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Friday: Further Thought ~ Fear God and Give Glory to Him — 19 Comments

  1. I grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist church and became aware at a young age that there was a conflict in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The issue was whether Jesus had a pre-lapsian or post-lapsian nature. The argument was frequent and loud enough for pre-teenagers to hear. And, there were people who left the church as a result of the conflict. And there have been other conflicts about the nature of inspiration, the age of the earth, the place of women, the placement of the international dateline, and so on. We love to take sides and fight one another. And if the Lord delays his coming another hundred years I am sure we will still be fighting one another over issues we see as important.

    The serious part about all of this is that we are essentially crewing a lifeboat and if we don't get a focus on the things that are really important, we bring disgrace to God and our message of salvation becomes a laughing stock of those around us.

    The Seventh-day Adventists in northern Norway had a problem keeping the Sabbath from even to even because of their geographic location. They have a three-month day and a three-month night to contend with. Two practices developed and both sides thought the other side was wrong. They asked various levels of the church to decide the issue for them. Finally, a working group from the Northern European Division met and after the presentation of many papers (I know because they all sit in the top of one of my cupboards) they finally wrote a letter to the folk concerned. In essence is said: Follow your conscience on this matter with two provisos. 1) respect those who have a different view of when the Sabbath opens and closes, and 2) don't change from one view to the other for convenience. The committee got it right: Respect God by respecting others.

    We are never going to all agree on every aspect of belief, but we honour God when we show respect for one another especially when we differ. We often judge one another about our conformity to Adventism as if it is some sort of standard where fitness for heaven is determined and forget the weightier matters of respect and understanding of one another. There are two laws: Love God; and Love one another. We need to remind ourselves that God loved us while we were still sinners. Surely the corollary to that is that we should love one another when we have differences. When we have got those right, then the other stuff falls into place.

    Yes, I am back from my birding break. It's great what a bit of time in a swamp does to you.

    • (Haha, Maurice, I think Shrek would agree with you on the benefits of swamp.)

      Just wanted to add here that it's been a real blessing to have spent time this week considering what really is this 'fear' or 'awe' of the LORD.
      The following is a summary of my reading (from various sources):
      Biblical fear of the Lord does not coincide with dread, but is the awe felt at the recognition, be it ever so small, of the flow of the divine transcendence (His majesty and magnificence, His love and holiness, His wonder and mystery). From this awe springs the beginning of faith, and is joined with love.

      I'm sure it's even more than this, but God certainly is amazing, and worthy of our time every day, seeking His face.

    • Good morning; Maurice, it is so good to have you back.

      I was raised in a very conservative Adventist home, and we moved from California, where I live now, to Arkansas for my first year of academy. I still think this was a huge mistake on my family's part because, in just a few months, I realized that Arkansas was not the home for me, and I rebelled. The week I turned 18, I went to the recruiters that were in the post office at that time, and joined the Navy. On April 10 of 1964, I was sworn into the Navy, where I spent eight years. Needless to say, the church did not affect very much of my life. My mother, who prayed for me twice daily, sent me everything she could from the Adventist book store, you know, all the monthly publications, plus the Youth's Instructor -- five or six publications at the time. I gave all to one of my associates, Tommy Wall, who was killed in the forest of fire while holding my hand. Because of this, I receive disability retirement benefits from the Navy. It still impacts my life greatly.

      We made it back to home port after some extensive repairs. Shortly after, I returned to the church at that time. I've had many struggles since then, but my faith in God has not wavered because of who HE is. I had trouble with smoking. C. Everett Koop, the surgeon general, said that tobacco is one of the most addictive substances in existence. He smoked a pipe up until he died of complications from cancer in his face.

      I received power over cigarettes on a Friday evening after I discovered I was out of cigarettes. When I went to the freezer, the carton was empty, and I went to my knees, because I certainly was not going to buy cigarettes on the Sabbath day. I simply said to God, "These things are stronger than I, but I know you are stronger than they are! I'm giving them to you!"

