Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places

I've been memorizing Ephesians 1  and have pondered over the phrase in verse 3 "I have blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places"  It has eluded me so I went online and asked that question.   Below is what I found.   It was/is all there  right under my nose, in the verses I've memorized and I just didn't see it.   I want to share it here as I think these are essential truths in our faith we  need to ponder.   

1. Chosen Before the Foundation of the World (v.4)
To know you’ve been chosen before the foundation of the world is to know that your life matters. Your existence isn’t an accident or by-product of natural selection. God has been thinking about your destiny before He ever said, “Let there be light.”
2. Holy and Blameless (v.4)
In Christ you are holy and blameless. This means you are fit to serve Him and worship Him despite your shortcomings. God enjoys you when you approach Him and He gladly moves through your life to touch others, not because of your own righteousness, but because of the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed or attributed to you.
3. In His Love (v.4)
In Christ you stand in agape or unconditional love. You cannot earn it. Today, you are unconditionally loved in Christ. Have you received it? Make the following confession today, “Jesus, I receive your unconditional love.”
4. Predestined to Adoption (v.5)
God has predetermined to call you His own in Christ. He has selected you to be His son or daughter. You are a part of His family. He is your Father. Many times when parents adopt a child, they go through a selection process for making a decision on who they will adopt and who they won’t adopt. God already went through His decision-making process about you a long time ago and decided to adopt you as one of His children.
5. Accepted in the Beloved (v.6)
You are not rejected. You are not an outcast. You are not unworthy of approval. The Creator of the universe accepts you in Christ. You have been relationally reconciled in Christ and are pleasing to God. You might not have health in all of your relationships right now, but, in Christ there is nothing between you and God today.
6. Redemption through His Blood (v.7)
Outside of Christ you were a slave to sin and eternal death. You couldn’t buy or earn your way out of it. The price for your freedom was the precious blood of Jesus. Jesus wasn’t a slave. Jesus was already free. Jesus paid for your freedom anyways.
7. Forgiveness of Sins (v.7)
In your life you have turned your back on God morally. You have consciously rebelled against His law in your heart. You have ignored His wisdom and thought yourself to be the wiser many-a-time. In Christ, you are forgiven today.
8. Riches of His Grace Abound To You (v.7-8)
Grace means “unmerited favor.” Abound means “to have in abundance.”  In Christ, there is an abundant measure of unmerited favor flowing to your life like a river that will last from here into the never-ending depths of eternity.
9. Made Known to You the Mystery of His Will (v.9)
In a fallen world of war, suffering and disease; a sinful world where bad things happen to good people; God has revealed His solution to us. He wrapped-up every answer to every aspect of the human condition in Christ and He gave it to us.
10. Obtained An Eternal Inheritance (v.11)
Revelation 21:4 describes Heaven in the following manner: And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
11. Heard the Word of Truth (v.13)
God’s truth is a light in darkness. We are not without counsel. We are not left in the dark. We have heard His good news and discovered the path of life.
12. Sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise (v.13)
The Promise of the Holy Spirit that was prophesied about by Isaiah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Joel, John the Baptist and Jesus has been made available to you in Christ today!
13. You Know the Hope of His Calling (v.18)
His calling over your life is the basket you can put all of your eggs in. It’s an anchor. It’s a rock. It will never end in vain.
14. You are the Riches of His Inheritance (v.18)
You are of great value to Jesus. As Christ brought you back to God, God gives you back to Jesus as His inheritance. You are valuable in Christ, you are the righteousness of God in Christ. You are His eternal reward that He cherishes.
15. The Exceeding Greatness of His Power (v.19-20)
Paul says the exceeding greatness of His power is toward you who believe. What kind of power of this? It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead! It is the same power that conquered sin, death and hell. In Christ, this same power is present in your life today!
So I have just one question for you: Are you blessed today?

Andrew Mason

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jesus died that I might have life

I was praying for a little girl who is going through a very difficult time, Svana, whose grandmother Carolyn Skinner Thomas I went to high school with in Bolivia.   A thought passed through my mind "put her health issues on me, and set her free".  Immediately, my body and mind screamed out - NO!

Then the following dropped into my mind and spirit from the LORD Jesus Christ.

"I did that for you.  Not just a single issue of pain and suffering.  I made the ultimate sacrifice of my life for all your sin, all your sickness, all your troubles, pain and woe.  I did it not just for you but for ALL mankind.  I did it before you ever knew me, or even asked me to.   I did it to make a way for you to be delivered from death and sin you could be free of any other way.   You who were  hopeless, now can find hope and life because the price is paid. by my death for you."

The price was death.  And death could only succeed in killing Christ if there was a drop of sin in Him. There was NO sin in Him.  He, perfect man chose to suffer my death that I might live. He took MY sin on Himself  and by that suffered death.   Moreover, that death was being killed by all sin of all mankind.

