“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Invested by God

When God has invested much into training up a disciple He does it to make that person a minister. No one can be a witness unless God made them one. It took much painstaking work and earnest effort on God’s part. He foresaw them, and then worked to bring them to repentance since He predestined them to be conformed into His image. Justified by faith He then continued to suffer patiently with their slowly developing faith and sanctification.

Finally He gets them to the condition of full surrender and He has them sealed and glorified in a faith that never departs from communion and full trust. “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1Jn. 5:4). “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2Pet. 1:4). “In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.” (Eph. 1:13).“Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out.” (Rev. 3:12).

Thus when God has invested so many years in the education of His elect, He doesn’t just let that graduate take up just any occupation. Peter, in Gethsemane on crucifixion night, successfully passed through the difficult realization of his truly weak condition, and then during the following three days, more mental torture. But when the previous three years with Jesus appeared to have proven a farce to Simon and he decided to go back to fishing for fish instead of for men, the providence of God kept every fish out his net. God couldn’t let Peter get comfortable back in his old employment when He saw great promise of a soon completed job with Peter’s conscience, conversion, and character. During this disappointing day without fish, Peter had time to do nothing but think back on Jesus and those wonderful times with his heaven-sent Friend, as the one to whom John the Baptist had pointed out, and to ponder Jesus’ wonderful works and words of mercy and truth. Surely, the dead time was torture to his restless mind.

Finally, Jesus gave Peter a choice by miraculously permitting a huge net-full of fish to be caught, as a test for Peter. The disciple could return to his old employment or return to the work of God. Then Christ confirmed Peter in the ministry with three repeated questions.

“Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these?” (Jesus was referring to the large catch of fish.) “He saith unto Him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love Thee.” “He saith unto him, Feed My lambs.” (Jn. 21:15). Christ needed Peter to launch the Christian church. This was no time to be launching fishing boats.

Likewise, James White was prevented from common employment.

“My husband left the railroad, and with his ax went into the woods to chop cordwood. With a continual pain in his side, he worked from early morning till dark to earn about fifty cents a day. He was prevented from sleeping nights by severe pain. … One day when our provisions were gone, my husband went to his employer to get money or provisions. It was a stormy day, and he walked three miles and back in the rain. He brought home on his back a bag of provisions tied in different compartments, having in this manner passed through the village of Brunswick, where he had often lectured. As he entered the house, very weary, my heart sank within me. My first feelings were that God had forsaken us. I said to my husband: “Have we come to this? Has the Lord left us?” I could not restrain my tears, … At this time I was shown that the Lord had been trying us for our good, and to prepare us to labor for others; that He had been stirring up our nest, lest we should settle down at ease. Our work was to labor for souls; if we had been prospered, home would be so pleasant that we would be unwilling to leave it; trials had been permitted to come upon us to prepare us for the still greater conflicts that we would meet in our travels.” 1Testimonies, p. 82,83.

Any parent, spending a vast amount of resources on the child’s higher education, would be understandably upset, if, after graduation, the child decided to discard the career provided by that degree, and become a ditch digger or burger flipper. But this is the same thing as the person who finally learns full submission to Christ and His righteousness and complete surrender to His love, to then treat it as an unholy thing and walk away from full consecration to the Lord’s work.

This the Lord doesn’t allow. Paul admitted his situation: “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.” (1Cor. 9:16,17).

Similarly, Elisha didn’t even turn back to bid his parents good-bye when Elijah called him as his replacement. “So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him. And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.” (1Ki. 19:19-21).

Today we live in the anti-typical Day of Atonement. We are awaiting the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit. Everyone who serves the Lord must realize that more is required of His servants than has been in ages past. God is calling people to fulfill a special role in preparing the world for His coming. An investigative judgment is finishing its proceedings in heaven so that He can come with His reward for His saints. “While the investigative judgment is going forward in heaven, while the sins of penitent believers are being removed from the sanctuary, there is to be a special work of purification, of putting away of sin, among God’s people upon earth.” Great Controversy, p. 425:1.

A special work of sanctification is in effect, a work that will open the lines of communication with heaven, and make us His chosen spokespersons. We must not take His name or this work in vain.

In the typical Day of Atonement, God made very rigid requirements for ancient Israel. “On the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the Lord your God. For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” (Lev. 23:27-32).

Three times the people were told to afflict their souls and to rest from common work at the last day of the year. What should this say to us today in the anti-typical Day of Atonement? We are standing on the brim of a cliff; we are at the end of the world. Jesus is soon to come. Judgment day will attend Him. How are we spending our days? Are we just working to advance in the kingdom of this world? Is our focus on becoming wealthy (or financially comfortable)? Are we playing the lottery; do we hope in the stock market? Are we planning to get rich quick?

Everyone who did not afflict his soul on this day of judgment for the nation was “cut off” from the congregation. How would that translate to modern day? If we are busying ourselves in this life, preoccupied with its luxuries and privileges, then we are cut off from eternal life; we fail in the investigative judgment in the court of heaven, a judgment which is fast coming to a close.

Is God arbitrary for cutting off those who don’t take His judgment seriously? No, He has given an exorbitant amount of time for His people to take eternity seriously. They may submerge themselves in a quickly passing kingdom of this world, if they choose; or they may realize the great danger and flee the illusions this world offers.

Let us take obedience and loyalty to heaven seriously. Before it is too late, let’s avail ourselves to God. Let’s determine to obey Him and let Him train us and fit us up to correctly represent Him and to have a burden for the salvation of others. He will teach us to trust in Him. He will bring us in close and personally speak to us.

Then we can take part in the long-awaited Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit, a time of trouble, such as never was, and then finally, the Earth-shattering return of our Savior.


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