COME

"Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD...He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths." Micah 4:2

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Higher Ground

We left our favorite tropical island and headed north to a mountain resort in SE Asia to spend a week with like-minded people needing refreshment and relaxation.

Join the group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/989210794470089/
My time has been sweet, although alone most of the time. I'm along for this journey as grandmother and staff wife.
I'm able to tend a sleeping baby by sitting quietly on the patio and then, finish the morning strolling through a Botanical Garden waiting for baby's mom to return from class.
All this quiet time in the Creator's beauty gives me time for special reflections on passages read in the Daily Light on the Daily Path, a devotional I chose for 2016.
"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit..." Eph 1:13 and also, Col 1:27
Not only did his mercy forgive my sins on a cross, He also INCLUDED me in Christ and MARKED me in Him with a seal....
forever.
I am never alone.
I am in Christ.

I serve an awesome living God who calls me by name!

So now, I sit on a patio overlooking an in-ground pool which is much too cold for my preferences. It has a gorgeous setting of red-necked palm trees and tropical floral bushes combined with the reflection of the light blue sky dancing on it's surface. A soft breeze moves the wisps of hair around my face, and the red sweatshirt is just enough to ward off the morning chill.
I find such peace in this solace and enjoy such sweet fellowship in His Presence!

Our pilgrims' manual reminded me of our reason for ministry...God's mercy. We're simply here by His mercy to "lift feeble hands in praise, strengthen weak knees in prayer and encourage fearful hearts in practice" (Words in italics are my outline)

I have the wonderful ministry of sharing God's mercy!1 Peter 1:3ff
Relishing His Presence constantly and studying his Word, I'm renewed and refreshed, ready to go and encourage others..."Thus says the LORD, "Let your hands be strong, you who ...have been hearing these words of the prophets..." Zech 8:9

Deep in this thought, I gazed toward the horizon just in time to see a balloon lifted into the sky. It tugged at my homeward bound heart, causing me to look higher to the clouds. Not only has my Living God given me mercy, and sealed me with His Promise, He has also given me a blessed Hope of even Higher Ground, seated with Him in the heavens. Ephesians 2:6

So, we may have traveled to higher ground where the air is cooler and humidity lighter, but my heart also recognized my
longing to an even higher calling.
I'm still pressing on to "Higher Ground"...

My voice lifts in praise, filling tropical beauty
Someday soon...Luke 21:27
with the melody...
I'm pressing up to higher ground
New heights of joy in Him are found
Still praying as I'm homeward bound
Lord, plant my feet on Higher Ground.

Lord, lift me up and help me stand
By faith on Heavens table land
No higher plain than I have found
Lord, plant my feet on Higher Ground.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

As the Eagle...

In a desert land God found him [Jacob]. in a barren and howling waste. He shielded him and cared for him; he guarded him as the apple of his eye, like an eagle that stirs up its nest and hovers over its young, that spreads its wings to catch them and carries them on its pinions. 
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Praise erupts and we chirp like baby birds when all our "needs" are met, keeping us snug and warm, well-fed, comfortably providing for without any effort of our own. Born desperate into a barren and howling wasteland, we weakly thank God for his Son's rescue, but determinedly live as going it alone, making our own choices. We seldom consider His continued loving involvement, especially in mundane daily activities. We never would admit it, but secretly, we think we deserve happiness. We're unable to see happiness is really based on feathers not being ruffled.
We like being safe, not now so much, but for that far away future.

But these words captured my thoughts...
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As an eagle stirs up its nest - - - to make its young test strength of wings.
hovers over its young --- constant & loving daily, moment by moment care
spreads its wings to catch them --- knows their weakness and learning skill level
carries them on its pinions --- carries them on HIS own strength

LORD! Have you stirred the nest in my life to encourage me to fly? To strengthen my faith?
Because of your promise, I know I'm forever in your Presence. I love the idea that you are hovering nearby, guarding me as the apple of your eye, but are you also challenging my faith to action by stirring the nest?

