He will go out before God in the spirit and power of Elijah—to reconcile fathers and children, and bring back the disobedient to the wisdom of good men—and he will make a people fully ready for their Lord. Luke 1:17, Phillips.
God had called the son of Zacharias to a great work, the greatest ever committed to men…. John was to go forth as Jehovah’s messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God’s requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God. In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness.
In the time of John the Baptist, greed for riches, and the love of luxury and display had become widespread. Sensuous pleasures, feasting and drinking, were causing physical disease and degeneracy, benumbing the spiritual perceptions, and lessening the sensibility to sin. John was to stand as a reformer. By his abstemious life and plain dress he was to rebuke the excesses of his time. Hence the directions given to the parents of John,—a lesson of temperance by an angel from the throne of heaven….
In preparing the way for Christ’s first advent, he was a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord’s second coming. The world is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Satan’s snares for destroying are multiplied. All who would perfect holiness in the fear of God must learn the lessons of temperance and self-control. The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God’s word. For this reason temperance finds its place in the work of preparation for Christ’s second coming.
Conflict and Courage p. 271
—–Please pray for my son. L
—–Please pray for a decision that must be made by the family. B
A few months ago, I was reminiscing about my childhood friend Janie. I mentioned her in a Facebook post on Vanished Kalamazoo and someone wrote me and told me that she was doing well and lived in a nearby small town near Kalamazoo. I responded by asking the person to give Janie my contact info. Either she forgot to do so, or Janie didn’t remember me. Even if she forgot me, I remember her as a sad little girl who felt unloved and unwanted. Sadly that seemed to be true.
Janie lived in an alley behind my grandparents’ house. She was a year younger than I and we played together nearly every day. Behind our house was an unused lot which I would cross to get to Janie’s. There was a white picket fence at the end of the alley. Since a couple of the boards were missing, I would squeeze through the open space, then walk past Dale’s house to Janie’s. Poor Janie. She lived with her grandmother just like I did, but, unlike me, her grandmother resented having to raise another child and was very mean to her. Often she would beat Janie across her back and leave deep bruises.
On one such occasion I found a very tearful Janie cowering in the field. My sympathetic heart went out to my little friend. Taking her by the hand, I led her to my mother who was sitting on the steps of the side porch. I looked up at her and said, “Janie needs a rock.” My mother was puzzled. Why would I tell her that Janie needed a stone. There were plenty of rocks around and if she needed one, all she’d have to do was pick one up. She asked me what I meant. I explained that Janie’s grandmother had beaten her and she needed to be cuddled and rocked to feel better. Then my mother understood and gave her the comfort that she needed.
There are many times that we, ourselves, need comforting. There are times when we feel forsaken, friendless and alone. But we are not alone: we are not forsaken. We have a “Friend Who sticketh closer than a brother.” Prov 18:24. We have a Dear Saviour Who promises, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you, and ye shall be comforted.” “I, even I, am he that comforteth you.” Isa 66:13, 51:12 “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Heb 13:5
Praise God! We have the assurance, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” Ps 27:10 At times we may be tempted to think, “The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.” Isa 49:14 But He, Who loves us with an everlasting love, will never forsake us. He will never forget us. He assures us, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands, thy walls are continually before me.” verses 15, 16
Think of it! Our Loving Redeemer left the glories of Heaven where He was worshipped and adored, came down to this rebellious planet, suffered all abuse that wicked men could heap upon Him and allowed them to nail Him to the cross to redeem us from the hand of the enemy that we might dwell with Him forevermore. What love! What wondrous love! It is beyond comprehension. Yea, it will be our study through all eternity. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 2 Cor 1:3,4 His Great Arms of Love are even now outstretched to receive us. With pleading voice, He calls, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear, and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Matt 11:28-30, Rev 3:18-21
Let us open the door of our heart to Him now. Let His merciful kindness be our comfort. Let us accept His tender mercies that He so freely offers that our heart may be in tune with His Great Heart of Love is my prayer.