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Attitude of Success

"You must have the same kind of attitude that Christ Jesus had." Philippians 2:5

How do we measure success?

Quite often it’s the size of your bank account, the kind of car you drive, how far up in the company you have climbed. Today, I saw a poster that comes closer to God’s definition. “Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

 

 

I like that definition best. And my role model is Jesus.

In the world’s eyes, they wouldn’t equate success with Jesus. He died a torturous death—reserved for only the worst criminals of the state. His followers were few and with little status or prestige. He didn’t have a home to call his own. His clothing was commonly worn by the poor. He didn’t have any friends in high places.

No, it didn’t add up to success. And He certainly didn’t push His way to reach the top. In fact, He went in the opposite direction. “Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, he humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8, NLT).

He continually stepped down. He came down from heaven where He was surrounded with heavenly angels, always ready to do whatever He asked. He took off His crown, so to speak, and laid aside His glory to come here. As a man. One of us. He was even born into a poor family—no rank here, no special privileges, no cushy life at all. But He stepped down even further to die as a criminal on a cruel cross—spat upon, whipped, and crucified.

Jesus came down so He could lift us up. And this is the same attitude Paul calls us to have today. A selfless attitude that thinks of others first. Set your sights on serving others rather than the perks you can grab. Don’t cling to your rights. Set them aside as Jesus did. Be a humble servant.

Live to point others to Jesus and pray to make a difference in their lives. For them to know Jesus. There’s no greater measure of success than that.



The First Step

"Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." Philippians 2:3.

How can I pray so that experience these words? Maybe I can learn a lesson from one man's prayer...

The Pharisee stood before God, and proudly says, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.” Then he reminds God of some of the good things he’s been doing to prove he's better than others—“I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all I possess” (Luke 18:12).

 

 

It hardly looks like a prayer. To pray literally means to beg or request because you're in dire need of help from an almighty God. So you might say, the very first step in prayer is to depend on God to do for you what's impossible for you to do for yourself. But there is no dependence in the pseudo-prayer of the Pharisee! He’s trusting only in himself.

Where does this kind of praying take him? He prays, "I'm not like other men." It looks like he's looking down on others—not esteeming them better than himself.

“Whoever trusts in himself that he is righteous, will despise others…His self-righteousness leads to accusing. 'Other men' he condemns as transgressors of God’s law. Thus he is making manifest the very spirit of Satan, the accuser of the brethren. With this spirit, it is impossible for him to enter into communion with God” (Christ’s Object Lessons, 151).

Before I can look on anyone as better than myself, I need to pray with humility. And I can only pray that way when I see myself as God sees me—a lost sinner, in desperate need of cleansing--like anyone else. But here's the rub-- my heart is "deceitful above all things and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). It’s constantly telling me, “You’re okay. You don’t need any help.” My heart reassures me that "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing" (Revelation 3:17). I don't realize how bankrupt I really am.

But when I spend time with Jesus, I see just the opposite of what my heart's been telling me. I see a Savior who sacrifices all, who puts the needs of others above His own, who constantly lives to lift others up. Only when I spend time with Jesus can I see myself as I really am: Lost and hopeless. Empty of love. Filled up with me—just like every other sinner.

There’s no way I can pray humbly on my own because I can’t ever make myself humble!

But I can ask Jesus to do it for me. “Lord, take my heart, for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul" (Christ's Object Lessons, 159).

This is the first step of prayer, and it’s a prayer God will just love to answer!



Family Squabbles

"Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind." Philippians 2:1,2

Sarah and Kim were best friends forever—except they were sisters. As children, they would play together, sleep together, even hold hands in school. When Sarah went to camp, Kim would write her every day, even writing “I love you” on a card 100 times! But now, in their 30’s, they’ve not spoken to each other for 10 years!

It’s called family estrangement and it happens more times than you think. Conflicts never solved. Feelings hurt. Drifting apart. And then never speaking—or at least, not for a very long time.

 

 

Could it happen in a church family too? It must have happened in the Philippian church because when Paul writes to them, he says, “be of one accord” and “one mind” and “do all things without complaining and disputing (arguing).” Sound like family squabbles?

How can we be more like-minded? How can we be so united that we have “one mind?” As I look at Paul’s letter, I see a little bridge, joining like-mindedness and being of one accord or having one mind. Paul urges his church family to have the “same love” (verse 2). Love is the bridge that unites us. The more we love Jesus, the more we will come together in Christian love and unity. The more we live by God’s Word, the stronger will be the bond that unites us.

When Jesus called 11 men to follow Him, they were far from being united. The differed wildly in personality and ideas. Matthew had been a selfish tax-collector, Simon was a fiery patriot, Judas was dishonest, Philip was inclined to doubt, Peter was always talking more than he should, and James and John had hot tempers.


“These were brought together, with their different faults, all with inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil; but in and through Christ they were to dwell in the family of God, learning to become one in faith, in doctrine, in spirit. They would have their tests, their grievances, their differences of opinion, but while Christ was abiding in the heart, there could be no dissension. His love would lead to love for one another; the lessons of the Master would lead to harmonizing all differences, bringing the disciples into unity, til they would be of one mind and one judgment. Christ is the great center, and they would approach one another just in proportion as they approached the Center” (The Desire of Ages, 296).


The disciples learned to be like-minded and of one accord when Jesus “was abiding in their heart” and because they  learned the “lessons of the Master.” Being with Jesus day after day made the difference. His love and truth was the glue that bound them all together.

Here's one of the Master's Lessons that made a difference in the lives of the disciples:

“A new commandment I give to you,” Jesus says, “that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your undying love for us. Even when we didn’t want You in our lives, You loved us with a love that knows no end. You loved us with no strings attached. Fill us with that same love as we kneel before You and soak in Your words. Change our self-centeredness into like-mindedness. Help us to think Your thoughts and not our own. Give us a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit so we can abide in You and be changed by Your love. In Jesus’ holy name, I pray. Amen.



Hold the Fort

"Stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27

Have you heard of Allen Frankenberry? During the Civil War, he sent an important message to the soldiers fighting at Alatoona Pass in Tennessee. The Union army was fighting to hold their position on this strategic mountain. And General Sherman knew it. So he commanded Frankenberry to send the message to General John M. Corse by way of message flags, “Hold fast. I am coming!” 

That’s where the song, “Hold the Fort” came from six years later. Sherman was on his way with reinforcements to Corse and the Union soldiers to win the battle. And he was true to his word. Corse ‘stood fast’ during one of the bloodiest battles of the war. He kept on fighting until victory was won.

 

 

Our world is the battleground for an even fiercer war than what Corse and his men went through. The devil is fighting to hold onto this ground as his territory and, in the process, destroy every Christian fighting on the Lord's side.  It’s a battle to the death and it's only growing more intense as we inch closer to the soon coming of Jesus. The forces of evil have escalated in their attack against Christianity. Daily we see a steady increase in the LGBT movement, racial prejudice, and pornography, the spread of deceptions and conspiracies, a lowering of Christian standards even within the church, marriages being abandoned  and homes broken up. These are just a few ways that this world is under attack.

Why are so many turned off by the Bible and indifferent to the gospel? Why is it that only a third of Christians today read God’s Word on a daily basis? Satan knows that his time is short, so he works with even greater “unrighteous deception” (2 Thess 2:10), to “deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).

But Jesus hasn’t abandoned us to battle on our own. He says, “Hold the fort, for I am coming!”  Stand your ground, my son and daughter. Hold firmly to My truth and righteousness. Stand together as loyal soldiers in My army. Wage the battle in My strength." This isn’t a time to pull back or retreat. We are fighting in dangerous times, but there is victory in the name of Jesus—over every temptation we encounter and every trial that we face.

How will the battle be won? “Not by might, nor by [your] power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6). We have no strength of our own to keep holding on—let alone to move forward in faith to victory. It's only by God’s Spirit dwelling within us that we can “be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10).

Dear Heavenly Father, arm me for the battle that’s waging all around me. I want to be a loyal soldier, standing firmly for the faith of Jesus. Help me to be fortified by Your Word every single day—and find strength and victory through Your precious words of life. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit. I can’t hold on without Him! Mold me, change me, empower me through Your Spirit. Help me to be faithful and steadfast in standing for Your truth by walking as my Savior walked. And in His name I pray. Amen.



The One Thing

"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21

The One Thing is a #1 Wall Street Journal best seller. In this book, author Gary Keller points out that behind every successful person is their One Thing. Emphasis on the One. No matter how you measure success, whether personal or professional, only the ability to concentrate on your One Thing stands between you and your goals.

 

 

Sometimes your One Thing is the first thing you do. Other times it’s the only thing. But it’s the One Thing that fills you and pushes you to reach that goal you’re striving for.

I can’t help but think that the One Thing is wrapped up in the  apostle Paul's words, "For to me, to live is Christ" (Philippians 1:21). Paul's whole life was found in Jesus. "His thinking was completed wrapped up in the Savior. His plans, his hopes, his every spiritual aspiration centered in Christ" (SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 147).

Jesus was his One Thing.

This unswerving single-minded devotion was also what marked the passion of the early church. Have you ever wondered why they were called Christians? At first, they called themselves "The Way" (Acts 9:1-2). But in Antioch, their name was changed (Acts 11:26). Why did they receive a brand-new name?

"The name was given them because Christ was the main theme of their preaching, their teaching, and their conversation" (The Acts of the Apostles, 157). Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. They couldn't stop talking about Him, living for Him, and following in His footsteps. No wonder they were called Christians--literally "the followers of Christ." He was 100% their One Thing.

Is Jesus my One Thing too? How can I know if He really is? Here's one way to find out:

"Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Of whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are Christ's, our thoughts are with Him and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. All we have and are is consecrated to Him. We long to bear His image, breathe His Spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things" (Steps to Christ, 58).

Dear Heavenly Father, I want my life to be so wrapped up in You that everyone will know that You are living in me. Teach me to give You my all—my thoughts and feelings, my mind and body—so You will be Lord of every part of me. Please give me the fullness of Your Holy Spirit so I can be wrapped up in You as Paul was. I want You to be my One Thing. In Jesus’ wonderful name, I pray. Amen.



Unstoppable

"The things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident…that my chains are in Christ." Philippians 1:11

Manteo Mitchell felt the pop in his leg and knew it wasn’t good. “It felt like somebody literally just snapped my leg in half,” he said. The American sprinter had half a lap to go in the first leg of the 4x400-meter relay and a choice to make: keep running or stop and lose the race. To him, it was never much of a choice. He finished the lap and limped to the side.  A few hours later, doctors confirmed what he suspected: He had run the last 200 meters with a broken left fibula. 

 

 

“I pretty much figured it was broken, because every step I took, it got more painful,” he said. “But I was out there already. I just wanted to finish and do what I was called in to do.” Was he unstoppable?

When Paul the apostle was in a Philippians jail cell, he never let his chains stop him. Whether he was in jail or out on the streets, he was a witness for the Lord. The gospel was his passion and he did all he could to spread it everywhere. So even though he was behind bars, he preached Christ. He lived God’s joy where he was. And  God's joy was seen when he was in prison, in his letters to the churches, in talking with anyone who would listen. Just like Jesus, his food was to “do the will of God who sent [him] and to finish His work” (John 4:34). So even though Paul was in chains,  “the word of God [was] not chained” (2 Timothy 2:9). He was unstoppable.

What are your chains today? Do you feel powerless because your health is poor? Because you’ve lost your job? Because you’re married to an unbeliever? Whatever trial you’re facing, you are not bound by it. Christ can be preached in a more powerful way when you witness through pain. It’s natural to speak of God’s joy when everything’s going well. But when life falls apart, when dreams shatter, and grief dodges your steps, to shine for Christ in that hour is the most amazing witness! Only through the Spirit of God can we “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4). When others see your joy-through-pain, they will know it’s only from God. And it will be evident to all that your “chains” are in Christ.

Dear Father, help me to praise You for the chains in my life. Help me to grow in joy through them and be a stronger witness. May the passion of the gospel be my passion. Fill me with Your Spirit so that wherever I am, whatever happens to me, I will always preach Christ—in how I live through pain, in how I respond to trial, and in how I speak for You. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.



Does Knowledge Make a Difference?

"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more with knowledge and all discernment." Philippians 1:9-10

Is joy ever enough? Is it possible to be joyful foolishly? Joy’s no different than any other emotion. Our love and joy can go north or they can go south. They can go east or they can go west. It all depends on us.

You might think you’ve found joy by snorting cocaine. Or you might find joy by tutoring inner city children after school. Our emotions can go this way or that—depending on what we think is right. The Bible says, “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of understanding walks uprightly.” Proverbs 15:21.

