Author Topic: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness  (Read 24684 times)

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JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2016, 06:53:19 PM »
Because I know my own weaknesses I'm always a little hesitant to point out weaknesses in others. However, in this chapter we find this..

Zacharias well knew how to Abraham in his old age a child was given because he believed Him faithful who had promised. But for a moment the aged priest turns his thought to the weakness of humanity. He forgets that what God has promised, He is able to perform. What a contrast between this unbelief and the sweet, childlike faith of Mary, the maiden of Nazareth, whose answer to the angel's wonderful announcement was, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word"! Luke 1:38.  {DA 98.2}

To me this is just a reminder of where we need to make sure to make effort to keep our eyes on Christ and His strength. I will not give Zacharias a hard time but as pointed out Mary's example is evidence of the truth that Christ spoke..

(Mat 18:3)  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
 
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2016, 08:17:54 AM »
I appreciated from Chapter 10 this morning the following: "In all who submit to His power, the Spirit of God will consume sin. But if men cling to sin, they become identified with it. Then the glory of God, which destroys sin, must destroy them" (DA 107.4). I turned this into a song and I desire to meditate upon the promise and the warning contained herein. May we choose to daily make a full submission to Christ, so the cleansing, refining work of His Spirit can make us day by day more like our Savior, even as day by day, through abiding in Him, we are perfect at each stage as through a living faith connection upon Jesus Christ, "the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." (DA 676.4). Glorious experience--even though it mean trial and tribulation!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #22 on: July 24, 2016, 05:49:37 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean.  We need to submit to Christ daily. As Paul said, "I die daily." Self must be dethroned on a continual basis, for we live in vile flesh.

It is sad, but some do not agree that when we come into this world, we are aligned with sin and Satan and need to be born again. We cannot do any good thing unless we are filled with the Spirit of God. That comes when we are converted. It is then God gives us a hatred for Satan and sin (Genesis 3:15).  There is an exception. The baby or very young child of believing parents may be filled with the Spirit of God in the womb. Then, the Spirit will aid the parents in rearing the child. We have evidence of this with John the Baptist. And Scripture reveals it to be so. This does not change the fact that in and of ourselves, apart from the Holy Spirit, we can do no good thing....no matter who teaches otherwise. Man in his fallen nature is evil and is need of the new birth. The new birth means to be born of the Spirit. We must be reconciled to God. All will sin. None escape sinning because they need to see their need of a Savior before they can submit to Him. "All have sinned." Romans  3:23.   So it is and so it is written.

     The birth of a son to Zacharias, like the birth of the child of Abraham, and that of Mary, was to teach a great spiritual truth, a truth that we are slow to learn and ready to forget. In ourselves we are incapable of doing any good thing; but that which we cannot do will be wrought by the power of God in every submissive and believing soul. It was through faith that the child of promise was given. It is through faith that spiritual life is begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness. 


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2016, 09:39:33 AM »
Amen! Amen! I appreciated this chapter anew today!! I love how we can gather lessons from John the Baptist's character building experience:

"He looked upon the King in His beauty, and self was forgotten. He beheld the majesty of holiness, and felt himself to be inefficient and unworthy. He was ready to go forth as Heaven’s messenger, unawed by the human, because he had looked upon the Divine. He could stand erect and fearless in the presence of earthly monarchs, because he had bowed low before the King of kings." {DA 103.3}

As we realize our continual need of Jesus by beholding His loveliness, we will find an ever-increasing joy in continual communion with Christ that will give us the experience of self-abnegation, as all the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the life--not one will be missing!!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2016, 05:48:45 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean! Another statement in this most beautiful Book that reveals this most important truth, that by beholding the loveliness of Jesus we become like our Savior!

As I read this morning, something that is important in our ministry to "Evangelicals" who have believed a lie about Israel, I found this verse that will help with some who are seeking truth. "Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 31:37. So many believe Israel the nation remains God's chosen nation. But, here we see another verse that reveals they will be cut off. When understand this verse, then another verse helps us to see the promises made to Abraham apply to those who make modern day Israel, who are said to be the "children of Abraham." "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." Galatians 3:7.

