1 CORINTHIANS 3:21,23 – A Precious & Very Great Promise

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“For all things are yours; … And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” 1 Corinthians 3:21,23

These have more enjoyment of the earth now than have others; while others are grasping, these are enjoying. As the apostle declares, God hath given “us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17.) Freed from the grasping spirit, we can pass through the streets and observe the rich displays of the shop windows without covetousness, without wishing that we had the various works of art and beauty under our special care and control. We can feast our eyes upon them and be without the care of them at a time when all of our talents are consecrated to the LORD and His service, and when we have more important things to do than caring for earthly trinkets called works of art.  R. 3734, c.2. p.4.


Reprint No. 3733-3737 of the Original Watchtower & Herald of Christ’s Presence

BLESSEDNESS SUPERIOR TO HAPPINESS.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew 5:1-16

HAPPINESS describes the joyful moods which come to mankind from time to time, but blessedness relates to that permanent joy and comfort which are the result of the attunement of character to harmony with the divine. The people of the world may at times be happy, and at other times downcast, mournful and troubled; but to those who become followers of the Lord Jesus, and who as pupils in the school of Christ are taught of him, there is a peace of God which passes all understanding ruling in their hearts, bringing comfort and rest even under most adverse outward conditions. The lesson we are now considering describes to us the condition of heart necessary to the possession of the peace of God. In proportion as we get before our mental eyes the true conception and then strive to attain that ideal, in the same proportion will be the degree or progress of blessedness which will come into our hearts and lives to rule there and to keep us in the love of God.

Our Lord and his disciples were on an elevated plane of the mountain side, and crowds of people were coming to hear the message of the great Teacher respecting the Kingdom so long anticipated and which he declared was nigh. His miracles had attested his divine authority as a Teacher, [R3733 : page 71] and this drew the people to him “who spake as never man spake.” (John 7:46) …

The teaching was addressed primarily to those nearest to the Lord, namely, his special disciples, the multitude interestedly watching for any items in the address that would specially enlighten them. It must have seemed strange to all the hearers that our Lord did not talk more about the Kingdom itself, explaining when and how it would be established, etc. But he knew that he must first suffer for the redemption of the world before the Kingdom could come and the divine will be done on earth as it is done in heaven. He knew, too, that the first work in preparing for the establishment of the Kingdom would be the gathering of the Church class, the elect, to be his Bride and joint-heir in the Kingdom. His discourse, therefore, was so directed as to divide the hearers into two classes—some would be disappointed because they were interested more in the glories and honors and dignities of the Kingdom hoped for than in the condition of heart necessary to a place in it. These probably went their way saying that doubtless Jesus was a great Teacher to those who liked his kind of philosophy, but to them it was a very dry and unsatisfactory portion.

Others, though disappointed in the character of the teaching, found something in it which satisfied their longings as nothing else could do—found in it nourishment, comfort, upbuilding qualities. The same is true today: some hear the good tidings of great joy with interest merely in those features which relate to restitution. They are glad to know that there is no eternal torment in the divine plan, but that, on the contrary, times of refreshing are coming to the world, and times of restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:19-21.) But aside from this, all discussion respecting consecration to the Lord and terms of discipleship, all descriptions of characteristic conditions that would fit them for the Kingdom, are wearisome to them, distasteful. Thus does the Truth always separate.

“THE POOR IN SPIRIT”

The message of this great Teacher differed from all others, and was especially attractive to the humble, the lowly. Whereas others would have said, Blessed are the rich, the learned, the prominent, the rulers, this great Teacher reversed the matter, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit”—blessed are those who are not self-conceited, who do not think very highly of themselves, who appreciate their own littleness and imperfection. Astounding! How are such blessed? Surely the world thinks little of those who do not think much of themselves! Surely they will make less progress in the world! Ah, yes! But, says the Master, their blessedness consists in the fact that they are of the Kingdom—of those from whom the Kingdom of heaven class will be selected.

Self-confidence, self-esteem, may win for its possessor a high and honorable place in the present time, but is disesteemed of the Lord; and those who have such a spirit will be the less prepared for the tests and conditions which the Lord will impose in selecting the heirs of the Kingdom, the joint-heirs with Christ. Yes, indeed!—there is a favor and blessedness associated with being little in one’s own estimation: it preserves from many a false step into which egotism would lead. All who are seeking to follow the instructions of the great Teacher, who naturally are poor in spirit, humble-minded, deficient in self-esteem, have much advantage every way over others as respects this particular element of character. And those who are not naturally humble should take heed to the Master’s instruction, and humble themselves under the mighty hand of God, that they may be exalted in due time. (1 Pet. 5:6.) The Lord’s followers, then, should continually [R3734 : page 71] practise humility and be especially on guard against pride, self-conceit, etc.; they should know on the great Teacher’s authority through the Apostle that God resisteth the proud and shows his favor to the humble, the poor in spirit, to such an extent that only the humble will share with the Lord in the inheritance of the Kingdom.—1 Pet. 5:5; Jas. 4:6.

MOURNERS BLESSED AND COMFORTED

Again it seems strange, contrary to the usual thought, to say “Blessed are they that mourn.” The general thought is that those who mourn are to be specially commiserated. What principle lies behind the Master’s assurance that there is a blessedness connected with mourning? We reply that we cannot suppose that there is mourning in heaven—we must suppose that there is happiness, blessedness there. Hence the blessedness of mourning must in some way relate to our present imperfect, sinful conditions and surroundings. Sin is in the world, and death, the wages of sin, is being paid out to the entire human family, carrying into every home more or less disappointment, sorrow, trouble. Where these are appreciated rightly there must surely be mourning. The world is sick and dying; … he who is “merry” must surely be correspondingly irrational. Who but a foolish person could be merry in the shadow of such a charnel-house! Those who are merry under such conditions give evidence of so wrong a condition of heart and mind that we may know that they will require rigid disciplinary instructions (such as will be accorded to the majority of mankind during the Millennium) in order to bring them to their proper senses.

