Archive for the ‘Sanctification’ Category

Tears in a Bottle

July 24, 2015

Tears in a bottle

Growing up, some parents have scolded their young boys with the false counsel, “Boys don’t cry, girls do”. This is especially true of the “Macho” type men who see crying as a weakness. Is that true? What about the creator of our world? Did He cry privately and openly?

As our picture shows, His word says our Lord has faithfully kept all our tears in a bottle. But why? Let us look into this matter and see more about this expression of both joy and sadness.

“You keep track of all my sorrows.You have collected all my tears in your bottle; Are they not in your book?(Psalms 56:8)

Let us look at David, the courageous king who, as we know, did not back down even from powerful lions. In Psalms he writes of his trials , joys and disappointments. Yet we know he showed us that he cried by the writing of Psalms 56:8. Then he lets us know that God has kept track of our crying, the tears are numbered in His book. Wow, our God is one of details and minute observations! Our hairs are numbered and our tears as well!

Let’s face it, we men basically do not like to show our emotions as much as the women do. It’s just not “manly” we think.  This is true to a certain extent. As men we are often looked at as the role model for leadership and strength. David certainly was all this and more. His great leadership and courage impressed our Lord. The Lord said of him, “..I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will” (Acts 13:22).

Yet David had compassion as we saw from his treatment of Saul, and  Jonathan’s son, Mephibosheth . Compassion can sometimes show itself in tears. Emotions can get so deep and welled up within that crying comes out, and we “let it out”. Psychologists have long known that suppression of our emotions can have serious consequences to our outlook on life and our behavior.

Our Lord said,  “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”(Matt. 18:3).

Crying comes natural to children. They have not developed their “ego” as such and do not care how they look when they feel the need to cry. Our Lord proved that crying was important when the right time calls for it.

“Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!(John 11:34-36)

So we see that the “Man above all men” cried, and that openly! This alone shows that real men, tough men can and do cry.

Allow me to tell of my own personal story. For many years, prior to my conversion in early 2009, I had never cried much. Just didn’t have it in me much. Sure, once in a great while I would tear up watching a movie or such , but generally crying was not for me.

After I came back to the Lord, after being away from Him for decades, I noticed a change in my feelings. This was soon to show itself in an unmistakable way.

To review briefly, I became a Sabbath keeper (obeyer of ALL the Commandments as best I could) after deciding to read the WHOLE Bible from front to back. We as “Christians” are often told that the New Testament was basically all we needed, and that the OT was just history and part of the “old covenant” and no longer had meaning for us like the NT. Yet the OT has tremendous applicable lessons for us today!

After obeying my first Sabbath, I received a sign from the Lord (lights went off and on three times by themselves in my dining room) and from then on have kept His Sabbaths. I joined the local SDA church and was happy to be a part of “God’s people”.

My view was just like the masses– you come to church regularly and live as best you can and you’re good to go. I did not know that the Lord had any ‘final ” message of supreme importance to us. This was about to change.

But I was not content to stay in one place spiritually, I kept searching and studying for greater light. My walk was developing and He was becoming more clear to me. Slowly however I started to notice that we as SDA were not “doing” as much as “talking” about our born again experience. In other words we needed to “walk the walk” if we “talked the talk”. We did a post of this title, see here — https://godsloveandlaw.com/2011/07/09/if-we-talk-the-talk-we-must-walk-the-walk/

Fast forward to a couple of years after I had joined the church. One day I was driving through  a town close to our town and noticed that the local SDA church has several other buildings on their property. I knew that these buildings were part of the SDA property. For some reason (the Holy Spirit no doubt) I noticed a chiropractic office in those buildings. It had its phone number on the outside of the door. I swing back around and took down that number.

Keep in mind that up to this point in my church relations, I assumed that we were truly God’s people. Yes we had some areas to work on but overall I truly felt the Lord was lovingly beholding us as His apple of His eye.

So I wanted to know and confirm that we as SDA were practicing what we preached. The 4th Commandment specifically tells us that “within our gates” we are not to work, or ANYONE is to work–on the Sabbath.

I called the number then and a man picked up the line. I inquired whether they were open on Saturday. He responded, “Yes we are, would you like to make an appointment?” I said, “not now but thanks” and hung up. Within a few seconds my whole being and I do mean WHOLE being was overwhelmed. I basically broke down right there in the truck.

