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Many of them never get involved at church but surely they can visit, help, encourage their "own" (for lack of a better phrase). While it's good a thing for the young to develop relationships with someone on the border of their grave (as Mrs. White phrases it) as it's good for both parties. It's other elderly who can relate to their experiences and understand better what is going on.

I realize that my comments today probably aren't what we normally express here but today's reading gave me a chance to put into words what I've been thinking about for the past few months.

Amen, Jim. They need to be taught how to minister to others and experience the joy of comforting others. Our own experience prepares us to minister to others like us, going through what we have gone through.

This brings to mind what I was impressed with as I read this morning's chapter. As Seventh-day Adventists, we don't half appreciate what it is that we have been given to give to others. Many in America do not want to hear about Jesus. They have seen to often the hypocrisy of those who call themselves Christians. They don't want to listen to something that does not work. But, God has instructed us to minister to the physical needs of others that the door to their hearts may be opened. And, even going further, we have been given great light in an area of great importance that will reach many in the world. Sickness surrounds us. We have millions dying from heart attacks, cancer, stroke, and many other lifestyle diseases.

Often the situation can be reversed and most often prevented. How? By walking in the light we have been given. As I was thinking about the fantastic light that shines upon us, I thought of the hundreds of millions of dollars that is being donated to find a cure for breast cancer. Well.....God gave us the answer over a hundred years ago. For the last 30 years I have been encouraging every one who will listen that eating animals, their milk and eggs, is transferring cancer from them to humans. We do not have to quote Scripture or Ellen White, we have scientific evidence that few have heard of.

Today's reading is a warning to those who do not help others, but enjoy the comfort they themselves have. What will be said about the fact that we were given the light to prevent cancer and told no one? Think of the little ones who are dying from Leukemia and other cancers. Leukemia Virus is in much of the dairy products being fed to them. How very sad. And, no one tells them! We were told over a hundred years ago to teach the people how to prepare healthful food without the use of eggs and milk because SOON there would be no safety in using them because of the increase of disease in the animals? How does God look upon those who have not shared this truth with those in the church and in the world?

    In the great Judgment day, those who have not worked for Christ, who have drifted along thinking of themselves, caring for themselves, will be placed by the Judge of the whole earth with those who did evil. They receive the same condemnation.
     To every soul a trust is given. Of everyone the Chief Shepherd will demand, "Where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?" And "what wilt thou say when He shall punish thee?" Jeremiah 13:20, 21. 
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Amen, Jim! Amen, Dorine!

I can personally testify that having visited Israel in 2012 that I was brought much experientially closer to Christ when I volunteered at the Your Best Pathways to Health event in Phoenix, Arizona in December 2017. Ministering to others is far more intimate of an experience with Christ than is mere geographical connections. I enjoyed the trip to Israel, but ministry is far sweeter!!

Christ lives His life through us to bless others; we partake of His joy. We are to comfort others wherein we have been comforted! Has an elderly person found consolation in experiencing strength in their old age? Then they can find another person who is aged to pray with and encourage! Imagine if every Seventh-day Adventist resident of nursing home facilities ministered to their fellow residents and staff according to their ability! Imagine if every member of our Seventh-day Adventist schools who was converted and baptized did not wait for the school to change everything, but began to be a missionary to their teachers, faculty, and fellow students! When we realize the work that we are specially qualified to do because we are "one of them," then the counsel in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy becomes even clearer experientially. I appreciate this thought, Jim, very much. When we come close to those who share a similar experience, when we give them of that which we have received in Christ, we are entering into the joy of using our talents for eternal purposes!

I love Jesus’ promise: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto Me” (Matthew 25:40). Are you willing to find one more soul you can bless for Jesus’ dear sake? In turn, you will be infinitely blessed!!
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I appreciate your comments Jim. We need to be able to take the things we read and make them a practical reality in our lives. We live in a time with much suffering, loneliness, sorrow and pain. It's all around us. If we really want to be doing the Lord's we won't have to search far.

I have always wished I could visit the land where Jesus walked but my thoughts have changed since reading this impressive paragraph from our reading today.

"Many feel that it would be a great privilege to visit the scenes of Christ's life on earth, to walk where He trod, to look upon the lake beside which He loved to teach, and the hills and valleys on which His eyes so often rested. But we need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great city, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation. In doing as Jesus did when on earth, we shall walk in His steps."
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All may find something to do. "The poor always ye have with you," (John 12:8 ), Jesus said, and none need feel that there is no place where they can labor for Him. Millions upon millions of human souls ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, have never so much as heard of Christ's love for them. Were our condition and theirs to be reversed, what would we desire them to do for us?