On the contrary, those who do mourn because of a realization of their own imperfections, their own fallen condition, and who to any extent mourn in sympathy with the poor, groaning creation, these have corresponding advantages because of their saner condition of mind; they will be the more ready for the heavenly message, telling of the glorious blessing that is to come through redemption in Jesus and through his Kingdom, which, as the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, shall bring in health, healing, life and comfort to all the families of the earth. Blessed are these mourners now, because they are in that much more favorable condition to hear the voice of him who speaketh from heaven—speaking peace through Jesus Christ our Lord. They shall be comforted. Their comfort shall not wait either until the new [R3734 : page 72] dispensation of the Kingdom shall be fully inaugurated and bring in the blessings of restitution: their comforting will begin at once, for their mourning will bring a readiness of mind to hearken for the Lord’s favor. So to these he will be pleased to make known something of the riches of his grace and lovingkindness through Jesus. They will have therefore the best opportunity for attaining the peace of God which passeth all understanding through the holy Spirit in this present time, and also in the dispensation to come.

Sorrow may be associated with sin and imperfection. It is proper that we should realize our fallen condition and be sorry for it, but this sorrow may be healed at once through the knowledge of the great redemption sacrifice and through our acceptance of a share in the merit of the same. But there is another sorrow or mourning which is not because of sin but because of sympathy. Our Lord, who was separate from sinners, had this spirit of mourning. It was this mourning in sympathy that led to his tears at the tomb of Lazarus, and the same that led to his being called “the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”—Isa. 53:3.

In our imperfect fallen condition, even after our hearts are fully consecrated to the Lord and imbued with his Spirit, it will not be possible for us to enter so fully into sympathy with others as did our dear Master; but we are to cultivate this spirit of sympathy, which is a part of the spirit of love, and the more we grow in grace and in character-likeness to the great Teacher the more we will have of the spirit of sympathy, the more sorrow and mourning will appeal to us.

On the other hand, however, the more we receive of this same holy Spirit proportionately we will have the greater peace, the greater joy in the Lord and the greater rejoicing, because of what we will be increasingly permitted to discern in the unfolding of the great plan of salvation under which all who mourn in Zion shall be comforted. So, then, the most advanced Christians, who have the deepest and most holy joy, should be the ones who at the same time would have the deepest sympathy with mourning and sorrow. Who has not already noticed this, that as our Lord and Teacher is the exemplar of perfection, so those who most nearly imitate him are usually such as have had deep experiences in the school of sorrow and mourning, and in whose hearts and characters deep spiritual lessons and characteristics have been engraved?

The word comfort does not contain the thought of relief, but rather that of strengthen together, or added strength. In other words, the Lord does not propose to take from us that noble quality of sympathy which we receive in the school of experience, but he does propose for all those who become his true followers that they shall be comforted or strengthened together, that he will give them a blessing of strength to endure, which will compensate their mourning and spirit of heaviness. He gives this through the promises of his Word and the glorious hopes which he sets before us, and he gives it also through the living epistles of the dear members of the household of faith. Note how the Apostle calls this to our attention in 2 Corinthians 1:4, where many times over he repeats the thought of our comforting one another with the comfort wherewith the Lord has already comforted us. Oh, what a privilege we enjoy, not only of being comforted by the Lord through his Word, but of being used of him as channels for comforting or strengthening or upholding one another during this mourning time, when some, more than others, have in themselves weaknesses and frailties to cause mourning to themselves and to others. Blessed are those who, being comforted themselves, shall be used of the Lord in the comforting of the other members of his body.

“BLESSED ARE THE MEEK”

The poor in spirit or humble minded, who do not think highly of themselves, are unquestionably the same as the meek, the gentle.

The Century Dictionary defines the word meek as “self-controlled and gentle; not easily provoked or irritated; forbearing under injury or annoyance.” Webster defines meekness as “submission to the divine will; patience and gentleness from moral and religious motives.” As we look about us in the world and note the meek of the earth we do not see them more prosperous than others, and our Lord’s words that such shall inherit the earth would astonish us and seem quite untrue if we did not understand that he referred to blessings beyond the present life. Surely the millionaires of earth, that own the larger portion of it and its riches, valleys and slopes, are very rarely to be counted as the meek. And so we see that the Master did not say, Blessed are the meek, for they do inherit the earth, but “they shall inherit the earth.”

When, Lord?

Answer: When God’s Kingdom shall come and his will be done on earth as it is done in heaven—then the meek shall inherit the earth. So, then, if we perceive that the rude, the unjust, the self-assertive, are grasping the bounties of earth in the present time, and if we find ourselves rather crowded out because of meekness, let us remember our Lord’s Word that we are especially blessed, and let us cultivate this quality of meekness more and more, and let us not think to exchange it for a spirit of arrogance and self-assertion and vindictiveness, to grasp earthly fame and name and riches. Let us rather be content to cultivate this spirit which the Lord assures us he approves, and let us wait for the time when this class shall inherit the earth. We perceive that the inheritance will be with a view to giving it to the human family under the terms and conditions instituted during the Millennial age. Then the meek of the restitution class will inherit the earth; they will be given the advantage everyway, and eventually all who are not meek will be utterly destroyed from amongst the people in the Second Death.

