I have talked to you about how a true man is a servant king.
Jesus, a Once and Future King in the best tradition of an Arthur, of an
Aragorn, was that kind of man. Certainly
Jesus was the man’s Man who all other men and legends point to:
“The whole life of Christ had been a life of unselfish service. ‘Not to be ministered unto, but to minister,’ (Matt. 20:28), had been the lesson of His every act.”
try to teach his disciples and us that lesson He did something pretty mind
blowing to men at the last supper:
“The disciples made no move toward
serving one another. Jesus waited for a time to see what they would do. Then He,
the divine Teacher, rose from the table. Laying aside the outer garment that
would have impeded His movements, He took a towel, and girded Himself. With
surprised interest the disciples looked on, and in silence waited to see what
was to follow. "After that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash
the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was
girded." This action opened the eyes of the disciples. Bitter shame and
humiliation filled their hearts. They understood the unspoken rebuke, and saw
themselves in altogether a new light.”
What is hard for us to understand is
that almighty God, being the greatest and mightiest of all, is actually also the
servant of all. But didn’t Jesus
say that the first shall be last and the last shall be first and that
“whosoever of you the greatest, shall be the servant of all.”?
“Christ would have His disciples
understand that although He had washed their feet, this did not in the least
detract from His dignity. "Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for
so I am." And being so infinitely superior, He imparted grace and
significance to the service. No one was so exalted as Christ, and yet He stooped
to the humblest duty. That His people might not be misled by the selfishness
which dwells in the natural heart, and which strengthens by self-serving, Christ
Himself set the example of humility. He would not leave this great subject in
man's charge. Of so much consequence did He regard it, that He Himself, One
equal with God, acted as servant to His disciples. While they were contending
for the highest place, He to whom every knee shall bow, He whom the angels of
glory count it honor to serve, bowed down to wash the feet of those who called
Him Lord. He washed the feet of His betrayer.
In His life and lessons, Christ has
given a perfect exemplification of the unselfish ministry which has its origin
in God. God does not live for Himself. By creating the world, and by upholding
all things, He is constantly ministering for others. "He maketh His sun to
rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the
unjust." Matt. 5:45. This ideal of ministry God has committed to His Son.
Jesus was given to stand at the head of humanity, that by His example He might
teach what it means to minister. His whole life was under a law of service. He
served all, ministered to all. Thus He lived the law of God, and by His example
showed how we are to obey it.”
Don’t ever forget that God, the mightiest of all, is also the servant of all and so we must live that way too.
Sometimes life is scary—full of
impossible battles and towering barricades.
When this is what you see all around you, you need to take a look at the
story of the Israelites conquest of Bashan as they were heading for the Promised
“Filled with hope and courage, the
army of Israel eagerly pressed forward, and, still journeying northward, they
soon reached a country that might well test their courage and their faith in
God. Before them lay the powerful and populous kingdom of Bashan, crowded with
great stone cities that to this day excite the wonder of the
world--"threescore cities . . . with high walls, gates, and bars; besides
unwalled towns a great many." Deuteronomy 3:1-11. The houses were
constructed of huge black stones, of such stupendous size as to make the
buildings absolutely impregnable to any force that in those times could have
been brought against them. It was a country filled with wild caverns, lofty
precipices, yawning gulfs, and rocky strongholds. The inhabitants of this land,
descendants from a giant race, were themselves of marvelous size and strength,
and so distinguished for violence and cruelty as to be the terror of all
surrounding nations; while Og, the king of the country, was remarkable for size
and prowess, even in a nation of giants.
But the cloudy pillar moved forward,
and following its guidance the Hebrew hosts advanced to Edrei, where the giant
king, with his forces, awaited their approach. Og had skillfully chosen the
place of battle. The city of Edrei was situated upon the border of a tableland
rising abruptly from the plain, and covered with jagged, volcanic rocks. It
could be approached only by narrow pathways, steep and difficult of ascent. In
case of defeat, his forces could find refuge in that wilderness of rocks, where
it would be impossible for strangers to follow them.
Confident of success, the king came
forth with an immense army upon the open plain, while shouts of defiance were
heard from the tableland above, where might be seen the spears of thousands,
eager for the fray. When the Hebrews looked upon the lofty form of that giant of
giants towering above the soldiers of his army; when they saw the hosts that
surrounded him, and beheld the seemingly impregnable fortress, behind which
unseen thousands were entrenched, the hearts of many in Israel quaked with
That sounds pretty hopeless to me.
