Million Man March: Praying Through

Message Magazine is going to the Million Man March, October 10, 2015 and needs volunteers!

***This article contains event updates as of October 10, 2015.

Ask MeThis is the 20th Anniversary of the Million Man March, an event convened by the Nation of Islam to create a discussion around social justice issues such as police brutality, poverty and joblessness, educational inequality and mass incarceration. During the first Million Man March, 150,000 people registered to vote. While there are many issues on which differing religious groups can come together for justice, Message is particularly concerned with the health and wholeness of members of the African American community. Further, the call for spiritual self-examination and renewal, relationship building, redemption and readiness in these times is one Message readers can identify with!

Message will provide bottled water from our location near F, North Capitol Street and Massachusetts, NE a block North of Union Station. Look for the Allegheny East Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Disaster Relief vehicle, a red semi-truck, in that block and you will have found us! Click this link to a helpful map of the National Mall.

Other places at which you can volunteer with Message include:

  • 7th St., SW and Pennsylvania
  • 7th St., SW and Independence
  • 12th St., NW and Pennsylvania
  • 12th St., NW and Independence

Staging For Out Of Town Visitors

If you come from outside the Washington, D.C. area, you will find parking at the Dupont Park S.D.A. Church, 3985 Massachusetts Ave SE, Washington, DC 20019, Friday through Sunday, October 9 through 11, 2015. Shuttles will run from the Dupont Church to the Potomac Metro Station between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., and again between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Please be prepared for the round trip Metro fare of $8. We recommend getting off at either L’Enfant Plaza or Smithsonian. Here is a link to a map for Metro.
justiceorelse_logo_webThe Million Man March is on Sabbath, October 10, 2015, starting at 10 a.m. on the National Mall.

Check for updates on Facebook and Twitter. Also, we’d love to see your journey, post your pictures and thoughts using #sharemessage and #messagemagazine!

Prayer and Promise Dupont Park S.D.A. Church, 3985 Massachusetts Ave SE, Washington, DC 20019, Friday, October 9, 2015 at 7 p.m. We will get last-minute details and pray for the event and all who attend. Join us!

Documentary interviews Friday through Sunday October 9th through the 11th on location at the National Mall for the march and in an around staging areas. Why are you going to the Million Man March? What are the issues about which you are concerned? How can you effect change in your own space? We’d like to know!

Hard-Core Preparation The weather forecast calls for a chilly, rainy weekend. No matter, we are not the kind to sleep on justice. Rain gear such as clear plastic jackets and pants, boots and hats will ensure that we are comfortable, warm and equipped to serve.

Reserve Your T-Shirt And Bag Now

Let us know you are coming and we will reserve a t-shirt and Message messenger bag for you for the big event! Contact editor@messagemagazine.com

Your Prayers Needed

What a mighty show of spiritual strength when God’s people come together in spirit and in truth. Pray for the safety of those who travel and attend, and that Message can contribute a word of hope and wholeness to our brothers and sisters.

design2 copyFinally, as you contemplate God’s holy Sabbath this weekend, think of the words of Isaiah 58:6-9:

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.




The Call To Worship

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, September 10, 2015

Today’s Scripture:

“And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” (Revelation 4:5–11).

Today’s Observation:

John, being under inspiration by the Spirit of God, begins to direct our minds to a quite familiar scene. It might not seem to be at first, but if we allow the same Spirit who enlightened him to give us understanding, we will see where he was coming from.

In the same way the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel described heavenly cherubim in chapters one and 10 of his book, John describes those who worship God in heaven. In both of their visions these beasts/animals, which are represented as having wings of swift movement and eyes of incredible intelligence, rested neither day nor night. Rather, they extolled the eternal King of the universe (blessed be His name) without ceasing much like the angels Isaiah saw in his vision recorded in chapter six of his book. Isn’t it amazing that with just a few Bible references, the Spirit of God can unlock what seemed to be a foreboding mystery in Revelation? Do not overlook the keys I just shared with you just because I may have made them seem too simple. Day and night, heavenly beings worship the God who was, is, and is to come.

This service that John saw in heaven was so inspiring that not only did the angels bow and worship God, but those redeemed from earth whom we discussed yesterday, the 24 elders joined in. And, unlike Lucifer, who eventually was dissatisfied with living in God’s presence, these mighty angels and redeemed saints took off their crowns and cast them before the throne in honor of their King. They well understood and respected the fact that they owed their joy and existence to the Creator of all things visible and invisible. They fully imbibed the privilege it was to be welcomed into His presence.

