Advancing

Let’s collect some clichés:

  • Time marches on.
  • The times they are a changin’.
  • You can’t stop progress.
  • Life is passing you by.
  • This train has left the station.
  • If you are standing still, you are going backwards.

All of these timeworn phrases express a cynical view of the relentless advancement of the years.

There is another phrase that is filled with faith and optimism:

The Kingdom of God is advancing.

Two Inevitable Spirals

  • The Outpouring of the Spirit: There is nothing the enemies of God can do to stop the unfolding of God’s plan in the earth.  What God has promised, He will do.  He has promised a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the days of the New Covenant (Joel 2:28-32) and it is happening.  Each passing day advances the cause of the Kingdom—to seek and save lost things and destroyed people–by the grace of Jesus, the love of the Father and the power of the Spirit.
  • The Great Falling Away: The apostle Paul warned of a downward spiral that will happen at the same time as the upward spiral of the Kingdom of God.  “The great falling away,” he called it. (2 Thess 2:1-12) He also warned that events would advance toward the revelation of the Man of Sin and lead to the final conflict between God and Satan.  Long before that moment of revelation, the spirit of iniquity, of lawlessness would advance through the world.

In a very real sense, each day offers us a choice. 
Which cause will we advance today?

  • Will we pray, read the Word, love God, love people, listen to God’s voice, and obey the Spirit as we interpret the world around us?
  • Or, will we yield to temptation, fulfill the lust of the flesh, feed the pride of life, and look for leverage with the lustful eyes as we advance the cause of error, waste, and destruction in the world around us?

The choice is ours.  Will we yield our bodies as instruments of righteousness or implements of violence?

The enemy is advancing. So is the Kingdom of God.
It is not difficult to detect the advancing forces of iniquity, deception, and violence in the world.  The advancing forces of righteousness, truth, and healing are more difficult to see.  Righteousness does not make headlines.  Deeds of mercy seldom go on trial to grab the attention of the nation.  Truth telling is most often done quietly, one-to-one, in the dynamics of personal relationships.

As spiritual people following the Lord Jesus, we need to look for the advancing cause of the Kingdom of God and join the quite parade of mercy.  Let us hear the drumbeat of the Spirit and get in step.

Scriptures:
Joel 2:28-32
‘And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 NKJV
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Romans 6:12-14  NKJV
Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.  And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Ephesians 5:15-16; Col 4:5-6 NKJV
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, Today I want to advance with You. Let me share Your inevitable progress toward the consummation of all things. Shield me from the snares of the enemy; show me his devices; uncover his subterfuge. Give me strength for ascent of Zion today as I climb the Hill of God to stand in the Holy Place. Give me endurance to run the race with patience. At the end of this day that You have made, let me be in a different place than when it began. Help me find higher ground! Amen.

Song:
Higher Ground
Words: Johnson Oatman, Jr.; Music: Charles H. Gabriel

1. 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.”

Refrain:
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.

2. 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.

Refrain

3. 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.

Refrain

4. 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.”
Refrain

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

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