Urgently Knocking

A most unusual discovery in our study of the words “Ask, Seek, and Knock” is that Jesus expresses only one thing for each of these.

In Luke 11:13, He says to “ASK for the Holy Spirit.”
In Matthew 6:33 He commands us to “SEEK the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”
In Luke 13:25 He mentions those who wait too late to “KNOCK at the door.”

We must be born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8) in order to see, to seek His Kingdom, to knock and to enter His kingdom.

We find in the following verses the diligent seeking and the urgent knocking.

In Luke 11:6-10 is the widow’s persistent asking, seeking, and knocking until the master of the house opens the door to her request.

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:” Luke 13:25-26

The strait gate leads to the master’s house. But when He has shut the door, man’s knocking and crying, Lord, Lord, will be to no avail.

We who are born of His Spirit will continue to ask Him to lead us. We walk and live by His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25and continue to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Unless we knock at the door of His heart in His timing, He will not know us, and the doors of heaven will be shut.

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came;
and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage:
and the door was shut.”
Matthew 25:10

When Jesus Knocks

The Book of Revelation records Jesus’ words in the letter to the church at Laodicea.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Knocking indicates a separation (a door that must be opened from the other side) between the person knocking and the person  on the other side. There is a need and the only fulfillment of that need rests in the promise of someone who can provide that need.

Does the door swing both ways? Had Jesus knocked at the door of the heart of those who were left out?

 “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Hebrews 3:7-12

By His Holy Spirit and His Word, Jesus knocks at the door of our sin and unbelief. He calls us to put away our sin ~ to repent and believe ~ to allow Him to lead us out of the bondage of self and sin.

We cannot seek or knock of our own volition. It must be the work of His Spirit within us drawing us to Christ even as He draws near to us. John 6:44; John 6:63-65

 The Doors of Wisdom

“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Proverbs 8:34

The Doors of Heaven

They are “the doors of heavenPsalm 78:23,

 In Revelation 4:1, “a door was opened in heaven to John where he saw and recorded what would come to pass.

 Jesus is the Door to the Kingdom of Heaven

“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
I am the door of the sheep.”  
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
John 10:7,9

 A Door of Hope

“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:15

The Door of Faith

 “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27

In this brief study of Jesus’ words, we learn that asking, seeking, and knocking are descriptive of the work of prayer by His people, for His kingdom. His Holy Spirit brings us to repentance and faith in Him so that as we continue to ask for His Spirit, we are led to seek His kingdom and His righteousness and to knock at the door of His heart for all He has promised.

We understand that this practice is not just for us individually, for our own needs, but in unity with His people ~ the body of Christ ~ for the needs of others. Intercession involves a greater degree of fervency, diligence, and urgency as we pray continually at His throne of grace.

The prayer life of a Christian is a daily dwelling in His presence. He dines and sups with us continually as He opens His Word and His promises to us and proves His presence and His power in our lives.

In Christ, we dwell in the throne room, in unity with His Spirit ~ knowing His power to accomplish all He desires for our good and His glory.

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

Ephesians 2:6

We ask what we will because we ask in faith according to His will, seeking His glory in all things, continually knocking at the door of His heart as He intercedes and presents our petitions to our Father.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
1 Corinthians 2;9

We are continually filled with his grace, nestled in His goodness, and wrapped in His glory. In Christ and Christ in us, we are kept by His power now and forever.

Dear Father, we cannot thank you enough for all you have prepared for us and given by your grace. We are unworthy stewards of your blessings but you have entrusted us with the knowledge of your Word and your will so that we know what to ask, what to seek and where to knock. Continue to draw us to Christ by the power of your Spirit, to dwell in Him and receive your heavenly blessings as well as all our earthly needs. We praise and bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Fran

Suggested Reading: GOD is Our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan for His People
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Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask, and it shall be given you;
Seek, and ye shall find;
Knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
Matthew 7:7 

As I have been interceding for Bill and Terry these two weeks, the importance of prayer has again become for me a major interest and calling for another search in God’s Word.

