“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.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Another preface to Hebrews chapter twelve

Heaven is for bad people

Heaven is for those who have done lots of wrong. Everyone who has done no wrong, and can do no wrong, will never step a foot in the kingdom of God. Only bad, weak people enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus keeps bad company.

It’s the smart and the talented, the successful and the brave, who have never chewed their fingernails or looked unsightly. They have all the best genes and chromosomes. Their presentations and demeanor, their clearness of thought and articulation are flawless. They never do anything foolish. In the way of public display, “they have more than heart could wish.” (Psa. 73:7). They need no helper in God. They can never beg His forgiveness. They will never fall at His feet and worship Him because they have never needed Him for anything. Heaven is not for them.

“And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples.
And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Matt. 9:10-13).

It’s the thieves and prostitutes, the untouchables and castaways that can appreciate a pitying friend. The lepers and beggars, the invalids, the fatherless and widows, all have a keen love for anyone who will take notice of them in their destitution. It’s those who have been failures to whom He bends down and asks, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” (Mk. 10:51).

 “When He was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed Him.
And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped Him, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean. And Jesus put forth His hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” (Matt. 8:1-3). “He went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter.” (Mk. 1:45).

The unclean whose hearts He cleanses are the ones who beg to go with Him everywhere He goes.

“And when He was come out of the ship, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit…. He said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit…. And when He was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed Him that he might be with Him.” (Mk. 5:2,8,18).

But, while Jesus couldn’t fulfill his prayer as he had asked it, He could fulfill it in a different way. He sent the man on an evangelistic tour and Jesus was with him through it all in Spirit. Jesus came back to that pagan area again later on, “and when the men of that place had knowledge of Him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto Him all that were diseased; and besought Him that they might only touch the hem of His garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.” (Matt. 14:35-36).

When we have had enough of relying on our natural born strengths, while denying the existence of our weaknesses and thinking of ourselves greater than we are, then we will faint at the gigantic crevasse that our weaknesses could fill. When foolish arrogance has made enough people hate us and we are all alone in this world, and our toys and silly games and the vices that so easily beset us no longer satisfy, then maybe we will hear the voice of the Spirit tell us there is more than this world offers. That’s when we go to Jesus’ offer for help, like “the blind man said unto Him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.” (Mk. 10:51).

When we’ve conquered all the challenges of this world, there is still one last challenge that menaces us—self. Pleasing self, exalting self, indulging self, pitying and petting self, et cetera. On and on it goes. But, the Bible is unique in the way it treats great men. It shows the great and powerful to be regular, weak, common people. In the public eye, to the masses, they were gods and they presented themselves as such. Presidential, majestic, debonair, perfectly refined, never dirty, never stinky, they intimidated the common people into submission. Then Satan only had to use military might to keep down the free-thinkers who saw through the mask.

But, God laughs at such sordid pretense. He shows us the real Nebuchadnezzar the Great trembling at a nightmare, and King Darius sleepless all night until he could find the outcome of Daniel’s internment in the dungeon with lions. We see the real bully, King Sennacharib, who wrote that he conquered Jerusalem, even though his siege failed and he lost his whole army, and later his life at the hands of his own sons. We see the real Haman who was murderously self-important beyond all compare.

“The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.
And the idols He shall utterly abolish.
And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats;
To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.
Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Isa. 2:17-22).

Everyone who is boastful and arrogant, even with spiritual matters, He distains. But He will remember the lowly whom the proud tread down, and He draws close and encourages them. And He keeps an eagle eye out for any breaking down of the façades of the arrogant and moves in to facilitate their salvation also. He will have mercy and not ostentatious, pretentious, self-exalted sacrifice. He will have mercy. He will have mercy. He will have mercy. And sacrifice from humbled, genuine hearts.

“With righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked.” (Isa. 11:4).

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.


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