 

 

When our family lived up north, we once took the youth club at our church on a canoe trip. We chose a river that didn’t have much rough water. We didn’t see any rapids or huge boulders on that trip. But my daughter’s canoe got snagged in the branches of a fallen tree. She tried to push her way out of there using one end of her oar. But the oar got wrenched from her hand and ended up floating away. Just at that moment, the canoe broke free, and she was headed downriver with nothing to stop her. And nothing to guide her boat. Both of us knew, at that moment, that she was at the mercy of the currents. And they could take her anywhere!

On the river and anywhere else, we need knowledge to be our oar. For “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12. Jesus wants more for us that that. He wants us to “discern what is best” (Philippians 1:10, NIV), to “approve the things that are excellent” (NKJV) so that “we may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10, RSV).

Dear Father, guide me safely down the river of life by Your holy Word. Your will is the knowledge I need. I can’t detect hidden danger and temptation unless I’m listening to You. So please give me more knowledge—teach me Your will so I’ll always choose what’s best and steer clear of the devil’s traps. In Jesus precious name, I ask this. Amen.



I Have You in My Heart

"Just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as…you are all partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you with the affection of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:7,8

It’s one thing to know that God’s going to do all it takes for me to be in heaven. But what about my next door neighbor? Oh sure, I’m praying for him. But how can I know he’s going to make it? Paul would know. He believed that the seed of faith he’d planted in the church of Philippi wasn’t about to stop growing. He was positive what God would do.

 

 

He knew because his fellow believers were always on his heart. He prayed for them with joyful faith, believing that what God started, He was able to finish. He didn’t see himself as stronger or holier than the newest Christian. He was thankful they were both partakers of God’s grace. He'd tasted and seen that the Lord was good. He’d been changed by the love of God. And they had too.

So he was absolutely sure that whatever blessing God had for him, his church at Philippi would have it too. And the love that Paul had for the people he’d brought to Jesus gave him this amazing faith. And that made all the difference in his prayers. It totally changed his outlook. Love changes how we look at our neighbors and how we pray for them. When we have them in our hearts and love them as Jesus loves, our prayers will be different. We’ll have joy—because we know that God’s really working and He’s not going to stop until they’re in the kingdom too.

Dear Father, thank You for teaching me how to pray with joy. Help me to love more deeply so I’ll always keep Your people on my heart and in my prayers. Change me first with your amazing love so my prayers will change. So my prayers will be like Your prayers.  And I’ll really want to see You in them because I love them just like you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.



God's Still Working on Me

"Being confident of this, He who begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

The closer I come to Jesus, the more I see of my imperfections. And yet, the more I want to be like Him. Now I could become discouraged if it was MY job to fix all my weak spots or to turn my failures into victory. Because no matter how hard I try or how hard I work on my own, I just can’t change my heart! That’s God’s department, not mine. My part is to cooperate with Jesus—to choose to follow Him today and every moment of the day.

 

 

When I look back over the ground we've traveled together, I also see the miracles He’s made in my life. He’s turned emptiness into joy, anger into patience, despair into perfect peace. What I couldn’t do by will-power, Jesus did with His love and through the power of His Word. As I’ve spent time with Him, sitting at His feet, He’s changed me from the inside out. And many of those changes have spilled out. The most beautiful change is the joy I have in the Lord.

So when I look back at what God has done, I’m absolutely positive that as long as I keep my eyes on Jesus—on the matchless charms of my Savior—that His saving work is only going to go on and on and on. And I rejoice that Jesus isn’t going to stop working in me until I see Him coming in the clouds to take me home. And He’s promised that He’ll do that for me. And for you.

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also WILL DO IT” (1 Thessalonians 5:24).

PRAYER FOR JOY
Dear Father, thank You for the power of Your love. Thank You that it’s a life-giving power that restores me into the image of God. Make me a living picture of who You are, so that others can see the joy of knowing You. Thank You for all You’ve done in my life up until now. And thank You that it’s only the beginning of what You’ve planned for me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.



Power to Work with Jesus

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." Acts 1:8

It is true that in the time of the end, when God’s work in the earth is closing, the earnest efforts put forth by consecrated believers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit are to be accompanied by special tokens of divine favor. Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God’s church. The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church. 

 

 

But near the close of earth’s harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain; and it is for this added power that Christians are to send their petitions to the Lord of the harvest “in the time of the latter rain.” In response, “the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain.” “He will cause to come down ... the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain,” Zechariah 10:1; Joel 2:23. 

But unless the members of God’s church today have a living connection with the Source of all spiritual growth, they will not be ready for the time of reaping. Unless they keep their lamps trimmed and burning, they will fail of receiving added grace in times of special need. {AA 55.2}

Those only who are constantly receiving fresh supplies of grace, will have power proportionate to their daily need and their ability to use that power. Instead of looking forward to some future time when, through a special endowment of spiritual power, they will receive a miraculous fitting up for soul winning, they are yielding themselves daily to God, that He may make them vessels meet for His use. Daily they are improving the opportunities for service that lie within their reach. Daily they are witnessing for the Master wherever they may be, whether in some humble sphere of labor in the home, or in a public field of usefulness. 

To the consecrated worker there is wonderful consolation in the knowledge that even Christ during His life on earth sought His Father daily for fresh supplies of needed grace; and from this communion with God He went forth to strengthen and bless others. Behold the Son of God bowed in prayer to His Father! Though He is the Son of God, He strengthens His faith by prayer, and by communion with heaven gathers to Himself power to resist evil and to minister to the needs of men. As the Elder Brother of our race He knows the necessities of those who, compassed with infirmity and living in a world of sin and temptation, still desire to serve Him. He knows that the messengers whom He sees fit to send are weak, erring men; but to all who give themselves wholly to His service He promises divine aid. His own example is an assurance that earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith—faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work—will avail to bring to men the Holy Spirit’s aid in the battle against sin. 

Every worker who follows the example of Christ will be prepared to receive and use the power that God has promised to His church for the ripening of earth’s harvest. Morning by morning, as the heralds of the gospel kneel before the Lord and renew their vows of consecration to Him, He will grant them the presence of His Spirit, with its reviving, sanctifying power. As they go forth to the day’s duties, they have the assurance that the unseen agency of the Holy Spirit enables them to be “laborers together with God.” 

Acts of the Apostles, 54-56



Build on the Rock

"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock." Matthew 7:24,25

The people had been deeply moved by the words of Christ. The divine beauty of the principles of truth attracted them; and Christ’s solemn warnings had come to them as the voice of the heart-searching God. His words had struck at the very root of their former ideas and opinions; to obey His teaching would require a change in all their habits of thought and action. It would bring them into collision with their religious teachers; for it would involve the overthrow of the whole structure which for generations the rabbis had been rearing. Therefore, while the hearts of the people responded to His words, few were ready to accept them as the guide of life. 

 

 

Jesus ended His teaching on the mount with an illustration that presented with startling vividness the importance of putting in practice the words He had spoken. Among the crowds that thronged about the Saviour were many who had spent their lives about the Sea of Galilee. As they sat upon the hillside, listening to the words of Christ, they could see valleys and ravines through which the mountain streams found their way to the sea. In summer these streams often wholly disappeared, leaving only a dry and dusty channel. But when the wintry storms burst upon the hills, the rivers became fierce, raging torrents, at times overspreading the valleys and bearing everything away on their resistless flood. Often, then, the hovels reared by the peasants on the grassy plain, apparently beyond the reach of danger, were swept away. But high upon the hills were houses built upon the rock. In some parts of the land were dwellings built wholly of rock, and many of them had withstood the tempests of a thousand years. These houses were reared with toil and difficulty. They were not easy of access, and their location appeared less inviting than the grassy plain. But they were founded upon the rock, and wind and flood and tempest beat upon them in vain. 

Like the builders of these houses on the rock, said Jesus, is he who shall receive the words that I have spoken to you, and make them the foundation of his character and life. Centuries before, the prophet Isaiah had written, “The word of our God shall stand forever” (Isaiah 40:8); and Peter, long after the Sermon on the Mount was given, quoting these words of Isaiah added, “This is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:25). The word of God is the only steadfast thing our world knows. It is the sure foundation. “Heaven and earth shall pass away,” said Jesus, “but My words shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35

We build on Christ by obeying His word. It is not he who merely enjoys righteousness, that is righteous, but he who does righteousness. Holiness is not rapture; it is the result of surrendering all to God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father. When the children of Israel were encamped on the borders of the Promised Land, it was not enough for them to have a knowledge of Canaan, or to sing the songs of Canaan. This alone would not bring them into possession of the vineyards and olive groves of the goodly land. They could make it theirs in truth only by occupation, by complying with the conditions, by exercising living faith in God, by appropriating His promises to themselves, while they obeyed His instruction. 

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 147-148



The Narrow Gate

"Strive to enter the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able." Matthew 13:24

The belated traveler, hurrying to reach the city gate by the going down of the sun, could not turn aside for any attractions by the way. His whole mind was bent on the one purpose of entering the gate. The same intensity of purpose, said Jesus, is required in the Christian life. I have opened to you the glory of character, which is the true glory of My kingdom. It offers you no promise of earthly dominion; yet it is worthy of your supreme desire and effort. I do not call you to battle for the supremacy of the world’s great empire, but do not therefore conclude that there is no battle to be fought nor victories to be won. I bid you strive, agonize, to enter into My spiritual kingdom. 

 

West Point Military Academy 2002

 

The Christian life is a battle and a march. But the victory to be gained is not won by human power. The field of conflict is the domain of the heart. The battle which we have to fight—the greatest battle that was ever fought by man—is the surrender of self to the will of God, the yielding of the heart to the sovereignty of love. The old nature, born of blood and of the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up...

The victory is not won without much earnest prayer, without the humbling of self at every step. Our will is not to be forced into co-operation with divine agencies, but it must be voluntarily submitted. Were it possible to force upon you with a hundredfold greater intensity the influence of the Spirit of God, it would not make you a Christian, a fit subject for heaven. The stronghold of Satan would not be broken. The will must be placed on the side of God’s will. You are not able, of yourself, to bring your purposes and desires and inclinations into submission to the will of God; but if you are “willing to be made willing,” God will accomplish the work for you, even “casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5. Then you will “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:12, 13

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, 141-142



If I Were You

"Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12

The Jews had been concerned about what they should receive; the burden of their anxiety was to secure what they thought their due of power and respect and service. But Christ teaches that our anxiety should not be, How much are we to receive? but, How much can we give? The standard of our obligation to others is found in what we ourselves would regard as their obligation to us. 

 

 

In your association with others, put yourself in their place. Enter into their feelings, their difficulties, their disappointments, their joys, and their sorrows. Identify yourself with them, and then do to them as, were you to exchange places with them, you would wish them to deal with you. This is the true rule of honesty. It is another expression of the law. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Matthew 22:39. And it is the substance of the teaching of the prophets. It is a principle of heaven, and will be developed in all who are fitted for its holy companionship. 

The golden rule is the principle of true courtesy, and its truest illustration is seen in the life and character of Jesus. Oh, what rays of softness and beauty shone forth in the daily life of our Saviour! What sweetness flowed from His very presence! The same spirit will be revealed in His children. Those with whom Christ dwells will be surrounded with a divine atmosphere. Their white robes of purity will be fragrant with perfume from the garden of the Lord. Their faces will reflect light from His, brightening the path for stumbling and weary feet...

The standard of the golden rule is the true standard of Christianity; anything short of it is a deception. A religion that leads men to place a low estimate upon human beings, whom Christ has esteemed of such value as to give Himself for them; a religion that would lead us to be careless of human needs, sufferings, or rights, is a spurious religion. In slighting the claims of the poor, the suffering, and the sinful, we are proving ourselves traitors to Christ. It is because men take upon themselves the name of Christ, while in life they deny His character, that Christianity has so little power in the world. The name of the Lord is blasphemed because of these things.

 

Of the apostolic church, in those bright days when the glory of the risen Christ shone upon them, it is written that no man said “that aught of the things which he possessed was his own.” “Neither was there any among them that lacked.” “And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” Acts 4:32, 34, 33; 2:46, 47. 

Search heaven and earth, and there is no truth revealed more powerful than that which is made manifest in works of mercy to those who need our sympathy and aid. This is the truth as it is in Jesus. When those who profess the name of Christ shall practice the principles of the golden rule, the same power will attend the gospel as in apostolic times. 

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 134-137



Ask, Seek, Knock

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7, NKJV

 “Ask.” The asking, makes it manifest that you realize your necessity; and if you ask in faith you will receive. The Lord has pledged His word, and it cannot fail. If you come with true contrition you need not feel that you are presumptuous in asking for what the Lord has promised. When you ask for the blessings you need, that you may perfect a character after Christ’s likeness, the Lord assures you that you are asking according to a promise that will be verified. That you feel and know you are a sinner is sufficient ground for asking for His mercy and compassion. The condition upon which you may come to God is not that you shall be holy, but that you desire Him to cleanse you from all sin and purify you from all iniquity. The argument that we may plead now and ever is our great need, our utterly helpless state, that makes Him and His redeeming power a necessity. 

