Love the Lord? Love His Day

As simple as it may sound, I love the Lord’s Day because I love the Lord.

It is, and has been for centuries, the day of celebration of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ. As our heavenly Father rested after His work of creation, and set aside the seventh day as the Sabbath, so, we rest in Christ and set aside the new day of worship on the same day of the week that He rose in victory from the grave, creating new life for His people.

This day is the day that I remember His atoning work on the cross for me.  All who are a part of His redeeming work meet together to give unto Him the glory due unto His name. I see this day as a new beginning; starting the new week in Christ and with His people.  Actually, at times it seems that this is the eighth day— ending the previous week with a day of praise for all that He has done —-and the first day, both rolled into one.

Years ago, when I realized that this day is a gift to His people, it became a goal every week for me, a projection from one Lord’s Day to the next, with every day between as a day of preparation for the next Lord’s Day.  As mentioned in another post, each Lord’s Day is a taste of heaven, a prelude to that day when we will be worshipping our Lord eternally.  Then everyday will be a day of rest and worship.

“And upon the first day of the week,
when the disciples came together to break bread,
Paul preached unto them.”
Acts. 20:7

Today is the day that I will celebrate my Lord Jesus Christ, His person, His work; the day that I will praise Him, serve Him, love Him and His people as we meet together; the day that I will “hunger and thirst” for Him and His righteousness, be filled more and more with His Spirit; and be in awe as I hear His Word proclaimed in power.

This day I will, together with God’s people, participate in the Lord’s Supper, “remembering His death until He comes.” Besides all this, He amazes me with great and mighty things I have not yet known, asked, or imagined (Jeremiah 33:3).

Again, I ask that you share your comments about how the Lord leads you on this day.  What difference does the Lord’s Day make in your life, now?  What impression does the Lord’s Day make in your life for eternity?

May you be blessed today as you “delight yourself in the Lord and His Day.”  Isaiah 58:13-14

Dear Lord, fill us with your Spirit today and every day in preparation for each Lord’s Day ~ in preparation for that eternal Lord’s Day. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Distracted, Detained, and Deceived

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: (every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden. vs.9) But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17

With the choice of Life or Death, I would think that our first parents would have immediately headed for the center of the garden.   Were they dilly-dallying, haphazardly making their way through the garden, tasting the fruit from the other trees, when they were stopped by the devil “who had the power of death?” (Hebrews 2:14) Was the tree of life not as attractive as the others?

Were they so caught up in their surroundings that they were totally unaware of the danger of disobeying God’s command?  I can relate.  We can be distracted by the many blessings that our heavenly Father bestows on us.  The things become our focus. We then, forgetting our intentions and our goal for life,  are detained, “staying too long at the fair.” Deceived by our own lusts (James 1:12-15)  we settle for what is easy and what looks good in this life, instead of moving on in pursuit of God and His holiness. (Hebrews 12:14)

In the middle of this wilderness Jesus Christ still waits.  He is that tree of Life to all whose hearts and minds are focused, and feast on Him.  We must pray for the diligence and discipline to keep our eyes on Him; for the Spirit of wisdom to enable us to recognize the distractions of the enemy and the world; and for perseverance to proceed to the goal—Christ, Himself.

 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God,
and of Jesus our Lord,
According as his divine power
hath given unto us all things
that pertain unto life and godliness,
through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

2 Peter 1: 2-3

Melted and Poured Out

“I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.”
Psalm 22:14 

As I have struggled these past two weeks to discipline myself to do all that I need to do—not what I want to do—the thought came that God, our Father knows what we need, for all that He plans for us to do.

From revelation to repentance He is willing and able to work in us this “great salvation.”  He knows how to preserve His own, to work through us all that is needed to sanctify us and make us willing citizens of His kingdom—members of the “household of faith”—servants of the living God.

If it means that He must bring us to a melting point, so that we are not only pliable in His hands, but unable to do what we want to do.  Then is when He can use us.