I would be scared spitless! Would
you or I trust in God if we were them?—regardless of what our senses told us?
(Mine would be saying something like, “RUN!!!”)
“But Moses was calm and firm; the
Lord had said concerning the king of Bashan, "Fear him not: for I will
deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do
unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon."
(God had promised His people that if they would obey His voice He would go
before them and fight for them; and He would also send hornets to drive out the
inhabitants of the land.)
The calm faith of their leader inspired
the people with confidence in God. They trusted all to His omnipotent arm, and
He did not fail them. Not mighty giants nor walled cities, armed hosts nor rocky
fortresses, could stand before the Captain of the Lord's host. The Lord led the
army; the Lord discomfited the enemy; the Lord conquered in behalf of Israel.
The giant king and his army were destroyed, and the Israelites soon took
possession of the whole country. Thus was blotted from the earth that strange
people who had given themselves up to iniquity and abominable idolatry.”
That is totally wicked!
Amazing! How could it happen
except by the might of God. “Some
trust in horses—some trust in chariots—but we trust in the name of the Lord
our God!” Ps 20:7 “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
So what should we learn here about the
battles in our lives that look insanely impossible?
“This experience has a lesson for us.
The mighty God of Israel is our God. In Him we may trust, and if
we obey His requirements He will work for us in as signal a manner as He did for
His ancient people. Everyone who seeks to follow the path of duty will at times
be assailed by doubt and unbelief. The way will sometimes be so barred by
obstacles, apparently insurmountable, as to dishearten those who will yield to
discouragement; but God is saying to such, Go forward. Do your duty at any
cost. The difficulties that seem so formidable, that fill your soul with
dread, will vanish as you move forward in the path of obedience, humbly
trusting in God.”
So, what do you say?
I say “Lets draw our swords and charge!
The enemy looks horrible and scary but in reality, if God is with us, he
is just a paper tiger!
“Men of Gondor and Rohan, my brothers! I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me. A day may come when the courage of Men fails… when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship… but it is not this day. An hour of wolves and shattered shields when all hope comes crashing down, but it is NOT this day! This day, we fight! For all that you hold dear, stand, Men of the West! “; - Aragorn, at the Black Gate
Impossibilities—what brings them closer to home than the story of David and Goliath?
Of course, you know the story very
well. I have a favorite author that
tells the story real well. She
says, “Though Saul had given David permission to accept Goliath's challenge,
the king had small hope that David would be successful in his courageous
undertaking. Command was given to clothe the youth in the king's own armor. The
heavy helmet of brass was put upon his head, and the coat of mail was placed
upon his body; the monarch's sword was at his side. Thus equipped, he started
upon his errand, but erelong began to retrace his steps. The first thought in
the minds of the anxious spectators was that David had decided not to risk his
life in meeting an antagonist in so unequal an encounter. But this was far from
the thought of the brave young man. When he returned to Saul he begged
permission to lay aside the heavy armor, saying, "I cannot go with these;
for I have not proved them." He laid off the king's armor, and in its stead
took only his staff in his hand, with his shepherd's scrip and a simple
Then he advances on the enemy:
“Choosing five smooth stones out of
the brook, he put them in his bag, and, with his sling in his hand, drew near to
the Philistine. The giant strode boldly forward, expecting to meet the mightiest
of the warriors of Israel. His armor-bearer walked before him, and he
looked as if nothing could withstand him.”
How would you feel at this point?
That giant looks big, mean and impossible to defeat!
And it’s going to get worse:
“As he came nearer
to David he saw but a stripling, called a boy because of his youth. David's
countenance was ruddy with health, and his well-knit form, unprotected by armor,
was displayed to advantage; yet between its youthful outline and the massive
proportions of the Philistine, there was a marked contrast.
Goliath was filled with amazement and
anger. "Am I a dog," he exclaimed, "that thou comest to me with
staves?" Then he poured upon David the most terrible curses by all the gods
of his knowledge. He cried in derision, "Come to me, and I will give thy
flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field."
What kind of courage would it take to stand your ground? Remember now, it is not that David wasn’t afraid: he was! The famed WWI flying ace Eddie Rickenbacher said it best (and I think he knew what he was talking about!), “Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared.”
“David did not weaken before the
champion of the Philistines. Stepping forward, he said to his antagonist:
"Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I
come to thee in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel,
whom thou hast defied. This day will the Lord deliver thee into mine hand; and I
will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcasses of
the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild
beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saveth not with sword and spear:
for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands."
