CLOSET GLIMPSES   

Closet Glimpses #6

February 18, 2019

Do trials ever seem incomprehensible to you as they have to saints of old who cried out in bitterness of soul to God asking, “What are the charges You have against me??  “Your hands shaped me and made me.  Will You now turn and destroy me?”[1]

Sever trials may be God’s best answer to our prayer for greater faith.  Prosperity requires little faith.  Adversity is where faith grows and shines. At times the enemy of Christ and our souls manipulates us with prosperity and apparent miraculous answers to our prayers that were born out of pride.

Like Jewish leaders of Christ’s day we tend to see prosperity as God’s blessing and adversity as Satanic harassment.  And while it is true that all things evil originate with the rebellion—it is equally true that we will never learn to know God’s guidance except He allows us to taste trials.

 “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”[2]

While none of us seek the dark days of Job, that is often the place God reveals Himself to us and lets us see our need to grow.  As Charles Spurgeon said, “He [God] trains His soldiers, not in tents of ease and luxury but by forced marches and hard service.”[3]

Real trials are usually incomprehensible.   But so is the joy to be found in conversation with God. 


[1] Job 10:2, 8 TNIV

[2] Isa 30:20,21

[3] Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening: Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

 

Closet Glimpses #5

February 4, 2019

Continued....

How many times have you asked the question some asked after the auto accident in Utah claimed the life of Gerhard Hassel—why?   Did he fail to pray that morning?  Should we no longer teach children to trust Ps 34:7    “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”?

Of course not.  But as they and we mature we should share the lesson that includes what He protects us from.  A quick glance at the history of God’s most faithful servants reveals that for every deliverance from the Lions’ den there are Stevens that were stoned, Isaiahs that were sawn in two, John the Baptists that were beheaded.  In fact few of the prophets and apostles died a natural death.

Wrapped in the precious promises of John 14-16 is Jesus preparation for times that try our faith, “Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you.”

How do we understand the promises then—should we not pray for physical protection here and now?  Peter’s example helps.  James had just been killed by Herod.  Peter was imprisoned and next on the hit list.  The church prayed.  The prison doors swung open.  The church rejoiced.

The last time Peter was in prison he was crucified.  Before his death from his prison cell he wrote, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy 1 Peter 4:1

The church mourned his loss—but rejoiced that he had been protected from the real enemy.  Remember Christ’s words, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matt 10:28

In this life we may not see beyond our own painful horizons, but even as the stones fell Steven experienced such a glorious fulfillment of Christ’s promise “Lo I am with you alway even unto the end.”   In seeing Jesus through the falling stones Steven’s joy was so great it reached the heart of one of his accusers.  We may not have that privilege here and now but we can through the trials develop a faith that says, “Though He slay me yet will I trust Him.”
 

Closet Glimpses #4

January 28, 2019

How Do You Explain the Life and Death of Gerhard Hasel

He was a brilliant German scholar—a giant of faith--who grew up in the shadow of disaster.  His father, Franz Joseph Hasel, an Adventist pastor and staunch non-combatant, was drafted into the German Army in 1939.  Franz went to the Russian front with only his faith and a carved wooden gun as armorment.  Of the 1,200 men in his regiment 1,193 were killed, 5 wounded. His father was one of only two who returned home uninjured. (Story told in a book titled, A Thousand Shall Fall,by Susi Hasel Mundy). 

To young Gerhard the secret of his father’s safe return was a text carved in wood which hung in the entrance of their home, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). 

While his father’s safe return was still unknown, Gerhard, experienced a more personal miracle.  The law required all children to attend school six days a week. Repeatedly he refused to go.  His mother, Helene, had been threatened that if her children were not in school Sabbath she would be imprisoned and her children scattered to homes where they would learn to be “obedient Germans.”  Finally his mother was summoned to appear before a Nazi officer who appeared determined to carry out the threat.