I was led to Jesus’ words instructing us to ask, seek, and knock. His words are not just thrown out to us for a random catch. Every word He spoke ~ every word recorded ~ has infinite meaning. If we want to know the depths of His words, we need to go beneath the surface. If we are to understand the full meaning of His words, we must dig deeper into the whole counsel of the written Word for the heavenly substance contained in them. We must search for the legacy that is ours as His disciples.

Thinking this would be a simple 1-2-3-presentation, I started to search and as usual, discovered more, much more than I anticipated. Again overwhelmed with the treasure of God’s Word, we must break this into three parts: Ask, Seek, and Knock.

As you can tell from the title, His message is to teach us what it means to ASK with the understanding that asking, seeking, and knocking are three forms of the same desire to apprehend and claim what is promised from the Giver of all things.

ASK in the Old Testament

In Hebrew ask ~ shâʼal, shaw-al’ meaning to inquire; by implication, to request; by extension, to demand.

God commands us to ask and He tells us in His Word what we are claim from Him as the Giver. He would not tell us to ask except that He waits to be gracious to us and grant our request. The first references are from the Old Testament.

In Isaiah 45:11 the Lord says “concerning the work of my hands command ye me.”

“Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.”
Isaiah 58:2

In Jeremiah we remember the Lord’s counsel.
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” Jeremiah 6:16

“They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the Lord in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.” Jeremiah 50:5

ASK in the New Testament

In Greek ask ~aitéō, ahee-teh’-o means to ask, beg, call for, crave, desire, require

There are two specific things we are to ask for:
The Holy Spirit and Wisdom

The Holy Spirit

“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Luke 11:13

Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to His disciples as perhaps the first and most important thing to ask, for it is the Holy Spirit that gave men the words from God and interprets them for us. He is the Spirit of truth and guides us into all truth (John 16:13). He reveals what we are to ask.

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Romans 8:26

Wisdom

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5

The following references reveal the wisdom we need.
1 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Colossians 2:3; James 3:17

We ask in faith.

“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” James 1:6

We ask and receive because we keep His commandments.

“And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
1 John 3:22

We ask according to His will.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:” 1 John 5:14

 We know what to ask because we abide in Him and His words abide in us. Here, again, the Holy Spirit works through His Word in us.

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7

We ask in Jesus’ name.

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13

The power of the Holy Spirit works in us through our asking and receiving.

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us,
Ephesians 3:20

Dear heavenly Father, I ask that you speak through your Holy Spirit to those of your children who have not yet learned what to ask or how to ask. Bring us closer to you in faith and knowledge of your gracious bounty that is ours in Christ. Keep us abiding in your Word, filled with the power of your Spirit to live in obedience to your will for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Related Articles: Jesus’ Words are Not Suggestions
How the Holy Spirit Works

Blessings in Intercession

A short note today in relation to last Saturday’s post Advocates for Bill and Terri:

I had thought to reference this during the week but did not have time.
Much of the week has been spent in intercession for Bill and Terri.
Too, I have spent a considerable amount of time reading Terri’s blog ~ having only known her a few months, I have kept up with Bill’s blog for years.

One thing I want to mention here is in reference to those who have been interceding. Have you been blessed by your intercession for them? I certainly have, and in the process been brought closer to the throne of grace.

As our great High Priest, he Lord waits for our petitions.

Do You Sense Your Prayers are Being Heard?
Does it ever seem that your prayers are not getting through? I was reminded of this possibility this week. When there is something between us and the Lord that has not been settled, our petitions are not heard.

Search me, O God, and know my heart:
try me, and know my thoughts:
And see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

When there is hidden sin in our lives, the way is closed to His presence.
Confession of our sins, repentance, and faith open the door to His heart.

Intercession is not just for others but it is a means of grace to strengthen our relationship with the Lord. He willingly accepts our requests and grants them when our hearts are clean before Him.

Be Blessed by Reading Their Blogs
Another thing I suggest, if you are not acquainted with Bill and Terri, is to peruse their blog sites. Their posts will be a blessing and minister to you. Whatever your state in this world, their witness of God’s grace will change your perspective of your own life. They testify of the fulfillment of God’s promises to us as His children.

Bill’s blog: Unshakable Hope

Terri’s blog: Diary of a Quadraplegic

Please continue to intercede for them and for all God’s people. Continue to pray to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in your life and the lives of others.

