Christ…The Beginning of the Creation of God

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As Christmas approaches, preparing for God’s Gift, Who came over 2,000 years ago, is the most important part of Christmas.  It is not as though I forget Him the rest of the year, but as the world prepares for the season of Christmas, so much happens…shopping, decorating, spending more money than one has by taking out loans or using credit, preparing a large meal for lot of family and friends, parties, etc.  The older I become, the less Christmas looks like all of that for me.  It is a holy day, not a holiday, for me.  Yes, I do a few of those Christmas things, but very little.  I am drawn closer to the Lord.  I want to delve into just Who this precious Gift is for me, discovering newness about Jesus all of the time.  I want to live for Him in the ways that He wants me to live.  I want to know Him…to really KNOW Him. 

Jesus is the BEGINNING OF THE CREATION OF GOD

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:….”  Revelation 3:14

the Beginning

ἀρχή

archē

that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause

Jesus is the very first, the ultimate start of all that was to come.

of the creation

κτίσις

ktisis

the sum or aggregate of things created

Jesus was the first of all to be created.  Everything else came after Him, through Him, by Him.  Amen. 

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.   John 1:1-2

From Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

“From whom this message was sent. Here our Lord Jesus styles himself the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.

(1.) The Amen, one that is steady and unchangeable in all his purposes and promises, which are all yea, and all amen.

(2.) The faithful and true witness, whose testimony of God to men ought to be received and fully believed, and whose testimony of men to God will be fully believed and regarded, and will be a swift but true witness against all indifferent lukewarm professors.

(3.) The beginning of the creation of God, either of the first creation, and so he is the beginning, that is, the first cause, the Creator, and the Governor of it; or of the second creation, the church; and so he is the head of that body, the first-born from the dead, as it is in ch. 1:5, whence these titles are taken. Christ, having raised up himself by his own divine power, as the head of a new world, raises up dead souls to be a living temple and church to himself.”

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the Seed from which grows the plant

the Acorn from which sprouts an oak tree

an egg from which grows a chick, a duck, a bird

an egg from which come one or more of the mammal species

an egg fertilized becomes a human baby…a mammal species

Beginnings

Growth

Development

Changes

Beauty

Love

Joy

Peace

Compassion

…and so much more…all that is Jesus.

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Jesus is the first, the beginning of all that was, and is, and is to come.

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.   1 John 1:1-4

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.  And He is the head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.  Colossians 1:15-18

First…He always was.  Oh, how fine to know that He is and was, and will always be.  We can trust that He will be with us and for us…for always.

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Our Father, You created me.  Through Your Son, I am adopted into Your Family.  I am Your daughter.  Thank You, thank You.  As Christmas nears, I bow.  Your Son is the greatest Gift I could have ever received in my whole life.  My parents were generous and loved Christmas.  They had fun giving to their children.  You are my Father and loved giving Jesus to me.  How blessed I am.  Nothing can top Jesus as a Gift. Nothing.  You also gifted me (and so many others) with  Your Holy Spirit to teach me, pray for me when I know not what to say, to guide me in Your ways, and so much more.  I feel so blessed this day and know that I never need another gift.  I have the All of all.  I lift up those who do not know You as Lord and Savior.  I pray for their souls, Father.  Thank You for loving us right to Your heart.  You want us to come to You.  I pray that many others will receive the precious gift of salvation in these coming weeks.  Praising You, Father, for Jesus, the Beginning of creation.  In HIs Name, I do pray.  Amen.

 

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Stumble … Stumbling … A Stumbling Block @ Beloved Prodigal

 

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Monday’s Breaking Bread

I am blessed to share God’s Word Over at Beloved Prodigal. May the Holy Spirit open the eyes of our hearts to delight in and be strengthened by the Word He has brought us today.

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I have stumbled many times in the physical sense…as a child, I ran faster than my legs could go, tripping over things; as a teen, I would be busy talking, a curb attacked me which I never saw coming; as an adult, I might trip over a leg on a piece of furniture; as a senior adult with my spinal cord having bone spurs, disk problems, and a cyst, I began stumbling over things and even over nothing…I just fell.  Stumbling happens to many, if not most, of us.

I have also stumbled spiritually.  Oh, my!  Yes, I lost my way…wandered in deserts, in places where wild things lived.

God talks about stumbling in His Word, both the Old Testament and the New.  We stumble spiritually when we disobey God, when we don’t listen to know His way for us.  We can easily be led astray, causing us to stumble spiritually.

….  Please join me for the rest of this post @ Beloved Prodigal.

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Memories of Trains

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“And the LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”
  Isaiah 58:11

This post is different for me but I have been listening to the sounds of trains since we moved to Lufkin.  Trains have always delighted me, since I was a young girl.

A number of trains run through this town each and every day.  As they move from one end to another, they cross intersections of the town so the horn must be blown.