All these thoughts and emotions came pouring out. I felt what I know the Lord feels -WE ARE HYPOCRITES! How could we preach and teach about the Sabbath and yet show the world what hypocrites we were!

“Hypocrisy is peculiarly offensive to God.” (TDG, p.55)

Anyway, my crying was not missed by the Lord. Just about two weeks after this my life changed. I was on the computer after Sabbath and happened to notice a link about the 144,000. Little did I know the Holy Spirit of Truth was guiding me (John 16:13). I listened spell-bound as the real Truth was shown about our church and where it was going! An onslaught of “meat in due season” flooded my soul.

One of those game changing Truths I heard that day was this–

“Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth, wrought in them by the power of the Holy Ghost, represented by a mark by the man in linen, are those “that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done” in the church. Their love for purity and the honor and glory of God is such, and they have so clear a view of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, that they are represented as being in agony, even sighing and crying. Read the ninth chapter of Ezekiel.” (Testimonies, vol. 3, p.267)

I had met my waterloo, my life’s turning point. Brother Rob was now ready to be truly–reborn. His old self was to die that day. I was soon to understand the power of His word, the application of His final pleading message as brought by His messenger, His FINAL messenger to our church.

The message tells us more about sighing and crying–

“..as the sealing message makes its way through the church, only those who awake and reform (sigh) and endeavor to share with others (cry) the light that is shining upon them, receive the seal.  They are then accounted sinless through the perfection of Christ imparted in their behalf until they are given the “new heart” promised in Ezekiel 36:26, after which they will be forever sinless– forever without cause to repent.” (Answerer, vol. 2, Q-22)

So we see that not only is the sins done in the church and our own life to effect us personally,  but that we are to cry aloud (share) the message of the hour, the sealing message specifically for us. Our own reforms are clear evidence that the Lord’s intended “spirit and power” is in His Elijah message (TM, p.475).

While we know that crying today is something we do and has its place, the future will have no such practice–

“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”(Rev. 21;4)

In closing, right now the Lord is asking for validation from each of His remnant church members. This validation shows clear unmistakable signs that we are both sealed and obedient, that we truly love Him and hate sin. When the church purification comes, those who are “sighing and crying” will be spared and head for the pre-millennial kingdom. Let us be a part of this!

“And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” (Ezek.9:4)

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Change of Heart

December 28, 2013

Inner struggle

This inner struggle with self is between our carnal and our spiritual natures.

Certain it is that what we by nature want is not what we really need.  Likewise, that which we by nature aim to do, is not what we really need to do.  In obtaining righteousness by faith, therefore, we choose to follow the opposite of our carnal minds and our natural desires and wants.

“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts….ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”  Isa. 55:7 9, 12.

In view of this glorious prospect, no one should neglect the opportunity to become a candidate for — Change of Heart.

Why is the Lord to change our “stony hearts,”  and to give us “hearts of flesh,” when we get to the promised land, and not now while we are among the nations (Ezek. 36:24 through 28) ?

When Nebuchadnezzar’s natural heart was replaced with a beast’s heart, he was no longer satisfied to live like a human being, but was contented to live with the cattle of the field.  Dan. 4:16, 33.  But had he, while yet retaining the natural heart, been forced out of his palace, and compelled to feed with the cattle, the trial and humiliation would have been altogether too great for him to endure.

Moreover, as such a life is contrary to human nature, he could not have subsisted on grass, nor could his digestive organs have stood up under such a heavy task.  To make it possible, therefore, for a human being to go through such an unnatural experience, the Lord replaced his heart with a beast’s heart, which automatically changed his nature.

Like Nebuchadnezzar during his wild-life experience, we, too, are living in a world that is unnatural to sinless beings.  Consequently, if our hearts and thus our natures were changed now, while we are yet living among the sinful nations, we could no more endure the trial than could Nebuchadnezzar with his human heart have endured the winter exposure, or have enjoyed the company of the beasts, or yet relished grass and straw.

Indeed, the fellowship of sinners, in the environment of sin, would be utterly desolating to a saint with a spiritual heart, upon which is written the law of God.