Gracious Father, thank you for a Spirit-filled week and for the preparation for our worship tomorrow. Fill us with your Spirit and teach us how to pray continuously and fervently. Search our hearts, try our thoughts and see if there be anything in us that is keeping us from you. Forgive, and lead us onward and upward in pursuit of your blessings for us and others. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

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The Recovering of Humility (pg. 3)

Humility is not new. In innocence and humility, our first parents were created. They depended on God and lived under His care with all their needs supplied.

UNTIL ~

In their disobedience and independence, they forfeited the relationship God had planned for them with Him. Humility was replaced by pride and occupation with self. That wonderful place of dependence upon our Creator was given up.

But Jesus came to restore us and to provide the power of humility by His Spirit. It must be His work for only He knows the place and the way. Only He can lead us out of our sinfulness to our rightful relationship with HIm.

It is the soul led through its sinfulness to be occupied with God in His wonderful glory as God, as Creator and Redeemer, that will truly take the lowest place before Him.”

If humility is to be our joy it must be understood apart from all sin as a covering with the very beauty and blessedness of heaven and of Jesus.”

“It is the revelation of God, not only by the law condemning sin, but by His grace delivering from it, that will make us humble. The law may break the heart with fear. But it is only grace that works that sweet humility which becomes a joy to the soul as its second nature.” 

 “Let us study the character of Christ until our souls are filled with the love and admiration of His humility.  And let us believe that, when we are broken down under a sense of our pride, and realize our inability to cast it out, Jesus Christ Himself will give us this grace as part of His wondrous life within us.
Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness

We must understand the life of Christ that He died to give us and know that we cannot work it in ourselves. Let us desire His humility, pray fervently, and wait in praise and thanksgiving for the promise to be fulfilled in us. Let us learn from Andrew Murray these powerful truths, meditate on them and share them with others ~ for the glory of our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ ~ and our joy in Him.

Dear Father, thank you that in Christ, we have the promise of receiving more than our first parents had. Send your Holy Spirit for conviction, bring us to repentance, faith, desire, and anticipation for what you want to do in us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Free ebook: Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness Andrew Murray (free audio)
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The Pursuit of Humility

Humility — the Beauty of Holiness  (audio) by Andrew Murray became a gripping study for me over twenty years ago. In those first years, the conviction of my own need for this trait of the Christian life led me to study and memorize particular quotes. These were truths I had never heard and I began to long for this as part of my relationship and union with Christ.

In 2014, I shared for twelve months on this blog what was published in 2016 as A Broad Review of Andrew Murray’s Humility. Since then I have used my book which highlights the main points that I had memorized as a daily devotional. (A free PDF copy is available upon request.)

Why have I become so intrigued with this subject?

Because I have experienced the difference Christ’s humility has made in my life. I continue to witness of this so that others may come to this knowledge and blessing.

Humility is the least-claimed, the least-owned, and the least-known of the graces of Christ that are given to His people.

Why?

Because humility goes against the grain of all human nature. Pride is so ingrained that only a miracle — a work of the power of the Spirit of Christ — the Holy Spirit sent to transform the minds, hearts, and lives of His brethren — can we be delivered from pride and live a life of humility. This was the total of the life of our Lord and Savior and the abundant life He died to give.

It is the least-owned because it does not belong to us. It is the gift of His grace and the fruit of His Spirit — meekness –even next to the last of the fruit which is temperance (self-control).

And it does not happen overnight. As Murray teaches throughout the book, we must remember the process of all God’s work.

1. Conviction of our need.
2. Desire for the humility of Christ above all else
3. Pray diligently for His working in us.
4. Wait in expectation and live in   praise to Him for what He will do in His timing.

I want to share this week and in subsequent posts the simple statements Murray used in his book that still bring me to my knees, yearning for this “above everything, seeking the holy secret of the knowledge of the nature of God as He works all.” It must be the continual indwelling of Christ within. When we fail, we are reminded to return to where we started — the heart in prayer for His working.

