Sunday, February 28, 2010

.44 Magnum Self Protection

When bad things happen to good people (if there is such a thing as a "good person"), some seek refuge by becoming reclusive; a social-emotional hermit, if you please. There are times such behavior appeals to me...greatly, as a matter of fact. But then, just at the right time, along comes my bride bringing her (essentially) ever-present smile and my fears (if it is fear) are melted by the her always-present warmth.
Truth is, there is no retreat far enough, nor any relief deep enough, to protect anyone from the vagaries of life.
Anyone who has no fears is either not sufficiently wise, or self sufficiently arrogant to recognize the transience of life and the intransigence of evil which is always on the attack in both the largest and smallest matters of one's existence. The Bible says, "What is man that thou art mindful of him?" [Psalms 8:4].
The answer to that song is sung in the life of Jesus Christ. Where would we be without Christ and without hope. Men and women of the world are without hope but do not know it because they believe there is no hope. And if there is no hope, then what is the point of the future except to gather, garner, and store up for the rainy days everyone knows are ahead. For the wicked the storm clouds over the horizon mean only trouble; so they store food and armaments. For those whose lives are hid in Christ the same storm clouds are announcing the latter rain of the Holy Spirit...which means that the coming of The Christ is not far behind.
We need to remember these things when we feel like retreating from the world and the daily (hourly) bad news. Christ longs to gather his children under his wings the same way a hen gathers her chicks; to live in His shadow; to abide under His wings. For those who fear...and these are fearful times...Jesus is our Best and Only Hope.
Remember...someday the sky will fall...e.c.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It's a little like reading Matthew chpt.24

Every day I check the news online and some days it's a little like reading Matthew chapter 24 where Jesus is describing what things will be like in the world as time draws to a close for this earth. As it was for Haiti a few weeks ago, so for Chili, today was one of those days.
Earthquakes are always intimidating no matter how many you've survived. I still remember the first one: I was standing in the auditorium of Gault Junior High in Tacoma, WA, having just come out of the cafeteria. I can recall and almost relive the wave of fear and autonomic nerve responses that swept through my mind and body. That was 1949. Living in California, one doesn't exactly get used to earthquakes, it's more a matter of living in expectation. You know that one is coming; if not today then another day, but you always know it's coming. Matthew chapter 24, verses 7 and 8 tell the story of times and timing of end time events: "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows."
The day of the Lord is is coming in spite of the skeptics, in spite of the scoffers, in spite of the sum of unbelief. It is coming...soon.
Am I ready? e.c.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Nose Bleeds

It must be the elevation. At about four thousand feet, Apple Valley, CA qualifies as "high desert." Driving in from the North one encounters an interesting geologic site; large boulders stacked like building blocks are unlike any adjacent hills (mountains).
On the top of this boulder-mountain there is a white cross. It's very obvious and is easily spotted. Not one word in the newspaper nor on radio have I heard from people who are usually very vocal in their objections to all things even vaguely religious. Perhaps an ACLU junket to San Diego with the balmy air and fair beaches is a more comfortable place to attack than Apple Valley where the wind always blows and is especially cutting in winter.
If one decides to go on the attack it's wiser to do so in pleasant surroundings. Probably it's the elevation, and ACLU lawyers are more prone to nose bleeds while sticking their Durantesque schnozolas into other believer's business in these surroundings, all the while under the watchful and critical eye of Joshua trees. It's a thought... e.c.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Marshall Islands place in prophecy

It's hard to imagine these islands taking a place in the fulfillment of prophecy, but there they were, as big as yesterday's news; which is when this was published online. It seems the legislature is considering a bill that would set aside Sunday as a national day of worship. Interestingly, two Seventh-day Adventist teachers testified during the hearings...which were attended mostly by pastors. Sunday laws have been passed (Germany, 01 December 2009), are being debated, and are even the foundation of some political parties (Fiji Islands...we were there).
These movements should be heartening to the disheartened; those who are weary of this world and are longing for heaven. But before the food is served at the table in heaven there is the fire of trial here on earth.
For those who think they will be raptured out of this world and not have to pass through the times of the end of this world with its approaching politico-religious machination, please answer this question: "Which of the apostles, whom among those who followed the apostles through the last two thousand years of the church and its exanguinous (bloody) history, which of the present day Christian's imprisioned or martyred for their faith in China, in Russia, in the Middle East, in Africa; which of these was "delivered" from their trial or tribulation? The answer, of course is, "none of the above."
For those who study their Bible, believing what it says rather than what many are preaching, they will understand that the Kingdom of God is not of this world: It is not centered on Jerusalem as the world epicenter of religion and peaceful politics: Jesus was not and is not a political figure in the war between good and evil; He is the Christ: Our Savior!
Make it a day to be treasured.
God Bless! e.c.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Alive and....well....