So to make endurable our days in this life, the Lord mercifully leaves us with our natural, stony hearts, to serve Him according to the provisions of divine grace.  And though it is not convenient to do right even under this provision, it would be still less convenient for a saint with “a new heart” to live in the kingdoms of this world, for in an unrighteous environment his righteous heart would make him miserable.

Neither could he, in the Kingdom of God, with his natural, stony heart, endure its enmity against the law of God, nor enjoy the glory of the Kingdom.  In other words, whereas on the one hand with our spiritual hearts, in the midst of the kingdoms of sin, we would be excruciatingly miserable in beholding crime, accidents, corruption, disease, and suffering; on the other hand with our sinful hearts, in the sinless Kingdom, we would be intolerably unhappy with ourselves, and unable to enjoy the sublime bliss of peace and righteousness.

We are, therefore, for the time present, permitted to serve the Lord with our sinful nature; and our desires to do good, and aims to reach high, that are prompted by our faith in Him, are accounted to us for righteousness.  This righteousness is His righteousness, in us by faith.

We are, therefore, still in the period of conversion and sanctification by faith, looking forward to the time when the Lord will take us to our own land, and there give us new hearts (Ezek. 36:24-28).  Then will we serve Him in holiness (Isa. 62:12).  With such a glorious promise in view, wrapped in love divine, may everyone now exercise the faith of Christ, cultivate His righteousness, and so become eligible for the divine gift of a spiritual heart.

.. “Conversion is a work that most do not appreciate.  It is not a small matter to transform an earthly, sin-loving mind, and bring it to understand the unspeakable love of Christ. the charms of his grace, and the excellency of God, so that the soul shall be imbued with divine love, and captivated with the heavenly mysteries.  When he understands these things, his former life appears disgusting and hateful.  He hates sin, and, breaking his heart before God, he embraces Christ as the life and joy of the soul.

He renounces his former pleasures.  He has a new mind, new affections, new interest, new will; his sorrows, and desires, and love are all new.  The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which have heretofore been preferred before Christ, are now turned from, and Christ is the charm of his life, the crown of his rejoicing.  Heaven, which once possessed no charms, is now viewed in its riches and glory; and he contemplates it as his future home, where he shall see, love, and praise the One who hath redeemed him by His precious blood.” (Test. for the Church, vol. 2, p. 294)

(The above report was written by Victor T. Houteff in 1940 – Symbolic Code news Item, vol. 6, no.7-12, p.2-3)

For the full article click here http://shepherdsroddavidian.org/symbolic%20Code/6sc_07_12.html

True Repentance

June 15, 2013

repentance

As we profess to be a follower of Christ, we must make sure to get the simple basics cleared in our life. For what man goes to build a foundation on sand? Just as our Lord said, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matt. 7:24).  So it’s clear that we must lay the foundation upon solid “rock”. And one of the most basic solid aspects of our walk with the Lord is –repentance. Let us look at this most important spiritual  foundation, one of the pillars of our faith.

Before Christ’s first advent, John the Baptist was called to prepare the way as we know. And the primary command he issued was to–repent. “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matt. 3:1-2). He was letting the people know that the first step to coming clean before the Lord was to repent. It’s akin to the following analogy. Who, when they want to rebuild something (ie. their life) doesn’t start out first by cleaning up and clearing away? Repenting is the same thing spiritually.

Why is repenting so important and many times overlooked in our Christian walk today? We know that our Lord gave us specific instructions in His words to His last church (Rev. 3:19). Last week we spoke of “zealousness” but the next word He commanded was–repent. Why would He say it if we aren’t in need of it? Obviously He knew that we as Laodiceans would need this serious instruction.

So it is clear we must search ourselves closely to find if we have held on to an act or deed we haven’t come clean  to the Lord about.

Allow me to give some personal examples. A few years back, after I had become a serious follower of Christ, the Lord started to give me flashbacks of things I had done that were in  my past. Maybe I’d be driving and all of a sudden I’d remember something I did that wasn’t right before the Lord. For example, I remembered I had hired a man to do some remodel work for a property I was renovating. Long story short, I had run into some financial difficulty and told him I would have to pay him later. Later, I moved out of town and basically reneged on my pledge.

But as I was driving my heart soared as I immediately knew that the Lord had told me to get it right! Very soon after this, I found the man (thank God he had kept his number after 7 or 8 years). He was very happy to hear I would be sending him his money. In (Ezekiel 33:15) we read, “If the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statues of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.”