The meek ones of the Lord’s followers even now in a measure receive the fulfilment of this promise, as the Apostle declared, “All things are yours, for ye are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” (1 Cor. 3:22,23.) These have more enjoyment of the earth now than have others; while others are grasping these are enjoying. As the Apostle declares, “God hath given us all things richly to enjoy.” (1 Tim. 6:17.) Freed from the grasping spirit, we can pass through the streets and observe the rich displays of the shop windows without covetousness, without wishing that we had the various works of art and beauty under our special care and control. We can feast our eyes upon them and be without the care of them at a time when all of our talents are consecrated to the Lord and his service, and when we have more important things to do than caring for earthly trinkets called works of art. [R3735 : page 73]

BLESSED THE HUNGRY AND THIRSTY

Our Lord refers to two of the most potent influences known amongst men. To what activity will not hunger and thirst spur us? Similarly there is in some a heart-hunger and thirst for that which is right, that which is true. The majority of people evidently do not have much of this hunger of the soul: natural eating and natural drinking are their special attractions. But all are not so, and there is a special blessing for those who have the soul-hunger to which our Lord refers. “They shall be filled”—they shall be satisfied.

Nothing in this promise implies a miraculous filling or satisfying: the thought connected with the illustration rather is that, hungering and thirsting,they will make use of their time, knowledge and opportunities for seeking the bread of eternal life, which satisfies, and the water of life, which truly refreshes; and that in proportion as these are sought and found and used will be the blessing. We have the Lord’s guarantee of the blessing for all who are in the attitude of mind to seek and to use the spiritual refreshments he provides.

Righteousness here applies to right in every matter—Truth. God is the great standard of righteousness, and he communicates it through his Word, his exceeding great and precious promises delivered to us through Jesus and his apostles. The majority of the world, careful for the meat that perishes, think little of the Truth and get little of it; the few hungering and thirsting for it are filled, refreshed, sanctified by it, and in word and in deed and in thought are being fitted and prepared for still further blessings in God’s due time—participation with the Redeemer in the Kingdom and a share with him in the work of blessing and uplifting mankind.

“BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL”

Mercy is akin to love, and in proportion as the fall has effaced love from any heart in that proportion mercy will be lacking. Of course we cannot always judge by the outward appearance, as there are outward forms and expressions of love without the heart. So sometimes mercy is extended without the real spirit of mercy prompting it. Sometimes it is to be seen through the recognition of a principle without a sympathy with that principle. The true Christian learns in the school of Christ not only of his imperfections and his need of divine mercy, but having found that mercy and having entered the school of Christ it becomes one of the most important lessons he can learn to extend similar mercy toward others. The Apostle declares that “Mercy rejoices against Judgment”—against the execution of justice. (James. 2:13.) Strange as it may appear, those who have most need of mercy for themselves appear usually to be the ones least ready to accord mercy to the failures of others.

Contrariwise, those who grow most in the spirit of the Lord grow proportionately merciful and compassionate. Some of the Lord’s people have more to overcome in this direction than have others, and may therefore show less development in proportion to their efforts; but the thought should be continually before the minds of all that it is very unbecoming for those who themselves have need of divine mercy to be sticklers in the last degree in their requirements of justice for others, in their refusal to exercise mercy toward others. Not only so, but this lesson which our Lord so frequently emphasized he intensified when he said, You do not from the heart forgive those who trespass against you, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses.

… Our mercy must be more than formal, more than an outward forgiveness and reconciliation—it must be from the heart, sincere. In proportion, therefore, as we each realize our need of divine mercy through Jesus, in that same proportion let us be very merciful to others—especially toward the brethren and all who in any sense or degree demonstrate their desire for righteousness.

“BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART”

The word pure is very comprehensive—without adulteration, sincere, unsullied. No member of the human family is by nature in this condition. On the contrary, the Scriptures assure us that the heart of the natural man is exceedingly deceitful and desperately wicked. (Jer. 17:9.) The heart in this text and in general conversation is used not as the name of one of the organs of the human system, but as indicating the inner mind, will, intention of the person. As originally created man was the image of God, and hence was then pure in heart, sincere, honest, truthful, perfect-intentioned; but, by reason of disobedience, sin and selfishness have been developed in the human heart and will, and the God-like qualities originally there have been to a considerable degree obliterated. Hence it is that those who become the Lord’s people are said to have a new heart, a new will, new ambitions, new desires. Where the conversion from sin to righteousness is thorough it is truthfully said, “Old things have passed away, all things have become new.”—2 Cor. 5:17.

To accomplish so radical a change of will, of intention, requires a powerful influence. It may be of fear and it may be of love, but we are assured that the results of fear are imperfect, and that only love produces the lasting, perfect, acceptable conditions. Fear may have to do with the beginning of a change of heart, but it certainly cannot carry the conversion to completion, for, as the Scriptures declare, “Fear hath torment,” and the peace of God cannot rule in the heart that is subject to such distress. (1 John 4:18.) Hence the Scriptures set before us the heart conversion which results from the knowledge of God and love for him, saying, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” and again assuring us that “perfect love casteth out fear.”Mark 12:30; 1 John 4:18.

Our Lord’s words intimate that there may be various degrees of impurity of heart, and so we find it: there are some who at heart are really black, devilish; others are drab or gray or speckled. But the Lord singles out the kind of heart that would be acceptable to the Father—the pure in heart. We are all witnesses that we could not claim purity of heart, of intention, of motive, of desire for very many of our friends and neighbors of Christendom, and that so far as we know in the heathen world the proportion would be still fewer. Yet the intimation of our text is that only such as attain to heart purity can hope ever to see God, to enjoy this evidence of his love.

