Archive for July, 2011

Prison Ministry Update

July 30, 2011

A few weeks ago I wrote a post called “From a Prison Cell” (listed under Witnessing). About how a prisoner named Eldon who was doing God’s work among his own fellow prisoners. My heart was gladdened this week as I read his latest letter. Let me share the good tidings.

Because he is under a “security system” there are many different checkpoints things must go through (including letters) before they can reach the individual prisoners. We had talked about me sending the two-part DVD set called “The Lord’s Day” to the prison to show the men a great video on the truth about the Sabbath. Finally after several weeks he has indicated we are on go for me to send it out. It’ll go through review then get forwarded to the Chaplin to arrange a showing. Praise the Lord, that powerful Sabbath tool will be seen by these hungry souls (spiritually).

There were several highpoints in his letter. He mentioned that he taught the Sabbath lesson (which was after the sermon). He was aware that some of my dear brothers and sisters would like to pen-pal with a prisoner, in hopes of strengthing them in their faith. As we know Jesus said HE WAS IN PRISON, remember? He wanted to know- did you visit Him?

 So he expected a couple hands to go up. NINE went up! You see, we must understand that these souls are hungry and lonely. Yes, they screwed up, but haven’t we all? Our Lord knows that some really want to get straight and if they reach out (Like Eldon) and seek the Lord, they will find Him right there  in prison!

Eldon also said he is getting ready to give next week’s sermon (pray for him) and it will be on — how keeping the Commandments are the result of KNOWING Jesus, not works of ourselves. When I read things like this from this prisoner I realize God shows His truth to any and all no matter their circumstances, they just gotta want to know it! Eldon is being given good light in which to lead his fellow inmates- Praise the Lord!

Now, that brings me to ask if any one who’s heart is touched wants to write one of those spiritually hungry hands that went up, let me know. I have 9 names and addresses. 2 people (responders of the last post) will be writing to two of them.

  in Christ, Rob

Teachable Spirit

July 23, 2011

Being a professed teacher of the things of the Lord, there perhaps is no more fulfilling words to hear than “I want to learn and am a teachable spirit”. Those that possess this Spirit are whom the Lord delights. But the ones who say this must know (Isaiah 8:20) completely in their heart, for this is the GREAT STANDARD all teachers are judged. ” To the Law and to the Testimony, if they speak not these words, it is because they have no light in them”.

Once we know this standard for the teachers of Christ, we can look back upon history and see that the some of the teachers who were VERY popular in the world didn’t believe in the standard. They spoke a most solid message EXCEPT with subtle but important errors. Men like Martin Luther *  and Billy Graham * come to mind. But their comtemporaries–Oswald Glait , Andreas Karlstadt (during Luther’s time) and Joe Crews, all well known in their own time and taught at the same time,  yet never got the world wide following that these got. They taught the standard.

In (James 3:1) we read “My Brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgement”. These are stern and warning words that our teaching must be the truth. Our Lord does tell us that there is GREAT REWARD for the righteous teachers (Matt 5:19) “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of the Commandments and teaches others to do so, shall be called least in the kingdom of God, but whoever does and TEACHES THEM, he shall be called great in the kingdom of God”. Here the Lord equates Commandment teaching with “greatness”. This is something us teachers must always remember!

One of the greatest obstacles we as teachers face is pride. It truly saddens me when I try to show someone the truth according to scripture and it goes against their belief or learning they have been told. But when it comes to the opposite situation my joy is great– a open and humble “teachable spirit”. Let me give you a recent example. Her name is Teri.

In my post recently called “If we talk the talk, we must walk the walk” I tried to give a helpful guide to a righteous walk before the Lord. She received the post and was blessed by it. In her excitement she sent it off to her pastor. A SDA pastor no less. She was in mild shock when she received his response. In it he said some was good but alot was “legalistic”, sort of like the teachings of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time. Huh?  This was the same response Teri had. Teri wasted no time and sending an email back correcting him according to scripture (Ezekiel 3:19) “If you warn the wicked, and he does not turn  from his wickedness, nor turn from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity, but you shall have delivered your soul”.

