“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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Patience's perfect work

     In the healing of the paralytic at Capernaum, Christ again taught the same truth. It was to manifest His power to forgive sins that the miracle was performed. And the healing of the paralytic also illustrates other precious truths. It is full of hope and encouragement, and from its connection with the caviling Pharisees it has a lesson of warning as well. 
     Like the leper, this paralytic had lost all hope of recovery. His disease was the result of a life of sin, and his sufferings were embittered by remorse. The Desire of Ages, p. 267.

All hope was gone. All self-sufficiency was gone. He was at the very end of his rope. He could no longer hope in anything he could do to help himself. “God helps those who help themselves” had lost all of its humanistic promise. He had given up. He knew, he was convinced, that his disease was the result of his error. He was at fault; he was guilty. Conviction and condemnation accused him day and night. Long years of remorse broke down his immune system and his body fell under the relentless attacks of his conscience. “A broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22).

He had tried to ask God for forgiveness. With all his trembling faith he approached the throne of grace; but, not a word from heaven. No power from above answered his beseeching. He did not know the love of Christ. This he must discover by complete helplessness and determination.
He had long before appealed to the Pharisees and doctors, hoping for relief from mental suffering and physical pain. But they coldly pronounced him incurable, and abandoned him to the wrath of God. The Pharisees regarded affliction as an evidence of divine displeasure, and they held themselves aloof from the sick and the needy. Yet often these very ones who exalted themselves as holy were more guilty than the sufferers they condemned.
     The palsied man was entirely helpless, and, seeing no prospect of aid from any quarter, he had sunk into despair. Then he heard of the wonderful works of Jesus. He was told that others as sinful and helpless as he had been healed; even lepers had been cleansed. And the friends who reported these things encouraged him to believe that he too might be cured if he could be carried to Jesus. But his hope fell when he remembered how the disease had been brought upon him. He feared that the pure Physician would not tolerate him in His presence.  Ibid. p. 267.

Why should his hope fall simply by being brought before Jesus? Because Jesus was a rabbi and a religious leader, and all the other heartless religious leaders and rabbis had not tolerated him or had infinite mercy upon him. Maybe Jesus would be no different from the other rabbis who apparently spoke for God and represented His disposition toward this suffering wretch.

But, those rabbis were taking God’s name in vain, and the Lord would not hold them guiltless. “For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at His mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts. Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the people, according as ye have not kept My ways, but have been partial in the law.” (Mal. 2:7-9).

“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men… Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.” (Heb. 5:1-3).
But these religious leaders had lost all love to God and man. The accusing of the Lord against their conscience they had silenced by being partial before God’s Law, releasing themselves from its requirements of mercy to all, but demanding justice upon everyone else. “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” (Jer. 17:5-8).
 Yet it was not physical restoration he desired so much as relief from the burden of sin. Ibid. p. 267.

This is what gets Christ’s attention. Not so much the restoration of the earthly body and restoration to this life and its hope for success among peers, as acceptance before God. Love and joy in this life is of great importance and God longs to give it to all of His children. But, He should receive the greatest love and joy, as our Creator and Sustainer. He deserves our utmost desire. This the palsied man came to possess because of his long years of suffering. He was like the vision Zechariah saw.

“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.” (Zech. 3:1-5).

This paralytic had been a brand in the fire. And now the time had come to pluck him out. By his own admission of his guilt and the submission to his shame, he was a child of God ready for rebirth. Self was lost sight of; his justification by the Holy Spirit was just a hair-breadth away, the power of the Highest charged the air.

If he could see Jesus, and receive the assurance of forgiveness and peace with Heaven, he would be content to live or die, according to God’s will. Ibid. p. 267.

His will was already enlisted in heaven’s citizenship, he was already obeying Christ’s key requirement. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:24-26).

The cry of the dying man was, Oh that I might come into His presence! There was no time to lose; already his wasted flesh was showing signs of decay. He besought his friends to carry him on his bed to Jesus, and this they gladly undertook to do. But so dense was the crowd that had assembled in and about the house where the Saviour was, that it was impossible for the sick man and his friends to reach Him, or even to come within hearing of His voice. 
     Jesus was teaching in the house of Peter. According to their custom, His disciples sat close about Him, and “there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem.” These had come as spies, seeking an accusation against Jesus. Outside of these officials thronged the promiscuous multitude, the eager, the reverent, the curious, and the unbelieving. Different nationalities and all grades of society were represented. “And the power of the Lord was present to heal.” The Spirit of life brooded over the assembly, but Pharisees and doctors did not discern its presence. They felt no sense of need, and the healing was not for them. “He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away.” Luke 1:53.
     Again and again the bearers of the paralytic tried to push their way through the crowd, but in vain. The sick man looked about him in unutterable anguish. When the longed-for help was so near, how could he relinquish hope? At his suggestion his friends bore him to the top of the house and, breaking up the roof, let him down at the feet of Jesus. The discourse was interrupted. The Saviour looked upon the mournful countenance, and saw the pleading eyes fixed upon Him. He understood the case; He had drawn to Himself that perplexed and doubting spirit. While the paralytic was yet at home, the Saviour had brought conviction to his conscience. When he repented of his sins, and believed in the power of Jesus to make him whole, the life-giving mercies of the Saviour had first blessed his longing heart. Jesus had watched the first glimmer of faith grow into a belief that He was the sinner’s only helper, and had seen it grow stronger with every effort to come into His presence.  Ibid. p. 267, 268.

The all-seeing vision of Christ, had watched the heart of this poor sufferer. “For behold the Stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.” (Zech. 3:9,10). He watched over this precious soul just as He had watched Nathanael. “Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest Thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.” (Jn. 1:48).

