We Can Know – The Place of Exaltation

We Can Know

train

I write these things to you . . . that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13

As I sat on a train headed for an important appointment, I began to wonder if I was on the right train. I had never traveled that route before and had failed to ask for help. Finally, overcome by uncertainty and doubt, I exited at the next station—only to be told I had indeed been on the right train!

That incident reminded me how doubt can rob us of peace and confidence. At one time I had struggled with the assurance of my salvation, but God helped me deal with my doubt. Later, after sharing the story of my conversion and my assurance that I was going to heaven, someone asked, “How can you be sure you are saved and going to heaven?” I confidently but humbly pointed to the verse that God had used to help me: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

God promises that through faith in His Son, Jesus, we already have eternal life: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (v. 11). This assurance sharpens our faith, lifts us up when we are downhearted, and gives us courage in times of doubt.

Dear Lord, during my times of doubt help me remember the promise of Your Word. Since I have invited Jesus into my life and placed my faith in His payment for my sins, You have promised me eternal life with You.

Recalling God’s promises destroys doubt.

By Lawrence Darmani
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The Place of Exaltation

mountain snow

…Jesus took…them up on a high mountain apart by themselves… —Mark 9:2

We have all experienced times of exaltation on the mountain, when we have seen things from God’s perspective and have wanted to stay there. But God will never allow us to stay there. The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley (see Mark 9:14-18). We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength. Yet our spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mountain. We feel that we could talk and live like perfect angels, if we could only stay on the mountaintop. Those times of exaltation are exceptional and they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware to prevent our spiritual selfishness from wanting to make them the only time.

We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character. The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. There is a terrible trap in always asking, “What’s the use of this experience?” We can never measure spiritual matters in that way. The moments on the mountaintop are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.

We are not to preach the doing of good things; good deeds are not to be preached, they are to be performed. So Send I You, 1330 L

OSWALD CHAMBERS

Remembering God’s Goodness

Joshua 3:14-4:7

Some people are exceptionally good at remembering images or information. Yet forgetting God’s goodness is all too common, even for those with the sharpest of minds.

In light of the human tendency to forget, today’s verses offer a good example for us to follow. God had brought the Israelites out of Egypt and safely through the divided Red Sea. Now, He miraculously provided another dry path by piling up the Jordan’s waters in an enormous heap upstream.

The Lord knew that the people were about to enter Jericho, and by His power, they would overcome the city. How compassionate to encourage them with a tangible illustration of His strength and presence prior to such a battle.

But God also knew how easily they would forget Him. We do the same today—when the Lord works in big and obvious ways, it’s easy to trust Him. But as time goes on, we drift toward self-reliance until we are reminded of our need for Him and repent. So the Father had a plan to help His loved ones recall the miracle at the river. He asked them to create an altar of 12 stones, each stone representing a tribe of Israel that had passed safely through the waters. This way, they would have a physical reminder of divine rescue.

When it comes to blessings, do you tend to be forgetful? If so, try to create reminders of God’s faithfulness. Some people journal; others make a gratitude jar, keep it in a prominent place in their home, and fill it all year long. There are many ways to make expressing thankfulness a part of your daily schedule. Whatever you do, make sure you have a way to remember the Lord’s involvement in your life.

Sufferings

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)

Peter’s first epistle, written during a time of bitter persecution, deals with the matter of suffering. Peter reminds us that Christ suffered for us and that it is a privilege to suffer for Him. We are “called” to suffering and should “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try” us (4:12).

Christ’s suffering was foretold (1:11), as is ours. We see that He had patience, humility, and submission in His sufferings (2:23) in order to bear “our sins in his own body on the tree” (2:24). He suffered unjustly, “the just for the unjust” (3:18), not only in His spirit, but “Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh” (4:1), being witnessed personally by Peter (5:1).

Since we are likewise “called” to suffer, Peter explains that we also will be “suffering wrongfully” (2:19) even “when ye do well” (v. 20). We will “suffer for righteousness’ sake” (3:14) and “for well doing” (v. 17). To avoid being taken by surprise, we are to prepare ourselves to suffer “in the flesh” (4:1), if need be. We will “be reproached for the name of Christ” (4:14) and should “not be ashamed” if we “suffer as a Christian” (4:16). It is much better to suffer in such a way than to have done something evil to deserve it (v. 15).

Suffering while following Christ’s example is “acceptable with God” (2:20), and even makes us “happy” (3:14; 4:14). Through it we can “glorify God on this behalf” (4:16) because it is “according to the will of God” (4:19). There is even a magnificent reward awaiting the sufferer (5:10).

In view of all of this, there is little wonder that Peter says, “Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy” (4:13). JDM

Paralysis from Past Mistakes

For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. —Psalm 103:11-12

Do not let any of the things of the world or past mistakes paralyze your hearts. I believe there are Christians who have allowed some of their past mistakes to paralyze them. You were so bright and cheerful in your spiritual life once, and then you made some tragic mistake or had something happen to you. You got out of it somehow, and prayed and wept your way out of it. But it did something to you, and now you cannot lick it. Past wrongs that have been done to you, past failures, times you thought you were going to win and did not, or present sins or discouragement—these things are not mental at all. They are deeper than that; they are subconscious, and they prevent us from believing.

I most urgently exhort you, and I trust God Almighty to deliver you; to sponge that out of your spirit; to sponge that out of your heart so you are not hindered by unbelief.

I pray for all of my fellow servants who need deliverance, who need to have the past sponged out of their spirits and hearts. Amen.

You Cannot Worship God Without Loving Him

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. Jude 21

Both the Old and New Testaments teach that the essence of true worship is the love of God.

Our Lord declared this to be the sum of the Law and the Prophets: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

Now, love is both a principle and an emotion; it is something both felt and willed. It is capable of almost infinite degrees. Love in the human heart may begin so modestly as to be hardly perceptible and go on to become a raging torrent that sweeps its possessor before it in total helplessness.

Something like this must have been the experience of the Apostle Paul, for he felt it necessary to explain to his critics that his apparent madness was actually the love of God ravishing his willing heart!

In the love which any intelligent creature feels for God there must always be a measure of mystery. It is even possible that it is almost wholly mystery, and that our attempt to find reasons is merely a rationalizing of a love already mysteriously present in the heart as a result of some secret operation of the Spirit within us.

We can be certain that it is quite impossible to worship God without loving Him. Scripture and reason agree to declare this. And God is never satisfied with anything less than all. This may not at first be possible, but the inward operations of the Holy Spirit will enable us in His time to offer Him our poured-out fullness of love!

“I Will Arise and Go”

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned. LUKE 15:18

When Jesus told the story of the Prodigal Son, He was giving our lost society a graphic picture of more than a willful son or a backslidden man.

Years ago I spent time alone with God in prayer and supplication, asking the Spirit of God to aid me in the comprehension of the parable of the Prodigal Son. I have relied upon the understanding which I believe God gave me.

I believe the Prodigal Son is God’s clear-cut picture to us of the entire human race that went out to the pigsty in Adam—and came back to the Father in Christ!

The most telling part of the parable is the fact that the errant son “came to himself”— and that speaks to us of the reality and necessity of repentance. He could repent and turn and seek forgiveness because he knew that his Father had not changed. He knew the character of his Father. Except for that knowledge, he could never have said: “I will arise and go to my Father!”

Brethren, all of us who have come back to God by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ have found, as did the prodigal, that the Father in heaven has not changed at all!

I praise You, Lord, that nothing about You has changed. And nothing that has happened in this world has caught You by surprise. You are our faithful, loving and just Father.