Tuesday, December 17, 2013

   A Reflection of His Character

When we go out on a clear night, when there's a full moon we often say,'Oh the moon is shining brightly tonight!' 
But wait a minute! 
Does the moon itself produce the light? 
 Anybody who knows a little astronomy knows that that isn't true!  So where does the light of the moon come from?  
From the sun!  
The moon is merely a reflector of the sun's brightness.  
     When part of the earth is faced away from the sun, (which is called night), about half the time, the sunlight goes to the moon, and then a little light is shed to the earth! 
      So what spiritual lesson can we learn from this?  We know that is not in ourselves, to be bright and shining to this dark world! If the sun weren't around, there wouldn't be any way the moon could shine!   So without Jesus, we couldn't crack one beam of light to others!

    When we try to force ourselves to be good, that doesn't work!  We have nothing good in ourselves!  But we have a Savior that truly is righteous.  So the only way we can be righteous, is by opening the door to our heart, so that our Savior can work in us. It's that simple! 


             This reminds me of the text in II Corinthians 4:5-7,
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our heart, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."
So why is has God given us so much spiritual light?
So we can give it to others!
Just as the moon doesn't hesitate to give the earth light, so we must freely and happily share what God has given us!
So let's decide to simply be an instrument in the Lord's hands, and let Him shine through us so that the world only sees Jesus in us!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

    What is the Kingdom of God?

   I have heard this phrase so many times in the Bible, but I really didn't know what it really meant.   To understand what the Kingdom of God is, we must first understand what a kingdom is.
     So what exactly is a kingdom?   Websters 1828 Dictionary says,
 "1. The rank, quality, state, or attributes of a king; royal authority; sovereign power; rule; dominion; monarchy 2. The territory or country subject to a king or queen; the dominion of a monarch; the sphere in which one is king or has control."
So a kingdom consists of a ruler, a jurisdiction, and subjects.
In the Kingdom of God, who is the ruler?
What is the jurisdiction?
The whole universe.
Who are the subjects?
Us humans, (and all the beings on the other worlds)
So we see that the kingdom of God definitely has some differences from worldly kingdoms.
For one, earthly kingdoms rise and fall, but praise God,God's kingdom  never falls!
Also the kingdom of Jesus is governed by a totally different way,
Worldly kingdoms hold the allegiance of their subjects by force,or by fear of punishment;
But the kingdom of God has the allegiance of its subjects through love!
We obey Him because of the love He has shown us in giving His Son to buy us back.
Let's look at some texts of what the kingdom of God is.
Luke 17:20-21 says,
"And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here: or, lo there: for behold, the kingdom of God is within you." 
What in the world does this mean when it says that the kingdom of God is in you?
You might think,'Oh that doesn't make any sense!'
The kingdom of God is not an earthly kingdom where it's set up at some location. It consists of us as the loyal subjects and Jesus as our king in our hearts! Isn't that wonderful? It's that simple! All we need to do, is accept the invitation for Jesus to come and work in us!  
Revelation 3:20 says,
"Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with Me."
  Another beautiful thing is, that to become a citizen of God's kingdom, we aren't a citizen just because we were born in it, as in earthly kingdoms, but by voluntarily surrendering our 'old man' in exchange for Christ by baptism!  But just as in earthly kingdoms, we must show that we are worthy citizens by following the laws of God's government!  However, we don't gain favor of God by being good! We accept the righteous life that Jesus lived as our own!
So let's decide to have Jesus live in us and for us to be His loyal subject!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