      I'm happy to say that I haven't had a craving for cigarettes since; even the smell, when they're first lit, doesn't attract me. It is my faith in God that gave him that power.

      But faith is a gift, just like obedience is a gift, and my favorite text has been for years, like yours, John 13:34,35...

      The test of Christianity, the only test to Christianity, is how we treat our fellow travelers!!!
      Brother to all in Christ,


    • Great to have you back, Maurice - would you consider sharing 'what the 'great' thing is that a bit of time in a swamp did for you'? 🙂

  2. Hi Maurice, I am new to posting a comment. I have been reading/studying for maybe a year, and I probably may not post much, but I felt the need to say welcome back, and you came back very strong with your comments for today. Your comments have been very insightful for me in helping to understand and think about things differently, especially when I felt like I didn't understand.

    So, thank you, and just know that you do inspire others.

    Have a blessed day.

  3. I am glad you are back, Maurice. Your comments on the lessons were missed. Thank you for the time and effort that you put into those comments. I have been blessed by them.

  4. Angel Manuel Rodriguez’s comment included in this lesson sounds much like Ellen White’s writing style. I appreciate him noting that: “This fear does not manifest itself, at least not for now, …, in terror and trembling, but in joyous and loving submission to God’s law and to His exclusive worship.”

    All of the Word of God, taught and lived by Jesus, reveals the Father's Love for mankind and His desire to save us from destruction by the final death; could mankind have hoped for anything more? If one boils the content of the Scriptures containing Wisdom and Instructions down, what will its essence reveal? – God’s Love!

    I often wonder if studying the Scriptures is frequently done more for the sake of finding helpful arguments to support one’s personal understanding of Scripture, and not so much for building a stronger relationship with our heavenly Father for the sake of honoring and glorifying Him. But what is the Plan of Salvation to accomplish in our life?

    1Cor.13 reveals the heart of the Gospel. I suggest to read it frequently to remind ourselves that our Father’s wisdom admonishes us to focus on loving Him with all our heart – glorifying and honoring him -, which means to humbly and gratefully allow Him to express His Love through us.

    As I see it - ultimately, it is not the believer’s love; it is the Father’s Love within us that manifests itself through ‘our’ actions. And again, these are not ‘our’ actions; the power to motivate us to act with loving kindness is of the Holy Spirit which takes residency in our body, heart, and mind if invited to do so.
    We learn from Gal.2:20 - ” I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith OF the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

  5. Thank you everyone for welcoming me back. A bit scary that there are so many messages of welcome. Carmel says, "Careful, you will fall off your horse!" She is a wise woman!

    • Just imagine "when we all get to heaven" and realize just how many people each of us has unknowingly impacted during our lives! I had a similar experience when leaving my previous job. When I started telling people I was leaving, so many people said they would really miss me because I was the only one who would smile or talk to them. One more reminder of how careful we must be to always shine Jesus' light to others, as you do on this platform and I am sure in your daily life as well. 🙂

  6. It isn't easy to see myself as I am because I can have different opinions about myself depending on the perspective. God is the One Who can see me through. He can see my heart while people surrounding me know what my look is, what I say, and what I do. These three perspectives are critical to be harmonized, but certainly, the uttermost rebounds to my actions.

    • Yes, JC! I brought up exactly this point in Sabbath School today. We do not always know what is in our own heart until God shows us through the still, small voice of conviction.

  7. In the end, what will matter is what I genuinely believe. Does my life reflect and balance my faith? Do my "external perspectives" (example) click? Hopefully, I can genuinely surrender myself to the One Who can shape me to the image He has planned for me.

  8. What did this week's lesson have for us?

    The grace of God is the love of God for us, bestowed on us. We are drawn to God by the love of God. The love of God sparks our love for Him. A love for Him encourages us to do His will. Even more, a love for Christ empowers us to obey His commandments. This does not negate the fact that nothing we do, can buy, or if you prefer, can earn our salvation.