 “ . . .while her small children waited at home for her to return or for them to be scattered to unknown destinations, the officer who was expected to sentence her fell ill. At that critical moment he was replaced by an officer who had once been befriended by a Seventh-day Adventist couple. Gerhard's mother returned home to very happy children! The immovable commitment of his parents to God's Word became Hasel's own”.[1]

Through a series of tests over Sabbath and lucrative opportunities Gerhard entered the ministry and rose through the ranks of academia to become one of the world’s leading conservative Old Testament scholars.  Yet in the height of his productive life, on a road with little traffic he died in a two-car crash. Here is a brief account.

 “Dr. Gerhard F. Hasel died Thursday afternoon, August 11, [1994] in an automobile accident near Ogden, Utah. He was returning in a rented automobile to his motel where he was scheduled to participate in the annual meetings of the Biblical Research Institute Science Committee (BRISCO) when he was killed”. [2]

Many asked “Why?” There are few Christians who have not asked that question through their tears.  Perhaps somewhere in your past Prayer Closet encounters you have found some comforting thoughts.  If so please e-mail  them to closetglimpses@gmail.com

Visit this space next week to deepen the search for God through His word and through lif experiences.

[1]“Life Sketch: Gerhard F. Hael, 1935-1994, C. Mervyn Maxwell, Andrews Uni.versity Seminary Studies,Autumn 1996, Vol. 34, No.2, 165-168. Copyright  1996 by Andrews University Press. 

[2]Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, 5/2 (Autumn 1994): 1-5. Article copyright © 1994 by E. Edward Zinke. 

 

Closet Glimpses #3

January 21, 2019

Delusions based on Scripture

Looking back two millennia its easy to identify the mistakes Jewish national leaders made in rejecting Jesus Christ.  The scary part is their mistake was based on Scripture evidence.  

They could and did recite hundreds of scriptural promises where God said, “I will fight for you” and He had.  They could cite the real stories of Pharaoh’s defeat.  The victories at Jericho and throughout Canaan against superior forces. They could tell the true stories  of Gideon,  David,  Esther, Daniel and Hezekiah.  They could repeat the promises of the glories of the coming restoration of Jerusalem as the capitol of the world. [Isa 11 & 12]

Their faith was rooted so solidly in those promises they missed the main point.  Satan skillfully defeated them by the use of Scripture misapplied.  Satan used the misapplication of scripture in two of the three temptations of Jesus.  

Should that make us question, “Are we so focused on valid true texts that we miss the Truth?” 

For example:  During WWII Ps. 91 was posted at the entrance of many of London’s bomb shelters.  As people huddled listening to bombs explode the words were often quoted,    “Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; Nor for the arrow that flieth by day; . . .Nor or the destruction that wasteth at noonday.. . .but it shall not come nigh thee.”

Yet when they left the shelters many found that friends and family had not survived—destruction had struck “nigh them.”  More than one thoughtful English pastor observed, “That’s where skepticism and atheism took root.  We misapplied the text.”  So how should it be understood?

In the next two or three weeks this column will be devoted to discussing the real truth of Ps 91 and other similar issues as we ask,

 “Are there inspired passages we as Adventists cherish that may be the source of our defeat because we fail to comprehend their true meaning?”

What are the shaky conclusions we base on solid texts that could rob us of faith?  What are the safeguards we can claim confidently in defense?  

We welcome your ideas in what we hope is a continuing conversation.  Send them email to: closetglimpses@gmail.com
 

TEN DAYS OF PRAYER

Closet Glimpses #2

January 6, 2019

Prayer Journal 

Oh Father the weight is heavy!  Everyday when I come into this prayer closet to surrender myself anew to You, an impression weighs heavily.  Some of my friends are in grave danger of gradually hardening their hearts—unwilling to see—unwilling to acknowledge—unwilling to correct mistakes—widely seen by others.  Someone needs to help them.  When it seems You may be asking me to be that someone I have this self doubt.

