Mind Control

  BY FRANCESROGERS

Humankind seems to be the only creature with the ability to think for himself – but are we in control of our thinking? 

The serpent in the Garden of Eden did not tempt the other animals. Then again, he was not a serpent, per se, but possessed by the spirit of the enemy of God – a fallen angel who wanted to be God.

The animals had an inherited mindset from God. Made in God’s image, the man was to receive by His Spirit at all times direction from God for all we needed and respond in a loving relationship to Him.

The enemy wanted to be in control and have this attention and glory for himself. 


His disguise and deception obtained the control he wanted over our first parents. 

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Gen. 3:6

When they took the bait, the spirit of oppression and deception became the spirit of every human being who would be born on earth. They saw their nakedness, their vulnerability to their world, and the need for covering.

Their minds had been ravished and overcome by a foreign spirit.

Unless we know the anecdote and receive the Spirit of God through His Son, Jesus Christ, we have no control over our thoughts, words, or actions.

What we feed our thoughts controls us. And we encourage the spirit of oppression by what we see and hear.

2020 and now 2021 is proof that whatever we hear and read governs our lives. The enemy works through every source of sight and sound and continues to destroy people’s lives.

We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. 1 John 5:19

Without understanding how we think, we are unable to realize our condition. The world lives in fear and oblivion to how the enemy has a stronghold on our minds and lives.

This spirit lies dormant even in the best of God’s people and can easily be aroused and raise its ugly head whenever it is threatened. We must recognize the difference and use God’s Word to counteract our thoughts against others.

We will remain immobilized until we take God’s Word in hand, open it, read it, pray for His Holy Spirit to inoculate us with its truths, meditate on it, memorize and make it our food and drink.

We must take it to bed with us, wake up with it, love it, and make it the focus of our lives and teach our children how to think and use God’s Word as a defence against the world’s thinking.

Brainwashing is nothing new. We are brainwashed from the moment we take our first breath on this earth. Our minds are programmed to cry out for everything we want and taught how to acquire it, even if by deception or force.

If we do not submit our minds to God’s control, we remain under the control of the enemy.

Our only hope for a reversal for this nation and the world is through God’s Word and Spirit.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb. 4:12

Dear Father in heaven, in a season when your people used to gather to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are seeing a culture dead and buried under the hand of the enemy. Give life and raise your people by your Holy Spirit. Put your Word into the hands, minds, and hearts of your children that we may again proclaim the power of a resurrected Savior and Lord. Enable us to go forward in the battle against the enemy of our souls. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

https://godsgracegodsglory.com/2021/04/02/mind-control/


VIDEO Why I Need the Church

 BY FRANCESROGERS

Praying this morning on the eve of another Lord’s Day, praising God, my Father, desiring His name to be hallowed, seeking His kingdom and His righteousness, and His will to be done here on earth, it was with worship in mind.

Tomorrow He will meet with us who are gathered in the name of our Lord on the day of our Lord, January 10, 2021. This Eve has become a day of preparation for me, remembering that every day is the day of our Lord for over two thousand years. But, specifically, the first day of the week belongs to Him. According to His atoning work, we, who are His by grace, plan for this day to honor Him. He is the beginning of eternal life for us through His death and resurrection.

So, what difference does it make if I honor Him on His day? And what happens in this celebration of His atoning work of grace? New thoughts came to mind as I prayed for Chris, our pastor. He has specifically asked for prayer that He may preach more faithfully, more pointedly, and more Christ-centeredly. Daily praying for the Holy Spirit to work in Him in His preparation to preach the word in power, we pray more fervently the day before for the sword of God’s Word that will pierce our hearts. We pray for the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts to receive the truth of His Word and that it will find its resting place to root and grow and produce its fruit in and through us as His children.

 This means more than just saying “Amen” to what we hear. A prepared heart comes to listen to what our Father has given His servant for us. If we “have an ear to hear,” we will take in what He intends to reveal of Himself. The truth in the power of His Word will change our minds and hearts and conform them to His.