I imagined what this would be like for me; totally beyond my doing anything on my own—everything under the power of His mercy and grace, being used to fulfill the “counsel of His will.”  It would seem that I would be useless; but not useless in His hands.

What can you do with a piece of ice? It is too cold to hold in your bare hands.  If you drop it it will shatter into lots of pieces.  All you can is wipe up the mess.  Take the ice cube and put it into a liquid and it will be melted and eventually become a part of that liquid.  In God’s hands of love we are melted.  When God’s Spirit melts a cold heart He can do whatever He wants with it and then pour it out on His altar as a living sacrifice.

In Richard and Joseph Alleine’s book Heaven Opened ~ the Riches of God Covenant this “great salvation” through the covenant of grace is explained.  It is all in God’s hands.  Our hearts are in His hands, to reveal Himself, to bring new life, to turn us to faith and repentance, to reconcile us to Himself in Christ; to conform us to His image.  Through His Word, and His Spirit, He continues to transform us by the renewing of our minds, sanctifying and preserving us through our struggles and our sufferings, and service in His kingdom.

“A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.”
Ezekiel 36:26

A Heart to Know Him
“I will give them a heart to know Me.”  Jeremiah 24:7

One Heart
“I will give them one heart.” Ezekiel 11:19

A Heart of Flesh
“I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26

“Flesh will bleed.  A soft heart will mourn, melt, and grieve while nothing moves a hard heart.  Flesh will yield.  It is apt to receive impressions.  The power of God will awe it.  His justice will alarm it.  His mercy will melt it, and His holiness will humble it and leave the stamp and image of it upon it.  And as the attributes do, so the Word and works of God will make a sign upon it.”*   

A Heart to Love the Lord
“The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God, with all thine heart, and with all thine soul.” Deuteronomy 30:6

A Heart to Fear the Lord
“I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from Me.” Jeremiah 32:40

Obedience in the Covenant
“I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statues, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.” Ezekiel 36:27

Perseverance in the Covenant
“I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good…” Jeremiah 32:40

“There are two things secured to believers  in this passage—things which secure their perseverance.  The first is that God will not depart from them.  The second is that they shall not depart from Him.”*

Thank you Father, that you have poured out your whole heart and soul to us in your Son, Jesus Christ.  We praise you that you are exceeding abundantly able to do more than we can ask or imagine to accomplish all for which you created and redeemed us.  Melt us and pour us out today as a living sacrifice for you and your people.

* Heaven Opened ~ The Riches of God’s Covenant by Richard Alleine, published by Sola Deo Publications

CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Part 4 Octavius Winslow

In circumstances of spiritual relapse, how precious does Christ become as the Restorer of His saints, as the Shepherd that goeth in quest of His stray sheep and bringeth it back to the fold with rejoicing. How unspeakably dear is the Savior to the wandering yet restored heart! Our backslidings are perpetual and aggravated, our affections fickle and truant,* our faith fluctuating, our love waning, our zeal flagging, our walk often feeble and unsteady; but Jesus withdraws not His eye from His own work in the soul, and never for a moment loses sight of His stray-going sheep…

How precious is Christ in the season of fiery temptation! When the arch-foe comes, robed as an angel of light, with gentle tread, and oily tongue, and soft persuasiveness, seeking to ensnare and beguile the unsuspicious and unwary—leveling his darts at the very foundations of our faith—insinuating his doubts of the truth of the Bible, of the being of God, of the sufficiency of the Savior, of the reality of a future world—thus seeking to shake the confidence, obscure the hope, and destroy the comfort of the Lord’s people—oh, how precious then is Christ as the Conqueror and Spoiler of Satan; as He Who enables the trembling believer to quench the fiery dart in His own blood, and to take refuge beneath His outspread, all-sheltering wing!…He Who, alone and unaided, battled with Satan those forty days and nights in the solitary wilderness—is He Who was “in all points tempted like as we are” (Heb. 4:15) and “knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (2Pe. 2:9) and will shortly bruise Satan, crushed and conquered, under your feet (Rom. 16:20).

