A New Year’s Prayer

The First Petition

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

“Let us give unto you the glory due unto your name.”
“Let us worship you in the beauty of holiness; fear before you with all the earth.”
“I will extol thee, my God, O King, and I will bless thy name forever and ever.
Every day will I bless thee and I will praise thy name forever, and ever”
“From the rising of the sun to its setting, your name is to be praised.”
“With my tongue, I will speak of your righteousness and praise all the day long.”
“Through Christ, I will offer up the sacrifice of praise to you continually, that is the fruit of my lips giving thanks unto your name.”
“For thine is the greatness, and the power, and the glory; for all that is in heaven and earth is thine. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee and praise thy glorious name.”

The Second and Third Petitions

Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven
~ through your “everlasting covenant ordered in all things and sure.”

“This is all my salvation and all my desire as you are “ruling over all things.”
You have given us “divine power to destroy strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself above the knowledge of you, bringing every thought captive to Christ.”

Let our thoughts be “true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue and worthy of praise” as your Holy Spirit brings through us the fruit and life of Christ ~ love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control, holiness, righteousness, truth, grace, humility, compassion ~ your fullness ~ the fullness of your Spirit and of Christ ~ who in us is “the hope of glory” ~ our reason for rejoicing in you always, and with grateful hearts, “letting our moderation be made known to all men.”

You are at hand because we “dwell in you and you in us by your Spirit which you have given us.”
You never leave us nor forsake us, so let us “not be anxious for anything, but in everything, make our requests known to you, and your peace that passes all understanding keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

Let us focus on you, our minds and hearts centered in Christ as you do your will in us, fulfilling your everlasting covenant in each of us.

Let me delight myself in you, desire what you desire, and worship you in spirit and truth.

I want to know you, fear you, hear your voice, see that just One, “love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and my neighbor as myself.” I want to obey you, worship and serve you, praise you and pray to you, and proclaim the name of Christ in power.

I want to live for you, so I “present my body” with all its faculties and senses ~ spirit, soul, and body ~ to you “as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable in Christ, which is my only reasonable worship in response to your great mercy, to be transformed by the renewing of my mind as you are conforming me to the image of your dear Son.”

The Fourth Petition 

Give us this day our daily bread ~ but first, I “seek your kingdom and your righteousness” ~ “for we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from your mouth.”

I ask this for your people everywhere. Pour out your Spirit upon us. Water the seed you planted in our hearts and bring forth the fruit of your word. (Name those for whom you intercede.) Plant more seed and nurture all that belongs to you ~ to your glory and our joy.

The Fifth Petition

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

“Search us and know our hearts. Try us and know our thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in us” ~ any bitterness or lack of forgiveness for others. (Confess and repent of any sin our Father and His Spirit reveals.)

The Sixth and Seventh Petitions

Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

Make us salt, light, a sweet fragrance of Christ, and a fruitful vineyard for your name and glory.

I praise you for your wisdom, for “sanctifying us wholly and preserving us spirit, soul, and body, until the coming of Christ. You are faithful, and you will do it.”

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, in Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places.” Eph. 1:3

“And let the beauty of the Lord be upon and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of hands, establish thou it.” Ps. 90:17

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. In Jesus’ name, I pray and thank you. Amen.
Fran

The Mentality and the Centrality of the Christian Faith

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.
Ezekiel 36:26.

“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.”
Jeremiah 31:33

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 are transformed by the renewing of our minds (Roms. 12:1-2) and have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2). We have divine power to bring every thought in obedience to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5).

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,”
Ephesians 3:20

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.

Suggested Reading: Free eBook First Things that Last Forever
The Garden of God’s Word ~ The Purpose and Delight of Bible Study
What the Holy Bible Says about the Word of God

 

Living Sacrifices

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,
that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice,
holy, acceptable unto God,
which is your reasonable service.”
Romans 12:1-2

These verses in Romans 12 cannot be taken out of context but in relation to the whole letter to the Roman Church. Paul gives the means and the reason for His beseeching. Presenting our body (our whole being) is our response to the mercies of God. Afterward, we see the results of the presentation and the commitment of ourselves to Him.

