|War is a Solution? (Standing Watch) 15 min. video|
Love is a Decision (Sabbath Meditations)
was bogged down in the middle of a never ending project, clicking away
at the computer, willing the clock to move just a little faster so I
could pack up my lunch bag and my laptop and go home. Not that every
day is like this. As with any job there are good days and bad, ups and
downs, successes and failures. There was a time when I loved this job.
There were new challenges, new opportunities, and excitement about the
contribution I could make. Some of that excitement, that promise, had
faded. Was this now just a job, mindless labor? Was I just going through
the motions just to collect a paycheck? And, if I am going through the
motions, what’s the point?
Finally, the long work week is over. Time
to do what I want to do. Sleep in, read a good book, maybe see a movie
with the family, ride my bike, take it easy. Oh yeah, then there’s that
church thing. Gotta do that. Oh, and maybe a little extra time (emphasis
on ‘little’) Bible Study and Prayer. Hmmm....
There was a time when
that church thing, that Bible Study and prayer thing, would have ranked a
little higher, no, a lot higher on my list of desirable things to do
‘on my own time’. I guess some of the excitement, some of the enthusiasm
for those things had waned over the years. Had my faith simply become
my religion? Had my first love become my 4th, 5th or 6th obligation? Was
I just going through the motions, because that’s what people who call
themselves Christians are supposed to do, mark off our ‘spiritual to-do
lists’ so we can get on guilt free with the things we really want to do
with our free time? Has my faith become like going to work?
Revelation 2:1-5 Jesus, through the apostle John, says to the Ephesian
church, after praising them for their labour in the faith, tells them:
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first
The Ephesian church was getting some things right, doing a lot
of the right things, but there was something missing, they were just
going through the motions. What should have been a labor of love, had
become just labor.
Jesus, loving as He is, doesn’t just leave them hanging with no solutions. He provides a two step solution.
therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or
else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its
place - unless you repent.”
Step 1: Remember what an awesome blessing
it is to know Him. Remember that, of all the firsts I have ever
experienced or will ever experience, this first love is by far the
greatest. If I truly appreciate it for the blessing it is, my excitement
for it should never be allowed to wane.
Step 2: Repent and do the first works.
wife and I read a book by Gary Smalley when we were first married. It
was called Love is a Decision. I highly recommend it for any new couple.
Basically, the message of the book is that love between a husband and
wife is not simply an emotional sense of well being, a feeling. Love,
true love, is a conscious decision we make, to love the other person
through good times and bad, when we feel like it and when we don't,
because, as anyone who has been married for more than five years will
tell you, sometimes you just don’t. Love that is based on emotion will
be shallow, inconsistent, and disillusioning. Love based on a decision,
in contrast, will grow richer and deeper over time. It will see its way
through the hard times, the mundane times, the hurtful times. The highs
will be higher and the lows will be not so low.
I think that is what
Jesus is telling the Ephesians and us by extension. He’s saying in
effect, “So you just don’t feel the same excitement about Me as you once
did? So what! My relationship with you isn’t based on your feeling.
Make a decision to love Me like you did when our relationship first
began. Put your faith, put Me first. Do the first works.” You know
what, over time, your love for Me will grow richer and deeper. It will
survive the tests and trials. The good times and the bad. The
disappointments. The lows won’t be quite so low and the highs....well,
you can’t even imagine!
Hmmm... Suddenly I’m even more excited the Sabbath has arrived. Time to invest in that decision.
Maybe I’ll pick up the pace on that project at work next week, too.
The Teacher (Children of God)
think of Jesus as our Savior – and that is true. He is also called
Redeemer, Lord, Master, and Deliverer among other titles in the
Scriptures. There are so many roles that He fulfilled. He came so that
we might obtain forgiveness. He taught repentance. He made
reconciliation to the Father possible. He came to magnify the law. Jesus
Christ came as Messiah. The list goes on and on.
We do not often
emphasize it, and it might come as a surprise to some, but the Bible
regards Jesus as a teacher more than any of His other roles. There are
more references to Him being a teacher than any of the others. Jesus
came not only to save, but to teach us how to be saved (Luke 10:28). The
teachings of Christ were effective and had great impact.
[Pharisees] sent their disciples out unto [Jesus] along with the
Herodians, saying, Teacher, we know that thou art true, and teach the
way of God in truth.” (Matthew 22:16)
What an incredible admission of
what the Pharisees actually believed – that Jesus was indeed a teacher.
Jesus became widely known as The Teacher (Matthew 26:18). A teacher is
one who has the ability to help others learn. Teaching is showing or
explaining how to do something by giving lessons.