Greetings from Apple Valley, California. I have yet to see an apple tree but there is a dead Yucca sprawled across the dirt on the lot next door. The trip down was sometimes beautiful (like Sabbath in an RV park at Gold Beach, Oregon) and sometimes wearisome (like the Sunday we drove thirteen hours to make up lost time).
There is a palpable difference in the tempo of life in Southern California: the attitude is rude and impatient, on the road, in the market...just about everywhere one goes. Last Sabbath we revisited the Victorville Church and had a wonderful time. It was my special privilege to annoy Al C. with questions and comments while he was teaching SS (Sabbath School). Al was fired up about the time in which we are living and was encouraging the class to accept the righteousness of Christ as their own. There was much teaching, joy, and praise during across the hour. Time slipped by too quickly. The gentleman who was teaching the class we attended last year has had a stroke. We are invited to lunch this Sabbath and will have opportunity to meet and encourage him...a fine man.
Forgive the rambling. It's a little like the drive down; there are ruts in the road of my mind and the Essayist has to get back in the groove. Just last evening we were finally able to re-establish internet service and I feel like I'm starting all over again.
Blessings to all. Stay close to the Lord. He IS coming soon. e.c.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Signing Off...for a few days

Today we leave for California where I am appointed to give a two-hour talk to the freshman dental class. It is titled, "The Art and Science of Anchoring: A Parable." The purpose is to encourage these young men and women to seek a spiritual foundation for their ethic. Mere human will is insufficient to the task of living a life guided by consistent moral principles unless one's life is anchored to something stronger and more reliable than self. That Anchor is God.
Great opportunities await these men and women; opportunities for great success and great failure in their lives both professional and personal. I have witnessed both in classmates and students. Pray that I will be able to speak as friend and not as professor.
Wireless will not be available for a few days so I will have to "save" my thoughts to the hard drive of my mind until we and wireless meet again. Until that time, as it is written: "Today if you will hear His voice, harden not your hearts."
[Hebrews 4:7b
God Bless. e.c.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

John 3:16

Over time, especially more recently, this powerful verse has been trivialized and demeaned both by Christians and those who are not. I'm thinking of the wrestler who emblazoned his uniform with his name and then the "3:16." The point of course was to mock his opponent who used the verse (hopefully) as a testimony.
This one thing I will say about John 3:16: It is the most perfect, and most succinct statement that God has made to reveal what He has done for this fallen world through Jesus Christ. There are deep truths that may be easily passed over if one reads or repeats it hurridly or without thought. To my mind, the key words are these: God, so loved, world, gave, only, Son, whosoever, believeth, not perish, everlasting life.
Read it again and spend a day thinking about what God has done. Remember: the most perfect, most succinct summary of God's love for man.
Blessings. e.c.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Joshua 1:9: A day's worth of pondering

Moses had died and Joshua, his assistant has assumed leadership of the children of Israel. The Lord (Jesus) is leading them out of the desert and into the Promised Land, just as this same Christ is leading us (spiritual Israel) into the heavenly Promised Land. Speaking to Joshua, He says: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
To try to add to these words would only take away.
God Bless, as you memorize this verse. e.c.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sola Fide? Somebody tell James

"What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, 'You have faith, and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." [James 2:14-18]
There are some I know who don't like to read the Book of James (James and Jude were half brothers to Christ) because it rankles them in the comfort of their faith. If we proclaim our (personal) faith loudly enough, perhaps no one will notice us not supporting nor engaging in church ministries.
On the other hand, when we do our works, it is best that the left hand not know what the right hand is doing...which is another way of saying that if our good works are to be published (not necessarily in the Mason County Journal) let it be done by others; not us.
Those in Christ will do good works, and do them by spiritual reflex. When the doctor taps your knee with his little mallet, and your leg involuntarily jerks; why is that? It happens because the electrical signal from the stimulated nerve goes to the spinal cord and comes right back to the muscle with a command; jerk. There is a signal that goes to the brain informing it that the knee has been tapped and that the leg has reacted, but while the brain is informed of what's going on it is not engaged.
There's a spiritual lesson here. When God's people see a need, they are so in tune with Christ that they reflexively react to the need. They do His works without having to think about whether or not to be be involved. This is not a mindless reaction, it is action because His children have the Mind of Christ. "Let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus also." [Philippians 2:5].
I need to go now. My wife is calling and she has a list....
God Bless! e.c.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

On a journey...

