Author Topic: The Desire of Ages--47--Ministry  (Read 9163 times)

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R Myers

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The Desire of Ages--47--Ministry
« on: October 23, 2000, 06:47:00 AM »
Ministry

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    The entire night had been passed in the mountain; and as the sun arose, Jesus and His disciples descended to the plain. Absorbed in thought, the disciples were awed and silent. Even Peter had not a word to say. Gladly would they have lingered in that holy place which had been touched with the light of heaven, and where the Son of God had manifested His glory; but there was work to be done for the people, who were already searching far and near for Jesus.   
     At the foot of the mountain a large company had gathered, led hither by the disciples who had remained behind, but who knew whither Jesus had resorted. As the Saviour drew near, He charged His three companions to keep silence concerning what they had witnessed, saying, "Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead." The revelation made to the disciples was to be pondered in their own hearts, not to be published abroad. To relate it to the multitudes would excite only ridicule or idle wonder. And even the nine apostles would not understand the scene until after Christ had risen from the dead. How slow of comprehension even the three favored disciples were, is seen in the fact that notwithstanding all that Christ had said of what was before Him, they queried among themselves what the rising from the dead should mean. Yet they asked no explanation from Jesus. His words in regard to the future had filled them with sorrow; they sought no further revelation concerning that which they were fain to believe might never come to pass. 
     As the people on the plain caught sight of Jesus, they ran to meet Him, greeting Him with expressions of reverence and joy. Yet His quick eye discerned that they were in great perplexity. The disciples appeared troubled. A circumstance had just occurred that had caused them bitter disappointment and humiliation.
     While they were waiting at the foot of the mountain, a father had brought to them his son, to be delivered from a dumb spirit that tormented him. Authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, had been conferred on the disciples when Jesus sent out the twelve to preach through Galilee. As they went forth strong in faith, the evil spirits had obeyed their word. Now in the name of Christ they commanded the torturing spirit to leave his victim; but the demon only mocked them by a fresh display of his power. The disciples, unable to account for their defeat, felt that they were bringing dishonor upon themselves and their Master. And in the crowd there were scribes who made the most of this opportunity to humiliate them. Pressing around the disciples, they plied them with questions, seeking to prove that they and their Master were deceivers. Here, the rabbis triumphantly declared, was an evil spirit that neither the disciples nor Christ Himself could conquer. The people were inclined to side with the scribes, and a feeling of contempt and scorn pervaded the crowd.
     But suddenly the accusations ceased. Jesus and the three disciples were seen approaching, and with a quick revulsion of feeling the people turned to meet them. The night of communion with the heavenly glory had left its trace upon the Saviour and His companions. Upon their countenances was a light that awed the beholders. The scribes drew back in fear, while the people welcomed Jesus. 
     As if He had been a witness of all that had occurred, the Saviour came to the scene of conflict, and fixing His gaze upon the scribes inquired, "What question ye with them?"
     But the voices so bold and defiant before were now silent. A hush had fallen upon the entire company. Now the afflicted father made his way through the crowd, and falling at the feet of Jesus, poured out the story of his trouble and disappointment. 
     "Master," he said, "I have brought unto Thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; and wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: . . . and I spake to Thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not." 
     Jesus looked about Him upon the awe-stricken multitude, the caviling scribes, the perplexed disciples. He read the unbelief in every heart; and in a voice filled with sorrow He exclaimed, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?" Then He bade the distressed father, "Bring thy son hither." 
     The boy was brought, and as the Saviour's eyes fell upon him, the evil spirit cast him to the ground in convulsions of agony. He lay wallowing and foaming, rending the air with unearthly shrieks.
     Again the Prince of life and the prince of the powers of darkness had met on the field of battle,--Christ in fulfillment of His mission to "preach deliverance to the captives, . . . to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18), Satan seeking to hold his victim under his control. Angels of light and the hosts of evil angels, unseen, were pressing near to behold the conflict. For a moment, Jesus permitted the evil spirit to display his power, that the beholders might comprehend the deliverance about to be wrought. 
     The multitude looked on with bated breath, the father in an agony of hope and fear. Jesus asked, "How long is it ago since this came unto him?" The father told the story of long years of suffering, and then, as if he could endure no more, exclaimed, "If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us." "If Thou canst!" Even now the father questioned the power of Christ.
     Jesus answers, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." There is no lack of power on the part of Christ; the healing of the son depends upon the father's faith. With a burst of tears, realizing his own weakness, the father casts himself upon Christ's mercy, with the cry, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."
     Jesus turns to the suffering one, and says, "Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him." There is a cry, an agonized struggle. The demon, in passing, seems about to rend the life from his victim. Then the boy lies motionless, and apparently lifeless. The multitude whisper, "He is dead." But Jesus takes him by the hand, and lifting him up, presents him, in perfect soundness of mind and body, to his father. Father and son praise the name of their Deliverer. The multitude are "amazed at the mighty power of God," while the scribes, defeated and crestfallen, turn sullenly away. 
     "If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us." How many a sin-burdened soul has echoed that prayer. And to all, the pitying Saviour's answer is, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." It is faith that connects us with heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Saviour. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief." You can never perish while you do this--never. 
     In a brief space of time the favored disciples have beheld the extreme of glory and of humiliation. They have seen humanity as transfigured into the image of God, and as debased into the likeness of Satan. From the mountain where He has talked with the heavenly messengers, and has been proclaimed the Son of God by the voice from the radiant glory, they have seen Jesus descend to meet that most distressing and revolting spectacle, the maniac boy, with distorted countenance, gnashing his teeth in spasms of agony that no human power could relieve. And this mighty Redeemer, who but a few hours before stood glorified before His wondering disciples, stoops to lift the victim of Satan from the earth where he is wallowing, and in health of mind and body restores him to his father and his home.
     It was an object lesson of redemption,--the Divine One from the Father's glory stooping to save the lost. It represented also the disciples' mission. Not alone upon the mountaintop with Jesus, in hours of spiritual illumination, is the life of Christ's servants to be spent. There is work for them down in the plain. Souls whom Satan has enslaved are waiting for the word of faith and prayer to set them free. 
     The nine disciples were yet pondering upon the bitter fact of their own failure; and when Jesus was once more alone with them, they questioned, "Why could not we cast him out?" Jesus answered them, "Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." Their unbelief, that shut them out from deeper sympathy with Christ, and the carelessness with which they regarded the sacred work committed to them, had caused their failure in the conflict with the powers of darkness. 
     The words of Christ pointing to His death had brought sadness and doubt. And the selection of the three disciples to accompany Jesus to the mountain had excited the jealousy of the nine. Instead of strengthening their faith by prayer and meditation on the words of Christ, they had been dwelling on their discouragements and personal grievances. In this state of darkness they had undertaken the conflict with Satan. 
     In order to succeed in such a conflict they must come to the work in a different spirit. Their faith must be strengthened by fervent prayer and fasting, and humiliation of heart. They must be emptied of self, and be filled with the Spirit and power of God. Earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith--faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work--can alone avail to bring men the Holy Spirit's aid in the battle against principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and wicked spirits in high places.
     "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed," said Jesus, "ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove." Though the grain of mustard seed is so small, it contains that same mysterious life principle which produces growth in the loftiest tree. When the mustard seed is cast into the ground, the tiny germ lays hold of every element that God has provided for its nutriment, and it speedily develops a sturdy growth. If you have faith like this, you will lay hold upon God's word, and upon all the helpful agencies He has appointed. Thus your faith will strengthen, and will bring to your aid the power of heaven. The obstacles that are piled by Satan across your path, though apparently as insurmountable as the eternal hills, shall disappear before the demand of faith. "Nothing shall be impossible unto you." 

