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Amen, Brother Beacon, Sister Dorine and Brother Richard!!

Try to imagine the scene. Christ is being treated with cruelty and injustice, and yet He patiently bears it all. Why? Because He willingly stepped down from heaven to be born as our Brother, live a perfect life as our Example, and then endured uncomplainingly all that wicked men could heap upon Him as He was about to go to the cross as our atoning Sacrifice. Beholding such infinite love changes us--enabling us to surrender fully to Him, be thoroughly converted, and overcome sin because He became sin for us. When united with Him by faith, sin loses its power over us and we are enabled to bear the fruit of the Spirit without one trait of the divine nature missing from our experience. Gladly we are empowered to obey God from the new heart and go forth to bless others because of the infinite blessing of salvation we have received in Christ.

"'Herod with his men of war set Him at nought, and mocked Him, and arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe.' The Roman soldiers joined in this abuse. All that these wicked, corrupt soldiers, helped on by Herod and the Jewish dignitaries, could instigate was heaped upon the Saviour. Yet His divine patience failed not." {The Desire of Ages, page 731, paragraph 2}

The divine patience Christ manifested in His trial is for us, too, in our trials and tribulations. Nothing He endured was for Himself--it was ALL FOR US!!! He offers us His character so we can let our sinful character be crucified with Him, and thus walk in newness of life! What a blessing comes from understanding the purpose of Christ's expiatory sufferings!
Amen dear sister!  It is sad that so many lose the opportunity to be comforted every day by beholding His life of love and courage. Just a few days ago I listened to a radio talk show host say that the Jews did not kill Jesus, but the Romans did. A Christian was trying to explain that it was the Jews who wanted Him dead. The host kept saying show me from the Bible, but none gave him Words from the Bible that reveal why wanted Jesus dead. I was amazed at the lack of understanding. We take so very much for granted.

One thing that may seem very small, but it always offends me greatly.

   Priests and rulers forgot the dignity of their office, and abused the Son of God with foul epithets. They taunted Him with His parentage. They declared that His presumption in proclaiming Himself the Messiah made Him deserving of the most ignominious death. The most dissolute men engaged in infamous abuse of the Saviour. An old garment was thrown over His head, and His persecutors struck Him in the face, saying, "Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ, Who is he that smote Thee?" When the garment was removed, one poor wretch spat in His face. 

While offended by the treatment of our Lord, His response always softens my heart. Father forgiven them for many did not know what they were doing. Many even of the priests were later converted by His grace.
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--78--Calvary
« Last post by Richard Myers on Today at 08:44:23 AM »
Amen Brother Philip! Such love! What more evidence do we need? God loves us. He watched His innocent Son suffer. Wonder O heavens and be astonished O Earth!!

Amazing that the disciples and the mother of Jesus lost their faith in Jesus as Messiah.  We are a forgetful people! This is the work of false teachers. There was only one who gave comfort to Christ.

To Jesus in His agony on the cross there came one gleam of comfort. It was the prayer of the penitent thief. Both the men who were crucified with Jesus had at first railed upon Him; and one under his suffering only became more desperate and defiant. But not so with his companion. This man was not a hardened criminal; he had been led astray by evil associations, but he was less guilty than many of those who stood beside the cross reviling the Saviour. He had seen and heard Jesus, and had been convicted by His teaching, but he had been turned away from Him by the priests and rulers. Seeking to stifle conviction, he had plunged deeper and deeper into sin, until he was arrested, tried as a criminal, and condemned to die on the cross. In the judgment hall and on the way to Calvary he had been in company with Jesus. He had heard Pilate declare, "I find no fault in Him." John 19:4. He had marked His godlike bearing, and His pitying forgiveness of His tormentors. On the cross he sees the many great religionists shoot out the tongue with scorn, and ridicule the Lord Jesus. He sees the wagging heads. He hears the upbraiding speeches taken up by his companion in guilt: "If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us." Among the passers-by he hears many defending Jesus. He hears them repeat His words, and tell of His works. The conviction comes back to him that this is the Christ. Turning to his fellow criminal he says, "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?" The dying thieves have no longer anything to fear from man. But upon one of them presses the conviction that there is a God to fear, a future to cause him to tremble. And now, all sin-polluted as it is, his life history is about to close. "And we indeed justly," he moans; "for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss." 

