Friday, February 25, 2011

Sobering Quote

     "It is our privilege to obtain clearer and more distinct views of the goodness and mercy of God; and why do we remain in a cold and spiritless condition? Why do we seem to be incapable of manifesting tender love and sympathy for one another? Why do we not speak forth the praises of Him who has given his life that we might have salvation? Let us offer to him continually the sacrifices of praise. Satan is always ready to discourage. He will help those whom he has discouraged to gather still more doubt and unbelief to their souls. He will make you believe that you are having a very hard time in the service of Christ, when it is not so at all. He will encourage you to think that your feelings and fancies are facts, that God is a hard master, and he will lead you, by your attitude of despondency, to misrepresent to the world the character of God, and the nature of his service. We should fix our eye upon Jesus our Saviour. We should be continually growing up into Christ our living head. We want more knowledge, more grace. New affections should be planted in our hearts to expel the old affections. Divine power must substitute high and holy motives for those that were selfish and unholy. We must follow on to know the Lord. We should educate the mind to dwell on heavenly things. We should accustom the heart to dwell in a frame of gratitude and praise. The more we praise God, the more we shall have to praise him for, and our hearts will become attuned to his praise.  {RH, May 28, 1889 par. 4} 
     "We have altogether too much familiar intercourse with Satan. We argue with him. We enter right into conversation with him, and treat him as a guest, coming into agreement with him. It is in this way that he presents the faults of our brethren to us, and magnifies them until we can see nothing good in their characters. Some imagine that they have a wonderful zeal for God, that they are inspired to set things in order, that they have a spirit of discernment, when it is really an inspiration that Satan has imparted to them. They are possessed of a cold, unsympathetic, unforgiving, critical spirit, that is not of God at all. 
     "We should look tenderly upon our brethren, who are encompassed with human infirmities as we are. When your brother does wrong, you have directions from your Master as to what you should do. You should go right to him in meekness and love, and make him feel that you regard him as precious in the sight of God. God holds you responsible for the treatment of your brother. If you are unkind, unforgiving, God cannot forgive you. You should be more pitiful and tender toward the erring. You should have hearts from which will flow compassion and love toward others. You should not only seek out those whom your taste would lead you to prefer, those who echo your opinions and sentiments, but you should also go to those who really need Christ-like pity and forbearance. Did Christ turn away from those who were defiled with sin, who came to him for pardon? 
     "At one time Jesus sat in Simon's house, and a woman who was a sinner came in with an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and she broke her box and poured out the ointment on the head of Jesus. Simon criticised Jesus because he did not rebuke the woman. He thought, "This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him; for she is a sinner." Jesus turned to Simon, and said, "Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owned five hundred pence, and other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most, and he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged." Those who have lived in rebellion against God, when they do repent and turn to the Lord, are most fervent in their love. They give better service to God than those who have grown cold in his service, who have for years professed to be his children and loyal to his law. A wonderful change takes place in a truly converted soul. The old imperfections that made them uncourteous and forbidding are not manifested. They love Jesus, and those for whom he died. How do you know when you turn away from those who do not seem desirable, but that you are turning away from those for whom Jesus is seeking? Perhaps, at the very moment that you turn from them, they are in the greatest need of your tenderness and compassion. There is too much of this critical spirit, of standing back in indifference to the welfare of others. We need Christian love. We need to learn meekness and lowliness of heart in the school of Christ. We should be filled with the spirit of the message of warning and mercy which we are to bear to a dying world. We have only begun to drink of the fountain of life. As we follow on to know the Lord, increasing light will shine upon us, and our path will grow brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. 
     "We should study more earnestly the character of our Saviour. We should imitate the lovely Pattern that God has given us. We should dwell upon the matchless charms of Jesus until there will be nothing satisfying in this perishing world. We should desire to reflect his image in kindness, in courtesy, in gentleness, and love, then "when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." In a little while every one who is a child of God will have his seal placed upon him. O that it may be placed upon our foreheads! Who can endure the thought of being passed by when the angel goes forth to seal the servants of God in their foreheads? 
    " If Christ can plead for us in the heavenly sanctuary, if our works are wrought in him, if we have brought his grace and truth into our character-building, we shall be recognized by the Lord as the subjects of his kingdom. If we are the children of God, we shall love one another as Christ has loved us. This cold sternness that makes us unapproachable is not of Christ, but of Satan. Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Those who open the door of the heart that Jesus may come in, will be filled with love and gratitude. They will not desire to shut up the light God has given them. They will gather up the rays of divine glory, and flash them athwart the pathway of others."  Review and Herald 5-28-1889

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Sacrifice?  What is an acceptable sacrifice?
 Is it the giving of my foolishness, my brokenness, my gruesome wounds, my joys that leave me miserable, my food that leaves me hungry, my drink that leaves me thirsty?  Is the renouncing of sin sacrifice?  Never! 
To call giving up our poison to the One who gave up all to drink it sacrifice shows that we have no true understanding of sin not love for God.
What is sacrifice?
Is requires the giving of something good.  Something that would be worthwhile to retain.  A sacrifice must be something that we have every right to keep.  If it is sinful to keep losing it wouldn't be sacrifice, it would be salvation.
Yet even the good things we halfheartedly give, looking over our shoulder to see if anyone saw. . . are they really sacrifice?  What if He asks for the best? Is even my best sacrifice? 
And what about being a living sacrifice.  If I am to be a living sacrifice, I must be perfected by another sacrifice.  The perfect life of Jesus must make my life an acceptable sacrifice.
What is sacrifice?  Look at Calvary. . . what else?  

