Thursday, August 23, 2012

                                   The Benefits of Sacrifice

I am going to talk about another nature object lesson that our family gathered last Sabbath.  We were going for a walk and noticed this tree called a honey locust tree, and it was covered with these big seed pods as shown below.
  There are several lessons that we can draw from this, but I am going to show one lesson today.  As you can notice, there are 17 seeds in each pod and there is at least a hundred pods on the tree. Why does the tree make all of those pods? Well, each seed in each pod if placed in the right conditions, would produce another tree just like it. But the 'casualty' rate is high, in other words, there is a relatively low chance that the seeds are going to sprout into a tree. The seeds might be eaten by animals, or laid bare on dry stony ground, or subjected to a number of inhospitable circumstances. But do you think the tree says to itself, "Isn't it awful that only a few seeds sprout and grow from all the thousands of seeds that I produce? I think it is useless to produce anymore."
   That reminds me of what God has done for us. I am so glad that when the Father and Jesus His Son, saw that Adam and Eve had sinned, and that the human race had become lost, They did not deem it useless to send Jesus into this world to save us. What incomprehensible love! And to think, that Jesus didn't even know that there might not even be one soul or that would appreciate and accept the gift or at best several people might accept it.
  This reminds me of the parable of the Lost Sheep taken from Luke 15:4-7 which says,"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me;for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance."  God thinks differently from Man. We tend to think that it is worthless to go to extreme measures to help just one soul. But God loves you more than we can ever imagine, and counted every soul worthy to risk anything!  I will close with this text from Romans 5:6-7,"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  So Jesus died for us when we were still sinners and not appreciative of any of His Sacrifice. And it is very rare for someone to desire to die for someone who is righteous,but how much more for those who are crucifying you and don't care one bit about the gift you are giving them.  I cannot fathom such Love!

Monday, August 13, 2012

                                Who or What Do We Rely On?              

Today I am going to talk about an object lesson that I have found.  It is amazing how many lessons you can gain by looking at the world that God has given us.  In fact, the Spirit of Prophecy says that nature is God's second Book. And we see that Jesus used numerous articles from the natural world to aid in teaching spiritual lessons.
   The grape vine has tendrils, which will grasp anything near it in order to support it.  So the vine is constantly seeking for something to support it, it doesn't matter to the plant if it is a weed or tree or fence or anything else.
   That reminds me, who or what do we confide in?  Some of us may tend to trust in our riches and possessions. Proverbs 11:28 says, "He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch."  And Psalm 20:7 says,"Some trust in chariots and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." But for some of us, we might trust in other people. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely good to have Christian brothers and sisters to encourage you and help you in life. But when we start trusting in them for safety, and totally crashing if they leave us, that is not good. Jeremiah 17:5,7 says,"Thus saith the Lord; "Cursed  be the man that putteth his trust in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.  For he shall be like a 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 like 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." I definitely want to be like a tree next to water; but I don't want to be like a dried up shrub in the desert!  So from this text, if we want to be blessed, we are to put our entire trust God, and not in Man.
    As you can notice in these two pictures, one of the grape vines is clinging to a weed that will soon die when winter comes.  But the other vine is clinging to a little tree which will not die when winter comes, but will keep growing and living for many years to come.
     We must rely totally on Jesus who is as solid as a rock, and not on man who will soon perish.  Let's make that decision today!                                          


Sunday, August 5, 2012

                                 Becoming Great by First Being Lowly

Today I am going to talk about the importance of humility. Let's read from Luke 22:24,26,"And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted  the greatest. And He said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve." This saddened Jesus very much. For one, this was the exact opposite of the spirit that would rule in Jesus' kingdom; and secondly, this was right before Jesus went to Gethsemane. This goes to show that Satan was doing all he could to discourage Jesus, by getting the disciples to think about self, instead of doing all they could to encourage Him, and to be united.  In fact, the spirit that the disciples manifested was the same spirit that Satan manifested before he got kicked out of heaven. Lucifer had said, "I will be like the Most High." Isaiah 14:14. If we manifest just a little pride and selfishness, and don't repent of it, it will become bigger and more dominant in our lives until it is extremely hard to break away from it, that is what happened to Lucifer. Proverbs 13:10 says,"Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom."  It is logical that if we are prideful, we will be in strife with somebody. That's what happened to the disciples.  When this text says "but with the well advised is wisdom" that means those who are willing to accept counsel, or are humble, are wise.
   The spirit of the Most High is to be a servant.  Philippians 2:5,8, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:Who, being  in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."   Notice that this text says that we are to have this mind that Jesus had.  So we are to be willing to do menial tasks and not consider any duty 'beneath' us.  And to imitate the character of Jesus.
  I would like to close with this text from 1 Peter 5:6, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time:"  I would like to be exalted! So what we need to do to be exalted, is to be humble, and to accept the lot of life that God has given us, and someday, God will reward all those that are faithful to Him in the little things. I am looking forward to that day!