Godly Stability

This post did not make it as a chapter in Beyond a Mere Christianity, but the quotes may fit somewhere in the previous chapter, Surviving and Thriving in Enemy TerritoryLord willing, our last chapter should be ready to post on Monday.
Please pray for Jim as he is preparing our next post on Words of Life.

“And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brazen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD”
Jeremiah 15:20

    “Stability in the fear and faith of God will make a man like a wall of brass, which no one can batter down or break. Only the LORD can make such; but we need such men in the church, and in the world, but specially in the pulpit. Against uncompromising men of truth this age of shams will fight tooth and nail. Nothing seems to offend Satan and his seed like decision. They attack holy firmness even as the Assyrians besieged fenced cities.
The joy is that they cannot prevail against those whom God has made strong in His strength. Carried about with every wind of doctrine, others only need to be blown upon and away they go; but those who love the doctrines of grace, because they possess the grace of the doctrines, stand like rocks in the midst of raging seas. Whence this stability? “I am with thee, saith the LORD”: that is the true answer. Jehovah will save and deliver faithful souls from all the assaults of the adversary. Hosts are against us, but the LORD of hosts is with us. We dare not budge an inch; for the LORD Himself holds us in our place, and there we will abide forever.”Spurgeon

May the Lord bless us as His people; that He teach us and prepare us for the battle for His kingdom in this world. We pray His blessings in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Fran

Image: Google

The Fullness of God in One Body

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is.

Hebrews 10:25

What happens when we neglect corporate worship?

A part of the body of Christ is missing.  Imagine that one of your fingers separated itself from your body or could decide on its own that it would not respond to you?  Usually, more than one member neglects to attend worship on the Lord’s Day.  So, imagine a finger, a foot, and one of your organs missing.  You are hindered from a full capacity of life. Jerry’s left leg was amputated twelve years ago.  He still enjoys life, but he will tell you that it is not a full life.

So, too, the body of Christ comes short of what it needs to operate at its fullness.  True — worship is planned and carried on for those who are there, but let’s imagine what worship looks like when the whole body is present and actively participating in the worship to which He calls us.

Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you (everybody) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: 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,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1: 15-23

The church—each member—has its calling, as an heir of the riches of His glory.  It is our inheritance, as His saints. What Christ has secured in heaven is for all His body.  His fullness fills all members with all that we need to rule with Him in His kingdom. Christ as the authority and head over all things has given dominion and power to the members of His body.

Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16-21 expresses the same truth.

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
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,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

He is speaking of all believers, all members, of the body of Christ.  In this prayer, Paul is praying that our heavenly Father will give His Spirit–according to the riches of his glory to do the work in the hearts—in the inner man —–for what purpose? That they may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which is beyond (human) knowledge.

Can one member receive all?  Can one heart conceive of the love of Christ? No! It was never meant to be. It is beyond any one of us to know—to comprehend—such a love.  Christ, who is the fullness of the body, sends His Holy Spirit to fill each heart with its portion—its small measure. (Ephesians 4:16)  For who could hold such knowledge, such love as is ours in Christ.  It is His working to give each the portion of our inheritance allotted and to bring that measure together with the others.

When we neglect to meet with the other saints we not only fail to bring what we have received, but we miss the knowledge that we would have received from the other members. Some part of the love of Christ is withheld from the body, and we go lacking that which we could have received.

And so the members of the body of Christ go through the following days, weeks and years, wondering why life is not what it should be.  We are hungry and thirsty for something good, not understanding that all the fullness of life is in Christ; that our hunger and thirst will never be met outside the whole body of Christ, and we are withholding something that someone else needs. As members of one body, let us exhort one another for the faithful attendance to His worship and His Word.

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love
one toward another, and toward all men,
even as we do toward you:
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 3:12-13

Father, we need the gift of your Holy Spirit to fill and stir each of our hearts with a measure of Christ’s love. Move us to bring that portion to our worship today so that we may all know the fullness and glory of your presence. In Jesus’ name, I pray and thank you. Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

Heavenly Overtones

Music is designed with a melody that runs throughout the whole piece.  Other parts add harmony.  The melody is the beginning, and the ending.  It is what holds the piece together.  Lose the melody or make it a monotone—the same tone over and over— and it ceases to be music.  Overpower the melody and the music loses its meaning.

