TruthInvestigate

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thy mercy held me up

“Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; Thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me Thy comforts delight my soul.” (Ps. 94:17-19). “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Ps. 27:13).

In a world of self-preservation, grace is well-nigh extinct. To love another, even a stranger, to the extent that his defects of character are overlooked in the effort to help and uplift, is far from the norm.

It’s no wonder that so many are filled with anxiety and many families are dysfunctional. They are slowly being driven to insanity. Grace has not been part of their emotional, psychological, and intellectual development. America is an empire about to crumble. Its society has been spiritually and emotionally malnutritioned and its social and moral infrastructure is deficient of the most rudimentary building blocks.

The weight of the whole world rests upon it; impossible responsibilities press down on America’s shoulders. The metaphorical description of ancient Babylon is the perfect description of the United States. “The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.” (Dan. 4:12). No nation or empire has ever survived the breakdown of the family and the indulgence of wealth, luxury, and appetite. And yet, in spite of the fact that it was God who raised up America for His last day purposes and the abundant evidence of America’s soon demise because it failed in His purpose for it, the Americans’ boast is the same as Nebuchadnezzar’s, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” (Vs. 30).

But this present condition cannot last. We need to see God’s mercy, His comfort and goodness toward us. Otherwise, our steps will slide into oblivion. We are only creatures; He is the Creator, the only self-existent One. We are only children in need of love; He is our Father, the God of love. What we need is the sincere milk of His word.

“Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts…. He shall bring forth…with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace.” (Zech. 4:6,7).

Without the God of grace, our souls will dwell in silence. We must have grace to dispel our aggravating pride and lack of trust. Anxiety has led the past two whole generations to tranquilize themselves with everything from street drugs to medications to alcohol to food. Even our entertainment serves to help us forget our misery; but to avail. Grace is the only antidote. God’s grace.

This Babylon is about to fall. It’s going to come tumbling down upon everyone’s heads; but you can avoid it. Get with Jesus and learn of Him for He is meek and lowly of heart and you will finally find rest for your soul.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The fan is in His hand

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” (Heb. 12:2). “Ye are complete in Him.” (Col. 2:10).

One thing can be said of our Lord in His most Holy Place—our salvation is completely His work; He will do it all.

He is “a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31). “He shall be a priest upon His throne…” (Zech. 6:13). He is the lawgiver and enforcer. He commands and convicts of sin. But He is also the grace-giver and our Mediator. Both law and grace are bound up in His propitiation.

He is our Master and our Friend. And in the way He gives law and grace, there is no conflict. In His Fatherhood, both His Law and His grace compliment and supplement each other; thus, “the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zech. 6:13). No other combination can empower us to step out of the mire of sin we are in. In His hand, “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” (Ps. 85:10). He drives us and draws us to Himself. He pushes and He pulls. He is behind us and before us; our leader and our rear guard. He is the true Shepherd with a rod and a staff. How can we lose eternity if we keep coming to Him and stay with Him?

He mans the broom and He holds the dustpan. And we are the dust that He is gathering in to His Father. If it weren’t for the broom, the dust would never end up in the dustpan. “He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.” (Ps. 103:14). How much life is in dust? How much strength? Zero.

The dust cannot get in the dustpan of its own will or power. Neither can we get into the heavenly kingdom without the King’s help. It is an impossibility. Our sinful natures oppose that pure kingdom of righteousness. He has to get us there if we are ever to end up there. The heavenly Alchemist determines to transform dirt into gold filings. He must be able.

The words of the law make the sinner tremble. “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor” and “He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” But His promise calms the humbled and stricken soul, “and He will…gather His wheat into the garner.” (Matt. 3:11,12). As we spend time with our law-enforcement Officer, we come to see the peace and gentleness of His ultimate purposes. The King of conviction is also the Prince of comfort.

Will we trust Him in His work of perfecting holiness in us, of enforcing His Father’s Law for our sake? Will we trust that He has our benefit in mind? As a mediator, He must have both parties’ interest in mind—the great Sovereign of the universe and also His rebellious children, who are deceived and caught up in a controversy, shaking their fist at their Father’s government. Has He been fair in His dealings with us? Have we deserved the troubles that He has permited? Were our spankings warranted? Is He really working in our behalf? Has He proven Himself to be our very best friend? Can we trust Him?

A deeper study into the Lord’s work indicates that our troubles which He takes responsibility for actually come from the enemy. He encourages, He admonishes and warns us. But if we will be willful and stubborn, He will let us have our way, as embarrassing and painful as this is to Him. But He is not the one who drums up the troubles; it actually comes from the wolves in sheeps’ clothing. It’s our peers and so called friends and confidants who step in between us and our true Friend in the heavens, and who steer us away from the Master of grace and purity.

“Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers…for they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish.” (Jer. 27:9,10).

“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed My people; Ye have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord. And I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.” (Jer. 23:1-3).

I had a friend from England, named Jane. She made me laugh one day when I saw her sweeping the floor. In America we sweep by moving the broom from side to side so that we don’t get any dirt on our shoes. But, not so in England. They have the habit to carefully pull the dirt toward themselves. That is so much like Jesus. He doesn’t throw us around here and there. All His law-enforcement has one purpose; He will gently and thoughtfully bring us to Himself.

“I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.” (Ez. 34:16).

“In that day, saith the Lord, will I assemble her that halteth, and I will gather her that is driven out, and her that I have afflicted; and I will make her that halted a remnant, and her that was cast far off a strong nation: and the Lord shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth, even for ever.” (Mic. 4:6,7).

“If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee.” (Deut. 30:4).

“The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” (Jer. 31:3).

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2).

Monday, November 24, 2008

His mercy endureth forever

“And when He saw that He prevailed not against him, He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with Him. And He said, Let Me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let Thee go, except Thou bless me. And He said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob [that is, being interpreted, Con-artist, Thief, Deciever, Liar]. And He said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. And Jacob asked Him, and said, Tell me, I pray Thee, Thy name. And He said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after My name? And He blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.” (Gen. 32:25-31).

Marvelous account of grace! What does God do without mercy? What does He do that mercy is not His whole-hearted intent? The end result of all His doings? Jacob struggled to walked with a limp, but his heart was full of gladness. The bad heart that had plagued him was healed. He was blessed by God and could hardly feel His swollen hip. The spanking was a badge of honor, a special gift from God who had drawn near. “I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord, and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He hath bestowed on them according to His mercies, and according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.” (Is. 30:7).

“The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom Thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of Thy law; that Thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off His people, neither will He forsake His inheritance. But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.” (Ps. 94:11-15).

Wars? Trouble? Famine? Yes, its all recorded what the Lord brought on His people for their disobedience. But what was behind all that discipline? L-O-V-E. G-R-A-C-E. The harsher the punishment proved the stronger the grace abiding in the heart of God.

“But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” (Gal. 3:23-26). “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Rom. 10:4).

We need the tough discipline heaven provides us for the development of our faith. Nobody likes the tragedies and trauma that the discipline entails, “this sore travail hath God given to the sons of man to be exercised therewith.” (Ecc. 1:13). “No chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees.” (Heb. 12:11,12).

“For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence.” (Is. 30:19-22).

“For He said, Surely they are My people, children that will not lie: so He was their Saviour. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” (Is. 30:8,9).

“Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (Jas. 5:11).

“Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven. Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Righteousness shall go before Him; and shall set us in the way of His steps.” (Ps. 85:10).

“All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.” (Jn. 6:37).

“O give thanks unto the Lord; for He is good: because His mercy endureth for ever.” (Ps. 118:1).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

True thanksgiving

The true meaning of Thanksgiving—not the day, but the act/experience. We need to look at the Biblical approach to thanksgiving because everything else is human tradition. And human tradition always seems to end up in dire straits over time.

