All posts by Washington Bible Students Ecclesia

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Precious in the Sight of the LORD

When we see what makes our life in Christ so precious to our Heavenly Father we get an insight into What makes life so precious?

The privilege of fulfilling His purpose for our life:

  • to know both the Father and His Son, Philippians 3:10-11
  • to experience the gift of our innocence in Christ—Romans 5:1,2; 8:1-2
  • to glorify Him—Isaiah 43:7
  • to know His people and to love them;   1 John 3:4, 4:11
  • to know His Plan for Deliverance of all people, to live for that cause, and to cherish that Divine Plan and our part in it.  Romans 8:17-21
  • the privilege of accepting and finding joy in the Cup poured for us, a Cup of Deliverance.  Psalm 116:17
  • to know that since we were created for His glory we were created with great capacity to reflect His joy and love and so to live up to that heritage by His Grace.  Ephesians 2:10

Life is precious because all of human life is born with the image of God, and even in the fallen state there is love, there is dignity, there is heroism.  Life is precious because of the potential of each of our human family to discover His purpose and blessing.  Isaiah 14:1-3, 7   People are so precious that He gave His only begotten Son for this Deliverance.  John 3:16

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your love O LORD, endures forever—
do not abandon the works of your hands.”  Psalm 138:8 NIV

The purpose He has planned for the Followers of Christ
and for our whole human family is Precious.

His purpose will be fulfilled , and He will not abandon His workmanship.

Label the Experience as Treasure from the Lord.

“I seek you with all my heart; Do not let me stray from your commands.

I have hidden your word in my heart

That I might not sin against you.”  Psalm 119:10-11

The secret to living the will of God is to hide His word in our hearts.

Proverbs 2:1  “My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee…”

Proverbs 2:1-4 shows us ways that we can hide His commandments, His principles, His will in our hearts:

These verses help us see what it means to hide his commandments:

Proverbs 2: 2  so that thou incline (prick up, hearken) thine ear unto wisdom,

and apply (to stretch or spread out; bend away) thine heart to understanding

Proverbs 2:3  “If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding

Proverbs 2:4  “If thou seekest (to search out; to strive after) her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures…”

“Then you will discern the fear of the LORD, and discover the knowledge of God.”  Proverbs 2:5

When confronted with challenging experiences we need to LISTEN ATTENTIVELY,

not to our old thinking and automatic reactions, but to HIS WISDOM.

We need to stretch our affections and our priorities to embrace the intention of His will.

We need to express our desire for His will, in prayer and in communication with others.

When confronted with conflicts and misunderstandings

we need to consider His will and principles as a treasure, as worth great effort to make His will and truth our own.

We need to label the experience as Treasure from the Lord.

“I delight to do Thy will, O my God;

Thy Law is within my heart.”  Psalm 40:8

The Father Himself Loves You (John 16.27)

What a deep interest our Father takes in each of His children: truly it is a personal and peculiar attachment to each member of His family.  Do we not lose much by forgetting this?  Even in human things we are apt overlook it.  We call the feeling which the Father entertains to each of His children, love, and well we call it so, but this is not all.  There is a difference in the love He bears to His eldest and His youngest born, a difference in the case of each, called forth by the peculiar character of each.  It is the minute and special love which is so precious.  Were it not for this we should feel as if we had only a part of our Father’s heart, as if we had not the whole; but realising this we feel as if we had his whole heart, and yet our having the whole did not rob our brothers and sisters of any.  It is with the family as with the sun in the firmament; it is the property of all and yet each has the whole of it.  Even so with Jehovah, our Heavenly Father; His is a special, peculiar, personal love, just if He loved no other but had the whole of His heart to spare for us.  His is a minute and watchful care, bending over each day and night, as if He had no other to care for.  How sweet to think that each of us is the special object of such personal attachment, the peculiar object of such unwearied vigilance.

In time of trouble say:

FIRST: He brought me here–It is by His will I am in this strait (difficult) place; in that will I rest.

NEXT: He will keep me in His Love, and give me grace in this trail to behave as his child.

THEN: He will make the trail a blessing, teaching me the lessons H means me to learn, and working in me grace He intends for me.

LAST: In His good time He can bring me out again, how and when, He knows.

Say:–I am here–by God’s appointment–In God’s keeping–Under His training–For His time.

Published by the Bible Fellowship Union

Living The Dimensions of Love Ephesians 3.16-19

The Dimensions of Love  Ephesians 3.16-19

The LORD has been working on my heart in the struggle to love certain ones in my life in the face of feeling hurt and the stress of all that has happened in our family.

