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.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Imitation Justification

Why is it that such a close imposture to justification by faith has made its way into the Advent ranks? I believe the answer is simple. We chose not to expose ourselves to the testimonies for the church.

Satan is now using every device in this sealing time to keep the minds of God's people from the present truth and to cause them to waver. I saw a covering that God was drawing over His people to protect them in the time of trouble; and every soul that was decided on the truth and was pure in heart was to be covered with the covering of the Almighty.
Satan knew this, and he was at work in mighty power to keep the minds of as many people as he possibly could wavering and unsettled on the truth. I saw that the mysterious knocking in New York and other places was the power of Satan, and that such things would be more and more common, clothed in a religious garb so as to lull the deceived to greater security and to draw the minds of God's people, if possible, to those things and cause them to doubt the teachings and power of the Holy Ghost.
I saw that Satan was working through agents in a number of ways. He was at work through ministers who have rejected the truth and are given over to strong delusions to believe a lie that they might be damned. While they were preaching or praying, some would fall prostrate and helpless, not by the power of the Holy Ghost, but by the power of Satan breathed upon these agents, and through them to the people. While preaching, praying, or conversing, some professed Adventists who had rejected present truth used mesmerism to gain adherents, and the people would rejoice in this influence, for they thought it was the Holy Ghost. Some even that used it were so far in the darkness and deception of the devil that they thought it was the power of God, given them to exercise. They had made God altogether such a one as themselves and had valued His power as a thing of nought.
Some of these agents of Satan were affecting the bodies of some of the saints--those whom they could not deceive and draw away from the truth by a Satanic influence. Oh, that all could get a view of it as God revealed it to me, that they might know more of the wiles of Satan and be on their guard! I saw that Satan was at work in these ways to distract, deceive, and draw away God's people, just now in this sealing time. I saw some who were not standing stiffly for present truth. Their knees were trembling, and their feet sliding, because they were not firmly planted on the truth, and the covering of Almighty God could not be drawn over them while they were thus trembling.
Satan was trying his every art to hold them where they were, until the sealing was past, until the covering was drawn over God's people, and they left without a shelter from the burning wrath of God, in the seven last plagues. God has begun to draw this covering over His people, and it will soon be drawn over all who are to have a shelter in the day of slaughter. God will work in power for His people; and Satan will be permitted to work also.
I saw that the mysterious signs and wonders and false reformations would increase and spread. The reformations that were shown me were not reformations from error to truth. My accompanying angel bade me look for the travail of soul for sinners as used to be. I looked, but could not see it; for the time for their salvation is past.”
Early Writings, p. 45.

The author wrote, “It is a fearful thing to treat lightly the truth which has convinced our understanding and touched our hearts. We cannot with impunity reject the warnings which God in mercy sends us.” This portion of the quote above was written regarding the Protestants who rejected the message from heaven given through William Miller concerning the literal second coming of Jesus.

But, should not the same principle apply to Adventists who reject the messages from heaven given to them in the Testimonies for the Church? In those nine volumes and many other Spirit of Prophecy books make up the guidelines for steering the remnant church as it follows behind its pillar of cloud and fire through this long wilderness wandering. The Lord made a covenant with the Advent movement in 1844 similar to that given to Israel by Moses.

To the Adventists after the Disappointment, Jesus said, “Ye stand this day all of you before the Lord your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel,
Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water:
That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into His oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day:
That He may establish thee to day for a people unto Himself, and that He may be unto thee a God, as He hath said unto thee, and as He hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath;
But with him that standeth here with us this day before the Lord our God, and also with him that is not here with us this day:
(For ye know how we have dwelt in the land of Egypt; and how we came through the nations which ye passed by;
And ye have seen their abominations, and their idols, wood and stone, silver and gold, which were among them:)
Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;
And it come to pass, when he heareth the words of this curse, that he bless himself in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, though I walk in the imagination of mine heart, to add drunkenness to thirst….” (Deut. 29:10-19).

There needs to be a little translating for these last verses to be properly understood in modern language and concepts. When the Adventists came together around the advent message, they came away from the last of the papal captivity still holding Protestantism. Their faith had been severely tested, and now they were ready to receive the great light of the last remaining doctrines held by the ancient apostolic church.

The “gods of these nations” would be the misconceptions and falsehoods held on to by the Protestant churches which has since led them into ecumenism with Rome and the new push to unite church and state, and the Charismatic and New Age movements.

Someone “blessing himself in his heart” describes a person like Paul, who wrote, “I was alive without the law once.” (Rom. 7:9). And John, who wrote, “Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” (Jn. 3:20). When I disregard the law, I think myself a pretty good person. But God says my heart is self-serving and bitterly rebellious, with a dire thirst for peace. Ignoring the truth, I make myself drunk on self-exaltation and I live in a fairy tale reality of self-acclaimed greatness, which in no way satisfies the lack of peace in my thirsty soul.