So, why do I need to be in church? The church is the place for gathering God’s people to honor His Son and receive the eternal life He came to give. It is the place of His worship and His Word. I need to know and hear from heaven the Father/Creator and Redeemer of my soul. The church was His plan, not man’s. We need under-shepherds who know Christ and the life He came to give His people, who are filled with the Holy Spirit, and who feed His sheep with the manna from heaven.

I need the cutting edge of the sword of His Word, not to desire what makes me feel good about myself, nor to be entertained, but to have all sense of pride and deception stripped from my being. I need to be cleansed of thoughts of, and plans for, myself.

Individual reading and study are good, but these are not all we need. We need the “body of Christ” listening collectively to how He plans to shape us into His image.

Christ died and rose again to give us His life, that we may live through Him (1 Jn. 4:9). The more we know of Him as revealed through the preaching of His Word, the more we become like Him, understanding the reality of His dwelling in us and our dwelling in Him (1 Jn. 4:13; Jn. 14:17, 23), Filled with Grace ~ Wrapped in Glory.)

The supernatural, spiritual work in His incarnation, His resurrection, and His ascension is the same divine power working in us through the sword of His Spirit ~ the Holy Spirit working His Word in our hearts and lives.

His sanctifies us individually and collectively.

We must submit ourselves to the weekly preaching of God’s Word to know His transforming power in the days ahead, lest we lose ourselves in the overwhelming chaos and uncertainty of the world. His Word defines who we are in Christ. We must plan, prepare, and anticipate a newness of life in Christ we have hardly known.

Dear Father, we ask for the unction of your Holy Spirit for the preaching of your Word tomorrow. Prepare our hearts to receive what you have given your ministers. Enable us to receive the truth of your Word for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness. Let us willingly accept what your Word reveals of the intentions of our hearts, deliver us from our sins, and conform us to the image of Christ. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

AUDIO The Untold Story Of The Prodigal Son

By Rev Bill Woods

Luke 15:11-32 
11  To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons.
12  The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
13  “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living.
14  About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.
15  He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs.
16  The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
17  “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!
18  I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,
19  and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’
20  “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
21  His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’
22  “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.
23  And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast,
24  for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
25  “Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house,
26  and he asked one of the servants what was going on.
27  ‘Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.’
28  “The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him,
29  but he replied, ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends.
30  Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’
31  “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.
32  We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!’”

Tell the original story of the Prodigal Son.

    – He was in rebellion against his father’s authority and his father’s religion.

He felt he was missing out on whatever the Far Country had to offer.

    – He was tired of being stuck on the farm!

It must’ve hurt Dad for him to reject how he’d been raised.

This father had provided food, shelter, love and training for this son and wanted him be a successful adult.

    – Dad’s heart must’ve ached to have his son want to leave.

I can relate — we have 2 grandchildren who are sewing wild oats right now.

    – We’re praying that soon they’ll come to themselves and say, ”What am I doing here?”

Finally, when his money and friends were gone and he’d hit bottom for a Jewish boy, he began to realize what he had given up and where his foolish choices had taken him to.

Luke 16:17-19:   “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger!
18  I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you,
19  and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

Describe how Dad was praying for him and watching for him every day!

    – Finally, he arrived and Dad rejoiced and celebrated…………..

The older brother was really upset!……………….

He was forgiven by the father, but what about “THE REST OF THE STORY?”

What probably happened after the Prodigal’s dad died?

    – The son was now a servant of the older brother until he learned the lessons of obedience.

He’d lost his inheritance because of the sinful decisions he had made.

    – He’d lived with harlots!  He indulged in every sin his heart desired, but it hadn’t satisfied him, in fact it destroyed what should’ve been good in his life.

Listen to what the older brother said, — Luke 15:30Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’

Everything belonged to the big brother now — Luke 15:31His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.”

Somehow we’ve gotten the mistaken idea we can sin and ask forgiveness and there’ll be no consequences for our actions…………   

    – LISTEN!  SIN ALWAYS BRINGS LOSS AND DESTRUCTION!