“It is the indwelling Christ who will live His life in us, meek and lowly. We must long for this, above everything, seeking this holy secret of the knowledge of the nature of God as He works all. We must set aside our ordinary religion to secure this, the first and chief of the marks of Christ within us.”

“And begin to praise God that there is opened up to you in Jesus a heavenly humility of which you have hardly known, and through which a heavenly blessedness (which you possibly have never yet tasted) can come into you.”

I share these blessed truths, praying for His Spirit’s conviction and blessing for us as we seek, claim, own, and know the power of His working in us — for His glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name,
Fran

Arrows in the Hands of a Mighty King

As I post this last chapter, it is with a sense that I have not done justice to the truth and power of God’s Word. I cannot do any more than I have done, but remembering Andrew Murray’s words in the Foreward of his book Waiting on God, I quote these words, “I send these out with the prayer that He who uses the feeble may give a blessing with them.”

In three previous chapters of Beyond a Mere Christianity, there have been references to books by authors I read years ago. Each one left an impression, and from these, I have offered a challenge for us as God’s children to go beyond what they wrote to search further into His Word.

God was speaking through them to witness of His kingdom and His salvation through Christ, His Son. They are dead and though they still speak through their books, God is still speaking through all His children today. We have nothing new since He spoke through His Son but each of us is called to witness of more that He reveals in His Word.

No person has all revelation but we each bring something to the feet of our Master for His anointing. It is the same faith, same Lord, same Father, same Spirit, and the same baptism through the person and work of Jesus Christ. But we never stop learning or growing. We continue to search His Word, to pray for more than the average knowledge of our Lord ~ with which some are satisfied.

The title for this final chapter is based on two different ideas ~ the first is explained as we take a statement from a sermon and the second from the texts of Psalm 127:4 and Isaiah 49:2.

By reference to this sermon, we want to see the degree from which and to which, God calls us as His children.

On July 8, 1741, this sermon was delivered by Jonathan Edwards in Enfield, Connecticut. Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God is perhaps the most well-known and most moving of sermons ever preached in America. (Instead of listening to an audio, please read it. Edwards was not an eloquent speaker but known for simply speaking word for word from his written documents.)

Let us consider these select words from His text.

The bow of God’s wrath is bent, and the arrow made ready on the string, and justice bends the arrow at your heart, and strains the bow, and it is nothing but the mere pleasure of God, and that of an angry God, without any promise or obligation at all, that keeps the arrow one moment from being made drunk with your blood. Thus all you that never passed under a great change of heart, by the mighty power of the Spirit of God upon your souls; all you that were never born again, and made new creatures, and raised from being dead in sin, to a state of new, and before altogether unexperienced light and life, are in the hands of an angry God. However you may have reformed your life in many things, and may have had religious affections, and may keep up a form of religion in your families and closets, and in the house of God, it is nothing but his mere pleasure that keeps you from being this moment swallowed up in everlasting destruction.

Our thoughts from this part of the sermon are focused on God’s bow and arrow ready for his enemies. We find in the Old Testament such references

In response to the rebellion of His people, Moses records the words of the Lord.

“And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.I will heap mischiefs upon them; I will spend mine arrows upon them.”
Deuteronomy 32:21-23

And upon His enemies are these words from the Psalmist.

“Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.” Psalm 45:5

At the end of his sermon, Edwards spoke the following words during which many were wailing and crying out for salvation.

And now you have an extraordinary opportunity, a day wherein Christ has thrown the door of mercy wide open and stands in calling and crying with a loud voice to poor sinners; a day wherein many are flocking to him, and pressing into the kingdom of God.
Read here the background and effect of this sermon.

In every generation, upon hearing the gospel, we, as His people have conviction by the power of His Holy Spirit that brings us to repentance and faith.

I like to say that His arrows pierce our hearts and make us tremble at His Word so that we fall prostrate at His feet in need of a Savior. He knows how to stop us in our tracks and turn us to Himself. He has the power to make His enemies not only His footstool but to make them His servants.

“Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.” Psalm 110:3 

We see the promises of God’s deliverance recorded in the Psalms and the Prophets.

“The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord. And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.” Zechariah 9:1, 14 (See Zechariah 9  for the full impact of this promise of deliverance.)

