This is not a second part to our last post but again, we can interchange “the Christian Faith” with “the Gospel.”
The Christian faith is the effect of “the gospel” on the mental state of a follower of Christ.
Every religion has its power over the human mind. We see this example in those who are willing to destroy themselves while destroying others.
The Gospel ~ the good news of Jesus Christ ~ has the power to change the mind and enables a person to think differently. A person who is brought under the authority of the Word of God changes their direction from the natural state of destruction to a spiritual state of an abundant life here and forever ~ a new life we desire for others.
The gospel ~ read and preached from the Holy Bible ~ changes the whole mindset and fixes it on Jesus Christ.
Every religion has a figurehead, someone who instigated and orchestrated the religion according to his beliefs.
None make the same claims as Jesus Christ and they are too many for us to copy for this post. Reading God’s Word reveals these claims; and should the Spirit of God move in the heart of the reader or the hearer of God’s Word, their hearts and minds will be changed.
The same power of the Spirit that inspired its writing is the same power that works in the reader and hearer.
“For prophecy never came by the will of man,
but holy men of God spoke
as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”
2 Peter 1:21
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
but the Spirit who is from God,
that we might know the things
that have been freely given to us by God.”
1 Corinthians 2:12
It is the Spirit of God that reveals what was written centuries ago.
We have no power of our own to change our minds or our lives. We must have a new heart and a new spirit that accepts the new power of the Spirit of God that turns the mind and the life in a new direction.
When Jesus said, ““Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” he was drawing on the promises from the Old Testament.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh
and give you a heart of flesh.
“I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts;
and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Reading from God’s Word moves the meaning of the words from the page to the mind. The mind then works to bring the actions of what is written.
None of this is new. What any person watches, listens to, and reads will shape their minds and their behavior. Their lives witness to what they know and believe.
Such is the mentality of those whose lives are shaped by the reading and hearing of God’s Word.
As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 2:13,
“These things we also speak,
not in words which man’s wisdom teaches
but which the Holy Spirit teaches,
comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
The Centrality of our Faith
The Christian faith is centered on Christ. The centrality of the gospel is Jesus Christ. Because He was the power of creation and in person revealing the kingdom of God, He is the power to reveal Himself and draw us to Him. Because He is now ruling in power at the right of God, He is the power to give us eternal life; to turn us from our own evil nature to follow Him.
Because He lives forever, He has the power to keep us now and forever with Him. His Spirit is His power here on earth to finish the work of redemption for, in, and through His people.
We cannot be too emphatic when we say that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is powerful to change our whole being. By the way we think, we live. When our minds are filled with the truths of Christ we become new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17)
We must read and pray for the Holy Spirit to move in our hearts to keep us in His Word, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness.
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that works in us,”
Dear Father in heaven, we praise you for the power of your Spirit to draw us to your written Word and through your written Word to reveal Christ your Son. Do your work today in the hearts and lives of your people. By your grace, make us a channel of blessing to others for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
As disciples of Christ, we are called to be like our Master, to live as He lived on this earth. This is not a work we do, but the supernatural power of His Holy Spirit works in and through us to accomplish what He desires. We continue in His Word to seek His kingdom and His righteousness Facing the opposition that would keep us ignorant in our own rights, we daily learn of our Lord Jesus Christ. With every search, we add line upon line, truth upon truth ~ becoming more and more like Him.
Such is our need and joy of knowing His serenity in the middle of every circumstance. Following is a heart-rending second sermon from Luke 4 and Jesus’ wilderness experience with the enemy of our souls.
The Temptation of Christ (Part 2)
The Temptation of Christ (Part 1)
What must it have been like—exiled on the Isle of Patmos,
because of his testimony for Christ? (Revelation 1)
John had no live band to lead him in worship, no accompaniment, no artificial light, no props, and no company. But he had his past experience with the Lord Jesus, the memories of living and walking in His footsteps, and the presence of the Holy Spirit. The testimony for which he was exiled was the same power that was constantly with him.
He was chosen and prepared to receive such visions as he was given, and to put it in writing to be preserved for us. John’s visions recorded in the Book of Revelation are not your everyday experience, or even a weekly example, of a worship that any of us can expect or hope for here on earth. But it does serve to bring us to an understanding of the special day that the Lord’s Day became for His people.
