Lord, Lead Me on to Higher Ground!

I’m pressing on the upward way,

Still praying as I’m onward bound,

New heights I’m gaining every day;

“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.

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.”

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Join the Fellowship of the Burning Heart

 At the end of September last year, as I was moving from Lafayette, Indiana to our retirement home in Owasso, Oklahoma, not wanting to be retired, I was driving and praying, “Lord, what do You want for me now?” During those hours, over and over again came to my mind and heart two themes, “Rekindle” and A.W. Tozer’s words “Fellowship of the Burning Heart.” 

Yes, that was and is my desire, to be rekindled, to be an instrument of the Spirit to rekindle others, and to rekindle a fellowship of the burning heart.

What is the fellowship of the burning heart? Tozer explained. “I am looking for the fellowship of the burning heart. Men and women of all generations and everywhere that love the savior until ‘adoration’ has become the new word and they do not have to be entertained or amused. This Christ was everything. He was their all in all…. I am looking for men and women who are lost in worship, those who love God until He is the sweetheart of the soul.”

Tozer was recalling Resurrection Day, when two disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus. Jesus, newly resurrected from the dead, joined them, engaging in lengthy conversation about Himself—yet they did not recognize Him. They invited Him into their home to eat with them, and as He broke the bread their eyes were opened, they recognized Him, and He disappeared. In awe they responded, “Were our hearts not burning within us when He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:32).

How often is Jesus walking with us and talking with us? Our hearts are burning within us, but we do not recognize Him. This is what John Wesley was talking about when he spoke of his transforming encounter with Jesus, saying, “My heart was strangely warmed and I knew that I did trust Christ.”

Tozer again writes, “In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct ‘interpretations’ of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water.”

I am praying for the Holy Spirit to rekindle afresh in me that burning heart of deep intimate communion with Jesus. Is that your prayer as well? I have sensed the Lord stirring in my heart to begin a fellowship of the burning heart—perhaps a Zoom fellowship group for deep Bible teaching, kinship together in the Spirit, ministering to one another, praying for that burning heart to be rekindled in each of us.

If you would like to be part of such a Zoom “Fellowship of the Burning Heart,” let me know, and what times might be good for you. If there is interest and we can find a good time for several people, I will set up a Zoom meeting in the near future. You can reply on this blog, or on Facebook Messenger, or my email address: paulkingministries@gmail.com.

Make this prayer of Tozer your own:

O God, I have tasted Your goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want You; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Your glory, I pray, that so I may know You indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up, My love, My fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow You up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Seeing When You Are Blind

Every time I sing the old hymn “Blessed Assurance,” I feel as though Fanny Crosby is right there singing it along with me from the heavenly choir, mentoring me in the Spirit through her words, inspired by her love for Jesus. For those of you who might not know, Frances (Fanny) Crosby was a 19th century blind poet, hymnwriter, and mission worker who wrote thousands of hymns, and even penned poems for several presidents.

Although Fanny certainly had her faults, a difficult marriage, and the tragic loss of an infant daughter, she was a woman who enjoyed intimate fellowship with Jesus as God, Savior and Friend. This song and others she wrote, such as “Draw Me Nearer” and “To God Be the Glory” are filled with the depths and heights of worship. She spent time in the throne room, even while here on earth, basking in the Presence of Jesus, the King of Kings.

Fanny was friends with famous 19th century Methodist evangelists Dr. Walter and Phoebe Palmer, and their daughter Phoebe Palmer Knapp, who was a composer. She had written a tune in 1873 that she played for Fanny. Fanny had already composed these words of “Blessed Assurance” and they fit perfectly together. I invite you to sing and meditate on these words:

“Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;

Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!”

Fanny not only had received Jesus Christ as her Savior, but she had received the blessed assurance of her salvation that the old time Methodists (and Puritans) talked about—the witness of the Spirit—like John Wesley experienced when his “heart was strangely warmed,” and he knew in his heart of hearts that he trusted Christ. Later Methodists like John Fletcher and Phoebe Palmer called it the baptism in the Spirit.

As Fanny meditated on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, she was inspired to write of that assurance which was revealed to her as a “foretaste of glory divine”:

“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Fanny then put to poetry the rich theology of Paul’s letter, summing up the great truths of being born again by the Holy Spirit, redeemed and cleansed by blood of Jesus, and now heirs of a royal inheritance through Christ:

Heir of salvation, purchase of God,

Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.”

But no, there’s more:  “Perfect submission, perfect delight,. . .”

Fanny had experienced the wonderful truth of perfect submission to God bursting forth into perfect delight. Her next words is utterly amazing when you realize that Fanny is blind:

Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

As Fanny’s biographer, Edith Blumhoffer, put it, “She sees with her heart.” Jesus, when He healed the blind man, spoke of the Pharisees, who though they could see were really blind. Here is a woman who is blind, but who really sees. Fanny may have missed out on physical joys of sight, but how many of us have had visions of rapture burst on our sight? How many of us have seen angels descending?