Col. 3:15 gives us the command to be thankful. “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

And 1Thess. 5:18. “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Eph. 5:19,20. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And God loves our thankful hearts. “O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” (Ps. 22:3). The Father of all thrives in the atmosphere of His beloved people’s praises. It is His greatest joy to have His children surround Him and express their love for Him, to rise up and call Him blessed.

Lev. 7:11-14, Deut. 12:18, and Deut. 16:11 tell of a special offering called the “peace offering” or the “thank offering.” They were a social gathering, “thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you,” all together joined in the celebration. “And thou shalt rejoice before the Lord thy God.”

But associated with this and so many other offerings was the slaying of an innocent animal. A little lamb or kid, a humble turtle dove or tiny sparrow must first lose its life. The life of those little ones, who were not partakers of any human’s sin, were taken away to set a redemptive atmosphere for the gathering. Then, and only then, the praises to God and laughter could be acceptable to the Lord. God wanted His people to be happy, but the people needed to know that God suffered dearly for their happiness.

We also see Cain laying out a typical Thanksgiving feast on his altar to the Lord. “Thank You, Lord, for all the stuff You give me!” But his sacrifice was without the death of an innocent animal and wasn’t acceptable to God. Abel’s offering was much messier and not as appetizing, and God accepted it because of the true reality it represented—that is, that grace and redemption are messy projects.

Cain’s sacrifice lacked the redemptive ingredient. His offering could not break the sin in his heart. Therefore, it was no offering to God—not the God of mercy who sits and rules as a “priest upon His throne,” “a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance” “and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31). By His silence the Lord was saying to Cain what He later said to Peter with his 153 fishes after His resurrection, “Lovest thou Me more than these?” And the silence made apparent that Cain’s heart wasn’t filled with love for God. If our pride is not broken and laid in the dust, we have no barrier against the temptation to indulge the vilest lusts. The Lord has to break our proud hearts, or we are lost. This was the purpose of the Pascal lamb.

We cannot thank God nor enjoy His goodness and love without involving the crucifixion of the Son of God and surrendering to that greatest self-sacrificing love. The passage above about God dwelling in our praises comes from the well-known Messianic Psalm 22.

“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? Why art Thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the day time, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But Thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.”

We can be heard on high, because Jesus went unheard from Gethsemane to the grave. We can sing and rejoice, because the wrath of God forced Jesus’ tongue to the back of His throat. We can laugh and play because Jesus was nailed down. We can live because of His dying. We can have joy and hope because He died utterly forsaken and hopeless. And we can also help Him carry His cross, by taking the bitter curse from others which they unload on us, and giving them grace in return.

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,--the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.”-- D’Aubigne, London ed., b. 12, ch. 2. Great Controversy, p. 212.

When our heart is humbled and contrite, then our worship and thanksgiving and praises will be sincere and acceptable to heaven. And this only comes through beholding the sacrifice of Himself that God has endured to redeem us.

The cross was an outward revelation of the pain hidden behind the perpetual grace of the Godhead. During the previous 4,000 years, every day that the Son of God had interceded for us had been a moment by moment death. He has been the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. These past 6,000 years have demonstrated just what the holy Son of God has endured in being our Mediator, attaching His good name to our wretched reputation, sticking by us to save us while in our repugnant self-righteous idiocy. Earth has been a mountain of wreaking, human excrement with Satan and all his millions of minions “walking up and down in it.” (Job. 1:7). Yet, the pure Anointed One has stayed with us.

Intercession for humanity has caused infinite pain to our Redeemer. But His love for us more than resolved His pain. His love still more than overcomes the pains of working with our unbelief, our skepticism of God, and our refusal to fully trust in Him. His grace proved more than sufficient for the work of keeping Adam’s race from a well-deserved divine extinction. That amazing history of His abounding grace toward our abominable grotesqueness is His message to us individually that He will be gracious to me and my case, and to you and your case, horrible and hopeless as they may be. Though He may chasten, His only motive will be His intense gracious love for us and our uplifting out of sin.

Divine love and grace must break our pride and soften our hearts. Then our Thanksgivings will not be about food or self-indulgence. They won’t be about pride and forgetfulness of God. We will have something definite to say about what God has done for us. We will find ourselves truly rejoicing in God’s love, because we are born into God’s family. We are in His arms, under His purview and watch care.

Let trouble come. Let the world take away all our things, we will still be loved by heaven.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another email

Hi sister,
I know the smoking will go away. If you crowd in to Jesus, He will move in and crowd out everything that competes with the peace and love He wants to store up in your heart. Can I give you some Bible promises?

“(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2Cor. 10:4,5).

“Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.
Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron;
Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High:
Therefore He brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.
Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.
Oh that men would praise the Lord for Hs goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” (Ps. 107:8-15).

(I included this one, even though it says we suffer because we rebel and think the word of God is contemtible. But I have to agree with this verse because Satan can never get his foot in our door unless we surrender to his temptation. Somewhere along the line, you accepted his help and loved it, and then it because a wedge he could use to bring in more goodies. We must accept what God says here in Psalm 107. He made us, He knows how we tick.)

“For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath He hid His face from Him; but when he cried unto Him, He heard.
My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear Him.
The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live for ever.” (Ps. 22:24-26).

This was the Psalm Jesus quoted while enduring the crucifixion. Verse one and two start out with, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? why art Thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring? O My God, I cry in the day time, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.” And it ends with, “A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
They shall come, and shall declare His righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that He hath done this.”

Jesus’ worst suffering was because He was cut off from His Father. We are so callous to this because most of us are cut off from our parents to some degree. They can’t love perfectly, eternally. But our Father loved His Son infinitely perfectly. The Father cut Himself off from His beloved Son. We need to comprehend the infinite loss this meant to both of Them.

But Jesus suffered total abandonment so He could take our place in our banishment. We can be heard by God because Jesus went unheard. We are brought near to God when we seek Him and swept up into His great heart of love because His Son took our just due and was rejected and neglected by that infinite love. And our faculty to love is so impoverished and shriveled. Jesus’ sensitivity to love was pure and the loss of it was infinitely keenly felt.

If we are ever to know God’s power to overcome sin, it must be by comprehending and living in the shadow of the cross. C_____, I’ll help you to do it and you need to help me. OK?

Love you, sister.
David

Here’s a Reformer’s quote in the Great Controversy, p. 213.

Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,--the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.

Email to a friend

Hello friend,

I hope your week has been rewarding in the Lord’s work. Working with things is nice, but there is no better work than working with hearts and minds. And working in dependence on God is the most blessed. Here is a website on Morris Venden’s sermons
http://www.tagnet.org/lagroradio/sermonv.htm. His sermons were recorded through Voice of Prophecy Radio program, so you have to wait for the opening song and remarks before the sermon starts.

This Sabbath I’m going up to WV for a Thanksgiving program. I didn’t know if you wanted to go or even could go. Maybe you are scheduled to have a program at a church somewhere. K_____ said she wouldn’t be in Moorefield this Sabbath because she was planning to be in Washington DC to listen to a special preacher.

Last Sunday morning before the cold weather came, B______ and I went to a park in Washington and delivered the blankets and socks to the homeless people. Then I offered them some tracts and Bible studies and they all wanted to read them. They were very receptive. One person was a Hispanic woman who really looked sad and seemed like she wanted something better than that life. I tried to encourage her to seek the Lord and follow Him. I think about her often. I’d like to go back and talk to her some more. I wish you had been there. You could have spoken Spanish and I think she would have been helped much more.

