All I can say about this presentation is two things:
1) I got goosebumps while listening.
2) There’s no way I could have said it any better!!!
All I can say about this presentation is two things:
The Bible records many questions asked by God to man. Have you ever wondered why and Omniscient God would ask questions? I believe there are two reasons. Listen to find those reasons!
It has been our privilege for the past three or four weeks to help our sister, Judy Meier, fix her eyes on Jesus. We know that if the soul can fix its gaze upon the Redeemer, the battle is won! Behold what God hath wrought…
In this video Kalon shares his struggle to connect more fully with Jesus and have a more real and fulfilling Christian experience. Being brutally honest is sometimes very difficult, but this is not only when the Lord can best help us, but is also when our experience can best help others. Join us to hear Kalon’s story and how he chose to turn from compromise.
Most of us have those times when it seems like everything is going to cave in on us. It is in moments like those that I find such comfort in turning to the Psalms, and I believe Jesus did too! Think about the scenes on Calvary and how what was happening to Jesus was so clearly depicted in places like Psalm 22. This is why I believe Jesus had immersed Himself in the promises contained in this precious book of the Bible. The music for this Scripture song was written by my dear friend, Dawn Jenkins, several years ago when she was going through a difficult time. I pray someone will be encouraged!
Last week was both a blessing and a challenge for us here at Closure for Jesus Ministry. We had gone to spend Thanksgiving with family down south, and while heading back to North Dakota to close on the sale of our home in less than a week, we got some very difficult news. We received a call that the sale had fallen through due to very tragic and unique circumstances in the lives of the buyers–we were all devastated. We had sold much of our furniture and put nearly everything in storage except for our bed and a few other items. We were livid, but still believed that this trial had passed through our Father’s loving hands, so we knew there was a reason. And it was not long before that reason was discovered!
The evening of the next day after we arrived back in North Dakota we received a phone call from an acquaintance regarding the situation you will read about below and see in the video. Had our home sold, we would not have been available for what was soon to follow! We had the privilege of being instruments in the Lord’s hands to help a friend and sister in need. The video below is the testimony of our friend and sister, Judy Meier. We believe Judy’s testimony will be a blessing to many, as we have had to hide behind the power of Christ in fighting battles against the efforts of Satan to keep a soul in bondage.
We know, though, that the most dangerous demon is the one found in Revelation 3:17, which holds many professed Christians in a sophisticated bondage that is not so readily recognizable. That bondage is due to pride! We know that “pride feels no need” (see, Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, page 7), and therefore leaves many ignorantly bound in an unconverted state looking down “from lofty heights” upon such sinners as those with addictions, etc.
The key to power in living victoriously is just what Jesus has helped Judy to discover, and that which many, many others need. That key is absolute surrender to Jesus! Listen to this beautiful story, granted in its infancy, but so fresh in its genuineness and raw honesty. Judy shared with me just a day or two ago that, when she heard we’d sold our home and were moving, her heart sank! She had felt that we were the ones who would understand how to help her really overcome. She said she told God, “now what am I going to do?” Watch to see His answer!
How did this “middle age” phenomenon happen to me so soon? Some of us jokingly say our arms get shorter as we age and we can’t hold our reading materials out far enough. Actually, for me at least, that part of middle age came at the ripe old age of 19, when I was diagnosed as having hyperopia, or farsightedness, and fitted with reading glasses. You can imagine my chagrin! NINETEEN, and needing reading glasses! I couldn’t see what was right under my nose! While nineteen has long since passed, the reading glasses are sitting on my face as I write, and they sure make a difference. These days, I can’t seem to back up far enough to focus anymore, and I have to have my lenses.
As I think about these glasses a real spiritual lesson is beginning to form in my mind. We are sort of hyperopic in a spiritual sense. We get so busy with “all things Adventisty”, that I’m afraid we miss the bigger picture of what it really means to be a Seventh-day Adventist Christian—and it’s right under our noses. What IS a Seventh-day Adventist? Who are we? Why are we here? What makes us different? Or are we just one among many denominations?
