The Two Mysteries of the Sanctuary Revealed

 

I am writing to you today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

Friday’s section of this week’s SS lesson says, “Think about the fact that Lucifer was a “perfect” being and yet iniquity was found in him.” This is a mind boggling thought. How could someone so perfect become so sinful? This is the mystery of iniquity, and here is what Ellen White has to say in the book Great Controversy p. 493, “Sin is an intruder, for whose presence no reason can be given. It is mysterious, unaccountable; to excuse it, is to defend it. Could excuse for it be found, or cause be shown for its existence, it would cease to be sin.”

 

This brings up the two mysteries in the Great Controversy between God and Satan. The first is the mystery of iniquity. How could someone so perfect become so sinful? Is it God’s fault for making us with a free will or is Lucifer to blame?

 

The question is answered and the controversy is settled with another mystery. The cleansing of the sanctuary will place the blame for sin upon Satan and will also present a mystery of its own. Speaking of the sanctuary service in Revelation 10, verse seven tells us “the mystery of God should be finished” The mystery of God is the exact opposite of the mystery of iniquity. First lets see what the mystery of God is. Colossians 1:27-28 reads, “To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” So while the mystery of iniquity asks, how could someone so perfect become so sinful, the mystery of Godliness will counteract that by taking a sinful people and making them perfect in Christ. Revelation 7 tells us about people from every tribe and walk of life, who will be sealed with the Character of God before Christ returns. Sound impossible? Remember that sin seemed as impossible in heaven as perfection seems here on earth. Both are mysteries.

 

As we continue to explore the atonement this quarter the sanctuary will reveal to us the true character of God and the true character of Satan. The lies will all be washed away. Satan’s only power over Eve was his power to lie. Without lies Satan is totally powerless. He has no power. All he has are lies. The cleansing of the sanctuary will wash away all of Satan’s lies leaving him powerless. With a lie Satan gained control of Eve and the human race. The truth found in the sanctuary will free us from those lies and from Satan’s control and thus will begin the mystery of Godliness, and a race of people from all different backgrounds being sealed with God’s character. All the blame for sin, suffering, and rebellion will be placed on Satan; the scapegoat. No one will blame God for the sin problem anymore and we will be reconciled to Him. Thus the mystery of godliness will overtake the mystery of iniquity.

 

Someone asked me just this week, “If Satan who was so perfect became so sinful, how do I know I will not sin in heaven?” The answer has nothing to do with our natures. Satan sinned with a perfect nature. Jesus perfectly obeyed in a human nature. Jesus obeyed because He knew something we did not, the truth about Satan’s lies. The cleansing of the sanctuary washes away Satan’s lies thus cleansing us from all unrighteousness both now and forever!

 

check out the Bible Studies at In Light of the Cross.

William Earnhardt’s Financial Bailout Plan

I am writing from my comfortable apartment in beautiful Tampa Florida.

 

William Earnhardt’s Financial Bailout Plan

 

Okay, we all know I am no economic expert, but I think what we are discovering here is that we don’t have any economic experts! The reason we are having a world financial crisis is because the world’s financial policy is the exact opposite of Biblical financial policy.

 

Jesus says “The meek will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

The world says the greedy will inherit the earth. Sorry I have to go with Jesus on this one. And Jesus was not making a dictatorial decree when He said that. He was just revealing a law of nature. A law Wall Street will never learn, thus our financial dilemma today.

 

My bailout plan includes forgetting about yourself, and living to benefit others.

 

[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:3-4

 

 

 

The Bible says, “If thou lend money to [any of] my people [that is] poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.” Exodus 22:25

We have a big problem here because the world banking business makes its profit from something that is strictly prohibited in the Bible-charging interest. Again I understand I am no financial expert here, but I can’t help but see red flags when your financial game plan is strictly prohibited in the Bible. Not that God will curse us for going against His plan, but God warned us against charging interest because He knew where it would lead to. By now we should see that too.

 

My bailout plan includes doing away with charging people interests on their loans. I know economy majors are laughing at me right now, but I don’t see anyone laughing on Wall Street right now, and once again I have to go with the Bible here again.