B______ was glad to go with me, but she has a selfish seed in her that made her upset that those people didn’t have to be homeless and should get a job. But she doesn’t understand Righteousness by Faith and that they need God’s help to change. He changes the heart, makes them love, and then pulls them out of the pit they are in. B______ doesn’t understand that she is in the same pit as they are—the pit of self-love and trust in self.

The whole world is in that pit. They may say, “I studied hard and made a good life for myself. I have a nice house and nice cars and a mountain of electronics.... And I did it on my own.” They fail to see that the biggest battle to fight is for trust and love. Those two are the deepest, most health-giving blessings and they are far out of reach to the people who feel proud that they have worked hard to have all the earthly possessions. They have it all and are still dying of cancers at an early age. This is because, in spite of having the best stuff and the “good life,” all the stress to keep it and protect it from being taken away is killing them.

Stress, the #1 killer sneaks in and robs them and their families of happiness. And where does stress come from? Lack of faith and love. Even if they have kept the first 7 laws of health (fresh air, pure water, exercise, rest, sunlight, proper diet, abstemiousness) on their own, they still lack the 8th law, Trust in divine power, and if you break one, you break them all and you get cancer anyway.

Well, I’ll let you go. It’s always good to talk with you and the visit at your house last Friday night was very good. I am so encouraged to see people, young and old, who remain faithful to Jesus when the rest of their family are not SDA Christians. To me, that speaks of a true conversion. You, K_____, and some of the other young people there are such an encouragement to me in that way. Let’s keep walking in the light as Jesus is in the light. He will soon come and wipe every tear from every eye.

David

“Therefore the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.” (Is. 51:11).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The authority and power of God's word

One reason God’s word loses its power and authority is when men remove the lessons and principles it teaches. History takes on the form of fairy tale when it becomes just facts and dates, and the lessons behind those events go unspoken and unheeded, lessons that should have been bravely taught from past mistakes or from good decisions.

When the force of truth is subtracted from God’s word, religious men begin to add in an overabundance of imaginary miracles that create an apocrypha of worthless reading. Satan works ingeniously in this environment. Thus through valid miracles which God has used to reveal Himself, Satan uses to destroy those miracles and faith in God’s ability to protect and care for His children. And the result of such religion is a world full of atheists and infidels.

In the brief recap of Israel’s history in 2Kings 17:6-23 the ancient readers of Holy Scripture could weave through the confusion that had taken place with the Assyrian conquest of the people of the Lord. The mighty lesson for them to see was their rejection of God’s many attempts to lead them into purity and truth. Judges chapter 2 also declares that the trouble from the other nations was due to the departure from Yahweh to Baalim and Ashtoreth.

We see an unhappy nation without rules and order and king Josiah wondering what could be done to fix this tragic condition of society. Next, we see people doing some cleaning in the shambles of Solomon’s old broken down temple, when they stumble upon some old dusty scrolls. They have discovered the law of God. “What’s this?” they wonder. It’s the very law of God, Israelite people of God!

“And Shaphan the scribe shewed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.” (2Ki. 22:10,11).

Oh, if only we would find the value of the Law of God, the volumes of principles and high standards located within the holy pages of sacred scripture! And oh that we would tremble in awe and fear and dread, and take the shoes off of our feet and the thick covering from our proud hearts in the holy presence of that burning bush!

“For all this they sinned still, and believed not for His wondrous works.
Therefore their days did He consume in vanity, and their years in trouble.
When He slew them, then they sought Him: and they returned and enquired early after God.
They remembered that God was their Rock, and the high God their Redeemer.
Nevertheless they did flatter Him with their mouth, and they lied unto Him with their tongues.
For their heart was not right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant.
But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned He His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath.
For He remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.” (Ps 78. 32-39).

We see from Holy Scripture that two basic essentials come through again and again—the truth of man’s sinful human nature, and the grace of God to meet us in our decrepitude. All through time, this has been the message to be gleaned from human history; this is the “everlasting gospel” God has been thundering to mankind, and to all heaven before whom Earth has been a spectacle and a theatre.

The law and grace—without these two huge lessons, the scriptures has no power or authority to this world of sinners. Give the world grace only and they won’t have a reference point to know how to apply that grace. They must know the truth of their condition. But, give them only the law and truth, and they will drown in the “slough of despond.”

If we want the scriptures to have the power and authority that is inherent in its pages, we must restore that which we have removed—the force of the Law of God, and then the application of the mighty argument of the cross—the abundant grace of God poured on us through Jesus, who “poured out His soul unto death,” who “was numbered with the transgressors,” “bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Is. 53:12).

“Saith the Lord: …to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” (Is. 66:2).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Early Rain and other preparations

Here are some enlightening and encouraging quotations from Ellen White with regard for the correct preparation for the times of trouble ahead of us. Much of it is a preparation of spirituality and connection with Jesus. Some of it is practical in nature, and other quotes are a warning against the conglomeration of commercial unions. This I added because we are currently seeing the surprising growth of huge banks and monopolizing corporations which has been a somewhat natural fruit of the need to stablize the economy and keep inflation from exploding.

Nevertheless, prophecy is being fulfilled. I heard that China has even called for a one-world currency.

The standard of God’s law is being exalted. The Spirit of the Almighty is moving upon men’s hearts, and those who respond to its influence become witnesses for God and His truth. In many places consecrated men and women may be seen communicating to others the light that has made plain to them the way of salvation through Christ. And as they continue to let their light shine, as did those who were baptized with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, they receive more and still more of the Spirit’s power. Thus the earth is to be lightened with the glory of God.

On the other hand, there are some who, instead of wisely improving present opportunities, are idly waiting for some special season of spiritual refreshing by which their ability to enlighten others will be greatly increased. They neglect present duties and privileges, and allow their light to burn dim, while they look forward to a time when, without any effort on their part, they will be made the recipients of special blessing, by which they will be transformed and fitted for service.

It is true that in the time of the end, when God’s work in the earth is closing, the earnest efforts put forth by consecrated believers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit are to be accompanied by special tokens of divine favor. Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God’s church. The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church.

But near the close of earth’s harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain; and it is for this added power that Christians are to send their petitions to the Lord of the harvest “in the time of the latter rain.” In response, “the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain.” “He will cause to come down... the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain,” Zechariah 10:1; Joel 2:23.

But unless the members of God’s church today have a living connection with the Source of all spiritual growth, they will not be ready for the time of reaping. Unless they keep their lamps trimmed and burning, they will fail of receiving added grace in times of special need.

Those only who are constantly receiving fresh supplies of grace, will have power proportionate to their daily need and their ability to use that power. Instead of looking forward to some future time when, through a special endowment of spiritual power, they will receive a miraculous fitting up for soul winning, they are yielding themselves daily to God, that He may make them vessels meet for His use. Daily they are improving the opportunities for service that lie within their reach. Daily they are witnessing for the Master wherever they may be, whether in some humble sphere of labor in the home, or in a public field of usefulness.

To the consecrated worker there is wonderful consolation in the knowledge that even Christ during His life on earth sought His Father daily for fresh supplies of needed grace; and from this communion with God He went forth to strengthen and bless others. Behold the Son of God bowed in prayer to His Father! Though He is the Son of God, He strengthens His faith by prayer, and by communion with heaven gathers to Himself power to resist evil and to minister to the needs of men. As the Elder Brother of our race He knows the necessities of those who, compassed with infirmity and living in a world of sin and temptation, still desire to serve Him. He knows that the messengers whom He sees fit to send are weak, erring men; but to all who give themselves wholly to His service He promises divine aid. His own example is an assurance that earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith—faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work—will avail to bring to men the Holy Spirit’s aid in the battle against sin.