    Going further, we love God, so we fear God, or if you prefer we reverence, respect God, and worship God. This explains Christ's words: "If you love Me keep my commandments." We are moved by love to fear God and to keep His commandments.

    Even with these words we will be called legalist by some. Usually these are people who have no conviction that Christ did not negate the law, He fulfilled the law. And for some, it is just a matter of excuse for not allowing God's loving grace to empower them to obey.

    Two-thirds of God's angels saw the grace God gave Lucifer until he continued to rebel and could no longer be welcome in heaven. The 2/3rd of angels, seeing God's grace, were empowered to obey God, another testimony to us of God's love available to us if we choose.

    And yes, we also see the testimony of Christ's life on earth of God's grace and love, His character.

    Indeed, this week, we have seen that the everlasting gospel is not just justification by faith, but also an intimate relationship with Christ on an ongoing basis, in need of our Saviour. With this relationship flows from us rejoicing, peace, love, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

    "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith." 1 John 5:3‭-‬4. NKJV.

    Our prayer should be: Give us Lord the mind of Jesus, make us holy as He is. May we prove we've been with Jesus, who is all our righteousness.

    We overcome, not by our willpower, not by our might, nor our power. Rather we overcome by putting our trust in Christ. Remember the story of Joseph who surrendered his will to God and overcame the little things, and by God's power he was able to overcome the big things. No matter how old we are, and how ingrained and stained our hearts, we are overcomers by giving our hearts to Christ. He will take our hearts of rubbish and replace our heart with a new clean heart. Plus, He replaces our old spirit, giving us a new spirit, filling us with His Spirit, restoring us with the joy of His salvation.

    "My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God."
    Psalms 62:5-7. NKJV.

    • Thank you, John, for so many beautiful and true observations! Still, I'd like to clarify one thing, not to be picky, but because it has come up so often in comments from various contributors.

      I think that a part of the humility that we need to cherish, as Christians, is to recognize what we, as the human race, did to ourselves when we chose to disobey God. Our nature immediately became so depraved that, without divine intervention and grace, we now have no power, and no disposition, to resist sin and Satan. We are incapable, in and of ourselves, to produce genuine love. We can obtain this capacity only from God.

      Now, here is the point that I wish to make. If this state of affairs is a consequence of the fall of man, then it doesn't apply to those who have never fallen. So, the angels don't need to be "empowered to obey God." It comes naturally to them. The love of Jesus is the love inherent in the divine Son of God, and that naturally flows from His heart. Let us exalt Him to the highest heaven!

  9. I see your point R.G., about the loyal angels of God. I was out of bounds with my words in speculation. Thank-you for your kind correction. I went back and looked at 1st chapter of Patriarchs and Prophets and the 1st chapter of Story of Hope. These quotes helped me.

    "Angels that were loyal and true tried to win this mighty, rebellious angel back to the will of his Creator. They clearly showed that Christ was the Son of God, existing with Him before the angels were created. He had always stood at the right hand of God. His gentle, loving authority had not ever been questioned before, and He had given no commands but those that it was a joy for the heavenly forces to carry out." Story of Hope 6.3.

    "Angels are God's ministers, radiant with the light ever flowing from His presence and speeding on rapid wing to execute His will." Patriarchs and Prophets. 34.2.

    Now the following paragraph is so good on where I do believe the angels get there loyalty, I felt compelled to share.

    "The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love—service that springs from an appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced obedience; and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary. Patriarchs and Prophets." 34.3.

    I do believe the Bible is the authority. Like H.M.S. Richard's, Sr used to say, "the Bible and the Bible only." However I do believe as I believe you do, that the Spirit of Prophecy is an illumination of the Bible. It helps us when correctly quoted to keep the illuminations correct.

    As an example of God's love for us, opening a way for us to choose, I want to give us a text found in Mark 15:21. Mark 15 tells us of a man that was compelled to serve, that saved his life for eternity, because he chose to serve Christ. Mark 15 has the story, and The Desire of Ages page 472 has the rest of the story.
    Good day my friend


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