     Now, in words that fell like music on the sufferer’s ear, the Saviour said, “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.”
     The burden of despair rolls from the sick man’s soul; the peace of forgiveness rests upon his spirit, and shines out upon his countenance. His physical pain is gone, and his whole being is transformed. The helpless paralytic is healed! the guilty sinner is pardoned!
     In simple faith he accepted the words of Jesus as the boon of new life. He urged no further request, but lay in blissful silence, too happy for words. The light of heaven irradiated his countenance, and the people looked with awe upon the scene.  Ibid. p. 268.

This harks back to the experience of the author of this book, The Desire of Ages. She also suffered many years from the relentless accusings of Satan. Without perfect faith in Jesus, the devil owns us; and God allows his adversary to drive His children into His arms. For years Ellen Harmon wretched under a grieving soul. Therefore, in this story of the paralytic, she relives her difficult experience and its joyful end when God touched her heart.

  One evening my brother Robert and myself were returning home from a meeting where we had listened to a most impressive discourse on the approaching reign of Christ upon the earth, followed by an earnest and solemn appeal to Christians and sinners, urging them to prepare for the judgment and the coming of the Lord. My soul had been stirred within me by what I had heard. And so deep was the sense of conviction in my heart, that I feared the Lord would not spare me to reach home.
     These words kept ringing in my ears: “The great day of the Lord is at hand! Who shall be able to stand when He appeareth!” The language of my heart was: “Spare me, O Lord, through the night! Take me not away in my sins, pity me, save me!” For the first time I tried to explain my feelings to my brother Robert, who was two years older than myself; I told him that I dared not rest nor sleep until I knew that God had pardoned my sins.     My brother made no immediate reply, but the cause of his silence was soon apparent to me; he was weeping in sympathy with my distress. This encouraged me to confide in him still more, to tell him that I had coveted death in the days when life seemed so heavy a burden for me to bear; but now the thought that I might die in my present sinful state and be eternally lost, filled me with terror. I asked him if he thought God would spare my life through that one night, if I spent it agonizing in prayer to Him. He answered: “I think He will if you ask Him with faith, and I will pray for you and for myself. Ellen, we must never forget the words we have heard this night.”
     Arriving at home, I spent most of the long hours of darkness in prayer and tears. One reason that led me to conceal my feelings from my friends was the dread of hearing a word of discouragement. My hope was so small, and my faith so weak, that I feared if another took a similar view of my condition, it would plunge me into despair. Yet I longed for someone to tell me what I should do to be saved, what steps to take to meet my Saviour and give myself entirely up to the Lord. I regarded it a great thing to be a Christian, and felt that it required some peculiar effort on my part.
     My mind remained in this condition for months. I had usually attended the Methodist meetings with my parents; but since becoming interested in the soon appearing of Christ, I had attended the meetings on Casco Street. The following summer my parents went to the Methodist camp meeting at Buxton, Maine, taking me with them. I was fully resolved to seek the Lord in earnest there, and obtain, if possible, the pardon of my sins. There was a great longing in my heart for the Christian’s hope and the peace that comes of believing.
     I was much encouraged while listening to a discourse from the words, I will “go in unto the king,” “and if I perish, I perish.” In his remarks the speaker referred to those who were wavering between hope and fear, longing to be saved from their sins and receive the pardoning love of Christ, yet held in doubt and bondage by timidity and fear of failure. He counseled such ones to surrender themselves to God, and venture upon His mercy without delay. They would find a gracious Saviour ready to present to them the scepter of mercy, even as Ahasuerus offered to Esther the signal of his favor. All that was required of the sinner, trembling in the presence of his Lord, was to put forth the hand of faith and touch the scepter of His grace. That touch ensured pardon and peace.
     Those who were waiting to make themselves more worthy of divine favor before they venture to claim the promises of God, were making a fatal mistake. Jesus alone cleanses from sin; He only can forgive our transgressions. He has pledged Himself to listen to the petition and grant the prayer of those who come to Him in faith. Many had a vague idea that they must make some wonderful effort in order to gain the favor of God. But all self-dependence is vain. It is only by connecting with Jesus through faith that the sinner becomes a hopeful, believing child of God. These words comforted me and gave me a view of what I must do to be saved.
     I now began to see my way more clearly, and the darkness began to pass away. I earnestly sought the pardon of my sins, and strove to give myself entirely to the Lord. But my mind was often in great distress because I did not experience the spiritual ecstasy that I considered would be the evidence of my acceptance with God, and I dared not believe myself converted without it. How much I needed instruction concerning the simplicity of it!
     While bowed at the altar with others who were seeking the Lord, all the language of my heart was: “Help, Jesus, save me or I perish! I will never cease to entreat till my prayer is heard and my sins forgiven!” I felt my needy, helpless condition as never before. As I knelt and prayed, suddenly my burden left me, and my heart was light. At first a feeling of alarm came over me, and I tried to resume my load of distress. It seemed to me that I had no right to feel joyous and happy. But Jesus seemed very near to me; I felt able to come to Him with all my griefs, misfortunes, and trials, even as the needy ones came to Him for relief when He was upon earth. There was a surety in my heart that He understood my peculiar trials and sympathized with me. I can never forget this precious assurance of the pitying tenderness of Jesus toward one so unworthy of His notice. I learned more of the divine character of Christ in that short period when bowed among the praying ones than ever before.
     One of the mothers in Israel came to me and said: “Dear child, have you found Jesus?” I was about to answer, “Yes,” when she exclaimed: “Indeed you have, His peace is with you, I see it in your face!” Again and again I said to myself: “Can this be religion? Am I not mistaken?” It seemed too much for me to claim, too exalted a privilege. Though too timid to openly confess it, I felt that the Saviour had blessed me and pardoned my sins.
     Soon after this the meeting closed, and we started for home. My mind was full of the sermons, exhortations, and prayers we had heard. Everything in nature seemed changed. During the meeting, clouds and rain prevailed a greater part of the time, and my feelings had been in harmony with the weather. Now the sun shone bright and clear, and flooded the earth with light and warmth. The trees and grass were a fresher green, the sky a deeper blue. The earth seemed to smile under the peace of God. So the rays of the Sun of Righteousness had penetrated the clouds and darkness of my mind, and dispelled its gloom.
     It seemed to me that everyone must be at peace with God and animated by His Spirit. Everything that my eyes rested upon seemed to have undergone a change. The trees were more beautiful and the birds sang more sweetly than ever before; they seemed to be praising the Creator in their songs. I did not care to talk, for fear this happiness might pass away, and I should lose the precious evidence of Jesus’ love for me.  Testimonies for the church, vol. 1, p. 15-18.