Music is a sound that began in heaven with God, our Father and Creator.  It is a major means that He provided to help us worship Him—“Holy, Holy, Holy”—one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Holy Ghost, is sung by the angels in heaven. (Isaiah 6:3  and Revelation 4:8)

Anthems are compositions for music that include all parts —melody, harmony, and sometimes, a descant.  A descant is a part that is sung by a higher range of voices.  It is not meant to overpower but provide an extra lift to the other parts.

Together all the parts speak to the senses to lift the spirit and the heart toward God.

In Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs we worship with Biblical texts and heavenly music (Ephesians 5:19).

I picture it according to His Word—the melody was begun in heaven with Jesus, His Son—“Holy, Holy, Holy”  from the foundation of the world.  He would not only be the beginning of music but the melody throughout the span of time here on earth, onward into eternity.

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes…”

The melody of heaven was here
~ He was wrapped in our humanity ~
to gather around Him those that would
add the harmony to Himself,
and provide the music for His family,
the music that the Father wanted to hear.

“On the same night, there were shepherds with flocks of sheep in the field. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them”

 ~ the music and the worship were about to begin.

And the glory of the Lord shone round about them with good tidings of great joy”

  ~ the prelude
the introduction to the first anthem of true worship.

To all people—unto you is born a Savior, Christ the Lord”

 the music begins.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest”

 ~ the descant.

“And on earth peace.” Luke 2:7-14

Christ Jesus, our Lord, is the melody of heaven, the melody of life, as God has composed it, and plays it for us by His Spirit and through His Word.

“I will declare thy name (the Father) unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.”  (Hebrews 2:12-13)

~ the harmony of His family.
Now He has a full choir.

The Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs that we learn throughout our childhood are the anthems that are carried into heaven with us, as we join that celestial choir. Others are added along the way as He gives us a repertoire.  The only soloist is the one who carries the melody—Christ, Himself.

As we live by the Spirit and walk by the Spirit, He opens our ears to hear the melody and to follow Him.  Our off-keys and monotones are tuned to harmonize with other voices.  And walking humbly with Him in the obedience of faith, loving the Lord, our God, and our neighbor, we are surrounded by the heavenly overtones echoing His praise in heaven and earth. In our devotion to Christ, He opens our hearts to hear compositions we have never heard or sung before, especially during the difficult circumstances of life.

I pray that we know the Lord as our strength and song (Exodus 15:2).

I pray that we would experience “the new song as He fills us with His Spirit (Psalm 149:1).

On the Lord’s Day, we go to His House with a great expectation of hearing the melody—a strong and sure foundation for our worship—hearing the other parts, and the distant sound of the descant of the angels in affirmation that our worship is accepted.

I pray that each day we will practice our singing, individually, and in family worship, so that we are prepared for worship on the Lord’s Day—all in preparation for the great day when we see Him and praise Him in all His glory with the angels.

Our Father has composed the music
and directs the choir.

Let us sing with full hearts
to His glory and our joy.

“Holy,—-Holy,—-Holy,

The LORD of hosts:

The whole earth is full of His glory.”

Fran ~ Lord’s Day 9/23/07 (Article from Waiting Is Not A Game ~ Articles and Stories of Faith. Unpublished)

Praying For Our Nation ~ Week 3


our-father-which-art-in-heaven
supreme-courtThis week we want to meditate on and pray the third petition for us and our nation.

capital“What do we pray for in the third petition? In the third petition we pray, that God, by His grace, would make us able and willing to know, obey, and submit to his will in all things, as the angels do in heaven.” Shorter Catechism

Dear Father, you teach us in your word that all secrets belong to you. We have learned that you have a secret will and a revealed will, which leaves all things in your hands.

As Jesus taught us, we pray that you reveal your will to us through your Word, and in time your secret will concerning the future of this nation. As we watch and wait to know who will be the next President of this country, open our hearts to your Word for us as your children, so that we may know and trust that all things work according to your will.

First, believing that we need you to work in us as your people, we pray that, as your will is done in heaven, we may know the rule of Christ over us and in the center of our lives, our families, and our churches. As the angels worship and adore Him, serving in obedience to Him, please move in our hearts to seek your will through a new, reviving, transforming work in us. Let Christ, through your church, be the light that is needed in this darkness.

Move the hearts of those who will rule this nation to know you and your will in their lives. Have mercy upon us as we place all our hope in you.
In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Let All The World in Every Corner Sing

Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!
The heavens are not too high, His praise may thither fly,
The earth is not too low, His praises there may grow.
Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!

