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Friday: Further Thought ~ A Step in Faith — 7 Comments

  1. In the final lesson for the quarter we need to turn the title of the series into a question: "Are we making friends for God?" For me, there are two challenges. I am a natural introvert and an quite happy with my own company. Secondly, for most of my life I have worked in Seventh-day Adventist educational institutions where my colleagues and students were mainly Adventist.

    Being an introvert does not mean that I cannot form friendships. I am just very bad at small talk and feel uncomfortable in the social scene where everyone is talking about nothing. In my classes, seminars and workshops, I often worked on a one-to-one basis with students and while the focus was on the task at hand there were often opportunities to share and encourage spiritual values. Our youth should be a special focus for making friends for God. Not, indoctrinating them, but encouraging them to grow their spiritual values.

    Having retired, and living in a town next to the University College where I taught for 30 years, I still find myself in a Seventh-day Adventist community. I spend a lot of time on the local bush tracks photographing birds and wildlife and interestingly interacting with non-Adventist community members ad often with ex-Adventists who use these same tracks. Only this week I walked these tracks with two groups of people who essentially had had little to do with Adventists or indeed any church. Simply being with them and sharing our common interest in wildlife breaks down barriers and I know that I will be seeing and hearing from these people again.

    Making friendships is about our attitude to others - changing the flavour - carrying the light - creating a hunger.

    By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35 NKJV

  2. I Googled "friends" and found : "The definition of friendship is a relationship between people who like each other and enjoy each other's company."

    My question - is this the extent of making friends for Jesus? What about being friendly to people you don't like or who have values completely different to yours or people who have hurt you? Could I say "Father forgive them" while they are killing me?

    I believe it is both, showing loving kindness and forgiveness to those we like and even those we don't like, when people see we are trust worthy irrespective of circumstances then they are more likely to accept what we share about the LORD.

    Jesus said, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you Matt 5:44

    What is Webster's definition of a friend?
    1: a person who has a strong liking for and trust in another person.
    2 : a person who is not an enemy - friend or foe.

    Aristotle figured there were three kinds of friendships:
    Friendships of utility: exist between you and someone who is useful to you in some way.
    Friendships of pleasure: exist between you and those whose company you enjoy.
    Friendships of the good: are based on mutual respect and admiration.

  3. Ellen White's quote containes the sentence: "Who will seek earnestly and from Him draw strength and grace to be His faithful workers in the mission fields?" There are as many mission fields as there are people committed to serve; each person represents its own mission field.

    But first, we come or came to the cross-road when the Word of God pierces the heart and conscience of the person who ‘hears’ it. 'Hearing', meaning to also understand the implied consequences of the message, has now placed this person into the position of having to make a choice. At this point in life, prior ignorance of the Truth has been replaced by understanding that there are spiritual consequences to one’s choices in life.

    Luke2:40-52 – (49)“And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Even the child Jesus was able to focus on the Father’s business! EVERYONE, the apostles as well as anyone who can ‘hear’ the Truth has come up against the most difficult decision one will have to make in life.
    Matt.6:19-24 – “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. “YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON(the pursuite of worldly goods).” This is the decision we made or still have to make when we come to this crossroad in our life – to dedicate our life to loving the Father exclusively or to pursue happiness on our, by flesh-determined, own terms.

    Peter had to make the decision, and all the others who were/are called. Which master will they chose? They chose their God, the Father who sent His Son in the form of Jesus to bring His message of Eternal Salvation! Not just Salvation from this present world, though the Apostles at the beginning thought it to be so when they hoped Jesus would become their king and they would be installed in His administration; God’s Salvation is ETERNAL.
    Matt.6:33 - As they found themselves becoming aware of the REAL kingdom - the spiritual kingdom - they found themselves between two worlds and faced with a choice:
    The one: continue to live with the demands and responsibilities of the physical life based on their own abilities or,
    the other: trust the new, spiritual nature to be formed and established through the faith-based relationship of TRUST in the Word of God; for this to sustain them in the life in HIS spiritual kingdom.
    Which one of the two worlds do they want to live in and focus their effort on to build up? These are two different masters – God the Father or mammon(worldly gains). Man can dedicate(submit) his life to only one, and both promise to take care of their followers(disciples).

    Matt.22:37 - What does the Father ask of us? That we single-mindedly/with all our being love/dedicate ourselves to Him – this is what He declares for us to do as His first commandment; then we can be protected from being deceived by the darkness of this world! When we dedicate our fervent love to only loving Him and not love the pursuit of worldly gains more, laying ALL of our life into His hands and following His Holy Spirit to direct our ways, HE in turn can and will govern the affairs of our life.
    Psalm 91:14-16 - He tells us: ‘Set your life right with me first so that I can direct your path.’ God spoke these words to David; He speaks them to all who trust HIM – focus first on doing right by me and my standards of righteousness as tought to us by the faith of Jesus Christ, and I will direct your path.
    Eph.6:11-18 – He equips us with His spiritual armor and, when fully maintained by faith, we will be able to stand against the assaults of the adversary.

