faithful…

…a holy people.

Partakers of the blessings of God‘s goodness; separated and distinguished from others by the grace of God; are sanctified and brought into the Gospel; and who assemble together to worship God, and wait on Him in His word and ordinances, and praise God in  song; publicly honouring and glorifying God; following the example of Christ who has gone before us.

The mark of a faithful follower of Jesus – the realization that the new mercies we receive each day continually demand new songs of praise. We bless the God who made us, and  rejoice in Him, as having created us in Christ Jesus to do good works, and formed us as faithful saints.

The Lord takes pleasure in His people; and we should rejoice in Him. When the Lord has made us realize that our feelings of wants and unworthiness can be exchanged for the Spirit of grace and that we can reflect the image of God to which He created us – we can then rejoice in His happiness.

Let us, His  saints employ their waking hours upon their beds in songs of praise. Let them rejoice, even upon the bed of death, assured that we are going to eternal rest and glory…having been faithful.

 

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honour and recognition

 

This has to be one of the most difficult tasks I have had to face in a senior management position where the environment is based on team and the success is based on the success of the team, yet we all know that without the key players, success would be hard to come by and yet honouring or recognizing anyone above the other would imply possible discrimination, possibly missing input from key members that I might have thought were not based on my perspective, and what honour and recognition is viable – what value does that particular success warrant without slighting the recipients?

Then there are the times, I am sure the team member is saying to themselves, “I have made this happen, it is because of me that we have had so much success this year – I wonder how they will honour or recognize me at the Christmas party this year?”  Unfortunately, too many Christmas parties go by without any honour or recognition.

It was a settled principle of the Persian government that “Royal Benefactors” were to receive an adequate reward. The names of such persons were placed on a special roll, and care was taken that they should be properly recompensed, though they sometimes waited for months or years before they were rewarded.

We admit that we look for honour and recognition from God too don’t we – I read my Bible, prayed faithfully, went to church every Sunday – and now this!  I don’t deserve this, I deserve a medaL

Trust me in this…the providence of God rules over the smallest concerns of all of us. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without Him being aware.  In His time, the greatest time of all time, you will be honoured and recognized for your faithfulness, passion, desires of your heart, attitude and character of Christ pursued, practicing the presence of God, serving in love, standing when everything around you says give up… you will be honoured, you will be recognized, you will have a testimony to the amazing providence of God in your life!

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Do not ignore it

A friend of mine who lives in the Philippines reminded me of this pain, not so much of the difficulties they were enduring but with the fear that they might be ignored.  Then with all the help and support and prayers that equalled the flood that was devastating, the people were able to deal with their natural disaster and are putting their lives back together.  May this Christmas be a time of comfort and peace for those who lost loved one and a time of reflection of grace and mercy for those who were spared loss.

I also think of this when I pass someone on the street asking for money.  I have seen the con artists “set up shop.”  I really want to ignore them and again, a friend who just started working downtown found herself in the same dilemma and also chose to ignore them. That is until she shared this with someone who has worked downtown most of his life.  He carries anywhere from 10 to 20 dollars in loonies and toonies with him and does not pass one person asking for money without giving them something.

If we duly regard the golden rule of doing to others as we would they should do unto us, then we begin to realize that what we have is not really ours anyways.  The character of God reflects the attitude of community, reaching out to our neighbours, and to be ready to do good.

We know not how soon we may have occasion for help.

What I like to remember too is that also means that there are boundaries for this kind of giving.  The issue is not the giving its the ignoring.

So lets not ignore our families and friends either – our gift of love matters.

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Is your soul getting along well?

In every respect, I pray that it may go as well with you as it does with your soul; that in your worldly prosperity, your comfort, and your bodily health, you may be as prosperous as you are in your relationship with God.

I can”t say this is not the common way to express a blessing to our friends, basing the value and volume of prosperity on the advancement of ones relationship with God but it is an expression that identifies a desire of prosperity to one in respect of how much they give and do  to and in others, included in their walk with God.

I pray that it is your desire to engage in this prosperous journey, to lead others in this way, to have success with your plans and purposes, in business and in family, your engagements and your transactions all done to the glory and honour  and in the character of God.