The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--78--Calvary
« Last post by Philip T on Today at 04:27:22 AM »
  The Saviour made no murmur of complaint. His face remained calm and serene, but great drops of sweat stood upon His brow. There was no pitying hand to wipe the death dew from His face, nor words of sympathy and unchanging fidelity to stay His human heart. While the soldiers were doing their fearful work, Jesus prayed for His enemies, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." His mind passed from His own suffering to the sin of His persecutors, and the terrible retribution that would be theirs. No curses were called down upon the soldiers who were handling Him so roughly. No vengeance was invoked upon the priests and rulers, who were gloating over the accomplishment of their purpose. Christ pitied them in their ignorance and guilt. He breathed only a plea for their forgiveness,--"for they know not what they do."

Jesus' love pours out upon those doing the very act of crucifying him - nailing him to the cross- Oh, the love of Christ for all, the love of God is truly unmeasurable.
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--78--Calvary
« Last post by Beacon on December 06, 2022, 08:04:30 PM »
"With longing heart He has listened for some expression of faith from His disciples."

"He has heard only the mournful words."

" We trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel."

"How grateful then to the Saviour was the utterance of faith and love from the dying thief."

"While the leading Jews deny Him, and even the disciples doubt His divinity, the poor thief, upon the brink of eternity, calls Jesus Lord."

"Many were ready to call Him Lord when He wrought miracles.

"And after He had risen from the grave."

But none acknowledged Him as He hung dying upon the cross save the penitent thief who was saved at the eleventh hour."

How Thankful "WE" should be that "Jesus Paid It All"  Does " OUR" daily life reflect that Thankfulness? "

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”
    Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
  He washed it white as snow.
Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots,
And melt the heart of stone.
For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim—
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.
And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
My lips shall still repeat.

Lyrics:Elvina Mable Reynolds Hall (1822-1889)
Music:John Thomas Grape (1834-1915)
    The angels of heaven witnessed every movement made against their loved Commander. They longed to deliver Christ. Under God the angels are all-powerful. On one occasion, in obedience to the command of Christ, they slew of the Assyrian army in one night one hundred and eighty-five thousand men. How easily could the angels, beholding the shameful scene of the trial of Christ, have testified their indignation by consuming the adversaries of God! But they were not commanded to do this. He who could have doomed His enemies to death bore with their cruelty. His love for His Father, and His pledge, made from the foundation of the world, to become the Sin Bearer, led Him to endure uncomplainingly the coarse treatment of those He came to save. It was a part of His mission to bear, in His humanity, all the taunts and abuse that men could heap upon Him. The only hope of humanity was in this submission of Christ to all that He could endure from the hands and hearts of men

Jesus or the Father could have sent angels to free him from this trial he was in, but they refrained from this action, the chose to bear the abuse. Why? Out of love and concern for mankind. Both suffered that mankind could have eternal life if they chose to surrender all to Jesus.
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--77--In Pilate's Judgment Hall
« Last post by Dorine on December 06, 2022, 06:22:09 AM »
"The mission of Christ in this world was not to gratify idle curiosity. He came to heal the brokenhearted. Could He have spoken any word to heal the bruises of sin-sick souls, He would not have kept silent. But He had no words for those who would but trample the truth under their unholy feet."

When we find ourselves among enemies and accusers we have a wonderful example in Jesus. I love to gaze upon His life for He brings me much courage and strength to face the daily battles of life. A continual surrender to Jesus is preparing us for much bigger storms and battles and through it all by His grace we do and will stand firm as a rock for Him. Let's never tire of reading and meditating upon His sufferings for us for it softens the heart and brings us closer to Him and our deep desire is to do all we can to bring this precious gospel to the world.
Friday          December 9

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, “Dealing With False Science, Cults, Isms, and Secret Societies,” pp. 602-609, in Evangelism; and “Spiritism,” pp. 86-93, in Confrontation.

There exists a foundation which claims that it is creating technology that will allow us to contact the deceased “via texts, phone calls, and video-conferencing.” Calling the dead PMPs (post material persons), its website claims that when humans die they simply pass on “into another phase of forever” but “retain their consciousness, identity, and core aspects of their previous physical form.” But, most importantly, the folks at the foundation claim to be developing, in three phases, technology that will allow communication between material and post material persons.

The first phase will “allow texting and typing with postmaterial family, friends, and experts in every field of expertise.” Phase two is supposed to “enable talking with your dear ones who are living in another part of forever.” And the third phase, it says, will open the way to “hearing and seeing those who are experiencing the field of all possibilities from a different observation point.”

Especially scary is how they test if the communicating dead are really who they claim to be. “For example,” the site says, “a bereaved parent might ask the following question of a son or a daughter who has changed worlds: ‘Did you have a dog named Snoopy when you were a child? Did we give you a pocketknife for your tenth birthday?’” How interesting in light of this warning: “Spiritual beings sometimes appear to persons in the form of their deceased friends, and relate incidents connected with their lives and perform acts which they performed while living.” — Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 684.

