VIDEO A Higher Plane – The Sword Continues to Devour

He…sets me on my high places. 2 Samuel 22:34

Most commercial jets fly in a zone that’s between 28,000 and 35,000 feet above sea level. There was one famous exception—the Concorde, which was designed to fly as high as 60,000 feet in the air. The lowered wind resistance in the thinner air at the higher altitude resulted in a much quicker trip across the Atlantic. There is less wind turbulence at those heights. Military jets fly even higher. The current versions of the famous U-2 spy plane of the 1950s can cruise up to 70,000 feet, or about 13 miles above sea level. In essence, the higher the altitude, the quicker and smoother the ride—and the closer to heaven you are.

We should live our Christian life at a high altitude. Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”

God desires for us to live above the ways of the world. He wants our habits to be heavenly, our words to be wise, our thoughts to be pure, our spirits to be cheerful. Ask the Lord to help you live on a higher plane today.

Lord,  lift me up and let me stand /By faith on heaven’s tableland/A higher plane than I have found—/Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.  Johnson Oatman, Jr.


2 Samuel 20-22 The Sword Continues to Devour

Mysterious Helpers

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.  Hebrews 13:2

Louise suffers from muscular dystrophy. While trying to exit a train station one day, she found herself facing a large flight of stairs without an elevator or escalator. On the verge of tears, Louise saw a man suddenly appear, pick up her bag, and gently help her up the stairs. When she turned to thank him, he was gone.

Michael was late for a meeting. Already stressed from a relationship breakdown, he started battling London’s traffic only to get a flat tire. As he stood helplessly in the rain, a man stepped out of the crowd, opened the boot (trunk), jacked up the car, and changed the wheel. When Michael turned to thank him, he was gone.

Who were these mysterious helpers? Kind strangers, or something more?

The popular image we have of angels as radiant or winged creatures is only half true. While some appear this way (Isaiah 6:2; Matthew 28:3), others come with dusty feet, ready for a meal (Genesis 18:1­–5) and are easily mistaken for everyday people (Judges 13:16). The writer of Hebrews says that by showing hospitality to strangers, we can entertain angels without realizing it (13:2).

We don’t know if Louise and Michael’s helpers were angels. But according to Scripture, they could have been. Angels are at work right now, helping God’s people (Hebrews 1:14). And they can appear as ordinary as a person on the street.

By: Sheridan Voysey

Ultimate Rejection

Matthew 7:21-23

In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus said that the gate to heaven is narrow (Matt. 7:13-14). The easier route through life is the path of happiness, which has side roads to decadence and self-indulgence. But the way to eternal life is marked by self-sacrifice and humility.

The Lord warned His followers not to be deceived about their salvation. Those who find heaven’s road have trusted Him as Savior and acknowledged that His sacrificial death paid their sin debt in full. This is important because we meet many people who appear to be walking the narrow path but have never made a decision for Christ. They may be busy with church work, but they have placed performance before commitment. At the judgment, Jesus will tell them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matt. 7:23).

You don’t want to be among those who think their deeds will earn them admission to heaven. Receiving Christ as Savior is the only way (John 14:6). Then you can be sure that at the end of your life, you’ll step off the narrow road and into God’s presence forever (1 John 5:13).

The Holy Spirit’s Ministry: Verifying Our Relationship with Christ

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:17)

Since it is obvious that we are children of God by the internal ministry of the Holy Spirit to our spirit, then it follows that we are “heirs of God.” Paul states it should be equally obvious that we must be “joint-heirs” with God’s only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus (today’s text).

It is noteworthy that Paul recognizes that one of the sure signs of our relationship with Christ is that “we suffer with him.” Paul warned: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). That was promised by our Brother Himself when He said, “If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).

But—and here is the great promise—we will “be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17). All our present sufferings pale in comparison to “the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). When our Lord Jesus was delivering the simple Beatitudes as He introduced His magnificent Sermon on the Mount, He ended them with the note that we would be persecuted (Matthew 5:11). However, we were to “rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you” (Matthew 5:12). HMM III

Dealing With Wrong Attitudes In The Right Way

James 1:21

Today I would like to draw your attention to the words “lay apart” in the verse above. These words are taken from the Greek word apotithimi, a compound of the words apo and tithimi. The word apo means away, and the word tithimi means to place or to lay something down. When these two words are compounded together, it gives a picture of someone who is laying something down at the same time he is pushing it far away from himself. Therefore, this compound word means to lay something down and to push it far away and beyond reach.