M.A. Crawford

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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2000, 02:22:00 PM »
"If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth....With a burst of tears realizing his own weakness, the father casts himself upon Christ's mercy, with the cry, Lord I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."

Ellen White tells us in DA, p. 429: "It is faith that connects us with heaven and BRINGS US STRENGTH for coping with the powers of darkness (Emphasis mine)." In Christ, she goes on to say, God has given us the means for overcoming EVERY SIN and resisting every temptation, IF we would only believe! But many of us cry out, realizing our own weakness, just as the father who brought the son with the "dumb" spirit to Jesus cried out: "Lord I believe; help Thou mine unbelief."

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). Commenting on Romans 10:17, the SDA Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, p. 600 reads: "...Genuine faith is not a blind confidence to be exercised in the absence of adequate evidence. Faith is our conviction about things we cannot see (Heb. 11:1), and this conviction must be founded upon knowledge, A KNOWLEDGE BASED UPON THE WORD OF GOD, the message about Christ. As a means of developing a transforming and enduring faith, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE for the regular and earnest study of the Bible" (Emphasis mine).

As I have stated before, strength come through exercise. We build upon where we are spiritually ONE DAY AT A TIME through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit as we pray and ask the Lord to give us what we stand in need of, so we can say in the words of the song: "I'm pressing on the upward way; NEW HEIGHTS I'M GAINING every day."

M.A.

M.A.

Richard Myers

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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2000, 09:11:00 PM »
Amen, Brother Crawford, amen!   I pray that others may see this beautiful truth. If we believe, then we shall overcome. If we don't overcome, then we have lost our faith. We do not believe with all the heart no matter what we say. The mind is deceitfully wicked, who can know it.  Thanks for your input! 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Kellee

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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2000, 01:55:00 AM »

(1) "How slow of comprehension even the three favored disciples were, is seen in the fact that notwithstanding all that Christ had said of what was before Him, they queried among themselves what the rising from the dead should mean. Yet they asked no explanation from Jesus."