Discussion Questions:

    Using the excuse of being culturally acceptable, many Christians consume whatever the media promote. Which biblical principles should guide our relationship with the media, especially when they openly promote views that we know are wrong and deceptive (see Ps. 101:1-8, Prov. 4:23, Phil. 4:8 )?
    How can we help others to overcome Satan’s end-time deceptions without being exposed to the deceiving influence of those very same deceptions ourselves?
    Many Christians have seen the story of having “Samuel” summoned from the grave as biblical proof that the dead live on. What does this account teach us about why we cannot rely only on a single text or story to build a doctrine but, instead, we must look at all that the Bible says about a topic?
Thursday          December 8
Personations and Other Appearances

Similar to necromancy are the demonic personations of the dead and other demoniac appearances. The personations can be in the form of a deceased family member, friend, or anyone. Both the physical appearance and the voice are very similar to those of the deceased. All these satanic deceptions will be used to deceive those who are not firmly grounded on God’s Word. Ellen G. White warns, “The apostles, as personated by these lying spirits, are made to contradict what they wrote at the dictation of the Holy Spirit when on earth.” — The Great Controversy, p. 557. And more, “As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ.” — The Great Controversy, p. 624.

Read 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15 and Ephesians 6:10-18. What should be our safeguards against such demonic deceptions?

The apostle Paul warns us that “our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12, NRSV). We can be protected against these deceptions only by being clothed with “the whole armor of God” (Eph. 6:13, NKJV) described in Ephesians 6:13-18.

The satanic personations and appearances can be very frightening and deceiving, but they cannot mislead those who are sheltered by God and grounded on God’s Word. From a doctrinal perspective, those who believe in the biblical doctrine of the conditional immortality of human beings know that any appearance or communication with the dead is of a satanic origin and needs to be rejected by God’s powerful grace. Again, no matter how powerful, convincing, and seemingly real the manifestation is, we must always stand firm to the teaching that the dead are asleep in the grave.

Imagine, though, losing a loved one and then believing that this same loved one appears to you? And expresses love to you? And tells you how much they miss you? And says things that, yes, only they would know? And says that they are now in a better place? If a person is not absolutely grounded in what the Bible teaches about the state of the dead, think how easily he or she could fall for this deception. Especially because they want to believe it, as well.

What does it mean to put on the “whole armor of God”? In a day-by-day practical sense, how do we do this in every area of our lives, not just in dealing with end-time deceptions?
Wednesday          December 7
Necromancy and Ancestor Worship

The word “necromancy” derives from the Greek terms nekros (dead) and manteia (divination). Practiced since ancient times, necromancy is a form of summoning the alleged active spirits of the dead in order to get knowledge, often about future events. Ancestor worship, meanwhile, is the custom of venerating deceased ancestors because they are still considered family and whose spirits can, it is believed, influence the affairs of the living. These pagan practices can be very attractive to those who believe in an immortal soul and who also miss their deceased loved ones.

Read 1 Samuel 28:3-25. What spiritual lessons against any supposed communication with the dead can be drawn from Saul’s experience with the woman medium at Endor?

The Bible stated very clearly that all spiritists, mediums, sorcerers, and necromancers, in the ancient Israelite theocracy, were abominations to the Lord and should be put to death by stoning (Lev. 19:31; Lev. 20:6, 27; Deut. 18:9-14). In accordance with this law, Saul had destroyed all mediums and spiritists from Israel (1 Sam. 28:3, 9).

But, then, after being rejected by the Lord, Saul himself went to the Canaanite city of Endor to inquire of a woman medium (1 Sam. 28:6, 7, 15; compare with Josh. 17:11, Ps. 83:10). He asked her to bring up the deceased prophet Samuel, who supposedly came up in a necromancer apparition and spoke with Saul (1 Sam. 28:13-19). The deceiving spirit, who pretended to be Samuel, told Saul, “tomorrow you and your sons will be with me” (1 Sam. 28:19, NKJV). While predicting Saul’s death, that deceiving spirit, merely by assuming the form of Samuel, reaffirmed the unbiblical theory of the natural immortality of the soul. It was a powerful deception, and Saul should have known better than to become involved with what he had previously condemned.

More than two centuries later, the prophet Isaiah wrote, “And when they say to you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:19, 20, NKJV; also Isa. 19:3).

How often, under stress, do we do things that we know are wrong? Why are faith, prayer, and obedience to the Word of God our only sure defense against our own selves?
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