My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9 NLT
Ephesians 5:33 in the KJV calls for wives to reverence their husbands. That is powerful, because the Bible never tells anyone to reverence a priest or a prophet. That word “reverence” for the father tells me, a parent is not only the first teacher but also the first and most important pastor.
I love Christian schools, and have dedicated my time and money to them. I believe in their mission with all my heart. Yet, sometimes when we promote Christian schools, I think we sometimes give credit to the schools that actually belongs to the parents. Of course I understand it is the parents who utilize the school in their home ministry.
I went to Adventist Schools from grades 1 through college. My schools averaged around 100 students a year with different students coming and going throughout my 12 grades. A while back, I went through my year books, and I could count on both hands, and maybe a couple of toes the number of kids who remained in the church after we grew up. Upon further investigation I found, for the most part, the families who remained in the church after growing up, were families that had worship every night in the home. They also encouraged their children to study the Bible for themselves.That is why they are still in the church. Church schools are great, they are wonderful, they are ordained by God, but they are not ordained to take the place of the mother and father and do the work the mother and father are ordained to do. (I understand there are situations, like my late friend Quong, who came to the United States from Vietnam, and was put in an Adventist School, only because it was private. While his parents were athiest, Quong, accepted Jesus, and was forced out of his home at 14 years of age! He slept at the school every night till he found a new family to live with. Thank God for that school!)
A while back I was giving a devotional for chapel at a Christian School. I asked the lower grade students how many of them have family worship at home. Out of about 45 students only 5 hands were raised. I begged the other students to ask their parents to have family worship with them every night, by studying the children’s Sabbath School lessons* and Bible together, and prayer.
The mother and father are more to a child than any priest, pastor, teacher, or even general conference president will ever be. The ordination of mother and father is a much higher ordination than any priest or pastor, and a child should learn to listen to and respect their parent more than they respect any priest, pastor or teacher.
*SSNET has a tab in their menu for lessons for every age group.
While many people ask why God does not show them His will for their lives I have come to a simple conclusion. He does not need to.
He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8
When I was 4 years old, I remember sitting in church, knowing, not wishing or hoping,knowing I would be preaching the gospel one day. However, as I became older it was unclear to me if that preaching would be as a full time career or volunteer.
Each spring, as high school graduates contemplate their future, I hear the question, “What does God want me to do with my life?” Regardless if someone is planning on college or going straight into the workforce I sometimes hear them say, “I wish God would tell me what He wants me to do.”
After one year of college I was not sure if I was really “suppose” to be a full time preacher or gospel worker. I mean I knew I loved Jesus and wanted to share his love with others, but doesn’t every Christian do that? How do I know if I had been called? My life was in a fog.
I started working for a business forms company, and I started dating a young lady who attended a small Adventist Church outside of Tulsa, where I lived. I left the larger church in Tulsa to be with her. Things did not work out between us like I dreamed, and she moved away. Something told me to stay at the small church instead of going back to the larger church. I have to admit I did not know why I was doing what I was doing. I was in a fog. Not long after that, two literature evangelists joined that small church, and invited me to join them. I left the business forms company and became a literature evangelist. Soon afterwards, a new pastor came to our church and asked me to be his Bible Worker. Soon after, he moved to Texas and hired me down there. Several times I thought about finishing college but the time just never seemed right.
After I had been a Bible Worker for a few years in Texas, a friend got me hired on at UPS for some extra income, and so that I would have health benefits for my fiancée and me. Well, once again things did not work out between me and my love, and she politely broke up with me. The next morning when my 2AM alarm went off to go to UPS, my first thought was, why go in? The person I got the job for has left me. For some reason, as much as getting up at 2AM was unappealing, I did it anyway. (Never mind the fact that I also had a broken heart that morning and severe depression.) I was in a fog and had no idea why I was still working at UPS. I had no idea, but God did. A few weeks later, the church I was a Bible Worker for had to let me go due to lack of funds and other financial obligations. UPS became my only job!
After working my way to supervisor at UPS, my sister sent me a notice of a church in Tampa Florida needing a Bible Worker. I had no interest in moving to Florida. I had sunk my roots in Texas. However, one night I e-mailed my resume to Tampa, just to hush my family who kept asking me about it. I knew by now they had already filled the position. To make a long story short, I got a call from Tampa the next morning, and less than two months later I was a full time Bible Worker in Tampa.