It is a day to which we look forward, in anticipation of more of the revelation of the Spirit in our lives and our worship, when we are alone with the Lord or gathered with His people. The same Spirit, by which we are born into His kingdom, is the same Spirit that leads to greater heights of understanding and finally to His glory. He is the same presence and power that opens our minds and hearts to Christ, so that we desire to hear His voice, to see that just one, high and lifted up. Being the center and focus of all our desires and worship, He is all that we seek. We avoid all hindrances and distractions that take our attention away from Him, His Word and His plan for His worship.
The Holy Spirit and His Word (truth that is in and of Christ) lead us to cast all our crowns before Him, to humble ourselves before Him in silence, praise and adoration. The same Spirit of which we are born, led, live, and walk, directs our hearts to Him, and reveals the things of God that He will never show us otherwise. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16) This is worship in Spirit and truth. (John 4:24)
The power of His Word will separate us from the world, its methods, sounds, and designs, and by His Spirit bring us to discover Jesus Christ in a new light. Who does not desire to see the lightnings, thunderings, and earthquakes that prayer and true worship bring to this earth—of which we are in such great need?
“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom
which cannot be moved,
let us have grace,
whereby we may serve God acceptably
with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming fire.”
Dear Father, fill us with more of your Spirit, especially today; lead us, open our eyes and ears and our hearts to what you have prepared for us. Show us great and mighty things we have not known—things that will enable us to bear witness of Christ in all that we do; even it means separation from everybody and all that we know. Lead us to seek Christ, to live for, and worship You, and Christ alone. In His name, we pray and praise you. Amen.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God
and his righteousness...”
The first thought for this post was the title, Unnecessary Interests, as the Lord has been revealing interests that are not for my growth or are a waste of time. There are some that I need to let go, but as He has been leading me to stop looking at the underside of this world and its interests, and to focus on the upper side and the interests of His kingdom, my thoughts turned to where my interests should be.
From our thoughts to our words and actions, we have much to desire beyond normal and common interests. We can compare what is holy to what is unholy; what is common to what is uncommon; what is clean to what is unclean. Our interest in the news of the world keeps us from the interests of His Kingdom. The interests of the world ~ its entertainments and influences ~ impede our journey with Him.
For the child of God, known as a Christian, our life here has a definite purpose. The purpose of this physical life is to prepare us for eternal life with Him in His glory. We now live and serve Him in what is known as the Kingdom of Grace; His keeping us, sanctifying us, purifying us; making us compatible for Himself.
“ If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. “
Necessary Interests for a Child of God
So, what are the necessary interests for a child of God? What raises us above the world’s standards; even Beyond a Mere Christianity?
We must start with an in-depth interest in His Word, where we learn to love what He loves. Here we find the truths of God and the filling and leading of His Holy Spirit to the necessary interests that He wants for us. He teaches us how He conforms us to the image of His own Son
Through His Word, He teaches us how to communicate with Him; to pray for the things He has prepared to give (1 Corinthians 2:9-16).
He leads us in the interests of His other children, of like-mind and heart; to participate in worship and the Word preached within His church.
He brings us to others with an interest in their souls, to witness of Christ to them.
There is much that we could cover here, but we don’t have the time or space. If you are reading with an interest in what is necessary for growth as a child of God, I implore you to take your Bible, shut out any other interests, ask the Lord to fill you with His Holy Spirit as you read His Word; to speak to you through His Word; to show you His will.
As He has been speaking to my heart, He has pointed out certain interests that I need to forsake and leading me to more of the interests He has for me. One thing for sure is the desire for me to draw closer to Him.
“Set your affections on things above,
not on things on the earth.”
