Coventant

Prayer and the Covenant of Grace

The covenant of grace promises eternal life for all people who have faith in Christ. He also promises the Holy Spirit to the elect to give them willingness and ability to believe.

Prayer is an important part of this covenant of grace. 1 John 5:14-15 “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: and if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

John 15:7-9. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

Our blessing is wrapped around the word ‘shall’ or ‘shalt’. This word is frequently part if the rendering of a future tense of a verb (action). Lets go to the Word of God to see what we should do after we believe that we receive.

Phil. 4:6 “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Not withstanding God is a God of miracles and He gives miracles to who He wishes.

2 Cor. 4:18 “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

The accuser, your enemy, is not going to roll over and play dead and let you get your blessing during the “shall” time. He will bring doubt, condemnation, anything for you to distrust God and his Word. You have to find a verse in God’s Word that meets your need.

Romans 4:20 “he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;”

For example Phil. 4:19 “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

God is the unfailing, unlimited source of my supply. My financial income now increases as the blessing of the Lord overtakes me.

Be careful what you are saying. The things you say can hinder your answer to your prayer—like “nothing ever works for me”; “Every thing I do seems to go wrong.”

You have to trust God. He will work it out.

(Contributed by Clive, at the
Fayette County Senior Center. Scriptures are from
the Authorized King James Version)

How are you living?

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I want to point out a phrase that I believe is very dangerous ground for the Church in America today. It is the phrase, Ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness.”

Lewdness literally means unrestrained lust, wickedness, and immorality. These people believed that once you were saved, you could live however you wanted.

There are people in the Church today with this type of thinking. They believe that if you are saved by grace, and good works do not merit salvation, then you can do whatever you want. You can sleep around, commit adultery, get drunk, the sky’s the limit. It’s grace, baby! Your works don’t have anything to do with it. You can live however you want!

One of the things that I have heard throughout the years is, “Hey, it doesn’t matter. It’s grace. God will forgive me, so I’m going to go ahead and do this anyway.”

You do not want to live that way. Believe me, something begins to break down inside of you, and you will pay the piper eventually.

If you are turning the grace of God into lewdness through immorality, or any other sin, I challenge you to stop today. Confess your sin to God, turn from whatever it is that you have been doing, and ask God to help you live for Him. If you do, you will experience the true grace of God, which teaches us that we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age (Titus 2:11-12).  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

 

 

Fill Your Heart

Philippians 1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;

 

Like many people, when I read a newspaper or magazine I notice the misteaks in grammar and spelling. (You saw that, didn’t you!) I’m not trying to find errors; they leap off the page at me! My usual reaction is to criticize the publication and the people who produce it. “Why don’t they use ‘spell check’ or hire a proofreader?”

You may have a similar experience in your area of expertise. It seems that often, the more we know about something, the more judgmental we become over mistakes. It can infect our relationships with people as well.

Yet Philippians 1:9 expresses a different approach. Paul wrote this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment. God’s plan is that the more we know and understand, the more we love. Rather than cultivating a critical spirit and pretending we don’t notice or don’t care, our understanding should nourish empathy. Criticism is replaced by compassion.Instead of our being faultfinders, the Lord calls us to be “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (v. 11).

When the Lord fills our hearts, we can overlook mistakes, hold our criticism, and love others, no matter how much we know about them!

 

 

Arrow

“My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.”    Job 29:20

Arrows seem to be really popular in graphics and images today. We see them on chalkboard art and in home decor and just about everywhere. The Hunger Gamesmovies have probably made arrows a little more popular too.

Let’s take a look at Job 29:20 where Job says, “…my bow was renewed in my hand.” What does a bow do? It shoots arrows of course and you have to have strength to shoot an arrow. Sure, shooting arrows requires accuracy and good aim but ultimately it requires strength to pull back on the bow.

Living the Christian life requires strength too. We cannot do it on our own. We have to depend upon the Lord to draw our strength from. We need that fellowship with Him and have to rely on Him to build us up and to help us wield our arrows through life.

So how do we keep that strength renewed in our hands? I think the parts of an arrow can help us. There are four parts.

  1. Fletching
    The fletching is that feathery part of an arrow. It is used to provide a little force to stabilize the arrow as it flies through the air.What are we using for our “fletching”? What stabilizes us as Christians? It has got to be the Word of God. Nothing else can ground us more and help us as we fly through life.

    “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

  2. Arrowhead
    The next part of the arrow is the arrowhead. It is the point at the end of an arrow. The type of arrowhead an arrow has attached depends on the purpose for which it is used.What is our purpose as Christians? It should be to live for Christ and bring others to Him. We are ambassadors for Christ. The passage in 2 Corinthians 5 talks about this.

    “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15

    “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5:20

  3. Noch
    The noch is at the backend of the arrow. It is the little cut out spot that you insert onto the string into before you shoot the arrow. It holds the arrow in place while you take your aim and draw the bow.What keeps us in place? I think our prayer life can do that. Spending time in prayer helps us build our relationship to Christ and helps us increase our faith. I find, especially as I get older, that prayer steadies me. I don’t know how I would cope with life without being able to go to the Lord in prayer.