Even though blind, Fanny had dreams and visions, mystical experiences from God. I wondered how a blind person could experience dreams and visions until I pastored Arise Christian Fellowship, where one of our members was blind. She told me about dreams and visions in her mind. I dedicate this blog to her—Debbie Morgan.

“Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.”

These old saints of the faith like Fanny talked about “the rest of faith,” not struggling to believe, but having such trust in God and submission to His care, that they could rest without fear or anxiety. Charles Spurgeon explains, “Faith is the giving up of self-reliance and independence and the resting of the soul upon Him. . . . He that believes shall be quiet, calm, collected, assured, confident.” 

Fanny writes, “I IN my Savior am happy and blest.” This is also one of the repeated themes in Ephesians, being “IN Christ.” As long as we are abiding in Christ, we are at rest and are happy and blest. But Fanny also knew from experience that when we step out of our position in Christ, or forget our position in Christ, fear and anxiety and turmoil overwhelm us.

But as long as we keep watching, fixing our eyes on Jesus and are patiently waiting on Him, we are filled with His goodness and are lost in His love. What rich, deep, yet practical, theology set to poetic verse, coming from Fanny’s heart out of her intimate fellowship with Jesus, even through the tough times of life.

I pray that you may experience that assurance, that rest, that peace and love and joy in Jesus.

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In Times Like These

In 1943, Ruth Jones, a pastor’s wife, was reading the newspaper filled with reports of World War 2 and the casualty lists, rationing, fear, and discouragement. She picked up her Bible and read 2 Timothy 3:1, “In the last days perilous times shall come.” A self-taught musician without formal music training, she began to pen some words and sat down at her organ, putting together a tune that would become a worldwide classic.

She and her husband Bert Jones started a radio program in Erie, Pennsylvania, called “A Visit with the Jones,” then began to do traveling evangelistic ministry. I remember them coming to the church in which I grew up, and they sang this song. It was even published in our teen songbook Youth Favorites. 

In 1968, I was privileged to sing in the Billy Graham Crusade Choir when George Beverly Shea sang this song. This song is timeless for all time, and timely, especially today:

In times like these, you need a Savior, 

in times like these, you need an anchor;

be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds 

and grips the Solid Rock!

This Rock is Jesus, Yes, He’s the One.

This Rock is Jesus, the only One.

Be very sure, be very sure,

your anchor holds, and grips the Solid Rock.

In times like these, you need the Bible, 

in times like these, O be not idle!

Be very sure, be very sure, your anchor holds 

and grips the Solid Rock.

In times like these, I have a Savior, 

in times like these, I have an anchor;

I’m very sure, I’m very sure, my anchor holds 

and grips the Solid Rock. 

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George Mueller—My Mentor in Faith

George Mueller is known worldwide as “The Apostle of Faith” of the 1800s. His life has impacted thousands and perhaps millions. Charles Spurgeon and J. Hudson Taylor were personally mentored by Mueller and patterned their lives and ministries after Mueller’s principles. Others who followed his faith principles included diverse spiritual leaders from all backgrounds: Oswald Chambers, author of My Utmost for His Highest; Amy Carmichael, missionary to India; Bill Gothard’s Institute in Basic Life Principles; Kenneth Hagin from the Word of Faith movement, just to name a few. 

Mueller visited A.B. Simpson, founder of The Christian and Missionary Alliance, and told him that his Fourfold Gospel of Jesus Christ as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming, “was definitely from God and he should never change its mold.”

Mueller moved from Germany to London to do Jewish evangelism and ended up living a life of total faith trusting God for everything. He pastored, evangelized, and started orphanages, and trusted God to provide. Hundreds of times, he explained, he would sit down at the dinner table thanking God for the food, when there was no food in the house. But then then there would be a knock on the door—and the food was there. He said that only once in 50 years did he have to wait half an hour for the food to arrive.

When I first read The Autobiography of George Mueller, I thought to myself, “I can’t live that kind of a life of faith.” But George Mueller said that he lived his life of faith to show that it can be done by any believer. I was challenged to begin to take steps of faith as Mueller suggested. When I read it again 20 years later, I thought to myself again, “I can’t live that kind of a life of faith.” 

But then I realized, maybe I have not lived the life of faith to the extent Mueller lived, but I have lived a much greater life of faith because of Mueller’s challenge. I certainly do not do it perfectly, and I have fallen and failed many times, but I have gotten back up again.