Every worker who follows the example of Christ will be prepared to receive and use the power that God has promised to His church for the ripening of earth’s harvest. Morning by morning, as the heralds of the gospel kneel before the Lord and renew their vows of consecration to Him, He will grant them the presence of His Spirit, with its reviving, sanctifying power. As they go forth to the day’s duties, they have the assurance that the unseen agency of the Holy Spirit enables them to be “laborers together with God.”
—Acts of the Apostles, p. 53-56.

When the Spirit was poured out from on high, the church was flooded with light, but Christ was the Source of that light. His name was on every tongue; His love filled every heart. So it will be when the angel that comes down from heaven having great power shall lighten the whole earth with His glory.—Letter 25b, 1892. —Christ Triumphant, p. 306.

The spell of a stronger, a perfect mind will be over us; for we have a living connection with the source of all-enduring strength. —Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 61.

Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.

No one need say that his case is hopeless, that he cannot live the life of a Christian. Ample provision is made by the death of Christ for every soul. Jesus is our ever-present help in time of need. Only call upon Him in faith, and He has promised to hear and answer your petitions….

Now is the time to prepare. The seal of God will never be placed upon the forehead of an impure man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of the ambitious, world-loving man or woman. It will never be placed upon the forehead of men or women of false tongues or deceitful hearts. All who receive the seal must be without spot before God—candidates for heaven. Go forward, my brethren and sisters. I can only write briefly upon these points at this time, merely calling your attention to the necessity of preparation. Search the Scriptures for yourselves, that you may understand the fearful solemnity of the present hour.
—Counsels for the Churches, p. 334.

We should improve every opportunity of placing ourselves in the channel of blessing. . . . The convocations of the church, as in camp meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God’s appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain. —The Faith I Live By, p. 246

The Early Rain of God’s Spirit

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. Joel 2:23.

Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God’s church. The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. . . . But near the close of earth’s harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain.

The latter rain, ripening earth’s harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man. But unless the former rain has fallen, there will be no life; the green blade will not spring up. Unless the early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection....
There must be a constant development of Christian virtue, a constant advancement in Christian experience....

Every individual must realize his own necessity. The heart must be emptied of every defilement, and cleansed for the indwelling of the Spirit. It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now....

There must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain. Only those who are living up to the light they have, will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.

While we cherish the blessing of the early rain, we must not, on the other hand, lose sight of the fact that without the latter rain, to fill out the ears and ripen the grain, the harvest will not be ready for the sickle, and the labor of the sower will have been in vain. Divine grace is needed at the beginning, divine grace at every step of advance, and divine grace alone can complete the work...

Do not rest satisfied that in the ordinary course of the season, rain will fall. Ask for it.... We must seek His favors with the whole heart if the showers of grace are to come to us. We should improve every opportunity of placing ourselves in the channel of blessing. Christ has said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst.” Matthew 18:20. The convocations of the church, as in camp meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God’s appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain. . . .
—The Faith I Live By, p. 333, 334.

But unless the members of God’s church today have a living connection with the Source of all spiritual growth, they will not be ready for the time of reaping. Unless they keep their lamps trimmed and burning, they will fail of receiving added grace in times of special need. —God’s Amazing Grace, p. 220.

Consequences of the Early Rain at Pentecost

Under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven.... Thousands were converted in a day....
The Holy Spirit... enabled them to speak with fluency languages with which they had heretofore been unacquainted.... The Holy Spirit did for them that which they could not have accomplished for themselves in a lifetime.

Their hearts were surcharged with a benevolence so full, so deep, so far-reaching, that it impelled them to go to the ends of the earth, testifying to the power of Christ.
What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost? The glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost parts of the inhabited world.... The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Backsliders were reconverted.... The ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom.
—Last Day Events, p. 185.

Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children. —Great Controversy, p. 464.

The trades unions will be one of the agencies that will bring upon this earth a time of trouble such as has not been since the world began.

In all our great cities there will be a binding up in bundles by the confederacies and unions formed. Men will rule other men and demand much of them. The lives of those who refuse to unite with these unions, will be in peril.

The work of the people of God is to prepare for the events of the future, which will soon come upon them with blinding force. In the world gigantic monopolies will be formed. Men will bind themselves together in unions that will wrap them in the folds of the enemy. A few men will combine to grasp all the means to be obtained in certain lines of business. Trades unions will be formed, and those who refuse to join these unions will be marked men....

These unions are one of the signs of the last days. Men are binding up in bundles ready to be burned. They may be church members, but while they belong to these unions, they cannot possibly keep the commandments of God; for to belong to these unions means to disregard the entire Decalogue.

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”... How can men obey these words, and form combinations that rob the poorer classes of the advantages which justly belong to them, preventing them from buying or selling, except under certain conditions.

Those who claim to be the children of God are in no case to bind up with the labor unions that are formed or that shall be formed. This the Lord forbids. Cannot those who study the prophecies see and understand what is before us?

Important issues must soon be met, and we wish to be hid in the cleft of the rock, that we may see Jesus, and be quickened by His Holy Spirit. We have no time to lose, not a moment.

The time is coming when we cannot sell at any price. The decree will soon go forth prohibiting men to buy or sell of any man save him that hath the mark of the beast.

In the last great conflict of the controversy with Satan those who are loyal to God will see every earthly support cut off. Because they refuse to break His law in obedience to earthly powers, they will be forbidden to buy or sell.

Religious powers, allied to heaven by profession, and claiming to have the characteristics of a lamb, will show by their acts that they have the heart of a dragon and that they are instigated and controlled by Satan. The time is coming when God’s people will feel the hand of persecution because they keep holy the seventh day.

There is a time coming when commandment-keepers can neither buy nor sell. Make haste to dig out your buried talents. If God has intrusted you with money, show yourselves faithful to your trust; unwrap your napkin, and send your talents to the exchangers, that when Christ shall come, He may receive His own with interest. In the last extremity, before this work shall close, thousands will be cheerfully laid upon the altar. Men and women will feel it a blessed privilege to share in the work of preparing souls to stand in the great day of God, and they will give hundreds as readily as dollars are given now. If the love of Christ were burning in the hearts of His professed people, we would see the same spirit manifested today. Did they but realize how near is the end of all work for the salvation of souls, they would sacrifice their possessions as freely as did the members of the early church. They would work for the advancement of God’s cause as earnestly as worldly men labor to acquire riches. Tact and skill would be exercised, and earnest and unselfish labor put forth to acquire means, not to hoard, but to pour into the treasury of the Lord.
—Maranatha, p. 182, 183.

Look up, look up, and let your faith continually increase. Let this faith guide you along the narrow path that leads through the gates of the city into the great beyond, the wide, unbounded future of glory that is for the redeemed. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” James 5:7, 8. —Prophets and Kings, p. 732.

Counsel on Moving From Rural to City Areas.—Many parents remove from their country homes to the city, regarding it as a more desirable or profitable location. But by making this change, they expose their children to many and great temptations. The boys have no employment, and they obtain a street education and go on from one step in depravity to another, until they lose all interest in anything that is good and pure and holy. How much better had the parents remained with their families in the country, where the influences are most favorable for physical and mental strength. Let the youth be taught to labor in tilling the soil, and let them sleep the sweet sleep of weariness and innocence.

Through the neglect of parents, the youth in our cities are corrupting their ways and polluting their souls before God. This will ever be the fruit of idleness. The almshouses, the prisons, and the gallows publish the sorrowful tale of the neglected duties of parents.

Better sacrifice any and every worldly consideration than to imperil the precious souls committed to your care. They will be assailed by temptations and should be taught to meet them; but it is your duty to cut off every influence, to break up every habit, to sunder every tie, that keeps you from the most free, open, and hearty committal of yourselves and your family to God.

