Archive for the ‘Brotherly love’ Category

Meet Sister Bonnie Smith

March 25, 2017

Image result for old lady praying in dark

Once in a great while, people are blessed and encouraged to meet a person who has “walked the walk” as well as “talked the talk” all their life. We’d like to introduce you to a very special woman, someone who has “fruit” of which any true-hearted Christian can recognize.

Our King said, “So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matt. 7:20)

The message tells us —

“..only a true Christian, one who has a personal experience with God, a perfect knowledge of His Word, and who is filled with His Spirit, can discriminate saint from sinner.  He, only, can recognize who has the seal and who does not have it, when the latter is cloaked in a counterfeit robe of righteousness.” (Tract 5, p.63)

So the Word tells us in two specific examples that we can know who truly has the “seal” of God. What a blessing and promise to those who are truly striving to make Christ the center of their life, to have such discernment!

Her name is Bonnie Smith. She is 87 years old now. At the end of this post you will be able to see a video of her just a few days ago, taken when she was invited to a Los Angeles church to testify of her Christian experience (She lives in South Carolina). One that very very few people have had.

Let us give you a little history of our sister. She is one of only two known survivors today, to have lived on the original property, known as Mt. Carmel, in Waco Texas. As far as anyone knows, sister Bonnie and a man known as Don Adair, are the only two active living proclaimers of the message who lived on the property.

She came with her family in 1936, one year after the beginning of the “camp”, as it was known back then, was established. She was but a small child. So her young life was an upbringing in the counsels and teachings of Victor Houteff, who many today believe was the prophesied “Elijah” to come as spoken of in Mal. 4:5.

Among other things she learned was that a reformed life was essential to knowing Christ. In his very first publication brother Houteff announced his intent of his mission–

“It is the intention of this book to reveal the truth of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7, but the chief object of this publication is to bring about a reformation among God’s people.” (SRod, vol. 1, preface)

It is a well known fact that the “camp” was a model of pious Christian living, all was orderly, clean and everyone contributed. The present truth message was given often through the chapel on the grounds. The printing press was going almost non-stop, as brother Houteff worked tirelessly to give what some of us know as the last message to the SDA church.

So as with all true Christians, brother Houteff walked the walk. He oversaw a camp that held to all the reformed ways of living as outlined in the Bible and SOP. This was a matter of careful obedience. And those who lived there showed it! Dress, worship , proper Sabbath adherence, etc. all was a way of life on the camp.

Today, we as present truth believers have much to be thankful for to sister Bonnie. She collected numerous photos of the old days and her knowledge of the message is still quite good. She keep many of the original writings of the message and has  been very instrumental in their preservation.

For some of her photo collection click here–
http://shepherds-rod.org/photo/index.html

When you open the photos take a close look at page 8, you’ll see that when the photo came out, the lights above the main office showed a cross appearing above the masonry clock.

I have coordinated a couple of phone conferences with her and many people have been blessed listening to her describe some of the events and happenings that took place back in the day. She tells of the many miracles that occurred, the true love that those on the camp experienced as team players of one accord for the Lord. Their utmost respect and admiration of the man they came to know as the last prophet to our SDA church– Victor Houteff.

Of course one can really never know these things unless one experiences it and decides to read the message carefully through and through. Afterall those who don’t put credence in the Lord’s word, that He will send a last day prophet “Elijah” just before the great and dreadful day of the Lord, are going to miss out on what was sent by our King. But not the case with sister Bonnie and other devoted families that lived upon the camp.

Obviously nearly all have passed away, yet God has preserved this one special lady that we may be encouraged and see her fruit, and that it is good indeed!

When you watch this video remember what God said through his word about those who He will call His own —

  1. God’s people are humble and sincere
    “If My people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14)

2.  God’s people pay attention to dress

“.. that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and                         sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but with what is                 proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” (1 Tim. 2:9-10)

3.  God works through the pure in heart

“He says, “You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring My salvation to the ends of the earth.”(Isaiah 49:6)

“The Holy Spirit works in the children of obedience. He who is a partaker of the divine nature will think the thoughts of God. His perceptions will be sanctified by the grace of Christ. He will work in Christ’s lines, manifesting His kindness, thoughtfulness, mercy, and love, helping and not discouraging those around him.” (MS 73, 1901)

In closing, enough of the preliminaries, may you see for yourself who represents what is known as a “Davidian Seventh-day Adventist.” As they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

 

Our Christmas Attitude

December 31, 2016

christmas

Now that another Christmas has come and gone, we thought it would be good to reflect upon this season and how, we as present truth believers, should view it from Inspiration’s point of view. Due to some circumstances that occurred, we saw the necessity to clarify some important aspects of this season.

Let’s face it, Christmas has caused a great deal of happiness, frustration, envy, bitterness, disgust and a myriad of other human feelings among us as Christians.Many are no doubt aware that it is most likely not Christ’s birthday, yet, the season and Christ is brought up through out the world for approximately 30 -45 days.

We basically see 4 categories of SDA views as to how we react to the season known as Christmas.

1) SDA worldlies. These are just as Inspiration said “steadily retreating back to Egypt”(Testimonies vol. 5, p.217) And they indulge in this season just as if they were not in the least a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2.9).

SOP describes them– “By the world the holidays are spent in frivolity and extravagance, gluttony and display…. Thousands of dollars will be worse than thrown away upon the coming Christmas and New Year’s in needless indulgences.” (AH, p.480)

2) SDA Lukewarms. This probably is by far the majority. They are careful not to show any outward display of too much “Christmasy” things yet if they see a brother or sister with their house all light up or the many worldly presents set neatly under the tree–they wink and smile. Santa and reindeer post cards may even be sent. They do not correct their brethren in the least. These are they who, again, Inspiration describes–

“If wrongs are apparent among His people, and if the servants of God pass on indifferent to them, they virtually sustain and justify the sinner, and are alike guilty and will just as surely receive the displeasure of God; for they will be made responsible for the sins of the guilty. In vision I have been pointed to many instances where the displeasure of God has been incurred by a neglect on the part of His servants to deal with the wrongs and sins existing among them. Those who have excused these wrongs have been thought by the people to be very amiable and lovely in disposition, simply because they shunned to discharge a plain Scriptural duty. The task was not agreeable to their feelings; therefore they avoided it.” (Testimonies, vol. 3, p.266)

3) SDA Present Truthers and haters of Christmas.  These are perhaps the ones most confused. While the above two groups carry on in their ignorance, not knowing present truth for the most part, these know the Elijah message well, yet have taken a “Pharisaical” position against any Christmas celebration and even the name “Christmas” is an abomination to them. They are in real jeopardy of neglecting what God’s word says —

“..but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Esp. 4:15-16)

4) SDA  Present Truthers who stay in the middle of the road.   These as we will attempt to point out should be the ones who we should desire to be. Based on the “whole” word of the Truth we shall see that we cannot pit our two last prophets against each other, rather the last message of Elijah gives us advice–

“Inspiration, moreover, always brings the messengers of God into perfect harmony, never into division…we see that God not only never delegates one agent to alter, to reset, or to countermand the message with which He has charged another agent without His first making the matter known to both..” (Answerer, vol. 1, Q-3)

So the Pharisaic SDA’s should understand that we cannot use brother Houteff’s words on Christmas and throw out Ellen White’s or vice versa. We must attempt, upon prayer, to understand the right attitude to take in regards to Christmas by studying BOTH to see the clear light.