There is a work for everyone even if your influence reaches no further than your own family. This brings to mind the elderly and shutin members of our own local churches that need our encouragement. As I was growing up in the church the responsibility of visiting these people seem to always fall on the young people. Especially the pathfinders. I do not begrudge this experience as it was good for me and my own family spent many hours on Sabbath afternoons visiting members stuck in the local VA hospital and their homes. But not long ago a thought came to my mind. It's the elderly who can understand much better what the needs of other elderly and meet them. Many of them never get involved at church but surely they can visit, help, encourage their "own" (for lack of a better phrase). While it's good a thing for the young to develop relationships with someone on the border of their grave (as Mrs. White phrases it) as it's good for both parties. It's other elderly who can relate to their experiences and understand better what is going on.

I realize that my comments today probably aren't what we normally express here but today's reading gave me a chance to put into words what I've been thinking about for the past few months.
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 The NAD is following the churches of Babylon.
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Monday •  May 21

The Thief on the Cross and the “Everlasting Gospel”


In Revelation 14:6, the message to be proclaimed to the world is “the everlasting gospel”. It’s a message of hope for people in a world that, in and of itself, offers no hope at all.

Amen! When Adam sinned, there was no hope. But, while still in the Garden, Jesus uttered the words "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed." Genesis 3:15. There was none when Christ spoke these words in the hearing of Adam. Not all will receive this enmity towards Satan and sin. Unless reconciled with God, man remains at enmity with God and the truth. How often do we hear this? How many understand the foundation of our faith? Sadly, many think they are saved when in fact they are not. They do not hate sin enough to quit sinning. The promise of enmity towards sin is fulfilled when we love Jesus with all we are and all we have. When we surrender self to Him, we then are filled with love for God and love for man, even our enemy. I pray that the lesson speaks this plainly of the power of grace to transform the life at conversion.

Did the thief on the cross love Jesus supremely? Was he converted on the cross? Were his motives then perfect? Was there more needed for him to enter heaven? He was a "baby" Christian, but was his moral character perfect? Did he sin on the cross after conversion? Was he tempted beyond what he could bear? Was he a partaker of God's divine nature while hanging on the cross?  Did he hate sin before he died?


Read Luke 23:32-43.

 23:32   And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death. 
 23:33   And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 
 23:34   Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. 
 23:35   And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided [him], saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. 
 23:36   And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, 
 23:37   And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. 
 23:38   And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 
 23:39   And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 
 23:40   But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 
 23:41   And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 
 23:42   And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 
 23:43   And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee to day shalt thou be with me in paradise. 


How does this story reveal the great hope of the “everlasting gospel” for all sinners?

Death bed conversions are rare. But, here we read of one such conversion. The thief was transformed in character and Jesus tells us that he will be in heaven.


Writing about the thief, Ellen G. White said that though not a hardened criminal, he had been “seeking to stifle conviction” about Jesus, and so “had plunged deeper and deeper into sin, until he was arrested, tried as a criminal, and condemned to die on the cross”. — Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages , p. 749.

Yet, what happened to him? As he hung on the cross, the thief got a glimpse of who Jesus was, and so he cried out: “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Luke 23:42 .

And how did Jesus respond? Did He say: Well, friend, I’d like to help you, but you should have not stifled your convictions by plunging deeper and deeper into sin? Did Jesus quote one of His earlier sermons: “except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Matt. 5:20. Did Jesus, in any way, bring up the thief’s past mistakes?

No. Instead, Jesus turned to this criminal, this thief with a faulty character who had nothing to offer in the way of righteousness and who earlier had been cursing him (Matt. 27:44) . Seeing him as a new man, Jesus said (basically): I am telling you, right now, I am giving you the assurance, right now, that your sin, your crimes, your faults, are forgiven, and thus “thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).

"A faulty character"? What does this mean? Does it mean the thief was not sorry for his past sins? Does it mean he was not repentant? Does it mean he was not changed in character? Was he not in a converted state when Jesus told him he would be in heaven? Was there yet something he needed to do in order to enter heaven? Or, was he the same man he was when he was hung on the cross? If he was changed, what changed him? And if he was changed, what was changed if not his character? How important are these questions and the answers to them? Do we want to leave church members in an unconverted state, believing they are rich and increased with goods, when in fact they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, blind, and naked? If we believe the thief on the cross was not transformed in character when he loved Jesus with the whole heart, then we are in great danger of being lost. He was indeed repentant for his past sins, therefore he was converted when Jesus told him he would be in heaven. He was a changed man, he was converted, self was dead and he was a new creature in Christ.