Instead of the crowded city seek some retired situation where your children will be, so far as possible, shielded from temptation, and there train and educate them for usefulness. The prophet Ezekiel thus enumerates the causes that led to Sodom's sin and destruction: "Pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." All who would escape the doom of Sodom must shun the course that brought God's judgments upon that wicked city.

When Lot entered Sodom, he fully intended to keep himself free from iniquity and to command his household after him. But he signally failed. The corrupting influences about him had an effect upon his own faith, and his children's connection with the inhabitants of Sodom bound up his interest in a measure with theirs. The result is before us. Many are still making a similar mistake.

Let it be your study to select and make your homes as far from Sodom and Gomorrah as you can. Keep out of the large cities. If possible make your homes in the quiet retirement of the country, even if you can never become wealthy by so doing. Locate where there is the best influence.

I am instructed by the Lord to warn our people not to flock to the cities to find homes for their families. To fathers and to mothers I am instructed to say, Fail not to keep your children within your own premises.

Time Now to Move From the Cities.—Take your families away from the cities is my message.

The time has come when, as God opens the way, families should move out of the cities. The children should be taken into the country. The parents should get as suitable a place as their means will allow. Though the dwelling may be small, yet there should be land in connection with it that may be cultivated.

Before the overflowing scourge shall come upon the dwellers of the earth, the Lord calls upon all who are Israelites indeed to prepare for that event. To parents He sends the warning cry: Gather your children into your own houses; gather them away from those who are disregarding the commandments of God, who are teaching and practicing evil. Get out of the large cities as fast as possible.

God Will Help His People.—Parents can secure small homes in the country, with land for cultivation, where they can have orchards and where they can raise vegetables and small fruits to take the place of flesh meat, which is so corrupting to the lifeblood coursing through the veins. On such places the children will not be surrounded with the corrupting influences of city life. God will help His people to find such homes outside of the cities.
—Adventist Home, p. 137-139.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

In charge of change

We don’t naturally like to change. Change infers an accusation of inadequacy or an inferior, substandard character. Under Satan’s spell, we don’t like that label of being less than acceptable to anybody, especially God. Sin blinds us from discerning that, even though our characters are not acceptable with God, we are, and a restored faith relationship with Him is His plan. We lump lack of acceptance into one pot, through the coaching of Satan’s helpers, and shake our fist at God for His rejection of us. His judgment on our wickedness is an assault on our pride. We have worked hard on our morality; it hasn’t been easy to be good. Any accusation toward a rebellious heart “worketh wrath.” (Rom. 4:15). So, in the end, we deny change its essential place in our development and happiness.

We keep forgetting that we aren’t in charge of change. The God of peace is in charge of it. When we take it upon ourselves to change or brave accusations that demand change, we place ourselves in the place of CEO of change, Top Dog, All that there is, in charge of change. In short, we put ourselves in place of our Creator.

But we are only creatures. We aren’t supposed to be in charge of change. We can’t change ourselves, even if we tried. We can make cursory adjustments, but to love what we used to hate is way out of our grasp. What we can do is respond to the work of our loving Creator to change us. He alone can pluck out the roots of our weaknesses and faults while He plucks at our heart strings. Loving companionship alone can convince us that we need to change. Love alone distracts us from the realization that we are substandard and inadequate long enough to slip in our remedy. He patiently teaches us that we may be inferior in character, but still of infinitely superior worth to Him.

The God of love alone can do in us the work to uplift us and He alone can sanctify us. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph 2:10). “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13). “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” (Is. 13:12). ). “The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Thess. 5:23). Once we have established that we aren’t in charge of change and that love is the only, only motivation in God’s command for us to change, then change will finally happen in us.

When we see that He commands change, we immediately begin to feel uncomfortable. But He commands our sanctification because He knows that once we realize He loves us, a command is His powerful gift of faith that His love will do its perfect work in us. And if we are desperate enough to be changed because of the mess we’ve made, then we’ll be OK with His commands and they will be the greatest force to rid ourselves of our despicable character traits.

How easy it is to be influenced by our family! Even if it’s a food we don’t normally like to eat; because our loved ones want us to eat together with them, we easily cave in to their request. How joyful it is to talk together and do things together with our friends! And we can have this with our God! We can walk together, our thoughts mingling with His, constantly recognizing that He loves us. We can be a sanctuary for His Spirit. As He admonished, “Let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.” (Ex. 25:8).

I have a friend so precious, so very dear to me.
He loves me with such tender love, He love so faithfully.
I could not live apart from Him, I love to feel Him nigh.
And so we dwell together, my Lord and I.

Sometimes I’m faith and weary, He know that I am weak.
And as He bids me lean on Him, His help I gladly seek.
He leads me in the paths of light, beneath the sunny sky.
And so we walk together, my Lord and I.

I tell Him all my sorrows, I tell Him all my joys.
I tell Him all that pleases me, I tell Him what annoys.
He tells me what I ought to do, He tells me how to try.
And so we talk together, my Lord and I.

He knows that I am longing, some weary soul to win.
And so He bids me go and speak the loving word for Him.
He bids me tell His wondrous love and why He came to die.
And so we work together, my Lord and I.

Monday, November 10, 2008

This world is not our home

True Believers Will Not Enter Into Political Strife.--We are not to come down from our position of ever remaining a people distinct and peculiar from the world. Our vocation is high, holy, and elevated. Our faith, if appreciated, will keep all true believers from political strife. . . .
The fires of the last day will consume many souls who might have been saved if the church had but comprehended her sacred responsibilities.-- Manuscript 139, 1897, pp. 7, 10. (“The Work Before God’s People,” no date.)
Some Will Change Leaders.--Those who claim to believe the truth, and yet spend their time in making political speeches, are changing leaders. They cannot claim the privilege of being subjects of the heavenly kingdom.-- Manuscript 177, 1899, p. 8. (“The Medical Missionary Work,” May 10, 1899.)
“Come Out From Among Them.”--Christ is the Saviour of the body as verily as He is the Saviour of the soul. His first sermon at Nazareth shows this. . . .
This command [2 Corinthians 6:17] is just as valid today as when God gave it to Moses to give to the children of Israel. The sins against which ancient Israel were warned have led modern Israel into byways and forbidden paths. The professed people of God have made those who are trampling under foot His commandments their counselors.
They have weakened their hold on God by uniting in politics with unbelievers. By parading their political belief before the world, just as worldlings do, they have created division, strife, and jealousy among themselves. The influence of this course of action is a great offense to God, and He cannot and will not prosper those who follow it. . . .
We are to work distinctly in God’s lines, refusing to follow worldly practices. The exhibitions made in Battle Creek regarding political questions have not raised any soul who has acted a part in them in God’s estimation. Thus God’s people have given evidence to the world that they had not the love of God in their hearts, whatever might be their profession. Those who have distinguished themselves in politics, who have paraded their political differences, were looked upon, not only by human spectators but by the Lord Jesus, who gave His life to save a perishing world. The heavenly universe watched their course with disapproval, and Satan and his synagogue watched also. They were a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men.
By this course of action, you have convinced many that you are not what you claim to be. In spirit and action you are no more true to God than are those watching you. The spirit which has led you to link up with the world in political matters, has so dimmed your spiritual discernment, that you would lay yourselves open to the world as some of you have done, hiding the fact that you have God as a leader and guide. You have carried to worldlings matters which concern only our own people, called out from the world to be a peculiar people, who are to look for guidance and direction to heavenly agencies. Of those who have acted thus, after having great light and great opportunities, God says, “Ye know not what spirit ye are of.” . . .
As the sons and daughters of God, we are to have nothing to do with political strife. Those who engage in these contests make Satan glad, for he knows that they will exhibit the natural attributes of unregenerate hearts.--Manuscript 75, 1898, pp. 1, 3,4,9. (“Come Out From Among Them, and Be Ye Separate,” June 6, 1898.)