From our home, we cannot see the train, but it can be heard, especially when the wind is out of the north and northeast. Clear and loud…these sounds make me smile.  Take a short listen of what it (almost) sounds like for me (just listening to the beginning is enough to hear what I hear, except I am further away):

The train was endearing for me as a little girl.  When I was young, we lived on a Naval hospital base, about 4 miles from a railroad track.  When Daddy got home from work at the hospital, he would pile 2 of us girls in the car, go down to the tracks and wait for the five-something o’clock train (letting Mom get dinner without the 2 older kids while the youngest, being an infant, was napping).  We loved to wave to the engineer and he would blow that horn for us.  I was in early elementary school so counting the cars was a great exercise for my brain.  Of course, my sister (3 years younger) wanted to imitate me so she was learning to count too.  The train draws me back to those younger days and times with my father.

While living there in this small town, the second graders got to go to the San Diego Zoo for a field trip.  We lived a bit over 100 miles away.  We boarded buses early in the morning, taking us to the Riverside, CA train station.  From there we boarded the train to San Diego.  We spent the better part of the day at the zoo after a wonderful train ride.  Then back on the train to Riverside and buses to home.  What a great field trip!  That was 63 years ago and I remember it as if it were yesterday!

"CALIFORNIA San Diego - Santa Fe Train Station, Bekins 1950s"
“CALIFORNIA San Diego – Santa Fe Train Station, Bekins 1950s”

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When my Daddy became very ill, my parents sent us from Washington, D.C. (where he was stationed) to Boston on the train for a couple of weeks to vacation with some family friends.  The three of us girls rode together, alone.  I was 12 and my sisters were 9 and 6 at the time.  We thought we had grown up…riding the train without our parents.  We ate on the train, turned our tickets into the conductor, walked through a couple of cars, and watched people.  Fun for us and helped us forget how sick Daddy was.

I lived in Washington, D.C. twice in my life.  For the adult period, I was teaching in the DC Public Schools.  Union Station became a favorite place for me. I would change subways there, catching the Red Line.  I would often go upstairs for a minute, above the underground rails, before catching that homeward-bound train, just to see the beautiful old station.  At Christmas, they would have a few concerts in the Main Hall.  Oh my, it was so beautiful and wonderful!

During the 1980s, retail stores and restaurants began to be added in several areas of the station.  I returned to our Capital in 2013.  I was so saddened by the transformation that had happened to Union Station between 1989 and 2013…crowded with people, stores, cafes, island-type tiny shops.  It was so noisy.  What was once a gorgeous station was no more.  BUT…the Federal Railroad Administration and the State Historic Preservation Office stepped in and by May 2016, the Main Hall has been renovated back to the way it had been.  Oh, how glad I am to see this picture and the way it is NOW…again!

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Union Station, Washington, D.C. 2017

Kenneth and I have been on a few trains drawn by steam engines…delightful rides through lovely scenery too.

Here is just an example of the sounds which they are famous for, and make me smile!

The Metro Subway in Washington, D.C. gives me pleasure in a different sense than a train…smooth, mellow, fast or slow, light or dark depending on where I am on the line.  The subway became my main transportation while I lived and worked there.  I rode the bus too as I had no car.  I liked that.

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The sounds and feelings of trains and subways are so special to me.  I just love them.

A.B. Simpson (1843 – 1919) wrote: “God is looking for men on whom He can put the weight of all His love and power and faithful promises.  God’s engines are strong enough to draw any weight we attach to them. Unfortunately the cable which we fasten to the engine is often too weak to hold the weight of our prayer; therefore God is drilling us, disciplining us to stability and certainty in the life of faith.  Let us learn our lessons and stand fast.”

And a sweet hymn to offer before we go today:

“Life Is Like A Mountain Railroad”

Author: Eliza Roxey Snow 1804-1887;  Author: M. E. Abbey (Minister in GA in 1890s)

…that this is God, our God forever and ever.  He will be our guide forever.  Psalm 48:14 (guiding Scripture for hymn)

Life is like a mountain railroad,
With an engineer that’s brave;
We must make the run successful,
From the cradle to the grave;
Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels;
Never falter, never quail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eye upon the rail.

Refrain:
Blessed Savior, Thou wilt guide us,
Till we reach the blissful shore,
Where the angels wait to join us
In Thy praise forevermore.

You will roll up grades of trial;
You will cross the bridge of strife;
See that Christ is your conductor
On this lightning train of life;
Always mindful of obstruction,
Do your duty, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eye upon the rail. [Refrain]

You will often find obstructions,
Look for storms and wind and rain;
On a fill, or curve, or trestle
They will almost ditch your train;
Put your trust alone in Jesus,
Never falter, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eye upon the rail. [Refrain]

As you roll across the trestle,
Spanning Jordan’s swelling tide,
You behold the Union Depot
Into which your train will glide;
There you’ll meet the Sup’rintendent,
God the Father, God the Son,
With the hearty, joyous plaudit,
“Weary pilgrim, welcome home.” [Refrain]

Yes, “weary pilgrim, welcome home.”  What a blessing to think upon this, most of all.

