The Reality of His Humanity

thur-nov-13-08-001I am writing from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Since this week’s SS lesson takes a look at Christ’s human nature, I thought I would share a Desire of Ages study on this topic that is also posted on my personal website. I have shared this more than once over the years, but every time I do, people tell me they have found it to be very helpful and inspiring, so here it is on my blog.

 

When thinking of Christ and Him being 100% God and still 100% man, I am reminded of a country gospel song I heard a while back. In the song Jesus is 12 years old in the temple and the teachers ask Him how old He is. In the song he answers, “On my mother’s side I am 12. On my Father’s side I am the alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.” I always thought that was pretty neat.

 

                                      The Likeness of Men

 

Lo, I come (in the volume of the Book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God.” Heb. 10:5-7. In these words is announced the fulfillment of the purpose that had been hidden from eternal ages. Christ was about to visit our world, and to become incarnate. He says, “A body hast Thou prepared Me.” Had He appeared with the glory that was His with the Father before the world was, we could not have endured the light of His presence. That we might behold it and not be destroyed, the manifestation of His glory was shrouded. His divinity was veiled with humanity,–the invisible glory in the visible human form.  {DA 23.2}

                         

                                       Jesus Took Our Nature

 

Satan represents God’s law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts. The fall of our first parents, with all the woe that has resulted, he charges upon the Creator, leading men to look upon God as the author of sin, and suffering, and death. Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature, and passed through our experiences. “In all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.” Heb. 2:17. If we had to bear anything which Jesus did not endure, then upon this point Satan would represent the power of God as insufficient for us. Therefore Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are.” Heb. 4:15. He endured every trial to which we are subject. And He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God. He says, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Ps. 40:8. As He went about doing good, and healing all who were afflicted by Satan, He made plain to men the character of God’s law and the nature of His service. His life testifies that it is possible for us also to obey the law of God.  {DA 24.2}

 

By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature.{DA  25.3}

 

            After 4,000 Years of Sin. Subject to the Law of Heredity

 

It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life. Satan in heaven had hated Christ for His position in the courts of God. He hated Him the more when he himself was dethroned. He hated Him who pledged Himself to redeem a race of sinners. Yet into the world where Satan claimed dominion God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life’s peril in common with every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss.  {DA 49.1}

 

                               He Gained Knowledge as we May do

 

 

The question asked during the Saviour’s ministry, “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” does not indicate that Jesus was unable to read, but merely that He had not received a rabbinical education. John 7:15. Since He gained knowledge as we may do, His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures shows how diligently His early years were given to the study of God’s word. And spread out before Him was the great library of God’s created works. He who had made all things studied the lessons which His own hand had written in earth and sea and sky. Apart from the unholy ways of the world, He gathered stores of scientific knowledge from nature. He studied the life of plants and animals, and the life of man. From His earliest years He was possessed of one purpose; He lived to bless others. For this He found resources in nature; new ideas of ways and means flashed into His mind as He studied plant life and animal life. Continually He was seeking to draw from things seen illustrations by which to present the living oracles of God. The parables by which, during His ministry, He loved to teach His lessons of truth show how open His spirit was to the influences of nature, and how He had gathered the spiritual teaching from the surroundings of His daily life.  {DA 70.2}

 

                        

                                         Our Fallen Nature                  

 

These words of confirmation were given to inspire faith in those who witnessed the scene, and to strengthen the Saviour for His mission. Notwithstanding that the sins of a guilty world were laid upon Christ, notwithstanding the humiliation of taking upon Himself our fallen nature, the voice from heaven declared Him to be the Son of the Eternal. {112.3}

 

 

                                         Likeness of Sinful Flesh

 

 At the Saviour’s baptism, Satan was among the witnesses. He saw the Father’s glory overshadowing His Son. He heard the voice of Jehovah testifying to the divinity of Jesus. Ever since Adam’s sin, the human race had been cut off from direct communion with God; the intercourse between heaven and earth had been through Christ; but now that Jesus had come “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3), the Father Himself spoke. He had before communicated with humanity through Christ; now He communicated with humanity in Christ. Satan had hoped that God’s abhorrence of evil would bring an eternal separation between heaven and earth. But now it was manifest that the connection between God and man had been restored.  {DA 116.2}

