Friday, July 27, 2018

To Whose Voice Are You Listening

To Whose Voice Are You Listening?

Remember the story of Peter Rabbit? You know, the one where Mother
Rabbit encourages Peter and his siblings to go out, but cautions
against two things: losing or destroying their clothes, and entering
into Mr. McGregor's garden. Mother Rabbit had her reasons for warning
against entering Mr. McGregor's garden, as Mr. McGregor had killed
Father Rabbit in that very garden years before. (Father Rabbit had
gone there to eat some of Mr. McGregor's vegetables). So, off Peter
Rabbit and siblings went with Mother's warning ringing in their ears.
Most of Peter's siblings were determined to follow Mother's warning,
but, Peter didn't. He decided to go into the garden anyway. And at
first, all was well as he feasted on all sorts of fresh produce such
as carrots, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, and the like. Munching
happily away, Peter sniffed the cucumbers, and boy did they smell
good. Allured, he hopped over to the cucumber patch, when suddenly he
and Mr. McGregor came face to face. Surprised and irritated, Mr.
McGregor immediately picked up his rake and pursued Peter round and
round through the cucumbers, the tomatoes, radishes, lettuce and the
carrots. What mayhem they caused in the process. But try as he might,
Peter could not find the entrance into the garden, nor a place to hide
from Mr. McGregor. Frantic now, Peter kept looking, when up ahead he
saw a light. At last, Peter found the garden entrance. Hopping as fast
as he could, Peter squeezed through the small opening and at last was
free. Momentarily relieved, Peter sat down to catch his breath, and
that's when he noticed that he had lost his clothes hopping madly
through the garden. "Now, I'm in big trouble," he thought, "mother is
going to be so mad at me." "Why didn't I listen?" he asked himself.

In this version of the story, isn't it interesting that Peter Rabbit
asked himself, "why didn't I listen?" and not "why didn't I obey?" To
young children, the Peter Rabbit tale is just a fun story, but older
children and adults perceive that the story is really about obedience.
In the English language (and in many others), the word obey means "to
do what you're told." Therefore by our definition, Peter Rabbit was
disobedient the moment he did not do what his mother told him to do.
But is this getting at the heart of obedience? At its core, obedience
is about hearing the right thing to do, whether it be an inward,
silent, persistent thought, or an audible external voice, and then
choosing it. A wise man has said, " First there is the mental
creation, then the action is taken." So obedience involves not only
our outward actions, but our motives and attitudes before the doing. A
literal translation of the word "obey" in the Hebrew, is to listen
willingly, eagerly, attentively (sitting or standing on the edge,
straining to catch the slightest nuance) of the one who is speaking.
Its opposite meaning would be, hearing while preoccupied, resisting
the one who is talking, reluctantly paying attention, and finally,
listening to find the disagreeable.

In most biblical passages where the author (through Christ) is
encouraging the reader to hear, he is saying: ponder these words,
consider their meaning and importance deeply, then choose to give your
will to the Master on this matter, that He may DO it in and through
you. Christ Himself has said, that of Himself He could do nothing, and
that without abiding in Him (the Word) we can do nothing. To more
effectively illustrate the concept of obedience as listening and
hearing willingly and attentively, let's review the story of Saul of
Tarsus / Paul. In Acts chapter 6 verses 1, through Acts chapter 8
verses 1-3, the text records Stephen's sermon and his stoning in which
Saul consented. Of this, Sister White says:

"The Saviour had spoken to Saul through Stephen, whose clear reasoning
could not be refuted. The learned Jew had seen the face of the martyr
reflecting the light of Christ's glory--appearing as if "it had been
the face of an angel." Acts 6:15. He had witnessed Stephen's
forbearance toward his enemies and his forgiveness of them. He had
also seen the fortitude and cheerful resignation of many whom he had
caused to be tormented and afflicted. He had seen some yield up even
their lives with rejoicing for the sake of their faith. All these
things had appealed loudly to Saul and at times had thrust upon his
mind an almost overwhelming conviction that Jesus was the promised
Messiah. At such times he had struggled for entire nights against this
conviction, and always he had ended the matter by avowing his belief
that Jesus was not the Messiah and that His followers were deluded
fanatics" (Acts of the Apostles, 116).