Dear souls who have the fortitude to follow in the wake of the Mind of the Essayist: we will be leaving this coming Thursday for a drive to Loma Linda, CA. I am scheduled to present one lecture, and so it will be a bit of a home coming ten days after the 50th Annual Alumni Convention. I seem to miss most of these. I (this is the third sentence bebinning with "I") will do my best to share thoughts. Pray for us that we will have a safe trip...going and returning.
Blessings to all. e.c.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Excuse me. Do you have the time?

"We have no time to lose. We know not how soon our probation may close. Eternity stretches before us. The curtain is about to be lifted. Christ is soon to come. The angels of God are seeking to attract us from ourselves and from earthly things. Let them not labor in vain.
"When Jesus rises up in the most holy place, lays off His mediatorial robes, and clothes Himself with the garments of vengeance, the mandate will go forth: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still:...and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be." [Revelation 22:11, 12]
"A storm is coming, relentless in its fury. Are we prepared to meet it?" [8T 314,315]
I sat wondering what I might write in addition to what is quoted above; and it occurred to me that there is really nothing to say. Christ and His servant have said it all. But I will ask a question; Who is listening?
Be in the Word. Sabbath is coming, and just as surely, so is the Christ. e.c.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

SCHADENFREUDE in the church? NOT!

There it was, a new word, waiting for me in the business section of online news. Of course you can tell it's a German word. It emerged in the 1890's and means SCHADEN (damage) + FREUDE (joy). Phonetically it's pronounced "shawden froyda" and describes in one word (as German words often do) someone(s) who find happiness/joy in the ills and misfortunes of others. In the article, the writer used the word to describe how GM, Chrysler, et ali, are most probably reacting to Toyota's massive recall. Detroit was embarrassed at having to be "bailed out" by the decades of being considered #2 in quality to Japan.
Of course, Satan is the author and master of SCHADENFREUDE. He invented it, he inspires it, and he tries his best to bring it into the church...with some success. Ellen White encourages church members to " together, press together...": to enter into the unity of the truth as it is in Christ. No more "Well, he/she sure got what he/she deserved."
Listen to the Apostle Paul: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy, love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away...And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. [1st Corinthians 13:1-8, 13].
SCHADENFREUDE: an interesting word, but not to be admitted through the doors of the church nor in the minds and hearts of God's people.
Think on these things. e.c.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Isaiah: Twice Dissected

Parts of certain parts are partially accepted while the rest are dissected out of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews, speaking of believers of old, says this: "Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two (that would be Isaiah), were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented---of whom the world was not worthy" [Hebrews 11:36-38].
Twice have Israel's children dissected Isaiah: once with a saw when murdered, and a second time with the scalpel of unbelief when they rejected the prophet's inspired words regarding the suffering Messiah. Israel is no different today than when they chose king Saul rather than Jehovah as King.
Modern Protestantism is infatuated with Israel because they, like the Jews of old, are looking for Christ to set up a temporal kingdom in Jerusalem. Neither Israel nor Protestants truly comprehend that the war that rages is not about land or political power, it is about souls. It is a battle between things good and things evil; a battle between Christ and Satan.
When Seventh-day Adventists broach the subject of spiritual Israel vs. literal Israel they are accused of preaching a replacement theology; replacing Old Testament scriptures that refer to then literal/spiritual Israel with a New Testament understanding of spiritual Israel; those who have accepted God and His Christ whom the Jews rejected and continue to reject. They are still a stiffnecked and disobedient people. [Deuteronomy 9:6]
The words of Christ are clear enough when, as He left the temple for the last time before His crucifixion he said, "See! Your house is left unto you desolate." [Matthew 23:38] Paul, a pharisee and the son of a pharisee wrote these words: "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumscision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.: [Romans 2:28, 29]
So this comes down to what? to a prejudiced unbelief.
The Jews have slipped from being number one to some other place down the chart. Protestants prop up the Jews because they too have edited and reinvented the words of the prophets and the Christ.
Seventh-day Adventists ought to be leaders in rightly dividing the Word; but to rightly divide is to be expert in operating within the pages of the Bible. Perhaps it's time for an advanced externship in the "meat" of the word, rather than "milk".
Study on! e.c.

