Absence

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Absence, the opposite of presence. We know the saying that absence make the heart grow fonder, but does it? Or does it wear away at our souls  turning in to sorrow or grief, what if days or weeks turn into months or years.

Families who are distant hardly know each other and reunions aren’t enough or the occasional get together or holiday meal. They don’t really know each other. While you may love them, are you fonder of them, when you hear the same few old and dull family stories? Even husbands and wives who live in the same home but have separate lives, love waxes cold, not fonder, the more time apart.

What does the Bible say about absence? Hebrews 11:1 says that because Jesus ascended, His absence is the crown of our faith.  Paul tells the Phillipians in 2:12, that they have obeyed in his presence and in his absence, and they should continue to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.

It is sound advice for all believers whether in the presence of believers or pastors or anyone, to still obey the Lord, fear and trembling, is like with reverence and awe. We do not fear God because we love Him and He us, but we know it is in our best interest to obey. Trembling, the Holy Spirit can be overpowering, it is not the fear from the enemy, you are safe with Jesus, even if the Spirit moves you.

2 Corinthians 5:9 says we are to conduct ourselves worthy of the gospel, just as those in Corinth were told whether Paul was absent or present. Whether Jesus was absent or present. Do people really not know God sees their hearts and all they do and He knows all we think, hears every word?

Paul also speaks of being absent from the body and being present with the Lord. Not only in death, but there were times he was not sure if he was alive being in the Spirit, remember Paul taught about the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, just before the love chapter 13, which is a portrait of Christ and a perfect example or His agape love.

Personally, I think we could all use time apart, but not so much as to lose the intimacy of husband and wife. The closeness of family. No one wants to cook every Sunday dinner or attend every function at church, see every child’s soccer game, but to never visit,call or write, is being absent, and I don’t think the heart grows fonder.

If it were not for the Holy Spirit, and a close few, I would be so lost longing for the love of Jesus, it is just not the same without His presence. Yesterday’s post if you care to read it. Rebecca Jones

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Presence

 

Presence is defined as the physical act of being somewhere or an influence or spirit of someone who is in a place but not seen.  An example is a wedding invitation. You’re presence is requested, you are invited. As for the spirit, it reads feeling the presence of a ghost, but we know the presence of the Holy Ghost. And I know this is not a dove, but it’s a pretty picture.

Another definition is vicinity, existence, and proximity. Isn’t that great? Jesus is that close, in the person of the Holy Spirit. He’s as close as whisper, the mere mention of His name, we can call on  Him anytime, day or night. What a blessing, what a joy, that the Lord is in control and on the throne.

We know that in His presence we can have peace and the fullness of joy, Psalm 89:15 says we are blessed if we acclaim Him, and walk in His light. And 139:7 asks where we can go to flee His presence. My question is why would you want to? We will appear in the presence of Christ who will judge the living and dead. 2 Timothy 4:1

By loving not in word or deed but by action and truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence.  1 John 3:18,19 Moses was told in Exodus 33:14, that God’s presence would go before him and He would give him rest. And of course Psalm 23 reminds us that He prepares us a table in the presence of our enemies, ( both literal and spiritual ).

You hide them in the shelter of your presence, safe from those who conspire against them. You shelter them in your presence, far from accusing tongues. Psalm 31:20, this is from the New Living version, others say slanderous or quarrelsome tongues. Please note that I use different translations, and realize that the King James Version is the preference of some, aren’t we supposed to study for ourselves and rightly divide by the Holy Spirit. Other versions predated that one, and the Bible was originally in Hebrew and Greek. I consider it a blessing to share truthfully and simply, His love for us.

Finally, a few more verses, we can meditate and study on these and others, and soak in His presence through music and quiet devotional time. Jude 1:24 says that Jesus is able to keep us from stumbling and present us in His glory, spotless and with great joy. Acts 3:19 says we should repent, so that the times of refreshing in the Lord would come. Isn’t that great, just turn your day around as only He can.

The mountains quake in His presence in Isaiah 64:1 but Psalm 21:6 declares, Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. That’s wonderful, because we do not want to be separated from His presence as those in 2 Thessalonians 1:9 Rebecca Jones

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Authority

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Most believers don’t use enough of their spiritual authority. Why? Fear is a big reason, the enemies lies have convinced many that spiritual gifts are not real. Miracles don’t really happen, that they will never make it. You know the mindset.

Remember, the centurion, one of the two people in Scripture with great faith told Jesus that he too was a man of authority. He was not a Jew, and readily believed that all Jesus had to do was to issue an order.

Adam lost his authority in the beginning, Jesus took it back and restores it to us in Luke 10:17. Believers have complete authority over the devil and all his minions, Jesus says nothing will hurt us, because He is the real authority. He is backing us up.

There were some who attempted to cast out devils and the devils recognized Jesus name, but not them and got beaten up. We must be careful to pray as the Holy Spirit directs us.

