VIDEO The Return

July 1, 2008

When is He coming? Well, that’s up for debate. The fact that He’s coming, however, isn’t. Billy Graham was once asked, When shall the end of the world be? To that he responded, The end of the world begins the moment you die. Good ole Billy; always the evangelist.

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Piercing the Darkness – The Awareness of the Call

Piercing the Darkness
Northern Lights aurora borealis

The Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. Isaiah 60:19

I caught my first glimpse of them as a college student. On a frosty, fall night, far from the lights of the city, I was riding on a hay wagon loaded with noisy friends when the sky lit up and colors flashed across the horizon. I was mesmerized. Ever since that night I have been fascinated with the phenomenon called aurora borealis, also known as northern lights. Mostly they are seen far north of where I live, but occasionally they appear in lower latitudes. Having seen them once, I long to see more. Whenever the conditions are favorable, I say to my equally fascinated friends, “Maybe tonight . . .”

Throughout Scripture, light and glory are used to describe the coming of the Lord. A time is coming when the sun and moon will be unnecessary (Isa. 60:19). And in describing God on His throne, the apostle John wrote, “The one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne” (Rev. 4:3).

God’s glory is a light that pierces through the darkness.
An emerald circle is an apt description of the northern lights. So whenever I see glorious light displays in the skies above—whether in person or via picture or video—I think of it as a foretaste of what is to come, and I praise God that even now His glory pierces the darkness.

Lord, the world around us is sometimes so dark that it is difficult to see Your power and goodness. Thank You for the reminders that the darkness does not and will not last forever. Help us wait with great expectation for the day when we will see You on Your throne.

Jesus came to give light to a dark world.

By Julie Ackerman Link

The Awareness of the Call
field hill mountain sunrise

…for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel! —1 Corinthians 9:16

We are inclined to forget the deeply spiritual and supernatural touch of God. If you are able to tell exactly where you were when you received the call of God and can explain all about it, I question whether you have truly been called. The call of God does not come like that; it is much more supernatural. The realization of the call in a person’s life may come like a clap of thunder or it may dawn gradually. But however quickly or slowly this awareness comes, it is always accompanied with an undercurrent of the supernatural— something that is inexpressible and produces a “glow.” At any moment the sudden awareness of this incalculable, supernatural, surprising call that has taken hold of your life may break through— “I chose you…” (John 15:16). The call of God has nothing to do with salvation and sanctification. You are not called to preach the gospel because you are sanctified; the call to preach the gospel is infinitely different. Paul describes it as a compulsion that was placed upon him.

If you have ignored, and thereby removed, the great supernatural call of God in your life, take a review of your circumstances. See where you have put your own ideas of service or your particular abilities ahead of the call of God. Paul said, “…woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” He had become aware of the call of God, and his compulsion to “preach the gospel” was so strong that nothing else was any longer even a competitor for his strength.

If a man or woman is called of God, it doesn’t matter how difficult the circumstances may be. God orchestrates every force at work for His purpose in the end. If you will agree with God’s purpose, He will bring not only your conscious level but also all the deeper levels of your life, which you yourself cannot reach, into perfect harmony.

Jesus Christ reveals, not an embarrassed God, not a confused God, not a God who stands apart from the problems, but One who stands in the thick of the whole thing with man. Disciples Indeed, 388 L

OSWALD CHAMBERS

The Purpose Of Spiritual Highs

Hebrews 11:17-19

The Lord doesn’t offer us tremendous spiritual experiences simply so we may boast or witness something marvelous. Instead, He uses them to foster genuine faith. They are part of His unique process for maturing us as disciples of Jesus.

God gives us spiritual highs for several reasons: to unveil Himself in a fresh way, to prepare us for the valley, and ultimately to teach us obedience. The lessons we learn from Him in those special moments of peak revelation are intended to carry us through harder times. Then we can look back and remember what He taught on the mountaintop.

But this means that when the Lord gives us a glimpse of glory, we can expect to be tried later. If we fail, He’ll test us again. And He will keep testing until the trials become triumphs in our life. Every pupil must be put to the test, and those who obey bring honor to God’s name.

An exceptional spiritual encounter with Jesus Christ is intended to encourage our growth, deepen our intimacy with God, and develop obedience. It is also designed to enhance our motivation to serve the Lord with all our heart, giving ourselves without reservation for His work and His glory.