Was there still room to grow in character? Absolutely? There are many converted Christians who do not keep the Sabbath. There are many converted Christians who eat the wrong food. But, there are no converted Christians who have not been changed in moral character. All converted Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit and manifest all of the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, not one of these is missing. This moral character is not faulty. It is perfect, yet there is still room to grow.


Here is the “everlasting gospel”, the foundation of the first angel’s message. Without this truth, nothing else we teach about the law, the Sabbath, or the state of the dead matters. What good are these teachings without the “everlasting gospel” at the heart of them all?

What is the "everlasting gospel" being taught here? Was the thief transformed in character or not? Was self dead? Was he "perfect" in his motives? What does Genesis 3:15 promise to all who love Jesus supremely?  Will the converted Christian be tempted beyond what he can bear? No, not according to Scripture. Then he has been transformed in character, has he not?


What hope can you take for yourself from this story?

It is not an assurance of salvation unless we have turned from sin unto Christ. If we are not truly repentant, then we have no salvation. If we do not love Jesus with the whole heart, then we are not converted. If we are not filled with the Holy Spirit, then we have no salvation. "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Romans 8:5-9.

Are we walking in the Spirit, or in the flesh? Is there a difference in character between the two?
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Why not? This has been their intent all along. They are in rebellion against the church and Scripture. They are indeed making women leaders over men. They reject the decisions made by the world church. This is outright rebellion. But, it is only a symptom of a much deeper problem. God allows this that a sleeping church might awaken to the real problem, its Laodicean condition in which most are not in a converted state (lost).

We are in a worse condition today than the church in 1888 when it rejected the gospel truth and blocked the coming of Christ.
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The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--69--On the Mount of Olives
« Last post by Richard Myers on May 23, 2018, 08:19:44 AM »
Amen, dear Sister. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, IF we will abide in Him and He in us.  We only have to wait a very short time before we see Jesus coming in the clouds of glory. He is even at the doors!

Jesus wants to come more than we want Him to come. It is not easy for God to watch the suffering in this world. Why has Jesus not come yet? We are told. It is because we have not done that which has been entrusted to us. We have not taken the gospel to the world. Instead we as a people have perverted the gospel truth.  Who has not heard contradicting truth being preached from pulpits and printed on presses? Many do not want to hear this truth. But, until we acknowledge this and correct the teaching, we shall continue to delay His second coming.

     In the prophecy of Jerusalem's destruction Christ said, "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." This prophecy will again be fulfilled. The abounding iniquity of that day finds its counterpart in this generation. So with the prediction in regard to the preaching of the gospel. Before the fall of Jerusalem, Paul, writing by the Holy Spirit, declared that the gospel was preached to "every creature which is under heaven." Colossians 1:23. So now, before the coming of the Son of man, the everlasting gospel is to be preached "to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people." Revelation 14:6, 14. God "hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world." Acts 17:31. Christ tells us when that day shall be ushered in. He does not say that all the world will be converted, but that "this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come." By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord's return. We are not only to look for but to hasten the coming of the day of God. 2 Peter 3:12, margin. Had the church of Christ done her appointed work as the Lord ordained, the whole world would before this have been warned, and the Lord Jesus would have come to our earth in power and great glory. 


Let us hasten the coming of Christ. Let us not only teach the gospel, but live it. There are multitudes seeking truth. The harvest field is white and ready for the harvest!
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The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--69--On the Mount of Olives
« Last post by Dorine on May 23, 2018, 07:45:03 AM »
"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." 

God always has a way of escape for those who believe and obey Him. May we never be pulled in by the culture that surrounds us. God is looking for a people that will reflect and vindicate His character. I cling by faith in Jesus this morning in His promises to help us live for Him through any and all circumstances.
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Everything in the world is in agitation. The signs of the times are ominous. Coming events cast their shadows before. The Spirit of God is withdrawing from the earth, and calamity follows calamity by sea and by land. There are tempests, earthquakes, fires, floods, murders of every grade. Who can read the future? Where is security? There is assurance in nothing that is human or earthly. Rapidly are men ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen. Restlessly are they waiting and watching the movements of their leaders. There are those who are waiting and watching and working for our Lord's appearing. Another class are falling into line under the generalship of the first great apostate. Few believe with heart and soul that we have a hell to shun and a heaven to win.  {The Desire of Ages, page 636, paragraph 1}

May we choose to come close to Christ and receive the Holy Spirit by responding to His leading in these last days!


 
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