But, let it be understood, that no one comes to Christ who had not previously experienced tribulation. The experience of Joshua the high priest, of the palsied man, of Martin Luther, of young Ellen, and the similar experience of every other soul that has finally surrendered to God’s justice and then sought His mercy with all their heart, is the only path to salvation. Every other easier way that neglects this difficult rite of passage, whether the substitute is empty emotion or gluttonous intellectual philosophy, is attempting unauthorized entry into heaven.

“He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.… Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.” (Jn. 10:1,7).

There is only one way into the kingdom of God—the “good fight of faith.” (1Tim. 6:12). At first, and for a long time, the battle is harsh and wearisome. Self and sin are being plucked from our heart, as Satan trembles before the God we have approached for deliverance. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Gal. 5:17). But, if our desire for holiness persists, God draws us all the way to His deliverance from the thralldom of Satan. God has saved another suffering soul!

“Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children. And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.” (Isa. 49:24-26). The devils must flee!

I don’t write of a long, arduous route to God to discourage anyone who has already spent their life in long years of spiritual, emotional, and physical toil and pain, as if they will have many years to go before connecting with heaven. I write this as good news for those who have spent a long time, that they can finally rest from their long toil. The divinely inspired message for Israel’s long captivity was,

“Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD’S hand double for all her sins.” (Isa. 40:1,2).

You who have already suffered. You have suffered long enough; your sins are forgiven. “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” I have the authority of scripture to assure you of this. “Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them.” (Jn. 20:23). You were forgiven many months and years ago; you just wouldn’t believe in God’s mercy. But, peace with God was available to you the whole time; God is that merciful. We are the ones who make heaven’s forgiveness difficult, not Jesus. But, as the wise user of all of His resources, He will even make use of Satan’s obstacles of our return to God. He turns those mountains into hurdles that can only be overcome by pure trust in His tenderness and love.

He gives us the power to jump high. He says,  “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts. Who art thou, O great mountain? before [state your name] thou shalt become a plain.” (Zech. 4:6,7).

“For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness hath made me great.” (Ps. 18:31-35).

“Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.” (Prov. 13:15).  “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” (Heb. 12:6).  “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” (Rev. 3:19).

“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Rom. 4:7,8).
“He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;
He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.” “His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth:
He shall pray unto God, and He will be favourable unto him: and he shall see His face with joy: for He will render unto man His righteousness.” (Job 33:27-28,25-26).
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places.” (Hab. 3:17-19).

“These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple: and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” (Rev. 7:14-17).

“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Rev. 14:12).

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Invest in prevention

These days with soaring health costs and menacing insurance premiums, it seems wise to invest in disease prevention. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, literally. Many people used to scoff at the “health nuts” and now they are finding out that those nuts were worth listening to.

I will take the liberty to reword one of Christ’s most important sayings, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own [health]? or what shall a man give in exchange for his [health]?” (Matt. 16:26). Someone near and dear to me who has chronic kidney problems, has often told me she would give anything for good kidneys. Satan actually told the truth when he told the Lord, “Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.” (Job 2:4). How true!

And for those of us who want to know God better, having a clean strong body is an utmost necessity. When we’re healthy, we’re happy. How can know the goodness of God if we’re full of wounds and bruises and putrefying sores in our organs? The soul is connected with the mind and brain; and the mind is connected to the body. A healthy body is the foundation for spirituality. How can we think we can be careless with our physical health and not reap the ramifications of that in our faith and conscience and morality?

And it goes both ways. “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” (1Cor. 6:18).

But, there is more ways to sin against our body than just fornication. We do it all the time by neglecting the 8 laws of health.

     Pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, proper diet, the use of water, trust in divine power--these are the true remedies. Every person should have a knowledge of nature's remedial agencies and how to apply them. It is essential both to understand the principles involved in the treatment of the sick and to have a practical training that will enable one rightly to use this knowledge. Ministry of Healing, p. 127.

Pure air: If you live in a city, the best time to go for a walk is in the morning early before the commuters come out. The air is fresh from the night’s air cleanser, the dew. And all the carbon monoxide and dioxide have settled down to the ground. And, too, all the riff-raff of the streets are soundly snoozing.

Sunlight: We need at least 15 minutes of sunshine every day, preferably before 10 a.m. and after 3 p.m. A friend of mine with Lupus says she got the disabling disease by not getting outdoors and getting enough vitamin D3. She has had several life-threatening episodes from her Lupus and permanently damaged kidneys. We need to get the Lord’s sunrays that have healing in their beams.

Abstemiousness: Abstinence is a subject many people get mad about. “What do you mean I have to give up my favorite foods and practices? Who do you think you are?” Some put off the decision of abstaining from a known problematic practice until the very last minute, and then often it’s too late. Our God is merciful and patient; but, He also will not alter His Laws just for “little ol’ me”. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.” (2Pet 3:9,10).

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal. 6:7,8).