 

 

                                       Effected by 4,000 Years of Sin               

 

Satan had pointed to Adam’s sin as proof that God’s law was unjust, and could not be obeyed. In our humanity, Christ was to redeem Adam’s failure. But when Adam was assailed by the tempter, none of the effects of sin were upon him. He stood in the strength of perfect manhood, possessing the full vigor of mind and body. He was surrounded with the glories of Eden, and was in daily communion with heavenly beings. It was not thus with Jesus when He entered the wilderness to cope with Satan. For four thousand years the race had been decreasing in physical strength, in mental power, and in moral worth; and Christ took upon Him the infirmities of degenerate humanity. Only thus could He rescue man from the lowest depths of his degradation.  {DA 117.1}

  

                                 Unites  Interests With Fallen Mankind                              

 

  Many claim that it was impossible for Christ to be overcome by temptation. Then He could not have been placed in Adam’s position; He could not have gained the victory that Adam failed to gain. If we have in any sense a more trying conflict than had Christ, then He would not be able to succor us. But our Saviour took humanity, with all its liabilities. He took the nature of man, with the possibility of yielding to temptation. We have nothing to bear which He has not endured.

 

The angels of God are ever passing from earth to heaven, and from heaven to earth. The miracles of Christ for the afflicted and suffering were wrought by the power of God through the ministration of the angels. And it is through Christ, by the ministration of His heavenly messengers, that every blessing comes from God to us. In taking upon Himself humanity, our Saviour unites His interests with those of the fallen sons and daughters of Adam, while through His divinity He grasps the throne of God. And thus Christ is the medium of communication of men with God, and of God with men.  {DA 143.1}

 

                                Dependent Upon His Father’s Power                   

 

Jesus repelled the charge of blasphemy. My authority, He said, for doing the work of which you accuse Me, is that I am the Son of God, one with Him in nature, in will, and in purpose. In all His works of creation and providence, I co-operate with God. “The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He seeth the Father do.” The priests and rabbis were taking the Son of God to task for the very work He had been sent into the world to do. By their sins they had separated themselves from God, and in their pride were moving independently of Him. They felt sufficient in themselves for all things, and realized no need of a higher wisdom to direct their acts. But the Son of God was surrendered to the Father’s will, and dependent upon His power. So utterly was Christ emptied of self that He made no plans for Himself. He accepted God’s plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans. So should we depend upon God, that our lives may be the simple outworking of His will.  {DA 208.2}

 

                                            He Took Our nature                     

 

Christ is the ladder that Jacob saw, the base resting on the earth, and the topmost round reaching to the gate of heaven, to the very threshold of glory. If that ladder had failed by a single step of reaching the earth, we should have been lost. But Christ reaches us where we are. He took our nature and overcame, that we through taking His nature might overcome. Made “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3), He lived a sinless life. Now by His divinity He lays hold upon the throne of heaven, while by His humanity He reaches us. He bids us by faith in Him attain to the glory of the character of God. Therefore are we to be perfect, even as our “Father which is in heaven is perfect.”  {DA 311.5}

 

             Laid Down Almighty Power And Trusted in Father’s Might

 

When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the “Master of earth and sea and sky” that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, “I can of Mine own self do nothing.” John 5:30. He trusted in the Father’s might. It was in faith–faith in God’s love and care–that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God.  {DA 336.1}

 

               

                                          His Experience is to be Ours

 

In Christ the cry of humanity reached the Father of infinite pity. As a man He supplicated the throne of God till His humanity was charged with a heavenly current that should connect humanity with divinity. Through continual communion He received life from God, that He might impart life to the world. His experience is to be ours.  {DA 363.1}

 

                                   Lived by Faith in The Father

 

But even these figures fail to present the privilege of the believer’s relation to Christ. Jesus said, “As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.” As the Son of God lived by faith in the Father, so are we to live by faith in Christ. So fully was Jesus surrendered to the will of God that the Father alone appeared in His life. Although tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world untainted by the evil that surrounded Him. Thus we also are to overcome as Christ overcame.  {DA 389.4}