    Our Father keeps His promise to grant Salvation to all who love Him with all their being and keep His commandments to love as He loved us first.
    Whose Love comes first? – God’s love comes first to all who can hear His call; it is made available to all to be EXPERIENCED when we apply our Faith in His promise that 'He can and will provide Salvation WHEN WE LOVE AND TRUST HIM FULLY IN RETURN'.

    • Brigitte in your last paragraph your said, 'Our Father keeps His promise to grant Salvation to all who love Him'. According to my understanding, salvation is a free gift given to all whether we love Jesus or not but we/some have accepted the free gift. This gift is all rapped up in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. He already saved us from sin and the penalties of sin but we have to accept that it is so.
      You also said- 'He can and will provide Salvation WHEN WE LOVE AND TRUST HIM FULLY IN RETURN'. We cant or work for salvation, it is his saving grace which humans does not deserve.
      Eph 2:8-9 Saved by grace through faith- its a gift lest any should boast. No one work for a gift, if so, then it is no more a gift but a wage/payment is required.

      • Lyn – thank you for commenting. Yes, Salvation is God's gift offered to all mankind. Those who accept it do so because they love God more than they love this world; they are willing to pay the price of laying down their old life(dying to 'self-will') so the new, spiritual life can be established in them.
        My comments referring to a cross-road as the point in life when those that ‘hear’ the ‘voice’ of God, those who are moved in their heart, knowing that His message of the need of Salvation is true, will make the choice FOR Him or AGAINST Him at that time.

        If they reject Him, He might, because of His Grace, continue to knock on the door of their heart; but unless the person accepts Him, God will not impose Himself or Salvation upon the person who rejects Him and eventually, the person will not ‘hear’ His voice any longer; yes, we do not ‘earn’ Salvation, though everyone must accept it as part of mankind’s NEED first in order to be saved and be willing to pay the 'price', rejecting self-will; Jesus died and payed the price so that we can follow his example!

        If we accept the Gift(Plan) of Salvation, He is faithful to walk with us to finish the race laid out before us - Heb.12:1-3. Our walk with Him is made so much easier if we keep His first commandment ‘to love him with ALL our heart’. If we do not diligently maintain our love-faith-relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit, the endowment of faith maintained by the Holy Spirit, the talent we received to put to work in our life, is put in danger to be taken away. The person who ‘buries his talent(faith)’ will end up as if he/she did not believe. Matt.25:14-30.

        ‘Yes, we are saved by grace through faith – it’s a gift lest any should boast’. Paul in Phil.2:12 speaks of ‘working out our salvation with fear and trembling’ - diligently applying our Faith in Jesus’ Gospel message to our practical life. When we love and trust God fully, with all our heart, we are close enough to Him that we can KNOW His assurance of our Salvation.
        Yes, Salvation is still by grace through faith as we run the race, diligently maintaining our spiritual relationship with the Father through His Son, and so ending this race victoriously.

  4. Faith is the substance of things hope for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1

    A Step in Faith

    What a quarterly!!!! Sound words to those who read and studied. The opening paragraph is simple yet wise. The question is- for many of us who used and still using virtual sabbath school/church, is there anything that changed in conducting our sabbath school/church in a building to a virtual service? For me, it is only the pot luck, fewer programs, and we are not in a building. Everything cont the same, like the same old, old story. When we started a few mths ago to present, we have decreased by half the amount of people who log on every sabbath. One reason is because you keep seeing the same people for more than six months doing the same things over and over again. The church is comprised of so many other new baptized members that can be used but we not using them. That was the same pattern while in the building, now it even got worst. All is not given the opportunity to participate in worship. It is so ironic that people would say all can participate in the service only when there is time to give/return tithe and offering. If not, others will be going to church for years and will never ask to do anything. Is it only when we need money from others we see them as important? Isnt a soul more important than money? The talents of members are not utilized.

    Solution- I am an extrovert and I speak several times about this. Things change at times for a short moment then it go back to the same old. We are who we are because we have created systems that does not work for others but only us.

  5. 1. My experience is such that the pastor who does this is heroic. It takes a lot of intestinal fortitude to be a spiritual oversite pastor. The nature of the congration is to say the pastor needs to do it all. The heroic pastor teaches outreach, sharing, witnessing, and light bearing, then sends us out two by two, instead of doing it all him/her by themselves. How does this impact me? Submit, surrender and let my pastor be an oversight to my churchs outreach. Maybe I could be his/her right hand man, left, or just one of the two by two. Whatever the Lord requires of me. Micah 6:8.

    Happy Sabbath
    I have enjoyed this lesson. A good transition into Christian education.


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