Yes, in Tract 13, brother Houteff goes into the folly of celebrating the heathen Christmas. But the balance from the two prophets is to be seen and can be if we do not neglect either.

The Lord impressed upon me to discuss this situation  because of what happened on a recent photo we posted. The following is the photo that went up —

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Let me briefly explain the background of this picture and our motivation. As we got to church, soon my wife whispered  over to me that she would like to get a picture near the podium after services. I readily agreed.

After service we found one of the deaconesses who was standing up front and asked her to take a picture of us. She did and we thanked her for her help. Later when we got home my wife downloaded it to our computer. I reviewed it with her and agreed it came out satisfactorily.

Later, we thought it would be a good idea to share it on Facebook along with a note to say “thanks” to all our FB friends and relatives for being our FB acquaintances. More importantly it also gave us an opportunity to encourage all of them to strive to make it to the kingdom. I said ” I want to see each and every one of you in the upcoming kingdom.”

But, later after we took the picture, I did notice that unbeknownst to me at the time, we were standing in front of a big sign on the wall, as well as the Christmas ornaments. This was a couple of weeks before Christmas.

The sign as shown said, “Thank you for celebrating Jesus with us today, Merry Christmas and may God bless you and your loved ones.”

By way of disclosure, my wife and I do not celebrate  Christmas due to the overwhelming pagan customs attached to it. We did a post showing more clearly our position in regards to Christmas.https://godsloveandlaw.com/2013/12/14/christmas-a-christians-perpective-2/

The photo generated a good reception (many likes and comments) but there was one comment that really struck me. I had been warned by the Spirit that this photo would bring some “anti- Christmas” responses, so it did not really surprise me. Actually I was expecting more of those type of comments than we got.

But let us look at this issue closely, especially in regards to the all too common “Pharisaical” attitude that some can have. First, let’s look at the comment made by a proclaimed present truth believer (by way of disclosure we know this woman and her profession in the Elijah message) .

“We don’t celebrate Christmas. That’s Idolatry. The reason to celebrate xmas is money and worshiping diablo. Idolatry worshiping.”

Now to be frank, if my wife and I had posted a picture of us under our Christmas tree with presents then I would certainly understand the public perception inference made by it.

But as I read this, frankly I was quite amazed .  First, this person assumed that because we had this picture taken with the words on the church wall and the decorations, we were “worshippers” of Christmas. She ignored our main point and that was to thank all our friends for being with us during the year and to encourage them to strive for the kingdom–all ignored!

As I mentioned to one of the comment responders who also rebuked her, this situation reminded me of the Pharisees, who would ever have their eyes open for any wrongdoing such as those who would walk one more foot than the long string measured out for the distance to walk to the temple. This would be considered “working” on the Sabbath.

She obviously knows very little about our views on Christmas, but preferred to shoot first and ask questions later. I strongly rebuked her in the comment section for such assumptions, claiming us as “idolaters”.

Let us take a look at the following picture–

Image result for picture of ellen white's gravesite

Ah, Ellen White was a freemason and pagan worshiper, she has an obelisk on her grave! Yes brethren this is a perfect example how we as present truth believers can falsely fail to see the whole picture and make foolish assumptions. If one was to take a picture standing on this site, and post it to your fellow believers, would some also accuse them of worshiping freemasonry?

Ok let us look at some SOP quotes regarding Christmas.

“..it is our privilege to depart from the customs and practices of this degenerate age; and instead of expending means merely for the gratification of the appetite or for needless ornaments or articles of clothing, we may make the coming holidays an occasion in which to honor and glorify God. ” (AH, p.480)

What a powerful statement! What we can see is that this so-called “pagan festival” can be turned around! That’s right, it can be “an occasion in which to honor and glorify God.” A worthy example is the set up of the nativity set in the living room, instead of the tree. This was shown with the post we did about the Smith family.

They turned this whole season around from the lights to the music to the presents. God was indeed glorified! If we have children , this can certainly be a “God honoring” inspired alternative.

“Now, brethren, let us on Christmas make special efforts to come before the Lord with gifts and grateful offerings for the gift of Jesus Christ as a Redeemer to the world. Let nothing now be spent needlessly, but let every penny that can be spared be put out to the exchangers. Satan has had his way in managing these occasions to suit himself. Now let us turn the current heavenward instead of earthward.” (Review and Herald, December 9, 1884)

“While there may be some who will turn these occasions into seasons of careless levity, and whose minds will not receive the divine impress, to other minds and characters these seasons will be highly beneficial. I am fully satisfied that innocent substitutes can be devised for many gatherings that demoralize.” (Review and Herald, Dec. 9, 1884)

The Dreadful Ignoritis

October 29, 2016

Image result for picture of a man not listening to another man

NOTE: As a reminder we always color code our writings as follows :ORANGE is the Lord speaking, BLUE is Scripture/Spirit of Prophecy, BROWN is the Elijah message as brought by brother Victor Houteff.

 

In this week’s post we’d like to go into what we term “Ignoritis”. This disease is subtle and often those who have it don’t even know it. They blissfully look up to God as the picture shows yet often have their ears plugged (or eyes closed as the case may be). The Lord has placed this issue upon our heart to hopefully awake some of those who unfortunately have this malady.

The Lord says–
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matt. 7:12)

How simple yet profound are these words! This great principle should be the guiding principle in our Christian walk. In other words in the case of those with Ignoritis, if you want to be ignored when you reach out to your brothers and sisters in Christ (as you surely have)–then ignore the brethren. Of course the Ignoritis folk would not admit that they do this therefore a certain blindness is at work.

We have posted before on this topic yet time and again it rears its ugly head and the Spirit guides us to remind all that the idea that we are “servants” and not to be the served ones, is a Christian rule we cannot break with immunity. The Pharisees in Christ’s day were guilty of ignoring the humble masses and looked at themselves as superior or above the need to “serve” the people as Christ would have them.

They were also of the opinion that they were holier or above the people, and God said this was “smoke in His nostrils”.

“Who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, For I am holier than you!’ These are smoke in My nostrils, A fire that burns all the day.” (Isaiah 65:5)

Along with the above reference we can read this as well–
“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.” (Eph. 6:7-8)

The idea that we are servants not only to the Lord but to one another is again brought forth from our King–
“..whoever desires to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever desires to become first among you will be slave of all.(Mark 10:43-44)

None of us who are serious Christians would deny that we would want to be called “great” by Jesus, would we? Yet the turf that comes with this is the mentality of being subservient to others, especially in the faith. The least of those who reach out to us should be the top priority.

I am reminded of a successful businessman who once said , ” To be successful you will have to deal with people you don’t click with or even dis like.”  This is also true in our “business” of saving souls. Sometimes there may be a brother or sister who you know or have heard that they are “too talkative”, “too pushy” or “too whatever” yet it is those who can possibly be helped instead of ignored.

For example, I met sister V, about a year ago, She got my number from a mutual brother. She called and we discussed many topics. As we talked I was a little taken aback because she just would not stop talking. But the Spirit told me to bear with her. Fast forward to today, she is one of my closest sisters in the faith. Her insight and ability to grasp the Lord’s Truth is quite a pleasure to behold.

Let us give some recent examples of those with Ignoritis.