    – GOD WILL FORGIVE, BUT THERE’S STILL A PRICE TO BE PAID!

It’s like throwing a rock into a pond and praying there’ll be no ripples!

    – Sin always has consequences!  That’s the part of the untold story of the Prodigal son  

      That people forget to acknowledge and tell.

    – A person might find forgiveness for a promiscuous sex life, but still be a candidate for sexual transmitted diseases.

This sexually orientated society wants to sin and avoid the results.  IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!

    – Take drugs with no after affects – AGAIN, IT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!

How much better it would be to avoid sin in the first place!

    – Sin always bring limitations………….

    – People talk of the character value of limitations…………almost proud of sin.

Imagine what God can do for a person who gets saved while still young and avoids the sinful snares of Satan…………..your kids and grandkids……………..

Even if you’re and old geezer or geezerette, you should get saved as quickly as possible and let God help you clean up your life.

Some will say, “I’m just too old and now it’s too late!”

    – Colonel Harland Sanders was 77 years old when he asked Christ into his heart in 1979.

  • He had lived a rough life with many failures until Jesus saved him.
  • He had a filthy mouth, that God helped him clean up.

He said, for most of his life, he knew he needed to devote his life to Jesus Christ and finally at the age of 77 years old he was fortunate to accept Jesus Christ. And he calls it “the greatest experience I’ve had in my 89 years of life”

He acknowledged and shared the fact that, no amount of good works would get him in to Heaven. Only having God in his heart, would assure him of salvation.

He urged all who would listen, especially the older ones, to accept Christ before it was too late.

God prospered him and he used his wealth to bless others.  He gave most of it away, “You can’t take it with you, No use being the richest man in the cemetery. Because you can’t do any business in there”!

Well, the Prodigal Son had wasted his inheritance and sin had stripped it all away.  Now he had to be the servant under the discipline of his older brother after Dad died.

He had confessed to Dad:  Luke 15:19and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

The older boy had been faithful and Dad told him, Luke 15:31 — “His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.”

His older brother was now willing to accept him as a servant!

    – This situation gave him the opportunity to become bitter or better…………….

      – We’ll all eventually face the choice of getting “bitter or better”  (it’s not always the result of sin.)

      – To become bitter is sin…………….

      – To become better is spiritual growth.

We have the ability to learn greatness through serving.

Matthew 23:11-12
11  The greatest among you must be a servant.
12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will  be exalted.

We live in a society that’s success and goal orientated.

    – If you haven’t got wealth, fame, etc. you’re a failure.

When I arrived in Cheyenne, the largest Church on the District, I thought I’d made it!……

    – When I arrived in Stevenson — I felt I was failure.

    – I was embarrassed and complained to an Old lady running the Christian bookstore in Hood River:  She said, “What an opportunity!”

Here I was, “College degree, seminary, having pastored larger churches and now having to pastor one of the smallest churches on the district and hauling laundry to make ends meet!…..” – That really sounded successful to me!

        – I had a choice, I COULD BECOME “BITTER OR BETTER.”


Success isn’t always measured in wealth, things, popularity, etc.

  • I found success is being where God puts you doing what God wants you to do!

By today’s standards, Jesus would be a failure.

   – Look how Jesus measured up to these standards:

    – Was He popular?

     – No!  He wasn’t well liked by the high society.

     – In fact, after one of His sermons all His followers deserted Him, except for the 12.

John 6:66-67
66  At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.
67  Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”     

Did He have political power?

    – No!  He was a political failure — all levels of government rejected Him……………..  

      – They conspired to kill Him!

Did He have lots of friends?

    – No!  His friends often hurt Him—eventually abandoned Him, and one of them betrayed Him.

Did He have money and possessions?

    – No!  No house, no wheels, no world headquarters, no Christian amusement park.

Was He respected by His peers?

  – No!  His professional peers (Pharisees and Saducees) rejected His message and His work.

Despite His apparent failure by these standards, Jesus Christ has changed the lives of millions of men, women, and children across the centuries.

 – How could that be in light of His failures?