You might be going along, breaking the laws of health and thinking that no one is watching and you’re getting away with the perfect crime. But, the delicate systems and organs of your body are suffering under a load, and sooner or later will give up in exhaustion. Our Creator made our body so finely–tuned that it operates by hydraulics rather than gears and motors. So, we don’t hear a motor lugging under a burden or gears grinding to a halt. And because we don’t hear our organs loading down under the burdens we put on them from our food heavy in fats, sugar, and salt, it’s easy to believe that everything is all right, when the immune system is weakening, toxins are building to dangerous levels, and cancers are accumulating into life-threatening tumors. Abstinence means to acknowledge our intricate body’s need for proper treatment; it also means to submit to God’s wisdom and laws.

Rest: Between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, with the TV and radio and computer and lights off. Open the windows when you sleep, or at a minimum, open the bedroom door for the fresh air (if that affords privacy). We also need one 24 hour day of rest from the normal weekly enterprises—a Sabbath rest.

Exercise:  Walk or run or swim or anything that demands the whole body. I enjoy running because it give me the most exercise in the short time I can give this necessity to health. Manual labor is also very good and much better than sports in that it doesn’t so easily lend itself to injuries because the element of competition is missing (usually). Although I have found myself under pressure to please my customers with carpentry and compete with myself or with the elements or against the materials I’m using, and over-stress my muscles and nerves and tendons. The best exercise is aerobic and not so demanding that we don’t get full use of the lungs and diaphragm. I’ve found bicycling to be good on the knees and ankles compared to running, but not as good on the breathing because the diaphragm doesn’t get full freedom. Brisk walking is probably the best exercise, all around.

Proper diet: Think vegan, two meals a day, fiber, and low oils, sugar, salt. I had a dream last night that I was a pro football star (I don’t even play football!). And I endorsed, not tennis shoes, but the 8 laws of health. I had “Be Vegan!” and “2 meals a day!” on my back, and “8 hours of sleep!” on my front, and “Sabbath rest!” on my bandana. What a nice dream! (Maybe I half-consciously fed the details into my dream). Our foods need to be acidic, which turns alkaline in the body. Disease hates the alkaline environment because the white blood cells are alive and well in that environment. But, if our diets are alkaline, then the foods turn acidic in the body and disease thrives in that environment. Dairy, sugar, meat, and animal fat are the worst offenders here. More and more medical findings are proving that the cancer plague of today comes from animal fat, especially so in dairy.

The use of water: One tall glass of hot water every morning to start the day right. I get it from the hot tap and it warms the sleeping intestines and unburdens my body of its toxins and I feel a wonderful restfulness; then I go out for a run,hydrated and rested and energetic. 8 glasses of water during the day, but not with meals. We need pure water inside the body and outside, so bathe regularly.

Trust in divine power: This is the last, but by no means the least law of health. Here lies the most overlooked law of health. Many dive right into a healthy lifestyle, get all toned up and feeling good, and still get cancer. This is the argument by multitudes today for ignoring the laws of health. But, this last law trumps all the rest, so much so that Paul said, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1Tim. 4:8). And Paul’s definition of godliness is not of living the posh life, holed up in a cloister, but can be seen from his question, “Why stand we in jeopardy every hour?” (1Cor. 15:30).

“Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.
Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” (2Cor. 11:23-27).

“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” (2Cor. 1:8,9).

Paul had a musculature carved out of stone. And so was his character, and much more. Faith in the Lord drove him to bodily exercise, to fast, to abstain and “through the Spirit [to] mortify the deeds of the body.” (Rom 8:13). “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” (1Cor. 9:26,27).

It was the faith of Jesus that Paul coveted and received from Jesus. Christ, who stood head and shoulders above Paul and every other Bible hero, received of His Father the Spirit without measure. He was the stone with seven eyes, which run through the whole earth, discerning His Father’s will and travelling to meet the needs of far off children of God who needed to know that God accepted them. Knowing Jesus was Paul’s utmost desire and prize.

“Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” (Phil. 3:8-11).

We can have finely tuned bodies and still die of stress. We can exercise and stretch, and still have a stiff neck because of stress and anger and anxiety. We need to know God and fall at His feet in repentance and reformation. Then we will have the peace that everyone covets but finds so elusive. Otherwise, we will contract cancer and die. Sin means death, and it is the most grievous sin to not trust our Maker.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.…
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.…
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:1-2,5-6,9-14).

Godliness―trusting in divine power―takes in all the laws of health. But, we still need to know the 8 laws in order to know what to aim for in godliness. When godliness desires to abstain from obstacles to physical health, we need to know those obstacles and the alternative that God calls us to. When godliness desires physical strength we need to be educated in the need for hydration, cleanliness, aerobics, sunlight, rest, etc. Then we will give to God what He deserves to have of our service—top notch service.

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:1,2).

So, let’s remember the 8 laws of health, for a full, happy life in this world and in the world to come when we will develop all of our powers throughout eternal ages.

“A body hast thou prepared me.” (Heb. 10:5).

Friday, July 26, 2013

Dead to sin

“And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads.… Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Rev. 14:1,12,13).

Everything of this world, including self, must be abandoned. The flesh must go. It must give way, by God’s grace, before heaven can receive us. “As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1Cor. 15:48,49). 

 “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Gal. 6:8).

“So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.” (Rom. 8:8-10). “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” (Rom. 6:2).

   Who has the heart? With whom are our thoughts? Of whom do we love to converse? Who has our warmest affections and our best energies? If we are Christ’s, our thoughts are with Him, and our sweetest thoughts are of Him. All we have and are is consecrated to Him. We long to bear His image, breathe His spirit, do His will, and please Him in all things.
     Those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus will bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5:22, 23. They will no longer fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of God they will follow in His steps, reflect His character, and purify themselves even as He is pure. The things they once hated they now love, and the things they once loved they hate. The proud and self-assertive become meek and lowly in heart. The vain and supercilious become serious and unobtrusive. The drunken become sober, and the profligate pure. The vain customs and fashions of the world are laid aside. Christians will seek not the “outward adorning,” but “the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit.” 1 Peter 3:3, 4. Steps to Christ, p. 58.