These thoughts are too wonderful for me to grasp! You stir up my nest! Your Word just revealed to me what is so often pushed away by whining and complaining over a circumstance. You want me to know it is YOU caring for me, stirring and testing me when my comforts are
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stirred up. Each little conflict, hurt, decision, circumstance, relationship is really you as you teach me to fly!
Do I believe?
Is my faith genuine?
How trusting is my faith?

I get a little nervous when the nest shakes! But, You have my attention, Lord...show me. Use other passages to affirm your Word in me!

"...for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing." Jms 1:3 
James wrote of this nest stirring as a testing of faith. He believed it would strengthen the resolve of our faith, solidifying our stand and moving us toward maturity.
Could this actually read..."there must be a stirring of the nest as you learn to stand stronger?

Peter says not to be surprised when the nest shakes..."Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you (stirring your nest) to test you, as though something strange was happening to you...after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, (hovering nearly) who (shakes the nest) has called you to his eternal glory in Christ will HIMSELF restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you".(as you feel the mighty everlasting wings lift you up on His pinions) 1 Peter 4;1;, 5:9

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul tells us that we can help with God's stirring by "truly judging ourselves",  exercising personal discipline in training for godliness1 Tim 4
And there are so many other passages on this strengthening of wings...

I picture a little eaglet perched on the edge of the nest as it rocks and teeters. He squawks his complaints and flaps little wings in disgust, nervously glancing at the height of the drop, the open space; focused on the fall, and so many other issues. He longs for comfort, the strength of larger wings, the snugness of a stable home, so, he grips more securely to the nest's temporary straw rim and squawks again, even louder!
Where is the love he has experienced in the past?
Where is that constant care that he commonly felt at his littlest peep?

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Eagles live in barren, deserted high rises of rocks, but can you imagine a community of nests, all squawking their advice, and sometimes even condemnation?
All knowing how to fly best, which direction to head, the take-off and speed of wing flapping, the reason to fly and definitely, where an eaglet should land.
Maybe all are so engrossed in planning or giving advice, habitually squawking...they just do not see,
or simply forget
there is One who is hovering nearby.

Eagle-life...
Who is the One who chose the day to fly?
Is it One's prerogative to stir a nest?
Do we believe One is hovering nearby, as we tentatively flap our wings?
Are we willing to attempt One's call to fly?
Do we look to One's instruction as we step up to the stirring and challenge?

When we experience a "stirred up nest", to whom do we listen ?
Jude warns us to in these last days..."I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend the faith...for certain people have crept in unnoticed..."

My open Bible greets each day
Dearest Lord! You are my Guard!
I know you are hovering over my stirred up nest.
I'm trusting your hovering.

I'm flapping...flying...falling...

Ahhh...
Your wings are trustworthy and powerful, so ready to swoop down and catch me, carrying me on your pinions!

As I focused on these verses, others came to mind and I realized My Lord's purpose when the nest stirs and faith is tested...
He is conforming me to be in the image of His Son!

And someday, I will soar as an eagle...
"They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint..." Isa 40:31
God never moves without purpose or plan
when trying his servant and molding a man
My father know best and I'll trust in his care
Through purging more fruit I will bear...  [Rejoice in the LORD by Ron Hamilton]

It's such an adventure to flap, free fall, feel the strength of Mighty wings, and then, try again!
I'm learning to fly...to mount up with wings like eagles!!
I'm learning to enjoy this stirring, because my Loving Father is faithfully teaching me to trust Him!


Monday, January 04, 2016

Jesus Led Me All the Way

Majestic peaks penetrate above the clouds
            What an awesome God I serve!
I gazed at the Alps through the window of the plane..
In that same awe-struck wonder I read God's Word of his majestic and continual care for me.
How can my mere words exclaim His benefits, His goodness, His love and His involvement in my life?

Our devotional group has jumped into 2016 with Daily Light on the Daily Path for a year of accountability. A small paragraph each morning and again, each evening, contain only the Word of God in the NIV translation.
The preface states that one doing this exercise for a year, will have covered a doctrinal Bible course. Knowing this, each day, I contemplate which doctrine the passages are pointing me to consider.