While many people talk of glory days gone by, I must say my current years have been the best years of my life. As I look back I see God has brought me to where He wants me to be without me even knowing what His plan was. God did not tell me why I was staying at that small church after my girlfriend left me, but He knew. He never told me, “stay” but looking back I know now it was His plan. The morning after my fiancée broke up with me, I did not see any reason to go to my second job at UPS at 2AM anymore. I only got the job so she would have benefits. Looking back, I know now, God had me get that job because He knew my Bible Worker job was coming to an end. He never told me that. He didn’t need to. He had it all under control, without me knowing what the plan was, while my head and heart were still in a fog.
Now some people have taken a much easier and shorter route to get to where they are today. They just went to college and straight to their lifetime career. Do I regret taking the longer road? Not at all! Sometimes the shorter, easier route is not the best way to go. Does it sometimes seem like you took the long road to get to a goal in your life? Before you blame yourself for your mistakes, consider, it may have been the exact road God wanted you to take.
“When Pharaoh finally let the people go, God did not lead them along the main road that runs through Philistine territory, even though that was the shortest route to the Promised Land. God said, “If the people are faced with a battle, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led them in a roundabout way through the wilderness toward the Red Sea. Thus the Israelites left Egypt like an army ready for battle.” Exodus 13:17-18 NLT
Do you feel like your head is in a fog now? Do you feel like you have no direction? I say, as long as you do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God, don’t worry about it. You may be exactly where God wants you to be. God can make it all work out without telling us at all what is going on. I knew at an early age I would be a preacher one day, but did not know exactly how it would all work out, or that I would be preaching and sharing the gospel as a full time paid Bible Worker, with the title “lay pastor” tagged on. I also never knew, while sitting in the church pew, at 4 years old, in the 1960′s, that sharing the gospel would also include writing articles for a Sabbath School Blog on something called the Internet! Its not exactly how I pictured it while I sat in church as a little boy thinking about it. But God worked it all out on His own. And while it is not exactly how I imagined it would be, it is exceedingly more wonderful than I ever dreamed it could be!
While my head was in a fog, God led the way. I did not need to know if God wanted me to be a full time paid gospel worker or just a faithful Christian in the secular workforce. All I needed, was to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. And that my friend, you can do in any line of work, wherever you are.
You can study this week’s SS lesson here.
I am writing today from beautiful New England.
This week I have been preaching and conducting a prophecy seminar at the Torrington Seventh-day Adventist church in Connecticut. Today, before my last meeting I was able to explore some older churches here in the area. Just as the United States is a melting pot of different cultures, so the Seventh-day Adventist church is a melting pot of different churches and denominations, made up of people from all denominations, who, in the mid 1800s came together during a religious awakening, and formed a church, taking Bible truth form each denomination and expelling non Biblical tradition, thus creating a church that goes strictly by the Bible, called the Seventh-day Adventist Church. I have a deep appreciation for each denomination and congregation who has preserved and shared with the world their light on the gospel and the Scriptures. God has always had a people. A people who love Him with all their hearts and want to follow Him. It is because of the light that each church had and shared during the religious awakening that I now have the light that I treasure as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian. Even the Seventh-day Sabbath was not new to the Advent believers, but was shared with us by Rachel Oaks, a Seventh-day Baptist.
This is a Congregational Church in Milton Connecticut, established in 1829. Jane, my friend from Torrington and I drove by this church, and Lauren a neighbor of the church, was walking her dog. When she saw we wanted pictures she ran and got another neighbor Laura, who unlocked the church so we could go in. Laura also shared the history of the church with us. There was an older church built in the congregation, but during the course of time it was painted yellow. Part of the congregation could not stand the color yellow so they built this church instead of going to a church that was painted yellow.
According to Life Sketches, Page 309 and other references, Ellen White and other Seventh-day Adventists commonly used Congregational churches for some of their evangelism meetings.
Here is the original organ. Can anyone tell me what kind it is?
Lauren shared with us, how these steps were to make it easy for people to step off their carriages.
A special thanks to Lauren (Left) and Laura (Center) for dropping what they were doing in the middle of their busy morning today, to show me and Jane (Right) their beautiful church. I am so glad that God worked it out so we would meet Lauren walking by the church at the exact time we passed by.
In 1838 this Congregational Church was built in Plymouth Connecticut.
