Sleeplessness

Being awake at 2:30 this morning is a good time for me to write about the subject of sleeplessness.  I was in bed since 10:00 P.M. so I have slept. After 78 years, I am experienced and have learned to live with the occasional nights when it is difficult to fall asleep; or when I wake up early in the morning.

How we handle each of these episodes depends on how we view this state in our lives. At times, when younger, there were many different things going on that kept me awake; and I would worry, not only about the things, but about the sleeplessness.

I feel led to write about this dilemma. There seems to be an epidemic. There are sleep centers available for this problem.

First, I believe that it is a result of the condition of our world, which is enough to keep everybody awake.  Maybe we should all stay awake and pray for God to “rend the heavens, and come down; as the melting fire burneth; and make His name known among the adversaries” (Isaiah 66:1).

Our culture should not, however, keep us as God’s children awake and anxious.

Sleeplessness should not be the norm for the Christian.  Going through bouts of insomnia has been a learning and growing experience for me.  God’s word and Spirit have become more powerful in and through me during these times.  They have strengthened me to survive and thrive even when I have not had a good night’s sleep.  Many mornings I had to accompany with piano for a worship service after only a little sleep.  Colossians 1:9-14 became real as I meditated on Paul’s prayer for those of the early church.  He prayed that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Verse 10 in bold print was the word I needed for the day.  Sleep may have sufficed for me to serve, but sleeplessness was a means of grace to lay hold of God’s power. I have experienced more strength from Him when I needed it, than from a regular night’s sleep. 

I can speak here from a time when I was younger, plagued with insomnia; before my conversion.  My whole life was planned around my own desires.  Things were not working in my life as I had hoped.  There was no peace in my heart; sleeplessness was simply my nighttime restlessness.  The days were not much better than the nights.

The Whole Picture
In this short treatise I will attempt, by God’s grace, to address causes and solutions to this problem.  Not being a professional counselor or physician I speak only as I have learned.

How we sleep depends on how we live.  How we live does not depend on how we sleep.  Many excuses come from our not getting enough sleep.  Enough is not the same for every person. Some do not require as much sleep as others.

We should not be envious of those who can sleep anytime, anywhere, at the drop of a hat.  They are blessed in some ways that we are not.  But, we may, in our being awake, be blessed in other ways.  Christ may return while we are awake. Those who are sleeping may miss His first call.

So, at this point, let me encourage you, the reader, to look at your state of sleeplessness as God’s means of doing something in your life that you would not experience, otherwise.  God has a purpose for your insomnia, as for all things.  For the Christian, “everything works together for good, for those who love Him.  For those whom He foreknew He predestined to be conformed to the image of His dear Son  (Romans 8:28-29). God speaks to every dilemma in our lives.  It is all part of His working for our good and for His glory.

Awakeness and Awareness
Remembering that there is purpose in our being awake or sleeping, let’s look at some possible reasons for our not being able to sleep when we want to.  My list over the years have included occasional indigestion or illness, busy schedule, uncertainty, difficulty in relationships, finances, new plans, grief, overstimulation, unforgiveness, anger, jealousy, or other unconfessed sins.  Any of these, and others that you may know, easily displace the peace that God gives us as His children, in Christ.

Our awakeness may be the time for awareness of what we need to address in our daily living. God speaks in all ages and stages. We should ask for His wisdom; for what He wants us to know at every stage.  If we are not sleeping, we ask Him to make us aware of what we need.  If we cannot change what needs to be changed we pray that He bring the changes; or enable us to accept what cannot be changed.

We can break down my list and look at everything separately; but we will soon come to the same conclusion.  In everything God has His plans for us.  Awareness of what is keeping us awake is the first step that brings us to the Lord.  Presenting these of which we are aware to Him, wrestling in prayer, we will soon be tired and resting in Him.  Peace comes when all is given to Him.

Awareness of His Presence
It may be that these times are God’s planning for you to experience His presence. In the stillness and quietness of the night there is a solitude with which most people are not acquainted.   It is this sanctuary that God uses when we are not otherwise silent before Him. God can sometimes meet us here, when we are nor available during the day.  It may be to teach us not only to rely on Him for all things, His plans, His will, His way, but to establish a relationship that carries through the day and night.

Many nights I wake and wait for His presence; to know what special blessings He wants to give; for songs in the night come, especially when I am at peace with Him.

