Seeing IS Believing

God gave us eyes to see the beauty of His creation. It is easy for us to see physically and to be distracted by the things of this world; to settle for the status quo.  But to see Beyond a Mere Christianity requires three things: light, revelation, and new eyes. And these three come from God through His Son, Jesus Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit.

At the foundation of the world God said, “Let there be light.” Before there was sun or moon, there was light, simply by His Word. Jesus was identified as the Light and the Word from heaven. He opened heaven for us to reveal the Father/Creator and heaven itself in Him.

All this ~ beyond this world ~ is revealed in God’s Word, the Holy Bible.

There was darkness before God said, “Let there be light.” We cannot see in the dark. So, it is with human hearts.
When speaking to Nicodemus, who came to him at night, Jesus knew His real need, and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” John 3:3

This was a reflection of Ezekiel 36:26 regarding the promise that the Lord would give His people a new heart and a new spirit; taking away the heart of stone and rebellion against Him. With the new heart and spirit come eyes of faith to see what others cannot see; to understand the things of God.

Jesus said to His disciples:

 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

To the religious leaders and others who heard him:

 “But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.” John 6:36

Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” John 8:56

 “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” John 9:39

 “And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.” John 12:45

“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

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:8

The eyes of faith enable us to endure through the most difficult trials. Stephen spoke of heaven opened to him in his persecution.

“But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Acts 7:55-56

“As one looks and discovers that almost everything down here is in confusion, chaos, and ruins, it seems as though Satan were getting the better of the conflict. But as one looks above, instead of around, there is plainly visible to the eye of faith a Throne, a Throne unaffected by the storms of earth, a Throne that is “set,” stable and secure; and upon it is seated One whose name is the Almighty, and who “worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11). This then is our confidence-God is on the Throne.Though God’s governing hand is invisible to the eye of sense it is real to faith, that faith which rests with sure confidence upon His Word, and therefore is assured He cannot fail.” The Sovereignty of God ~ A. W. Pink

We find in Hebrews 11 a list of those who saw Jesus and heaven with eyes of faith; who endured to the end. And as spoken of Moses:

“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Hebrews 11:27

And these are the promises that the world cannot see.

 “Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:17

“But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.” Romans 15:21

Paul prayed for “the eyes of understanding to be enlightened” (Ephesians 1:18).

“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

How we see determines our joy in this life.
To see Christ is to live joyfully in anticipation of eternity with Him, “even in this vale of sin, for he illumines and gives the beauty of grace, forgiveness, and hope. When the curtain of this life drops, it will rise to the sight of his loving gaze, his exalted splendor, his unending, satisfying presence.” The Lord of Glory ~ Chris Strevel

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” 1 Peter 1:8

“and we shall be like him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Gracious Father in heaven, thank you for sending the Great Physician to be your light in our darkness; for birthing us into your kingdom with a new heart, spirit, eyes, and life in Him. Fill us with your Spirit of truth ~ the Spirit of Christ ~ that we may see you and live in light of your glory. This is our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen

Image:Google

GOD Is Our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan for His People

(Fourth in the series Little Books About the Magnitude of God)
Our new book is available from Amazon.

How do you wrap up fourteen summers of study with your grandchildren? The diagram we used to summarize our years together is still on the blackboards (two stacked on the back of the door leading to our prayer room) from five years ago. This book, with the diagram, is the conclusion we came to ~ GOD at the top, our Purpose at the bottom, and His PLAN through JESUS between Him and us, doing His work to keep us and bring us to Himself.

“How many goals do we set in a lifetime? How many do we actually reach? The Christian worldview is one that sees goals based on what has been accomplished for us by our Creator and Redeemer. God has a purpose for His creation. He has a plan. He has set the goal, and by His plan in Christ, brings us to Himself. As we live in anticipation of reaching this goal, it affects all that we think, say and do, making our pilgrimage here a joy and a glory to Him.”
eBook $1.99  Paperback $5.59.
Profits designated for missions and charity.

Dear Father, I pray for your grace to lead those who will read this book to see, to know, and to live in assurance of reaching the goal that you have set for us as your people. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Glory Beyond Words ! ! ! !

