“(1) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.(2) Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:1, 2, ESV).
“(7) But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. (8) Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— (10)that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,(11) that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead“ (Philippians 3:7-11, ESV).
Here is some brief content from the latter referenced article above (“The Ransom”) concerning the two applications of Christ’s blood:
1. The first application — is for the consecrated class, those who accept Christ now, and accept Jesus’ invitation to self-denial and cross bearing (Hebrews 9:24).
2. The second application — the one for all the remainder of Israel, shows that after this age for the consecrated, another age of redemption follows. This will be for the remainder of the world those who will be blessed by the saints when, as a class, they are complete in glory with Christ.
Now we see that Jesus’ death, by itself, did not automatically bring release from the curse. Jesus was raised from the dead with the value of the Ransom price he provided, and by God’s design Jesus himself is the one who applies the value of the Ransom. He applies it first to us who consecrate our lives now, and later to the world during the Millennium. Jesus died for our offences to provide the Ransom value and was raised again for our justification to apply the Ransom (Romans 4:25).
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
All my being’s ransomed pow’rs;
All my thoughts and words and doings,
All my days and all my hours.
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
All my days and all my hours.
Let my hands perform his bidding;
Let my feet run in his ways;
Let my eyes see Jesus only;
Let my lips speak forth his praise.
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
Let my lips speak forth his praise.
Since my eyes were fixed on Jesus,
I’ve lost sight of all beside—
So enchained my spirit’s vision,
Looking at the crucified.
All for Jesus! all for Jesus!
All for Jesus crucified.
The History Of This Hymn
Author – Mary D. James (1810-1883)
When Mary D. James was 13 years old, she began teaching Sunday school in the Methodist Episcopal church. She became a prominent figure in the Wesleyan Holiness movement, assisting Phoebe Palmer, and often leading meetings at Ocean Grove, New Jersey, and elsewhere. She wrote about 50 hymns, and articles by her appeared in various journals and newspapers.
Composer – Asa Hull (1828 – ?)
As of 1895, Hull was a music publisher in New York City; his company was still operating as of 1910.
Suggested Further Reading
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 understanding 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 Students 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 burning up forever which certainly does not reflect the perfect love of God — the Almighty Creator of all things.
For the interested Reader, we urge you to consider the following articles and posts:
Br. Charles Russell — the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of“Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn.” With the assistance of Maria Frances Russell (1850 – 1938) — the former Maria Frances Ackley (whom Russell had married in 1879) — this Bible Students’ devotional was published in Allegheny, Pennsylvania (USA) in 1890. It originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.
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.
Br. David Rice — For the article “The Ransom.” Faithbuilders Fellowship (“Journal” section) March-April 2007. http://www.2043ad.com/journal/2007/02_ma_07.pdf
“Hymnary.org” and “Wikipedia” — hymn history content.
“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense.” Psalm 141:2
This is the same thought elsewhere expressed in the Bible—that the prayers of God’s people rise up before him as a sweet perfume (Revelation 5:8).
The incense of old, which typified the prayers of the saints (Revelation 8:3), was composed of a rare mixture of spices, giving forth a peculiarly sweet odor and nobody was allowed to make that incense except the priests who were to offer it (Exodus 30:34-38; 37:29).
Thus again the Lord shows us that the privilege of prayer, of approaching him in an acceptable manner, and praying directly to the Heavenly Father through Christ, is confined to the anti-typicalpriests, called by Apostle Peter the “royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9).
“Only those of the Lord’s people who have consecrated their lives to him, even unto death, are thus represented as members of the sacrificing priesthood, to whom the Apostle wrote, saying,‘I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, and your reasonable service’(Romans 12:1). The Lord has pledged to this particular class that he will hear them… he will answer them—not necessarily according to their natural preferences, but he will heed the spirit of their cry and give tothem, according to his wisdom, the experiences and blessings most helpful” (R5692).
Luke 18:1 reads “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.”
“In thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand are pleasures forevermore,” declares the prophet (Psalm 16:11).
We must not grow disheartened and discouraged because of the delay in the answer to our prayers.
“Consider Jesus lest ye be weary and faint in your minds,”“for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Hebrew 12:3; Galatians 6:9).
The Motive Behind our Prayers
The Apostle James speaks of some who offer improper petitions. He says, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts“ (James 4:3).
The word lusts here signifies desires.
