IN honor of our dear friend and brother, DeLane Meier, we are reposting this video.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
This phrase should be quite familiar to every American! We know it as the first amendment. Freedom was so precious to the founders of our nation that this brief but incredibly comprehensive phrase was penned! A man must be free to exercise his God-given power of choice—especially in matters of religion and conscience. I believe this conviction was God-inspired, springing from principles revealed ere time became a reality.
I believe the first amendment is in harmony with the Word of God; with God’s plan of government. The Father has told us we are to “have no other gods before Him.” Exodus 20:3. This is the first command out of God’s mouth at Sinai. Adam and Eve understood this, though it was not a written code at that time. Theirs was the allegiance of love, for the law was in their hearts. That is, until their God-given right to freedom of conscience was yielded to the flatteries, deceptions and subtleties of Satan. Selfishness then took the place of love, and self-preservation became the new rule of life! Remember the accusations that flew in the face of God from the guilty pair? It is only as the original allegiance is re-established that man can be truly free!
God allowed Adam and Eve freedom! Eve was free to wander from Adam’s side, though she’d been warned. She had freedom of speech and chose to converse with the deceiver. Eve had the freedom to publicize her convictions to Adam, and she did. And certainly, when God came in search of His children, He gave the guilty pair the right to petition His government “for a redress of grievances.” The Creator became the accused, judged guilty by those who had chosen to yield their religious convictions to a usurper! Time has only intensified the accusations against God and His government. Freedom certainly comes with its risks, doesn’t it?
One of my favorite Bible stories is that of the three worthies of Daniel 3. Arraigned with everyone else, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego felt they should comply so far as possible with the command to appear before the statue on the plain. But deeper issues really were at stake. I believe they were there with the principle embedded within their hearts to stand up for the Judged! Wasn’t God still on trial on the plain? Was He the One worthy of worship, or Nebuchadnezzar and his earthly kingdom of force? Their stiff hips would testify in the matter.
With the command ringing in their ears, complete with its impending death decree should anyone be so foolish as to disobey, these faithful young men stood erect. In their envy, their accusers were ready to pounce as, having become familiar with the integrity of their captives, they understood all too well the loyalty of these young men to their God. Most likely they expected such “disobedience” from these exiles and were no doubt watching them with no friendly eyes. Integrity always angers license! I like the way Matthew Henry describes this: “True devotion calms the spirit, quiets and softens it, but superstition and devotion to false gods inflame men’s passions. The matter is put into a little compass, Turn, or burn.”
Have you ever really considered the greater miracle here? I believe saving these men from cowardly compliance was a far greater miracle than saving them from the fire. Self-preservation had been miraculously replaced by the allegiance of love. A greater issue than life was at stake. It was the character of the Life Giver! Indeed, God was on trial that day!
And what about Peter, the one who fell at the tip of a girl’s finger? We are told that he set himself up for his fall; first by refusing to be corrected because he loved and trusted in himself more than Jesus, then by mingling with those he should have avoided.
“When Peter said he would follow his Lord to prison and to death, he meant it, every word of it; but he did not know himself. Hidden in his heart were elements of evil that circumstances would fan into life. Unless he was made conscious of his danger, these would prove his eternal ruin. The Saviour saw in him a self-love and assurance that would overbear even his love for Christ. Much of infirmity, of unmortified sin, carelessness of spirit, unsanctified temper, heedlessness in entering into temptation, had been revealed in his experience. Christ’s solemn warning was a call to heart searching.”
“Peter had not designed that his real character should be known. In assuming an air of indifference he had placed himself on the enemy’s ground, and he became an easy prey to temptation. If he had been called to fight for his Master, he would have been a courageous soldier; but when the finger of scorn was pointed at him, he proved himself a coward. Many who do not shrink from active warfare for their Lord are driven by ridicule to deny their faith. By associating with those whom they should avoid, they place themselves in the way of temptation. They invite the enemy to tempt them, and are led to say and do that of which under other circumstances they would never have been guilty. The disciple of Christ who in our day disguises his faith through dread of suffering or reproach denies his Lord as really as did Peter in the judgment hall.” Conflict and Courage 321.3.
There is a really valuable lesson in that for us today! No matter how much we think we love Jesus, if we are unwilling to be corrected, danger lurks! And how easy it is to just “mingle” instead of standing up for Jesus! Too often, it is far more difficult to stand before the pointed finger of shame than some more threatening consequence. And sometimes remaining quiet can be a denial of our faith as much as saying the wrong thing is.
