Sunday, May 12, 2013, 5:14 a.m. – I was in bed, but I wasn’t sleeping. I woke about 3:30 a.m. My muscles were hurting. Lots of Christian songs were going through my head, one right after another. Then all of a sudden I had a vision of a new blog post being added on my website, originalworks.info. I saw a picture of an airplane flying (climbing; ascending; soaring) upward. And then the Lord Jesus put this song in my mind: Higher Ground / Johnson Oatman, Jr. / Charles H. Gabriel I’m pressing on the upward way, New heights I’m gaining every day; Still praying as I’m onward bound, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” My heart has no desire to stay Where doubts arise and fears dismay; Though some may dwell where those abound, My prayer, my aim, is higher ground. I want to live above the world, Though Satan’s darts at me are hurled; For faith has caught the joyful sound, The song of saints on higher ground. I want to scale the utmost height And catch a gleam of glory bright; But still I’ll pray till heav’n I’ve found, “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.” Lord, lift me up and let me stand, By faith, on Heaven’s tableland, A higher plane than I have found; Lord, plant my feet on higher ground. http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Higher_Ground/ Yes, Jesus! I pray this song back to you in prayer, for this is what I want for my life. I pray now that you will speak your words to my heart. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. I read Zechariah 8 (NIV): http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Zechariah%208&version=NIV A Set-Back About six months ago the Lord Jesus provided a website for me where I could post the songs and writings he has given to me, and where people can hear the songs and acquire the sheet music to any songs they like. This has been a wonderful blessing! Then, a week ago something happened to the site. About 2.5 weeks of posts just disappeared (about 15 posts). The webmaster and webhost did not know why this happened. I still don’t know what caused it. It appears it may have been human error. So, while I’ve been waiting to learn what happened, and if the site could be restored, I have been holding off posting on the site. And, then I sensed that I needed to move forward, even if the site is not restored. So, I contacted my webmaster who then contacted the webhost, and now I’m waiting to hear back from the webhost. So, this was on my mind when I went to bed. Our Jealous God Jerusalem had fallen to the king of Babylon nearly 70 years prior to this writing in Zechariah, it appears. The Lord had disciplined his people because of their rebellious hearts and their refusal to listen to him, because he was jealous for them, and his desire was for them to have him as their only God. Yet, now God was encouraging his people to rebuild the temple of the Lord which was destroyed in the Babylonian invasion. Yet, the people faced much opposition to the rebuilding of this temple, so the Lord encouraged them to let their hands be strong so that the temple may be built. The temple today is the church, the body of Christ. It is no longer a physical building, but a spiritual one. It, too, has suffered a Babylonian invasion of sorts. The world system has mostly consumed much of today’s church here in America. Worldly philosophies and marketing schemes for how to build big businesses often supersede the word of God in our churches. The gospel of Jesus Christ has been diluted in order to appeal to the flesh of mankind, and many of our “worship” services are like theatre productions. Holiness and purity, and honor, respect, reverence, and the awe of God have taken a back seat to fun and entertainment and to making everyone feel comfortable and not offended. God is once again jealous for his people. Jesus Christ is supposed to be the church’s only husband and Lord; God is to be her only God. Yet, she has followed after other lovers of pride, idolatry, witchcraft, subliminal messages, manipulation, lies, deceptions, cover-ups, entertainment, self-pleasure and self-gratification. Church has become something you attend instead of it being a body of people who love the Lord Jesus, who meet together to edify and encourage one another. The church has become big business, and a social club, which is completely open to the world and appeals to the world through worldly methods. There is only one true way the world can come into the church, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ – through death to sin, and through obedience to Christ and his commands – by God’s grace in providing salvation for us through Jesus’ death for our sins on a cross. Yet, today’s church works hard at attracting the world to the church organization so that the world will enjoy coming to the meetings and participating in its events. So, the church has become a mixture of Christianity and the world, and God is not pleased. Instead, the church is supposed to meet to help strengthen and encourage one another in the faith so that we can go out to the world and share with them the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Strong Hands Upon the promise that the Lord would return to his temple and of a future restoration, the people of God were to let their hands be strong and build the temple. They needed this encouragement because they were allowing opposition to discourage them and some were falling back into a spirit of complacency and were more concerned about their own houses than they were the house of the Lord (see Haggai). So, God was telling them not to be afraid, but to let their hands be strong. He said that these were the things they must do: “’Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts; do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely. I hate all this,’ declares the Lord… ‘Love truth and peace.’” When reading the book of Isaiah again a few months ago, I was convinced even more than ever before that so much of this writing is concerning Jesus Christ, our Messiah and Savior, his life and ministry, his death and resurrection, the life of the church at the end of the age, the judgments of God during the time known as the Tribulation, Jesus’ return for his bride and his kingdom reign on the earth for 1,000 years. I believe the word of God, especially in the book of Isaiah, teaches that in these last days God will once again judge his people because of their idolatry and spiritual adultery. The purpose in his divine discipline will be the same as it has always been – to get his people to return to him as their only God so that he can restore them and renew them to a right relationship with him. Once that happens, then they will go forth with the gospel of Jesus Christ and many people from all nations will flock to Jesus Christ, his gospel and to salvation. I believe that is what is being taught here in Zechariah 8, too, so with that promise of a future restoration of the church (revival; an awakening), and the promise and hope that many people from all nations will come to Jesus Christ because they heard that God is with us, we need to persevere in building God’s temple, too. Only the way in which we build is not with human hands building a physical edifice, but with repentance, reverence for God, obedience to his commands, love for our fellow humans, sharing the true gospel, and by encouraging one another in the faith to walk humbly before our God. In this process of building God’s temple – our own personal lives and relationships with Jesus Christ and the life of the true church – we will face obstacles and opposition along the way. And, that is what I was experiencing with the disappearance of these 15 or so posts on the website and with no recovery in site. Though God allowed it to happen, Satan was using it to try to halt the building of God’s temple in my life, and through my life and witness for Jesus Christ. So, my Lord Jesus was encouraging me this morning to soar on the heights, to keep pressing on and upward, and to not let this discourage or dishearten me in any way. So, he was saying to me, “Don’t be afraid! Let your hands be strong so that the temple” (the church; my life) may be built (developed; nurtured; molded) by the working of God’s Holy Spirit within me, by his grace, and through faith that soars above doubts and fear. Thank you, Jesus, for these wonderful words of encouragement from your word and in song!