Is that impression prompted by the Holy Spirit or not?  Is there some selfish motive hidden so well I have not yet been able to see it?  Or is my reluctance simply cowardice—lack of faith—not trusting You with the consequence?

As I have been wrestling with those questions for weeks please bring clarity from scripture, and peace that I’m in the hollow of Your will.   In Jesus’ Name, AMEN

Transition to Study Closet

First texts to come to mind are those fresh from last week’s study:

2 Peter 2:10, 11  "They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord.TNIV

 Philippians 2:14, 15  Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” TNIV

Jude 9, 10  "Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; . . . in these things they corrupt themselves.”  

How to reconcile these with New Testament examples of Peter,  Acts 2:36;  Stephen, Acts 7:51-53;  and Jesus. Matt 23:13-29.    Then there are the Old Testament admonitions:  Isa 58:1 “Cry aloud, spare not, Lift up thy voice like a trumpet, And shew my people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.”             And Isa 56:10 “His watchmen . . . are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark;  Sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.”

Return to the Prayer Journal:  Thank you Father for the resolution You have given just now.   It was right that I apologized to those around the table when politicians were roundly condemned.  The salvation of Hilary and President Trump was not the motive of our lively political criticism.   May my apology help safeguard me against such error in the future and be an example safe to follow.

But when the salvation of people is the clear pure motive and words are clothed with the love of God it is wrong to remain silent. Yet it would be satanic to do it in the wrong spirit or process.  Mount of Blessings’ section “Not Judging But Doing,” clearly defines the fine line between the two and Scripture defines the way.

Results?  Peter’s strong words worked repentance.  Stephen’s attempt hastened his murder.  Both were in the hollow of His will.  Please Father provide the strength to proceed in Your Spirit and the faith to trust you with the results.”  Amen

Closet Glimpses #1


Welcome to a brand new year with fresh new opportunities to get to know God better through His Word. Like the householder in Matt. 13:52 we will look at old familiar texts to see if God has an “aha moment” where He surprises us with a gleaming new glimpse of eternal Truth—truths that lead to a deeper friendship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

As an example open your Bible to 1 Cor. 2:9.  Have we ever quoted this text to emphasize the future “glories of heaven”?  Paul isn’t quoting Isaiah Isa 64:4 to increase our anticipation of the second coming.  There is nothing wrong about that application.  But it isn’t the intended point. He uses it as Isaiah did to help us more deeply appreciate the wonders we can share here and now—right way—January 1, 2019.   Here is how the New International version translates Isaiah faithfully:

“Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down,
that the mountains would tremble before you!

2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze
and causes water to boil,
come down to make your name known to your enemies
and cause the nations to quake before you!

3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect,
you came down, and the mountains trembled before you.

4 Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right.”

Both Isaiah and Paul are stressing the amazing fact that God’s display of His power on Sinai--for those recently freed slaves who had no scripture—was to prove to them they could trust Him to safely lead them through the desert into the promised land. 

That power is for those who have seen there isn’t “any God besides you.”  More valuable than any insurance policy, stock portfolio, land or other tangible asset is a knowledge of God—whom to know is life eternal.  

Paul’s point is the same. “I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom. . .I proclaimed the testimony about God. . . not with the wisdom of this age or of rulers  who are coming to nothing.  No we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden”  until the cross of Jesus.  

Yes there will be unspeakable joys  in heaven but we can have a glimpse of them now when we more clearly understand the mystery of the cross.  That’s what Paul refers to when he quotes “no eye has seen nor ear heard nor human mind conceived these things God has prepared for those who love him.”  

Father Dear, please give us eyes and ears and minds to perceive Your magnificent Truth—Jesus.
 

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December 23, 2018

 

Father, Why is it so easy early in the morning to choose to be close to You and choose to do only Your will; but, then before the day is half gone I become like Jonah?

Father, Why is it so easy early in the morning to choose to be close to You and choose to do only Your will; but, then before the day is half gone I become like Jonah?