In the churchyard lies a graveyard with the oldest gravestone reading 1749. Soldiers from the Revolutionary and Civil War are buried there. Many of the grave markers attest to the deep spiritual fervency of the church at that time. One grave marker for one resting saint says that she “walked with God.”
This stone is hard to read it is so old. It says, “Beneath this stone lies Deac. Daniel Potter, who in a comfortable hope of one day rising to a glorious immortality fell asleepe October 29th 1773.” I did not misspell sleep. Apparently in 1773 that is the way it was spelled. With the understanding this soul had of the state of the dead, I can’t help but wonder if the Congregational Church did not share their understanding of this truth with the believers who helped form the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In front of the church is a memorial for President Lincoln and the members of this church who gave their lives in the civil war. As a Seventh-day Adventist I appreciate the sacrifices made by this Congregational church local congregation in securing freedom for all mankind, and keeping united a country that celebrates religious freedom so we can all worship God in accordance with our own conscience.
This is the First Congregational Church of Litchfield, Connecticut. This congregation has been meeting since 1721, but this current church was built in 1829. I took a few pictures of the outside, and then wanted to see the outside. Usually there would be nobody there during the weekdays, but on this particular day they were getting ready for a sale to raise money for missions. A lady getting ready for the sale, opened up the church for me and let me take pictures. She gave me a lot of history of the church. This is the fourth church this local congregation has met in. She was so nice, I gladly gave her a donation for her sale.
Check out this pulpit with a staircase! This pulpit, built in 1829 is a strikingly faithful reproduction, based on recollections and certain parts still in existence of the pulpit built in the 1700s.
This is the view from the pulpit. Check out the pipe organ. It’s a 21 rank, two manual reuter organ. Installed in 1971, it replaced an electrified augmented tracker pump organ salvaged from the previous church.
“There shall be nothing in the white, unadorned meetinghouse to distract the worshipers from a sense of the Living God and His Work, preached, read and made visible in the bread and the cup on the plain table.” –Congregational Church Documents
The Litchfield Congregational church has been faithfully served by 26 different distinguished and dedicated pastors since 1721. Two of these pastors also served on the battlefield. Timothy Collins was a surgeon during the French and Indian war. George Richards was a chaplain during the civil war. Judah Champion was the longest serving pastor for 55 years, until he retired at age 79.
It was an honor and privilege to be able to visit these churches, where the gospel has been preached to and hope given to many a sin weary soul for centuries. While the churches are beautiful and magnificent, it is the members of the congregations who receive my deepest respect and appreciation, for keeping the doors of these churches open, so people can hear the good news of God’s love. I also thank God that at one of the churches somebody just happened to be walking by who knew someone who could unlock the doors and let me in. I thank God that at the other church, a kind lady just happened to be there getting ready for a sale, and was kind enough to take a break and show us around.
I also appreciate the Torrington First Methodist Church, for allowing the Torrington Seventh-day Adventist Church to worship and hold evangelistic meetings in their church. This is where we held the Daniel prophecy seminar I was here for this week. The original section of this church was built in 1865.
I also want to thank the members of the Torrington Seventh-day Adventist Church for hosting me this week and making me a part of their wonderful family. Bruce (second from left), Larry and Jane helped set up each night before the meetings. Larry and Jane also had me to their home during the meetings. Jane has been studying for a while, with several of the people who came to the seminar, and will continue to prepare them for baptism later this month.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. This was last night’s sunset on Siesta Keys.
A chance encounter or divine appointment? You be the Judge.
Yesterday morning I woke up on my day off. Not sure how I wanted to spend it, I went ahead and delivered some baptismal robes to a nearby church, who needed them for Sabbath. When I stopped by my church to pick them up, my pastor reminded me it was my day off, and I should not be working. I promised him I would take the day off as soon as I delivered the robes.
My friend Adam, who I often hang out with on Thursday nights, told me he would be busy, so I thought this may be a good time to take a long day trip somewhere. I thought about St. Augustine, and a couple other places, but decided on Siesta Keys in Sarasota where I have not been in a while. My plan was to spend some time reading in God’s Word, prayer time, and sunset pictures. As I got ready to leave home, something told me to take my Bible. I thought I don’t need to take that along, I have it on my cell phone. Still something said, no, take a regular Bible. So I did. I also grabbed the book “Bible Studies Made Easy” and thought maybe I will give it to the waitress wherever I eat.