 

 

“Seek.” Desire not merely His blessing, but Himself. “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.” Job 22:21. Seek, and you shall find. God is seeking you, and the very desire you feel to come to Him is but the drawing of His Spirit. Yield to that drawing. Christ is pleading the cause of the tempted, the erring, and the faithless. He is seeking to lift them into companionship with Himself. “If thou seek Him, He will be found of thee.” 1 Chronicles 28:9. 

“Knock.” We come to God by special invitation, and He waits to welcome us to His audience chamber. The first disciples who followed Jesus were not satisfied with a hurried conversation with Him by the way; they said, “Rabbi, ... where dwellest Thou? ... They came and saw where He dwelt, and abode with Him that day.” John 1:38, 39. So we may be admitted into closest intimacy and communion with God. “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1. Let those who desire the blessing of God knock and wait at the door of mercy with firm assurance, saying, For Thou, O Lord, hast said, “Everyone that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened.” 

But do not forget that in coming to God as a father you acknowledge your relation to Him as a child. You not only trust His goodness, but in all things yield to His will, knowing that His love is changeless. You give yourself to do His work. It was to those whom He had bidden to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness that Jesus gave the promise, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” John 16:24

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 131-133



Where are You Looking?

"And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?" Matthew 7:3

[These] words describe one who is swift to discern a defect in others. When he thinks he has detected a flaw in the character or the life he is exceedingly zealous in trying to point it out; but Jesus declares that the very trait of character developed in doing this un-Christlike work, is, in comparison with the fault criticized, as a beam in proportion to a mote (i.e. speck). It is one’s own lack of the spirit of forbearance and love that leads him to make a world of an atom. Those who have never experienced the contrition of an entire surrender to Christ do not in their life make manifest the softening influence of the Savior’s love. They misrepresent the gentle, courteous spirit of the gospel and wound precious souls, for whom Christ died.

 

 

When the religious experience is devoid of love, Jesus is not there; the sunshine of His presence is not there. No busy activity or Christless zeal can supply the lack. There may be a wonderful keenness of perception to discover the defects of others; but to everyone who indulges this spirit, Jesus says, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” He who is guilty of wrong is the first to suspect wrong. By condemning another he is trying to conceal or excuse the evil of his own heart. It was through sin that men gained the knowledge of evil; no sooner had the first pair sinned than they began to accuse each other; and this is what human nature will inevitably do when uncontrolled by the grace of Christ.

If Christ is in you “the hope of glory,” you will have no disposition to watch others, to expose their errors. Instead of seeking to accuse and condemn, it will be your object to help, to bless, and to save. In dealing with those who are in error, you will heed the injunction, Consider “thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1. You will call to mind the many times you have erred and how hard it was to find the right way when you had once left it. You will not push your brother into greater darkness, but with a heart full of pity will tell him of his danger. 

He who looks often upon the cross of Calvary, remembering that his sins placed the Savior there, will never try to estimate the degree of his guilt in comparison with that of others. He will not climb upon the judgment seat to bring accusation against another. There can be no spirit of criticism or self-exaltation on the part of those who walk in the shadow of Calvary’s cross.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 127-128



Thine is the Kingdom

"Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever." Matthew 6:13

The last like the first sentence of the Lord’s Prayer, points to our Father as above all power and authority and every name that is named. The Saviour beheld the years that stretched out before His disciples, not, as they had dreamed, lying in the sunshine of worldly prosperity and honor, but dark with the tempests of human hatred and satanic wrath. Amid national strife and ruin, the steps of the disciples would be beset with perils, and often their hearts would be oppressed by fear. They were to see Jerusalem a desolation, the temple swept away, its worship forever ended, and Israel scattered to all lands, like wrecks on a desert shore.

 

 

Jesus said, “Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars.” “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:6-8. Yet Christ’s followers were not to fear that their hope was lost or that God had forsaken the earth. The power and the glory belong unto Him whose great purposes would still move on unthwarted toward their consummation. In the prayer that breathes their daily wants, the disciples of Christ were directed to look above all the power and dominion of evil, unto the Lord their God, whose kingdom ruleth over all and who is their Father and everlasting Friend. 

In the vision of the prophet Ezekiel there was the appearance of a hand beneath the wings of the cherubim. This is to teach His servants that it is divine power which gives them success. Those whom God employs as His messengers are not to feel that His work is dependent upon them. Finite beings are not left to carry this burden of responsibility. He who slumbers not, who is continually at work for the accomplishment of His designs, will carry forward His own work. He will thwart the purposes of wicked men, and will bring to confusion the counsels of those who plot mischief against His people. He who is the King, the Lord of hosts, sitteth between the cherubim, and amid the strife and tumult of nations He guards His children still. He who ruleth in the heavens is our Saviour. He measures every trial, He watches the furnace fire that must test every soul. When the strongholds of kings shall be overthrown, when the arrows of wrath shall strike through the hearts of His enemies, His people will be safe in His hands.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 120



Deliver Us, Lord

"Bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." Matthew 6:13

Sin means dishonor and disaster to every soul that indulges in it; but it is blinding and deceiving in its nature, and it will entice us with flattering presentations. If we venture on Satan’s ground we have no assurance of protection from his power. So far as in us lies, we should close every avenue by which the tempter may find access to us. 

 

 

The prayer, “Bring us not into temptation,” is itself a promise. If we commit ourselves to God we have the assurance, He “will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. 

The only safeguard against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. It is because selfishness exists in our hearts that temptation has power over us. But when we behold the great love of God, selfishness appears to us in its hideous and repulsive character, and we desire to have it expelled from the soul. As the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ, our hearts are softened and subdued, the temptation loses its power, and the grace of Christ transforms the character. 

Christ will never abandon the soul for whom He has died. The soul may leave Him and be overwhelmed with temptation, but Christ can never turn from one for whom He has paid the ransom of His own life. Could our spiritual vision be quickened, we should see souls bowed under oppression and burdened with grief, pressed as a cart beneath sheaves and ready to die in discouragement. We should see angels flying swiftly to aid these tempted ones, who are standing as on the brink of a precipice. The angels from heaven force back the hosts of evil that encompass these souls, and guide them to plant their feet on the sure foundation. The battles waging between the two armies are as real as those fought by the armies of this world, and on the issue of the spiritual conflict eternal destinies depend. 

To us, as to Peter, the word is spoken, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Luke 22:31, 32. Thank God, we are not left alone. He who “so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16), will not desert us in the battle with the adversary of God and man. “Behold,” He says, “I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19. 

Live in contact with the living Christ, and He will hold you firmly by a hand that will never let go. Know and believe the love that God has to us, and you are secure; that love is a fortress impregnable to all the delusions and assaults of Satan. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” Proverbs 18:10

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 118-119



Forgive and Be Forgiven

"And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." Matthew 6:12

Jesus teaches that we can receive forgiveness from God only as we forgive others. It is the love of God that draws us unto Him, and that love cannot touch our hearts without creating love for our brethren. 

After completing the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus added: “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries; but as we hope to be pardoned for our offenses against God we are to pardon all who have done evil to us. 

 

 

But forgiveness has a broader meaning than many suppose. When God gives the promise that He “will abundantly pardon,” He adds, as if the meaning of that promise exceeded all that we could comprehend: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:7-9. God’s forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart. David had the true conception of forgiveness when he prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. And again he says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12. 

God in Christ gave Himself for our sins. He suffered the cruel death of the cross, bore for us the burden of guilt, “the just for the unjust,” that He might reveal to us His love and draw us to Himself. And He says, “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other, even as God also in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32 , R.V. Let Christ, the divine Life, dwell in you and through you reveal the heaven-born love that will inspire hope in the hopeless and bring heaven’s peace to the sin-stricken heart. As we come to God, this is the condition which meets us at the threshold, that, receiving mercy from Him, we yield ourselves to reveal His grace to others.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 113-114



Give Us Our Daily Bread

"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

Like a child, you shall receive day by day what is required for the day’s need. Every day you are to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Be not dismayed if you have not sufficient for tomorrow. You have the assurance of His promise, “So shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” David says, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Psalm 37:3, 25. That God who sent the ravens to feed Elijah by the brook Cherith will not pass by one of His faithful, self-sacrificing children. Of him that walketh righteously it is written: “Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.” “They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.” “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Isaiah 33:16; Psalm 37:19; Romans 8:32.

 

 

When we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” we ask for others as well as ourselves. And we acknowledge that what God gives us is not for ourselves alone. God gives to us in trust, that we may feed the hungry. Of His goodness He has prepared for the poor. Psalm 68:10. And He says, “When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors.... But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:12-14. 

“God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.” “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” 2 Corinthians 9:8, 6. 

The prayer for daily bread includes not only food to sustain the body, but that spiritual bread which will nourish the soul unto life everlasting. Jesus bids us, “Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.” John 6:27. He says, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever.” Verse 51. Our Saviour is the bread of life, and it is by beholding His love, by receiving it into the soul, that we feed upon the bread which came down from heaven. 

We receive Christ through His word, and the Holy Spirit is given to open the word of God to our understanding, and bring home its truths to our hearts. We are to pray day by day that as we read His word, God will send His Spirit to reveal to us the truth that will strengthen our souls for the day’s need

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 111-112



Not My Will, But Yours

"Your will be done on earth at it is in heaven." Matthew 6:10

The will of God is expressed in the precepts of His holy law, and the principles of this law are the principles of heaven. The angels of heaven attain unto no higher knowledge than to know the will of God, and to do His will is the highest service that can engage their powers. 

 

 

But in heaven, service is not rendered in the spirit of legality. When Satan rebelled against the law of Jehovah, the thought that there was a law came to the angels almost as an awakening to something unthought of. In their ministry the angels are not as servants, but as sons. There is perfect unity between them and their Creator. Obedience is to them no drudgery. Love for God makes their service a joy. So in every soul wherein Christ, the hope of glory, dwells, His words are re-echoed, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8. 

The petition, “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven,” is a prayer that the reign of evil on this earth may be ended, that sin may be forever destroyed, and the kingdom of righteousness be established. Then in earth as in heaven will be fulfilled “all the good pleasure of His goodness.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 109



The Coming Kingdom

"Your Kingdom come..." Matthew 6:10

The disciples of Christ were looking for the immediate coming of the kingdom of His glory, but in giving them this prayer Jesus taught that the kingdom was not then to be established. They were to pray for its coming as an event yet future. But this petition was also an assurance to them. While they were not to behold the coming of the kingdom in their day, the fact that Jesus bade them pray for it is evidence that in God’s own time it will surely come. 

 

 

The kingdom of God’s grace is now being established, as day by day hearts that have been full of sin and rebellion yield to the sovereignty of His love. But the full establishment of the kingdom of His glory will not take place until the second coming of Christ to this world. “The kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven,” is to be given to “the people of the saints of the Most High.” Daniel 7:27. They shall inherit the kingdom prepared for them “from the foundation of the world.” Matthew 25:34. And Christ will take to Himself His great power and will reign. 

The heavenly gates are again to be lifted up, and with ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy ones, our Savior will come forth as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jehovah Immanuel “shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and His name one.” “The tabernacle of God” shall be with men, “and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 21:3. 

But before that coming, Jesus said, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations.” Matthew 24:14. His kingdom will not come until the good tidings of His grace have been carried to all the earth. Hence, as we give ourselves to God, and win other souls to Him, we hasten the coming of His kingdom. Only those who devote themselves to His service, saying, “Here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8), to open blind eyes, to turn men “from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified” (Acts 26:18)—they alone pray in sincerity, “Thy kingdom come.” 

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 107-108



Holy is Your Name

"Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name." Matthew 6:9

To hallow the name of the Lord requires that the words in which we speak of the Supreme Being be uttered with reverence. “Holy and reverend is His name.” Psalm 111:9. We are never in any manner to treat lightly the titles or appellations of the Deity. In prayer we enter the audience chamber of the Most High; and we should come before Him with holy awe. The angels veil their faces in His presence. The cherubim and the bright and holy seraphim approach His throne with solemn reverence. How much more should we, finite, sinful beings, come in a reverent manner before the Lord, our Maker! 

 

 

But to hallow the name of the Lord means much more than this. We may, like the Jews in Christ’s day, manifest the greatest outward reverence for God, and yet profane His name continually. “The name of the Lord” is “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, ... forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:5-7. Of the church of Christ it is written, “This is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our Righteousness.” Jeremiah 33:16. This name is put upon every follower of Christ. It is the heritage of the child of God. The family are called after the Father. The prophet Jeremiah, in the time of Israel’s sore distress and tribulation, prayed, “We are called by Thy name; leave us not.” Jeremiah 14:9. 