The dawn of January 3rd began a day-long blessing of meditating on His Word! I read the assigned passage under the subtitle of Psalm 107:7
"He led them by a straight way". 
Focused on God's involvement in his servant's life, reading moved on to Deuteronomy 32:10-12 and the verbs in this passage erupted praise within me.

Refreshment to my very soul was like a cool drink from the Living Water. He is personally involved in my life with very strong verbs of action. My belief is affirmed because He is trustworthy. As I read the words of this small devotional, memories flooded my mind, gliding over years of walking with Him. These verbs could be the writing my life story.
The Presence of God is very real in me.
He has...
LED, SHIELDED, CARED, GUARDED
From birth, He was introduced to me as "God". I was taught directly from the Bible. The OT stories were examples of what my God would be to me. Then, I was introduced to the Lord Jesus Christ who wanted to bring me to God. He led me to the CROSS where I encountered His deep love. He became my shield and guard and the lover of my soul. In the shadow of the cross, His covenant became more and better with a closeness immeasurably real.

Majestic Clouds of My God's Creation
He constantly...
STIRS UP, HOVERS, SPREADS, CATCHES, CARRIES
He gave me His Spirit. He gave me His glory. His goal is my hope. His preparing will be mine. His promise of His Presence is my constant. He clothed me for all eternity. He sealed me. And so much more!
My God's Word, Jesus Christ, experienced everything I would on earth, being tempted in every point as I am. He redeemed me completely and declared me "Not Guilty.

He continually will
SUSTAIN, MAKE (conform), RESCUE..
Now, He is standing before my God and praying for me. He makes a way for me...a straight way of escape. He equips and empowers me. He instructs and teaches me.

Oh what a wonderful God I have!
And today, with tear-blurred eyes of praise, I proclaim "THANK YOU for YOUR steadfast love!"

Thursday, December 10, 2015

God's PURPOSE...SHARED LOVE

Jonathan Edwards, in A Dissertation Concerning the End for Which God Created the World, draws His TRINITY study to the conclusion that God was COMPLETE within himself and had no need to receive anything from us. The only reason God would have for creating us was to SHARE his completeness with us in a relationship of LOVE and JOY.
God's PURPOSE for all time is to share LOVE. The COMPLETE RELATIONSHIP within Himself spilling out of His heart into other hearts. With this purpose in mind, God created man. 
This PURPOSE now draws even children to begin this relationship of completeness with Him.

A Bible study led me to look at 7 recorded lives in the Old Testament. Keeping this purpose as the central theme in all 66 books of Scriptures encourages my search for this COMPLETE LOVE being SHARED. First, in order to reveal this COMPLETE LOVE, God spoke of Himself, His attributes, and His ways through many means. The book of Hebrews states that "Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God SPOKE through prophets. In contrast to those times, the author says "BUT"...."in these last days, God SPOKE by his SON, the very essence of LOVE. His WORD spoke LOVE and was seen in the flesh (John 3:16-18). 
Nothing more needed to be spoken. His ultimate LOVE spoke. In these last days, God SHARED His Beloved Son - LOVE came into the world. LOVE came to His own people and LOVE came to those who would receive Him, God's LOVE. Jesus is God's last SPOKEN WORD, made in the flesh, and the complete Trinity SHARED LOVE.  
God's PURPOSE is never thwarted. 
Each OT example depicts an aspect of God's purpose of SHARED LOVE and a red cord connects them all to the ultimate Grace that would shed LOVE'S blood in order to complete His SHARED LOVE.

Isaac (Genesis 17:19) is the SON OF PROMISE
God PROMISES Abraham a son, a SEED, in his old age who would inherit God's favor through a blood sacrifice. Nothing Abraham does in life guarantees completeness, so he dies looking forward to a city where it would be completely SHARED. God's purpose would be completed in His Son. Through Abraham, all the nations on earth would be blessed. Isaac was born and the lineage of grace, God's PROMISE, began... 
Joseph (Genesis 37:5-11) is the SON OF PILGRIMAGE
A pilgrimage took the great grandson of Abraham into a world where he became one with foreigners to save the promised SEED from drought and famine.  Depicting the spiritual condition of mankind in the world, God's purpose of SHARED LOVE led Joseph through a world of sorrow, pain, and rejection. He blessed many by extending grace to those who rejected him as a shadow of God's SHARED LOVE. John 1:14 describes the pilgrimage God's Purpose would make in order to SHARE LOVE to an impoverished sinful world. The Promised SEED would became a man, blessing many by extending grace to those who rejected him. 

