But, Not TODAY

There are things I need to do;
But, Not TODAY

I need to do laundry;
But, Not TODAY

I need to clean house;
But, Not TODAY

I need to shop;
But, Not TODAY

I need to reply to emails;
But, Not TODAY

I want to meet a friend for lunch;
But, Not TODAY

Yard work needs to be done;
But, Not TODAY

Cooking needs to be done for Saturday’s family reunion.
But, Not TODAY

This day is the gift of one day out of seven for me to spend with the Lord, to celebrate His atoning work; the day He provided for me to acknowledge my rest in Him; a day different from all others, in preparation and practice for that day when He, my Lord, shall return, to take me with all His family to that eternal rest with Him.

He has something each Lord’s Day for us, a special blessing that is different from the blessings on other days. I do not want to miss what He has prepared for me.

Gracious Father in heaven, we praise you for giving us your Son, the Lord of the Sabbath, to lead us in your path to a perfect day of rest. By the power of your Holy Spirit, engage our hearts today to worship you through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. We bring all that we are, spirit, soul, and body, as a living sacrifice to you. Let this day be holy unto Him in honor of His great love and sacrifice for us. In His name, we pray. Amen.

The Lord is in His holy temple;
The Lord is in His holy temple;
Let all the earth keep silence.
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.
Keep silence, keep silence, before Him.
Habakuk 2:20

Today is the Lord’s Day

In my world

In my thoughts

In my heart

In my plans

In my words

In my actions

In my hands

In me.

“If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
    from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
    and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
    or seeking your own pleasure or talking idly;
then you shall take delight in the Lord,
    and I will make you ride
on the heights of the earth;

I will feed you with the heritage of
Jacob your father,

    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” 

Isaiah 58:13-14

“Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on earth I desire beside thee.
My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 73:24-25

Dear Father in heaven, you have given us this day to celebrate life in Christ your Son, to set aside the world and our participation in it; to remember and praise you; to worship you. Today we worship in anticipation of the day of our Lord, when He shall bring us to that eternal glory with you. Lead us today, by your Spirit. Though we cannot meet with your people in worship, make us to know your presence with us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

The Lord is in His Holy Temple

The Lord is in His Holy Temple

The Lord is in His Holy Temple

Let all the earth keep silence;

Let all the earth keep silence before Him.

Keep silence, keep silence, before Him.

Habakkuk 2:20

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

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)

Radical Mercy

What is a reasonable response to the pouring out of God’s mercy upon this human race? The apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans brings us through eleven chapters and shows us how God, by His own grace, evokes a sacrifice from us. We have learned that the power of the gospel is able to effectually bring about the obedience of faith in those whom God reveals Himself and His Word, those whom He has chosen.31118_000_011_08

Just as Abraham, by believing God’s word, in obedience offered his only son as a sacrifice, so, we, sought by His mercy, cannot resist; but willingly offer our own bodies as living sacrifices. This is the power of the gospel that he mentioned in chapter one ~ God’s own power, through His Word and Spirit ~ to save a people for Himself and His eternal kingdom that is being prepared for those of His household of faith.

He has spoken of justification, through the only just one, who is the justifier. In chapter eleven He ends His presentation of God’s work through Jesus Christ, His Son, and the Holy Spirit’s working through His mercy.

Being that it is all of His mercy, and none of our own work we come to chapter twelve to find what obedience of faith looks like. From beginning to end this was his purpose for writing; to show that it is God’s work of mercy and grace that effectually brings the power of obedience in the life of His people. (Romans 11:30-31)

Radical Response
Now that His mercy is revealed we are called to respond. The command is two-fold ~ a negative and a positive. Where there is a negative it is so He will be revealed as working the positive.

“Do not be conformed to this world.” This is what we were being naturally. The negative is what we normally do. From the time of birth into this world, we are being conformed to it. Here, then is where we see the difference that His power of the gospel makes.

 “But, be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” He does not command something that is not possible. His commands are promises of what He will do.

By His mercy we are brought from being conformed to the world naturally, to being transformed supernaturally, by the renewing of our minds. How? Through the same power of His Word and Spirit as He saves us in faith, and calls us to obedience in Christ. The gospel that justifies us is the same gospel that sanctifies us and is preparing us for His glory ~ the same power that will bring us to glorification.

As the power of the gospel has worked to justify us, this is our only reasonable worship in response to His great mercy. This is the work of His Spirit in our hearts, through the power of His Word and Spirit. imagesIt corresponds to the work in every heart that is turned to Christ. To offer our bodies as living sacrifices is the offset of His sacrifice for us. He died for us that we may live for Him.

Just reading the effects of the gospel in the heart and life we see the description of a true believer. The people of faith have a radical change take place, so radical that to read the characteristics makes one know that such a new life is beyond our own doing. (Romans 12:9-21)

Each of us, with whatever measure of grace He gives, brings it together with all others, as one body of Christ, so that we are offering what He has separated unto Himself, in obedience and sanctification, willfully becoming that noble vessel for His use. We lose ourselves and become one with His people wherever He calls us to serve and worship Him. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is totally different than any other religion on earth. Unlike other religions who take other lives and die in the process; Christ enables us to live victoriously and to seek to save others.

Mercy begets mercy.

Father, we are not our own. You have bought us with the price of your precious Son, Jesus Christ.  Enable us to daily offer to you what you have sanctified for yourself, so that you may reveal the power of the gospel to others.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

Related Article:  The Glorious Gospel

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