What a wonderful thing it is for believers to know that their sins are forgiven and that they have a home prepared for them by the Lord Jesus. Also, what a wonderful hope we have in knowing that at any moment we may hear the “shout” and be caught away from this world to meet the Lord in the air, and to be forever with Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout…and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
But why is it that God has chosen to leave us here instead of taking us to heaven the moment we get saved? It is because we are left to represent Christ in this world where He was rejected and crucified. We are left to worship and glorify Him, and left to shine as lights, and to be ambassadors as we wait for His return. “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15). He has given us a message to deliver to precious souls that He loves, and we are responsible to go to them with this message of salvation that they need so much.
I am sitting in the Portland Oregon airport waiting for a flight to Phoenix Arizona this morning. From Phoenix, I hope to fly on to Oakland California, and after a few days’ visit there, fly to Chicago, then Philadelphia, and finally to Binghamton, New York. It is amazing how we can zigzag around the world in this day of fast, modern transit, but what I am really looking forward to is that last and final flight to the Father’s house.
That final boarding call, “Come up hither” (Revelation 4:1), will be the best boarding announcement of all. It will take me nonstop to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. It will be a one-way flight to heaven, with no baggage and no delays. This flight might be today or this week, and for those of us who know the Lord as Saviour it should be the anticipation of our hearts.
In the meantime, keep Christ before you as the object and the goal, and, “Rejoice in the Lord alway” (Philippians 4:4).
“O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3).
Often when we come together to worship the Lord our minds are distracted easily with other things. What we did or didn’t do this past week: What we need to get done this week: that school project that is due…the work project that is almost finished…problems in our life…and so on.
It is wonderful when we meet to remember the Lord, and there don’t seem to be the distractions. I love to be at a meeting where the leading of the Spirit of God is really felt and experienced, and where there is worship and praise to God the Father and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. It is wonderful when distractions don’t seem to be a problem. The Lord loves to encourage us and those times are a closer glimpse of Himself and a little foretaste of heaven. As you meet to remember and worship the Lord today ask Him to help you not to be distracted. Let’s be like the Psalmist, who said, “I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation” (Psalm 111:1).
“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 2:2).
Prince Napoleon, son of Napoleon III, served with the British army in Africa. One day he left camp with a troop of soldiers on an exploratory mission. Far from camp they stopped to rest and eat. It was a dangerous area and one of the men said uneasily, “We had better turn back, and if we don’t hurry we may be overtaken.”
Prince Napoleon’s reply was, “Just ten more minutes.”
However, before ten minutes were up they were overtaken and overpowered, and the Prince lost his life.
Upon receiving the news of his death, his grief-stricken mother exclaimed, “It was a great weakness from childhood. He never wanted to go to bed on time, or get up when he should, he always wanted ten more minutes.”
Prince Napoleon died because he believed he had ten more minutes. But there are many who are going into a lost eternity because they believe they still have time. We have no promise of any more minutes, but this present one—this fleeting NOW! The Bible says, “Make haste, and come…” (Luke 19:5).
Q. When we pray, who are we to address? Is it always God the Father?
A. “And in that day ye shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you” (John 16:23). This verse teaches that we usually address the Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the Lord was on earth the disciples could come directly to Him and make request, but after His ascension they would have the privilege of going directly to the Father.
However there are times when it is appropriate to address the Lord in prayers as well. For example, He is “the head of the body” (Colossians 1:18). As such we look to Him as members of His body, for guidance and direction, and those things that affect the body of Christ (His people here on earth) as a whole.
Another time we address the Lord directly is in connection with His being Lord of the Harvest. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38).
“Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in Thy truth: unite my heart to fear Thy name” (Psalm 86:11).
Discerning the Lord’s mind is largely a question of the state of soul. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him.” (Psalm 25:14). Is my eye single? Do I desire only His will? Am I not blinded through self-interest or self-will in some way? Do I refer all to the Lord, and wait on Him, to know His will? If so, He will guide. We do not expect any revelation, or anything extraordinary, but He, by laying on the mind what is pleasing to Him, or by some providential way, will indicate His will. This may be so distinct that it virtually amounts to a certainty in the mind, though we may not be able to prove it to another. The great thing is nearness to the Lord and a subject mind, with the desire, “Teach me Thy way” (Psalm 27:11). He sets before us an open door, with something to indicate that we may enter. We see His hand in it, recognize it, and act accordingly.
This is something we have to learn experimentally. It is not easy to teach it to another, because it is not a mere mental or intellectual operation.
“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Just when we feel that the turmoils of life cannot get any more desperate, our God brings peace which passes all human understanding.
“The love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19).
Just when our loneliness seems too much to bear, the Lord Jesus comes with love that passes all human knowledge.
How often we forget Him, and selfishly neglect Him, but He is always exceeding abundant above all that we—feeble humans that we are—could ever ask or even think. Let’s learn to rest in Him no matter what happens, and thank Him for all that He faithfully does for us, in us, and with us. Remember, even when we are unfaithful, He remains the same. “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself” (1 Timothy 2:13).
Many decades ago a man by the name of John Nelson Darby made the following statement: “If our hearts are not close to Christ, we are apt to get weary of the way.” It made me think of the Israelites when they fought with Amelek in the wilderness, and what it says about those who were farthest from their captain, Joshua, a picture of the Lord. “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary” (Deuteronomy 25:17, 18). If we follow the Lord at a distance and save corners of our heart for ourselves we are going to be weary, faint and discouraged in our Christian warfare.
This week make sure you keep your heart close to Christ, and you will be kept by His love and power. Be like the Apostle John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper” (John 21:20).
The Lord Jesus “gave Himself,” and the Epistle to the Galatians gives us two great reasons why.
The first one was our great need. We were sinners and part of a world under judgment. There was no other way that we could have deliverance. Thus we read, “Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” Galatians 1:3-4).
The second reason was His great love. So the Apostle Paul declares, “The Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
These two reasons put together are a wonderful source of meditation, and can be traced all through the Word of God. Think about them today, and it will cause worship, praise, and thanksgiving.
“Our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:13-14). This was total and complete commitment!