“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, February 07, 2017

The big picture

We need the big picture. We need to know that God is leading us. We need to have certainty of salvation. We need to realize that we are living at stupendous times. Once we have these we need to keep them ever before us. This is the big picture, the true guiding light.
The prophecies which the great I AM has given in His Word, uniting link after link in the chain of events, from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, tell us where we are today in the procession of the ages, and what may be expected in the time to come. All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order.
Today the signs of the times declare that we are standing on the threshold of great and solemn events. Everything in our world is in agitation. Before our eyes is fulfilling the Saviour’s prophecy of the events to precede His coming: “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars…. Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”
The present is a time of overwhelming interest to all living. Rulers and statesmen, men who occupy positions of trust and authority, thinking men and women of all classes, have their attention fixed upon the events taking place about us. They are watching the relations that exist among the nations. They observe the intensity that is taking possession of every earthly element, and they recognize that something great and decisive is about to take place,that the world is on the verge of a stupendous crisis. Prophets and Kings, pp. 536, 537.
It’s so easy to get consumed with the day-to-day cares and forget the big picture. Are we seeing the collapse of Protestantism all around us? Has the Bible lost all of its truth and power to save the hearts of men? To reveal the deceptions of Satan?
“Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” (Rev. 18:2,3).
Are we seeing a world growing in atheism, being increasingly corrupted by the false prophet from Babylon, and living without a knowledge of the goodness of God, therefore unable to control their anger?
“The nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that Thou shouldest give reward unto Thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear Thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.” (Rev. 11:18).
Aren’t the nations angry because the God of love is hidden from their sight? Isn’t He unknown to them because they have accepted the life of atheistic idolatry and self-indulgence? Aren’t we seeing a world that has completely forgotten that there will be a day of judgment? Aren’t they growing increasingly oblivious or arrogantly opposed to such a concept? Isn’t the world so disbelieving in the Almighty that everything moral is relative, that there aren’t moral absolutes from their Creator? Isn’t the world hardening in its atheistic ways and thinking, and strengthening its influences and draw upon a dwindling core of faithful to the old path wherein is the good way and rest for our souls?
We must inquire of our souls and seek diligently to know, Are we becoming foolish virgins, less inclined to love the word of God and the cleansing that it gives us? Is our fullness of joy still in the things of God, so that our reserve of oil remains full, along with the present lamp in our hearts? Are we stockpiling His admonitions, just in case? Just in case the coming troubles take longer than we want to believe they will? We must afflict our souls and ask ourselves, Can I live like this internet connected, finance connected world is not on the verge of a stupendous crisis? Will I go to work just to pay the bills, like Babylon does? Or just to save up for some future dream of “the good life”, like the Sodomites did? Remember Lot’s wife. Remember Sodom. Remember Belshazzar. Remember the Babylonians. Remember their religious celebrations and partying the night of their destruction.
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30).
We need a guiding light. We need the very presence of Jesus, for Him to keep reminding us of the times in which we live. We need to be part of the purposes of God so that we can have the earnest for the high standard that pleases Him. This is what Jesus did for the father of the Old Testament holy prophets and people.
“The Lord knew the evil influences that would surround Jacob, and the perils to which he would be exposed. In mercy He opened up the future before the repentant fugitive, that he might understand the divine purpose with reference to himself, and be prepared to resist the temptations that would surely come to him when alone amid idolaters and scheming men. There would be ever before him the high standard at which he must aim; and the knowledge that through him the purpose of God was reaching its accomplishment, would constantly prompt him to faithfulness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 184.
Because of Jacob’s vision from heaven, “there would be ever before him the high standard at which he must aim; and the knowledge that through him the purpose of God was reaching its accomplishment, would constantly prompt him to faithfulness.” Jacob needed to “understand the divine purpose with reference to himself, and be prepared to resist the temptations that would surely come to him when alone amid idolaters and scheming men.”
Do we recognize a divine purpose with reference to ourselves? Is God for us? Is our confidence in God? Can we say with certainty,
“If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
Does this verse apply to us? Haven’t we set our love on Jesus? Can we sense that God has been for us, and still is? How do we answer that question? Have we made many mistakes? Grievous mistakes? Seeming unpardonable mistakes? Nonetheless, have we sought God’s face anyway, just in case He will hear us? Will we ask Him for a little blessing, “If that is all we deserve from You?” Will we recite His promises, and let them encourage us find the courage to look upward to Him because His promises say that His mercy endureth forever?