An example would be a person who is about to sinfully indulge in eating too much pie but suddenly realizes what he is doing. So instead of diving into the extra piece of pie and eating it, he chooses instead to lay it back down on the table; then he deliberately shoves it away from himself lest he should overindulge one time too many! He lays it down, and he pushes it away. This is the idea of the word apotithimi James uses when he tells us to “lay apart” all filthiness in our lives. But there is another very important meaning to this word in the New Testament!

In New Testament times, the word apotithimi was frequently used to describe someone taking off his dirty clothes at the end of the day. How do you deal with your dirty clothes at the end of the day? You take them off and put them away in the clothes hamper! Now James uses this illustration to explain how you must deal with wrong attitudes and actions in your own life. Just as you wouldn’t go to bed in dirty clothes at night, neither should you go to bed with wrong attitudes. You must deal with them like an old set of filthy clothes. You have to decide to get rid of those bad attitudes!

 

James 1:21 could be interpreted to mean:

“You must make the choice to remove those filthy, stinking garments from your life, to permanently lay them down and then deliberately push them out of your range forever….”

Also, it’s important to realize that dirty clothes don’t fall off your body by accident! To get them off, you have to push the buttons through the button holes, unzip the zipper, and slip the clothes off your arms and legs one piece at a time. Dirty clothes don’t automatically come off just because you realize they are dirty. They will only come off if you do something to remove them! This is exactly what James has in mind when he tells us to “lay apart” all filthiness from our lives.

When James says to “lay apart” all filthiness from our lives, he is telling us to first acknowledge what is wrong and then to take appropriate measures to remove those areas from our lives. If you are going to get free and stay free, it won’t happen by accident. You must start taking steps to remove those negative things from your life—to lay them down and push them so far away that you’ll never be able to reach them again!

Are you struggling with a sin today? Does a wrong attitude keep trying to conquer your life? If so, you must begin to look at that sin or wrong attitude like an old set of filthy clothes that isn’t worthy for you to wear anymore. Make the decision to step out of every destructive area of your life that has held you captive. Once you make that decision, the Holy Spirit will give you the power to carry it out!

 

Know or Know About?

For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

—2 Timothy 1:12

In religion more than in any other field of human experience a sharp distinction must always be made between knowing about and knowing. The distinction is the same as between knowing about food and actually eating it….A man can remain spiritually dead while knowing all the historic facts of Christianity.

“This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). We have but to introduce one extra word into this verse to see how vast is the difference between knowing about and knowing. “This is life eternal, that they might know about thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

That one word makes all the difference between life and death….

We dare not conclude that because we learn about the Spirit we for that reason actually know Him. Knowing Him comes only by a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit Himself. POM063-064

The Spirit is an imperative necessity. Only the Eternal Spirit can do eternal deeds. MDP066

 

The Silences of Christ

Isaiah 53:7

We remark, and rightly so, on the virtues of Christ’s speech, “His words were with authority.” And so were His silences. The written word is wonderful, but what of the unwritten story which lies folded between the ordinary incidents of that wonderful life?

The things He did were wonderful; what of the things He did not do? All we know of Him is marvelous, but where were the springs of His character? Through what solitudes did He grow brave and strong?

I feel it to be true that people’s attraction to the Master is in large measure attributable to those silent depths that were in Jesus.

No man can ever say that he has discovered the last beauty in that calm, deep character. That is why the multitudes are still studying, preaching, writing about and, in part, seeking to emulate the beauty of this at once simplest and profoundest character ever revealed to man.

When the Jewish ruler paid Him the high compliment, “You are a teacher come from God,” (John 3:2 KJV) the Master did not reply, “Thank you; which of My sermons impressed you?” He ignored the well-meant praise and went directly to the main business. Witnesses to God’s message in this sin-stained world are not sent forth to court praise but to cry aloud “You must be born again.”

Our Master’s speech was admirable in its restraint. It may truly be said that we would be better understood if we said less. God will surely count a prudent silence unto us for righteousness.

In the midst of our activities we need a central place of rest, a place for meditation and prayer where the busy, fevered spirit can find sanctuary. It was ever so in the life of the Master. Again and again we come across those retirements and silences, still veiled with the sacredness of the secret place. We can never learn some of the sweetest things about Jesus, except by turning aside into the secret place to meet with God the Holy Spirit. The Son of Man had need of much meditation and private communion with His Father, and certain it is that no follower of His can keep up the rush and stress of life without following the Master’s example.

Jesus lived above the world while yet He was doing His work in it, and He left us an example that we might follow in His steps. May it be yours and mine so to do by the grace of the Christ who was as wonderful in His silences as He was in speech.

Albert Orsborn, The Silences of Jesus