Seasons Rise and Fall

by Mary Beth on October 16, 2017

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“Thou art of this world, Christ. Thou know’st it all;

Thou know’st our evens, our morns, our red and gray;

How moons, and hearts, and seasons rise and fall;

How we grow weary plodding on the way;

Of future joy how present pain bereaves,

Rounding us with a dark of mere decay,

Tossed with a drift of summer-fallen leaves.

*

Thou knowest all our weeping, fainting, striving;

Thou know’st how very hard it is to be;

How hard to rouse faint will not yet reviving;

To do the pure thing, trusting all to Thee;

To hold Thou art there, for all no face to see;

How hard to think, through cold and dark and dearth,

That Thou art nearer now than when eye-seen on earth.

My halting words will some day turn to song-

Some far-off day, in holy other times!”

~George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul.

*

How comforting to ponder George MacDonald’s prose,

  a reminder to us during the changing seasons.

To lift the eyes of our hearts to remember our unchanging God,

His eternal, steadfast love.

We live in deeply concerning and shifting times,  

a climate of relativism, pluralism, and pragmatism-

national outrage, corruption,

shameless scandals, entitled rights,

politicized insults, identity confusion, and power struggles.

Often reflective of bullying individualism, and the Tower of Babel.

All is permissible within this embrace.

Yet, is it truly beneficial to

adhere to a culture of idolatry,

in mere creation?

Why,

when our great Creator,

reigning King and comforting heavenly Father,

is for us?

When all He has is ours?

Oh lift our eyes to remember,

His glory through bright, yet fading leaves of red, yellow, and orange.

The heavens declare, and the sky proclaims

the wonders of His sovereignty.

Oh lift our eyes and hearts,

to remember and long for more than the dirt and clay.

Through His presence and powerful Word,

the King of glory longs to dwell deep into our souls and hearts.

 Oh lift our eyes,

to remember

He shines creatively in this beautiful world and in our hearts;

His hand prescribes, bright hope to hungry hearts in our grieving land.

Oh lift our eyes,

and proclaim His glory, worth and majesty!

God knows how hard it is to be.

He is the greatest Being.

He has placed eternity in the hearts of all men and women;

to walk in the fear of the Lord.

*

Lift up your hands all ye gates, and let the King of glory enter in!

Let us trust, pray, wait, and thank Him for new mercies every morning.

Great is His faithfulness.

 

 

 

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Determined & Decided

by Mary Beth on October 8, 2017

“Of all the things to do with His sovereignty,

He has determined and decided to love you.”

~Professor Elliot Greene.

 

We’re accepted in the beloved,

what a great thought, a beautiful

reality of mind and soul to dwell!

~Ephesians 1:6

How I pray and plead to God,

in His gracious gift of family

extended to all nations and peoples;

African Gamo believers,

will know the reality of

God’s deep and everlasting love

in their heart, mind and soul.

*

By God’s grace, steadfast in prayer:

“Above all else, Lord, save their souls.

Draw them near You, keep them close.

Be the shield against their foes.

Make them Yours not mine.

Give them peace in Christ alone.

In their sorrow be their song.

No other joy would last as long.

Father, calm their fear.

Guide their feet, Lord, light their path.

May their eyes on you be cast.

Give their hands a kingdom task.

A purpose for their years.”

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“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world
were precisely those who thought most of the next.
It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world
that they have become so ineffective in this.”  ~C. S. Lewis

*

A Christian is an impregnable person.

Blessed to be a blessing.

In our final Marks of a Disciple: A Reflection of God’s Love to the World,

we circle back like bookends to the first post:

Marks of a Disciple:

The Supreme and Incomparable Love for Jesus.

The most important commandment,

to love the Lord your God with all your heart,

with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. 

The second,

love your neighbor as yourself.

Deut. 6:5, Mark 12:28-33.

&

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another:

“just as I have loved you,

you also are to love one another.  

By this all people will know that you are my disciples,

if you have love for one another.”

John 13: 34,35

*

1.  As a disciple of Christ Jesus,

we’ve received the kingdom of God through the Gospel of Christ,

likewise,

we’re called to share this amazing gift of grace with others in need.

Just as we mature in childhood,

hopefully maturing into adolescence and further into our college years,

likewise,

as children of God we mature as disciples and ambassadors for Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:11-20

We have a brand new identity as sons and daughters of God, through Christ.

As a child of God,

we mature to act, aim, and live

according to our new nature in Christ.

It is freedom from false identities, identity building, and image creating.

Values within the kingdom of God,

are not the values of the world.

Dead and alive-darkness and light-blindness and sight.

*

“All this is important in times of change,
because we always live out of some kind of identity,
and the identities we assign ourselves powerfully influence our responses to life.
The paradigm is simple:  when God calls you to himself,
he also calls you to be a servant,
an instrument in his redeeming hands.”
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, Paul D. Tripp

*

2. As a disciple of Christ Jesus,

Love will be the distinguishing mark.

To love our neighbor as our self,

will call us to take up our cross and follow Christ.

John 15:13

For Christ calls us even beyond loving our neighbor, to loving our enemies.

“Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.”

~Matt. 5: 43-48 & 1 John 1:9

Are we living as true children of God?

As His disciples?

As ambassadors for Christ?

*

3. As a disciple of Christ Jesus,

we’re encouraged to live out our identity in Christ,

and run the race strategically and faithfully:

A. As an athlete who trains, competes and perseveres.

B. As a farmer who works hard, long hours with his hand to the plow.

C. As a soldier going into battle, into obedience and suffering.

2 Tim. 2, 1 Corin. 9: 24-27, Luke 9:62, 2 Peter 2:20-22.

*

  Do we value true discipleship, which Scripture reflects?

Are we making disciples of Christ Jesus?

“Owe no one anything,
except to love each other,
for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” 
Romans 13: 8

Resources:

Don’t Waste Your Life, John Piper

Radical, David Platt

The Vertical Self, Mark Stevens

Knowing God, J. I. Packer

Bruised Reed, Richard Sibbes

 

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