Separate and Unequal

“Be ye separate.”—2 Corinthians 6:17.  Holiness-of-God-Revised-5-13

HE Christian, while in the world, is not to be of the world. He should be distinguished from it in the great object of his life. To him, “to live,” should be “Christ.” Whether he eats, or drinks, or whatever he does, he should do all to God’s glory. You may lay up treasure; but lay it up in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, where thieves break not through nor steal. You may strive to be rich; but be it your ambition to be “rich in faith,” and good works.

You may have pleasure; but when you are merry, sing psalms and make melody in your hearts to the Lord. In your spirit, as well as in your aim, you should differ from the world. Waiting humbly before God, always conscious of His presence, delighting in communion with Him, and seeking to know His will, you will prove that you are of heavenly race. And you should be separate from the world in your actions. If a thing be right, though you lose by it, it must be done; if it be wrong, though you would gain by it, you must scorn the sin for your Master’s sake. You must have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Walk worthy of your high calling and dignity.

Remember, O Christian, that thou art a son of the King of kings. Therefore, keep thyself unspotted from the world. Soil not the fingers which are soon to sweep celestial strings; let not these eyes become the windows of lust which are soon to see the King in His beauty—let not those feet be defiled in miry places, which are soon to walk the golden streets—let not those hearts be filled with pride and bitterness which are ere long to be filled with heaven, and to overflow with ecstatic joy.
Then rise my soul! and soar away, Above the thoughtless crowd; Above the pleasures of the gay, And splendours of the proud; Up where eternal beauties bloom, And pleasures all divine; Where wealth, that never can consume, And endless glories shine.  C. H. Spurgeon

Covenant Transporters

I was just about to enter the expressway off I-64 between Barboursville and Milton West Virginia, when I spotted a semi from the “Covenant Transport” Company.  Now, I’ve seen these trucks before, but today the words “Covenant, and Transport” hit me.  A covenant is an agreement, or a guarantee between two parties, which specifies, if certain conditions are met those involved will receive whatever is defined in the agreement. In some cases, this is monetary. As I drove behind the semi, there was an ad which read “Drivers Needed.

Covenant, Transport and Drivers Needed.   You and I are transporters of the covenant God made with mankind through our Savior.  Jesus said if we abide in Him, as He abides in the Father, we would be recipients of the covenant.   The Holy Spirit’s residency in the believer’s life is a prime example of what our blessed Savior placed in the covenant.  As a result, there is an opportunity for us to experience abundant life.  And not just abundance, but also anointing power to restore, rebuild, and realign lives.  As long as we are here, it is our sacred assignment to transport (a condition of the covenant), the precious cargo of the Holy Spirit to nourish, educate, guide, motivate, and care for those hurting and loss among us.

I noted the “Drivers Needed” ad on the back of the semi as a call to action.  More of us are needed to become transporters.   So every day, seek to transport behind enemy lines, courage, peace (Shalom), justice, mercy, grace, righteousness, forgiveness and love.   We, all need someone from time to time to lift us up out of despair and confusion; to stand in the gap until our hearts can transport the covenant ourselves.

Ready to sign up?  Applications are available for Covenant Transporters.

A Loving Savior

Awaken by the Holy Spirit to share these meditations by C. H. Spurgeon with you.  I am on a course to move forward with more decisiveness and purpose when compelled by His Spirit. I am honored to be a very, very humble servant.  So in recognition of my position as a child of God, and understanding the need to be responsive and obedient I present their beautiful message (written in Old English).  I suspect someone, within this small circle of faith needs them as much as I did.  As you read them, and may His loving Spirit guide you today in all truth, justice, power and love.  Blessings.

He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom.”—Isaiah 40:11.

HO is He of whom such gracious words are spoken? He is THE GOOD SHEPHERD. Why doth He carry the lambs in His bosom? Because He hath a tender heart, and any weakness at once melts His heart. The sighs, the ignorance, the feebleness of the little ones of His flock draw forth His compassion. It is His office, as a faithful High Priest, to consider the weak. Besides, He purchased them with blood, they are His property: He must and will care for that which cost Him so dear. Then He is responsible for each lamb, bound by covenant engagements not to lose one. Moreover, they are all a part of His glory and reward.
But how may we understand the expression, “He will carry them”? Sometimes He carries them by not permitting them to endure much trial. Providence deals tenderly with them. Often they are “carried” by being filled with an unusual degree of love, so that they bear up and stand fast. Though their knowledge may not be deep, they have great sweetness in what they do know. Frequently He “carries” them by giving them a very simple faith, which takes the promise just as it stands, and believingly runs with every trouble straight to Jesus. The simplicity of their faith gives them an unusual degree of confidence, which carries them above the world.
“He carries the lambs in His bosom.” Here is boundless affection. Would He put them in His bosom if He did not love them much? Here is tender nearness: so near are they, that they could not possibly be nearer. Here is hallowed familiarity: there are precious love-passages between Christ and His weak ones. Here is perfect safety: in His bosom who can hurt them? They must hurt the Shepherd first. Here is perfect rest and sweetest comfort. Surely we are not sufficiently sensible of the infinite tenderness of Jesus!