Sister White further states (on page 113), Saul's mind had been deeply
disturbed by striking evidence of God's presence with Stephen. And,
this led him to doubt the righteousness of the cause he espoused with
the followers of Jesus. Perplexed, he appealed to those in whose
wisdom, and judgment he had full confidence. The priests' and rulers'
arguments finally convinced him that Stephen and Christ's followers
were blasphemers and Christ, an imposter. But not without severe trial
did Saul come to this conclusion.

The reason Saul was able to stifle the conviction of the Holy Spirit's
voice to him, was because a voice louder, and more insistent filled
his thoughts. He chose to heed and believe that voice of prejudice,
pride and Pharisaical teaching. Therefore whenever the Holy Spirit
spoke, Saul hardened his heart, and refused to pay attention for he
did not want to hear. As we can see from Acts 9:3-6, it was not until
Christ halted Saul with the revelation and words of Christ Himself,
that he let go of his stubbornness. In relenting, he became willing --
to listen attentively, for there was no competing voice, and eager to
hear, for the words of his Lord and Saviour brought light.

How many of us are walking around in the dark, frustrated with life?
We're pursuing what we think is right, but we're uneasy, as if
something is not quite, well -- right. Perhaps its that in our
choosing, we've listened to the wrong voices and are merely reaping
the consequences of uneasiness to call us to repentance. Its possible
to repent you know, just as Saul did. We don't have to continue
running round and round in the proverbial garden of temptation, as did
our little Peter Rabbit. Yes, there are so many voices which compete
for our attention and resources, and sometimes we don't know which one
to listen to -- yet, "in the stillness of the soul, the voice of the
Saviour is heard speaking."

So the question comes to us today while we are multitasking, "who are
you listening to?" In the case of Peter Rabbit, he chose to listen to
the clamor of his appetite. In the case of Saul before conversion, he
chose to listen to the various members of the Sanhedrin, as well as
his education and pride. Mark 4:24 states: "Take heed how (what) you
hear ... and unto you that hear shall more be given." So, how will
answer the question, "which voice are you listening to?"

Friday, July 20, 2018

1888 Message Study : Life in the Early Church



JULY 21, 2018



As we look back at the early church, there are many valuable lessons for God's last day church today as we look forward to Christ's second coming.

First, we need to recall that, following Christ's death on the cross, the disciples were in hiding, afraid for their lives and in despair because their Saviour had been put to death.  Despite 3½ years with Jesus, they had not understood His mission on earth or His plan of salvation for mankind.  Jesus had to come back following His resurrection and spend 40 days with them to show them from the Scriptures why He had come, and the depth of God's infinite love and sacrifice as embodied in His birth, life, death on the cross, and resurrection fulfilling God's plan of salvation for the human race.  With this true everlasting gospel in their hearts and minds, they were changed men with a burning desire to share this gospel message to the world.  They were on fire for Christ and through His strength, filled with the Holy Spirit, they were fearless and unstoppable in their mission.

Only then, were the disciples able to fulfil the commission Jesus gave them (Mark 16:15): "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

As God's last day church, this responsibility continues today for as Matthew 24:14 states: "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations: and then shall the end come."

But God saw that His remnant church needed to see His complete gospel message in order to share it with the world and so in 1888:

"The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world.  It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus.  They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family.  All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure."

With this true everlasting gospel in our hearts and minds, God's last day church will also be changed and will also have the same burning desire as the disciples and the early church had to share this gospel message to the world. With our focus on Christ and Him crucified, relying on His strength, and filled with the Holy Spirit, it will indeed be time for Christ to take us home.

Let's now take a look at some of the characteristics of the early church, as guidelines for God's remnant church in these final days of earth's history.

Let's look at EGW's description of the disciples and the early church following Christ's sharing with them from the Scriptures concerning Himself and His mission:

"Under the training of Christ the disciples had been led to feel their need of the Spirit.  Under the Spirit's teaching they received the final qualification, and went forth to their lifework.  No longer were they ignorant and uncultured.  No longer were they a collection of independent units or discordant, conflicting elements.  No longer were their hopes set on worldly greatness.  They were of "one accord", "of one heart and soul." Acts 2:46; 4:32. Christ filled their thoughts; the advancement of His kingdom was their aim.  In mind and character, they had become like their Master, and men "took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13." (AA pg. 45).