We can take authority over our own lives and begin to remove his influences over us. we do not to need to fearful because Jesus is with us. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate authority, we are to submit to authority, but not condone wrong doing, and if you don’t think your pastors or teachers are offering wisdom, the Lord will guide you to the right place. We need not live in confusion when Jesus is clear that He gives us authority and His name to use.

The enemy will make you doubt. And his authority is limited by our thoughts, words and actions, if you don’t use yours, be sure he will use his. And I had rather be under Jesus rule, than to give the devil an inch and him be the ruler.

Authority is the power to determine, adjudicate, or otherwise settle issues or disputes, jurisdiction, the right to control, command, or determine. And a power or right delegated or given. So this is what Jesus gives us. Rebecca Jones / photo…actress Jean Alwyn in a military costume from 1907

Grace

She could be the face of grace, but the true face of grace is that of Jesus Christ. John 1:17, decrees that true grace and truth came into being by means of Jesus Christ, that we can receive grace and a deeper realization of Him, the verse reads, For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Hearing the grace message was a God send to me. I had struggled with the faith and charismatic teachings, but after hearing grace, His unfailing love, what He did and finished, I started to heal in many ways. I knew that we were saved by grace and not works, Ephesians 2:8 but still felt I was doing something wrong. That’s when grace stepped in, I was disqualifying myself and many people do. 2 Corinthians 13:5, we have to know He is us, and part of that is grace.

John 1:14 says in relationship to the Word being made flesh, Jesus, that He was the one and only Son of God and we have seen His glory, that He is full of grace and truth. Timothy says that grace and love were poured out on him abundantly. 1 Timothy 1:14. We see the words grace upon grace, or grace for grace. It is a continuous and freely given gift from Jesus.

Now to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Ephesians 4:7 Romans 12:3 refers to a measure of faith, that is something we have to grow in, but grace comes through Jesus. Although it says that wen He ascended , that He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men, which I have written about and taken to mean resurrecting those from paradise temporarily, before they too ascended, it obviously has deeper meaning in the fact that He take us captive and gives us gifts we don’t deserve but for His sacrifice.

Grace comes from the word charis, where our word charisma comes from. It is an undeserved favor and merit or kindness from Jesus, It concerns me that in the grace movement people abuse their grace and keep living any lifestyle, we can also compare it to the parable of the talents, even the prodigal son.

In both cases, the Father is perceived in a bad light and the one giving talents, a hard man. This is a bad perception of a loving God who gave His only begotten Son.  God opposes the proud but favors the humble.  James 4:6 The word for favor here is charin, grace also in 1 Peter 5:5.

I am still amazed at Ephesians 4:7 and that a commentary suggests it is not pour out equally as manna, and Jesus is the bread of heaven but as He decides, perhaps by our capacity to receive. And it is not a gift that we can exhaust, although we receive grace that is sufficient as Paul said.

And when he said that grace abounds where there is sin, he did not mean for us to keep being willing sinners after receiving the gift of grace or salvation, only how much more the degree of forgiveness is available for those are willing to repent. Grace in the person of Jesus Christ rescues us from evil, and protects us from evil desires and the wicked one.

Thank God for His grace, grace and peace to you all. Rebecca Jones

Redeemed

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Redeemed, another word we take for granted, the eternal sacrifice of the beloved Son of God, Jesus. We know we are redeemed but from more than hell. We are redeemed from the law of sin and death and we are also to say so, and we know our redeemer lives and we say so celebrating His resurrection. We are redeemed by His blood.

His sacrifice included so much more, freedom from sin, we are not slaves to it. Health, He was beaten for us. He wore a crown of thorns for our peace. Isn’t redeemed a more complete salvation, spirit, soul and body? Let’s look at a broader definition.

To buy back, to pay off, recover, exchange or convert. Good basic definitions, here are some more To gain possession of, to  purchase back; to ransom, to liberate or rescue from captivity or bondage, or from any obligation or liability to suffer or to be forfeited, by paying an equivalent; as, to redeem prisoners or captured goods.

Isn’t that great? As unsaved people we were under the devil’s rule. As believers, the blood of Jesus purchased us from eternal hell and so much more during our life if we allow Him to intervene in it. And why shouldn’t we? He redeemed us to purify us to Himself, He wants us to enjoy working for Him. Colossians 1:14

He ransomed us, purchased us, our very souls from the clutches of the wicked one. Next time we read the word redeemed, we will have a clearer understanding of just how complete an offering He was for anyone who would believe, and the redeemed should say so. Psalm 107:2 Rebecca Jones

Galatians 3:13, Ephesians 1:7

Handiwork

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This post came about while discussing handiwork and workmanship with a friend. She said handiwork made her think of little things knitted for her children who are grown. But added how workmanship defines God’s artistry.