Sister V attempted to call one of the leading “present truth” organizations in trying to receive some material. Both times she was promised someone would get back to her and no one did. This is uncalled for. As representatives of the Lord’s Elijah message, we of all people must set the example. Again the Word counsels us–

“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (Gal.6:10)

So we ask, is it “doing good” to ignore a believer who is reaching out? Absolutely not. This is Satan’s trick, “You are too busy, don’t waste your time on this sister.”

Another example was a recent one that I was involved in. The Lord led me to put together a report on the 144,000. I complied a study to be given via phone conference. It was made specifically for my local SDA church. We passed out approximately 10 cards with the phone conference time and other info. Almost all of the church members said it sounded good and would try to attend. At the designated hour–NO ONE SHOWED.

We can understand that people’s schedules change or something happens that they cannot attend. However, what we cannot agree with is the discourteous ignorance in not letting us know what happened or even any update. Ignoritis in mass.  This all shows that SOP was entirely right–

“Men and women are in the last hours of probation, and yet are careless and stupid,..” (Testimonies, vol.2, p.337)

The time is about up and our church is full and satisfied, “rich and increased with goods”(Rev. 3:17) with no need to study to attain His final instruction message to us, a message that gets us sealed in the forehead to stand in the great and dreadful day (Mal. 4:5).

To be clear, we are not saying that all of us in the faith must respond back at all times. For example we had a series of email studies with a brother a while back and after a while it became evident that his questions were not to learn or share but rather to try to disprove anything  he disagreed with. Finally after our warning and his continued emails of more of the same, we had to quit responding.

The Scriptures expound more about righteous shunning–

“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one do not eat.”(1 Cor. 5:11)

“Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.” (Titus 3:10)

So yes we need discernment and in some cases our ignoring is justified. But the vast majority are not guilty of the above and deserve our undivided attention when applicable.

In closing, let us remember that we are called to “do good” especially to those of the household of faith. If any brother and sister reaches out to us, let us think as we are counselled–

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Phil 2:3-4)

 

 

Flattery Will Get You Nowhere

October 8, 2016

flattery

We are all aware of the fact that in our human relationships, we can sometimes use flattery as a way of showing our love and affection. We all can remember being flattered and how good it felt, our carnal nature uplifted. But in God’s word we find a very cautious warning concerning the use of flattery.

This week we were guided to read the following Inspiration —

“I lift my voice of warning against praising or flattering the ministers. I have seen the evil, the dreadful evil, of this. Never, never speak a word in praise of ministers to their faces. Exalt God. Ever respect a faithful minister, realize his burdens and lighten them if you can; but do not flatter him, for Satan stands ready at his watchtower to do that kind of work himself.” (Testimonies, vol. 1, p.475)

Take notice of the “Never, never…” part. Rarely in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy has It been so emphatic as this. This shows the Lord’s prophetess getting down to business and forcefully making an important point. There is no doubt that some of us are guilty of this mis-application of praise and flatter.

I can remember saying on a few occasions , to a pastor or even fellow brother or sister who has made a Bible study report or the like–“Wow, that was great, you really did a good job” or the like. This, as shown from Inspiration is a big-no no.

Now to be clear, there is certainly a time and place for this, for example our spouses. We know that for us husbands, our wives like to told they look nice , are smart, etc. (and vice versa). For a Biblical example of the man-woman praise and flatter read “Song of Solomon.” But this family situation is much different in our relations to those in the faith.

Let us examine this snare of Satan and how we can go about complimenting one another yet staying within the above counsel.

There is not only the clear counsel above, but also a warning to the everyday use of  flatter in our worldly relations–
“A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps.”(Proverbs 29:5)

“Let me now be partial to no one, nor flatter any man. “For I do not know how to flatter, else my Maker would soon take me away. ” (Job 32:21-22)

“He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue.” (Proverbs 28:23)

But how do we handle this dilemma? How can we be verbally supportive of a brother or sister,  maybe even a pastor or elder?

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some are ; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”(Hebrews 10:25)

The word “exhorting” means to “strongly encourage” and to urge someone to do something. Let’s say you have read a report a brother has made. He has prepared something about Daniel 2, the vision of the stone (144,000) striking the world’s kingdoms. You want to let him know you were blessed by it.

How do we say something “strongly encouraging” yet not flattering? Below are some examples for your consideration.

“Brother, I want to thank you for the report. This Truth, was such a blessing.”

“Praise the Lord! The report opened my eyes to some prophecies I was not aware.”

“These reports are encouraging, may the Lord be praised and the people enlightened.”

Now let’s contrast this to a sinful flattering encouragement.

“Brother your report was great. You are really speaking the truth.”

“Wow, the report you did truly is fantastic and you are truly gifted.”

I am amazed at your written report! I am blessed because of you.”

Notice the stark differences. The top compliments aim to give the credit to the Lord and “His” Truth. Just as SOP counselled–“Exalt God.” The bottom compliments aim to center the praise on the person doing the report not on God.

The Scripture says–

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)

The “Truth” is Jesus and belongs to Jesus. We must remember that our work is simply spreading “His” truth. Therefore we should not take any credit for teaching, spreading and communicating His truths.

Someday the Lord will reveal the rewards to the rightful due parties. But now is not our time to collect any praise or flatter. The Lord Himself shall bestow that upon His faithful servants.

“His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt. 25:23)

 

 

Get Out of the Me BOX

May 14, 2016

selfish

It is a well known fact, not only within the Scriptures but in human psychology, that we as humans have predominantly one person who usually is the center of our universe– ourselves. Many may scoff at this but it may not be consciously that we believe this, but certainly unconsciously.

With this human trait grounded deep within us, those of us who attempt to change our nature, our core, can only succeed by the transformation of the Holy Spirit, Christ within us.I came across a Spirit of Prophecy quote so deep and profound, it is the basis of this week’s post. Let us read.

 “Now sin has marred God’s perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf.

The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds. The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud.

The angels of glory find their joy in giving,–giving love and tireless watchcare to souls that are fallen and unholy. Heavenly beings woo the hearts of men; they bring to this dark world light from the courts above; by gentle and patient ministry they move upon the human spirit, to bring the lost into a fellowship with Christ which is even closer than they themselves can know.”(Desire of Ages, p.20-21)

What we see is that all things were created for benefit of another. Only man “lives unto itself.” With this thought in mind let us look at how this selfish nature is at work among us and how we can get going and get out of the –me box.

One of the great and sorrowful lessons of our past history is the story of the blind man’s parents.

“The Jewish leaders still refused to believe the man had been blind and could now see, so they called in his parents. They asked them, “Is this your son? Was he born blind? If so, how can he now see?”His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind. But how he now sees we do not know, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who had announced that anyone saying Jesus was the Messiah would be expelled from the synagogue. That’s why they said, “He is old enough. Ask him.” (John 9:18-23)

Truly a sad sad situation! Here were supposedly excited and grateful parents who witnessed their blinded by birth son’s eyesight return, yet they selfishly denied Christ! Their only concern was to not be expelled from their church even though a life changing miracle was given their son by a man called Jesus. In other words they refused to leave their me box and stand out alone what ever may fall- for the Truth.

And that is key to getting out of our boxes, to not be afraid of the circumstances that comes with standing up for Jesus and His word as delivered by His prophets. Have you ever asked yourself– Why is it that we as the “Israel of today” (Testimonies vol. 9, p.164) are prophesied to have “only” 144,000 sealed amongst us? Yes, it is because so many of us refuse to get out of the me box! The Lord’s last message of Elijah is derided, mocked, scorned and dismissed and who among us wants to be associated with that?  Only those willing to get outside of the safety of their box and face the consequences.