I got to Siesta Keys early afternoon and went to an Italian place near the beach, that I have enjoyed many times before. After I left, I scolded myself for forgetting to give the waitress the book. I stopped at a park bench near the beach and spent some time reading, as I am now in Revelations, after reading through the entire Bible. I read Chapters 8-12, which gave me plenty to pray and mediate on, as I walked and prayed down the beach. I must have walked 4 miles. As I got back to my starting point, where I had parked, I felt very tired, and reminded myself that the Tampa Bay Rays had a divisional game tonight on TV. Maybe I should go home and watch it. Something said to stay and take sunset pictures as I had planned. I told myself, I already have hundreds of sunset pictures, and nobody really cares to see anymore. They all look the same. Still something inside me said, just stay with the original plan. Lay down on this park bench and rest a while, until the sun starts setting, then take pictures.
As I’m lying there, an older man comes up and starts talking to me. I turn to him, and he then realizes I am not who he thought I was. He became embarrassed and apologized. I told him it was no big deal. I sat up and he started talking to me. First he talked about his bicycle. I told him I hope the streets in Sarasota are more bike friendly than Tampa. He told me his bike was all he had to get around on. I told him I am often on my bike too. I wanted to identify with him the best I could. He glanced at my Bible and asked if I was a pastor. I could have said yes, since I am both a lay pastor and Bible Worker, but that really had nothing to do with why I had my Bible with me. I had my Bible with me because I am a Christian. I replied, “I am a Christian.” He then started opening up about his service in Vietnam, and his discharge. All the terrible things he saw over there, and he was specific. I know a lot of people claim to be vets, but a lot of people really are vets too. He told me how he has given up trying to overcome beer and cigars. I told him the same God who delivered him from Vietnam could also deliver him from those enemies too. He told me how when he returned nobody thanked him for fighting for his country. He told me how he likes to take trash bags and clean up the beach. I asked him if the beach could clean itself up. Of course he said no. I told him likewise, we can’t clean ourselves up either. Only God can. He was troubled, thinking God had given up on him, so I shared with him the gospel presentation. I shared with him the story of the serpent on the pole in Numbers 21 and how in John 3, Jesus says, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He said there was so much about life he did not understand. I told him he did not have to understand. Just as the Israelites looked at the pole when bitten by a serpent, likewise when that old serpent the devil bites you, just look at the cross and you will be healed.
He told me his name was Frank, and asked for prayer and I prayed with him. He took my hand and as I prayed his hand trembled as he cried. After our prayer I remembered the Bible study book I had failed to give the waitress. I gave it to him with my church contact info. I invited him to a church in his area. He told me he was homeless and had no address. He told me he likes it that way. I made sure he knew how to get a hold of me. I assured him God still loves him and has a plan for his life. God has not given up. He told me how glad he was that he met me. I felt he was sincere. He never asked me for money or anything. He even offered to pay for the book. I think the only things he wanted from me was hope. As we talked, and he rambled after our prayer, I started thinking, if Adam was not busy tonight I would have been hanging out with him instead. If I had not brought my Bible this man never would have asked or opened up about His need for Christ. If I had given the waitress my study book I would have had nothing to give this man. If I had gone back home to watch the baseball game, which I really felt like doing, I would not have been resting on this park bench when the man found me. And seriously, I had no clue why I was just resting on a park bench instead of driving on home to see the game, until now. I also smiled as I remembered my pastor telling me to take the day off. Seems like when I woke up this morning, wondering what to do, God already had a plan.
I saw the sun starting to set and told the gentleman, I wanted to take some sunset pictures. Also I felt as our conversation was now rambling, that my mission was over. I wanted to leave him with the impression of my mission and not our rambling. He very politely told me to go take my pictures and told me how happy he was to meet me, and thanked me over and over for the Bible study book. I reminded him how to contact me. I left to take pictures. As I was taking pictures, thinking about my encounter, I realized I had made a big mistake! After the sun was down, I went back looking for the man. I could not find him, but I did find his bike tied to the same tree. I grabbed a pen and paper from my car and left a note tied to his handlebar. The note read, “Thank you Frank, for serving in Vietnam. –William”
This morning was a special day at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. Not because it was St. Patrick’s day, but because we welcomed another saint into the body of Christ. Ciera gave her life to Jesus today by being baptized, because Jesus gave His life for her. Please enjoy the pictures.