That is precisely where they went wrong! Instead of asking Jesus what He meant by what He said (which He would have loved), they tried to figure it out on their own. How many times do we try to do that? How many stories in the Bible end up with bad things happening because the person involved didn't ask God a question, didn't take his/her doubts or fears straight to the Creator?

Adam should have gone to have a little talk with Jesus when Eve brought the fruit. Abraham should have gone to have a little talk with Jesus when Sarah suggested that he sleep with the servant. Judas should have had a little talk with God when He sold Jesus for a handful of change. So many things could have turned out so differently if they had learned to focus on God instead of focusing on self. Looks like we still haven't learned that lesson today...


(2) "The night of communion with the heavenly glory had left its trace upon the Savior and His companions. Upon their countenances was a light that awed the beholders. The scribes drew back in fear, while the people welcomed Jesus."

Did you notice how the very same Jesus elicits two very different reactions? Those who don't really know Him draw back in fear. But those who do know Him are not afraid. They welcome Him - they know He is not going to hurt them. God isn't someone to be afraid of. How much longer does He have to work to show us that? How much more will it take?

In the end, there will be two kinds of people: those who know God and those who don't. Those who don't know God will be crying for the rocks to fall on them. Why? Because they're afraid of God. They've bought into Satan's lie that God is somebody to be afraid of. Satan says God's out to get them. He's gonna make sure they get it nice and hot before He finally executes them. And they've bought into the lie their whole life, so no wonder they're running scared.

The righteous on the other hand see God coming, and they see Papa coming to pick them up. Nothing is greater than that! They know God and they know that He's not anyone to be afraid of. They know that God loves His children - period. PERIOD! This remnant at the end, this group of people, will be an amazing group of people. By the power of God, they will not be willfully breaking the rules. They will be living up to the light God has shown them as best they know how. "Keeping the commandments" will be like second nature to them because God has truly given them a new nature. But the other thing they will have is also the testimony of Jesus.

What does it mean to have the testimony of Jesus? Basically, to play show and tell. To be able to show and tell the world what God is like. He's not petty. He's not vindictive. He's not severe, or harsh, or vengeful, or exacting, or any of those things we currently make Him out to be like. He is a Father who loves His children. He is a desperate Father trying to save His children from the worst kind of disease anybody has ever imagined. (Hint: AIDS is nothing compared to sin) That's it. He is full of joy and He wants to love. Plain and simple. I see this as the work of the group of people at the end: to take a look at the events all around and be in the position to tell the world what's really going on. To be able to testify that God is nothing but goodness and love. Oh sure, He won't set aside the consequences of your choice, because He believes in freedom and He is just. But He's just as willing to forgive and forget what you've done and save you from those consequences if you'll allow Him to.

There is wonderful news about God!! More wonderful than we can ever imagine!!! When will we begin to do what we're commissioned to do? When will we really spread the GOSPEL (good news) to the world? That will be an exciting day!


(3) "You can never perish while you do this -- never."

That's a pretty bold statement. Kinda makes you wonder what's said right before it, huh? Is it "Keep the Sabbath." Is it "Be perfect." Is it "Give everything you have to the poor." Nope. Much more simple than that, and something we're actually capable of:

"Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. You can never perish while you do this -- never." In other words: "Lord, I come to You. I trust You. Help me." And if you can never perish while you do this -- NEVER! that means it's the only requirement for salvation. Period.

Lord, I come. I trust. Help me.


(4) "Instead of strengthening their faith by prayer and meditation on the words of Christ, they [the disciples] had been dwelling on their discouragements and personal grievances. In this state of darkness they had undertaken the conflict with Satan."

Do you know who's more powerful than Satan? God. Do you know who's not more powerful than Satan? Me. Does that mean that I have no power in myself to resist and overcome Satan? Absolutely. He'll get me every time. I mean, he'll get me every time UNLESS my focus is on God. When I come to Jesus and He fills me up with the Spirit, not only is there no room left for Satan, but God fights Him off, which is something I can never do.

It's pretty plain to see from the disciples that I should never dwell on myself. It fails every time: causes Peter to fall into the sea, makes demons laugh at them, etc. etc. If their eyes had been on Christ, filled with Him, they could have done anything because it would have been GOD working through them. And if we take our eyes off God for ONE second, we're in danger of the same thing!

I'm not used to looking at Jesus every second...sometimes I still want to look at myself. So thank God He's patient with me. But every second that He resides in me is one second more and it helps to build those habits stronger and stronger. It's the only habit I can build actually: the habit of surrendering myself to Jesus.

Just come? That's all I have to do? Yes. Now THAT'S good news!


Richard Myers

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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2000, 04:45:00 AM »
Sister Kellee, your expository is quite pointed and leaves one believing that keeping the commandments of God is not the fruit of salvation. Let me ask you a question before we go any further.  Should we ever examine ourselves to see if we be in the faith?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Kellee

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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2000, 05:20:00 AM »
"Should we ever examine ourselves to see if we be in the faith?"