This name is hallowed by the angels of heaven, by the inhabitants of unfallen worlds. When you pray, “Hallowed be Thy name,” you ask that it may be hallowed in this world, hallowed in you. God has acknowledged you before men and angels as His child; pray that you may do no dishonor to the “worthy name by which you are called.” James 2:7. God sends you into the world as His representative. In every act of life you are to make manifest the name of God. This petition calls upon you to possess His character. You cannot hallow His name, you cannot represent Him to the world, unless in life and character you represent the very life and character of God. This you can do only through the acceptance of the grace and righteousness of Christ.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 106



His Father - My Father

"In this manner, therefore, pray: 'Our Father who is in heaven..." Matthew 6:9

Jesus teaches us to call His Father our Father. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 2:11. So ready, so eager, is the Savior’s heart to welcome us as members of the family of God, that in the very first words we are to use in approaching God He places the assurance of our divine relationship, “Our Father.” 

Here is the announcement of that wonderful truth, so full of encouragement and comfort, that God loves us as He loves His Son. This is what Jesus said in His last prayer for His disciples, Thou “hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” John 17:23. 

 

 

The world that Satan has claimed and has ruled over with cruel tyranny, the Son of God has, by one vast achievement, encircled in His love and connected again with the throne of Jehovah. Cherubim and seraphim, and the unnumbered hosts of all the unfallen worlds, sang anthems of praise to God and the Lamb when this triumph was assured. They rejoiced that the way of salvation had been opened to the fallen race and that the earth would be redeemed from the curse of sin. How much more should those rejoice who are the objects of such amazing love! 

How can we ever be in doubt and uncertainty, and feel that we are orphans? It was in behalf of those who had transgressed the law that Jesus took upon Him human nature; He became like unto us, that we might have everlasting peace and assurance. We have an Advocate in the heavens, and whoever accepts Him as a personal Savior is not left an orphan to bear the burden of his own sins. 

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together.” “It doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” 1 John 3:2; Romans 8:17. 

The very first step in approaching God is to know and believe the love that He has to us (1 John 4:16); for it is through the drawing of His love that we are led to come to Him.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 103-104 



Rest in Jesus

"Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things." Matthew 6:24

When we take into our hands the management of things with which we have to do, and depend upon our own wisdom for success, we are taking a burden which God has not given us, and are trying to bear it without His aid. We are taking upon ourselves the responsibility that belongs to God, and thus are really putting ourselves in His place. We may well have anxiety and anticipate danger and loss, for it is certain to befall us. But when we really believe that God loves us and means to do us good we shall cease to worry about the future. We shall trust God as a child trusts a loving parent. Then our troubles and torments will disappear, for our will is swallowed up in the will of God. 

Christ has given us no promise of help in bearing today the burdens of tomorrow. He has said, “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Corinthians 12:9); but, like the manna given in the wilderness, His grace is bestowed daily, for the day’s need. Like the hosts of Israel in their pilgrim life, we may find morning by morning the bread of heaven for the day’s supply. 

One day alone is ours, and during this day we are to live for God. For this one day we are to place in the hand of Christ, in solemn service, all our purposes and plans, casting all our care upon Him, for He cares for us. “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” “In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” Jeremiah 29:11; Isaiah 30:15. 

If you will seek the Lord and be converted every day; if you will of your own spiritual choice be free and joyous in God; if with gladsome consent of heart to His gracious call you come wearing the yoke of Christ,—the yoke of obedience and service,—all your murmurings will be stilled, all your difficulties will be removed, all the perplexing problems that now confront you will be solved. 

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 100-101



Seek First

"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

The people who listened to the words of Christ were still anxiously watching for some announcement of the earthly kingdom. While Jesus was opening to them the treasures of heaven, the question uppermost in many minds was, How will a connection with Him advance our prospects in the world? Jesus shows that in making the things of the world their supreme anxiety they were like the heathen nations about them, living as if there were no God, whose tender care is over His creatures.

 

 

“All these things,” said Jesus, “do the nations of the world seek after.” “Your heavenly Father knows that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:30; Matthew 6:32, 33. I have come to open to you the kingdom of love and righteousness and peace. Open your hearts to receive this kingdom, and make its service your highest interest. Though it is a spiritual kingdom, fear not that your needs for this life will be uncared-for. If you give yourself to God’s service, He who has all power in heaven and earth will provide for your needs. 

Jesus does not release us from the necessity of effort, but He teaches that we are to make Him first and last and best in everything. We are to engage in no business, follow no pursuit, seek no pleasure, that would hinder the outworking of His righteousness in our character and life. Whatever we do is to be done heartily, as unto the Lord.

God’s everlasting arm encircles the soul that turns to Him for aid, however feeble that soul may be. The precious things of the hills shall perish, but the soul that lives for God shall abide with Him. “The world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” 1 John 2:17. The city of God will open its golden gates to receive him who learned while on earth to lean on God for guidance and wisdom, for comfort and hope, amid loss and affliction. The songs of the angels will welcome him there, and for him the tree of life shall yield its fruit. “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, says the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessings, 98-99



No Worries

"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?" Matthew 6:25

Jesus pointed His hearers to the birds as they warbled their carols of praise, unencumbered with thoughts of care, for “they sow not, neither do they reap;” and yet the great Father provides for their needs. And He asks, “Are not ye of much more value than they?” 

“No sparrow falls without His care,
No soul bows low but Jesus knows;
For He is with us everywhere,
And marks each bitter tear that flows.
And He will never, never, never
Forsake the soul that trusts Him ever.” 

 

 

The hillsides and the fields were bright with flowers, and, pointing to them in the dewy freshness of the morning, Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.” The graceful forms and delicate hues of the plants and flowers may be copied by human skill, but what touch can impart life to even one flower or blade of grass? Every wayside blossom owes its being to the same power that set the starry worlds on high. Through all created things thrills one pulse of life from the great heart of God. The flowers of the field are clothed by His hand in richer robes than have ever graced the forms of earthly kings. And “if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?”

It is He who made the flowers and who gave to the sparrow its song who says, “Consider the lilies,” “Behold the birds.” R.V. In the loveliness of the things of nature you may learn more of the wisdom of God than the schoolmen know. On the lily’s petals, God has written a message for you, written in language that your heart can read only as it unlearns the lessons of distrust and selfishness and corroding care. Why has He given you the singing birds and the gentle blossoms, but from the overflowing love of a Father’s heart, that would brighten and gladden your path of life? He has filled earth and air and sky with glimpses of beauty to tell you of His loving thought for you. The beauty of all created things is but a gleam from the shining of His glory. If He has lavished such infinite skill upon the things of nature, for your happiness and joy, can you doubt that He will give you every needed blessing?

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 95-96



Following You and Only You

"No man can serve two masters." Matthew 6:24

Christ does not say that man will not or shall not serve two masters, but that he cannot. The interests of God and the interests of mammon have no union or sympathy. Just where the conscience of the Christian warns him to forbear, to deny himself, to stop, just there the worldling steps over the line, to indulge his selfish desires. On one side of the line is the self-denying follower of Christ; on the other side is the self-indulgent world lover, pandering to fashion, engaging in frivolity, and pampering himself in forbidden pleasure. On that side of the line the Christian cannot go. 

 

 

No one can occupy a neutral position; there is no middle class, who neither love God nor serve the enemy of righteousness. Christ is to live in His disciples and work through their faculties and act through their capabilities. Their will must be submitted to His will; they must act with His Spirit. Then it is no more they that live, but Christ that lives in them.

He who does not give himself wholly to God is under the control of another power, listening to another voice, whose suggestions are of an entirely different character. Half-and-half service places the human agent on the side of the enemy as a successful ally of the hosts of darkness. When men who claim to be soldiers of Christ engage with the confederacy of Satan, and help along his side, they prove themselves enemies of Christ. They betray sacred trusts. They form a link between Satan and the true soldiers, so that through these agencies the enemy is constantly working to steal away the hearts of Christ’s soldiers.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 93-94



Where's Your Focus Today?

"The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light." Matthew 6:22

Singleness of purpose, wholehearted devotion to God, is the condition pointed out by the Savior’s words. Let the purpose be sincere and unwavering to discern the truth and to obey it at whatever cost, and you will receive divine enlightenment. Real piety begins when all compromise with sin is at an end. Then the language of the heart will be that of the apostle Paul: “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” Philippians 3:13, 14, 8. 

 

 

But when the eye is blinded by the love of self, there is only darkness. “If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.” It was this fearful darkness that wrapped the Jews in stubborn unbelief, making it impossible for them to appreciate the character and mission of Him who came to save them from their sins. 

Yielding to temptation begins in permitting the mind to waver, to be inconstant in your trust in God. If we do not choose to give ourselves fully to God then we are in darkness. When we make any reserve we are leaving open a door through which Satan can enter to lead us astray by his temptations. He knows that if he can obscure our vision, so that the eye of faith cannot see God, there will be no barrier against sin.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 91



Where is Your Treasure?

"Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:20,21

This treasure, which Christ esteems as precious above all estimate, is “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” Ephesians 1:18. The disciples of Christ are called His jewels, His precious and peculiar treasure. He says, “They shall be as the stones of a crown.” “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” Zechariah 9:16; Isaiah 13:12. Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of all His sufferings, His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory—Christ, the great Center, from whom radiates all glory. 

 

 

And we are permitted to unite with Him in the great work of redemption and to be sharers with Him in the riches which His death and suffering have won. The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian Christians: “What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? for ye are our glory and joy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20. This is the treasure for which Christ bids us labor. Character is the great harvest of life. And every word or deed that through the grace of Christ shall kindle in one soul an impulse that reaches heavenward, every effort that tends to the formation of a Christlike character, is laying up treasure in heaven. 

Where the treasure is, there the heart will be. In every effort to benefit others, we benefit ourselves. He who gives money or time for spreading the gospel enlists his own interest and prayers for the work, and for the souls to be reached through it; his affections go out to others, and he is stimulated to greater devotion to God, that he may be enabled to do them the greatest good. 

And at the final day, when the wealth of earth shall perish, he who has laid up treasure in heaven will behold that which his life has gained. If we have given heed to the words of Christ, then, as we gather around the great white throne, we shall see souls who have been saved through our agency, and shall know that one has saved others, and these still others—a large company brought into the haven of rest as the result of our labors, there to lay their crowns at Jesus’ feet, and praise Him through the ceaseless ages of eternity. With what joy will the worker for Christ behold these redeemed ones, who share the glory of the Redeemer! How precious will heaven be to those who have been faithful in the work of saving souls! 

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.” Colossians 3:1

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 89-90



A Secret Place with Jesus

"Pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." Matthew 6:6

In the secret place of prayer, where no eye but God’s can see, no ear but His can hear, we may pour out our most hidden desires and longings to the Father of infinite pity, and in the hush and silence of the soul that voice which never fails to answer the cry of human need will speak to our hearts. 

 

 

“The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” James 5:11. He waits with unwearied love to hear the confessions of the wayward and to accept their penitence. He watches for some return of gratitude from us, as the mother watches for the smile of recognition from her beloved child. He would have us understand how earnestly and tenderly His heart yearns over us. He invites us to take our trials to His sympathy, our sorrows to His love, our wounds to His healing, our weakness to His strength, our emptiness to His fullness. Never has one been disappointed who came unto Him. “They looked unto Him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed.” Psalm 34:5. 

Those who seek God in secret telling the Lord their needs and pleading for help, will not plead in vain. “Thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.” As we make Christ our daily companion we shall feel that the powers of an unseen world are all around us; and by looking unto Jesus we shall become assimilated to His image. By beholding we become changed. The character is softened, refined, and ennobled for the heavenly kingdom. The sure result of our intercourse and fellowship with our Lord will be to increase piety, purity, and fervor. There will be a growing intelligence in prayer. We are receiving a divine education, and this is illustrated in a life of diligence and zeal. 

The soul that turns to God for its help, its support, its power, by daily, earnest prayer, will have noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth and duty, lofty purposes of action, and a continual hungering and thirsting after righteousness. By maintaining a connection with God, we shall be enabled to diffuse to others, through our association with them, the light, the peace, the serenity, that rule in our hearts. The strength acquired in prayer to God, united with persevering effort in training the mind in thoughtfulness and care-taking, prepares one for daily duties and keeps the spirit in peace under all circumstances. 

If we draw near to God, He will put a word in our mouth to speak for Him, even praise unto His name. He will teach us a strain from the song of the angels, even thanksgiving to our heavenly Father. In every act of life, the light and love of an indwelling Saviour will be revealed. Outward troubles cannot reach the life that is lived by faith in the Son of God. 

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 84-85



What is Your Motive?

