Rejoice When A Christian Dies!!

Hello, there!

A truer statement was never more true….the MOST BLESSED moment in a Christian’s life is her or his death. Paul eagerly looked forward to it as written in Philippians 1:21 and 2 Corinthians 5:8. (Please also reference the Category “Living Is Christ….Dying Gain”) Ecclesiastes 7:8 echoes it well: “Better is the end of a thing than its beginning.”

Of course, we should certainly weep and grieve for the temporary loss of their physical presence, but in our spirit, we should REJOICE that they have finally come to the end of their earthly journey in this  dark, sin filled, sickness filled, suffering filled and sorrow filled world ruled by Satan. (John 12:31, 2 Corinthians 4:4)

Thankfully, in Their mercy and love, God and Christ Jesus give both unbelievers and Christians passing moments of human happiness and joy in one form or another, to each person as they deserve.

However, I would venture to speculate confidently that the fleeting human happiness and joy we now experience as mortals compared to that which we will experience in our GLORIFIED, newly transformed CELESTIAL BODIES (please reference the Category “Our Glorious New Bodies”) would be like comparing a lighted candle on earth to a million suns….maybe MORE!

And, always keep in mind….NOTHING HAPPENS WITHOUT GOD’S PERMISSION (please reference the Category by this same title). This means it was the right moment  for this particular Christian to die at this particular time….and it was the BEST thing to happen for EVERYONE involved, regardless of how human eyes may see it. (You might want to reference the Category “God Can Give Nothing But Blessing And Goodness”)

You might also want to read the Categories “Death Of Infants And Young Children” as well “Death”.

Until later, be blessed in Him.

Fred

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Business As Usual

Hey there!

Paul said  he was a “slave” (Concordant Literal NT) of Christ Jesus in Romans 1:1 and all those who are called to be Christians are likewise referred to as “slaves” throughout the New Testament. This is the actual meaning of the Greek word ‘doulos’ according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

In all of history, I am quite sure there have NEVER been any ‘part-time slaves’. A slave is at the beck and call of her or his owner 24/7.

We, then, are to ALWAYS be constantly, consistently and ever presenting ourselves to God and Christ Jesus as our Owners. We may not have any particular task or duty to perform at any given moment, but nonetheless, we present ourselves to Them….24/7.

Even here, we are to be seeking FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) and to be “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6)….24/7.

Before we were called to be saints, all kinds of activities and concerns were on our ‘to-do list’. We were swamped in dealing with the issues of life and they demanded our undivided attention. Some that got our attention were justified but many were not. We were quite literally ‘slaves’ not only to dealing with these activities and concerns but also to the “law of sin” within our very nature (Romans 7:23-24)….they owned us.

However, there are now new Owners in town!! Our new Owners demand the same UNDIVIDED attention but what a glorious and wonderful change They bring. They can and will enable us to “have life more abundantly” (John 10:10).

There are still those justified activities and concerns we must perform and attend to daily but they are dealt with in a different way. And, they don’t own or control us as before because ALL that we do we deal with  through God and Jesus. Even the “law of sin” within “the body of death” we  now occupy will submit to and be ruled by our new Owners (Romans 7:25, 8:1-3).

Now, this life changing assistance and help throughout each day that we are able to receive from our new Owners does not come by merely having Them in our thoughts during the day. Nor does regimented Bible study, regular church attendance, ‘mechanical prayer’ or any other religious activities, however well meant.

Our Father and our Savior want us to “come to” Them (Matthew 11:28) and “draw near” to Them (James 4:8) and the religious activities mentioned in the previous paragraph do NOT cut the mustard!

At this point,, I always wind up bringing forth the example of Brother Lawrence. He showed us how to “come to” and “draw near” to God and Jesus by actually talking to, beseeching and living for Them moment by moment during the entire day. He did this even during his  most hurried of times. He wrote how it was difficult to do this at first, but after a while, it became second nature to him and he could not imagine living his life any other way.

You can read his entire book free online as set forth in the Category “Practicing The Presence Of God” and you will be amazed and inspired by the SUPERNATURAL relationship he was able to develop with his Owners.

Personally, my moment by moment prayer to Them is “help me Lord” (in whatever I am doing, thinking or saying at the moment) or just “Lord God”….and frequently punctuated with “thank you Father” or “thank you Jesus”. And, at other times, I just freely express myself to Them. The change and results I have experienced are indescribable.

