Hope In Christ – Hymns of Dawn No. 15

Hope In Christ – Hymns of Dawn No. 15

Lyrics

1.
Ask ye what great thing I know
That delights and stirs me so?
What the high reward I win?
Whose the name I glory in?
Jesus Christ the Crucified.

2.
What is faith’s foundation strong?
What awakes my lips to song?
He who bore my sinful load,
Purchased for me peace with God,
Jesus Christ the Crucified.

3.
Who defeats my fiercest foes?
Who consoles my saddest woes?
Who revives my fainting heart,
Healing all its hidden smart?
Jesus Christ the Crucified.

4.
Who is life in life to me?
Who the death of death will be?
Who will place me on his right,
With the countless hosts of light?
Jesus Christ the Crucified.

5.
This is that great thing I know;
This delights and stirs me so:
Faith in him who died to save,
Him who triumphed o’er the grave,
Jesus Christ the Crucified.

Bible Scriptures Associated With This Hymn

  • 1 Peter 3:15 (Rotherham) — “But, the Lord Christ, hallow ye in your hearts, ready always for a defence, unto every one that is asking you a reason concerning, the hope within you,—nevertheless, with meekness and reverence:”
  •  Galatians 6:14 (Weymouth) — “But as for me, God forbid that I should glory in anything except the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, upon which the world is crucified to me, and I am crucified to the world.

The History Of This Hymn

Author Johann C. Schwedler (1672-1730). This hymn was translated into English by Benjamin H. Kennedy (1804-1889) in 1863.

ComposerCesar Malan (1787 – 1864); harm. by Lowell Mason (1841).

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  “THIS ONE THING I DO”

(An article from “Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence,” R5044 – R5046)

“I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).

THE TALENTED APOSTLE PAUL gives in another place his testimony as to the wisdom of shaking off some of our plans and arrangements and of relaxing our efforts in various directions in order to concentrate our energies upon those things which we can best bring to perfection, saying, “This one thing I do” (Phil. 3:13). The Apostle’s one business in life was to be, so far as he was able, acceptable to the Lord, personally, and to do with his might what he could to assist others into the same condition.

In harmony with this, the thought of our text seems to be that whatever the Apostle knew respecting other matters prominent in his day—customs of the Age, scientific questions, etc.—he would ignore. He would be a specialist. He would confine his thoughts, words and teachings along this one line; for he thought it was worthy. He had been at Corinth as an ambassador of Christ. He was not there to air his knowledge, but to tell the message of the Kingdom. He would make preaching the Gospel his one business, to accomplish which he felt that all of his knowledge and energy were too little.

The Apostle did not determine to ignore all of his knowledge without having a good reason, or purpose therefore. It was because he wished to concentrate all of his attention and influence upon one great subject. That subject was Jesus Christ, Jesus the Anointed; Jesus the Messiah was the main thought of all his preaching. He realized that the great Messiah was a part of the Divine Program which had been promised—the “Seed” which was to bless all the families of the earth; that Jesus was that great Messiah, and that all men should recognize Him, should flock to His standard.

But St. Paul would preach, not only that Jesus was the Messiah, but that He was the crucified Messiah, for he would not be ashamed of the Divine teaching. He would preach that God sent forth His Son; and that the Son had left the glory He had with the Father, had lived on the earth, and had “died, the Just for the unjust,” for this very purpose—that He might manifest His obedience to the Divine arrangement. In thus preaching Christ and His crucifixion, the Apostle was not ignoring the fact that there was to be a Church; Jesus was the Anointed Head over His Body, the Church. Hence, in preaching Jesus the Anointed One, St. Paul was showing how the Divine Plan was being outworked under Divine supervision, and what the glorious results would be. To these things he had determined that all his time and attention should go.

How evident it is that today many ministers have lost something possessed by the Apostle, who thus recognized the importance of the Gospel of Christ! This loss very largely accounts for the various peculiar topics advertised for religious meetings; sometimes the topic is politics; sometimes temperance; sometimes woman-suffrage. The reason for this change from the old-time style of preaching is that during the Dark Ages the Gospel became perverted, misrepresented; and that now people are ashamed of what was formerly preached—”Be good and go to heaven; be bad and go to hell!” It is not a great message. We cannot wonder that an astute mind grasps the whole thing in a few minutes. We are rather glad, indeed, that ministers are ashamed to preach what their creeds profess, and that, therefore, their creeds must be kept in the background.

“NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST”

For us, however, who see the importance of the Gospel, the case is different. We know that this Gospel of the Kingdom, of which the Apostle was not ashamed, teaches that the elect Church is to be the Bride of Christ; that Messiah is to bless the whole world; that Jesus is the Messiah; that He was crucified, dead, buried, raised from the dead by His Father; that His crucifixion was a part of the great Divine Plan, and that without this very arrangement no salvation could be effected, either for the Church, or for the world in the future.

Therefore, as the Apostle did, we are preaching Jesus, the Crucified One, who died for our sins, who rose again for our justification, and who, coming in glory with His Church, is the great Messiah, to bless the world through natural Israel.

Because we have found the Truth we, like St. Paul, feel constrained to preach nothing but this Message. The same truth that influenced Him should influence us. If, therefore, any of the brethren feel disposed to go out after the manner of Babylon and preach something else, here is the reproof“Not… anything save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” This is the only subject. St. Paul would be as though he knew nothing else. This subject would be the one thing to which he would give his time and attention. Let it be so with us!

Beloved, as you value the glorious hope set before you, we beseech you that you give no heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, as the Apostle terms them (1 Tim. 4:1); but that with fixedness of purpose you apply yourselves to the one thing to which you are called, and which as prospective heirs of Messiah’s Kingdom you are privileged to do. Let us not forget that we are a “peculiar people,” separate from the great body of nominal Christians, as well as from the world, having higher hopes, aims and ambitions, and favored with a clearer insight into the deep things of God, having been called out of our former darkness into His marvelous light.

Thus separate from the world and from Christians who partake largely of the spirit of the world, what wonder if we find them all out of harmony with us, and either ignoring or opposing us!

We expect such opposition; and we know that it will continue until our course has been finished in death. If we endure hardness as good soldiers for the Truth’s sake, no matter how that hardness may come, in our efforts to do the Lord’s will and to advance the interests of His Kingdom, then we are presenting our bodies as living sacrifices in the Divine service. To be really in His service includes both the careful and continual study of God’s Plan, and the imbibing of its spirit, leading to an enthusiastic zeal for its accomplishment, and to activity to the extent of ability in its service, whatever the cost or sacrifice it may require.

If faithful in this service we have neither time nor disposition to give heed to other themes having no bearing on the one thing to which we have solemnly dedicated our lives. If we have consecrated all to God our time is not our own; and consequently we have none to spare for the investigation of theories built upon any other foundation than that laid down in the Bible. Nor have we time to devote to the ideas and pursuits which engross the world’s attention, many of which are harmless or even elevating in themselves, but which would be harmful and degrading to us if we allow them to occupy consecrated time and to divert our attention from the one thing we ought to be doing.

The Apostle warns us to “Shun profane and vain babblings; for they will increase unto more ungodliness”; but counsels, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth“; “Teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith.”—2 Tim. 2:16,151 Tim. 1:3,4.

HOW NARROW THIS WAY!

Is not this a very narrow way? Yes, so narrow that our Lord foretold respecting it, “Strait [difficult] is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto [the] life, and few there be that find it!” (Matt. 7:14.) It is so narrow that it is wide enough to admit only the Lord’s Plan and those who are willing to discard all other plans, projects and questionings, and to devote themselves fully to its service; and who are quite willing to bear any reproach it may bring.

Are you endeavoring from day to day to vindicate the Divine character and to make known God’s righteous ways?

Are you diligently studying to make yourself thoroughly familiar with the Truth, so that you may indeed be a living epistle known and read of all men within the circle of your influence?

Are you indeed a workman that need not be ashamed (2 Tim. 2:15)?

Are you of those who have really given themselves to the Lord, saying truthfully to Him: 

“Take myself—I will to be
Ever, only, all for Thee“?

If so, you are just narrow minded enough to say, “This one thing I do; and I make everything else bend to this one thing of showing forth God’s praises and of helping others into His marvelous light; and to this end I cultivate and use what talents I possess as a wise steward of my Heavenly Father.”

Dearly beloved, we impose neither vows nor bondage upon each other, but the call has its own limitations; the Master has directed us to teach all nations (for the Gospel is no longer confined to the Jewish nation), not astronomy nor geology nor any of the vain philosophies about which the world speculate, but—“Observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”Matt. 28:20.

This is what the Apostle Paul did. Hear him in his zeal for this one thing to which he had devoted his life:

“And I, brethren, when I came unto you, came not with the excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the mystery of God; for I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. [I riveted your attention on this one thing! I kept this one thing continually before you.]…And my speech and my preaching were not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power [of the Truth], that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”—1 Cor. 2:1-5.

St. Paul was an outspoken, uncompromising teacher. When he knew that he had the Truth, he spoke it with confidence, and boldly declared that everything contrary to it is false doctrine. He also taught believers that it was not only their privilege, but their duty to be established in the faith, to know on the evidence of God’s Word, why they believed, and to be able to give to every man that inquired a reason for the hope that was in them.