 Wow. I feel like Jesus did when the centurion so impressed Him with his words. She is really the example of a teachable spirit. Being in the Holy Spirit she reconized the post and the truth it was saying and was warmed by it. She didn’t cower and meekly “accept” his reproof. I honestly fear for people like this pastor. It shows me something is seriously amiss. When we teach that to obey the Commandments is VERY important and that we should teach others, and people find fault in it, I seriously become concerned.

I am also reminded of this very important point. In (John 14:26) we read “But the helper, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you”.  Here we see that it is the Holy Spirit who is our primary teacher.

The Holy Spirit is indeed helping us and giving us “Discernment” to know the truth and falsehood.Those who are secretly cherishing sins in their life CANNOT expect to have this clear discernment. As we let go of our sins, our vision and understanding of “Holy” things of God get more clear. I know in my own walk, as I have let go of my idols and many sins, my understanding of God’s word and truth is really clearer than anytime before.

In (Mal 2:7) God points out how the teachers (priests) should be  teachers of His Law (Holy 10 Commandments) “For the lips of a priest should keep knowledge, and people should seek the LAW from his mouth, for he is a messenger of the Lord of hosts.” 

Lastly, as a teacher, one of the most important things to remember is we must NEVER ignore questions directed to us.  This shows us to be either ignorant, prideful, or careless. All definitely not Christ like qualities.

So let us desire to use (Isaiah 8:20) as our guideline if we desire to teach. Praying often that we never think we have all the truth and can’t learn. Ellen White has said we will ever be learning new truths through out eternity, I can’t wait to know the vast truths that exist, I want to be a “teachable spirit”    amen.

In Christ, your servant, Rob

*  Many are well familar that pastor Graham taught Sunday was the Holy day of God. As far as Luther, it is well known among historians that he was anti- Sabbath as well

If we talk the talk, we must walk the walk

July 9, 2011

As many know, the last book of God’s word describes those who will be saved (Rev. 22:14) ” Blessed are they that DO His Commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life”.

The Lord  guided me to do this post to more throughly show examples of keeping His Commandments. To get a clearer view on what it means to “Walk the walk”. When it was recently revealed to me about the 144,000 ( post “The 144,000” listed under Salvation), it really sent me to do some soul searching and to realign my path to help bring the truth out more fully and seriously. Partial obedience WILL NOT satisfy. It is of the DEEPEST concern for our spiritual welfare to know what is required of us.

Jesus said few will enter into the eternal kingdom. Ellen White (our last Prophetess) said the same thing. They are not lying. So we must have a healthly fear (reverence) and look at our lives and ask–  Am I doing enough to be found worthly of His kingdom?  As we read above,  His word makes it clear His Commandments are key. The following guide will make it very plain to examine your life to see if you are indeed DOING His Commandments and not just going through the motions. Let us break down the “walk”.

#1   “Love the Lord your God with all your heart , mind and soul”

Are you doing these things— Reading His word daily?  Praying daily?  Telling people about Him daily  or at least very frequently?Do you pray frequently a similar prayer as this?  “Father, help me to keep your Holy Commandments, and if I error please let me know about it”.  If you are, you’re well on your way to doing  the first one.

#2   “No other God’s before Him, or worship Idols”

Do you have a certain hobby or pursuit that constantly is taking most of your spare time?  Are you placing objects or persons before Him?   We must be careful to use our time wisely and not devote our spare time to continually putting things or even loved ones in front of  our Lord.  Let me give you an example.

Let’s say your spouse has worked hard for a long time in pursuit of a certain degree. Their graduation is next Saturday. They are excited to “finally” get the degree. You think long and hard about attending, you say to yourself   ” It’s just this once, God will understand, I’ll go”.   No!  You have now put your spouse BEFORE God. This is particulary bad  because it’s a “premeditated sin”. If you make little “exceptions” like this and put people or things in front of Him, you are carelesly tossing aside His word- not good!