Ciera has been looking forward to this day for a long time. Over the years, at Tampa Adventist Academy, she has been in several of my baptism classes. In addition to baptism classes, she is also pictured here in my Bible marking-chain referencing class that I hold at TAA. She is learning to share Jesus with others. The other day in class I did some role playing, and pretended I did not believe in the Sabbath. Cieria quickly found Bible verses to let me know the Sabbath, and the rest we find in God’s grace is still very much in effect.
This morning, Pastor Brad Cassell, went over the baptism vows with Ciera before the congregation.
The smile on Ciera’s face shows she has been looking forward to and preparing for this day for a long time.
Even though Ciera’s family are members of another Adventist church in the area, Ciera chose to be baptized at Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church by Pastor Claudette Aleman. We are glad Ciera chose Tampa First, and consider her family a big part of the Tampa First family. All the area Tampa Bay area Adventist churches are just one big happy family!
For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. Colossians 2:12 NLT
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:5 That new life sure puts a smile on your face, doesn’t it!
Ciera and her family had several family and friends over for lunch today to help celebrate!
After a long day of celebration, worship and fellowship, we closed out the Sabbath together with some songs and a devotional thought from the Bible.
Please don’t let the sun set on you before giving your life to the One who gave His life for you! If you are interested in baptism I would love to talk to you and help you prepare for this important life changing step. You can contact me at LayPAstor@TampaAdventist.net
I am writing this morning from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
One summer, when I was ten years old, I spent a week at my Grandmother Holzkamper’s house in Gentry Arkansas. My mother came to pick me up and while we were still visiting with grandma, I smarted off to my mother. My grandmother told me something that has always stayed with me. She said, “You don’t talk that way to your mother.” After that I thought she would tell me how my mom is the boss and all but she didn’t. Instead she said, “You don’t talk that way to someone who would die for you.” Wow. I had never thought of it like that.
There are power struggles even in families. I wish this were not so. I have seen family members accusing other family members of being on ego trips and being power hungry. Husbands are to be respected, not because they are “the man” or the boss. They are to be respected because they would be the last ones off the Titanic. They would die for their families.
At the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church where I serve, we don’t call pastors “reverand.” We only revere God. Yet Paul tells wives to reverence their husbands! Paul is telling wives to have more respect for their husband than a church pastor. That is because of the self sacrifing love the husband has for His family.
I am sure many times the wife has this love also for her family. Disagreements happen. That is okay. I just hope that when family members disagree, that they continue to resepct each other and remember they are arguing with someone who would die for them. Reverence that love even while disagreeing!
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Ephesians 5:25
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. Ephesians 5::33
I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
Friday’s section of this week’s SS lesson asks the question, “What’s the deadly spiritual trap of thinking that because we’re saved by grace, it doesn’t matter what we do? How can you protect yourself against falling into that deception?”
On the golf course we have another word for grace. It is called a “mulligan.” After you make a terrible shot, your partner may offer you a mulligan. You take another shot and the first shot does not count. It’s like it never happened. I love grace and I love mulligans. However, one day, when I first took up golf, I was golfing with Ron, my good friend and golf mentor. We were on the 6th fairway at the Rivard Golf Course in Brooksville. It is a par 5. I was about 50 yards away from the green and about to make my third stroke. If I hit the green I would be on in 3 strokes, and with two putts could easily make par. My third stroke went wide left and hit a tree. Ron, who is very gracious and forgiving told me to take a mulligan. I graciously accepted and dropped another ball at the original spot and tried again. I hit the tree again. Frustrated I grabbed another ball and dropped it and hit again with the same result. Now I was becoming very frustrated because I knew I could do it, it just wasn’t happening. It was just bad luck and I was determined I wasn’t going to let bad luck control my scorecard. I dropped another ball and got ready to experience more “grace” by taking another mulligan. Then it occurred to me that I may have been taking advantage of the mulligan system. Many take one mulligan but I was taking several. I asked my friend Ron, “does anybody else do this?” Referring to taking multiple mulligans. Ron, who is very forgiving and graceful, shook his head in disbelief and with a hint of frustration in his voice firmly said, “no!”.
Grace is a wonderful thing, but it is not intended to let us make the same mistakes over and over. Sure, there is always forgiveness. When our heart is broken because of sin, the Psalmist declares in Psalms 51, “a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” I know with all my heart that God will never turn away a heart that is broken because of a sin no matter how many times sin has broken that heart before. At the same time grace is more than just forgiveness. Grace is a power that helps us overcome our failures.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10
Grace gives us good works.
