As We Wait

Their duty in Galilee was to wait for the Saviour, not to return to the old life; but they went a-fishing in their own wisdom, and caught nothing. They went back from the exalted mission of being fishers of men to fishers of fish. They turned from the service of Christ to the service of self. And the service of self proved, as it always proves, fruitless. The great two-fold lesson of the narrative is that apart from Christ man can do nothing, and following Christ’s command always brings success. Fishing themselves for themselves, there was no success; fishing in the same sea, by the same boat, in the same place, at the command of Christ, there was success. Oh, that the servants of God would but heed the Master’s teaching, simple and unreasonable though it seems!  – Milton C. Wilcox – Signs of the Times

Close Beside Us

Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury.  At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. – Luke 16:19-20. 

There are today close beside us many who are hungry, naked, and homeless. A neglect to impart of our means to these needy, suffering ones places upon us a burden of guilt which we shall one day fear to meet. All covetousness is condemned as idolatry. All selfish indulgence is an offense in God’s sight. – COL 261.3.

Have you used of your means to ease the burden of someone who is less fortunate than yourself? Have you extended the grace that has been extended to you? Open your heart and let the Holy Spirit lead you to someone who is “at your gate”, or “close beside you.” 

Nature Speaks

Soft and low a voice is calling,

Bids me leave my toil and care,

On my ear the accents falling

Glad and free I hasten there.

‘Tis the voice of nature pleading

Sweet, like music in the air;

And ’tis God’s great hand that’s leading

Me to seek and find Him there.

Little birds to me are singing

Of a God who’s over all;

Merrily their flight are winging,

Knowing He’ll not let them fall.

Little flowers to me are speaking

Of a God who’s always true;

Nature, as a whole, is seeking

To impart me life anew.

Oh! that I might heed her teaching,

Be more trustful every day ;

List the sermons she is preaching

Pointing to the heavenward way.

Day by day from her I’m learning,

Walking paths that Jesus trod,

Till at last my heart is turning

Upward, to sweet nature’s God.

                       —Esther Fiedler.

New Worlds to Conquer in the New Year

“No more worlds to conquer”—and great Alexander wept.

How blind he had become because his moral senses slept!

 His narrow world of selfishness is all that he had seen;

The vast world of the spirit was, to him,unknown, unseen.

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Those rich realms of the spirit hold new worlds to conquer still.

 What exploits now await the men of vision and of will,

What great discoveries will be made, what victories will be gained,

What treasures of contentment and of peace will be attained!

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If we beat back the barriers of ignorance and doubt,

And triumph o’er the enemies of peace within, without;

If we push back the wilderness of want and human need,

Then we can take our places with the pioneers, indeed.

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Come, let’s fell the savage forest of fear and hate and strife,

And open up new highways to a better way of life.

Let’s level mountains of our pride that shut men from our view,

And bridge the yawning chasms of misunderstanding, too.

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There ARE new worlds to conquer—let us cross each new frontier.

May God help us accept the challenge of this great new year. 

Poem by Adlai A. Esteb

Consider the words of this poem from the Australian Record and Advent World Survey – January 1, 1962

Questions for Consideration:

  • In 323 BC, at age 32, Alexander the great conquered the then-know world, and yet, by most accounts, drank himself to death.
    • What areas of great victory can I  celebrate from this past year?
    • What new enemies – unknown, unseen – must I  face in the new year?   
  • If we beat back the barriers of ignorance and doubt, And triumph o’er the enemies of peace within, without;
    • What is a new thing I can learn, a question that I choose to answer in 2019?
    • Where in my life do the “enemies of peace” run rampant and will I confront them?
  • Let’s level mountains of our pride that shut men from our view, And bridge the yawning chasms of misunderstanding, too.  
    • Who have I shut out behind my “mountain of pride” or separated myself from across the “chasms of misunderstanding”, and how can I restore that relationship?

Scriptural Reflection:

My son told me a joke recently.  He said, Daddy, what goes up and never comes down? I did not know the answer, so I asked him to tell me the answer to his riddle, and he shared simply our AGE.  Paul encourages us that though we can’t get younger on the outside we can renew the inner man every single day.  Don’t fall for the trap of outward transformation alone – what Jesus termed – white-washed tombs [ Matthew 23:27] but seek also to renew the inner man as well.  After all “A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next.” – Maranatha

Conservative While Revolutionary

Excerpts taken from George R. Knight’s articles, “The Social Function of Adventist Education” *

Genesis 18: 19 – “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.” – From <https://biblia.com/books/nasb95/Ge18.19>

Abraham was chosen because God saw that he would be faithful in teaching his household.

Matthew 28: 19-20 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – From <https://biblia.com/books/nasb95/Mt28.19>

Jesus’s parting words were “teach all nations”

The future of any society will be shaped by its current youth. And the direction they will take that society will to a large extent be determined by their education. Thus, the control of educational institutions and the content to be taught in those institutions has been a perennial social issue.

To shape educational policy is to guard the path that leads from the present to the future . . . . – George S. Counts

God’s ideal for Seventh-day Adventist education reflects both a conservative social function and a revolutionary one. It is to be conservative in the sense that it seeks to transmit the unchanging truths of the Bible across time, but it is to be revolutionary as a change agent of a righteous God in a sinful world.

In harmony with the Bible, Adventist education will develop Christians who can relate well to others in this world. But even more important, Adventist schools will educate students for citizenship in the kingdom of heaven.

*This article originally appeared as a chapter in George R. Knight’s most recent publication Educating for Eternity: A Seventh-day Adventist Philosophy of Education (Berrien Springs, Mich.: Andrews University Press, 2016). Reprinted by permission of the publisher. See also the review of the book in the Book Review section. – From <https://dialogue.adventist.org/2325/the-social-function-of-adventist-education>

 

Not by Power…

The bible tells the story of Caleb, Joshua’s brother, after they had traveled for 40 years in the wilderness and arrived again at the edge of the promise land. Caleb had these words to say, “And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming – Joshua 14:10,11. Caleb could not attribute his strength, health and longevity to genes or healthy eating, or great doctors, but because he was willing to be about God’s work.  In fact, right after he said these words he asked for the toughest land to conquer knowing that God would give him the victory.  In your life are you moving forward by faith and in the power of the Lord?