Because He is Love….

O Lord, if You should mark iniquity, how would I stand? My sins are more in number than the stars.
And You know them all.

But there is forgiveness with Thee.
Your faithfulness reaches unto the clouds, Your mercy unto the heavens.

And You blot out my iniquities, never to be remembered.
You wash me whiter than snow.

Under Your wings I may rest.
You are my refuge, my rock, the one who fights for me.

I rejoice in Your salvation.
I wait for You.
I give You praise.

For You are worthy. You are God. You are Love.
Now and forevermore.

( Psalm 130:3, 4; 36:5; Isaiah 43:25; Psalm 51:7; 57:1, 18:1, 2, 16, 17; 13:5; 130:6; 59:16; Revelation 4:11; Exodus 3:14; 1 John 4:16)

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To live Christianity

Acts 17. I memorized it weeks ago, I wrote this weeks ago, but I’m still contemplating it.

“What shall we do? They who have turned the world UPSIDE DOWN are come here also!”

What consternation and dismay. The rulers of the city were troubled. Things changed when Paul came to town. He had a goal and he lived his mission.

We don’t see this today. I can’t remember a time in my life when one man was known as a world-flipper.

There were just a few of them in comparison to the population of the world and yet, they took the gospel to the world in just a few short years.

We don’t come anywhere close. Sure the world’s population has grown…. But so has the church; so has the amount of people who call themselves Christians.

Why are we not living lives of power like the apostles did?
There is no reason why Christianity cannot encompass every part of us and every area of life. There is no reason why Christianity cannot be who we are instead of what we do.

God has not changed after all.
So what has changed?

We have.

We’ve settled for an average Christianity and an average God.
We’ve compromised with the world and it has weakened us (as compromise always does).
We’ve stopped actively working for souls and expected others to do all the work.
We’ve lost the desire to know God and the zeal to pursue Him.
We’ve become immersed in ourselves instead of the cross.

The church has settled for a lukewarm, mere existence.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.

In every generation there are a few.
A few who are willing to live lives of true Christianity.
A few who are willing to abandon, surrender, everything to their Creator.
A few who are willing to be despised and scorned because they change the world.

The upside-down world of Paul was really right side up.

And ours? It’s really upside down.

I’m not satisfied with this.
I’m not satisfied with mere existence, with an average Christianity, and with a ‘average God’. Henri Nouwen said that “to live and work for the glory of God cannot remain an idea about which we think once in a while. It must become an interior, unceasing doxology.”

Christianity is not something we do: it’s something we are and it’s what we live.

And it’s what I seek to live.

Grace. Power.

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I am a firm believer in the power of grace. In fact, grace is what I live by. For, if there were no grace there would be no life.

But I am also a firm believer in not just sitting back and expecting grace and divine power to do all the work; but actually in combining my feeble efforts with the perfect power of the Almighty God.

And that belief is strengthened by what I read this morning.

“Human effort avails nothing without divine power; and without human endeavor, divine effort is with many of no avail. To make God’s grace our own, we must act our part. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort.”

(PK 486, emphasis added)

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Nothing less than for you to love Jesus more

I feel quite sure if I did my best,
I could maybe impress you
With tender words and a harmony,
A clever rhyme or two.

But if all I’ve done in the time we’ve shared
Is turn your eyes on me,
Then I’ve failed at what I’ve been called to do.
There’s someone else I want you to see.

 

Will you love Jesus more
When we go our different ways
When this moment is a memory
Will you remember His face
Will you look back and realize
You sensed His love more than you did before
I’d pray for nothing less
Than for you to love Jesus more

 

I’d like to keep these memories
In frames of gold and silver
And reminisce a year from now
About the smiles we’ve shared
But above all else I hope you will come
To know the Father’s love.
When you see the Lord face to face
You’ll hear Him say “well done”

 

Will you love Jesus more
When we go our different ways
When this moment is a memory
Will you remember His face
Will you look back and realize
You sensed His love more than you did before
I’d pray for nothing less
Than for you to love Jesus more

I’d pray for nothing less
Than for you to love Jesus more

~ by Phillips Craig And Dean

 

choices…character

For as long as I can remember I’ve heard and known this quote:

“The greatest want of the world is the want of men–men who will not be bought or sold,

men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as

true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.”

Education, page 57

But I’d never looked it up and read it in its context. But I did today…and this is what I found out.

This quote is located in an area where she is talking about the lives of great men…most notably Joseph and Daniel…and how they by their wisdom, justice, purity, benevolence, and self-sacrifice proved themselves true to the principles of their early training, true to Him whose representatives they were. Faithfully and steadfastly they yielded themselves to God and with their whole hearts sought to accomplish His purpose.

God wants to accomplish the same in our lives today. The story of Joseph and Daniel is an illustration of what He will do for those who yield themselves to Him and with the whole heart seek to accomplish His purpose. Our gifts are not our own, but are but lent treasures that belong to God and it should be our resolve to put them to the highest use. We each have a work to do for the honor of God and the uplifting of humanity.