The Reason
Here, Paul brings the believer to consider the truths he has presented in the previous eleven chapters. The key words in this verse are by the mercies of God. Before we do can anything with or for God, there has to be a revelation of Him and the work of His mercy for us.

In Romans 11:29-36 we find the capsule of God’s mercies opened–the door–therefore–for Paul’s beseeching the reader to consider and respond. He calls us as brethren–believers and followers of Christ–to bring to God the Father, the gift of His mercies in earthen vessels for His use. When, by His mercies, He gives us new hearts (Ezekiel 36:26) and lives in Christ, our only reasonable response is to bring ourselves in dedication and commitment to His service and worship

Peter speaks of God’s abundant mercy that has given us new life in Christ.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to his abundant mercy
hath begotten us again unto a lively hope
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 
1 Peter 1:3

A Covenant Relationship
We are made holy and acceptable unto God through Jesus’ sacrifice for us.

Before the foundation of the world, the covenant of redemption was planned between the Father and the Son. In the power of His Holy Spirit, through the knowledge of His Word, this covenant–the covenant of grace as we know it–is revealed as God’s plan to win us to Christ, His Son.

We are betrothed to Him through His sacrifice for us.
Paul’s teaching in Romans 12:1-2  show how we are to accept and enter into this covenant with Him. As a wife submits to her husband in the covenant of marriage, we submit to His covenant for life here and for eternity.

It is our agreement with Him that we are His temple, His building, His people, His children.

This is His means to accomplish all He desires in and through us.

“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

Paul’s purpose of ministry to the Gentiles was that they might glorify God for his mercy (Romans 15:9).

In Romans 10:3 Paul speaks of those who have not submitted themselves unto Him.

We must be humbled to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. The proud cannot present themselves; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5-6).

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin:
but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead,
and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
Romans 6:13

Living Sacrifices for a Living God
Paul speaks to the Thessalonians of how they turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; 1 Thessalonians 1:9

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 he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him. Luke 20:38

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. 2 Corintians 3:3

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, Hebrews 12:22

 But if I tarry long, that you may know how you ought to behave yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. 1 Timothy 3:15

The Results

“And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” 
Romans 12:2

When we read all of Romans 12, we find the results of the whole body of Christ living sacrificially for His glory. Except for the offering of ourselves to Him, the remainder of the chapter would mean nothing to us.

When we understand the love and mercy in the sacrifice of our Lord, we willingly bring all to Him to do what He wills in and through us. He died, sacrificing all in His death for our salvation. We sacrifice all to Him to live and prove His perfect will in us. He performs His covenant in our lives when we enter into His covenant with Him, agreeing to His working to conform us to His image (Romans 8:29).

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. Romans 7:4 

 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 21

Dear Father in heaven, Only you, by your Holy Spirit, can draw us to Christ. Only through your Holy Word, do we know who you are and your purpose for us. Do your holy, acceptable and perfect will in our lives for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Image and Song
Related Article: Radical Mercy

Words of Life ~ ACCEPTED (ACCEPTABLE)

Continuing Words of Life A-Z The Ordinary Vocabulary of a Christian, we are encountering the phenomenal connections of all Words to the center of Christianity, which is Christ, Himself. As we look at both Old and New Testaments we learn what is accepted for true life, Life as God our Creator means it to be. As we study we see that God our Father alone can work what is acceptable for the Life of a follower of Christ.

ACCEPTED (ACCEPTABLE) in the Concordance H7521
Defines the word (ratsah rä·tsä’)
A primitive root; to be pleased with; specifically to satisfy a debt:—(be)
accept (-able), accomplish, set affection, approve, consent with, delight (self),
enjoy, (be, have a) favour (-able), like, observe, pardon, (be, have, take) please (-
ure), reconcile self.

ACCEPTABLE is used in two references from Proverbs.

“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.” Proverbs 10:32

“To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3

The Lord’s acceptance of His people was based on His own work of bringing them out from the other nations.

“I will accept you…….when I bring you……….and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen. (Ezekiel 20:41).

We see in the New Testament the same means of acceptance through the work of His Son for us on the cross.