    “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

  4. Shaft
    The shaft of an arrow is that long part. It is what the other elements of an arrow are attached to.Salvation is our shaft. Salvation is what we build upon as a Christian. We have to have that in place first. Accepting Christ is key before we can build a relationship with Him and begin going about serving Him. We have to have our salvation settled.

    “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:12

 

Julia Bettencourt CLM

 

Don’t give Up

2 Corinthians 4:16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

When missionary Adoniram Judson entered Burma (Myanmar) in July 1813, he found an unreached people in a hostile land. Today, there are some 3,700 congregations who trace their origin to Judson’s pioneering ministry. His primary legacy, however, is the complete translation of the Bible into Burmese—still in use today. Judson’s path was difficult, for he faced opposition, rejection, imprisonment, serious illness, pain. He also lost two wives and seven children to death. But through it all he persevered for the cause of Christ.

The apostle Paul also endured great suffering. He was “pressed on every side by troubles,” “hunted down,” and “knocked down”(2 Cor. 4:8-9).  He lived “in the face of death”(2 Cor. 4:12).  As we read of his travels, his overwhelming difficulties and life-threatening dangers are well documented. Despite the suffering, however, Paul wrote, that we faint not “We never give up”

Describing our lives as “clay jars,” Paul acknowledged his own frailty, vulnerability, and mortality. But he also refused to be defeated, for he chose to see his difficulties from God’s perspective. “Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. . . . So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. . . . The things which are not seen are eternal” . Paul’s confidence was rooted in God’s great power and sustaining grace, Jesus’ resurrection, and the hope of eternal life with Him. We can know this same hope and confidence as we fix our eyes on Jesus. Persecution and suffering may come, but with God’s help we can echo Paul’s words: “We never give up!”

 

 

In The Clouds

In the Bible clouds are always associated with God. Clouds are the sorrows, sufferings, or providential circumstances, within or without our personal lives, which actually seem to contradict the sovereignty of God. Yet it is through these very clouds that the Spirit of God is teaching us how to walk by faith. If there were never any clouds in our lives, we would have no faith. “The clouds are the dust of His feet” (Nahum 1:3). They are a sign that God is there. What a revelation it is to know that sorrow, bereavement, and suffering are actually the clouds that come along with God! God cannot come near us without clouds— He does not come in clear-shining brightness.

It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own souls, and where other people are but shadows. Until other people become shadows to us, clouds and darkness will be ours every once in a while. Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?

There is a connection between the strange providential circumstances allowed by God and what we know of Him, and we have to learn to interpret the mysteries of life in the light of our knowledge of God. Until we can come face to face with the deepest, darkest fact of life without damaging our view of God’s character, we do not yet know Him.

“…they were fearful as they entered the cloud” (Luke 9:34). Is there anyone except Jesus in your cloud? If so, it will only get darker until you get to the place where there is “no one anymore, but only Jesus …” (Mark 9:8; also see Mark 2:7).

Wisdom From Oswald Chambers

 

 

Napkin

Why did Jesus fold the Napkin?  I was reminded about this just the other day and it triggered an inquiring thought in my mind…

Here is an interesting take on the burial head napkin of Jesus… please forward it on as you feel led!

 

Why did Jesus fold the linen burial cloth after His resurrection? I never really noticed this….

 

The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of that stony coffin.

 

Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.

 

She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, ‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they have put him!’

 

Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.

 

Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side.

 

Is that important? Absolutely!

 

Is it really significant? Yes!

 

In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.

 

When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it.  The table was  furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.

 

Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, ‘I’m done’.

 

But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because……….

 

The folded napkin meant, ‘I’m coming back!’

He is Coming Back!

Now everytime you use a cloth napkin after a meal may you always anticipate His soon return…

 

Cage

One Sunday morning, a pastor came to the Church carrying a rusty, bent, old bird cage, and set it by the pulpit. Several eyebrows were raised and, as if in response, the pastor began to speak.

“I was walking through town yesterday when I saw a young boy coming toward me, swinging this bird cage. On the bottom of the cage were three little wild birds, shivering with cold and fright. I stopped the lad and asked, “What you got there son?”

“Just some old birds,” came the reply.

“What are you gonna do with them?” I asked.

“Take ’em home and have fun with ’em. I’m gonna tease ’em and pull out their feathers to make ’em fight. I’m gonna have a real good time.”

“But you’ll get tired of those birds sooner or later. What will you do then?”

“Oh, I got some cats. They like birds. I’ll take ’em to them.”

The pastor was silent for a moment. “How much do you want for those birds, son?”

“Huh??!!! Why, you don’t want them birds, mister. They’re just plain old field birds. They don’t sing – they ain’t even pretty!”

“How much?”

The boy sized up the pastor as if he were crazy and said, “$10?”.

The pastor reached in his pocket and took out a ten dollar bill. He placed it in the boy’s hand. In a flash, the boy was gone.

The pastor picked up the cage and gently carried it to the end of the alley where there was a tree and a grassy spot. Setting the cage down, he opened the door, and by softly tapping the bars persuaded the birds out, setting them free.

