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Will to Will

Today’s thoughts from John

“I will praise You, O Lord, with my whole heart;  I will tell of all your marvelous works.

  I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your Name, O Most High.”     Psalm 9:1,2

 

Notice in these verses, the four referances to the “will”:

I will praise

I will tell

I will be glad and rejoice

I will sing praise

When I was at a YWAM meeting in Hawaii in 1985, a guest missionary shared that,

 “the only thing the Lord wants from us that we are able to give is…our will.” 

This will is the heart’s/mind’s decision to choose the Lord, to seek His Kingdom.  Though the Lord reaches out to us, woos us and draws us to Himself,  it is our Will that must respond.   And in these verses, it is with the Whole Heart!

He is to be our focus, our story, our praise and joy, and our song!

Help me, God, to will Your Will and to give you praise with my whole heart!

Thank you, Lord, for You!

After Two Years

 “And of His fulness we have received and grace upon grace.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”  John 1:16,17

I started this blog just over two years ago.  In celebration, I’ve given the blog a new look!   There’s so many WordPress themes to choose from, that I may try something different every week! 

When I considered a name for this blog, I knew GRACE had to be the central theme, for above all, I longed for readers, droppers- by, and Google searchers to learn of the riches of God’s grace through Jesus Christ.  Sovereign, sacrificial, perfect, and absolute.  

Absolute:  Complete, pure, unrestricted, independent, unqualified, unconditional, self-existent and conceivable without relation to other things.

Grace:  Unmerited favour of God, inspiring and strengthening influence, unconstrained goodwill. 

Absolutegrace exists to humbly proclaim the perfect, pure, unqualified, unconditional, and unmerited favour of God towards us, which He demonstrated through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus!

After two years, I hope I’ve not deviated (much) from the main purpose of this blog.  I haven’t carved out a great place in the blogosphere, or gathered grand numbers, or made any money from blogging.  I’m still a novice.  But I’ve learned a lot from blogging, and even more so, from reading other’s.   I’ve been reminded of my lack of discipline, and quake under the broad range and reach of other’s talents.   And, I’m struggling to learn the lessons of  ‘not comparing myself with others,’ but focus on glorifying the Lord and “ministering grace to the hearers.”

After two years,

I’ve also learned:

Everyone loves music, pictures, and babies.
Friends and family are too kind. 
There’s wonderful Christians in the blogger world. 
A LOT of people are searching for God, truth, and forgiveness on the internet. 
Friendships can be made through blogging.  And have been…

I’ve made new friends:

Lidj in the Philippines
PreacherPen in Florida
Michael Brewer in the Navy
Carrie
and Beth in Tennessee
Gladwell, from Kenya, living in Poland
Ele, Counselor and Author
Marianne
Mercedes in the UK
Heidi
, and many others

These posts were read most:

His Passion
Life is Loud  (“grinch” goggle searches 🙂 )
Psalm 23: Keith Green
Grace in Marriage
Worship with Mary Barrett and 2 other posts about her
Hands that Care
Artist and Missionary:  Lilias Trotter

I wish these were read more:

The Bible, God’s Word
A Secret Place
Thankful for God’s Word
Resting in Jesus

John’s Journals

I hope to:

Post more thoughts from John, because he has a lot of good ones 🙂
Share more of his photos
Change my webpage theme periodically, as I mentioned earlier.

What do you think of this one?  Please let me know how it appears, or if you prefer the old way.

Please, I’d love to hear from you, what you like, what could be improved, or suggestions for posts, discussions, and music.  Thank you for coming back again and again. 

You are precious to me and devoted to a fault!     Blessings!

The Big Picture

“Jesus wept. And so the Jews were saying, ‘Behold how He loved him! Could not this man, which opened the eyes of him who was blind, have kept this man [Lazarus] also from dying?'” John 11:35-37

We all have said similar things in response to sorrows and problems which we have.  If Jesus can open the eyes of the blind and raise the dead, then, “couldn’t He have prevented bad things from happening?”

We learn from these verses that although Jesus CAN do the miracle, He often has a larger picture in mind, one which we fail to see because of our own sorrow, grief, or misunderstanding of our life and times.

We can trust the Lord to complete the Big Picture of His will for each of us.

“Did I not say to you, if you believe, you will see the Glory of God?”  [vs 40]

The Big Picture is the Glory of God.

 

[An initial premise of this blog was to share not only my thoughts, but the invariably deeper, more profound musings of my husband, John.  This post, and several to come, will be posted in a new category, John Owen’s Journal, John on John.]

