April 27 Esight, 2008

In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.—Psalm 16:11With so many demands on our busy schedules today, it is extremely easy for our time with God to become just another item on our daily agendas for which we must spare some time, something for us to check off our to-do list. Before we know it, the hustle and bustle of the day has begun. We rush off with the ever-present nagging in our hearts: did you put in your time with God today? Thus we put in our time, watching the clock, timing ourselves.

We feel as if God is just another person in our life demanding our attention. On top of all this, we feel that what He wants to discuss with us is also a little too invasive, perhaps some unrepented sin or a tedious duty left undone. After a while we begin to resent it all.

But this is not how God would have you feel toward Him. He desires for you to understand that “in His presence is the fullness of Joy!” “In His right hand there are eternal pleasures.” He “opens” His “hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:16).

Hear His message to you at this moment. He is whispering to you, “I don’t want anything from you…I want to give you something. I am the great Giver of the Universe. It is My nature, not to take from you but to give to you. Why don’t you give Him a chance this week to show you what He’s really like? If we could just see Him as He truly is, everything inside of us would begin to resonate. Our heart would begin to whisper, “This is what I’ve always been looking for… this is that for which I was made.” We would find in His presence the “fullness of Joy.” In Him, we find all our “desires” satisfied and fulfilled. He really is beautiful, if we can see Him as He truly is.

Have you been drinking from the broken cisterns that this world has to offer? Why not try the thirst-quenching water of His non-condemning, unconditional, self-abandoning love for you? You are truly precious to Him. He adores you, for you are the “apple of His eye” (Zechariah 2:8).

For more on this topic, please listen to To Love and Be Loved at:

https://renewedheartministries.com/resources.asp?t=sermons

April 20 Esight, 2008

And the Word was God…—John 1:1The church that I belong to provides a Bible study guideline for the study time that takes place during their weekly service. It seems as though the subject of last week’s lesson was the Divinity of Jesus, because I received no less than 10 emails or text messages from friends who teach these classes in their respective churches. The emails and messages asked nearly identical questions regarding this subject.

Rather than debating whether or not Jesus was God, let’s assume that Jesus was God. Let’s assume He was Divine and look rather at how He defined Divinity. What does Divinity mean? Who was Jesus? Well, He was God! But what does that mean? What is God? One verse immediately comes to mind: “God is Love” (I John 4:8).

Paul states that Jesus is God’s own self-revelation:

God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Jesus is referred to as “the radiance of [the Father’s] glory and the exact representation of His nature.” (Hebrews 1:3)

Jesus himself stated, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me . . . He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father ‘? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” (John 14:9-10) Did you catch that? Jesus was the express revelation of what type of a person God truly is, because during every moment of Jesus’ life, he was not merely Jesus, but the Father within Jesus living out His love.

A friend once questioned me, “If God loves us so much, why did He send His Son? Why didn’t He just come Himself?” That’s an excellent question, but the truth is this: He did come Himself. God did not send someone else, He came Himself in the person of His Son! God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. (2 Corinthians 5:19)

Consider these statements:

“Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world. ‘God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.’ 2 Corinthians 5:19. God suffered with His Son. In the agony of Gethsemane, the death of Calvary, the heart of Infinite Love paid the price of our redemption.”- Steps to Christ, p. 13

“God gave Himself in His Son that He might have the joy of receiving back the sheep that was lost.”- Christ Object Lessons pg. 190

“Every gift is stamped with the cross and bears the image and superscription of Jesus Christ. All things come of God. From the smallest benefits up to the largest blessing, all flow through the one Channel–a superhuman mediation sprinkled with the blood that is of value beyond estimate because it was the life of God in His Son.”- Faith and Works pg. 22

I would like to encourage you to spend some time this week simply writing down one-word descriptions of what you see in Jesus. Then ponder the list. Ask the tough questions. Consider: had the Father come instead of the Son, not one note would have been different. The song would have remained the same. The story would be left unchanged. . .