In The New Testament
ACCEPTED (ACCEPTABLE) 
in the Concordance G1184
defines the word (dektos dek-tos’)(an adjective derived from 1209 (dexomai) – properly, what is received favorably (acceptable), describing what is welcomed because pleasing.

The most prominent reference is from Ephesians 1:6.

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesian 1:6

What a state of privilege! It includes our justification before God, but the term “acceptance” in the Greek means more than that. It signifies that we are the objects of divine complacence, nay, even of divine delight.   But it is only “in the beloved”  ~  accepted in One who never alters, in One who is always the beloved of God, always perfect, always without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing  Rejoice, believer, in this: thou art accepted “in the beloved.” Know by full assurance thy glorious standing. Even glorified souls are not more accepted than thou art. They are only accepted in heaven “in the beloved,” and thou art even now accepted in Christ after the same manner. Charles Spurgeon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.” Acts 10:35

Whereas the Lord brought His people from other nations, now in Christ, He brings people of every nation to “fear Him and work righteousness.”

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2

Accepted as holy in the beloved Christ and by His mercies, we are led to present our bodies a living sacrificeacceptable to God (vs. 1) to prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God (vs. 2).

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5

When we suffer for His sake and take it patientlythis is acceptable with God (1 Peter 2:20).

Dear Father, mighty to save, holy and merciful, making us acceptable to you in Christ, we thank you and live in praise to you. Continue to renew our minds and prove your acceptable will in and through us. Fill us, as living stones with your Spirit to offer the sacrificial life and the spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to you. Fill us with the Life of Christ that witnesses of your presence to the world around us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Fran

Image:Google

Endear and Endure

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

If the Lord brings us to the heights of Christianity ~ Beyond a Mere Christianity ~ it will be according to the truth that the apostle writes here. What keeps us from reaching this height? It must be that we fail to perceive the love of God, who, in Christ, laid down his life for us. To perceive is to see with a spiritual reality ~ beyond our physical sight ~ how much He loves us and how He proved His love. We will look in depth in two other chapters at how His great love begins to work in the hearts of His children, but for this one we are led to write of those who, with time and experience of HIs grace, know the presence and power of the Holy Spirit of Christ working His own nature and disposition through them in relationship with others.

Several years ago, with a new birth (John 3:3), there was no real understanding of the difference He would make in my life. Baptism at the age of eleven did not change my heart; self-centeredness was still my nature. Years later, it was God’s Holy Spirit speaking through His Holy Word when He gave me a new heart and spirit (Ezekiel 36:26) that I longed for the life of Christ within me. Repentance and faith was a work of His goodness and mercy in me (Romans 2:4); the effect of His Spirit in the new heart and spirit within me.

Everything changed on that beautiful day in 1992 when He brought me to Himself, so that I never looked back.

He endeared Himself to me, speaking through the written Word and His Spirit so that I could see Him as the loving Creator and Redeemer that He is. Since then, He has been an ever-present guide and protector of my mind, heart and spirit. He has endured with me through all the trials and adversities we have encountered. The more affliction we experience, the more of His love and care are ministered by His Holy Spirit and the more we are able to see and care for others. We continue to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). We could speak of many trials we have endured, but time and space do not permit here. We have published eight books that witness of His presence and teachings.

Most and best of all is how He endears Himself through us to others. At present we are formatting One Month to Live ~ A Father’s Last Words, the story of God’s abundant grace as we cared for my dad during the last three weeks of his life.

Never would I have known that being a caregiver for my dad, for grandchildren, for my mother with dementia and  for Jerry the last twelve years would have prepared me to practice this endearment. We, together, have learned to see the needs of others; to pray for them; to reach out to any that the Lord shows us. We don’t have to look far. Within our own family, and our church family, there are many who need encouragement. Just a word of support and hope is enough for most. These are the closest to us and the ones with which we have developed lasting relationships. In Prayer and In Touch is our email prayer ministry, whereby we stay in touch as we pray for others.

We are enabled to see the needs of others when we go for appointments. We may never see some of these again, but the Lord knows what they need. A smile, a “thank you,” a word of greeting or a short conversation can leave a lasting impression to the glory of our Lord.