 “Yes God I think You said Nineveh.  And Yes I know this boat is headed to Tarshish but I’m going somewhere—Isn’t that the important point?   That’s what Jesus said isn’t it?  ‘Go into all the world. . . ‘  Its much better I go preach in Tarshish—climate’s much better—smaller town—friendlier people—You should be happy if I’m happier—right?  

Why is it so easy to misinterpret our will as God’s guidance?  The deceptive skills of Satan have not diminished since the Garden.  Rather deceptions have intensified.  If he can get us to believe we are really following God’s direction when we are doing what we want then he can get us to do anything—even kill our Savior.

Father God please protect me from the catastrophe of self-deception.

 

December 11, 2018

 

Father Dear,  How is it possible?  You allowed Your cherished companion, Jesus, to leave the security and joy of Your home to come to this snake pit of earth—earth, a place infested with venomous vipers, raging rebels—earth, ruled by the heinous villain of selfishness intent on harming Jesus—intent on shattering  Your way of love— earth, filled with hypocrites who claim Your name and do Your enemy’s work—how is it possible, You, knowing principalities and powers in high places want to kill Your Son and yet You let Him come!  How was that possible?  No human vocabulary is sufficient to express The Wonder Of It All.  That sublime duet, Oh Glorious Love!—even when sung  by hearts and voices in tune with heaven—still falls short.  Words simply aren’t enough.  The recognition requires action.

May the grandeur of it transform my attitude and deeds—Please!  Help my mind  focus on the meaning of Jesus words when He said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross and follow me.”  Matt 16:24 NLT

Its easy to glibly say “Sure Jesus.  No problem.”

“In fact I’ll make a production out of it.  I’ll help with the pageant, A Journey to Bethlehem.”

“I’ll even do one better.  I’ll fight that disgusting  mob on the Via Dolorosa just to touch a replica of that cross.”

The context shows that isn’t what Jesus had in mind.  Jesus had just told His disciples that national leaders would abuse Him and crucify Him.

“But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. ‘Heaven forbid, Lord,’ he said. ‘This will never happen to you!’” Matt 16:22 nlt

Peter could not imagine a more disgusting scenario than the one Jesus had just described.  So Peter—a mere mortal—rebuked Emmanuel!

In turn Jesus issued the most startling reprimand of any disciple recorded in the Gospels.  In that context, what is the most repulsive thing to my human view of things that Jesus is asking of me today?

A holiness writer a century ago identified it this way, “The thing in you that will not be reconciled to your brother is your individuality. God wants to bring you into union with Himself, but unless you are willing to give up your right to yourself, He cannot. ‘Let him deny himself’—deny his independent right to himself, then the real life has a chance to grow.” Oswald Chambers Dec. 11 MUHH

Lord, please help me first recognize my cross and then by Your grace be willing to bear it boldly today.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

 

December 9, 2018

 

"The fresh new day is still clothed in physical  darkness but it shines bright with light from Your word.  The text bringing Joy this morning is Galatians 5. 

It shines in even greater brilliance when I recall the blessings of the church service yesterday with the Neuharth family: David, Lisa, Levi, Lucas and Benjamin. The music and narration was like rain on parched earth.  Thank You!

Are  You planning to do something special here in San Juan County, Father?  Please reveal from Your Word—illuminated  by Your Holy Spirit—how we can help! 

In the lovely Name of Jesus   Amen

 

November 30, 2018

 

Thank You Lord God of all living things for the inclusive nature of Your love—Big enough to embrace Atheists and Baptists, murderers and self-righteous saints, Union Enforcers and Corporate Executives, voters for Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump—Your love has room for all—and power to transform the willing among them.

You ask us to love as broadly and deeply as You love.  But we tend to interpret that command to mean, “be tolerant of their actions.”   Don’t invade their private lives. We cherish the thought that what ever they believe and do is their business.  It helps us maintain our sense of superiority because we are not so arrogant as to suggest there is a safer happier way.