Can you imagine the anguish of being buried under all the sin of all time.
Think of your revulsion if you fell into a lake of feces.  Terrible thought yes? But, know,  He was buried in a far greater sewer - He who was and is perfect and pure, was killed by our sin, by my sin.   I cannot even fathom the horror of it.  I also cannot comprehend fully the true price paid.  It is far greater than I can ever know in this life I think.  But oh Thank You my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Then the glory.  He, dying could not be held in death.  Death had no handle of sin to grip onto in Christ and so, sin could not keep Christ dead.   Acts 2:24 rightly said, "death could not hold him."  The purity sinless Son of God rose through the penalty of death unto life because though he bore our sin for us, He Himself had NO sin in him.

Hebrew 2:14-16  Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the  same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.  For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.
Thank You Lord Jesus Christ

Thank you Father for sending your only begotten son to be the perfect man, who could because of having no sin, pay the penalty for our sin.  Thank you Jesus Christ for bearing that awful price for us, that we might be given life.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

LORD of Glory, I Exalt You

  D                   G            D
   d     e  e f#f# g  g f# e d  
LORD of Glory,  I exalt You

  D             A                  D

   d       f#  e    e     f#    g   f#  
You're my joy, my great delight
D                   G            D

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Father, I bow down in worship,
       A                           D

f# e e      e   f#    g   f# e d
Rejoicing in Your love I sing.

  D                 G                               D

 d     f#     a  b    b    b        a     g     a 
You gave me life and made me your own,
  D             A                          D

f# f#    f#    e        e   e      f#  g   f# 
I give you thanks, worship You alone,

 D                       G                  D

d   f#   a     b       b  b  b a   g   a  
I raise my hands, I adore You LORD

    D             A                             D
 f#      f#   f# e   c#  c# d     e     d 
Thank You Father, for making me Yours.

3/4 time  (I think)  I am not trained so hope this works.  If you like the words and want to change the melody or create a new one that is fine.  It is mine to share.  But just for my pleasure, if you write a new melody I'd love to see.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Faith and Fear

Walk into the unknown

In our daily walk with Christ says, "fear not".  But the truth, in my own life, is s struggle with fear and anxiety.

I have been repenting and begging the LORD's forgiveness.  I know He is with me, but I look around and see men and women suffering ill health, financial stress and other things they are unable to change.

When I was younger I trusted the LORD's care for me.  But I also trusted  in my own ability to shape the events in my life - a steady job, medical care, smart choices.   I knew that not all my choices were the best but I was sure they were not that detrimental to my life.

Now I am facing the fact I no longer have the strength, stamina or steam to be "in control".  Also, it is clear that other believers suffer in their lives so why should I think I am exempt.   Also, that many of those "small and unimportant" choices have major results.  And so I am afraid of what life may hold for me.

In prayer I had a vision of that poem of being carried by the LORD in hard places but it was not really answering my fear.  Then the image came to my mind as I've observed my son and daughter-in-law currently parenting their little baby.

That baby cannot change any aspect of his life except by cries when hungry or wet and smiles when he is comfortable.   He is not in charge of his clothes, his food, his comfort.  He depends totally on his parents and others who may care for him.  I rejoice that he is lovingly cared for.   But this picture has lodged in my heart for my life in Christ.   Yes, I do all I am able to in my life as the LORD has created me to do.  But the picture in my mind is, like a baby I am, in and through it all, carried, like a baby by the LORD.  All is in and under his care.

These two verses I found looking up the word to carry.  Isaiah 40:11 ESV
But not alone
          He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he              will gather the lambs 
          in his arms; he will carry them in his                    bosom  and gently lead those that are 
         with young.
         and Isaiah 46:3b - 4.   ESV
          ....who have been borne by me from before          your birth, carried  from the womb;  
         even to your old age I am he, and to gray              hairs I will carry you.  
         I have made and I will bear. I will carry
        and will save.

Yes, there are many more scriptures to cement this picture but this image in my own heart has brought comfort and renewed hope and trust.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

In Christ, In God

Jesus, as the begotten son of God died on the cross, thus taking the penalty of sin upon himself that mankind may find life in Christ and forgiveness of his sins through Christ's death, and life in him through His resurrection.

So, I was thinking this through. Christ is in God the Father. He says “I and the Father are one”.

We come into life through Christ. Our lives are hide in Him or we are His body.

Colossians 3:3-4 ESV 
     For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with  him in Glory.

Ephesians 1:22
     And He (God) put all things under His (Christ) feet and gave Him (Christ) as head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of him who fill all in all.  The words in parenthesis are mine.

So, we who are sons of God are so, because we are the body of Christ. And Christ is one with the Father. Therefore – as such, we who are born into Christ are in the Father.

I just had a picture of the known fact that my personal body is made up of individual cells. They form all the parts that make up my body. Moreover all things we know on earth are made up of cells.

Cell that make up the whole
So Christ's body is made up of the cells (believers) of all who are born of Him. And therefore we are IN GOD through Christ. This is so much bigger than heaven and earth, death and life.

