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Amen, Richard! As we receive the truth of Christ into the soul, it claims the homage of our will. Christ requires a full-heart surrender, as nothing less than this will enable us to become partakers of the divine nature. Without a vital connection with Christ a living-faith experience of complete dependence upon God and putting forth all our efforts that He has imbued our soul with, we will be lost. God works in us to will and to do, but this will never be independent of our effort. We are to behold the loveliness of Jesus and allow the principles of His life to become ours in actual practice.

"The greatest deception of the human mind in Christ’s day was that a mere assent to the truth constitutes righteousness. In all human experience a theoretical knowledge of the truth has been proved to be insufficient for the saving of the soul. It does not bring forth the fruits of righteousness." {The Desire of Ages, page 309, paragraph 2}

The fruits of righteousness are true repentance leading to all of the fruits of the Spirit being manifest in the life without one missing. An assent is not the same thing as surrender of all we have and are to Him who gave all for us. Let us glory in tribulation and thank God that the full surrender is what is best for us, even though it will mean denial of our fallen nature at every step toward heaven. As we abide in Christ, we are enabled to keep the fallen nature under, so that every thought, motive, and purpose may be under the control of the Holy Spirit who has possession of the new heart and new mind given us at conversion. Let us trust God fully!
Amen, Pastor Sean. The gospel has great power. I love this chapter. Jesus is preaching to a Laodicean people. They thought themselves rich and increased with goods, but knew not they were lost. So, it is a great light to us today.

     The world loves sin, and hates righteousness, and this was the cause of its hostility to Jesus. All who refuse His infinite love will find Christianity a disturbing element. The light of Christ sweeps away the darkness that covers their sins, and the need of reform is made manifest. While those who yield to the influence of the Holy Spirit begin war with themselves, those who cling to sin war against the truth and its representatives.

     Thus strife is created, and Christ’s followers are accused as troublers of the people. But it is fellowship with God that brings them the world’s enmity. They are bearing the reproach of Christ. They are treading the path that has been trodden by the noblest of the earth. Not with sorrow, but with rejoicing, should they meet persecution. Each fiery trial is God’s agent for their refining. Each is fitting them for their work as colaborers with Him. Each conflict has its place in the great battle for righteousness, and each will add to the joy of their final triumph. Having this in view, the test of their faith and patience will be cheerfully accepted rather than dreaded and avoided. Anxious to fulfill their obligation to the world, fixing their desire upon the approval of God, His servants are to fulfill every duty, irrespective of the fear or the favor of men.

     “Ye are the salt of the earth,” Jesus said. Do not withdraw yourselves from the world in order to escape persecution. You are to abide among men, that the savor of the divine love may be as salt to preserve the world from corruption.

We remember that it is the highest honor and the most weighty trust to partake in the sufferings of our Savior. Then let us today glory in our tribulation, that will come if we are colaborers with Him who gave all for us.
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Last post by Dorine on January 17, 2018, 09:36:38 AM »
     "He who called the fisherman of Galilee is still calling men to His service. And He is just as willing to manifest His power through us as through the first disciples. However imperfect and sinful we may be, the Lord holds out to us the offer of partnership with Himself, of apprenticeship to Christ. He invites us to come under the divine instruction, that, uniting with Christ, we may work the works of God." {The Desire of Ages, page 297, paragraph 1} 

What an inspiring and humbling thought Pastor Sean, that Jesus wants to partner with each of us so that His works will be seen in us. I am continually awed at the depths of love that is shown to mankind even if we like Judas are working for the enemy. How Jesus' heart must have broke to see Judas harden his heart against Jesus and truth.

As I read once again this chapter pointing out all the serious defects of the men Jesus chose it is so encouraging to see how by spending time with Jesus He was able to miraculously change their characters. He will do the same for anyone who will come to Him with a childlike faith desiring to know His will for their lives.

So why didn't Judas have the same experience as the others? We are told....
"Instead of walking in the light, Judas chose to retain his defects. Evil desires, revengeful passions, dark and sullen thoughts, were cherished, until Satan had full control of the man."