"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven." Matthew 6:1

In these words Jesus did not teach that acts of kindness should always be kept secret. Paul the apostle, writing by the Holy Spirit, did not conceal the generous self-sacrifice of the Macedonian Christians, but told of the grace that Christ had wrought in them, and thus others were imbued with the same spirit. He also wrote to the church at Corinth and said, “Your zeal has stirred up very many.” 2 Corinthians 9:2 

 

 

Christ’s own words make His meaning plain, that in acts of charity the aim should not be to secure praise and honor from men. Real godliness never prompts an effort at display. Those who desire words of praise and flattery, and feed upon them as a sweet morsel, are Christians in name only. 

By their good works, Christ’s followers are to bring glory, not to themselves, but to Him through whose grace and power they have worked. It is through the Holy Spirit that every good work is accomplished, and the Spirit is given to glorify, not the receiver, but the Giver. When the light of Christ is shining in the soul, the lips will be filled with praise and thanksgiving to God. Your prayers, your performance of duty, your benevolence, your self-denial, will not be the theme of your thought or conversation. Jesus will be magnified, self will be hidden, and Christ will appear as all in all. 

We are to give in sincerity, not to make a show of our good deeds, but from pity and love to the suffering ones. Sincerity of purpose, real kindness of heart, is the motive that Heaven values. The soul that is sincere in its love, wholehearted in its devotion, God regards as more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir. 

We are not to think of reward, but of service; yet kindness shown in this spirit will not fail of its recompense. “You Father which sees in secret Himself will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:4. While it is true that God Himself is the great Reward, that embraces every other, the soul receives and enjoys Him only as it becomes assimilated to Him in character. Only like can appreciate like. It is as we give ourselves to God for the service of humanity that He gives Himself to us. 

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 80-81



Be Like Your Father

"Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." Matthew 5:48

The word “therefore” implies a conclusion, an inference from what has gone before. Jesus has been describing to His hearers the unfailing mercy and love of God, and He bids them therefore to be perfect. Because your heavenly Father “is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil” (Luke 6:35), because He has stooped to lift you up, therefore, said Jesus, you may become like Him in character, and stand without fault in the presence of men and angels. 

 

 

With untold love our God has loved us, and our love awakens toward Him as we comprehend something of the length and breadth and depth and height of this love that passes knowledge. By the revelation of the attractive loveliness of Christ, by the knowledge of His love expressed to us while we were yet sinners, the stubborn heart is melted and subdued, and the sinner is transformed and becomes a child of heaven. God does not employ compulsory measures; love is the agent which He uses to expel sin from the heart. By it He changes pride into humility, and enmity and unbelief into love and faith. 

The Jews had been wearily toiling to reach perfection by their own efforts, and they had failed. Christ had already told them that their righteousness could never enter the kingdom of heaven. Now He points out to them the character of the righteousness that all who enter heaven will possess. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount He describes its fruits, and now in one sentence He points out its source and its nature: Be perfect as God is perfect. The law is but a transcript of the character of God. Behold in your heavenly Father a perfect manifestation of the principles which are the foundation of His government. 

God is love. Like rays of light from the sun, love and light and joy flow out from Him to all His creatures. It is His nature to give. His very life is the outflow of unselfish love. 

He tells us to be perfect as He is, in the same manner. We are to be centers of light and blessing to our little circle, even as He is to the universe. We have nothing of ourselves, but the light of His love shines upon us, and we are to reflect its brightness. “In His borrowed goodness good,” we may be perfect in our sphere, even as God is perfect in His. 

Jesus said, Be perfect as your Father is perfect. If you are the children of God you are partakers of His nature, and you cannot but be like Him. Every child lives by the life of his father. If you are God’s children, begotten by His Spirit, you live by the life of God. In Christ dwells “all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9); and the life of Jesus is made manifest “in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:11). That life in you will produce the same character and manifest the same works as it did in Him. Thus you will be in harmony with every precept of His law; for “the law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul.” Psalm 19:7 , margin. Through love “the righteousness of the law” will be “fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:4

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 76-77



Love One Another

"I say to you, Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven." Matthew 5:43-45

The Jews held that God loved those who served Him,—according to their view, those who fulfilled the requirements of the rabbis,—and that all the rest of the world lay under His frown and curse. Not so, said Jesus; the whole world, the evil and the good, lies in the sunshine of His love. This truth you should have learned from nature itself; for God “makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” 

 

 

It is not because of inherent power that year by year the earth produces her bounties and continues her motion round the sun. The hand of God guides the planets and keeps them in position in their orderly march through the heavens. It is through His power that summer and winter, seedtime and harvest, day and night follow each other in their regular succession. It is by His word that vegetation flourishes, that the leaves appear and the flowers bloom. Every good thing we have, each ray of sunshine and shower of rain, every morsel of food, every moment of life, is a gift of love. 

While we were yet unloving and unlovely in character, “hateful, and hating one another,” our heavenly Father had mercy on us. “After that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” Titus 3:3-5. His love received, will make us, in like manner, kind and tender, not merely toward those who please us, but to the most faulty and erring and sinful. 

The children of God are those who are partakers of His nature. It is not earthly rank, nor birth, nor nationality, nor religious privilege, which proves that we are members of the family of God; it is love, a love that embraces all humanity. Even sinners whose hearts are not utterly closed to God’s Spirit, will respond to kindness; while they may give hate for hate, they will also give love for love. But it is only the Spirit of God that gives love for hatred. To be kind to the unthankful and to the evil, to do good hoping for nothing again, is the insignia of the royalty of heaven, the sure token by which the children of the Highest reveal their high estate.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 74-75



Swear Not

"But I say to you, do not swear at all." Matthew 5:34

Everything that Christians do should be as transparent as the sunlight. Truth is of God; deception, in every one of its myriad forms, is of Satan; and whoever in any way departs from the straight line of truth is betraying himself into the power of the wicked one. Yet it is not a light or an easy thing to speak the exact truth. We cannot speak the truth unless we know the truth; and how often preconceived opinions, mental bias, imperfect knowledge, errors of judgment, prevent a right understanding of matters with which we have to do! We cannot speak the truth unless our minds are continually guided by Him who is truth. 

 

 

Through the apostle Paul, Christ bids us, “Let your speech always be with grace.” “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” Colossians 4:6; Ephesians 4:29. In the light of these scriptures the words of Christ upon the mount are seen to condemn jesting, trifling, and unchaste conversation. They require that our words should be not only truthful, but pure. 

Those who have learned of Christ will “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” Ephesians 5:11. In speech, as in life, they will be simple, straightforward, and true; for they are preparing for the fellowship of those holy ones in whose mouth “was found no guile.” Revelation 14:5

If these words of Christ were heeded, they would check the utterance of evil surmising and unkind criticism; for in commenting upon the actions and motives of another, who can be certain of speaking the exact truth? How often pride, passion, personal resentment, color the impression given! A glance, a word, even an intonation of the voice, may be vital with falsehood. Even facts may be so stated as to convey a false impression. And “whatsoever is more than” truth, “is of the evil one.”

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 68



Be Reconciled with Your Brother

"Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you,  leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift." Matthew 5:23-24

Through Moses the Lord had said, “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart.... Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Leviticus 19:17, 18. The truths which Christ presented were the same that had been taught by the prophets, but they had become obscured through hardness of heart and love of sin. 

 

 

The Savior’s words revealed to His hearers the fact that, while they were condemning others as transgressors, they were themselves equally guilty; for they were cherishing malice and hatred.

The spirit of hatred and revenge originated with Satan, and it led him to put to death the Son of God. Whoever cherishes malice or unkindness is cherishing the same spirit, and its fruit will be unto death. In the revengeful thought the evil deed lies enfolded, as the plant in the seed. “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” 1 John 3:15

When one who professes to serve God wrongs or injures a brother, he misrepresents the character of God to that brother, and the wrong must be confessed, he must acknowledge it to be sin, in order to be in harmony with God. Our brother may have done us a greater wrong than we have done him, but this does not lessen our responsibility. If when we come before God we remember that another has aught against us, we are to leave our gift of prayer, of thanksgiving, of freewill offering, and go to the brother with whom we are at variance, and in humility confess our own sin and ask to be forgiven. 

If we have in any manner defrauded or injured our brother, we should make restitution. If we have unwittingly borne false witness, if we have misstated his words, if we have injured his influence in any way, we should go to the ones with whom we have conversed about him, and take back all our injurious misstatements. 

If matters of difficulty between brethren were not laid open before others, but frankly spoken of between themselves in the spirit of Christian love, how much evil might be prevented! How many roots of bitterness whereby many are defiled would be destroyed, and how closely and tenderly might the followers of Christ be united in His love!

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 55-56, 58-59



Perfect Righteousness with Jesus

"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:20

The scribes and Pharisees had accused not only Christ but His disciples as sinners because of their disregard of the rabbinical rites and observances. Often the disciples had been perplexed and troubled by censure and accusation from those whom they had been accustomed to revere as religious teachers. Jesus unveiled the deception. He declared that the righteousness upon which the Pharisees set so great value was worthless. The Jewish nation had claimed to be the special, loyal people who were favored of God; but Christ represented their religion as devoid of saving faith. All their pretensions of piety, their human inventions and ceremonies, and even their boasted performance of the outward requirements of the law, could not avail to make them holy. They were not pure in heart or noble and Christlike in character. 

 

Torah being read at a Bar Mitzvah

 

A legal religion is insufficient to bring the soul into harmony with God. The hard, rigid orthodoxy of the Pharisees, destitute of contrition, tenderness, or love, was only a stumbling block to sinners. They were like the salt that had lost its savor; for their influence had no power to preserve the world from corruption. The only true faith is that which “worketh by love” (Galatians 5:6) to purify the soul. It is as leaven that transforms the character.

All this the Jews should have learned from the teachings of the prophets. Centuries before, the cry of the soul for justification with God had found voice and answer in the words of the prophet Micah: “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? ... He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:6-8

In their professed service to God, the Jews were really working for self. Their righteousness was the fruit of their own efforts to keep the law according to their own ideas and for their own selfish benefit. Hence it could be no better than they were. In their endeavor to make themselves holy, they were trying to bring a clean thing out of an unclean. The law of God is as holy as He is holy, as perfect as He is perfect. It presents to men the righteousness of God. It is impossible for man, of himself, to keep this law; for the nature of man is depraved, deformed, and wholly unlike the character of God. The works of the selfish heart are “as an unclean thing;” and “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Isaiah 64:6

While the law is holy, the Jews could not attain righteousness by their own efforts to keep the law. The disciples of Christ must obtain righteousness of a different character from that of the Pharisees, if they would enter the kingdom of heaven. God offered them, in His Son, the perfect righteousness of the law. If they would open their hearts fully to receive Christ, then the very life of God, His love, would dwell in them, transforming them into His own likeness; and thus through God’s free gift they would possess the righteousness which the law requires.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 53-54



I Have Come to Fulfill

"I have not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Matthew 5:17

It was to Moses that God revealed His glory in those wonderful words that have been the treasured heritage of the ages: “The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:6, 7. 

The law given upon Sinai was the enunciation of the principle of love, a revelation to earth of the law of heaven. It was ordained in the hand of a Mediator—spoken by Him through whose power the hearts of men could be brought into harmony with its principles. God had revealed the purpose of the law when He declared to Israel, “Ye shall be holy men unto Me.” Exodus 22:31. 

 

 

But Israel had not perceived the spiritual nature of the law, and too often their professed obedience was but an observance of forms and ceremonies, rather than a surrender of the heart to the sovereignty of love. As Jesus in His character and work represented to men the holy, benevolent, and paternal attributes of God, and presented the worthlessness of mere ceremonial obedience, the Jewish leaders did not receive or understand His words. They thought that He dwelt too lightly upon the requirements of the law; and when He set before them the very truths that were the soul of their divinely appointed service, they, looking only at the external, accused Him of seeking to overthrow it.

Speaking of the law, Jesus said, “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” He here used the word “fulfill” in the same sense as when He declared to John the Baptist His purpose to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15); that is, to fill up the measure of the law’s requirement, to give an example of perfect conformity to the will of God. 

His mission was to “magnify the law, and make it honorable.” Isaiah 42:21. He was to show the spiritual nature of the law, to present its far-reaching principles, and to make plain its eternal obligation. 

“Till heaven and earth pass,” said Jesus, “one jot or one tittle shall in nowise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” By His own obedience to the law, Christ testified to its immutable character and proved that through His grace it could be perfectly obeyed by every son and daughter of Adam. On the mount He declared that not the smallest iota should pass from the law till all things should be accomplished—all things that concern the human race, all that relates to the plan of redemption.