Please help us apply the truth of that old slogan, “a friend doesn’t let a friend drive drunk.”  The consequences of impaired driving are easily seen in the shattered lives of people we know and love.  So, if we really care and have the chance, we take the keys—at the risk of offending—with the object of shielding them from disaster.  When they sober up they may thank us or hate us but at least they are alive to do which ever they choose.   And there just might be one less innocent family shattered and one guilty driver spared years of regret.

So why is it easier for most of us to say, “Please give me the keys” than it is to say, “Won’t you consider receiving Jesus as your Forever Friend”?  The first may save years of pain.  The second may assure countless centuries of enjoyment—praising Jesus for his transforming grace.

Father please give me that sense of urgency that would risk life itself if I saw a child trapped in a burning car.  Please cloth that urgency with the diplomacy Jesus showered on the lady of John 4!  In the matchless name of Jesus—Amen.

 

November 23, 2018

 

Oh God whose dwelling is above and beyond the stars, whose internet connects the entire universe, whose heart pulsates with a sweet mixture of justice and mercy,  whose affection risked the incarnation and the cross to find a way to both forgive and remain just—to You oh God we lift up our eyes in the morning—to receive wisdom from Your Word—power to surrender our will—energy to perform our transformed desire to please You—Today help me become a loving productive member of Your family.—helping lighten the load for other family members.

Please protect my attitude from the satanic bent toward criticism.  Help me understand Malachi 2.  Help me internalize the sentiment of Augustine when he prayed, “O Lord deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.”

Thank You for the important truth You brought to my consciousness this morning, “Nothing destroys a person’s faith in God so quickly as this attitude to vindicate myself.”  The first corrosive virus of this sin started at the Garden gate when  Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent.  All ultimately blamed God.  After all He created the environment of personal choice that provides the possibility to choose rebellion.

When something goes wrong I must be sure everyone knows, “It was someone else’s fault.  I must defend my reputation by finding a scape goat.  I must make people understand the true cause was NOT ME!”

That initial infection has grown into the massive pandemic of criticism.   Is it any wonder Jesus asked the question,  “. . . when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”[1] 

Today Father, please protect me from the faith-destroying disease of defending myself.  Help me trust You to take care of my reputation.  Help me live today in a way that makes that job easier  For Jesus sake Amen.


[1] The Holy Bible: Today’s New International Version. (2005). (Lk 18:8). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

 

November 16, 2018

 

Father God, Mother of all comfort, what a glorious morning You have provided—no, not with sunrise—still dark—deck’s awash with sprinkles—but You have driven the clouds of doubt away.  The SonShine within is as bright as if it were high-noon in sunny Arizona.  

Why the sudden change in the spiritual weather?  Because a gleam flashed from a previously undiscovered facet of two oft-quoted scripture gems— Matt 1:23, John 14:16. Those two texts illuminated each other to bring about a brilliant flash of consciousness.   “they shall call His name Emmanuel, . . .God with us.”  “the Father shall give you another Comforter.”  “Another” of the same kind—its as if Jesus is saying, ‘If you know Me you know the Father.  And if you know Us you will know this Comforter I’m sending—in personality We are identical triplets—we think, act, and work in the same way.’

The great marvel of the Incarnation revealed itself in the quiet seclusion of Mary’s womb—nine months—cells divided naturally.  The infant Jesus nursed on human milk.  He “increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and Man” normally.  Drudgery—submitting to instruction, obeying, hauling the water, carrying wood, cleaning house—the demanding work of studying scripture—responding kindly when offended.  These were the teachers of His childhood and youth.

But God we read Your promise to give us the Holy Spirit.  We fret that we don’t see Him doing anything spectacular.