AT Jones addresses this same issue of being "of one mind" and its importance for God's last day church as well in the following comments:

"LET this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." In the verses previous to this Paul exhorts us to likemindedness. It is not in this epistle alone, but in several others that he presents this subject. Indeed, it is the chief duty of Christians to be of one mind. In 1 Cor. 1:10 it is written: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." In Rom. 15:5, 6 we read: "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus; that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." And in Phil. 2:2 Paul says: "Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. . . . Let each esteem others better than themselves." {April 23, 1885 ATJ, SITI 262.1}

In that last prayer of Jesus, before he went over the brook Cedron into Gethsemane, this was His one great request, "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in Me, and I in thee, that they also may be one, even as We are one; I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me." John 17:21-23. Here three times in quick succession the prayer is that all who believe on Him may be one; and twice is expressed the consequence of such unity, "That the world may believe" that He is the Son of God. The great heart of Him who gave his life for the world, yearns for the belief of those for whom He died. A few then believed in Him, and through these is He to be made known to the world, and that the world may believe their testimony they must be united. Burdened with this great argument, He prays with an earnestness only second to that in Gethsemane, that all His followers may be one, that so the world may believe that He was sent of God, and so believing be saved. {April 23, 1885 ATJ, SITI 262.2}

Christ not only prayed thus but He made ample provision for the fulfillment of His prayer. "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one." "If ye love Ne, keep My commandments. And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth; Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." "If a man love Me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and We will come unto Him, and make our abode with Him." John 14:15-17, 23. Thus "our fellowship is "formed "with the Father, and with His son Jesus Christ." And this is the only possible way in which we can have true fellowship one with another. For if this man has, by the Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Father and with the Son; and if that man has, by the Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Father and with the Son, they must have fellowship one with another, for the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one; and those who have fellowship with these must be one likewise. {April 23, 1885 ATJ, SITI 262.3}

Similarly, EJ Waggoner in the following quote, stresses the importance of God's true church being of one mind, as well as being humble and loyal to the word of God. Once again, the power source is Christ and Him crucified:

The true church is the body of Christ, "the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." Eph. 1:22, 23. Therefore we find this exhortation: "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye My joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus; who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant." Phil. ii. 2-7. {December 14, 1893 EJW, PTUK 579.11}

It was the mind that Christ had when He was in heaven, that led Him to do that. In heaven He had the spirit to serve, and it only needed that He should take the form of a servant, for men could not look upon Him in His glory. In Him we see in what His church must be. He "went about doing good," living among men as one that served. So, it is said to us, "By love serve one another." Gal. 5:13. This mind can be in men only as they yield themselves to the Word of God, for the word is spirit and life. The prophecy concerning Christ was, "I will put My words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him." Deut. 18:18. And when He came, He took as the rule of His life, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Accordingly, we find that the characteristics of the church at the time when the Spirit of God dwelt in it were humility and loyalty to the word of God. "They were all with one accord in one place." Acts 2:1. "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." Acts 4:32. Their prayer was that with boldness they might speak the word. Verse 29. When they were dispersed from Jerusalem, they "went everywhere preaching the word.' Acts 8:4. {December 14, 1893 EJW, PTUK 579.12}

As we look at the deteriorating situation in the world around us, these are indeed perilous times for God's last day church but we can derive encouragement from the experience of the early church and their source of strength, Jesus Christ, as we can see in this quote from AT Jones:

"Jesus is as willing to impart courage and grace to His followers today as He was to the disciples of the early church…..