Monday, February 7, 2011

To the (former) Superteacher

They need you,
They cling to you,
They reach for you,

You love them,
You pity them,
You long to help them,
You wish you could save them,
But you can't.

It's too big,
It will not shrink,
And you'll never grow into it,
It grows with you.

You stress over it,

You just can't do it.
You work for it,
You give it everything,
Tomorrow you'll do it,
But you don't.

You have to do it!
You want to do it!
They need you to do it!
But they don't.

They need more than a teacher,
They need a Savior,
They need more than a friend,
They need a Father.
Just give up.

And now that you've done that,
Look at your Savior,
They aren't the only ones who need Him you know.

He can fill their need,
You can only feel it,
He can actually change them,
You can only modify them

So let Him.

Pray, trust, pray, trust, work
Work how?  He'll show you. 
He's the teacher now.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Home is. . .

. . . where the magabooks are.  (Warning:  What follows is an extremely sentimental tribute to OHC canvassing programs.  Non canvassers read at your own risk.) 

The rain is falling around me as I search the edge of the street for something that looks familiar.  A few wrong turns, a quick consultation with Google Maps, and (gasp) a phone call for better directions and I am finally on the right road.  I am searching for home.  I can't stand not being home on Friday night.  I am looking for home in an unfamiliar city in Northern Georgia. 

I think of the Facebook message that lead me here and the drive down from Tennessee in the sunset and first hours of the Sabbath.  Mostly I think of me hope of spending at least a few hours with old friends (I don't even know for sure which ones) who share my love of souls, scripture, and spiritual consecration.  Finally I can make out the words "Seventh-day Adventist Church" on the glowing sign next to a dark driveway.  Within seconds I was parked next to a familiar looking gray fifteen passenger van with an Arkansas license plate.   Through the window I could see familiar faces gathered in little groups in the fellowship hall, some talking, some reading Bibles, one strumming a guitar.  How many Friday evenings have I spent like this! 

I run to the door and knock.  Within minutes I am surrounded by fellow OHC canvassers.  Heidi Hunt is thrilled (my surprise worked!)  Excitedly I begin catching my brothers and sisters up on the last events in my life.  In the middle of my speech/conversation James Prest enters the room.  He walks up and shakes my hand.  "I heard your voice from the other room,"  he says, "And the first thing I thought was 'Hot Dog!"  (You may have to know James to completely understand.)  Everyone laughs.  Ace laughs so hard he falls off his chair.  (You may have to know Ace to completely understand.)  No doubt about it, I am home. 

Everything about this setting says OHC canvassing program.  From the magabook boxes lined up along the wall, to the piles of fruit and bread on the corner table, to the radios plugged in to every socket in the room, to a Privett brother or two playing "Come Thou Fount" on the guitar," this was the environment that did so much to shape the last four and a half years of my life.  This is the environment where my faith was tested to the max.  This is where I have gotten discouraged, nearly quite, and been inspired to try again.  I laughingly think that I am as at home in a sleeping bag on the floor of an Adventist church in a strange city as I am in my own bed.  I drop my bags in the mother's room next to Heidi and Natalie and try to sleep.   (Yeah right, I have barely talked to Heidi in two months and we are supposed to be quiet and go to sleep?  Girls will be girls. . . not an excuse just a statement.) 

Morning comes early.  I turn over and consider sleeping in but am overwhelmed by a burden on my heart.  The excitement of last night is overshadowed by the burdens of student teaching.  Heidi turns and notices my tears.  Gently she draws me to explain what is wrong and points me back to Jesus.  We grab our laptops and go to the fellowship hall.  Together we read a passage that so completely addressed the issues I was facing that I was stunned. (Read "A Lively Hope" on your EGW CD-ROM).   Heidi too was blessed and we read until breakfast. 

The day passes much to quickly, filled with get acquainted chats with church members, an uplifting church service, a hike in nature, and what I was most hungry for: deep Bible conversations with people who understand it, understand the times we are living in, and understand my purpose in such conversations. All of my friends seem to be on fire about the sanctuary message they heard from Pastor Baute last weekend.  I am envious, but drink in whatever blessings they are willing to share. 

Toward evening I sit in a chair in the foyer and studied the Bible with a friend.  We look at passages in the Psalms that speak about the sanctuary.  Passage after passage seem to be saying something profound to me.  As Jensen point out that Isaiah 2 is about the sanctuary I think of Psalm 46.  That takes us to Psalms 27, 23, 91, 61, and other passages that all seem to be saying that the sanctuary is the refuge for God's people during the time of trouble.  I am struck with the thought that the sanctuary is home for God's people.  Psalm 84, my favorite Psalm suddenly becomes far more meaningful.  It is then that I realize that I have found home.  Not OHC, not my friends, not the familiar floor of an unfamiliar building, not any of these, no.  I have found a home in the Sanctuary.  I wish to abide there all the time. 

Suddenly it all falls into place.  OHC is not my sanctuary.  It can not protect me and save, it can only point me to the true sanctuary.  The close fellowship of a canvassing program is a blessing, but only as it leads me to closer fellowship with Christ and a deeper earnestness to save souls.  I return home with a song of thankfulness in my heart for the blessing of Jesus. 

Maybe home isn't always where the magabooks are, or even where the people I care about most are, the ones I didn't see this weekend.  Maybe it is wherever Jesus is.  Right now that is the Most Holy Place.  By faith I can live there!  Oh to understand this better!  To take it in and make it a part of me.  To dwell in Him so closely that I am never moved away!  This is home. . . thanks for reminding me guys.