As Oswald Chambers observed in his book  My Utmost for His Highest”:

“The tendency is to look for the marvelous in our experience; we mistake the sense of the heroic for being heroes. It is one thing to go through a crisis grandly, but another thing to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, no one paying the remotest attention to us. If we do not want medieval haloes, we want something that will make people say—‘What a wonderful man of prayer he is!’ ‘What a pious, devoted woman she is!’ If you are rightly devoted to the Lord Jesus, you have reached the sublime height where no one ever thinks of noticing you, all that is noticed is that the power of God comes through you. . . .It takes Almighty God Incarnate in us to do the meanest duty to the glory of God.”[1] 
Jewish leaders missed the Promised One because they had a wrong picture of what the Messiah would look like. Is it possible Lord that we may miss Your Holy Spirit because we want the spectacular when He wants to help us through the drudgery?

Lord please send Your Spirit in today's earthly tasks.

 


[1] Chambers, O. (1986). My utmost for his highest: Selections for the year. Grand Rapids, MI: Oswald Chambers Publications; Marshall Pickering.

 

November 9, 2018

 

TGIF  Those letters used to bring a sense of quiet joy—Thankfulness to God that It’s Friday—we’ve almost made it through another week—we will soon be able to enter that Sabbath Peace Jesus bequeathed to all His children when He said,  

 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." TNIV

This Eternal Jesus, “. . .who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” offers peace as eternal as Himself in the Sabbath--who’s hours will soon arrive.  TGIF should ignite the same sense of quiet anticipation I used to enjoy when preparing a gift for Barbara while we were courting.

So Lord, why have those letters lost much of their luster?  Why?  Well it started when  a large chain of  restaurants hijacked TGIF as it’s name for offering “great food and alcoholic drinks.” The letters dimmed further through overuse—they became a cliché—greeted by a tired,  ‘ya sure but there’s work to do.’

But God, is it possible there is a more dangerous reason?  In the battles of every day living have I forgotten what that Friday was like for Jesus?  That day He promised us His peace started with a meal—a meal with His betrayer. Just moments ahead was Gethsemane—that horrific struggle—when for the most intense moment in eternity, His human  desire was in conflict with Sovereign God’s revealed will—a conflict so outrageous it caused our sinless Brother to sweat great drops of blood.  

Our human focus is often on the physical abuse heaped upon Him--the illegal trial, the abusive guards, the gouging whips, the vicious lies, the cowardly judges, the demon driven mob and the deserting friends. The Peace of Jesus, like the eye of  a hurricane, remains calm in the midst of dreadful abuses--because in the early hours of Friday He fought, and won, the battle with self by surrender—“Not my will but Thine be done.”

The peace Jesus offers comes after the early Friday hours of victory in Jesus through surrender of self—Thank God Its Friday—for Friday’s victory always brings in Shabbat Shalom—no matter what day of the week it is—or what trauma any day brings. 

 

October 29, 2018
 

Victory yesterday!  How sweet the sound.  You sent the grocery cart cowboy at just the precise time.  Praise the Lord, Your timing is still exquisite when we stay in tune with Your Spirit! 

This wasn’t D-day in the Great Controversy.  It was just a gallon of spilt milk.  Yet it could have been enough to make angels weep.    Instead it sounded like they were singing—at least in my heart.

God,  I know You don’t need my record in my prayer journal to tell You how good it was.  But I need to write down the details so some time later when it seems to me that Your timing is way off I can review these details and remember—Your timing NEVER IS OFF—only my limited view of heaven’s clock makes it seem that way.

Don’t know if the Devil set me up for failure or You allowed the test to reaffirm in my mind that yes, 2 Cor. 5:17 is true, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  NLT

Here’s the trap.  Two ferries are out of service for repair—only 3 of the 5 running.  Reservation system cancelled till the fleet returns to full force.  WSDOT[1] notification says “we recommend you arrive 1 to 2 hours before sailing.”  The phone app shows the ferries  running on time--on a day I was praying they would be late.  The ferry terminal is still a half hour away.  If I leave the shopping cart in the parking space I might be able to arrive at the terminal just as the ferry loads.  But leaving the cart in a parking space is not courteous.  And it could ruin someone else’s day.