Jesus had called Peter to a hearty self-examination in the light of His divine insights. But at that point, Peter loved himself more than Jesus. We know that something happened to change that though. His eyes were opened that day as his ear caught the crowing of the cock. The look of Jesus broke his proud heart and he ran to Gethsemane and became a changed man. His pride and self-sufficiency were replaced by the allegiance of love. No sacrifice was too great to make for his Redeemer!
The Bible is replete with examples of changed hearts and lives Peter, Mary Magdelene, Paul, Manassah, Moses, etc. But that’s history. What about now? What about me? What about you? Is self-preservation ruling in our hearts, or the allegiance of love? Is God worth dying for? Is He worth living for?
Romans 3:4 says that God is yet being judged. “…That Thou mightest be justified in Thy sayings, and mightest overcome when Thou art judged.” We know that parents are often “judged” by the behavior of their children. What representation to the world are we giving of our Father? Are we falling at the finger of the crowd? Are we bowing before the idols of this world? Or has the allegiance of love been planted deeply enough within our hearts to over-rule the self-preservation so rooted within our natures? Jesus is calling us to some serious heart searching as we look into the face of earth’s final moments. Here is some of what we will face: “The adherents of truth are now called upon to choose between disregarding a plain requirement of God’s word or forfeiting their liberty. If we yield the word of God, and accept human customs and traditions, we may still be permitted to live among men, to buy and sell, and have our rights respected. But if we maintain our loyalty to God, it must be at the sacrifice of our rights among men. For the enemies of God’s law have leagued together to crush out independent judgment in matters of religious faith, and to control the consciences of men. They are determined to put an end to the long-continued controversy concerning the Sabbath, to prohibit all further spread of the truth upon this point, and to secure the exaltation of Sunday, in the very face of the injunction of the fourth commandment.” The Home Missionary, November 1, 1893 par. 18.
I sincerely believe Peter would join his voice with that of his Beloved–a voice calling us have to the allegiance of love, for love is stronger than the fear of death: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings;….Whom having not seen, ye love…” 1 Peter 4: 12-13; 1:8.
Looking unto the Author and Finisher of our faith, I am so grateful that Jesus was faithful to His Father’s calling in Gethsemane and on Calvary. What kept Him? “In the agony of Gethsemane, the death of Calvary, the heart of Infinite Love paid the price of our redemption. . . .” God’s Amazing Grace, page 188. Love kept Him! The allegiance of love! “Love bears all things” and “perfect love casts out all fear!”
Now I know why Jesus asked Peter, “Lovest thou Me?”
We have already been banned from speaking in the Dakota Conference….now Br. Bachelor and David Gates have joined us!
About four months ago my wife and I were at the local Social Security office getting new Social Security cards so that we could renew our passports. We took our number and sat to wait our turn. While we were waiting another gentleman with a child of probably less than one year old came in. We were close enough to him to hear his conversation with the clerk. He was seeking to get a Social Security card for his child. After the gentleman made his request the the clerk asked if he had vaccination records for his child. “No”, he replied, “but I have his birth certificate.” The clerk responded that she could not issue a Social Security card unless the child had vaccination records. Looking quite disappointed, the man turned to walk away, depositing the paper the clerk had given him in the trash as he left the building without saying a word. Where was his freedom of choice? Where was his liberty of conscience?
Webster’s dictionary defines liberty as “the state or condition of people who are able to act and speak freely”, and “the power to do or choose what you want to do.” Conscience is defined as “the part of the mind that makes you aware of your actions as being either morally right or wrong.” The man with his child was not free to choose what he felt was morally right or wrong for his child. If he wanted that card, he must give up his convictions. This is not liberty of conscience!
Is this new? Hardly! It seems to me that the lamb is speaking more and more like a dragon these days. Our constitutional rights are being violated more and more and it seems very few are protesting. Is the protest over? We have been methodically dumbed down with the foods we eat, the “pseudo-news” blasted across the airwaves, the selfish lifestyles that are being promoted, and the medications pushed on the uninformed public. We are so distracted and disabled that blatant violations of what conscience remains are going unnoticed or with an “ignore it and it will go away” attitude. The deadly wound is being healed, and all the world is wondering!