How do you let set-backs affect you?………

    – Are you able to pick life back up and keep going knowing God keeps perfect records?

– I’ve heard Christians say about seemingly successful people, “It’s not fair!  They don’t even serve God and look how successful they are!…………”

  • May I remind you the games not over yet!

Not all set-backs are the result of sin but, many people today suffer limitations in their Christian lives because of past rebellion like the Prodigal.

    – David and Bathsheba (he lost privilege to build Temple)

No matter how you say it — SIN IS STUPID!…………

  – You’ll always pay for sin even though forgiveness is given.

  – Don’t sin and hope to avoid the consequences.

 Galatians 6:7 — Don’t be misled — you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.

Remember, Satan’s out to destroy you!

1 Peter 5:8-9
8  Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
9  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.  
    

Learn to avoid his temptations James  4:7-8 
7  So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8  Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.

1 Corinthians 10:13The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.

We get too comfortable with things that’ll destroy us.

Few college football coaches have made a point against drugs as effectively as Erk Russell of Georgia Southern College. He arranged for a couple of good ol’ country boys to burst into a routine team meeting and throw a writhing, hissing, six-foot-long rattlesnake onto a table in front of the squad. “Everyone screamed and scattered,” Russell recalls. “I told them, ‘When cocaine comes into a room, you’re not nearly as apt to leave as when that rattlesnake comes in. But they’ll both kill you!”

The best way to assure victory in your Christian Life is to leave sin alone!

 – There’s no way to reclaim lost years of service for God………….

I’m sure the Prodigal regretted his years away in “the far country.”

He couldn’t reclaim them, but he couldn’t afford to let them keep destroying him either.

Today, find God’s Will for your life.

 – Walk in harmony with Him…………….

If you find limitations in your life because of past rebellion, don’t rebel any longer!

Turn those limitations into a life message.

Arnold Daniels smoked for years and developed emphysema — he tried to teach others by his mistakes.

If you find limitations in your life from past sin, conquer them by letting Jesus have control.

If you find limitations in your life—not because of sin and rebellion—instead, something that will give you opportunity to grow—use it for God’s Glory.

OBEY GOD!

USE HIS DIRECTION AND EVEN YOUR LIMITATIONS FOR SPIRITUAL GROWTH IN YOURSELF AND IN OTHERS.


PODCAST THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE PRODIGAL SON

https://www.buzzsprout.com/824359/7979596


The Tension Between Life and Death

 BY FRANCESROGERS

As Christians, we live between two extremes ~ between two worlds. We have been “delivered from the power of darkness.” Our heavenly Father has “translated us—conveyed us (NKJV) into the kingdom of His dear Son.” Col.1:13 

A follower of Christ knows the reality of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). 

While we live in this world, the Christ in us will be stalked like a lion.  

 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Pet.1:14

Even as Jesus was betrayed by those who lived in darkness, we experience this opposition by those who cannot rest unless the light is put out. While we want to bring others out of darkness, it is to live against the god of this world. 

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” 1 Pet. 5:8-9 

The oppressor is a constant foe against God’s people. This has been true since the beginning. The enemy – God’s enemy, and ours – will not leave us alone as long as we live in his territory.

It may seem, at times, that we are safe and let our weapons fall by our side. It is then, the foe within may raise its ugly head. Pride can remain dormant until our thoughts are taken captive to the world’s thinking. Whatever has our attention, politics, social media, or any earthly thoughts, we are at war. The tension will rise as death desires to subdue us.

When the enemy gained his stronghold and set up his kingdom, he set God’s creatures against each other. Death ensued to put down anything good. Cain murdered Abel and the pattern of this world was set. 

The Spirit and the Flesh
As God’s people, we still live in the flesh. It has been appointed that men shall die (Heb. 9:26-28). We cannot live forever in this body. Those who are born of the Spirit have eternal life – a life that transcends this one. As long as we are in this body, we will continually be at war with the flesh and its proneness to satisfy its desires.

