The Crux of the Gospel…

The Crux of the Gospel…

Meditating on 1 Cor. 13 this morning as I work on memorizing it; it seems I have taken this chapter for granted. This is the crux of the obedience required by the law and the gospel!! It is a snapshot, if you will, of the character of Christ!

This phrase is really giving me some food for thought, “Charity suffereth long, and it kind…” (vs 4). What does that look like in my day? Do I suffer and remain kind, being irritated by someone doing things that annoy me? or do feel justified to express my irritation? I need to keep this one phrase in my heart today.

And, how much have I caused Jesus to suffer?…and He’s still kind to me…See what I mean? This chapter is the gospel unfolded, lived out, demonstrated. God help us to look higher than ourselves!

HOW CAN PRIDE BE CHERISHED?

HOW CAN PRIDE BE CHERISHED?

Think about this…

It has long been my conviction that those of us who wish to see Jesus, and are laboring to help others, should work together.  We need to network!  But, alas!  What division!  It is altogether too easy to cherish the mind-set of “my ministry”, or “my church”, or “my Bible study”, etc.  Away with such nonsense!  This is NOT expressive of the mind of Christ.  We need to work together.  We need to support each other.  We  need to encourage each other.  We are not enemies in the cause, but we are supposed to be watchmen, merely stationed at different posts.  We need to call out to each other, “Is all well, brethren?  How can I help you?”

God help us!  God help us to be born again!  God help us to be filled with His love–love for Him, love for souls!

As I ponder these things I am reminded of a passage a  late friend had memorized.  She would often quote portions of this if there was strife among the brethren, and this passage has never lost a place in my heart.  I would like to memorize it myself, and believe it would be a blessing if we all did.  May the Lord help us to be truly converted, fully equipped, truly brethren, pulling together to seek Closure for Jesus.

July 5, 1887 Christ Man’s Example.

By Mrs. E. G. White.