There was a ring of fearlessness in his
tone, a look of triumph and rejoicing upon his fair countenance. This speech,
given in a clear, musical voice, rang out on the air, and was distinctly heard
by the listening thousands marshaled for war.”
Wow! In acting on his trust in God, his fear turned to
fearlessness and the face of eminent defeat turned to triumph and
rejoicing—even before the victory was certain!
I don’t think Goliath is going to be very happy!
“The anger of Goliath was roused to
the very highest heat. In his rage he pushed up the helmet that protected his
forehead and rushed forward to wreak vengeance upon his opponent. The son of
Jesse was preparing for his foe. "And it came to pass, when the Philistine
arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward
the army to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand in his bag, and took
thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in the forehead, that the
stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth."
What a shocker!
Nobody expected this—the least of all Goliath.
I think it kind of ruined his day! I
mean his life!
“Amazement spread along the lines of
the two armies. They had been confident that David would be slain;
but when the stone went whizzing through the air, straight to the mark, they saw
the mighty warrior tremble, and reach forth his hands, as if he were struck with
sudden blindness. The giant reeled, and staggered, and like a smitten oak, fell
to the ground. David did not wait an instant. He sprang upon the prostrate form
of the Philistine, and with both hands laid hold of Goliath's heavy sword. A
moment before, the giant had boasted that with it he would sever the youth's
head from his shoulders and give his body to the fowls of the air. Now it was
lifted in the air, and then the head of the boaster rolled from his trunk, and a
shout of exultation went up from the camp of Israel.”
So, is this what happens when we trust
in God? Yeah—like clockwork.
Even when God’s heroes are killed, that just means the victory will be
We need to learn what David learned.
Listen to him in Psalm 56:3-4. “When I am afraid, I will trust in You.
In God, whose word I praise. In
God I have put my trust; I shal not
We read this chapter
when you were down last time. As I
was reading it trough again, it struck me what Jesus felt like as he paid the
price for our sins:
“He felt that by sin He was being
separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His
spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to
escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man's sin. As man He must
endure the wrath of God against transgression.
Christ was now standing in a different
attitude from that in which He had ever stood before. His suffering can best be
described in the words of the prophet, "Awake, O sword, against My
shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts."
Zech. 13:7. As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering
under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an
intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.
As Christ felt His unity with the
Father broken up, He feared that in His human nature He would be unable to
endure the coming conflict with the powers of darkness……With the issues
of the conflict before Him, Christ's soul was filled with dread of separation
from God. Satan told Him that if He became the surety for a sinful world,
the separation would be eternal. He would be identified with Satan's kingdom,
and would nevermore be one with God.
And what was to be gained by this
sacrifice? How hopeless appeared the guilt and ingratitude of men! In its
hardest features Satan pressed the situation upon the Redeemer: The people who
claim to be above all others in temporal and spiritual advantages have rejected
You. They are seeking to destroy You, the foundation, the center and seal of the
promises made to them as a peculiar people. One of Your own disciples, who has
listened to Your instruction, and has been among the foremost in church
activities, will betray You. One of Your most zealous followers will deny You.
All will forsake You. Christ's whole being abhorred the thought. That those whom
He had undertaken to save, those whom He loved so much, should unite in the
plots of Satan, this pierced His soul. The conflict was terrible.
Its measure was the guilt of His nation, of His accusers and betrayer, the guilt
of a world lying in wickedness. The sins of men weighed heavily upon Christ,
and the sense of God's wrath against sin was crushing out His life.
Behold Him contemplating the price to
be paid for the human soul. In His agony He clings to the cold ground, as
if to prevent Himself from being drawn farther from God. The chilling dew of
night falls upon His prostrate form, but He heeds it not.”
“Turning away, Jesus sought again His
retreat, and fell prostrate, overcome by the horror of a great darkness. The
humanity of the Son of God trembled in that trying hour. He prayed
not now for His disciples that their faith might not fail, but for His own
tempted, agonized soul. The awful moment had come--that moment which was to
decide the destiny of the world. The fate of humanity trembled in the balance.
Christ might even now refuse to drink the cup apportioned to guilty man. It was
not yet too late. He might wipe the bloody sweat from His brow, and leave man to
perish in his iniquity. He might say, Let the transgressor receive the penalty
of his sin, and I will go back to My Father. Will the Son of God drink the
bitter cup of humiliation and agony? Will the innocent suffer the consequences
of the curse of sin, to save the guilty? The words fall tremblingly from the
pale lips of Jesus, "O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me,
except I drink it, Thy will be done."