Let it be so with us also. Each consecrated believer should ask himself, “How carefully have I studied that which I recognize as Divine Truth? How fully capable am I of handling the Sword of the Spirit?” Few indeed are those who can say they have fully digested and assimilated all they have received; and that they have let none of these things slip from memory; that they have so treasured it up in their hearts that it is their meditation by day and by night; that they have a ready answer—a “Thus saith the Lord”—for every man that asks them a reason for the hope that is in them, concerning any point of doctrine; that they can clearly and intelligently portray the Divine Plan, quote the Divine authority for each successive step of it, and, if need be, point out its place in the Divine system of types. To gain such proficiency in the Word is the work of a lifetime; but every day should see a closer approximation to that proficiency, and will if we are faithful students and faithful servants of the Truth.

If all the consecrated were thus busily engaged in putting on the armor of God, and in proving it by actual use in zealous endeavor to herald the Truth and to help others to stand, there would be no time left for even good temperance reform work, nor for work among the slums of the great cities, nor for the doctrine of healing, nor any such things.

We have no consecrated time for these matters, which are only side issues and not harmful in themselves, except as they divert attention and consume time which has been consecrated to another and higher use. All these works will be effectually accomplished in the “Times of Restitution” (Acts 3:19-22), now in the near future. Besides, there are others engaged in these works; we recognize and seek to accomplish the work set before us in the Divine Plan.

In all the history of the Church there has never been a time in which the great Adversary has been so active in diverting attention from the Truth by introducing unprofitable and irrelevant questions as at present. Just now, when the exaltation and glory of the Church are soon to be accomplished, and when the faithful are about to be received into the joy of their Lord, Satan is resorting to every device in order to beguile them of their reward and to frustrate this feature of the Divine Plan.

But really to frustrate any part of the Divine Plan is impossible.

God has purposed to take out from among men a “little flock,” “a people for His name”; and such a company is assuredly being gathered. Yet whether all those now in the race for the prize will surely be of that company, is still an open question. Take heed, beloved, that no man take thy crown (Rev. 3:11). If any come short of their privileges and prove unworthy of the rich inheritance, there are others who will quickly fill their places.

Our observation of those consecrated ones who have permitted other themes than this “Gospel of the Kingdom” to engross time and attention, leads us to advise such to be very jealous in husbanding time and talent for the ministry of the Gospel, leaving all subjects outside of this, however interesting they may be, to those who prefer to devote time to them now; and to the future life for ourselves, when all knowledge shall be ours. We have invariably observed that those who, for any avoidable cause, have turned aside from the true and only Gospel, are quickly turned out of the way or greatly hindered in their course toward the “prize” of our “high calling.”

May we, dear brethren, be able truthfully to express our position in the words of the Apostle: “This one thing I do; forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”; “I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.”—Phil. 3:13,141 Cor. 2:2.

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“My Saviour” — Christ Jesus

Here are some free online articles in relation to the Heavenly Father — Jehovah, and his Son — Christ Jesus — “a ransom FOR ALL … to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:6), as well as, about the holy Spirit (the invisible power and influence of God) with clear explanations about why the anti-Christ teaching of “the trinity” — introduced by the Roman Catholic Church system (the “Beast” in the Book of Revelation) — is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible Student Movement does not support the teaching of purgatory nor does it support the Roman Catholic System’s teaching about people being sent to a place where they burn up forever, which certainly does not reflect the perfect love of God — the Almighty Creator of all things.

Hence, for the interested Reader, we urge you to consider the following articles and posts:

The Doctrine of the Trinity – Mystery or Confusion by Br. David Rice.
http://www.heraldmag.org/1999/99nd_3.htm

The Origin of the Trinity – From Paganism To Constantine by Sr. Cher-El L. Hagensick.
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/Contents/doctrine/The%20Origin%20of%20the%20Trinity.htm

Facts About the Trinity
http://www.heraldmag.org/olb/contents/doctrine/FACTS%20ABOUT%20THE%20TRINITY.htm

God and the Trinities
http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/doc_42.htm

Development of the “Trinity Doctrine” by Br. Tom Gilbert.
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/2010d.pdf

Understanding John 1:1 by Br. Richard Doctor.
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/2010d.pdf

Father, Son and Holy Spirit
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/23/father-son-and-holy-spirit/

What Is the Heavenly Father’s Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/06/27/gods-name-what-is-the-heavenly-fathers-name-that-we-are-to-hallow-and-why/

Jesus – The Name
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/07/05/jesus-the-name/

The Doctrine of Christ – Booklet
http://www.biblestudents.com/docs/DoctrineChrist.pdf

Hymn Book Purchase

The Hymns Of Dawn (hymn book) can be purchased at:

The Chicago Bible Students Online Bookstore: https://chicagobible.org/product-category/books/page/4/

The Dawn Bible Students Association: http://www.dawnbible.com/dawnpub.htm

Acknowledgment & References

  • Br. Charles Taze Russell

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Br. Charles Russell—the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” which was published in Allegheny, Pa., in 1890. This Bible Students’ devotional originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

POEMS-AND-HYMNS-OF-MILLENNIAL-DAWN

The following prefatory to the 1905 publication of Hymns of Millennial Dawn may be of historical interest to many of our readers.

We published in 1890, with several more recent editions, a volume entitled “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” without music. The same collection of hymns with the music is now urgently needed, and therefore appears in this volume. The poems, although highly prized, are omitted for greater convenience in size. We have preserved the same alphabetical order, because so many of our readers have the older book; and where a different tune is given from that originally suggested the latter is indicated by Alt. for alternative tune, with the number where that tune can be found.

Both words and music are credited to the same class to whom the work is dedicated—to the Lord and His faithful people, “the Saints.” The authors of many of the best of them are unknown to us, and, besides, slight changes have been made in the phraseology and sentiment of quite a number, which we could not be sure their original authors would approve, and to give personal credit to less than one half would seem invidious. To all of these dear “Saints” of all ages we therefore give united and hearty thanks for the blessings which they, as the Lord’s servants and handmaidens, have bestowed upon their fellow-members of “the Church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in Heaven.” Most of them died long ago: their abundant reward will be of the Lord in the resurrection.

That the collection is thoroughly undenominational, unsectarian, will be manifest to those recognizing the fact that it includes the choicest old hymns and tunes used by all denominations.

Although we have gathered far and near and winnowed carefully we cannot hope to have gotten all the golden grains, though we do hope that no chaff can be found. The collection is for the Church, for “believers” “reconciled,” and hence contains none of the “sinners” hymns, such as “Come, ye sinners poor and needy,” because willful sinners are in no sense members of the “Body” of Christ, nor are those who have not yet accepted the Lord as their Savior.

Those who will feel the deepest interest in this collection, and whose sentiments will be most fully voiced in its verses, will undoubtedly be those in fullest degree of sympathy with the divine plan of the ages, as set forth in the several volumes of Millennial Dawn – the eyes of whose understanding have been opened to the clearer, purer light now shining from our great Redeemer’s cross, showing the fulness and the completeness of his salvation.

In fact, this volume, while not numbered as one of the volumes of the Millennial Dawn series, is designed to be a companion volume, a melodious accompaniment to the “new song,” “the song of Moses and the Lamb” (the grand harmony of the Law and the Gospel), as presented in the regular Dawn series.

Let the music of God’s good and great plan ring through your hearts and lives, dear fellow-pilgrims and fellow members of the “royal priesthood,” so that every day and every hour shall be filled with joy and praise and thankfulness! And that this little volume may assist in deepening the work of grace in your hearts is our hope and prayer.

– Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, July, 1905, Allegheny, PA, USA

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Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled “Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.

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Suggested Further Reading

Worthy To Be Praised
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/05/15/worthy-to-be-praised/

DANIEL 3:17 – Our God Whom We Serve Is Able To Deliver Us
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/10/14/daniel-317-our-god-whom-we-serve-is-able-to-deliver-us/

The Lord Is My Shepherd, (R1396) — Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

The Lord Is My Shepherd, (R3268) — Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.

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The URL of this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/04/09/hope-in-christ-hymns-of-dawn-no-15/

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Redeeming the Time

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“15See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,  16Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15,16, KJV).

Brethren, we have work to do!

We are living at the end of the age – at a time when knowledge is so widespread and bountiful, that the average person living in a Metropolitan area will be exposed to more knowledge and input in a week than an entire family of 100 years ago would be exposed to in a year.  

Ours is a time when communication is literally instant; we can see and hear someone on the other side of the world and fluently converse with them when 100 years ago that conversation would not even have been possible.     

Ours is a time when travel is so fast and so luxurious that it has made the entire earth navigable by an average individual whereas 100 years ago such travel would have taken months and great risk.

Ours is a time when, for the 1st time in all of human history, leisure time is not only available to the masses, it is expected and it is often considered a human right. Entertainment is no longer an unattainable dream for many; it is now one of the world’s largest and most influential industries!

Thus, we live in a time of distraction, temptation and selfish ambition.  A time when personal discipline only applies when we feel like it and a time when integrity and absolutes have all but gone the way of the dinosaur.

Yet, in such a time as this, we as followers of Christ are bound by the scriptural admonition:

“15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:15-16,NASB).

What does it mean to make the most of our time

One would think that redeeming the time would be easier in this day of technological genius than ever before, but that is not the case, for with knowledge and technology come choices – lots and lots of choices, embedded in various shades of grey, all designed to capture our hearts and imaginations.

So, my task today is clear – it is to suggest to you a practical plan and path to better serve our Lord and Master – at the expense of ourselves.  We will suggest 6 basic principles to focus on and with each, attempt to relay some personal experiences of my own journey as I attempt to do what you are attempting to do – that is, to live selflessly, humbly and sacrificially unto death. This is based on my 14 year journey thus far, with Christian Questions.

