May 31 Esight, 2009

Herb MontgomeryEphesians 5:1-2: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”

In 1 Peter 4:7, the Apostle Peter admonishes us to “above all” (which means “above everything else”), LOVE. I would like you to consider, also, the word’s of Payl in his letter to the Ephesians.

According to Paul’s missive, we are invited to be “imitators of God.” Just stop and think about that for a minute. What does that mean? This might possible be the most relevant “lifestyle” question that a Christian can ask! When correctly comprehended, we are truly only asked one thing of God, and that is to be an imitator of Him. He has shown us how, which we will get to in a minute. First, consider what it looks like to be an imitator of God. Paul’s reply is in the statement, “live the life of love” (verse 2, NIV). That is it! It is an invitation to live a life of LOVE! It means being loved by God and responding by allowing that love to awaken our love for Him and those we come in contact with.

Love is patient,

love is kind

and is not jealous;

love does not brag

and is not arrogant,

does not act unbecomingly;

it does not seek its own,

is not provoked,

does not take into account a wrong suffered,

does not rejoice in unrighteousness,

but rejoices with the truth;

bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

A word of warning: We CANNOT live like this by simply trying to do so. You cannot love by trying to love. What is needed is heartfelt, dynamic encounter with His love for you. His love for us is the compelling force (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). We will only love, because His love for us has first awakened love in us (1 John 4:19).

Would you, dear reader, like this kind of love? We are invited to be imitators of the greatest Lover in the Universe. How? By simply allowing oneselft to be loved by Him and letting His life-changing love accomplish all the rest.

In the words of Peter (1 Peter 4:7), My wish for you is, in the response to the light of His magnificent love for you, may your love for one another be “intense.”

May 30 Esight, 2009

Ellen G. WhiteRighteousness is holiness, likeness to God, and “God is love.” 1 John 4:16. It is conformity to the law of God, for “all Thy commandments are righteousness” (Psalm 119:172), and “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). Righteousness is love, and love is the light and the life of God. The righteousness of God is embodied in Christ. We receive righteousness by receiving Him. Not by painful struggles or wearisome toil, not by gift or sacrifice, is righteousness obtained; but it is freely given to every soul who hungers and thirsts to receive it. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat, . . . without money and without price.” “Their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord,” and, “This is His name whereby He shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness.” Isaiah 55:1; 54: 17; Jeremiah 23:6.

No human agent can supply that which will satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul. But Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.” Revelation 3:20; John 6:35.

As we need food to sustain our physical strength, so do we need Christ, the Bread from heaven, to sustain spiritual life and impart strength to work the works of God. As the body is continually receiving the nourishment that sustains life and vigor, so the soul must be constantly communing with Christ, submitting to Him and depending wholly upon Him.

As the weary traveler seeks the spring in the desert and, finding it, quenches his burning thirst, so will the Christian thirst for and obtain the pure water of life, of which Christ is the fountain.

As we discern the perfection of our Saviour’s character we shall desire to become wholly transformed and renewed in the image of His purity. The more we know of God, the higher will be our ideal of character and the more earnest our longing to reflect His likeness. A divine element combines with the human when the soul reaches out after God and the longing heart can say, “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5.

If you have a sense of need in your soul, if you hunger and thirst after righteousness, this is an evidence that Christ has wrought upon your heart, in order that He may be sought unto to do for you, through the endowment of the Holy Spirit, those things which it is impossible for you to do for yourself. We need not seek to quench our thirst at shallow streams; for the great fountain is just above us, of whose abundant waters we may freely drink, if we will rise a little higher in the pathway of faith.

The words of God are the wellsprings of life. As you seek unto those living springs you will, through the Holy Spirit, be brought into communion with Christ. Familiar truths will present themselves to your mind in a new aspect, texts of Scripture will burst upon you with a new meaning as a flash of light, you will see the relation of other truths to the work of redemption, and you will know that Christ is leading you, a divine Teacher is at your side.

Jesus said, “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14. As the Holy Spirit opens to you the truth you will treasure up the most precious experiences and will long to speak to others of the comforting things that have been revealed to you. When brought into association with them you will communicate some fresh thought in regard to the character or the work of Christ. You will have some fresh revelation of His pitying love to impart to those who love Him and to those who love Him not.

“Give, and it shall be given unto you” (Luke 6: 38); for the word of God is “a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams of Lebanon” (Song of Solomon 4:15). The heart that has once tasted the love of Christ, cries out continually for a deeper draft, and as you impart you will receive in richer and more abundant measure. Every revelation of God to the soul increases the capacity to know and to love. The continual cry of the heart is, “More of Thee,” and ever the Spirit’s answer is, “Much more.” Romans 5:9,10. For our God delights to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20. To Jesus, who emptied Himself for the salvation of lost humanity, the Holy Spirit was given without measure. So it will be given to every follower of Christ when the whole heart is surrendered for His indwelling. Our Lord Himself has given the command, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18), and this command is also a promise of its fulfillment. It was the good pleasure of the Father that in Christ should “all the fullness dwell,” and “in Him ye are made full.” Colossians 1:19, R.V.; 2:10, R.V.