What is His decision?
“Three times has He uttered that
prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But
now the history of the human race comes up before the world's Redeemer. He sees
that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees
the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of
a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His
decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His
baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life.
He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to
save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And
He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race
that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission:
"If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be
What did it do to Him?
“Having made the decision, He
fell dying to the ground from which He had partially risen. Where now
were His disciples, to place their hands tenderly beneath the head of their
fainting Master, and bathe that brow, marred indeed more than the sons of men?
The Saviour trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with
is this gift of death that God gives us?
“In his books, JRR Tolkien seeks to
justify the ways of God to man, especially the way that man finds hardest, the
gift of death. Without death, man could not achieve the greatest love, that of
self-sacrifice, to die for another, as God himself chose to do. God allowed
death in the world so that he, too, could die and give his life to and for his
The hero descends into death and is
wounded forever, but his very wounds are his glory, a testimony to a merciful
love that goes through and beyond death. The Lamb is victorious, and his
victory is that he now stands forever as one slain.”
Leon J. Podles
Behold Him, wounded forever—the Lamb
slain from the foundation of the world. But
in this He is forever victorious.
In essence Jesus chose to die forever
so that we could live forever—an incredible gift of death and love.
Who in the universe can understand it?
That is why John simply cries out for us just to look at it:
what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called
the sons of God.”
Seeing the incredibly unbelievable
price that has been paid for us, how can we say no to this Man?
Is it really a hard
thing to come to God? Or has God
made it easy to understand? Jesus
explained it to Nicodemus one night—do you remember the first thing He said?
verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the
kingdom of God." John 3:3
Nicodemus didn’t understand what metaphor did Jesus use to describe how the
was still perplexed, and Jesus used the wind to illustrate His meaning:
"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but
canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is
born of the Spirit."
The wind is heard among the branches of
the trees, rustling the leaves and flowers; yet it is invisible, and no man
knows whence it comes or whither it goes. So with the work of the Holy Spirit
upon the heart—it can no more be explained than can the movements of the wind.
A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or to trace all the
circumstances in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be
unconverted. By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working
upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver,
impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received
through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing
the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more
direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is
called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of
God,--a patient, protracted process.
While the wind is itself invisible,
it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon
the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power.
When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life.
Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and
peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness,
and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that
lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The
blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power
which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God.
It is impossible for finite minds
to comprehend the work of redemption. Its mystery exceeds human knowledge;
yet he who passes from death to life realizes that it is a divine reality.
The beginning of redemption we may know here through a personal experience. Its
results reach through the eternal ages.”
But how is this
change accomplished in our lives?
“Jesus answered the unspoken
question: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must
the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish,
but have eternal life."
Here was ground with which Nicodemus
was familiar. The symbol of the uplifted serpent made plain to him the Saviour's
mission. When the people of Israel were dying from the sting of the fiery
serpents, God directed Moses to make a serpent of brass, and place it on high in
the midst of the congregation. Then the word was sounded throughout the
encampment that all who would look upon the serpent should live. The people well
knew that in itself the serpent had no power to help them. It was a symbol of
Christ. As the image made in the likeness of the destroying serpents was lifted
up for their healing, so One made "in the likeness of sinful flesh"
was to be their Redeemer. Rom. 8:3. Many of the Israelites regarded the
sacrificial service as having in itself virtue to set them free from sin. God
desired to teach them that it had no more value than that serpent of brass. It
was to lead their minds to the Saviour. Whether for the healing of their wounds
or the pardon of their sins, they could do nothing for themselves but show their
faith in the Gift of God. They were to look and live.
Those who had been bitten by the
serpents might have delayed to look. They might have questioned how there could
be efficacy in that brazen symbol. They might have demanded a scientific
explanation. But no explanation was given. They must accept the word of God to
them through Moses. To refuse to look was to perish.
Not through controversy and discussion
is the soul enlightened. We must look and live.”
Did Nicodemus finally understand?
“When at last Jesus was lifted up on
the cross, Nicodemus remembered the teaching upon Olivet: "As Moses lifted
up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that
whosoever believeth in Him should
not perish, but have eternal life." The light from that secret interview
illumined the cross upon Calvary, and Nicodemus saw in Jesus the world's
You have heard the story of Jonathan’s valor; trust in God and loyal friendship. Because of my admiration of Jonathan, there is one quote by Ellen White that I have always loved:
“On the record of those who
through self-abnegation have entered into the fellowship of Christ's sufferings,
stand--one in the Old Testament and one in the New-- the names of
Jonathan and of John the Baptist.