The disciples and apostles of Christ had a deep sense of their own inefficiency, and with humiliation and prayer they joined their weakness to His strength, their ignorance to His wisdom, their unworthiness to His righteousness, their poverty to His inexhaustible wealth. Thus, strengthened and equipped, they hesitated not in the service of their Master." {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 166.15}

What an equipment that is, though! Think of that equipment! Strength, wisdom, righteousness, wealth! Those are the very things that we need in the face of the things that are against us, for we cannot make any calculations upon any power of earth nor reputation that men will give nor upon any wealth that this world might furnish or any considerations of it or of life. So here are almost the very things enumerated that we considered in a previous lesson. {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 166.16}

But how was it that they obtained strength? By acknowledging their weakness, confessing their weakness. How did they get wisdom? By confessing their ignorance. How did they get righteousness? By confessing their unworthiness. How did they get wealth, inexhaustible wealth? By confessing their poverty. {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.1}

Now then that is the situation in which we are to be: inefficient, ignorant, poor, unworthy, and blind. Is not that just what the Laodicean message tells us--that we are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked and do not know it? Someone was reading that the other day and he touched upon that word "blindness," and immediately my mind ran to the ninth chapter of John and the last verse. All turn to that, if you will. John 9:41. It is at the end of the account of that man's healing from the blindness and restoration of sight to the man that had been born blind. What does that verse say? {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.2}

"Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin; but now you say, We see. Therefore your sin remaineth." {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.3}

When Jesus tells you and me we are blind, the thing for us to do is to say, "Lord, we are blind." He told those folks they were blind and they were blind, but they said it was not so. It was so. If they had confessed their blindness they would have seen God in that man's healing from his blindness. Well, then, brethren, the thing for us to do is to come square up to that Laodicean message and say that every word He says is so. When He says you and I are wretched, tell Him, "It is so, I am wretched; miserable; it is so, I am miserable; poor, it is so; I am poor, a perfect beggar, I shall never be anything else in the world; blind, I am blind, and shall never be anything else; naked, that is so; and I do not know it; that is so, too. I do not know it at all, as I ought to know it." And then I will say to him every day and every hour, "Lord, that is all so. But, oh, instead of my wretchedness, give me thine own satisfaction. Instead of my misery, give me thine own comfort. Instead of my poverty, supply all thine own riches. Instead of my blindness, be thou my sight. Instead of my nakedness, oh, do thou clothe me with thine own righteousness. And what I know not, Lord, teach thou me." [Congregation: "Amen."] {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.4}

Brethren, when we come with one heart and one mind to that place, we shall have no difficulty at all in repenting. It will not be difficult to repent and there will be no lack of repentance. That next verse will be fulfilled: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Be zealous therefore and repent." {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.5}

The difficulty about our not being able to repent is that we have not confessed that what the Lord has told us is the truth. When I know that I am wretched then I know that I need something that will satisfy me. And I know that nothing but the Lord can give that, and I depend upon nothing but Him to give it. And if I have not Him, why it is only wretchedness. Any moment that I have not Him it is only wretchedness, and any moment that I have not His comfort it is only misery. Any moment that I have not absolute dependence upon His unsearchable riches--the unsearchable riches of Christ--I am utterly poor, a complete beggar. And every moment that I do not see and confess that I am blind and have Him as my sight, I am in sin. He says so." {February 6, 1893 ATJ, GCDB 167.6}

So, we can see clearly from this statement that the early church had the solution for our Laodicean condition.  This is indeed good news for God's last day church. As EGW says in Acts of the Apostles (pg. 57):

"The disciples of Christ had a deep sense of their own inefficiency, and with humiliation and prayer they joined their weakness to His strength, their ignorance to His wisdom, their unworthiness to His righteousness, their poverty to His exhaustless wealth.  Thus, strengthened and equipped, they hesitated not to press forward in the service of the Master."

Similarly, in Acts of the Apostles (pg.77), we read as follows: "It was the cross, that instrument of shame and torture, which brought hope and salvation to the world.  The disciples were but humble men, without wealth, and with no weapon but the word of God, yet in Christ's strength they went forth to tell the wonderful story of the manger and the cross, and to triumph over all opposition.  Without earthly honor or recognition, they were heroes of faith. From their lips came words of divine eloquence that shook the world."

And so, in closing, may it be our prayer, that through His strength, God may use us to share to the world this most precious message, His true everlasting gospel, that will once again shake the world so that Christ may soon come to claim His bride and take us home!

Blessings, John and Monica.