Moses (Exodus 2:1-10) is the SON OF PLACEMENT
Through obedience to pagan law, a beautiful son was placed in deep waters because hope in God's PROMISE of SHARED LOVE led believing parents to see beyond the ordinary. A prepared Moses was placed at the front of an exodus, looking for a promised land where a people would enjoy the SHARED LOVE of a Living God. Moses' countenance glowed with God's placement of glory each time he was enveloped in God's SHARED LOVE. 

Samson (Judges 13:1-5) is the SON of POWER
God's purpose of SHARED LOVE empowered Samson to thwart oppression with godly strength so that a chosen people would once again experience the SHARED LOVE of God's care.
Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11; 3:19-21) is the SON OF PRAYER
A young woman  pleads with God for a small touch of SHARED LOVE given in a son. God responds in grace and this small gift of His SHARED LOVE teaches purity and obedience to a chosen people. Through this young man's life, God SPEAKS the holiness of his SHARED LOVE requires the perfect atonement sacrifice. By his SHARED LOVE "one sacrifice would perfect (complete) those who are being sanctified"  (Hebrews 10:14)

David (1 Samuel 16:1, 11:13) is the SON OF PREEMINENCE
God's Promise of SHARED LOVE led Abraham's SEED's lineage to be seated in authority on the Throne of Grace. His SHARED LOVE in relationship with a young shepherd boy gave David preeminence, lovingly seating him on a throne with triumph over all his enemies. David was a man after God's own heart. shadowing SHARED LOVE's time of ruling with righteousness and justice. A time when every knee will bow and every mouth will confess that God's SHARED LOVE is the LORD.

Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:4-10) is the SON OF PREDICTION
God chose to use a life to predict the consequence of rejecting SHARED LOVE. All blessings end in the refusal to SHARE leaves only a judgment of separation from Love. His warnings taught hard hearts to return to God's SHARED LOVE and find GRACE. The messages preached by Jeremiah warn and plead. Completely overwhelmed by God's Presence in SHARED LOVE causes Jeremiah’s heart to weep and lament the sinful condition of rejection. His heart breaks for the city that will also witness the tears of God's SHARED LOVE longing to draw them by GRACE into arms of protection and care.  

John the Baptist (Luke 1:13-17) is the SON OF PREPARATION
"Make straight the paths of the LORD" this young life shouts! 
He was a voice crying in the wilderness, begging chosen people to turn and REPENT, which would prepare their hearts to receive God's GRACE given in LOVE about to be SHARED COMPLETELY in the flesh. 
From this time on, God SPEAKS completely in the body of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God is among men in HIS SHARED LOVE. 

Through each highlighted character of the OT, a the red cord of the SHARED LOVE connects man to a Living and Loving God. 
Ultimately, that red cord sheds blood from the only begotten LOVE in the resisting of sin, yet atoning for many. (Hebrews 4:12). God's PURPOSE of SHARED LOVE is fulfilled once and for all time by LOVE'S LIFE sacrificed on a cruel cross of shame. 
GRACE SHARED the ultimate GIFT of LOVE and the world went dark.

SHARED LOVE cannot remain in a dark grave. 
God brought from the dead His SHARED LOVE.
Now, His SHARED LOVE resides in all those who receive His GRACE. 
His LOVE is complete in them and they are COMPLETE in His SHARED LOVE. 
And just like HIM, they SHARE LOVE. 
It cannot be stopped, thwarted, pushed aside. 
God's Purpose continues forward in SHARED LOVE...

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Kingdom Protocol with Kingdom Perspective

"What you believe about God will determine what you do next.
When God tells you what He wants to do through you, you will face a crisis of belief.
What you do next reveals what you believe..."