How very sad.
Wednesday January 17

A Jealous God

In His confrontation with Pharaoh, God declared, “For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people; that thou mayest know that [there is] none like me in all the earth.” Exod. 9:14.

What did the Lord mean when He said that “there is none like Me in all the earth”?

“It is impossible for the finite minds of men to fully comprehend the character or the works of the Infinite One. To the keenest intellect, to the most powerful and highly educated mind, that holy Being must ever remain clothed in mystery.” - Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 698, 699.

God has no equal (1 Kings 8:60). He thinks, remembers, and acts in ways we do not comprehend. No matter what attempts we try to make Him into our own image, God remains God. He is the One who made every snowflake, brain, face, and individual characteristic unique, and “there is none else” (1 Kings 8:60). After all, He is the Creator, and as Creator He is certainly distinct from His creation.

What do these texts tell us about how different God is from His creation? 1 Sam. 2:2; Ps. 86:8; Isa. 55:8, 9; Jer. 10:10; Titus 1:2.

When we look at all that God is, all that He possesses, and all that He does, it’s remarkable that He could have competitors. And yet He does, in the sense He has to “compete” for human love and affection. Maybe that’s why He says that He is a “jealous” God (Exod. 34:14). God created humans to be free, which means we have the option to serve Him or to serve anything else. That has been, in many ways, the essential human problem: choosing to serve other gods, regardless of what form they come in, as opposed to serving the only God worth serving, the One who created and possesses all the universe. That’s why then that He is indeed a jealous God.

"The essential human problem." What is the essential human problem? We need to spell it out so that we understand our need, our continual need. It is very sad to think that we do not understand, but look at Israel when their Messiah came to them, and they knew Him not. So it is today. It would be well to understand "the essential human problem" because there are now teachings in God's church that have redefined the truth on this subject. The essential human problem is that while we have free choice, we are in bondage to sin that is within us when we come into this world. If we do not understand this, then it will do little good to talk about stewardship or salvation.

We have a fallen nature which means when we come into the world, we are in need of a Savior. Why? Because we must be transformed from sinner into saint. Unless we are born again of the Spirit, we "cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3. These are the Words that came forth from the mouth of Jesus when speaking to a Laodicean leader in Israel. Jesus told him to "repent". Jesus continues talk with Nicodemus so that today none will be able to deceive the very elect: "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:6,7. In order to do any good thing, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit, we must become partakers of
God's divine nature.

What, if anything, in your life is competing with God for your affections?

How can we make sure nothing gets between us and our Savior? What must I do in order to be saved? How often must I do it?
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on January 17, 2018, 08:30:01 AM »
Amen, Richard! Praise God for the patience of our Savior, who chooses us to be able to work with Him as He did for His disciples. We are not called because we are perfect, but because, by surrendering the whole heart to Christ, we may receive His perfection of character (a new heart and mind renewed by the Holy Spirit, bearing the ineffaceable marks of the divine nature, which is all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing). As long as this surrender is maintained by faith, the moral perfection of character that Christ imputes and imparts to us at conversion will be continued and matured. Every step in life we may be more like our Savior, but that does not mean that we need to separate from Him for a moment. Let us see our continual need of Jesus to do any good thing. Praise God for such a wonderful Savior as Jesus!!

"As His representatives among men, Christ does not choose angels who have never fallen, but human beings, men of like passions with those they seek to save. Christ took upon Himself humanity, that He might reach humanity. Divinity needed humanity; for it required both the divine and the human to bring salvation to the world. Divinity needed humanity, that humanity might afford a channel of communication between God and man. So with the servants and messengers of Christ. Man needs a power outside of and beyond himself, to restore him to the likeness of God, and enable him to do the work of God; but this does not make the human agency unessential. Humanity lays hold upon divine power, Christ dwells in the heart by faith; and through co-operation with the divine, the power of man becomes efficient for good."  {The Desire of Ages, page 296, paragraph 4} 
     "He who called the fisherman of Galilee is still calling men to His service. And He is just as willing to manifest His power through us as through the first disciples. However imperfect and sinful we may be, the Lord holds out to us the offer of partnership with Himself, of apprenticeship to Christ. He invites us to come under the divine instruction, that, uniting with Christ, we may work the works of God." {The Desire of Ages, page 297, paragraph 1} 
Tuesday January 16

Christ, the Redeemer

Debt is not a principle of heaven. But Adam and Eve sinned, and a broken law meant death. Thus, humanity became debtors to divine justice. We were bankrupt, spiritually insolvent from a debt that we could never repay.