People want certainty of salvation. Those who believe salvation comes through justification will do what is required to achieve it. Then they will expect their reward, they will want to believe they are justified. This is natural; God designed us this way. But if the sky-high standard is not sought, then sin appears only mildly sinful. And those who desire justification for salvation—certain contact with a real heaven of love, the touch by the Holy Spirit—but who purposely avoid the mile-high standard will not know the exceeding sinfulness of their sin and will never need an exceedingly gracious Savior and Judge, until they turn to the sky-high Law of God and testimonies of the prophets.

Neither will they rejoice exceedingly, nor receive exceedingly great power from above. Their departure from the Law has left them without needing an exceedingly gracious Savior for sin and from sin, and they can’t be driven to seek Him. If they are never forced to seek Him, they will never find Him. Thus, because they never find Him, they must settle for a lukewarm acceptance with heaven and obtain a lackluster behavior modification. They have been buried alive, dunked but not baptized, which far from satisfies a certainty of salvation. Thus, the soul of many is squirming and unsettled about their relationship with Jesus, even if they want to have one. This will be especially the case as we near the end of the Investigative Judgment.

It is only those who chose to keep looking at the sky-high standard in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, and felt the heavy hand of God’s displeasure toward their unacceptable faults and sinfulness, who found the strait gate and narrow way. It's those who remained in the furnace of God’s affliction, whether their choice to stay in the furnace was consciously made or unconsciously, who received the rich reward of justification and grace, and won the prize.

The end result of looking at the high-standard is a solid hold on God’s grace, and being and staying healed of the bitter root of rebellion. “Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” (1Tim. 1:5-7). “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.” (Heb. 12:15).

As Paul wrote, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” (Heb. 3:14). And, “For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” (Heb. 10:36). Like Abram and Hannah and a host of others who patiently bore with whatever form of affliction God gave them. Even if they suffered ignorantly, oblivious of the cause of their affliction, or not even intelligently recognizing that God was afflicting them, they subconsciously made choices toward mercy and faith that God counted as rewardable. The lost sheep knew it was lost but had not enough wherewithal to get home. The lost coin couldn’t even comprehend its forsaken condition; much less know to seek out its owner.

But humans whom the lost coin represents have enough intelligence to hope for something better than their present condition. And the Holy Spirit acting on their dull spiritual senses gently leads them to choose to grasp a hand reaching down from heaven whom they know not. So that even those lacking strong intellect or lost deeply in a maze of worldiness and drugs, or the infant and toddler too young to know of a God bigger than Dad and Mom, not recognizing their choices made toward mercy and truth, God can eventually save and lead them to full cognizance of their Savior, of His work in saving them and their full certainty of salvation. As Jesus said, “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me.” (Jn. 6:37).

Often the Lord works without notice of the soul for whom He ministers. “For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
Then He openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction...
He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.
Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,
To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.” (Job 33:14-16,28-30).

“In the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God….
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are.” (1Cor. 1:21,26-28).

No imitation justification, no false faith, no counterfeit conversion will God accept or reward with His Holy Spirit of grace and peace. He will spew them out of His mouth. But those who seek Him will find Him.

“An highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” (Is. 35:8).

“For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” (Ps. 1:6).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The hocus pocus focus

“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (Jn. 1:12). When “the King of glory stooped low to take humanity” He came to His own. Israel had been His and after 1500 years of continued apostasy, despite their degraded spiritual condition, He still claimed them. This “kingdom of priest” and “holy nation” was deeply caught up in the same philosophical idolatry that characterized the Roman world, when iniquity and transgression had come to full fruition as the prophecy had foretold. Dan. 8:23.

Yet, Christ sought out His chosen people. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (Vs. 11). And He not only sought to save them, but the Gentiles too. Providence had put Israel into captivity, that at His coming He could meet both Jew and non-Jew at the same time. “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” (Vs. 10). But those who did surrender to His divine magnanimity and friendliness received power to overcome self.

Mary, the prostitute of Magdala, was one who accepted His love; short-tempered John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved,” did as well. So did Roman centurions and Samaritans, inhabitants of Decapolis and Canaanites; and a host of others.

“Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them.
And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.” (Matt. 4:23-25).

They sought Him out and abode with Him. In Jesus of Nazareth they saw princely power veiled by simple peasant’s garb. They beheld meekness and gentleness, but one who stood staunchly for the right.

In every gentle and submissive way, Jesus tried to please those with whom He came in contact. Because He was so gentle and unobtrusive, the scribes and elders supposed that He would be easily influenced by their teaching. Desire of Ages, p. 85.

“Thou hast the dew of Thy youth.” “Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.
Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.
And in Thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things.
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; whereby the people fall under Thee.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.
All Thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Thee glad.” (Ps. 110:3;Ps. 45:2-8).

His countenance …[was] pale, worn, and emaciated…but as the people looked upon Him, they saw a face where divine compassion was blended with conscious power. Every glance of the eye, every feature of the countenance, was marked with humility, and expressive of unutterable love. He seemed to be surrounded by an atmosphere of spiritual influence. While His manners were gentle and unassuming, He impressed men with a sense of power that was hidden, yet could not be wholly concealed. DA p.137.