“We are not to ask to gratify fleshly desires. An example of this, could be praying to the Heavenly Father to send us a million dollars, telling Him that we knew what to do with the money, and how to use it in His work. The Lord probably would not give it—for we would probably be asking amiss. But it might be that we would think that we were asking wisely.
“Whenever we ask anything from theLord, we should scrutinize our motives to see if there is any personality connected with the matter. In our own case we should ask ourselves: Do we want that million dollars in order that we may shine in the use of it? If so, such a prayer would be a grossly improper prayer. We might offer such a prayer at the beginning of our Christian experience, and the Father would not chide us for it. We would excuse a child for doing what we would not excuse in one of adult years.
“In respect to this matter of prayer our Lord gives us a cue. It is this:
“If ye abide in Me and My Words abide in you, ye may ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”(John 15:7).
“For God’s Word to abide in us implies that we have a knowledge of God’s Word. This necessitates the studying of the Word of God, that we may know what to pray for… We should consider what the Word of God teaches on this subject, and if any one has become well acquainted with the Word of God, he should know whether or not he has met the conditions which will sanctify his prayer. It is only after he has come to this position that he may continue to make his request, nothing doubting. But very likely he will then find that he has not a very large list of petitions that he can present” (R5311).
♦The New Creature’s Greatest Need
In order to pray properly, the child of God should know what he may pray for. The things that the heavenly Father is pleased to give to his children are heavenly things.
“The new creature is on trial for the new nature—for glory, honor, immortality. And he can receive these only as he is worthy. The terms on which he is received into spiritual relationship with the Father are that he shall mortify, deaden, the earthly impulses and seek to have the spiritual impulses quickened(R5311).
With persistence inour petitions to God we will know what is proper to pray for by studying the words of Jesus and the apostles and the prophets of old. The spirit-begotten ones may thus understand what are the rights and privileges of sons of God. To these the Heavenly Father is more willing to give the holy Spirit than earthly parents are willing to give good gifts to their children(Matthew 7:11).
“The holy Spiritis the one thing which the new creature needs” (R.5310).
Thus, the most important thing that the New Creature in Christ is to pray for, is for the holy Spirit—the spirit of holiness, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Truth, the spirit of a sound mind, the spirit of love. The Master’s words are, “If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good (earthly) gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy Spirit to them that ask him?”(Luke 11:13).
God is particularly willing to give us the holy Spirit, and especially pleased that we ask for it.
This does not mean that earthly interests will be ignored, since our Heavenly Father knows perfectly what things of an earthly character we have need of, just as He knows whatwe have need of for our spiritual welfare (R5311).
The child of God should feel that it is a privilege to have the Lord’s approval of every thought, every act, and every word (R5310).
“What we do is God’s work, not ours… Today the Lord may be leading us by the still waters and in green pastures… Tomorrow the pathway may be thorny and through rough places. Thus day by day we grow in knowledge and grow in love, and we should be ready for whatever experiences may come to us: ‘Content whatever lot I see, Since ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me’ ” (R5312).
The prayer of one who asks only in harmony with the Lord’s Word is certain to be answered.
“It is best not to use any set form of words in prayer, but merely to think in advance what you desire of the Spirit—more faith, more patience, more meekness, more love.
♦Praying For Wisdom
In James 1:5, we are encouraged to pray for wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not.”
By this wisdom we may be enabled to speak and act in a way that will be helpful to others.
“In order to have the holy Spirit in large measure, we must keep near to the Lord… The illumination of the Spirit will… become brighter in proportion to our realization of our own imperfections and to the degree of our consecration to the Lord. This we manifest by the zeal with which we study his will as expressed in his Word, and with which we practice that will in the affairs of life. These are the means by which we may supply the oil to keep our light burning brightly. But while we are endeavoring to do this, we must see to it that we do not come into contact with anything which will tend to extinguish the flame of sacred love in our hearts.
“The world, the flesh and the devil are all in opposition to the light of the holy Spirit. To whatever extent they are brought into contact with the light, to that extent they smother itt. We should ever be on our guard lest we allow anything to dim or to extinguish our love for the Lord, for the truth or for holiness and Christ- likeness” (R5129, R5130).
What else should be prayed for and what are the effects of this?
Here are suggestions of what we are to pray for.