In the hour of adversity, of trial, of sorrow, oh, how precious is Christ in the experience of the believer! It would seem, beloved, as though we had never really known Him until then. Certainly, we never knew from experience that there was so much that was human, tender, and compassionate in His heart until sorrow touched our own. We had no conception what a fount of sympathy was there. A new bend in your path, a new epoch in your history, or a new stage in your journey, has frosted with the snowflake and swept with the storm-blast of winter the entire landscape of life: fortune gone—friends removed—health failing—poverty threatening—want pressing, oh, how dreary and lonely seems the path you tread. But pause—it is not all winter! Jesus approaches! He unveils a bosom once pierced, shows a heart once sad, and drawing you within its blest pavilion, hides you from the wind and covers you from the tempest. You never thought Jesus had a heart of such exquisite tenderness until now…The creature has left a blank, but Christ has come and filled it. Reverse has made you poor, but the treasures of divine love have enriched you. In the Lord Jesus, you have more than found the loved one you have lost; and if in the world you have encountered tribulation, in Him you have found peace. O sweet sorrow! O sacred grief that enthrones and enshrines my Savior more preeminently and deeply in my soul!

There is a supremacy in the feeling of Christ’s preciousness to the believer, which is worthy of a remark. Christ has the preeminence in the affection of the regenerate. “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psa. 73:25). Listen to His own words, asserting His claim to a single and supreme affection: “He that loveth father or mother”—brother or sister, wife, or children—“more than me is not worthy of me” (Mat. 10:37). There are natural ties of affection—the parental, the conjugal, the filial; there are ties, too, of human love and friendship, linking heart to heart; but not one word does He Who inspired those affections, Who formed those ties, breathe, denying their existence or forbidding their exercise. Nay, the religion He came to inculcate distinctly recognizes these human relations, and seeks to strengthen and intensify by purifying, elevating, and immortalizing them. But mark the emphatic word employed by Christ: “more than me”!…In a word, Christ should become more supreme and precious to our hearts by all the sweet, sacred relations and affections of life…

Receive as precious everything that flows from the government of Jesus. A precious Christ can give you nothing but what is precious. Welcome the rebuke—it may be humiliating; welcome the trial—it may be painful; welcome the lesson—it may be difficult; welcome the cup—it may be bitter; welcome everything that comes from Christ in your individual history. Everything is costly, salutary, and precious that Jesus sends…The most severe disciplinary dispensations in the government of Christ are as much the fruit of His eternal, redeeming love as was the tenderest and most touching expression of that love uttered from the cross. All is precious, wise, and salutary in the dealings of Christ. His teachings, His woundings, His withholdings, His withdrawings, His slayings, His changed countenance, His altered tones—when, in a word, His uplifted hand lights heavily upon us, smiting us seven times, even then, oh, how precious should Christ be to the believing soul! Then it is we learn by experience what a balsam exudes from His pierced heart for the very wound His own hand inflicted!…Oh, precious Christ! so divine, so all-sufficient, so indescribably precious, may we not welcome with thankfulness and receive with submission all that Thou dost send…

But there is approaching a period—ah, how it speeds!—which will be the most solemn and severe, yet the sweetest and truest test of the sustaining, soothing power of Christ’s preciousness in the experience of His saints: the last sickness and the closing scene of life. Imagine that moment to have arrived. All of earth’s attraction ceases, all of creature-succor fails. Everything is failing: heart and strength failing—mental power failing—medical skill failing—human affection and sympathy failing; the film of death is on the eye, and the invisible realities of the spirit-world are unveiling to the mental view. Bending over you, the loved one who has accompanied you to the margin of the cold river asks a sign. You are too weak to conceive a thought, too low to breathe a word, too absorbed to bestow a responsive glance. You cannot now [affirm] your faith in an elaborate creed, and you have no profound experience, ecstatic emotions, or heavenly visions to describe. One brief, but all-emphatic, all-expressive sentence embodies the amount of all that you now know, believe, and feel; it is the profession of your faith, the sum of your experience, the ground of your hope: “CHRIST IS PRECIOUS TO MY SOUL.” Enough! The dying Christian can give, and the inquiring friend can wish no more. Dearest Savior, be Thou close to me in that solemn moment! Tread the valley by my side, pillow my languid head upon Thy bosom, speak these words of heart-cheer to my struggling, panting, departing soul: “Fear not: for I am with thee” (Isa. 43:5). Then, it will be happiness for me to die—death will have no venom—the grave no gloom—eternity no dread; and, from the measured experience of Thy preciousness on earth, I shall pass in triumph through the shadowy portal into the full sunshine and perfect realization and eternal enjoyment of all that faith believed, love desired, and hope expected of Thy full-orbed glory and preciousness in heaven.