 

                                        Prayed For Strength

 

Presently Christ tells them that they are now to go no farther. Stepping a little aside from them, the Man of Sorrows pours out His supplications with strong crying and tears. He prays for strength to endure the test in behalf of humanity. He must Himself gain a fresh hold on Omnipotence, for only thus can He contemplate the future. And He pours out His heart longings for His disciples, that in the hour of the power of darkness their faith may not fail. The dew is heavy upon His bowed form, but He heeds it not. The shadows of night gather thickly about Him, but He regards not their gloom. So the hours pass slowly by. At first the disciples unite their prayers with His in sincere devotion; but after a time they are overcome with weariness, and, even while trying to retain their interest in the scene, they fall asleep. Jesus has told them of His sufferings; He has taken them with Him that they might unite with Him in prayer; even now He is praying for them. The Saviour has seen the gloom of His disciples, and has longed to lighten their grief by an assurance that their faith has not been in vain. Not all, even of the twelve, can receive the revelation He desires to give. Only the three who are to witness His anguish in Gethsemane have been chosen to be with Him on the mount. Now the burden of His prayer is that they may be given a manifestation  of the glory He had with the Father before the world was, that His kingdom may be revealed to human eyes, and that His disciples may be strengthened to behold it. He pleads that they may witness a manifestation of His divinity that will comfort them in the hour of His supreme agony with the knowledge that He is of a surety the Son of God and that His shameful death is a part of the plan of redemption.  {DA 419.4}

 

 

                            Miracles Done by Faith and Prayer

 

In all that He did, Christ was co-operating with His Father. Ever He had been careful to make it evident that He did not work independently; it was by faith and prayer that He wrought His miracles. Christ desired all to know His relationship with His Father. “Father,” He said, “I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” Here the disciples and the people were to be given the most convincing evidence in regard to the relationship existing between Christ and God. They were to be shown that Christ’s claim was not a deception.  {DA 536.1}

 

 

                     Never Ceased to Be God While Taking Fallen Nature                 

 

Amazed at his dullness of comprehension, Christ asked with pained surprise, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me, Philip?” Is it possible that you do not see the Father in the works He does through Me? Do you not believe that I came to testify of the Father? “How sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” “He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.” Christ had not ceased to be God when He became man. Though He had humbled Himself to humanity, the Godhead was still His own. Christ alone could represent the Father to humanity, and this representation the disciples had been privileged to behold for over three years.  {DA 663.5}

 

 

                                  Had no Power That we May Not have

 

“Verily, verily, I say unto you,” Christ continued, “He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also.” The Saviour was deeply anxious for His disciples to understand for what purpose His divinity was united to humanity. He came to the world to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. God was manifested in Him that He might be manifested in them. Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.  {DA 664.4}

 

 

                           He Was Dependent Upon Father’s Power

 

“I am the true Vine,” He says. Instead of choosing the graceful palm, the lofty cedar, or the strong oak, Jesus takes the vine with its clinging tendrils to represent Himself. The palm tree, the cedar, and the oak stand alone. They require no support. But the vine entwines about the trellis, and thus climbs heavenward. So Christ in His humanity was dependent upon divine power. “I can of Mine own self do nothing,” He declared. John 5:30.  {DA 674.3}

 

 

                             He Could Not See Beyond The Tomb

 

Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.  {DA 753.2}

 

 

                                              Overcame by Faith

 

Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe. In those dreadful hours He had relied upon the evidence of His Father’s acceptance heretofore given Him. He was acquainted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. By faith He rested in Him whom it had ever been His joy to obey. And as in submission He committed Himself to God, the sense of the loss of His Father’s favor was withdrawn. By faith, Christ was victor.  {DA 756.3}

The Messiah

As we contemplate in this week’s SS Lesson about who Jesus really is, here is a helpful study.

This study will take the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah and

show the New Testament fulfillment of these in the life and death of

Jesus.

