Translate

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Hurling Bread and Buns: Silencing the Critics

This reading is based on Mark 12 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions." Mark 12: 34
I was born within a stone's throw from what was then West Indies College (now Northern Caribbean University, my place of work). I recall the days of eating freshly baked bread and/or buns that came from the bakery that the college operated. I recall my eldest brother and sibling often coming home with such goodies. He had an interesting way, he'd report, of getting those delectable treats to take home. All he would do was to dare the men who worked at the bakery to try and hit him with either a bread or a bun. Somehow, they'd often graciously oblige him. All that would obviously happen however, is that he'd just get something to take home that we could eat. Looking back now, I am convinced that God placed it in the hearts of those men to have humoured my brother as they did. Don't miss the "plot," or the context in which all this took place though: these bakery workers were actually hurling "missiles" (albeit friendly, and of bread and buns) at my brother, but as they landed, they became food for all of us.
jesus and the pharisees jesus reminded them that there are
In a similar way the questions that these devious spies hurled at Jesus, though meant to expose and discredit Him as an "ignorant impostor," not having attended their schools, served only as raised platforms for Jesus to proclaim precious truths of the Kingdom. Of course, as these emissaries from hell recognized that their plots constantly backfired on them, they afterward dared not "ask Him anymore questions." 
Today, sadly, critics still abound and questions and challenges are constantly rained upon God's children. The question is though, who is being silenced; the critics or the Christians?
Father in Heaven, please grant us knowledge of Your Word, and authenticity of an experience with You, so that we can with similar authority as our Lord, silence the critics of Your cause we pray in Jesus' name, amen.

To read and/or listen to Mark 12, and to read other related blogs, please click here.
Photo credit: click here.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

"At the Same Time"

This reading is based on Jeremiah 31 and is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
At the same time? At the same time that "the whirlwind of God goes forth with fury," (Jer 30: 23) He promises, "I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people," (Jer. 31: 1). This is a promise that resonates with an eternal tone, because in Revelation 21: 3, "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God."
I do so cherish the thought of the day when God's government will be restored not just in our hearts, but indeed upon the earth. All trace of sin will be erased from the earth (purified by fire), "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." 2 Peter 3: 10. But thank God the burning fire isn't the last thing we'll behold, for "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." 2 Peter 3: 13.
                        
I grew up knowing that my mother loved me - although I do recall those multiple-pranged switches she would specially select (sturdy enough to endure a flogging session, but fine enough to sting, yet not to cut or break any bones). She did her best to keep us focused and to appreciate the fact that every work will be brought into judgement, so we had better "count(ed) the cost before (we) mount the horse." At so much greater cost to Himself, because He's painfully aware of all that we do God is patiently working to bring us home. The journey gets rough at points, even as He must give us tough love, but at the same time He's our loving Father working to take us home. O Lord... Father, I'm so longing to come home!
"I've wandered far away from God, now I'm coming home...." Enjoy John Lomacang's rendition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?...

To read and/or listen to Jeremiah 31 and to read other related blogs, please click here.

Charles Evans
Photo Credits

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

If Jesus Must Die, Then....

This reading is based on Jeremiah 27 and is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