We must totally lose hope in this life and come to the point of complete hopelessness. All of our strengths must appear inadequacies; our human props must break under us and we must fall, and our pride with us. Cursed is the man that trusts in any human construct.

“If the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:11-14).

   In giving ourselves to God, we must necessarily give up all that would separate us from Him. Hence the Saviour says, “Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:33. Whatever shall draw away the heart from God must be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. The love of money, the desire for wealth, is the golden chain that binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others. But these slavish bands must be broken. We cannot be half the Lord’s and half the world’s. We are not God’s children unless we are such entirely.…  
     When Christ dwells in the heart, the soul will be so filled with His love, with the joy of communion with Him, that it will cleave to Him; and in the contemplation of Him, self will be forgotten. Love to Christ will be the spring of action. Those who feel the constraining love of God, do not ask how little may be given to meet the requirements of God; they do not ask for the lowest standard, but aim at perfect conformity to the will of their Redeemer. With earnest desire they yield all and manifest an interest proportionate to the value of the object which they seek. A profession of Christ without this deep love is mere talk, dry formality, and heavy drudgery.…
     But what do we give up, when we give all? A sin-polluted heart, for Jesus to purify, to cleanse by His own blood, and to save by His matchless love. And yet men think it hard to give up all! I am ashamed to hear it spoken of, ashamed to write it.
     God does not require us to give up anything that it is for our best interest to retain. In all that He does, He has the well-being of His children in view. Would that all who have not chosen Christ might realize that He has something vastly better to offer them than they are seeking for themselves. Man is doing the greatest injury and injustice to his own soul when he thinks and acts contrary to the will of God. No real joy can be found in the path forbidden by Him who knows what is best and who plans for the good of His creatures. The path of transgression is the path of misery and destruction.
     It is a mistake to entertain the thought that God is pleased to see His children suffer. All heaven is interested in the happiness of man. Our heavenly Father does not close the avenues of joy to any of His creatures. The divine requirements call upon us to shun those indulgences that would bring suffering and disappointment, that would close to us the door of happiness and heaven. The world’s Redeemer accepts men as they are, with all their wants, imperfections, and weaknesses; and He will not only cleanse from sin and grant redemption through His blood, but will satisfy the heart-longing of all who consent to wear His yoke, to bear His burden. It is His purpose to impart peace and rest to all who come to Him for the bread of life. He requires us to perform only those duties that will lead our steps to heights of bliss to which the disobedient can never attain. The true, joyous life of the soul is to have Christ formed within, the hope of glory. Steps to Christ, p. 44-46.

Throwing everything away we come to Jesus for his friendship and simple life of labor and rest, sweet love, joy and peace. Nothing more to lust after; we covet earnestly the best gifts of the Spirit: Christlikeness, simplicity, obedience to all the laws of our good Creator, and the health and happiness that results. When we are soundly humbled and trusting in Christ, He restores the life we had before.

“At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.” (Dan. 4:36,37).

He gives back all of the lifework, the objects and tools, the friends, and family. But this time it’s all different. Now we are consecrated fully to Jesus and His service. We desire to minister to Jesus’ needs as we see His privation in the gospels. But He turns us to our neighboring brethren and strangers, and says, “Minister to their needs.”

Once He has changed our natures and we see God as our friend and not our enemy, but rather, our eyes are anointed to see self as the great enemy of all good, we seek to visit Jesus in prison, to bathe His tortured and crucified body, to encourage Him in His Gethsemane. But He bids us do that for others who are tormented by Satan, who are in the prisons literal and spiritual, and others who, alone in their Gethsemanes, are fighting hand to hand combat with Satan and temptation.

 We desire to spend and be spent for Jesus, but He turns us away, as He did the healed demoniacs, and He tells us to be spent for the world. We are restored into God’s image. This world is not our home; heaven is our home.

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.…
     Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith.  Steps to Christ, p. 47, 48.

 “God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, … hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:4,6).

“The Father, ... who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.” (Col. 1:12,13).
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of His salvation.” (Ps. 24:3-5).

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Opiates of the masses

Religion is the opiate of the people. So true too often. The wine of Babylon is the euphoric imagination that lives off of emotion rather than principle. It thrives on lawless empty mindedness rather than thriving on the Law of God, the bread of life.

But history can be, and too often is, also an opiate of the masses. Most view historical events and places as entertainment and bask in the magic of it all. They float around in a lake of awe and wonder and relive the provincial, pagan, fairytale lives of past oppressors and places of misery and enslavement. If the history had righteous aspects, those are disregarded or played down and the rest that dishonors God and His Law is glamorized.

Most re-livers of history worship—they worship the enslavement that affords the elite lifestyles pointed for their dreamy pleasurable perusal. They don’t research and dig up the truth of the past. The true assumption of the Holy Bible is not their assumption, “Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.” (Jer. 17:5,6).

Their assumption is that everything is good and has always been good. Thus, they blind themselves to the growing insurgence of satanic evil in the world and miss the departure of the Holy Spirit. They also never learn from history, that evil is always present and we must heed the Bible admonition, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1Pet. 5:8).

Earthly wealth is another opiate of man. The rich actually do find the pot at the end of the rainbow. Unlike for the poor, the pot of gold is not illusive for the wealthy and talented and smart. But what eludes the rich is the happiness that they assume comes with the pot of gold. It’s happiness and joy and trust that is the true illusive pot of gold, which the rich covet from the middle class, obedient friends of God. the absense of trust and love drive the rich and famous into every sort of vice to drown out the misery.