Let’s look at another example, that of our King.

“As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me...On hearing this, many of His disciples said, “This is a difficult teaching. Who can accept it?”..As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore.”(John 6:59,61, 66)

The Lord had just given the people strong and deep meat (truth) and in doing this it struck the people as strange words. In order to do this Jesus, our example , stepped out of His comfort zone and gave them the words of life. In  other words all our Lord had on His mind was His people not Himself, however strange it might make Him appear.

Do we today have this same “I want to help my brothers and sisters no  matter if I must be put in uncomfortable situations” attitude? To proclaim the truth from the Lord, His final message of solemn warnings and instructions, we must be willing to “go it alone” if this is what it takes. Of course all those who side with the Lord, will never be alone despite what we see and feel from this world.

The Spirit of Prophecy shows us that those who step outside the box will be like Elijah, willing to speak the words of Truth come what may.

“The messages from heaven are of a character to arouse opposition. The faithful witnesses for Christ and the truth will reprove sin. Their words will be like a hammer to break the flinty heart, like a fire to consume the dross. There is constant need of earnest, decided messages of warning. God will have men who are true to duty. At the right time He sends His faithful messengers to do a work similar to that of Elijah.” (Testimonies, vol.5, p.254) 

Being in this message I am frequently hearing from brethren, especially from the poorer countries, who tell of their experience within their own church. Their willingness to stand for the Lord’s final message and it’s often solemn declarations, has cost them their membership or rank within the church. Despite the opposition they have learned that it is not self they are worried about rather it is their brothers and sisters!

In closing, let us read what the message tells of our responsibilities. We can only do these faithful instructions if we step outside our–me box. May God help us to do that.

 

   The Responsibility of Those Who Bear the Message.

Since Ezekiel represents those whose hearts the message has reached, then to them the Lord is speaking when He says: “Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at My mouth, and give them warning from Me.  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.

   “Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because  thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul.” Ezek. 3 :17-21.

   Because of the unfaithfulness of the former watchmen, the Lord makes the antitypical Ezekiel — he and she who “sigh and cry for the abominations  that be done in the midst thereof” (the church) — a “watchman” (Ezek. 3:17) in their stead.  Be careful, therefore, Brother, Sister, lest you also betray your trust and find yourself thrust out.  “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” 1 Cor. 10:12.  Only those who thus humble themselves now, will the Lord exalt in due time to be

His Faithful Watchmen to Stand Before the Unfaithful (Tract 1, p.41-42)

Believe me brethren the above snare is much more common than we think. Far too many of us mount the judgment seat and declare this shortcoming and that shortcoming from the few large organizations that our doing their best to provide present Truth “meat” to all those hungry for it. But as we point out in this post we don’t have to solely relay on the formal organizations  to send out the Truth  today.

“No need to depend on the sanction of any minister or any people to do God’s work, God will vindicate you.”(1888 Materials , p.1746)

We’ve heard the famous quote, “He marches to his own beat.” Well, that’s another way of saying we don’t have to be told what to do, we pick up the shovel, hammer, wheelbarrow (figuratively speaking) and get to work! All that is required for us to be active in spreading the sealing message today is to be–self sacrificing.

 

 

 

Tough Love

September 21, 2013

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Many of us remember the famous documentary called ” Scared Straight”. Wikipedia describes it as follows, “Scared Straight! is a 1978 documentary directed by Arnold Shapiro. Narrated by Peter Falk, the subject of the documentary is a group of juvenile delinquents and their three-hour session with actual convicts. Filmed at Rahway State Prison, a group of inmates known as the “lifers” berate, scream at, and terrify the young offenders in an attempt to “scare them straight” (hence the film’s title) so that those teenagers will avoid prison life.”

There can be no doubt that the above is an extreme example of–tough love. The object is to reach out yet because of the circumstances, the approach is somewhat harsh and  firm. The situation calls for more than “nice words” to reach the parties. Let us look at a similar plan that God’s inspired word teaches us. A path that although “tough” is the right one to reach the wayward or lost.

Some of us also remember when we were kids, our mothers would make us take that awful tasting medicine. We’d yell and scream-“no, no!” Then in a little while we’d be much better and realize that the tough medicine really was good for us.Those with child like faith and humbleness would also see that tough love medicine is good for them, if they would repent from their unrighteousness.

In (Gal.6:10) we read,”So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Here we see that we are “especially” to do good to our brothers and sisters in the faith. There should be a special interest here. But when we desire to do good, could it be that being tough and firm, is the right approach, the real way to “do good” under a specific situation? We care so much for them that we give them tough medicine because under the circumstance, this is the best hope for a “cure”. A way to make them awake and hopefully to help them see that they are heading down the wrong path, potentially a deadly path.

Another example of tough love is from the Lord Himself, “As many as I love I rebuke and chasten…” (Rev.3:19). Our Lord loves us enough to straighten us out by correction in rebuke and chastising.

Some of us brethren have witnessed  brothers or sisters “in the faith” who take it upon themselves to kind of be the lone ranger, the gunslinger (spiritually) if you will. They closely watch others with a keen eye. Ready to criticize or rebuke at any thing they might witness that was not to their liking. They scour Facebook. Soon they leave a trail of discord. The brothers and sisters are all witnesses to the dissension they put forth, which they claim as God inspired.

Their approach is not Biblical because they fail to consult a couple of “neutral” brethren on the thing which they accuse the brethren publicly. Neutral parties could help collaborate it or not. All of this is the God inspired practice of settling the issue.

But over time it appears that nothing good comes from their attempt to straighten out what they claim as error. Worse yet some publicly lambasted the brethren. In (Roman 16:17) we read, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.”

So what are we to do with such a brethren? We are to give him tough love. That means avoid them. We shouldn’t appease them and mislead them by supporting them in any way. If we take the attitude of a sister who suggested that we “continue to love them and support them”, we are  in fact  dismissing our duty. Her idea of love is not real love, its false love and security, and goes against clear Scripture. Kind of like “forget your medicine brother, we’ll let you die but we love you.”

Remember sowing discord is one of the things the Lord hates. “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:…A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”(Proverbs 6:16-19)

Paul gives us clear tough love advice, “”If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” (Matt. 18:15-17).

Again Paul counsels, “As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”(Titus 3:10-11)

So here we see that we reach out first. If that fails we separate ourselves from them. The objective is to send a clear desperate signal that what they are doing is not right, even if they think it is. It is important , though, to let them know before you dis-associate from them why you are doing so and with the appropriate inspired words of God. This will at least let them know your reasons and they’ll hopefully ponder them. If you are somewhat close to them or friendly, this most surely will send a strong signal to awake IF their conscience  is not seared.

One thing you should not do is leave then with out telling them why. This would be most selfish and leave nothing but confusion with the person you are suppose to be helping.

What about a brother or sister who teaches a doctrine not firmly supported by the Scriptures, SOP, or Elijah message?  John has our tough love answer. ” He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”(2 John verses 9-11).

That’s very strong tough love, ” do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” How many of us today do this? But it’s the firm word of God is it not? Are we to ignore it has too harsh? No, it’s God tough love medicine to make them think strongly of their wrong course.