There is nothing which will weaken the strength of a church like pride and passion. If one engaged in the work of God does things in contradiction to another engaged in the same work, that is strife and variance. If we do this to be esteemed or to exalt self, it is vainglory, and death to spirituality and to Christian love and unity of action. Let there be no spirit of opposition among Christians. Christ has given us an example of love and humility, and has enjoined upon his followers to love one another as he has loved us. We must in lowliness of mind esteem others better than ourselves. We must be severe upon our own defects of character, be quick to discern our own errors and mistakes, and make less of the faults of others than of our own. We must feel a special interest in looking upon the things of others,–not coveting them, not to find fault with them, not to remark upon them and present them in a false light, but to do strict justice in all things to our brethren and all with whom we have any dealings. A spirit to work plans for our own selfish interest, so as to grasp a little gain, or to labor to show a superiority or rivalry, is an offense to God. The Spirit of Christ will lead his followers to be concerned, not only for their success and advantage, but to be equally interested for the success and advantage of their brethren. This will be loving our neighbor as ourselves; and an opposite spirit from this creates differences and alienations and want of love and harmony. {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 1}
Oh, how out of place is all this strife for supremacy! Jesus alone is to be exalted. Whatever may be the ability or the success of any one of us, it is not because we have manufactured these powers ourselves; they are the sacred trust given us of God, to be wisely employed in his service to his glory. All is the Lord’s intrusted capital. Why, then, should we be lifted up? Why should we call attention to our own defective selves? What we do possess in talent and wisdom, is received from the Source of wisdom, that we may glorify God. {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 2}
The apostle would call our attention from ourselves to the Author of our salvation. He presents before us his two natures, divine and human. Here is the description of the divine: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” He was “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 3}
Now, of the human: “He was made in the likeness of man: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death.” He voluntarily assumed human nature. It was his own act, and by his own consent. He clothed his divinity with humanity. He was all the while as God, but he did not appear as God. He veiled the demonstrations of Deity which had commanded the homage, and called forth the admiration, of the universe of God. He was God while upon earth, but he divested himself of the form of God, and in its stead took the form and fashion of a man. He walked the earth as a man. For our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. He laid aside his glory and his majesty. He was God, but the glories of the form of God he for a while relinquished. Though he walked among men in poverty, scattering his blessings wherever he went, at his word legions of angels would surround their Redeemer, and do him homage. But he walked the earth unrecognized, unconfessed, with but few exceptions, by his creatures. The atmosphere was polluted with sin and curses, in place of the anthem of praise. His lot was poverty and humiliation. As he passed to and fro upon his mission of mercy to relieve the sick, to lift up the depressed, scarce a solitary voice called him blessed, and the very greatest of the nation passed him by with disdain. {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 4}
Contrast this with the riches of glory, the wealth of praise pouring forth from immortal tongues, the millions of rich voices in the universe of God in anthems of adoration. But he humbled himself, and took mortality upon him. As a member of the human family he was mortal, but as a God he was the fountain of life to the world. He could, in his divine person, ever have withstood the advances of death, and refused to come under its dominion; but he voluntarily laid down his life, that in so doing he might give life and bring immortality to light. He bore the sins of the world, and endured the penalty which rolled like a mountain upon his divine soul. He yielded up his life a sacrifice, that man should not eternally die. He died, not through being compelled to die, but by his own free will. This was humility. The whole treasure of heaven was poured out in one gift to save fallen man. He brought into his human nature all the life-giving energies that human beings will need and must receive. {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 5}
Wondrous combination of man and God! He might have helped his human nature to withstand the inroads of disease by pouring from his divine nature vitality and undecaying vigor to the human. But he humbled himself to man’s nature. He did this that the Scripture might be fulfilled; and the plan was entered into by the Son of God, knowing all the steps in his humiliation, that he must descend to make an expiation for the sins of a condemned, groaning world. What humility was this! It amazed angels. The tongue can never describe it; the imagination cannot take it in. The eternal Word consented to be made flesh! God became man! It was a wonderful humility! {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 6}
But he stepped still lower; the Man must humble himself as a man to bear insult, reproach, shameful accusations, and abuse. There seemed to be no safe place for him in his own territory. He had to flee from place to place for his life. He was betrayed by one of his disciples; he was denied by one of his most zealous followers. He was mocked. He was crowned with a crown of thorns. He was scourged. He was forced to bear the burden of the cross. He was not insensible to this contempt and ignominy. He submitted, but, oh! he felt the bitterness as no other being could feel it. He was pure, holy, and undefiled, yet arraigned as a criminal! The adorable Redeemer stepped down from the highest exaltation. Step by step he humbled himself to die,–but what a death! It was the most shameful, the most cruel,–the death upon the cross as a malefactor. He did not die as a hero in the eyes of the world, loaded with honors, as men in battle. He died as a condemned criminal, suspended between the heavens and the earth,–died a lingering death of shame, exposed to the tauntings and revilings of a debased, crime-loaded, profligate multitude! “All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head.” Psalms 22:7. He was numbered with the transgressors, he expired amid derision, and his kinsmen according to the flesh disowned him. His mother beheld his humiliation, and he was forced to see the sword pierce her heart. He endured the cross, despised the shame. He made it of small account in consideration of the results that he was working out in behalf of, not only the inhabitants of this speck of a world, but the whole universe, every world which God had created. {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 7}
Christ was to die as man’s substitute. Man was a criminal under the sentence of death for transgression of the law of God as a traitor, a rebel; hence a substitute for man must die as a malefactor, because he stood in the place of the traitors, with all their treasured sins upon his divine soul. It was not enough that Jesus should die in order to fully meet the demands of the broken law, but he died a shameful death. The prophet gives to the world his words, “I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 8}
In consideration of this, can men have one particle of exaltation? As they trace down the life and sufferings and humiliation of Christ, can they lift their proud heads as though they were to bear no trials, no shame, no humiliation? I say to the followers of Christ, Look to Calvary, and blush for shame your self-important ideas. All this humiliation of the Majesty of heaven was for guilty, condemned man. He went lower and lower in his humiliation, until there were no lower depths that he could reach in order to lift man up from his moral defilement. All this was for you who are striving for the supremacy–striving for human praise, for human exaltation; you who are afraid you will not receive all that deference, that respect from human minds, that you think is your due. Is this Christ-like? {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 9}
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” He died to make an atonement, and to become a pattern for every one who would be his disciple. Shall selfishness come into your hearts? And will those who set not before them the pattern, Jesus, extol your merits? You have none except as they come through Jesus Christ. Shall pride be harbored after you have seen Deity humbling himself, and then as man debasing himself, till there was no lower point to which he could descend? “Be astonished, O ye heavens,” and be amazed, ye inhabitants of the earth, that such returns should be made to our Lord! What contempt! what wickedness! what formality! what pride! what efforts made to lift up man and glorify self, when the Lord of glory humbled himself, agonized, and died the shameful death upon the cross in our behalf! {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 10}
Who is learning the meekness and lowliness of the Pattern? Who is striving earnestly to master self? Who is lifting his cross and following Jesus? Who is wrestling against self-conceit? Who is setting himself in good earnest and with all his energies to overcome satanic envyings, jealousies, evil-surmisings, and lasciviousness; cleansing the soul temple from all defilements, and opening the door of the heart for Jesus to come in? Would that these words might have that impression upon minds that all who may read them would cultivate the grace of humility, be self-denying, more disposed to esteem others better than themselves, having the mind and Spirit of Christ to bear one another’s burdens! Oh that we might write deeply upon our hearts, as we contemplate, the great condescension and humiliation to which the Son of God descended that we might be partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption that is in the world through lust! All haughtiness, all self exaltation must be put away from us, and we learn the meekness and lowliness of Christ, or we shall find no place in the kingdom of God. The life must be hid with Christ in God. The anchor of every soul is to be cast into the Rock cleft for us, that Rock which bears up a ruined world. Let us keep these things in our minds. {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 11}
Pride of talent, pride of intellect, cannot exist in hearts that are hid with Christ in God. There would be no strivings to let self stand forth conspicuously unless Deity and humanity combined had stood in the gap to stay the sentence of a broken law. Its penalties would have fallen, without abating a jot of its severity, upon the sinful. It fell on Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, to give man another trial. Then let us humble ourselves, and adore Jesus, but never, never exalt self in the least degree. God forbid that we should foster in ourselves independence. Make haste that none of us may occupy the fearful position of him for whom Christ died in vain. {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 12}
Will my brethren consider that there is no royal road to heaven? The cross, the cross, lies directly in the path we must travel to reach the crown. Those who will not humble themselves even as a little child, said Jesus Christ, shall have no part in the kingdom of heaven. If the motive of all our life is to serve and honor Christ and bless humanity in the world, then the dreariest path of duty will become a bright way,–a path cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. If we are children of God, there will be countless opportunities for serving him by active ministry to those for whom he died. Jesus looks upon the wants, the necessities, of every soul, and ministers unto them by standing close beside the one whom he uses to be an instrument to help and bless others. All contentions, all envy, is grievous to Jesus Christ.
Basel, Switzerland. {RH, July 5, 1887 par. 13}