Their message, which comes to us amid the impressive thunderings, lightnings, voices of God’s throne room (similar to what Moses experienced in the mount with God), and the perfect enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, is a call to worship for us! When Isaiah had a similar experience, he immediately recognized his sinfulness in contrast to God’s holiness, and received the cleansing that only God can give (Isaiah 6:1-7). Not only was he in awe of all he experienced, but he also heard the call of God to speak a word on His behalf to the nations (vss. 8-11).

Life Application:

While most of us will not have the real life experiences of Moses, John, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, to get a sneak peek of the throne room of God, we can and must be actuated by the same Holy Spirit who gave them enlightenment. We can live vicariously through their witness with His help. Immediately upon our encounter with the Eternal, we are faced with the reality that if heavenly angels, and those whom God has resurrected to be with Him in heaven worship God, we would be sorely remiss not to join in. If those over whom death, weakness, etc., has no power relish the presence of God, of what value would His presence be to us who are being delivered through this battle with sin?

Since the Lord has given us a glimpse into the fact that He welcomes us to come boldly before the Throne of Grace to give Him glory through Jesus Christ, why not get a good start right now? We will see this theme repeated throughout the Revelation, that all can, and all will worship God. Some will worship God, because we have heeded the call, and recognize how loving and merciful He is. Some will choose to resist His love and mercy, allowing the enemy to hoodwink them out of a lively relationship with Him. But, all will worship Him. Every knee with eventually bow, and every tongue will eventually confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Isaiah 45:23; Philippians 2:10; Romans 14:11-12). Are you willing to worship Him today while the light of the Holy Spirit still shines on earth? Are you willing to welcome others into a living worship experience with your King?

A Prayer for Your Hearts:

Lord, thank you for giving us the opportunity to worship you today. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.




Momentary Surrender, Stark Resistance

How to have a strong grip on your holy covering.

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Today’s Scripture:

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” (Revelation 2:12–17).

Today’s Observation:

While I would love to examine the details of the exact nature of the problems going on in Pergamos, it would be more efficient for us to consider some of the basic principles, then apply them, in the short devotional time we have today.

As you can see from our Scripture focus, there was a lot going on in Pergamum. The people of God were facing fierce trials, which would be signified by the martyrdom of Antipas who was killed because he refused to worship the emperor. There had been temples dedicated to cultic worship of false gods, goddesses, and emperors. Part of the tragedy of this is that Pergamum was the religious capital of Asia Minor. Not only this, but during this time in history, Constantine joined the church and the Papacy gained tremendous religio-political momentum in Western Europe. Paganism and Christianity got married, and compromise, as one must expect, was the result. We are still reeling from this even today.

It was commendable that the people of God refused to worship false gods indeed; however, God is depicted as having a problem with His people subsequent to their noble stand. Those who once stood firm for God and could count on His blessings, learned to yield their holy covering by choosing deliberately to commit all sorts of sexually immoral acts and to eat meat sacrificed to idols (which was expressly forbidden). Immorality cheapens us and degrades us to the level of beasts in heat, rather than sexual purity before marriage, and sexual faithfulness in marriage, which portrays a sweet spirituality that God approves. Although the idols were nothing, and the meats may have been clean according to Mosaic Law, Gentile converts could not disassociate the heathen sacrifice from partaking in the meat; therefore, God told the Jewish converts to Christianity as well to abstain for the sake of the consciences of their weaker brothers and sisters. Ignoring God’s counsel with impunity caused the church to strip off their spiritual covering, and position themselves directly into the crosshairs of the wrath of God, if they did not repent.

As was the case with all of the counsels to the seven churches, God made a promise to His sons and daughters in Pergamos. He promised eternal reward and an eternal name in God’s kingdom if they chose to repent and overcome in His strength.

If we do not stay prayed up and full of God’s Word, that which the enemy could not do to us by assault, we do to ourselves by yielding our spiritual covering.

Life Application:

If I did not learn anything from God’s Word to Pergamos that was so strong that it is pictured as coming from His mouth like a two-edged sword, it’s not to rest on my lazy little laurels. As with them, we often experience victory in Christ. We even resist the devil, and he flees for a time. The enemy redoubles his efforts, especially when he cannot get at us through trials and persecution, to insidiously infiltrate with compromise. Compromise can come in countless ways, but it seems that sexual indiscretion is huge in the history of God’s people. Today, we have television shows, Internet sites, novels in the erotica genre, and evil pursuers of our sexual purity. If we do not stay prayed up and full of God’s Word, that which the enemy could not do to us by assault, we do to ourselves by yielding our spiritual covering.

We must never become lackadaisical with our faith. Holiness is about momentary surrender to God, and stark resistance to the enemy’s onslaught. If certain media or friends become an impediment to our faith in God, we must cut them off and flee to our God who has promised to preserve us in holiness if we keep our trust in Him.