But the religious leaders who felt “indignant that He should stand in opposition to their word,” (DA p. 85) could not see His beauty. They were blinded to His matchless charms, but the common people saw Him clearly and heard Him gladly. To them He gave the willpower to become sons of God. The theologians and the religious right depended on their own wisdom and unregenerated willpower. They had feasted upon rabbinical chaff, and their strength was but weakness.

The mind was crowded with material that was worthless to the learner, and that would not be recognized in the higher school of the courts above. The experience which is obtained through a personal acceptance of God’s word had no place in the educational system. Absorbed in the round of externals, the students found no quiet hours to spend with God. They did not hear His voice speaking to the heart. In their search after knowledge, they turned away from the Source of wisdom. The great essentials of the service of God were neglected. The principles of the law were obscured. That which was regarded as superior education was the greatest hindrance to real development. DA p.69.

By coming in the flesh Jesus could illuminate the written word of scripture with the light of heavenly love and a depth of meaning which, prior to His coming, was not discerned by the Jews. His life demonstrated hidden truth from their scriptures which the Jews had overlooked.

The requirements of society and the requirements of God were in constant collision. Men were departing from the word of God, and exalting theories of their own invention. They were observing traditional rites that possessed no virtue. Their service was a mere round of ceremonies; the sacred truths it was designed to teach were hidden from the worshipers. He saw that in their faithless services they found no peace. They did not know the freedom of spirit that would come to them by serving God in truth. Jesus had come to teach the meaning of the worship of God, and He could not sanction the mingling of human requirements with the divine precepts. He did not attack the precepts or practices of the learned teachers; but when reproved for His own simple habits, He presented the word of God in justification of His conduct. DA p. 84.

The word had become flesh. Christ not only spoke the truth, He was the truth. And those who loved the truth clung to Him.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;
(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)… The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:1,2,14).

Christ took the truth from the written word, internalized it, and then gave it to the people. Though in different setting, type was meeting anti-type. A greater than Solomon was among them. “Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.
Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.” (1Ki. 10:8,9).

“And…the people were astonished at His doctrine: for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (Matt. 7:28,29).

In the days of Christ the leaders and teachers of Israel were powerless to resist the work of Satan. They were neglecting the only means by which they could have withstood evil spirits. It was by the word of God that Christ overcame the wicked one. The leaders of Israel professed to be the expositors of God’s word, but they had studied it only to sustain their traditions, and enforce their man-made observances. By their interpretation they made it express sentiments that God had never given. Their mystical construction made indistinct that which He had made plain. They disputed over insignificant technicalities, and practically denied the most essential truths. Thus infidelity was sown broadcast. God’s word was robbed of its power, and evil spirits worked their will. DA p.257.

Another mystical construct slowly moved over the people of God Christ. Following the last apostle, the church of God lost it’s first love of Christ. They faithfully battled the pagan philosophers for the Christian faith, but they did so without surrender to Christ. They kept up the defense of Him, but not the dependence on Him. The church fathers had departed from the earlier love found in the apostles. Thus, without walking by faith and communion, their biblically sounding theories became the diet of the lukewarm people. They kept up the “works” without the earlier intimacy with Christ; while looking zealous, surrender and apostolic fervor was unknown by the churched multitudes. (Rev. 2:4).

History is repeating. With the open Bible before them, and professing to reverence its teachings, many of the religious leaders of our time are destroying faith in it as the word of God. They busy themselves with dissecting the word, and set their own opinions above its plainest statements. In their hands God’s word loses its regenerating power. This is why infidelity runs riot, and iniquity is rife.
When Satan has undermined faith in the Bible, he directs men to other sources for light and power. Thus he insinuates himself. Those who turn from the plain teaching of Scripture and the convicting power of God’s Holy Spirit are inviting the control of demons. Criticism and speculation concerning the Scriptures have opened the way for spiritism and theosophy—those modernized forms of ancient heathenism—to gain a foothold even in the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Side by side with the preaching of the gospel, agencies are at work which are but the medium of lying spirits. Many a man tampers with these merely from curiosity, but seeing evidence of the working of a more than human power, he is lured on and on, until he is controlled by a will stronger than his own. He cannot escape from its mysterious power.
The defenses of the soul are broken down. He has no barrier against sin. When once the restraints of God’s word and His Spirit are rejected, no man knows to what depths of degradation he may sink. Secret sin or master passion may hold him a captive as helpless as was the demoniac of Capernaum. Yet his condition is not hopeless.
The means by which we can overcome the wicked one is that by which Christ overcame, —the power of the word.
DA p.258.

History is still repeating. Lawlessness is the pursuit of multitudes professing the Bible, even of multitudes of Adventists claiming to have a prophet. Yet, tucked away in pockets here and there is the other extreme—the legalists. These folks know the Spirit of Prophecy like the back of their hand, but the Bible is largely Christless, loveless, and unpalatable. My people know Righteousness by Faith, the science of the will and human nature, etc. Yet, strangely Jesus is missing from their books and discourses. They can talk all about surrender and the new birth; but isn’t surrender missing if Jesus isn’t in all their thoughts and words? Aren’t they among the “not 1 in 20 is converted”? (“It is a solemn statement that I make to the church, that not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history, and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner.” ) Christian Service, p. 41.