One of the springboards for these thoughts was a question someone asked me about a year ago: “Hasn’t there always been sin in the church?” I stood for a minute in total dismay as I stared at my questioner. We had been discussing the topic of overcoming sin and living a life of victory. (Many mistakenly call the belief in a life of victory “perfectionism”, though the correct descriptive is “perfection of moral character.” What is the difference? Perfectionism is a belief that, outside of Christ, one can live a life of purity and no longer sins and therefore no longer needs a Savior. This is a self-centered and legalistic philosophy not found in the Bible, but rather springs from Greek philosophy. Perfection of moral character, on the other hand, means that the individual not only surrenders entirely to Jesus, but maintains that surrender. Therefore Jesus lives in the heart and guides the thoughts, the words, and the actions—choice by choice, moment by moment— victorious over sin.)
Why was I in dismay as I looked at my questioner? Not only because it was a leader in the Seventh-day Adventist church who was asking, but because at that moment I realized just how dangerous that question really is. The answer is right under our noses, and THAT is why the Seventh-day Adventist church exists! WE hold the answer to that question, that problem, of sin in the church!! I want to back up together for a few minutes, put on the lenses of sacred history and prophecy, and FOCUS.
There are some unique things about us as a people. We go to church on Saturday, the Sabbath of the Bible (Hebrews 4:4, Eccl 12:13, etc.). We don’t believe that the soul is immortal. (Ps 115:17, 146:4; Ecccl. 9:5, Gen. 2:7, etc.). We believe in healthful living. (Eccl 10:17, 1 Cor 10:31, etc.). And while there is more, there are other faiths who believe these things as well. But what did we bring to the theological table that makes us different? The Sanctuary Message: Daniel 8:14. “And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.” Most of us can, sketchily at least, rehearse the history of the “Great Disappointment.” Maybe we are embarrassed by the “cornfield Cleopas” vision of Hiram Edson regarding the true position of Jesus after 1844? Our brethren were trying to focus too near. Jesus was moving in heaven, not coming to earth. They needed to back up and focus! I believe we do too.
Psalm 77:13 tells us that God’s “…way is in the sanctuary.” God’s way of dealing with sin, of saving mankind, of maintaining the authority of His law; God’s way is in the sanctuary. Therefore, we must look up from our “Adventisty” ways, and refocus on what really makes us Seventh-day Adventists. We need to have our eyes lifted to where Jesus is now; to what Jesus is doing now. Daniel 8:14 tells us not only WHAT will happen in the sanctuary, but WHEN it will happen.
Consider this: “The subject of the sanctuary was the key which unlocked the mystery of the disappointment of 1844. It opened to view a complete system of truth, connected and harmonious, showing that God’s hand had directed the great Advent movement, and revealing present duty as it brought to light the position and work of his people. As the disciples of Jesus, after the terrible night of their anguish and disappointment, were “glad when they saw the Lord,” so did those now rejoice who had looked in faith for his second coming. They had expected Him to appear in glory to give reward to his servants. As their hopes were disappointed, they had lost sight of Jesus, and with Mary at the sepulcher they cried, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.” Now in the holy of holies they again beheld Him, their compassionate high priest, soon to appear as their king and deliverer. Light from the sanctuary illumed the past, the present, and the future. They knew that God had led them by his unerring providence.” Great Controversy, 1888, page 423.
My purpose here is not to give a thoroughgoing description of all of the prophecies and steps that brought the Seventh-day Adventist church into existence. Instead, my purpose is to help spur us to back up, look at the big picture of why we exist, and see, as the above passages says, what our “present duty” is in the light of the big picture—in the light of the sanctuary. What are we supposed to be doing? Where are we supposed to focus now, today? The passage above tells us: “in the holy of holies…” We need to have our eyes fixed there, in the holy of holies, where Jesus is now, for I am afraid in many ways we too have lost sight of Jesus!
In the typical services, when the high priest entered the most holy place on the Day of Atonement, what was the duty of the people? “And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.” Leviticus 16:29-30 (See also Acts 3:19).