It may seem to many in the world that Pope Francis could hardly be the anti-christ of the Bible. He is very well favored and is gaining much popularity with his apparent “relaxing” of Catholic doctrines and supreme interest of the well- being of mankind. Have we misinterpreted scripture? I would like you to remember that Pope Francis is the first Jesuit Pope. Remember too that we are told in The Great Controversy, page 234 that, “There was no crime too great for them to commit, no deception too base for them to practice, no disguise too difficult for them to assume. Vowed to perpetual poverty and humility, it was their studied aim to secure wealth and power, to be devoted to the overthrow of Protestantism, and the re-establishment of the papal supremacy.”
Can we imagine that Pope Francis has now recanted on his vow? It is said best by Bishop O’Conner. “Religious liberty is merely endured until the opposite can be carried into effect without peril to the Catholic world.” Great Controversy, page 565. It is because she does not yet have the power to rule as she pleases that we are not seeing greater abuses of liberty of conscience. But this is fast changing!
Revelation 13 tells us how God’s people suffered under the reign of the Papal beast for 1260 years before it received its deadly wound. We know that the Papacy will again regain the power it once had through the help of the United States of America. We see this unfolding before our eyes today. Liberty of conscience will again be taken away. “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. that no man may buy or sell accept those that receive the mark of the beast.” Revelation 13:16,17. This is unfolding every day! Do you see it? Are you ready? Are you preparing others to be ready?
“When God has given us light showing the dangers before us, how can we stand clear in His sight if we neglect to put forth every effort in our power to bring it before the people? Can we be content to leave them to meet this momentous issue unwarned?” 5 Testimony, page 712.2. We as Seventh-day Adventists have been given much light and have a great responsibility to warn the world of what is about to come upon it.
Satan’s government is ruled by cruel force trying to usurp the worship of God. This evidence is found in Isaiah 14:13,14: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”
Satan was not interested in God’s character! He wanted His position and His power! It was the worship of man that was due God that Satan wanted from the beginning and is still striving for today. He wants control of the minds of the people, and he is using the church of his invention to accomplish his purposes. Comparing Satan’s government of force with God’s government we see that, “The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, “with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2.” Desire of Ages 22. Which government do you want to be under?
Patrick Henry was known for quoting the words “give me liberty or give me death”. The people of this great nation were at one time willing to give their lives for the hope of liberty. But now most don’t even realize or even seem to care that they are losing and have already lost many of their liberties. And those who do realize it, those who will be found faithful, will very soon feel wrath of that apostate power as never before. The lamb-like beast is gone and the voice of the Dragon is becoming clearer and clearer.
We as Bible believing Christians should neither be surprised nor discouraged by these events because we have the hope that Jesus is coming soon! This thought brings more and more comfort to me as I view the situation of the world. Our focus should not be on the issues of the world, even though they are signs for us, but on the joy of the soon return of the Son of God. How exciting that we shall soon see the blessed face of our elder Brother! The thought of his soon return should lift our thoughts above the corruption and violence that is everywhere-even in our churches.
Brothers and Sisters we need to be drawing nearer to God and to one another, we need to be earnestly seeking God in prayer and searching His Word. We need the out pouring of the Holy Spirit. We need to be sharing with our neighbors, friends and families, the good news of His soon return. There is little time left. Let us be laboring diligently; it is time to awake. Our liberties may be taken away but they cannot stop our voices as long as God has a message for us to share. Be faithful and encouraged and be in prayer for one another. Truth will triumph in the end!
We recently had the privilege of attending the camp meeting at Nature’s Retreat in Middle River, Minnesota. What a blessing! The singing was with exuberance, the testimonies with excitement, the messages with conviction. We are refreshed, and we wanted to share the blessing with you. Ron Meinhardt presented parts of several seminars he has available on DVD at his web site, www.healthislife.org. Here is one of the morning devotionals Ron shared. I don’t know what he calls it, but I call it “Take Time to be Holy.” We need to do just that! Enjoy:
The world is going crazy! The pace is so fast it seems weeks are days and months are weeks! Join us for a few minutes of a slower pace. We believe it would really be a blessing to all of us learn to slow down. Our friend, Titus, has done just that. At 23, Titus loves the slower pace working with horses for his gardening and transportation, and believes it enhances his walk with God since he isn’t taking life at 60mph. We agree! We also believe that the time may not be far distant that these skills will be vital.