Our affections must be upon the spiritual food—upon the bread which came down from heaven and upon all the precious promises of God of which Christ is the center and substance. These we must seek, these we must appropriate; and for these, therefore, the substance of our prayers will be. Thus our watching, praying and daily seeking will be in full accord. Moreover, thanksgiving must largely take the place of requests, from the time that we learn of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine provision, for both the New Creation and for our dear ones according to the flesh, and for all the families of the earth. What could we ask for more or better than God has already promised?
♦ Daily bread—But is not this something for the flesh? This is a necessity, and the Lord has warranted us in praying for our necessities.
“We are to use our judgment the best we may; yet we are not to trust to our own efforts alone, but to the Lord’s supervising care. If, therefore, the temporal supply be scant, we are to learn the lesson of frugality and care of what we have.
“We should learn very early in life not to be wasteful. When Jesus fed the multitude with the loaves and fishes, and then instructed his disciples to take up the remainder of these in their baskets, he illustrated his economy.
“We are to eat with thankfulness what we have, if it is merely bread and water, or potatoes and salt. There is nothing to indicate that we are to ask for pie or cake or ice-cream, but for the necessities. If in God’s providence He furnishes the necessities and withholds the luxuries, then we are to be satisfied, to be thankful (R5311).
Let us also ask ourselves daily: Did we waste anything today? Did we eat too much today—twice as much as we had need for? “If so, the Lord will probably teach you some lesson, and it will be for your good as a New Creature. But if you have used wisdom and economy, He will provide the things needful. As the Prophet says, “Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure” (R5311).
♦ “Deliverance from the Evil One—which should lead us to see that there is an Evil One, and that we are not sufficient of ourselves to resist his attacks successfully. We need the Lord’s help at all times, and we need to pray continually and not to faint (R5311).
♦ Forgiveness of our trespasses daily—which are the result of our fleshly imperfections. “Our trespasses of the flesh today should be a great deal less than similar trespasses with us ten years ago or five years or even one year ago” (R5311).
♦God’s Kingdom to come—By praying without doubting it, we are strengthening in our faith more and more.
“Let our affections be set on things above, and not on things beneath—upon the robe of Christ’s righteousness and our future glorious apparel, when we shall be like our Lord and see him as he is, rather than on earthly apparel” (R5311).
♦ Express thanks for Divine care and to request a continuance of the same.
“Prayer and praise should always go up to heaven arm in arm, like twin angels walking up Jacob’s ladder, or like kindred aspirations soaring up to the Most High” (Spurgeon).
“The prayers recorded in the Bible are generally not lengthy. God accepts as our prayers all the good thoughts and sentiments of our minds, as well as those expressed by our tongues” (R5311).
♦ Pray for each other—In relation to this point, “the Editor” in the Reprints (R2576) of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, writes an encouraging comment in relation to a letter received from a Brother in Christ (i.e. Br. W. E. Vanamburgh from South Dakota, USA):
“We cannot express in words our deep appreciation of the love of the brethren so often expressed in their letters… We assure these dear brethren and all that their love is most heartily reciprocated. We love the brethren and take pleasure in laying down our life in their service.We are glad to know that you remember us and the Lord’s ‘harvest work,’ which he as been pleased to center here in Allegheny, in your prayers. If we may judge from the letters received, thousands of prayers ascend daily on our behalf. We cannot tell you how deeply we appreciate this: it keeps us humble as we remember our needs, and it strengthens us as we remember the Lord’s sufficiency and his willingness to pour out his blessings in answer to your prayers and ours.
These prayers and the divine power to which they are attached are to our hearts a bulwark against the many Satan-blinded foes who beset you and us continually because of our loyalty to the Lord and his Word.”
“The Scriptures not only encourage public and audible prayers amongst the Lord’s people, but point out, also, that he who prays should remember his audience in connection with his ministry, and perform the service so that he who hears may be able to say ‘Amen,’ whether audibly or in his heart” (1 Corinthians 14:13-17) (Volume 6, Studies in the Scriptures, page 688).
♦ Pray for the peace of Jerusalem—“They shall prosper that love thee”(Psalm 122:6).
These words are as true of the Heavenly Jerusalem (government of peace) and her children of peace, as they are of the earthly Jerusalem—which now is, and is in bondage with her children (Galatians 4:25).
“But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother”(Galatians 4:26).