 

A couple thousand years ago a prophet hanging out near the Jordan River said, “be content with your wages.” Luke 3:14 

The world tells us if we don’t make enough to get what we want then charge it or borrow money for it. (while creditors should not be charging interest, borrowers should not be borrowing money just to keep up with the Joneses.) I know it sounds crazy, but I have to go with the prophet hanging out down by the river instead of those Wall Street gurus.

 

Borrowing money is actually lying. We lie to ourselves when we tell ourselves our credit level is actually money that we have. It is not our money it is the banks money. When we are content with our wages we develop something essential for survival, and that is self control and character. In the 30s people survived the depression with their self control, character and creativity. Credit cards and rotting our brains watching TV have all destroyed our character, self control and creativity. I shudder to think what a depression will be like this time.

 

I remember as a little kid in the late sixties and early seventies going to a little Mexican restaurant in Tulsa. We went on Wednesdays when their enchilada dinner was a dollar off. I remember asking my parents, ‘Can we go to the Monterey House today?” And my mother would answer, “No it is not Wednesday and they do not have their dollar off the enchilada dinner today.” I have not seen that kind of reasoning in years. My parents have always been generous towards others and thrifty with themselves. Frankly they have seen good times and bad times financially, but to be honest I can’t really recall exactly when they were rich or when they were poor because in either case they have always practiced, character, self control and creativity.

 

Again I am no financial wizard so it took me years to wake up and make this observation. Poor people are poor because they live like they are rich and rich people are rich because they live like they are poor. Sure there are exceptions, but it all comes down to character, self control and creativity. My mother was creative and would make us tuna gravy on toast. I loved it! It was not till a few years ago my mom said she made that just because we did not have a lot of money. I had no clue. I thought she was making it because it was delicious!

 

Fifty years ago you saw someone driving a Porsche and you thought, “Man they are rich!” Today you see someone driving a Porsche and you think, “Man are they in debt!”  

 

My bailout plan includes making character and self control the fabric of our lives again.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33  Wall street is now missing “all these things” because they never sought “His righteousness”. Again Jesus was not being dictatorial in Matthew 6:33, He was just trying to explain to Wall Street another law of nature.

 

Malachi 3:10 says, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].”

 

I am no economics major but I have a message for Wall Street. The tithing system cures the greed that has brought on your recession. I have another message that will baffle math experts as well as economists. After you tithe, 90% of your pay check goes further than 100% of your pay check without tithing. Tithing is a systematic way to overcome greed. Greed is what has lead people to borrow more money than they can pay back, thus causing banks to go under. Greed is what has led people to spend more money than they have so they can live the lie that they are richer than they really are. You may think I am crazy Wall Street, but I believe the tithing system will cure the character problems that have brought about our economic decline. Sounds crazy I know, but I dare you to try it! At this point, what do you have to lose?

 

My bailout plan includes systematically returning tithes and giving offerings. This will help us develop the character, self control and creativity that will help us survive what is ahead for us as a nation.

 

God Himself says, “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth [day] of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout [all] the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.  A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather [the grapes] in it of thy vine undressed. 

 For it [is] the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubilee ye shall return every man unto his possession. 

And if thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest [ought] of thy neighbour’s hand, ye shall not oppress one another: According to the number of years after the jubilee thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, [and] according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee:   According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for [according] to the number [of the years] of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Ye shall not therefore oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I [am] the LORD your God.  Leviticus 25:8-17

 

Forgiveness!! Debts forgiven! Wall Street will never go for this especially the more they themselves are in debt but I am going out on a limb here in allowing people to question my sanity by saying this, if you want to get out of debt, then cancel the debts of your debtors. Wall Street will tell you the first step out of debt is to collect all that is owed to you so you can in turn pay your debtors. Wall Street will never accept a “year of jubilee” where all debts are cancelled and debtors are not oppressed but set free. Therefore Wall Street will never be a sound infallible financial institution.