“Joint heirs with Christ.”—Romans 8:17.

HE boundless realms of His Father’s universe are Christ’s by prescriptive right. As “heir of all things,” He is the sole proprietor of the vast creation of God, and He has admitted us to claim the whole as ours, by virtue of that deed of joint-heir-ship which the Lord hath ratified with His chosen people. The golden streets of paradise, the pearly gates, the river of life, the transcendent bliss, and the unutterable glory, are, by our blessed Lord, made over to us for our everlasting possession. All that He has He shares with His people. The crown royal He has placed upon the head of His Church, appointing her a kingdom, and calling her sons a royal priesthood, a generation of priests and kings. He uncrowned Himself that we might have a coronation of glory; He would not sit upon His own throne until He had procured a place upon it for all who overcome by His blood. Crown the head and the whole body shares the honour. Behold here the reward of every Christian conqueror! Christ’s throne, crown, sceptre, palace, treasure, robes, heritage, are yours. Far superior to the jealousy, selfishness, and greed, which admit of no participation of their advantages, Christ deems His happiness completed by His people sharing it. “The glory which thou gavest me have I given them.” “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” The smiles of His Father are all the sweeter to Him, because His people share them. The honours of His kingdom are more pleasing, because His people appear with Him in glory. More valuable to Him are His conquests, since they have taught His people to overcome. He delights in His throne, because on it there is a place for them. He rejoices in His royal robes, since over them His skirts are spread. He delights the more in His joy, because He calls them to enter into it.

Ebb and Flow

The passage from winter to the approaching spring over recent years has always been a bit of challenge for me.  My internal soul clock counted the days until March 17th with some trepidation.  After all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, New Years and the onslaught of so many birthdays (mine as well), I had to face the harsh reality of the loss of a son.  Winter’s cold blast seemed to reflect, with pin point accuracy how this day typically impacts me.  It’s like a proverbial ton of bricks coming down with enough power to wipe out an army.  Orange sadness would creep in and I would walk once again into the valley of the shadows of death.  That’s how it was!

This year, I made a firm commitment that it would be different.  This year, with the inevitable ebb and flow of the holidays and birthdays, along with our blistering weather seem to mimic the shock and despair many feel when facing a loss,  I resolved not to experience this day with sadness.  Instead I would reclaimed it, and replace the sorrow and loss with something other than orange sadness and gray skies.  Oh, I acknowledged missing our beloved Shawn. However, those priceless memories of laughter, and love which his life represented, not only for me, but also for countless family and friends would be colored differently.  As I posted our son’s photo on Facebook, and tried diligently to thank each and every person who commented, I marveled at the amazing responses. Their thoughts, remembrances, and prayers, both past and present seemed in step with mine own.  A new, transforming ebb and flow emerged, and continued well into the evening.

Yesterday, I awoke with profound gratitude, and a song in my heart for our son and for his legacy.  Sunlight broke across the gray horizon, as I tenderly shared with a small group, what this today had become.  I had colored the day with the bright SON-LIGHT of God’s love and grace, instead of green.  This one particular ebb and flow is now filled with something more, LOVE.

Grace and Glory

He will give grace and glory. Psalm 84:11
Bounteous is Jehovah in His nature; to give is His delight. His gifts are beyond measure precious, and are as freely given as the light of the sun. He gives grace to His elect because He wills it, to His redeemed because of His covenant, to the called because of His promise, to believers because they seek it, to sinners because they need it.
He gives grace abundantly, seasonably, constantly, readily, sovereignly; doubly enhancing the value of the boon by the manner of its bestowal. Grace in all its forms He freely renders to His people: comforting, preserving, sanctifying, directing, instructing, assisting grace, He generously pours into their souls without ceasing, and He always will do so, whatever may occur. Sickness may befall, but the Lord will give grace; poverty may happen to us, but grace will surely be afforded; death must come but grace will light a candle at the darkest hour. Reader, how blessed it is as years roll round, and the leaves begin again to fall, to enjoy such an unfading promise as this, “The Lord will give grace.”
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The little conjunction “and” in this verse is a diamond rivet binding the present with the future: grace and glory always go together. God has married them, and none can divorce them. The Lord will never deny a soul glory to whom He has freely given to live upon His grace; indeed, glory is nothing more than grace in its Sabbath dress, grace in full bloom, grace like autumn fruit, mellow and perfected.
How soon we may have glory none can tell! It may be before this month of October has run out we shall see the Holy City; but be the interval longer or shorter, we shall be glorified ere long. Glory, the glory of heaven, the glory of eternity, the glory of Jesus, the glory of the Father, the Lord will surely give to His chosen. Oh, rare promise of a faithful God! Two golden links of one celestial chain: Who owneth grace shall surely glory gain.  C. H. Spurgeon
Enjoy the gift of His amazing grace today wrapped up in His glory.  How wonderful!!!