The word for redeem is only used 4 times in the New Testament.  Twice it is in the context of our personal responsibility towards managing our time – our theme text and Colossians 4:5 and twice in the context of Jesus redeeming us from the curse of the Law and bringing us into the adoption of sons.

Thus we can easily see the meaning as Christ nailed the Law to the cross and made it of none effect as it was now replaced with son-ship, we also are required to nail the world, the flesh and the devil and all their demands upon us to our cross and replace them with a clean slate of the only thing we have to offer our Lord in sacrificeOUR WILL as expressed through how we spend our time.

VISION

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“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18, KJV).

Remember what we just spoke about? With knowledge and technology come choices – lots and lots of choices, embedded in various shades of grey, all designed to capture our hearts and imaginations.

So how do you find the vision that supersedes all these things?

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Hence, the secret for redeeming the time relating to establishing a clear vision on the MOST IMPORTANT THING which is based on the 1st commandment:

Thou shalt have NO other gods before ME (Exodus 20:1-17).

“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8, KJV).

This 1st commandment is one of internal application—it happens inside you. You decide in your heart and mind who or what your God is, and the result of that decision is played out in several of the other commandments.

Focus hard on this! Be brutally honest with the mirror!  Who is, what is my God.

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24, KJV).

Imagine the quality of your thoughts when the Almighty is “true north”!

“2Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. 3For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. 4Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith” (Habakkuk 2:2-4, NRSV).

KNOW YOUR VISION!  You must HAVE Vision!

Here is Jesus’ vision:

“1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,  2looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3, NRSV).

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My mission: Honor God… 

Fifteen years ago I came upon a personal crossroad with this, for I knew that I was not using specific talents directly in the Lord’s service. Troubled, I prayed for opportunity – I prayed for months…

Our vision is the big, panoramic picture of our passion and purpose.

Our vision is like the compass that gets us focused in the right direction, and our priorities are what help us determine which roads to take to get us to our “true north.”

PRIORITIES

Priorities are the necessary ordering of the details of our life.

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The secret for redeeming the time relates to establishing precise priorities. Here are some principles:

Husbands, love your wives” (Ephesians 5:25, NASB).

Fathers…   bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4, NASB).

 But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8, NASB).

… let us do good to all people” (Galatians 6:10, NASB).

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15, NASB).  

KNOW THE TRUTH!

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you” (Job 15:12, NASB).

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2, NASB).

All of these and more, must, of necessity be melded together into a harmonious recipe for humble and focused service to the Glory of God!

There is always another road to choose and there is always another internal battle to be fought. Armed with vision and priorities, we are able to choose rightly, even if our humanness would rather not.

“For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please” (Galatians 5:17, NASB).

Here are Jesus’ priorities:

At the beginning:

“And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?'” (Luke 2:49, NASB)

During:

“Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”…  34Jesus said to them, “My food [my nourishment] is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish (John 4:31,34, NASB).

His work At the End:

Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice (John 18:37, KJV).

 KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES – you MUST HAVE Priorities!!

Sometimes we look at those in a particular service and think how naturally suited they are for that experience and this is often true… BUT:

The appearance of effortless service
comes ONLY
as a result of

practice, pain and perseverance,

all of which must result from
the right focus and activity!

Br. Rick Suraci mentioned in his discourse that each radio broadcast hour represents about 8-10 hours of effort… two hours of radio per week… approximately 719 programs per year and counting…  Generally, no weeks off… There is a priority to GET THE JOB DONE because the Lord has GIVEN US this opportunity, [a gift from the Heavenly Father].

We may not always get our priorities right the 1st time, but as long as our vision is strong we can reset!

When we have truly established our priorities based on the big picture, there will naturally develop a deep sense of urgency, for nothing will be more important than following through on that which has proven to be most important!

URGENCY

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The secret for redeeming the time (which really is no secret at all) is to maintain urgency, and it is based on the 10th Commandment: Thou shalt NOT Covet.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17, ESV).

The 10th Commandment like the 1st is an internal commandment – no one can really know if you are living a covetous life because this takes place in the heart and mind.  Coveting is expressed on the outside only when it is firmly rooted on the inside!

Bottom line – if you have a covetous heart for what others have, you do NOT have an urgent heart towards the vision – you can’t have both…

Listen to the urgency in the following Scriptures [as shared earlier]:

2Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it. 3For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie. If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay. 4Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith (Habakkuk 2:2-4, NRSV).

Urgently strain forward towards that which is most valuable!

12NOT that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I PRESS ON so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  15Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;  16however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained (Philippians 3:12-16, NASB).

Here we can see the vision and priorities in place and the deep urgency to fulfill them.  Without urgency, vision and priorities are merely theoretical – kind of like New Year’s resolutions…

Here is Jesus’ urgency:

“49I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!  50But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!” (Luke 12:49-50, NASB).

Success in sacrifice is most often born out of failure. To fail with great intention, over and over again is to live in the hand of God’s mercy – and that is success!

Over years of Christian Questions Radio Program there were (and are) many, many times that the stress and strain of the responsibility are overwhelming – Not knowing what topic to work on next, not having time to develop a topic, Sunday night anxiety when expansion started and the format changed…  What kept it always moving forward was the deadline the urgency that the only thing that mattered was the next broadcast!

What deadline do you have???

[“BIBLE Students DAILY’s” answer: Likewise it is our DEADLINES — the “deadline” of each sharing of Scriptural encouragement to those around us which is like “THE URGENCY METRONOME” of each week with each tick of the “Metronome” marking another sharing of the Gospel message day by day, no matter if hospitalization, household/personal sickness, answering readers’ correspondence, computer/power failures, personal Bible Study or the attacks of the Adversary to have this sharing of God’s Word stopped or through any other 24/7 valleys of experience are encountered, just as our brethren all throughout the world do experience so as to bring—even if it were only one dear reader’s heart and mind as close as possible to GOD through Christ in order to bring the Heavenly Father GLORY, HONOR, PRAISE and JOY—a joy above all joys if only we could, because just to feel GOD’s PERFECT RIGHTEOUS LOVE—IT IS BETTER THAN LIFE ITSELF!!! To feel GOD’s PERFECT (in justice, wisdom and power) LOVE, comes through GREAT PAIN, GREAT REJECTION by those around for righteousness sake, GREAT PERSEVERANCE and MUCH joyful in the Lord WORK in the Heavenly Father’s service as our HOPE IN CHRIST, drives the desire of belonging to no other than Christ and by GOD’s grace, reaching the summit of the mountain—OVERCOMING that which the Heavenly Father desires, and having given up ALL THINGS of the FLESH – to GAIN CHRIST – AND GAIN HIM FOREVER!]

The 1st three steps are the necessary elements we must have in place to truly redeem our time.  These next three things are the “how to” part of the equation.  They represent what must be in place in our hearts and minds to back up and execute the vision, priorities and urgency we have chosen. Next comes inspiration.

INSPIRATION

Inspiration is that which feeds and lifts the heart so that it may overcome.

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The secret for redeeming the time related to living an inspired life is to find those things which inspire your spiritual growth – drink them in!

Inspiration works best when we have someone whose struggle can be observed.

“7 So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

For when I am weak, then I am strong

(2 Corinthians 12:7-10, ESV).

There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of Biblical accounts, promises and prophecies that we are at liberty to make our own, for the sake of inspiring us to redeem the time. And what about the lives of our own brethren? Look at who inspired the Apostle Paul.

For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even YOU, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19, NASB).

The Apostle Paul drew strength from his brethren – Can we not do the same Brethren?!

Here is Jesus’ inspiration:

41So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.  42“I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me” (John 11:41-42, NASB).

Jesus exemplified to everyone there that his strength came from our Heavenly Father!

We can only imagine the depth of Jesus’ inspiration, for he knew the Father, he knew the angels, he knew the prophecies and he knew his mission.

Inspiration is not necessarily delivered in exhilaration and victory.  On the contrary, it is often found in those lonely and desperate times of struggle, doubt and fear and it quietly carries you through your present tempest to where you can again find secure footing.

Over these 14 years, inspiration has come in many ways:

  • Simply proving the Truth through Scripture to others;
  • Effecting someone’s life by talking to and affecting a specific listener on a specific topic;
  • Teaching the Kingdom;
  • Watching the incredible sacrifices of so many other brethren—who sacrifice quietly and tirelessly to do the job for the glory of the Heavenly Father
  • Being touched countless times by God’s grace in the struggle to prepare for the programs, talks, etc…
  • Prayers, support and accountability of the brethren.

In somehow or other GOD BLESSES YOUR EFFORTS after you have prayed and talked to the FATHER asking Him to “PLEASE HELP ME.”

Inspiration provides us with the desire to rekindle our vision, reset our priorities and restart our urgency. But inspiration alone cannot keep us there! For inspiration to truly play its part, it must be accompanied by its lesser known and certainly less attractive “younger brother,” “perspiration.

PERSPIRATION

Perspiration is the result of the continuous exertion that stems from being fully engaged.

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6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you(1 Peter 5:6-7, NASB).

So there is rest in the spirit, yet…

“8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour9But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world” (1 Peter 5:6-7, NASB).

Nothing replaces hard work.

We hear the adage – work smarter not harder and this is true, yet for the New Creation we are to work smarter that is through the spirit – and therefore be able to work harder and more productively at those things of greatest importance.

Why would we be willing to sweat?

“7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ9and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death11in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (Philippians 3:7-11, NASB).