What do you do when you are burdened with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness as for years unending we seem shackled by certain besetting sins. We fast and pray; we even share with others, and we still struggle. Can God really help us; can we be delivered from our sinful habits?
Major undertakings within and outside the Church are usually preceded by a feasibility study. A major component of such a study is a cost benefit analysis. From a cost benefit analysis you essentially want to answer the question of whether or not the investment of resources will produce the desired rewards.
I believe that the most expansive project that's occurring in the universe today is the Plan of Salvation. The tremendous cost of this project is life of Jesus Christ. It had to have been that God saw the possibility of everyone being delivered from the bondage of the sins that Jesus died. Although the statement of Paul in Romans 8: 32 appears to be referring primarily to God's WILLINGNESS to supply our needs, it also alludes to His ABILITY to actually supply these needs: "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Salvation is not just a good idea - it's a fool-proof plan!
            The Passion of the Christ
Jeremiah 27 taken in its entirety not only shows God being aware of the impending Babylonian captivity that awaited His people, but the passage importantly ended with God eventually restoring His people. In similar fashion, the formulation and execution of the Plan of Salvation not only included His knowledge of our eventual sin, but it also sets forth His plan to restore His image within us. It is important that we believe that if Christ has done so much already He is able to carry through that which He has started to its completion. "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" Phil. 1: 6. We must never resign to just sinning, but must believe God for a change... claim it!
So yes, we may be yoked...shackled by sin, but Jesus knew about that even before we were born, and He still decided to die for us. Surely then, if Jesus must die, then it must be that He ought to also be able to deliver us from sin. After all, that's why He died.
So Father in Heaven today in confidence that You are not only willing but able to deliver us, we come to with our burdens. May it be that when we would have come to the end of this special day of prayer, that we will all be fully unshackled, and that in freedom we all become Your willing servants, we pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Charles Evans

To read and/or listen to Jeremiah 27 and to read other related blogs, please click here.

Photo Credits

Thursday, 22 May 2014

NCU Research News & Events: U.S. Department of State: International Student Ex...

NCU Research News & Events: U.S. Department of State: International Student Ex...:

U.S. Department of State: International Student Exchange Programmes


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
______________________________________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                                                                                                  May 2, 2014
MEDIA NOTE
U.S. Department of State Unveils 100,000 Strong in the Americas Website
Today, the U.S. Department of State unveiled a new 100,000 Strong in the Americas website available at www.100kstrongamericas.org.  President Obama launched 100,000 Strong in the Americas to
increase educational exchange opportunities in the Western Hemisphere. 
The initiative is implemented through partnerships between the U.S.
government, including the White House and the Department of State;
Partners of the Americas, NAFSA:  Association of International
Educators, foreign governments, universities and colleges, and the
private sector.
The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas is
to strengthen U.S. relations with the countries of the Americas through
increased student mobility. Students from the United States and the
Western Hemisphere select international exchange programs that
will equip them with a broad base of skills and experiences, including
exposure to other countries and cultures.  The initiative reflects a
growing focus on ensuring youth throughout the Western Hemisphere are
prepared with the language and cross-cultural skills needed to succeed
in the 21st century economy. 
The
updated website contains resources for students interested in studying
abroad in the Americas, higher education institutions who want to
increase their footprint in the Western Hemisphere, and private sector
companies who want to contribute to the future prosperity of the
Americas. 100,000 Strong in the Americas will enable a new generation to reach across borders to address common challenges and seek out new opportunities. 
Follow @ECAatState, @EdUSAupdates, and @USAenEspanol (Spanish) for the latest on #100KStrongAmericas.
For more information, please contact WHA Press at whapress@state.gov or the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) Press at ECA-Press@state.gov.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Estrangement, Conviction and Rebirth

This reading is based on Jeremiah 20 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"Cursed be the day in which I was born!" Jeremiah 20: 14
Wouldn't you think that knowing that you are doing God's will should make you feel so satisfied and fulfilled, and totally void of depression? My daily struggle is to be in God's will. So why would Jeremiah, clearly doing the will of God, be so depressed - cursing the day he was born?
Estrangement
The call to mission is a call to tare ones self away from the ordinary regular life of those who have not heard that call, or has refused to answer. Separating yourself from human traditions and values, not sharing common human goals, and not being a "normal" individual, but always sticking out as a sore thumb in meetings at work, possibly among your siblings at home (Joseph), and even in discussions at church, can often lead you down a lonely path of estrangement.
               
The Fire of Conviction
But although you naturally would want to be a regular human being, enjoying good relations with all around, you somehow cannot bring yourself to doing so at the expense of what you know and believe to be the truth. The pull of conviction brought on by the Holy Spirit can often overpower the pull of our carnal desires. Jeremiah says, "You induced me and I was persuaded," (verse 7). That became for him, "fire, shut up within (his) bones," (verse 9). Oh that the fire of conviction would burn within our hearts today Lord. Please send Your Holy Spirit upon us.
Choosing to Be Born Again
A positive spin to the "day of my birth being cursed" is that at the crossroads of choosing God's way, or the conventional human way, I choose to turn my back on the natural pull and claims of my human birth; I'm now ready to be "born again," (John 3: 7) into the ministry to which I've been called.