Blessed Freedom

“The liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.”—Galatians 5:1.

HIS “liberty” makes us free to heaven’s charter—the Bible. Here is a choice passage, believer, “When thou passest through the rivers, I will be with thee.” You are free to that. Here is another: “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from thee”; you are free to that. You are a welcome guest at the table of the promises. Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with boundless stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven; you may draw from it as much as you please, without let or hindrance.

Come in faith and you are welcome to all covenant blessings. There is not a promise in the Word which shall be withheld. In the depths of tribulations let this freedom comfort you; amidst waves of distress let it cheer you; when sorrows surround thee let it be thy solace. This is thy Father’s love-token; thou art free to it at all times. Thou art also free to the throne of grace. It is the believer’s privilege to have access at all times to His heavenly Father. Whatever our desires, our difficulties, our wants, we are at liberty to spread all before Him. It matters not how much we may have sinned, we may ask and expect pardon. It signifies nothing how poor we are, we may plead His promise that He will provide all things needful.

We have permission to approach His throne at all times—in midnight’s darkest hour, or in noontide’s most burning heat. Exercise thy right, O believer, and live up to thy privilege. Thou art free to all that is treasured up in Christ—wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It matters not what thy need is, for there is fullness of supply in Christ, and it is there for thee. O what a “freedom” is thine! freedom from condemnation, freedom to the promises, freedom to the throne of grace, and at last freedom to enter heaven!  C. H. Spurgeon

The Gold and Ivory Tablecloth

The brand new pastor and his wife, newly assigned to their first ministry, to reopen a church in suburban Brooklyn , arrived in early October excited about their opportunities. When they saw their church, it was very run down and needed much work. They set a goal to have everything done in time to have their first service on Christmas Eve.
They worked hard, repairing pews, plastering walls, painting, etc, and on December 18 were ahead of schedule and just about finished. On December 19 a terrible tempest a driving rainstorm – hit the area and lasted for two days. On the 21st, the pastor went over to the church. His heart sank when he saw that the roof had leaked, causing a large area of plaster about 20 feet by 8 feet to fall off the front wall of the sanctuary just behind the pulpit, beginning about head high.  The pastor cleaned up the mess on the floor, and not knowing what else to do but postpone the Christmas Eve service, headed home. On the way he noticed that a local business was having a flea market type sale for charity, so he stopped in. One of the items was a beautiful, handmade, ivory colored, crocheted tablecloth with exquisite work, fine colors and a Cross embroidered right in the center. It was just the right size to cover the hole in the front wall. He bought it and headed back to the church.
By this time it had started to snow. An older woman running from the opposite direction was trying to catch the bus. She missed it. The pastor invited her to wait in the warm church for the next bus 45 minutes later. She sat in a pew and paid no attention to the pastor while he got a ladder, hangers, etc., to put up the tablecloth as a wall tapestry. The pastor could hardly believe how beautiful it looked and it covered up the entire problem area. Then he noticed the woman walking down the center aisle. Her face was like a sheet. “Pastor,”she asked, “where did you get that tablecloth?”  The pastor explained. The woman asked him to check the lower right corner to see if the initials ‘EBG’ were crocheted into it there. They were. These were the initials of the woman, and she had made this tablecloth 35 years before, in Austria . The woman could hardly believe it as the pastor told how he had just gotten “The Tablecloth”. The woman explained that before the war she and her husband were well-to-do people in Austria.  When the Nazis came, she was forced to leave. Her husband was going to follow her the next week. He was captured, sent to prison and she never saw her
husband or her home again. The pastor wanted to give her the tablecloth; but she made the pastor keep it for the church. The pastor insisted on driving her home. That
was the least he could do. She lived on the other side of Staten Island and was only in Brooklyn for the day for a housecleaning job.
What a wonderful service they had on Christmas Eve. The church was almost full. The music and the spirit were great. At the end of the service, the pastor and his wife greeted everyone at the door and many said that they would return. One older man, whom the pastor recognized from the neighborhood, continued to sit in one of the pews and stare, and the pastor wondered why he wasn’t leaving. The man asked him where he got the tablecloth on the front wall because it was identical to one that his wife had made years ago when they lived in Austria before the war and how could there be two tablecloths so much alike? He told the pastor how the Nazis came, how he forced his wife to flee for her safety and he was supposed to follow her, but he was arrested and put in a prison. He never saw his wife or his home again in all the 35 years between. The pastor asked him if he would allow him to take him for a little ride. They drove to Staten Island and to the same house where the pastor had taken the woman three days earlier. He helped the man climb the three flights of stairs to the woman’s apartment, knocked on the door and he saw the greatest Christmas reunion he could ever imagine.
Who says God does work in mysterious ways. His love is always with you. His promises are true, and when we give Him all our cares we know He will see us through.
So when the road you’re traveling seems difficult at best, just remember to say a prayer and God will do the rest.