He was so immersed in the Word of God that sometimes he would read through the Bible four times in one year. When he was doing Jewish evangelism, he memorized large portions of the Old Testament in Hebrew (something I have never been able to do even after 3 years of Hebrew study). He was saturated in Scripture, bathed in prayer. His example challenged me to read through the Bible every year. Although I have missed a few, or it has taken me more than a year, I have been able to do so more than 40 times (I have lost count). My life has been enriched by receiving the Word implanted (James 1:21).

Some of Mueller’s principles that impacted my life include:

  1. Believe that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8)
  2. Don’t start big; start small with “faith-sized” prayers—what you can believe for, then increase that—exercise the muscles of your faith—believe for more. Pray for $50, then when God answers that prayer, believe for $100, etc.
  3. Give abundantly—he said that we shouldn’t look at tithing as a legalistic debt we owe, but rather the beginning point of generosity.
  4. Stay out of debt, “Owe no man anything” (Romans 13:8).
  5. Faith is increased by saturation in the Word of God (James 1:21).

He also taught me a lot about guidance and hearing from the Lord about decision-making. He would always prayerfully list and weigh the pros and cons of a decision, sometimes spending a day or week in prayer. 

  1. Is it God’s work? Is it something God wants done? Is it a good thing or a God thing?
  2. Is it my work? Is it something God wants me to do? Has He called me to it, or someone else. God told David that his son would build the temple, not him.
  3. Is it God’s timing? Does God want it done now? Or later? What stage or priority is it in God’s “to do” list.
  4. Is it God’s way? God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Where we often miss it is in God’s timing or God’s way. We have heard from God that He wants it done and wants us to do it. But we get ahead of God, or we plunge forward with what we think is God’s way, not what we have heard from God that it is His way. George Mueller continues to mentor me through his example and his words.

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The Journey of the Incredible Christian

A.W. Tozer describes the paradoxes of the Higher Life of The Incredible Christian:

That Incredible Christian believes that in Christ he has died, yet he is more alive than before and he fully expects to live forever. He walks on earth while seated in heaven and though born on earth He finds that after his conversion he is not at home here. 

Like the nighthawk, which in the air is the essence of grace and beauty but on the ground is awkward and ugly, so the Christian appears at his best in the heavenly places but does not fit well into the ways of the very society into which he was born.

The Christian soon learns that if he would be victorious as a son of heaven among men on earth he must not follow the common pattern of mankind, but rather the contrary. 

That he may be safe he puts himself in jeopardy; he loses his life to save it and is in danger of losing it if he attempts to preserve it. He goes down to get up. If he refuses to go down he is already down, but when he starts down he is on his way up. He is strongest when he is weakest and weakest when he is strong. 

Though poor he has the power to make others rich, but when he becomes rich his ability to enrich others vanishes. He has most after he has given most away and has least when he possesses most. 

He may be and often is highest when he feels lowest and most sinless when he is most conscious of sin. He is wisest when he knows that he knows not and knows least when he has acquired the greatest amount of knowledge. 

He sometimes does most by doing nothing and goes furthest when standing still. In heaviness he manages to rejoice and keeps his heart glad even in sorrow. He believes that he is saved now; nevertheless he expects to be saved later and looks forward joyfully to future salvation. 

He fears God but is not afraid of Him. In God’s Presence he feels overwhelmed and undone, yet there is nowhere he would rather be than in that Presence.

He knows that he has been cleansed from his sin, yet he is painfully conscious that in his flesh dwells no good thing. He loves supremely One whom he has never seen, and though himself poor and lowly he talks familiarly with One who is King of all kings & Lord of all lords. 

He feels that he is in his own right altogether less than nothing, yet he believes without question that he is the apple of God’s eye and that for him the Eternal Son became flesh and died on the cross of shame.

The cross-carrying Christian is both a confirmed pessimist and an optimist like found nowhere else on earth. When he looks at the cross he is a pessimist, for he rejects every human hope outside of Christ because he knows that man’s noblest effort is only dust building on dust. Yet he is calmly, restfully optimistic, for the resurrection of Christ guarantees the ultimate triumph of good throughout the universe. 

Through Christ all will be well at last and the Christian waits the consummation.

Incredible Christian!

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Join Me in the Journey in the Higher Life!

Greetings and Happy New Year!  As we start this new year, the Lord has put on my heart to rekindle afresh the life of the Spirit and the calling He has put upon my life to press lead others into the higher and deeper life in Christ—to press on for the high calling of God to “Come Up Higher”!

I retired last fall from full-time pastoring, but as there is no such thing as retirement for a minister of the gospel, I like to consider myself as “semi” retired. One of my mentors has told me that I belong not just to one local church, but to the entire body of Christ. As another has said, quoting John Wesley, “the world is my parish.” So now I am a pastor to the church at large and a pastor to pastors.

I am not a techie and I am not up on the latest techniques of mastering ministry via social media, so I may not yet have the finesse and polish to do this flawlessly, but I will be obedient to the Lord to share what He puts on my heart.