“Not one in twenty” is the same as the ratio in Solomon’s statement. “Behold, this have I found, saith the preacher, counting one by one, to find out the account:
Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found.
Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.” (Eccl. 7:2-29).

When Christ becomes the study, the word of God become flesh, the science of salvation will have a fullness that deep thinkers will appreciate and an attractiveness that even children will be drawn to. Christianity divorced from Christ, theology without exalting—not just name-dropping—but describing Him who is supposed to be its foundation, will be its downfall. Preaching of salvation with only mere mentions of the Savior produces nothing more than Babylonian hocus pocus. The smoke of their torment will ascend up for ever and ever, and they will have no rest, day nor night, trying to make salvation happen for them, and be unable. And in the end will make the church—even the Adventist—a habitation of devils, a hold of foul spirits, the cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

I close with an example of name-dropping excerpted from the manuscript, His Robe or Mine , p. 18,19.

When the will is in God’s control, the five senses are reduced to reason and conscience rather than feelings. We then live by faith in place of feelings. Living by faith does not do away with feelings but puts them in their proper place. They must follow the exercise of the will rather than to be the motivation for the actions of the will.

Now you know the enemy’s top secret! If you have never thought to take your will from Satan’s control, why not do it right now? Just say audibly to Satan, “I am taking my will from your control and surrendering it to Jesus.” Then say to Jesus, “Please take my will for I cannot keep it.”

Jesus promises to take, purify, cleanse, and return that will to you linked with His own. “When you give up your own will, your own wisdom, and learn of Christ, you will find admittance into the kingdom of God.” 1SM p.110.

There is no power in heaven or earth that can force us to take this simple step. Let us keep in mind that it is the simple steps in God’s plan of salvation that Satan tried to keep us from believing and implementing. His power over us can be broken with such a simple step as keeping our will surrendered to God every day. He knows that we hold the key in our hands. Will you take this step and use this key? It will open to you the power of heaven as you link yourself with God.


A lot of fine words, and good intents, and even a quotation by Ellen White; but the unconscionable negligence here, throughout this highly acclaimed book, and the mainstream of Adventist literature is that Jesus is not the study. He is only mentioned in passing here and there.

Thus, rather than studying Jesus in the word of God, being drawn in to Him by the Holy Spirit, then becoming possessed by the heavenly agencies as we behold Christ’s loveliness, and receiving power to choose to obey, the author concludes that surrendering our will can be accomplished by simply telling the devil that’s what we want to do.

But, may I remind us all, Many will be lost while hoping and desiring to be Christians. Steps to Christ, p. 47.

Therefore, I must judge this book as well-meaning, but an imposture of the gospel of the kingdom that is to be preached to the whole world for a witness to all nations. Without the author’s acquainting us with Jesus, the book unwittingly does the work of the devil. Nothing pleases Satan more than religion that does not exalt God’s Mediator of mercy.

The saving salt is the pure first love, the love of Jesus, the gold tried in the fire. When this is left out of the religious experience. Jesus is not there; the light, the sunshine of his presence, is not there. What, then, is the religion worth? —Just as much as the salt that has lost its savor. It is a loveless religion. Then there is an effort to supply the lack by busy activity, a zeal that is Christless. Bible Echo, March 1, 1892 par. 10.

We have had abundant light at these meetings, and we must walk in it. We must seek to redeem the neglect of the past. We must come up from the lowlands of earth. We must not preach any more Christless sermons, or any longer live Christless lives. RH, July 16, 1889 par. 11}

Our Redeemer liveth to make intercession for us, and now if we will daily learn in the school of Christ, if we will cherish the lessons He will teach us in meekness and lowliness of heart, we shall have so large a measure of the Spirit of Jesus that self will not be interwoven into anything that we may do or say. The eye will be single to the glory of God. We need to make special efforts to answer the prayer of Christ that we may be one as He is one with the Father, He who declared Himself actually straitened while in the days of His humiliation because He had many things to say to His disciples which they could not bear now. The wonders of redemption are dwelt upon altogether too lightly.
We need these matters presented more fully and continuously in our discourses and in our papers. We need our own hearts to be deeply stirred with these deep and saving truths. There is danger of keeping the discourses and the articles in the paper like Cain’s offering, Christless.
Baptized with the Spirit of Jesus, there will be a love, a harmony, a meekness, a hiding of the self in Jesus that the wisdom of Christ will be given, the understanding enlightened; that which seems dark will be made clear. The faculties will be enlarged and sanctified. He can lead those He is fitting for translation to heaven to loftier heights of knowledge and broader views of truth.
1888, p. 29, 30.

