VIDEO A Glimpse of Glory

Such a one was caught up to the third heaven…. He was caught up into Paradise. 2 Corinthians 12:2-4

The traveler in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, whose name was Christian, came to a point in his journey when tall mountains stretched before him. At one of the vantage points on a hill named Clear, an old shepherd offered to let him look through his telescope. Christian’s hand was shaking, but as he looked through the lens he thought he saw something like a gate and also some of the glory of the Celestial City in the distance. He burst into song and continued his journey with courage.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul alludes to a moment in his life when God let him get a glimpse of glory. We have the same opportunity whenever we study the subject of heaven in the Bible. The Lord has revealed a great deal about our future and the everlasting inheritance awaiting us. We can look toward the future with anticipation because a place is being prepared for us. 

If you have some mountains ahead of you, take a moment to peer through the telescope of Scripture and get a glimpse of the glory to speed you on your way.

Heaven is there, not far from our sight, beautiful city of light. Charles E. Pollock, “Above the Bright Blue”


Sufficient Grace (2 Corinthians 12:1-10) John MacArthur

Anchored in Truth

I will drive him like a peg into a firm place. Isaiah 22:23

My family lives in a nearly century-old house with a lot of character, including wonderfully textured plaster walls. A builder cautioned me that with these walls, to hang a picture I’d have to either drill the nail into a wood support or use a plaster anchor for support. Otherwise, I’d risk the picture crashing to the ground, leaving an ugly hole behind.

The prophet Isaiah used the imagery of a nail driven firmly into a wall to describe a minor biblical character named Eliakim. Unlike the corrupt official Shebna (Isaiah 22:15–19), as well as the people of Israel—who looked to themselves for strength (vv. 8–11)—Eliakim trusted in God. Prophesying Eliakim’s promotion to palace administrator for King Hezekiah, Isaiah wrote that Eliakim would be driven like a “peg into a firm place” (v. 23). Being securely anchored in God’s truth and grace would also allow Eliakim to be a support for his family and his people (vv. 22–24).

Yet Isaiah concluded this prophecy with a sobering reminder that no person can be the ultimate security for friends or family—we all fail (v. 25). The only completely trustworthy anchor for our lives is Jesus (Psalm 62:5–6; Matthew 7:24). As we care for others and share their burdens, may we also point them to Him, the anchor who will never fail.

By:  Lisa M. Samra

Reflect & Pray

How can you stay firmly anchored in God’s truth and grace? In what ways can you support those feeling weighed down by life’s burdens?

Dear Jesus, thank You for being my anchor. As Your child, I know that I’m firmly planted in You.

Read Navigating the Storms of Life at DiscoverySeries.org/HP061

Walking With God

1 John 1

Walking with someone when you cannot agree on the direction or goal is frustrating, yet that’s exactly what we sometimes try to do with God. In the Scriptures, He gives us guidance for life. But then, when we don’t follow it, we’re surprised to see that He’s walking in a different direction than we are.

Scripture uses the term “walk” to describe the course of a person’s life. For instance, Noah walked with God by having a relationship with Him through faith (Gen. 6:9). And John’s gospel uses the phrase “walk in the Light” (1 John 1:7) to explain what is required of those who want to follow Jesus.

To walk with the Lord in His Light, we must confess and forsake sin, pursue righteousness, and obey His commands. We can’t claim to walk in the Light if our life is characterized by the darkness of a sinful lifestyle or we’re holding onto anger, bitterness, or resentment toward others.

Are you trying to carry old baggage into your walk with the Lord? The attitudes, habits, and conduct that were yours before Christ must be abandoned in order for you to walk with God.

Pleasant Perplexities

“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” (Philippians 1:23-24)

As we mature in the Lord, our fear of death recedes into the background and ultimately, as this verse demonstrates, becomes a desire to leave this sin-cursed world behind and pass into the presence of the Creator.

The word choices in this passage are unusual. The verse could be translated “I am held together out of two pressures, a passion to be loosed to be with Christ; which is very much more serviceable for me: but remaining here in the flesh is, out of necessity, more critical for you.”

Thus, the tension of the true saint of God. The more that is known about the joy awaiting us in the presence of our Lord, the less we see earthly values and goals as things to work toward. Yet, the needs of churches, new Christians, troubled souls, and challenges surrounding our lives require a commitment to complete the “course” that God has given us to finish (2 Timothy 4:7).