Now, here is an example of a Jesus’ “perspiration” experience:

“41And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’ 43Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him44And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 45When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46and said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation’” (Luke 22:41-46, NASB).

The more fully engaged we are in the work, the more we find that the greatest effort is often not the work itself, rather it is the effort to position and condition ourselves for that work.

One of my greatest personal lessons from the radio work is this:

We all have perceived limits of what we are capable of giving in service.  IF we lay those limits at the feet of the Lord, He may, IF WE ARE WILLING, stretch our perceived capacity a little at a time so we can stretch our perceived limits to be more in line with our actual potential. BE ENGAGED!

With the perspiration of complete engagement in place, there remains but one thing to give a complete picture of redeeming our time.  It is a simple thing, yet often overlooked when we set our minds to a service.  It is consistency.

CONSISTENCY

Consistency is the continual long term application of all those things necessary towards faithfulness.

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Hence another secret for redeeming the time:

 Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never give in!!!

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10, NASB).

How do we check ourselves to be sure that we are consistently following the right path, the right thoughts, the right attitudes and the right actions?

4Rejoice IN the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!  5Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near6Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:4-8, NASB).

Now, here is Jesus’ inspiration:

28And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?  29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:28-31, KJV).

Consistency in an effort, is perhaps the least glamorous of all its elements.  There is no excitement of an idea, no newness of a project, no giddy anticipation of a beginning.  Consistency shines in the quiet times of monotony, in the bruised moments of failure and in the darkness, when the unknown and unsung perseverance of will beckons us to get up one more time and press on by the GRACE [unmerited favor, undeserved kindness] of GOD!

Now see if you can identify your vision, priorities, urgency, inspiration, perspiration and  consistency in the following Scriptures:

Psalms 37:1-8 (NASB):

 “1  Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. 2 For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb. 3 Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself IN the LORD; And HE WILL give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and HE WILL do it. 6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. 7 Rest IN the LORD and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. 8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing

Ephesians 5:1-21 (NASB):

1Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children;  2and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. 3But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;  4and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.  5For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  7Therefore do not be partakers with them;  8for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light  9(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth),  10trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.  11Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;  12for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.  13But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.” 15Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16making the most of your time, because the days are evil.  17So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,  19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;  20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;  21and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”

Luke 12:31-34(NASB):

“31But seek [PRIORITIES] [“ye first” [URGENCY] – added in Matthew 6:33] His kingdom [VISION], and these things will be added to you.  32“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom [INSPIRATION]. 33Sell your possessions and give to charity [PERSPIRATION]; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.  34“For where your treasure is, [CONSISTENCY] there your heart will be also.”

OPPORTUNITY

Opportunity can present themselves to us when we mentally make room for them.

“18But someone may will say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.’ 19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. 20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?'” (James 2:18-20, NASB).

“(20) Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. (21) And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it'” (Isaiah 30:20-21, NRSV).

Opportunities can be accepted when we spiritually make room for them.

“4For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NASB).

Opportunities can flourish when we prayerfully feed and nurture them.

“16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  19Do not quench the Spirit; 20do not despise prophetic utterances.  21But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22, NASB).

Reference and Acknowledgment

This post is thanks to the words on the words of great, great inspiration and encouragement IN CHRIST shared by Br. Rick Suraci at the Bible Students’ General Convention in 2012 in his discourse titled “Redeeming the Time” which can be viewed at the following link (and/or YOUTUBE video presentation below) :  https://youtu.be/FWKHN8go1o4

The “CHRISTIAN QUESTIONS” team of Brothers and Sisters IN CHRIST are to be commended for their inspiring work in the Heavenly Father’s service, shining the light of the Gospel message to the world of viewers and listeners who’s faith IN CHRIST can be edified and built up through each program they share, which is jam-packed with questions and Scripturally supported answers to provide aid to each follower of Christ, and bring glory, honor and praise to the Heavenly Father through CHRIST Jesus—the Captain of our Salvation. The Christian Questions website: http://christianquestions.com/

A transcription of the below video from a willing, Beloved IN CHRIST, volunteer contributor (which helped to form this post) is another reason for this post and so may it be said “Thank YOU Beloved Brothers and Sisters IN CHRIST for YOUR labours of LOVE IN CHRIST.” May our Heavenly Father’s bless and keep you HIS, according to HIS perfect WILL, until by GOD’s GRACE, we are with our Heavenly Father, Jehovah, and His Son—our Head, Christ Jesus.

The URL of this post is: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/09/20/redeeming-the-time/

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WHO WE ARE

WHO ARE THE BIBLE STUDENTS?

• We are a body of religious believers who follow in the faith and character of the early Christian Church.

• Each congregation is called an “ecclesia” (the New Testament word for Church). Our members are called Brother or Sister.

• The elders and deacons of our Church are elected from within our local fellowship. (1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:6-9)

• Members of our congregation contribute their time and energy voluntarily in service to God.

• We accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God; and study both the Old and New Testaments. (2 Timothy 2:15)

• We are a non-denominational independent Church group that recognizes Jesus as our only head and enjoy a worldwide fellowship. (Colossians 1:18)

• There is no organization to join and no creed to affirm. (Colossians 3:15)


“BIBLE STUDENTS DAILY” WEBSITE

Through the BIBLE Students DAILY website our desire is to spiritually edify the Household of Faith and help build faith in Christ in ALL whom the Heavenly Father wishes us to serve, as if serving Christ himself (Colossians 3:23, 24), as well as share words of comfort and cheer as we strive to please the Heavenly Father and make our “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10).

Feel free to add your email address on the link found below each of the BIBLE Students DAILY posts in order to receive all new future posts at the time of their publishing here.

For all other Bible study related questions or inquiries feel free to write to us at biblestudentsdaily@gmail.com


WHERE DO WE MEET?

The co-ordinators of BIBLE Students DAILY meet regularly for Bible Study with other Bible Students in Melbourne, Victoria—Australia.

For information concerning the bible study meetings available, the weekday and weekend bible study programs and times, and the Bible Students Conventions in Australia, please address your inquiries to biblestudentsdaily@gmail.com

“10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder.” 2 Peter 1:10-13

Internal Peace, External Unity

SUGGESTED FURTHER READING

Beliefs
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/beliefs/

Links and Bible Resources
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/links/

Our Purpose and Mission
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/our-purpose-mission-the-story-behind-bible-students-daily-2/

Here is the Book “The Bible Students in Australia” by Br. David Simkin. Please click the image below for the PDF file of the book.

Pastor Russell Founded the Bible Students Not Jehovah’s Witnesses http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/wp-content/uploads/Bible-Students-not-Jehovah-Witnesses2.pdf-final2.pdf

pastor-russell-founder-of-bible-students-not-jehovah's-witnesses

Did Russell Start The JWs?
http://rlctr.blogspot.com.au/2009/04/was-russell-founder-of-jws.html

Pastor Russell – Not the Founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
http://www.dawnbible.com/1940/4008-hl.htm

Charles-Taze-Russell-Laodicean-Messenger7

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The Sacrifice

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I laid my life on the altar, I said…

“dear Lord it is thine.”

Hence forth Thy will is my only law, my humble heart Thy shrine.
Barely I went forth to conquer, ready to die for His sake.
No sacrifice that He could ask seemed too great for me to make,
And the more I learned of His wonderful love, the dearer my Lord became,
Till I thought I could follow His pathway through any loss or shame.

But he led me by pleasant waters, where the sky was clear and bright,
And fed me in sweet green pastures and sheltered me at night.
Like a lamb I was shielded, protected. I knew no pain or fear,
Why should I shrink or falter when the tender Shepherd was near?
I had nothing that I could give in return, nothing to sacrifice.

Then I found in my pathway a jewel bright and fair,
In facets threw back the sunlight in beauty beyond compare.
I took that lovely, precious gem and hid it in my breast.
It kindled a fire that seared my heart. My spirit could not rest.
I feasted upon its beauty. I watched its glory shine,
Rejoicing in the wonderful thought that this beautiful gem was mine.

Then something dimmed its luster. It gave me grief and pain.
I brushed and polished my treasure but it would not shine again.
Then I heard the Savior whisper, “Can you give this treasure to me?”
But I said “It has no beauty now. It is dark and lifeless you see.”
I thought about my early vows, all, all I would give to Him.
Could it be that the cloud that had come between was making my jewel dim?

Could I lay at His feet a treasure whose beauty had faded away?
A jewel devoid of luster, all colorless and gray?

I laid my gift on the altar, I felt alone and bereft
Such a small and worthless offering, how could my Lord accept.

But the clouds rolled back and the sun shone out.

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My jewel sprang to life;
There on the altar it blazed and burned, a thing with beauty rife.

My dear Lord smiled upon me and my heart was glad and free;

The jewel my heart had treasured so had never belonged to me.

He had tested my love, I had almost failed; I wanted that jewel so.

And the spin it cost me to see it fade, only the Lord can know;

I had treasured it still when its beauty was gone and fondled it to my breast;

But not till my Lord had accepted it could my weary heart find rest.

There is not grief so bitter that His love cannot share.
There is no trial of faith so great that His hand is not there.
He guarded me from the snare prepared to tangle my erring feet.
He shielded me from my own desire and tempered the cruel heat.
The fire that burned in my aching heart did but consume’ the dross;

For the soul that is really committed to Him can never suffer loss.

by L.K. Poole

“1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1).

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

SACRIFICING WITH CHRIST

“He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (1 John 2:6).