Nicodemus said it
best when he called Jesus “a teacher come from God” (John 3:2). Jesus
always taught by His words and His actions – even in Old Testament
times. Jesus Christ - God of the Old Testament - was the Teacher.
said unto the Lord, ‘O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore,
nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech,
and of a slow tongue… And the Lord said unto him…, Now therefore go, and
I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say… And thou
shalt speak unto [Aaron], and put words in his mouth: and I will be with
thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do’.”
In the New Testament Jesus defined Himself as Lord
and Teacher. “Ye call me Teacher and Lord: and ye say well; for so I
am.” (John 13:13) But the teachings that Jesus taught were not His own.
The teachings that Jesus taught came directly from God the Father.
“Jesus said unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall
ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father
has taught me, I speak these things.” (John 8:28)
In this Sabbath
sermon we will see that Jesus is The Teacher - past present and future.
Jesus will be the teacher in the millennial World Tomorrow.
come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted
above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people
shall go and say, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the
Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of his
ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the
law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem’.” (Isaiah 2:2-3)
Ned Kelly (OzWitness)
would be few Australians who have not at least some affection for this
complex character. Kelly has assumed epic proportions in the Australian
psyche, perhaps because he had qualities Australians admire.
was a common criminal, but as a larrikin, loyal to his family and ready
to sacrifice himself for his mates, and one of the struggling classes,
of Irish descent who had valid reason to dislike the English
authorities, he was prepared to thumb his nose at the establishment, and
he was fearless.
This inbred suspicion of the establishment among
Australians still lives today, and is continually justified by the
faults and failings of those who claim to serve us, but are often seen
as grasping for power and greedy for personal gain.
The fact is that
none of us is perfect and very few are totally without these traits.
Even in those churches Jesus Christ spoke of in Revelation chapters 2
& 3 as His churches, we see listed very serious faults, and so it is
today in most churches, where members should rightly be sceptical of
their leaders. Acts 17:11, ‘Now the Berean Jews were of more noble
character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with
great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what
Paul said was true.’
That is because we all have human nature and,
while we may set out altruistically, gaining position and power can
corrupt, so that we should always remember that, as Christians, we must
look directly to Jesus Christ, His words and example, not to any man, be
he pope, president, prophet or pastor, or risk being misled, and lose
our reward. 1 Peter 2:21, ‘To this you were called, because Christ
suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his
Love and Law (New Horizons)
man’s creation Jehovah has had those who worship and serve Him in
accordance with His prescribed form of worship, have conformed to His
Laws and whose heart is right with Him. Even in the dark depths of
Israel’s depraved idolatry there remained ‘...seven thousand men who had
not bowed the knee to Baal’ (Romans 11:4).
The Old Testament records
that many in Israel worshipped Him joyfully, influenced by His holy spirit. But on His prescribed days, at the times and place He had
revealed, and in a right spirit of repentance and awe. The book of
Psalms reflects this. Yet by New Testament standards they had not been ‘converted’, with God’s Spirit implanted in their mind.
reminds us that: ‘Moses describes the righteousness which is of the
law, that the man which does those things shall live by them’ (Romans
10:5, Leviticus 18:5). Perfect life-long obedience to the whole Law has
abundant rewards, but however feasible, that doesn’t happen! And even if
someone were to achieve such a perfect life (Adam didn’t!), God says:
‘...by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his
sight’ (Romans 3:20). For, ‘...by the law is the knowledge of sin’. The
Law just points out what sin is, so we can work to change our thoughts
So, is someone who diligently and daily applies the Law to
his or her life as best they can necessarily a true child of God? Do you
need God’s in-dwelling Spirit to observe it? (There are, for example
many Law-abiding men and women in the Jewish community.) The example of
those seven thousand belies this! Remember that at that time ‘The
Spirit had not yet been given to anyone, since Jesus had not yet been
given his full glory’ (John 7:39).
As Paul states ‘...love is the
fulfilling of the law’ (Romans 13:10). Certainly, the preeminent fruit
of the Spirit is love. Perfect love is a fruit of the indwelling Spirit
in the believer, and means we do from the heart all that God’s Law
requires of us. Because we may obey God’s instructions doesn't mean we truly love! A change of heart is central.
of us is judged by Jesus Christ with compassion, with regard to our
level of understanding, with mercy. For, ‘...we have a great high
priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us
hold fast our profession. for we have not an high priest which cannot
be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points
tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly
unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to
help in time of need’ (Hebrews 4: 14-16).
As writes the apostle Paul:
‘... be not conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing
of your mind, in order to prove by you what is the good and pleasing and
perfect will of God’ (Romans 12:2).