 

My bailout plan includes canceling the debts that are owed to me so that I can get in on God’s financial plan which is the only sound plan there is. Again there is a natural law that the Merciful will obtain mercy and forgiving people will be forgiven. Wall Street may not buy into it, but there is One who over rules Wall Street.

 

The Republicans are accused of having their eyes on Wall Street while the Democrats say let’s watch Main Street. My bailout plan has nothing to do with where Wall Street or Main Street is. Lets follow the plan that comes from Gold Streets!  Hhhhmmm…. Think about it, my plan comes straight from a place that is so financially sound they pave the streets with gold. Brave enough to try my plan?

Kevin Craig Gets Hole-In-One!

 

Kevin Craig receiving his baptismal certificate last February.

 

 

 

 

 

Kevin holding the ball and six iron he used for his 150 yard, par 3 hole in one!

 

 

This morning, our small golf group at the Tampa First SDA Church witnessed one of the rarest sports feats, a hole-in-one! Kevin Craig, who was baptized just last February, came for the first time to our small golf group. Besides picking up a club a time or two in England this was his first golf game. We took a couple minutes on the driving range with Richard who was making his first appearance too. Then on the second hole the unbelievable happened! Using his 6 iron, 150 yards away on a par 3 Kevin hit the ball up onto the green. We were not sure where it was exactly but we knew it was on the green. As we approached the green we were puzzled because we could not see the ball. The thought of someone getting a hole in one on the second fairway they ever played on never entered our mind. But it happened! There the ball was in the cup, a hole in one!  Amazing!

 

 

The rest of us were very excited but Kevin did not at first really realize what he did. He was excited but did not realize just how rare a hole in one is. It is rarer than a triple play or inside the park homerun in baseball. It is about the rarest feat in all of sports! Few people have ever had a hole in one. Many play their entire lives and never get a hole in one and today Kevin got one on the second hole he ever played on! It is also the first hole in one I have ever seen. I would love to hit my own one day, but today it was exciting just to see Kevin get his! Way to go Kevin! Click here for more pictures and stories about Kevin and our small golf group today.

 

 

 

Check out my friend’s sports blog.  http://bulldogsportsblog.blogspot.com/

 

 

Red Sox Fans Invade Tropicana Field

Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.  John 14:1-3

 

Last Tuesday I went with a friend to The Tampa Bay Ray’s stadium, Tropicana Field, where we watched the first place Rays defeat the second place Red Sox 2-1. It was a great game and the Rays did not win it until the bottom of the ninth, when our catcher, Dioner Navarro hit in the winning run.

 

While at the game I noticed several Red Sox fans. You could easily spot them with their Red Sox shirts, caps, and jackets. I even sat by one. He assured me that the long fly that Ortiz hit to deep right center for an out would have been a homerun at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox play their home games.

 

I noticed something about the Red Sox fans. They came into our home ball park but still dressed and acted like they would at Fenway. They did not buy the Tampa Bay Rays t-shirts and caps and try to blend in at all. While most of them were very polite and pleasant to be around they still made it clear that Tropicana Field was not their home and the Rays were not their team. They did not mind looking like visitors. They did not mind that they dressed and looked different. They were proud of their team and where they were from.

 

As Christians, let’s let the world know earth is not our home. While being as polite and pleasant to be around as possible, let’s still let it be known our home is in heaven, not here. We do not blend in with the world because we are not a part of this world. Let’s not be afraid to look different and act different. Let’s be as proud of where we belong as the Red Sox fans were proud of where they belong.

 

Check out more Studies, pictures and articles at my personal website In Light Of The Cross

 

Check out my friend’s sports blog. http://bulldogsportsblog.blogspot.com/

Worship: Is It All About God?

I am writing today from my church in beautiful Tampa Florida.

While the Bible clearly teaches us there are many different ways to worship God, Satan also has his counterfeit ways of worship. While we should always be open minded to different ways of worship lets also be careful that we don’t adopt any of Satan’s ideas for worship.