May we encourage all who suffer with Christ in any measure to bear it with the same humility, benevolence and fortitude that characterized him under the most crucial tests of endurance.

Our Beloved Jesus knew that he was in an unfriendly world bound by sin and largely under the dominion of the prince of darkness.

Therefore he expected reproaches, taunts and persecutions, all of which he endured patiently while his great loving heart, almost unmindful of its own sufferings, was full of pity and of loving concern for others. May we like our Master, suffer with Christ, meekly bearing reproach and trusting to heaven’s vindication of us in due time.

“If, when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God; for even hereunto were ye called. Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he reviled not again. When he suffered he threatened not, but committed himself to him that judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:20-23).

“Consider him that endured such contradictions of sinners against himself, lest we be wearied and faint in our minds” (Hebrews 12:3).

It is a privilege to prove our devotion to the Lord by enduring hardness in his service as
good soldiers of the Cross of Christ.

Let us keep melodies of joy in our hearts as we walk along the narrow way, pressing onward and upward fellow pilgrims of the Cross of Christ, putting righteous effort into all we do “all for Jesus all for Jesus” as diligent stewards, to bring our Heavenly Father, Jehovah, all praise and glory and honor forevermore!

Here are 3 songs for your consideration, to build faith and strengthen our hope in Christ as by God’s grace we are transformed moment by moment, experience by experience into the character likeness of God’s dear Son and our Redeemer—Christ Jesus.

 

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Isaiah 45:15 – A GOD Who Hides Himself

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Have you ever thought that God has withdrawn his favor from you?

Have you ever questioned… Is God really still dealing with me on a personal level, like His daughter/son?

We think to ourselves, could I really be in such a bad spiritually state?

We question ourselves:

Why could God be hiding from me?

In Isaiah 45:15 (NASV) we read, Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior!”

Here we note that hiding from man, is one of God’s attributes. Is it because we have done something to displease the Lord, and where God disapproves of our actions? Perhaps in such a situation, we find we don’t have the prayer life anymore or one that we would wish to have where there is ease of communication without guilt or feeling unworthy. Or, we may be saying to ourselves “my life is no different than that of the world around me.”

So when we can’t distinguish any difference in our life then in the life of a person who has not given himself to the Lord then we say “there is no specific purpose to my individual experiences compared to another person in the world.”

Or, perhaps our experiences feel like they no longer have any spiritual meaning when we can’t identify what the experiences are for, and we get into a rut; when our experiences mean I am merely just existing or surviving this experience and I know I am just existing because I experience, but I cannot identify with me this experience spiritually.

Maybe we recognize that for most of us, when we grasped the Truth, we had a great outburst of emotion for it — we loved it; we were enthused about it; we talked about it; we were excited about it and when we heard a discourse we would get goose bumps from joy! And all of a sudden we come to a place where that is no longer true. We just go to meeting because it’s a habit and we expose ourselves to creation experiences which we are sort of glad about having, but beyond that, there is no quickening of the heart beat.

Here are some possible reasons WHY we may experience that God has hidden himself from us:-

(A) God wishes to AWAKE US TO RIGHTEOUSNESS

It is good to remember that when it comes to God’s dealing with anyone, they are never intended to be a harsh, burdensome experience but God’s aim of  allowing certain trying experiences in our lives, is for the purpose of CORRECTING a situation…. correction of action … and ultimately to correct our character so that we may learn to be perfect  (Matthew 5:48) – that is, “reckoned as righteous” through our Faith (see Romans Chapter 4) and LOVE RIGHTEOUSNESS (Hebrews 1:9) so that we can be used in His future kingdom as administrators of the blessings to all the world of mankind – teaching mankind how to walk up the Highway of Holiness, having attained to the highest levels while going through the experiences of the Gospel Age now, while the permission of evil abounds.

In Hebrews 12:6, Apostle Paul writes, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

The chastenings of the Lord are not necessarily designed for punishment, but rather for discipline. They are necessary as a part of our training, and to test our humility before the Lord, and our loyalty to him. Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). This is what it means to be “patient in tribulation” (Rom.12:12); and if we are thus patient we will rejoice in a hope which “maketh not ashamed.”

In Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) we read, Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Our Heavenly Father does not deal with all in this manner but only with some, His sons.

He thus dealt with our Lord Jesus — “the captain of our salvation” — as he lived in this world of sin and suffered the “contradiction of sinners against Himself.” For, “what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 2:7).

 So the apostle admonishes that we “look unto Him” lest we become weary and faint in our minds (Hebrews 2:2,3). The rigors and the discipline to which a well-trained child is subjected by a loving father may at times seem irksome, unpleasant and painful, but it is for the ultimate good and development of the child in every sense. So it is in the life of the child of GOD but in a perfect manner.

The tests of faith, of fidelity, of love for God and righteousness, of obedience, of patient endurance and suffering wrongfully, the discipline of the Word under adversity, the submission in love to the Father’s will, and an awareness of the guidance of the Spirit, are some aspects of the Father’s discipline as He trains us for the purpose He has in view.

These are all tangible evidences of the heavenly Father’s love and concern. Like those to whom the apostle wrote, we also tend to forget this when the way is hard and difficult. Frustrations, pressures, and perplexities surround us. “Ye have forgotten” says the apostle, “the exhortation that speaketh unto you as unto sons” (Hebrews 2:5).

If we remember this always, we will rejoice even when all things seem to be against us as we earnestly seek to do His will, inasmuch as we know we are under His loving hand.

The life of the child of God, wholly surrendered to Him and to Christ, is an entirely new life, in and of Godly character, under the Father’s influence, control and leading, the Heavenly Father’s constant special and infinite care for our training in the principles of His laws, so that, we can be ministers of these laws and processes of training for all humanity.

We are “hid with Christ in God” (Romans 8:1-4; 8:14, 28; John 1:13; 16:27; Luke 12:4-7, 22-32; 1 Peter 5:6, 7; Colossians 3:1-4). Sometimes the Father withholds or hides Himself in order that the depth of our longing and love for Him and for Christ may be put to the test, that we may be conscious of a sense of loss, that me may yearn for Him and learn to fully depend on Him to reveal Himself more fully in all His love and tenderness.

God may withdraw His favor to awaken us to the situation that we have begun to slip or that we are near the point of slipping and that we need to reassert ourselves spiritually. The best example of this in the Bible, is when we look at the account of Queen Esther.

In the 4th chapter of the Book of Esther, we are told that Esther, (who had become the Queen of the Persian empire), had now an enemy against her uncle Mordecai and all the Jewish people (so this would include her, as she was Jewish). A man named Haman had become a chief counselor of the empire and had put into motion a plan that would mean the destruction of every Jew throughout the Medo-Persian empire. Mordecai realizes this; he tears his clothes; he puts on sack cloths and ashes, and he sits in mourning. Esther’s initial response is documented in Esther 4:4, “So Esther’s maids and her chamberlains came and told it her. Then was the queen exceedingly grieved; and she sent raiment to clothe Mordecai, and to take away his sackcloth from him: but he received it not.”

So we can see that Esther’s first response is “let us stop mourning; let us not face the reality of the problems that we have.” Esther’s initial reaction is not a good reaction. Her reaction is one of not comprehending the true danger of the situation. It is Mordecai who wakens her to the danger by mentioning one thing specifically and that is, that this is not a danger, remote to someone else; it is, that YOUR VERY LIFE IS AT STAKE! YOU TOO, won’t escape this! You too, are Jewish and so your in just as much danger of death as I am in and all the rest of our people, the Jews, are in. But then Esther experiences the alienation that she has already experiences from the King himself and this is noticed in Esther 4:11, where she is speaking to Hathach, one of the King’s eunuchs assigned to attend her, and instructs him to say to Mordecai.

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that if any man or woman goes to the king inside the inner court without being called, there is but one law—to be put to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter so that he may live. But as for me, I have not been called to come in to the king these thirty days” (Esther 4:11).

Esther realizes that she has become estranged from the King and notice, that she says, as if “I am free to go to him but if I go to him without being invited to, by him, then I am afraid my life may be at stake even earlier because I have been so presumptuous to come to him.”

We may experience this too, in our spiritual lives as consecrated. We may at some point in our spiritual walk feel like we do not feel free to go to our Heavenly Father. We feel “I am not bidden to come to God anymore or feel God is not communicating with me anymore; that God has hidden Himself from me (just like King Xerxes has from Esther), Jehovah God has hidden himself for the past perhaps 30 days too, and we don’t feel we can go and plead our cause.

And this is what Mordecai is bringing out to Esther — the reason for Him hiding. He is saying, “remember Esther … You’re life is at stake! You think you will die if you go to the King … I know you will die if you do not go!”

So in our lives God may bring us to this point in our lives to show us that if we don’t continuously communicate with Him, then we WILL DIE!

You know dear friends, there is a far greater then Haman out there looking to kill us … that is… a “Haman” who is called Satan. Satan wishes to kill our New Creature developing in us — the embryonic New Creation which is developing into maturity until the Jesus agape love in us, overflows towards our beloved brethren and our will becomes dead to self but alive in Christ — being crucified in ALL we think and do, having our minds super-glued on Christ Jesus no matter how ridiculous we sound to the world or how humiliated we are for striving to conform to the LIKENESS OF OUR LORD JESUS.