White Estate Washington, D. C. March 19, 1979.
--9th Manuscript Releases, p. 129-131.

We have one business to tend to—our Father’s business. We have one faith, one doctrine—the 3rd angel’s message, encapsulated in the gospel of Righteousness by Faith. There is no time to involve in a political party.

Yes, a party takes sides on issues that may sound moral. Yes, voting will put a man in the White House or Congress. But will he obey the dictates of the Holy Spirit? Will he have a sanctified conscience? Or will he make many promises, but once in office change his mind about those promises?

At major junctures in American history we’ve had honest men as Presidents of the United States. God had a purpose for this nation, to be an asylum for so many true worshipers who were being hunted down in other countries. In order to keep America strong until He could raise up His last movement to prepare the world for His coming, His providence led key men to fill the Oval Office, George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln, men who saw their place in heaven’s plans and who acted humbly to cooperate with that plan.

But, the United States is far removed from the principles that governed it when it was but a youth. Like ancient Israel it can be said of modern America, “But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” (Deut. 32:15).

We have turned away from the innocent charters we were given by heaven—Republicanism and Protestantism. America, which was born out of Protestantism, had already fallen far away from its Reformation roots when it was born a nation. Self-government, the deepest fundamental principle from the Reformation, supplied the foundation for the United States—self-government of the people, for the people and by the people, and self-government in heavenly things, that robe of righteousness from Christ, without wrinkle or spot. But who seeks that robe among the millions of Protestants, today? The original purpose of our nation has mutated.

The pursuit of happiness could have resulted in the prize of joy. Instead it has transformed into the pursuit of idolatry. Liberty could have become freedom in God, but never attained to that height, and all our liberties are soon to be revoked. Life has become existence as so many work longer hours trying to maintain their standard of living. It speaks of slavery; and slavery is not life.

Today, the wealthy rule this land, not the populace. Big business controls small businesses. Inequity abounds. But worse is on the horizon. Soon to be, and even it is in the making, powerful religion will make a comeback.

Big religion failed to produce a man for the White House this election. That victory will be short-lived. Soon, the American democratic governing format will end, even though it will retain the name and appearance. Powerful religion will force their expectations and seize what they demand.

So, to involve ourselves in political excitements and issues is asking for the temptation to fall in with the multitudes who believe that this world will be here forever and that nothing really needs to be changed, that a sinful world is as good as it gets and there is no need to yearn for anything better. A great revival promised by God, the Latter Rain of the Holy Spirit, is not in their scope of the future. They fall away from the Biblical example:

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.” (Heb. 11:13-16).

They don’t take part in the Early Rain of the Spirit that is now on the move and will come up unprepared for the Latter Rain. They condemn themselves to be of the five virgins who woke up and found out that they were foolish, missing the great event they had waited for and left in the dark.

I'm but a stranger here,
Heaven is my home.
Earth is a desert drear,
Heaven is my home.
Danger and sorrow stand
’Round me on every hand.
Heaven is my fatherland,
Heaven is my home.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Throw yourself into the Redeemer's arms

This is another email to a friend.
D_____,
Grace, peace, and rest from God our Father and our Lord Jesus.

I hope your Sabbath was nice. Liz and I passed out some tracts to some homeless men. They were very receptive, much more than the white residents around the church neighborhood. The wealthy need to be reached too, but it was nice to go to a place where others were more willing to hear some good news.

D_____, I want to encourage you to think about Jesus differently than you have. And I hope I don’t further complicate the situation or weaken your faith. But what the Lord desires is our complete dependence on Him. Not that He will destroy us in order to make us dependent. That would defeat the whole purpose. The only one who wants to destroy us is the devil. And he wants to devour us, especially if we have some faith in God, which you do in abundance. That makes you a special target of his. The last thing God would ever want to do is hand us over to him, and He never does that unless we force Him to.

How can we force Him to give us up to the devil? When we accept Righteousness by works. Everything hinges on whether we believe that lie or the truth, that our acceptance and growth in grace only comes by faith in what God has already done and promises to do for us. You said that after all you had done in service for God, you expected better treatment in life. Isn’t that righteousness by works? “I will prepay for God’s acceptance and blessing.”

That is nothing but legalistically forcing God to be your protector and guardian. The moment we think that’s how it works, we subconsciously see God, not as a loving, freely-giving Father, but a wheeler and dealer, cold and calculated—basically He takes on the traits of the devil in our mind, and Satan uses that mental state to gain control of us. Then we have no barrier against sin and his temptations.

I like it the way Ellen White says it,
Through heathenism, Satan had for ages turned men away from God; but he won his great triumph in perverting the faith of Israel. By contemplating and worshiping their own conceptions, the heathen had lost a knowledge of God, and had become more and more corrupt. So it was with Israel. The principle that man can save himself by his own works lay at the foundation of every heathen religion; it had now become the principle of the Jewish religion. Satan had implanted this principle. Wherever it is held, men have no barrier against sin. --Desire of Ages, p. 35.

Without a dependent, child to father relationship with Jesus, our “everlasting Father” (Is. 9:6), like a lamb “without blemish, a male of the first year,” (Ex. 12:5) we will never receive the strength to overcome the devil. Without a childlike relationship like this, we are legalists, and “the law worketh wrath.” (Rom. 4:15). Relying on our efforts to please God will always make us angry, because we are always frustrated by not being perfect. If my acceptance with God is based on my good living, then I am lost from the word, “Go.” My very nature is corrupt. I breathe the smell of a sepulchre, I exude death. What God requires is for all my ways to be pleasantness and all my paths to be peace. But the way of peace I have not known; there is no fear of God before my eyes. And of my self, it will remain this way forever. We have no hope, of ourselves, to ever please God in anything we do—because of our rotten natures. We can’t be as patient and gracious of a master over our misbehavior as our Master in heaven will be patient and gracious with us. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (Is. 64:6).

If we are ever to be good, God has to do it all! He has to make it all happen! All of it! And we get to respond, and nothing more. That is humiliating to our pride at the basest level. But that’s the terms of the covenant from God: “To him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:5). And God is inflexible here. He will not compete for being God, especially from His sinful, helpless, beloved children who don’t realize their precarious position, hanging by a thread over hell because they want to be in charge of their salvation.

If we don’t approach the Creator as a creature, or our Savior as a weak, destitute sinner, not only do we lose the benefits of His grace, but we simultaneously place ourselves into Satan’s territory. And there’s nothing God can do about it. He must abide by the rules of our choice.

But that doesn’t stop Him from arranging events so that through His providences He brings us into contact with others who’ve “been there and done that” and can give some helpful direction to our confused mind assailed by the tempter. And then when my confusion is cleared up, and I can understand the ways of God, then I am a bona fide ambassador of His, and a qualified witness to His ability to save sinners. Then I go in search of others who are having the same trouble I had. Now I have the tools they need. I have words they will hear. I can tell them that in spite of how it all seems, that God desperately loves them. “O Daniel, a man greatly beloved.” “For thou art greatly beloved.” (Dan. 10:11;9:23).

D_____, we all can learn a lot from Martin Luther.

He led a most rigorous life, endeavoring by fasting, vigils, and scourgings to subdue the evils of his nature, from which the monastic life had brought no release. He shrank from no sacrifice by which he might attain to that purity of heart which would enable him to stand approved before God. “I was indeed a pious monk,” he afterward said, “and followed the rules of my order more strictly than I can express. If ever monk could obtain heaven by his monkish works, I should certainly have been entitled to it. . . . If it had continued much longer, I should have carried my mortifications even to death.”--Ibid., b. 2, ch. 3. As the result of this painful discipline he lost strength and suffered from fainting spasms, from the effects of which he never fully recovered. But with all his efforts his burdened soul found no relief. He was at last driven to the verge of despair.

