Category Archives: God

“…..The effectial, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16 KJV

“And they stoned Stephen calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59-60 KJVIn reading above I came across this line by Augustine in a commentary, quoted by Barclay:

“The Church owes Paul to the prayer of Stephen.”

Suddenly, just like that, I was overwhelmed. And I cried. And then Lord, I marvelled.

I cried because Paul witnessed and consented to the death of a righteous man, in violence and hatred. “And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.” Acts 22:20 KJV

I cried because in this hatred Jesus showed His great mercy, so precious to a sinner like me, in revealing Himself to Paul, convicting him.

“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all re he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name.” 1 Timothy 1:16 KJV

I cried because this same Paul became the Church’s greatest missionary bringing the gospel of our salvation through Jesus to the Gentiles, to what would be all nations, peoples and tongues—-to you and me. “But the Lord said to him (Ananias), “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” Acts 9:15-16

I cried because our Saviour Jesus is indeed the one Foundation, the chief cornerstone—“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11—and all of us, from the apostles, to Stephen, to Paul and all those that followed and yes, to you and me–are all bricks in Gods impenetrable church.

And then I marvelled because I had a sudden glimpse of the wonder and sovereignty of our Great Father God. I marvelled at His Providence, of how “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. Even the death of Stephen, the first martyr of His church. I praise the God who stands and views the whole perspective of time at once and speaks a masterpiece, His word accomplishing His purposes— you, and me, being “one of those purposes.”

In tears and wonder, I echo Paul through the Holy Spirit, “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36 KJV

In Christ!

K

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“Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.” Song of Solomon. 8:13 KJV‭‭

The garden is a gift from God; it shouts His glory, His diversity, His beauty; it invites our stillness as the wind whispers through it, bestowing the fragrance of His peace upon us as we wonder and marvel at His creation and His love.  
I always feel closest to God in the garden. And why not? The two most pivotal events in the history of man happened in the garden. The first lead to defeat, despair and death; the second to victory, joy and life abundant.

“But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” Genesis 3:3 KJV

The first Adam met Satan in the Garden of Eden; by Adam’s fall sin entered the world and our flesh now contended and fought against the spirit of our God.  

“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” Gensis 3:8 KJV

We willingly gave up the fellowship and wisdom of the Father to be “wise in our own eyes”. We replaced the perfect will of the Father with the will of our own flesh. In selfishly seeking freedom from God’s rightful authority we condemned ourselves to struggle helplessly in chains—chains of sin and striving, of darkness and death.

“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he (Jesus) saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.” Mark 14:32 KJV

The second Adam battled the accuser in the garden of Gethsemane. Unlike Adam, Jesus overcame the will of his own humanity for the will of the Father. His obedience and submission silenced the accuser and set us free; free from the power of sin, free from the wearying struggles of the soul, free from judgement and deserved wrath. Jesus’ humble willingness restored our fellowship with our mighty Creator and defeated satan forever. 

“Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.”  John 19:41 KJV

Finally, having paid the penalty for our sin on the cross, Jesus rose triumphant, in the garden, vanquishing death forever and taking His place at the right hand of God.

“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. ” John 20:15-16 KJV

Mary was actually more right than she knew. Jesus is our gardener, planting us, pruning us, watering us, growing us, completing a good work in us until the day He returns for us. Because of Him, we can come to the Father without shame; the penalty of our guilt being paid by our perfect Redeemer whose death became our life. 

I will praise my Father God who displays His glory in the garden and in whose grace I grow. 

“For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” Isaiah 51:3 KJV

In Christ, 

Kelly Collins