Charles Evans
To read and/or listen to Jeremiah 20 and to read other related blogs, please click here.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Broken Pots: Through the Prism of God's Grace

This reading is based on Jeremiah 19 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Prisms: an Object Lesson
I recall my high school physics class when for the first time I discovered that white light (what we normally get from the bulbs in our homes, and the headlamps on our cars, etc) is actually made up of many colours (I believe the colours of the rainbow). What we did in order to see the spectrum of individual colours making up the light was to shine a beam of light through a prism (a specially shaped glass object). As the mono-colour entered the prism on one side what came out on the other side of the prism were all the colour that are combined to make white light. Verse 11 of Jeremiah 19 speaks of God breaking His people as one would break a potter's vessel that cannot be repaired. Is this a hopeless picture painted? Let's look at the broken pot phenomenon through the prism of God's grace.
God's Frustration Flows - as From a Broken Pot
The utterances of Jeremiah 19 come across with gushing finality - as from a God who, like a broken vessel that cannot withhold the outflow of its contents, can no longer restrain His anger and frustration over a rebellious people. There will come a time when enough will be enough, and God will have to execute the words of His mouth. But as with the manner in which He treated Nineveh, what He mostly appears to be aiming at is to apply to us shock therapy that He hopes will jerk us into the reality of the danger we're courting.
                           
Broken Pots Ministries
Some of the most noble ministries today are borne from the bowels of our brokenness. It is much like Jesus who through His personal suffering is that much more qualified to succor us, and to be our High Priest. Our miseries mold us for mission, our tests are transformed into testimonies, and our trials transport us to triumph. Through God's amazing grace our brokenness does not have to be final, but rather fitting us to fill vital spots on the mission field.
Prayer of Consecration

Father, today we acknowledge the call You have given us to mission that based on our peculiar past we have been prepared to perform. Grant us now Thy Holy Spirit we pray in Jesus' name, amen.

Charles Evans
To read and/or listen to Jeremiah 19 and to read other related blogs, please click here.
Photo Credits: Click here

Monday, 19 May 2014

Lessons From the Wood-Shop

This reading is based on Jeremiah 18 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

My very first job after high school was in a wood-shop. I did that for about four and one half years. On reflection there were some important things I learned during those years:

1. A chair never had to worry about how it was going to be built. That was always my concern - from design, to selecting material, to cutting, shaping, and sanding the pieces, to fitting it all together, to finishing it. In all this, the chair did nothing. I guess its the same for pottery, as it definitely is for our Creator/Redeemer God.

                             

2. The ultimate test of competence came with doing repair work. That's the hardest; it takes great patience, and many persons shy away from that sort of job. It's always easier to start a job from scratch. Perhaps that's why, while the original creation of man took place within a 24 hour period, the work of sanctification is the work of a lifetime. I'm glad that God as the consummate Master Artist has tremendous patience and commitment to making a thing of beauty of my life. Moses captures it beautifully in Ex 34: 6, 7 " And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth/ Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin...."

3. Some materials are harder than others to work with; they require special attention. Sometimes, in view of certain recurring problems that I face, I feel like a particularly difficult material to work. It's again good to know that God has the expertise and willingness to work with my peculiar traits, and will yet make a thing of beauty of me.

Prayer
Father in Heaven, it is comforting to know that it is not up to me to make myself worthy of life, but that that is Your gift of grace to me. Thank You for Your grace and mercy, and it is my desire to be in Your display window showing the world what they may become in Your hands. Use me I pray, amen.

Charles Evans

To read and/or listen to Jeremiah 18 and to read other related blogs, please click here.

