of this life. Jesus finished His work, left us His example and teachings, and has sent His Holy Spirit to reveal and fulfill the promises made through Him.

We invite you to begin this year of 2018 with these teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and to share them with others.

The Lord bless you, keep you and lead you in the paths of righteousness this New Year.

Fran and Jerry

Gracious Father, as we offer this book to your people, we ask that you lead by your Spirit those who will accept this free offer, even as you offer eternal life through your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. I pray we all will continue to learn to focus on you as our heavenly Father, and what it means to hallow your name; to learn what it means to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness, and to love you with all our heart, mind and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. Bless us as your people in this new year for your own glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Let Us Pray Together For Our Nation

Why should we pray together for our nation? Burdens and prayer go together. As Christians we expect our heavenly Father to place burdens upon us so that we will come to Him in humility for His intervention.

He has given us His Spirit of grace and supplication for times like these.

He has placed His Son, our Lord and Savior at the helm of His kingdom as our High Priest, and through His Spirit, He receives our prayers and supplications.

In these last few weeks before this presidential election, please join me at the beginning of each week to pray each of the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.  We will see how it relates to each of us, personally, to our families, the church, our nation, and the world.  We ask that other nations join us. (See A World in Crisis)

Please consider fasting as the Lord leads you.

our-father-which-art-in-heaven

Dear Father, we come to you with the burden you have placed on our hearts. We see the handwriting on the wall. Believing that you are our heavenly Father who has birthed us into your kingdom, we need no other recourse but you. You care for us through your authority and rule over us as your children. During these times of uncertainty draw us near to you, show us your ways, teach us your paths, lead us in your truth, for you are the God of our salvation.

As we watch the proceedings leading up to this election, enable us to see all in your omnipotence, all happening under your control. Let our responses to these things be honoring to you, as we trust you in all things.

Let us not be anxious; let us not be fearful, but work in us that we may trust you explicitly in these coming weeks and for the end result.

Examine our own hearts and minds. Search us and try us as your people; let us not be found wanting, but in all things honoring you and your name ~ in our thoughts, our words, and our actions. Let the work that you do in each of us be honoring to you as a light to others who are fearful.  Let us be a blessing to those who have no hope.

Increase our faith during these times of uncertainty.

Let our attention not be on those who may be physically ruling this country. but enable us to keep our focus on you, your authority, your honor, your power, and your glory, for your name’s sake.
In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Related articles:  A World in Crisis, and  A Crucial Seven Weeks.

Photography: Washington Sunrise by Aram Vartian

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 4)

To sum up our meditation of Jesus’ revelation of the Father—“our Father” of grace and glory—John’s recollections are used last. John was “the disciple that Jesus loved.” Being closer to John than any other man on earth Jesus perhaps made more of an impact on him than on any of the other disciples.  John is the writer of the fourth gospel, which is more personal than the other three; also, he wrote three letters, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and Revelation.  He quotes Jesus’ words in his gospel and in the book of Revelation.

We see in his writings four different facets of Jesus’ words, as He proceeds to unfold the work of the Father’s grace and glory: 1.  His relationship and unity with the Father. 2. Their purpose and work of grace for our redemption. 3. The relationship of disciples to the Father and the Son. 4. The end result—legacy, inheritance, and glory of His children with the Father and the Son.

1. Jesus’ relationship and unity with the Father is revealed in John 8:54-“the Father honoreth me;” John 10:30-“I and the Father are one;” John 14:9- “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;” John 14:10-“I am in the Father, and the Father in me. The Father that dwelleth  in me, he doeth the work;”  John 14:13- “the Father is glorified in the Son;” John 15:23-“He that hateth me hatheth the Father, also;” “John 16;28-“I came forth from the Father, and I go to the Father.

2. Their purpose and work of grace for our redemption is seen in John 6:27-“everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed;” John 12:49-“For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave what I should speak;”  14:28-“I go unto the Father, for my Father is greater than I;” John 15:1-“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman;”  John 16:15- “All that the Father hath are mine;” John 18:11-“The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

3. The relationship of disciples to the Father and the Son is revealed in John 6:37-“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;” John 6:44-“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him;” John 6:45-” Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me;” John 14:16-“And I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 14:26 “whom the Father shall send in my name, He shall teach you all things;” John 14:21-“he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him;” John 14:23-“If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him;”  John 15:8-“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples;” John 16:23-“Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you;” 17:11 “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are;” John 17:26-” I have declared unto them thy name and will declare it;” John 20:17-“I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God;” John 21:21-“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you;”   Luke quotes Jesus in Acts 1:4, speaking of “the promise of the Father”—that they would “receive power when the Holy Ghost had come upon them” (in the Father’s timing) to be witnesses of the gospel of the Father’s grace.

4. The end result—legacy, inheritance, worship, and glory of the children with the Father and the Son is seen in John 4:24-“true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship him;”John 17:24-“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou has given me;” Revelation 2:26-27-“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations; even as I received of my Father;” Revelation 3:5- “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life; but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels;”  Revelation 3:21-“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

WHO BUT A FATHER CAN SIRE CHILDREN OF HIS OWN?

Dear Father, make us to know who you are, that we may know whose we are, for your glory and our joy

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 2)

“Meditating on my bed” about the Father’s grace and glory since 4:00, by 6:00 several titles and articles had come to mind.  In the Draft file already are Musings vs. Amusements, Seeds of Grace, and Graceful Contentment.  Like a child my thoughts run to and fro from one subject to another, but this morning “our Father” has held me close, so that I may delight myself in Him, to know the desires of His heart.

Is this a last stage of His grace for me, or the flourishing of old age, promised in Psalm 92?  It really does not matter; each moment of each day is the working of His grace, for all ages and stages of this life. It is mostly in this latter part of life that I am coming to understand God as my Father, but more than this—that He has made me a part of His family; that He is “our Father.”  My only sibling is a brother who is eight years older, so my former years were as if I was an only child.  There is very little that I remember of his presence as I was growing up.  We were latch-key children (actually, living in Pepperell textile mill village, we did not even lock our doors), so, coming home to an empty house was never a pleasant thing.  This was one of the main reasons that I never wanted to work outside the home.  The few jobs that I had were either temporary, or, as in the building business, during school hours, and mostly building homes in our subdivision.

Enough of those memories—our heavenly Father is displacing those with better thoughts, better things, better promises. I can dwell on those that bring me down, or I can, with Him, walk in the light of His grace, looking up, thinking of those things that He is teaching me in His Word, and confirming by His Spirit of grace.  I could stay to myself, and get those dishes done (I am a keeper-at-home).  I can, like Mary, sit at Jesus’ feet (and I do). I have a biological family (whom I love more than they know).  I have a husband, (with whom I am preparing to be the bride of Christ.) But all of this is within a larger family, an eternal family of which I am a part. Our Father has desired us and sired us as His own to first, love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; from this relationship we love others, whether brothers and sisters in Christ, or those outside the faith.  (Matthew 22:37-40; I Thessalonians 3:12-13)  It is this relationship with the family in Christ, through which He sustains His people, bringing His kingdom to come here on earth.

It is our Lord Jesus Christ, “the first-born of many brethren” (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2: 11) who reveals the Father to us.  It is the Father who reveals the Son to us.  The two are one, and have brought us together in one body with them—in Christ.  (John 17:21)  In our next post we will ponder how and what Jesus, the Son, reveals to us of the Father.

All things have been handed over to me by my Father,

and no one knows the Son except the Father

and no knows the Father except the Son

and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”  

Matthew 11:27 ESV

In His Grace—for the Father’s glory and our joy.  ~  Fran