Well Richard, I don't really know. Doesn't seem it did Peter any good to take his eyes of Jesus for even two seconds to make sure he was really "on the water."

Seems to me that when we put our eyes anywhere except on Jesus (even on ourselves) we end up drowning. I think I'll stick to keeping my eyes on God.

If there's anything He wants to reveal about whether or not I'm "in the faith," I'm quite certain He'll tell me. I don't need to look at myself for that. I should never look away from Him.

In fact the more I think about it, the more my answer is no, we should never examine ourselves to see if we're in the faith. How could we even begin to discern whether or not we're drifting in the faith if our focus isn't on the Author of our Faith? That makes no sense to me. In fact, the ONLY way to make sure we're in the faith is not to look at ourselves at all.

Only by our constant focus on God do we discern what is true.


Richard Myers

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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2000, 10:03:00 AM »
Sister Kellee, I appreciate your emphasis on Christ, but it fails to take into consideration the Word of God, 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"

There is a tendency in us humans to think we are very right in what we believe when there is more than we have seen. I would encourage you to reconcile your thoughts with this passage as it reads. Don't go to the Greek or another modern translation to try and get around what God has said. There is good reason why God has spoken in this manner.

We, as a people have much in common with the Pharisees at the time of Jesus. We believe we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing. We believe we are focusing on Christ when much of the time, even when we are reading our Bibles and the Spirit of Prophecy, we are full of self, reading for the wrong reason. So, God has counseled us to consider that our hearts may be deceitful and therefore we should examine ourselves and see  whether we be in the faith.<P>This, of course does not agree with your philosophy since in it, there is no direct relationship between love for God and obedience to His commandments.

You say "This remnant at the end, this group of people, will be an amazing group of people. By the power of God, they will not be willfully breaking the rules. They will be living up to the light God has shown them as best they know how."

Sister Kellee, those that love Christ with all of their heart, all of their mind, all of their soul, and all of their strength, TODAY will not only not sin willfully, they will not sin any known sin. It is when they take their eyes off of Christ and trust in their own strength that they sin. Those at the end of will not sin at all. They will keep the commandments of God as do those who truly love God today with all of the heart.

What is the difference in what we are saying? You know, but some reading cannot discern the difference. You make a profession of faith enough to attain to eternal life. The Bible teaches differently. One must allow the Word of God, His grace to enter into the heart and change the life. You say at the end "God has truly given them a new nature." No, sister Kellee, it happens today; when we are converted God makes us a partaker of His divine nature. The "old man" is dead. This is what baptism represents, a death of self. Your philosophy leaves the "old man" alive and breaking the commandments of God. There is no need of good fruit to be a Chritian in your plan. There is no need of confession of sin. It is good enough to have professed a faith in Jesus to have eternal life. But, this is not the case, we cannot serve two masters. Jesus spoke the truth when He said "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Matt. 7:18.

This does not mean that Jesus forsakes us when we sin, it means that Jesus is not in the heart when we sin. He stands at the door wanting back in. He calls us back. Until we respond, we do not possess eternal life. It is only by having Jesus in our hearts that we may be in a "saved" position. We do not belive in "once saved always saved". This is a popular teaching in the "evangelical" churches, but it has never been truth.

"But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body....For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged." 1 Corinthians 11:28,29,31.

"Every follower of Christ should daily examine himself, that he may become perfectly acquainted with his own conduct. There is with nearly all a neglect of self-examination....This daily reveiw of our acts, to see whether conscience approves or condemns, is necessary for all who wish to arrive  at the perfection of Christian character. Many acts which pass for good works, even deeds of benevolence, will, when closely investigated, be found to be prompted by wrong motives." 2T 511,12.

Yes, Sister Kellee, we must examine ourselves in the light of God's perfect standard, the ten commandments, His character. As we behold Jesus we shall have a better understanding of our great need.

Let us give the whole heart to Jesus today. This is what it means to be a Christian. Anything short of this, while professing to be a Christian makes us stumbling blocks to others.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Joan Rügemer

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The Desire of Ages----47----- Ministry
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2001, 10:19:00 AM »
Desire of Ages
Chapter 47
Ministry

It must have been sometime in my young twenties, as I was sitting listening to a sermon in a Charasmatic assembly, when in the row behind me a young woman broke out into an epileptic fit. That's how I saw it. My instinct was to get the chairs out of the way so she needn't hurt herself by banging into the metal chair parts. As if under another impulse command, three men came up quick and put their hands on her head while praying in english and 'tongues' for the casting out of the 'demon'. I was most perplexed. I was thinking in medical terms and they were making spiritual assesments.

The bible makes no bones about it when calling epileptical fits demon possession. As a matter of fact all mental illness mentioned in the bible seems to be put into this category. Knowing that this western world's  'days of enlightenment' tends more to investigate to understand the brain patterns and flows for the sake of control by chemical medicational control when problems occur, I am still confused whether I am meeting a demon possesed one or if he/she is mentally unbalanced due to irregularities from corrupt DNA, brain flow inblanced or bodily chemicals out of whack.