Jonathan, by birth heir to
the throne, yet knowing himself set aside by the divine decree; to his rival the
most tender and faithful of friends, shielding David's life at the peril of his
own; steadfast at his father's side through the dark days of his declining
power, and at his side falling at the last--the name of Jonathan is
treasured in heaven, and it stands on earth a witness to the existence and the
power of unselfish love.”
Wow! That is a powerful tribute! I think it is good to take a long look at this great champion for God and think how we might live our lives in the same way.
Now you can really see how much I love Joseph since I am writing about him twice. But I wanted to talk about how God works His surprising and mysterious ways into the extraordinary plan He has for each of our lives.
White says, “God permits us to encounter obstacles, persecutions and
hardships, not as a curse, but as the greatest blessing of our lives.”
Up front, that isn’t very comforting. However, Joseph’s life was full of disappointments and trials but in the end we see that God was in control all along and that nothing happened in his life that wasn’t necessary in God’s overall plan. So all the trials and disappointments, the injuries that enemies and even friends inflict upon us, the hardships of life and its deprivations, the grief and sorrows we must bear, the heartbreaks and losses we experience, all have their mission from God to prepare us to carry out His plan for our lives.
This all looks pretty scary to me. How about you? Can we really trust God with every part of our lives?
Most definitely! God’s overall supervision in our lives is flawless. Every link of the chain is fitted into its own place with most delicate and timely precision. No development comes a moment too soon. Not one is allowed to lag and arrive too late. The providences of God are like the nature of God. There are no haphazard movements in His works. The great orbs in space—sun, moon, stars, eclipses, and conjunctions can be and are calculated a thousand years ahead and known to the minutest fraction of a second. Never does the sun come up too late. Never does a star set too early. All movements are under divine control. In the providential arrangements presided over by God for all His works, everything has its fixed time. And the clock of God is always right—never a second slow and never a second fast. In all His creation chance plays no part.
So, there is no situation, no mater how desperate from which God cannot speedily deliver us. When God’s time has come He can make every difficulty vanish. He can cause every barrier to disappear. Nothing, literally nothing, can stand in the way of the carrying out of His purpose, the fulfillment of His will. It does not matter that you see no way out of a completely hopeless condition. God can see what you cannot see. Your extremity is His opportunity. God is never at a loss for means by which to help you.
Joseph was a man sent from God—a man with a mission—a transcendent cause. So are you. So am I. Will we join the company who have gone before us—Moses, Joshua, Daniel, Jeremiah, Abraham Lincoln, William Miller, CS Lewis, King Arthur, Winston Churchill, Ben Carson…and the list goes on? If we choose this road less traveled, we will find that God has a definite plan for us also.
This plan is unique and just as important as any other. It is a lie from the enemy that you are insignificant. What else could you be but a main man? There is no other man who can replace you in your life, in the arena you’ve been called to. If you leave your place in the line, it will remain empty. You are the hero of your own story.
I say we face our fears, trust God, take courage and join the ranks of God’s mighty men!
As you know, the story of Joseph is my favorite in the bible. In it we get a better idea what good character and loyalty to God look like in real life.
How important is an upright character?
“An upright character is of greater
worth than the gold of Ophir. Without it none can rise to an honorable
eminence. But character is not inherited. It cannot be bought. Moral
excellence and fine mental qualities are not the result of accident. The most
precious gifts are of no value unless they are improved. The formation of a
noble character is the work of a lifetime and must be the result of diligent
and persevering effort. God gives opportunities; success depends upon the
use made of them.”
How was Joseph enabled to make such a record of firmness of character, uprightness and wisdom?
“In his early years he had consulted
duty rather than inclination; and the integrity, the simple trust, the noble
nature, of the youth bore fruit in the deeds of the man. A pure and simple life
had favored the vigorous development of both physical and intellectual powers.
Communion with God through His works and the contemplation of the grand truths
entrusted to the inheritors of faith had elevated and ennobled his spiritual
nature, broadening and strengthening the mind as no other study could do.
Faithful attention to duty in every station, from the lowliest to the most
exalted, had been training every power for its highest service. He who lives in
accordance with the Creator's will is securing to himself the truest and noblest
development of character. "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to
depart from evil is understanding." Job 28:28.