Dutifully returning the cart to the corral there it was—that pesky gallon of milk—sitting in the sunshine—on the bottom level of an empty cart.    To leave it there it would probably spoil. To walk it back into the store would almost certainly mean missing the ferry.  No one around looking for their missing milk.  On impulse I threw it into the truck. 

No! That isn’t right.  That kind of action could lead to missing more than a ferry. Grabbing the milk I ran toward the cart corral.  At that split second the cart cowboy showed up—told him it had been left in a cart.

Smiling—he said, “I’ll turn this into customer service—they will record its return—then if a customer calls they can get a replacement.”

Traffic lights all green—ferry had space—I drove on—crew casts off.  And I? I reveled in that special joy of “getting on by the skin of my teeth.”

Lord help me be as focused on meeting You each morning  as getting on board a ferry.  And when Your timing upsets my day help me find what I should discover in Your time—it is ALWAYS right. Amen & Amen.


[1] Washington State Department of Transportation

 

October 24, 2018

 

Father, Thank You for waking me early again this morning so I can meditate and rejoice in Your guidance.   Please give me texts today that will help prevent my falling for the trap of self-delusion.

Deceptions without and within seem to distract many of us in the church from the simple clear imperative “Go make disciples.” Why is our attention so easily diverted?

Why do we seem to repeat the mistakes of leaders from Christ’s day who He described as 

“. . . Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!” Matt 23:15 NLT         

What a painful thought!  How can we avoid that result?  
 

  * * *  Pause to look for inspired answers  * * * *
 

Father God, I was amazed to discover solutions in places I would never have dreamed to look.    2 Cor 1:1  through 2:17 was a surprising parallel—the church in Corinth experienced issues like churches in the 21st century—conflicts diverting from mission.  From this powerful section some passages jump out:

  • “God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.”   2 Cor 1:3 

  • “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.”  :4

  •  “We were crushed and overwhelmed . . . But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God,  :9, 10

  •  (A loving confrontation with one creating a problem occurred.  After that Paul wrote) “Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort”  2 Cor 2:7

  • “So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.”2:8

  • “so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” :11

Inspired commentary:

  • “All who humble their hearts, confessing their sins, will find mercy and grace and assurance.”  {That I May Know Him 299} 

  • “It is our privilege to feel our weakness, our unworthiness, and then claim the help that God has provided for us.  {This Day With God} 209  

  • “John and Judas are representatives of those who profess to be Christ's followers. Both these disciples had the same opportunities to study and follow the divine pattern. Both were closely associated with Jesus and were privileged to listen to His teaching. Each possessed serious defects of character; and each had access to the divine grace that transforms character. But while one in humility was learning of Jesus, the other revealed that he was not a doer of the word, but a hearer only. One, [John] daily dying to self and overcoming sin, was sanctified through the truth; the other, [Judas] resisting the transforming power of grace and indulging selfish desires, was brought into bondage to Satan.” AA 559

Father God, please keep me and our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Spirit John followed.  Without You none of us has any chance of escape from the self-deception that trapped Judas.  He thought himself doing God’s work when he betrayed Jesus.  Please Father, deliver us from that evil. For Jesus Sake Amen

 

October 17, 2018

 

Dear Father,

If feelings are a reflection of my relationship with You then I am as far from You today as I’ve been in a long while. But we are told by your Spirit that we cannot depend on feelings because they’re fickle. Certainly within my heart there is no desire to be far from You. I have no  desire to rebel against Your word.  Even when tempted by my own flirting with covetousness the distance it creates between us is repulsive. 

This morning the problem is that I find within my heart the desire to expose the sins of at least one other. Specifically an individual in leadership that has asked a friend of mine to lie under oath. The temptation is very strong to test the new system of compliance to see how it works for an officer that,  if my friend’s reports are true, needs to be exposed.

Yet I know that that spirit itself is contrary to Christ’s example.  How does one know when “love should cover a multitude of sins” and when one is asked to “cry aloud and spare not.”

Please lead me to  at least three texts that will clear away the fog.