Backing up a little further, we will briefly review the steps of the sanctuary: the guilty sinner brought his sacrifice (which represents Jesus) to the outer court, the sin was confessed upon the sacrifice, the victim was slain in place of the guilty. Next, the priest (also representing Jesus) presented the offering on the altar, ministered the blood in behalf of the guilty, and carried it into the holy place, where the sin was covered, kept until the yearly atonement. In this process, the sinner was released from his guilt, received a probationary life (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 6), and returned to his home.
On the great Day of Atonement, the people were to gather around the sanctuary, fulfilling the passage above from Leviticus. The confessed and forsaken sin—and do note that the sin was forsaken!—was then blotted out from the Most Holy Place. It was transferred to the scapegoat, and the camp was clean. All of this represented in symbol the work of Jesus in reality (Hebrews 8&9).
I do realize that my description above is very brief, and it is that way for a reason. When you back up and focus you can see the bigger picture. And that’s exactly what I believe we need to see today. We need to see the bigger picture of why there is sin in the church, and what a shameful fact it is that there is still sin in the life and thereby in the church. We need to see the bigger picture of what our responsibility is in the light of this fact. We need to back up and focus on God’s solution to the problem of sin.
The sanctuary provides a clear picture of the plan of salvation. Jesus is our High Priest. We – and I’m speaking “Adventistese” here—are living in the antitypical Day of Atonement. Jesus is in the Most Holy Place. The purpose of the work of the high priest in the most holy place is to get sin—our sin—out of the sanctuary. How can that happen if WE keep sending sin into the sanctuary? Shameful question!
Backing up even further, it was Satan, while still in heaven, who declared that the law of God could not be kept. And if this were true, then all the present suffering in the world is God’s fault, and the devil and all of his followers really do need to be allowed into heaven!! And Jesus has to just keep forgiving and atoning ad infinitum. With Paul, I say, “GOD FORBID!”
Yes, there has always been sin in the church. And that is precisely why we exist as a people, and God is also counting on us to say with Paul, “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” Romans 6:2. We need to back up and focus! And until we do, the stupendous, time-ending truths with which we have been entrusted will remain blurry right under our noses! We need to put on our prophetic glasses, back up, and focus. And when we do, “By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord’s return.”–The Desire of Ages, p. 633
“It is the privilege of every Christian, not only to look for, but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.”–Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 22, 23
Steve Wohlberg and Nick Meissner discuss when to flee to the mountains! Vital information!!
Have you ever had one of those moments when you just knew that God was speaking to you and that you had better listen? Recently I woke up with a jolt at 3:15 AM, and knew that the Holy Spirit was speaking to my heart. “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.” James 1:26. “Vain, Lord? Please show me. Lord, please speak to me.”, I responded.
That’s a very dangerous prayer–unless you mean it–, for that is a prayer that God loves and longs to answer, and truth is often painful. God did speak and it was painful as He put His all-knowing finger on my lips! But (and I hope that you can say you have experienced this) when the Lord puts His finger on sin and seeks to take some wicked thing from our hearts, it is because He loves us. He has something far better.
I think before I go any further with my story it behooves us to understand what the Lord means when He speaks of bridling the tongue, and what it is that constitutes having an unbridled or wicked tongue. We need also to look at the consequences of an “unbridled tongue”, as well as the rewards for allowing the Lord to purify our tongues.
Psalm 34:11-13 (which is closely mirrored by 1 Peter 3:10-12) is very full of instruction. I find verse 11 fascinating; “Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.” That reminds me of the first angel’s message of Revelation 14, where we are told to “Fear God, and give glory to Him…” Here in Psalm 34, the Lord is about to tell us what it means to fear God, and verse 12 follows to ask who it is that desires long life. Verse 13 answers with instruction as to how this is possible, “Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.”
What is guile? What constitutes an evil tongue? Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines guile as “Craft; cunning; artifice; duplicity; deceit; usually in a bad sense.” Evil is defined as “Having bad qualities of a natural kind; mischievous; having qualities which tend to injury, or to produce mischief.” According to this, anything that is not clearly straightforward is guile; anything that would produce injury or mischief is evil. Is it coming closer to home?
Zephaniah 3:13 speaks thus of those who will be numbered among the final generation: “The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful (tending to mislead) tongue be found in their mouth…” Revelation 14:5 states that “in their mouth was found no guile: FOR they are without fault before the throne of God.” That word FOR is very telling, as we will see later.