The disciples had a failing encounter of trying to cast out the demon in a child brought to them. It was the group of nine left behind as Jesus went up the mount of Transfiguration with the other three. Had not all of them been endowed with the power of God to cast out demons as Jesus had sent them off without money, or extra clothes for their special door to door preaching, healing spree in Galilee ? "What was wrong", I thought at the first time reading, "why couldn't they heal the lad ?"

The incidence in Mark says he had a "dumb spirit". The Evangelist Matthew says he was "lunatic". After reading the account I still see an "epilepsy" fit which took away the use of his speech. How the demons have a right to evoke such medical problems without the willful consent of the child does bother me. Are our kids so easily open for demon posession today as well when our precious children, who don't dabble in occult practice, but play like normal children ? Can our children experience diabolical possession at such a young age if we are carefully, with christian principles,  monitoring their media consume, the books they read, the friends and activities they use their free time for ?

Jesus came down the mountain, got the situation with a pertinent question in control, but exclaimed with a "voice filled with sorrow", .."O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?" The boy was brought to Him at his command. Again he asked cutting questions and again got a disappointing answer in the supposition mode "If thou canst do anything ..".  He in a very wise way, wanting to teach them what a proper faith formular is said,
" If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."

The this statement was a mirror for the father's unbelief. He broke down. All his skepticism flew away. His love and yearning for the lad swelled up out of the depths of his heart and he cried out "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief." It is this point of helplessness that the key of faith opens the doors of heaven.

In an one sentence command the exorcism takes place. The demon makes a final protest but leaves. It wasn't the mental assertion of "If thou canst Lord..." that moves the prayer wheel in the right direction. But the attitude of expectation present from the Lord toward us "If thou canst believe" which moves the power of answering from the Lord to us.

For those of us who size ourselves up as lacking faith it is detrimental to withdraw from Jesus and stay at a distance from Him. What helps better is to be in an attitude of awareness of our helpless unworthiness then cast oursleves upon the merciful compassion of our Saviour. Faith comes by the word of God. I read some bible promises and pray them through. But I need to check out the condition to be fulfilled first.

The nine got to questioning Jesus as they were alone with Him a while later as to why they couldn't have cast out the boy's demon themselves. And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer." Prayer as a  means for increasing faith. I believe Demons  have different degrees of will force, some being easier to subdue than others, and maybe this demon was being particularly willful and obstinate so it required more faith to expel it.

I don't believe the disciples were altogether destitute of faith, but their faith was very low apparently at that time, to make their unbelief greater. In the talk afterwards with them, Christ didn't accuse the father of unbelief, but them because of their unbelief. The father of the child, who had confessed it, and desired it be removed from him. These guys seemed not to be convicted from the talk of Jesus with the belief condition of the father before the exorcism about their unbelief being the reason of not getting the job done as Jesus was on the mount of Transfiguation and having left them in charge with the crowd.

They showed by their own question 'why couldn't we'..that they sure were blind to the law of faith principle even then.

It isn't the quality of faith  but the size needed as we learned in the mustard seed analogy. So even a small degree of faith in Jesus exercised will let him loose his saving power. With such a small start of faith we can move those metaphorical mountains in our lives. Those things in our lives equally difficult like casting out of a demon from someone.

There are many of us whose days are filled more with morbid thoughts of despair, discouragements, and personal grievances than in praise, hope and thankfulness. Such ones are shutting out the light of Jesus' presence with their dark gloomy thoughts. Then comes the moments of temptation or trail from Satan. Because of the sadness or doubt in their hearts, unbelief grips them like ivy growing up and around the stem of a birch tree. Ivy is a parasite plant.

The freedom comes like EW writes here : "In this state of darkness they had undertaken the conflict with Satan. In order to succeed in such a conflict they must come to the work in  a different spirit. Their faith must be strengthened by fervent prayer and fasting, and hulmilation of heart. They must be emptied of self, and be filled with the Spirit and power of God."

"Earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith,-faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work,-can alone avail to bring men the Holy Spirit's aid in the battle against principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world."

~~~~~
Joan
~~~~~


Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--47--Ministry
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2016, 06:40:59 AM »
When Jesus and His three disciples came down the mountain, they found the other nine disciples perplexed and humiliated because they could not cast a demon out of a boy. They asked Jesus why they had failed. He said it was because of "unbelief". There is no greater sin than "unbelief". And, for those who have access to a Bible, there is no excuse for "unbelief".

When faced with great trials in life, we may come to Jesus for help. And when we ask of Him for help, He responds "'if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.' It is faith that connects us with heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Saviour. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, 'Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.' John 6:37. Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, 'Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.' You can never perish while you do this--never."

Such a promise!! 
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--47--Ministry
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2016, 06:17:31 AM »
Such a promise!!

I whole heartedly agree. What a promise! This is a very good chapter if you're feeling discouraged. Just a few sentences before this wonderful promise there is also this.

