August 24 Esight, 2008

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet without your Father’s knowledge not one of them can fall to the ground.” (Matthew 10:29 REB)I would like to contrast the above words of Jesus with the words of demonically inspired counsel of Job’s friend Eliphaz. Remember, this is one of the friends Job was admonished to make atonement for in the end of his experience, and for good reason. Eliphaz’s words are dangerous and dead wrong! Born from the enemy himself which, if you pay close enough attention, apparently visited Eliphaz personally with such loathsome counsel.

“A word came to me in secret—

a mere whisper of a word, but I heard it clearly.

It came in a scary dream one night,

after I had fallen into a deep, deep sleep.

Dread stared me in the face, and Terror.

I was scared to death—I shook from head to foot.

A spirit glided right in front of me—

the hair on my head stood on end.

I couldn’t tell what it was that appeared there—

a blur . . . and then I heard a muffled voice:

‘How can mere mortals be more righteous than God?

How can humans be purer than their Creator?

Why, God doesn’t even trust his own servants,

doesn’t even cheer his angels,

So how much less these bodies composed of mud,

fragile as moths?

These bodies of ours are here today and gone tomorrow,

and no one even notices—gone without a trace.

When the tent stakes are ripped up, the tent collapses—

we die and are never the wiser for having lived.’

Call for help, Job, if you think anyone will answer!

To which of the holy angels will you turn?” (JOB 4:12-5:1, The Message)

It was this same Eliphaz who said:

“Don’t blame fate when things go wrong—trouble doesn’t come from nowhere.” (Job 5:6, The Message)

Yet Solomon, in his wisdom, did say that fate, or chance is to blame.

“I returned and saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong, neither is bread to the wise nor riches to men of intelligence and understanding nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.” (Ecclesiastes 9:11, AMP)

Why? Because chance is the fruit of granting free choice. There’s a chance now that things will not go the way we or God desire it! Yet, loving and fulfilling relationships require irrevocable freedom. God is not interested in meticulously controlling all we do or experience! But, in the same breath, let me quickly say that He is meticulously involved in each of our lives. And that, dear reader, is a comforting thought.

He is involved with every detail of your life. Nothing touches you that doesn’t also touch Him! You are not alone! He is ever with you, loving you, drawing you more intimately closer into the embrace of His perfect love. Regardless of what the “chance” of all the infinitely free moral decisions being made every day may throw our way . . . you are being kept watch over by the greatest Lover time and chance have ever witnessed—The great Lover of the Universe, and you are the apple of His eye.

Does that mean that nothing will ever cause you pain? How foolish. He is a God of freedom, not control. What it does mean is that you are never, ever alone! And one day all tears, all pain, and all evil will be seen for what it is and reality will be changed for eternity!

“It is Satan’s work to fill men’s hearts with doubt. He leads them to look upon God as a stern judge. He tempts them to sin, and then to regard themselves as too vile to approach their heavenly Father or to excite His pity. The Lord understands all this. Jesus assures His disciples of God’s sympathy for them in their needs and weaknesses. Not a sigh is breathed, not a pain felt, not a grief pierces the soul, but the throb vibrates to the Father’s heart. The Bible shows us God in His high and holy place, not in a state of inactivity, not in silence and solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy intelligences, all waiting to do His will. Through channels which we cannot discern He is in active communication with every part of His dominion. But it is in this speck of a world, in the souls that He gave His only-begotten Son to save, that His interest and the interest of all heaven is centered. God is bending from His throne to hear the cry of the oppressed. To every sincere prayer He answers, “Here I am.” He uplifts the distressed and downtrodden. In all our afflictions He is afflicted. In every temptation and every trial the angel of His presence is near to deliver.” (White, The Desire of Ages, p. 356)

I wish you God’s best this week.

August 17 Esight, 2008

“This is why I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the Truth.” Jesus—John 18:37 AMP

Truth is more than that which stimulates the intellect and it’s more than mere doctrinal apologetics. The root word for truth is the same as betrothal. Truth is that which binds our hearts in betrothal to God.

Let me explain. These days, I’m convinced the word truth is used too lightly. We use “truth” for just about any fact we can find in the Bible. I would like you to consider truth to be more than just a list of Biblical facts.