Various forms of worship are condemned today which the Bible actually endorses. We condemn them today simply because they are not a part of today’s tradition in the church. For example I have seen people raising their hands in worship only to be met with condemning stares. Why? Because while David talks of lifting his hands in worship in the 141st Psalm, that just is not the way we do things today.  So raising

hands is condemned by some today, not because it is unbiblical but rather just because it is not largely our tradition.  We don’t need to condemn new ideas in worship just because they are new, especially when some forms of worship are not new at all but are just new to us. Some forms of worship that are new to us were actually approved of in the Bible we just don’t happen to worship that particular way today so we think they are wrong. 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”.  Let’s keep an open mind and hold what is good.

 

Below are some thoughts I have on worship. As I have studied, what I have found is what really separates wholesome worship from evil worship is our motive of worship. We are often tempted to seek and please self while claiming the whole time we are actually worshiping and seeking God. I am not saying we always give in to that temptation, but I believe the temptation is always there. 

 

 

Worship: Is it all About God?  

 

 I recently purchased a CD with worship music. In one of the songs the lyrics say, “Lord I’m sorry for the thing that I made it to be, when it’s all about you it’s all about you.” For centuries, mankind has tried to worship God their own way, forgetting that it is all about God and not about us. When David worshipped the Lord he cried out “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, [bless] his holy name.” PS103:1  But how often do we worship God with the intention of blessing Him rather than being blessed by Him? How often do we worship God seeking His glory and not our own?  

For centuries man has made self the center of his worship experience, and in the process the worship experience has been designed to feed the ego of the worshiper instead of the One being worshipped. Instead of offering a lamb as God instructed, Cain offered the fruits of his own works. In so doing, Cain put trust in his own ego instead of the Lamb of God. He also changed the system of worship that God had commanded to make it more convenient and pleasing for himself.

Around the first century AD certain people in the church started worshipping on Sunday in order to entice the Eastern religions. They disregarded God’s command to keep the Sabbath Day holy in order to make their worship more convenient for themselves and to feed their own egos by increasing the number of believers to their religion. Thus, we can be certain that when we disregard one of God’s commands or lower His standard of worship to increase membership, our motive is not God’s glory but rather our own egos! The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people” Deut. 7:7 Let’s take a little inventory of our worship service, to see if our worship is truly all about God, or like Cain’s worship service, all about self.  

 

Speaking: Is it all About God?

 “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter [any] thing before God: for God [is] in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” Eccl. 5:1-2  

 

It has been said that a preacher will cross the ocean to give a sermon but will not cross the street to hear one. Before sharing an opinion in Sabbath School or a testimony during the Sacred Service or even giving a sermon it would be well for us to ponder our motive for speaking in God’s House. Is it to give glory to God, or frankly is it to hear ourselves talk? I have witnessed “Testimony and Prayer” times that were nothing more than gossip sessions! Just because we begin talking about some one by saying “pray for John…..“ does not keep it from being gossip.   True worship does not call for much speaking. “The LORD [is] in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him”. Hab. 2:20  

Music: Is it all About God?  

 “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” PS 69:30  

 No doubt God calls upon us to rejoice and praise Him with our songs and music. At the same time there is a type of “feel good ” music that makes us not only feel good about God but even more so about ourselves. So what’s the problem with that? First of all our worship is to be all about God and not about us. Secondly scripture tells us to examine ourselves when we come to worship God. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves….” 2 Cor. 13:5 “ But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that]cup.” 1 Cor. 11:28   There is a type of music that plays upon our emotions and keeps us from taking an honest look at ourselves.

Not only do we need to be careful of the music but even the words we sing. Jesus in the sermon on the mount warns against vain repetitions. Vain repetitions can be more than just meaningless words in prayers but also our songs. Just because we can belt out the chorus “When we all Get to Heaven” does not mean we are all getting to heaven, even though the emotions may be there. Just because we respond to an altar call as the congregation sobs through “I Surrender All” does not mean we surrender all, unless we do so during the week when the music is no longer heard.  

 Music must be a response to our emotions, and not our emotions a response to music! 