(Arrangement by Paul Mealor includes other lyrics)

Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!
The church with psalms must shout, no door can keep them out;
But, above all, the heart must bear the longest part.
Let all the world in every corner sing, my God and King!

George Herbert 1633

Sheet Music:  Arrangement by Paul Mealor

HUMILITY in Daily Life ~ Chapter 6

Growing up in the church I often heard of symbolisms of the cross of Christ. The one I remember was the vertical post as representative of the relationship between God and the believer; the horizontal bar representing the relationship between believers. Christ and His sacrifice there are seen as the center of both relationships, working in both directions.

In this sixth chapter, as in other chapters of Humility (PDF) there is an emphasis on relationships and power within relationships.

Love and Humility
Reference is made to the book of 1 John regarding love as God means it be. Though we say that we love God it is not the love of God if it is not evident in our relationships with others.

The same thing is true of humility. As both love and humility are His attributes, revealed in Christ and His work on the cross, “humility before God is nothing if not proved in humility before men.”

These are both the work of Christ’s life possessing us, working by His Holy Spirit of love and humility in us.

In particular Murray points in this chapter to our relationships within the church; to those in fellowship with Christ. How difficult it seems to serve and worship together with a heart of humility. Like children of “little faith” there is a lack of compassion and gentleness. Have we not all experienced this ~ from both sides?   I have been the brunt of sharp words. These do not grieve me as much as knowing that I have spoken things that were not necessary, nor to the glory of God. These cut more than any others. When I think of the cross I am reminded that Christ’s sacrifice was to deliver me from my selfish nature; and to show His love to others.

It Is Hard For Those Who are Rich to be Humble
“The humble man seeks at all times to act on the rule, In honor preferring one another; Serve one another; Each esteeming others better than himself; Submitting yourselves one to another.”
“It is often asked ~ how can we count others better than ourselves, when we see that they are far below us in wisdom and in holiness, in natural gifts, or in grace received?”

Some who are more knowledgeable in the truths of the Bible lord it over others. This is the nature of all men who are without Christ; and to be delivered from it must be the power of the Spirit of Christ working His nature in us. We are rich in the things of God not to be “puffed up” in our knowledge, but to “reveal the humility of Jesus to our fellowmen.

Without realizing it we, in our wisdom and knowledge of God, are sometimes promoting ourselves instead of Christ.

Many have the “virtues of boldness, joy, contempt of the world, zeal, and self-sacrifice while the deeper and gentler virtues are scarcely thought of or valued. ~ the more divine and heavenly graces, more distinctly connected with the cross and the death of self.”

Repetition and References
There is much repetition in this chapter, as well as in the whole book. This is true of the whole word of God. We keep seeing the same things over and over. As you read this chapter you will notice those statements and references. Pinpoint the particular statement that you want to remember. If we take time to meditate and memorize what we read, we can as we continue to pray for it, receive understanding and the authority of it working by the power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.

“Let us be content with nothing less than taking each of these texts as the promise of what God will work in us.”

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7

 The Main Point
The main verse repeated in this chapter is good to remember; to pray for; and anticipate.

“Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forebearing one another, and forgiving one another, even as Christ forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12-13)

In this verse is the symbolism of the whole of the cross of Christ. Where He stretched out His arms and died to forgive us we too are clothed in His righteousness, love, and humility; and enabled to reach out, not only in fellowship to our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to all men. It is to those with whom we live daily that are the witnesses of our humility. Caring for my mother and Jerry has been and continues to be a means for God’s working in me; but I still fall very short of this grace, and long for His working the love and humility of Christ within me.

Prepared and Waiting
At this point we are halfway through the book. So far we have a knowledge of true humility, the conviction of our need, the desires and the prayers for the humility of Christ. As we are now in preparation we continue to pray and wait for the “supernatural, heavenly, divine, spiritual, reality” (Waiting on God by Andrew Murray).

“Have full assurance that where He is enthroned in the heart, His humility and gentleness will be one of the streams of living water that flow from within us.”

imagesDear Father, you have brought us to the point of fervently praying and diligently seeking to have the nature and disposition of Christ, the power of His love and humility poured out from heaven into vessels that you have chosen for your honor. We desire this sweet and lowly gentleness that is the mark of the Lamb. We relinquish all to you for the work and power of your Holy Spirit in us. Enable us to look on every brother or sister who tries or vexes us as your means of grace, as your instrument for our purification.

“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

A Year for Humility  ~ The Preface

Image John 7:38