Divine knowledge may become human knowledge. Every minister should study closely the manner of Christ’s teaching. They must take in His lessons. There is not one in twenty who knows the beauty, the real essence, of Christ’s ministry. They are to find it out. Then they will become partakers of the rich fruit of His teachings. They will weave them so fully into their own life and practice, that the ideas and principles that Christ brought into His lessons will be brought into their teaching. The truth will blossom and bear the noblest kind of fruit. And the worker’s own heart will be warmed; yea, it will burn with the vivifying spiritual life which they infuse into the minds of others. Then all this tame sermonizing will come to an end; for frequently this is an exhibition of self, rather than the fruit that the teacher bears who has been at the feet of Jesus and learned of Him. —6MR 72. Pastoral Ministry p. 281.

Let us find in Jesus His strength of perfect obedience through His perfect love to His Father and to a world of sinners. And then, in word and in deed, let us spread His righteousness to everyone we meet.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Helpmate

In the U.S. Navy, each ship or each shore facility is a unit called a command. The other military services use the same terminology. The person full and ultimately responsible for that command’s operation and safety is the commanding officer, or the commander. The commander’s work is to communicate with the squadron commander, the commodore. The commander deals with the issues of his command and plans strategies to resolve future issues, and accepts the commodore’s experience in his own similar situations when he was a commander. The commander talks with the commodore concerning high level plans and missions for his ship, discussion by two very sharp, cream of the crop, officers.

The commanding officer has his assistant, the executive officer. While the executive offer is highly involved with the plans which the commanding officer receives from the squadron commodore, the executive officer’s main duties involve the crew. He is responsible for training the crew and for keeping them comfortable and in good spirits. He also plays largely in their performance evaluations and in disciplinary proceedings.

In every household God has put a commanding officer and an executive officer. The father and mother work together for their little crew. But even though they cooperate in leading their family, their roles are different and distinct. They both enforce the laws of the home, but the father punishes misbehavior when the mother has not been able to effectively communicate correction. And woe to the insubordinate child when father gets involved! Hopefully this has to happen only once in the child’s lifetime.

The Lord God made woman the perfect helper for man. Her spiritual makeup is perfectly suited by the Creator to defer to her tougher male counterpart. By nature, her man is bold, full of energy and fearless of danger, which she accepts, and with wisdom serves to keep him healthy so that he can fill his role among the others of his gender. “Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.” (Prov. 31:23). If he is off the mark, she will advise him of her opinion. Then she will fall in behind him supporting him, so long as his course is not in violation of God’s law. “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.” (Vs. 12).

She is her husband’s armor bearer, always right by his side. She speaks like Jonathan’s helper in warfare. “And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.

And his armourbearer said unto him, Do all that is in thine heart: turn thee; behold, I am with thee according to thy heart.

Then said Jonathan, Behold, we will pass over unto these men, and we will discover ourselves unto them. If they say thus unto us, Tarry until we come to you; then we will stand still in our place, and will not go up unto them. But if they say thus, Come up unto us; then we will go up: for the Lord hath delivered them into our hand: and this shall be a sign unto us.

And both of them discovered themselves unto the garrison of the Philistines: and the Philistines said, Behold, the Hebrews come forth out of the holes where they had hid themselves.

And the men of the garrison answered Jonathan and his armourbearer, and said, Come up to us, and we will shew you a thing. And Jonathan said unto his armourbearer, Come up after me: for the Lord hath delivered them into the hand of Israel.

And Jonathan climbed up upon his hands and upon his feet, and his armourbearer after him: and they fell before Jonathan; and his armourbearer slew after him.” (1Sam. 14:6-13).

For all just causes, the converted and consecrated woman will stand behind her converted and consecrated husband. She will not take the controls, but will spring into action as he springs. His cause is her cause, even if it calls for difficulty or danger. They are one in heart and in life.

She is happy to be with her husband. Not just because she appreciates what he does and says, but just because she loves him. She can’t help it; God wired her that way. And in the stillness of the night, when nothing is happening, she is happy just to know she is with her husband, her lover and her friend. Without his doing or saying anything—just breathing in slumber—he makes her happy and secure. Nothing else can dismiss the self-sufficiency in man. Without his doing anything, she loves him and wants to be in his presence.

Woman is an amazing creature! She is the grand finale of creation week, revealing the image of the most intimate characteristics of God. Mercy, gentleness, meekness, ingenuity, creativity, multi-tasking, intimacy, service, disinterested love. Woman is amazing indeed!

And infinitely more so is her wonderful Creator.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Seeing Jesus with x-ray eyes

What is the secret of salvation? One view of Jesus. A deep view. A life-long, studied examination of Him. A view that looks into the thoughts and intents of His heart. It looks for His motive, it weighs His decisions. It looks for evidence of one general thing—real deep love of God. It takes in His outward actions and sleuths back to His inner grace. It requires detective skill and hope and faith; at the very start wanting to know that love and acceptance is what will be found in Him. “He that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope.” (1Cor. 9:10).

If we have a great need for a faithful friend in God, we will learn the detective skills needed to discern love in all that Jesus did and said. And we will appropriate His love to the people back then to us today. As desperate detectives, we will take our big magnifying glass, anointing our eyes with the Spirit of God, and go in search for we know not exactly what. But we look for a character whose builder and maker is God.