         To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice Part II

    God had told  Samuel the night before, that Saul had not obeyed God and as a result, God rejected him.
   So with an aching heart, Samuel had to reprove Saul for his disobedience.
   1 Samuel 15:13-15 "And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.  And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God and the rest we have utterly destroyed."
   Notice that Saul excused himself by saying that they spared the animals.  But in reality, Saul was the one to command that the animals be spared. How often do as sinful humans always want to cast the blame of our sin on someone else!
    Then Saul said something totally different,"I have sinned for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.  Now therefore I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again me that I may worship the Lord."  
    Saul totally changed his tune, because he feared that if Samuel rejected him, he would lose the people's allegiance which he so much coveted.   Had he been truly repentant, he would have made public confession that he was wrong.   But sadly he loved his position of authority more than he loved God.
    Do we consider it more important what people think about us than what our our Lord thinks of us?  When we do that, we are worshiping ourselves rather than God!  
   When you think about it, when Saul spared the animals for sacrifice, he had lost the true meaning of sacrifice.   Every sacrifice represented Christ's sacrifice for us and repentance on the part of the offerer. 
    This shows that if we go to church, pay tithe and do all the right things,yet if we don't come with penitent hearts, it avails absolutely nothing to God!
  Isaiah 1:14-17 says,"Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.  And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when you make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.  Wash ye, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow."
What the Lord wants
 from us is not dead formalism, but He wants the true evidence that we are His by 
showing true love to others by willing service!
If all the 'good things' we do are not actuated by love to the Lord, and the good deeds are only done because we want others to praise us, it is absolutely useless!
All the good works that we do are only evidence that we love Him. Those works do not justify us in the sight of the Lord.

Monday, November 25, 2013

        To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice  Part I

This week, I've been reading about Saul, and how Samuel instructed Him to go and wipe out all the Amalekites and all their animals as well. 
    This was Saul's last chance to see whether he would obey God, or would seek his own way.  But sadly, He failed the test.  Instead of obeying fully, He took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and the best of the livestock alive.
  Yet God, through Samuel had made it very clear that he was to spare nothing, because their cup of iniquity was full.  
    When Saul had won the war, his heart swelled with pride, so to heighten his triumphal return, he spared Agag the king of the Amalekites. Saul and the children of Israel attributed the victory to their mighty king instead of to the Lord. 
   Saul reigning as the king, was the vicegerent of the Lord. But when he refused to follow the Lord's directions, He was misrepresenting the Lord.  
   That makes me think how important is when we are in high positions of authority, that we always represent our Lord rightly!   People will look to those who are in high stations, so if we stray from the path of righteousness, we will be held accountable for their errors as well!
    James 3:1 says," My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation."
    Another lesson we can learn from Saul, is that one tiny sin we lead to another and another and another, until we are completely in control of Satan!   Because Saul had so many people fighting for him, and won such a brillant victory when he rescued the people of Jabesh-Gilead from the Ammonites, he gradually turned from being a humble, teachable man,into a proud and self-sufficent ruler!  
    How sad! How careful we must be not let one little sin that we cherish, destroy us!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

                               Unreserved Surrender

Why do we need to give ourselves into the Lord's Service?  Consider this text. It's full of deep meaning. Romans 12:1,2 says, "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."
   There is certainly a ton of 'meat' in this passage, so let's just start at the first few words.  'I beseech you therefore' First of all, we see that this uses the word, therefore.  Therefore shows a conclusion of a matter, so we must look in the previous chapter to find the true context of the passage were're reading, (after all, the Bible originally, wasn't separated into chapters and verses).
  Let's back up to Romans 11:33 it says, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counseller?  Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and  through him, and to him are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
     So now we see that Paul is saying that in light of how great God truly is, it only makes sense that we serve Him!
   Next word after therefore is,   1.'brethren', after that we read the phrase 2. 'by the mercies of God", and 3. 'living sacrifice'.
Three things:
1. Brethren
2. Mercies of God
3. Living Sacrifice
So it's a bit like this:  Brethren + Mercies of God = Living Sacrifice
In other words, if we are truly brethren in the faith, and we truly appreciate what God has done for us, we will unquestionably sacrifice this life of sin for a life of unreserved surrender!
The last part of verse 1:    "which is your reasonable service"
This means that isn't too much to ask to give up ourselves to His service because of all the things God has done for us!  It shouldn't be too much to ask!
 Micah 6:6-8 says, 'Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He that shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?'
  In other words, the Lord doesn't want our stuff, He wants you and me.  He wants willing obedience and service from us because we love Him, not because we're obligated to do so.
   We are not to come before the Lord with all the stuff that we are giving to Him, thinking that we are worthy of His favor, simply because of the dues we are paying to Him.  Instead, we are to come unto the Lord empty, just waiting for Him to fill us up with His Spirit and willingness to do what's right!
 I'll talk more on Romans 12:1,2 next time. :)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