The Gold and Ivory Tablecloth“; it was written by the Rev. Howard C. Schade, pastor of the First Reformed Church in Nyack, New York; it was published in the December 1954 issue of Reader’s Digest; and it was anthologized in Alice Gray’s Christmas Stories for the Heart in 1998.
Read more at http://www.snopes.com/glurge/tablecloth.asp#zBy8L0sUV3mFcRtI.99.

Confession of Hope

Hebrews 10: 23-24 (NKJV)
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.”

My husband and I just finished a whirlwind trip through two states seeing family and friends. At every encounter, I was reminded of God’s faithfulness, and provision, particularly during some of the most difficult periods in our lives. His grace markers were evident as I held hands with our first grandson, looked into the faces of family and friends, and saw the delight in their eyes. God has so blessed us. He has been faithful through all the trials and tribulations, and all the wrong decisions made. Through the Prophet Isaiah God said, “…Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me, Hear and your soul shall live;…(Isaiah 55:2b-3a). God promised his plans for us would give us a future and a hope. God promised to never leave us nor forsake us. God promised us to give us the desires of our hearts. These promises and more are a testament to the faithfulness of our Lord. His promises are true; because God does not lie. His grace is sufficient. Hold fast to your hope for our God is faithful. Listen carefully to Him.  Incline yourself to His word. Trust Him. Pursue Him with your whole heart, and encourage others to taste and see that the Lord is good.  For we have a hope, a magnificent hope.

You’re Blessed

I love reading and studying the Bible. We have several translations, and study tools which help, with the aid of the Holy Spirit our understanding of God’s Word.  They also draws us deeper in our relationship with God. One of those translations is The Message by Eugene Peterson.  This morning I read Matthew the fifth chapter where Jesus shared the Beatitudes with his disciples.  After reading The Message, I had one of those epiphanies. You know the ones that comes to reassure, comfort and bring light.  After reading the passage, my spirit peacefully lingered on its meaning; I am blessed.  No matter what I am blessed, and can make it through. I am blessed despite the loss of loved ones. I’m blessed going in, and going out. I am blessed because God loves me. I am blessed. I am blessed.

Here is the passage.

Matthew Chapter 5: 1-12  The Message
3 “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
(The Message)

These words and its meaning are so clear.  I know most Christians are familiar with The King James Version (KJV). I grow up reading it as well.  However, when I became acquainted with The Message I found it to be particularly helpful, especially when I’ve used it in teaching and in my personal study time.  It has enhanced my understanding of the Bible along with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Today, I was reminded of this simple, yet powerful truth that I am blessed.  And as soon as I embraced that fact, I knew I had to share it.  I sensed someone needed to be reminded as I did, that our awesome God wants us to know without a shadow of doubt how incredibly blessed we are.

So if you are feeling troubled, may these words remind you that no matter what happens you are blessed.

The Message by Eugene Peterson

Little Blessings

Thomas Kinkade in his book, Lightposts for Living, asked this question, What small things can I do today bring a blessing to someone else?  He talked about small, not huge, gigantic, or enormous things.  How often do we think in order to make a difference, it [the thing has to be large, or on a world-wide scale?  In the rush of the world we forget the power of the “small.”  A smile, laughter, a phone call, card, or your welcoming spirit can do much to transform the people and space around you.  Let’s commit ourselves to be a blessing to someone else by giving away lots and lots of small things.  Remember, both receiver and giver will be blessed.

Enjoy this small gift of beauty.

Photo credit: John Avery

 

 

J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain in Missouri’s Country Club Plaza district, sculpted in Paris in 1910 by the late Henri Greber.