From “The Preciousness of Christ” in The Precious Things of God,
Soli Deo Gloria, a division of Reformation Heritage Books, www.heritagebooks.org.
“CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Reprint from Free Grace Broadcaster, www.chapellibrary.org/

*fickle and truant – changeable and straying.

_______________________

Octavius Winslow (1808-1878): Nonconformist pastor; born in London, England, raised in New York, buried in Abbey Cemetery, Bath, England.

Related articles and Websites:

CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Part 3 Octavius Winslow

How precious is the righteousness of Christ—a righteousness that fully justifies our person, completely covering all our deformity, and presenting us to God…And look at the preciousness of His sacrifice, which is as a “sweet- smelling savour” unto God (Eph 5:2), ascending ever from off the golden altar before the throne in one continuous cloud of incense, wreathing the persons, perfuming the prayers, accompanying the offerings, and presenting with acceptance every breath of devotion, every accent of praise, and every token of love that His people here below lay at His feet. “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). That “one offering,” offered once for all, was so divine, so holy, so complete, so satisfactory, it has forever perfected the pardon, perfected the justification, perfected the adoption, and will perfect the sanctification when it perfects the glory of all the elect of Jehovah. Beloved, is not this enough to check every sigh, to quell every fear, to annihilate every doubt, and to fill you with peace and joy in believing? What shouts of praise to Jesus should burst from every lip as each believer contemplates the sacrifice that has secured his eternal salvation…Believer, evince your sense of the preciousness of this great sacrifice by bringing to it daily sins, by drawing from it hourly comfort, and by laying yourself upon it, body, soul, and spirit, a living sacrifice unto God.

How precious is Christ in all the offices and relations that He sustains to His people. Precious as the Head, the covenant-surety Head, of His people, the source of life, the seat of power, the fountain of all blessing. Reader, hold fast the Headship of Christ! Acknowledge no legislative head, no administrative head, no authoritative head, no reigning head of the Church, but the LORD JESUS CHRIST. There are undercurrents of priestly domination in the Church of God in the present day, subversive of this cardinal truth, against which it behoves us to be on our guard. Acknowledge no spiritual Head and King in Zion but the Lord Jesus! Evince (show) your recognition of, reverence for, and love to His government by vindicating His Headship, bowing to His authority, and obeying His laws. Oh, how blessed to be under the holy, benign, and gentle government of Christ, Whose scepter is a scepter of righteousness, so mild and loving in its sway that “a bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench” (Mat 12:20)…

BUT TO WHOM IS CHRIST PRECIOUS? This is a most important question. He is not so to all. It is a privileged class, a peculiar people, a little flock, few and scattered, hidden and unknown, who feel the Savior’s preciousness. Only to the believer is Christ precious; the declaration of the Holy Ghost is, “Unto you therefore which BELIEVE He is precious.” This is philosophically as well as scripturally true. There cannot possibly be a felt conviction of the worth of an object of which we have no intelligent and clear perception. There must be something to create interest, to awaken admiration, to inspire love; the object must be seen, known, and tried.