“And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life.” (Jn. 6:40). This sounds like He made a strange statement to the people that day. Didn’t that whole generation see Jesus? Didn’t they all get a good look at Him? Yes, most likely. If some didn’t, it wasn’t because they didn’t have opportunity. Yet, the vast majority weren’t saved by the look they got. They didn’t come alive after looking, like they should have. They looked at Him the wrong way.

One day, someone asked Him, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” (Lk. 13:23). His answer was basically, “Yes.” But listen to His reason why few are saved. “Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets. But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity.” (Vs. 26,27). The Messiah had passed through every part of Israel, even to the outer countries, criss-crossing as He traversed the whole region, preaching and teaching and healing. Yet, to so many He was nothing more than a spectacle, like the circus coming to town. He was gawked at as Mr. Miracle, or bowed down to as Mr. Important, or applauded as Mr. Popular. They were giving Him the celebrity treatment they wished for themselves. They treated Him just like the Romans did their heroes. It was worldly. The homage they paid their long-sought Messiah was idolatrous.

They kept Him at a 10 foot distance. They didn’t need a Savior or a Friend when being their Friend and Savior was the only reason He came unto His own. They desired shallow, surface relationships. Their idols and self already ministered to their deeper needs. There was no place left in the deep recesses of their heart for the Lord or anyone else. Satan and his religion had wooed them, and was petting them and their darling sins. In his religion they could weep for themselves in self-pity, and feel good about their wonderful morality and emotional exercises. But Satan’s religion never led them to bow the proud heart and fall before undeserved and undying divine love. The deception was ingenious.

With the crowd in such a fevered uproar about the humble Jesus of Nazareth when He’d come to town, it was easy to get caught up in the crowd’s attitude towards Him, even influencing many who were in need of a perfect friend. But some unconsciously clung to their search for a friendly Messiah. This was the case of the woman with the decade-long bleeding disorder. While the people were excited and jostling Jesus, only her touch of great need did He notice. His power went to no one else but her. But she had to bend all of her effort and strength to not be trampled and to get through the careless celebrants. She had to bend all her willpower and energy, and strive to enter in to where she could barely touch His hem.

Jesus made her strive as He moved past her. The more you have to expend energy and brainpower, the greater the reward. If you don’t strive, you don’t deserve a reward. He that doesn’t work shouldn’t eat. 1Thess. 3:10. But he that does work is worthy of his reward. 1Tim. 5:18. And he who strives the most, gets the greatest reward. Christ severely tested her resolve to get to Him because He knew her already; He didn’t give her more difficulty than she could handle. And she got to Him and found out what Jesus was really about.

In her healing she saw Jesus not only as a healer but as the Saviour of her soul. In His virtue all her doubts about God’s watch care dissolved and washed away. She was a new creature in Him, made whole—body, soul, and spirit. Her whole faith she rested on Him. She saw Him and His grace, and placed all her hope in Him. Her faith permitted Him to heal and to justify her, and her testimony of His mercy sealed the transaction and transformation.

If we would be justified and healed of sin’s maladies in our character, supernatural vision must see through all that Satan has put up as a screen. We must get past the requirements of the laws, taboos and requirements set up by man. We must get past all the doctrine and morality. We must take all the guilt and shame, and get to HIM. We must peer into the mind of Christ. We must see Him knowing His Father. We must see the Son, the Beloved of God, His little One who pleases His heart very well. We must intensely watch the communion between Him and the great heart of His big Father.

This can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit anointing our minds to see love in Jesus as we study the Bible. But if we don’t strive to see love, the anointing will never happen. We must pray to know Him and then put forth 100% of our willpower to work our prayer to know Him. That will leave 0% willpower to do anything else, such as worrying about our morality and our success at overcoming our defects and sins.

If it takes extra Bible study, prayer, missionary work to see the Son, then take it. If it takes serving others, the spouse and children, the siblings or parents, then do it. If it takes helping or cooperating with neighbors or pleasing the supervisor and co-workers, then do it. “Let not thine hands be slack” when it comes to developing the vision to see the Lord, and trusting wholly in the gracious love and loving-kindness that we see in Him. (Zeph. 3:16).

And if we see Him and lay all our hope upon His love, then victory over sins will simply happen—but not until we come to hope fully in the Friend and Savior we have been studying. Our vision will become full of His righteousness, our will filled with His power; and the soul will expel each sin, one by one, with a supernatural willpower we couldn’t have mustered.

In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve. In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God. Desire of Ages, p. 466.

Salvation and eternity hinge on the right action of our will. Instead of trying to stomp out your sins and faults, will you choose to study Him until you bow your whole self to His grace and truth, thus giving Him your will? Do you now choose to be a Christian?

Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him. Steps to Christ, p. 47.

As by getting too close to spiritualism people are pulled in to Satan, so peering closely at Jesus and His life will draw us in to Him. Then falling at His feet in humble contrition and submission, He will give us His righteousness. He will encircle us with His arms and claim us as His own. “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.” (Jn. 10:28,29).

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Simplicity

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2Cor. 11:3).