     The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified. Before giving the promise, He had said, "I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. . . . For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:33, 34. To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. pg 106. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2016, 10:23:18 AM »
Amen, Richard! I so appreciate that statement you shared from Desire of Ages page 106, as it is so encouraging to realize that when God writes His law in our hearts, then we are "one with Him"! This is truly what it means to be born again, to be a partaker of the divine nature.

John the Baptist is a witness of the kind of work God has entrusted to us as Seventh-day Adventists. We are to learn important lessons from His life and ministry:

But the life of John was not spent in idleness, in ascetic gloom, or in selfish isolation. From time to time he went forth to mingle with men; and he was ever an interested observer of what was passing in the world. From his quiet retreat he watched the unfolding of events. With vision illuminated by the divine Spirit he studied the characters of men, that he might understand how to reach their hearts with the message of heaven. The burden of his mission was upon him. In solitude, by meditation and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the lifework before him.

May we pray for God's anointing by His Spirit to learn and live our the lessons we see in John's life, a man who was mightily used by our Savior. As the herald for the mission of Jesus, we can clearly see that God had John seek to understand characters, because as we discern character God can give us wisdom in how to reach souls with the message for our time. One the most effective ways to initially reach people is to share the health message, and to let Christ use us to minister to their needs. We can be thankful that John is a powerful witness of what God can do in the life of a fallen human being who, surrendered to God, can be mightily used to save souls. Let us learn of Christ today!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2016, 04:21:50 PM »
Pastor Sean, you pointed out something that reminded me of Enoch.

In solitude, by meditation and prayer, he sought to gird up his soul for the lifework before him.

I believe Mrs. White said that this was not a selfish isolation but as you pointed out it was done to prepare him to deal with the hearts of others. Not only do we need this for ourselves personally but also if we wish to share the gospel effectively.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2016, 04:37:37 PM »
As I read this morning, something that is important in our ministry to "Evangelicals" who have believed a lie about Israel, I found this verse that will help with some who are seeking truth. "Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 31:37. So many believe Israel the nation remains God's chosen nation. But, here we see another verse that reveals they will be cut off. When understand this verse, then another verse helps us to see the promises made to Abraham apply to those who make modern day Israel, who are said to be the "children of Abraham." "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham." Galatians 3:7.

     The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified. Before giving the promise, He had said, "I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. . . . For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." Jeremiah 31:33, 34. To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. pg 106. 

Richard, as we have time I would like to flesh this out a little more. I have a friend who falls into this line of thinking but I don't think that pointing him to verse 33 would move him much. I'm almost certain he'd point at them say look they follow the law even the Sabbath. I realize that we both know that no one truly follows the law without Christ in the heart but even that won't matter to most evangelicals who believe in a false gospel.

Now... if you were to say that this applies to them as a whole nation then there might be a little wedge I could use to get him to thinking since most of modern day Israel is a pretty secular society and not a nation that practices it's own religion. But knowing him, he'd probably point me to Romans 11.

Rom 11:26  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
Rom 11:27  For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2017, 06:32:21 AM »
John the Baptist is a key study for us in our time. His holy life testifies that God calls us as His people to be holy, to abide in Christ. We need Jesus to be our continual teacher and guide, to be the one who indwells the heart by living faith. Let us learn from John the Baptist's simple life lessons that will be of untold value to us in our time, as well:

John found in the wilderness his school and his sanctuary. Like Moses amid the mountains of Midian, he was shut in by God's presence, and surrounded by the evidences of His power. It was not his lot to dwell, as did Israel's great leader, amid the solemn majesty of the mountain solitudes; but before him were the heights of Moab, beyond Jordan, speaking of Him who had set fast the mountains, and girded them with strength. The gloomy and terrible aspect of nature in his wilderness home vividly pictured the condition of Israel. The fruitful vineyard of the Lord had become a desolate waste. But above the desert the heavens bent bright and beautiful. The clouds that gathered, dark with tempest, were arched by the rainbow of promise. So above Israel's degradation shone the promised glory of the Messiah's reign. The clouds of wrath were spanned by the rainbow of His covenant-mercy.