The Lord Jesus insisted that we not worry about tomorrow because the evil of each day was “sufficient” (Matthew 6:34), since there is trouble enough in the world among those who reject God’s authority (2 Timothy 3:1-7). The evil that surrounds us should motivate us to long for the eternal rest promised to the people of God (Hebrews 4:9).

But to struggle with conflict resolution among the churches adds to the burden. Many in the ministry know this tension, as do most who serve regularly in their own churches. Perhaps our own peace comes when we finally determine that it is “far better” to serve. HMM III

The Top Side of Our Souls

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. —Mark 6:31

Every real Christian, however practical, is in some degree a mystic, his mysticism lying on the upper side of his life. He prays, meditates on spiritual things and communes with God and the invisible world. Also, every Christian, however he may be dedicated to the holy art of prayer and worship, must of necessity descend to work and eat and sleep and pay his taxes and get on somehow with the hard world around him. And if he follows on to know the Lord he must serve in every useful way outlined for him in the Scriptures of truth. To be a Christian it is necessary that he serve his generation as well as his God.

The big problem is to keep the two elements of the Christian life in proper balance….

Today the Christian emphasis falls heavily on the “active” life…. The favorite brand of Christianity is that sparked by the man in a hurry, hard hitting, aggressive and ready with the neat quip. We are neglecting the top side of our souls. The light in the tower burns dimly while we hurry about the grounds below, making a great racket and giving the impression of wonderful devotion to our task.   PON045-047

Lord, help me to keep the proper balance. Help me especially to cultivate the top side of my soul. Amen.

You Can Have What You Want

I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. —John 10:10

There are two kinds of lives…:the fallow and the plowed….

The man of fallow life is contented with himself and the fruit he once bore. He does not want to be disturbed. He smiles in tolerant superiority at revivals, fastings, self-searchings….He is steady, “faithful,” always in his accustomed place….But he is fruitless. The curse of such a life is that it is fixed….To be has taken the place of to become….

The plowed life is the life that has, in the act of repentance, thrown down the protecting fences and sent the plow of confession into the soul. The urge of the Spirit, the pressure of circumstances and the distress of fruitless living have combined thoroughly to humble the heart.

Such a life has put away defense, and has forsaken the safety of death for the peril of life. PTP032-033

God gives us what we want. If you want a little of His grace, you may get it. If you want to be halfhearted, you may. But if you want to be wholly His and have all His fullness, His great heart is just longing to find room and vent for His love. CTBC, Vol. 4/297

The Revealing Cross

Colossians 1:20

The story of the cross hardly needs repetition. Read it once more in any one of the Gospels. Never were words used with such economy and force. Ponder prayerfully the succession of bitter events.

As we ponder, we must beware of feeling no more than pity, a reaction that Jesus Himself discounted. “Weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children” (Luke 23:28). His wounds are not His main appeal to us, for His sorrow was more than physical pain. His great agony was the knowledge of what men were, the realization of how deeply sin was entrenched in human hearts, sin from which He had come to save them.

The cross reveals the power of the love of God that cannot be shattered, because it is indestructible. It reveals the power of the holiness of God by revealing the way our sins—everyday sins that crucified Christ—appear in His sight. It reveals the power of the mercy of God, for by means of the cross He pledges His forgiveness to all who truly repent.

But why was such an extremity of shame necessary to divine revelation and redemption? Simply because God is love, and love knows no limits. Jesus understood what God was like, and His knowledge enabled him to face “even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8 KJV).

The cross was a parable in flesh and blood. The truth which Jesus had sought to convey by His life, teaching and work, He confirmed by His death. Mere words could not describe God, and even if they could, they would have been open to misunderstanding and misinterpretation, for they lack compelling power. If words had been equal to the task, a book could have saved mankind.

The truth about God had to be demonstrated unmistakably. His love had to be put beyond all shadow of doubt. So the cross speaks the unutterable truth. We need always to remember that what the cross reveals is eternally true about God.

The moral victory of Christ’s way of love stands before us as the ideal which must become established in the real. In the presence of His utter self-giving can we not find the courage to follow? Dare we pray to be stripped of all false values and for grace to welcome the cross into the center of our lives?

Harry Dean, Power and Glory