There was a man in New York City who died at the age of 63 without ever having had a job. He spent his entire adult life in college. He had acquired so many academic degrees that they looked like the alphabet behind his name.
Why did this man spend his entire life in college? When he was a child, a wealthy relative died who had named him as a beneficiary in his will. It stated that he was to be given enough money to support him every year as long as he stayed in school. And it was to be discontinued when he had completed his education.
The man met the terms of the will, but by staying in school indefinitely he turned a technicality into a steady income for life—something his benefactor never intended. Unfortunately, he spent thousands of hours listening to professors and reading books but never “doing.” He acquired more and more knowledge but didn’t put it into practice.
The Bible says: “Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only” (James 1:22). If we read the Bible or listen as it is taught but fail to put to work what we have learned, we are as bad as that man with his string of degrees. His education was of no practical benefit to anyone.
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). Never forget that important principle. The question is, is the 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 by laying on the mind what is pleasing to Him, or by some providential way, He 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, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path,” (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.
Some time ago, due to heavy fog in Chicago, an airliner was kept in a prolonged holding pattern. As it finally touched down, the flight attendant’s voice was heard to announce, “I’d like to welcome you to O’Hare International Airport. That’s what I would like to do! Unfortunately, due to inclement weather we have just landed in Indianapolis.”
For the one who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ, there will be no such announcements at the gate of heaven. When the Christian arrives at that final destination there will be no mistake or change in route for any reason. Here is how it will happen: “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Perhaps today!
“Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him” (John 13:31-32).
“Now is the Son of Man glorified.” This statement brings before us the infinite perfection of the Saviour. The reference is to the suffering of the Son of Man at the Cross. We see that in those awful sufferings the Son of Man is glorified. To be glorified is to have all the qualities that exalt a person brought into full display. At the Cross all the infinite perfections of the Son of Man were displayed in the highest degree.
In the first statement, “Now is the Son of Man glorified,” we learn the perfection of the Son of Man. In the second statement, “God is glorified in Him,” we learn the perfection of His work. In the third statement, “God shall glorify Him in Himself,” we learn God’s perfect satisfaction with that work. In summary, then, we have a perfect Saviour who has done a perfect work to God’s perfect satisfaction. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
“Dost thou believe on the Son of God” (John 9:35).
Man’s confused religions stand in opposition to God’s simple way to life. Man’s ways are the wide, tolerant, sin-ignoring way that ends in destruction.We are told, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
There is one sense in which it is true that what you believe doesn’t matter. What you believe, or what religious men have taught, does not change the truth of God’s Word! Just believing something doesn’t make it so. Jumping off the top of a skyscraper onto the street below will kill you, no matter how strongly you believe otherwise. Entering into eternity with the firm belief that there is no God, or that your beliefs or your works are good enough to merit His approval will not change the outcome: “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).
“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious” (Acts 17:22).
There are still some people like those long ago in Athens, who, rather than trusting the Lord, are very superstitious. Many have a real fear or paranoia when it comes to Friday the 13th. Although the origin of how this started is clouded, here is some interesting information on the subject:
The fear of the number 13 has been given a scientific name: “triskaidekaphobia,” and on analogy to this the fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevidekatriaphobia, from the Greek words Paraskeví, meaning “Friday”, and dekatreís, meaning “thirteen”).
In contrast we read: “On the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of the same rested they, and made it a day of feasting and gladness” (Esther 9:17). For the Jews it was a day of deliverance and rejoicing. For us, any day can be the same. Even on Friday the 13th we should remember: “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
The only record we have of the Lord sleeping is in the back of a fishing boat while seasoned fishermen toiled and feared for their lives due to a storm on the Sea of Galilee. “And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but He was asleep” (Matthew 8:24).
He slept while they worried and fretted; later the disciples slept while he agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane. “And He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep” (Matthew 26:40).
He slept because there was no reason for Him to be awake. He knew that all was in control, and that they would safely reach the other side according to His word. The disciples slept when they had every reason to be alert, and He could rebuke them by asking, “What, could ye not watch with me one hour” (Matthew 26:40)?
While we appreciate His concern for us let us attend to the privileges and responsibilities that have been committed to us. We are exhorted, “Watch and pray…And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep” (Romans 13:11; Matthew 26:41).
5. That all things should be gathered together in Christ.
“Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him” (Ephesians 1:9-10).
6. That we should be to the praise of His glory.
“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will: That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ” (Ephesians 1:11-12).
7. That all things should be subdued unto Christ.
“He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself” (Philippians 3:21).
“And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all” (1 Corinthians 15:28).
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).
2. That Christ should have a bride.
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband…And there came unto me one of the seven angels…and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Revelation 21:2,9).
3. That God’s light and love should be manifested.
“God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
“God is love” (1 John 4:8).
4. That God should be glorified in Christ.
“These words spake Jesus…I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do” (John 17:1, 4).
“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (Matthew 25:40).
Any service, no matter how small, or toward whom the service is performed, or no matter how unknown or insignificant the recipient may be (in the eyes of the world), the Lord makes a note of the service and will reward it in a coming day. It is wonderful to realize that the Lord forgets nothing, and everything done for Him is being recorded and will be rewarded. He has promised: “And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12).
With this in mind keep up the good work, and remember the further promise: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).