But the following paragraph is what really impressed me:
But such a character is not the result of accident; it is not due to special favors or endowments of Providence.

A noble character is the result of self-discipline, of the subjection of the lower to the higher nature–the surrender of self for the service of love to God and man. 

Such a character…a character that cannot be bought or sold, a character that will stand for the right though the heaven’s fall, a character that is as true to duty as the compass is to pointing north, a character that does not fear to call sin by its right name…is not the result of accident but of self-discipline…of self-denial…of surrender…of service.

Our choices determine our character.

Test of Loyalty

“Fearful is the issue to which the world is to be brought. The powers of earth, uniting to war against the commandments of God, will decree that “all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond” (Revelation 13:16), shall conform to the customs of the church by the observance of the false sabbath. All who refuse compliance will be visited with civil penalties, and it will finally be declared that they are deserving of death. On the other hand, the law of God enjoining the Creator’s rest day demands obedience and threatens wrath against all who transgress its precepts….But not one is made to suffer the wrath of God until the truth has been brought home to his mind and conscience, and has been rejected. There are many who have never had an opportunity to hear the special truths for this time. The obligation of the fourth commandment has never been set before them in its true light. He who reads every heart and tries every motive will leave none who desire a knowledge of the truth, to be deceived as to the issues of the controversy. The decree is not to be urged upon the people blindly. Everyone is to have sufficient light to make his decision intelligently.
The Sabbath will be the great test of loyalty, for it is the point of truth especially controverted. When the final test shall be brought to bear upon men, then the line of distinction will be drawn between those who serve God and those who serve Him not. While the observance of the false sabbath in compliance with the law of the state, contrary to the fourth commandment, will be an avowal of allegiance to a power that is in opposition to God, the keeping of the true Sabbath, in obedience to God’s law, is an evidence of loyalty to the Creator. While one class, by accepting the sign of submission to earthly powers, receive the mark of the beast, the other choosing the token of allegiance to divine authority, receive the seal of God….The Lord gives a special truth for the people in an emergency. Who dare refuse to publish it? He commands His servants to present the last invitation of mercy to the world. They cannot remain silent, except at the peril of their souls. Christ’s ambassadors have nothing to do with consequences. They must perform their duty and leave results with God.  
As the opposition rises to a fiercer height, the servants of God are again perplexed; for it seems to them that they have brought the crisis. But conscience and the word of God assure them that their course is right; and although the trials continue, they are strengthened to bear them. The contest grows closer and sharper, but their faith and courage rise with the emergency. Their testimony is: ‘We dare not tamper with God’s word, dividing His holy law; calling one portion essential and another nonessential, to gain the favor of the world. The Lord whom we serve is able to deliver us. Christ has conquered the powers of earth; and shall we be afraid of a world already conquered?'”

 

Great Controversy, pages 604-610

 

“Most of the evils of this world have come into being, not by the direct intention of any one in particular, but in some case through the co-operation of all of us giving them a push by some word or by some silence, for which we are responsible; and though at the time it may have seemed a small thing, the word we spoke, or the word we failed to speak, yet in so far as our act could have restrained or diverted or qualified the order of events, we are as responsible for it as though we had with our own hand done the deed.”

 

Think about it….silence can mean the difference between life and death, it can mean the difference between faith and unbelief.

 

All too often we are silent when we should speak. But why? Perhaps the majority of us remain silent because we simply don’t care of because truth and justice are not important to us. Also, many of us remain silent because we choose to be uninformed or ignorant of the issues at stake. In some cases, we are silent because we think we are powerless to change things–either because we feel we lack the knowledge to make a stance, the skills to defend our position, or the ability or resources to effect the change. Still, some of us remain silent because we are afraid we will be persecuted in some way–we are afraid we will be persecuted in some way–we are afraid of being mocked, ostracized, attacked, deprived of our jobs, or even killed.

 

How often has the life of the innocent been sacrifice through the silence of those of us who should have been guardians of justice, but have failed.

 

How often have people we know spiraled down into sin and we just simply stood there and watched…afraid of making enemies of them.

 

How often have we prized the unity of the group of the singularity of principle.

 

How often have we kept silent when we should have spoken up?

 

How often have we deliberately twisted the views and positions of others whose views differ from ours.

 

How often have we remained silent in order to not risk our standing and acceptance within our community.

 

How often have we allowed ourselves to drift along with the tide of wrong and evil because it was very uncomfortable to move against the flow.

 

How often have we preferred the comfort of tradition, feeling, and culture over biblical truth.

 

How often have we, for fear of being held accountable, chosen the path of willful ignorance or a lack of interest.

 

Our apathy is often louder than our convictions.

 

Abraham Lincoln once said, “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”

 

And as my friend said, “People are dying for lack of the truth, for a forgetting of the law of God and a lukewarmness that God doesn’t care what we believe! People are dying for believing that God loves too much to be just!”

 

How can we remain silent?

 

 

 

(Speakers Bible, Luke, p. 156; Not for Sale; Integrity in a Culture of Silence, Samuel Koranteng-Pipim, Ph.D)