Now, the only spiritual faculty that discerns Christ, and in discerning Christ realizes His preciousness, is— faith. Faith is…the spiritual eye of the soul. Faith sees Christ; and as Christ is seen, His excellence is descried.*  As His excellence unfolds, so He becomes an object of endearment to the heart. Oh, how lovely and how glorious is Jesus to the clear, far-seeing eye of faith! Faith beholds Him the matchless, peerless One—His beauty eclipsing, His glory outshining all other beings. Faith sees majesty in His meanness,** dignity in His condescension, honor in His humiliation, beauty in His tears, transcendent, surpassing glory in His cross…Beloved, in proportion as the personal dignity, beauty, and excellence of the Lord Jesus unfolds to the believing eye, He becomes more sensibly and deeply enshrined in the heart’s warmest love. We must know the Lord Jesus to admire Him, must admire Him to love Him, and must love Him to serve Him.

The believer, too, beholds a suitability in Christ, sees Him to be just the Savior adapted to the necessities of his soul; and this renders Him peculiarly precious. “I see Him,” exclaims the believer, “to be exactly the Christ I need: His fullness meets my emptiness, His blood cleanses my guilt, His grace subdues my sin, His patience bears with my infirmities, His gentleness succors my weakness, His love quickens my obedience, His sympathy soothes my sorrows, His beauty charms my eye. He is just the Savior, just the Christ I need, and no words can describe His preciousness to my soul”…The believer can say, “Christ is mine, and I have all things in one, even in Christ, Who is my all and in all.” This simple, trembling faith, sublime in its simplicity, mighty in its tremblings, sweeps all the treasures of the everlasting covenant of grace and all the fullness of the Surety of the covenant into its lap, and exclaims, “All is mine because Christ is mine, and I am Christ’s”…If you have fled to Jesus as a poor, empty, believing sinner, there is not a throb of love in His loving heart, nor a drop of blood in His flowing veins, nor a particle of grace in His mediatorial fullness, nor a thought of peace in His divine mind that is not yours, all yours, inalienably yours, as much yours as if you were its sole possessor. And in proportion as you thus deal with Christ, individually travelling to Him, living upon Him, living out of Him, dealing as personally with Him as He deals personally with you, He will insinuate (introduce gradually) Himself in your regard, and will become growingly precious to your soul..

There are peculiar circumstances in the believer’s experience when Christ becomes especially precious to the soul. For example: in the deeper ploughings of the heart’s hidden sinfulness—when the Holy Ghost reveals more of the innate corruption of our nature, and gives a more spiritual perception of sin’s exceeding sinfulness, oh, how precious does the finished work of Christ then become!—how precious the blood that cleanseth from all sin! If God is leading you through this stage of Christian experience, beloved, be not alarmed. It is but to build up His dear Son upon the wreck and ruin of your own merit, strength, and sufficiency. He will have us love His Son with a love like His own— a love of divine, supreme, ineffable affection—and this can only be felt in the region of our own nothingness.

*descried – made known; revealed
** meanness – humbleness of birth; lowliness

CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)

(God’s grace and God’s glory are real in our lives according to the value we place on Christ.  To experience the extent of God’s grace is to know Jesus Christ.  To see God’s glory is to look diligently to Christ, His Son.  This article enabled me to see how precious Christ is to me.  I present it in four parts so as to give us time to meditate on these truths of the person of Christ, our Lord, our Life. In His Grace~ Fran)

“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.”—1 Peter 2:7

A felt conviction of the preciousness of the Savior has ever been regarded by enlightened ministers of the gospel as constituting a scriptural and unmistakable evidence of the existence of divine life in the soul; and in moments when neither time nor circumstance would admit of the close scrutiny of a theological creed, or a nice analysis of spiritual feelings and emotions, the one and simple inquiry upon which the whole matter is made to hinge has been—“What is your experience of the worth of the Savior? Is Christ precious to your heart?” The answer to this question has been to the examiner the test and the measure of the soul’s spiritual and vital change. And how proper that it should be so! In proportion as the Holy Spirit imparts a real, intelligent sense of personal sinfulness, there will be the heart’s appreciation of the value, sufficiency, and preciousness of the Lord Jesus…

We commence with a consideration of Christ’s personal preciousnessHis preciousness in Himself. It is the conviction of Christ’s personal dignity and worth that gives to faith such a substantial realization of the greatness and preciousness of His work. We have need, beloved, to be cautioned against an error into which some have fallen— of exalting the work of Christ above the person of Christ—in other words, not tracing the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice to the essential dignity of Christ’s person.