Photo credits: click here

Friday, 9 May 2014

Begin With the End in Mind


This reading is based on Jeremiah chapter 8 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Prov. 16: 25
Until I discovered that the late bestselling leadership author, Stephen Covey, had written about "The Eighth Habit" I thought he was the consummate "Seventh-day Adventist" for his famous book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." Of interest however is the second habit in the 7-pack he offered, "Begin With the End in Mind."
As if to jerk His people into the harsh reality of where the course they have chosen will lead them, the prophet Jeremiah and those involved in the canonization process were led to start the discussion in chapter 8 on the exhumed bones of the dead. The funny thing is that the bones remained dead - quite unlike the case with Ezekiel where the bones came to life again (Eze. 37).
 
The offer in the Plan of Salvation is that through the ministry of Jesus, who declared and demonstrated His power over death at the resurrection of Lazarus assured all who would believe in and follow Him, "I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." John 11: 25. It is within this spirit that Jesus is "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." John 14: 6.
Clearly outside of the Plan of Salvation would fall the appropriate caution of the wise man Solomon, "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." This refers to the second death (Rev. 2: 11; 20: 6, 14; 21: 8). Pragmatism would dictate that upon deciding on a path to pursue, due diligence should be done to ascertain its after-death value. We need to ask ourselves, "Will this choice get me in the first resurrection, or the second" (Rev 20: 5, 6)? Stephen Covey did capture it quite succinctly, "Begin with the end in mind."
Dear God of the eternal future, thank you for going ahead and laying down plans for our future salvation. Thank you for establishing the process that by believing and following after Christ we'll "not perish, but have everlasting life," (John 3: 16), in His name amen.

To read and or listen to Jeremiah 8 and to read other related blogs, please click here.
Photo credits: Click here

Thursday, 8 May 2014

"Tell me a Lie:" The Truth About Lies



(This reading is based on Jeremiah 7 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.)

"Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.’" Jer. 7: 4

The desperation to hear embellished (soothing) words instead of the often "harsh" and inconvenient truth that declares our preferred path, a sinful one, has driven persons to write songs like, "Tell me a Lie" - as penned by Barbara Wyrick and Mickey Buckins. Read how stupidly (yeah brazingly) desperate things get in this song, "Tell me a lie, say you're not a married man/ Even though I saw you slip off your weddin' band..."
The truth about lies is that, told long enough, lies will provide temporary satisfaction. But truth, as oil in water, will ultimately rise to the top and its unyielding requirements cannot be any longer ignored. Then will set in, disappointment, heartbreak, and death, for indeed lies are not sustainable.  The word of advice is, "Do not trust these lying words."
Scripture speaks of a time when life will be rife with mass multitudes who will find truth intolerable, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." (2 Tim 4: 3). But such have their rewards coming.
Father in heaven, our desire today is like that of the unnamed Greeks who asked of Phillip, "Sir, we would see Jesus," (John 12: 21). This is Jesus, "The way, the TRUTH and the life." John 14: 6. It is as you expressed through Psalmist - we desire truth in our inward parts (Ps 51: 6). So to Jesus we sing, "Into my heart, into my heart, come into my heart Lord Jesus...."

To read Jeremiah 7 and other related blogs, please click here.
Photo credits: erniebufflo.wordpress.com

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Caring For The Sieve - Your Kidneys

 http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20140219/health/images/right-kidneys-2.jpg



Have you ever thought about what happens to
your food after it is swallowed? Mmmmm...food for thought, as we strive
towards a healthier body.




Food that is swallowed is
broken down into glucose, fatty acids and amino acids in the stomach and
small intestines and then goes into the blood. The blood travels
through the kidneys so that waste products such as urea, uric acid,
creatinine and excess glucose (sugar) can be removed from the body in
the urine.



Nutrition tips for healthy kidneys



Eat a variety of foods from the six Caribbean foods groups in the appropriate amounts.



Do not eat more protein than the body needs. The normal healthy adult
needs 0.8 to one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. Eating
more protein than the body needs will result in the kidneys overworking
to get rid of the excess. Adults require enough protein for repair of
cells, making of hormones and maintaining the immune system. Eating more
protein does not mean bigger muscles. It just gives the kidneys more
work to do to make more urine.