“Those who are praying the Lord’s blessing upon his cause are seeking to serve it and are proportionately blessed. Those who are indifferent to the welfare of Zion and the Lord’s cause now, are standing in a slippery place and are in great danger of falling” (R2071).
“The true worshipers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).
Worship “in spirit and in truth” does not apply simply to prayer, praise, supplication and thanks giving. It goes deeper than all these. It takes hold upon the affections, upon the heart, and hence signifies not an act of worship but rathera life of worship—a life in which, through the begetting of the spirit and the knowledge of the divine plan, the individual becomes so at-one with God and all the features of the plan of God that it is, in the words of our Lord, his meat and his drinkto do the Father’s will. This is worship in spirit and in truth. It will find its expression… also in all the acts and words of life (R2071).
♦ Pray for God’s will to be done.
“We are not to tell God what to do for we have no means of knowing what is His will in matters in general.
“Our Lord Jesus did not pray in a mandatory fashion. With his petitions, he said, “Not My will, but Thine, be done”—I have no will of my own; for I have given up my will and I desire to have Thy will done. This is a prayer of full submission. It did not mean that our Lord did not pray in faith, nor that he would not get what he desired. It meant that he desired to learn the Father’s will; and he learned that the Father willed that he should drink the cup of suffering to the very dregs” (R5203).
Results of Prayer
It is the privilege of the Lord’s people to ask in order that they may have fullness of joy and the “peace of God, which passeth all understanding,”rejoicing greatly in hope of the glorious things which the Father has in store for us and which the holy Spirit reveals through the Word.
“The joyful Christian is the thankful Christian. The thankful Christian is the one who is making the best use of his life. By reason of having exercised thankfulness of heart, he will be the better prepared for the kingdom” (R5203).
It is truly an enormous privilege to have access to the presence of God, entering by faith into the Most Holy.
“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 4:16).
Br. Charles T. Russell—The content of this post is derived from a combination of various Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.
God began to build his bridge, So many years ago; But not the usual kind of bridge, Beneath which waters flow. This bridge began at Calvary, And it is not finished yet; A chasm still exists you see— Conditions must be met.
On this side of the chasm, there is selfishness and sin. On that side of the chasm—only holiness has been; On this side of the chasm, there is greed and what is vile. On that side of the chasm, there is happiness and smiles.
To walk along the Bridge of God, Will take a thousand years; It’s strong enough to take the weight, Of mankind’s pain and tears. There is no need to worry, No need to run and chase; For great and small—yes, everyone, Is invited to a place…
A place where love shall be the law, And everyone a friend; A place where TRUTH the password is, And kindness never ends.
So if upon God’s Bridge you’d tred Look to the one who made— The Bridge of God quite possible, For down his life he laid. Yes, on that hill at Calvary, He died for you and me; He is the Way, the Truth, the Life— The Bridge of God, you see.
Excerpt from Reprint Number 1243-1245, “Views From The Tower,” from “The Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.” This reads, as follows:
“The only safe place for God’s children is as far as possible out of all the strife. Remember the statement of the Bible, “Godliness with contentment is great gain,” and lay in a large stock of both. These two qualities will serve to separate you and your aims from the worldly and their aims, ambitions and greeds. Rather be willing to be classed as “old fogy” and “lacking ambition,” and to earn a humbler livingwith godliness and contentment and the great gain of peace of heart, communion with the Lord and some more time to spend in his service, doing good unto all as you have opportunity—especially to the household of faith.
Look at the list below and choose which you will have as your experience. You cannot mix them: an attempt to do so will only discomfort yourself and others. Choose the second list and endeavor to shape your course accordingly.
Ambition for self:Ambition for God:
Malice Brotherly kindness
Strife Joy, Peace
Bitterness of soul Fellowship with God
The Lord says to all, even to those who are not saints: “Seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be that ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger.”
Leave, in general, most of your grievances and wrongs for the Lord to make right.
Trust in the Lord and do good, and verily thou shalt be fed and generally blessed.—Psalm 37:3.
LOVE AS A STIMULUS.
