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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wearing the Victor’s Crown

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. Revelation 2:11.
The words, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” are repeated after these promises, weighty with importance to the children of God. It is for our eternal interest to know and understand what the Spirit saith unto the churches, and we should search carefully for light and knowledge that we may not be in ignorance of what God has commanded and promised in His precious Word. We have souls to be saved or lost, and with the greatest earnestness we should inquire, “What shall I do in order to obtain eternal life?” At the best, life is but short, and it is necessary that we should live this short life in harmony with the law of God, which is the law of the universe. We must have ears to hear, and hearts to understand, what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The angels of God attain unto no higher knowledge than to know the will of God; and it is their greatest delight to accomplish the perfect will of the heavenly Father. Fallen man has the privilege of becoming intelligent in regard to the will of God. While probationary time is granted us, we should put our faculties to the very highest use, that we may make of ourselves all that it is possible; and while we endeavor to reach a high standard of intelligence, we should feel our dependence upon God, for without His grace, our efforts cannot bring lasting benefit. It is through the grace of Christ that we are to be overcomers; through the merits of His blood we are to be of that number whose names will not be blotted out of the book of life.

Those who are final overcomers will have the life that runs parallel with the life of God, and wear the crown of the victor. When such great and eternal reward awaits us, we should run the race with patience, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.—The Signs of the Times, June 15, 1891.
This devotional is taken from Ye Shall Receive Power by Ellen G. White.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Not All Healing Comes From the Spirit

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:22, 23.
We need to be anchored in Christ, rooted and grounded in the faith. Satan works through agents. He selects those who have not been drinking of the living waters, whose souls are athirst for something new and strange, and who are ever ready to drink at any fountain that may present itself. Voices will be heard, saying, “Lo, here is Christ,” or “Lo, ... there”; but we must believe them not” (Matthew 24:23). We have unmistakable evidence of the voice of the True Shepherd, and He is calling upon us to follow Him. He says, “I have kept my Father’s commandments” (John 15:10). He leads His sheep in the path of humble obedience to the law of God, but He never encourages them in the transgression of that law.
“The voice of a stranger” is the voice of one who neither respects nor obeys God’s holy, just, and good law. Many make great pretensions to holiness, and boast of the wonders they perform in healing the sick, when they do not regard this great standard of righteousness. But through whose power are these cures wrought?
If those through whom cures are performed are disposed, on account of these manifestations, to excuse their neglect of the law of God, and continue in disobedience, though they have power to any and every extent, it does not follow that they have the great power of God. On the contrary, it is the miracle-working power of the great deceiver. He is a transgressor of the moral law, and employs every device that he can master to blind men to its true character. We are warned that in the last days he will work with signs and lying wonders. And he will continue these wonders until the close of probation, that he may point to them as evidence that he is an angel of light and not of darkness.—The Review and Herald, November 17, 1885.
This devotional is taken from Ye Shall Receive Power by Ellen G. White.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Is Jesus a created being?

Q. Based on Colossians 1:15, many say Christ was created or born. Does this mean He’s not deity?

A. I believe Colossians 1:15, which reads, “[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature,” is a very clear reference about the awesome nature of Christ, which is a belief under attack even in many Christian churches. The Messianic prophecy in Psalm 89:27 also reads, “I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth,” showing that Christ was not the firstborn prior to the creation narrative in Genesis, but rather He was to be made firstborn after the Psalmist penned his words. “The firstborn of every creature” is explained in Colossians 1:18 as “the firstborn from the dead.”

We can also use a modern-day example. In America, we call the president’s wife First Lady, but that doesn’t mean she was the first lady born. It merely designates her role in America. Colossians should be read in the same way.

The word firstborn in Greek does not mean first one given birth to. Instead, it means the one who has priority—the one who has first position. A more accurate translation might say, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the first of every creature, or the highest of every creature.”

Another thing we need to remember is all of the times Jesus called Himself infinite. You can’t ignore those Scriptures when understanding His nature! For instance, Christ said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (John 8:58). He also calls Himself the Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8). Jesus is from everlasting to everlasting (Isaiah 63:16; Psalm 90:2). And one of the best Scriptures to explain that Christ is eternal is in the gospel of John: “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (1:3). If Christ made everything that’s made, He couldn’t have made Himself. He’s always existed!

Let’s look at another verse where we find a similar problem. Many take John 3:16, which says, “his only begotten son,” and say that Jesus was begotten. Yet these people forget that when the Holy Spirit came upon Mary, it was the first time that God was born as a man. Christ is the only one of the Godhead who became a man, and so that’s one way you can look at this.

Also, when we translate from Greek the phrase “the first begotten” or “the only begotten” or “the firstborn,” that word can be translated as “the one who has preeminence of every creature.” It doesn’t necessarily mean He was born. Does it mean that the Father has a womb and gave birth to Jesus? Of course, this is an utterly ridiculous idea, but it helps illustrate the trouble in taking some passages of Scripture too literally.

Jesus has always been and will always be. He is divine and one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Posted on June 14, 2011 12:27 by Anthony Lester at Amazing Facts

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Why We'll Still Be Here on May 22, 2011

Setting dates for the return of Christ is a big temptation for many students of apocalyptic Scripture. It is tantalizing to study prophecies and numbers and symbols in Daniel and Revelation with a calculator in one hand. Some feel compelled to roll up their sleeves, punch out prophetic figures, and do number crunching. Surely there is a hidden answer in Scripture predicting when Christ will come!
But if we are true to the Bible, if we seek the message of Christ’s words in Matthew 24 and 25 with an open heart, we will close our holy calculators. Preparation for Jesus’ return has less to do with figuring out a date and more to do with how we are to live in the present.
Harold Camping, a Christian radio broadcaster and president of Family Radio, has used mathematical predictions to predict that the end of the world will happen on May 21, 2011 at exactly 6:00 p.m. He is convinced that a rapture of God’s people will take place. Then, five months later, God will destroy the Earth and the universe.
Some people laugh at Camping. Others wonder, “Could this be true?” The answer is not to be found in blogs, posts, or interesting articles. The answer is found by studying the Word of God for yourself.
What does the Bible say about the timing of Christ’s coming? Here are seven passages from Scripture that guide us in understanding whether Camping’s prediction is true.
  1. Matthew 24:36 says, “Of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
    The Bible tells us every effort we make to nail down the time for Christ’s return will fail. Camping directly contradicts Christ’s words.
  2. Luke 21:8 says, “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them” (Luke 21:8).
    The Bible warns us there are false prophets who attempt to predict the timing of Jesus’ coming. Camping demonstrates that he is a false prophet by trying to set a date for Jesus’ return.
  3. Matthew 24:32, 33 says, “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!”
    While the Bible shows us we cannot know the precise time of Christ’s second coming, it helps us know from signs that it is near.
  4. Matthew 24:44 says, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
    A repeated emphasis in the Scriptures is to watch and be ready always because we do not know exactly when Christ will return (Luke 12:35-40, Matthew 24:50, 1 Thessalonians 5:6).