Dear brethren in Christ, as we are now on an arena and we are a spectacle unto angels and men, let us endure it with great Joy in our Hope that promised for the faithful unto death isn’t just eternal life in perfect conditions, but IMMORTAL life and those who suffer with CHRIST for doing good now, shall reign with CHRIST. They are those who grow into the maturity in Christ, learning and CUTTING OFF and TURN AWAY from sin -from mistakes made in blind ignorance according to any uniquely individual situation allowed by God, and turning completely away from past errors, learning to well appreciate the failings of all their brethren and the world through their own experiences of enduring the sacrificial experiences as prospective Bride of Christ members, and learning to only FULLY depend on and seek out their Heavenly Father’ will in ALL.

So this experience is to help bring us back to the place where we will come and pour out our hearts to our Heavenly Father, but in doing it, we face that one big emotional problem: that problem of … “well I can’t do this because I’ve gotten out of the habit … I don’t have that feeling anymore.” And that’s when we have to awaken to the righteousness that says, “even if I don’t feel comfortable in praying to God, if I don’t do it, the result is certainly DISASTROUS! If I do do this, then there is the ONE and the ONLY potential of overcoming in doing this and as we come to the remedies we’ll find that the first remedy, is the remedy suggested by the first cause, and that is PRAYER.

PRAYER is the beginning of the remedy even though it may be the very hardest to apply when we feel estranged from the Lord individually.

This situation of Queen Esther’s, may remind us of a certain class in the Bible; a class mentioned in the prophecy of Jeremiah 8; a class that ends up saying “the harvest has ended the summer is passed and we are not saved.” That class that speaks those words in Jeremiah 8:20, in Jeremiah 8:11 said that the reason for their punishment is because they said “they have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.”

Is this not the very thing that Esther was doing! Esther was telling Mordecai “your problem is you need to get out of your sack clothes … You need new clothes.” And Mordecai was telling her that’s like saying “peace, peace when there is no peace.” That is not the problem but rather is the symptom. The problem was that she needed to approach the King on behalf of Israel.

And so the alienation we sometimes feel is to awaken us to the deeper problems that lie there to bring us to the Lord not to solve the alienation but to solve a deeper problem; to find out what it is to not keep us away.

(B) God may hide himself from us, to teach us FAITH, TRUST and RELIANCE upon Him through Jesus Christ, our Master and King.

Sometimes our Heavenly Father teaches us that our life isn’t different from anybody else’s or to bring us to a place where we can’t see any purpose from an experience, He then says,

“That’s when YOU NEED TO TRUST IN ME when you can’t trace Me.” This is brought out beautifully in Job 23: 3-5,8,9,15 (NIV) and this pin-points the problem.

(3-5) If only I knew where to find Him; if only I could go to His dwelling! I would state my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what He would answer me, and consider what He would say to me.”

(8-9) “But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him.”

(11) “My feet have closely followed His steps; I have kept to His way without turning aside.”

This is a sad set of scriptures. Job looks everywhere for God, yet cannot find God to feel that He is with him in his experiences at a time of experiencing so much pain and misery. These experiences seem over his head and as a result, Job was beginning to sink in the experiences he had. It isn’t until later in the Book of Job, that Job starts swimming upward again and begins getting over these experiences.

In Job chapter 23: 3-5, Job wanted to find God to plead his case before God.

Let’s look at verse 6 & 7 to fill in some answers.

(6) “Would He vigorously oppose me? No, He would not press charges against me. (7) There the upright can establish their innocence before Him, and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.”

In verse 6, Job realizes if he could find God, he would find Him a Merciful God, who would give him strength.
In verse 7 is the realization that if we feel we have lost God, we firstly need to find our Advocate — the one who pleads on our behalf! We know it is our Beloved, Precious Jesus who is the Best Lawyer in the whole universe!

When we feel we have lost our ability to approach God then more than ever we feel “if only someone spoke God’s language and could get through to Him for me”, and that is exactly what Jesus does! And Job was as if saying, “if only Jesus would argue for me … if I could just enlist the upright one on my side, then he would deliver me from this judgement forever … Then I would be over this particular experience”.

So friends, IT IS FINDING THE UPRIGHT ONE, JESUS, IN OUR LIVES.

And Job says he can’t. He goes upward, downward, backward, front, and simply can’t find him. So now let’s look at verses 10 & 12:

(10) “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
(12) I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily bread.”

So just like Job highlights through these words of his, let us look for the realization that even though we feel God is hiding himself from us for a brief moment, He knows exactly where we are and has not departed from us, and it is HE who FIRST FOUND US, called out us of darkness into His marvelous light, and adopted us as we are told in Ephesians 1:5 (NLT). God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure.”

God wishes for us to develop faith in Him, that He is taking charge in our life and to TRUST COMPLETELY in Him.

In verse 11 & 12, Job says what he felt he had done, and they are a stimulus to us about things WE MUST DO to feel this pull to our Heavenly Father. We must trust and be convinced that God will pull us through and make us more than gold IF:

1.      Our feet will hold to His steps;
2.      His way we keep and do not decline;
3.      We do not go back from the commandment of His lips;
4.      We esteem the words of His mouth more than necessary food.

It is at this point God is telling us we will be in a good place IF WE DO OUR PART. God is saying, “I’m putting you in a place where you can’t see Me, but if you just do your responsibilities then trust that then I will do what I promise to do and bring you closer to Me.”

And Job tells why he’s so confident in Job 23: 13-14. “But He stands alone, and who can oppose Him? He does whatever He pleases. He carries out His decree against me, and many such plans He still has in store.”

The Leeser’s Jewish Bible translation of Job 23:14 reads, He will bring to completion what is destined for me.”

Each one of the Church of the Body of Christ members (that’s you and me dear brethren) are being trained and fitted for a peculiar specific and each different part of the body that requires a different treatment. I can’t be treated in exactly the same way as Sister X, Y or Z or Brother A, B or C as we each need specific experiences and as we come into these experiences as their all different, we don’t see what the end result is, and God’s saying to us, “the reason I give you these experiences is because I want you to have confidence that I KNOW BEST what the end result should be and so I’m not going to let you see what this end result is, so that you will learn that my hand will lead you through this to safely overcome and develop a Christlike character that I require from you, so that I can present you to my Son when I’m through with you.”

It will take every inch of TRUST, of DISCIPLINE over the mind, and FAITH. It will require us to LAY DOWN OUR COMPLETE UTTER ALL for God to direct us now so we can prove to Him our LOYALTY to God’s PRINCIPLES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS so that we can receive the Highest possible reward because of proving to God that we please Him through overcoming the most unfavorable circumstances of the permission of evil.

And the end of this verse is saying that just like God has this kind of experience in store, so HE has other experiences for us also.

Now, the hiding of God’s face is only one tool in His tool box. 

The heavenly Father has tools of throwing His arms around us too!

At other times in our walk up towards spiritual Holy “Mount Zion”, God is showing us, that He really likes what we are doing.

God gives us His tools of directing us, just when we need that direction.
Our Divine Father testing us to the words we sing in that hymn,

“I’d rather walk in the dark with God,

than go alone in the light”. 

So would you really? That is what God is TESTING.

God is as if saying, “Are you willing to really walk in the dark with me when you can’t see the next step? Will you trust to take the steps in the dark and know that it will lead to gold? Would you really rather walk by Faith then walk by sight? Show me how”.

Let us look at one more thing here. Job’s attitude in Job 10:2. Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.”

This same word “bitter” is used in Deuteronomy 31:27. “For I know thy rebellion…?” The word “rebellion” here, is the same word as the one written as “bitter” in Job 23:2.

Job in verse 2 is saying, ” I just want to argue with God and show and explain to Him that this hiding from me just isn’t fair!”

This attitude is the one God is trying to correct, to bring us into a complacent one that Job shows and had in Job 23:10.

(C) God may hide himself to TEST THE SINCERITY OF OUR CONSECRATION.

How much easier it is to say “whatever your will God, I’ll do it!” but then when hammered down as life unfold, through the Christian pilgrimage to our heavenly home, how easy is it to accept our Heavenly Father’s will when we experience agonizing experiences of pain, sickness & disease, and death?

When we first made our consecration, it may have been far more easily said “God may it be your will”, yet we learn to understand what this means ONLY through the BIGGEST BLESSING OF ALL that follow: LIFE; EXPERIENCE; PHYSICAL and MENTAL PAIN, and /or SICKNESS, and SUFFERING.

We now see that being a soldier in the Lord’s army takes every inch of mental and physical energy that we have into the fight for the victory of being a member of the 144,000!

Never give up!

Never, never, never give up!

A martyr means “a witness” and to be a witness of CHRIST will cost us our ENTIRE ALL not just half of us… No way! God doesn’t want a lukewarm CHRISTIAN as a King to reign with His Son Jesus in future… God does not want a COLD Christian either who has a non- repentant or non-forgiving heart… God WANTS A ZEALOUS follower of Christ who shall defend JESUS and those who are His; who have professed consecrating into Christ, to the best of their human abilities -seeing them all as better than self (Phil. 2:3).

So our tools to overcoming is prayer and the studying of Holy Scriptures every day and immersing the mind into Scripture at every point you have even if it’s a few minutes here or there then do that! ALL our time is consecrated unto the Lord so we no longer even own it, as we lay down our ALL on the altar of sacrifice daily, and daily seek to fulfill our covenant sacrifice until death.

Never stop to rest from activity in the Lord’s service, even for one minute!

Don’t ever think the battle is won till faithful until death!

By hiding himself, God is in fact asking us “are you willing to take a path where you now can no longer identify with me, where you find your confused and say God how does this experience identify with me?”

This was the test our Lord Jesus experienced too. Remember when Jesus hung on the cross, for the first time he did not call God “Father but said:

 “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”

that is,

“My God, my God, Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).