Country living is a blessing, and well would it be if we would locate our families out of the city, to enjoy the wilderness as a place to be a school and sanctuary to worship God. By beholding we become changed. If we are surrounded by the noise and bustle of the city, it is not nearly as conducive to spirituality and growth as is the country. Let us choose to look above the things of this earth, and to behold the glory of the Lord, as did John the Baptist. Jesus' loveliness is everything to us, and John the Baptist was the forerunner of Christ. We also are to prepare people for the coming of Christ--this time, in glory as He comes in the clouds of heaven!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #29 on: January 14, 2017, 08:30:33 AM »
Amen!

This chapter, like many others, concentrates on our need of Christ in order to not sin. It is especially important for parents to understand how critical it is to not only teach their young ones of God, but to model a righteous life.

    In childhood and youth the character is most impressible. The power of self-control should then be acquired. By the fireside and at the family board influences are exerted whose results are as enduring as eternity. More than any natural endowment, the habits established in early years decide whether a man will be victorious or vanquished in the battle of life. Youth is the sowing time. It determines the character of the harvest, for this life and for the life to come.


If we do not understand how narrow is the path to heaven, then we shall not consider these things so important. But, when our eyes are opened to the great deception, that we are saved in our sin, then we will shudder at our blindness in regards to our own condition.

     As a prophet, John was "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." In preparing the way for Christ's first advent, he was a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord's second coming. The world is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Satan's snares for destroying souls are multiplied. All who would perfect holiness in the fear of God must learn the lessons of temperance and self-control. The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God's word. For this reason temperance finds its place in the work of preparation for Christ's second coming.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #30 on: April 11, 2017, 04:57:06 AM »
To a people in whose hearts His law is written, the favor of God is assured. They are one with Him. But the Jews had separated themselves from God. Because of their sins they were suffering under His judgments. This was the cause of their bondage to a heathen nation. Their minds were darkened by transgression, and because in times past the Lord had shown them so great favor, they excused their sins. They flattered themselves that they were better than other men, and entitled to His blessings.
     These things "are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Corinthians 10:11. How often we misinterpret God's blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do. His gifts are used to increase our self-satisfaction, and to harden our hearts in unbelief and sin.
 

And here we have at least part of the reason why Christ said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. It's very easy for our natural carnal hears to lead us the wrong way but all things are possible with Christ. But He has to have possession of the heart!

By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2017, 06:13:32 AM »
Amen, Jim. There is no good thing in man apart from when he is in a converted state and filled with the Holy Spirit. This chapter makes this so very clear. When we are blessed, we need to understand it is by God's grace, not because there is any good in us. We are slow to learn this and ready to forget it when we have learned it.  :(

   The birth of a son to Zacharias, like the birth of the child of Abraham, and that of Mary, was to teach a great spiritual truth, a truth that we are slow to learn and ready to forget. In ourselves we are incapable of doing any good thing; but that which we cannot do will be wrought by the power of God in every submissive and believing soul. It was through faith that the child of promise was given. It is through faith that spiritual life is begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness. 


These things "are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." 1 Corinthians 10:11. How often we misinterpret God's blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do. His gifts are used to increase our self-satisfaction, and to harden our hearts in unbelief and sin......John declared to the Jews that their standing before God was to be decided by their character and life. Profession was worthless. If their life and character were not in harmony with God's law, they were not His people.....Only the pure in heart could abide in His presence.     