Treasure each and every thing God teaches you in your prayer closet—during times of profound worship, in a moment of deep devotion, or when you’re all alone, listening and intimately conversing with Him. Every moment of your life is ripe for growth and spiritual maturity. If you let the Lord shape you and lead you on the path of obedience, He’ll take you to even greater heights.

Lovers of Self

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.” (2 Timothy 3:2)

One of the dangerous teachings of the “New Age” movement which has spilled over into modern evangelicalism is the notion of “self-love.” Many psychologists—even Christian professional counselors—are attributing society’s ills, especially among young people, to the supposed lack of a “positive self-image” or “self-esteem” on the part of those exhibiting antisocial behavior. What they need, we are told, is to learn to love themselves more, to appreciate their own self-worth. The problem with this idea is that it is both unscriptural and unrealistic. People do not hate themselves. The Bible says that “no man ever yet hated his own flesh” (Ephesians 5:29).

Instead of learning to esteem ourselves, the Scripture commands us each to “esteem other better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3). Even the apostle Paul, near the end of his life, considered himself so unworthy that he called himself the chief of sinners (see 1 Timothy 1:15).

We are told by some Christian leaders that the measure of our great value in the sight of God is the fact that Christ paid such a high price—His own death—to redeem us. The fact is, however, that His death is not the measure of our great value, but of our terrible sinfulness. “Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6).

In fact, as in our text, the rise of this self-love idea is itself a sign of the last days, when men shall be “lovers of their own selves.” It is the main characteristic of “New Age” humanism, which is based squarely upon evolutionary pantheism.

Christ died for our sins because He loved us, not because He needed us. We should live for Him in thanksgiving for the “amazing grace, that saved a wretch like me!” HMM

A Revival of Repentance

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. —2 Chronicles 7:14

I have little fear that any nation or combination of nations could bring down the United States and Canada by military action from without. But this I do fear—we sin and sin and do nothing about it. There is so little sense of the need of repentance—so little burden for the will of God to be wrought in our national life. I fear that the voice of blood will become so eloquent that God Almighty will have no choice but to speak the word that will bring us down.

I do pray often: “Oh God, send a revival of repentance and the fear of God that will sweep through the continent that we may be spared and that we may honor Thee!”

Lord, I pray for our country today. Our morality has deteriorated so horribly since Tozer’s day. I too pray, “Oh, God, send a revival of repentance and the fear of God that will sweep through the continent that we may be spared and that we may honor Thee!” Amen.

We Should Always Seek to Know Christ Better

Seek ye the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore. Psalm 105:4

Are you aware that we have been snared in the coils of a modern spurious logic which insists that if we have found Christ we need no more seek Him?

This is set before us as the last word in orthodoxy, and it is taken for granted that no Bible-taught Christian ever believed otherwise. Thus the whole testimony of the worshipping, seeking, singing Church on that subject is crisply set aside!

The experiential heart-theology of a grand army of fragrant saints is rejected in favor of a smug interpretation of Scripture which would certainly have sounded strange to an Augustine, a Rutherford or a Brainerd.

In the midst of this great chill there are some, I rejoice to acknowledge, who will not be content with shallow logic. They will admit the force of the argument, and then turn away with tears to hunt some lonely place and pray, “O God, show me Thy glory!” They want to taste, to touch with their hearts, to see with their inner eyes the wonder that is God.

Complacency is a deadly foe of all spiritual growth. Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people. He waits to be wanted!

Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long, in vain!

What We Shall Be

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. ROMANS 8:29

We must take a high view of what God has done for us in consummating the plan of salvation for a lost race!

The supreme work of Christ in redemption is not just to save us from hell, but to restore us to Godlikeness again. Paul has confirmed this in Romans 8:29, “Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son.”

While perfect restoration to the divine image awaits the day of Christ’s appearing, the work of restoration is going on now. There is a slow but steady transmutation of the base metal of human nature into the gold of Godlikeness effected by the faith-filled gaze of the soul at the glory of God—the face of Jesus Christ!

We have already moved from what we were to what we are, and we are now moving toward what we shall be. To become like God is and must be the supreme goal of all moral creatures!

Lord, there are days when I feel I am losing ground in my spiritual growth. Help me today to move closer to the image of God’s Son.