I pray also that this message will find you in good health, both in body and in soul.

It is my prayer that should your soul be found to be living and engaging and growing in truth, in your relationship with Jesus, then I pray that your physical health would reflect that of the health of your soul.

You know your soul is doing well when your sins have been forgiven, when you have an appetite for getting to know God, drinking in the “sincere milk of the Word,” feeding upon it, nourished by it, growing in grace and knowledge of Christ; when your inward person is renewed day by day with fresh strength and when you enjoy communion with God, reflect the light of His glory and the joy of His salvation and when you are fruitful in every good task.

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Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?

This is not a statement, just a rhetorical query.

I mean, just because this is something that can’t necessarily be believed by some, why should it be regarded as absurd?

Some of you, who believe that God is omnipotent, Creator of all, authour of the human frame , testimonies throughout history of restoring a person’s life – the resurrection is no more incredible than the original creation of the body and is accomplished with no greater difficulties.

If the dead are too be raised, then it is also not absurd to think that the purposes of such an act would be that of justice – vindicating the just and punishing the unjust.

The overwhelming evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, which proclaims Him to be the Christ, the Son of God; the only way of getting rid of that thought, that idea, is to pronounce it incredible.

Then we have Christmas.

The whole idea was that a baby would be born so that He could die.

That a virgin would be impregnated by the Holy Spirit.

A star would bring travellers to come from the east with amazing gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense.  These travellers came to worship a king, but they did not worship Herod whom they had met, the worshipped a baby in a manager.

This new family would flee to Egypt, Herod would kill every male child in the Bethlehem area just to make sure he would kill this King of the Jews.

Not so incredible to believe that God can raise the dead, not so incredible to believe that there is a resurrection, not so incredible to believe that our lives here on earth matters, and how we live that life matters and how involved God is in our lives matters and what we believe about Him matters, not so incredible to believe that there will be an account of our life that was given to us by God and not so incredible to believe that there will be only two outcomes on that final day when we meet Him face to face.

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Accuser who accuses

In my world, I see the power of God almost every day.  It is an amazing thing, it is a beautiful and life changing thing.

I do not give myself to much thought of the forces that come against God each day, as I find myself to be very trusting and safe in His protection.

I try to see the world through the eyes of God and see the incredible, unrelenting, persecution of the good in our society – the children, the simple, the old, the unborn, the women, the poor, the lonely…

Lately I have allowed myself attention to seeing the work of the ungodly, the accusers of the good, they seek their own gain, they will seek whatever means, at whatever is at their disposal to accomplish what they want, when they want it and give no regard to how that happens.  In other words, the end justifies the means.

There is an invisible force helping these ungodly people to be as evil as they are.  This is not a natural drive built into the human race.

Is there success in these arenas of life?

What is my role when the ungodly rape the land, allow their people to starve or thirst to death, put their youth in armed forces at the age of 8, slaughter people who are just different then they are and no one really knows the definition of different or why that is worthy of being slaughtered, they just do it.

I realize that the onslaught happens to all of us each day.  Happens to me too.  If our family is to have an argument of any kind, it will happen just before church, during church or right after church – for those with family – you know what I mean.

This is only the accuser trying to accuse.

I have decided that love wins all the time.  No matter what, the default has to be love.  Even when Jesus hung on the cross and the evil in the world thought they had won, they did not – LOVE did.

I pray that I will learn how to love, default to love, in everyone – see the image of God, in everything – see how the hand of God in my hand can make a difference, and learn how not to serve to someone, but come alongside and to serve with them.

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garden, spice, honeycomb, honey, wine and milk

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing.

I’d stay in the garden with Him
Though the night around me be falling,
But He bids me go; through the voice of woe
His voice to me is calling

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.

Pure myrrh and cinnamon,

Calamus and cassia—

These are Thy elements,

Jesus my Lord!

In olive oil they’re blent

In wondrous measurement—

O what an ointment this,

Anointing us!