The concept of zero-sum is generally from game theory and economic theory. Zero-sum describes a situation in which a participant's gain or loss is precisely balanced by the losses or gains of the other participant(s). When we subtract the total profits of the participants from the total losses it will equal zero. A situation where the benefits and losses to all players sum to the same value of money (or utility) are zero-sum. In contrast, non-zero-sum describes a case in which the interacting parties' aggregate gains and losses are either less than or more than zero. Non-zero-sum is a Situation where participants can all gain or suffer together. An example of non-zero-sum will be when a country with an excess of bananas is trading with another country for their surplus of apples, since both benefit from the transaction, is in a non-zero-sum situation. An example of zero-sum is Cutting a cake. It is zero-sum because taking a larger piece reduces the amount of cake available for others.

In political terms, socialists consider national economies as a zero-sum game (if A grows $5,000 richer, it is because B is $5,000 poorer). Whereas, capitalists consider economies a non-zero-sum game (human enterprise creates new wealth far out of proportion to any transfers or resource depletion, and voluntary transactions address the preferential desires of both parties).

Considering our current economic woes, we need to rethink the capitalist premise. As wealth increases, inflation increases also driving the present value of money down. It ends up being mere perception. We have also seen that the wealth created is in the hands of fewer and fewer, and an increasing majority is falling below the poverty line. This fact leads us to understand that the wealth created is at the backs of those who are poor or become poor. We have seen this pattern happen throughout the six thousand years of earth history.

In the days before the flood, this kind of evil was rampant. Ellen White spoke of this. Let us read,

Instead of doing justice to their neighbors, they carried out their own unlawful wishes. They had a plurality of wives, which was contrary to God's wise arrangement. In the beginning, God gave to Adam one wife--showing to all who should live upon the earth, his order and law in that respect. The transgression and fall of Adam and Eve brought sin and wretchedness upon the human race, and man followed his own carnal desires, and changed God's order. The more men multiplied wives to themselves, the more they increased in wickedness and unhappiness. If anyone chose to take the wives, or cattle, or anything belonging to his neighbor, he did not regard justice or right, but if he could prevail over his neighbor by reason of strength, or by putting him to death, he did so and exulted in his deeds of violence. They loved to destroy the lives of animals. They used them for food, and this increased their ferocity and violence, and caused them to look upon the blood of human beings with astonishing indifference. (1 Spirit of Prophecy, page 68).

Many antediluvians in their greed took more than what they needed depriving others of their needs. They abused nature and people to get what they wanted. Could it be that what we witness today is a fulfillment of Christ's prediction, "As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man" (Matthew 24:37)?

Doctor Luke writes about how it was among the church members in apostolic time. It is quite the contrast. He says in Acts 2: 44-45,

Acts2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
Acts2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

The church members were together, having all things in common. No private property. Agape, selfless and other-interested love, was the motivator; not self-love. There was no "equal and fair" division. None took what they wanted, only what they needed. Those who needed less took less, and those who needed more took more. They all seem satisfied. Neither socialism nor capitalism could have worked it out. Only God's self-denying love can do that.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Gospel of Nitrogen

The Gospel of Nitrogen

Everything is made of molecules. Some are small and others bigger.
Some are simple and others complex. Proteins are very large and
complex molecules. Proteins are made out of smaller molecules called
amino acids, and Nitrogen is an essential part of all amino acids.
However, nitrogen as a part of an amino acid is an atom. All
molecules are made out of atoms. Other molecules that contain nitrogen
are all nucleic acids (which provide energy and genetic information),
and most plant pigments involved in photosynthesis. Which implies
that plants need lots of nitrogen. The most common component of
plant fertilizers is, in fact, one of two forms of nitrogen - nitrate
(NO3-) or ammonium (NH4+) ions—both usable forms of nitrogen for