God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Creator of the universe, has turned us from His wrath by sending us a King ~ the King of kings ~ to capture our hearts and turn us to Him. We are no longer His enemies but servants of the Most High God. He has made us His children and heirs to His kingdom.

He makes us thrive in enemy territory, defending us, even as He makes us arrows. We are His quiver ~ His arrows against His and our enemies.

“As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”
Psalm 127:4-5

Such is our Father in heaven whose family on earth lives in defense of His kingdom.

 “And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;” Isaiah 49:2

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The Process by Which He Establishes His Army and His Weapons

Through His Word, He reveals Himself and births us into His kingdom, making us soldiers of the cross of Christ, His Son ~ the Mighty King who rules His kingdom. His Word is our manual for training.

His Holy Spirit continues to lead us to know our Master and King, to hear His voice, see Him,  fear Him, love Him, obey Him, worship and serve Him, praise Him and pray to Him, to proclaim the name of Jesus Christ in power and to live for Him.

By His mercy and by His covenant with us, He calls us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices ~ no longer conformed to this world, its god and its standards but transformed by the renewing of our minds by His own Word and Spirit (Romans 12:1-2).

We survive victoriously and thrive in this wilderness so that the enemy knows who and where we are ~ as we live without fear and always ready to defend the faith He alone gives (Jude).

He uses us to make known His name, His kingdom, and His will to others who will follow in His train.

As arrows designed for His purpose in the hands of our Mighty King, His power is wielded in us wherever and whenever He chooses. Each of the following topics forms the shape of an arrow. Starting with KNOW, we continue to the point ~ OBEY ~ and come to the point PROCLAIM.

Living by Faith in Christ is the shaft that the King uses to drive the arrow forward in our obedience to hit the mark.

We will look at references to Know, Hear, See, Fear, Love, and Obey. In Part 2, we will look at references to Serve, Worship, Praise, Pray, Proclaim His Name and Live by faith in Him.

Rather than my commenting on these references, it would be good for us to meditate on each of these (there are actually many more than we have used). We need to establish time for one of these each day to build our repertoire of His manual.

KNOW

“And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, 
All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
Matthew 28:18 “

“All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” Luke 10:22

‘According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” 2 Peter 1:3

“Be still, and know that I am God:
I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

Psalm 46:10

“Nevertheless he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.” Psalm 106:8

And I will give them an heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.” Jeremiah 24:7

“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord. Jeremiah 9:24

 “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34

 Known by His Shepherds and His Sheep

“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” Jeremiah 3:15

 “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” Psalm 100:3

“And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.” John 10:4

 “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” John 10:14

 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” Matthew 13:11

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” Philippians 3:10

 “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:” Philippians 3:8Deuteronomy 4:39; Nahum 1:7; Psalm 67:2;Proverbs 22:21;Isaiah 43:10;

HEAR

“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8

 “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4

“While it is said, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” Hebrews 3:15

“When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the Lord thy God.” Deuteronomy 13:18

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Matthew 11:15

 “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matthew 13:17

 “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” Matthew 17:5

 “And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.” Mark 4:24

“But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,” Luke 6:27  

“Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.” Luke 8:18

 “And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.” Luke 8:21

 “But he said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” Luke 11:28

 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” John 10:27

 “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” John 18:37

 “And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” John 4:42

SEE “And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that you should know his will, and see that Just One, and should hear the voice of his mouth.” Acts 22:14

“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” Ephesians 1:18

 “But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” Matthew 13:16-17

FEAR

 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9:10

“Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.” Isaiah 51:7

 “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” Proverbs 2:5

 “know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.” Ecclesiastes 3:14

 “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;” Isaiah 11:2

“And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Acts 19:17

LOVE

“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” Psalm 91:14

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” Matthew 22:37

“But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” 1 John 2:5

 “Herein is love, not that we loved God,
but that he loved us, and sent his Son
to be the propitiation for our sins.”
1 John 4:10

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;” Philippians 1:9

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35

“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” 1 John 3:14

“Hereby perceive we the love of God,
because he laid down his life for us:
and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
1 John 3:16