                                                 Who Has Heard?                            
Think of it... If you ask the guy on the street, if He knows what a Seventh-Day Adventist is, very likely, he probably has never heard it.  But if you ask him if he's ever heard of the Jehovah's Witness's or Mormons quite likely he'd definitely say yes.  Friends,  this is tragic!   Do you know the reason why so many people know who Jehovah's Witness's are?   The answer is, they go door almost everywhere including the rural areas!  We have lived in the country in different locations, and at least once we had some Jehovah's Witness's visit our place.   Listen Friends,  these people are doing a far better job in witnessing to the world! Shouldn't we be ashamed?  How shameful! Can you imagine if our church was as vigilant as the Jehovah's Witness's in witnessing, can you imagine how much our church would grow?
  However some of us say, 'Well, on the average, 3000 people come into the Seventh-Day Adventist Church every day across the globe.That's just as many people as were converted at Pentecost!'  But don't you realize that on the average, the worldwide population increases by 229,000 every day, and that's counting the decrease every day from death?  So if you look at it that way, our Church isn't even close to keeping up with the world population! How shameful!
   So if we could become united and more passionate for the Lord, (not lukewarm) and we pray for the Holy Spirit and then we go out and share in our towns and neighborhoods, can you imagine what the result would be?
   I don't mean that every single one of us should leave our jobs and go canvassing or go to foreign missions, but what I am saying, is that a lot more of us, should be doing mission work of some kind whether in your own neighborhood, or on the other side of the globe.
 1Corinthians 12:28-31 says, "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps governments, diversities of tongues.  Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way."  
     There's definitely a different work for each of us to do, and each duty is equally important.  So let's prayerfully consider what the Lord would have us to in His vineyard!
  Matthew 9:37-38 says,  "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."


Thursday, May 9, 2013

                         My Heart-Christ's Home Part 2

Now the next room you show Jesus is your study or office room. This room is not a very large room, but it is in a sense the control room of the house. But you start becoming nervous as He starts spotting books of fiction, and books and magazines that true Christians shouldn't be reading. And there were pictures on the walls-the imaginations and thoughts of my mind-some these were quite shameful.  Then you start feeling ashamed of all the books and pictures that He is seeing.  And you ask Him, 'Can you help me in changing this room and taking away the ungodly books and pictures?'  And He says, Why certainly! That's why I'm here! Why don't we throw these books away, and replace them with the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and other spiritual books! And instead of these pictures, let's replace them with a picture of Me on the wall of your mind. And you say, 'Thank you for helping me get this stuff out of here!'
    Whenever we wonder whether Jesus approves of the things we have in our home or the things that we do, just think this: 'Would Jesus like to participate in the things that I am doing?  Or if you're reading a book, would Jesus like to read with you, or would you feel ashamed of reading that certain book?  If you feel ashamed of what you're doing in the presence of Jesus, then stop doing it!  But if you feel that Jesus would be pleased with what you're doing, then go ahead and do it!  But when we think about it, Jesus is always with us!  We can never hide from Him, so in reality, whatever we do, we are always doing it in His Presence!
   So when we realize that there are things in our minds that need changing,
    1. We must first be convicted that something is wrong with us and we need changing.
    2. Then we must give Jesus permission to renovate our heart, because when you invite Jesus into your heart and you become a Christian, it is like inviting a guest into your home.  A guest does not have a right to change the home at all, so you must give Him permission to change and clean up the rooms of your heart!
    So when we see that the 'study' of our heart has some impure stuff in it, and we desire to get rid of it, then the next step, is to give Jesus permission to change it, and renovate it!  So let's give Jesus charge over the home of our heart!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