"If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us." How many a sin-burdened soul has echoed that prayer. And to all, the pitying Saviour's answer is, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth."
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--47--Ministry
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2016, 04:15:01 AM »
This chapter is full of beautiful lessons--one of them is our constant need of Jesus!

  "If Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us." How many a sin-burdened soul has echoed that prayer. And to all, the pitying Saviour's answer is, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." It is faith that connects us with heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Saviour. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief." You can never perish while you do this--never. 

I love how this paragraph shows how we can "never perish"--but we cannot take this to mean merely at one point in our Christian experience, but continually! We need to constantly confess our need of Jesus, and His help amid any weakness or unbelief that would separate us from Him. Only His grace can change the heart, and bring us the blessing of His presence in the soul by His Spirit which we so need! The result of such an experience is that all the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the life--not one will be missing! God is faithful!
"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--47--Ministry
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2016, 05:36:48 AM »
Pastor Sean, I like your thoughts on this. When I first read your concerns on this, my first thought was that anyone is who is truly burdened by their sins would never take the presence of Christ in their life for granted. However, I do think that once the burden has been lifted at the cross and is no longer putting pressure on the soul there is the danger of becoming complacent and slipping back to where we came from. Oh how we need Christ every moment so this doesn't happen.

There is something esle I noticed in today's chapter and this the problem of dwelling on discouragement. Here is what she said...

Instead of strengthening their faith by prayer and meditation on the words of Christ, they had been dwelling on their discouragements and personal grievances. In this state of darkness they had undertaken the conflict with Satan.
     In order to succeed in such a conflict they must come to the work in a different spirit. Their faith must be strengthened by fervent prayer and fasting, and humiliation of heart. They must be emptied of self, and be filled with the Spirit and power of God. Earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith--faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work--can alone avail to bring men the Holy Spirit's aid in the battle against principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and wicked spirits in high places.


By doing so brought them to a place where they could not fight and win. Their unbelief was foremost in their minds and I'm sure when they were unable to cast out the demon this brought them down even further. However, we are also told the solution.  Fervent prayer, fasting, and humiliation. Things that we can only truly have through Christ's strength. When we have faith Christ says we can remove mountains.

Heb 11:33  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Heb 11:34  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

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--47--Ministry
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2016, 06:51:48 AM »
Amen, Jim.  I too was impressed with this statement.

In order to succeed in such a conflict they must come to the work in a different spirit. Their faith must be strengthened by fervent prayer and fasting, and humiliation of heart. They must be emptied of self, and be filled with the Spirit and power of God. Earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith--faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work--can alone avail to bring men the Holy Spirit's aid in the battle against principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and wicked spirits in high places.

It is the power of God that we need if we are to succeed in the battle against Satan and sin. We must become partakers of God's divine nature. We must be born of the Spirit. All have been born of the flesh, which is evil by nature. We need Jesus. And when we have Him in the heart we need to keep Him. We need to daily feed upon Jesus. We need to behold Him that His grace may in our hearts. One moment without Him leaves us without shelter and without power.

We are so blessed that He is long-suffering towards the children of men.
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--47--Ministry
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2016, 09:55:55 AM »
Amen, Jim and Richard! I was so blessed by the thoughts you shared and the statements you highlighted from this amazing chapter which again uplifts the loveliness of Jesus in contrast with the character of Satan. I was moved by this thought today:

It was an object lesson of redemption,--the Divine One from the Father's glory stooping to save the lost. It represented also the disciples' mission. Not alone upon the mountaintop with Jesus, in hours of spiritual illumination, is the life of Christ's servants to be spent. There is work for them down in the plain. Souls whom Satan has enslaved are waiting for the word of faith and prayer to set them free. 

We are truly blessed to enjoy hours with Jesus each morning--but we need to be prayerful and intentional that we allow Christ to use us to share what He has revealed to us to help souls be set free. There are so many souls even in our own neighborhoods, churches, and maybe in our families who need the experience Jesus gives us. And we can only impart that which we receive. We need a living connection with Christ by faith continually, one that is revealed in the fruits of the Spirit being in the life without one missing. Then our witness can truly be a savor of life unto life, and not one of the flesh and its weakness, darkness, and discouragement. What a blessing to share this chapter together!!
"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--47--Ministry
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2016, 02:18:04 PM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!  We make our plans, but if it is our hearts to labor for souls, Jesus will change our plans. We must make time for ministry during the day. I had a busy schedule yesterday, like most of us. As I was working on a project, I began a discussion with a very nice man. As I was sharing with him about health, he became very interested and began asking questions. He was interested in truth. I pretty much stopped my work and spent a couple of hours answering his questions about health. Of course, it is almost impossible to not explain where the wisdom comes from. That of course leads to the Bible.  And then one thing after another.

There are multitudes in the world who have never been exposed to the truth that we have been entrusted with. Many of these are wanting to know what we know. As we pray for God to help us find those precious souls, He will hear and answer our prayers.