But lest some should be discouraged through supposing that purity of heart means absolute perfection of thought and word and deed, we hasten to correct that thought and to point out that the intention is not always supported by the words and conduct. To will right, to will perfectly, to be [R3735 : page 74] pure in heart, is quite possible, yea, quite necessary to all who would have divine approval; yet how to perform all that they will is sometimes beyond the ability of the Lord’s most earnest followers. The new will, the new heart, must act and speak through the medium of the old body, whose affections are continually in opposition and must be battled against. Hence so long as we are in the flesh, so long as we are obliged to reason, speak and act through the imperfect medium of our fallen flesh, that long will we have need of the merit of Christ to continually cover its blemishes; that thus the new will, the new heart and not the flesh, may be judged of the Lord and tested as to its worthiness or unworthiness of the eternal life and blessings which he has proffered us.

How precious the thought, then, that we may attain to absolute purity of intention, of love, etc., toward all mankind as well as toward the Lord, and that God will thus accept us in his Beloved One, not counting to us the unintentional weaknesses and blemishes which we realize and which others realize perhaps still more than we. How blessed the thought that such will see God, that such have the clearest views of God’s character and plan now, that such shall see him shortly when changed in the resurrection, when they shall have awakened in the likeness of their dear Redeemer.

BLESSED THE PEACEMAKERS

Never was there a time when this statement of our Lord deserved more consideration than at present. We live at a time when envy and strife are in evidence on every hand, amongst all classes, amongst nations, in politics, in business, in homes and families, in nominal churches and amongst the fully consecrated of the true Church. The tendency toward strife is evidently somewhat associated with the strenuous times in which we live; but all the more those who are true members of the body of Christ are to remember the Scriptural injunction, “Follow peace with all men;” and again, “Be at peace amongst yourselves.” (Heb. 12:14; 1 Thess. 5:13.) Some of the best people in the world have the organ of combativeness large, but proportionately they need to have love to control it, so that they shall combat only those things which are evil and injurious, so that they shall think generously, kindly, lovingly of all who take a different view of matters; and while standing always firm for principle, they should take note of the fact that principle enters into remarkably few of their conflicts, contentions, etc.

Each of the Lord’s children should be learning day by day to cultivate the fruits and graces of the holy Spirit, amongst which prominently are patience, long-suffering, [R3736 : page 74] brotherly kindness, love. These things dwelling in us and abounding we shall be more and more pleasing to the Lord and able to assist others in the same direction—to be peacemakers. For who can properly be a peacemaker who is not himself at heart a peace lover?

There seems to be in the majority of humanity a contentious streak, which not only leads the possessor to be quarrelsome and contentious, irritable and irritating to others, but additionally this trait seems in many to be inclined to stir up disturbances in others, when the first principle of decency—minding one’s own businesswould be favorable to peace. As the Lord’s people more and more come to realize the selfishness and quarrelsomeness which the whole world has inherited through sin and depravity, and how this is all opposed to the Spirit of the Lord and of meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, love, they should not only strive to develop peace in their own hearts and lives but to be peacemakers amongst men.

“Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Yes, truly, the peace lovers, peace promoters, manifest that in this particular at least they are the possessors of the holy Spirit—the Spirit of God. Let us not only merit this title, sons of God, now amongst men who, seeing our good works and peaceable dispositions, will glorify our Father in heaven on this behalf, but let us by the continued cultivation of this same quality of love, under the guidance of the great Redeemer, merit the distinction of being sons of God on a higher plane in the Kingdom.

BLESSED THE PERSECUTED

Not all the persecuted, but merely the persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Many bring upon themselves persecutions for foolishness’ sake and for being busybodies in other men’s affairs. Let us heed the Apostle’s word along this line and avoid persecutions or sufferings for evil doing of any kind; but, as again it is declared, if any man suffer as a Christian let him glorify God on this behalf. (1 Pet. 4:16.) It is well, too, that we preserve in this matter as in all others the spirit of a sound mind. There are, for instance, some that evidently imagine themselves persecuted when really they are very kindly treated, and are the victims of their own morbid imaginations. The Lord’s people should be so filled with the spirit of thankfulness and gratitude and appreciation that they would be in no danger of erring in this matter. They should be so generous in their thoughts of the motives and intentions of their friends and neighbors that they would be in no danger of misapprehending them and feeling persecuted by those who are really their well-wishers.

As perfect love casts out fear, so also it casts out these false impressions of evil doing or intention toward us. The benevolent heart, full of love for others, will rather prefer to suppose that slights are unintentional oversights, or to put some other similar good construction upon the conduct of their friends, only yielding to an appreciation of persecution when its intention is unmistakable. Even then it should think generously of the persecutor, realize his share in the fall and be disposed to pray for those who despitefully use them and persecute them. Blessed are such ones who thus hold to righteousness and the spirit of love toward their enemies and persecutors, and who may be sure, therefore, that they are being persecuted for their fidelity to truth and righteousness and not for personal idiosyncrasies and peculiarities. Blessed are they, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. The Lord is looking for those who are so faithful to the principles of righteousness that they will exercise it toward their enemies even when being persecuted by them and on its account. If the Kingdom of heaven is for such it is assuredly but a little flock. Let us strive the more diligently to be of that little flockto make our calling and election sure.

REVILED FOR CHRIST’S SAKE

The Lord’s people are not to revile [criticize in an abusive or angrily insulting manner] each other or anybody under any circumstances, but are to remember that they are pupils, followers of him who when reviled reviled not [R3736 : page 75] again. Whatever evil others may say or insinuate about us we must be faithful to our Teacher and not return evil for evil, reviling for reviling, nor insinuation for insinuation, but contrariwise must speak evil of no man and be pleased to notice and to mention any good qualities which even our enemies may possess.