 

The place of His birth ————————— Micah 5:2; Luke 2:4-7

His virgin birth ——————————- Isaiah 7:14; Luke 1:26-31

The slaughter of the children —– Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18

His flight into Egypt ——————– Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14, 15

The time of His baptism ————- Daniel 9:24, 25; Luke 3:1, 21, 22

His rejection by the people ———————- Isaiah 53:3; John 1:11

His entrance into Jerusalem ———- Zechariah 9:9; Luke 19:29-38

His betrayal by a friend ——————- Psalm 41:9; Luke 22:47, 48

The price of His betrayal ———– Zechariah 11:12; Matthew 26:15

Spat upon and beaten ——————— Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67

Crucified between two thieves ———- Isaiah 53:12; Mark 15:27, 28

The wounds in His body ——— Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34; 20:27

His words on the cross ———————— Psalm 22:1; Mark 15:34

Given vinegar and gall to drink ——– Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34

Gambling for His clothes ——- Psalm 22:17, 18; Matthew 27:35, 36

None of His bones were to be broken — Psalm 34:20; John 19:32, 33

To be buried with the rich ———— Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60

His resurrection ——————————- Psalm 16:10; Luke 24:1-7

 

 

 

 

Play It Where It Lies

 I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. 

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:7 

 

 I have a confession to make. Often when I play golf I don’t play by the rules, if my opponent will allow me not to. For example, if I hit into the woods or a bunker, I will find my golf ball and throw it out onto the fairway instead of having to hit my way out. After all, all fairways are different and if I had been on another fairway I probably would not have hit into the woods or bunker anyway, so it’s just not fair. Why should I have to deal with something that could have been avoided by just playing on a different course? It’s not fair for other people to compare my score to theirs if they have not played on the same course.  

At least that’s how I used to play but not anymore. In a Bible study I was giving tonight somebody said something that totally changed how I look at my golf game as well as life. We were talking about the trials God sees us through and talking about how those trials make us stronger. We mentioned the Andre Crouch song called “Through It All.” In that song Andre asks the question, “If I didn’t have any problems how could I know my God could solve them?” 

 That is when it hit me. Back in early February I was watching the AT&T Pebble Beach PGA classic on TV. I remembered when Steve Lowry who later won the classic, was hitting out of a sand trap in the middle of the fairway. I marveled when he hit out of the sand trap and onto the green some 150 or 200 yards away just a few feet from the hole! What a beautiful shot! I am lucky if I can just get out of the trap. No way could I ever get up onto the green from a trap that far away. Tonight it hit me that I never will be able to do that if I keep throwing my ball into a more favorable position instead of just playing it where it lies, like Steve Lowry did. God will never be able to show me and the world what He can do for and through me unless I learn in golf and life to just play the ball wherever it lies. I can make excuses that I am just on a tough fairway and should be excused from the trial. I can just pick up my ball and drop it in a more favorable spot and just hit from there. Or I can just call upon the really great God that I have to help me right where I am. I can go play on an easier course or I can let God develop the skills I need to win right where I am.

From now on, I will play my way out of the woods and out of the sand traps and bunkers, so I can develop myself into the type player who, will one day hit out of a difficult place right onto the green next to the hole. I won’t be just dropping the ball out of the woods and traps to a more favorable spot. I will be facing my trials head on. I won’t be blaming my problems on the particular fairway I am on. I will accept my lot in life and just play the ball where it lies. I will allow God to use these trials to make me a better person not just on the golf course but in life. 

 Who knows? Maybe one day my most beautiful shot in golf or life may come while I am in the woods or a sand trap.

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

My Personal Saturday Night Ritual

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Okay I want to share something personal on my blog tonight. I mean what’s the point of having a personal blog if you don’t write personal things.  It’s not a big deal, but I want to share with you a personal ritual that I have. I share this because I wonder if anyone else does this or if they themselves have any personal rituals that no one else knows about or may be unique.