It all begins with that early morning hour with Jesus.   :)
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--47--Ministry
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2016, 07:21:01 AM »
Amen, Richard! What a wonderful testimony of God allowing you to minister to a soul open to truth! And how wonderful that you were able to do so using the "right arm" of the gospel--the health message! Jesus we see did that, by ministering to the needs of those around Him, and in today's reading, we see Him setting free a boy possessed with a demon. Oh, wonderful Savior!

We need to have communion with the Father as did Christ, that we may approach the conflicts in the great controversy in His Spirit:

In order to succeed in such a conflict they must come to the work in a different spirit. Their faith must be strengthened by fervent prayer and fasting, and humiliation of heart. They must be emptied of self, and be filled with the Spirit and power of God. Earnest, persevering supplication to God in faith--faith that leads to entire dependence upon God, and unreserved consecration to His work--can alone avail to bring men the Holy Spirit's aid in the battle against principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and wicked spirits in high places.

It is so simple, yet so necessary for us to remember: we need Jesus by the Holy Spirit in order to do any good thing!
"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--47--Ministry
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2016, 02:12:17 PM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!   You understand the "great controversy" is involved in this conflict revealed in today's reading. My mind focused on the same truth. "Again the Prince of life and the prince of the powers of darkness had met on the field of battle,--Christ in fulfillment of His mission to "preach deliverance to the captives, . . . to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18), Satan seeking to hold his victim under his control. Angels of light and the hosts of evil angels, unseen, were pressing near to behold the conflict. For a moment, Jesus permitted the evil spirit to display his power, that the beholders might comprehend the deliverance about to be wrought. 

We see the battle clearly, but today, in light of the Sabbath School lessons, I saw something a little deeper today. There was much suffering involved in the deliverance of this "captive". But, it was not all necessary for the benefit of the one suffering, at least that we can see. The battle between good and evil was not confined to the battle of the possessed one. No, the battle rages not only in this world, but there is a very real threat to the whole universe. While the battle is centered on this planet, it is for the sake of the whole universe that Christ died and we suffer. As we comprehend this truth, we will better appreciate the great honor that Christ wants to bestow upon repentant sinners.

Fallen humanity is so dull that unless evil is allowed to prosper, we would not understand how evil is man and how very real are the fallen angels. It is not a myth. There is such a thing as demon possession. And, it did not stop 2,000 years ago. Therefore, the suffering of the possessed one lasted longer than necessary just to deliver him from the demons. "For a moment, Jesus permitted the evil spirit to display his power, that the beholders might comprehend the deliverance about to be wrought."

Yes, that display was for our benefit also. We are either on one side of the other. Who has the heart? This is question we must each ask each and every day. It is the desire of Jesus to take possession of our hearts, but unlike the evil spirits, Jesus will allow us to forget Him, and thus He will not remain. We must want Him in order for Him to take up residence in the human heart. Then, we become partakers of His divine nature and have power to escape the corruption of our fallen nature (2 Peter 1:4).
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--47--Ministry
« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2017, 05:42:58 AM »
When Moses struck the rock, he was manifesting "unbelief", yet many think he retained salvation because he did not premeditate his great sin for which he had to die. There is no such excuse for known sin. It was "unbelief" in God's Word, and there is no greater sin than "unbelief". The devils believe. We must believe with the whole heart if we wish to be in the truest since disciples of Christ. Moses' repentance was quick and deep, thus he was reconciled to God and forgiven his great sin.

In today's reading the subject is faith as contrasted with "unbelief". Unbelief is a lack of faith, saving faith.

    Jesus looked about Him upon the awe-stricken multitude, the caviling scribes, the perplexed disciples. He read the unbelief in every heart; and in a voice filled with sorrow He exclaimed, "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?" Then He bade the distressed father, "Bring thy son hither." 


Yes, it was addressed to the caviling scribes, but notice it was also addressed to His disciples. "He read the unbelief in every heart", and expressed just what "unbelief" is, a lack of faith (faithless generation). So, what must one do when filled with "unbelief"? What does the Bible tell us to do with we want more faith? If we want to believe with the whole heart, then we must feed upon Jesus. "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

     It is faith that connects us with heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. In Christ, God has provided means for subduing every sinful trait, and resisting every temptation, however strong. But many feel that they lack faith, and therefore they remain away from Christ. Let these souls, in their helpless unworthiness, cast themselves upon the mercy of their compassionate Saviour. Look not to self, but to Christ. He who healed the sick and cast out demons when He walked among men is the same mighty Redeemer today. Faith comes by the word of God. Then grasp His promise, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. Cast yourself at His feet with the cry, "Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief." You can never perish while you do this--never. 