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #32 on: April 11, 2017, 07:05:47 AM »
Amen, Jim and Richard! We need Jesus in order to do any good thing, and John's mission was to help the people see that they needed Jesus--even though John himself did not fully understand the Savior's mission. However, it is clear that what John most longed for was PART of the Savior's mission:

   John did not fully understand the nature of the Messiah's kingdom. He looked for Israel to be delivered from her national foes; but the coming of a King in righteousness, and the establishment of Israel as a holy nation, was the great object of his hope. Thus he believed would be accomplished the prophecy given at his birth,--
      "To remember His holy covenant; . . .
      That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies
      Might serve Him without fear,
      In holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our
      life." 
     He saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin.


John did not understand that the Lamb had to die; while he had been influenced by the popular conceptions of the Messiah's coming, it is clear that John longed for the people of Israel to experience a holy life--which IS PART of the Savior's first advent. Unfortunately, many who were longing for the overthrow of Israel's national foes would rather forget that there was a sin problem that led them to such an experience of bondage. Such blindness!

John's message was not a message of peace and safety. It was rousing, pointed, and direct. Many would consider his message too strong...is it not the same today? How do many respond when the message of the right arm of the gospel comes to them? How many are willing to lay aside sinful indulgences like tobacco, tea, coffee, and to turn to Christ with a full-heart surrender without rising up against the light as it comes? May we pray that each soul with whom we come in contact today will realize their need--for which Christ is willing and able to supply! We need Jesus continually, and when He is in the heart, He will give us grace and courage to go forth as bold, loving, faithful reformers like John the Baptist. Jesus is coming again! And the church must awake from her sins! So the message is sounding forth today:

Revelation 3:14-22
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


Repentance is a gift which we receive from Jesus. By beholding His loveliness we shall be changed, and we shall more clearly see our constant need of His abiding in the heart. Only when we are abiding in Christ will all of the fruits of the Spirit be seen in the life without one missing--and He will guide us into all truth!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2017, 04:20:31 AM »
There are so many rich lessons in this chapter for us, as we realize we are living right before the second advent of Jesus Christ. As we behold His character, and as we reflect upon the mission entrusted to John, the Holy Spirit will teach us our duty in these times.

In the time of John the Baptist, Christ was about to appear as the revealer of the character of God. His very presence would make manifest to men their sin. Only as they were willing to be purged from sin could they enter into fellowship with Him. Only the pure in heart could abide in His presence.
     Thus the Baptist declared God's message to Israel. Many gave heed to his instruction. Many sacrificed all in order to obey. Multitudes followed this new teacher from place to place, and not a few cherished the hope that he might be the Messiah. But as John saw the people turning to him, he sought every opportunity of directing their faith to Him who was to come. 


As we surrender the heart and mind fully to Christ, He purifies it by His blood and the washing of the water of the word by His Holy Spirit. He continues to transform our character as we abide in Him. As we have this experience, we are to testify of what Christ is doing in and through us, and to glorify God by the revelation of His character. As others may be drawn to us, though, we, like John the Baptist, are to continually point them higher--to encourage all to "Behold the Lamb of God"! Only in Him is perfection of character found, and when we abide in Him, His perfection of character is wrought out in us! What a privilege we have to reveal Jesus today!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

JimB

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2017, 05:21:08 AM »
Amen pastor Sean! we must be willing and constantly beholding Christ if we wish to be like Him.

John found in the wilderness his school and his sanctuary. Like Moses amid the mountains of Midian, he was shut in by God's presence, and surrounded by the evidences of His power. It was not his lot to dwell, as did Israel's great leader, amid the solemn majesty of the mountain solitudes; but before him were the heights of Moab, beyond Jordan, speaking of Him who had set fast the mountains, and girded them with strength. The gloomy and terrible aspect of nature in his wilderness home vividly pictured the condition of Israel. The fruitful vineyard of the Lord had become a desolate waste. But above the desert the heavens bent bright and beautiful. The clouds that gathered, dark with tempest, were arched by the rainbow of promise. So above Israel's degradation shone the promised glory of the Messiah's reign. The clouds of wrath were spanned by the rainbow of His covenant-mercy.


A couple of interesting things. Even by the time Christ showed up apparently the physical landscape had changed. Like today I can't help but wonder if it was because of sin.

Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Then something I hadn't seen before. She says that the clouds of wrath were spanned by the rainbow of His mercy. Here was a time when sin and it's affects were at a peak and yet  His love and mercy was the over arching theme. Reminds me of this verse...

Romans 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

What much more abounded? God's grace!  Amen & praise the Lord!
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2017, 05:36:07 AM »
Amen, Jim and Pastor Sean.  This truths you point out today will help many who have been taught "another" gospel. The whole heart must be given to Christ, then He will cleanse the "whole heart", not part of it. This truth is vitally important to the church today that is to rightly represent Christ. When we give to Jesus the whole heart, then the Holy Spirit will take possession of it. When we are filled with the Spirit, we will reveal every one of the fruits of His Spirit, not one will be missing. Thus, we may know our standing before God. None are justified unless the heart is clean as snow.

John the Baptist is an example of what we are to be today. He was to stand as a reformer to reveal the power of grace to transform sinners into saints. This ought to startle many who remain in a Laodicean condition and know not they are in a lost state.

     John was to go forth as Jehovah's messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God's requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God. In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness.
     In the time of John the Baptist, greed for riches, and the love of luxury and display had become widespread. Sensuous pleasures, feasting and drinking, were causing physical disease and degeneracy, benumbing the spiritual perceptions, and lessening the sensibility to sin. John was to stand as a reformer. By his abstemious life and plain dress he was to rebuke the excesses of his time. Hence the directions given to the parents of John,--a lesson of temperance by an angel from the throne of heaven......
   
     As a prophet, John was "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." In preparing the way for Christ's first advent, he was a representative of those who are to prepare a people for our Lord's second coming. The world is given to self-indulgence. Errors and fables abound. Satan's snares for destroying souls are multiplied. All who would perfect holiness in the fear of God must learn the lessons of temperance and self-control. The appetites and passions must be held in subjection to the higher powers of the mind. This self-discipline is essential to that mental strength and spiritual insight which will enable us to understand and to practice the sacred truths of God's word. For this reason temperance finds its place in the work of preparation for Christ's second coming.
     In the natural order of things, the son of Zacharias would have been educated for the priesthood. But the training of the rabbinical schools would have unfitted him for his work. God did not send him to the teachers of theology to learn how to interpret the Scriptures. He called him to the desert, that he might learn of nature and nature's God.   
     It was a lonely region where he found his home, in the midst of barren hills, wild ravines, and rocky caves. But it was his choice to forgo the enjoyments and luxuries of life for the stern discipline of the wilderness. Here his surroundings were favorable to habits of simplicity and self-denial. Uninterrupted by the clamor of the world, he could here study the lessons of nature, of revelation, and of Providence. The words of the angel to Zacharias had been often repeated to John by his God-fearing parents. From childhood his mission had been kept before him, and he had accepted the holy trust. To him the solitude of the desert was a welcome escape from society in which suspicion, unbelief, and impurity had become well-nigh all-pervading. He distrusted his own power to withstand temptation, and shrank from constant contact with sin, lest he should lose the sense of its exceeding sinfulness.

"John was to go forth as Jehovah's messenger, to bring to men the light of God. He must give a new direction to their thoughts. He must impress them with the holiness of God's requirements, and their need of His perfect righteousness. Such a messenger must be holy. He must be a temple for the indwelling Spirit of God. In order to fulfill his mission, he must have a sound physical constitution, and mental and spiritual strength. Therefore it would be necessary for him to control the appetites and passions. He must be able so to control all his powers that he could stand among men as unmoved by surrounding circumstances as the rocks and mountains of the wilderness."


Seems like an impossibility! But, as Jim has pointed out, where sin abounds, grace does much more abound!