He does not teach that the law is ever to be abrogated (i.e. changed), but He fixes the eye upon the utmost verge of man’s horizon and assures us that until this point is reached the law will retain its authority so that none may suppose it was His mission to abolish the precepts of the law. So long as heaven and earth continue, the holy principles of God’s law will remain. His righteousness, “like the great mountains” (Psalm 36:6), will continue, a source of blessing, sending forth streams to refresh the earth.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 48-49



You are the Light of the World

"You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." Matthew 5:14

In the brilliant light of the morning, the towns and villages upon the surrounding hills stood forth clearly, making an attractive feature of the scene. Pointing to them, Jesus said, “A city set on a hill cannot be hid.” And He added, “Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shines unto all that are in the house.” Most of those who listened to the words of Jesus were peasants and fishermen whose lowly dwellings contained but one room, in which the single lamp on its stand shone to all in the house. Even so, said Jesus, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” 

 

 

No other light ever has shone or ever will shine upon fallen man save that which emanates from Christ. Jesus, the Savior, is the only light that can illuminate the darkness of a world lying in sin. Of Christ it is written, “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4. It was by receiving of His life that His disciples could become light bearers. The life of Christ in the soul, His love revealed in the character, would make them the light of the world. 

Humanity has in itself no light. Apart from Christ we are like an unkindled taper, like the moon when her face is turned away from the sun; we have not a single ray of brightness to shed into the darkness of the world. But when we turn toward the Sun of Righteousness, when we come in touch with Christ, the whole soul is aglow with the brightness of the divine presence.

Christ’s followers are to be more than a light in the midst of men. They are the light of the world. Jesus says to all who have named His name, You have given yourselves to Me, and I have given you to the world as My representatives. As the Father had sent Him into the world, so, He declares, “have I also sent them into the world.” John 17:18. As Christ is the channel for the revelation of the Father, so we are to be the channel for the revelation of Christ.

But Jesus did not bid the disciples, “Strive to make your light shine;” He said, “Let it shine.” If Christ is dwelling in the heart, it is impossible to conceal the light of His presence...Trials patiently borne, blessings gratefully received, temptations manfully resisted, meekness, kindness, mercy, and love habitually revealed, are the lights that shine forth in the character in contrast with the darkness of the selfish heart, into which the light of life has never shone.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 39



You Are the Salt of the Earth

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." Matthew 5:13

Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate and infuse in order to preserve. So it is through personal contact and association that men are reached by the saving power of the gospel. They are not saved in masses, but as individuals. Personal influence is a power. We must come close to those whom we desire to benefit. 

The savor of the salt represents the vital power of the Christian—the love of Jesus in the heart, the righteousness of Christ pervading the life. The love of Christ is diffusive and aggressive. If it is dwelling in us, it will flow out to others. We shall come close to them till their hearts are warmed by our unselfish interest and love. The sincere believers diffuse vital energy, which is penetrating and imparts new moral power to the souls for whom they labor. It is not the power of the man himself, but the power of the Holy Spirit that does the transforming work. 

 

 

Jesus added the solemn warning: “If the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

Without a living faith in Christ as a personal Savior it is impossible to make our influence felt in a skeptical world. We cannot give to others that which we do not ourselves possess. It is in proportion to our own devotion and consecration to Christ that we exert an influence for the blessing and uplifting of mankind. If there is no actual service, no genuine love, no reality of experience, there is no power to help, no connection with heaven, no savor of Christ in the life. Unless the Holy Spirit can use us as agents through whom to communicate to the world the truth as it is in Jesus, we are as salt that has lost its savor and is entirely worthless. By our lack of the grace of Christ we testify to the world that the truth which we claim to believe has no sanctifying power; and thus, so far as our influence goes, we make of no effect the word of God.

“If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 

When love fills the heart, it will flow out to others, not because of favors received from them, but because love is the principle of action. Love modifies the character, governs the impulses, subdues enmity, and ennobles the affections. This love is as broad as the universe, and is in harmony with that of the angel workers. Cherished in the heart, it sweetens the entire life and sheds its blessing upon all around. It is this, and this only, that can make us the salt of the earth. 

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 36-37



Blessings for When You Live for Jesus

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10

While the Lord has not promised His people exemption from trials, He has promised that which is far better. He has said, “As thy days, so shall thy strength be.” “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Deut-eronomy 33:25; 2 Corinthians 12:9.

 

 

If you are called to go through the fiery furnace for His sake, Jesus will be by your side even as He was with the faithful three in Babylon. Those who love their Redeemer will rejoice at every opportunity of sharing with Him humiliation and reproach. The love they bear their Lord makes suffering for His sake sweet. 

In all ages, Satan has persecuted the people of God. He has tortured them and put them to death, but in dying they became conquerors. They revealed in their steadfast faith a mightier One than Satan. Satan could torture and kill the body, but he could not touch the life that was hid with Christ in God. He could incarcerate in prison walls, but he could not bind the spirit. They could look beyond the gloom to the glory, saying, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” “Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:17. 

Through trials and persecution, the glory—character—of God is revealed in His chosen ones. The church of God, hated and persecuted by the world, are educated and disciplined in the school of Christ. They walk in narrow paths on earth; they are purified in the furnace of affliction. They follow Christ through sore conflicts; they endure self-denial and experience bitter disappointments; but their painful experience teaches them the guilt and woe of sin, and they look upon it with abhorrence.

Being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they are destined to be partakers of His glory. In holy vision the prophet saw the triumph of the people of God. He says, “I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory, ... stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints.” “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them.” Revelation 15:2, 3; 7:14, 15.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 30



Blessed are the Peacemakers

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God." Matthew 5:9

Christ is “the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6), and it is His mission to restore to earth and heaven the peace that sin has broken. “Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1. Whoever consents to renounce sin and open his heart to the love of Christ, becomes a partaker of this heavenly peace. 

 

 

There is no other ground of peace than this. The grace of Christ received into the heart, subdues enmity; it allays strife and fills the soul with love. He who is at peace with God and his fellow men cannot be made miserable. Envy will not be in his heart; evil surmisings will find no room there; hatred cannot exist. The heart that is in harmony with God is a partaker of the peace of heaven and will diffuse its blessed influence on all around. The spirit of peace will rest like dew upon hearts weary and troubled with worldly strife.

Christ’s followers are sent to the world with the message of peace. Whoever, by the quiet, unconscious influence of a holy life, shall reveal the love of Christ; whoever, by word or deed, shall lead another to renounce sin and yield his heart to God, is a peacemaker. 

And “blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” The spirit of peace is evidence of their connection with heaven. The sweet savor of Christ surrounds them. The fragrance of the life, the loveliness of the character, reveal to the world the fact that they are children of God. Men take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus. “Everyone that loves is born of God.” “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His;” but “as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” 1 John 4:7; Romans 8:9, 14

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 27-28



Blessed are the Pure in Heart

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8

The Jews were so exacting in regard to ceremonial purity that their regulations were extremely burdensome. Their minds were occupied with rules and restrictions and the fear of outward defilement, and they did not perceive the stain that selfishness and malice impart to the soul. 

Jesus does not mention this ceremonial purity as one of the conditions of entering into His kingdom, but points out the need of purity of heart. The wisdom that is from above “is first pure.” James 3:17. Into the city of God there will enter nothing that defiles. All who are to be dwellers there will here have become pure in heart. In one who is learning of Jesus, there will be manifest a growing distaste for careless manners, unseemly language, and coarse thought. When Christ abides in the heart, there will be purity and refinement of thought and manner. 

 

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But the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the pure in heart,” have a deeper meaning—not merely pure in the sense in which the world understands purity, free from that which is sensual, pure from lust, but true in the hidden purposes and motives of the soul, free from pride and self-seeking, humble, unselfish, childlike.

Only like can appreciate like. Unless you accept in your own life the principle of self-sacrificing love, which is the principle of His character, you cannot know God. The heart that is deceived by Satan, looks upon God as a tyrannical, relentless being; the selfish characteristics of humanity, even of Satan himself, are attributed to the loving Creator. “Thou thought,” He says, “that I was altogether such a one as thyself.” Psalm 50:21. His providences are interpreted as the expression of an arbitrary, vindictive nature. 

But to hearts that have become purified through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, all is changed. These can know God. Moses was hid in the cleft of the rock when the glory of the Lord was revealed to him; and it is when we are hid in Christ that we behold the love of God. 

 

 

“He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the King shall be his friend.” Proverbs 22:11. By faith we behold Him here and now. In our daily experience we discern His goodness and compassion in the manifestation of His providence. We recognize Him in the character of His Son. The Holy Spirit takes the truth concerning God and Him whom He hath sent, and opens it to the understanding and to the heart. The pure in heart see God in a new and endearing relation, as their Redeemer; and while they discern the purity and loveliness of His character, they long to reflect His image. They see Him as a Father longing to embrace a repenting son, and their hearts are filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. 

The pure in heart discern the Creator in the works of His mighty hand, in the things of beauty that comprise the universe. In His written word they read in clearer lines the revelation of His mercy, His goodness, and His grace. The truths that are hidden from the wise and prudent are revealed to babes. The beauty and preciousness of truth, which are undiscerned by the worldly-wise, are constantly unfolding to those who have a trusting, childlike desire to know and to do the will of God. We discern the truth by becoming, ourselves, partakers of the divine nature. 

The pure in heart live as in the visible presence of God during the time He apportions them in this world. And they will also see Him face to face in the future, immortal state, as did Adam when he walked and talked with God in Eden. “Now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 24-26



Blessed are the Merciful

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." Matthew 5:7

The merciful are “partakers of the divine nature,” and in them the compassionate love of God finds expression. All whose hearts are in sympathy with the heart of Infinite Love will seek to reclaim and not to condemn. Christ dwelling in the soul is a spring that never runs dry. 

 

 

To the appeal of the erring, the tempted, the wretched victims of want and sin, the Christian does not ask, "Are they worthy?" but, How can I benefit them? In the most wretched, the most debased, he sees souls whom Christ died to save and for whom God has given to His children the ministry of reconciliation.

The merciful are those who manifest compassion to the poor, the suffering, and the oppressed.

Job declares, “I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.” Job 29:12-16

There are many to whom life is a painful struggle; they feel their deficiencies and are miserable and unbelieving; they think they have nothing for which to be grateful. Kind words, looks of sympathy, expressions of appreciation, would be to many a struggling and lonely one as the cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. A word of sympathy, an act of kindness, would lift burdens that rest heavily upon weary shoulders. And every word or deed of unselfish kindness is an expression of the love of Christ for lost humanity. 

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 22-23



Blessed are the Hungry and Thirsty

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6

Not by painful struggles or wearisome toil, not by gift or sacrifice, is righteousness obtained; but it is freely given to every soul who hungers and thirsts to receive it. “Ho, every one that thirsts, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat...without money and without price.” “Their righteousness is of Me, says the Lord,” and, “This is His name whereby He shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.” Isaiah 55:1; 54:17; Jeremiah 23:6

 

 

As we need food to sustain our physical strength, so do we need Christ, the Bread from heaven, to sustain spiritual life and impart strength to work the works of God. As the body is continually receiving the nourishment that sustains life and vigor, so the soul must be constantly communing with Christ, submitting to Him and depending wholly upon Him. 

As the weary traveler seeks the spring in the desert and, finding it, quenches his burning thirst, so will the Christian thirst for and obtain the pure water of life, of which Christ is the fountain. 

As we discern the perfection of our Savior’s character we shall desire to become wholly transformed and renewed in the image of His purity. The more we know of God, the higher will be our ideal of character and the more earnest our longing to reflect His likeness. A divine element combines with the human when the soul reaches out after God and the longing heart can say, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5

If you have a sense of need in your soul, if you hunger and thirst after righteousness, this is an evidence that Christ has wrought upon your heart, in order that He may be sought unto to do for you, through the endowment of the Holy Spirit, those things which it is impossible for you to do for yourself. We need not seek to quench our thirst at shallow streams; for the great fountain is just above us, of whose abundant waters we may freely drink, if we will rise a little higher in the pathway of faith.

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 19



Blessed are the Meek

"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." Matthew 5:5

Jesus emptied Himself, and in all that He did, self did not appear. He subordinated all things to the will of His Father. When His mission on earth was about to close, He could say, “I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gave Me to do.” John 17:4. And He bids us, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself” (Matthew 11:29; 16:24); let self be dethroned and no longer hold the supremacy of the soul.

 

 

Human nature is ever struggling for expression, ready for contest; but he who learns of Christ is emptied of self, of pride, of love of supremacy, and there is silence in the soul. Self is yielded to the disposal of the Holy Spirit. Then we are not anxious to have the highest place. We have no ambition to crowd and elbow ourselves into notice; but we feel that our highest place is at the feet of our Savior. We look to Jesus, waiting for His hand to lead, listening for His voice to guide. The apostle Paul had this experience, and he said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

When we receive Christ as an abiding guest in the soul, the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. The Savior’s life on earth, though lived in the midst of conflict, was a life of peace. While angry enemies were constantly pursuing Him, He said, “He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” John 8:29.