It is those who are the closest whose needs we know and with whom we endure through their difficulties, sharing the promises of God’s Word, praying for special needs, taking a meal, etc. Whatever is needful, the Lord provides through us, His people.

We encourage those who are continually experiencing the hardships of this life to see others in need and pray with the desire to know how you can help them. Focus on the Lord and His will in how we can care for others greatly changes how we see our own needs. It is good therapy for the soul to count others in greater need than ourselves.

Is this what John meant in 1 John 3:16? What does it mean to lay down our lives? I believe it means that we first give ourselves to the Lord as the apostle Paul speaks in 2 Corinthians 8:5. I have TWO FULL PLATES, but this does not keep me from seeing others in their needs, praying and reaching out when the Lord leads. He always provides more room on our plates for others, and gives the extra strength that we need and extra servings pf joy.

We are, by His mercy to us, called to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to serve Him and others (Romans 12:1-2).

He endured all the wrath and punishment for our sins, so that we as His people would be united in our love for Him and one another; to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1-2).

Jesus now and forever endears Himself to us, and endures with us as our Lord and High Priest. It is when we endear ourselves to each other and endure with one another that we are stronger. As we are united in Christ, members of one body, we stand against the enemy with great power. His Spirit is revealed through those who “in lowliness of mind esteem others better than themselves; who look not on his own things, but on the things of others.” Philippians 2:3-4

Father in heaven, open our eyes and hearts. Draw us heavenward to receive your humility, grace and love that extends to others ~ for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen
~ Fran
The following is from Philippians 2:5-11. Have This Mind is the title of an album of Scripture Tunes recorded in the last twenty-five years.

The Price of Contentment

For the world, contentment cost nothing more than what money can afford.
A divine contentment was purchased by the blood of Christ; for those who are His followers, born of His Spirit. The love of God was revealed for His children by the death of His Son; purchasing and redeeming us from the bondage of sin and death (Romans 8:2). We are born to a living hope by His abundant mercy and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; to an inheritance in Him that no one can take away (1 Peter 1:3-4).
It is a legacy that we do not deserve, could not pay for, nor earn by any good work.
Not to be content with the finished work of Christ that assures and provides a pardon from sin, and an abundant life in Him, is to doubt this free gift of His own righteousness for us and to live without Him.
“You Are Not Your Own”
“You have been bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God so loved us, desired us, sired us and made us His own, to lavish His grace, His provisions, His protection, His goodness, His own life for us, in us, and through us. To His own glory He has shined His light into our hearts to shine through us His grace, mercy and power. He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3) through Christ His Son (Romans 8:32).
He has given all for us to reflect His presence, His goodness and His wealth in and upon us. He has spread abroad His love in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, which He has given us (Romans 5:5).
Our Response to His Sacrifice and Mercy
In response to His sacrifice and mercy in taking our sin and punishment upon Himself, Paul urges, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
Here is the reality of a life of contentment according to His will. His sacrificial death works through us for a sacrificial life devoted to serving Him and others while He is preparing us to share His glory. True contentment cost Jesus His life, and it costs us ours. He denied Himself for us to give us eternal life in Him. To experience this life of contentment we deny ourselves for Christ’s sake. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Galatians 2:20 
Understanding the Terms of Sacrifice
Eternal life in Christ begins when we are born of His Spirit; a new heart and spirit are joined to Christ from that moment. Eternal life is not experienced just when we die, but here, now, and forever. The new birth, faith and repentance separate us from the world’s way of life. We are no longer our own, being conformed to this world, but sanctified, being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ until He calls us home to be with Him.
Jesus paid the price for our contentment. Presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice  means that we have received, understand, accept, and enter into the covenant of life that is ours in His death and resurrection.
Gracious Father, We thank you for your covenant of redemption and grace made with Christ, your Son, before the foundation of the world. We praise you for the work of your Holy Spirit in revealing and fulfilling your covenant with us. Enable us to know the power of Christ’s resurrection through the continued work of the gospel, bringing us to submission and surrender of all that we are, so as to live in covenant with you, in Christ, now and forever. In Jesus’ name we pray and thank you. Amen.