So, let us, with all our being, endeavor not to be like those in Matthew 13:22 and to never go back to ‘business as usual’, as it was before God and Christ Jesus so graciously called us to undeservingly be saints.

All the best, in Him.

Fred

 

 

 

 

Co-Eternal Life

Hi, there!

This excerpt from Oswald Chambers’ book “My Utmost For His Highest” (the entire book is FREE  online at http://utmost.org/complete-and-effective-dominion/ ) wonderfully wraps up nicely how blessed we are to be Christians….beyond anything we can humanly imagine, actually. Emphasis will be mine throughout:

Complete and Effective Dominion

Death no longer has dominion over Him.…the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God… —Romans 6:9-11

Co-Eternal Life. Eternal life is the life which Jesus Christ exhibited on the human level. And it is this same life, not simply a copy of it, which is made evident in our mortal flesh when we are born again. Eternal life is not a gift from God; eternal life is the gift of God. The ENERGY and the POWER which was so very evident in Jesus will be exhibited in us by an act of the absolute sovereign grace of God, ONCE we have made that complete and effective decision about sin.

“You shall receive POWER when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Acts 1:8)— not POWER as a gift from the Holy Spirit; the POWER is the Holy Spirit, not something that He gives us. The LIFE that was in Jesus BECOMES OURS because of His CrossONCE we make the decision to be identified with Him. If it is difficult to get right with God, it is because we refuse to make this moral decision about sin. But ONCE we do decide, the FULL LIFE OF GOD comes in immediately. Jesus came to give us an endless supply of life— “…that you may be filled with ALL THE FULNESS OF GOD” (Ephesians 3:19). Eternal life has nothing to do with time. It is the life which Jesus lived when He was down here, and the ONLY Source of life is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even the weakest saint can experience the POWER of the deity of the Son of God, when he is willing to ‘let go’. But any effort to “hang on” to the least bit of our own power will only diminish the life of Jesus in us. WE HAVE TO KEEP LETTING GO, and slowly, but surely, the  GREAT FULL LIFE OF GOD will invade us, penetrating every part. THEN, Jesus will have complete and effective dominion in us, and people will take notice that we have been with Him.”

There have been many Christians who have experienced the blessed life described above and, thankfully, we have overwhelming evidence of this from numerous writings by as well as about these saints. Besides being evidence by the writings of Oswald Chambers, himself, there are two other examples that can be found at the Category/Posts on here entitled “Practicing The Presence Of God” and “Letters From A Modern Mystic”.

All the best, in Him.

Fred

Identified Or Simply Interested?

Hey, there!

I have another entry for you from Oswald Chambers’ MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, of which this and all his entries can be accessed FREE as explained in the Category by the same title:

” ‘I have been crucified with Christ….’ (Galatians 2:20)

The inescapable spiritual need each of us has is the need to sign the death certificate of our sin nature. I must take my emotional opinions and intellectual beliefs and be willing to turn them into a moral verdict against the nature of sin; that is, against any claim I have to my right to myself. Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ….” He did not say, “I have made a determination to imitate Jesus Christ,” or, “I will really make an effort to follow Him” —but— “I have been identified with Him in His death.” Once I reach this moral decision and act on it, all that Christ accomplished for me on the Cross is accomplished in me. My unrestrained commitment of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity to grant to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.

“…it is no longer I who live….” My individuality remains, but my primary motivation for living and the nature that rules me are radically changed. I have the same human body, but the old satanic right to myself has been destroyed.

“…and the life which I now live in the flesh,” not the life which I long to live or even pray that I live, but the life I now live in my mortal flesh— the life which others can see, “I live by faith in the Son of God….” This faith was not Paul’s own faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son God had given to him (see Ephesians 2:8). It is no longer a faith in faith, but a faith that transcends all imaginable limits— a faith that comes only from the Son of God.”

Take care, in Him.

Fred

 

 

Failure Part II

Hey, there!

I had written a Post on failure and briefly covered how failures can be one of our most VALUABLE blessings but I wanted to cover this wonderful aspect of failure in a little more detail in a separate Post, especially since we fall short and ‘miss the mark’ (the definition of ‘sin’) so VERY OFTEN!

This came to mind this morning when I was reading one of Oswald Chambers’ entries from his book “My Utmost For His Highest” (please reference the Post by same name as this title).  His quote is as follows and emphasis is mine:

“NEVER LET THE SENSE OF FAILURE DEFEAT YOUR NEXT STEP.”