[If] the Godhead of the Savior is admitted, His atoning death becomes a fact of easy belief. Once concede that He Who died upon the cross was “God manifest in the flesh,” and the mind will experience no difficulty in admitting that that death was sacrificial and expiatory. The sufferings and death of a Being so illustrious must be in harmony with an object and in connection with a result of equal dignity and momentousness; and where will there be found such an object and such a result as the salvation of man?…There had been no glory in His achievements, no significance in His work, no efficacy in His blood, had there been no divine dignity and worth in His person. And, had He not taken a single step in working out the salvation of man—had He repaired no breach, wept no tear, endured no agony, shed no blood in the redemption of His Church—had He, in a word, conferred not a solitary blessing upon our race—He still had been the eternal Son of God—divine, peerless, glorious—the object of supreme love, adoration, and worship by all celestial beings and through all eternal ages. While, then, His sacrificial work illustrates His marvelous grace and love to sinners, that work owes all its acceptance and efficacy to the value imparted to it by the essential deity of His person. Thus, it is the personal preciousness of Christ that imparts an official preciousness to His work.

Who, then, is the Lord Jesus Christ? In common parlance (speech), men term Him, “our Savior.” But do the great body pause and reflect who Christ really is? Do they regard Him as the Creator of this world—of all worlds? of their being—of all beings? Do they consider that “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3)? If so, would they not give Him divine homage, since that which creates must be antecedent to and above the thing created, and therefore must be pre-existent and divine?

What a grand and glorious truth is this to the believing soul—the absolute deity of the Savior—the essential Godhead of Christ! How it endears Him to the heart as the Rock of Ages upon which its hope is built! How precious must be every evidence of the divine strength, stability, and durability of that basis upon which the believing sinner reposes his whole salvation. Precious, then, is Christ as God. Precious in His deity—precious as a distinct person in the adorable Godhead —precious as God over all, blessed for evermore (Rom. 9:5). But pause, Christian reader, for a moment, in wonder and praise before this august truth. If there is a spot where we should put off the shoes from our feet, surely it is this. With what profound reverence, with what silent awe, yet with what adoring love should we contemplate the Godhead of our Redeemer! But for that Godhead, we had been forever lost! His obedience to the Law, His satisfaction to the justice of Jehovah, had been of no efficacy or avail, save only as it partook of the authority, dignity, and virtue of His higher nature. Do not question the existence of the fact because of the mystery of its mode. How Jehovah could become incarnate is a wonder we shall never, in this state of limited knowledge, fully understand; enough that it is so.

Let reason reverently adore, and faith implicitly trust…Hesitate not, then, to give full credence to all the glorious truths of the gospel, and to place the entire weight of your soul upon the atonement of Jesus, and to believe that, sinner though you are, be it the very chief, such is the divine worth and sovereign efficacy of His sacrifice, you will, you must, you shall be saved to the uttermost because your Creator is your Savior, and your Judge is your Justifier.

(CHRIST IS PRECIOUS is a reprint from Free Grace Broadcaster published by Chapel Library.  You can download the whole article from page 21,  http://www.chapellibrary.org/broadcaster/The Person of Christ.  May you be blessed as many others and I have been blessed with these publications.  They are free in print simply by subscribing.)

Love the Lord? Love His Day

As simple as it may sound, I love the Lord’s Day because I love the Lord.

It is, and has been, for centuries, the day of celebration of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ. As our heavenly Father rested after His work of creation, and set aside the seventh day as the Sabbath, so, we rest in Christ and set aside the new day of worship on the day that He rose in victory from the grave, creating new life for His people.

This day is the day that I remember His atoning work on the cross for me.  All who are a part of His redeeming work meet together to give unto Him the glory due unto His name. I see this day as a new beginning; starting the new week in Christ and with His people.  Actually, at times it seems that this is the eighth day— ending the previous week with a day of praise for all that He has done —-and the first day, both rolled into one.