 

 

Here is what I have been doing for a long time now. My ritual is the way I wind down on Saturday nights, not just from the day but kind of from the whole week. I love it when my Sabbaths are full and busy. Often at the end of a very full and busy Sabbath Saturday night will find me with a group somewhere or maybe two or three friends having a quiet dinner at a restaurant. To me that is a very relaxing way to end the day. But then I do something else that I am not sure if anyone else ever does or not. Here goes:

 

 

After I leave my friends at the end of the night and everyone else goes home to bed I go to a convenience store and buy my favorite cherry Soda. I then get in my car, put in my favorite CDs and cruise Tampa Bay, especially Bayshore as I just relax, cruise and think about what a wonderful life I have and what a wonderful week it has been. I relive in my mind the highlights of the week. I think about my friends and the nice things they said and did that week. I think about the answers to prayers and little miracles I saw that week. It could be anything from someone we anointed at church surviving a risky surgery or it could be something simple but just as inspiring, like someone showing up at church after getting upset and saying they would never come back. I may contemplate something I said or did that was rude and then contemplate how forgiving the person was who I said that to, and how quickly they forgot what I did. I will then ask myself to be just as loving and forgiving, and ask God to help me be nicer.

 

 

Any way I just drive around for a few minutes all by myself contemplating what a beautiful place I live in, what good friends I have, and how lucky I am. I love being with friends, but I also really love my time alone with just God and my thoughts. I love reflecting on life and even analyzing it a little bit. Sometimes when I think of getting married I fear that I will not have any time to myself anymore. I think I may be different in the fact that I love both being with friends and being all alone. As a single person I get to be in control of when I am with people and when I am alone.

 

 

I love my Sabbaths. I love them full and busy and with friends. Then at the end of the night I love ending it with just God and me and a nice cruise, relaxing to my favorite drink and CDs as I reflect on the day and previous week. I love driving along the shore. I love driving through the old neighborhoods on Davis Island. I love driving by the old churches we used to meet in over on Nebraska Avenue and Florida Avenue and just wondering what a Sabbath looked like there 50 or so years ago.  Wierd I know. I reflect on all my blessings and thank God for my life and for everyone and everything He has brought into it. Then I go home to bed with warm fuzzies in my heart. Sound like a strange ritual? I have never shared this with anyone before. If you have any personal rituals please share them with me. Sharing is fun.

Is The Sabbath Keeping You Holy?

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Is the Sabbath Keeping you Holy?

Many times we ask ourselves if we are keeping the Sabbath Holy. Or at least I hope we ask that. However, when we look at what the Sabbath really means we see that instead of us just keeping it holy, the real purpose is for it to keep us holy.

“Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it [is] a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that [ye] may know that I [am] the LORD that doth sanctify you.” Exodus 31:13 

We cannot sanctify ourselves or make ourselves holy. Only God can do that. The Sabbath is a sign of rest. We rest our faith in God who alone can sanctify us. Sanctify means to purify and set apart. The Sabbath is a sign that God is purifying us and setting us apart. So Seventh-day Adventism is not so much about a day being holy but more so about a people being holy. The Sabbath could not make itself holy. God made it holy. We cannot make ourselves holy but as we put away our works of the flesh and rest in God He will make us holy.

The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27 

Jesus makes it plain that man does not serve the Sabbath but the Sabbath serves man. In it we put away our works and rest in God’s grace. We do not make the Sabbath stand apart from all other days as much as it sets us apart from all other people. But how can it set us apart if we observe it like all other days?

For the Sabbath to keep us holy and set us apart we must let it be all that the Bible makes it to be. Satan has many false religions where you worship other gods. The Sabbath sets us apart from the world by not worshiping the gods of this world. Fact is you can keep the other nine commandments and worship the gods of this world. The Sabbath commandment is the only commandment that tells you who God is. “The seventh day [is] the sabbath of the LORD thy God……For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”  You can worship money and have no other god than money and go right down the line and keep all the commandments except the fourth which tells you money is not God and that your Creator is God. So the Sabbath not only sets us apart from the world it also sets God apart from all other gods.

The world has its own Sabbath and holidays and ways of observing them. In order for the Sabbath to purify us and set us apart from the world we must observe it the way the Bible teaches us. Putting away all work. Not even letting other people work for us. Refrain from buying and selling on the Sabbath. Doing good for others and not thinking of ourselves. Exodus 20:8-11 Nehemiah 13:15-18 Isaiah 58. Luke 6:9

Many people think keeping the Sabbath holy is being legalistic but in talking with them I find that the real issue is that they don’t think God calls upon them to do anything that would cause them any inconvenience or cause them to make a sacrifice. God does call upon us to make sacrifices. Luke 9:23 tells us to take up our cross daily to follow Him. Revelation 2:10 tells us to be faithful unto death, not just till it gets inconvenient.