The LORD brought me to Ephesians 3:16-19, AGAIN, as the defining and inspiring vision to reach for when I am worn out of love.  And that is to be immersed in the lengths, breadths, heights and depths of His love, and to be inspired to love others with that love, the love He loves me with so faithfully, and the love with which He loves each one of us so faithfully.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and log and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Ephesians 3:16-19  NIV

He loves us with the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of His love:

A love that loves the world.
A love that sees potential and joys to unlock its treasures.
A love that loves me, knowing the dust I am made of, the reality of weakness and the reality of beauty.
A love that will not let me go.
A love that teaches me to not let other people go, seeing the dust they are made of, the reality of weakness and the reality of beauty.
A tenacious love that joys to find ways to bless.

When frustrated it is very powerful to ask:  What would this love say or do in response to this moment of testing?

“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”  John 3:16

O LORD empower us to so love the people in our lives and in our world, each in such need of this unfathomable love…

O may we live in the heights and depths, the length and the breadths of this love.

Power Over the Pit

Power Over the Pit

I cried out to the LORD when I was triggered by intense experiences, which brought me to the slippery slope of self-judgment.
He heard my voice, as I claimed Psalm 40:1-3.
“I waited patiently for the LORD;
And He inclined to me, and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay;
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
And He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear, and I will trust in the LORD.”

Prayer based on Psalm 40:1-3

I have waited for you LORD, over these years.
And You have consistently heard my prayer.
You brought me up out of a trapped condition that I could not free myself from.
You set my feet upon a rock of stability, and gave me a place to stand.
You put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God, the One who is Mighty
on our behalf and on behalf of each one of our spiritual family.

I wait for you now, LORD.
I know you hear me.
You understand the pit of shame and fear I fall into.
I cannot free myself, it’s wall are slick and I have no place to stand in this slippery mud.
But again you free me.  You set my feet on the stability and strength of Christ.
In him I have a place to stand.  I stand in his innocence.
I stand with a new song in my mouth,
a song that praises Your Love and Strength and Power in my life
and in the lives of all Your Children throughout this world.

The Mind of Christ as Revealed on the Cross

The lessons from Jesus “Seven Words on the Cross” could well be characterized by Philippians 2:5:  “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians. 2:5) R 2474  (Thought from the Brethren from Clearwater Florida class, 2001)  The mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5-8) is revealed to us in the words and actions of Jesus throughout his earthly ministry.  There are especially poignant lessons about the mind of Christ as we meditate on the words that he spoke on the cross.

“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  Luke 23:34       

“…While not in the oldest manuscripts, these words, undoubtedly represent our Lord’s sentiments.”

The mind of Christ knows the role of ignorance and blindness in the actions and reactions of humanity.  The mind of Christ sought the Mind of the Father, and fulfilled His way of freeing people from their ignorance and blindness.  Jesus became the sacrifice necessary for all to receive blessing: for some to receive a higher calling now, and for the rest of humanity to receive an earthly resurrection opportunity for true freedom in the Kingdom.   1 Corinthians 15:22-25 The freedom from ignorance and blindness for our human family will be accomplished through piercing truths unquestionably revealed during the Kingdom on earth, which first provide the space to be transformed in thought and perception and then provide the space to realign allegiance and passion of life to him.  Zechariah 12:9-14; 13:1-2; .Jeremiah 31:31-34; Philippians 2:8-11  The mind of Christ led Jesus to fulfill the Father’s will for these blessings even at the point of greatest pain and humiliation.

…Let us not forget to keep in touch with the groaning creation; to sympathize with its sorrows and its woes; to realize its deep degradation and misery; to remember its frailties, its awful burden of hereditary taints and consequent weaknesses; its present environments of ignorance and superstition; and its long established errors of public sentiment….  And as the cries of the groaning creation come up into the ears of the Lord of hosts (James 5:4) with strong and pathetic pleading to his loving heart, so let them come into our ears and gain our sympathies, and quicken our zeal to co-operate with our Heavenly Father’s plan for the establishment of his Kingdom of righteousness and peace.  R3067  2 Corinthians 4:4

O may we have the mind of Christ that seeks for a way to bless in the midst of harsh treatment and that holds fast to this Kingdom hope as one of the joys set before us that empowers us to endure all that His wisdom requires.

“I say to you today,”;  in that present moment of time on the cross, of deepest despair when all seemed dark and hopeless, “you shall be with me in Paradise.”;  Luke 23:43  The mind of Christ kept the vision of the Kingdom blessing real and vibrant.    In the midst of his deep agony he was ready to share this hope with a criminal who hung on a cross beside him.

Regardless of the darkness of our time, or our experience, may the mind of Christ triumph with the truth of His silently unfolding blessing, and may we have the courage and strength to share this truth.

