“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.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Picnic in a warzone

Near Centreville, Capt. John Tidball witnessed a “throng of sightseers” approach his battery. “They came in all manner of ways, some in stylish carriages, others in city hacks, and still others in buggies, on horseback and even on foot. Apparently everything in the shape of vehicles in and around Washington had been pressed into service for the occasion. It was Sunday and everybody seemed to have taken a general holiday; that is all the male population, for I saw none of the other sex there, except a few huckster women who had driven out in carts loaded with pies and other edibles. All manner of people were represented in this crowd, from the most grave and noble senators to hotel waiters.”
London Times correspondent William Howard Russell observed, “On the hill beside me there was a crowd of civilians on horseback, and in all sorts of vehicles, with a few of the fairer, if not gentler sex .... The spectators were all excited, and a lady with an opera glass who was near me was quite beside herself when an unusually heavy discharge roused the current of her blood — ‘That is splendid, Oh my! Is not that first rate? I guess we will be in Richmond to-morrow.’”

Manassas civil war battle with bystanders eating their picnics a few miles away. They quickly became part of the battle and they had to scramble to flee.
My niece’s soldier boyfriend decried the new mandate for the Army that female soldiers must be given a shower once every 10 days. The troupes had to stop the fighting, surround the showers and protect the females from the enemy, so that the ladies get their mandated showers once every 10 days.
War is hard. Historically, showers were not part of a soldier’s enlistment contract. I’ve seen photos of soldiers sleeping in desert holes maybe dug out by them for some cooler place to sleep. My uncle Bill told my dad to go into the Navy where he would have a dry bed and a warm meal. During WWII too many times he had slept in the rain and scrounged for food when the MREs ran out.
We are in a war. But, are we aware of it? Or are we in a stupor? Shootings growing closer together, bombings, gay rights, legal and illegal drugs everywhere. The end of America. The collapse of society.
Entertainment that desensitizes us to pain and suffering, so that in our livingrooms we can have a picnic while we watch the killing. “There is another death. Wow, look at our American military might! Please pass the mustard. Are there any chips left? Look at the missile blow up that building! That’s terrible! Those poor civilians! Is there anymore potato salad? Do I have to choose between ice cream and homemade apple pie, or can I have a little of both?”
“The command is: ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.’ These sighing, crying ones had been holding forth the words of life; they had reproved, counseled, and entreated. Some who had been dishonoring God repented and humbled their hearts before Him. But the glory of the Lord had departed from Israel; although many still continued the forms of religion, His power and presence were lacking.  
     In the time when His wrath shall go forth in judgments, these humble, devoted followers of Christ will be distinguished from the rest of the world by their soul anguish, which is expressed in lamentation and weeping, reproofs and warnings. While others try to throw a cloak over the existing evil, and excuse the great wickedness everywhere prevalent, those who have a zeal for God’s honor and a love for souls will not hold their peace to obtain favor of any. Their righteous souls are vexed day by day with the unholy works and conversation of the unrighteous. They are powerless to stop the rushing torrent of iniquity, and hence they are filled with grief and alarm. They mourn before God to see religion despised in the very homes of those who have had great light. They lament and afflict their souls because pride, avarice, selfishness, and deception of almost every kind are in the church. The Spirit of God, which prompts to reproof, is trampled underfoot, while the servants of Satan triumph. God is dishonored, the truth made of none effect.
     The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God. The Lord commissions His messengers, the men with slaughtering weapons in their hands: ‘Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.’” Testimonies for the church, vol. 5, p. 210,211.
How can we wake up? how can we prepare for the storm that is coming in all of its fury? We can pray for the Lord to wake us up. We can seek a Saviour from our sins. Then we can go and, in faith, work our prayers. Praying will keep before our conscience the utterly essential necessity of soberness to eternal realities.
Jesus had a war coming—a major battle with the devil over our redemption. All the hosts of darkness would amass against Him to prevent His death for you and me. So He prayed with all that was within Him. And He was heard.
“His prayer is heard. While He is bowed in lowliness upon the stony ground, suddenly the heavens open, the golden gates of the city of God are thrown wide, and holy radiance descends upon the mount, enshrouding the Saviour’s form. Divinity from within flashes through humanity, and meets the glory coming from above. Arising from His prostrate position, Christ stands in godlike majesty. The soul agony is gone. His countenance now shines “as the sun,” and His garments are ‘white as the light.’” Desire of Ages, p. 421.
“And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias: who appeared in glory, and spake of His decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:28-31).
Do we want the glory of God shining out of us? We will have to be greatly humbled first.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Isa. 53:3,4).
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey [hupakouō, “conform to”] Him.” (Heb. 5:8,9).
Paul, the apostle and prophet, the unique dynamo of God, was daily crucified with Christ before God on his knees every morning. Only then could Paul receive the daily dying that came at him from all directions.
“I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily…. after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus….” (1Cor. 15:31,32).
“…in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.” (2Cor. 11:23-28).
We are the church militant, not the church triumphant. This is no time for a picnic in the park. The picnic is yet to come, and it will be well worth the battle to get to it.
“And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.” (Isa. 25:6).
“And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.
He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.
And He will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
For in this mountain shall the hand of the LORD rest.” (Isa. 25:9,8,7,6,10).


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