There are few who realize the influence
of the little things of life upon the development of character. Nothing with
which we have to do is really small. The varied circumstances that we meet day
by day are designed to test our faithfulness and to qualify us for greater
trusts. By adherence to principle in the transactions of ordinary life, the mind
becomes accustomed to hold the claims of duty above those of pleasure and
inclination. Minds thus disciplined are not wavering between right and wrong,
like the reed trembling in the wind; they are loyal to duty because they have
trained themselves to habits of fidelity and truth. By faithfulness in that
which is least they acquire strength to be faithful in greater matters.”
What is one of the best practical ways
to keep from sin and stay loyal to God?
“If we were to cherish an habitual
impression that God sees and hears all that we do and say and keeps a faithful
record of our words and actions, and that we must meet it all, we would fear to
sin. Let the young ever remember that wherever they are, and whatever they do,
they are in the presence of God. No part of our conduct escapes observation. We
cannot hide our ways from the Most High.”
Do you want to be a tender warrior—a
servant king? Do you want to be a
noble, honorable man—a knight in shining armor? Then you must learn, like Joseph, to be loyal to God.
Has life ever scared
you? Has temptation ever attacked
you? Has your life ever seemed like
a tumultuous convulsion?
I love Ellen
Whites description of the disciples in such a position:
“The sun had set, and the blackness
of night settled down upon the stormy sea. The waves, lashed into fury by the
howling winds, dashed fiercely over the disciples' boat, and threatened to
engulf it. Those hardy fishermen had spent their lives upon the lake, and had
guided their craft safely through many a storm; but now their strength and
skill availed nothing. They were helpless in the grasp of the tempest, and
hope failed them as they saw that their boat was filling.
Absorbed in their efforts to save
themselves, they had forgotten that Jesus was on board. Now,
seeing their labor vain and only death before them, they remembered at whose
command they had set out to cross the sea. In Jesus was their only hope.
In their helplessness and despair they cried, "Master, Master!" But
the dense darkness hid Him from their sight. Their voices were drowned by the
roaring of the tempest and there was no reply. Doubt and fear assailed them. Had
Jesus forsaken them? Was He who had conquered disease and demons, and even
death, powerless to help His disciples now? Was He unmindful of them in their
Again they call, but there is no answer
except the shrieking of the angry blast. Already their boat is sinking. A
moment, and apparently they will be swallowed up by the hungry waters.
Suddenly a flash of lightning pierces
the darkness, and they see Jesus lying asleep, undisturbed by the tumult. In
amazement and despair they exclaim, "Master, carest Thou not that we
perish?" How can He rest so peacefully, while they are in danger and
battling with death?
Their cry arouses Jesus. As the
lightning's glare reveals Him, they see the peace of heaven in His face; they
read in His glance self-forgetful, tender love, and, their hearts turning to
Him, cry, "Lord, save us: we perish."
Never did a soul utter that cry
unheeded. As the disciples grasp their oars to make a last effort,
Jesus rises. He stands in the midst of His disciples, while the tempest rages,
the waves break over them, and the lightning illuminates His countenance. He
lifts His hand, so often employed in deeds of mercy, and says to the angry sea,
"Peace, be still."
The storm ceases. The billows sink to
rest. The clouds roll away, and the stars shine forth. The boat rests upon a
quiet sea. Then turning to His disciples, Jesus asks sorrowfully, "Why are
ye fearful? have ye not yet faith?" Mark 4:40.”
Does this ever happen to you and I?
“How often the disciples' experience
is ours! When the tempests of temptation gather, and the fierce lightnings
flash, and the waves sweep over us, we battle with the storm alone, forgetting
that there is One who can help us. We trust to our own strength
till our hope is lost, and we are ready to perish. Then we remember
Jesus, and if we call upon Him to save us, we shall not cry in vain.
Though He sorrowfully reproves our unbelief and self-confidence, He never
fails to give us the help we need. Whether on the land or on the sea, if
we have the Saviour in our hearts, there is no need of fear. Living faith in the
Redeemer will smooth the sea of life, and will deliver us from danger in the way
that He knows to be best. “
He is always just waiting for us to
Have you wondered
sometimes whether this conflict between Jesus and satan has all that much to do
with you? I mean, you are a pretty
good person—what is the big deal? Maybe
Jesus had to worry about temptation but why should I?