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Train in Lufkin, TX: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=QYB9jWOalYI

Santa Fe Station in San Diego, CA – postcard “CALIFORNIA San Diego – Santa Fe Train Station, Bekins 1950s”   http://neplains.com/californiasandiego-santafetrainstationbekins1950s.aspx

Outside the San Diego station:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/tall_dude/3175800704

Steam Locomotive: Bells and Whistleshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=utg0tK7cDbE

Metro Subway:  https://www.eiseverywhere.com/ehome/2012ALC/dc/

Metro Map:  http://www.railfanguides.us/dc/metro/

 

 

 

Abased and Content…Pondering Together

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Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.  Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  Philippians 4:11-12

“I know how to be abased….”  Abased As I read this Scripture, I understand, sort of, what that word means, but I want to dig deeper to really know what Paul was saying here.

In the Greek, the word, itself, can be interpreted in slightly different ways.

ταπεινόω

tapeinoō

Pronunciation:  tä-pā-no’-ō
 
  1. to make low, bring low:  to level, reduce to a plain
2.  to bring into it humble condition, reduce to meaner circumstances; i. e. α. to assign a lower rank or place to; to abaseto be ranked below others who are honored or rewarded: to humble or abase myself, by frugal living; of one who submits to want; of one who stoops to the condition of s servant.
3. to lower, depress. humble: one’s soul, bring down one’s pride; to have a modest opinion of oneself, to behave in an unassuming manner devoid of all haughtiness; to confess and deplore one’s spiritual littleness and unworthiness, (he afflicted his soul), of persons fasting, to disturb, distress, the soul of one.

4. to humiliate: to submit oneself in a lowly spirit to the power and will of God; equivalent to to put to the blush

 

From several different Bible versions, this word, abased, is also translated:

NIV – I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

ESV – I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound.  In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

NASB – I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.

NET – I have experienced times of need and times of abundance. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment, whether I go satisfied or hungry, have plenty or nothing.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary:  “To accommodate ourselves to an afflicted condition-to know how to be abased, how to be hungry, how to suffer want, so as not to be overcome by the temptations of it, either to lose our comfort in God or distrust His providence, or to take any indirect course for our own supply.”

So when afflicted, God wants us to know that this is part of living in and for Him.  This Christian life is not all perfect and beautiful.  There are hard times and lowly times.  When times look up, He desires that we know His ways through which we handle those, as well.
 

“To a prosperous condition-to know how to abound, how to be full, so as not to be proud, or secure, or luxurious. And this is as hard a lesson as the other; for the temptations of fulness and prosperity are not less than those of affliction and want.”

Jesus is the Way through which we can handle every aspect of life.  Jesus is our Comforter and our Provider.  He is the One Who strengthens us from moment to moment.  No matter what situation we find ourselves in or put ourselves in, we need to look to the One Who is strong and will strengthen us in order to walk through each stage of life, each step in life.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.  Psalm 121:1-2

We are to learn to walk in this life, in this world content…in every situation, in all circumstances…content.  What now does “content” mean?  Verse 11 uses this word in one way or another to describe the way we should be in any and all types of life’s experiences whether good or bad, rich or poor, healthy or sick, etc.


Content
in the Greek:

αὐτάρκης

autarkēs

sufficient for oneself, strong enough or possessing enough to need no aid or support

independent of external circumstances

accepting of one’s lot, with one’s means, though the slenderest

Being content seems to come from within ourselves from these definitions, yet being able to handle all or any situation truly must come through Christ.

“But how must we learn it? I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, v. 13. We have need of strength from Christ, to enable us to perform not only those duties which are purely Christian, but even those which are the fruit of moral virtue. We need his strength to teach us to be content in every condition. The apostle had seemed to boast of himself, and of his own strength: I know how to be abased; but here he transfers all the praise to Christ. “What do I talk of knowing how to be abased, and how to abound? It is only through Christ who strengthens me that I can do it, not in my own strength.’ So we are required to be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, and to be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus; and we are strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. The word in the original is a participle of the present tense, en toµ endynamounti me Christoµ, and denotes a present and continued act; as if he had said, “Through Christ, who is strengthening me, and does continually strengthen me; it is by his constant and renewed strength I am enabled to act in every thing; I wholly depend upon him for all my spiritual power.'”  Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Philippians 4

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I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.
 
Philippians 4:13

Father God, You have given us life.  Each precious breath is from You.  We are given those breaths one at a time just as we are given the strength we need to handle abasement and abundance.  You want us to depend upon You from moment-to-moment, breath-upon-breath.  You call us to lean on Your understanding and not our own.  You ask us to ask and pray.  You call upon us to live for You, loving and caring for others.  I pray that I am able.
 

Preserve my life, for I am holy;
You are my God;
Save Your servant who trusts in You!  Psalm 86:2 

May my eyes and heart stay upon You, and may I lean neither to the right or to the left but directly upon You.  I also want to be pleasing unto You, LORD, and to stay near to You.Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you.  And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.  1 Thessalonians 3:11-13

In the Holy Name of Christ Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

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