I have learned that all that I am is His, my waking and my sleeping.  He never sleeps so we can have that sweet fellowship anytime.  When I stopped fighting the sleeplessness, stopped counting sheep, and starting looking for Him to speak to me I no longer was concerned about sleeping.

Practical Habits
As I have gotten older I realize that patterns make a difference in our days and nights.  Even if we are at peace, trusting God in all things, in obedience of faith in all that we know; how we plan for sleep helps.  I do not sleep well when my evening has been hectic.  Overstimulation of any kind, talking on the phone for an extended time, caught up in a project, or anything unusual, will keep me from sleeping.  Reading God’s promises, prayer before bedtime and the review of a hymn or Psalm that we will sing next Lord’s Day is part of worship before bedtime.

Overeating at dinner or going to bed on an empty stomach are not good habits for me.  What I eat makes a difference.  By this age I know what my body will tolerate. I know my limitations of food and drink.

A dark room seems to be best.  Light tends to wakefulness.  It is similar to prayer, in that we are shutting out the world and any artificial light.  Jerry has always gone to bed earlier, and I get to bed as early as possible.  Establishing a regular schedule makes  it is easier to get up early, even if I don’t get a good night’s sleep.  Even now, I may lie back down and have a nap before the dawn of this new day, Lord willing.  Either way, my day is dependent on His strength, power and glorious might ~ His Spirit in me ~ “Christ in me, the hope of glory.” When we truly understand and experience this truth, sleep does not matter ~ only Christ.

Precious heavenly Father, Creator, Redeemer and sustainer of all living things, so make Christ real in our hearts and lives that we rejoice in Him, even in our sleeplessness. In every waking moment, make us to know your presence, use all our time to fill us with your grace. Wrap us in the glory of the one who lived for us, died for us, was raised for us, and now reigns for us, continuing to teach us. Help us to remember this life as preparation for eternity with you. Fill us with your Holy Spirit of love, joy and peace, for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

(We are closing our website, Father and Family Books, and concentrating all our efforts here and on Facebook, as we continue to proclaim the legacy of God’s kingdom. Our first ministry of writing (second to caring for Jerry) will still be through the publishing of our books, but we will maintain this blog as a means of sharing what our heavenly Father gives for the edifying of His people. And so, we will seek the blessing from Him as we post in the future.)

As we wrote in an earlier post A World in Crisis (before the election) we now see the scenes of this reality unfolding in our country. Even as God’s people, we wonder where He is and what He is doing.

In the next few posts, I want to document for our legacy as God’s children things that we need to remember so that we see God’s work unfolding in the middle of the chaos of this world. How can we maintain our faith, hope and joy in such times as these?  We are challenged not only to endure; not only to strive, and to survive, but to thrive through all things, in the power, the love, the wisdom and grace of our God and our Lord Jesus Christ.images

Growing up I was often reminded that when we see the devil’s work, we can be assured that God is doing something greater. We are distracted by the physical elements of the world and how Satan works in and through men. God, our heavenly Father teaches us to look beyond what we can see with the physical eye, to catch a glimpse of His greatness and glory. In this we can see the working of His grace and goodness. The Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation happened at the same time. There were two kingdoms operating from two perspectives, which is the history of this world, since the antithesis began in the Garden with our first parents.

Let us, as God’s children, be about the Father’s business in the only kingdom that will survive all generations, until in the fullness of time, all things are united in Christ, “things in heaven and things on earth.” Ephesians 1:10

Dear Father in heaven, we need you, by the power of your Holy Spirit, to reveal your presence and power to us as your children, as we live in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.  Give us your love, joy, and peace; shine your light through us to draw others to Christ.  Make us an open door to your kingdom.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

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Praying For Our Nation ~ Week 5

“In the fifth petition we pray that God, for Christ’s sake, would freely pardon all our sins, which we are the rather encouraged to ask, because by His grace we are enabled from the heart to forgive others.” Shorter Catechismunknown-1

Forgiveness is a revolving grace that begins with God, working His love and forgiveness in us, and through us to others. Subsequently, we can confidently ask for forgiveness for our own indebtedness to Him, which is more than anyone could owe us. This grace is characteristic of God’s people, those who share space in His kingdom. How can we not love and forgive, when our Father has forgiven us?

Is there bitterness in your heart toward God or another person? Resentment is the spirit of oppression, and the enemy’s greatest weapon, working from within to destroy.

The condition of any single life, family, or nation, can be summed up in the total of our grievances and vengeance against others.