This tendency flairs whenever we are faced with an opposition of some form, whether a lust of the flesh or in a relationship. “The old man” is stirred up when others will not see our point of view, agree to our leading, or bend to our will. This happens between husbands and wives, parents and children, siblings, friends, etc.Blessings and Curses
Recently, I have looked at this subject in light of God’s relationship with the Israelites. He promised blessings and life to his people as a result of their obedience – curses and death to those who rebelled (Deut.11:26-28). Does this not sound like His promise to Adam and Eve?

The nation of Israel was not able to acquire the blessings and life. They could not keep His commandments. Death continued to rule in the lives of men.

That curse was broken when, as He had promised to send a Messiah from among their people, Jesus came. And those who believe are given eternal life through His sinless life and death on the cross for us.

Eternal life does not mean we are free from temptation, but we have what Adam and Eve, and the Israelites did not have. As Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit is within the believer, setting up the kingdom of God within us, revealing the life of Christ.

He is the constant power and presence in us to keep us in God’s Word, training us to war against the flesh and pride that still lurks within – and to work obedience, and blessings in and through us to others.

I am tempted to make this a series and touch on the subject of curses handed down through generations, but I will stop here, else we have started another book. Our books already published proclaim the presence and the power of our heavenly Father, the legacy of His kingdom in His people, and His victory in Christ and His Spirit over our flesh, sin, and death.

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Pet. 5:10-11

Gracious Father, thank you for delivering us from the power of darkness and death. Though we suffer for the name of Christ, let us live by the indwelling of your Spirit and so, overcome the enemy’s tactics. Keep us always sober, fervent in prayer and your Word, knowing you and Jesus whom you sent to be our life here and forever. Let us with the humility of Christ face any opposition. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Books

“I Am Not Alone, My Father is Always With Me”

 BY FRANCESROGERS

As I woke up on a Lord’s Day morning a week ago, these words of Jesus from John 16:32 were my words. From my heart and soul, I would say in the reality of His presence and power, “I am not alone. My Father is with me.”

Jesus spoke these words to His disciples as He ended His teachings of three years, before His High-Priestly prayer to the Father, then to the Garden of Gethsemane ~ on His way to the crucifixion.

But, we may say, His Father turned His back on Him while He was suffering for our sins, in obedience to His will. Yes, but it was for one time, and so that we may know His everlasting presence with us. He will never leave us, nor forsake us because He looks upon us as His own, now joined to Christ, His Son. We dwell in Him and He, in us, by His Spirit which He has given us (1 John 3:24).

We never fear that He may turn His back on us. He has given His Son as a propitiation for our sins, appeasing His anger, that we never know His wrath. We turn to Him in repentance and faith for the abundant life He gives in Christ (John 10:10).

How blessed to know even when we are alone physically, He is always with us. I have been a sister, a wife, and a mother, but always, I am a daughter to my heavenly Father.

Gracious Father, thank you for your promises that make us your own, not by anything we can do, but because you have desired us and sired us by your will here, and forever. We praise you for revealing your plans for our relationship with you through Jesus Christ, your Son, and for keeping us always in your care, leading us by your Holy Spirit, for your glory and our joy. In Jesus’ name, I thank you and praise you. Amen.

Urgently Knocking

OCTOBER 19, 2019 BY FRANCES ROGERS

 

A most unusual discovery in our study of the words “Ask, Seek, and Knock” is that Jesus expresses only one thing for each of these.

In Luke 11:13, He says to “ASK for the Holy Spirit.” In Matthew 6:33 He commands us to “SEEK the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  In Luke 13:25 He mentions those who wait too late to “KNOCK at the door.”

We must be born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8) in order to see, to seek His Kingdom, to knock and to enter His kingdom.

We find in the following verses the diligent seeking and the urgent knocking.

In Luke 11:6-10 is the widow’s persistent asking, seeking, and knocking until the master of the house opens the door to her request.

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:” Luke 13:25-26

The strait gate leads to the master’s house. But when He has shut the door, man’s knocking and crying, Lord, Lord, will be to no avail.