Do not eat more carbohydrates-rich
foods than the body needs. Excess carbohydrates in the diet causes the
body to secrete extra insulin to get glucose into cells for energy, if
not used it is stored as fat. In the case of persons with diabetes, the
excess glucose causes sugar in the blood to increase and result in
kidneys overworking to make extra urine to get the excess sugar out of
blood.



Do not take multivitamins, especially Vitamins B and C, in
excess of 200 per cent of recommended dietary intake. These vitamins
are water-soluble, not stored by the body. As such, consuming more than
the body needs will cause the kidneys to make extra urine in an effort
to get rid of the excess vitamins.



Drink six to 10 eight-ounce
cups of water every day. This is dependent on your level of physical
activity - more activity means the consumption of more water. Thirst is
an indication of low levels of water in the cells.



Drink water even when
you are not thirsty.



Drink more plain water instead of juice, drinks, coffee and tea in an effort to give kidneys less work to do.



Try, at all times, to reduce intake of prescription and
over-the-counter drugs, by managing all diseases or conditions by making
the appropriate lifestyle changes.



Make healthy food and lifestyle choices for healthier kidneys!



Marsha N. Woolery is a registered dietitian/nutritionist at Fairview
Medical and Dental Center, Montego Bay and adjunct lecturer at Northern
Caribbean University. Email: yourhealth@gleanerjm.com.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Behaviour: A Type of Pheromone

This reading is based on Ecclesiastes 4 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"Awake, O north wind, and come, O south! Blow upon my garden that its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruits." Verse 16
"Blow upon my garden that its spices may flow out." Could this be referring to a sort of human pheromone? Pheromones are chemical secretions (typically airborne) that emit from one organism, but affects the behaviour of another organism of the same species. Here you get a clear sense that although the chemical is carried by the wind, the one who secretes the pheromone so controls its release that is seems targeted at a selected mate.
 
I want to see human behaviour as a type of pheromone itself that stimulates responses from those around. Sometimes these behaviours reach the extreme level of being flirtatious. A flirtation is typically seen a signal for sexual engagement without serious commitment. But it is also practiced in marriages and is one way for a spouse to indicate to the other that he/she is in a certain mood. There is also an extent to which, outside a marriage union, we give off signals that indicate our interest to get to know another individual a bit more, but it does not reach the level of sexual engagement. Over time however, and after marriage, the sexual act may come into play. What is significant here is that this "pheromone" is CONTROLLED; it is SELECTIVELY RELEASED and pulls in SPECIFIC TARGETS. While other prospects may come, if they don't satisfy the established criteria they will not be permitted into the "garden." It behooves adult singles to behave in a manner that will attract the ideal prospect; as not all signals will attract the right person.
In another sense our behaviour will attract or repel the Holy Spirit and other heaven appointed agencies. Sometimes by our behaviour we invite demons into our lives - who may incidentally come with the wrong mate we attract and accept into our lives.
Father, I pray especially for those who are not yet married to be able to attract and accept the right person into their lives, and that by the same token make way for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Please strengthen the ideal marriages, and reform those that are weak we pray, in Jesus' name, amen.

To read and/or listen to Ecclesiastes 4 and to read other related blogs, please click here.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Get Up and Go: In Search of a Mate!