No storm of human or satanic wrath could disturb the calm of that perfect communion with God. And He says to us, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you.” “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest.” John 14:27; Matthew 11:29. Bear with Me the yoke of service for the glory of God and the uplifting of humanity, and you will find the yoke easy and the burden light.

It is the love of self that destroys our peace. While self is all alive, we stand ready continually to guard it from mortification and insult; but when we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall not take neglects or slights to heart. We shall be deaf to reproach and blind to scorn and insult. “Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeks not its own, is not provoked, takes not account of evil; rejoices not in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 14-16



Blessed are Those Who Mourn

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4

The Savior’s words have a message of comfort to those also who are suffering affliction or bereavement. Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. God “doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.” Lamentations 3:33. When He permits trials and afflictions, it is “for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.” Hebrews 12:10.

 

 

If received in faith, the trial that seems so bitter and hard to bear will prove a blessing. The cruel blow that blights the joys of earth will be the means of turning our eyes to heaven. How many there are who would never have known Jesus had not sorrow led them to seek comfort in Him! 

The trials of life are God’s workmen, to remove the impurities and roughness from our character. Their hewing, squaring, and chiseling, their burnishing and polishing, is a painful process; it is hard to be pressed down to the grinding wheel. But the stone is brought forth prepared to fill its place in the heavenly temple. Upon no useless material does the Master bestow such careful, thorough work. Only His precious stones are polished after the similitude of a palace.

The Lord will work for all who put their trust in Him. Precious victories will be gained by the faithful. Precious lessons will be learned. Precious experiences will be realized...

God would not have us remain pressed down by dumb sorrow, with sore and breaking hearts. He would have us look up and behold His dear face of love. The blessed Savior stands by many whose eyes are so blinded by tears that they do not discern Him. He longs to clasp our hands, to have us look to Him in simple faith, permitting Him to guide us. His heart is open to our griefs, our sorrows, and our trials. He has loved us with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness compassed us about. We may keep the heart stayed upon Him and meditate upon His loving-kindness all the day. He will lift the soul above the daily sorrow and perplexity, into a realm of peace. 

Think of this, children of suffering and sorrow, and rejoice in hope. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 10-12



Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3

Whom Christ pardons, He first makes penitent, and it is the office of the Holy Spirit to convince of sin. Those whose hearts have been moved by the convicting Spirit of God see that there is nothing good in themselves. They see that all they have ever done is mingled with self and sin. Like the poor publican, they stand afar off, not daring to lift up so much as their eyes to heaven, and cry, “God, be merciful to me the sinner.” Luke 18:13 , R.V., margin. And they are blessed.

 

 

There is forgiveness for the penitent; for Christ is “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. God’s promise is: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”” A new heart also will I give you.... And I will put My Spirit within you.” Isaiah 1:18; Ezekiel 36:26, 27. 

Of the poor in spirit Jesus says, “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This kingdom is not, as Christ’s hearers had hoped, a temporal and earthly dominion. Christ was opening to men the spiritual kingdom of His love, His grace, His righteousness. The ensign of the Messiah’s reign is distinguished by the likeness of the Son of man. His subjects are the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted for righteousness’ sake. The kingdom of heaven is theirs. Though not yet fully accomplished, the work is begun in them which will make them “meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” Colossians 1:12

All who have a sense of their deep soul poverty, who feel that they have nothing good in themselves, may find righteousness and strength by looking unto Jesus. He says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden.” Matthew 11:28. He bids you exchange your poverty for the riches of His grace. We are not worthy of God’s love, but Christ, our surety, is worthy, and is abundantly able to save all who shall come unto Him. Whatever may have been your past experience, however discouraging your present circumstances, if you will come to Jesus just as you are, weak, helpless, and despairing, our compassionate Saviour will meet you a great way off, and will throw about you His arms of love and His robe of righteousness. He presents us to the Father clothed in the white raiment of His own character. He pleads before God in our behalf, saying: I have taken the sinner’s place. Look not upon this wayward child, but look on Me. Does Satan plead loudly against our souls, accusing of sin, and claiming us as his prey, the blood of Christ pleads with greater power.

“Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength.... In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” Isaiah 45:24, 25

Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 7-9



Write Them Down

"Let not mercy and truth forsake you...write them on the tablet of your heart." Proverbs 3:3

Have you ever thought of your heart as a journal? How can you write God's love and faithfulness there? One way I've discovered is by memorizing God's promises. I'm writing them in my memory to keep fresh in my mind how great God's love is for me.

 

 

But will those words stay with me forever? Reviewing will help but I think I need something stronger than that. Or someone stronger.

Jesus told the disciples that the day was coming when they would stand before governors and kings as His witness. They'd have to defend the faith on that day. What would they say? Would they remember the words of Jesus?

Christ told them, "But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you" (Matthew 10:19,20).

This is the key for making sure God's love and faithfulness stays with you forever! If you've written God's word on your heart (either by reading, praying, and/or memorizing), the Holy Spirit will bring those words to your mind exactly when you need it.

You may never stand before a governor for your faith. But you will be tested and tempted. And Jesus has promised, the Spirit will sustain you in the heat of battle. He will put the sword of the Spirit in your hands to fight the battles of the Lord. He'll remind you where your strength lies. In the words of God's love and faithfulness.

"Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your precious Word! Write your words of love and faithfulness on my heart today. Help me to remember these words always. Strengthen me through Your Word. Bring me peace through Your Word. And give me grace to stand against the wiles of the devil--through the power of Your life-giving Word. Fill me with Your precious Spirit so I can remember Your words and hold onto them in faith. In Jesus' most loving name, I pray. Amen."

Peace Walk by S.L. Gilmore



His Mission is My Mission

"Then He said to them, 'Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

Luke, the writer of the Gospel that bears his name, was a medical missionary. In the Scriptures he is called “the beloved physician.” Colossians 4:14. The apostle Paul heard of his skill as a physician, and sought him out as one to whom the Lord had entrusted a special work...  In his work as a physician he ministered to the sick, and then prayed for the healing power of God to rest upon the afflicted ones. Thus the way was opened for the gospel message. Luke’s success as a physician gained for him many opportunities for preaching Christ among the heathen. It is the divine plan that we shall work as the disciples worked. Physical healing is bound up with the gospel commission. In the work of the gospel, teaching and healing are never to be separated.

 

 

The giving of the gospel to the world is the work that God has committed to those who bear His name. For earth’s sin and misery the gospel is the only antidote. To make known to all mankind the message of the grace of God is the first work of those who know its healing power.

The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago—a revelation of Christ. A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished. 

Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”

There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. If less time were given to sermonizing, and more time were spent in personal ministry, greater results would be seen. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.

We should ever remember that the object of the medical missionary work is to point sin-sick men and women to the Man of Calvary, who taketh away the sin of the world. By beholding Him, they will be changed into His likeness. We are to encourage the sick and suffering to look to Jesus and live. Let the workers keep Christ, the Great Physician, constantly before those to whom disease of body and soul has brought discouragement. Point them to the One who can heal both physical and spiritual disease. Tell them of the One who is touched with the feeling of their infirmities. Encourage them to place themselves in the care of Him who gave His life to make it possible for them to have life eternal. Talk of His love; tell of His power to save.

The Ministry of Healing, 140-144



Only Believe

Sometimes there's no logical reason for life's challenges. 

Fear says your situation is permanent. Logic says it's impossible. Facts say it doesn't make sense. Science says follow logic and consider the facts. Math says it doesn’t add up. Time says it’s too late.

Age says you’re too young or too old. Education says you’re not qualified. Experience says you’re a novice. People say it’s never been done before. The past says check your history. Scars say you’re about to get hurt again.

Comfort says it is really not worth the trouble. The future says you don’t belong here. The pocket says I can’t afford it.

 

 

 

But faith says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

Don't seek logical solutions to every one of life’s challenges.

Sometimes you just have to believe.

"We walk by faith, not by sight" 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Feed your faith and all the other negative voices will starve to death.

Only Believe! 



The Battle Isn't Yours

"You will not need to fight in this battle...for the battle is not yours, but God's" (2 Chronicles 20:17,15).

When King Jehoshaphat got the news that a huge army was marching to take his city, he rallied God's people to seek Him by fasting and prayer. For years, the king had been fortifying his city and army, thinking of a day like this. But when the threat finally appeared on the horizon, Jehoshaphat knew his only strength lay in God. He must be their defense.

 

 

"We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us," he prayed, "nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You!"

In answer to their prayers, God gave the Jehoshaphat his battle plan. But it probably wasn't what the king was expecting. The Lord replied, "You will not need to fight in this battle...for the battle is not yours, but God's" (2 Chronicles 20:17,15).

Did God want Judah to wait for the enemy's attack? Absolutely not! He sent the army out, fully clad in armor and weapons. But the army was not led by a seasoned general. Instead Jehoshaphat sent out a choir of singers who "should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army...saying, "Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever" (verse 21).

The song of victory was sung before the battle was fought! Have you ever thanked the Lord for His mercies before you received them? It's pretty normal to say thank you after He's done something marvelous for you--but while the battle is raging around you and you see no hope in sight?

But that's what faith does. And that's how miracles happen.

"Praise is actually the most vital preparation to the working of miracles. Miracles are performed through spiritual power, and our spiritual power is always in proportion to our faith" (J.H. Jowett).

A missionary in China once received bad news from home, and deep shadows of darkness seemed to cover his soul. He prayed but the darkness remained. He forced himself to endure but the shadows only deepened. Then suddenly, one day, as he entered another missionary's home at an inland station, he saw these words on the wall, "Try giving thanks." So he did, and in a moment every shadow was gone, never to return. Yes, the psalmist was right: "It is good to praise the Lord" (Psalm 91:1).

Peace Walk by Sue Gilmore



Jesus is with Me

"I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved." Psalm 16:8

Amid the perplexities that will press upon the soul, there is only One who can help us out of all our difficulties, and relieve all our [stress]. We are to cast all our care upon Jesus, and bear in mind that He is present, and is directing us to commune with Him. We are to keep our minds stayed upon God; and in our weakness, He will be our strength; in our ignorance, He will be our wisdom; in our frailty, He will be our enduring might. 

 

 

We may be assured that we need not go into the heavens to bring Jesus down to us, neither into the deep to bring Him up; for He is at our right hand, and His eye is ever upon us. We should ever seek to realize that the Lord is very near us, to be our counselor and guide. This is the only way in which we may have confidence toward God. 

We need to educate and train the mind so that we shall have an intelligent faith, and have an understanding friendship with Jesus. Unless we continually cherish friendship between God and our souls, we shall separate from Him, and walk apart from Him. We shall make friends of those around us, and place our trust in humanity, and our affections will be diverted from the true object of worship.

We must not allow coldness to chill our love for our Redeemer. If we have fellowship with Him, we must ever set the Lord before us, and treat Him as an honored Friend, giving Him the first place in our affections. We should speak of His matchless charms, and constantly cultivate the desire to have a better knowledge of Jesus Christ. Then His Spirit will have a controlling power upon life and character.

 If ever there was a time when men needed the presence of Christ at their right hand, it is now. We need the Captain of our salvation continually by our side.

Sons & Daughters of God, 27



Waiting in Faith

"Wait on the Lord. Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart." Psalm 27:14

Have you ever said, "I'm waiting on the Lord?"

But how does it fit in with a peace walk with Jesus? Waiting on God isn't in the same category as waiting for the nurse to call your name so you can see the doctor. Or waiting to be connected to talk to someone on the phone.

That kind of waiting...well, it's just waiting. One person I know called it "quietly doing nothing."

David prays, "Wait on the Lord; be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart." Psalm 27:14. How can I be stronger in faith if I'm quietly doing nothing?

 

 

If we look at the Hebrew word for WAIT (quavah) that David used in this psalm, we see it actually means "to bind together." To bind together means I'm not sitting around in a corner, waiting for God to do something. It means I'm binding or connecting myself to God.

Binding is what a branch does on a vine. I've been growing pole beans this summer and I've watched as the tendrils of the plant twist round and about the bamboo teepee that I set up. Those tendrils grow to be thick and strong. Even in high winds, the beans are in no danger of being ripped away because they are binded. That's where their strength comes from.

The same is true in our walk with Jesus. When we hold onto God's Word, we're like a binding Kentucky pole bean. God is the pole and I'm clinging to Him by faith through His precious promises. Every day, I pray with these promises, thanking God for the gift in each one. It's my binding time.

It doesn't look like something big is going on, but it is. Tendrils grow stronger a little bit at a time. And that's how my faith grows. One day at a time.  Each day builds on the other, strengthening the confidence and trust that I have in God's Word. And each day, God is filling me with increasing strength.