Ah, yes! Love would do instead of ambition and selfishness to push the world along the highway of progress. But how few have pure, unadulterated love. This love is one of the choicest fruits of the spirit of God. It is not, consequently, to be found growing wild in the worldly heart. It is found only very imperfectly developed in Christian people, absolutely perfect in none, and approximately perfect only in a very few—the saints. And of these few we remember that the Lord declares there are not manyrich or great or wise. This “little flock” is mainly composed of the poor of this world (both in mind and in purse),whose only riches are riches of faith.The world will not think of these, their words and examples, but will go on blindly, talking about love and practicing selfishness, hatred, malice and envy, and all the unlovely elements of the spirit which is the reverse of the spirit of love, until the great time of trouble, which God’s Word predicts, shall be precipitated.
While presenting, above, the only course of peace and blessing under the present condition of society governed by ambition and selfishness, we well know that the moderate course will not be pursued. Selfishness, envy, covetousness and hatred are souring the hearts of all classes, except the few in whom the very spirit of gratitude and love and appreciation of the numberless blessings of our day lead to thankfulness of heart toward God, the giver of every good gift.
What lies between the present and that grand perfection for men? The Millennium—a thousand years of discipline under the most just and loving and sympathetic government conceivable; and yet under the strictest rule the world has ever known. This is God’s bridge for spanning the chasm between the present state of sin, selfishness and imperfection and that future state of holiness, love and perfection. Its foundations were laid eighteen hundred years ago [NOTE: today, it is now nearly 2000 years ago] at Calvary—when “the man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom for all;” and soon it shall be testified in God’s due time to all men, and all shall have the fullest opportunity of crossingover by obedience and love to perfection and life by the bridge of restitution, and such alone as will not cross will perish in the second death.
But God’s word reveals, too, that selfishness will be permitted to bring upon men one more final and to many an everlastingly profitable lesson, before the bridge of restitution is thrown open. This lesson will come in connection with the entrance of the world upon the restitution age, which as a bridge connects the present with the state of final perfection. In their rush for the coveted blessings and liberties God designs to give to all, selfishness is about to cause the great crush—the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation, nor ever shall be again.
It is toward this bridge or age of judgment and trial, leading to Paradise restored, that all men, though ignorantly, are heading…
…It is God, through Christ, that is opening up the times of restitution of all things. They think that present day inventions and blessings are of men—an increase of human wisdom. They do not see that the flood of light which is now illuminating the world is of God, who has raised the curtain so that, as predicted, men are running to and fro and knowledge is increased.—Daniel 12:4.
A very few scattered here and there understand the real situation. These are God’s holy ones, his special friends.He has revealed to them the real situation through his Word.They know what others are ignorant of, that the blessings now beginning are but a foretaste of greater ones yet to come, and long promised by Jehovah “by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21.)
These strive not so anxiously as the others for their full rights and full share of present blessings.
They thankfully take what comes, acknowledging that every good and perfect gift comes from their Heavenly Father.
And what they do get, even in the present time, thus affords them more pleasure than the greater number of comforts does to others.
“The little that a righteous man hath is betterthan the riches of many wicked.” (Psalm 37:16.)
Even their faces distinguish them from others.
Whatever their condition, whether sickness or health, whether very poor or in comfortable circumstances, these have peace within and realize that godliness with contentment is a great gain.Theirs is indeed a peace that the world can neither give nor take away. (John 14:27.)
These are always rejoicing, and now so much the more as they see the great blessings of the Millennium drawing near.
They arecontent to receive their share of coming blessings in God’s way and in God’s due time.
These, if they cannot obtain their rights under present laws and regulations, will wait for justice,remembering the Apostle’s words:
“Be patient, brethren; the coming of the Lord draweth nigh”—his Kingdom will give full justice to all; wait for it. (James 5:7.)
They remember that it is written,
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord;” and again,
“Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath;” and again,
“The servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all, apt to teach, forbearing, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves.” (2 Timothy 2:24,25.)
They remember, too, the outward characteristics of godliness enumerated by the Apostle—sobriety, modesty, hospitality; not strikers, not greedy of filthy lucre, patient; not brawlers, not covetous.(1 Timothy 3:2,3.)
They remember, also, that they are to follow in the footsteps of the Lord Jesus, who was the personification of gentleness, humility and love.
These may be in the very midst of the trouble and anxiety of the world andyet retain in their hearts the peace of God which passeth all understanding. “
Would you be my disciples? Consider again: Can you follow my footsteps through trial and pain? Can you throw away pleasure, and glory, and fame, And live but to honor my cause and my name?
Can you turn from the glitter of fashion and mirth, And dwell like a pilgrim and stranger on the earth. Despising earth’s riches, and living to bless? Can you follow the feet of the shelterless?