This reading is based on Songs of Solomon 3 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"Do not stir up nor awaken love until it pleases." Verse 5
This statement is implicit with the view that there is a right time for an intimate love relationship between a man and a woman, and that by extension a warning against entering into this kind of relationship prematurely. Intimacy requires maturity or could otherwise set one up for major emotional scarring. There are also other implications about relationships in this passage.
Implication 1: Loneliness is not an excuse to "settle" for any "mate" who comes along; seek for one worthy of your love, not for anyone who just happens to be available. Love in this regard is a choice to open yourself to intimacy (eros) with an individual, based on certain criteria being met, and in no way suggests that we should love (philia) some persons, while we dislike others. May I suggest that there is just one love, but there are appropriate ways of expressing it - depending on whom you're dealing with. How might this counsel especially young Seventh-day Adventist women who are languishing from the seeming dearth of eligible young men, and who consequently are settling for non-Christian mates in worrying droves? In the spiritual sense also, shouldn't we be cautious about making choices based on things like a miraculous healing experienced, or the fact that we may have had some desperate "need" met? Whatever our circumstance, we should hold out for truth.
Implication 2: An eligible mate should be SOUGHT - not in the sense of pursuing per se, but that the eyes and mind should be actively engaged in identifying an eligible prospect. We should sift through the criteria. Reasonably however, one should put oneself in a position to observe or be observed by an appropriate possible prospect. Here I believe that an active engagement in mission (wherever that takes you) does help the cause.Get up and go! You take care of God's business, and He'll take care of yours (as He deems best for you). It might just be that God has a mate for you at your next mission post.
Implication 3: In trying to make a choice it will become necessary to seek the counsel of others. Ask the "watchmen," (verse 3). Read, talk to your pastor, talk to trusted/respected family members and friends. Sometimes you're too emotionally charged to see the truth. A similar mode of investigation should accompany the pursuit of the Truth about God.

To read and/or listen to Ecclesiastes 3 and to read other related blogs, please click here.

Photo credits: Click here

Monday, 17 February 2014

Of Nourishment, Comfort and Pleasure: Breasts and the Bible

This reading is based on Songs of Solomon 1 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Let's Talk Sex
It is most unfortunate that the sex act has been so misused and abused that what God had intended to be the most beautiful experience between a male husband and female wife has become a largely tabooed subject. It has become a tool of abuse of the innocent and vulnerable, and a weapon of rebellion against God. It's misuse has targeted the integrity and sanctity of marriage. There is likely no other act on earth that so closely brings the human being into experiencing the thrill and joy of creation that our Creator must have experienced when in the beginning He made us. The process of procreation is arguably the most beautiful experience that a male husband and female wife can share. Yet it is perhaps the very thing that makes it so beautiful (the authentically intense feeling of love and devotion; the high) that makes is so easy for the devil to use it to manipulate and wrench us away from God's ideal.

Breasts!
In approaching Songs of Solomon for me all discussions and allusions are understood within the context of the biblical model of marriage and in the natural mother/child relationship. With that said, may I share my thoughts on a subject raised in verse 13 - breasts!

Breasts and the Bible
The PG nature of this forum would not allow me to be much more graphic than to simply state that the breasts are a source of NOURISHMENT, COMFORT, and PLEASURE. Nourishment and comfort as I would have in my formative years received from my mother; comfort and pleasure as I receive from my wife. Incidentally, in a real way, the same can be safely said of the Bible with its Old and New Testaments.

Source of Nourishment
As nourishment we see where Jesus Who is the Word, is also the Bread of Life (John 1: 1-3, 14; 6: 35). Peter in 1 Peter 2: 2 tells us, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere MILK OF THE WORD, that ye may grow thereby:"

Source of Comfort
As a source of comfort we see where Paul, though referring in primary context to the subject he was dealing with, but in a secondary manner also spoke of Scripture in general said, "Wherefore COMFORT one another with these words." 1 Thess. 4: 18. All Bible promises are a source of comfort.

Source of Pleasure
As a source of pleasure, we see where Psalmist uttered the words, "I DELIGHT to do Thy will, O my God; yea Thy law is within my heart." Ps. 40: 8. Before that the Psalmist spoke in Psalm 16: 11, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is FULLNESS OF JOY; at thy right hand there are PLEASURES for evermore." God shows us the path of life through His Word (living and written).

Prayer
I pray that what my mother's breasts did for me, and what my wife's breasts do for me now, is what the Bible will do for me and so much more. I also pray that in your own contexts you will fully experience the nourishment, comfort and pleasure of the two Testaments of the Bible, amen.

To read and/or listen to Songs of Solomon 1 and to read other related blogs, please click here.