Gracious Father in heaven, whose name I want to hallow, draw me closer to you, to love you more; to seek a deeper understanding of what it means to be your child and a disciple of Christ. Open my mind and heart to those things of your kingdom and displace anything of this world that would hinder your image and your work in me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Show Me Thy Ways, O LORD Psalm 25:4-5
Related Post: Letting Go
(Suggested Reading: The Garden of GOD’S WORD ~ The Purpose and Delight of BIBLE Study)
We have but to spend time in God’s Word contained in the Old and New Testaments, known as the Holy Bible, to learn how powerful it is. We need to be reminded from time to time because we can slip away from it, as we are distracted by the everyday occurrences of this world. We need it more than we need daily food for the body. Jesus knew this when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. It is more than daily nourishment now and for eternity.
“Men shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that
proceeds from the mouth of God.”
Food for the body expires even as do our bodies.
“The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.”
We have never found anything to replace food for our bodies, but we continue to look for alternatives for the spiritual food God planned for the soul.
I am amazed at websites that intrigue their audiences by their food preparations. But God’s Word needs no special recipes, ingredients or fanfare. To sit down with the Bible in hand is food and joy; more than any physical meal. God is present and shares His heart, spirit and soul with us. We find in it the power of His grace, His glory, contentment, peace, love, purpose and power for living. We are fed from the Master’s table with promise for all our needs and some to spare, to share with others. The power of life in Jesus Christ becomes the power of life in us by His Holy Spirit.
Physical food serves for physical strength, but God’s Word far surpasses all our needs, in all of life and through death. Meat and potatoes will only last until our death, but not afterward. Power from God’s living Word and His Spirit transitions us into eternity with Him.
Dear heavenly Father, Thank you for preserving your Word throughout centuries when men tried to destroy it. Thank you that through it you teach us how you preserve us. We have the promises you have given us through your Son, Jesus Christ. He, the living Word, is the power in us for all that you have planned. And in His name we praise you now and forever. Amen.
(Suggested reading: The Garden of God’s Word)
AUDIO: Coming Out of the Closet
Since 1992 my most delightful times have been in my prayer closet.
When our heavenly Father gave me a new heart He began filling me with new wine. In this new relationship and new life, as He was teaching me, I looked back to see where I had been and rejoiced that He had saved me from my sin.
The deception that was prominent in my living was totally opposite, counteractive, and counterproductive to the truth to which He brought me. I saw His Word as a powerful source that overrules and overpowers deception.
It was one of the first things I wrote about, believing that the truth is from God alone. Truth is hidden in Christ, His Son, and revealed supernaturally by His Holy Spirit. There was a sense that in His timing He unleashes, so to speak, the power of His truth, through Christ and His written word wherever and whenever He has planned. Eventually, it will, in its power, overcome all things.
Jesus said to His disciples, “Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” Luke 12:3
Avoiding the Social Media
All these years my prayer closet has been my hiding place, where I have prayed fervently for His Spirit of truth and His power in my own life, in the lives of my family members, in His church members and His ministers; in the world.
My avoidance of social media has been with a sense of fear of what happens when we are involved with the influences of the world, especially if they seem to have no sense of the things of God.
At one point computers seemed to be an evil device, then came the Internet, which all must admit is a web that can be used to entangle, to deceive, influence, and to become addictive.
My fear of using a computer was overcome when I learned how to do desk-top publishing on our daughter, Lee’s computer. Beginning with formatting Bogatzky’s Golden Treasury for print and eBook publication, other booklets followed that I shared with family and friends.
Five years ago my pastor suggested that I start a blog. That experience has been God’s way of sharing the truths of His grace and His glory. From other blogs and websites,
my understanding of communications and the media have broadened. The greatest impact has come in the last seven months, as we have learned from other authors how to format, publish and market what we write.
It seems that the majority of books are targeted toward readers who are looking for thrillers, mysteries, murder, horror, fantasy, romance, and the occult. Our work is just the opposite. Our genre is Christian non-fiction, with the emphasis on truth and reality, looking at the things of God that are eternal, not entertaining, but useful for inspiration, spiritual growth, and the teachings of His eternal kingdom. What I have begun to see is that our work is part of the antithesis that began in the Garden of Eden, with the promise of a Savoir, who would bring things back to the order of God’s plan. What the world needs ~ what God’s people need ~ are the means of knowing Him and living in the peace, joy, and love that He provides for us through his Son, Jesus Christ.