In my personal communion this morning I seemed to be drawn closer to our heavenly Father to experience His presence in a greater way than ever before. All that I seemed to have was words that my English-speaking Bible provides. But the words “Almighty,” “holy,” “great,” “powerful,” “gracious,” “righteous,” and all the other words that we have—to think of Him, to call upon Him, to worship Him—did not seem to be enough. This inadequacy made me realize that GOD, in all His glory, is more than mere words can reveal.

ring-galaxyNo word is sufficient to describe Him, or to help us to know Him, worship Him, or to obey Him. When Jesus said that we must worship Him in Spirit and truth He was referring to the work that God must do in us. Words merely draw us to seek what is beyond the words, to the truth that God reveals about Himself. It is a supernatural revelation that His Spirit alone provides in those that He draws to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Following the first experience something else came to mind: the reality that Jesus Christ is GOD. The more I have pondered this, on my way to worship on this Lord’s Day, this afternoon, and tonight, the more astounding is this fact; not that I haven’t known this before, but now, in a new way, a new light, a new revelation. Christ, as the living God, the “visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1: 15) “the brightness of His glory,” “the express image of the Father,” (Hebrews 1:3) is no less God than the Father.

How can we get our minds around this truth? How can our hearts absorb such as is revealed in these words? As many years as I have studied, and believed, the Father has brought me today to a new realization beyond any thoughts I have had before. Paul describes this in 2 Corinthians 3:18—we, 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.”
To think that we can see Christ through mere words is to settle for our own distorted images of Christ and God. It is the work of His Spirit that reveals Jesus Christ as “very God.”

No wonder Jesus said, “No one comes to me except the Father draws him.” God, the Father is drawing us to Himself as He draws us to Christ. The words “The Father and I are one,” are but words, except as His Spirit makes them truth to us and in us.  To emphasize, “JESUS is God,” or “Jesus IS God,” or “Jesus is GOD,” does not convince me or anyone else of this truth.  Only the Holy Spirit can drive it home to our hearts and bring us to a steadfast commitment to Him.

Why is it so important then, to believe in Jesus Christ? Without this faith, wrought in us by His own Spirit, can we truly believe in the true GOD?

It is the Spirit that quickens, the flesh profits nothing; my words are Spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63) We can get lost in the labyrinth of words, but meditations on His words bring us beyond the words to the reality that is behind the words—the true meaning that only His Spirit can provide. These meditations, in time, bring us to the renewing of the mind; but further still, to that which is “hidden from the wise, but revealed to little children.”  “God’s Word which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments” (Shorter Catechism) are pregnant with truth and life, delivered to the humble heart, and the seeking soul.

I praise Him that I don’t “know it all,” that I haven’t “arrived,” that I am still seeking “His kingdom and His righteousness.” I will be eternally grateful for a Father’s love that continues to draw me to Christ and Himself, revealing the power of His grace, and His glory. How blessed we are to have a GOD that has planned an eternity to reveal all that He is to us.

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:5)

Father, please continue to reveal yourself, Christ, your Word, and the power of your Holy Spirit to us, your people.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

(Reblog from July 3, 2011)

Rainbows and Promises

A rainbow is a symbol of God’s grace.    Bow in the clouds

We don’t usually find one if we are looking for one.  They come with no planning on our part.  This one appeared while the sky was still very cloudy. And only then, through a small sweep of the sky between the trees.

Had I not been been looking through the kitchen window at a certain moment I would have missed it.  And even then it was very dim, disappearing soon after I took this picture.

Why does God continue to display a rainbow? What good is it, actually, and practically?

What is its purpose except to cause us to look, and in seeing, remember our heavenly Father’s promise to Noah and his sons, recorded in Genesis 9:11-16.

“I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood. This is the token of the covenant between me and the earth.  And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I MAY REMEMBER THE EVERLASTING COVENANT.” (condensed)

When we look up He is looking down.  Our eyes look upon this token, and remember the other promises of His everlasting covenant of grace, through our Lord Jesus Christ, for eternal life.  There will be another day of judgment and destruction, not by a flood, but by fire, (2 Peter 3:10-13)

~ ~ ~ ~ NEVERTHELESS ~ ~ ~ ~

“We, ACCORDING TO HIS PROMISE,

 LOOK for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

    Ye, therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before,

       beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

2 Peter 3:14,17-18

“And he that sat was to LOOK upon like a jasper and a sardine stone.

and there was a RAINBOW round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.”  

Revelation 4:3

The Beauty of Grace in the Eye of the Beholder

cross“And when we shall see him, there is no beauty
that we should desire him.
We hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”
Isaiah 53: 2-3

Who can SEE what is heavenly?  Who can experience the supernatural beauty of that which is above and beyond us?  Where do we find the beauty of life apart from ourselves? The human eye cannot SEE what God has prepared for His children except His Spirit REVEALS it to us. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10)

“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

From the mouth of a layman Spurgeon heard and saw the beauty of Christ in Isaiah 45:22, “LOOK unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else.”