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7

In the next and last post of this chapter, we will look at the power of living by faith in Jesus Christ that brings about obedience to our Master and King. We will see the effects of  living in obedience as we serve, worship, praise, pray and proclaim the name of Christ.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for the power of your Holy Spirit to bring us captive to Christ, that we may be free to serve and worship you without fear of our enemies. Shape us as your arrows as you are conforming us to the image of your dear Son. In Jesus’ precious name, I pray, Amen.
Fran

Image: Pixabay

Riveted and Radical

Beyond a Mere Christianity ~ Chapter 20

R & R, an abbreviation for “rest and relaxation,” is the end to which most spend their lives. For those devoted to Christ – desiring the most from our relationship with Him in this life and for eternity – R & R means more than time out from our normal labors. Our calling and our work for His kingdom here on earth require a complete and indisputable loyalty to Him.

We know what rest and relaxation look like. Everyone works for it and welcomes it whenever possible. It requires a total giving of ourselves to nothing but ourselves.

But there is a rest beyond this world – beyond a mere Christianity – promised to the followers of Christ even before this life is finished. We are in preparation for that eternal rest while engaged in the work of the kingdom, here.

rivet (Merriam-Webster) A rivet is a fastener that holds something closed or down, and something riveting keeps you glued to your seat and grabs your attention; having the power to fix the attention; engrossing, fascinating.

To be riveted (Cambridge English Dictionary) To not be able to stop looking at something because it is so interesting or frightening.

“For the love of Christ compels us …. that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:15-17

A radical Christianity is a life no one understands except those who know Christ as Lord and Master of all life – physical and spiritual. It is a calling by the power of the Holy Spirit for us to leave our nets and other collections to follow Him. It is the Spirit of Jesus Christ that captures our attention even as He embraces our hearts, our minds, and our beings. I use the plural pronoun because I am not the only one He has chosen to leave all for Him.

“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” 2 Corinthians 1:22 (See also Ephesians 1:13)

To engage in the profundity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is more than we are able to imagine. It is a spiritual, divine, and supernatural way of life. This means that He, by His Spirit, has turned my life from self – total denial to the world – to undenied sacrifice to Him.

“The words of the wise are as goads,
and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies,
which are given from one shepherd.”

Ecclesiastes 12:11

To be radical for Christ we must first be riveted to Him – not just riveted on Him.

“He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matthew 10:37

“Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Mark 10:29-30
Notice that in addition to the good things, persecutions are promised in this life to those who are true disciples. We will consider suffering and persecution in the Christian life in the next chapter.

 When Jesus said,“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Lk. 9:23), He was using His conditional statement that begins with the word “if” – relating a difference in the ordinary and the profound – in the common and uncommon.

Even as in John 8:31-32, He was presenting the difference of a mere existence and the radical life seen in Him and His disciples. In my early Christian life, I used to pray that the Lord would “love me to death” so that He might “love me to life.” He has been doing this for over twenty years – drawing me closer and closer to Him.

 “A follower of Christ is radically oriented to a different world.”

Dr. Charley Chase wrote these words knowing the content of John 6, one of the three longest chapters in the New Testament. Reading, studying, meditation and memorization of the undiluted truth of Jesus’ teachings will either turn us away or draw us to Him forever. Those who stay riveted to Him – not just to His teaching – will be new creatures, radically following and living the true life of a Christian, not for this world, but for the next (Galatians 6:14-15).

During the three years of His earthly ministry, many followed Him for the food and the healing. But they could not stomach His preaching and teaching and were no longer interested in Him.

When these left, Jesus asked the twelve. “Do you also want to go away?

“But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also, we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:67-69

Eleven of the twelve remained and after His resurrection and ascension, continued His teachings and preaching of the gospel that we have today. We still have it, and like those few, we are few today who believe by the power of His Spirit and are riveted to Him, living a radical life in the face of adversity. Those who follow Christ live in light of the eternal life promised to those who are truly His disciples.

The religious leaders spoke of the apostles as ”These that have turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

How did they do this? It was not of their own knowledge, authority or power.

“The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. Jeremiah 31:3

“No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44

 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” John 12:32

“Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save.” Isaiah 45:20

The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.Jesus sent Paul in ministry to the Gentiles “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” Acts 26:18
The same light given to Paul accompanied him wherever he went.