 

There is much more I could say about this, but I will let inspiration be the final word. Many have used the following paragraph to say that drums are evil. However the context tells us it is not the drums but the way they were being used and the over all big picture of everything involved that was evil. “The things you have described . . . the Lord has shown me would take place just before the close of probation. Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. . . . A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of Satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit’s working. . . . Those participating in the supposed revival receive impressions which lead them adrift. They cannot tell what they formerly knew regarding Bible principles. No encouragement should be given to this kind of worship. The same kind of influence came in after the passing of the time in 1844. The same kind of representations were made. Men became excited, and were worked by a power thought to be the power of God. . . . I bore my testimony, declaring that these fanatical movements, this din and noise,were inspired by the spirit of Satan, who was working miracles to deceive if possible the very elect. {Mar 234.5} We need to be on our guard, to maintain a close connection with Christ, that we be not deceived by Satan’s devices. The Lord desires to have in His service order and discipline, not excitement and confusion.” {Mar 234}  

Dress: Is it all About God?  

“For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?”  James 2:2-4    

A friend of mine once complimented her boss on her nice watch. Her boss then explained that since she was not allowed to wear jewelry growing up she always wore the nicest watch she could find. Here is the problem; the sin of jewelry is pride. However, if we get rid of the jewelry but do not get rid of the pride it will just show up somewhere else as it did in the case of my friend’s boss in her watch.

Do we dress for God when we prepare for church or is it an ego thing? Do we worship to glorify God or make a fashion statement? I am reminded of a story I heard about a man who went to a church where he was shunned for his long hair, sandals and plain clothes. He noticed a picture of Jesus with long hair, sandals and a plain robe and began to pray asking Jesus why the people at the fancy church shunned him that day. Jesus answered him, “I don’t know about that church, I never go there.”

  “Now wait a minute” you say. We are suppose to wear the nicest clothes possible, for God when we go to worship Him. You are correct. We are to wear the nicest clothes possible FOR GOD, not for MAN. Is our dress all about God when we worship? What is on our mind when we shop for our worship clothes, God or what is vogue? Do we ask ourselves what God will think and say or about what our friends may think and say?

There is a verse that many Christians use to condemn jewelry when actually it condemns more than jewelry but all pride in dress. Let’s take a look,: “Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:3,4   By the way, this verse teaches us that it is the wearing of jewelry that is legalistic, while some try to say that abstaining from jewelry is legalistic. In this verse Peter is telling women that God will make them beautiful as He fills them with his goodness. That is the gospel. Men and women who depend upon their jewelry to make them beautiful are not trusting God to make them attractive but are trying to work out their own beauty themselves instead of just letting God’s grace do it’s work. That is legalism in its truest sense!  

It’s All about God when it comes to worship. God is more intere sted in the heart than the “outward adorning”. He is also more interested in the heart than the words we say and music we play. He is also more interested in the conversion of the hearts of those worshipping than the number of those in the congregation . If our numbers fall we are tempted to change our format of worship to attract more people. If our worship is all about God would it not make more sense to have a format of worship that would attract God rather than man? If we did thus, would God not draw people to our worship services who are seeking Him with all their hearts? Would He not draw people who realize, true worship is all about God?   

Read Willow Creek’s Confession. 

You can find more studies on my personal website.

 

 

 

 

Nightmare on the Golf Course

 

 

 

Tom and I golfing in Chattanooga. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I so wanted everything to be perfect. That is the golf match last week between me and an ole college buddy. Last time we played together was Christmas Eve on a course in the Chattanooga Mountains. I scored a 137 in the mountains that day and we did not even have time to finish all 18 holes! But now, five months later, I have been practicing every week on my day off as well as golfing with my church’s small golf group. I have been going online and reading tips and watching instructional videos. I have paid for private lessons and those are not cheap! After five months of practice, effort and dedication I thought I was beginning to get my game under control. I was excited about meeting my friend Tom for a re-match in Chattanooga. I felt confident, as I was more experienced now, and we would be on a course this time that was not in the mountains. I was looking forward to impressing my friend on the golf course.