Our Lord’s words, however, warrant us in expecting that those who will be faithful to him will share his experiences of being evil spoken of. With his words before our minds we should not be surprised at false charges and false insinuations made against his true followers, and that in proportion to their prominence as his servants and followers. The expression, “all manner of evil,” is very comprehensive, while “for his sake,” is worthy of notice. It does not imply that those who strike with the fist or weapon or tongue and who shoot out arrows, even bitter words, will say, We do this to you for Christ’s sake and because you are one of his. We have never heard of any one persecuted in that manner along those lines, and this cannot therefore be what the Lord meant.

What he did mean evidently is that his followers, like himself, honorable, moderate, possessing the spirit of a sound mind, truthful, honest, virtuous, would naturally be highly esteemed amongst the Scribes and Pharisees, the nominally good; they would have a high place, were it not for their fidelity to the Lord and to his Word. Because of loyalty to truths contradictory of popular errors, because of their faithfulness to the Word of the Lord, they are unpopular, and, like the Master, are hated by those prominent in Churchianity. These conditions bring a double test:

(1) They test the adherents of Churchianity along the lines of the Golden Rule, and when they speak evil through malice, through hatred, through strife, through opposition, they are judging themselves, condemning themselves under the Golden Rule, for well they know that they would not wish others thus to speak evil of them;—either through malice or a concocted lie or through hearsay.

(2) It becomes a test also to the faithful ones—Are they willing to endure these persecutions and oppositions cheerfully as a part of the cost of being the Lord’s disciples? If under the pressure they yield and revile in return, and slander and backbite, they are proving themselves unworthy of a place in the Kingdom. If on the other hand they receive these lessons and experiences with patience and long-suffering, these serve to develop in them more and more of the character-likeness of their Redeemer and tend the more to fit and prepare them for a share with him in his glorious Kingdom. Our Lord’s assurance is that those who are thus tested and who stand such a test will have the greater reward in heaven, and reminds them that similar persecutions from the Lord’s professed people came to all the holy prophets of the past.

THE SALT OF THE EARTH

The declarations, “Ye are the salt of the earth,” and “the light of the world,” may be very properly applied to such of the Lord’s followers as give heed to his teachings and cultivate the blessed states he has described foregoing. All such blessed ones in proportion as they have attained such conditions are indeed the salt of the earth and the light of the world. As salt is useful in arresting decomposition, so the influence of these, though they be few in the world, is preservative. Looking back along the aisles of history, we can see that a good influence extended from the Law Covenant God made with Israel.

As the Jews scattered more or less amongst other nationalities they carried with them more or less clear conceptions of the divine standards as represented in the Law, and these wherever they went had a preservative and corrective influence amongst men. But it was Jesus and his higher Law of Love, exemplified in his own life and in the lives of his apostles and all his followers, who became the real salt of the earth, in a period when without it we know not what might have been the result. As it is not only the spot upon which the candle or lamp rests that is enlightened by it, but as the rays extend out in every direction, so is the influence extending from every true Christian. It touches not merely his own person or home but to some extent radiates throughout his vicinity. Similarly it is not merely the spot that is touched by the lump of salt that is preserved, but the influence of that lump spreads over a considerable space round about it, and all with preservative influence.

At the time of our Lord’s first advent the world was in a condition in which it would probably have hastened to degeneracy and corruption, but the introduction of the body of Christ and the beneficial influence extending from each member of that body were potent for the arrest of the demoralizing tendency of the times. The light which shone out from Jesus, the Light of the world, and from his followers, had undoubtedly a beneficial effect upon the then center of the civilized world. That influence is still manifest in so-called Christendom. And even today, although the truly consecrated believers in the great Redeemer are confessedly very few in number, yet the general influence, the saltiness from the teachings of the Savior, exercise a wide influence throughout Christendom. Without this, doubtless, corruption and a complete collapse would have come long ago. In spite of it we see very corrupting and corrupt influences at work in every direction and the wider our horizon, [R3737 : page 75] the more general our information, the more this fact will be appreciated.

Before very long we expect that all of the overcoming members of the body of Christ will be changed, glorified, and the body completed on the other side the vail will be without members on this side. The lights will have gone and the darkness will hold fuller sway than ever; the salt will be gone and the corruption will take hold swiftly, and the result will be the great time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.

Meantime we are to let our lights shine and thus to glorify the Father, whether men heed or forbear to heed; we are to exercise our salt or preservative influence, our influence for righteousness and truth, whether men hear or forbear, though we clearly see that it is not God’s purpose to enlighten the world through the Church in its present humble position. The matter will test us and prove whether or not we are worthy to be members of the glorified body of Christ, which shortly shall shine forth as the Sun in the glory of the Father, and enlighten the whole world in a manner with which our little lamps of the present time will in no sense compare. [R3737 : page 76]

HO, PRODIGAL RETURN!

“Return, return! thy Father’s voice is pleading,
Thy robe is rent, thy tender feet are bleeding,
Return, my child: a welcome here awaits thee:
Resist the cruel tempter that belates thee,

“Return, return! Thy Father’s loving-kindness
Yet in his touch is healing for thy blindness,
Return in all thy rags of sin’s defilement;
Thy Father’s voice bespeaks his reconcilement:

“Return, return! Thy substance hath been wasted—
Yet art thou longing for the bread once tasted,
Return, for why shouldst thou delay the pardon
Arise and go, before thy doubts shall harden

“Return, return! Leave thou the swine and famine
Why dost thou toil among the husks of mammon,
Return thou to his arms, his kiss, his blessing,
After thy sinfulness and guilt confessing,

“Return, return! The angel-hosts bend o’er thee—
They have beheld the Savior dying for thee,
Return, for he will heal all thy backsliding—
Come, weary soul, rest in his love abiding, 

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The Time is Short! – SURRENDER ALL

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Do you placed your life entirely in God’s hand alone?

