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Friday: Further Thought ~ Jesus Wins – Satan Loses — 10 Comments

  1. We identify well with the three angels' messages as Seventh-day Adventists. For as long as I can remember, our church has has used some form of symbolic representation or winged angels with trumpets flying though the air. We even have independent ministries with the three angels incorporated in their name. In the days of "Missionary Volunteer Societies" in our youth, our Sabbath afternoons were filled with scripture memorisation and so on, and one of the first bits of scripture we learned was Rev 14:6-12 KJV. I can still recite it, sixty years later.

    There is another disturbing quote from scripture that worries me though:

    Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 1 Cor 13:8-10 NIV

    The issue is simply this: all the prophecy and its interpretation in the world does not make up for unselfish love freely given. It would be a sad thing indeed if our prophecies and their interpretation failed us, not so much because they were wrong but because we have not learned to love one another. Ultimately, the best Gospel witness is not our correctness of doctrine and prophecy but the demonstration of our love for God expressed to others. If we cannot love one another, how are we going to preach a Gospel of love.

    We need to think about this the next time we have a church meeting and feel the need to disagree with someone in the meeting. How do we do that using God's definition of love and not our own?

    By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

    Yeah I know. I am always quoting this - but it is important isn't it?

    • Some good thoughts.

      Galations 5:22,23 also comes to mind -
      ”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.”

  2. There is a saying or maxim within education: "theory informs practice". It could equally be said that doctrine informs practice - and this applies well beyond the realms of education or theology. What does this mean?

    Everything that you think, say or do - and I literally mean everything - is essentially informed or 'shaped' by what you believe. Nothing, and again I mean nothing, that you do is done for no reason - that is, separately from what you believe. So what you believe about God, life and absolutely every aspect of reality is ultimately what leads you to react or respond in absolutely every situation you encounter - even though you will typically not be aware of it doing so. And, the most subtle aspects of what you believe often influence your attitudes and behaviours most strongly - again, even though you will not typically be aware of them doing so. This is where and why your 'doctrine' - the totality of the beliefs you hold about absolutely everything to do with life and living - matters incredibly.

    If you can see, or even just begin to see, what I am attempting to convey, you will be able to appreciate that this is precisely the reality and phenomenon that Jesus is talking about in Matthew 7:16-22. This is because everything you believe will ultimately reflect either a foundation of other-benefiting or self-seeking/interest/indulgence - regardless of whether you are a 'religious' person or not.

    As Maurice rightly often refers to, how we treat others in our daily life and living matters most (John 13:35). This is where we will see our true 'doctrine' being revealed. So, your 'doctrine' - the totality of what you actually believe about everything, especially its most subtle aspects - really does matter at the most practical of levels. What 'doctrine' is being revealed by how you go about your day today and how you interact with, or perhaps avoid interacting with, the people you encounter?

    I offer the above for those who are interested in considering it in light of the highly relevant and deeply practical key points raised in today's lesson...

    • Amen and amen, Phil! From my perspective, the advantage of being "a religious person" is that we know Who is the only source of the truth and righteousness that are absolutely essential for us to receive, in order to reap any practical benefit from the observations that you have just made. And that's Jesus and Him crucified.

      If it's not the grace of God that heals our inner beliefs and enables our benevolence, then we are trying to pull ourselves up by our own proverbial bootstraps.

      Have a blessed day!

    • This is exactly the testimony of Jesus which is the spirit of prophecy. Our words and actions are the litmus test of whether or not we have the mind of Jesus, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. As our thinking takes the same form as his, his testimony becomes our testimony—his acts become expressed in our acts. “I press on to make [his mind] my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” (Philippians 3:12b ESV.) The glory of the Lord is his love, and that love transforms each one of us by degrees, if it is the focus of our heart’s yearning. (2 Corinthians 3:18.)

      No man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul. (COL 159.3)

      It is all about Jesus. He will write his law of love in our hearts and we will be his letter to all. (Jeremiah 31:33b.)

    • Thank you Phil for your intro to “World View 101”. I strongly concur with your opinion. I have mentioned it before, Francis Schaeffer’s book “How Should We Then Live?” was foundational in my understanding of this topic.

    • Yes. Thursday's lesson, 3rd paragraph, says,

      Earth's last war is not centered in the Middle East and the various conflicts there; it is centered in the minds of God's people scattered all over the world.