Crisis of Belief is a turning point 
where one decides what they truly believe about God.
The statements above are taken from a study in Experiencing God with Henry Blackaby.

Opening my Bible...
I diligently study the given examples of Faith assigned in each lesson, I found a pattern of anointing.
Anointed Men: (2 examples)
1. Joshua 6:1-5  Joshua SEEKS God.
God said:  "I have given..."
Leader SPEAKS God's message to the people.
Organization happens according to God's instructions.
7 Trumpets BEFORE the ark...walked on and blew continuously.
Rear Guard follow AFTER the ark...walked within God's guidelines.
              The people silent (waiting on God)
              The people shouted (worship of God)

2. Judges 6:33; 7:1-8  Leader SEEKS God
God said "I have given..."
Leader SPEAKS God's message to the people.
Organization of the men according to God's instruction
     - a test of sanctification... "set apart"- ones chosen by works
The leader silent (waiting on God's message)
The leader strengthened (worshiped God).
The people conquered
The people concluded:
"God did it!"

Anointed Man:
1 Chronicles 14:8-16 .David SEEKS the Lord.
God SPEAKS "GO...I will give..."
David follows God's instruction:
David STRUCK.
God BROKE through.
David inquired again (different circumstances)
God SPEAKS "I go before you..."
David follows God's instruction...COME from behind...
God STRIKES.
Nations fear David's God.

****Transition***** 
The Christ of Promise is the Fulfillment of the Covenant
John 1:12 "But as many as receive Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name."
Hebrews 7:22 "This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant"...
Hebrews 10:14 "For as by one sacrifice, he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified."

Anointed Messiah Acts 10:38
Matthew 17:24-27 World demands.
Peter (one of 12 followers) inquires of Jesus (God's Word)
Jesus SPEAKS and teaches Kingdom perspective.
"Sons are free..."
"Sons do not offend..."
"Son receives a shekel"
"Son pays requirement."

***Transition******
The Church is the Fullness of Christ
Ephesians 1:22 "And he put all things under his feet and gave Him as HEAD over all things to the church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all."

Anointed Members
Romans 12:3 God assigned 
      (4) not all have same function
      (5) individually members
      (6) gifts that differ
1 Cor 12:11 God apportioned (to each individually)
1 Cor 12: 18 God arranged (each of them, as He chose)
1 Cor 12:28 God appointed "in the church"
   1. Col 1:28 "Him we proclaim (evangelists, apostles).,, warning (prophets) everyone and teaching (shepherds & teachers) everyone with all wisdom, that we (those appointed) may present everyone mature in Christ." (also, Eph 4:11-13)
   2. Gifts of service (maintaining unity) - miracles, healing, (healers of broken pieces), helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.
   3. A more excellent way...faith, hope, love...in ALL.

All Members - each/individually:
1 Cor 10:17 Partake - eat ONE Bread, all partake of the ONE Bread (individually fed, provided for)
I Cor 12:11 Power - empowered by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:3)
1 Cor 12:12 - Purpose  - each strive to excel in building up the church
1 Cor 12:31 - Prophesy - earnestly desire to prophesy (39) so that all may learn and all be encouraged

Considered pattern to work through group's crisis of belief:
The local church, as part of the Body of Christ, acts out the purpose of the BODY with the same care for one another (1 Cor 12:25, 27)  considering "individual members"...
Each Seeking God
Each Speaking Good
Each Sharing Gospel
Each Serving Gratefully
Each Seeking Glory of the Head
Eph 4:13 "Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Ascertained Message (for each member)
Often confusion occurs when a local church is organized like Israel, raising a pedestal for one person, rather than disciple-makers teaching EACH member's vital ministry to the whole. God dealing with a nation required a leader's MOUTH to SPEAK to the people. 
In the unity of the Body, each member has the WORD of God, each is empowered by the Holy Spirit and each is gifted to accomplish God's will. And the Blood flows through each.
No one "rules over", or is "lifted up" on a pedestal. but grasping the love of Christ, each considers one another's needs, each cares for one another.
While God has appointed several stronger members to prepare and equip all for ministry, each member's need is considered. All work together to accomplish God's will so "that no one should perish". 