Image credit: click here.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Death: the Trilogy


 

This reading is based on Ecclesiastes 9 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten."
Physical Death
This is the first death (implied by reference to a second death, Rev 2: 11; 20: 6, 14; 21: 8), that all on earth has or will experience at one time or another. All who die this death will come back again, some will be raised to live forever thereafter, and others to face eternal (second) death (John 5: 29). Those who are raised to live eternally will receive new, incorruptible bodies (1 Cor. 15: 42, 50, 53, 54) - because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." In a sense then, death is a transition station for the saint (even as they, in total rest and silence, await the final works of the Saviour before He returns to call them back to life). Those who will be translated will receive an express service of physical death and instant resurrection. Flesh and blood cannot abide the presence of a holy God whose glory will be unveiled - for He shall come in power and great glory (Matt 24: 30).
Death to Self (the old man)
Paul says in Gals. 2: 20, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." In Romans 6 he speaks about being crucified with Christ and being raised to a new life in Him - as symbolized through the rite of baptism. As indicated in Eccl. 9: 6 where those who die, "will never more share in anything done under the sun," so those who die to sin should no longer engage in the works of sin. Rom 6: 6 says, "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
Spiritual Death
It is a fearful thing to be spiritually death - considering that death means unresponsiveness, a state of being unaffected by what happens around you. In context, this would mean unresponsiveness to the Holy Spirit. Thank God the Plan of Salvation covers all cases of death, and so this most threatening state is not a hopeless one. All who are spiritually dead may yet be quickened by the Word of God. The Psalmist says in Ps. 119: 50, "This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me." Paul, the prolific New Testament theologian, says in Ephesians 2: 1, 5, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved)."
Father, we pray you revive (quicken) us from spiritual death, and that indeed we would die daily to self, so when we are confronted with physical death it won't be with a hopeless dread. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

To read and/or listen to Ecclesiastes 9 and to read other related blogs, please click here 

Photo credit: Click here
.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Measuring Time: Going Left on the Number Line

This reading is based on Ecclesiastes 3 that is read in accordance with the Revived by His Word initiative of the General Conference of SDAs.
"To everything there is a season; a time for every purpose under heaven." Ecc. 3: 1
The number line is a mathematical tool that is used to especially help children learn basic arithmetic (addition and subtraction). Significantly, there are positive and negative numbers on a number line, with zero being the point of origin. When you're adding on the number line you go right; when subtracting, left. When you start at zero and go right, you are accumulating a positive value; when you go left however, you're are increasing the negative value.
Imagine that life is like living on a number line. And because we're alive WE HAVE TO MOVE; we either go right, or we go left. On the number line zero represents the point at which we decide how much time we will spend on an activity. If we decide to engage then we'll move right and begin to count the time (seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years). We can otherwise decide not to engage - in which case, we move left. Understand this, when we go right (positively engage in an action) we are building its legacy and increase the chances of other persons becoming similarly engaged. When we go left, we do the opposite.
                    negative number is any number to the left of 0 on the number line.
May I suggest that notwithstanding the seeming latitude given in the passage above, there are some things that we should never do; but should instead go left. The Apostle John says, "My little children, these things write I unto you that you SIN NOT..." 1 John 2: 1. Later on in this book Solomon will encourage us to remember our Creator in our youth, and that our duty is to fear Him and keep His commandment. And then there are some things that are not necessarily sinful, but may cause us undue hurt and inconvenience (like some bad relationship choices, or making the wrong career choice). We should avoid those as well. Paul says in Romans 15: 4, "For whatsoever things were written in times past, were written for our learning...." There are some things we're expected to learn - not from our own indulgence, but by simply learning from another's experience. That's wisdom!
Father in Heaven, please grant each of us the wisdom to know when to go right, and when to go left. Our hope and desire is that all that we do will build the legacy of holiness on this earth we pray in Jesus' name, amen.

To read and/or listen to Ecclesiastes 3 and to read other related blogs, please click here.

Photo credits: Click here