“Woman, behold thy son! … Behold thy mother.”  John 19:26-27

The mind of Christ knows the power of close and intimate relationships.  He knew the depth of grief as well as the tenderness of his mother’s heart.  He knew the passion and devotion of John, the Son of Thunder.  He knew the power of connecting these two people in their need and in their strengths.  He would express his love for his mother through John, giving her another son to love and to provide for her continued life as a widow.  And he would express his love for his disciple John by giving him a mother, someone who could ground his passion and deepen his love.  He provides for the need by providing the relationship needed.  He provided companionship and intimate help at a time when he received no tangible help.

In the midst of our own challenge may we be a mother, or a son to one another, or empower one another to do so, expressing through the mind of Christ in us, his love as we become his heart, his hands, his feet to one another.

The Final Hymn

#397  The Final Hymn

“Rise up, let us leave.”  John 14:31 When they had sung a hymn they went out to the Mount of Olives.

The little group stood up after partaking of the Passover/Remembrance supper and sang a hymn from the Hallel, from Psalm 113-118.  The Hallel is a group of Psalms known as Praise Psalms, traditionally sung  or chanted at Passover.  Psalm 116-118 may have been the part of the Hallel sung after the Supper.

These Psalms give us insight into the strength and focus of the thoughts upon which our Lord meditated as he faced his final extremity of challenge.

His determination was set and strong to fulfil his vow to do His Father’s will, motivated by His goodness and knowing that the Father esteemed his sacrifice as precious in His sight.

How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.
I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.
O LORD, truly I am your servant;  I am your servant, the son of your maidservant;
You have freed me from my chains.
I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD.
I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the LORD—in your midst, O Jerusalem.   Psalm 116:12-14, 19

 He kept the vision of the time when all the human family would finally praise the Father, having been resurrected and healed from their unbelief and blindness.

Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Psalm 117:1-2

 He trusted in the sureness of his deliverance.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good: his love endures forever.
In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free.
The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  The LORD is with me; he is my helper….
I will look in triumph on my enemies.  Psalm 118:1, 5-7

He saw the future conversion of his people Israel, when they would mourn the one they pierced, when they will finally say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.’  He saw the time when they would finally see the blessing that God shone upon them through His Son. And he rejoiced in the willing surrender of their lives to the Father, a foreshadowing of when all the human family would come to the same appreciation.  Philippians 2;   Jeremiah 31……..The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;  The LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This is the day the LORD has made;  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  From the house of the LORD we bless you.
The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
You are my God, and I will give you thanks;  You are my God, and I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Psalm 118:22-29

The Keeping Power of The Father and the Son

#394  The Keeping Power of The Father and the Son Part 1

“And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee.  Holy Father, keep them which Thou hast given me in Thy name, that they may be one are we are.”  John 17:11 NASB  “While I was with the, I kept them true to Thy name—the name which Thou hast given me to bear—and I kept watch over them….”  John 17:12 Weymouth

Jesus prayed that we would be guarded and protected in order that we may be one as he and the Father were one.  His beloved followers were kept, protected, and guarded throughout his ministry on earth, and after that they were kept and protected from heaven, with the same intent to make us one.  We see this keeping power of Jesus ministry especially in his last hours.  We and all our Brethren who read and experience these Gospel records are also blessed by the power of his guarding protection through his teachings and example.  Here are some examples of this keeping power exercised with the intention of creating intimate unity between us as Brethren.

He guards us from competition with one another, from the drive to prove ‘I am better than you,’ from any air of judgment and superiority.  “And there arose also a dispute among them as to which one of the was regarded to be greatest.”  Luke 22:24-27

John 13:1-5  He guards and protects us by demonstrating the beautiful humility that delights to give and serve according to the need.  “He loved them to the end.”  John 13:1b  He guarded and protected us by demonstrating a faithful love to the uttermost, a love that would do anything to fulfill the will of the Father for our blessing.

A deep and urgent longing swept over Jesus, a desire to assure them of his love and commitment to them, an unfailing love that had proved itself during their three and one half years together, a love that would continue faithful in the darkness and chaos of the hours and years to come, a desire to equip them for the difficult times ahead.  He saw clearly the authority that would be his, for the Father had put all things in his hands.  He was sure of his origin as the only begotten Son of God, the Word (Logos) or expression of His Fathers word and will, and he was sure of the unspeakable joy and glory that would be his upon his return to his Father’s house.  John 13:1-3  And so he rose, slowly and deliberately.  He removed his cloak and his tunic, as a slave would have done, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  The splash of water being poured into a large copper basin was the only sound heard in the suddenly silent room, as every eye fastened on the Master.  They watched, sensing he was about to do something quite different than the traditional washing of hands.  He knelt by each disciple’s feet, washed them, and then dried them with the towel that was wrapped around him.  John 13:4-5

“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. I have you an example that you also should do as I did to you.  Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master…”  John 13:14-16a

He knew who he was; He knew his cause to bless first his followers and then the whole human family, the purpose of  the Father giving all things into his hands. John 13:4  John 12:32  Out of that conviction, and out of the love in his heart he gave according to the need.

