Daily taking up His Cross

Posted Aug 27, 2011 by Mark A Hornbeck in Family and Community Hits: 5,951

This week I posted a few thoughts on our ITH web ministries group site. I admonished the members in the group to remember how Jesus needs each of us who have been blessed, not only the truth concerning the Father and Son but also with the conviction to follow it, to pray and work for the salvation of all who are within the organized SDA church and still deceived. I then gave evidence by Bible and inspiration, thru the use of type and antitype, showing how our heavenly father still loves His bride in spite of her backslidings. As a result of these posts, I received several pointed and unpleasant accusations relating to how my linage must be tied directly to Satan and that I was his servant by not condemning the SDA “whore”. The emails dripped with accusation, bitterness, and the spirit of the “Accuser of the brethren”.

The immediate human reaction was to instantly feel personally attacked. I began to judge the individual by their statements and felt the need to defend myself and God’s Bride. Armed with the truth and the scriptures to back it up, I set out to eviscerate them with the truth. But as I began to type up a response, by the grace of Jesus, I knew that my heart was not in the right place. It was as if our Lord said in my heart, “I died for them too. Would you die for them also?” I paused and prayerfully deliberated on what the Lord was asking me.

As I considered this question, I looked deep inside praying that God would help me see myself as He does. I did not like the answer. Would I allow myself to be whipped, forced to carry a cross, taken onto a hill top, and allow myself to be nailed to a cross by these very men? Would I go ever further, risking my eternal life, placing it in the balances, just to save one of them? Could I love them unceasingly, even if they were mocking me and nailing my hands and feet to a cross? As I weighed out the truth of these questions, the answer ate at my very core. I would like to say yes, I would like to believe the answer is yes, but the truth was probably no! It was then that I was again reminded of how much I need the sanctifying work of Jesus in my heart. It is so easy to slip and even without realizing it began to measure ourselves compared to others who are struggling rather than by the only true measure which is Christ Jesus.

Although I will probably be judged by some for using this quote, I am reminded of the quote given by the 19th century Anglican bishop Handley Moule, “The harlot, the liar, the murderer, are short of [that glory]; but so are you. Perhaps they stand at the bottom of a mine, and you on the crest of an Alp; but you are as little able to touch the stars as they.” We all equally need God's forgiving grace and transforming power in our lives. If we are each honest with ourselves, we will find that the parable of the servant who was forgiven the huge debt applies to us. How often have we judged our fellow man by his failures while forgetting our own huge failures that our Lord forgave us.

“When trouble comes upon us, how often we are like Peter! We look upon the waves, instead of keeping our eyes fixed upon the Saviour. Our footsteps slide, and the proud waters go over our souls. Jesus did not bid Peter come to Him that he should perish; He does not call us to follow Him, and then forsake us. "Fear not," He says; "for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour." Isaiah 43:1-3.  Jesus read the character of His disciples. He knew how sorely their faith was to be tried. In this incident on the sea He desired to reveal to Peter his own weakness,--to show that his safety was in constant dependence upon divine power. Amid the storms of temptation he could walk safely only as in utter self-distrust he should rely upon the Saviour. It was on the point where he thought himself strong that Peter was weak; and not until he discerned his weakness could he realize his need of dependence upon Christ. Had he learned the lesson that Jesus sought to teach him in that experience on the sea, he would not have failed when the great test came upon him. {DA 382}

As we near the end of this earth’s history, these tests will come upon us more and more. More and more will be needed the refining fire of our Lord's presence in our hearts to subdue self and cause us to rest in the merits of Jesus and allow His strength to be our strength. We can only do this if we start each day with our best friend and die in Him that He might live in us. In our communications this week together, I believe that Adrian was correct when he shared with us, “I sense as you do that the final events are soon to unfold upon us. I have found sweet peace and joy kneeling before our Father in the Most Holy Place. I so want my character to be pure and white. I feel the urgency to wash our robes thoroughly and completely. I want to walk with our Jesus in the earth made new.”

Satan will seek to show us our weaknesses and have us take our eyes off of Jesus. But remember the following promise and hang on to Jesus whith your eyes fully fixed on Him. He promises that if we lift Him up, we will be drawn to him.

“Jesus knows the circumstances of every soul. You may say, I am sinful, very sinful. You may be; but the worse you are, the more you need Jesus. He turns no weeping, contrite one away. He does not tell to any all that He might reveal, but He bids every trembling soul take courage. … He is today standing at the altar of incense, presenting before God the prayers of those who desire His help. The souls that turn to Him for refuge, Jesus lifts above the accusing and the strife of tongues. No man or evil angel can impeach these souls. Christ unites them to His own divine-human nature. They stand beside the great Sin Bearer, in the light proceeding from the throne of God.” DA 569 Follow Him into the most holy place, and no one can snatch you from Him.

The last great events are before us. All things are in place. The great deception is soon to be released into the world. Will you recognize the voice of your redeemer and be able to follow him through the maze of final deceptions? If we are in Christ, then in that day we will know that He is in the Father, and the Father is within Him and that they are within us. “He (we) that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." (Psa 91:1)