Years ago, when I realized that this day is a gift to His people, it became a goal every week for me, a projection from one Lord’s Day to the next, with everyday between as a day of preparation for the next Lord’s Day.  As mentioned in another post, each Lord’s Day is a taste of heaven, a prelude to that day when we will be worshipping our Lord eternally.  Then everyday will be a day of rest, and worship.

“And upon the first day of the week,
when the disciples came together to break bread,
Paul preached unto them.”
Acts. 20:7

Today is the day that I will celebrate my Lord Jesus Christ, His person, His work; the day that I will praise Him, serve Him, love Him and His people as we meet together; the day that I will “hunger and thirst” for Him and His righteousness, be filled more and more with His Spirit; and be in awe as I hear His Word proclaimed in power. This day I will, together with God’s people participate in the Lord’s Supper, “remembering His death until He comes.” Besides all this, He amazes me with great and mighty things I have not yet known, asked for, or imagined.

Again, I ask that you share your comments about how the Lord leads you on this day.  What difference does the Lord’s Day make in your life?  What impression does the Lord’s Day make in your life for eternity?

May you be blessed today as you “delight yourself in the Lord and His Day.”  Isaiah 58:13-14

~~~~~~~~
Someone who reads my posts concerning the Lord’s Day (Sabbath) has blatantly attacked this blog by his/her comments. (I say “this blog” because I, personally, will not accept such comments).

This blog was not set up as forum to discuss different religious beliefs, but to encourage those who are of “like faith” in Jesus Christ.  The title itself is meant to bring all attention to God’s grace working in every believer, for His own glory.  The sub-title “growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ” is to encourage others in this growth.  If you are only looking for a debate this blog is not for you.

The Path to Glory (Part 2)

Which is the right way to heaven?  How do we find this path whereby we share in God’s glory?  It isn’t at all where or what we think it might be.

It is the same path our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, took, the way that was laid out for Him.  And if we are to “come” to this path—the only way to heaven—it must be “after” Him. (Luke 9:23) He said clearly that the only way is by “self-denial”—taking up our own cross to “follow” Him.  It is not a matter of, “But, wait Lord, until I have done “my thing;” when I have made a name for myself; then I think I might be ready to start on this path. Then I might have an interest in your glory.”
No, there is a cost to enter through this “strait gate”—my life, my own desires, my own glory.

The disciple is not above his master,
nor the servant above his lord.”
Matthew 10:24

 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus
shall suffer persecution.”
2 Timothy 3:12

Bitter and Sweet Promises

The promises that are given in this way to God’s glory are both hard to swallow, and pleasing to our senses.  Our heavenly Father knows how, and has planned, to direct us and minister to our needs.  On the way, and at the end, are great and precious promises that others will never know or understand because they have not yet entered through this strait gate that leads to the narrow way.

As we look at these promises from God’s Word let us meditate on the connections between Christ, our suffering with Him, and the results.  For example, in the following we are promised that we shall have tribulation; with it—in Christ, we are promised peace, and victory in overcoming the world.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

“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

“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you.
But 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.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” 
1 Peter 4:12-14

The Heirs of Glory

The path is laid out for, and revealed to God’s children.

“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.
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God
.”  Romans 8:17-19

The Humbling and Proving

 This is the time of testing and proving, here on this earth, of those who are His.

 “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no. He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”  Deuteronomy 8:2-3

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” 1 Peter 1:7

 His Presence and Power with Us

He promises all that we need for the way, though long and tedious it may be.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10

 “For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.
Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.
I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”  
Psalm 32:6-8

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

“So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.
Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.”
Psalm 73:22-24

The Nature of Those On This Path

God, our Father uses His own children to draw others to the path.

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5

“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the word of life.”
Philippians 2: 12-15