Do you kneel down, honor Him, praise Him, and thank Him?

Do you block the bad, and surrender to the good?

Do you give up your wants and accept our Creator’s ways of meeting your needs?

 

The hour is fast approaching

When we shall be forever with our Lord.

Disappointment, grief and fear become buried as if beneath earth’s surface, as we live FOR Him.

Sorrow is blurred and Jehovah’s perfect love restores to us the purest joys.

 

When changed, and tears are past,

And all safe and blessed, we shall meet at last;

Christ and his Bride on the throne, and the companions before the throne.

Lean on every holy word now as you fight the good fight of faith to the finish line. There is not long to go, but enough time for the faithful to be more than over-comers.

 

Let your entire hope be found in God’s Precious Promises.

Find perfect rest in that which is permanent and eternal.

The more you seek the Lord, the more you’ll find Him.

God’s holy words are in the Bible. Saturate your mind by them.

 

Have you laid your burdens down before the Heavenly Father?

Have you asked Him to show you the way just for today?

Do you feel He is pleased?

Please Him. Please, please Him.

 

Do you cast all your cares on Him? Your cross then becomes lighter.

Do you daily surrender your will entire into God’s hands?

Do you wait patiently and cheerfully for His answers?

Whether in the silence or in the noise, God always gives the perfect answer.

 

Continue to place your ALL before our Heavenly Father’s throne. You won’t regret it.

He who overcomes will sit down with Jesus on His throne,

Bringing loving justice to all mankind, and helping all to walk up the Highway of Holiness and bring pleasure to our Creator, who is the ALL IN ALL.



SURRENDER YOUR ENTIRE WILL and SEEK JEHOVAH’S WILL IN ALL and you will find perfect happiness for eternal eternities. 

 

“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.”

Psalm 63:3 

 

Suggested Further Reading

A Special Calling by Br. David Rice. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July /August 2016.
URL: https://herald-magazine.com/2016/07/01/the-bride-class/

Old Testament Portrayals of the Church by Br. Homer Montague. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_2.htm

The Song of Solomon by Br. Frank Shallieu. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_3.htm

The Bride and the Bridegroom by Br. Carl Hagensick. A Verse-by-verse Study of Psalm 45. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_4.htm

New Testament Portrayals of the Church by Br. Michael Nekora. A Precious Treasure. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. July/August 2004.
URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/2004/04ja_5.htm

A Chaste VirginThe Herald of Christ’s Kingdom. URL: http://www.heraldmag.org/literature/chliv_38.htm

The Truth About Hell. A Dawn Bible Association Publication. URL: http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/hell.htm

Hope Beyond the Grace. A Dawn Bible Association Publication. URL: http://www.dawnbible.com/booklets/grave.htm

 

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/08/the-time-is-short-surrender-all/?share=press-this&nb=1

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In the secret of His presence

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“How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men! You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20).

The search for happiness is a quest by every human. Would you not agree?

Some people seem to find happiness in just the everyday kind of stuff… you know… the daily routine kind of activities and that which is temporarypertaining only to the now… to this human life.

Then there are those, who surrender to the God, the Creator. These have their minds focused on things above and not on the cares of this world. They have a peace about them that surpasses ALL understanding (Philippians 4:7).

You know, it’s this sense of a deeper connection with God that has been an inner yearning in us since time began. I know it has been for me.

I often think about friends or people I come across, who carry a presence within themselves… who handle obstacles with poise and grace. Those people I call the tangible ones… the “There’s-Something-About-Them” kind of people. The one’s you could label as surrounded by divinity. These seem to all have one thing in common: they pursue a renewing of the mind within an intimate relationship with God in secret.

In Romans 12:2 we are told, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”

When I think about these secret hiding places of those from the Bible, I think of our passionately devoted to God, King David, who’s love for the LORD and regret for wrong made his heart so humbly revert to our Heavenly Father, and perhaps it was the greatest driving force behind him producing all those 150 Psalms. It was our Psalmist David’s secret placethat hidden private place of meditation and communication with God, that made him King.

How bout Gideon? He had that incredible courage and was able to retain Jesus’ ability to keep loving amongst adversity, right?

I recently enjoyed reading one Christian’s definition of her secret place; that it is that place where she directs her heart, and when she arrives there, she has the most wonderful exchange of love and adoration. God hands to her strength hope, delight and encouragement, and she gives back to Him her thankful thoughts, her honest questions, her silent dreams and her forever devotion.

It is that secret place with God, that holds the most intimate of conversations.
Have you ever heard people say to you “oh gee, you’ve really changed since when I once knew you”… “You’re so different now”… “You’re so Godly” or even “what’s happened to you? Is everything O.k ?

I assure you, I so often feel like I fight with most probably more demons within than most of all the Christians I know put together! I fight minutely at times. But, you know, if you want something in life, you don’t just sit on your backside expecting miracles to happen…

Even if you got no other option (due to perhaps ill health, chronic pain, immobility, poverty, other circumstances where one must lay low and hibernate)… there is always a most blessed thing called PRAYER!

Prayer is a work that is invaluable for the New Creature mind. Praying for another may even be one of the greatest gifts one can give another.