With a concentration of about 78 percent, nitrogen gas comprises the
largest component of earth's atmosphere. It has at least a million
times more nitrogen than found in all living systems combined. The bad
news is that all of this atmospheric nitrogen consists of molecules of
N2 — that is, two atoms of nitrogen bound tightly together by, what
chemists call, three strong covalent bonds. Unfortunately, it takes a
great deal of energy to break the triple bond. Because plants can't
use molecular nitrogen (N2), nitrogen has to transform into one of the
two absorbable ions. When you break the bonds between the molecular
nitrogen, each nitrogen ion is open to attract and attach other atoms
and form different molecules. So, before the nitrogen can bond with
other elements like oxygen or hydrogen it has to become an ion itself.
Let us try to reiterate: the two nitrogen atoms are attracted to each
other, very strongly. Once bonded the nitrogen atoms cannot bond with
anything else unless that bond is broken. When the bond is broken,
the nitrogen will have open spaces to bond with other ions. Now,
notice that the symbol for nitrate has a negative sign and the
ammonium has a positive sign, this is why they are called ions and not
molecules. Both nitrate and ammonium have open spaces to bond as

Back to nitrogen: it requires a lot of energy to break nitrogen's
triple bond. In His wisdom, the Creator provided several ways to
convert atmospheric molecular nitrogen into usable forms that will
dissolve in water so that plant roots can absorb it. The immense
energy of lightning easily breaks triple nitrogen bond, turning it
into nitrates and washing it down in the rain of a good thunderstorm.
Have you noticed how green your lawn is after a lightning strikes?
Even more critical, many types of bacteria convert nitrogen from one
form to another. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria convert atmospheric nitrogen
to the more plant-friendly ammonium ion (though it is toxic in large
concentrations). Other bacteria, called ammonifying bacteria, also
create the ammonium ion, but they do it by decomposition of plant and
animal matter. Check out the smell of your compost pile. It reeks of
ammonia. Fortunately, another family of bacteria called nitrifying
bacteria transforms the ammonium ion to the safer nitrates. (As you
might guess, the cycles are more complicated than what I am

It is not uncommon for atoms in a "multi-atom" molecule to behave
differently than when they were a mono-atom molecule. As previously
mentioned, the bonds in molecules of compounds are very strong. The
atoms that compose the molecules now yield to one another. They work
as one. Whether, in ammonium or nitrate, nitrogen no longer behaves
as nitrogen. For example, water is not flammable. But, the two
elements that compose water – hydrogen, and oxygen - on their own are
very flammable.

This has a spiritual application. Let us go step by step. Before
conversion, the disciples could not bond. Before the crucifixion,
they were fighting for supremacy. That ceased after the ten days in
the upper chamber. Luke described what happened then, "And when the
day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one
place" (acts 2: 1). Ellen White describes the events in the following
"After Christ's ascension, His disciples--men of varied talents and
capabilities--assembled in an upper chamber to pray for the gift of
the Holy Spirit. In this room 'all continued with one accord in prayer
and supplication.' They made thorough work of repentance by confessing
their own sins. Upon them was laid no burden to confess one another's
sins. Settling all differences and alienations, they were of one
accord, and prayed with unity of purpose for ten days, at the end of
which time 'they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to
speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.' {7MR

There was a definite change in them. This change was reflected in all
their followers: "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one
heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he
possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with
great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord
Jesus. And great grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:32, 33, NKJV).

What happened? When the Holy Spirit began working in them, He broke
their bond to Sin or self. It takes the mighty grace of God to do
this. Now, they have open space to bond with Christ and with each
other. Christ could not use the disciples in their natural state.
They had to become spiritual ions to be able to bond with other
spiritual atoms.

So, the disciples laid aside all their ambitions. Now instead of
fighting, they were convicted by the Holy Spirit to die to self. The
words of Paul became a reality in them: "…be not conformed to this
world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind," and do not
think more highly than he ought to think of himself (Romans 12: 2 –
3). God is waiting for us to let the Holy Spirit do the same work in

Raul Diaz

Endnote: Portions of this commentary were taken from David A. Steen's
book "God of Wonders" page 235.


Raul Diaz
[image: https://]

Friday, July 6, 2018



Matthew 12:41-44 related a story we've probably all heard. It says,

Matt. 12:41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the
people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
Matt. 12:42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two
mites, which make a farthing.
Matt. 12:43 And He called unto Him His disciples, and saith unto them,
Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all
they which have cast into the treasury:
Matt. 12:44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her
want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

What a lesson for us about witnessing. The poor widow's humble witness
still carries until this day the message of the Gospel. She loved God
supremely, and her neighbor as Christ loved her, and that is why she gave
all she had to the treasury. She gave quietly. Not one word was said. No
announcement was given. No press conference held. In fact, had it not been
for Christ pointing out her action, it would have been dismissed. She gave
witness to those who heard the story then, and to those who hear it now.