God created the world and man for a purpose and for His pleasure. We think of the afterlife in glory with the LORD as the end. I suspect it will only be the beginning of something we cannot  imagine or conceive.  I can hardly wait.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Christ without sin

Yes, Christ was/is the beloved begotten (born) son of God, in the human race through the body of woman carrying the divine seed of God.  I often have thought it must have been easier to do the will of His Father than it is for us because HE was himself divine.  

However, the scripture clearly states Christ was tempted/tested in EVERY way, as we are.  That means tempted to use his divine power to act independently of the Father.  That is the real sin of mankind. 

That means Christ was tempted by all the sins that tempt us.  Those sins we excuse as "I'm just human" or unimportant in the scheme of life,  to what we consider "hard core evil"  such as murder and the other BIG sins in our minds.  Jesus faced everyone of those temptations but in submission to the Father's will did not sin.   

We still tend to believe it was easy for him because he was divine.  In fact I believe that extra power could make the temptation harder to resist. We need to realize in fact Christ's whole life on earth was as a man learning obedience by the things he suffered.   And in Christ we too can learn obedience.   

Our big problem is we think some of our sins are justifiable because we were provoked or not really sin - just an exercise of our freedom.   Christ too faced those issues yet yielded to the will of the Father.  And in Christ so can I.

Yes, I still sin but Christ died for that sin and the closer I walk with him the more He will make me aware of what is sin and his power to overcome.   LORD, I cry out to walk in you and obedience to you.  
                          I LOVE YOU LORD.          

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Stand in AWE of the LORD Jesus Christ

Nuggets from a series of messages from my favorite minister.

What we find awe in, defines our lives.

We find awe in those things that  occupies our attention and interest the most.  That which gives us meaning.  Say music or sports or work.

We are wired to be in awe and when we lose our awe of God we will be diminished in our lives.

Awe of God needs to be recovered in the lives of believers today

God is Righteous
God demands righteousness
Man has no righteousness
Righteousness from God has been revealed in Jesus Christ and it is given to us in faith.

Righteousness - declaration of righteousness
Righteousness imparted - part of our growth

God places us on a workbench - it is in him, through him and by him that we are made holy.

Faith has no merit of it's own.  It is the 'delivery vehicle' of God's gift of his righteousness to us.  It is our 'access' by faith into grace in which we stand'.

The faith is not generated in us by our own efforts and striving but is the vehicle
by which God carries his righteousness to us.  All is given to us by God.

This faith brings benefits.

1.  Rejoice in the hope of God's glory
2.  Rejoice in our tribulations / sufferings as found in Romans 5:3.

When I am in awe of God in my sufferings it will change the suffering  and overwhelm my fear of the negative circumstance.   It brings endurance, character, hope  (Romans 5:3-5)

Born of the will of God

John 1:12-13 (KJV)
But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

We are born of the will of the LORD God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. However, part of that will is that we have freedom of choice.

Our will, on it's own is without power or substance but our human concept is that our will is supremely important to our being.

God doesn't force our pathway but He shows us himself in many ways. He offers us salvation, and the place of a child in his family. This is an ongoing message to all mankind.

Even when we accept His gift of in salvation our heavenly Father does not force his will. He makes it available. And, as we face life's choices, he opens our hearts, spirit and minds to see it.

In the times when we chose a pathway of our own desires and ends, away from His best for us, He doesn't abandon us. But on that pathway we are cut off from the warm interaction of fellowship. We feel alone.

Our hope on that pathway is to repent and turn away from our pathway, and follow our LORD as all his roads are for our good and His glory in and through us.

Don't get me wrong, this is NOT an easy pathway but on it are peace and joy in the presence of our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Study to shew yourself approved unto God ....... II Timothy 2:15

Even as the people of Israel in Jesus time had the idea of the Messiah's coming and his purpose in coming wrong and so they misread his actions and deeds are there ways I and maybe even the body of Christ today may be misreading the signs and scripture today -  according to a wrong view.  Maybe a wrong interpretation of the Scripture or understanding it in light of the today's world view of Christ.

I don't know.  It is clear today from the body of Scripture give to us the fuller truth of Christ's coming, death and resurrection but I am of the mind I need to be sure I am not interpreting it         according to my own taste and viewpoint.

The disciples walked with the LORD  and  missed it completely, even misunderstood clear words spoken to them - until his resurrection and some further instruction and teaching.   And yes, we have been blessed by their words and teaching under the power and inspiration of God.

But, I keep remembering that even with all that some of even the disciples went astray in some areas and that in a further 100 years major problems and corrupted doctrines arose.  I don't have any specific issue in mind within the evangelical community but I do know we have rifts and church clashes today over doctrinal understanding.

So I cry out to you LORD Jesus Christ open the eyes and hearts of we your children to learn of you your will and purpose and desire in our own lives and in your body and make your body a lighthouse in the world today.  We need you!!

Thank you that you have promised to never leave us or forsake us - to keep us and lead our lives.  Oh LORD that we may be faithful.