The devil himself knows what happens when a person dies. He knows about the Sabbath, he understands the final fate of the lost, he knows there’s a heavenly sanctuary (he used to live there), and he understands the relation of Calvary and the Law. Truly, if he were to come to one of our evangelistic series we could baptize him! BUT, follow the words of Jesus very carefully: “[The Devil] was a murderer from the beginning, and is not rooted in the truth; there is no truth in him.” (John 8:44 REB)

We would all agree that the devil intellectually assents to each of our 28 fundamental beliefs, yet “there is no truth in Him.” That must mean that truth epitomizes much more than doctrinal beliefs. Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth and the life.” (John 14:6). According to the words of Jesus, in order for Biblical facts to become “The Truth” they must reveal, at their very core, the One who is the Truth. It is actually quite possible to present Biblical facts totally divorced from Truth! For example, believing in the seventh-day Sabbath isn’t synonymous with believing in the Truth. The devil believes this and the Truth is nowhere to be found in him. It may be factual, but it’s not the Truth. Doctrinal facts alone will never comprise Truth! Jesus stated that He was “born for this,” to bear witness to it! So, here is the Truth, dear reader. Jesus exemplified it and He was born to shout it from the rooftops!

God is Love, and He Loves You!

Don’t just memorize it. Don’t just listen to it. Discover what it means and your life will truly never be the same. I am convinced that, above every other truth an individual can come to know from the scriptures, the truth that God is love and that He loves them is paramount above all else. Jesus was born so that we might be able to hear God say “I love you.”

Would you like to experience the Truth, dear friend? Would you like to encounter the truth about our God and His self-abandoning love for you? Seeing the truth about His love and becoming betrothed to Him through that love is the theme of the entire scriptures. Listen as He whispers the following words to you.

“As I passed by again, I saw that the time had come for you to fall in love. I covered your naked body with my coat and promised to love you. Yes, I made a marriage covenant with you, and you became mine. This is what the Sovereign Lord says.” Ezekiel 16:8 TEV (emphasis supplied)

“And I will make you my promised bride forever. I will be good and fair; I will show you my love and mercy. I will be true to you as my promised bride, and you will know the Lord.” Hosea 2:19,20 NCV (emphasis supplied)

Will you let Him take you more intimately into the embrace of the truth of His love for you this week?

I wish you God’s best.

August 10 Esight, 2008

A Message from GOD of-the-Angel-Armies: “Don’t listen to the sermons of the prophets. It’s all hot air. Lies, lies, and more lies. They make it all up. Not a word they speak comes from me. They preach their ‘Everything Will Turn Out Fine’ sermon to congregations with no taste for God, Their ‘Nothing Bad Will Ever Happen to You’ sermon to people who are set in their own ways. Have any of these prophets bothered to meet with me, the true GOD? bothered to take in what I have to say? listened to and then lived out my Word? I never sent these prophets, but they ran anyway. I never spoke to them, but they preached away . . . If they’d have bothered to sit down and meet with me, they’d have preached my Message to my people. They’d have gotten them back on the right track, gotten them out of their evil ruts.”—Jeremiah 23:16-22 The MessageWow!!! Those are some pretty strong words. An impassioned God is speaking about those claiming to be sent by Him but with a message He did not inspire. It would be well for any who bear the name “Christian” to give some time to meditating on the above passage. Truly the greatest revelation of God’s character of Love was manifested at the Cross of Calvary. Yet, amid the settling dust of the cross, one of the most damaging misrepresentations of God would emerge from within the most unsuspected place, His church. Humanities’ heart-level picture of the type of being we imagine God to be has been subject to untold damage during a time when “Christianity would rule the world.” More blood has been shed in the name of Jesus Christ or of Christianity than in any other name or religion. And this has had its effect.

Yet the Bible tells of a time, here in these last days, when the work of “a pretender” will abruptly come to an end. Our understanding of God’s character will be radically “cleansed” (Daniel 8:14), and the earth will once again be “lightened” (Revelation 18:1) with the glorious, climactic, final revealing of God’s extravagant love for us all. God will have a people who are passionate about Him! Their chief concern (2 Corinthians 5:15) will be for God to feel overloved and overjoyed as they look beyond concern for their own salvation (Luke 17:33) to the “salvation” of their God (Revelation 19:1).