This is especially true because  we know that our Father and Lord can so EASILY make  “ALL things work together for good, to those being called according to purpose” . (Romans 8:28)  

One blessing we can experience from our many failures is that it simply reveals to us how weak we are in some areas of our life and how much more effort we need to make in relying COMPLETELY on God and Christ Jesus. You can reference the Posts  “Failure Part I”, “Some Of Our Weaknesses Take Longer To Overcome”, “David’s Heinous Sin vs God’s Mercy” and “NEVER….NEVER Give Up” for further discussion on this. Believe me, I know a LOT about failure….this subject is near and dear to my heart!!

Nevertheless, even with all of the above being true,  we will still suffer some sort of LOSS  because of our failures (mainly ‘fleshly’ sins), either by a hindrance of our Spiritual growth, our out right self loathing   or direct chastisement from God and Jesus.  As there are varying degrees of sin, so likewise, there are varying degrees of loss and chastisement (1 John 5:16-17).

And, of course, there are failures that are NOT the more serious ‘fleshly’ sins. As an example, we can fail time and time and time again while attempting to consistently “practice the presence of God” (please see the Post by this title). In this case, however, I suspect our Father and Lord may even admire this type of  failure because it shows we are TRYING to become more Christlike and come closer to Them.

Still and all, we should always remember “never let the sense of failure defeat your next step”.

Take care, in Him

Fred

Why It Is So Difficult To Be A True Christian

Greetings!

This Post follows nicely the last Post (“When God Becomes Real To Us”) concerning why it is so NECESSARY that  we CONTINUALLY have ABSOLUTE CONCENTRATION and DEPENDENCE on our Father and Christ Jesus, moment by moment. Please also read the UPDATE of 01/24/2015 that was added to the last Post today.

Here is a list of reasons why it is so VERY difficult to not only remain a true Christian but also to actually progressively grow into the Image of Christ Himself (Colossians 3:10).

1. The very nature of our corruptible and decaying earthly bodies is CONSTANTLY warring against the ‘fruit’ and desires of the Holy Spirit (Romans 7:22-23). Please also reference the Post “Law Of Sin In Our Members”.

2. The very center and essence of our being as humans is our  “heart” which Jeremiah 17:9 tells us “is DECEITFUL above ALL things, and DESPERATELY WICKED; who can know it?“.

In other words, we are pretty much PROGRAMED to be sinful!! Let’s continue.

3. If #1 and #2 were not bad enough, throw in how Satan and his band of sinister sidekicks are CONSTANTLY ASSAILING us from within! He and they are ALWAYS lurking to trap us into sinning at every and any available opportunity (1 Peter 5:8).

4. Add to all of this what Jesus teaches with the parable in Matthew 13:22 about how the cares, worries and desire for earthly goods and riches of this life can cause us to fall away completely. Concerning the truth in this parable Oswald Chambers writes (01/27/2015 entry….emphasis mine):

“It is one STEADY INVASION, and these things will come in like a flood, UNLESS we allow the Spirit of God to raise up the banner against it.”

WOW….talking about having the deck stacked against us, it would seem almost IMPOSSIBLE for any Christian to remain as such, much less grow into becoming more like our Lord Himself.

Thankfully and blessedly, because of God’s love, mercy and grace for us, we have the ability by the SAME Holy Spirit that was in Jesus when He walked the earth and overcame #1,#2,#3 and #4 (John 16:33)!

However, this victory is given only to those who CONTINUALLY (even though we may fall short and fail occasionally) “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-25; Romans 8:1,4).

Not only are we able to have VICTORY but also have the ability to ENJOY the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22)  that is of a HOLY nature and far superior to its human counterpart! Please reference the Post “Fruit Of The Spirit” for more information on this.

This is why what is brought out in the Post “When God Becomes Real To Us” is so important….again, please read the UPDATE to this Post as noted the first paragraph above.

All the best in Him.

Fred

Thank You Lord

Greetings!

For some time now, “Thank You Lord” or “Lord God” has been my CONSTANT and CONTINUAL prayer to our Father and our Savior MINUTE by MINUTE (repeating it numerous times each minute when possible) and HOUR by each HOUR.