We who are born of His Spirit will continue to ask Him to lead us. We walk and live by His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25and continue to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Unless we knock at the door of His heart in His timing, He will not know us, and the doors of heaven will be shut.

“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came;
and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage:
and the door was shut.”
Matthew 25:10

When Jesus Knocks

The Book of Revelation records Jesus’ words in the letter to the church at Laodicea.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20

Knocking indicates a separation (a door that must be opened from the other side) between the person knocking and the person  on the other side. There is a need and the only fulfillment of that need rests in the promise of someone who can provide that need.

Does the door swing both ways? Had Jesus knocked at the door of the heart of those who were left out?

“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) Hebrews 3:7-12

By His Holy Spirit and His Word, Jesus knocks at the door of our sin and unbelief. He calls us to put away our sin ~ to repent and believe ~ to allow Him to lead us out of the bondage of self and sin.

We cannot seek or knock of our own volition. It must be the work of His Spirit within us drawing us to Christ even as He draws near to us. John 6:44John 6:63-65

 The Doors of Wisdom

“Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” Proverbs 8:34

The Doors of Heaven

They are “the doors of heaven” Psalm 78:23,

 In Revelation 4:1, “a door was opened in heaven to John where he saw and recorded what would come to pass.

 Jesus is the Door to the Kingdom of Heaven

“Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
I am the door of the sheep.”  
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved,
and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
John 10:7,9

 A Door of Hope

“And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.” Hosea 2:15

The Door of Faith

 “And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.” Acts 14:27

In this brief study of Jesus’ words, we learn that asking, seeking, and knocking are descriptive of the work of prayer by His people, for His kingdom. His Holy Spirit brings us to repentance and faith in Him so that as we continue to ask for His Spirit, we are led to seek His kingdom and His righteousness and to knock at the door of His heart for all He has promised.

We understand that this practice is not just for us individually, for our own needs, but in unity with His people ~ the body of Christ ~ for the needs of others. Intercession involves a greater degree of fervency, diligence, and urgency as we pray continually at His throne of grace.

The prayer life of a Christian is a daily dwelling in His presence. He dines and sups with us continually as He opens His Word and His promises to us and proves His presence and His power in our lives.

In Christ, we dwell in the throne room, in unity with His Spirit ~ knowing His power to accomplish all He desires for our good and His glory.

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

Ephesians 2:6

We ask what we will because we ask in faith according to His will, seeking His glory in all things, continually knocking at the door of His heart as He intercedes and presents our petitions to our Father.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,
neither have entered into the heart of man,
the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
1 Corinthians 2;9

We are continually filled with his grace, nestled in His goodness, and wrapped in His glory. In Christ and Christ in us, we are kept by His power now and forever.

Dear Father, we cannot thank you enough for all you have prepared for us and given by your grace. We are unworthy stewards of your blessings but you have entrusted us with the knowledge of your Word and your will so that we know what to ask, what to seek and where to knock. Continue to draw us to Christ by the power of your Spirit, to dwell in Him and receive your heavenly blessings as well as all our earthly needs. We praise and bless you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Fran

Suggested Reading: GOD is Our Goal ~ GOD’S Plan for His People
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Urgently Knocking

Why God Does Everything He Does

 

by Joe Rigney Professor, Bethlehem College & Seminary

 

Most Christians are not surprised to hear that God commands us to do all to his glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). What is unnerving to many, however, is to discover that God does everything he does to his own glory. For some of us, we may be happy to live for God’s glory, provided that God reciprocates. We will center our lives on him, provided he centers his life on us.

But God is no idolater; he will have no other gods before him. And one of the most bracing and clarifying and (counterintuitively) steadying things we can do is to rehearse what God himself has told us in Scripture about why he does everything that he does. He is the most God-centered person in the universe, and when we come to see this as good news — that our eternal joy rests on the unshakable foundation of his own God-centeredness — it can make us the most fearless, and happy, people on the planet.

Walk with me from eternity past to eternity future, and let your spiritual lungs fill with the unnerving, and then stabilizing, God-centeredness of God.