Can you ask from your heart the forgiveness of men? Can you list to reproaches, nor answer again? Can you pray that repentance to life may be theirs Who have watched for your falling, who have set for you snares?
When you hear I am come, then can you arise, The joy of your heart springing up in your eyes? Can you come out to meet me whatever the cost be, Though you come on the waves of a storm-crested sea?
When I call, can you turn and in gladness “come out” From the home of your childhood, the friends of your heart? With naught but my promise on which to rely, Afar from their love — can ye lie down and die?
Yes! We’ll take up the cross and in faith follow you And bear your reproach, your disciples to be. Blest Savior, for courage to you we will fly; Of grace you has promised abundant supply.
This poem is from “Poems of Dawn.”
Hebrews 12:1-12 (KJV)
1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
A test of patient cheerful endurance In faith currently still remains,
For the last feet members of the Church, That will prove great gains. These do experience ridicule And rejection both from those near and far,
As the Gospel message they proclaim, Even on their guitar.
Having no fleshly interests, Just a desire to heed God’s will,
Their consciences are in tune with God’s voice, As in their Father’s presence they remain still.
As they adhere to the Divine Words of Jehovah, Leaning on Jesus as their rock,
They watch and pray and help others understand Divine Scriptures, Like shepherds of a flock.
With heart and minds that desire To know what is best,
What is purest and most righteous, To be perfect like Christ—this is their quest.
Sacrificing every earthly and fleshly interest Is a pleasure to do,
For it means a share in the sin offering through grace, A privilege for only but a few. When soon all 144,000 Bride members Are beyond the Vail,
They shall begin their roles as the heavenly judges and kings— WHY? Because they did not fail!
These win the prize of the High Calling, Which was the longing of their hearts. What mattered to these dear Ones most, Was to please God, and of Him and His dear Son Jesus, to boast!
When Armageddon comes, The faithful few will have been taken from earth; They will have completed their race Having proven their worth. Belonging to Jesus— They shall forever with him remain, Bringing greatest pleasure to the Heavenly Father— Like the Lamb of God that had once been slain. So dear brethren in Christ Jesus who are our crown and joy:
Let’s continue to put away behind us, What would cloud the narrow way ahead, Not even for a split second look back at the wrong, Only disciplining the mind to keep focused on what Jesus has said.
Feasting on God’s Words in the Bible Every moment we can in this life that remains, God promises to reward justly, For all good done, withgreat gains.
Let us begin with the words from the Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, reprint 5802, entitled “The Ministry of Sorrow” which reads in part as follows:
“In every experience of sorrow and distress, and when the strain of the jarring discords and the stinging vexations, and wounds that make the heart bleed, threaten to overwhelm the spirit, let the child of God remember that “He knows, and loves, and cares,” and that His ministering angel is ever near us, and that no trial will be permitted to be too severe.The dear Master is standing by the crucible, and the furnace heat will never be permitted to grow so intense that the precious gold of our characters shall be destroyed, or even injured. Ah, no!If by His grace the experiences may not work for our good, they will be turned aside. He loves us too well to permit any needless sorrow, any needless suffering.”
Our Heavenly Father is the God of all comfort and whatever difficulties His children encounter, because we are under His peculiar care, His compassion and watch care are ever present and he is most worthy of our praise.
Psalm 63:3 reads: “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”
What are some of the means God uses to comfort us?
Here are several, including: conventions, the ecclesia arrangement, prayer communication, God’s overruling providence, Hymns and Psalms, Scriptures that provide doctrinal instructions, scriptures that contain precious promises for our meditation, guardian angels that intervene on our behalf when necessary and of course the Holy Spirit which enables us to appreciate and comprehend the Father’s tender mercies.
Ultimately, praise also will be an integral part of the human family’s make up, when they realize in the Kingdom the scope of what the Heavenly Father has done for them through the magnificent sacrifice of Jesus as well as the part we the body of Christ will have to play in helping to restore mankind back into heart harmony with God during that glorious Millennial reign.
We would like to suggest the 24th Chapter of Isaiah speaks of the judgments that will end this present evil order and then comment on what follows in Isaiah 25:1-9which we feel pictures the expressions of humanity as a result of that glorious Kingdom in operation and mankind progresses up the Highway of holiness. So we will read each of these verses followed by a brief comment as to how we view these matters.