This Sabbath, March 1, at the Tampa First SDA Church we will be exploring how the Bible teaches us to observe the Sabbath so that the Sabbath can keep us Holy. We will see how the Sabbath is not about works but is a sign of God’s amazing grace, a grace that we can rest in and be purified and set apart from the world.

If you are in the Tampa Bay area this Sabbath, March 1 please join us at the Tampa First SDA Church as we explore further “Is the Sabbath Keeping you Holy?”

You can find a Bible Study on the Bible Sabbath which Jesus kept, on my personal website.

Never Give Up

I am writing from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And you, being dead in your sins ….. hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses. Colossians 2:13

  

Friday’s section of this week’s SS lesson asks the question, “How can we help someone who is spiritually dead?”I must share an experience I had several years ago, early in my ministry that taught me to never give up. I was a Bible Worker in a small church in Oklahoma . For the sake of anonymity, I will name the following couple Joe and Jane. Joe had gone back to drinking and soon he and Jane both stopped coming to church. One night at prayer meeting someone reported that not only had they left the church for the world, but they even told us to stop praying for them. Of course we kept praying any way. After several weeks I finally found them at home. I thought I had talked them into at least letting me come back to study the Bible with them even if they would not come to church. We set a time for me to come back. When I returned, I was met at the door by Joe. He told me he could not study the Bible with me, because just the thought of reading the Bible made him so sick and depressed, that he could not stand it. So he sent me away. I walked back to my car fully convinced this man must have grieved the Holy Spirit away, since he had asked us not to pray for him, and even the thought of the Bible made him so sick. I decided if he had grieved the Spirit away, there was obviously no reason to contact him again, so I never did. I never saw Joe in church or anywhere else for that matter.

  

Three years later I was working in North Texas as a Bible Worker when I got a phone call from my mother. She wanted to know what set of Bible study guides I like to use. I told her the “Good News Study Guides” by Don Grey.  She told me she needed to get some study guides because my father and she had just begun some Bible Studies with Joe and Jane. I could not believe it! First of all my parents don’t normally give Bible studies, and I thought Joe had grieved away the Holy Spirit with his drinking and constant rebellion. While studying with my parents, Joe left his drinking and rebellion and a few weeks later both he and his wife were re-baptized! I called my parents before writing this story. They tell me Joe and Jane continue to be faithful members ten years later.

  

I believe God used my parents to study with them so that I would be aware of this happy ending for two reasons. 1. To show me I should never give up on anyone. 2. To show me what He was able to accomplish with absolutely no help from me. God is able to work His greatest miracles when I am nowhere in the picture. 

  

I was a young Bible Worker back then with a lot to learn. I have since learned to follow Jesus’ example in all I do. The reason I never give up on anyone now is simply this-Jesus left me with no example on how to give up. He never taught us to give up, never talked about giving up, never thought of giving up. Even if someone seams spiritually dead we do not need to stop praying and give up. Jesus raises the dead! “Even when we were DEAD in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved.  Ephesians 2:5

Golfing With The Alligators

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Ron and I went golfing today, but my game was not going well so I decided to go back to my other hobby which is photography. So I took some pics of an alligator we met on the 11th tee. Actually we did not even notice the alligator behind us until we had already teed off. So I had Ron take a pic of me as I posed how I was when I teed off not knowing I was being watched.

Here are some golf quotes I found in a book by Golf Magazine called “The Wacky and Wonderful World of Golf.”

“It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.” -Mark Twain

“I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone’s game. It’s called an eraser.” – Arnold Palmer

“Ninety percent of the putts that fall short don’t go in.” -Yogi Berra

Folklore has it that after Jimmy Durante completed his first round ever- he scored well into the 200s- he asked his companions, “What should I give the caddie?” The answer: “Your clubs.”

By the way check out my small study golf group at my church!

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