“Go Ye Therefore Into All the World”
(Lacee Hilgen, Volunteer Instructor Legacy Institute)
know this scripture was directed specifically to the apostles, and Jesus
Christ wanted them to be the ones to preach His truth. But what does it
mean to those who aren’t ministers? What does it mean to children and
young adults? What does it mean to women who don’t have a speaking or
ministerial role in the church? Does that mean that we can’t go and
preach the gospel? How can we preach without preaching? I have been
asking myself these questions for a while.
Jesus tells the apostles
to GO OUT. He doesn’t tell them to hang out where the truth was already
stable and flourishing. There were already churches that were able to
function on their own because of Christ and the apostles preaching.
Their job was done and they then left those congregations in the hands
of faithful and devout men. He told them to leave the foundation that
they had built together and go find somewhere new. He told them to go
and find new people to preach to and to share God’s plan to other
willing hearts and ears.
I look at a map and see just how huge this
world is. I see how many places that the gospel could potentially be
preached to. I know it is all up to God. The men and women who dedicate
their lives to live in a different country (or preach in another country
and travel tons) in order to build up a strong, faithful and unified
congregation are now one of my greatest respects. They have been chosen
by God to uproot their stable and comfy lives in order to create a
stable and comfy church for brethren that couldn’t possibly have it
without help from a more blessed nation. Those that accept the challenge
are my heroes!
I am a 25 year old lady-girl (saying lady is weird
and saying girl is weird because I am technically an adult… and woman
makes me sound extra adult) with little travel experience. I have
traveled all over America and into Canada and Mexico a few times, so
when I felt God pushing me to come to Thailand, I resisted at first. I
actually resisted for a whole year. It was a very scary thought, but
thankfully I accepted the challenge and here I sit in Mae Sa, Thailand… a
small and peaceful village 20 minutes outside the hustle and bustle of
Chiang Mai. At this moment I am witnessing God’s endless miracles,
blessings, compassion and His holy spirit working in amazing ways.
Legacy continues to get money from donors from other countries and we
all are very pleased and ridiculously thankful. Without those donations,
Legacy wouldn’t exist anymore. Legacy couldn’t have a school, couldn’t
feed the students, couldn’t house the students and most importantly, the
church in Burma would lack leaders who will one day be leaders in that
church. My point here isn’t to advertise the fact that Legacy needs to
continue to have donations; it’s the fact that what I see is a church
that is truly working! God is calling people! They LOVE God’s word and
they thrive on it. They want more and more. They constantly want to
learn. God’s congregation in Burma (which I get to visit in April for
the Holy Days, God willing) has 25 families. Families have children,
lots of children! Will those children have a future? Will they know
God’s truth and live a life for Him? Will they live lives free from the
war and upheaval that exists in Burma? It’s crucial that our small
congregations all over the world remain intact. It’s our job and our
responsibility. It’s important that they are well sustained and cared
for. It’s important that each congregation has well trained leaders, who
love God first and their brethren second. It takes time to train
leaders to be in charge of a church community, and that’s what Legacy is
If we aren’t trained ministers, how can we “Go therefore
into ALL the world?” I have a few ideas. We can donate to these small
churches that need our help to build a church, a house, to have clean
water and food daily. We can sponsor a young adult to go and serve in
countries who need our help, encouragement, resources and EXAMPLE. Go
visit during the Feast of Tabernacles and Days of Unleavened Bread.
(Your life will change) If you are on vacation or a business trip in a
foreign country, go and stop in on the Sabbath. I think the most
important job that we all have is to PRAY. Pray that all the places that
God is seeking out and calling people that He will call on special
people to take on that job and duty to be there for that church
community. Pray that these people will answer that calling and they are
willing to give up their life for serving God and His people. Times are
changing everywhere on the globe. Life is getting harder and the world
is getting more evil and God has many people on this earth with eager
ears to hear His word. Those of us that are blessed to know God’s truth
already… well we should try to listen to what God wants us to do for Him
through our lives in order to help others join us as FIRST fruits in
Throwing It All Away (First Century Christianity)
saw Franklin Graham on the TV the other day defending Christmas, and a
break up song from the late 1980s came to mind. The song is ‘Throwing It
All Away’ by Genesis. It’s not religious at all, but the chorus of that
song has been resonating in my head lately as more and more formerly
Protestant ministers show up on TV returning to their Catholic roots.
are now in the season for Chanukah, which is a season of revival. The
Jews had been occupied and oppressed for so long that many of them
turned into Greeks. Many did things to hide or reverse their
circumcision, so they could wrestle nude in public arenas called
gymnasiums. They had fallen away incredibly far.