True salvation is not an opiate or intoxicant of any kind. Rather, it’s a detoxifier. Sin is the spectrum of all opiates. It benumbs the conscience and the heart, and thus all senses. Sin comprehends the whole wine of Babylon. The tonic that Christ gives clears the heart and mind of the unholy intruder of self-preservation and self-sufficiency. The effectatious and pretty, cannot replace affection; the comical or clever cannot supply joy. Affection, acceptance, reconciliation, humiliation, love are the true sobering realities that bring life and hope and purpose. Everything contrary to these is unsatisfying and an opiate.

The Law of love is the weight that holds emotions into the audible range. Love is the settling force that maintains our affections and creates fellowship. Implicit faith is the boon of health of body, mind, and soul, and faith in God’s love will translate His love to us.

Still a bent nail

It’s the 7th anniversary of this post.
I’m still a bent nail, but the God of mercy and comfort still condescends to straighten me and use me again. We serve a God of love. “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word.” Isa. 66:2.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Bent Nails
This may seem like the most boring blog post you ever read, but it is necessary to make a point.

I used to be a framing carpenter. But after a career of 7 years, I ended it all on a pretty sour note. I was working for a low budget carpentry company and, with another person, was assigned to finish a set of townhouse units. When we got there we couldn’t find any nails to do the work. When we asked the supervisor about it, we were told to pick up all the nails we had bent during the erection of the building, straighten them and use them. We pulled nails out of boards, scoured the grounds, foraging, grazing, for nails.

Over the years as a carpenter, out of necessity I learned how to drive a bent nail. There is no avoiding it, when you drive thousands of them in a year. (At least back in the day when pneumatic nail guns weren’t so popular.) Driving a bent nail just becomes second nature.

Sometimes we even bent them on purpose to send the nail to a particular place in the pieces of wood we were nailing together. We would drive the nail a little, give it a little bent, drive it a little further, and bend it a little more, repeating the process until the nail did a curved motion in the wood. This was necessary if the spot needing to be nailed was located in real tight quarters without any room to swing the hammer and the nail needed to go in at a certain angle.

Along the way, I would straighten used nails when new nails were too far away and I was too tired to get them. If only a few was all I needed, I would find them on the floor and reuse them. They were plenty strong and worked nicely.

So I have my PhD in driving nails. Some people have difficulty driving a new nail, much less one that was previously bent. They might think it’s impossible to reuse nails, but it’s not hard with a little finesse. To straighten a nail, first of all you lay it down on a hard surface with your finger on the end furthest from the bend. (So you don’t hit your finger!) Roll the nail so that the bend is up. Then hammer the crown down until the nail is straight. (I hope I didn’t just insult anyone’s intelligence.)

Next, analyze the nail for potential problems during the driving phase, i.e. the weakened bend spot, a tilted head on the top of the nail, any lack of straightness that will cause a new bend, etc. Since the nail will likely rebend at the previous bend spot, its best if during straightening you take the bend a little further than straight, so that the bend is now a little bent in the opposite direction from the original bend. This lets the weakened spot be supported by the unweakened side. Working together all the torsion on the nail shaft bypasses the weaker side and it’s stronger neighbor takes the brunt of the driving force.

Now, drive the nail carefully, watching for a rebend, and taking into account a not-so-perpendicular nail head that will cause the hammer head to glance off and create a new bend. Try to hit the head of the nail a little off center, closer to the edge on the side where you overbent the nail when you were straightening it in order to utilize the stronger side of the nail shaft.

Today, I am helping my parents do a little carpentry at their house. It started to look like we didn’t buy enough nails, and in order to be able to finish the job, once again, I found myself straightening and reusing bent nails. It felt like a throw-back to 21 years in the past, but I found I hadn’t lost the know-how.

The job was an outdoors job, so the nails were galvanized─yes, soft nails. But as I patiently worked to drive in the old nails, I found that they went in. It took tender care to make those old, soft nails to go in the wood. After straightening one pretty good, I would carefully drive it in the wood until it began to bend. Then I would use my hammer claw to bend it back up again. Then I carefully drove it again until it bent. It might go in the wood ¼ inch before bending, but after repeated rebendings, with exception of one nail, each made it all the way in the wood. Each nail ended up very nicely holding down the deck boards to the joists. And I was glad to be able to reuse them.

We are bent; we have a bent─a bent to sin and selfishness. This doesn’t take rocket science to figure out. When God needs humans to do a particular job, He doesn’t get a 50 lbs. box of nice, new, shiny nails. He gets rejects, old, bent, rusted, lackluster used-up nails. We don’t have much to offer Him; but this doesn’t faze Him a bit. He is used to impossible tasks; His patience is everlasting; His mercy and kindness toward us endure for ever. He knows how to use us with our weaknesses and bent to evil. He uses us until we bend at our weak spot; then He straightens us up by His grace and puts us back into His service....until we bend again. With loving patience does He bend over us and straighten us up, all mangled but still usable in His estimation, and He recommissions us into His service. No sin, no undesirable character traits, no fallen nature, is too much for Him to deal with and make straight and functional for His purposes.

He is the Master craftsman. It is God who has made us, and not we ourselves. He knows how we tick. He knows the circumstances we have come from and the habits we have unintentionally cultivated or subliminally adopted, or even inherited. We are the nails in His nail pouch, all bent out of shape, and fallen short of His glory. Alluding to His carpenter days of Nazareth, Jesus’ motto became, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Jn. 5:17. My Father works like this, so that’s why I do it that way. If you’ve seen the Son, you’ve seen the Father. If the Son is eternally patient, so must the Father be. The Father is the great Master craftsman, whom the Son reflects in every detail. Sin is no match for the grace of God. If our desire for reconciliation with God will allow Jesus to remove the clamoring of self, no amount of misfitness can cause us to be lost. That was guaranteed at the cross. If we will go there we will begin to see the Godhead working out every solution for a sin-marinated human race. If we desire His companionship, we need only request it. “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Rom. 11:29.

