A Promise Kept

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

In 1969 7 -year old Niki was in the hospital having some tumors removed from her throat. While in the hospital she met Charita, another girl her age, who had a rare form of cancer. Niki found out that because of the cancer Charita would never be able to have children of her own. The two girls formed a friendship, and one night while the two of them were alone in their hospital room, Charita was crying. Niki came over to Charita’s bedside to comfort her. She told her not to cry and that when she got married and had her own baby she would let her mentor her baby and if it was a girl would even name it after her. 

After their stint in the hospital Niki and Charita kept in touch until 6 months later when Charita’s family moved from Los Angeles to New Mexico. In 1983 Niki married and in 1987 had a daughter whom she named Charita. Niki then went on the Unsolved Mysteries show looking for her childhood friend Charita so she could help mentor little Charita. In 1990 Niki and Charita were happily reunited. 

Image © Pacific Press from GoodSalt.com

In a world where people will make empty promises just to get whatever they want, 7-year old Niki  stayed true to her promise even  as an adult, and became married and with a child. While it’s true that our promises are like ropes of sand and we can only trust God’s promises (2 Peter 1:4) It is also true that by God’s grace we too, like Jesus and 7-year old Niki , can stay true to our word. After all, even while the Bible teaches us not to put trust in ourselves or anyone else, the Bible also speaks of those who  “keep their promises even when it hurts.” Psalm 15:4 NLT 

This quarter we are studying the promise God made to man. One of the ways we reflect the image of God is by being men and women of our word. Sure, we make mistakes and have made broken promises. This is one reason why I am careful about making promises. Instead of promising to help a friend, I tell them I will try, but make it clear I am not making a promise.

God’s promises are the only promises we can rely on. Still, by God’s grace, we can be men and women of our word. By God’s grace, we can be faithful to our promises even if it hurts.

Can you share a time when someone showed you God’s love by staying true to their promise? 

You can study this week’s Sabbath School Lesson here.

1: What Happened? -Teaching Plan

Key Thought: God created us in His own image so that a loving fellowship could exist between Him and us. Although the entrance of sin shattered the original union, God seeks to restore this relationship through the plan of redemption. As dependent creatures, life takes on true meaning and clarity only when we enter into union with our Creator. 

Prepared by William Earnhardt

April 6, 2021 

  1. Have a volunteer read Genesis 1:26-27.

A. Ask class members to share the main idea of this passage.

B. What does it mean to be created in the image of God?

C. Personal Application: While even in a sin filled world how do Christians reflect the image of God?

D. Case Study: Your fiend comments, “God said Let us make man in our own image, and even since the fall man has said, No. Let us make God in our image.” Is your friend right? If so how so? What is the solution? 

2. Have a Volunteer read Genesis 2:718-25.

A. Ask class members what is the main idea of this passage.

B. What is the significance of God breathing into man the breath of life? How does that make a soul?

C. Personal Application: What does the passage teach us about how the sexes are to relate to each other. Does this passage also teach that we as men and women have an obligation to care for the rest of God’s creation?

D. Case Study: In a discussion with a “familiar” stranger on the subway he remarks that the soul is immortal and cannot die. How to you respond to your familiar acquaintance? For help click here. 

3. Have volunteer read Genesis 3:1-6.

A. Ask class members to share the main idea of this passage.

B. What did the serpent mean by “you will be like God, knowing good and evil?” After all, didn’t God want us created in His image? What was meant by “knowing good and evil?” Hint: could it be rephrased, “you will know for yourself what is good and what is evil?” 

C. Personal Application: How do we make the same mistakes Eve made when we are tempted? For example the serpent had to first make Eve doubt God’s Word. What else went wrong in this dialogue? 

D. Case Study: Your neighbor claims sin and misery are all God’s fault. After all He allowed for the forbidden tree to be placed in the garden. How do you respond to your neighbor? 

4. Ask a volunteer to read Genesis 3:15.

A. Ask the class what the main idea of this passage is?

B. How does the woman’s seed crush the serpent’s head, and how does this restore us back into the image of God?

C. Personal Application: How has Jesus crushed Satan’s head in your life? In what ways has God restored you by His grace into His own image? 

D. Case Study: Think of one person who needs to hear a message from this week’s lesson. Tell the class what you plan to do this week to share with them.

(Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Its blessings can be retained only as it is shared. ”Ministry of Healing, p. 149).

Video: A Quick Easter Season Devotional day 3. Jesus Called Judas Friend

       

And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.  Matthew 26:50

Even after years of study I have no idea what Jesus, in His humanity was going through, in the garden that night He was betrayed. Many things impress me and I would like to share a couple of them here.

When Judas betrayed Jesus, did you notice what Jesus calls him in the verse above? He did not call him a traitor. He did not call him a back stabber. He called him friend. I don’t think Jesus was just trying to be nice either. Jesus always called things the way He saw them. He was straight forward even with the Pharisees calling them whited sepulchers and brood of vipers. So when Jesus called Judas friend I am sure as far as He was concerned they were friends. Jesus knew His war was not with flesh and blood but against Satan himself. Jesus looked past how Satan was using Judas and He saw a friend. Let us accept the invitation in 2 Peter 1:4 and partake of the divine nature, and look past the faults of those around us and only see friends as Christ did on the night He was betrayed.

In the next verse we read, “And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out [his] hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear.”

In Peter’s zeal for the right he cuts off the ear of a soldier arresting Jesus. We read how Jesus heals the ear and rebukes Peter who meant well but just went too far. Have I ever spoke a word in the defense of truth that hurt someone needlessly? I am afraid I have. I have asked Jesus to do for me what He did for Peter and heal the person that I needlessly wounded. Even in Gethsemane Jesus never stopped healing. He is a healing Jesus!

Will we Remember the old Earth When we get to Heaven?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

A couple of weeks ago I was having a question and answer session with a 7th grade Bible class at a nearby Adventist school. Someone asked if we will remember this earth when we get to heaven? More importantly will we remember our loved ones? Here is what I shared from the Bible.

First, it would not make sense to me for Jesus to die to save us here on earth and then turn around in heaven and totally delete all the data from our brains as if we were no longer the same people He died for. But then again my own ideas on the subject aren’t worth a morsel of old moldy manna. So let’s see what the Bible has to say: “ For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or [f]come to mind.”  Isaiah 65:17 NKV

Some take the above passage to literally read that our minds will be wiped totally clean of any recollections of earth. Here again is where we need to allow God to use figure of speech. Notice there is a footnote on this verse. the footnote reads “come upon the heart.” In other words the past will not weigh on our heart and minds. For example many times in the Bible it says God’s people forgot about Him. Well it wasn’t like they had no recollection of God and forgot He existed, they just did not take His love to heart or let it impress their hearts. So in the same way rebels “forget” about God and do not take His love to heart, when we get to heaven we will “forget” all the problems we had on earth and no longer take them to heart. 

Revelation 20 tells us in heaven…

And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:4 NKJV 

Here we see those who died for their faith here on earth are judging the world as Paul predicted in 1 Corinthians 6:3. If we are judging the things of this world up in heaven then we will obviously have memories of this life. After all, as I said before, Jesus did not die for us here on earth just to turn us into new robots up in heaven. If that were the case He might as well have just wiped us all out and made brand new robots to begin with.  In Revelation 21 we see what seems like unmistakable evidence that we will still have earthly memories in heaven. 

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes;…. Revelation 21:4 NKJV 

People say there will be no crying in heaven, but if that is so, then why does God have to wipe the tears from our eyes? Again God will never turn us into robots. We will have emotions, and our memories of lost loved ones will surely bring us to tears. God will not turn us into careless robots but will wipe the tears from our eyes as we cry for those who have chosen to reject their mansions that God prepared for them from the foundation of the world (See Matthew 25:34) and chose to be in the fire that was never prepared or intended for them. (See Matthew 35:41). 

God’s plan is for us to be in the new earth with our families. We see this as we go back to the book of Isaiah where we began. 

For as the new heavens and the new earth Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord, “So shall your descendants and your name remain. Isaiah 66:22 NKJV 

I choose to be in the new earth with God so that He will not have to wipe the tears from the eyes of my family, but, even more importantly, so no one will have to wipe the tears from God’s eyes. By God’s grace we will be united with friends and family around the throne of God as we praise Him, remembering how Jesus redeemed us from the sins of the old earth. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.