God has poured out His love unstintedly, as the showers that refresh the earth. He says, “Let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together.” “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” Isaiah 45:8; 41:17, 18.

“Of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” John 1:16.

May 20 Esight, 2009

May they be blotted out of the book of life; And may they not be recorded with the righteous.
Psalms 69:28This weekend I will be doing a series of presentations on the book of Revelation, and there are two verses that have been bumping together as they roll around in my head and heart. These two verses are found in chapter 13 and 17, respectively, where it speaks of a book, a lamb, and something taking place from the foundation of the world. It is quite evident to me that Christ is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, but the Greek language also lends itself to another possible reality as well. And I’m walking gently here. I’m only saying it’s a possibility. The Greek implies that it may very well be that the Book of Life was also written from the foundation of the world as well. If this were true, the implications would be profound!

First, the Bible elsewhere speaks of books about us being written before we truly ever exist.

“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them” (Psalms 139:16).

You have one of two options with verses like this. Either all the events of our lives are pre-ordained in a non-alterable nature, and thus we are simply robots, or, God has pre-ordained us for spectacular things, even before we are born, but He gives us the choice whether to follow what He has ordained for us, or to let us write our own book, to follow our own way. I know verses like this exist, but none of them say that they are ordained in a non-alterable way. We can alter them! God has ordained all people to be saved, in fact, but we can resist that because of free will and go our own way.

But, when it comes to the Book of Life, it is interesting to me that there is not one verse in the Bible about names being added to the Book of Life, but every one of them is solely about names being removed.

“He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the Book of Life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels” (Revelation 3:5).

“But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” (Exodus 32:32).

The implication of this is profound! It is possible that, by virtue of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, every person’s name has been written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world as well. God has ordained all to have life! But he also allows us to take our names out of the book if we should so choose.

The verse quoted this week (Psalms 69:28) is David’s prayer that the wicked’s names be blotted out and not remain there with those of the righteous! How did the wicked’s names get into the Book of Life to begin with?

Pay close attention to what the following verses say.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17, emphasis added).

For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers (1Timothy 4:10, emphasis added).

Did Jesus save the world? Is He truly the Savoir of all? And could He especially be the Savior of the believers because they simply accept Him as their Savior, receiving the gift of salvation rather than throwing it away by resisting the abounding grace of our God?

What the judgment will reveal—it may very well be—is that salvation, full and free, was given to every man, woman and child, and that those who are lost are in that position because they, like Esau, have deliberately thrown away their birth-right possession.

Something to think about.

I wish you God’s best this week.

May 8 Esight, 2009

Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure — pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. — Luke 6.37, 38If you are like most people, what your mind naturally rests on in the above verse is what will come back to you, IF you follow the prescribed directions. Don’t judge and you will not be judged. Don’t condemn and you will not be condemned. Pardon and you will be pardoned, give and it will be given to you. But I would like you to back up for a moment and see what this verse is really saying. Look at the broader context. What has Jesus been instructing us in just before these two verses?

“But–love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”— Luke 6.35, 36

Jesus is telling us to be like God, just as Paul told the Ephesians that Jesus is telling us to be “imitators of God!” (Ephesians 5:1)

But then Jesus gives us four divine commands that if pondered well, will radically transform one’s picture of what they have been conditioned to see God to be like and usher them into the glorious truth of His character. Go back to the above verse and look at where we weren’t focused previously.

Jesus gives us four commands:

1)Do not Judge!

2)Do not Condemn!

3)Pardon!

4)Give!

Wow!!!!!! Why is he giving us these four commands? Because then we will be “just as our Father in heaven.” Really? Is this really what God is like? Are these four commands really a simple explanation of what type of a person God truly is and how he has been treating every member of the human race from the very beginning?

Let’s look at each one and compare.

First: Do Not Judge. Jesus, who is the express image of the Father (Hebrews 1:3), said: “If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” John 12.47

Second: Do Not Condemn. Jesus’ very first words to the woman caught in the very midst of adultery were, ” I do not condemn you, either.” John 8.11

Third: Pardon! One of my favorite prayers of Jesus was his prayer for his enemies on the cross, “Father, forgive them . . .” Luke 23.34

And Fourth: Give! “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Mark 10.45

These four commands are really a very simple description of what God is truly like. I want to challenge you this week to take your current picture of the Father and compare it to these four and see if you too don’t experience a little paradigm shifting. Oh, there will be lots of questions. We have not always been told the truth about our Heavenly Dad, but Jesus, once again, is calling us to see Him as He really is.