Four-in-one mingled,

Compounded Spirit,

Sweet with Christ‘s suffering death,

Full of the fragrance

Of resurrection—

O what an ointment flows

In spirit, Lord!

Stacte and onycha,

Galbanum and frankincense—

These are Thy elements,

Jesus my Lord!

Stacte doth sons produce,

Onycha from sin doth loose,

Galbanum all death repels,

In spirit, Lord.

Equal proportion,

In resurrection;

Seasoned with salt are they.

Ground into powder fine,

Consumed with fire divine—

O what an incense this,

Jesus my Lord!

Ointment is Christ for us,

Exceeding glorious!

Incense is Christ for God,

Wholly for Him.

Ointment flows down to us,

Christ is our portion thus;

Incense ascends to God,

Fragrant to Him.

‘Tis by th’ anointing

Christ we experience

And then the incense burn.

Christ in our prayer and praise—

O what a Christ we raise

From our experience,

Precious to God.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

For the bread and for the wine,

For the pledge that seals Him mine,

For the words of love divine,

We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

Only bread and only wine,

Yet to faith, the solemn sign

Of the heav’nly and divine!

We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For the words that turn our eye

To the cross of Calvary,

Bidding us in faith draw nigh,

We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For the words that fragrance breathe

These plain symbols underneath,

Words that His own peace bequeath,

We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For Thy words in Spirit, shown,

For Thy will to us made known,

“Do ye this until I come,”

We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

Till He come we take the bread,

Type of Him on whom we feed,

Him who liveth and was dead!

We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

Till He come we take the cup;

As we at His table sup,

Eye and heart are lifted up!

We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

For that coming, here foreshown,

For that day to man unknown,

For the glory and the throne,

We give Thee thanks, O Lord.

Desire the sincere milk of the word – The pure milk of the word. On the meaning of the word “sincere,” see the notes at Ephesians 6:24. The Greek word here (ἄδολον adolon) means, properly, that which is without guile or falsehood; then unadulterated, pure, genuine. The Greek adjective rendered “of the word,” (λογικὸν logikon,) means properly rational, pertaining to reason, or mind; and, in the connection here with milk, means that which is adapted to sustain the soul. Compare the notes at Romans 12:1. There is no doubt that there is allusion to the gospel in its purest and most simple form, as adapted to be the nutriment of the new-born soul. Probably there are two ideas here; one, that the proper aliment of piety is simple truth; the other, that the truths which they were to desire were the more elementary truths of the gospel, such as would be adapted to those who were babes in knowledge.

That ye may grow thereby – As babes grow on their proper nutriment. Piety in the heart is susceptible of growth, and is made to grow by its proper aliment, as a plant or a child is, and will grow in proportion as it has the proper kind of nutriment. From this verse we may see:

(1) the reason of the injunction of the Saviour to Peter, to “feed his lambs,” John 21:15; 1 Peter 2:1-2. Young Christians strongly resemble children, babies; and they need watchful care, and kind attention, and appropriate aliment, as much as new-born infants do. Piety receives its form much from its commencement and the character of the whole Christian life will be determined in a great degree by the views entertained at first, and the kind of instruction which is given to those who are just entering on their Christian course. We may also see,

(2) that it furnishes evidence of conversion, if we have a love for the simple and pure truths of the gospel. It is evidence that we have spiritual life, as really as the desire of appropriate nourishment is evidence that an infant has natural life. The new-born soul loves the truth. It is nourished by it. It perishes without it. The gospel is just what it wants; and without that it could not live. We may also learn from this verse,

(3) that the truths of the gospel which are best adapted to that state, are those which are simple and plain. Compare Hebrews 5:12-14. It is not philosophy that is needed then; it is not the profound and difficult doctrines of the gospel; it is those elementary truths which lie at the foundation of all religion, and which can be comprehended by children. Religion makes everyone docile and humble as a child; and whatever may be the age at which one is converted, or whatever attainments he may have made in science, he relishes the same truths which are loved by the youngest and most unlettered child that is brought into the kingdom of God.

Great metaphors to describe different places, tastes, desires, needs and strength.  Wonder where you are at today?
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