Jesus felt our Divine Father’s face hidden from him!

Look at the depth that Jesus felt this experience …

I mean here is a PERFECT human, the Son of the Almighty Jehovah God, who had had a prior relationship with the Father when he was the Logos in his pre-human existence. Jesus knew God intimately!

God was testing our Lord Jesus to the very depth of his consecration. Could he take that alienation? In Jesus case, the experience was very temporary. It had to be, as his life was very temporary; it was only a more few hours on the cross and so at last his life WAS RESTORED and Jesus’s last words (which were called out by him in a loud voice) were,

Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last” (Luke 23:46).

God had tested Jesus to the point of seeing if Jesus would really take and accept any experience, even the experience of turning his back on Jesus, turning away from him so that he could not even see the Father’s face.

(D) God may hid himself from us to TEACH US leadership and principles.

Under the Old Law, the Israelites were told exactly how to order their life. They were given a set of Laws and were instructed by God how to follow these laws to inherit eternal life. Every experience of life related to what God did want or didn’t want.

But when it comes to the Church of the Firstborn, God says, “I’m not going to give you a whole set of Laws and tell you what to do and what not to do, but rather I want YOU TO THINK OF IT FOR YOURSELVES … I’ll give you the material to based your thoughts upon, (and that’s in the Bible) but YOU HAVE TO DETERMINE what I want you to do and what I don’t want you to do.” And that’s HARDER, as it’s no longer the case of reading what the law is, but trying to learn HOW GOD OPERATES. And as a result God gives us the Gospel, a broad sketch outlines of HIS will. He gives us a book full of biographies – of both Old and New Testament characters and God doesn’t tell us which experiences they did right and which they did wrong but gives us these experiences and tells us “now you decide which ones I approve of and which ones are right and which ones are wrong based on an EDUCATED CONSCIENCE that you’ll gain from works in developing your Faith in Me”. And in most cases, God doesn’t give us the answers in our own individual experiences but wants us to think on His principles to deal with our challenges of life.

God does not want us as His children to memorize rules, but HE wishes us to be like philosophers and reasoned upon and apply His Righteous Principles… to figure out what He would wish of us and this takes continual leaning on HIM and HIS word through prayer and study.

That is WHY our Father hides himself, so it is better for us to see the principles.

Let’s share a practical example.

You have a new employee and there is only so long you can stand over your new friend’s shoulder and say “do it this way, this way, this way and this way.” After a while, you need to tell the new employee, “this is the end result I want so do it the best way you can.” You LET THEM figure out the best way in realizing how to accomplish the job and the LORD is telling us the same thing. “I want your character like mine. I’m not going to show you every step. I want you to figure it out on your own based on the principles to develop leadership potential.
Why does God work like this? Because God’s training us!

For what? To be Kings who will reign with Christ.

And a King must learn to think.

A King must know what the principles are to actively apply them.

God is training us to be teachers. There are good teachers and bad teachers. One feature distinguishes the two:

A bad teacher — teaches merely facts. He tells you what is the answer. What it is.

A good teacher — teaches how to think and how to arrive at the facts. These students can surpass their teacher and then they become even better teachers.

God is a good teacher. God is saying “if you just look at Me you’ll never learn to teach others so I’m going to hide from you so you can figure out what I’m trying to accomplish in your life.

God teaches us that we must be governed in our life by PRINCIPLES, not by emotions.

The emotional response to Truth can sometimes be an asset but it can be out of balance in our lives because that’s the only response we look for, so God may withdraw the emotional response and withdrawn that which produces that emotional response to see if we’re really serving him out of the principles of righteousness.

(E ) God hides himself in order to STIMULATE STUDY. 

We learn to go back to our Father’s word to see why He is hiding His face.

It’s like God’s way of tapping us on the shoulder and saying, “Read 2 Timothy 2:15 again … ‘Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.'”

Just as one doesn’t study a verse of the Bible out of its context, so too we study the book of our lives IN THE CONTEXT OF OUR LIVES and we don’t take an experience all by itself and say why did GOD let this develop but we relate it to the context of our whole life.

When we go to school to be trained we relate what we study to the job we will do afterwards. So to, in the school of Christ, we are being trained for a particular job which includes many functions and let’s incorporate them into one job — Mediator.

What makes a good mediator?

The Vines Expository Dictionary definitions the word “mediator” in the following way:

“A mediator should himself possess the nature and attributes of him toward whom he acts (man) and should likewise participate in the nature of those for whom he acts (God). Only by being possessed of both deity and humanity can the mediator comprehend the claims of the one and the needs of the other.

And in the final analysis that is exactly the point. We will have the Divine nature (deity) if we are faithful unto death. Jesus got the Divine nature at death, when he was faithful. Only by having that, could he really understand what God required because then he shared the same requirements. Only by being with men and possessing their nature could he understand what they needed and he could then diagnose them. And so with us. Our experiences are to give us a common identity with the world. In fact that is why our life is no different from the world around us, and we’re told it wouldn’t be.

(F) God hides his face to BROADEN OUR BASE OF SYMPATHY

1 Corinthians 10:13 talks about what kind of experiences God gives us.

1 COR. 10, 13 -with cross

There is no experience we have that is different to man’s. So we look around and see that our experiences are no different to those we see around us and so therefore we say…”God is not with me”… It is just the opposite. BECAUSE YOUR LIFE IS NO DIFFERENT FROM THOSE AROUND YOU, GOD IS WITH YOU!

If we look for our lesson and apply ourselves in learning to trust God’s providential care and leading we will know how to endure the experience and use the strength God gives us to overcome any and every test of character development God allows to come our way.

Our Divine Father tells us, “I’m giving you these experiences because that’s what you are here for… to learn to be part of the Mediator.”

In the tabernacle picture, you had two animals making ONE SIN OFFERING. But there was a distinction between those two animals. One signified Christ; one signified the Church. They both died; both had the blood applied on the mercy seat. But the blood of the bullock was for Aaron the High priest and his house, the Levites. The blood of the goat was for the whole family of Israel.

Christ’s part in the sin offering is peculiarly and particularly for the Church and the Church’s part of the sin offering is peculiarity and particularly for mankind.

And we can substantiate this in Hebrews 2: 17-18, “Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15,16).

So mankind will have the same experiences that the Church has because that is required in the body of experiences in the sin offering to most effectually help back the world of mankind in the kingdom that someone has gone through a life no different; that they have gone through the most common experience that mankind has had and that is universal and that is, that God is hiding his face from me.

So one of the most common experiences he must give us is that He hides His face from us so that we can learn to find it and so that, in turn, we can help mankind find God’s face again so that their lives are more meaningful even as we look to find God’s face in our experiences so that likewise the experiences can be more meaningful to us.
May the Lord add His bless.

Acknowledgment

Br. Carl Hagensick – words from his discourse titled “When God Hides Himself” have been used to create this post.

 

I KNOW NOT WHAT AWAITS ME

I know not what awaits me,
  God kindly veils my eyes,
And o’er each step of my onward way
  He makes new scenes to rise;
And every joy He sends me comes
  A sweet and glad surprise.

Where He may lead I’ll follow,
  My trust in Him repose;
And every hour in perfect peace,
  I’ll sing, “He knows, He knows“;
And every hour in perfect peace,
  I’ll sing, “He knows, He knows.”

One step I see before me,
  ’Tis all I need to see,
The light of heaven more brightly shines
  When earth’s illusions flee;
And sweetly through the silence comes,
  His loving, “Trust in Me!”

Oh, blissful lack of wisdom,
  ’Tis blessed not to know;
He holds me with His own right hand,
  And will not let me go,
And lulls my troubled soul to rest
  In Him who loves me so.

So on I go not knowing;
  I would not if I might;
I’d rather walk in the dark with God
  Than go alone in the light;
I’d rather walk by faith with Him
  Than go alone by sight.

 

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/14/isaiah-4515-a-god-who-hides-himself/

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Encouragement to SHARE & SHINE

SHINE AND SHARE -WITH ADDRESS

With a hope that this blog post will motivate our readers in wanting to dedicate as much time as they can in studying God’s character and His Divine Principles and Plan, to better be enabled to glorify and praise  our Creator, Jehovah, through His Son Jesus–our Beloved Master and Conquering King, let us begin with a beautiful Scripture from Isaiah 58:7 (ESV),

“Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”

The primitive Church did show an active concern for the poor and needy in their midst and brethren laid aside portions of money and supplies for those less fortunate financially. An example of this can be seen in the collections for the brethren in Jerusalem (1 Corinthians 16:1-4) and the support of Paul by the brethren in Thessalonica.

“But whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” (1 John 3:17)

Now let us examine the term “sharing” in regards to the spiritual food, that is, our sharing with others the understanding of the Word of Truth, and the ministering to others about God’s Divine Plan and His beauties of Truth.

We are not only instructed to preach the Gospel message of hope to the world (Mark 16:15), but we are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly by “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness” in our hearts to God (Colossians 3:16).

If God has called us into his marvelous light of Truth, then one is sure to learn about the disastrous effects of evil, so as to realize that disobedience to righteous Godly principles has led to only pain, misery and despair, which results in HOPE-LESS-ness.

By gaining an exposure to such experiences, one gains a priceless understanding of what the Heavenly Father requires to please Him and thus how to strive towards developing into the likeness of Christ.