 Seek, See, and Set Your Mind on Him

“So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.   Psalm 63:2

“Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, And revive me in Your way. Psalm 119:37

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:1-3

We swim upstream — meeting and warning those on the path to destruction.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5

“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

“To the end he may stablish your hearts
unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father,
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”

1 Thessalonians 3:13

Dear Father in heaven, your greatness is unsearchable. You have made the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ more powerful that we will ever know. By your Spirit you call us, you draw us by your grace, you turn us so that we may look, gaze and wonder at your Son. You have lifted Him through death and resurrection to sit at your right hand, to rule and govern a people for yourself, to call in each generation those who will give all to live for you. As we live in obedience of the living faith you have given us, display in us the same diligence and fervency of our Lord that sets us apart from this world that it may be turned upside down. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

The Muddy, Murky Waters and the Monstrous Mushroom of the Multitudes

 “And we know that we are of God,
and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
1 John 5:19 KJV

We know that we are from God,
and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.
1 John 5:19 ESV

How can we, as God’s people, endure this world’s evil environment?
We are inundated on all sides, surrounded by the pollution of wickedness and oppression that pervades this earth. More and more, we are becoming persecuted; many are dying because they follow Christ. These are the muddy, murky waters in which we live.

If this was not enough, the news of this world’s wickedness covers the airwaves. Any hope that should be ours in our Lord Jesus Christ is smothered by the cloud of despair that, if possible, would make our faith useless.

Such conditions of this world perpetuated by the masses whose only God is self has to be addressed and overcome by those whose hope is in Jesus Christ ~ the only power to live in this present world without being drowned with the multitudes or caught up and carried away in the monstrosity of repetition.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Illustration:
From a body of water looking inland, the Bible is the dock. “The muddy, murky waters” are strewn with fetuses, guns, syringes, devices, etc.
Above is a dark, “monstrous mushroom” ~ an overarching cloud reflecting the elements in the water.
Slicing through the middle of the mushroom is light from above shining on the path extending inland from the dock.
The light and brightness in the background add color in the middle of the darkness. (Kourtney, our granddaughter, is working on this.)

 It is only through God’s Word that we learn the truth about life, and by which we know our only hope of salvation in this world. Christ in us and us in Christ is the power to live through the degradation of this world victoriously and to rescue others.

 

 

Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless,
the sons of God, without rebuke,
in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation,
among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Holding forth the word of life.”
Philippians 2:14-16

Such is the need for the truths of God’s Word in our newest book in progress. Filled with Grace ~ Wrapped in Glory is the presentation of the spiritual truths for which Jesus came to earth, died, arose, and ascended to heaven, sitting now at the Father’s right hand as our High Priest interceding for us.

By the power of His Holy Spirit, He is living in His followers. Not only is He living is us, but we are living in Him ~ raised with Him and made to sit together with Him in heavenly places.

Truths from God’s Word
The Holy Bible ~ God’s Holy Word ~ is filled to overflowing with the revelation of His Holy power working in and around us ~ the same power that raised Him from the dead. Although threatened at every turn by the enemy, the Holy Spirit is finishing His work on earth to bring us safely to Him.

We must understand the power that is ours in Christ if we are to overcome the conditions in which we live and endure to the end.

 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us,
because he hath given us of his Spirit.”
“Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God,
God dwelleth in him, and he in God.”
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love;
and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
1 John 4:13,15,16

Two Books at the Same Time
A few weeks ago, I mentioned working on Focus, Balance, and Order, a book started a few years agoAs I began to see where this was going and was focusing on our heavenly Father, I was led further back to eight years ago when I started this blog.

The name God’s Grace ~ God’s Glory was not an immediate choice.  It was given after considering many others ~ an answer to my desire for this to be God-centered and only for His glory. Soon after, this title Filled with Grace ~ Wrapped in Glory came to mind without any understanding of what it meant.

It wasn’t until a few years later, through His Word, the Lord began to show me the riches of His promises to live among His people. The kingdom is within you made more sense than ever before. 1 John 5:4:13-15, together with all the references of Christ living in us and us in Christ began to germinate from the seed planted in 2011.