So is it our actions which give witness, or is it our words? Is it possible
to really give an accurate witness of what we've seen, heard and
understood, without both? Our fast paced and driven world loves the doers.
Yet, if you are an accurate witness, would you not be able (or enabled as
we shall see) to relay your experience in such a manner that others too
will see, hear and sense it? After all, what is the use of a witness
without a judicial system to utilize the testimony given?

Christ calls on all His sheep to give witness, a testimony as it were, to
His benevolence, and goodness, as well as to His character of Love-- to the
Universe. As well we know, the Godhead is the "One" on trial. If you were
in His cosmic shoes, would you not desire the truth to be told about you?
Of course, the master strategist, and "accuser of the brethren" desires a
false witness to corroborate his view of things, and so the battle ensues.
In order
not to be deceived into testifying to a lie, the believer--the true
witness-- needs power, for he is no match for the adversary. Hence Christ
advises His disciples (and us) in Acts 1:8:

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and
ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in
Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
Notice how the author worded the sentence. It does not say that we are to
do witnessing activities, such as hand out tracts, knock on doors or
ingather. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with these particular
activities. Instead, notice how the scripture stipulates that it is with
the Holy Spirit's power coming upon us that we shall be witnesses. Notice,
in the following verses, that the disciples were to wait together, in
prayer, for the Holy Spirit's indwelling presence, and power.

You know, there is a big difference between the concept of being - which is
an inside job - and that of doing which merely implies taking action. Today
there is such an emphasis on methods, techniques and numbers that we may
have forgotten how Christ won people to Himself. According to Sister White
quoted in our Sabbath School lesson recently, Christ mingled with men as
One who desired their good. It was not His method to make them feel good,
which is what is often interpreted from the quote, but instead desired that
they might be with Him eternally (John 14:1-6, John 3:16).

When we try to witness to others with our activity, most of the time they
will feel something is missing. Unless we demonstrate unconditional,
self-denying love for them -not to be confused with acceptance of their
ungodly attitudes and behavior- we shall be branded phony, insincere and
hypocritical. Haven't you ever met someone whom you sensed had an agenda,
and whose motives
were ulterior? Didn't you just want to get away from that person as quickly
as possible?

As much as we'd like to view Apostle Paul as the driven, go-getter
disciple, outside of John the beloved, it is he who discusses in depth the
love the follower of Christ will have through the indwelling Holy Spirit.
He not only describes it, but he also implores us to allow the Spirit to
give it to us by faith. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that
Paul was enabled to be all things to all people, and win them to Christ.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23:
1 Cor. 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself
servant unto all, that I might gain the more.
1 Cor. 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the
Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain
them that are under the law;
1 Cor. 9:21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not
without law to God, but under the law to Christ) that I might gain them
that are without law.
1 Cor. 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am
made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
1 Cor. 9:23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker
thereof with you.

He did not mean by this that he was an Oscar-winning actor. Ellen White
says that he shaped His message to the person and the particular
circumstance, just as Christ did. The Spirit enabled Paul to be aware of
each person's needs, and prompted him with the content of the message
(gospel) as well as when and how to deliver it. Sister White adds that we
should be many-sided men (and women), not just having one approach for
everyone we meet. Being filled with the Spirit does not mean negating the
study of various
methods and techniques to win souls. On the contrary, it means being led by
the Spirit as to our target audience as well as what sources and timing to

The Holy Spirit coming upon, and abiding in us bears fruit. Then we become
witnesses of what we have seen and heard, rather than a group of
individuals merely engaged in "doing" witnessing activity. While this does
not guarantee conversion, the truth about the character of the Godhead - as
that of
unconditional love, mercy, justice, and grace - will have been told by
those of us who love Him. The scripture says, " and they will know we are
His disciples because we embody His love." The question now is, will you
let the Spirit come upon you so you can become a witness?


Raul Diaz
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