It is clear that the Lord places an extremely high value upon having “no guile”, and that He takes quite seriously the misuse of the talent of speech. Jesus stated in Matthew 12:36-37 “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. ” Every word? Give account?? So what does He mean by idle? What does it mean to bridle-or unbridle- the words, as James 3:2, 3 says? “…If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.”
Having grown up breaking and training horses on our family farm, the analogy of bridling is very familiar to me. I’ve had more than a few incidences with an “unbridled” horse, and it isn’t pretty. It is frustrating to have a horse or mule choose to “take the bit”, “harden the mouth”, and refuse to obey. It’s more than frustrating, it’s dangerous, and I know your imagination can fill in the blanks. And we can be just as dangerous to the cause of Christ if we choose to “take the bit” and say whatever comes to mind. One thing I learned though is that, if you can get into the head of a horse and connect with him, obedience can be gained without a bit. And that is just what Jesus came to accomplish in our hearts.
I found some interesting passages in the Spirit of Prophecy that will help to clarify what God means by “guile”, and “corrupt communication”, and “idle words”. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart before you read any further.
“We are counseled to let no corrupt communication proceed out of our mouth; but a corrupt communication is not simply something that is vile and vulgar. It is any communication that will eclipse from the mind the view of Christ, that will blot from the soul true sympathy and love. It is a communication in which the love of Christ is not expressed, but rather sentiments of an un-Christlike character.” Volume 6 Bible Commentary, page 1117
“Not one word is to be spoken unadvisedly. No evil speaking, no frivolous talk, no fretful repining or impure suggestion, will escape the lips of him who is following Christ. The apostle Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, says, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.” Ephesians 4:29. A corrupt communication does not mean only words that are vile. It means any expression contrary to holy principles and pure and undefiled religion. It includes impure hints and covert insinuations of evil. Unless instantly resisted, these lead to great sin.” Christ’s Object Lessons, page 337
“A man’s character may be quite accurately estimated by the nature of his conversation. . . . Those who jest and joke and indulge in cheap conversation place themselves upon a level where Satan can gain access to them. . . . When you associate together, you may be a help and a blessing one to another if you surround yourselves with an influence that is divine. But there are those who have grave defects, which are gaining a deeper hold upon them and which if not overcome will drive the Spirit of God out of the heart. . . . Jesting and joking may please a class of cheap minds, and yet the influence of this kind of conduct is destructive to spirituality. I speak to you as a class and also as individuals: Guard your words. Let sobriety and sound common sense characterize your conversation. Do not trifle with the purity and nobility of your souls by condescending to indulgence in stale jokes, and in cultivating habits of trifling conversation.” Our High Calling, page 292
“In speaking foolish words, you have dishonored the name of Christ; for you have misrepresented Him in character. No word of guile was found in His lips, no word of prevarication or falsehood.” Our High Calling, page 292.
In Luke 6:45, Jesus said that, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.” He also taught that it is what comes out of a man that defiles. Matthew 15:18. It is what the mind dwells on that the mouth expounds upon! “Let this mind be in you which, was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5
Back now to our passage in Revelation 14:5, “And in their mouth was found no guile: FOR they are without fault before the throne of God.” FOR they are without fault! In order for our words to be pure, the fountain must be pure. What are we THINKING? Do you struggle with guile, repining, corrupt communications, jesting and joking, or evil speech? Then the thoughts, the heart, have become corrupted. The fountain must be once again purified.
I got up at 3:15 to pray that morning. I prayed for the Lord to cleanse me from what I do and don’t see in my heart. Lately I’ve looked at and talked more of my “unfavorable circumstances” than choosing to dwell upon the goodness of God and His blessings to me. Yeah, pray for me! But does this sound familiar? My speech is not always that which will point others to the lovely Jesus. Does THIS sound familiar? We need to pray. Join me on your knees. I want to be one of whom Jesus can truly say, “Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!” As I learned to “get in the heads” of my horses in order to gain cooperation, only on a much higher plain, Jesus wants to “get in our heads” by dwelling in our hearts. Then we will no longer misrepresent Him, our Example; then there will be…no more guile!