Let us never despair that the Father doesn’t want us with Him. His concern over one lost soul exceeds a mother’s worry over her endangered child. Our Father must maintain the justice and authority of His government in heaven, but He will make sure we get every advantage and we are assured salvation and a place by His side, so long as we keep coming to Him to receive those advantages.

Keep in mind, though, that pride has no place in heaven. It’s got to go. But Jesus doesn’t just yank it from us, He works and works, and then works some more, to get us to let go of pride and self-sufficiency. During the process of getting us ready for a place next to the infinite righteousness of His Father, there will necessarily be some straightening of our natural bent to sin. The heavenly Orthodontist has a big job to do with getting us all straightened out. There will be correction, maybe even some drastic measures that we don’t like. But there will also be much encouragement and acceptance and tender mercy all along the way. Because, in Him “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Ps. 85:10. And this is only right; this plan alone we can trust in. The only reason anyone misses out on heaven is by their own choice to not allow God to straighten us.

“I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” Is. 42:16. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places shall be made smooth.” Lk. 3:5. “And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Is. 40:5.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Converted people in the Bible typified Christ

They all testified of Jesus in one way or another. “Search the scriptures; … they are they which testify of Me.” (Jn. 5:39).

Solomon was a type of Christ. “And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five. And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” (1Ki. 4:32-34). “The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” (Matt. 12:42).

 Jonah was a type. “The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.” (Matt. 12:41). “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” (Jon. 3:4,5). “And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jon. 1:17).

Samson was a type of what Christ kept doing to Satan’s minions. “Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing: for, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines…. And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him. And the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.” (Jdg. 13:4,5,24,25).

“And Samson said unto them, I will now put forth a riddle unto you: … And they said unto him, Put forth thy riddle, that we may hear it. And he said unto them, Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle.” (Jdg. 14:12-14).
“And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.” (Jdg. 15:8).
“And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men.” (Jdg. 15:16).
“Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.” (Jdg. 16:12).

David was a type. “And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.” (Matt. 20:30, 31).

“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.” (Jer. 30:7-9).
“For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually. And the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD; If ye can break my covenant of the day, and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season; then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne; and with the Levites the priests, my ministers. As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured: so will I multiply the seed of David my servant, and the Levites that minister unto me.” (Jer. 33:17-22).

“And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren.
And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them.…
And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.
And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?
And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.…
And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?
And he turned from him toward another, and spake after the same manner: and the people answered him again after the former manner.…
And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine.…
And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.
Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” (1Sa 17:22,23,25-27,29,30,32,34-37).

“And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield went before him.
And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.
And the Philistine said unto David, Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.
And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.
Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied.
This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.
And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD’S, and he will give you into our hands.
And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.
And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.
So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.” (1Sam. 17:41-50).

Eliakim was a type. “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: and I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a nail in a sure place; and he shall be for a glorious throne to his father’s house. And they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father’s house, the offspring and the issue, all vessels of small quantity, from the vessels of cups, even to all the vessels of flagons. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall the nail that is fastened in the sure place be removed, and be cut down, and fall; and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off: for the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa. 22:20-25).

Joshua, son of Josedech, was a type. “Then take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; and speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD: even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” (Zech. 6:11-13).

Samuel was a type. “For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.” (1Sam. 12:22-24).

Rebekah was a type. “And she said, Drink, my lord: and she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.” (Gen. 24:18-20).

Abraham was a type. “That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25).
“But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.” (Isa. 41:8).

Isaac was a type. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Gal. 3:16).
“And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide.” (Gen. 24:63).

Melchisedek was a type. “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him … And he gave him tithes of all.” (Gen. 14:18,19).

Isaiah was a type. “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” (Isa. 8:18).
“And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; and said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.” (Isa. 49:2,4).

Moses revealed Jesus. “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” (Num. 12:3). “And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” (Ex. 33:11).
“And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.” (Ex. 33:18).
“And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.” (Ex. 34:29-32).

“And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount. And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.…
And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:) Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’S side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.…
And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” (Ex. 32:19,20,25-28,30-32).
“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal. 4:4,5).

Elisha was a type. Naaman said to him, “In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. And he said unto him, Go in peace.” (2Ki. 5:18,19).

So, let’s plug Jesus in. Let’s see Him through the people of Israel. Let’s get a better and bigger picture of Jesus than what the gospels show us. They really show us very little, compared with the greater whole of scripture. And what the gospels do show needs the Old and New Testaments to give the gospels depth. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

Isaac, David, Samson, Samuel show us Jesus. Even Naaman’s desire to be of service to his pagan master in the house of Satan and to still obey God, reveals to us the special missionary grace and faith of Jesus. Thus, Jesus would have told that baby Christian, “Go in peace.” “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.” (Heb. 11:12).

Converted people in the Bible typified Christ. Now we can.

An email

Hello brothers and sisters,
I just ran across this email of almost 9 months in the past. Is anyone interested in starting up the email roundtable again? We can study the prophecies of the book of Daniel and bring them all together. If you aren’t interested, just reply with a “No” and I’ll take your name off of the address list.

I’ve been looking at one of the last things said in the book. “And I heard the man clothed in linen, which was upon the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand unto heaven, and sware by him that liveth for ever that it shall be for a time, times, and an half; and when he shall have accomplished to scatter the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.” (Dan. 12:7). We know the time, times, and an half ended in 1798. Then we see another event after 1798―God’s scattering of the power of His holy people. Who are the holy people after 1798?

We can get a better understanding by looking at Revelation 11. There we see the holy people in the two witnesses. They faithfully preach, and the enemies of the gospel fall back helplessly for 1,260 years. “He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.” (Rev. 2:26,27). They can only do this through Christ’s power. “And she brought forth a man Child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to His throne.” (Rev. 12:5). Even the beast has no power over them. Until...

