A hymn that we sang a lot in the country church where I was raised, is entitled......
Iím pressing on the upward way,
New heights Iím gaining every day;
Still praying as Iím onward bound,
ďLord, plant my feet on higher ground.Ē
Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heavenís table land,
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 Satanís 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 Iíll pray till Heavín Iíve found,
ďLord, plant my feet on higher ground.Ē
Words: Johnson Oatman, Jr.
(We found it interesting that Mr. Oatman died in Norman, Ok. where we live...
even though he was from New Jersey)
Music: Charles H. Gabriel
The 4-H Club in our school was very important as part of our growing up.
One of the mottos was 'To make the best, better'.
Not many people today are living at their best I'm afraid.
They linger in the lowlands...afraid to climb the mountains.
Caleb, who with Joshua, spied out the Promised Land and gave a report of faith.
Later at 85 years of age, Caleb said, "God, give me that mountain".
He was ready to keep climbing.
The question is.....are we?
The purpose of this paper is to lead you (no matter what age) to:
1) reach beyond your reach
2) see beyond your eyesight
3) believe beyond your weakness
4) and never give up....never give up!
The wisdom of the Proverbs says several times:
"There is a way that seems right in man's eyes, but is the way of death/destruction."
A new song on Gaither has become a favorite:
"The God of the good times is still God in the bad.
The God of the mountain is still God in the valley.
The God of the day is still God in the night."
Please remember (and practice) that God's power has not diminished....
His Plans have not changed....
His Promises have not ceased....
And they are equal to His Presence.
Hebrews 11 gives examples of those who (by faith) reached for Higher Ground...
and how they attained it.
1) Abel reached higher with a better sacrifice. He gave what God required.
Charles Swindoll says: "God contradicts our preferences".
The Bible emphasizes that God's Ways are not our ways.
We need to 'alter our altars' and 'sacrifice our sacrifices'.
Cain was interested in the minimum and just 'getting by'.....
whereas Abel was interested in the maximum and going all the way.
Because of this, "Abel though dead, yet his testimony lives on."
Hebrews 11 speaks of:
the sacrifices of Praise....
Thanksgiving and Thanks-living....
that are 'acceptable and pleasing to God'.
2) Enoch reached Higher Spiritual Ground...for he 'walked with God'.
We must all realize that the company we keep will either lead us higher toward God....
or away from God.
Whom you walk with' will determine a lot in your lifetime....for good or for bad.
Acts 9:31 speaks of Christians 'walking in the fear' (respect and reverence) of the Lord...
and in the guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit.
That's a mouth-full, but must become heart and will-full.
3) Noah reached Higher Ground physically....
by spiritually obeying God before the flood came.
He moved with fear and prepared an ark for the safety of his family.
He became an heir of righteousness by faith.
I thank God for Mrs. Noah (though she's not mentioned much) for as the saying goes,
"Behind every good man stands a good woman."
I thank God for the 'Mrs. Noah' in our family (my Moyne) who uses modern means of communication in a very beautiful way of ministry.
(She even clips coupons for our family!)
4) Abraham, who perhaps more than any Old Testament follower of God...
rose higher by faith.
He walked the Road of Obedience all the way!
He was tried and was willing to obey and offer up Isaac, if God required it.
Sarah, likewise obeyed by faith, and was a 'help-meet' for him.
Romans 4: 20- shares what it took for them as they:
'staggered not at the promises of God through unbelief...
but were strong in faith, giving glory to God.'
They were fully persuaded that what God had promised, He would perform!
Hebrews 12:1-4 are the 'keys to climbing higher'.
1) Look back at the Saints of the Bible and the sufficiencies of God.
2) Look within and let God help you be forgiven...
and help you to lay aside the weights that hold you back from climbing.
In order to progress and survive...
many a mountaineer has had to get rid of some weights.
What weights in your life are holding you back?
3) Run with patience (perseverance and steadiness) the whole race.
4) Looking (continuous action) unto Jesus, Who is the Author and Finisher of our Faith.
5) Consider The Cross and all that Jesus went through...
as our example of fulfilling the Will of God.
My parents farmed 160 acres and we 4 sons helped.
The farm was rich loam soil except for about 3 acres in the far southwest corner.
We called that area 'Rock Hill'. It would have made a beautiful place for a new house.
My folks were never able to afford it...
but that dream did not keep them from being their best... becoming better...
and being all that God wanted them to be.
Like the Apostle Paul, they looked for a house...
'not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens'. (II Cor. 5:1)
In the meantime, they made our house a 'home of love' for us...
as well as the next generations of our family.
Likewise La Moyne's family moved from western Oklahoma to Colorado Springs...
for her brother's asthma.
It was not an easy decision to leave their home and her Dad's job...
but otherwise Joe might have died.
Doing God's Will for them involved moving up higher......
and it also became God's Will for La Moyne and me...
as we met in Colorado Springs and were later married there.
One of the songs that we sang in our Youth group in Colorado Springs, was:
"Got any rivers that seem to be uncrossable?
Got any mountains you can not tunnel through?
God specializes in things that seem impossible.
He knows a thousand ways to make a way for you.
Let go and let God have His wonderful way....
Let go and let God have His way.
Your burdens will vanish...your night turn to day.
Let go and let God have His way."
Now at 78 yrs. of age, I may live 20 or more years, but when they lay this body in the grave, I'll be looking in the right direction (higher and better)......
for 'absent from the body is present with the Lord.'
Wonderful Travis. As usual, your writing is a source of inspiration to me and others. I shall surely aim higher and hope to produce more articles than last year and to encourage more persons in their spiritual life and to continue praying for those suffering ill health or sorrow. Thanks to you and LaMoyne.
What a wonderful and glorious article Travis. Ps. 61:2--From the end of the earth I will cry to you, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Thank you so much for your faithfulness. Love to both you and La Moyne