Today we hear from our pastors and leaders, “love everybody, fellowship with Sunday keepers, just accept them for who they are.” In fact it’s even worse than that. See the post “Backs to the Temple” of how we have not  turned them away from our house but welcomed them with arms wide open!  https://godsloveandlaw.com/2013/08/17/backs-toward-the-temple/

Let us review what we have learned. We should want to help those who we know to be in error. But we should be prepared that, should they dismiss our reaching out to them, we must dis-fellowship from them in order to send a serious signal that we see their path as a dangerous one.

So what are the main things we should consider in dis-fellowshipping with the brethren? To summarize —

1) Sowing discord — Constant criticizing, judging, arguing and so forth surely causes discord. As such we cannot support such behavior.

2) Spreading false doctrine — As we are obedient in the Lord, we’ll be helped to know what is from God and what is not. You can rest assured that those who are spreading false doctrine are not obeying the Lord, somewhere , somehow they are dis-obeying Him. The Spirit of Truth is promised us (John 16:13) and once we have received this gift we shall know Truth. Thus we cannot associate with those wanting to subvert His truth.

Some of the false doctrine may include :

a) Teaching that there is to come more than one prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

b) Teaching that no church purification happens prior to the Loud Cry.

c) Teaching that tells us we have to keep all the feasts and ceremonies. Jesus’ blood did not cover that.

d) Teaching of extreme grace. Our sins can remain in our life and practicing them is of no consequence to our salvation. The Lord forgives us regardless.

3) Hypocrisy — If we know a brother or sister who actively professes the faith yet we witness their continual sinning openly, we cannot support such behavior. This is quite serious and can only lead to their destruction and therefore we must send as strong a signal as possible to hopefully awake them.

How long must we reach out before we dismiss? There’s no set answer to that. The Holy Spirit must guide each case. In my own walk, I have been told to quickly dismiss certain individuals, with others I have been told to strive longer with them. I would suppose it depends on the unrighteousness (lack of right doing) they are doing.

As far as the ones who are planting seeds of false doctrine, we are more clear. “If anyone desires to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God or whether I speak of Myself.(John 7:17)

If we are obedient to the Lord we shall have that “sixth sense” of what is true doctrine and what is false. Consequently those who we know to be spreading false teachings and doctrines, we must avoid, even to the point of not accepting them into our homes. computers, or wherever.

The willingness to obey the Lord and live a converted life, no longer cherishing sins, really does give us 20/20 vision in knowing truth from error.

In closing, should they ever come to us in repentance, we should be like the proverbial father in the parable who sees him afar and can’t wait to accept him again (Luke 15:11-32). Unity is what gives us  brethren in Christ a strong foothold against the evil ones. If we obey the word of God in regards to tough love when we know by the Holy Spirit it’s to only course to take,  we will do as He says and leave the results with God.

Doing the Right Thing

May 4, 2013

Often many times throughout the day, we come upon the ol proverbial “fork in the road”. One side goes to the right (right doing) the other goes to the left (wrong doing).  We come to action time and we choose one or the other. The side we choose helps establish our faith.

If we can learn and practice choosing the “right side”, we’ll be doing what our prophetess said. “Righteousness means being good and doing good. Righteousness is obedience to the law. Righteousness is right doing, and it is by their deeds that all will be judged.” (Righteousness by Faith-E. White)

Let us look more closely at some aspects of choosing the right path daily. I’ll start with a recent example of something that occured in my Christian walk. As a part-time property manager, I have to oversee the maintenance and upkeep of certain properties.

We recently had a house where the tenants were evicted. They left the property in shambles. But I had just a couple decent handyman repairmen I could use. One was good yet VERY expensive. The other was good but unreliable. But the all knowing Lord was guiding the situation.

Last week I happened to stop at a local gas station to fill up. As I walk into the store a young couple was sitting on the floor with a “please help” sign. Although normally I may give a couple dollars, I rarely stop and talk with them.

But something was different with this couple. The Spirit nudged me to stop and talk. I found out that the young man (Joshua) and his girl friend were quite pleasant and courteous. I could sense that they were just “down and out” due to circumstances. But my attention was grabbed when he explained that he did handyman work. Bingo!  I took there number and told them I’d call them in a couple days.

To make the story short, I hired them and they are currently staying in the home while fixing it up. They have done superb work! But here’s what I want to say about this. They are obviously down and out and as such are vulnerable to cost-cutters and tightwads who could seize upon this situation and pay them way below what is fair.

In (James 2:1) we read, “My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism.”  And also (James 2:9), “But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.”

So clearly this was a “fork in the road” for me. Would I take advantage of this situation or would I do the right thing. I knew what was the thing to do in this manner.

This is just a small example of the kind of situations we can come upon where we must know that our Lord is watching.

You see it is great to know all the doctrines and theories, but it’s the basic daily steps we take and make that shows the Lord where our heart really is.

As we posted a while back, “If we talk the talk, we must walk the walk”. May the Lord give us the understanding of the basic “right doing” in our daily actions.

Blinded By The Light

March 30, 2013

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Some of us may remember the 1976  top charting music song called ‘Blinded by the light” by a group called Manfred Mann. As I waited for the Lord to guide me in what to write this week, that title occurred to me. I knew it would be the perfect title for the message this week. What we’ll look at is the situations where some professed followers of Christ who have received great knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures, even the Elijah message, yet have been “blinded by the light”. The light of the last present truth, the Elijah message, in particular,  can be a two-edged sword. We must be SO CAREFUL in remaining humble because as we’ll see the devils have a sneaky game plan for the ” light bearers”.

As we have learned, there is only one message that shakes Satan and the devils to the core now, it’s today’s Elijah message of warning to God’s remnant people. The message is sent to us to reform our lives, to stop the abominations going on in our own lives and the church and it sigh and cry about them. And as soon as the elect of God truly convert, then this  “small portion” as Ellen White said in (Test. to the Church, p.608-609) accept the warning and then it is that the final time clock starts and the 144,000 are sealed and the game changes. The power is upon the people of God and the great Loud Cry begins.

But what about sneaky attacks from the evil ones today? What is one of their most successful avenues to bring those who profess His last end time message, into a trap and snare? It is old tried and true–Pharisee plan! Allow me to explain.

We remember when our Lord walked this earth His number one enemy was those who had the greatest knowledge of the Scriptures and therefore were the ones who actively taught and promoted “their” understandings of God’s word and plans. As we know our Lord rebuked them time and again .

In (Matt.23:23) we read, “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Imagine an individual that would be  measuring the exact distance you could walk to come to the Temple on the Sabbath. The Pharisees did this, and many other restrictive measures because they perceived God as a merciless overbearing toe the line dictator. They had indeed lost tract of their whole purpose in serving Him.

As our Lord said, instead of being full of justice, mercy and faithfulness, they were full of selfishness, ambition and greed. So the evil ones became well aware that the people who became zealous to teach, the ones who actively promoted God’s word, were the prime candidates to influence to become focused on their “knowledge” instead of their walk. Oh, my brothers and sisters how successful this can become if we are not careful!  The greater the light given and understood the closer we must watch that the spirit of Pharisaism doesn’t overtake us and therefore blind us!

Brother Houteff saw this among some of those who professed the Elijah message. He explains ““After one acquires all the knowledge necessary pertaining to the sign of Jonah, he is neither better nor worse off so far as his Christianity is concerned, without taking into effect the time wasted if his conclusions on the subject be wrong.