By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith. Romans 1:5
Grace gives us obedience
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world. Titus 2:11-12
Grace gives us power to live Godly lives in this present world.
We have a relatively new senior pastor at our church who likes golf. Pastor Brad allows me to take mulligans, but he never takes them himself. He holds himself to a higher standard than what he requires of me. To me that is a model Christian. Freely forgiving others while holding himself to a higher standard. Funny thing is he wins all the time.
One day we were playing on the Babe Zaharias golf course near our church in Tampa. The second hole is a par 4. My first drive went short and wide left towards some trees. I wanted to take a mulligan, but since Pastor Brad wasn’t taking them, I thought I better just play it straight and accept another double or triple bogey. Strange thing happened on my second shot. Using my fairway wood, my second shot sailed close to 200 yards and the ball landed next to the green. I chipped onto the green and my first putt fell in the hole for par! I walked off the green and thought, “Wow! Even with a bad drive I made par without taking a mulligan.” That felt good.
To me, my friend Ron and my friend Pastor Brad, make a good combination of grace. Ron sitting in the golf cart patiently as I kept hitting the tree over and over with my chip shot, and Pastor Brad challenging me by holding himself to a higher standard. I have learned in golf, that what I need instead of a mulligan is a really good second stroke. I have also learned that when I make double par the world does not come to an end. I need both Ron and pastor Brad in my life as well as my golf game. They give me the proper balance I need to improve my game. While I may not always need mulligans, I will always need grace, because grace is more than a second chance. Grace is the power to improve my game and my life.
I am writing this morning from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. Romans 9:12-13
Some people use this verse to teach pre-destination, saying that God had already decided before Esau was born that he would not be saved. God says that He hated Esau, right? Before we jump to conclusions lets see how Jesus uses the word “hate.” In Luke 14:26, Jesus says, “If any [man] come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”
Of course Jesus does not want us to hate our families as think of the word “hate.” In the Bible, we see love is preferring someone before self or someone else. All He is saying is we must prefer Jesus above our families. So in Romans 9:13 when God says, “Jacob I have loved, but Esau have I hated” all He is saying is, I preferred Jacob to have the birthright rather than Esau. This is very clear as verse 12 tells us that “the elder shall serve the younger.” The context is very clearly about the birthright and not Esau or Jacob’s personal salvation.
Jesus desires everyone to experience salvation!
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14
http://seg.sharethis.com/getSegment.php?purl=http%3A%2F%2Fchristianservant.wordpress.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost-new.php%3Fpost_type%3Dpost&jsref=&rnd=1326804030902I would like to invite you to experience this salvation at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. If you are not in the Tampa Bay area you can find a grace loving church in your part of the world here.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area. This is my view of Tampa, from a bench in Ballast Point Park, where I often go to pray at night after a full day of Bible ministry. I love to look out over the city that I am praying for as I pray. I do not only pray for the city. I pray also for myself, that God will give me the skills and opportunity to share His grace amongst great obstacles. When I pray for God’s help in my ministry I am often encouraged by the passages below. Thanks to my friend Adam, who took this picture with his camera, as my camera doesn’t do too well at night.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Ephesians 3:20
I wanted to share a passage from The Desire of Ages, page 679 that has always brought me hope and encouragement in my ministry.
Christ rejoiced that He could do more for His followers than they could ask or think. He spoke with assurance, knowing that an almighty decree had been given before the world was made. He knew that truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil; and that the bloodstained banner would wave triumphantly over His followers. He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His, a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter.
“These things I have spoken unto you,” He said, “that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” Christ did not fail, neither was He discouraged, and His followers are to manifest a faith of the same enduring nature. They are to live as He lived, and work as He worked, because they depend on Him as the great Master Worker. Courage, energy, and perseverance they must possess. Though apparent impossibilities obstruct their way, by His grace they are to go forward. Instead of deploring difficulties, they are called upon to surmount them. They are to despair of nothing, and to hope for everything. With the golden chain of His matchless love Christ has bound them to the throne of God. It is His purpose that the highest influence in the universe, emanating from the source of all power, shall be theirs. They are to have power to resist evil, power that neither earth, nor death, nor hell can master, power that will enable them to overcome as Christ overcame.