Isaiah 25:1 — “O Lord, thou art my GOD; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.”
Here we would suggest Israel would desire to praise Jehovah especially for bringing them through Jacob’s trouble and ending the oppression they have endured at the hand of others. Similarly, others who fear God and recognize the restraint of evil and the opportunity for blessings will echo heartfelt worship to the Almighty and his Christ as they recognize the reign of righteousness that has commenced.
“2For thou hast made of a city an heap; of a defenced city a ruin: a palace of strangers to be no city; it shall never be built.”
The may well refer to the destruction of Mystic Babylon. Those who were once blinded under the influence of the adversary and the dogmas that vilified God’s character will worship the God of love and demonstrate a similar attitude towards their fellow creatures.
“3Therefore shall the strong people glorify thee, the city of the terrible nations shall fear thee.”
The iron rule that will be in force.
Every knee must bow and every tongue must confess and accept the gracious provision on their behalf made possible through the redemptive merit of Christ in order to gain everlasting life.
“4For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.”
This might refer to the downtrodden in this present life who were insignificant nobodies, but when Christ reigns in equity and justice, when the Spirit and the Bride say “come” all who have been athirst will be able to partake of the water of life freely.
“5Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low.”
“6And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.”
Throughout the reign of sin and death the human family has been starving for blessings and a ray of hope that things might be better for them. What joy they will have as they see the work of restitution in progress. The wine of pure doctrine will bless them abundantly.
“7And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.”
This seems to speak about the eradication of the death sentence and the removal of the blindness that has covered the eyes of the human family, thus preventing them from seeing the glory and goodness of the Father.
“8He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.”
This would be a fulfilment of Revelation 21:4,9 — “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”
“9And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
When the kingdom is established the human family will begin to comprehend his attributes and as they prosper under that arrangement how much they too will increase in their ability and desire to praise our Creator.
We have attempted to describe why the church now and the world during the Kingdom reign will have much reason to praise our Heavenly Father.
I would like to conclude with something that appeals to me by sharing the following concerning a well-known hymn —“All The Way My Saviour Leads Me.”
This great hymn was written by Fanny Crosby (1820–1915).
When Fanny was 6 weeks old, she caught a slight cold & had inflamed eyes. The family physician was away. Another country doctor was called in to treat her. He prescribed hot mustard poultices to be applied to her eyes, which destroyed her sight completely! It was later learned that the man was not even qualified to practice medicine. Fanny never felt any resentment against him, but believed it was permitted by the Lord to fulfill His plan for her life.
This is what Fanny Crosby said to her mother one day:
“Mother, if I had a choice, I would still choose to remain blind … for when I die; the first face I will ever see will be the face of my blessed Saviour.”
And another of Ms Crosby’s quotes:
It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.
Fanny’s spiritual development came from her grandmother who cared for her while her mother worked as a maid. A landlady, Mrs. Hawley, helped Fanny memorize the Bible. Often she learned 5 chapters a week! She entered the New York City Institution for the Blind around 1835, completed training, and taught there from 1847 to 1858. In 1858 she married a musician, Alexander Van Alstyne, who was also blind.
Under her own name, as well as under a curious assortment of initials and pen names, she wrote over 8,000 hymns, including: “I Am Thine, O Lord,” “Praise Him, Praise Him,” “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” “Blessed Assurance,” “Safe In The Arms Of Jesus,” “To God Be the Glory.”
Fanny needed five dollars one day and she just knelt down and told the Lord about it. Soon after a stranger knocked at her door as he just wanted to meet her. As he left, he pressed a five dollar bill into her hand. “I have no way of accounting for this” she said, “except to believe that GOD put it into the heart of this good man to bring the money”. “My first thought was that it is so wonderful the way the Lord leads me, and I immediately wrote the poem”.
In 1874, Fanny Crosby wrote the hymn “All The Way My Savior Leads Me”.
All the way my Savior leads me; What have I to ask beside? Can I doubt His tender mercy, Who through life has been my Guide? Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort, Here by faith in Him to dwell! For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well; For I know, whate’er befall me, Jesus doeth all things well.
I do not know whether Fanny Crosby was a spirit begotten child of God, but as I reflect upon her life, I can only hope that each of us will be more appreciative of the blessings we have today in Christ and will desire to live a life of praise daily for all our Heavenly Father has done for us. AMEN.