Before the Beginning

[God] predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:5–6)

Why did God, from before the foundation of the world, choose a people to be holy and predestine those people to be adopted into his family? So that the glory of his grace might be praised. In fact, two more times in Ephesians 1:3–14, Paul accents that all of God’s saving acts are designed to call forth praise for his glory (“to the praise of his glory” Ephesians 1:1214).

The heavens declare the glory of God. (Psalm 19:1)

“From Genesis to Revelation, from creation to consummation, God does everything he does for his own glory.”

Why did God make the heavens in the way he did, with a sun that blazes triumphantly across the sky and with billions of stars to bedeck the night? In order to declare his glory. And the heavens are not unique. All of creation declares the glory of God. God designed everything in creation to reveal what he is like. His invisible attributes — his power, his eternity, his beauty, and his character — are made visible in the things that he has made (Romans 1:20). And this includes human beings, whom he created after his likeness so that we might image him in the world in a special and unique way (Genesis 1:26–28).

Through the History of His People

You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified. (Isaiah 49:3)

Why did God choose Israel to be his treasured possession among all peoples? So that he might be glorified in them. He caused them to cling to him so that they might be for him “a people, a name, a praise, and a glory” (Jeremiah 13:11).

For this purpose I have raised you up, to show you my power, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth. (Exodus 9:16)

Why did God raise up Pharaoh to oppress his people and oppose his purposes? So that he might get glory over Pharaoh by demonstrating his power through signs and wonders and plagues, so that his name would be proclaimed in all the earth. God’s judgment and righteous wrath for human sin displays his glory.

Our fathers, when they were in Egypt,
did not consider your wondrous works;
they did not remember the abundance of your steadfast love,
but rebelled by the sea, at the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
that he might make known his mighty power. (Psalm 106:7–8)

“God is no idolater; he will have no other gods before him.”

But wrath is not his only response to sin. When Israel sinned at the Red Sea, why did God not punish them as they deserved? Why did he show them mercy? For his name’s sake. His name is proclaimed and his power made known not only through the destruction of Pharaoh but also in the deliverance of his wayward people. And this is a pattern throughout Israel’s history.

When the people rebel against God in the days of Samuel, why does he not abandon them and leave them to themselves?

For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. (1 Samuel 12:22)

When they rebel again in the days of Isaiah, why does he not cut them off completely?

For my name’s sake I defer my anger;
for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you,
that I may not cut you off.
Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
For my own sakefor my own sake, I do it,
for how should my name be profaned?
My glory I will not give to another. (Isaiah 48:9–11)

God is emphatic. Six different times he insists that his merciful refusal to forsake his people and cut them off is for the sake of his name and his praise and his glory. Even after he sends his people into exile in Babylon, he promises to bring them back to the land. Why?

Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. (Ezekiel 36:22–23)

In fact, over sixty times in the book of Ezekiel, God says that he does all that he does in order that Israel and the nations and everyone “will know that I am the Lord.”

In the Person and Work of His Son

And it’s not just the Old Testament. Why did God send Christ to earth as a Jew?

Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. (Romans 15:8–9)

“Trinitarian glory is shared glory.”

God will display his truthfulness and faithfulness to his promises, and he will magnify his mercy among the Gentiles as the one in whom they hope.

Even more, why does Jesus go to the cross? What was the divine purpose in his journey to Golgotha? Jesus said,

“Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” (John 12:27–28)

Jesus reminds himself that his purpose for enduring the hour of darkness is so that the name of his Father might be glorified.

And not just the cross. Why did God raise Jesus from the dead and exalt him above every authority?

God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9–11)

God’s purpose in exalting the Lord Jesus above every name is ultimately for his own glory.

And what about his return? Why is Christ coming back to judge his enemies and deliver his saints?

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed. (2 Thessalonians 1:9–10)

For the Christian Life

And it’s not just the major events of redemptive history. Why does God forgive sins?

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25)

Why does he answer prayer?

Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:13)

Why does he strengthen us to serve each other in love?