 

Imagine how my confidence went up a notch when Tom told me he had not played since our last meeting five months ago. I thought surely my five months of hard work would pay off. The rest of this story is a total nightmare. The first hole was a par 4 and I made it in 8. Not exactly what I had planned. Even though I get an 8 every now and then, I was sure I had gotten my “bad hole” out of the way, and I would sail through the rest of the course. Wrong! That day I scored an 8 seven times! On a par 5 I scored a 10! What I had been looking forward to on the entire 9 hour trip up was now turning ugly for me! Meanwhile my friend Tom who had not even played or practiced all year was cruising along just fine.

 

The worse I play the more frustrated I get and then I play even worse. I would get frustrated every time I had a bad hit and would yell at myself, “William!” I then realized I did not need to broadcast my name to the entire golf course while playing so badly. We decided that we could do no more than double par. So on one hole that was par 4, 8 would be the maximum number of strokes I could take to make it. I was at stroke number 8 while still in the middle of the fairway, nowhere close to the green yet! I yelled out to Tom across the fairway, “I am in the middle of the fairway and already have 8 strokes!” Once again I realized I did not need to be broadcasting my misfortune to the entire golf world.

 

On the next fairway I had a great start! I was on track to make par when I hit into a sand trap next to the green. If I could just hit out of the trap onto the green I could still make par. That never happened as my next 4 strokes never left the sand trap. I was so frustrated I did something I have never done before. I threw my golf club into the sand in disgust! I had just planned a vacation and traveled 9 hours just to make a fool out of myself! At least I was gentleman enough to sincerely congratulate Tom, who easily made par on the same hole. He even mentioned how amazingly easy all of his shots just fell perfectly into place. Hhhmmpphh!! Why me Lord? Why can’t I be like Tom? I try so hard! The whole day was not a complete disaster. Besides enjoying a beautiful day with a long time friend, I did get par on the last hole which was a par 5. In the end though, my friend who has not even been practicing beat me by 16 strokes! I practiced hard for 5 months only to get beat by 16 strokes by someone who has not practiced at all!

 

I hid my frustration well, (besides throwing my golf club into the sand) but was very disappointed that I had nothing to show for all my hard work. Then I remembered reading something in the Spirit of Prophecy years ago. It was to the effect that while some people may have a lot of flaws in their characters, some of them are trying harder to live a Christian life than some of the so called polished Christians. I heard the Holy Spirit speak to me; “William you are frustrated that Tom saw no evidence of your hard work and effort on the golf course. Meanwhile you are studying and associating with people all around you who are really trying hard to be better Christians, even though it may not look like it to you. Some of the people you get discouraged with are actually putting more effort into their Christian walk than you are putting into yours.” Then I remembered how easily Tom’s par came to him on the same fairway that I failed on, even though I was trying very hard. I realized what I had experienced on the golf course, many struggling Christians are experiencing in real life. Just like I would try my best to do everything right and make the perfect shot, I was missing the mark by a mile. Likewise, just because people miss the mark in the Christian life does not mean God does not know they are trying, maybe even trying harder than the polished Christians.

 

I got the message. I decided instead of being discouraged over my nightmare on the golf course, that I would use this experience as a reminder to be patient with others who are making all kinds of mistakes in the game of life. Just like I wished my golf buddy could have looked past my three digit score, and seen into my heart, and known what I was actually trying to accomplish, I will assume that those around me are trying harder to be a Christian than it may appear to me.

 

When I got home I looked for and found the quote I was thinking about earlier. Here it is from Testimonies Volume 2 page 74 in the chapter called, “Love for the erring.” I recomend reading the entire chapter! “While some are continually harassed, afflicted, and in trouble because of their unhappy traits of character, having to war with internal foes and the corruption of their nature, others have not half so much to battle against. They pass along almost free from the difficulties which their brethren and sisters who are not so favorably organized are laboring under. In very many cases they do not labor half so hard to overcome and live the life of a Christian as do some of those unfortunate ones I have mentioned.”

 

 

 

 

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