“When it appeared to Luther that all was lost, God raised up a friend and helper for him. The pious Staupitz opened the word of God to Luther’s mind and bade him look away from himself,... “Instead of torturing yourself on account of your sins, throw yourself into the Redeemer’s arms. Trust in Him, in the righteousness of His life, in the atonement of His death. . . . Listen to the Son of God. He became man to give you the assurance of divine favor.” “Love Him who first loved you.”--Ibid., b. 2, ch. 4. Thus spoke this messenger of mercy.
--Great Controversy, p. 123,124.

Blessings, brother. I’m proud to serve next to you in the Lord’s army. We will soon be stepping in perfect cadence. :)
David

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Democrats prevail

“We trounced them! We’ve taken the upper hand against powerful religion. Now everything will go smoothly. Now we can begin to reclaim what we lost in the Republican dynasty. No more nonsensical wars based on religious fervor and myths. No more fanatical decisions that rob this country of its wealth to spend it on saving Israel from some mystical anti-Christ.

“Now we have our advocate for sensible directions and smart leadership. We need to begin now to prepare for winning the next election; and we need to start now designing a follow-on Democratic candidate to run in 6-7 years. Whatever happens, we can’t let unthinking evangelical fundamentalism take control of this government ever again!” So goes the war cry.

This is the result of leaving the faith of our fathers and turning to vain philosophies. On the one extreme we see a group of religionists who have long ago denied God His authority over them, when they accepted the error that His Law was nailed to the cross. After that dangerous seed was accepted and had taken root, the Protestant churches concocted their own man-made path to God. Without the authority of God’s law to convict of sin, they were left to find another way to salvation other than God-given repentance.

So they turned to celebration—rejoicing in God’s grace only because they made themselves believe He forgave and justified, not because they had truly repented and then had received confirmation through the Spirit that He actually pronounced them accepted by Him and justified. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Prov. 28:9).

This make-believe substitute for faith has led to a proud, miserable religious environment. Nevertheless, the Spirit of God has still moved in the Protestant denominations, not because their doctrine cooperated with His work of conviction and comfort, but in spite of those false doctrines.

But, slowly, over the centuries since the Reformers died, and quicker since 1844 when a testing issue was brought forward in the Sabbath commandment, “a sanctuary” to those who would accept the authority of God’s Law, and “a stone of stumbling” and “a rock of offence” to those who rejected His authority for fear of exclusion from the popular Protestant churches. (Is. 8:14). “And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. Bind up the testimony, seal the law among My disciples.” (vs.15,16). And many rejected the Ten Commandments when they rejected the 7th day Sabbath. “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” (Jn. 12:43).

As one generation following another have accepted more and more deeply a life without the Law of God and contrition before Him, the denominations of Protestantism have become increasingly entrenched in ways to appease a suffering conscience and the anxiety from living without submission and trust in the living God.

Those who feel an emptiness from God work harder to be “slain in the Spirit”, to “speak in tongues”, to “laugh” and “giggle in the Spirit”, and even to bark like a dog. And those who feel free to let sensual gratifications appease their nagging anxiety come to church only for the sake of community and human friendship, not for communion with God. Divine worship has lost its purpose for those who deny God’s authority. The next step is to deny His existence. Atheism is rampant in the professed followers of God. “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” (Lk. 18:8).

The church provides nothing for sanctification and for overcoming sin. So the vanity, the gossip, the thievery, and purposelessness loom higher and higher, as one generation follows another. It is almost time for the 4th angel’s message, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Rev. 18:2).

Many outside of Christianity see the hypocrisy and pride in the churches and reject it all. It is largely due to the failing of the church that we have come to a society which is so atheistic and secular.

The disrespectful of religion, unchurched cross-section has run in this direction for the past 50-100 years. In this country they have grown hostile to anything and everything Christianity teaches. Science has proven a wonderful benefactor. Who needs ancient mythology, when man can supply all his own temporal needs? So the slide into hedonism has been a rapid one, considering the influence of God to slow man’s self-destruction.

And here we are today. Atheistic humanism declaring the death knells of religion. But what about a 3rd option? Few have looked outside of apostate Protestantism and humanistic atheism for an answer to the anxiety pervading the American people.

What 3rd option? Truth! True religion! True Bible religion. The weighty matters of the Law—“judgment, mercy, and faith.” (Matt. 23:23). Humility and service, cross-bearing and childlike trust and love.

Instead of being gods, being children of the heavenly King; accepting His acceptance, serving God as a son, and not as another god; by beholding the Son, being changed from an all-powerful, self-sufficient God into a humble and dependent son or daughter; as many as will believe it is for them in spite of their abominable track record, serving the beloved Child of God’s infinite affection, being drawn into that Divine coexistence and communion—being sandwiched in between Them—simply because They have graciously offered it. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Is. 9:6).

Brought, by God’s work, into that holy union of Father and Son, we are invited to “kiss the Son”—to fall on His gentle breast in His perfect acceptance. (Ps. 2:12).

Modern humanism is a dead-end street. Extremist and sensational religion is also a dead-end. Bowing our pride before the living God and letting Him give us His love and righteousness is the only path to life. As it was repeatedly written,

“Circumcision (Religious Fundamentalism) is nothing, and uncircumcision (secular atheism) is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God (is everything).” (1Cor. 7:19).

“For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature (avails everything).” (Gal. 5:15).

“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” (Gal. 5:6).

Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast,
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.
Hark! ’tis the voice of angels, borne in a song to me.
Over the fields of glory, over the jasper sea.

Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.

Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe from corroding care,
Safe from the world’s temptations, sin cannot harm me there.
Free from the blight of sorrow, free from my doubts and fears;
Only a few more trials, only a few more tears!

Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.

Jesus, my heart’s dear Refuge, Jesus has died for me;
Firm on the Rock of Ages, ever my trust shall be.
Here let me wait with patience, wait till the night is over;
Wait till I see the morning break on the golden shore.

Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Senator Obama is President Obama

The American people have spoken—the majority, that is—“America will be secular!” The shock waves are rattling the stained glass windows around the world. “Religious fundamentalism, Beware!”

But Bible prophecy will be fulfilled; a one world religion will be forced upon its multitudes. Protestantism will reach across the gulf it made almost 500 years ago and clasp hands with the Papacy. The union of church and state will hold the scepter.

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.” (Rev. 13:11-14).

The United States of America, initially compared to an innocent lamb because of its two young charters—Republicanism and Protestantism—speaks like a dragon. It makes an image of the Papacy which ruled Europe during the Dark Ages and forces religion, its brand of sacramental religion, upon the whole world through the puppet presidents of Protestantism.

The Papacy works best in a religio-political environment. When it can reward the powerful and wealthy for their loyalty to its aims, it finds the best success. It thrives like a cancer in that atmosphere, a cancer that nothing can stop.

Even in a republican nation, where the people choose who leads and who makes the laws, the Vatican can succeed in its work of controlling the conscience. All it needs is a relatively small group of key players in the economy and government. And this is being provided. Because real faith in God has evaporated, only hope in this world remains. When men only can hope in this world, they are easily bought. Earthly gifts and promises of comfortable stations in the power structures receives immediate acceptance.

All these promises and gifts to buy men’s souls the Vatican offers because it is an organization void of faith. If it had faith, why should it resort to politics and power? The same question can be levied against the Protestant fundamentalists. Where is your Lord, whose kingdom was “not of this world” (Jn. 18:36), and whom you profess to adore? “Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”

There are kings and there are kingmakers. This is not a new concept. Satan is the god of this world. His own confession, “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:6,7). Satan was called the king of Babylon (Is. 14:4,12-14), the prince of Tyrus (Ez. 28:12,13), the prince of Persia (Dan. 10:13), and the head of every other worldly power (Eph. 6:12). Because trust and love hasn’t been the foundation of his heart and style of operation, he must use force to have his way. Thus, we see brutality, torture, and death as the underlying constitution in his vassal earthly governments.