                               My Heart -- Christ's Home

When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, it is a bit like opening your home up to a guest.  So the analogy of Jesus becoming an inmate of the home, really helps us to understand the importance of surrendering all of our sin, and spending time with Him every day.
   The first room you show Him is the living room. It's a nice cozy room with a fireplace and a comfortable sofa. He then says to you, 'Why don't we set aside some time each morning to talk and read from the Bible. And you say, that would be a great idea!  So the next day, and the next, you had this time with Him. And you really enjoyed it.
But somehow, as the burden of responsibilities pressed on you, gradually, you start shortening your time every morning, and then you would start skipping days with Him, and finally you entirely forgot about it.
And one morning, as you are rushing down the stairs to go to an appointment, you notice that Jesus is sitting in the living room.  All of sudden you realize that you have totally forgotten about your most precious guest!   You say,  'I am so sorry that I've forgotten about You! Have you been here every morning?  And he says,'Yes'.   You then feel even more ashamed.  You say, 'You have been faithful to be here every morning, but I, the host have been not been faithful in my time with you!  Will you forgive me for not having my time with you?'  And he says,'Of course I forgive you'.
  The spiritual lesson we can learn is that we will sometimes spend lots of time with our Lord, but gradually, our time with Him becomes less and less, until we forget about Him, just because of all the busyness of life! And when we forget to spend time with Him, we are being just as rude as forgetting about your guests that you had invited to your home!  How careful we must be to keep Satan from distracting us with things that aren't evil in themselves, but they tend to get us too busy to spend time with God!  This reminds me of the text in Matthew 13:22 that says,'He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.'
   It only takes a little distraction to for us to neglect our time with Jesus, because that distraction becomes bigger and bigger until we're just too busy for communion with God. 
 As soon as we neglect our time with our Savior, immediately we will become a sport of the enemy!Let us always be faithful to spend time with our Lord!

I'll write more on this subject in a future post.  :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

                            When Will the Latter Rain Come?

    I have often thought that we are just waiting for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit to just happen sometime in the end time, and its coming wouldn't have much to do with what we do.   But that's not the picture that the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy depict!
    Zechariah 10:1 says,'Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain, so the lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.'  And Hosea 10:12 says,'Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord till he come and rain righteousness upon you.'  Notice that this says we have to ask, and we have to break up our selfishness and prepare ourselves spiritually to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  The latter rain doesn't just happen without much of our cooperation.  We must be changed in our hearts so the Holy Spirit can use us in a powerful way to spread the end-time gospel.
   Read this quote from Testimonies to Ministers p. 511-512,  'The dispensation in which we are now living is to be, to those that ask, the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. Ask for His blessing. It is time we were more intense in our devotion.  To us is committed the arduous, but happy, glorious work of revealing Christ to those who are in darkness. We are  called  to proclaim the special truths for this time. For all this, the out pouring of the Spirit is essential. We should pray for it. The Lord expects us to ask Him.  We have not been wholehearted in this work.
  Notice that this says, NOW is the time for outpouring of the Holy Spirit!  We are not waiting for the Lord to fill us, the Lord is waiting on us!  The Lord wants us to earnestly ask for it.  He wants us to be more fervent in our devotion to God, and to surrender our entire selves to Him. Let's do that today, so Jesus can come and take us Home sooner!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

                    What Are You Doing for the Master? Part 2

   We don't very often hear the topic of the Holy Spirit spoken of.   But could be our church is lacking the Holy Spirit, and that we haven't surrendered our selves, so the Holy Spirit can use us as the conduit to show Jesus to the world?  I don't mean the kind of 'outpouring' of the Spirit, where they get all hyped up, and have this emotional 'experience', and that's it.
   The outpouring of the Holy Spirit involves a lot more than that.  We must first lay self aside and ask earnestly for a changed heart, and to confess all of our grievances and and sins that we have committed against God and against each other.  And thus we can all be unified, with God and with our fellow man, so the Holy Spirit can dwell in us! So we can carry the gospel to the ends of the earth, so we can get this sinful world over with, so we can home to heaven!  We can hasten the coming of our Lord!  Matthew 24:14 says, 'This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world, as a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come.'  That's exactly what the disciples did in the upper room!
   Please read the following quote from the Spirit of Prophecy.  It's  pretty long, but please read it anyway.  :)            