April 12 Esight, 2008

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no changing or shadow of turning.—James 1:17Do you know what one of my favorite things about God is? It is the fact that you can tell Him anything, you can let Him in, so to speak, and He is never going to change in reference to you. He’ll never pull back, never will the expression on His face change. In our darkest moments, He does not withdrawal, but presses in even closer with His eternally loving embrace to heal, help, and cause us to grow. He wants you to let Him into your deepest darkest secrets. He wants an intimate relationship with you. He promises not to condemn, but to help. He will always be honest with us, but it will be in kindness and love. He’s not afraid to tell us where we are wrong. And where we are not in the wrong, He will come “to our defense with the wrath of a God.” He will stand by us through it all. And, after all, no matter what you tell Him, no matter how deeply you let Him in, doesn’t He already know anyway? This leads us to today’s passage, on which I would like you to meditate this week.

James tells us that with God there is no changing or shadow of turning. What does he mean by shadow of turning?

Have you ever just sat on your front porch and watched the shadows turn as the sun moves across the sky? Why do the shadows turn? This happens because the position of the sun to these objects is constantly changing. God is whispering to us in this passage, “tell me anything, let me in, my position toward you, my relating to you, will not change! No matter what you could tell me, I will not pull away, I will remain.”

C.S. Lewis stated in his book The Problem of Pain “Why else were individuals created, but that God, loving all infinitely, should love each differently? And this difference, so far from impairing, floods with meaning the love of all blessed creatures.” Yes God loves each of us infinitely, but each of us is different and, thus, God wants a unique and individual, intimate relationship with each of us, as well. (This thought is also reflected in John’s statement in Revelation 2:17.)

Dear friend, do you need a God that knows everything there is to know about you and still loves you nonetheless for it? I give you my God. He truly is the most beautiful being I have ever encountered….

April 1 Esight, 2008

Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.—1 John 2:28Thank you, most sincerely, for your patience over the last two weeks. We just completed filming 17 one-hour presentations to be released soon on DVD. But, rest assured, I’m back now, and thus this week’s E-sight. Thank you for understanding.

Over the course of the last two weeks I had the chance to interact with a young man who was quite distraught. He has heard so much about faith, God’s mercy, love and grace, but it had made no difference to him in a practical way. His fear, or rather lack of assurance, was still rooted and grounded. His question to me was, “Yes, all that is fine and good, but I’m still going to be judged by my works.”

I immediately understood his dilemma. And, yes, you cannot deny the plain, clear teaching of the scriptures that “we will all stand before the judgment seat of God” (Romans 14:10) and, yes, Paul is clear, “each one of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12), and, yes, “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

My friend was quick to also quote this well-known statement: “The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been,–just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents,–perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. The way would be open for sin, with all its train of woe and misery, to be immortalized” (Ellen White, Steps to Christ, p. 62).

Where my new friend failed was in the fact that he did not continue reading to the next paragraph. The very next paragraph states, “It was possible for Adam, before the fall, to form a righteous character by obedience to God’s law. But he failed to do this, and because of his sin our natures are fallen and we cannot make ourselves righteous. Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law. We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned” (White, p. 62, emphasis added).

Did you catch that? Yes, the judgment is based on works, but whose works would you rather be standing in, yours or Christ’s? It is not your own righteousness that saves you, but the righteousness of Christ which saves you both now and in the judgment. This is exactly why eternal life is a free gift given to all. Jesus has given His righteousness, the condition of eternal life, to all.

Jeremiah is clear:

“In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The LORD our righteousness’” (Jeremiah 23:6).

“In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the LORD is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16).

Paul unequivocally states, “We shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). Not by our own. On that day, whose life would you rather answer for, the one you’ve lived–or the life that Jesus lived and has given to every man, woman, and child as a gift? There is not the slightest reason why each and every person should not pass through the judgment with all hope and joy, save the single fact that they themselves would not have it that way. Christ’s “works” have been given to all, whether any person receives them as their own is another question.

Be at peace, my friend, you’ve learned the fear of God, now learn to love Him. Begin to see yourself not as you are in and of yourself, but according to what you are in Christ. This is His gift to you.

“By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:17-19).