Pray produces more satisfying joy and blessed outcomes than anything else in a follower of Christ’s life because it connects us with our Creator and our Beloved Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, our Bridegroom and what more valuable in our lives, than spending time communicating with our Creator and His Son, who are both PERFECT in ever sense of the word and UNDERSTAND us, which, no human on earth can.

Following Jesus doesn’t just happen over night…

CHRIST-likeness is a bi-product of a relationship with God. It’s the best relationship you can and will ever have!

Your hunger for God will determine the extent to which you lay down your life, heart and mind and daily surrender not just MORE of self, but ALL of self for ALL OF THEEthe LORD GOD.

It’s in that quiet place where you will meet revelation for those you love as much as comfort in your grief.

One’s relationship with God is the ultimate intimate, best, most safest, happiest relationship I think anyone could ever have. It’s a connection so tight that none of one’s thoughts would wish to be not of GOD if that were humanly possible. Here there is a withdrawal of self-ego, self-indulgence, the laying out of mess, the exuberant gratitude, the processing of hurts, where a child of God can come into the presence of Godkneel before him and talk… talk for as long as needed, and knowing that GOD hears us.

In 1 John chapter 5 we read,

“10 Whoever believes in the Son of God accepts this testimony. Whoever does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because they have not believed the testimony God has given about his Son.

11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

15 And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.”

You know, when we do something that shows God how much we adore our own Creator, the day becomes kaleidoscopic in colour.

It’s only when we make time for our Heavenly Father, that we discover what treasures unfold from within that secret place with Him.

God draws closer to those who show they NEED HIM THE MOST.  In James 4:8 it says,

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”

Silence is a gateway to the soul and the soul a gateway to God.

Go to your secret place before you go to anyone else.

My tiny pea brain could never summarize the greatness or mystery of God, so that secret place is the proper place to ask Him questions (Psalm 147:5).

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).

WE ARE living in a terrible time, and yet a wonderful time. It is a terrible time because we see before our very eyes a world collapsing and disintegrating. It is a wonderful time because we are on the very threshold of the mediatorial kingdom of God when all nations shall be blessed. It is a time tersely described in Haggai:

“For thus saith the Lord of Hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come” (Haggai 2:6,7).

It is indeed ironic that at the time of the greatest increase of knowledge, when giant strides have been made in the arts of medicine, science of all kinds, rapid travel, instant communication, psychology, human relations and statesmanship skills which one would think would knit the nations closer together it is ironic that this time of man’s greatest attainment, which normally should result in his greatest security, should precisely be the time of greatest insecurity and fear! Nothing seems to be working right for the leaders of the world. Old formulae no longer seem to apply. Painstaking plans, based upon the experience of centuries, no longer work as intended but often have the opposite effect.

All the nations will soon realize that things are as they are because the Lord’s hand is in it, that his voice is being heard (See Jeremiah 25:30-32).

When fear and terror are felt, the first human impulse is to flee, to get away, to find a secure place and hide from the danger. As the time of trouble, which has already started, starts to escalate, the fulfillment of more and more prophecies of the Bible will occur. In Isaiah 2:19-21, symbolic language is used to describe how men will try to find shelter and security in various human cooperative schemes. Mountains are governments; hills are lesser worldly organizations of various kinds (R592, R267, R716, R511). Hosea says, “They shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall on us [or over us](Hosea 10:8). Jesus repeated this prophecy when he referred to these last days: “Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us; and to the hills, cover us” (Luke 23:30; Revelation 6:15).

Will there be an escape for mankind when the times of trouble reach a climax? Will they find refuge from the Lord’s wrath? Jeremiah answers:

“Can any hide himself in secret places, that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24).

No, they will not escape. But we know it is all for a benevolent purpose. All selfish human schemes must be discredited and eliminated to make way for the full establishment of God’s glorious kingdom on earth.

The scriptures indicate that the final and most severe phase of the time of trouble will not come until the body of Christ is complete. This is brought out in Revelation:

“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God, and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed; and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand” (Revelation 7:1-4).

So does this mean that we will escape the entire time of trouble?

Well, we are in it now since 1914 (see Daniel chapter 12) and it is worsening every day. But unlike the world, we are not afraid, we are not terror-stricken because we have a refuge the world does not know about, a safe and secure hiding place which the Lord has provided for us. He invites us to enter into it, particularly at the present time when the old world is being removed to make way for the new, when governments are being shaken and overthrown, when mankind is getting restless and rebellious. Having entered in, we have no fear of what is going on about us.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof”(Psalm 46:1-3).

Doesn’t that describe the present time precisely?

Psalm 32 describes our God:

“Thou art my hiding place. Thou shalt preserve me from trouble. Thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).

Does this mean that we will be miraculously preserved from every physical aspect of the time of trouble? If there are food shortages, will we have an abundance? If war decrees the restraining of human liberties, will we remain free? If the atmosphere is polluted with atomic and other poisons, will we breathe pure air?

Of course not! These things, affecting only the fleshly body, are comparatively inconsequential. It is in the things that really matter that we will be preserved. Even in famine there will continue to be an abundance of spiritual food. It will not be rationed. We will continue to “stand fast … in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free”-free from human creeds and concepts (Galatians 5:1).

Even in a disordered and disintegrating world, even in lawlessness and anarchy, nothing will be permitted to happen to the “called out” of this world (1 Peter 2:9) that is not for their highest spiritual welfare. Although we walk about and intermingle with our neighbours, sharing their hardships, in reality we will be segregated, in a secret place where no real harm can befall us, where everything we really need is supplied. (Psalm 91)

Where is this wonderful “secret place”?