I know who I am in Christ; his cause is my own.  I will give according to the will of my Father.

O LORD, make us willing to go to any lengths, in awe and in honor of the heights and lengths and depths and breadths of Your love as reflected in the extremity of love in the sacrifice of our Precious Savior.

She Has Done What She Could

Mary’s eyes moved from Lazarus to Jesus to Martha and back to Jesus again.  He had given them so much.  Life from the dead for the brother she loved, and words of life for their hungry hearts.  Mary’s eyes searched the face of the man she believed to be the Messiah.  She recognized the love that always shone from it.  But she also sensed a somber mood, a preoccupation with something very serious.  She had heard Jesus describe what would happen to him in Jerusalem.  Things that others had dismissed as symbolic she took to heart.  She was fully aware of the power of the Sanhedrin and the degree of danger that confronted Jesus.  She had heard of how his mood had changed and how often he spoke of frightful things that would soon happen in the Holy City.

The reality of his death pierced through her heart.  How she would miss him, how she longed to express her gratitude for all that he was and all that he had done.  How she wished to honor his sacrifice, a death that she could not fully understand.  She decided at that moment that it was time.

Mary held the rare and valuable pound of perfumed oil, a gift she had saved for a long time.  She rose from her place, walked to where Jesus reclined at the table, and knelt by his feet.  She anointed the oil on his feet and then she bent close to the ground and wiped his feet with her hair.  The fragrance of the perfume filled the house as the room slowly became entirely silent.  All eyes were fixed on Mary and then on Jesus.

“Why was this perfume wasted?  It could have been sold for a year’s wages.”  It was the quietly indignant voice of Judas.  “Why wasn’t this money given to the poor?”

Mary froze in her bent over position at Jesus feet.  Then slowly she knelt upright.  She looked to Jesus, and then cast her eyes to the earthen floor.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus spoke a sharp rebuke as his eyes swept the room and rested briefly on Judas.  He felt deep anger and sadness in his heart as her heard Judas criticize the act of love he had just witnessed.  He knew that Judas concern was not for the poor, but for his own personal benefit.  Jesus knew that he frequently stole from the treasury purse for which he was responsible.  “The poor you will have with you for the rest of your lives.  But I will not always be with you.”  He looked straight into Mary’s face and his voice softened.  “She has done what was in her power to do.  She has saved this perfume to honor the day of my burial.”  Mary dared to raise her eyes from the floor to her Master’s face.  The troubled look in her eyes melted into peace and joy.  Her gift had been accepted, and cherished.

He has deep appreciation for what we pour out to him from our hearts.

Hear his appreciation in the face of misunderstanding and criticism from others.

GIVE this appreciation to our Brothers and Sisters as we each offer what is in our ability.

And when the voice of the accuser is strong, let us hear the voice of Jesus:  Leave her alone:  she is doing what is in her power to do.

I will focus on the voice of Jesus and do what is in my power to do!

Teach me to be an influence that honors You

Do you have a realm of influence in your life that intimidates you at times?  It could be the responsibilities of mother-hood, of father-hood, of friendship, of church privileges,  the challenge of a job position.  These responsibilities all entail a sphere of influence which requires different degrees and applications of leadership.

I have a wonderful challenge at work in the area of managing employees.   I find great strength in claiming 1 Kings 3:7-9.

 “And now O LORD my God,  Thou hast made thy servant king…[a leader]

But I am a little child.  I know not how to go out or come in.  And thy servant is in the midst of a great people which thou hast chosen,  a great people that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude.

Give therefore thy servant an understanding  [#8035 to hear intelligently with implication of attention, obedience] to judge thy people  [#8199 pronounce sentence, to vindicate, punish, by ext to govern, passively to litigate] that I may discern [995 separate mentally or distinguish] between good and bad.”  1 Kings 3:7-9

You have given me this privilege of influence and leadership. But I need your help. There are many people, many needs, many issues that need to be addressed.

Help me to intelligently listen to Your wisdom and guidance as I listen to these precious people, so that I can make righteous decisions, give proper discipline, exercise appropriate mercy and accountability.

 Be strong and of good courage, and do it:  fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my Godwill be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee,  until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
1 Chronicles 28:20