In obedience to his wishes, his human representatives gear their work toward jockeying for the highest positions in life in order to steer nations and the world to conform to his devious plans to possess every soul. His human counterparts are the kingmakers and always have been. No world leader, in government or finance, can rise to the top of power without subscribing to the governing architecture of Satan. And they, like their leader, have used force in order to control since the days of Cain, who rose up and slew his brother.

The masterpiece of Lucifer’s control is the papal hierarchy. Our Lord pointed out that system in His sacred word. “And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.” (Dan. 7:25).

And again, “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 13:5-8).

“He,” that system which personifies Satan’s work to destroy righteousness and love, “shall…think to change times and laws.” “The man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” (2Thess. 2:3,4) NIV.

No one else than the church of Rome has so feverishly rewritten history to cover its long record of haughty daring and perversity. No one else has so distorted righteous rule or blasphemed heaven by openly destroying through religion the right of man before God. As it is written, “To crush under his feet all the prisoners of the earth,To turn aside the right of a man before the face of the most High, To subvert a man in his cause, the Lord approveth not.” (Lam. 3:34-36). John, in vision, stood amazed at such a sad success story. (Rev. 17:6,7).

So, even though at the present, it may seem that the world’s worst enemy has been worsted before its non-religious nemesis, the atheistic, secular world is still to be short-lived.

The message to the world hasn’t changed: Get with Jesus. Find in Him your sure friend and Savior from sin. Allow Him to bring you to surrender to His love, baptizing you in His forgiveness and grace. Stay with Him until He brings you to submission to His example of selflessness and humility, in spite of its poor reflection on your character. Because the day is surely coming, and hastens greatly, when “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.” (2Thess. 2:8). He, it, will come as a great shock to stun everyone.

“And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil.
Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.
Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land.” (Zeph. 1:12-18).

Christians should be preparing for what is soon to break upon the world as an overwhelming surprise, and this preparation they should make by diligently studying the word of God and striving to conform their lives to its precepts. The tremendous issues of eternity demand of us something besides an imaginary religion, a religion of words and forms, where truth is kept in the outer court. God calls for a revival and a reformation. The words of the Bible and the Bible alone, should be heard from the pulpit. But the Bible has been robbed of its power, and the result is seen in a lowering of the tone of spiritual life. In many sermons of today there is not that divine manifestation which awakens the conscience and brings life to the soul. The hearers cannot say, "Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the Scriptures?" Luke 24:32. There are many who are crying out for the living God, longing for the divine presence. Let the word of God speak to the heart. Let those who have heard only tradition and human theories and maxims, hear the voice of Him who can renew the soul unto eternal life. Prophets and Kings, p. 626.

Monday, November 03, 2008

“Mercy and truth preserve the King: and His throne is upholden by mercy.” (Prov. 20:28).

“He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant.” (Is. 53:2). Before whom? Before His Father. This was His Father’s beloved Son in whom He was well pleased. Under His purview His Son came up; in all things the Father directed to develop in His Son the most precious characteristics; into His Son He breathed His Holy Spirit from conception—the Spirit without measure.

“He studied the life of plants and animals, and the life of man. From His earliest years He was possessed of one purpose; He lived to bless others. For this He found resources in nature; new ideas of ways and means flashed into His mind as He studied plant life and animal life. Continually He was seeking to draw from things seen illustrations by which to present the living oracles of God. The parables by which, during His ministry, He loved to teach His lessons of truth show how open His spirit was to the influences of nature, and how He had gathered the spiritual teaching from the surroundings of His daily life.

“Thus to Jesus the significance of the word and the works of God was unfolded, as He was trying to understand the reason of things. Heavenly beings were His attendants, and the culture of holy thoughts and communings was His. From the first dawning of intelligence He was constantly growing in spiritual grace and knowledge of truth.” Desire of Ages, p. 70.

From His first thoughts Jesus reflected the gentleness, tenderness, and softness of spirit of our Father in heaven.

“As a root out of a dry ground.” (ibid.). This sweet heavenly environment and in which His Father daily cocooned His Son made Jesus a source of joy and faith and love to everyone around Him, poor people who were steeped in misery and legalistic slavery to tradition and sin.

“He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.” (ibid.). Some people have seen in this verse only the last hours of His ministry—Gethsemane to His burial. But from the manger to the grave Christ bore the consequences of our sin. He carried His cross during His whole life. Lack of acceptance was deeply felt all His life long—during His childhood, youth, young adulthood, and His ministry.

“A body hast Thou prepared Me.” (Heb. 10:5). In the body which His Father gave Him was nothing that would attract attention or applause. No one was to worship a cute face or a body-built physique. He was given no advantage over the least naturally disadvantaged of the human race. He took our nature with all its decline since sin began its devastation of God’s most beautiful intelligent creation. “He took man’s nature, that He might reach man’s wants.” Steps to Christ, p. 11. “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” (Heb. 5:8,9).

“He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” (Is. 53:3). When you are despised and rejected, what is your response? More despite and rejection in return? Or do you become full of sorrow and grief? Here, again, we get an inside peek at the heart of the God of love, the heart of Jesus. He never lashed out due to being rejected, even though it was His constant earthly experience since His barnyard birth and manger for a crib.

May we more and more fully see the true God of love, as revealed to us through His Son. The “tender plant” remained in His soul throughout His life on earth. And we can rest assured, with the disciples who watched their beloved Master leave them in the cloud of angels, that that same Jesus with the same tender mercy those men had experienced from Him the previous 3 years, would stand before the great God of righteousness and justice, and that He will take the full brunt of His Father’s pain and discomfort at the presence of sin in His children, and shed on them His full acceptance and His Father's also.

It is God’s glory to be gracious and longsuffering. Thus the Father prearranged for the best mediator possible, Jesus our advocate. While He must stand for righteousness, truth, and judgment, because He loves to be merciful the plan of our redemption was His idea from eternity past.

“In the heart of Christ, where reigned perfect harmony with God, there was perfect peace. He was never elated by applause, nor dejected by censure or disappointment. Amid the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage.” Desire of Ages, p. 330.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The glory of God in the face of Jesus

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2Cor. 4:6).

What was it about the face of Jesus that revealed the glory of God? Well-set eyes and nose? Was His beard groomed perfectly? Were His cheekbones just so and His lips and bite just right? Did His ears hang evenly and symmetrically? Was it handsomeness that revealed the glory of God? Perfect conformation and build?

“Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1Sam. 16:7). Our fallen natures quickly dive into idolatry as was seen by Israel in Gideon’s day. (Ju. 8:27).

Because our faculties of humility and contrition are so enfeebled, and, to many, barely functional, we depend on beauty or some other sensory input to evoke emotion and a semblance of life to our dead souls. We must constantly have life from our Redeemer implanted to our mechanisms to repent and to walk humble and repentant.

It is in humility that God has shined so brightly. He loves to humble Himself for the sake of His creation. Here is where Jesus truly revealed His Father—not in handsomeness or in anything that would tempt us into self-gratification by proxy through a Jesus of our fancy—but in His humiliation.

Not in beauty, but in pain and grief do we truly see the Father revealed in Jesus. “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men: so shall He sprinkle many nations.” (Is. 52:14,15).

The scars, the wrath of God on His upturned look of surrender and love and submission to the plan to redeem corrupt man; the rejection, and the sorrow—all of this, the true glory of God shining in the face of Jesus.