Our calling is to enter the battle with the knowledge of truth. A few years ago I would not have been ready. The preparation is ongoing, but the time is now or never. How much longer will we have this opportunity? We are born and redeemed to make a difference in the kingdom for His glory.
From this point, as I continue to pray, I will balance the time spent with the Father on the mountaintop with time spent in the valley and the wilderness, proclaiming His kingdom. So, I will live as if every day is my last. Jerry and I will be using his Facebook page to share what God has been doing in our lives. We have another page for Father and Family Books, a website, Father and Family, and establishing a Christian non-fiction group for writers and readers. Please pray for how He will use these for His kingdom.
Proud of Who We Are
As the culture of this world is in a time zone of pride ~ in who and what we are ~ let us as God’s children come out of hiding and proclaim who we are in Christ, and our purpose for being ~ to speak and live for Jesus Christ as King of kings, and Lord of lords ~ for His glory, His name, His kingdom, and our joy.
How many years does it take for God to reveal Himself to us? I don’t speak here of knowing God just by reading about Him, but knowing Him through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ. He teaches us through His Word that He was in Christ reconciling us to Himself. (1 Corinthians 5:17-19) This was His supernatural means by His Holy Spirit to bring us in faith and repentance to know Him, and to love Him obediently. This is not to say that we live in perfect obedience, but that it is our desire. We all struggle against the flesh and the temptations of this world. We will do all that we are able to do, striving and missing the mark, failing time after time, until we understand that we cannot in this life be perfect children.
When we understand that He is our Father, and is not expecting more from us than He promises to do in us, we can live in joy and peace, knowing that He is leading and doing all in and through us. We seek His will and guidance through His Word and prayer, continuing to learn what He plans to do in us. When we fail, and when we fall, He is there to forgive, raise us up, dust us off, and put us back on the right path.
This has been my experience for all my decades, even when I didn’t know Him. Looking back, there is evidence of His presence and power in my life, even when I did not realize it. It is about these things that I continue to write. But my writing at first was simply documenting what He was revealing to me about Himself through His Word. Through His Word and His Spirit, He began to do phenomenal things in my life. Some of those things were shared in articles with other people. My sharing basically stopped because I was not getting any response, although, at times when I shared verbally, people would say, “You ought to write a book.”
Well, over a period of twenty-five years I have written several books, articles, and poems. For a while, the complaint of my heart was, “No one takes me seriously.” With this thinking, I then supposed that my writing was meant just for a legacy to my own family, tucked away in file boxes for future generations.
The Lord heard my complaint, and in His still small voice answered, “ No one takes you seriously because you do not take yourself seriously, and the reason you do not take yourself seriously is because you do not take me seriously.”
Things have really changed since then. With my desire to desire what He desires, taking Him seriously meant trusting Him to do in me what He wanted with what He has given me. And so, after six months of proofing, formatting, etc., and now a few last minute details, we will be ready to publish five of our books in paperback and eBooks. FIRST THINGS That Last FOREVER was written last month as an introduction to the series Little Books About the Magnitude of GOD and for a free gift. You can find this and other books on Amazon.
At first, we thought of giving all eBooks as gifts, but with His leading to donate the majority of the profit to missions and charity, we will give some and sell some.
What has God been doing in your life? Where is He leading you? If you don’t see His vision now, wait, continue in His Word and prayer. Settle in to know Him and love Him above all things, then when His timing is perfect He will do all in and through you that will bring Him the glory.
Are you a writer? Then write what He gives you for His glory. File it away until He shows you where He wants you to share it. As you mature you will correct some of the earlier things you have written. Be encouraged that He is doing a good work in you and will complete it.
If you are interested in how God continues to reveal Himself in power and love, especially into our old age, pray for us and join us here in proclaiming the legacy of God’s kingdom. Thank you for visiting.
We look forward to this new venture together with His family.
Dear Father, you have the spreadsheet. Continue to guide me and your family with your counsel, according to your everlasting covenant. Do your holy will in each of us today. Thank you for loving us, and keeping us in your care. Reveal yourself to those who do not yet know you as their heavenly Father. In Jesus’ name, I pray, I thank you and I praise you. Amen.
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?”
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.
- Not one word has failed (thebereanway.wordpress.com)