One of my
favorite authors says, (the rest of the quotes on the page are by her)
“But within the
domain of every human heart this controversy is repeated. Never does one
leave the ranks of evil for the service of God without encountering the assaults
of Satan. The enticements which Christ resisted were those that we find
it so difficult to withstand. They were urged upon Him in as much greater degree
as His character is superior to ours.”
OK, it is clear
that we will be attacked by satan just like Jesus was when we choose to live for
God. When will these attacks are
most likely to hit us?
“It was in
the time of greatest weakness that Christ was assailed by the fiercest
temptations. Thus Satan thought to prevail. By this policy he had gained the
victory over men. When strength failed, and the will power weakened, and faith
ceased to repose in God, then those who had stood long and valiantly for the
right were overcome. Moses was wearied with the forty years' wandering of
Israel, when for the moment his faith let go its hold upon infinite power. He
failed just upon the borders of the Promised Land. So with Elijah, who had stood
undaunted before King Ahab, who had faced the whole nation of Israel, with the
four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal at their head. After that terrible day
upon Carmel, when the false prophets had been slain, and the people had declared
their allegiance to God, Elijah fled for his life before the threats of the
idolatrous Jezebel. Thus Satan has taken advantage of the weakness of humanity.
And he will still work in the same way. Whenever one is encompassed with
clouds, perplexed by circumstances, or afflicted by poverty or distress, Satan
is at hand to tempt and annoy.”
satan tempt us?
“To men he
offers the kingdom of this world on condition that they will acknowledge his
supremacy. He requires that they sacrifice integrity, disregard conscience,
indulge selfishness. Christ bids them seek first the kingdom of God, and His
righteousness; but Satan walks by their side and says: Whatever may be true in
regard to life eternal, in order to make a success in this world you must serve
me. I hold your welfare in my hands. I can give you riches, pleasures, honor,
and happiness. Hearken to my counsel. Do not allow yourselves to be carried away
with whimsical notions of honesty or self-sacrifice. I will prepare the way
before you. Thus multitudes are deceived. They consent to live for the service
of self, and Satan is satisfied. While he allures them with the hope of worldly
dominion, he gains dominion over the soul. But he offers that which is not his
to bestow, and which is soon to be wrested from him. In return he beguiles them
of their title to the inheritance of the sons of God.”
resist him by ourselves?
“In our own
strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature.”
How do we
resist him then?
“And how this is accomplished, Christ
has shown us. By what means did He overcome in the conflict with Satan? By the
word of God. Only by the word could He resist temptation. "It is
written," He said. And unto us are given "exceeding great and precious
promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having
escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4.
Every promise in God's word is ours. "By every word that proceedeth out of
the mouth of God" are we to live. When assailed by temptation, look not to
circumstances or to the weakness of self, but to the power of the word. All its
strength is yours. "Thy word," says the psalmist, "have I hid in
mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee." "By the word of Thy
lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer." Ps. 119:11; 17:4.”
has bidden us, "Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."
Mark 14:38. Meditation and prayer would keep us from rushing unbidden into the
way of danger, and thus we should be saved from many a defeat.”
“So we may resist temptation,
and force Satan to depart from us. Jesus gained the victory through submission
and faith in God, and by the apostle He says to us, "Submit yourselves
therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God,
and He will draw nigh to you." James 4:7, 8. We cannot save ourselves from
the tempter's power; he has conquered humanity, and when we try to stand in our
own strength, we shall become a prey to his devices; but "the name of
the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe."
Can satan force us?
“The tempter can never compel us to
do evil. He cannot control minds unless they are yielded to his control. The
will must consent, faith must let go its hold upon Christ, before Satan can
exercise his power upon us. But every sinful desire we cherish affords him a
foothold. Every point in which we fail of meeting the divine standard is an open
door by which he can enter to tempt and destroy us.”
What must satan do if we resist him?
“Satan trembles and flees before the
weakest soul who finds refuge in that mighty name.”
“Satan had questioned whether Jesus
was the Son of God. In his summary dismissal he had proof that he could not
gainsay. Divinity flashed through suffering humanity. Satan had no power to
resist the command. Writhing with humiliation and rage, he was forced to
withdraw from the presence of the world's Redeemer. Christ's victory was
as complete as had been the failure of Adam.”
The most important thing is to spend
time talking to God and reading/memorizing His Word.
Then we will be able to give Him our will, claim His Word and satan has
to flee. Yeah, writhing in humiliation and rage too!