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:10–11)

We could go on and on, but one bright truth will remain clear: from Genesis to Revelation, from creation to consummation, God does everything he does for his own glory.

What Is God’s ‘Glory’?

Now at this point, some are content. We know why God does what he does. Others, however, want to press deeper. What does it mean that God does everything for his glory, for his name’s sake, for his praise? Can we unpack the meaning of God’s God-centeredness any further?

“The God-centeredness of God is profoundly good news and deeply stabilizing in an unsteadying world.

Few people in history have thought as deeply about this question as Jonathan Edwards. In fact, he wrote an entire treatise devoted to answer the question, “Why did God create the world?” In it, he identifies three elements that are included when we say that God does something “for his glory.”

First, the glory of God includes the manifestation or display of God’s attributes and perfections. God’s wisdom and power and justice and mercy and faithfulness and majesty are revealed in his acts of creation and providence and redemption.

But, second, God’s glory isn’t just a display; it also includes the creaturely knowledge that results from the display. There’s an audience for the manifestation of God’s perfections, and their knowledge is part and parcel of the glory. If God’s glory isn’t known, then his purpose in creation is incomplete.

Third, not just the display of his perfections, and not just the creaturely knowledge of those perfections, but the glory of God also includes creaturely love and delight in those perfections. It’s not enough for us to know that God is wise and powerful and faithful and just. We must taste it. We must love and delight in his perfections the way that he does.

Display of divine perfections. Knowledge of divine perfections. Love for and delight in divine perfections. All of these are included in the glorification of God. Edwards refers to this as the communication of God’s fullness. God’s own fullness consists in his absolute perfections and glorious attributes, his infinite knowledge of himself, and his infinite love and delight in himself. That’s what makes up God’s internal glory. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, knowing, loving, and rejoicing in each other, from all eternity with infinite intensity. And when he creates the world, it is this infinite fullness that he communicates to his creatures.

Jesus Prayed for His Glory

In his book, Edwards demonstrates this definition of glory through careful reasoning and argumentation, but I think that the clearest way to see this deep and rich understanding of God’s glory is in Christ’s prayer in John 17 on the eve of his crucifixion. Let me make five comments about “glory” in this chapter.

“God designed everything in creation to reveal what he is like.”

First, Jesus’s prayer is fundamentally about Trinitarian glory. “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (John 17:1). John 17 is about the mutual glorification of the Father and the Son. The Son has glorified the Father by accomplishing the task he was assigned, and now he asks that the Father glorify him so that the Son can glorify the Father even more (John 17:3–5).

Second, glory is something that can be shared. “Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5). Trinitarian glory is shared glory. It’s eternally shared glory. Before the ages, the Father and Son shared glory with each other.

Third, glory is something that can be given. In John 17:22, Jesus refers to “the glory that you have given me.” In John 17:24, he talks about “my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” So now we have an eternal glory, a shared glory, a given glory, all wrapped up with the infinite love of the Father for the Son.

Fourth, this eternal, shared, given glory is shared and given to us. Or, to put it the other way around, you and I are invited into this glory.

I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one. (John 17:20–23)

Fifth, this glory involves knowledge of the Father and Son, the joy of the Son, and the love of the Father for the Son.

This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)

These things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. (John 17:13)

I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me [that’s eternal life] and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you [that’s part of the glory we share, and that I’m giving to my people], and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:23–26)

So, when God glorifies himself, he invites us to participate in his own Trinitarian fullness, so that the fullness of God’s own knowledge, love, and joy comes to exist in us. This is a deeply Trinitarian and participatory understanding of glory. The glory of God — his eternal and mutual knowledge, love, and delight in himself — is given to us and shared with us. We “become partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), sharers in the triune fullness.

And this truth — that God is God-centered and therefore does everything that he does in order to glorify himself, by sharing the riches and fullness of his divine life with us — this truth is profoundly good news and deeply stabilizing in an unsteadying world. This arresting God-centeredness of God, far from robbing us of joy, is the very foundation of our being truly happy in God. Because God will seek, and have, his glory — and God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.