Loss of a Friend

Weizen aka Bob

Bob is no longer with us.   He’s been part of our family for over 11 years.  His real name is Weizen, which our daughter, Grace gave him when she first saw his soft white-wheat coat and golden eyelashes.  Weizen was her 16th birthday present…and a lot more to our whole family:  best friend, companion, counselor, listener, and spiritual teacher.   Those closest to us may have also recognized Bob as John’s alter ego, his reason to get home, and often, his reason to wake up each day.

Some of John’s thoughts prior and upon this difficult time:

August 20th:

Today, I called the animal clinic concerning putting Bob to sleep.  It is really difficult for me emotionally, but as Bob’s primary caretaker, I need to make this decision based upon his needs.  Thank you Lord, for letting me care for this beautiful animal.  He has a wonderful spirit and I will miss him more than I can let myself admit today.  Bob has represented the sovereign will of God in our lives.  Many places would I have gone but did not, because of Bob, yet many other places we went or lived would not have been, except for our consideration of Bob’s needs and place in our lives.
As with our faith in God, many people questioned me about why I didnt put Weizen aside so we could travel.  My answer is, I am an emotional being and I could not be ME and do that.  Help me, Lord Jesus, to have the strength to do what is right!

Bob will be fondly remembered through pictures and memories, as the true soul mate he was to all of us.  Life is spiritual, life is eternal, and the physical is momentary–I know when we are in God’s Kingdom, Weizen will run up to greet us once again!

I doubt that I’ll be able to write tomorrow, or for a while as I am such an emotional creation.

The Holy Spirit encouraged me from Hebrews 4:13-16, to let me know that He will be with me and Bob when the time comes:

“Before Him, no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the One to Whom we must render an account. Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore approach the throne of Grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find Grace to help in our time of need.”

August 22nd:

Yesterday, our beloved friend and companion went home to be with the angels. This experience is among the most painful moments in my life.  Bob fell asleep after being sedated and we said goodbye… This was my first morning without Bob’s presence, and yet I sense him even more!  Thank you Lord, for giving us hope!  The Lord offered some comfort for me through Romans 8:18-39, a beautiful portion of His word concerning death, life, and God’s love in Christ towards us:

Vs. 20:  Creation (Bob) was subjected to futility (sin), not of his (Bob’s) own will or fault, but by the will of the One who subjected creation (Bob) that is God, in hope that the creation (Bob) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  We know that the whole creation has been groaning [including animals, in my opinion], with labour pains until now; and not only creation, but we [humans] ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoptions, the redemption of our bodies.”

Bob has been “set free”! 

I like verse 26….“likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”  I am weak, and we read in Hebrews, Jesus is able to help us in our times of weakness.  Thank you, Lord.

Verses 24 and 25 also give me hope:
For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what is seen?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

To paraphrase another verse (Proverbs 13:12) on hope:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick.  But when hope is fulfilled, it brings forth new life!

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” 

1 Corinthians 15:55-57

GodFather

Since it’s not too far removed from Father’s Day, I thought I’d share some thoughts John wrote in his journal several years ago, about God as his, and our, Father.

“Father”:  Latin, pater:  nourisher, protector, upholder

In the Beginning

I believe that men and women of every age, race, and culture are searching for their spiritual father–their God Father.  The emptiness or void that is felt in our lives is meant to be occupied by the Spirit of our Heavenly Father.  Our spiritual being is the part of us where this relationship begins and grows; ultimately, bringing us to fulfillment and contentment in the presence of our Father God.

Each of us finds ourselves in a unique set of circumstances.  Our parents or lack of parents, our home life and social life are all means of communicating to us a need for a true connection, found in our Heavenly Father.  Our concept of God is distorted by negative images and illustrations of from imperfect incomplete messages about Him that we receive in our life.   These impressions, relationships and experiences all work together to establish a concept within ourselves of an imagined version of God.

Tracing back to the beginning, Genesis, establishes God’s orignial purpose and intention for creating mankind.  God’s purpose for the human race was to have many sons and daughter.  In a spiritual sense, we were destined to be the offspring of God.  In the beginning, He created man in His own image, or likeness…a creation never meant to die–physically or spiritually.  However, sin and disobedience entered the picture and separated us from our God Father.