The Lord calls us what we are when we steal–wicked. I had stolen his labor and practiced unrighteousness. But upon learning what I had to do, it was up to me to repent and then act. You see, repentance is much more than just words. Many times our words are only part of the true repentance. Our deeds fulfill the repentance.

Another time I recalled, was when I had hired a tree cutter. He had cut down the majority of the tree, yet he didn’t remove “all” of the stump as he said he would. It was too deep and he couldn’t do it he said. So, being the unrighteous man I was,  I figured I didn’t owe him anything because he didn’t finish the job. So he said he understood and left. But upon reflection in my new Christ centered  life,  I came to my senses and realized he did the best he could and did take down about 80% of it, so it was right to pay him something for what he did do. He was thrilled and even invited me into his home to sit and chat when I showed up to pay him.

So once we become serious in our walk, we must reflect upon things we have done and if it’s in our power to right them we should. This really constitutes true repentance. Some things may be out of our control. For example we may have lost touch with someone. The Lord knows what is doable and what is not. But again, if we start thinking “Oh the Lord will forgive me he knows I made a mistake.” And we presumptuously think we have His grace ,  yet we don’t make any effort to right it, we may seriously be considered neglecting to “restore the pledge”.

One of the most applicable quotes (and favorite of mine) from our prophetess is– 

“But Christ has given us no assurance that to attain perfection of character is an easy matter. A noble, all-round character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected.

Let no one say, I cannot remedy my defects of character. If you come to this decision, you will certainly fail of obtaining everlasting life. The impossibility lies in your own will. If you will not, then you can not overcome. The real difficulty arises from the corruption of an unsanctified heart, and an unwillingness to submit to the control of God.(Christ Object Lessons, p.331).

One of those serious defects of character would be the refusal or neglect, to repent after we  “criticize ourselves closely”. As we mentioned earlier, our Christian walk must be a  renewed walk, with a rebuilding and removing of past wrongs, a repentance of wrong doing. “Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”(John 3:3).

Our new life of being ‘born again” certainly cannot exclude repentance. As we confess our sins and repent, we feel that special closeness to Him. This is one of the surest ways to “draw close to Him”. In (James 4:8) we read, “Draw close to Him , and He will draw close to you.”

I believe one of the most common errors we make as professed Christians is the error of presumptiousness. Many feel they areforgiven” without out even repenting. It’s kind of  like someone striking you then looking at you and saying, “I know you forgive me, thank you”. What?  The cart is before the horse. But if we come clean to the Lord and if need be, to those we have wronged, we can claim His faithful promise. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:19).

Is not that what the Pharisees tried to do in approaching John the Baptist? Their presumptioness was called out by John. They felt their wrongs were acceptable and no big deal, therefore they were not in need of repentance. If  we sin we have the Great Forgiver, but can He forgive without our sincere remorse and repentance? 

The reward of repentance is that we  have a “clear conscience”. “Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked.” (1 Tim. 1:19)

You see brethren, even if we have all the knowledge of the prophecies, but don’t possess the simple important basics of the Christian walk, we deceive ourselves. Sanctification always begins on the first step–love and repentance.

Now how great is it before the Lord, if he sees us walking in obedience of the basics yet having a good clear understanding of the prophecies! Wow, now that appears the utmost Christian experience.

Last week something happened that was the motivating factor in making this week’s post.

I had been involved in some studies with a certain brother. We had several studies together, each Sabbath evening (Friday night). The studies were quite rewarding. But the last of the studies, we had a dispute of our beliefs. Things got a little testy. Emails followed and we shared why we thought the other was mistaken. He then made the statement which basically said that I was lost and needed to be born again.

I emailed him back and said that he was making a serious mistake in “mounting the judgment seat”. No one  has the right to declare someone lost and only our Lord is given that judgment to declare.

Then about  a week later, he called me. After small chit-chat he said, “You know brother, I’ve been thinking and I want to apologize for being rash and saying some things that were wrong.”  I was very, very impressed. Why? Because we just don’t hear this kind of humbleness and straightness from many of our brothers and sisters in the faith. I told him with a warm heart, that what he was doing was, “great before the Lord”. We left our conversation both feeling the Lord’s strength.