There is a song by a Christian artist,
Steven Curtis Chapman that I really like:
“I can do all things through Christ
who gives me strength
But sometimes I wonder what He can do
No great success to show—no glory of
Yet in my weakness He is there to let
strength is perfect when our strength is gone
you when you can’t carry on
Raised in His
power the weak become strong
is perfect…His strength is perfedt.”
We can only know the power that He
When we truly see how deep our weakness
His strength in us begins where ours
comes to an end
He hears our humble cry and proves
strength is perfect when our strength is gone
you when you can’t carry on
Raised in His
power the weak become strong
is perfect…His strength is perfedt.”
One of my favorite stories in the bible
is the story of Jairus and his dying daughter. I can see the grief in Jairus’ eyes as he turns away from
Jesus in hopelessness on hearing that his daughter is dead. But, “The word
caught the ear of Jesus. ‘Fear not,’ He said; ‘believe only, and she shall
be made whole.’
Jairus pressed closer to the Saviour,
and together they hurried to the ruler's home. Already the hired mourners and
flute players were there, filling the air with their clamor. The presence of the
crowd, and the tumult jarred upon the spirit of Jesus. He tried to silence them,
saying, "Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but
sleepeth." They were indignant at the words of the Stranger. They had seen
the child in the embrace of death, and they laughed Him to scorn. Requiring them
all to leave the house, Jesus took with Him the father and mother of the maiden,
and the three disciples, Peter, James, and John, and together they entered the
chamber of death.
Jesus approached the bedside, and,
taking the child's hand in His own, He pronounced softly, in the familiar
language of her home, the words, "Damsel, I say unto thee, arise."
Instantly a tremor passed through the
unconscious form. The pulses of life beat again. The lips unclosed with a smile.
The eyes opened widely as if from sleep, and the maiden gazed with wonder on the
group beside her. She arose, and her parents clasped her in their arms, and wept
Jesus words to Jairus remind me of His
words to Martha when she doubted his power:
“Christ reproved Martha, but His
words were spoken with the utmost gentleness. "Said I not unto thee, that,
if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" Why should
you doubt in regard to My power? Why reason in opposition to My requirements?
You have My word. If you will believe, you shall see the glory of God. Natural
impossibilities cannot prevent the work of the Omnipotent One. Skepticism and
unbelief are not humility. Implicit belief in Christ's word is true humility,
true self-surrender.” DA 535
Jesus power is so totally and way far
beyond our comprehension that sometimes it is hard for us to believe.
But believe we must and ask Him to help our unbelief because if we will
trust in Him, He always comes through!
Many lepers came to Jesus for healing and also those with other crippling diseases. Jesus healed them all. But what was harder for Jesus to heal and cleanse?
disease, however malignant and deep-seated, was healed by the power of Christ;
but the disease of the soul took a firmer hold upon those who closed their eyes
against the light. Leprosy and palsy were not so terrible as bigotry and
What was all the physical healings of
Jesus a illustration of?
“The work of Christ in cleansing the
leper from his terrible disease is an illustration of His work in cleansing the
soul from sin. The man who came to Jesus was "full of leprosy." Its
deadly poison permeated his whole body. The disciples sought to prevent their
Master from touching him; for he who touched a leper became himself unclean. But
in laying His hand upon the leper, Jesus received no defilement. His touch
imparted life-giving power. The leprosy was cleansed. Thus it is with the
leprosy of sin—deep-rooted, deadly, and impossible to be cleansed by human
power. "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of
the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and
bruises, and putrefying sores." Isa. 1:5, 6. But Jesus, coming to dwell in
humanity, receives no pollution. His presence has healing virtue for the sinner.
Whoever will fall at His feet, saying in faith, "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou
canst make me clean," shall hear the answer, "I will; be thou made
clean." Matt. 8:2, 3
How quickly will Jesus heal us if we
come to Him with our bruised and wounded hearts?
“In some instances of healing, Jesus
did not at once grant the blessing sought. But in the case of leprosy, no sooner
was the appeal made than it was granted. When we pray for earthly blessings, the
answer to our prayer may be delayed, or God may give us something other than we
ask, but not so when we ask for deliverance from sin. It is His will to cleanse
us from sin, to make us His children, and to enable us to live a holy life.
Christ "gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this
present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father." Gal. 1:4.
And "this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything
according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever
we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him." 1 John
5:14, 15. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9.
we ask, Jesus will always heal our sinful hearts. He will never forsake us.