The Holy Bible, God’s Word, is our guide book.  The Holy Spirit is our constant companion and help in time of need.  Through prayer, and in Christ, we are never alone, He is our  joy and the assurance of our safety and endurance to the destination to which He has called us.

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
bringing many sons unto glory
Hebrews 12:2; 2:10
Music: My Grace is Sufficient for Thee

The Path to Glory

The path to heaven and eternal glory with God, which is presented by some today, is unreal.  Even in the name of Christianity most of it is only “hype.” Another four-letter word that I see plastered all over the Internet describes how people feel about what they read and hear.  The apostle Paul used the word “dung” (which is more graceful) to describe the things in this world, things that have no link to heavenly things, but are simply earthly.  Compared to the real thing they are but waste, worth nothing.

But in order to get past the earthly, and the dung, we have to address it.  It is a reality.  We have to see it for what it is, and know how to deal with it.   How do we know what we are dealing with, and how do we get through it.  It is all part of the understanding of the path that God calls us to.

“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory
by Christ Jesus,
after that ye have suffered a while,
make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.”
1 Peter 5:10

The path to glory, by some, is paved with good intentions.  When the veneer cracks and crumbles they and their followers, like the Kohathites, (Numbers 16:32) will be swallowed up.  They want people to be a part of their ministry and so they make everything inviting; promising comfort and ease in joining their ranks.  Some hope for others a good life and try to make it look easy for them.  They have not yet understood, nor can they lead others in this path.

This path is not a “glory path” here on this earth. God, our heavenly Father does not promise us a path back to the Garden of Eden, but one that leads to Gethsemane.

Hidden and Narrow

“At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,  because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”
Matthew 11:25

It is a hidden path.  Only those to whom the Father reveals the Son and draws them to Him will find the path. (John 6:44-45)  It is always in following Him that He leads us to it.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.”
Matthew 7:13=14

The path begins through a gate so slim that we can take nothing with us.  More so, there is a compression of all that we are that enables us to get through.  Humility, faith, and repentance empty us of our baggage, and shrink us to the size we need to be.

It is a narrow path.  This is the path that Jesus describes to his disciples.

He says that only a few will come to Him. The multitudes won’t lead us to it. The crowded path leads to destruction. The path to glory is not a wide path, but one that we most often will have to walk alone; not that others are not on the path, but there are times when they will not understand what we are dealing with or going through.  We may be too slow for them; we only get in their way. For the most part, only Christ can understand and lead us through.

Not Our Choosing

It is never the path we would choose for ourselves.  We would choose the easier way, but if we are to follow Christ it must be His way or not at all.  This is why many cannot find, know, or walk this path here on earth.  We must know our calling in Christ to be one of suffering and sacrifice for His name’s sake—for “righteousness’ sake.”

It is a walking path, not a bike lane or busy highway; we have no vehicle, only feet and body for the endurance; for proving of His own grace and power in our perseverance.

What God teaches us is — the path to His glory is difficult.  He has said it; and His saints are witnesses to the fact and experience that it is a struggle to endure the pains and trials of the Christian life.  It does not get easier as we get older; we simply require more of God’s grace and strength.

Steep, Rocky, and Dark

The path is steep, sometimes turning like a spiral, leading round and round, onward and upward. It is rocky; it seems that things are literally thrown into the path.  There we stumble and oftentimes we fall—right into the dung. There are times when it seems that we cannot take another step; our arms get so tired; or when we can no longer walk, the wheels on our chair get bogged down and won’t turn.

It is sometimes dark, with only the Word of God as a “light for our path, and a lamp for our feet.” It can lead to the mountains, where the sky is the bluest; the air is the freshest, and the aroma as heavenly as the very presence of God.  Other times it leads to the valley, or through a tunnel where all that we have is a glimpse of light at the end; other times we are led into a cave where all is black, and the only thing we can do is sit still, and wait.

Unless you are on the path that we describe, and you know the purpose in all your struggles, and striving, stop and examine where you are.  Stay with us for Part 2 to look at the promises that are posted on this path to encourage us and bring us gracefully, triumphantly, and gloriously into the presence of God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, here and for eternity.

“Confirming the souls of the disciples,
and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Acts 14:22