Read (Numbers 15:32) for alittle story of a man who put his family before God and His Law (harmlessly collecting sticks, so he thought). And he didn’t get a second chance!

#3   “Do not take His name in vain”

This is pretty clear cut but what many don’t realize is the following. When you HEAR someone in your presence take the Lord’s  name in vain you MUST correct Him. If you do not, YOU have just silently agreed with what they have done. You don’t have to go into a sermon with them , it can be a simple  “You know it’s better to say Jeepers Creepers”   and leave it at that. Ofcourse they may want more info, and it’ll be  a chance to spread His word!(that’s why it’s a good idea to have cards with your  name and number with you-for studies)

#4   “Keep the Sabbath Holy”

By keeping it “Holy” it is meant that we are not to do our normal activities (work, pleasure and such). This Is the Lord’s Day. It’s amazing how often He called it  “My Sabbaths”  in the Old Testament. Proper worship and respect is our duty for this day. But some think ” Oh, I’ll run to the store real quick and buy that little item I forgot to get for lunch” No!  Or they will say ” I’ll stop at the gas station because I forgot to do it yesterday, He’ll understand”. No!   These “little” things are NOT LITTLE to God. You  might as well go to the keg party because in God’s sight YOU JUST DID! 

 Read again the little sticks story (Numbers 15:32-36). If you continue to do these little breaks here and there, you’ll be grieving the Holy Spirit.

#5   “Honor your Father and Mother”

This one isn’t a part-time one when YOU feel like it. It mean always honoring them. You don’t yell at them or generally dis-respect them. Here’s an example.  Your Father promised to help you on that loan payment, but he didn’t do so. Father’s day is coming up in a couple days. You say to yourself  ” Forget him! He doesn’t deserve any call from me!”  That would be bad to the Lord. Instead you should swallow your pride and call him anyway. Honoring takes precedence over “our” feelings.

#6   ” Do not murder”

Thankfully we need not worry (almost  everyone) about the “literal” act of doing this. But the spiritual one , explained by our Lord (Matt 5:21-22) is where we shouldn’t get into  heated exchanges with people. Murder in our eyes is considered as “breaking” this Commandment.

#7  “Do not commit adultery”

Again this one is pretty clear cut. But it would include “any” sex outside of marriage. Because His word says fornicators will not be allowed in the God’s Kingdom (Eph 5:5).

#   “Do not steal”

This one is wider than many think. For example if you hire someone to do work for you and you short-change him in what’s right for the work he did–you have “stolen” labor from him. You see how this has ALOT of variations? When you go to do your taxes DO NOT short change the government. If you do, you have stolen from the government. Remember Jesus said “render what is Ceasars  to Ceasar and to God what is God’s” (Luke 20:25). This one really requires you keep a mindful watch that you do not steal.

#9     ” Do not bear false witness against your neighbor”

This one I believe comes up the least often. But when someone does it , it is really bad to the Lord. It covers lying AGAINST someone.  Not just the typical lying that is done. Although that is called an abomination to God (Prov. 12:22)

#10    ” Do not covet”

This is another of those wide open ones. It covers ALOT. We must be careful that we don’t want, want, want.  We can want money, things, people’s approval over God’s approval, etc. above and beyond what we truly need. The ultimate breaker of this one was Satan. He wanted (coveted) worship, power, exaltation. His coveting was his undoing. So we too must be sure we aren’t coveting. This is a sneaky one , for sure!

Hopefully this is a good guideline for your “walk” and possibly it has made you aware of some little things that are really BIG things to God.. The Lord doesn’t want ANY to miss His kingdom. But His pardon for you and I meant we are given a clean slate. The Holy Spirit comes in and helps us walk uprightly. We dare not go on messing our clean slate  up (continual sinning) if we truly love Him(John 14:15) and want to be called into His Kindom.Remember we are told we only have two duties (Ecc 12:13) “Fear God and keep His Commandments”. The “fear” part comes in when we don’t want to do those little “breakings” for fear our walk will not be right with Him.Let us go to bed each night knowing we did our best according to His word.

 In Christ,  Rob

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