This is Christ's command "Go, and make disciples...teaching them to observe all ..."

Procedure [of working together] is power [to EACH member] performing for one purpose

1. A Question Posed....
       Has EACH practiced observance of the need before them?
2. A Quest Prayed..
       Has EACH prayed for the Lord's instruction and leading?
3. A Question Proposed
       Has EACH prepared through study of the Word the use of individual gifts needed?
4. A Query Purposed....
       Has EACH purposed building up in accordance to the instruction in God's Word?
5. Acquired Plan...
       Has EACH plainly understood the plan so that disciples are made in the process?
       (Can each say to another (disciple making) IMITATE ME as I imitate Christ?)
6. Acquiesced Procedure...
       Has EACH planned to use individual gifts as God apportioned in working together?
7. Acclaimed Praise...
       Has EACH purposed to celebrate because "God did this!"

Acquired Members stay healthy when no hindrances block the flowing Blood.
God's Word declares: "I have given you Power... (Mt 28:19)
God's Command: "Make disciples". (Mt 28:20)
God's Instruction (Bible) teaches how...
       1. With those BEFORE the cross...."Walk and Proclaim Me"
       2. With those AFTER the cross....Walk with Purposed Mind (instructions given in NT letters)
             Set apart....a test of sanctification
Those I walk with will be known as the blood flows from one to another in unity of purpose and each receives an harvest of fruit.

PRAY continually because each circumstance is different and attacks are dangerous.

             Do not lean on your own understanding.
             Walk in the Spirit...
             Put on the new man...

While walking in the dust... 
His sons perform Kingdom protocol with Kingdom perspectives, working together as many members of one Body and shining as stars in this dark world.
              


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Psalm 111 "Thankful Whole Hearts"

"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart...
Just asking 5 questions gives us such rich teaching about WHOLE hearts able to give thanks...
1. WHERE is whole heart thanks given?
     ...in the Company of the Upright
     ...in the Congregation
It's amazing how specific God's Word is about the assembly that gathers to give thanks to the Creator. It is a special group. A people that has received from God changed hearts by their reception of His Son's blood atonement for the forgiveness of sin. They are whole hearts now recognizing God's gifts. They humbly grasp their reliance on His hand for every good thing.

Just this thought shows how vital the instruction in Hebrews 10:25 given to whole-heart people.  It is these gatherings where whole hearts consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. We're instructed not to "neglect to meet together", where whole hearts find encouragement in uncertain times. In togetherness times, this community hears God-focused praise with thanksgiving which causes unity in Christ, and builds confidence in hearts.
So, the congregation is a gathering of God's people, redeemed with His Son's blood, forgiven, and made complete in Him. Each has been made whole. When Christ makes a person whole, the power of God enables thanksgiving. (Jn 13:10; 2 Cor 7:1; 2 Tim 3:17; Heb 10:14; Jas 1;4)
We see a distinct contrast in Romans 1 describing the degenerate heart. Those who are perishing have calloused, divided, unbelieving hearts. They do not honor God as God, nor do they give thanks to Him. Their foolish hearts are darkened.
Darkened hearts are only made whole through the "LIGHT", Jesus Christ who came into the world to bring those in darkness to his gracious and merciful God. His redemption cleanses them of all unrighteousness, creating a new heart in them. This wholeness enables them to turn and give thanks. (Lk 17, Jn 13:10; 2 Cor 7:1; 2 Tim 3:17; Heb 10:14; and Jas 1;4) Cleansed hearts who have been made whole unite with others to proclaim with thanksgiving the goodness of their faithful and just God!

2. WHO should receive whole heart thanks?
The Lord receives thanks.
            Prayer (communication with the LORD or vertical speech) is made in the company of the upright, the congregation. This gives each one in the congregation opportunity to HEAR and agree with other whole hearts, thanking and praising God. This creates spiritual unity where Christ also promised to be in the "midst of them".
            Precise vertical speech is directed to the LORD in the presence of the congregation for the building up of the body of Christ.
            Proclaiming vertical speech "attains the unity of the faith"
            Prepared vertical speaking shares "the knowledge of the Son of God and gives the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, maturing all to manhood".
Just think...little ears hear the wisdom of God and will learn praise through imitating the prayers they hear! They will learn through prayer to proclaim the Word of God. They will experience the unity of the faith, encouraging them to mature to manhood. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
Whole hearts give thanks to God, benefiting the hearers.
           
