But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:16.
I fear that aggressive warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil has not been maintained. If we are going to exert a Christlike example, we cannot cheer on by a half-dead Christianity the selfish, covetous spirit of the world, sharing its ungodliness and smiling upon its falsehood. Nay! By the grace of God we are to be steadfast to the principles of the truth, holding firm unto the end the beginning of our confidence. We are to be “not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” One is our Master, even Christ. To Him we must look. From Him we must receive our wisdom. By His grace we are to preserve our integrity, accepting the Word of God as our standard, and standing before the Lord in meekness and contrition.
I long so much to see the deep moving of the Spirit of God. Will it ever come into our ranks as it has come in the past? “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).
The word of the Lord never represses man’s activity. It gives an increase of usefulness by guiding activity in the right direction. The Lord does not leave man without an object of pursuit. He places before him eternity, with all its solemn realities, and gives him a grasp on immortal, imperishable themes. He presents valuable, ennobling truth, that he may advance in a safe and sure path, in pursuit of an object worthy of the earnest engagement of all his capabilities.
Man will increase in power as he follows on to know the Lord. As he endeavors to reach the highest standard, the Bible is as a light to guide his footsteps heavenward. In that Word he finds that he may be a child of God, a member of the royal family, joint heir with Christ to an immortal inheritance.
The Guidebook points him to the heavenly country, and the unsearchable riches and treasures of heaven. By following on to know the Lord, he is securing eternal happiness. Day by day the peace of God is his reward, and by faith he sees a home of everlasting sunshine, free from all sorrow and disappointment. God directs his footsteps and keeps him from falling, sanctifying and elevating his energies.—Letter 45, June 13, 1901, to “Brother and Sister [J. A.] Burden.
The Upward Look p. 178
—-Please pray for CheVon who coded and is really sick. Conny
—-Please pray for all of the people who are dying from the stress of the virus and lockdown. Antoinette
—-Just got off the phone with a friend in _____ in hospital with COVID. Prayers, please. Pastor Rich
—-Please pray for my friend Gayle who has stage 4 cancer. M
When we lived in North Carolina, when Ronnie Jay was four and five, we lived next door to our pastor, John Earnhardt. Pastor Earnhardt was Ronnie Jay’s hero. He followed the man everywhere keeping up a steady stream of talk. If Pastor Earnhardt was mowing his large lawn, Ronnie Jay was following him. If the pastor was driving a stake into the ground, Ronnie Jay was between him and what he was doing. If the man was painting, our son was beside him asking him a million questions or just jabbering away.
A few years later, our church had a camp-out one weekend. We had a really nice time singing together and worshipping our Great Creator out in His Creation. Our pastor took all the children on a nature walk and they had a fun time seeing the animals that he caught. Perhaps this is where Ronnie Jay got his great love for all types of animals.
Ronnie Jay was about seven or eight at that time and always got up at dawn no matter how early that was. Pastor Earnhardt was also an early-riser and got up about the same time. He and Ronnie Jay talked for awhile and then he showed our son how to play baseball. Ronnie Jay was thrilled! Ronnie Jay had missed not living beside the pastor, so this time when he got to be all alone with him was very special. When we awakened, we saw the two of them playing happily together.
Through the years Ronnie Jay remembered this incident with fondness. One day he wrote that pastor and told him how much that morning together had meant to him. This pleased Pastor Earnhardt very much. He sent Ronnie Jay a nice letter, a brochure from the evangelistic meetings he was holding, and a postcard from the area he was in at the time. Ronnie Jay still has them.
In 2001, Pastor Earnhardt came to our church and did an evangelistic series. It was so good to see him again. We had some time of fellowship together with him, but I noticed that as he looked at Ronnie Jay, his eyes just sparkled. No doubt, he was remembering when we lived next door to him how our son as a little child followed him around everytime he came out of his house. Perhaps he was remembering that early morning at the church campout when he and Ronnie Jay were the only ones awake and the fun time they had. Now this child had grown into a man.
Some years later, Ronnie Jay moved back to North Carolina to marry. Pastor Earnhardt gave them marriage counseling. (He was unable to marry them as he had a previous commitment.) What a special friendship they have had over the years.
Just as our son and the pastor had many special moments together, so our Heavenly Father longs to have sweet fellowship with us. He desires above all things to have close communion with us, not just once or twice, but each moment of every day. He is not just fond of us, no, He loves us “with an everlasting love” a love far surpassing any earthly love. Jer 31:3
Throughout God’s Word is revealed His great love for us. That great chapter in Isaiah foretells Jesus’ loving sacrifice for us. “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He hd shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isa 52:13-53:12
Think of it! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16-18
God made this great sacrifice for you and me, so He could bring us into right relationship with Himself. What great love He has for us! What a great sacrifice He has made for us! It is beyond comprehension!
“God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” I Cor 1:9 May we, each day, have an even closer fellowship with Him, than the times of fellowship that our son had with Pastor Earnhardt. May we give ourselves completely to our Great Redeemer. May we hold sweet communion as we go about our daily duties with the One Who loves us so is my prayer.