“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, January 16, 2013

Stretch for the stars

“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14).

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8,9).

No sooner do we think we have arrived, do we consign ourselves to a life of boredom—a stale eternity. The only way to avoid an eternity of boredom is to admit to less that perfection and to a great need of God.

Our ideas of education take too narrow and too low a range. There is need of a broader scope, a higher aim. True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.  Education, p. 13.

This paragraph opens before us the big picture—higher than human thought can reach.

Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children. Godliness—Godlikeness—is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress. He has an object to achieve, a standard to attain, that includes everything good, and pure, and noble. He will advance as fast and as far as possible in every branch of true knowledge. But his efforts will be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth.  Education, p. 18.

“It is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1Cor. 2:9).

Though He is infinitely ahead of us, Christ must be our example. What did He say about His likeness to Jehovah? “My Father is greater than I.” (Jn. 14:28). He stretched Himself to come up to His Father’s mark. He “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature,” “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” in whom “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” pressed “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God.” (Col. 1:15;Col. 2:3,9;Phil. 3:14). Jesus constant effort was the high calling of infinite perfection in His Father. “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” (Heb. 5:8).

“I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.” (Rev. 3:8). We can’t open the massive concrete door that leads to salvation. That’s God’s job. But when He has opened it, we can go in. The door does not open all the time, nor does it stay open forever when it opens. We must promptly accept His offers of grace.

“Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while he is near.” (Isa. 55:6).  “Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” (Heb. 3:7,8). “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)” (2Cor. 6:2).  “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.” (Psa. 34:8).

He has power to give us if we will rest in Him. “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding.
He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
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.” (Isa. 40:28-31).

Have we “tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come?” (Heb. 6:5). “He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water.
 (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)” (Jn. 7:38,39).

Let us stretch with Jesus. Empowered by “the Holy Ghost,” “the power of the Highest,” “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before 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.” (Luk. 1:35;Heb. 12:1,2).

Let us forget those things which are behind and “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14).
The Lord desires His people to reach the highest round of the ladder that they may glorify Him by possessing the ability He is willing to bestow. Through the grace of God every provision has been made for us to reveal that we act upon better plans than those upon which the world acts. We are to show a superiority in intellect, in understanding, in skill and knowledge, because we believe in God and in His power to work upon human hearts. Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 358.

Remember that you will never reach a higher standard than you yourself set. Then set your mark high, and step by step, even though it be by painful effort, by self-denial and sacrifice, ascend the whole length of the ladder of progress. Let nothing hinder you. Fate has not woven its meshes about any human being so firmly that he need remain helpless and in uncertainty. Opposing circumstances should create a firm determination to overcome them. The breaking down of one barrier will give greater ability and courage to go forward. Press with determination in the right direction, and circumstances will be your helpers, not your hindrances.  Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 331.

A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve. How important, then, is the development of character in this life.  Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 332.

Let the youth who need an education set to work with a determination to obtain it. Do not wait for an opening; make one for yourselves. Take hold in any small way that presents itself. Practice economy. Do not spend your means for the gratification of appetite, or in pleasure seeking. Be determined to become as useful and efficient as God calls you to be. Be thorough and faithful in whatever you undertake. Procure every advantage within your reach for strengthening the intellect. Let the study of books be combined with useful manual labor, and by faithful endeavor, watchfulness, and prayer secure the wisdom that is from above. This will give you an all-round education. Thus you may rise in character, and gain an influence over other minds, enabling you to lead them in the path of uprightness and holiness.  Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 334.

Those who possess large affections are under obligation to God to bestow them, not merely on their friends, but on all who need their help. Social advantages are talents, and are to be used for the benefit of all within reach of our influence. The love that gives kindness to only a few is not love, but selfishness. It will not in any way work for the good of souls or the glory of God. Those who thus leave their Master’s talents unimproved are even more guilty than are the ones for whom they feel such contempt. To them it will be said, Ye knew your Master’s will, but did it not.  Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 352.

Let’s reach for the stars.


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