3. WHY do whole heart give thanks?
In order for thankfulness to spill out of mouths, there must be a study of His Works, His Word and spoken in His Wisdom. Simply from this one Psalm, we learn that those delighting in the LORD'S works speak to the LORD in prayer (1 Timothy 2:8-9) in the presence of the congregation, proclaiming His goodness and greatness.
Each one speaking one attribute or action of the LORD mentioned here would cause agreeing hearts to be wholly participating in His Praise directly from His Word...
      1. The LORD is gracious and merciful.
      2. The LORD provides food to those who fear Him.
      3. The LORD remembers His Covenant
      4. The LORD has shown His Power
      5. The LORD sent Redemption.
      6. The LORD commanded His Covenant.
      7. The LORD'S name is holy and awesome.

4. HOW does a whole heart give thanks?
      1.True thanksgiving only flows through the whole heart given in Christ by salvation. Then God places this new whole heart in "the company of the upright" for the opportunity to join the chorus of thankfulness.
      2. Gathering together in the congregation, whole hearts delight to hear the works of the Lord. Thanksgiving erupts as God causes His wondrous works to be remembered and those who bear His Name recall how gracious and merciful is their LORD.
      3. Praise verbally communicated by his people proclaims His Provision and Power shown to them in very personal ways.
      4. Whole hearts agree as they hear His attributes spoken directly to Him in prayer.
      5. Whole hearts consider the works of his hands.
Just pondering creation emphasizes afresh His grace in creating their whole hearts to see His works.
      6. Whole hearts hear His Word read in company time. They are taught - equipped to perform His Word.
      7. As they perform His Words, whole hearts are empowered with His Wisdom.
When the congregation comes together to hear the studies of those who delight in the LORD'S works, the LORD graciously opens the eyes of whole hearts to see His greatness and goodness.

In Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 14:24-25), the congregation will even see the response of any outsider or unbelieving heart who wanders into this company. Unbelieving hearts become convicted and called into account by all because the secrets of his heart will be disclosed. He will fall on his face and worship God, declaring the Presence of God among this congregation. Even the promise of opening the outsider's eyes reveal this thanksgiving only comes from God's people. He will see his degenerate heart and his own personal need to be made whole. This exposure will lead him to receive the gift only God can give.

by "Sharing the power of Jesus"
Through thanksgiving in the congregation, whole hearts learn more how to please God. By faith, they gain confidence to go back into the world because the Church, the congregation, has accomplished its responsibility. (Ephesians 4:12)
Each member has been equipped to do the works of ministry in the marketplace. They will have been reminded...
      1. His WORKS.....are to be PRAISED.
      2. His WORDS....are to be PREFORMED.
      3. His WISDOM...is to be PRACTICED
   
5. WHAT should result from Whole Heart thanks?
      His Praise endures forever...on the lips of his "whole heart" people!

Taking the time to delight in His Word, I pause to thank God for all I have IN JESUS. I am especially filled with gratefulness for the whole heart HE gave me to see "His wonderful works to the children of men."
     

Thursday, October 29, 2015

ADJUSTMENT: A Reason for BIBLICAL Church Business Meetings


God's Word is too rich to be ignored! 

Yet constantly His precious bride puts aside His way of life and his appropriate garment, to adopt the ways of others and dress like them. Constantly in the OT, the chosen people of God are rebuked for their desire to be like other nations. Following their tendencies, even after the cross and with the offered help of the Holy Spirit, His people look to the rules of those around them to their own detriment.

How many churches are cracked and broken by a schism in a business meeting? 
How many carry grudges and have been wounded by harsh words or hurried votes?
How many members neglect business meetings because sad memories of previous fights erupting or manipulating incurred? 