Peace Walk by Sue Gilmore



Christ is Our Mighty Savior

"Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle." Psalm 24:8

Christ was strong to save the whole world. He wanted all. He could not endure the thought that one should be lost. He wept at the grave of Lazarus, that He could not save every one whom Satan’s power had laid low in death. He had given Himself a ransom for many, even all who would avail themselves of the privilege of coming back to their loyalty to God. When He raised Lazarus from the dead, He knew that for that life He must pay the ransom on the cross of Calvary. Every rescue made was to cause Him the deepest humiliation. He was to taste death for every man. 

 

 

In His life on earth, Christ developed a perfect character, He rendered perfect obedience to His Father’s commandments. In coming to the world in human form, in becoming subject to the law, in revealing to men that He bore their sickness, their sorrow, their guilt, He did not become a sinner. Before the Pharisees He could say, “Which of you convinces me of sin?” Not one stain of sin was found upon Him. He stood before the world the spotless Lamb of God. 

From the light of His exalted purity, the world’s Redeemer could see that the maladies from which the human family were suffering were brought upon them by transgression of the law of God. Every case of suffering He could trace back to its source. In every case He read the sad and awful end of unrepenting sinners. He knew that He alone could rescue them from the pit into which they had fallen. He alone could place their feet in the right path; His perfection alone could avail for their imperfection. He alone could cover their nakedness with His spotless robe of righteousness. He is strong to deliver. Help has been laid on One that is mighty. He encircles man with His long human arm, while with His divine arm He lays hold of Omnipotence.

Sons & Daughters of God, 25



Help Is On Its Way

"For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted." Hebrews 2:18

Though enduring most terrible temptations, Christ did not fail or become discouraged. He was fighting the battle in our behalf, and had He faltered, had He yielded to temptation, the human family would have been lost. 

 

 

The Bible gives but a bare mention of the conflict with Satan in the wilderness of temptation, but it was a terrible ordeal. Christ came off conqueror, bearing the test and trial in our behalf. How little is man able to comprehend the strength of the temptation of Christ! How little does he understand of that ordeal upon which hung the destiny of a lost world! The world’s Redeemer was not warring against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. All heaven was interested in this conflict, and what joy, what rejoicing there was in heaven because help had been laid upon One who is mighty to overcome, mighty to save! 

What an event was this when Christ placed Himself in the position of Adam, and endured the test where Adam had failed, and by this act placed man on a vantage ground, in favor with God, where he might overcome on his own account through the merits of Jesus. In His name, through His grace, man may be an overcomer, even as Christ was an overcomer. In Christ, divinity and humanity were united, and the only way in which man may be an overcomer is through becoming a partaker of the divine nature.

Divinity and humanity are blended in him who has the spirit of Christ. The apostle Paul writes, “In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest.” “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” 

Sons & Daughters of God, 24



Walking with God

"And Enoch walked with God, and he was not because God took him." Genesis 5:24

Of Enoch it is written that he lived sixty-five years, and begat a son. After that he walked with God three hundred years. After the birth of his first son, Enoch reached a higher experience; he was drawn into a closer relationship with God. He realized more fully his own obligations and responsibility as a son of God.

 

 

Enoch’s righteous life was in marked contrast with the wicked people around him. His piety, his purity, his unswerving integrity were the result of his walking with God, while the wickedness of the world was the result of their walking with the deceiver of mankind. There never has been and never will be an age when the moral darkness will be so dense as when Enoch lived a life of irreproachable righteousness.

In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers. After remaining for a time among the people laboring to benefit them by instruction and example, he would withdraw, to spend a season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowledge which God alone can impart. Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. His face was radiant with a holy light, even the light that shines in the face of Jesus. As he came forth from these divine communings, even the ungodly beheld with awe the impress of heaven upon his countenance.

We, too, are to walk with God. When we do this, our faces will be lighted up by the brightness of His presence, and when we meet one another, we shall speak of His power, saying, Praise God. Good is the Lord, and good is the word of the Lord. And those who will be translated at the close of time, will be those who commune with God on earth.

Sons & Daughters of God, 20



The Lord is Near

"The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call on Him in truth." Psalm 145:18

God is pleased when we keep our faces turned toward the Sun of Righteousness. When we are in trouble and pressed down with anxieties, the Lord is near, and He bids us cast all our care upon Him, because He cares for us. 

 

 

He comes to all His children in their affliction. In time of danger He is their refuge. In sorrow, He offers them joy and consolation. Shall we turn from the Redeemer, the fountain of living water, to hew out for ourselves broken cisterns, which can hold no water? When danger approaches, shall we seek for help from those as weak as ourselves, or shall we flee to Him who is mighty to save? His arms are open wide, and He utters the gracious invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” 

It is not the manifestation of His great and awful majesty and unparalleled power that will leave us without excuse if we refuse Him our love and obedience. It is the love, the compassion, the patience, the long-suffering that He has shown which will witness against those who do not offer Him the willing service of their lives. Those who turn to God with heart and soul and mind will find in Him peaceful security.

He knows just what we need, just what we can bear, and He will give us grace to endure every trial and test that He brings upon us. My constant prayer is for a greater nearness to God.

Every provision has been made to meet the needs of our spiritual and our moral nature. Light and immortality are brought to light through the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus has said that He has set before us an open door, and no man can shut it. The open door is before us, and through the grace of Christ, beams of merciful light stream forth from the [open gates].

Sons & Daughters of God, 19



Your Father Knows What You Need

"Your Father knows what things you have need of before you ask Him." Matthew 6:8

If God, the divine artist, gives to the simple flowers, that perish in a day, their delicate and varied colors, how much greater care will He have for those who are created in His own image?  If men love and obey God, and do their part, God will provide for all their wants. He watches over us with more tenderness than does a mother over an afflicted child. God is a friend in perplexity and affliction, a protector in distress, a preserver in the thousand dangers that are unseen to us.

 

 

God dwells in every abode; He hears every word that is spoken, listens to every prayer that is offered, tastes the sorrows and disappointments of every soul, regards the treatment that is given to father, mother, sister, friend, and neighbor. He cares for our necessities, and His love and mercy and grace are continually flowing to satisfy our need. In His care we may safely rest.

God helps the feeble, and strengthens those who have no strength. In the fields where the trials and the conflicts and poverty are the greatest, God’s workmen must have increased protection. To those laboring in the heat of the conflict, God says, “The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.” 

Our Lord adapts Himself to our special needs. He is a shade on our right hand. He walks close by our side, ready to supply all our necessities. He comes very near to those who are engaged in willing service for Him. He knows every one by name. O what assurances we have of the tender love of Christ!

Sons & Daughters of God, 16



God is My Father

"I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:18

The Creator of the universe addresses you as an affectionate Father. Your heavenly Father proposes to make you a member of the royal family, that through His exceeding great and precious promises you may be a partaker of the divine nature. The more you partake of the character of the pure, sinless angels, and of Christ your Redeemer, the more vividly will you bear the impress of the divine, and the more faint will be the resemblance to the world.

 

 

“I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters...” He promises to be a Father unto you. Oh, what a relationship is this! Higher and holier than any earthly tie. If you make the sacrifice, if you have to forsake father, mother, sisters, brothers, wife, and children for Christ’s sake, you will not be friendless. God adopts you into His family; you become members of the royal household, sons and daughters of the King who rules in the heaven of heavens.

If you call God your Father, you acknowledge yourselves His children, to be guided by His wisdom, and to be obedient in all things, knowing that His love is changeless. You will accept His plan for your life. As children of God, you will hold His honor, His character, His family, His work, as the objects of your highest interest. It will be your joy to recognize and honor your relation to your Father, and to every member of His family.29 {SD 14.4}

God is our Father, a tender parent, solicitous for His spiritual children. He is pledged to be the protector, counselor, guide, and friend, of all who are obedient to Him.

Sons & Daughters of God, 14



He Died So I Can Live

"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [sacrifice] for our sins." 1 John 4:10

In redemption God has revealed His love in sacrifice, a sacrifice so broad and deep and high that it is immeasurable. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son."

 

 

When Adam’s sin plunged the race into hopeless misery, God might have cut Himself loose from fallen beings. He might have treated them as sinners deserved to be treated...He might have removed this dark blot from His universe. But He did not do this. Instead of banishing them from His presence, He came still nearer to the fallen race. He gave His Son to become bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh.

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, ... full of grace and truth.” Christ by His human relationship to men drew them close to God. He clothed His divine nature with the garb of humanity, and demonstrated before the heavenly universe, before the unfallen worlds, how much God loves the children of men. 

The gift of God to man is beyond all computation. Nothing was withheld. God would not permit it to be said that He could have done more or revealed to humanity a greater measure of love. In the gift of Christ He gave all heaven. 

The Highest, who was with the Father before the world was, submitted to humiliation, that He might uplift humanity. Prophecy withdraws the veil, that we may behold the throne of heaven, that we may see upon that throne, high and lifted up, One who in human form, came to our world to suffer, to be lacerated with stripes, and bruised for our iniquities.

Thus God showed His love for man. With Christ He gave all heaven, that the moral image of God might be restored in man. His grace in all its vastness is provided for all.

Sons and Daughters of God, 11



Sons and Daughters of the King

"Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God!" 1 John 3:1

People think it a privilege to see a royal personage, and thousands go great distances to see one. How much greater privilege it is to be sons and daughters of the Most High. What greater privilege could be conferred on us than to be given entrance into the royal family? 

 

 

In order to become the sons and daughters of God, we must separate from the world. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate,” the Lord says, “and I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters.” 

There is a heaven before us, a crown of life to win. But to the overcomer only is the reward given. He who gains heaven must be clothed with the robe of righteousness. “Every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.” In the character of Christ there was no discord of any kind. And this must be our experience. Our lives must be controlled by the principles that controlled His life.

Through the perfection of the sacrifice given for the guilty race, those who believe in Christ, coming unto Him, may be saved from eternal ruin.

Let no one be so deluded by the enemy as to think that it is a condescension for any man, however talented or learned or honored, to accept Christ. Every human being should look to heaven with reverence and gratitude, and exclaim with amazement, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.”

Sons & Daughters of God, pg 8



He is My Savior

"I, even I, am the Lord and besides Me there is no Savior." Isaiah 43:11

No self-assertion mingled with His life. The homage which the world gives to position, wealth, or talent, was foreign to the Son of man. None of the means that men employ to win allegiance or command homage did Jesus use. Centuries before His birth it had been prophesied of Him, “He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.”

 

 

It is fellowship with Christ, personal contact with a living Savior, that enables the mind and heart and soul to triumph over the lower nature. Tell the wanderer of an almighty hand that will hold him up, of an infinite humanity in Christ that pities him.

O, let no word be spoken to cause deeper pain! To the soul weary of a life of sin, but knowing not where to find relief, present the compassionate Savior. Take him by the hand, lift him up, speak to him words of courage and hope. Help him to grasp the hand of the Savior.

There are no barriers which man or Satan can erect but that faith can penetrate. In faith the woman of Phoenicia flung herself against the barriers that had been piled up between Jew and Gentile. Against discouragement, regardless of appearances that might have led her to doubt, she trusted the Savior’s love. It is thus that Christ desires us to trust in Him. The blessings of salvation are for every soul. Nothing but his own choice can prevent any man from becoming a partaker of the promise in Christ by the gospel.

The Desire of Ages, 403



Praying in Christ's Name

"And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." John 14:13

In Christ’s name His followers are to stand before God. Through the value of the sacrifice made for them, they are of value in the Lord’s sight. Because of the imputed righteousness of Christ they are accounted precious. For Christ’s sake the Lord pardons those that fear Him. He does not see in them the vileness of the sinner. He recognizes in them the likeness of His Son, in whom they believe. 

The Lord is disappointed when His people place a low estimate upon themselves. He desires His chosen heritage to value themselves according to the price He has placed upon them. God wanted them, else He would not have sent His Son on such an expensive errand to redeem them. He has a use for them, and He is well pleased when they make the very highest demands upon Him, that they may glorify His name. They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises. 

 

 

But to pray in Christ’s name means much. It means that we are to accept His character, manifest His spirit, and work His works. The Savior’s promise is given on condition. “If ye love Me,” He says, “keep My commandments.” He saves men, not in sin, but from sin; and those who love Him will show their love by obedience. 

All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.

The Desire of Ages, 667-668



Reborn in Jesus

"Having having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever." 1 Peter 1:23

The change of heart by which we become children of God is in the Bible spoken of as birth. Again, it is compared to the germination of the good seed sown by the husbandman. In like manner those who are just converted to Christ are, as “newborn babes,” to “grow up” to the stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. So from natural life, illustrations are drawn, to help us better to understand the mysterious truths of spiritual life.

 

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