Constipation!!

Constipation!!

Many people struggle with their health.  But what most people don’t understand is the role of constipation in overall health.  From Acne and arthritis to kidney disease and myasthenia gravis, the bowel health plays an important role.  If the bowels are not clean, the body is not clean–it’s toxic.  And if the body is toxic, the mind is not clear and cannot discern spiritual issues as well.  It’s vital to understand how to keep the bowels clean.  Listen to learn more

No Greater Love–Brian Danese

No Greater Love–Brian Danese

It isn’t very often that I hear a sermon that really grips me. You know, one that “stays with you” both in thought and experience. I was super blessed and super surprised and overjoyed to hear one such message this Sabbath at the Uchee Pines SDA church, while down home in Alabama visiting family. I asked Brother Danese if I could share this on our web page, and I’ve asked him to come to Kentucky to share at our ministry. He has agreed. I know you will be as blessed by this audio message about the love of God as I was!

The Other Side of the Fence–Dr. Albrecht

The Other Side of the Fence–Dr. Albrecht

There are many new innovations and ways to garden these days; Permaculture, Hügelkultur, aquaponics, Back to Eden, etc. But the science behind Dr. W. Albrecht’s reasoning is hard to argue with, especially in the light of all the ailments caused by nutritional deficiencies these days. Part of Bob Gregory’s gardening course at Berea Gardens, this film explains Dr. Albrecht’s findings, and I believe gives some real food for thought for those of us planning to grow our own food. We have consulted with Bob Gregory in establishing our gardens here at Closure for Jesus farm and are excited to see some of the results already.