My reply to Rachel was a kind of, I see. ” Are you a pot holder or a portrait? ” God is a master craftsman, Jesus was a skilled carpenter. While we are knit together in our mother’s wombs, and knit is a perfect word here because of all the little molecules, strands of DNA, cells, handiwork may not have the same quite the same emphasis. Psalm 139:13.

The heavens declare His handiwork. Psalm 19:1. Brilliant artwork or folk art? No offense to folk art. The stars are composed of billions of particles and there are too many to count, yet He calls them all by name, just like He calls us. And we are His workmanship, created to do the things He planned. Ephesians 2:10.

Handiwork is something literally done, made or achieved by hand, the work of a particular person, in this instance, God. Not a bad definition. There are many talented and skilled people at various pursuits. Now, let’s look at workmanship, the level of skill by an artisan. It refers to quality and excellence of something crafted or made by hand. This is a perfect translation for Ephesians 2:10, because Jesus finishes the masterpiece of salvation in us and we become a new creation in Him. 2 Thessalonians 5:17.

There are people who knit beautifully, and there are some who do it for fun.  And people like me, gifted in other ways. There are artists, writers sculptors and musicians, all with varying degrees of talent. Some study and others are gifted or prodigies. Most people excel at one thing more than another, yet we can all have many gifts in God. Are you an amateur’s attempt at pottery or a chosen vessel, a vase full of sea glass picked up on the beach or a fine  piece of blown glass, one of a kind and valued?

Potholder or portrait? How do you see yourself? More importantly, how does God see you?  Whether, you paint like an artist or paint by numbers, sew or even make fine lace, whether you hum a tune of sing His praise, being His handiwork is good, His workmanship better. Because of Jesus, we are His masterpiece to display in heaven, and even here on earth. Rebecca Jones

Slave

Slave, the Greek word is doulos. I recently read that there is a book out. Apparently, it has been translated wrong on a number of occasions in the King James, after a study of the Guttenberg Bible which predates it by about a 150 years. Let’s look at the word slave, in the Hebrew it is ebed, a male slave, a female slave, I think you’ll like, we’ amah, which is actually bondwoman.

Let’s look at the English dictionary, a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another, a bond servant. A person who is entirely under the domination of some influence or person. Without going through each verse and every translation we see the interchangeable of slave and servant.

A lot of people serve at the king’s pleasure or leisure. That is more in line with what Paul was talking about in calling himself a slave to Christ. He was indeed bound to Jesus but willingly, so servant is perhaps the better word. In other references, slave does mean being in bondage, the property of someone. You can read for yourselves the Old Testament laws. Some were born into slavery, others were captured.

Needless to say a slave’s life was hard and sometimes, if not most times, cruel, depending on the circumstances and whims of the master. Joseph prospered through God and got higher in rank, he ran Potiphar’s household, but he was still a slave. He was not free to go. Servant is a good word for Joseph too. Jesus was called a servant not a slave, He willingly served His Father. And remember the Prodigal’s father was also a type of Heavenly Father.

When his wayward son returned only because of his hunger, the father never gave him the chance to ask to be a slave or servant, he was still a son. According to law, he could have had him stoned. Inheritances are not given until you die, the boy wished his father dead, and still he allowed him to wander, much like God will let us learn from our mistakes. He never causes the trouble but will use it for our good. The prodigal knew that the father’s servants or slaves were treated well and had plenty of food, they prospered, and likely loved their master, this is not the case with all slave owners.

Potiphar treated Joseph well until his wife accused him falsely. That can happen to servants of God and you have to watch for the enemy to accuse you, he has no access to heaven as in Job’s day because of the blood of Jesus, so he has to go after the minds of believers. It is he who enslaves people to sin and drugs, and other devices.

Now, let’s look at some Scripture. Galatians 4:7 declares us to be sons or daughters and heirs to Christ. That is neither servant or slave, remember, Jesus asked the Father to love us as He did Him. So we would love like Jesus and obey out of respect, reverence, and be happy to serve Him. Romans 6:16 says we are either slaves to sin, which brings death or slaves to obedience, which brings righteousness. Servant works here too.

In John 8:35, we know He makes us free indeed, but read it all and find that a slave has no permanent place but a son does. 1 Corinthians 7:22, you were slave when called you, now you are free. Galatians 5:1 warns us not to get entangled again into the yoke of slavery. He died to free us. We should definitely want to yoke to Jesus. Ephesians 6:9, tells the master how to treat slaves, I wonder how many people neglected that verse or used it unjustly?

Finally, Jesus in John 15:15 no longer calls the disciples servants but friends, because He is including them in His business, so you see how high ranking Joseph was even before going to prison only to become even higher ranking. He was free in God, though a slave and some people are more free in their souls in prison, not being a slave to sin. And some are prisoners in other way of fear, guilt, shame, but He died for us to be free, no longer slaves, we serve Him out of love.

He is our friend and our freedom forever, if we are born again. we do not have to be a slave to our flesh, sin or the devil. Rebecca Jones

 

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