So I invite you on this journey to a higher life in Jesus Christ—the Apostle Paul’s desire in Philippians 3:10-14, to know Jesus and to know Him and love Him more intimately, more fully, more deeply, to know the power of His resurrection more intimately, more fully, more deeply, to know what it is to share His sufferings more intimately, more fully, more deeply, in order to life that resurrection life—to live in the heavenly places while are feet are still stuck in the muck on this earth.

I will share posts and videos, on this Facebook page and others—Higher Life Alliance Heritage, Rekindle the Flame & blogs at kingsroundtable.wordpress.com. 

I would like to put together Zoom meetings and Bible studies. If you are interested or have ideas of things you would like me to share, please let me know. I invite you to join what A.W. Tozer calls “The Fellowship of the Burning Heart.”—a heart burning for God.

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Silence in Heaven

“”When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. “–Revelation 8:1

I have just spent a wonderful half hour of silence with the Lord. I began doing that on quarterly retreats a couple of years ago, and the insights I receive from the Lord and the inspiration and productivity of the Holy Spirit are amazing. Sometimes there are things that I cannot share, but the Lord has impressed me to share with you just a little of what I have seen freshly in this time today.

For many of us, silence for half an hour seems virtually impossible. We have people to see, things to do, kids to care for, phone calls and emails to answer, etc. But if there was silence in heaven, it must be significant. How can we even imagine silence in heave for half an hour? And even if it happens in heaven, how do we do it on earth?

In some environments, it may be impossible to have total silence, but we can tune out the noise, the static, the interruptions–have a spiritual white noise machine, as it were. The way Susanna Wesley did it with 16 children was to put an apron over her head–her children knew not to bother her time with the Lord when the apron was over her head.

How can we get the silence today? Turn off the radio, the TV, the MP3 player, the cell phone, close the laptop, find a little corner somewhere, or even just sit in our car–there are any number of ways.

A half hour of silence seems an awful long time. What will we do? “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Or as Martin Luther would phrase it, “Be silent and let God mold you.”

In the silence this morning, God brought to my mind when I would take my young son to the barber to get his haircut, he would wiggle. The barber would say, “Be still,” but he would continue to wiggle. He would wiggle so much that inevitably the barber would make a slip and cut some hair he didn’t intend to cut. Then he or she would have to reshape the haircut. Sometimes we are so wiggly with God and won’t be still with Him that that molding becomes misshapen with nicks not intended by God at all, but we have brought it on ourselves.

Sometimes the silence also reveals things we have not heard before. A couple of nights ago it was raining real hard, so much so that it woke me up in the middle of the night. And then it stopped. Everything got silent. and then I heard a faint scratching sound. Then it stopped. I waited in silence. Then the scratching started again. I realized it was a mouse in our house taking refuge from the storm. I would not have known about the mouse without the silence. Sometimes to “be still and know God” means knowing God’s exposing Presence, in the silence exposing what needs to be removed from our lives.

God revealing who He is today. He is the gentle exposer. Yahweh Rohe—the God who sees. God sees so much—in fact, everything. He sees our past, present and future. He watches out for us—He sees what we need and provides. He sees our sin and gently exposes it, brings it to the surface, brings it to the light to deal with it.

Create some time to be still and know God today. If a half hour is too hard, start with 5 or 10 minutes, then build up to half an hour over time. Usually it takes me a couple of days to decompress before the insights start to flow, but then they gush forth from the Holy Spirit–out of our inmost being shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-39).

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A PRAYER FOR THE NEW YEAR–by A.B. Simpson

What shall I ask for the coming year?

What is Your will to do?

What would You do for me, dear Lord?

How can I best serve You?

Lord, I would ask for a holy year,

Spent in Your perfect will;

Help me to walk in Your very steps—

Help me to please You still.

Lord, I would ask for a trustful year;

Humble, and yet so high;

Help to bow at Your holy feet, 

And in Your presence lie.

Lord, I would ask for a year of faith;

Give me Your faith divine,

Taking my full inheritance,

Making Your fullness mine,

Lord, I would ask for a year of love,

That I may love You best;

Give me the love that fails not, 

Under the hardest test.

Lord, I would ask for a busy year,

Filled up with service true;

Doing with all Your Spirit’s might

All that I find to do.

Lord, I would ask for a year of prayer—

Teach me to walk with You;

Breathe in my heart Your Spirit’s breath;

Fill me with Your power to do.

Lord, I would ask for a dying world;

Stretch forth Your mighty hand;

Scatter forth Your Word—Your power display

This year in every land.

Lord, I would ask for a year of joy,

Your peace, Your joy divine,

Springing undimmed through all the day,

Whether of shade or shine.

Lord, I would ask for a year of hope,

Looking for You to come,

And hastening on that year of years,

That brings us Christ and Home.

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