God Intervenes:  Jesus and the Cross

Our sin must first be dealt so God’s purpose for us in eternal life can be accomplished.  Mankind died spiritually to God in the Garden. “As for you [all of us] you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the Kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.”  (Ephesians 2:1,2)

“To all who received Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God–children not born of natural descent..but born of God.”  (I Peter 1:23)

“For God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

Spiritual life was meant to be, from the beginning, enjoyed with our God and Father–but was lost to the Father of lies.  We can receive this life back through Jesus Christ and regain fellowship with the Father through Him.  Jesus stated it like this,

I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to [a relationship with] the Father unless he comes through Me.” (John 14:6)

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.  God is reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.  And He has commited to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God was making His appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made Him who had no sin [Jesus] to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Cor. 5:18-21)

Why do many who know God continue to struggle with ideas about His nature and character?

Everyone of us has a history; our childhood, our parents (or lack of parents), significant people, experiences, victories and defeats.  We carry with us these collective life experiences in our “life luggage”, and this baggage formulates concepts of love, pain, good, bad and God.  This projects upon our mind ideas about the nature of God and His character, as we imagine or conceive Him.  People who have been reconciled to their God and Father, may still struggle with love, joy, peace, and inner spiritual rest due to this baggage.

Just as there are disappointments, broken dreams, hurts, and delusions in a world without God, there are still many (of us) in the God’s family who are at various stages in the journey, struggling to be free from baggage of the past.  Sometimes it’s these issues that cause us to give up or lose heart in the process.

For example, I interpret my life and circumstances based upon my understanding of God’s nature.  I see God through the lens of my human father and my experiences with him.  If I was abused, mistreated, rejected or disappointed in my earthly relationship with my human father-or absence of a father-then I may project that experience on God, my Heavenly father.  I develope a concept within myself of an imagined version of God.  To counter this, I need to focus on God as He’s presented in His Word and through the life and eyes of Jesus.  This helps renew my image and understand about God’s true nature–which is love.

We need a renewing of our minds and spiritual help so we can unload our old baggage and replace it with new life experiences, beliefs and trust in Jesus.  He is the One who God provided to show us His true nature and character.  So we are reconciled to our GodFather through His forgiveness and grace poured out on the Cross, and we can grow in our relationship with Him through His Word, prayer (talking to Him) , and caring Christ-centered individuals who demonstrate His same love.  

“When the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs, having the Hope of Eternal Life.”  (Titus 3:4-7)

Jesus’ Prayer — Part 6

Jesus: “I Pray for Them”

Jesus’ Prayer, John 17:9-19 NIV

“I pray for them.  I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.  And glory has come to me through them.  I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.

“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as We are one.  While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me.  None has been lost except he one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.  I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” 

It would be easy to just read these words and not comprehend Who is actually saying them.  Imagine, the very Word of God in the flesh, the Creator, Beginning and End, the One who makes intercession for us by His blood and life poured out for us on the cross, praying for His disciples–and us!

In the above verses, Jesus prays specifically for the eleven disciples with Him after the Last Supper. Later in the prayer, Jesus clearly prays for all who would believe in Him through their witness of His life (all believers).  However, the principles revealed by Jesus in how He prays here are applicable to us today as well.  This prayer provides insight into what is important to the Lord regarding His people.

Protect them by the power of your name..”

 ~~This type of protection is to keep us from evil and the attacks of the enemy (vs. 15) Recall what Jesus said elsewhere:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV

~~This type of protection is also eternal!  The apostle Peter, present as Jesus prayed in John 17, later writes in one of his letters:

Praise be to the Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fadekept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”  I Peter 1:3-5 NIV

We are shielded by God until we receive the complete deliverance, body, soul, and spirit, that God has for us.  And our confidence, security, and inheritance is kept safe, and will never fade, because God has promised it!  Another example of this eternal assurance is found in Jude 24-25 NIV:

To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore.” 

Our Lord is able and He does keep us from falling away from His love and mercy.  This assurance is forever!

 ~~This type of protection brings peace.  As Isaiah said:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusts in Thee.  Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.”  Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV

God keeps us in a place of rest in Him.  This rest, this peace comes when we fix our eyes on Jesus, and focus our attention to His word. The setting of one’s mind on God results in faith to trust Him more for our needs, our strength.

~~This type of protection is guaranteed.

Because I know whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard (KJV, keep), what I have entrusted to Him for that day.”  2 Timothy 1:12-14 NIV

What have we ‘entrusted to Him?’  Our very lives, the lives of our loved ones, our cares, anxieties and concerns.  Paul is convinced that He is able to keep all he’s entrusted to God.  We, too, can be persuaded that the Lord is able to keep us in His love and protect us by His prayers.  He is able!!

We have protection from the enemy, an eternal inheritance, perfect peace as a result of His care, and the continued promise of His all-capable guarding and keeping of everything we entrust to Him.  We can rest in His love, because Jesus still prays to the Father for us.