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #36 on: October 02, 2017, 06:21:36 AM »
As I prayerfully reflect upon the mission of John the Baptist to prepare the people of God for the coming of Christ the first time, I am again impressed that we are to learn precious lessons of how we are to live in harmony with God in order to prepare souls for the second coming of Christ. We can do nothing good of ourselves. We must individually humble our souls before God at the foot of the cross, yield the heart and mind to Christ for the indwelling of the principles of heaven, and go forth with courage proportionate to the high calling upon us as we REALLY BELIEVE that Jesus is about to come in power and glory!

"These things 'are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.' 1 Corinthians 10:11. How often we misinterpret God's blessings, and flatter ourselves that we are favored on account of some goodness in us! God cannot do for us that which He longs to do. His gifts are used to increase our self-satisfaction, and to harden our hearts in unbelief and sin."  {The Desire of Ages, page 106, paragraph 3}

Just because God has blessed me or any of us so much is not enough--we are to remember that there is nothing good in us by nature, and that unless we have a living connection with Christ by faith, we are unable to perform the work God has for us. By faith in Christ we become partakers of the "divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4), a nature that manifests itself in all of the fruits of the Spirit being in our lives without one missing. Let us pray that our hearts will not be hardened in unbelief, but softened under the marvelous revelation of the love of God in Christ for us.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #37 on: December 28, 2017, 06:31:17 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean. We need Jesus all the time if we are to give honor and glory to God.

My last post reveals what God has called us to do as a people and as individuals. We have not done that entrusted to us, therefore we are still on this dark spot in the universe. There is still suffering and death. What must we do? We must give a message within the church, just as did John.

    He saw his people deceived, self-satisfied, and asleep in their sins. He longed to rouse them to a holier life. The message that God had given him to bear was designed to startle them from their lethargy, and cause them to tremble because of their great wickedness. Before the seed of the gospel could find lodgment, the soil of the heart must be broken up. Before they would seek healing from Jesus, they must be awakened to their danger from the wounds of sin.
     God does not send messengers to flatter the sinner. He delivers no message of peace to lull the unsanctified into fatal security. He lays heavy burdens upon the conscience of the wrongdoer, and pierces the soul with arrows of conviction. The ministering angels present to him the fearful judgments of God to deepen the sense of need, and prompt the cry, "What must I do to be saved?" Then the hand that has humbled in the dust, lifts up the penitent. The voice that has rebuked sin, and put to shame pride and ambition, inquires with tenderest sympathy, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?"   
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2017, 09:25:40 AM »
Amen, Richard!

I am thankful Jesus can change our hearts fully. I was blessed by this statement this morning in my devotions with Jesus:

The Jews had misinterpreted God’s promise of eternal favor to Israel: “Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: If those ordinances depart from before Me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me forever. Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 31:35-37. The Jews regarded their natural descent from Abraham as giving them a claim to this promise. But they overlooked the conditions which God had specified. Before giving the promise, He had said, “I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people.... For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:33, 34. – {The Desire of Ages, page 106, paragraph 1}
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

colporteur

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Re: The Desire of Ages--10--The Voice in the Wilderness
« Reply #39 on: December 28, 2017, 12:43:35 PM »
Amen, Pastor Sean. We need Jesus all the time if we are to give honor and glory to God.

My last post reveals what God has called us to do as a people and as individuals. We have not done that entrusted to us, therefore we are still on this dark spot in the universe. There is still suffering and death. What must we do? We must give a message within the church, just as did John.

I have been dialoging with a few SDAs and former SDAs regarding abortion. They seem to be putting their entire thrust into politically rallying against abortion. They are greatly distressed that many SDAs did not vote for Trump or vote at all. Some have stated that they would even vote for a bill that included a NSL as long as it included anti-abortion tenants. My point is that  the fastest way and truly the ONLY way to put an end to abortion is by hastening the coming of Christ. While I favor anti-abortion laws I do not believe that they would come anywhere near stopping all abortion. Only Jesus coming will do that and we must be about our Father's business in hastening the second coming. For some the subject of abortion seems to have eclipsed every other subject and they even question the fulfillment of prophecy thinking the papacy may have changed. When that happens this becomes just another social justice issue howbeit a serious one.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.