VIDEO Higher Ground, I’m Pressing on the Upward Way

Aug 6, 2009

Complete lyrics:

Im pressing on the upward way,
New heights Im gaining every day;
Still praying as Im onward bound,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Refrain:
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heavens table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

I want to live above the world,
Though Satans darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

I want to scale the utmost height
And catch a gleam of glory bright;
But still Ill pray till Heavn Ive found,
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

The Challenge of Transition

injured football player
Be strong and very courageous. —Joshua 1:7

After former professional athlete Chris Sanders suffered a career-ending injury, he told a group of military veterans that although he had never experienced combat, “I understand the pressures of transitions.”

Whether it’s the loss of a job, the loss of a marriage, a serious illness, or a financial setback, every major change brings challenges. The former athlete told the soldiers that the key to success when you are transitioning into a new way of living is to reach out and get help.

The book of Joshua is recommended reading whenever we find ourselves in transition. After 40 years of wandering and setbacks, God’s people were poised to enter the Promised Land. Moses, their great leader, had died, and Joshua, his assistant, was in charge.

God told Joshua to “be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go” (Josh. 1:7). God’s words of direction were to be the bedrock of Joshua’s leadership in every situation.

The Lord’s charge and promise to Joshua apply to us as well: “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (v. 9).

He is with us in every transition.

Father, I’m bringing You my trials and frustrations. You know each and every detail. Please comfort me as only You can, and provide exactly what I need for today. Help me give my unfulfilled expectations to You, trusting You’re working out a plan for me.

God remains faithful in every change.

Courage in the Lonely Hour

2 Timothy 4:6-18

Today’s passage captures a painful time in the life of Paul the apostle. As he sat in a prison cell, he knew that death was imminent. He had devoted the last years to teaching, training, and winning souls for Christ, but he now stood alone, unsupported during his trial and time in jail. Loneliness must have seemed overwhelming.

Paul felt abandoned, yet he didn’t blame anyone or pity himself. Instead, he met the suffering with courage. What motivated him to stand with strength during this trying time?

For the apostle, an awareness of Christ’s presence gave comfort and motivated him to persevere. Having a copy of Scripture in his cell no doubt encouraged him in this way (2 Timothy 4:13). And he not only knew God was right there with him in the current moment; he also recalled earlier times when the Lord had intervened. For instance, years before, Paul had had a vision telling him not to fear during a storm on the sea. And though the ship ran aground, all of the men survived (Acts 27:22-24).

For those of us who know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, strength is readily available in His intimate presence. Our heavenly Father promises that He will never abandon His children—even when everyone else has left.

Have your circumstances left you feeling lonely? Remember times when God was evident to you—when He clearly revealed His hand in your life. And read His Word so that the truth of His presence can comfort and encourage you. As a believer, you are truly never alone.

Satan’s Wiles – Satan’s Subtle Strategy

Satan’s Wiles
“Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” (Ephesians 6:16)

Our goals as victorious warriors or even survivors in the battle at hand include neutralizing the enemy’s tactics as well as defeating him. The Christian wants to live above the fray, being successful in his efforts to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked,” as we saw in our text. The third verse of the hymn “Higher Ground” expresses this desire well.

I want to live above the world,
Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled;
For faith has caught the joyful sound,
The song of saints on higher ground.

The passage surrounding our text captures the warrior’s spirit well. The fighter is to don with care his entire armor (Ephesians 6:13) and protect his “loins girt about with truth” and wearing the “breastplate of righteousness.” He must be protected from head to toe, “shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace” (v. 14-15) and standing with the helmet of salvation on his head. The text gives further instructions, perhaps more important than all the others, for it instructs “above all, taking the shield of faith.” Our faith, our belief in God, and the knowledge of the Word of God provide the necessary and winning power for the battle. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4).