There are so many voices both within and without God’s church. Do we really understand what lies in the heart of God for us? Do we find our hearts moved beyond description as we see His grace, His love, His character for what it really is? And is this our cry to this world, our message, our emphasis? The trumpet must be given a certain sound. There was a time within our own history when that little lady of whom we all think so highly heard the trumpet giving that very right ring:

“Those who, since the Minneapolis meeting, have had the privilege of listening to the words spoken by the messengers of God, Elder A. T. Jones, Prof. Prescott, Brn. E. J. Waggoner, O. A. Olsen, and many others, at the campmeetings and ministerial institutes, have had the invitation, Come, for all things are now ready. Come to the supper prepared for you. Light, heaven’s light, has been shining. The trumpet has given a certain sound. Those who have made their various excuses for neglecting to respond to the call, have lost much. The light has been shining upon justification by faith and the imputed righteousness of Christ. Those who receive and act in the light given, will, in their teachings, give evidence that the message of Christ crucified, a risen Saviour ascended into the heavens to be our advocate, is the wisdom and power of God in the conversion of souls, bringing them back to their loyalty to Christ. These are our themes,–Christ crucified for our sins, Christ risen from the dead, Christ our intercessor before God; and closely connected with these is the office-work of the Holy Spirit, the representative of Christ, sent forth with divine power and gifts for men.” (To J. E. White. Norfolk Villa, Prospect St., Granville. September 25, 1895. W-86-1895)

May we be found, not simply with trumpet in hand, but playing the right tune.

I wish you God’s best this week.

August 3 Esight, 2008

What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? (Luke 15:4, emphasis added.)

Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? (Luke 15:8, emphasis added.)Many of you are aware that I am in the midst of restoring a 100-year-old farmhouse. This possesses its own unique challenges since I am rarely here. I just came back from being on the road for three weeks and picked up my hammer once again. What is truly amazing is that a month ago, we planted grass! (Only those who have lived on a construction site know the joy of seeing grass sprout to replace acres of mud.) I was so excited this week to come home and see the grass actually growing! I took a barefoot walk around the yard and just took some mental and emotional notes. What stuck out the most is that around the side of the house, one of my children had left a rag outside on the ground that we were using when we refinished our kitchen cabinets. It was now dry and hard and embedded in the ground. But what was truly amazing is that it also had grass growing up through it. Through the actual cloth, the grass was growing. I stopped and stared. Grass grows through almost anything. Hard dirt, cloth, and even at times rock and concrete. It seems to be purposely determined on breaking through whatever is in its way to reach the sun. It grows and grows and grows, moving closer with every inch.

Immediately, I must confess, there was a part of me who thought that this is how we should be with God. Our hearts should be continually reaching out after Him. But I knew this didn’t feel quite right. I wasn’t getting what God was trying to say to me at the moment. It was if He was tapping on my shoulder, still saying, “Keep trying, I don’t want any more from you. I want to give you something here.” I continued to stubbornly ponder. How can my heart become more devoted to reaching after God as this grass does the sun? Then it hit me. I had missed the point. God was not trying to squeeze greater devotion out of me. He whispered, “You’ve got it backwards Herb. I’m the grass and you are the sun. I’m stopping at nothing to reach you!” Tears welled as I began to feel His heart, once again wrapping around me in the cool of this summer evening.

What a truly amazingly loving God we serve.

While on my most recent trip, I met a man who was asked by a mutual friend of ours, “When did you find God?” His response resonated in my heart. He replied, “That’s a curious question. I didn’t know God was ever lost. I prefer to see it as the day He found me.” Jesus sought to show us the same picture of our heavenly Father: “in the parable of the lost sheep, Christ teaches that salvation does not come through our seeking after God but through God’s seeking after us” (E.G. White, Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 189).

This week as you consider these precious truths, let me once again emphasize that yes, it’s important for God to be in your heart, but how do we get Him there? It is, first, by believing you are in the heart of God.

” . . . God gave to human beings an unmistakable evidence of the love with which He regarded them . . . The gift of Christ reveals the Father’s heart. It testifies that, having undertaken our redemption, He will spare nothing, however dear, which is necessary to the completion of His work” (E.G. White, Counsels on Stewardship, p. 14).

Quit running. Stop. Relax. Let Him, this week, find you.

I wish you God’s best this week.