It is not a locality, but a condition. It is a relationship, a standing before the Lord, a condition of consecration and acceptance, a condition of justification and spirit-begettal, it is a living with the Lord. Jesus described this condition:

“If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23).

It doesn’t make any difference where we live, or where we go; we can still be in that “secret place.” David sang of it in Psalm 139:7-10:

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in the grave, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

No matter where we are physically or geographically, we can still be safe and secure “in the secret place of the Most High.” What a great and unusual privilege this is!

“O how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man. Thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues” (Psalms 31:19,20).

“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of his
tabernacle shall he hide me. He shall set me up upon a rock” (Psalms 27:4,5).

This seems contradictory. It seems to say that we are hidden from view in a secret place and yet set up, in full view, upon a rock. But it is all beautifully harmonious to those who understand the symbols.

We are members of God’s household, of those who are justified and spirit-begotten. This precious relationship is firmly based upon the rock, Christ Jesus. This stone and its power to protect and preserve is referred to as: “Elect, precious; and he that believeth on him should not be confounded” (1 Peter 2:6).

It is through Jesus the world’s ransom and saviour and the Church’s advocate that a relationship with God is established and maintained. This is how we come into and remain in the secret of God’s Tabernacle. There is no other sure refuge or defense at this time.

“My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock, and my salvation; he is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation, and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God” (Psalm 62:5-8).

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the Lord is my rock; in him will I trust. He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation; my high tower, and my refuge; my saviour. Thou savest me from violence” (2 Samuel 22:2,3).

Compared with the frantic scurrying of the world to find peace and safety, how wonderfully blessed we are. We are safe and secure in the secret place of the Most High.

Value your secret place as if it’s your ONLY POSSESSION worth fighting for and dying for. That relationship with God and Jesus cannot be taught, it must be hungered for.

It’s all about giving our TIME time to God.

God wants to spend time with us. He longs to hear what is on our hearts; sharing our hearts with HIM is the foundation of intimacy. As we do that, our Heavenly Father shares HIS WILL and HIS DESIRES for us, with us.

Listen out for God’s every word…

“Blessed [is] the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors, For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD (Proverbs 8:34-35).

Living in God’s presence is where the mind is basically consumed with thinking about God and about His Son Jesus and wanting to do anything and everything to be like His Son Jesus, in order to make God well pleased.

Pleasing God by striving to obeying God in all things, in our way of showing appreciation for HIS PERFECT LOVE which really, is the foundation for existence!

In Psalms 61 and Psalm 57 the Psalmist David mentions about our refuge being under “the shadow of God’s wings” in God’s Tabernacle.

These beautiful illustrations of assurance, encourage us to enter and dwell in the secret place of the Most High, separating ourselves from and rising above the turmoil that is on every side. The Lord invites us to do this:

“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee. Hide thyself, as it were, for a little moment until the indignation be overpast” (Isaiah 26:20).

This wonderful condition is a real and tangible thing. We are totally and entirely surrounded by the power of God in this “secret place of the Most High. “Behind and before hast thou hedged me in, and thou placest upon me, thy hand” (Psalm 139:5, Leeser).

Sometimes we tend to forget that we are in this secret place and become frightened at the uncertain conditions of the world about us. We become panicky like Peter, seeking to walk on the water, who, when he saw the boisterous, wind-tossed sea, began to sink, crying, “Lord save me!” (Matthew 14:30)

When this happens to us there IS a door we can use to again enter our secret place.

“But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet [or private room], and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father who seeth in secret, and thy Father, who seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (Matthew 6:6).

This is like the frightened child who runs to its mother to be enfolded safely in her arms: “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

OK so now it’s time to go talk to God… really talk without any rehersal script… no performed worship thing, just taking ourselves onto our knees (if possible), and  somewhere where we can be in quiet stillness with our mind, escaping to the throne room of our Heavenly Father in the Divine Realm place, and there, “be still” (Psalm 46:10).

be-still-and-know-that-i-am-god-beach-20-verses-of-rest-and-peace-640x405

“He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him” (Daniel 2:22) .

Here is a beautiful hymn I recently discovered. The lyrics are by Ellen Lakshmi Goreh (1853-1937). Goreh, Ellen Lakshmi was the daughter of the Rev. Nehemiah Goreh, a Christian convert who was born. at Benares, Sept. 11, 1853. Her mother died the same year, and the child was adopted first by a Mr. Smailes. Through the Mutiny in 1857 Mr. Smailes lost his property, and the child was then taken into the family of the Rev. W. T. Storrs and brought to England, where she was educated, and resided until 1880, when she returned to India to take up mission work with her own countrywomen where she published “From India’s Coral Strand: Hymns of Christian Faith [1883].” The best known of these hymns is In the Secret of His Presence :

In the secret of His presence
How my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons
Which I learn at Jesus’ side!

Earthly cares can never vex me,
’Neath the shadow of His wing
There is cool and pleasant shelter,
And a fresh and crystal spring;

And my Savior rests beside me,
As we hold communion sweet;
If I tried, I could not utter
What He says when thus we meet.

Only this I know: I tell Him
All my doubts and griefs and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens!
And my drooping soul He cheers;

Do you think He ne’er reproves me?
What a false friend He would be,
If He never, never told me
Of the sins which He must see.

Would you like to know that sweetness
Of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow;
This shall then be your reward;

And whene’er you leave the silence
Of that happy meeting-place,
By the Spirit bear the image
Of the Master in your face.

(Repeat the last line of each stanza)

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 HIS SECRET PLACE–sung by Chelsea Moon and the Franz Brothers.

URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/03/05/in-the-secret-of-his-presence/

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