The final item mentioned in this important passage is the striving together of the saints for the common goal, praying together and beseeching God for His blessings. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:18) makes victory more certain in both the short run and the long. What bliss to catch the joyful sound of faithful saints on higher ground. JDM


Satan’s Subtle Strategy

[Satan] said to [Jesus], “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Matthew 4:6

Satan’s attacks against Job were two-fold. First, Satan destroyed Job’s children and property (Job 1-2). Those attacks were directly against Job himself. The second stage—Job’s struggle to maintain his confidence in God—was longer, more subtle, and more indirect: as evidenced by Job’s wife’s challenge: “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). There is no direct evidence that Satan inspired Job’s wife’s words, but given his proximity to the situation, it is reasonable to assume it was part of his overall attack.

Which is more advantageous to Satan—to make you uncomfortable in the short term or to destroy your long-term confidence in the love and faithfulness of God? Obviously, the latter. When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, his second temptation was an attempt to negate Jesus’ trust in God’s care.

If Satan can convince you that God doesn’t love you, forgive you, or care for you, he will have neutralized your faith.

Recommended Reading: Psalm 91:11-12

I must have complete, absolute confidence in God and no confidence in myself. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Wasted Religious Activity

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. —Psalm 122:1

There is probably not another field of human activity where there is so much waste as in the field of religion….

In the average church we hear the same prayers repeated each Sunday year in and year out with, one would suspect, not the remotest expectation that they will be answered. It is enough, it seems, that they have been uttered. The familiar phrase, the religious tone, the emotionally loaded words have their superficial and temporary effect, but the worshiper is no nearer to God, no better morally and no surer of heaven than he was before. Yet every Sunday morning for twenty years he goes through the same routine and, allowing two hours for him to leave his house, sit through a church service and return to his house again, he has wasted more than 170 twelve-hour days with this exercise in futility….

I need only add that all this tragic waste is unnecessary. The believing Christian will relish every moment in church and will profit by it. The instructed, obedient Christian will yield to God as the clay to the potter, and the result will be not waste but glory everlasting.

Lord, what an awesome responsibility to come before Your people week after week as Your messenger! I can only do this as Your Holy Spirit feeds my own soul—feed me today, Lord, as I prepare for this Sunday. Amen.

Christians Drawn by This Present World’s Charms

While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption; for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2 Peter 2:19

With the Bible open before us and a long tradition of truth behind us, there would seem to be no reason for the present tragic failure of Christians to recognize the world’s deceptive appeal and to stay clear of it. For there must not be any denial of the facts: the church is being overwhelmed by the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them!

That world which our Saviour once refused to buy at the price of disobedience to God is now wooing His professed followers with every sly, deceptive artifice. The glory which our Lord once rejected with cold scorn is now being admired and sought after by multitudes who make a loud profession of accepting the gospel. The old trick which our Lord saw through so easily is charming His present-day followers into smiling acquiescence.

The devil did not know Christ—but apparently he knows Christians! The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life have all been “Christianized” (not by the liberal, mind you, but by the evangelicals) and are now offered along with Christ to everyone who will “believe.” Blind leaders of blind souls now insist that Christians should not cut themselves off from the pleasures of the world, so the very values that Christ scorned are now being used to attract people to the gospel.

We stand in need of warning: in spite of prophetic voices that are raised here and there among us, present-day believers are being drawn to the world with irresistible force!

Our Sovereign Lord

The most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands…. Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool. ACTS 7:48-49

How can you be a Christian and not be aware of the sovereignty of the God who has loved us to the death?

To be sovereign, God must be the absolute, infinite, unqualified ruler in all realms in heaven and earth and sea. To be Lord over all the creation, He must be omnipotent. He must be omniscient. He must be omnipresent.

With all that is within me, I believe that the crucified and risen and glorified Savior, Jesus Christ, is the sovereign Lord. He takes no orders from anyone. He has no counselors and no advisers. He has no secretary to the throne. He knows in the one effortless act all that can be known and He has already lived out our tomorrows and holds the world in the palm of His hand.

That is the Lord I serve! I gladly own that I am His; glory to God! The Christ we know and serve is infinitely beyond all men and all angels and all archangels, above all principalities and powers and dominions, visible and invisible—for He is the origin of them all!

Lord, to begin to understand Your attributes is totally overwhelming. That such an Almighty God would care so much for His creation is truly humbling.