Our heavenly Father SAW in His Son what He wants us to SEE.

“He shall SEE of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied;
because he hath poured out his soul unto death.
He bare the sin of many,and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Isaiah 53:11-12

 “Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.”  Psalm 50:2

“They shall LOOK on him whom they pierced.”  John 19:37

SEEING IS BELIEVING

Paul prayed for the early church in Ephesians 1:17-18:  “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom, and REVELATION in the knowledge of him: The EYES OF OUR UNDERSTANDING 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.”

“Wherefore SEEING we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, LOOKING UNTO JESUS, THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God…….LOOKING diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God;” Hebrews 1-2, 15

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hst given me, be with me where I am;
that they may BEHOLD my glory, which thou hast given me,”
John 17:24

“Open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key, that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee, Ready, my God, Thy will to see:
Open my eyes, illumine me, Spirit divine!  ~ Clara H. Scott
Music:  Open My Eyes, That I May See

Father, draw us by your Spirit to your Word, the written and living Word of Christ, your Son, whom you have made to be our Lord, Master, and Life. In Jesus Name we pray, Amen.

Father of Grace and Glory (Part 3)

Meditation on the Father’s grace and glory did not come so easy this morning. It was not until after fellowship with Him, time in His Word, study, and meditation, that I was able to begin to think about this third part.  There is much more to this subject, and how Jesus, the Son, speaks of the Father, than I had known before.  The more desire to know, the more humbled He makes me, to realize that I know nothing as I ought to know; nor can I, in this life.

Jesus is recorded in the New Testament as referring to His Father at least 171 times, and reference made to God, 166 times. When God spoke through the prophets and writers of the Old Testament they did not normally refer to God as Father.  Jesus was “the first-born among many brethren.”  (Romans 8:29)  It was Jesus, the Son, who was sent to reveal God as Father to His children.  As we found so many references, we will, in this 3rd part, share the most important things that are recorded in the Synoptic gospels—Matthew, Mark, and Luke.  In the concluding Part 4, we will share John’s recollection of Jesus’ words.

First, how is the name God, and the name Father, distinguished? Strong’s Concordance gives us the Greek word for God, as theos—a diety; the supreme Divinity; fig. a magistrate.  The word for Father is pater—father; near or more remote.  These definitions give me a clearer understanding of both. God is our lawgiver. His kingdom rules over all  (Psalm 103:19). Some people believe in God, as creator, and judge, but only those who have been born of Him, of His Spirit, know Him as Father.

As God, He is described by some (such as the deists) as transcendent, far removed from His creation, not relative to anything on the earth. As Father, He is “near” in Spirit, to His children.  As Spirit He is omnipotent (all-powerful),  omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (present everywhere). Although “we move, and breathe, and have our being in Him”  (Acts 17:28), not all acknowledge His power and presence.  As children we desire the presence and power of  “our Father.”  There is no fear of His judgment, but He is loved and worshiped, as a child loves a father.

Jesus speaks first,and last, of the Father’s glory. (See God’s Glory  ~  First and Last.)  In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:16) Jesus reveals to His disciples that the Father is glorified through them. In Matthew 16:27 He reveals that He, Himself, will, in the end, come in the glory of his father, with his angels.

He reveals the Father’s omniscience in Matthew 6:4, the Father sees in secret and rewards openly; in Matthew 10:29, the falling of a sparrow, the number of the hairs of our head; and, in Matthew 6:8, knowing all our needs before we ask Him.

He tells us to pray to the Father, in Matthew 6:6; that He forgives, in Matthew 6:14; and that He feeds His creatures, in Matthew 6:26.

He reveals the importance of the Father’s will, in Matthew 7:21; only those who do the will of the Father shall enter the kingdom of heaven.

He teaches us that it is the Spirit of the Father that speaks through His servants, in Matthew 10:20.

All things that were delivered to Jesus is from His Father, hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed to babes. Matthew 11:25-27.

He reveals the omnipresence and protection of the Father for His children in Matthew 18:10, 14; that not one of His little ones should perish.

The Father is said to be merciful in Luke 6:36

Jesus said that He would send the promise of His Father upon his disciples in Luke 24:49

Jesus reveals the sovereignty and omnipotence of the Father, in Matthew 20-23; and Matthew 24:36.  The Father has prepared everything, according to His will; and He alone knows when all will be fulfilled.  Our prayer~(Parentheses, mine.)

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,

 may give unto you (us) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.”

Ephesians 1:17