But what is still worse, should a group of people who are rightly proclaiming all the revealed doctrines, disagree with these zealous preachers of the sign of Jonah, as to what “the heart of the earth” may mean, the latter will in most instances not only forsake fellowshipping with their brethren, and cease helping to proclaim more important doctrines, but will also become so obsessed with their pet idea that their minds cannot comprehend much else.” (Tract 10, p. 20-21)

The above is very telling! Brother Houteff shows that some will cherish their knowledge and forsake the more important matters. Is this not what the Pharisees were known for?

  In Vol. 4   Symbolic News Code   Nos. 1-3. page 6. He said this, “Do not insist upon any one’s measuring up to your opinion of yourself; make not your business that of  finding fault with others, nor of advertising their sins; expect no one to confess to you any sins other than those committed against you personally; and never from any man demand an apology or confession.”

I bring those above quotes up because I’ve recently noticed that the evil ones have hoodwinked some of the true light bearers, the Davidians, the ones who are active in professing the Elijah message, into arguing over non-salvational issues.

Ellen White’s words ring powerfully upon those who become active in criticizing, “I shall tell the truth as God gives it to me, and I say now, If you continue to find fault, to have a spirit of variance, you will never know the truth.”(Testimonies to Ministers, p.476).

Just like the Pharisees, some have put their knowledge ahead of their heart. In other words, they have lost sight of the “old paths”. The Prophet Jeremiah said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find rest for your souls.”(Jer.6:16).

As I was driving this week I sensed a message from the Lord, it was  — The message should be taught in love. Meaning that although this message (the Elijah message aka the Shepherd’s Rod message) is solemn and straight, it needs to be spoken with compassion. We must humbly proclaim it. The Pharisee aloofness and pride cannot be allowed to be a part of our character.

I hate to say it but there are more than a few  light bearers (Davidians) who have been snared by a lack of love and compassion. Their knowledge has warped them. In fact we read in (Isaiah 47;10) this thought, “Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; And you have said in your heart, I am, and there is no one else besides me.” (Isaiah 47:10).

So again we go back to the snares that the evil ones put up. One of the best, tried and true one, from since way back, is the inflated view of oneself. No longer do the self proud, all knowing ones have to promptly return emails, initiate correspondence with brothers and sisters, return phone calls, etc. The devils say , “you got the goods, let everyone come to you, no need to reach out.” Instead of being a servant they desire to be served. The Lord’s warning in Rev. 3:17 ” have become wealthy and have need of nothing” is even more true among some Davidians than SDA’s.

Peter also gives good counsel. In speaking of  faith, knowledge, self-control, perserverance, brotherly kindness, love,  he then says, “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” (2 Peter 1:5-9)

Let’s not kid anyone. Just because we know a vast amount of present truth does not guarantee we’re saved. As Paul says, “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”(1 Cor.13:2)

And our last quote from our beloved prophetess, “God will choose humble men, who are seeking to glorify His name and advance His cause rather than honor and advance themsleves.” (Test. for the Church, Vol.5, p.461)

In closing, let us remember to be humble in our walk, never forgeting the “old paths” . Yes, we need knowledge and advancing truth which is in His Elijah message, but this comes WITH our basics such as love, compassion, servitude, and such.  If we ignore the basics, the devils stand ready to  —  blind us with the light.

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

December 15, 2012

 Many of us have been sport fans during our lives. And often we have heard the interviews of the winning team’s members. One of the most relied statements has always been something like this,  “Well we won because we are very united, we stick together as a close team. Our teamwork is superb”. It’s no different in the Lord’s work, let us explain.

A while back we did a post called “Sowing Unity or Discord”, where we pointed out that a brother let his idea of the way another brother should proclaim the Elijah message, offend him and bring him to post against the other brother in public. We showed that such selfish actions really did nothing but hinder the message, and unfortunately sowed discord instead of unity.

But let us look at how the real culprit, pride, can cause us to lose track of the ultimate goal–win souls for Christ as we proclaim His last sealing message to His church. We’ll look at 4  important areas in relating to our brethren. 1) Respecting other views on non-salvational issues 2) Respecting different approaches and ideas in going about the Lord’s work  3) Reviewing how pride can cause us to be blinded and possibility a sower of discord 4) How humility and respect brings unity.

In Tract 10 called  “The Sign of Jonah”  http://www.shepherds-rod.org/Tracts/trac010.html, brother Houteff dealt with the mysterious 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth issue. Many have diverse views on it. Did Jesus die on Weds. night, Thurs. night, Fri. night, or what? How could He have been in “the heart of the earth” for 3 days and nights if He died on Friday afternoon? And so on. Anyway,  as only he could do, he cleared the issue and explained the final days of Jesus’ life and how he fulfilled His promise to give the Jews the “sign of Jonah” and what “in the heart of the earth” really meant. (Matt. 12:39-41).

But I caught a real jewel of truth in this tract. In page 20  bro. Houteff writes,  “After one acquires all the knowledge necessary pertaining to the sign of Jonah, he is neither better nor worse off so far as his Christianity is concerned, without taking into effect the time wasted if his conclusions on the subject be wrong.

But what is still worse, should a group of people who are rightly proclaiming all the revealed doctrines, disagree with these zealous preachers of the sign of Jonah, as to what “the heart of the earth” may mean, the latter will in most instances not only forsake fellowshipping with their brethren, and cease helping to proclaim more important doctrines, but will also become so obsessed with their pet idea that their minds cannot comprehend much else.” (Tract 10, p. 20-21)

That is one packed statement! Let’s recap this. First we see that bro. Houteff is counselling us that certain non-salvational issues are just that -non-salvational issues. But when we differ  with someone else concerning these issues, we should let it go for the sake of unity. But as we read, the most often  case is that our pride of knowledge gets in the way and we cloud our true perspective and purpose! The unity fails due to the pride of one or both of the brothers, or sisters.

A while back we did the 2 part post on the “Special Resurrection” and I was careful to point out that there are many diverse views on this issue. But I also pointed out that this is what is termed “extra” knowledge, and specifically a non-salvational issue. But unfortunately, in times past,  even that issue has caused some to argue and break away from the fellowship and pridefully hold on to a “pet idea”.

In (1 Peter 5:5) we read”..God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”  One of the prime reasons for a unrepetant heart is pride. We just don’t like to admit we are wrong many times. But this is where the “rubber meets the road” as they say. The essence of our Christian life is to show humility and love and understanding to our brothers and sisters. But that is hard to do in many cases if we have pride and  a uncompromising spirit. A “real” man or woman is one that can say ” Sorry bro (or sis) I was wrong about this, thanks for pointing that out to me”.

“If you listen to constructive criticism, you will abide among the wise, if you reject instruction, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom, humility precedes honor.” (Proverbs 15:31-33).

Ellen White explains “There were others who had received the truth from Christ’s teachings…but who had lost their first love, and were without spiritual strength..they quibbled about matters of no special importance which were not given by the Lord as tests, and dwelt upon their differences of opinion, these differences became mountains, separating them from Christ and from one another, destroying unity and love.” (1888 Materials, p.1795)

The fact that a brother or sister sees things somewhat different from what we do on non-salvational issues should never cause us to abandon that person.

We need to point out that some may ask–How do we know what is salvational and what is not? The questions has many variables but it all comes down to this. If we have converted our lives to Christ and walking daily in His Commandments and obeying His last message and will  in order so we can be sealed and to stand when His church judgment comes – we will have the Spirit of Truth within us and He will guide us into ALL truth (John 16:13).