By experiencing pain and sorrow, we then truly feel how horrifically unpleasant and torturous it’s effects are, and governed by the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 2:14; 3:19) we desire to obey God in every single aspect of existence, realizing this is the ONLY way that humanity in the future will gain eternal life after the resurrection during the period of Christ’s reign with his body members of 144,000 (see Revelation chapter 7 & 14.)

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

Dear friends, what abundant blessings are gained by striving to adhere perfectly to Godly and righteous principles. The fully consecrated to God are not only to strive for this perfection in Christ (2 Corinthians 13:11) but actually BE perfect (Matthew 5:48).

How is it possible to BE PERFECT if we still live in carnal imperfect bodies? We realize that if we were perfect, we would never die as the death penalty is a consequence of Adam’s sin and thus all the world of mankind has inherited Adamic sin (Genesis 2:17).

We answer:

We can be reckoned as perfect in God’s eyes, thanks to the robe of Christ’s righteousness covering our sins, hence our intentions can be reckoned as perfect due to OUR FAITH. In Romans chapter 4 the Apostle Paul here writes about what Godly faith actually is and how it is developed and maintained.

The faith talked about in the Bible does not mean having a BLIND FAITH–believing in the words of another without testing it against what the Word of God says on the subject at hand. 

In the Book of Romans, the Apostle Paul does explain that faith can only be true Godly faith if one hears the message, “and the message is heard through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

The true faith we are talking about that ALL eventually will HAVE to have by the end of the “little season” (Revelation 20:3) of the Millennial Reign of Christ with his completed Bride– is faith that is based on God’s wisdom and not man’s wisdom.

This is what the Apostle Paul means by saying to the Corinthian brethren in 1 Corinthians 2:5, that their “faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

We are to TEST the Scriptures by studying the Words of God documented to us by the prophets in the Old Testament and by the Apostles and Jesus’s disciples in the New Testament, and study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

We cannot expect someone to understand or even know who God is simply by reading the Bible like a story book as “the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9). 

We must scrutinize every word that we read if we do not understand it’s glorious meaning. The Prophet Isaiah writes, Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior! (Isaiah 45:15) WHY does God hide himself? In the following post are some suggested Scriptural thoughts on this: Isaiah 45:15 – A GOD Who Hides Himself”

Understanding God’s Word

Here is an extract from Reprint of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence (R5982) about the subject matter concerning understanding God’s word:

“Our ability to understand spiritual things depends, not only upon our study of the
Scriptures, which are able to make us wise, but also upon the measure of the Holy Spirit which we possess. Hence the Apostle’s exhortation, “Be ye filled with the Spirit!” — Ephesians 5:18.

This means that only the spirit-begotten may understand the deep things of God at all; and that their understanding would be in proportion as they attain more and more a filling, a saturation with the spirit of holiness, the spirit of God, the spirit of Christ, the spirit of Truth.

Every Bible Student should realize that if, as a New Creature, he walks after the flesh and not after the Spirit, his mind will become more or less darkened, and not only will his ability to understand the deep things of God decrease, but even his recollection of the Lord’s Word will decrease; and that, on the contrary, when he is living near to the Lord–walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh–his memory of the Divine Word and his ability to appreciate its Spirit are increased.

Additionally, let us remember that a correct understanding of the Lord’s Word is not enjoyed by all the educated and talented, but comes to those who are of a meek and teachable heart, who study the Lord’s Word and who live it and absorb its spirit. Thus we have illustrated to us the Divine declaration, “Not by might [greatness], nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts” — Zechariah 4:6.”

————

During this Gospel Age, the called out of Babylon have the privilege to learn obedience to God and this involves developing the highest form of love, agape–towards our brethren in Christ. The Lord’s people have the privilege of learning now the lessons of forgiveness like God forgives us. God has such GREAT PERFECT mercy and love towards the fallen race, and the Apostle John in 3 John 3:16 tells us that God sent his firstborn of all Creation, His most Beloved Son, Jesus– the Logos– down to a terrestrial plan of existence (earth) (Hebrews 2:7-9) to redeem mankind and pay the ransom price to free ALL humanity from the sentence of Adamic death.

God’s divine plan encompasses the process of restoring all of humanity to perfection during the millennial reign of Christ with his Bride members (Revelation 7:14), known as the “elect” (Matthew 24: 22; Romans 11:7) and the “little flock” (Luke 12:32).

We have a responsibility to let our lights (the CHRIST-LIKENESS character) shine (Matthew 5:16).

But what’s the point of others seeing what WE DO? AH… the sentence follows with other words giving the correct answer.

In the kingdom when evil shall be restrained for 1000 years,  righteousness shall be the only standard by which all will have to adhere to, to gain eternal life and pure, perfect everlasting JOY will be the blessed result for everyone who chooses to obey God.

If indeed we have received the light and have consecrated ourselves fully to God, then let us ask ourselves, WHAT AM I DOING to show others the goodness of God? WHAT AM I DOING to proclaim the virtues and excellencies of Jehovah, who CALLED ME out of darkness?

Am I going forth with these tidings to my neighbors near and far?

Can I truly affirm that I am:–

“All for Jesus, all for Jesus–
All my being’s ransomed powers;
All my thoughts, and words, and doings,
All my days and all my hours?”

In 1 Peter 2:9 we are told,Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

It is God who calls one out of darkness. So no one can force anyone to believe how they do.

God does not call families. God calls individuals into the Truth of His Holy Word.

What is the Purpose of the Gospel Age?
The purpose of this Gospel Age is to “call out” a BRIDE FOR CHRIST, a group of 144,000 body of Christ members who can soon begin their Mediatorial Reign in bringing the world of mankind into harmony with God. This is only understood by those who have a discerning heart who God has decided to choose to understand His mysteries, which is:

Christ in youthe hope of glory” 

(Colossians 1:27).

The partakers of the High Calling have a desire to please God in all they do. As they commune with God, their minds are fixed on Christ and to be like him in character-likeness and thus, strive to do the Father’s will and be partakers in “the first resurrection.” (Revelation 20:6) (A 3 part series of posts on the RESURRECTION can be read here: Part A, Part B, Part C).

God’s fully consecrated children share closest communion with The Heavenly Father and His son Jesus (Psalm 118:8), and long for a heavenly inheritance, as their minds are set on “things above”  (Colossians 3:2).

True Christians feels they are called by the situations that each of the fully consecrated believers in Christ experience during their earthly testing and preparation time, realizing how the Lord is drawing them to desire to give up ALL their human life rights to themselves; to their body, to their time, to their health, to their reputation, to their talents, or to anything that belongs to them confessing themselves as belonging to Jesus their Redeemer, and they dedicate to serve, love and trust Jesus as their life and their salvation to their last moment of life on this carnal earth.

Fully consecrated believers in Christ seek divine nature— to be where the Heavenly Father and His Son, Christ Jesus reside.

So what is our HOPE?

The Bible is jam-packed with precious promises.

Just flip open any page of the New Testament, and start reading. What is the first precious promise you read? It will surely not take you more than a minute to find, and it will surely inspire you, unlike any 10 minutes of watch the News on T.V. will do! Go try it!

In Colossians 1:27, we have the answer to what our HOPE is. (We have also referred to this text earlier in this post.)

It is a LIVING hope, for as stated in 1 Peter 1:3, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

What does a LIVING HOPE mean?

It means having a HOPE OF LIFE and not one of burning eternal torment which falsely the worldly institution of Papacy have darkened the minds of the world to believe in order to have power and prevent the light of Truth from illuminating the minds and hearts of mankind due to the influence of the Adversary who’s corrupt and wicked army of angels do still control— yet, they will all be bound during the Millennial reign of Christ period when God shall provide mankind with the opportunity to learn righteousness and be blessed by so doing (Isaiah 26:9).

After Armageddon, all will need to become true Israelites indeed. [see post: “Will ALL Mankind Need To Become ‘ISRAELITES INDEED’?”]

The rule then in the 1000 year Messianic Kingdom will be:

OBEY GOD and LIVE or DISOBEY GOD and die (without a possibility to resurrect ever again).

Those who have done wrong in this life, will have more re-learning to do, so the faster their minds choose to follow God’s ways, the sooner they will see and feel the immense blessing of JOY and satisfaction that they will gain from walking up the HIGHWAY OF HOLINESS (Isaiah 35:8).

It was Jesus’ obedience to the Heavenly Father— dying as the ransom for our justification— that has opened up the door for God’s children to have this living hope and it is not only a hope for such now justified, but it includes a hope of perfecting in future the now still ignorant, sinful and unjustified world of mankind, and bringing them into harmony with the Heavenly Father, so that God may be all in all. And this is “the eternal gospel”— that the Creator (who has no beginning and no end) will be finally ALL IN ALL (Revelation 14:6).

Just as the hopes of the apostles had withered at the time of the crucifixion but were revived at Jesus’ resurrection, so too, we have the assurance through Jesus’ resurrection that our final triumph is through our Lord and King, Jesus, who is currently standing at the Heavenly Father’s throne after having sat earlier at the right hand of God after his ascension to the divine realm (Mark 16:19). We are told of Jesus standing up since his parousia (invisible presence, that is often in English, incorrectly translated as Christ’s “coming” in Scripture).

In Daniel 12:1 we read, “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.”

When the last members of the Bride of Christ shall have gone “beyond the second veil” (died in the flesh), then Jesus shall sit with them on his own throne. We are told of this in Matthew 25:31:- “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.”

May the Heavenly Father be praised forevermore as we await our transformation into glory!

“Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11, ESV).

This post’s URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/05/03/share-shine/

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