 ...after 1,260 years of the two witnesses’ successful defending the holy faith, the beast ascends out of the bottomless pit and makes war against them, overcomes them, and kills them. This refers back to Daniel’s prophecy, the scattering of the power of the holy people. Satan and his hosts can’t scatter their power immediately. First, he makes war with them while Ellen White still lived with the prophetic gift. “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” (Rev. 12:17). I believe it’s not until after her death that Satan can overcome the defense of biblical truth by the Advent movement, and eventually kill its obedience to the original 3 angels’ messages.

But, that’s not the end of the prophecy. After the movement dies for a time period that signifies judgment, God breathes new life into His remnant of the approximate 2,000 year gospel cause, the two witnesses prophesy again, the 3 angels’ messages finally get preached and heeded, they fear God and give glory to Him, and the Latter Rain falls, the great shaking happens, they and a great multitude are sealed, the sanctuary is fully cleansed, and the time of trouble comes. (Rev. 11:11-19).

This is no time to get out of the Advent movement. We are just about to see the two witnesses resurrect from their slumbering and sleeping. Our power has been scattered long enough. We are just about to see and experience what we’ve been waiting for all these 170 years, the Latter Rain of the Spirit of God. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” (Acts 3:19-21).

Let us put aside our unreconciled differences. Let's seek the Lord with our whole heart.

Happy Sabbath, all.



False prophets forget the fear of God

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:13-15). 

It is rare for God to save humans infected with sin. Few find the path of life.When it is so rare for God to be able to save His beloved children of Adam, shouldn’t we be wary of this world and its promises of eternal life here is this failing world, and focus on God’s work to save us?

“And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1Pet. 4:18). 

The Greek molis, G3433, translated “scarcely” in this text means “with difficulty”, “hardly”, “with much work”. The commentary correctly used the word, “barely”, as a synonym. If salvation is believable by an individual reading the plain, authoritative statements from God Himself, and damnation is a threat, shouldn’t fear toward God be an allowable option? Isn’t that the intent of Peter’s admonition above? 

Paul also believed in the fear of God. 

“Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” (Heb. 4:1). 

“Fear.” You might already guess the English translation for the Greek phobeo, G5399. It means “to be alarmed”,” to be in awe of”, “to revere”, “to be sore afraid”, “to fear exceedingly”. 

Many people like to turn this around into a much more relaxing experience and call it “respect of God” or “reverence toward Him”. Some even like to call it love for God. But, can God accept the love of hearts that are tied to the things of this world? Isn't that the same problem ancient Israel had? They worshipped God with their mouths, but their hearts were far from Him.

“Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matt. 15:6-9).

But, the Bible is its own best interpreter and commentary on the kind of love God wants from us.

“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” (Jude 5). 

Doesn’t destruction say anything about how we should approach the subject of the fear of God with great fear? Did the earthly destruction of many of the children of Israel give an inkling of how they stood eternally? I must say it did. It was a warning to all future generations. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor. 10:11, 12). 

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16). 

Do you want to know the real impact of this verse? Jesus wants us to have it, but He cannot give us the popular notion that we can flippantly claim this most precious promise without it costing us everything. Our diet, our plans for a career and future retirement, our relations to friends and family and the Advent movement, our free time, “the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches,” “which drown men in destruction and perdition.” (Matt. 13:22;  1Tim. 6:9).

If we want eternity with Jesus, an eternal life that begins today, then we must begin today to live that eternal life. Doesn't that make sense?  Otherwise, we will get caught up in this world and its part-time thoughts of Jesus and the kingdom of God, and Jesus will come in a day we aren't looking for Him. The day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.

This verse is powerful because it shows us how far God will go to spare us and keep us from perishing forever. But, it is only powerful if we realize the consequences to disregarding the extent to which He went to save us, and then going about our merry way as if it didn’t matter that He suffered our eternal death for us. If we fear to disregard His infinite sacrifice for us, but, steadfastly look to Him as our dearest friend to the end, choosing to serve Him and fearing to keep His commandments forever, then this most precious promise will yield the entrance of the Holy Spirit into our hearts, the powerful knowledge of Jesus' love for us, and the new power to obey Him and His commandments.

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord.” (Heb. 2:1-3). 

When we have a healthy fear of God, not letting go of the knowledge of how far down God lowered His Son into our world of damnation, to die the damnation of our coming day of judgment, struck by the lightning and thunder that was due every one of us, then we will truly appreciate what God has promised us. All who refuse to truly fear that God is no respecter of persons, and that He will destroy them if they have no fear of Him, can never be saved because they have no respect for God. They are as profane as Esau, “who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” (Heb. 12:16, 17). 

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:14). 

Many, many are double-minded, trying to have their cake and eat it too. They want the security of knowing they have eternal life, without detaching themselves from this world and all of its idols. They trust in their pastors and teachers who are deeply involved in the same idolatrous practices, and lead their congregations to follow their course because having a large following makes the leaders feel safer, eternally. 

But, Jesus made it very clear how He viewed this age old arrangement. 

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Mat 5:17-20). 

Till heaven and earth pass the Law of God stands. So, if we desire an eternity with Jesus, let’s take Him very seriously. Let us fear God and give God glory by our obedience to His Law. Let’s not look for an easy row to hoe in the Christian life, a wide highway, and follow the huge crowds to their supposed happiness at their endless vanity fairs. 

Let’s expect a restrictive gate to pass through into life. Let’s trust in a religion of boundaries and standards and warnings and reproofs. Let’s trust in the Spirit of Prophecy, the verifiable Testimony of Jesus. Let’s go where our deepest honesty tells us we should go, the voice of a loving, caring, guarding Father. 

“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. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Isa. 9:6, 7). 

Let’s come to Jesus, our Father, and unburden our hearts to Him. And if we do, He promises us health and peace. 

 “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt. 11:29).