Thank you Jesus for Eze 16:8;  1 Peter 4:8 and James 5:20.  All extol the idea that if the desire is to save it is Your love that covers a multitude of sins.  Also there is the example of Jesus dealing with Judas and the apparent difference in dealing with Peter.  His purpose in both cases was the redemption of the person.  Ah! What an easy answer.  The spirit to criticize and expose does not come from heaven.  Criticism destroys the desire to save and heal. 

Thank You Lord this morning for sweeping away the emotional fog to let me understand more clearly Your way with mortals—a way that is safe for we humans to use—a way that brings harmony and joy.  Thank you Jesus! Amen.

 

October 14, 2018

 

Oh sovereign Lord—that isn’t one of Your names usually attractive to me—today it is. The word sovereign, brings in a new thought; an exquisite new hope! The new thought—on  this earth I’ve never lived under a sovereign ruler.  History has taught us to fear the absolute power of a human potentate. Yet in this text this morning You  say, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”  (Matthew 28:18).  And that fact brings only hope!  Hope because during our walk together I’ve learned that I can TRUST YOU.  John’s statement about You has proven true, “God Is Love.”

How comforting to have the assurance that the only absolute power in the universe is governed by the only absolute Love anywhere in all creation.  It was demonstrated conclusively in Your life on earth where not even the furry of demons could cause Your love to waver.  And the resurrection demonstrated potent power to eradicate our mortal enemy: death.  

Thank you for the thought that Loveand Powerare not two different characteristics of our One and Only God.  They are one and the same quality of our Powerfully Loving or Lovingly Powerful Lord and Savior

Doesn’t matter what happens in Battle Creek this morning.  It will not change Your message.    You still say, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”  you still promise,“I will come again. . . that where I am there you may be also.”

Please help me remember that the structure of the church is not THE message. Throughout history human beings have made mistakes when placed in leadership of the nation of Israel or the Christian church—the Everlasting Gospel continued. 

Help us not to get bent out of shape trying to correct others or even ourselves.  Help us rest confidently in the promise, “He which hath begun a good work . . .will perform ituntil the day of Jesus Christ” Amen

 

October 8, 2018

 

Father God, You know that I have had a difficult struggle this morning-keeping my mind on You.

Thoughts push back to Lions meeting yesterday.  All the creative juices keep generating enticing projects that would be so fun and generate so many interesting ways to help our community.

My mind keeps straying from You. Your Holy Spirit is pushed off the screen of my mind while I play with the tantalizing thoughts of what the results might be to this or that product or project.

I keep straying from the thing that I need more than anything else—that life changing connection with heaven—Jesus illustrated by the Vine and the branch. Please bring life to this dead branch through prayer and study of your Word just now.   Please blot out distractions.

The biggest distractions sometimes even disguise themselves as Your work, “If we just did this, it would cause people to think about Your church and its message.”  “You want us to be the head not the tail.”   Sometimes we quote that inspired sentence deceived by the enemy to think that we want to be the head for Your sake.  In reality Lucifer has flattered us to clothe selfishness in attractive garb.

Thank you for revealing that deception this morning. Now please send Your Spirit to lead me through Matthew 11.  What is it You want to download into my mental computer this morning?

Please help me recognize it when you send it!  Then please make me willing to follow in what ever path it leads—in the precious name of Jesus,  Amen

 

CLOSET GLIMPSES

One of the most sublime poems in our hymnal invites the human heart to thrill to “sweet celestial music, heard from a land afar. The song of Heave’n and Home-land Through doors God leaves ajar!”  SDA Church Hymnal p. 472

That “Door” is “God’s Spirit-Bathed Word.”  Seems that the closet dedicated to personal prayerful study is the knob that sets the door ajar.   During 2019 this space will attempt to share some of those  Closet Glimpses.  If you would like to comment or share some of your own new rich gleams from an old or new text, send to:
Closet Glimpses

Yours in His Grace,

Elder Glenn Aufderhar