It has become my version, all wrapped into one, of the ‘approaches’ taken by Brother Lawrence in his “Practicing The Presence Of God” (please reference the Post by this title), the “Jesus Prayer” I came across in “The Way Of A Pilgrim” ( http://desertfathers.webs.com/thewayofthepilgrim.htm ), the writing by the anonymous author of “The Cloud Of Unknowing” ( http://www.catholicspiritualdirection.org/cloudunknowing.pdf ), the writings of William Law and others in an effort to CONSTANTLY and CONTINUALLY have God and Christ Jesus before me….my aid in assisting me to “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8).

As Brother Lawrence clearly explained, this kind of dedicated attention to God and Jesus can be difficult at first, but after persistent practice, it becomes a ‘natural’ part of you. Personally, I still have lapses but they are becoming fewer, and in spite of this….IT’S WORKING!!

Of course, I certainly haven’t attained to the ‘mystical’ experiences of Brother Lawrence, Saint Catherine of  Siena and so many others but the slow, evolving progress is obvious to me.

Although I don’t exactly “whistle while I work” quite yet, I have become much more patient and calm with menial tasks, which I used to NEVER look forward to! There is a peaceful acceptance of these chores that I never previously encountered.

More importantly, I am becoming more acquainted with our Father and Jesus in a way I cannot humanly describe. Again, it is by far not of a ‘mystical’ magnitude!

It helps keep me from those vain and useless ‘wandering thoughts’ (please reference the Post by this title) as well as my mind off of myself. This is probably why I am more at peace and contented.

I find my daily Scripture readings/studies to be more ‘alive’. Words take on more essence and meaning than they did before and I contemplate on them more often….it takes me much longer to get through a chapter and I thoroughly enjoy it!

I am quicker to laugh and more overjoyed in my spirit when I see or encounter good stuff; and on the other hand, I am also more deeply touched with sorrow by sad happenings, whether by natural evils, human evil and sin or just plain suffering; I cry easier at both the good and the bad.

This short HEARTFELT prayer repeated so frequently is not some mindless, robotic ‘chant’ or ‘mantra’, but rather, an expression to my Father and Savior that is understood between us to represent and include the following, but not limited to:

“Thank You Lord” or “Lord God” represents God and Christ Jesus for:

1.  Your loving and selfless sacrifice Jesus, not only for us believers but also those of the entire world (1 John 2:2)

2.  Just being there the way You are Father and Christ Jesus

3,  Your unfathomable grace, patience and mercy in Divine Love toward me and the entire world….especially believers

4.   Your calling me and guarding as well as establishing me (2 Thessalonians 3:3)

5.  Being able to be “strong in Him Who is invigorating me – Christ!” (Philippians  4:13)

6.  Filling my every need as well doing infinitely more for believers than we can ask or imagine (Philippians 4:19; Ephesians 3:20)

7.  Always knowing what I need without my even asking (Matthew 6:8)

8.  Humiliating and allowing me to suffer when I do not let You have Your way with me

9.  Allowing me to see that You will bring to a GLORIOUS END from ALL the sin, evil and suffering I am constantly and forever observing in the world  (1 Corinthians 15:28 and the Post “All Creation Will Be Saved”)

10. Your precious gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) which not only is my Comforter/Advocate/Helper but will also lead me into all truth (John 14:26), will guide my every step through the day if I allow it (Romans 8:14), allows me to know the very depths of God (1 Corinthians 2:10) and the mind of Christ, Himself (1 Corinthians 2:16), is always interceding on my behalf with utterances and pleadings to God I cannot humanly understand (Romans 8:26)….but will also enable me to bear the  Holy fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

11. Preparing an inheritance for all believers that is GLORIOUS and MAGNIFICENT beyond human comprehension and to take on an immortal, incorruptible celestial body (1 Corinthians 15:53) and existence EVEN of the nature of Christ Jesus Himself (Philippians 3:21)

12. Having ALL THINGS work for the good for all believers (Romans 8:28)

And, the list goes on!!!

Please don’t misunderstand me….there will always be times for regular, formal prayer. Likewise, during the day, we can spontaneously thank Them for various  things as they may occur as well ask for help as the need may arise.

It is in between these times that I go to Them with the “Thank You Lord” prayer.

We are fortunate and blessed beyond measure as Christians to ALWAYS be able to thank God and Christ Jesus for ANY and EVERYTHING (1 Thessalonians 5:18)….even that flat tire you have on the way to work when you were running late to begin with (if may have keep you from a nasty accident just up ahead!)!

Our Father and Savior do not allow ANYTHING to touch us that is not for our eventual good (Romans 8:28)….certainly just another reason for us to always and continually say “Thank You Lord”!!

Until later, in Him,

Fred