      Very powerful statement. We often get so caught up in the external conflicts - whether world news or tug-of-war struggles within our own circles and homes - that we forget that those things are only evidences of the war going on inside of us individually. "Let There Be Peace on Earth and Let It Begin In Me."

      Satan's way of thinking is always accusatory. And it appears to me that whenever we are in conflict with others it is because we are somehow accusing the "other" in our mind. For example, look at the story of the blind man in John 9:1-2. Jesus's disciples see the man and ask Jesus whose fault this physical malady was, the man's or his parents'. Faultfinding destroys compassion.

      Here's another example...I had a business-minded friend who I invited to go with me to the nursing home to bring some cheer, and he replied that he had no interest because it was the old people's own lack of planning that resulted in them being in a nursing home without family or resources for something more comfy. Perhaps the churchgoers of James 2:1-13 , were of a similar mindset when they preferred the wealthy over the poor - a thinking that it was their own doings that got them into those two different socioeconomic statuses.

      Let's look to Jesus's response to His disciples. Jesus's focus is on the glory of God and He sees the man's predicament as something allowed by God to draw people to Himself (John 9:3). Even though blindness is clearly a result of sin (though Jesus informs us it wasn't the sin of the man or his parents), Jesus does not recoil. Jesus's mind is not on the sin, but on what He/His Father can do about the sin.

      I'm sharing this because this is a frequent battle that goes on in my own mind. I want and need the compassion of Jesus. When I'm not feeling or exhibiting His compassion, it's because my attention is off-focus. When I take what I see of sin and its affect on the sinner, and my feelings of being "turned-off", and offer them to God even in that moment, I experience the situation changing.

      I'll share a story from yesterday to illustrate. I was feeling hurt because a family member asked several other people to go on a trip, that I had repeatedly expressed interest in....had even renewed my passport a few years ago to be able to go with him, and it was only after all the people had bowed out for various reasons that he invited me last minute....saying he didn't want to lose $ for the rooms he'd reserved. And almost laughingly, even as he was on the phone inviting me, when someone piped up from the background that they were interested, he said to that person, "Oh do you want to go instead then?". I told him I would pray about it and get back to him with an answer in a few hours. Before I answered, he texted me that he was all set...the hotel had changed the dates and so he could go with the friend he really wanted to go with. My instinct was to explain how I was feeling, but the Holy Spirit brought this John 9:3 text to mind and I thought, "How can I give glory to God?" Especially because this person does not have a faith in Jesus. So I texted, "Our heavenly Father works everything out in His loving ways" with some heart emojis. He called immediately and started sharing with me how perfect it was that he could go with his friend and other details of the trip. Even though he was still clueless as to how hurtful this was to me, the Holy Spirit was changing my heart as I was listening to him and praying for God's grace. I could feel the sting dissipating and gratitude calming my heart. The attention was away from me now and away from the label "self-centered" that I was attaching to him, and more on this fresh opportunity to bring Jesus to my precious family member.

  3. I have to be thankful to God, because in His perfect Love, He is able to change, if necessary, even genetics. Yes, I can be determined by heredity and environment! But because of the sacrifice of God's only Son, out of His own free willing choice, I and everyone who accepts Him, are also put in contact with the most powerful tool of change! Perhaps I may also look for human resources to help me out with my heredity and environment, but the Love of God is light, able to 'shoot' vision at the darkest picture I may be stuck into. Epigenetics is awesome!

  4. Love wins – rebellion against the principles of God’s Love governing the universes loses as demonstrated by the consequences of the battle of ‘obedience vs. disobedience’. Obedience being the willing acceptance and submission to the existing laws governing Life based on God’s Love, versus the willing disregard and rejection of these by the Creator established laws.

    All our Creator calls for is to love Him with all our heart in order to remain in the relationship with Him, and expressing this love toward our fellow man. If we acknowledge Him to be our God – our ultimate authority, we live by faith according to the righteousness established by His Son who’s perfect love and willingness to place the Father’s Will supreme over all other thoughts and ways, so laying out for us the Path of Life.

    It is a daily choice to live God’s Word by faith. Regardless the circumstances, we are assured that ‘The LORD himself goes before us and will be with us; He will never leave us or forsake us. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.’ – Deut.31:8.


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