In the last week, His Word has been profound as these truths continue to be a reality. The more I focus on God, our heavenly Father, His Son, and His Word the easier to see His balance and order in the world for His people.

As I study and search His Word, I am in awe and know that I am not worthy to handle such precious gems of truth. I sense a deep need to experience these truths before I can write them for others to understand. I pray and trust that He will fill me with His Spirit and grace to progress in this work ~ by His grace and for His glory.

My hope along the way is to share how our Lord is completing this work in and through me. Your prayers and comments would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Father, oh, how we need you to reveal your presence among us, Christ living in us by the power of your Holy Spirit, filling us with your grace, covering us and surrounding us with your glory. Show us these truths through your Word. In Jesus’ name, I pray and praise you. Amen.
Fran

How the Holy Spirit Works ~ Part Three

Do you question God’s power to work in your life? Do you doubt or wonder at His supernatural working what He has planned and desires in your life? We are continuing to learn how God, who is Spirit, works supernaturally, whether it is for our salvation, our sanctification or contentment. His kingdom begins here on earth, His Spirit working in ours. He made us spiritual creatures in a physical body with the intentions of living His own Spirit in us, and portraying His own image. Jesus, being the example and the means through which He would accomplish His plan, is through the power of His Spirit, revealing and fulfilling His plan in us.

We have seen in our previous posts, the first and Part Two, where He begins. In this post we will continue to see the flow of His Spirit bearing the fruit of His own work (John 7:37-39; Galatians 5:22-23).

The Holy Spirit works in the spirit of man through the soul and the body; in the body, through the mind, heart and will. Here we see how He works in our impressions, our affections, emotions and expressions for His desired results.

The Spirit and Impressions

The Spirit works with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

“For freedom Christ, (through His Spirit and Word) has set us free” to know, fear, love, obey, and bear the fruit of His Spirit.” Galatians 5:1

Jesus promised His disciples to send the Spirit of truth, explained in the priestly prayer in John 17:17.

We cannot avoid the impressions of the Holy Spirit when the Father sends Him to witness of Christ in us. He brings us to read or hear His Word, and He brings conviction ~ “And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:” John 16:8

“the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you:”
1 Peter 4:14
“lively stones, built up a spiritual house .”
1 Peter 2:5
“Sealed with the holy Spirit of promise.”
Ephesians 1:13

The Spirit and Affections

Do we sense the stirring of the Spirit within us? Where are our affections when the Holy Spirit does the will of the Father and the work of the Son within us? Where are our affections when we learn the truth of God’s love for us?

“Seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2
“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:24

The Holy Spirit impresses us with the Father and Son’s love for us, so that we respond in brokenness, humility, repentance and faith.

“God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.” Romans 2:4

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Romans 12:1-2

The Spirit and Emotions

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Romans 8:11
“Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.”
Romans 12:11

“The meek and quiet spirit” 1 Peter 3:4

The Holy Spirit works through our emotions and zeal in the body of the church.

“Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”
1 Corinthians 14:12

“in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”
1 Peter 1:22

The Spirit and Expressions

From the Spirit’s working in our spirit, soul and body, through our mind, heart and will, He is able to make His impressions real, and to express what the Father and the Son do in and through us as His people. In the following references we see what He expects to do in and through us to the Father’s glory.

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Hebrews 9:14

“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20

“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:18

“in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27

By the power of the Holy Spirit we are brought together as His people to live the abundant life here, bearing the fruit of the life of Christ, by the power of the Spirit, content with what He is doing in us until He brings us home to glory ~ ready to answer those who ask our reason for hope and contentment.

Dear Heavenly Father, as we close this segment of our series on Contentment, I praise you for leading us to know how you work through your Holy Spirit to prepare your people for our eternal glory with you. As we wait and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, continue to bear the fruit of your Spirit within us. Conform us to the image of Christ by His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and temperance. Thank you for loving us and making us your children. Enable us to be content with your glorious blessings in and through us. ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, by the power that works in us; to Him be glory in the church throughout all ages, world without end.” Ephesians 3:20-21

Recommended Reading: The Power of the Spirit
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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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