Where is Our Freedom?

We are concerned about our freedom here in America. We are already in bonds to the oppressive spirit that rules in the hearts and minds of men. What we see from those who desire to govern this nation is the same spirit of this nation. We are in need of God’s intervention by His Spirit to bring us to repentance, to lead us in truth and righteousness; to overcome this spirit within us.

Our nation and the world will remain under threat until we learn to live in love and care for our heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, and each other. Let us consider and examine our own hearts to know for sure that we have trusted the heavenly Father’s love and forgiveness for us.

Gracious Father,  forgive us of our rebellion, our pride, and covetousness; forgive us our anxieties and unbelief. Forgive us our discontent and impatience; forgive us our neglect and slothfulness. We need you to examine our hearts, to try our thoughts, to know if there is any bitterness that we hold against you or any other person. Reveal your love and forgiveness to us by the power of your Holy Spirit. Bring us to repentance, that we may trust you in all things, to live in peace with you and our fellowman. Heal hearts in this nation and other nations by the peace of your Son, in whose name I pray. Amen.

“O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God.” Daniel 9:19

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MY CROSS

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There was a cross at Golgotha
Where my Savior bled and died;
Where I meet Him face to face
And look into His eyes.

And when I look I see the love
Our Father has for me.
For through His clear, bright eyes of pain
I see E T E R N I T Y ———-

A home where Love and Joy abound
Within the heart of God;
A place beyond what man can dream,
Where no human feet have trod.

God’s children all are there:
There’s room for every one.
He knows each heart; He knows each name.
To Him He bids me, “Come.”

With outstretched hands He calls my name;
Not one I’ve heard before.
He’s not at all as I had thought;
He’s more, oh, so much more.

So gracious as the Father is
My speech will not allow
To tell in human words
What can be seen, even now.

When first I look at God’s own plan
To bring me to Himself
The cross looms high, but then bro’t low
It forms a human shelf.

From heaven He came, and here He stayed
Until His work was done.
The cross I knew was meant for me;
He suffered for His own.

I knew that He released me there
When He bid me, “Come.”
Jesus gives me joy and peace
For now and later on.

Eternity is God’s own life,
Given for my good.
He gives His love to be my own
Through Spirit, Deed and Word

F.R. 1994

The New Nature of the True Christian

The heart, spirit, and life of a Christian are different than an ordinary person’s life. There is an extraordinary, supernatural working of God’s grace that reforms and transforms the center of all things. It is inbred and expressed outwardly by the Holy Spirit of God. It is the life of Christ that is manifest within and without, permeating the whole being and perpetuating forever a new creation through which He reveals His grace and His glory.

0001hAHere we suggest three main factors of a true Christian life that radiates from Christ within us. Love, humility and holiness are the evidence of the new heart and spirit that were promised in Ezekiel 36:26, God’s working of new life in a fallen world.

All that God promised since the fall is being fulfilled by the Spirit of Christ through His people, restoring His image through the life and work of Christ for their salvation and His glory. Knowledge and truth are included in this triangle, as Christ, Himself, is “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6)  It is in His word, the written word, The Holy Bible, and the living word, Jesus Christ, that we know God, His purpose for our creation and redemption.  It is His means of revealing Himself and the work of grace within us.  By our reading, study, meditation and memorization He shows us what He is doing; throughout our lives revealing and fulfilling His plans for us, in us, and through us.

LOVE ~ the love of God, the Father, is evidence from His own heart and nature given to each of His children. This love, unlike any of our own imaginations of love, is the new nature. It is the root and the fruit of all that God is and does; and works in all to whom He has given the heart and spirit of Christ. Love works in every area of the new life. Through His revelation of our justification, forgiveness and restoration in Christ we see the evidence of His love (1 John 4:10), and the working of this love through us for Him and for others (1 John 3:16).

HUMILITY ~ the humility of the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself to suffer and sacrifice His life for us that we might bear His image, His nature and disposition. Obedience of faith, patience, kindness, and faithfulness are the results of Christ’s humility in and through us. We see His humility and ours in Philippians 2:3-8.