Amen. Worse than that, the sin which caused death, continued on. Man had no power to resist sin apart from God. Sinful man, Adam and his posterity, were and are aligned with sin and Satan. What hope is there even if forgiven, we continue to sin? The wages of one known sin is death. O wretched are we, what can save us from our wicked bodies of sin? That is not the correct question. It ought to be "who can save us from our sinful flesh?" See Romans 7:24.

Of course Saul (Paul) thought he was already keeping the commandments and saved in God's kingdom. But, we know that the good Pharisee that he was, he was only a "whited sepulcher," shiny white and clean on the outside, but putrid and rotting on the inside. He was a Laodicean. He thought he was rich and increased with goods because he was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a leader in Israel, God's chosen people, entrusted with the sacred oracles of God. But, he knew not that he was miserable, wretched, poor, blind, and naked. When he discovered he was sin itself, he attempted to do what was right, but in and of himself, he came to understand he could not do that which he ought to do, and did that which he ought not do. He discovered a law working in his flesh, warring against the law of his mind, which wanted to do good, bringing him into captivity to the law of sin which is in his flesh. See Romans 7:23.

So, the debt we owe for past sins continues on and on and on, unless we quit sinning. O what a problem!! What can I do? I am evil by nature and captive to sin in my flesh. I am in bondage to sin. Even if I repent, I will sin again and will be condemned again. O wretched man that I am. Who can save me, Who can deliver me from my evil body of flesh?

God’s love for us set in motion the plan of redemption. Jesus became a “surety” for us (Heb. 7:22). It is Christ’s identity as the Redeemer that reveals the most important transaction ever made. Only the sacrifice of His life could accomplish the required payment of divine justice. Jesus paid the debt of sin that we owed as justice and mercy embraced at the cross. The universe had never seen or witnessed the display of such wealth as was used in the payment for the redemption of humankind (Eph. 5:2).

“By pouring the whole treasury of heaven into this world, by giving us in Christ all heaven, God has purchased the will, the affections, the mind, the soul, of every human being.” - Ellen G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 326.

Read each text and list what Christ has saved us from: Col. 1:13; 1 Thess. 1:10; 1 Pet. 1:18; Heb. 2:14, 15; Gal. 3:13; Rev. 1:5.

 1:13   Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son: 
 1:10   And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, [even] Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. 
 1:18   Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers; 
 2:14   Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 
 2:15   And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 
 3:13   Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed [is] every one that hangeth on a tree: 
 1:5   And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 

The Greek word tetelestai in John 19:30 has been called the most important word ever spoken. It means “It is finished,” and is the last utterance Jesus made on the cross. His final declaration meant that His mission was accomplished and our debt was “paid in full.” He did not utter it as one with no hope but as one who succeeded in the redemption of a lost world. Looking at the cross of redemption reveals a past event with a present effect and a future hope. Jesus gave His life to destroy sin, death, and the works of the devil once and for all. This means that although undeserving, we are redeemed (Eph. 1:7). To glimpse the wonders of salvation is to tread holy ground.

Christ as the Redeemer is the most sublime image of God. His supreme interest is to redeem us. This reveals His perspective toward humanity and especially how He values a relationship with us. With justice satisfied, Christ turns His attention to our response to His sacrifice.

Think about it: Christ paid the debt, fully and completely, for all the evil you have ever done. What must your response be? (See Job 42:5, 6.)

 42:5   I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. 
 42:6   Wherefore I abhor [myself], and repent in dust and ashes. 

I like these two verses in todays lesson. But, we have two problems in the church in making a correct application with them.

First, we read and hear for years that Job never sinned. If he never sinned after Satan touched his flesh, then why repent? If self righteousness is not sin, then we who believe this are in deep trouble.