The burdens this world requires are often the greatest encumbrances to surrendering to God’s love.

There are many whose hearts are aching under a load of care because they seek to reach the world’s standard. They have chosen its service, accepted its perplexities, adopted its customs. Thus their character is marred, and their life made a weariness.… The continual worry is wearing out the life forces. Our Lord desires them to lay aside this yoke of bondage. He invites them to accept His yoke; He says, “My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” He bids them seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and His promise is that all things needful to them for this life shall be added. Worry is blind, and cannot discern the future; but Jesus sees the end from the beginning. In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God supreme will find perplexities vanish, and a plain path before their feet. DA p.330.

The history, the science, the philosophy behind why my organization does what it does; the emblematics, the medals, the ribbons, the robes and wigs and epaulettes, the distortions forced upon the human body; the methods, the practices, certain ways that have always been done since the early mists of time immemorial; the taboos, the hush-hush, the social improprieties that horrify the initiated; the exaggerated, the unnatural usages and expressions; the status, the prestige, the fame and infamy; laws, complicated tax codes, lawyer-speak; difficult webpages, complex computer gliches, technology.

Life today is by no means simple, and its complexity presents an immediate assault on the soul’s knowledge of God, shunting faith to ground, and captivating the mind to this world. Babylon is alive and well. We were warned of all this. “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.” (Matt. 24:37,38). “Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot;... they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded.” (Lk. 17:28).

When Christ came to the earth,…life had become false and artificial. Ed p. 75.

Christ dispensed with all things superficial and a world designed by Satan to exalt man. His life was simple and pure. He wore a durable one-piece garment, with an outer blanket and sandals for necessity. His life was no less basic, without “where to lay His head,” nowhere to call home. He often slept under the trees or directly under the stars. His favorite church to teach of His Father was the great outdoors. His musical instrument was His melodious voice and clear words. His life harked back to Eden, because He was the second Adam.

He had no fear of thieves; what did He have to steal? A few pence? He had laid up His treasure in heaven where thieves could not break through and steal. No one cared for His life of simplicity, so marauders never bothered Him and His disciples. He ate from the edges of the farmed fields, as He had originally ordained through Moses. So free was He from man-made regulations, that people thought He was John the Baptist who had lived wholly off the meager fare of the wild edibles of the desert.

Christ’s message and movement was likewise simple—Put forth you greatest effort to serve and obey God; secondarily, serve your neighbor and your nation’s government. He saw no conflict here; the two were one, and easy to understand and obey. This one principle was the simple out-working of the whole law and prophets.

In His teaching were embraced the things of time and the things of eternity—things seen, in their relation to things unseen, the passing incidents of common life and the solemn issues of the life to come.
The things of this life He placed in their true relation, as subordinate to those of eternal interest; but He did not ignore their importance. He taught that Heaven and earth are linked together, and that a knowledge of divine truth prepares man better to perform the duties of daily life.
Ed p. 82.

The Spirit of God on David expressed this same principle of simplicity. He served the Lord, therefore all the façade of Saul’s armor could only diminish what great things the Lord was about to do to Goliath through only a sling and a stone.

Jonathan left the discouraged armies of Israel to fight the enemy with nothing more than his trusted armor bearer and one sword. And God proved Himself willing to protect and fight for Jonathan. Because his faith was, “there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few,” he went forth having a clear conscience, trusting the Almighty. (1Sam. 14:6). And earthquakes began overthrowing the army of the enemy.

His original organization of the Israelite nation portrayed His simplistic character. Governed by the patriarchs and elder advisors, each tribe and family had great freedom and contentedness to live their private lives. They could adhere to the statutes given them from God and He promised to bring peace and prosperity to all their borders.

He would raise up judges to lead them into battle; and then the fighting ended, the judge would retire to his inheritance and disappear from the public eye. He demanded no payment; no praise or adoration; no taxes to support him and a standing army. Every able-bodied man was expected to defend the nation and return to his possession and then regular civilian life following the conflict. The God of Israel would even use hornets, diseases, and other unseen critters to protect them.

The only taxes paid were in the form of the sacred tithe, which was owed to God for His governorship and His invisible but invincible protection. This tax He happily bequeathed all to the tribe of Levi, the families of which received no earthly inheritance. The Lord was their portion; and to Him they spent their time and labor, learning of Him and teaching the nation of His holy character.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were humble patriarch farmers, yet kings bowed before them and made treaties with them for fear of them. Unencumbered by nationalism and customs of the surrounding peoples, Israel was free to roam and govern itself, setting the example of righteous governance to the nations in which they lived. “Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” (Num. 23:9). And people from all around would look at the simple life, religion, and government of Israel and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great?” (Deut. 4:6-8).

Christ and His people extended into a world of complicated and confused by Satan the perfection of simplicity which existed before sin entered the world. Eden was the archetype of the simple life. Then, in that perfect world so long ago, no human statutes governed or policed. No taxation or tolls, no covetous trade or idolatrous commerce existed. No national boundaries or enemy territory, no danger or terror concerned the holy couple. No careers for Adam and Eve to stress over, no corporate ladders to climb, no retirement account or stock market fund that might dry up, no fear of layoffs or dismissals for poor performance, no competition or dog-eat-dog one-up-manship. No gossip, no offenses, no fear of rejection or loss of faith in one another.