Ellen White expounds on this beautifully “God never honors unbelief and questioning and doubt. When He speaks, His word is to be recognized, and carried out in the daily actions. And if the heart of man is in living connection with God, the voice that cometh from above will be recognized….Those that do the will of God shall know of what doctrine whether it be of God, for no deception will cloud their minds.” (Test. on Sabbath School Work, p. 64,65).

So the short answer is that we will know if a doctrine is vital for our salvation or is extra learning (as in the case of the Jonah example). And the ONLY place we can safely go –is to His word as said by HIS prophets. And we are counselled by bro. Houteff to “Hold not to what fabricated ideas seem to make Scriptures say, but grip tenaciously to what the Word, in simplicity, plainly says.” (Tract 10, p.13)

As we pointed out in our post on sowing unity or discord, a brother accused another of posting brother Houteff’s writings and hiding the author’s name. But let us look at what transpired back in bro. Houteff’s day, and which was published by bro. Houteff.

In Symbolic Code News, January 15, 1935, a Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Wessel wrote “After hearing the tirade against the SRod at the Carolina Camp meeting last June, we returned home determined to fight it, and a little while later were glad to have the opportunity of voting to have 13 members disfellowshipped from the Charleston church. But now we can better appreciate their position, as we ourselves with another were cast out Dec. 19.

A short time ago we received from one of the SRod believers a letter containing many quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy which we never dreamed were there. They put us to studying and we soon clearly saw how unfair the denomination has dealt with the SRod teachings.

We thank God that He mercifully gave us willingness and courage to read and investigate for ourselves after we had set our hearts against the message. Praises be to Him for His goodness and for present truth. We expect to put ourselves and our all into this work.”   Signed– Mr. & Mrs. C.E. Wessel, Charleston, S. Carolina

In the above we notice how that certain brother reached out to the objectors, yet with tact and wisdom (they emphasised that which would not prejudice them -Ellen White writings). Look at the results. They won them to the Lord’s cause! Truth was revealed to them on  a basis of which they could relate to.  As bro. Houteff has pointed out, the Elijah message is largely based on Scripture and EGW.

So we see  two important areas that we should take close heed in relating to our brothers and sisters. Watch that we don’t get hung up on our “pet idea”, a doctrine or teaching that is non-salvational. And be careful and tactful in approaching a fellow bro or sis, that has a different, yet possibly successful way of  reaching out to the brethren. Unity should always be a foremost thought in our minds.

Ofcourse we can’t be so accommodating with salvational issues, such as keeping and waking daily in His Commandments (ie. compromise with Sunday keepers doctrine. Or debating whether the Lord’s last message of Elijah is important and needed (ie. SDA who claim no Elijah message is needed)

The  ultimate important focus should be that we want to stay united and that we want to win souls for Christ. With Satan and his devils fighting our Lord’s last message and messengers, can we afford to bicker and fight amongst ourselves?

If we take the counsel given from Paul we would solve many of our disagreements over the non essential issues. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3).

“Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you are doing. And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.” (2 Thes. 5:11-13)

What work would that be? It cannot be the worldly work, so it is those who are active in the Lord’s work. Teaching, admonishing, spreading the Lord’s word and plans. So we must think very highly of each of our co-workers, minor disagreements and all.

We should point out that a good and in-depth discussion of certain non-salvational issues can be rewarding and be part of our “studying to show yourselves approved” (2 Tim. 2:15). However we must guard the ever tempting behavior to start lambasting the other one’s views as wrong or inferior to ours.

What I have found as a good way to gently leave the issue, if I  find that my view is not understood or coming across as I  intended, and is at odds with their different view,   is to say something like, “That’s an interesting view you have, we’ll just have to agree to disagree brother” (or sister). This way you let them know that their view is not “wrong” per se, but “interesting”. Who knows, they may have done lots of research to come to that view.

Conversely, there will definitely be times when the salvational issues come into discussion and we must hold firm (yet respectful) and give them our best viewpoints. But after trying to show the points and they mock or deride us about the issue, we must move on and at that point it is most likely left to the Holy Spirit to work on their hearts. Or there may be a situation that another brother or sister can reach them more effectively than we can.

Another example of all of the above, is concerning a well-known brother who teaches present truth. Recently I got his report on “The 144,000 and those with”,   again it’s another non-salvational issue. I studied it and then got an opposing report from another brother. I compared them both, with the Spirit of Truth guiding me on the latter’s report as truth. But the first brother was basically saying in his report that if one doesn’t believe in this issue exactly like he says–they are lost!  What a  selfish travesty of the work for the Lord! We see a selfish view is promulgated on a point,  that as brother Houteff says ” he is neither better nor worse off as far as his Christianity is concerned.”

We read counsel from James ” Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned.Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:9). Is not what the brother , in the above example doing worse than grumbling? For he has mounted the judgment seat.

 Bro. Houteff  taught much about humility and that we should not seek to take credit for things we do for Christ. Speaking of those who desire the true Christian principles he states ” He is unselfish, he rejoices in the good fortune of others, and loves to have others receive credit for something he himself may have accomplished. He expects credit from the Lord only.”(Bro. Houteff’s Letter “To Any Seeking to be DSDA)

In closing, just as we made mention of what constitutes a winning team ,let us as team members of the Lord’s final team, also strive to be united. Let us not think of ways to divide but to unite. Yes, we must and will hold firm to the salvational issues, but the less important areas should not cause us to be a divided team.

In the 1970’s I remember a song that was famous around the country called “United We Stand”,  it had these words–  “For united we stand, divided we fall, and if our backs should ever be against the wall, we’ll be together, together, you and I”.(The Brotherhood of Man, 1970)

Questions and Answers:

I understand how the doctrine of the 10 Commandments can be a salvation issue, but how does the Elijah message fit into that catagory?

That really is a great and timely question. We as SDA and DSDA, certainly understand that one of the main doctrines we believe is that in 1844, Christ went into the most holy part of the sanctuary to begin the judgment of the dead. But soon this will pass unto the existing living. The prophesised Elijah to come (Mal.4:5), many believe is he who is to forewarn the next coming of the Lord. Just as John the Baptist warned his “own” people of the coming of the Lord, so too this anti-type Elijah is to warn our own people, in the church,  of the coming of the Lord( not to warn the world).

However this coming, as one truly studies Scripture, Spirit of Prophecy, and the Rod message, shows that it is the beginning judgment for the living and is to be in God’s house (His church–sanctuaries). (See Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p.209-220.  Same book, vol.3, p.266-267, 1 Peter 4:17, Mal 3:1-5, and our post “Ezekiel 9”) Consequently, the soon to come solemn judgment and execution of judgment starts first among us,upon our Lord’s next “invisable” coming. This is more fully explained in the above references.

So the Elijah message is the last message to us to reform our lives and do right before the Lord, and gives us instructions on how we can escape the dreadful judgment that will soon come upon us, his church. It warns us to reform, in our work, dress, diet, worship and so forth.It asks us to truly care about the sins in our lives and in the church, so much so that we “sigh and cry” for these abominations. For those who have taken our Lord’s counsel in Rev. 3:18, and searched Scripture and anointed their eyes with eyesalve, they have been led to understand this last message clearly. So obviously this is a very real salvational issue. And as such we cannot compromise the teaching/spreading of this truth.

Sowing Unity Or Discord?

October 6, 2012

In Proverbs 6:16 we read,   “These six things the Lord hates, Yes seven are an abomination to Him:  A  proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises  wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.”