In closing, let us often remember that our Lord is “Mighty to save”(Zeph. 3:17) but we must do our part and build a solid foundation. And one of the most important requirements of us as “Christians”, is to be willing, able  and ready  to — repent. May the Lord be your strength!

 
 

 

 

The Sanctification Process

September 17, 2011

Sanctification in our Christian life is comparable to a ladder. Each step up, brings us closer to God, more Christ like. But we must continue to walk UP this ladder and not stay for long on the same step in our walk. Otherwise we will be found “lukewarm” and take the very real chance of being “sprewed out” when our Lord’s judgement comes. Let us look at the process of sanctification.

Perhaps the simplest way to view “sanctification” is think of it as getting cleaned up. In other words, sins are leaving and the Holy Spirit is taking over more and more, guiding you to be closer to our Lord. And the purer we get the more we can see two VERY IMPORTANT aspects of our life  –the terribleness of sin  and the clearer understanding of God’s written word. These two aspects make us walk much closer to our Lord. Let us look at the first of those aspects.

In my own Christian experience, I have seen the many sins I brought into my initial walk leave my life. I mean the tobacco, the idol music, the lust, the other idols (sports, poker, etc.) they were one by one, chopped out of my life. We can look at it like this. We each have a large tree stump of sin when we begin. And as we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us, we are made aware of each and every sin and asked to chop that part out of our life. We then submit to the calling to eliminate it. We are walking UP the ladder.

The serious problem comes in our walk when we rationalize just this one “little sin”. It is that little sin that we hold on to that STOPS our walk upward. The big bad tree stump of sins is allowed to grow alittle more and we now have “two little sins” we hold onto. And it can snow ball from there. And if we continue this way, the devil will help guide us down the ladder, back to where we started!

We should be ever learning, searching, doing good works. Lukewarm is basically being satisfied and happy(stuck) in our routine. As Revelation says, we are in serious trouble when we think we are satisfied and in need of nothing. We are in need of growing and improving our walk, so as to go up another step of the ladder.

One of the greatest things I was shown in my walk,  by our Lord, was how to continue to chop away at my sins. It was to quote scripture when tempted. This was AWESOME!!!  Let’s use tobacco for instance. I had chewed it about 15 or 16 years prior to accepting Christ. Then the habit was still with me in my early walk, even I did it in church a few times!  I knew it had to go. The Holy Spirit was nudging me “Hey let’s get cleaned up here!” it said.

So I found that the Lord’s example of how He handled temptation (in the desert) was good enough for me–HE QUOTED SPECIFIC SCRIPTURE against the specific temptation. For instance when the devil tempted Him to create food to eat, He replied (Matt 4:4) “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”  and He got the victory! So I thought I’ll find one for tobacco. I did, it was (Psalms 23:1) “The  Lord is my shepherd, I shall NOT WANT”. In other words, not want tobacco.

So I began my “Scripture Quote” plan of attack. The first few days I had to quote it maybe 15 or 20 times a day, because of the many temptations I had at the beginning. At the end of my quote I always said to the devil — Be gone from me devil, in the name of Jesus!! And sure enough the urge to chew tobacco left me instantly. Wowsa!  I was onto something and I knew it. So soon after I was only quoting maybe 2 or 3 times in day and I was on my way to total elimination. Not even a small temptation now.

Now, about the other aspect– understanding God’s word. Again, I will use my own example. As sins left me, and I was getting more sanctified, God’s word was getting more and more clear. You see, God’s word is He Himself as the word says. Therefore when we get closer to Him by being holier, He says in effect ” My son (or daughter) come up here (higher rung of ladder) and behold my deeper truths of my word.

So I have come to a point where certain parts of scripture that were not understandable, now is clear. For instance , the many parts of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Malichi, etc  where they say  “In that day….”  or “In the Latter times it shall …..” I now know the meanings. The Bible “comes alive” as never before. Why? Because I have submitted to chopping sins from my life. The Holy 10 Commandments are my DAILY guide and not just some empty Laws to know. Rather they are MY LIFE’S RULES I live by.

So  my brothers and sisters, let us keep in mind that our sins cannot be ignored if we want to walk up the ladder of sanctification. If we pray this prayer often, He will hear us   ” Dear God, help me to know my sins clearly, so that I can address them, and walk uprightly in your site”

Amen , In Christ, Rob


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