Knowledge works transformation

"The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have. It is the knowledge that works transformation of character. This knowledge, received, will re-create the soul in the image of God. It will impart to the whole being a spiritual power that is divine."
'We all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory.' [2nd Corinthians 3:18 ARV]
"Of His own life the Saviour said: 'I have kept my father's commandments.' 'The Father hath not left Me alone; for I always do those things that please Him.'[John 15;10; 8:29 ARV] As Jesus was in human nature, so God means His followers to be. In His strength, we are to live the life of purity and nobility which the Saviour lived.'" [8T pg.289]
Blessings for the day. e.c.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Off we go, into the wild blue wonder...

Actually, the lyrics to that song read "yonder" rather than "wonder." But I'm wondering about the yondering that's taken place at our Air Force Academy. Just yesterday I read a piece (forwarded to a few people) about the newest worship site that was added to the Academy's roster of "Churches." Do you know? Can you guess? Or am I going to have to tell you?
Ok, lets make this short and to the point. Paganism and Wicca are not accepted alternatives to the old standby's: The ones we all know and strive to respect. But Paganism? Diana goddess of the Ephesians? Stonehenge?
I guess its best to be politically correct in the place where one gets their wings. Really, I won't be insulted if some don't believe me, so go ahead and google something like..."paganism and air force academy...
This one calls for a really big...GO FIGURE. Where will this end? I expect all Christians to get 100% on that question, but how about "When will it all end?" Soon, I pray. And while we are praying, pray for Shawn Boonstra who is in Rome trying to start his meetings while some are trying to shut him down. Pray for Shawn.
Blessings. e.c.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Creator Christ

"It is through the gift of Christ that we receive every blessing. Through that gift there comes to us day by day the unfailing flow of Jehovah's goodness. Every flower, with its delicate tints and sweet fragrance, is given for our enjoyment through that one Gift. The sun and moon were made by Him; there is not a star that beautifies the heavens which did not make. There is not an article of food upon our table that He has not provided for our sustenance. The superscription of Christ is upon it all. Everything is supplied to man through the one unspeakable Gift, the only-begotten Son of God. He was nailed to the cross that all these bounties might flow to God's workmanship." [8T pgs. 287.9 - 288.3]
What a blessing! Thank You Lord. e.c.

The True Sanctuary...

Adventists are ridiculed or brushed aside by many Protestant denominations and the Church of Rome for their teaching on the 2300 days, the heavenly Sanctuary, and the investigative judgment. For their part, many life-long Seventh-day Adventists yawn, sniff, ignore, and deride these teachings with words I cannot write (but have heard, directly and clearly).
Paul writes in Hebrews, a more authoritative source than any church or church member, and essentially grabs us by the collar of our dis-attention when he says: "Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man, for every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to build the tabernacle. For he said, 'See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.'" [Hebrews 8:1-5]
Isaiah writes concerning the Christ: "Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many and made intercession for the transgressors" [Isaiah 53:12].
Again Paul writes "Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore, is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us" [Romans 8:34]. And in Hebrews; But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them [Hebrews 7:24, 25]. Because He (is) "...a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek" [Hebrews 7:17].
Therefore...those who believe that Christ's work for man was finished on the cross, either have not read (guided by the Holy Spirit) or deny out of hand, the main points the writer makes throughout the book of Hebrews.
If the reader desires to learn more of what Seventh-day Adventists believe about the Heavenly Sanctuary and the powerful Salvific (referencing salvation) symbolism intrinsic in the divinely directed desert Tabernacle constructed under the supervision of Moses. I recommend that you google and then select "Peter Gregory GYC Baltimore 2008 1 of 4".

The speaker is a dynamic Korean-born preacher named Peter Gregory. Whoever chooses to follow this link will learn more about a fundamental Seventh-day Adventist belief than is (very probably or perhaps) known by a majority of contemporary Adventists. Speaking for myself, this is the best, most informative, most spiritual sermon I have heard on the topic of the sanctuary and the 2300 days in 63 years...the years I have been paying attention.
Blessings await you. e.c.