HOLINESS ~ the outward working of Christ and the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian; a return to God of what He has given; the evidence to the angels in heaven and to the world of the difference in the life of a Christian. This is a purity and a goodness that only God can work in the human life.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” 1 John 3:1-3

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 Psalm 107:8

Dear Father in heaven, what mercy you have shown us, and that you continue to work in us.  Fill us anew today with your Spirit; with the life of Christ, to know and do your will.  Through us reveal to others the magnitude of your grace  ~  for your glory and our joy.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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Filled With Grace, Wrapped in Glory

God’s grace and God’s glory were uppermost in my mind and heart when I started this blog. Yet, the ability to write about this realm was difficult to grasp. Four years later these are still not simple things to write about but they are worthy to be expressed as best as possible, using His words. As, from my experience of the past years, it is good and nourishing to go, filled with grace, into another year, wrapped in His glory. Such of God is unsearchable, and what we find is more than enough for a book. When we look to the source we find this pouring out by His grace and from His glory. Please read and meditate on what God speaks to us as His children. We may take each as a separate part, but to meditate on His words are important to understand the content and the effect of His grace and glory.

We speak of these separately and yet they are both part of the wholeness of God. Both are realized in and through the trinity, especially as they are revealed in Jesus Christ, the Son.

 Filled With Grace
The fullness of grace is at first seen in its source. The apostle Paul to the Colossian church tells us that Christ, being the image of the invisible God, by whom all things were made (to be receptacles of His grace) by whom all things consist; (everything is held together by Him) and it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell ~ all of which we are in need. (Colossians 1:15, 17, 19)

 In John 1:14, and 16 Jesus was the Word made flesh, to dwell among men, full of grace and truth.  And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.

“As many as received Him to them gave He the power to become sons of God; born not of the will of man but of God.” (John 1:12-13)

Grace births us into His family and His kingdom (a new realm).   This is to be filled with grace, filled with His fullness (Ephesians 3:19). This is the mystery of which Paul spoke.

Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

 Our justification, our faith, our joy and hope are through the grace that is given in Christ. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:24); and by which we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1)

Paul speaks extensively of grace and faith, being of Jesus Christ, and planted in us; “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”
2 Corinthians 13:5

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. Galatians 2:20

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” Ephesians 3:17

“so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” Philippians 1:20

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:”  Philippians 2:5

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom;” Colossians 3:16

God’s grace and glory are accorded with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.”  1 Timothy 1:14; 2 Timothy 1:13

 

In Christ ~ Wrapped in Glory
Grace is that power that fills us and brings us into God’s glory, which is Christ. He is both the filler of grace and the wrapping of His glory.

 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:”
Colossians 2:6

 Christ is not only the hope of glory, but the manifestation of glory in us and surrounding us. We experience this glory, not only by the power of Christ in us, but bringing us to the reality that we are “IN CHRIST.” The person who is born of the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God, is brought to dwell in Christ.

 We are “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,” 1 Corinthians 1:2  

 The promise of life is in Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 1:1

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”  2 Timothy 1:9

 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”  1 Corinthians 1:30

 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17

 Baptism is the sign that Christ is in us and we are in Him.

“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  Galatians 3:27

Christ in us, and us “in Christ” is the reality that we are filled and wrapped in Him.

 “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.”  Acts 17:28

In His church,  He fills all its members with all the grace that is needed. (Ephesians 1:23) Paul prayed for this as the power (of the Holy Spirit) working in us exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:14, 16, 20).  The fullness of His grace, and the completeness of our being in Christ and His glory are not for our fulness alone. It comes in the unity, as each member comes together as one body of Christ; each one bringing the measure of grace that we receive. (Ephesians 3:18-19) We continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as we together wait for His coming.

 “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus:”  1 Thessalonians 2:14

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”  Ephesians 2:6

 “teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:”  Colossians 1:28

“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 fulness of Christ:”  Ephesians 4:13

His fullness and His wrapping keep us; yet, in this world, His grace and glory in us will be always susceptible to attack by the enemy.  But His grace is sufficient.

 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
2 Timothy 3:12

“be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”   2 Timothy 2:1

Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ,”  2 Corinthians 2:14

There are promises given in Christ for future glory.

“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3

“When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.   Colossians 3:4

“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”  Ephesians 1:10

the dead in Christ shall rise first:”  1 Thessalonians 4:16

As we continue in Christ we experience more of His fullness of grace and more of His glory. It is the Spirit’s work of sanctification in and through us.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18

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Dear Father, all grace and peace are from you, in Christ, and by your Holy Spirit.  We thank you and praise you for a blessed year; and pray your blessings on your people and mercy for all in the coming year  ~ for your glory and our joy.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

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