One Levite named
Mattathias witnessed the defilement of the altar and snapped. He killed
the man who defiled the altar and then had to flee to the hills, which
started a revolution that allowed Judea to ultimately become autonomous
and peaceful again, with a fully restored and cleansed temple. This
reformation lasted until the temple was destroyed in AD 70.
of the Christian Reformation in the 16th century, where hundreds of
thousands threw off the pagan traditions and oppression of the Roman
Catholic Church, held until, well, now. We are living in a period I like
to call ‘Post Protestant America’. While the reformers did not return
to Torah, they did return to fundamental truths and a great many shed
Christmas and Easter, paying for it with their very lives. The leaders
who trace their faith today to the reformation, what is now called
‘Evangelical’ rather than ‘Protestant’, are throwing it all away.
Warren, a fabulously popular Baptist preacher (Baptists, from the
Anabaptists, some of the most strident Protestants in history), is
actually evangelizing for the Catholic Church.
Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, and Robert Jeffress, also
Baptist preachers with large followings, frequently defend Christmas on
the Fox News Channel, even though they know both that Yeshua was not
born in winter and the true pagan history of Christmas. Kirk Cameron has
even made a movie defending Christmas, while publicly stating that
Christmas is in opposition to the Bible and pagan in nature.
Seventh Day Adventists, the largest Sabbath observing group on earth at
over 18 million members (there are only 13.5 million Jews on earth), is
throwing it all away with widespread observance of Christmas
(unthinkable just twenty years ago) and now entertaining the ordination of women as well.
This is particularly bizarre because the Seventh Day Adventist Church
views Ellen G. White as a prophet and she refused ordination on the
basis that ordaining women is not supported by scripture.
Day Adventist church is a strident observer of the 4th commandment and
they have been blessed with private schools and hospitals on at least
three continents because of their obedience. The Baptists have also been
rewarded lavishly for their faith with enormous congregations,
hospitals, and the ability to do good works on the order of rebuilding
entire countries. The successes these and many other groups have today
are because of the strident faith of their predecessors displayed
through works. Why are the leaders of these organizations so willing to
throw it all away? It is a shame. It has been prophesied, so it must happen, but it is so difficult to watch.
realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men
will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers,
disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable,
malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good,
treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers
of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its
power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into
households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by
various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the
knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-7
This falling away is made
even more bizarre because the motivation simply cannot be about wealth.
The Baptist preachers named above are but a handful of Post-Protestant
ministers who have made enormous amounts of money giving sermons. The
Seventh Day Adventist church is simply going to disintegrate, or at
least split and become smaller if it continues down a similar path as
the Sunday keepers, because it is composed of conservative people.
seems to be no good reason why the spiritual leaders are so cavalierly
willing to ‘throw it all away’. But let us take solace that there is
coming a time, quicker and quicker by the day, were every tongue will
confess and every knee will bow to the One True God and His Son.
Time to Stop Praying? (Morning Companion)
One time God told Moses to stop praying. If we accept that prayer is a good thing, why would God tell someone to cut it out?
“Why are you crying out to me?” (Exodus 14:15). Given the circumstances, I would think the question should be, “Why not?”
the story. Moses had just led Israel out of Egypt. Through his hand God
had turned the Nile into blood, brought many plagues on the Egyptians,
and with boldness he had led the nation to freedom. Now, shortly after
this triumphant march from slavery, Pharaoh has a change of heart and
decides to chase down the fleeing masses with his infantry and chariots
in order to drive them back to their former state.
Why shouldn’t Moses cry out to God? Why would God object?
this is a lesson about prayer. The newly freed Israelites had already
cried out to God (verse 10), after which Moses tells them to do
something: “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (verse 13).
There are indeed times when all we can do is stand still and wait. As
the old saying goes, “Let go, and let God.” But in spite of appearances
this was apparently not one of those times.
Thus God says to Moses,
“Why do you cry out to me?” And then he says, “Tell the children of
Israel to go forward” (verse 15). It is time to get off your knees and
into your hiking boots. Tell the people the time for standing still is
over. Now is the time to do something about your situation.
make two grave mistakes regarding prayer. One is to think that we can
get along just fine without God’s help. If we just work hard enough,
sweat hard enough, and think clearly enough, we can make all the right
things happen. I can put on my boots and fight my own way through the
Or we can make the other mistake. There is something to
be said for waiting on God, “standing still”, shall we say. It’s true
that in some circumstances God’s strength is revealed through our
weaknesses. But simply sitting in our pajamas while waiting for God can
be just as bad as thinking we can do it all on our own. Most of the time
God expects us to be actively involved in carrying out his will. “Why
do you cry out to me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.”
God could not have led them through the Red Sea had they had just stood still and waited.