But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming,1 Corinthians 15:23(NASB)
The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is, created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:27 NIV)
In the destruction of Jerusalem – toward which the Letter [to the Hebrews] pointed – the whole earth was shaken so far as Jewry was concerned. The Temple, as the focal point of that whole world, crashed even to the ground. The priesthood, as gathered up in the high-priestly order, passed away. The temple service ended, and the nation ceased to be an integrated and unified people. These were things capable of being removed. And yet how long they had stood! What forces they had withstood! What confidence there was that they could never cease to be! How assured they were that God was so bound up with it all that it could never be destroyed and cease to be! How they fought and clung to it to the last terrible extremity! But it was of no avail. God was no longer wanting the framework and earthly system, which had taken so much room, and energy, and expenditure, before the really spiritual was reached. The percentage of spiritual value was so small after all, and spiritual interests lay so far along the labyrinthine of religious machinery and tradition, that it was not worthwhile. The means to the end was not immediate, that is, there was too big a distance between the means and the end. There was no immediate touch with the real Divine requirement, and there was far too much that was intermediate. And so it had to go, and, rather than preserve it, God Himself shook it.
What remained after the shaking was just that, and that only, which was Christ in a spiritual and heavenly way: Christ in heaven, and here by His Spirit, the gathering point, or occasion of assembling; Christ in heaven the High Priest and Sacrifice; the order of God's house here a purely spiritual and heavenly one – not formal, arranged, imposed, imitated, or material. Order grows out of life, and if that Life is Divine, and unchecked, Divine order will be spontaneous.
This is not your rest. § There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. § Behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus.
In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. § With Christ, which is far better.
God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. § There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest.
Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven … For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. § Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
The sting of death is sin. § Now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness.
And He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart, into a desert place, and rest a while" (Mk 6:31).
In the early days of our lonely pilgrimage, the desert is nothing but burning heat and barren sand. As we "keep on keeping on," we see our desert become full of springs and blossom as the rose.
"Has the Father led you into the desert? Has He plucked from under your feet all that you depended upon? Then a glorious experience is yours. See if this be not a way whereby God will glorify you! Do not complain about what you have lost, and do not yearn to have it back again, for then you are like Israel who wished to turn back to Egypt. God leads on, and instead of the flesh-pots He gives you bread from heaven, and instead of water from the Nile, water from the Rock. But you must put your trust in Him also in the desert, and through the days of darkness and difficulty. This is possible, however, only for those who have lost their self-assurance in the desert whereto God beckons His children."
"Are there sorrows that sorely test our hearts? Be assured that our Father intends every one of them to be a road for us to Christ; so that we may reach Him and know Him in some character of His love and power, that otherwise our souls had not known." -C.A.C.
"And they thirsted not when He led them through the deserts: He caused the waters to flow out of the rock for them. . . ." ". . .for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ" (Isa 48:21; 1 Cor. 10:4).
“Peter said unto Him, Lord, why cannot I follow Thee now?” John 13:37
There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it, but wait. The blank space may come in order to teach you what sanctification means, or it may come after sanctification to teach you what service means. Never run before God's guidance. If there is the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt - don't.
In the beginning you may see clearly what God's will is - the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, something you feel distinctly before God is His will for you to do, never do it on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will end in making difficulties that will take years of time to put right. Wait for God's time to bring it round and He will do it without any heartbreak or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move.
Peter did not wait on God, he forecast in his mind where the test would come, from and the test came where he did not expect it. "I will lay down my life for Thy sake." Peter's declaration was honest but ignorant. "Jesus answered him ...The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice." This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself, he did not know of what he was capable. Natural devotion may be all very well to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His fascination, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will always deny Jesus someway or other.
Jesus answered him and said, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.”
These eternal words of the Saviour were the second words He spoke from the Cross. When the Lord speaks to the penitent heart, He speaks words of comfort and peace. He did not answer the foul, foolish, mocking jeer of the crowd who cried out – if You are the king of the Jews, save Yourself, for to do so would have meant Paradise Lost. Nor did He respond to the other thief’s cry – if you are the king of the Jews, save Yourself and us. He bore the derision and ridicule of every foul-mouthed mocker, in silence – so that they, with us, could regain peace with God – so that they with us, could secure life eternal.
I wonder what touched the heart of this criminal – this malefactor and thief, who sharply rebuked his fellow-convict to call out: Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom. Did this dying man hear the gracious words of forgiveness.. the sweet words of forgiveness that dropped from the lips in this innocent victim? Was his heart quickened with the thought that he, a dying criminal could also clasp this pardon? But he embraced a God-given dictum, and a timeless promise.. a promise that is “Yes” and “Amen” In Christ :- Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved… For there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved – except Jesus, for Jesus saves… Jesus, remember me..
Quickly, from the lips of the dying Saviour, came the gracious response: I tell you the truth, today – Today – TODAY – you will be with Me in paradise. Despite the agony of death and the load of sin He bore, Jesus gave life to this dead soul. Though His hands were secured to the crossread more
And He led them forth by the right way. Psalm 107:7
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Psalm 23:3, 4
And the LORD shall guide thee continually and satisfy thy soul in drought. Isaiah 58:11
He will be our guide even unto death. Psalm 48:14
All the offspring of Adam are travelling without a road or a map. They are all moving towards eternity with no guide – until HE finds us; until HE knows us – until HE leads us. Those whom He finds and knows He leads. Those whom He leads need to keep close to Him day by day – moment by moment
Life is a trackless desert and a wild wilderness, but the way is known to Him – He tells us:- I AM the Way, and we are safe with HIM, for He reminds us I am your Shield and the lifter up of your head. And He will lead and guide who submit to His leading. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel and afterward receive me into glory. He guides us by the right ways and He guides us by the best way… not merely to reach our heavenly destination, but to lead us there by the most profitable route for our souls.
Life’s journey is an education. It affords us opportunities to learn many spiritual lessons. It develops in us moral and spiritual qualities. It may not be the easy way. It may not be the happiest route. It may be marred by difficulties. It may be tinged with disappointments, but all things work together for good to those that trust Him – to those that are the called according to His perfect purpose.
But our God is utterly to be trusted to lead us by the right way.. to give or to withdraw what seems so good to us, in order to achieve His best for us – if we trustingly follow His leading… if we quietly listen to His voice.
Let us notread more