  Review and Herald: "How can we stand  in the day of test if we do not understand the words of Christ?  He said: 'These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto You.' It is the Holy Spirit that is to bring to our remembrance the words of Christ.  The theme Christ chose to dwell upon in His last discourse to His disciples was that of the office of the Holy Spirit.  He opened before them a wide tract of truth. They were to receive His words by faith, and the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, was to bring all things to their remembrance. The consolation given by Christ in this promise was found in the fact that the divine influence was to be with his followers to the end. But this promise is not accepted and believed by the people today, and therefore is not cherished by them, nor is its fulfillment seen in the experience of the church. The promise of the gift of the Spirit of God, is left as a matter to be little considered by the church.  It is not impressed upon the people, and the result is only that might be expected-- spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death.  Minor matter occupy the mind and soul, but divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, which would, if possessed, bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, although it is offered to us in infinite plentitude. Just as long as the church are satisfied with small things, they are disqualified to receive the great things of God.  But why do we not hunger and thirst after the gift of the Holy Spirit, since it is the means whereby the heart may be kept pure? The Lord design that divine power shall cooperate with human effort.  It is all-essential for the Christian to understand the meaning of the promise of the Holy Spirit just prior to the coming of our Lord Jesus the second time. Talk of it, pray of it, preach concerning it; for the Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit than parents are to give good gifts to their children. 'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.' "
     The fact that the last topic Jesus spoke of, before the cross, was the office of the Holy Spirit.  That should tell us really how important the Holy Spirit is!  When someone you love is dying, you only speak to them about the most important things.
    I am afraid that we are too occupied with small matters,  to desire with a deep longing for the power of the Holy Spirit!   We should be ashamed of this!   Don't we realize that if we ask in faith, and surrender our entire soul to Jesus, and be unified in Christ and our brothers and sisters in the faith, that we can receive the power of the Holy Spirit in its fullness?  Jesus says in Matthew 7:7-11 says, 'Ask, and it shall be given you;seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. O what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?'   
    I know that I have often been occupied with worldly things, when we should be concerned about the things that really matter, that is the salvation of souls!  Let us all pray that the Lord can use us to be a witness for Him!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

                     What Are We Doing for the Lord?  Part 1

Even though I wasn't at GYC, I watched it live-streamed.  I now feel differently about what my objective in life should be.   The Lord is calling for laborers!  And what am I doing about it? Am I, are we, fulfilling the Great Commission which says, "Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."? Matthew 28: 19-20. I have often looked at this passage, and have thought, 'Well, I don't really feel like sacrificing that much.  Aren't there other people that can do it?'  But the Lord is calling me and you.   
   It seems like we as individual churches, think, 'Well, we do need more souls in our churches, but we feel too scared to go on some outreach, because we're scared that we'll say the wrong thing.'  It seems like we as the church rely on an evangelist coming in, and kinda doing the work for us. Don't get me wrong, this is good. But we as the church should be trained to go out door to door in our communities, and ask if they want to receive Bible studies.  And then others of us, can study with each one.  Or at the very least, we can go door to door and personally invite them to an evangelistic series, and those who are willing, you can pray with them!  Or you can simply give out tracts door to door.
   But before we do this, we need to be converted ourselves in our own hearts, and pray earnestly for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives and to give us the right words to say to the people we are witnessing to, and to bring conviction to the people's hearts.  In the Desire of Nations on p. 671,"The preaching of the word will be of no avail without the continual presence and aid of the Holy Spirit. This is the only effectual teacher of divine truth. Only when the truth is accompanied to the heart by the Spirit will it quicken the conscience or transform the life.  One might be able to present the letter of the word of God, he might be familiar with all its commands and promises; but unless the Holy Spirit sets home the truth, no souls will fall on the Rock and be broken. {DA p. 671:4 and p. 672}
   So we may have all the right words to say, and know how to present it just right, and have received our degree in evangelism, but without the Power of the Holy Spirit, it will avail to absolutely nothing!  So it's not so much about how much we know about evangelism, as it is about us having a close walk with our Savior and being filled with the Holy Spirit, which will give us the right words to say!
  I'll write more about the Holy Spirit and witnessing in my next post. :)