Secondly, even if Job did repent, what do we understand repentance to be? What is true repentance? Is there a radical transformation in the life when one truly repents? Or does the repentant sinner go on sinning?

The author of our lesson is going to have to overcome years of false gospels being taught in the church if he wants church members to be unselfish and put their money where their hearts are supposed to be. Many do not know they have not given the whole heart to Christ. They believe they are rich and increased with goods, but know not they are condemned by having not repented of their last sin. Or if they have repented, as many believe, their repentance often has to be repented of. That is to say there are two repentances. "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death." 2 Cor. 7:9,10.

How can we tell the difference? What caused the repentance is probably the best way. Was the motive because you hurt Jesus? Was it godly sorrow over having crucified Him afresh? If not, then you need to repent of a false repentance. Another way to tell, is if you continue to sin the same sin. True repentance brings forth a reformation in the life. It does not mean we never repeat the sin, but that when we maintain our surrender of the whole heart to Christ, we do not sin. Just after true conversion, it can be very rocky, since many know not that they need to continue their faith in Jesus. If we let the mind wander away from Jesus, we end up in the water just as Peter did when he took his eyes off of Jesus. We cannot resist the smallest temptation to sin if we are not vitally connected with Christ, any more than a light can shine when disconnected from the power supply.

If we are truly forgiven, because we are truly repentant, then the heart has been cleansed also. Then the repentant sinner will live for Christ, not for self, as long as that full heart surrender is maintained.

If the author is attempting to get us to be good stewards, then he is going to have to preach the gospel of grace. For it is only grace that can transform a sinner into a saint (one who puts his money in heaven). The heart must first be purified (converted) if all of the Christian's possessions are going to be placed on the altar. A Laodicean is not going to sacrifice everything for God.

Then, it is incumbent upon the teacher to reveal how it is that the Laodicean can come to the point of full surrender. Since it is the message Jesus has for our church, we ought to know it. In that message we are told what we must do in order to saved.
And, we might mention that in the message to the Laodiceans (Rev. 3:14-22) Jesus tells us as a people to "repent".

The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Last post by Richard Myers on January 17, 2018, 07:05:55 AM »
What love Jesus has for the sinner!!  He did not want Judas in His inner circle, but He knew He could not refuse him without causing great harm to His work. But, how did He treat Judas once he was there? Such love! And, this He does for each of us! What patience!!

     The disciples had been much disappointed that Jesus had not tried to secure the co-operation of the leaders in Israel. They felt that it was a mistake not to strengthen His cause by securing the support of these influential men. If He had repulsed Judas, they would, in their own minds, have questioned the wisdom of their Master. The after history of Judas would show them the danger of allowing any worldly consideration to have weight in deciding the fitness of men for the work of God. The co-operation of such men as the disciples were anxious to secure would have betrayed the work into the hands of its worst enemies. 

On the other hand, Jesus knew the character of those who chose. Before they were ordained, they had much to undo. After they were ordained, they still had more to learn and overcome. But, there was a marked difference between Judas and the other eleven whom Jesus did choose.

What wisdom and grace we see in our Lord as we read of His work with the twelve. Are we are patient as Jesus? Not yet. :(  But, He works with us as He worked with the Sons of Thunder.
Healthful Living / Re: Lifestyle Medicine at Loma Linda
« Last post by Richard Myers on January 16, 2018, 08:26:24 PM »
I did not know that, cp. If you have something to support that, start a topic in Laodicea. If not, then let's not speculate.
Healthful Living / Re: Lifestyle Medicine at Loma Linda
« Last post by colporteur on January 16, 2018, 05:13:23 PM »
Amazing, is it not?  Of course diet has nothing to do with lifestyle or disease. Even the world knows better. The tail is wagging the head of the dog? Not for long. At least LLU is getting interested in part of lifestyle. It reminds me of Romans 11. God is allowing His church to be shamed.

In one sense it is and in another  it is not. I believe they do abortion on demand there. If this is true what is amazing is that they emphasize anything at all in harmony with our health message.
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