Thus, every morning my prayer  begins with "Lord, I  believe, help thou my "unbelief."
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--47--Ministry
« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2017, 11:55:59 AM »
Amen, Richard! How we need to experience true faith, that faith that works by love and purifies the soul, that faith that expects God to do great things to the glory of His name, that faith that will not let go of the promises of God's word even when every feeling or opposing circumstance tempts us to do other than trust God implicitly. We need to have a developing experience in faith day by day, and learn of our inability to do any good thing apart from Jesus. Only as we learn our weakness and helplessness will we come to realize our need to have constant trust in Christ to work in and through us. I appreciate the prayer that you said you pray daily, and I also appreciate this closing statement in our powerful reading today:

  "If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed," said Jesus, "ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove." Though the grain of mustard seed is so small, it contains that same mysterious life principle which produces growth in the loftiest tree. When the mustard seed is cast into the ground, the tiny germ lays hold of every element that God has provided for its nutriment, and it speedily develops a sturdy growth. If you have faith like this, you will lay hold upon God's word, and upon all the helpful agencies He has appointed. Thus your faith will strengthen, and will bring to your aid the power of heaven. The obstacles that are piled by Satan across your path, though apparently as insurmountable as the eternal hills, shall disappear before the demand of faith. "Nothing shall be impossible unto you."

We need to lay hold upon God's word, but I was struck with the additional statement of "all the helpful agencies He has appointed." What might these be? As Seventh-day Adventist Christians, we have the privilege of being able to read and study the Bible and accept it as the inspired word of God, but more than this, we are SO SO BLESSED to have recently had a prophet (and much more than a prophet, in that her role as a messenger went beyond what many in our day have thought of as a "prophet") in the person of Ellen G. White, who was an American woman whose native language was English! God inspired her to write needed counsel to us at just such a time in earth's history. We have been given light to build our faith in SO MANY AREAS: Country living, education, health, diet, child guidance, ministry counsel, evangelism, prophecy, and more!

So if we REALLY HAVE FAITH in the times in which we are living, will we only read our Bibles? No! We will read our Bibles and pray earnestly, but we will also read, meditate upon, and accept into our lives the counsel given in the Spirit of Prophecy! The same infinite mind of God in Christ by His Spirit that inspired the Bible writers led Ellen G. White to write what she did, as our cases and times demand it.

Pause to think that you and I are the WEAKEST OF THE WEAK genetically, environmentally, and the list could go on. We have no reason to be discouraged. God promises to do "do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:20). God loves us so much that rather than expect us to figure out many needed areas of life and practice on our own through personal Bible study, God brought a flood of light through the Spirit of Prophecy so that our reading of His word could be even more profitable and beneficial to see our continual need of Jesus!

I am SO SO SO SO THANKFUL for the Spirit of Prophecy, and especially for the beautiful revelation we are beholding in Jesus in this amazing, inspired book daily: The Desire of Ages! We ought to be the most blessed people on the face of the earth and the most thankful for all that has come to us! By the power of grace we will be enabled to live this light in reflecting the loveliness of Jesus to a world that needs to know His tender, pitying love! Let us get excited and enthusiastic about how GOOD GOD IS!!!
"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--47--Ministry
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2017, 05:11:46 AM »
There will be repeated with even greater intensity the contrast between the kingdom of Satan and the gracious revelation of the character of God in His people as we approach the coming of Jesus the second time. There are many lessons to be learned from today's chapter, and one that stands out is that all of Satan's attempts to debase humanity are only more clearly separating the affections of God's true followers from the kingdom of darkness, that it may be fulfilled, "affliction shall not rise up the second time" (Nahum 1:9). Let us praise God for the constant love He has for us, and the contrast He lets us see so we can be enabled to overcome by the merits of Christ!

     In a brief space of time the favored disciples have beheld the extreme of glory and of humiliation. They have seen humanity as transfigured into the image of God, and as debased into the likeness of Satan. From the mountain where He has talked with the heavenly messengers, and has been proclaimed the Son of God by the voice from the radiant glory, they have seen Jesus descend to meet that most distressing and revolting spectacle, the maniac boy, with distorted countenance, gnashing his teeth in spasms of agony that no human power could relieve. And this mighty Redeemer, who but a few hours before stood glorified before His wondering disciples, stoops to lift the victim of Satan from the earth where he is wallowing, and in health of mind and body restores him to his father and his home.

The gospel contemplates our complete recovery from sin and its effects. I praise God that though I was a lot like that maniac boy at one point--suffering from bipolar disorder and having my mind and life in turmoil, taking drug medication that did not really get rid of the issue, and struggling to just cope in many of my day-to-day experiences, that Jesus has come to me through His word and by the power of His Spirit using simple, natural remedies to bring healing to my body and soul, and now I have been over six years free from the disease and free from the need to take drug medication, because Jesus saves and heals MIND AND BODY! Praise the Lord! Satan's attempts to destroy me have only brought out more clearly the goodness of God to my soul, and I am awed and amazed as I contemplate how WONDERFUL it is to be well, and to be able to serve the Lord in His church as a pastor. God is SO SO GOOD!
"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}