Theirs was the simple life with living vines to make up their humble house. The quiet life of gardening was theirs and easy scratching of the earth was all that was necessary to prepare it to bring forth its abundant gifts for their subsistence. No limitations existed for them except for the one prohibition of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Beauty and joy, love and constant praise filled their waking hours, and blessed sleep was theirs every night; and perfect innocence and holiness robed them in thick glory.

One day soon paradise will be restored to this special world. The emergency institution of marriage will again be dissolved, for in the resurrection and translation we will no more need that. Matt. 22:30;1Cor. 7:1,8,32. We will be no more husbands and wives, but princely and priestly brothers and sisters, reigning on earth. Rev. 5:10. We will have one thing on our mind—the Lamb and the One who sits on the throne. “They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:4).

Eternity will be boiled down to just a few basic things, and forever we will simply walk in the light of His glory.

“For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
Behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.
And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people….
And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them.” (Is. 65:17-23).

“And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth…but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Rev. 21:22-27).

Monday, November 01, 2010

The worship of Mary and Abel

Mary Magdalene was the first to see Jesus after His resurrection. There in the dusky darkness of the cemetery garden she first met two young men at His sepulcher. They showed her their sympathy. Angels, the protective hornets of God’s kingdom, sympathetic to fallen human sorrow? Yes, only if that sorrow has surrendered up its rebellion, as Mary had received from Jesus. Any child of Jesus is a friend of theirs. But, knowing she sought their Prince, why did they ask her, “Woman, why weepest thou?” I think it was to hear her heart-broken confession for her Master. The angels fiercely enforce obedience to God and they know that obedience flows from a contrite and broken spirit. She replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.”

Within minutes of this heart confession, she found Him whom her soul longed for and it brought her a flood of relief.

How did Mary get to be so earnest a disciple of Jesus? Was she born particularly holy? Was she simply a naturally “devout” woman, as much of the Christian world believes? Actually, she was born a rebel like us all. That rebellion ended her up on skid row, a sinner selling her body in the red light district of a town far from home.

If she wasn’t born “devout”, how did she get so devoted to Christ? It came from Jesus accepting her brother’s invitation to spend the afternoon at their home. As Mary found Jesus so friendly and His teaching so kind and inviting, she completely ignored her normal assistance of Martha. She found in His disinterested gentleness someone she could truly trust. And in that deepening trust a connection was born that could not be defaced, even during later years of running the streets of ill-repute.

Mary found a self-worth from Jesus that all the lustful men of Galilee couldn’t give her. Christ’s self-sacrificing character stood out in clear distinction to all the lustful Jews and Romans, and also the other rabbis and moral people. Self-sacrifice drew from her a trust she had never before felt. His love and trust in her awakened faith and brotherly-love for Him, and self-worth from His selfless attention and genuine care for her. And His lessons from the Holy Scriptures were full of loving-kindness of God and righteousness that entered easily and straight into her heart and conscience.

Mary’s experience with Christ parallels that of Abel, son of Adam. Abel fed on the same kindness and mercy in Christ that Mary saw. The Holy Spirit was given to him as tears streaming, he buried his head on the lamb slain at his hand for his sinfulness. Through the Spirit he saw a loving Friend in heaven, as he discerned self-sacrificing love.

But his brother Cain failed to obey the Lord God’s injunction to offer up that which would teach him the self-sacrificing love of God. Thus Cain couldn’t learn self-worth from God’s love for him. This left him wide open to accept Satan’s substitute—self-worth based on subjecting others to his will. When Abel didn’t follow his elder brother’s example in the worship service to the Creator, Cain felt miffed. And as he saw God disregard his offering, but his younger brother’s offering accepted, he grew angrier and angrier.

Cain’s fallen nature demanded respect and honor and power. His self-made offering was not able to extinguish the natural desires of the human race. To Cain’s deluded self it was obvious that the close relation of Abel to heaven was an alliance working to humiliate him and destroy his first-born right of superiority over his siblings. This we gather from the Lord’s appeal to Cain, “Unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” (Gen. 4:7). Cain’s self-worth was really based on self-exaltation. His worth came from knowing how many people he could control.

But God’s admonition to Cain was not a temptation for him to demand dominion over Abel. Christ was telling this wayward child that if he would conform to the heaven-given order of worship, as Abel had, and learn acceptance and love from heaven, then he, too, would have what Abel, and Mary, had obtained—a deep self-worth, a humble self-worth; not through self-exaltation, but self lost sight of in God’s love—which makes the best kind of ruler and guardian.

“Whosoever shall lose his life for My sake shall find it.” Cain’s worth would grow out of self-forgetfulness, a life hidden with Christ in God. Otherwise for him, like the multitudes on earth, “sin”―oppression, persecution, murder―“lieth at the door.”