In this post we’ll look at one of these abominations and see how we can sow unity instead of sowing discord. The Lord has inspired me to discuss this because of a recent experience, and if it had been handled biblically, unity may have been the fruit of the experience instead of discord.  Our treatment among our “brethren” is far more important than we often realize. If we aren’t careful, we’ll take part in something our Lord  hates.

In our relationship with our brothers and sisters, we would do well to keep in mind our Lord’s words. “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matt. 23:11). Our attitude must first be to “serve” and help them. And from that frame of mind we can approach a brother or sister who we may differ with.

The situation arose from activity on Facebook. With this powerful tool today, we can use it to further the gospel and our Lord’s present truth. One of the brothers had become quite active in posting present truth, in this case, the “Timely Greetings” sermons by brother Houteff. He was following the Lord’s advice in being “zealous” in his work for the Lord.

As many are well aware, the Lord’s last Elijah message from brother Houteff has been fought since it came upon the scene, about 1930. So down through the years the mention of “Shepherd’s Rod” or ‘Davidian” is likely to bring prejudice and ignorance from many within the SDA, just like that of the 1888 message that was also mostly rejected by the remnant church.(Note–Davidian Seventh  Adventists are  not  “Branch Davidian” SDA  who were involved in  the Waco fiasco)

So this brother (we’ll call him brother A) posted the sermons and other writings from brother Houteff, but left out the author’s name and date of the writings. They were well received with many reading and sharing them on Facebook. This was producing the desired effect– to have many of our brothers and sisters read the inspired writings and gain some present truth without being prejudiced up front by mentioning names.

After a while, another brother (we’ll call him brother B) took offense to this practice. He felt it was wrong because brother Houteff, who was the author, was left out as the “author”. Plagiarizing was the accusation. Brother B contacted brother A and let him know it wasn’t right according to him. Brother A disagreed in this.(This part was done right, a private message was sent).

Brother B, was the more experienced brother(in the present truth message). And in all honesty he had a legitimate point. Afterall some could have gotten the idea that brother A was the writer. But brother B took it upon himself to by pass direct counsel of the Lord in regards to the proper procedure in handling this kind of dispute.

After he was rebuffed, he began to follow brother A’s postings around and add the author’s name and date of that sermon. Then he went further and posted an article on his website accusing brother A of plagiarizing. Although brother B didn’t mention brother A’s name, he then posted it on Facebook. This whole episode was a spectacle in discord as far as I could see. Let me give the reasons.

Let us view this episode from the point of “Mother” (the SDA members who are not familiar with the Elijah message or much present truth). This term is taken from the Hosea prophecy.  Brother A, as mentioned,  had posted for several months present truth messages from brother Houteff. Mother had been noticing and spreading (as evidenced by the share counts on FB).

Mother has largely been told that the DSDA and their belief of the Elijah prophet,  and foretold exactly described by sister White ( Testimonies for the church, p.475) is incorrect. Although the leaders of the church since 1930 haven’t been able to explain away the numerous interpretations of many hidden prophecies, in Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, Joel, Hosea, Isaiah, Revelation, and more, written out and published by brother Houteff.

So with that understanding clearly understood by brother A, he reposted the messages without making reference to a name that many would simply ignore due to their prior prejudice. Mother is impressed with such truths, and spreads them. Along comes brother B.

Brother B doesn’t take into full consideration that there is a sizable audience (ie.Mother) who is watching and learning what brother A is posting. He goes to brother A in a private message. Brother A  is frankly confused and in bewilderment. Being somewhat new to the message, he is made to feel his efforts have somehow been bad before the Lord .

Brother B, rashly starts to “upset the apple cart” and follow brother A’s posts. He comments after them who the author was and the date of the sermons. Again Mother is watching.  But now Mother sees some discord among the two brothers. Comments are made on FB. Quickly thereafter a post is made by brother B accusing brother A of plagiarizing and posted on Facebook.

Now Mother has witnessed a major discord among the brothers. So now Mother may be saying ” If these brothers have such great truths and can’t even get along amongst themselves, maybe what they teach really is off  like they say.” And sadly, no doubt some have been put off  by this spectacle.

Did this have to be a spectacle? Most likely not had brother B followed the counsel below. If this whole affair could have been handled by the  Lord’s direct advice below,  then no such discord would have affected Mother and most likely unity would have been achieved.

In (Matt 18:15) we read ” Moreover if your brother sins against you, go tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”

Here we can see clearly the error from brother B. He did not go to one or two other brothers to try to get the issue resolved in private. In this case, myself and a few other brothers were mutual friends of both these brothers. Had he done so, there would have very likely been a mutual understanding of the issue, particularly because our Lord would most likely had blessed us because we were taking His direct advice.

It is noteworthy that our Lord made this statement right after discussing differences between brothers “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My father in heaven (Matt 18:19). Had brother B gone to brother A  and claimed this promise, and agreed to ask (prayed) to receive instruction from the Lord how to handle this problem, the Lord would certainly have kept His word and answer given. When all else fails look to our Lord’s word and believe the promises!

So after this public spectacle , brother A quit posting for awhile, then did more but with a disclaimer that he wasn’t the author. So what was the net effect?  A public spat with evidence of discord. The whole disagreement would have likely been settled if brother B would have taken counsel among brother(s) who could also talk to brother A, and no public discord shown.

As we have pointed out before in numerous posts, those who take up the Elijah message must be courageous and willing to stand up to the naysayers and even those who will ridicule.  Brother A was/is  doing that by posting many present day messages,  the straight testimony. Brother B took  little consideration of that effort. Many may  be drawn to present truth by brother A’s efforts. Should any contact him to inquire who is the author, you can rest assured he would not hesitate to disclose brother Houteff.

Additionally we can see how brother Houteff himself made note in regards to this. In His letter “to any seeking to be DSDA” under rule number 1  he says (describing one who is seeking)  “He is unselfish, he rejoices over the good fortune of others, and loves to have others receive credit for something he himself may have accomplished. He expects his credit from the Lord only.”

Based on the above, would brother Houteff had gotten upset that his name was left out on the wonderful truths he was inspired to write, and was posted by brother A? I think not, as he was a person known to have practiced what he preached.

Ellen White makes a further enlightening comment, “..Those who are busy in dissecting the words and acts of others, to discover all that is objectionable, fail to discern the good and pleasant things.” (Manuscript Releases, Vol. 12, p.7-8, no.922)

“..whatever things are of good report, if there be any virtue and if there be anything praiseworthy –meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:19).

 Sure there are times when we must warn a brother or sister,  but our approach is the Lord’s way not our way.Do we still consider brother B,   a brother? Yes we do. And we must remember our Lord’s instruction,  “See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people ” (1 Thess.5:15). He has done some good work in many areas of the present truth message. But no one is beyond reproach. If we humble our souls and seek the truth in all matters, we should appreciate it when  corrected.

Our Lord said “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). This should be our primary focus towards our brothers and sisters- love and concern. Our Lord can do wonderous things if we abide by His word and instructions.

In these very last days before our Lord comes to begin the judgment for the living, we have but little time to get caught up in discords, especially public ones. This is viewed not as unity but public squabbling, and can only hurt our cause. Despite the example above, the Lord’s work on Facebook is going on powerfully and many are accepting the present truth message. Praise the Lord!

The grand work will go forward with or without us,  only let us strive to be found  sowing seeds of unity and not discord, to the best of our ability.


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