In shame and humiliation, has our prayer been to God, “Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy holy Spirit from me” (Ps. 51:11)? In spite of our status before the Law of God, has our tenacious prayer been, “I also … will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the King, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish” (Est. 4:16)? Have we found when we did that, that “nevertheless I live” (Gal. 2:20)? Because of persistent faith we live in His sight. Importunate prayer makes strong, robust sons of God.
Are we examining ourselves lest saving faith silently slips away and we mysteriously become reprobate? Am I asking myself, Do I still have peace with God? Have I left Him for the trinkets and tasty treats of this world? How recent is my sense of God’s acceptance by His grace and a renewed hope in Jesus? Can I say once again, Does God have a plan for me? Am I in that plan? Am I diligently keeping myself open to Him? Am I remaining unburdened regarding, and unattached to, the world so that Jesus can use me? Is my status with the world so ready to detach from it that I could leave it all for the gospel’s sake at a moment’s notice? Have we surrendered all, so we have nothing to lose, especially our peace with God?
Such a dedication to God doesn’t imply being super-religious, fanatical, cloistered away from the world, or so woefully paralyzed by last day events that I am not able to come to Jesus, as my Comforter. But, it does mean being shamed and vulnerable before God and His Law. Then it means the Father taking me to Jesus and me choosing to stay with m Master, according to Galatians 3:24. It means learning of Jesus without forgetting the stupendous times in which we live. It means desiring to share the good things I’ve learned about the goodness of my Friend and having a ready answer to others concerning the hope that lies within me. It means remembering that the final message to the world is the utmost concern today. The qualifications for giving that final message are the biggest reason to keep studying the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. It means overcoming self and appetites. It means gathering up precious promises in scripture, in nature, in experiences of life. It means doing whatever the Spirit of the Lord brings to mind for o preparing to see Jesus’ soon “coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matt. 24:30).
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” (1Jn. 3:1-3).
“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.
“Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself: ‘The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.’ John 14:30. Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.  
     It is in this life that we are to separate sin from us, through faith in the atoning blood of Christ. Our precious Saviour invites us to join ourselves to Him, to unite our weakness to His strength, our ignorance to His wisdom, our unworthiness to His merits. God’s providence is the school in which we are to learn the meekness and lowliness of Jesus. The Lord is ever setting before us, not the way we would choose, which seems easier and pleasanter to us, but the true aims of life. It rests with us to co-operate with the agencies which Heaven employs in the work of conforming our characters to the divine model. None can neglect or defer this work but at the most fearful peril to their souls.” Great Controversy, p. 623.
It means staying alert to the times and getting ready to meet Jesus face to face.
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.” (1Jn. 3:4-6).
“Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” (Mark 13:35-37).
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.” (Matt. 24:30).
“Behold, He cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” (Rev. 1:7).
Will we stand when He comes, and say, This is our God? Or, will we run away from Him with the careless world? Won’t our choice be as difficult as Christ’s choice was in Gethsemane? Yes.“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:15-17).
Are we being humbled? Are we letting either the Law of God or the lessons of life lay our pride in the dust? “What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself.” Testimonies to Ministers, p. 456. Is our uncircumcised heart being humbled? Are we being justified? Born again? Having Christ’s peace and power?
“From the hour when he received the birthright, Jacob was weighed down with self-condemnation. He had sinned against his father, his brother, his own soul, and against God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 180.
“Yet it was with a deeply troubled heart that Jacob set out on his lonely journey. With only his staff in his hand he must travel hundreds of miles through a country inhabited by wild, roving tribes. In his remorse and timidity he sought to avoid men, lest he should be traced by his angry brother. He feared that he had lost forever the blessing that God had purposed to give him; and Satan was at hand to press temptations upon him.  
     The evening of the second day found him far away from his father’s tents. He felt that he was an outcast, and he knew that all this trouble had been brought upon him by his own wrong course. The darkness of despair pressed upon his soul, and he hardly dared to pray. But he was so utterly lonely that he felt the need of protection from God as he had never felt it before. With weeping and deep humiliation he confessed his sin, and entreated for some evidence that he was not utterly forsaken. Still his burdened heart found no relief. He had lost all confidence in himself, and he feared that the God of his fathers had cast him off.
     But God did not forsake Jacob. His mercy was still extended to His erring, distrustful servant. The Lord compassionately revealed just what Jacob needed--a Saviour. He had sinned, but his heart was filled with gratitude as he saw revealed a way by which he could be restored to the favor of God.
    Wearied with his journey, the wanderer lay down upon the ground, with a stone for his pillow. As he slept he beheld a ladder, bright and shining, whose base rested upon the earth, while the top reached to heaven. Upon this ladder angels were ascending and descending; above it was the Lord of glory, and from the heavens His voice was heard: ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac.’ The land whereon he lay as an exile and fugitive was promised to him and to his posterity, with the assurance, ‘In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ This promise had been given to Abraham and to Isaac, and now it was renewed to Jacob. Then in special regard to his present loneliness and distress, the words of comfort and encouragement were spoken: ‘Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 183.
“In mercy [the Lord] opened up the future before the repentant fugitive, that he might understand the divine purpose with reference to himself, and be prepared to resist the temptations that would surely come to him when alone amid idolaters and scheming men. There would be ever before him the high standard at which he must aim; and the knowledge that through him the purpose of God was reaching its accomplishment, would constantly prompt him to faithfulness.” Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 184.
Do we have Jacob’s experience of conviction of sin, and his deep repentance? Do we have the faithful result of that in his certainty of salvation? Has the Lord done for us what He did for His repentant child and opened up our eyes to the near future and its difficult time of troubles, and its temptations to leave the only true God and join in with the merriment of the one false god who has lifted himself up to be equal with the Godhead? Shouldn’t we have the certainty of salvation that Jacob had? Yes, all scripture is profitable for doctrine. We must have that kind of certainty, we must fortify our minds with the truths of God’s word or we cannot be one of the 144,000, and we will fail out of the hard test ahead of us. He will bring upon the world a first time of trouble to punish us for our neglect toward His high, high standard counsels in the Spirit of Prophecy. But, it will all be for our benefit, as a last chance for Him to finalize His preparation of the last generation who do stand with Him on Mt. Zion during that final trial.
“And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them. If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; and that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Lev. 26:39-42).
By the strong work and counsels of the faithful and reproving Witness of Jesus, and by our strong confidence in His mercy for us we will see an army of angels travelling up to and down from Mt. Zion where sits the Son of Man on the right hand of Power. By faith we will “come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.” (Heb. 12:22).
Won’t we strive to be among the 144,000?


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