How many other members agree to anything proposed just for "the sake of peace"?
And the world? 
Jesus warned..."all who see it begin to mock..."

Our small group offers a memory verse each week to correspond to the lessons to be studied. The one for this week feels untethered. Wanting to grasp the meaning, I sought the Scriptural content and found Jesus in a "dinner conversation". He had just observed guests vying for positions, honor, and control and opened a dialogue with heart probing, rhetorical questions. One of which was:
"Which one of you, in making plans, does not follow procedure and ADJUST his life accordingly?"
His leading stories show the possibilities his disciples could possess in Biblical Business Meetings/Gatherings because control vying would humbly bow to 'following' a Sovereign Leader. The clothing provided (Luke 24:49) described as the "Power at work within you" (Eph 3:20) could adjust thinking to Kingdom Rules of Conduct and the Leader's Sovereignty. 

In Luke 14: 27-34, I believe I found the Real Reasons God Calls His Body to a Business Meeting is a step by step process that brings unity and saltiness.

1. Desired Proposal - items, wishes, desires, needs are brought before the group to be considered.
2. Debt Projected - questions erupt over the costs, labor, time and a prepared board would discuss the projection they created on paper and answer questions patiently to the listening members.
3. Determined Position - Leaders would give their opinions, persuasive arguments on benefits as they state their position on making a move to go forward, table it, or refuse it because of the projection. 
4. Deliberate Power - equipped members would discuss how it could be accomplished, the tools needed, the funds raised, and the schedule of a finished project.

Then, they would not rush a VOTE, but call for..

5. Delegate Prayer - members would be asked to take the time to "seek God diligently" (Heb 11:6) so that when they come back together, any move they make will be made in FAITH. This time allotment would give time for real prayer, soul searching for heart adjustments needed to accomplish project in unity and peace. The Holy Spirit would be sought individually and also in corporate agreement, asking for guidance and God awareness.
6. Disciple Prepared - real conversations (encounters) with God (immersion in God's Word and prayer) would reveal any individual "crisis of belief" and needed spiritual adjustments. Conversations with each other could encourage Kingdom focus, especially when "seeing" causes doubts and expressions. Even TEAM (togetherness, empowerment, accountability, & mentoring) would be considered as the whole body moved forward in considering the proposal and what would be needed for accomplishment.

The spiritual process of "growing in grace and knowledge of the LORD Jesus Christ" would lead to...

7. Delicate Partnership - real conversations partner us with God and would allow HIM to work, faith to grow, and hearts prepared for the sacrificial opportunity or what each one is "giving up". 
Partnering with God gives opportunity for the Holy Spirit to teach each one the principle of "LETTING GO....LETTING GOD" 
The memory verse for this week in text: "anyone who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple" would be practiced as they came empty-handed, all eyes fixed on Jesus (Heb 12:1,2), willingly committed together to follow the King, The whole process would be adjusted to Kingdom work, with each giving up everything he has, to FOLLOW Christ's LEAD as a true disciple. 
ALL would have adjusted. 
Some would learn to offer. 
Others would learn not to hinder. 
ALL would "give up" control (what he has).

Amazingly, NT "EACH OTHER"S would have prominence in the BODY because as members "let go", spiritual eyes (Mt 13:11,16) would see the need to "bear one another's burdens" while "bearing his own cross" (Lk 14:27). 
Establishing, equipping, and encouragement would build up each other in unity of faith. (Eph 4)

Just think of this awesome scenario: A biblical business meeting could be LED by the Holy Spirit who wants to take us through the steps of knowing our:
Call of God....."What is God asking of us?"
Conversation with God....."What is the clear (straight) path of the Lord?"
Commitment to God...."Has the Holy Spirit of Peace brought unity to our group?".
Community of God....."working together (each others) and enhancing the "flavor" of everyone. 

And all would say "THIS IS OF GOD!" in SALTY unity. (Luke 14:34-35)
"He who has ears to hear, let him hear" (vs 35 should remind us of Matthew 13:11,16)

The results of a biblical business meeting...
rather than the warning of mockery, this procedure has the promise of: 
those who see it will  "know that you are my disciples". John 13:34