Well, that explained the empty bird cage on the pulpit, and then the pastor began to tell this story.

One day Satan and Jesus were having a conversation. Satan had just come from the Garden of Eden, and he was gloating and boasting.

“Yes, sir, I just caught the world full of people down there. Set me a trap, used bait I knew they couldn’t resist. Got ’em all!”

“What are you going to do with them?” Jesus asked.

“Oh, I’m gonna have fun! I’m gonna teach them how to marry and divorce each other. How to hate and abuse each other. How to drink and smoke and curse. How to invent guns and bombs and kill each other. I’m really gonna have fun!”

“And what will you do when you get done with them?”, Jesus asked.

“Oh, I’ll kill ’em.”

“How much do you want for them?”

“Oh, you don’t want those people. They ain’t no good. Why, you take them and they’ll just hate you. They’ll spit on you, curse you and kill you!! You don’t want those people!!”

“How much?”

Satan looked at Jesus and sneered, “All your tears, and all your blood.” Jesus paid the price.

The pastor picked up the cage he opened the door and he walked from the pulpit.

 

Words

Everyday Words and Phrases

We’ve all heard, and probably even used, most of these phrases.
Ever wonder where they originated?

THE WHOLE NINE YARDS—American fighter planes in WW2 had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (9 yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.

BUYING THE FARM—This is synonymous with dying. During WW1 soldiers were given life insurance policies worth $5,000. This was about the price of an average farm so if you died you “bought the farm” for your survivors.

IRON CLAD CONTRACT—This came about from the ironclad ships of the Civil War. It meant something so strong it could not be broken.

PASSING THE BUCK/THE BUCK STOPS HERE—Most men in the early west carried a jack knife made by the Buck knife company. When playing poker it was common to place one of these Buck knives in front of the dealer so that everyone knew who he was. When it was time for a new dealer the deck of cards and the knife were given to the new dealer. If this person didn’t want to deal he would “pass the buck” to the next player. If that player accepted then “the buck stopped there”.

COBWEB—The Old English word for “spider” was “cob”.

SLEEP TIGHT—Early beds were made with a wooden frame. Ropes were tied across the frame in a criss-cross pattern. A straw mattress was then put on top of the ropes. Over time the ropes stretched, causing the bed to sag. The owner would then tighten the ropes to get a better night’s sleep.

SHOWBOAT—These were floating theaters built on a barge that was pushed by a steamboat. These played small towns along theMississippi River. Unlike the boat shown in the movie “Showboat” these did not have an engine. They were gaudy and attention grabbing which is why we say someone who is being the life of the party is “showboating”.

OVER A BARREL—In the days before CPR a drowning victim would be placed face down over a barrel and the barrel would be rolled back and forth in an effort to empty the lungs of water. It was rarely effective. If you are over a barrel you are in deep trouble.

BARGE IN—Heavy freight was moved along the Mississippi in large barges pushed by steamboats. These were hard to control and would sometimes swing into piers or other boats. People would say they “barged in”.

HOGWASH—Steamboats carried both people and animals. Since pigs smelled so bad they would be washed before being put on board. The mud and other filth that was washed off were considered useless “hog wash”.

BARRELS OF OIL—When the first oil wells were drilled they had made no provision for storing the liquid so they used water barrels. That is why, to this day, we speak of barrels of oil rather than gallons.

HOT OFF THE PRESS—As the paper goes through the rotary printing press friction causes it to heat up. Therefore, if you grab the paper right off the press it is hot. The expression means to get immediate information.

FALLEN OFF THE WAGON—The wagon in this American expression refers to the water wagons used to sprinkle water on the streets to keep the dust down. During the times of Prohibition in the 19th century, men often climbed onto these wagons and took an oath they would give up alcohol and drink only water. This gave rise to the expression to be on the water cart/wagon; it was later shortened to on the wagon. When these individuals broke their pledge and started hitting the bottle again, they were said to have fallen off the wagon.

Early

“And Jacob rose up early in the morning,” (Gen. 28:18)

The Lord had appeared to Jacob at Bethel in the night. He had seen the glorious heavenly ladder with God the Lord standing above it. He had received from God the promise that He would be with him and would never leave him until He had accomplished all that He had promised. Then Jacob rose up early in the morning and vowed a vow of which the gist was, ‘The Lord shall be my God’ (v. 21).

Child of God! Christ is the true heavenly ladder; from above it God speaks to thee in the darkest night, I will be with thee and will not leave thee. Dost thou not think that every morning summons thee to say with Jacob: “The Lord shall be my God” ? Can you imagine a more glorious beginning of the day? You pass every night under the protection of Jacob’s God, is it not right that you should begin each morning with Jacob’s vow?

Make a habit of being alone with God the first hour of the morning. Consider what He is to you through Christ. Meditate on the wonderful promise He has given you of His continual presence and His unchangeable faithfulness. Listen while He says to you: “I am with thee and will not leave thee.” Take time so by faith to appropriate this promise that your whole soul knows that God Himself has spoken these words to you. Say then, “The Lord shall be my God.” Jacob rose up early in the morning to utter that vow; do thou likewise.

By Andrew Murray