A Prayer for Your Hearts:

Lord, please help us never to become so lax that we sacrifice our holiness on the altar of lust. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.




Roadway Reasoning

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, April 10, 2015
Based Upon: Proverbs 14:12

It is very difficult for us, as human beings, to relinquish control of our lives to God. It makes us feel helpless and distrustful. It is especially difficult when we must follow a narrow road of requirements. God does not give us general guidelines to follow. He tells us specifically what is necessary to please Him.

Some are resistant to the idea of God giving details, and requiring us to observe them. This was the problem with Cain, Abel’s brother. He thought that when God required an offering, he should follow his own interpretation of what God required. “And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Genesis 4:3-8).

Cain decided that he would choose his own way to satisfy God’s requirements rather than following His command to bring an animal sacrifice.

Such is the case with so many today. God has clearly said that Jesus is the only way to access God, but many resort to others for salvation. Many avatars have passed on to the grave, yet many look to these dead men to bring about salvation. They pray in the name of idols that humans have erected, to no avail. The belief is, all roads lead to heaven, but God never said that. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:” (Matthew 7:13). When we choose to ignore God’s clear messages, we do so to our own destruction. On the other hand, we have the privilege of entering great relationship with Him through Christ Jesus.

Pray today that you will choose to follow God wherever He leads, even if you do not understand His methods. Jesus is, indeed, the only way.




Confidence In The Prayer Answerer

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, March 30, 2015
Based Upon 1 John 5:14-15

Religious people often debate the issue of answered prayers. Certain groups have Bible evidence for their positions, while others misuse their feelings and experiences as a guide. The truth is that God is more interested in answering our prayers than we are in praying them. Moreover, our loving heavenly Father loves to give us the desires of our hearts. Now, before some of you become concerned that I am suggesting that God cosigns absolutely anything we desire, don’t worry. God is in the business of embracing all who come to Him as we are, and as He does so, He begins to change us into the people we should be. During this loving process, we begin to receive the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5; Ezekiel 36:24-27). As we abide in Him, learning to think His thoughts after Him, our desires become holy. We prioritize His will for us above our independent will for ourselves. Thus, it is possible and safe for God to give us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).

Since God is Sovereign and knows the end from the beginning, there are some prayers He simply cannot approve. He always has our best interest and His divine cause at heart. Our prayers are always much bigger than we are. There is so much more at stake than the narrow focus of our requests. Yet, there is a prayer that God can approve 100% of the time. Our theme text highlights the fact that our confidence in God and His attention in our lives are inextricably linked to making our requests subject to His will. This is a key that is often overlooked, but will unlock many blessings. We will only highlight one—freedom from sin.

Do you realize that God wants every single human being to live with Him in His eternal kingdom? Death and separation from God was never His desire for us. The difficulty arises when we embrace sin as a lifestyle. Notice what the Bible says: “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; Neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, And your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1–2). Concerning Jesus’ apparent delay in returning to save us, the Bible also says, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Now, let’s tie a bow on this and celebrate affirmative answers to prayer. We just read that God’s will is not that anyone perish, but that everyone have godly sorrow for sin, and turn our hearts away from it. Therefore, anyone who asks God for victory over sin in our lives, is already in alignment with His revealed will, and will be abundantly granted that request.

Have you struggled with a sin habit for years and wonder if God is willing to help you? Do you feel like you have gone too far and cannot be saved? Be encouraged, dear friends. The only reason we are even aware of our sinfulness is because God reveals it to us in order to liberate us from its grasp. Our ability to sin cannot possibly be more powerful than God’s ability to save. “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant” (Romans 5:20, NLT).

Ask your loving heavenly Father to keep His promise in your life today. Ask Him to bolster your confidence in the fact that He hears the sincere prayers of those who desire to do His will, but do not know how. Ask Him to teach you to trust that it is His will for you to live eternally, and He has already promised to grant the petition you have desired of Him. In these things, the answer is always, “Yes!” Believe it . . . by faith.




Way of Escape

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Based Upon 1 Corinthians 10

Some of us are just too cocky. I must admit that I come from a social culture of extreme over confidence. I grew up in the city whose Stock Exchange has become the most powerful in the U.S., and maybe even the world. We boast the largest subway system in the world. It is the flamboyant birthplace of streetball, hip-hop music, and arguably, the modern skyscraper. And the last claim to fame I referenced, gives credence to my first sentence, since another city has equal or greater reason to claim this accomplishment. Our city is a melting pot of doers. It is a city undaunted by terrorism, unintimidated by threats of economic collapse, unimpressed by incredible feats of accomplishment. We are the gateway to the American Dream.

During the Old Testament era, the people of God had many reasons to feel special: They were the apple of God’s eye; to them was entrusted the oracles of God; to them God spoke the Ten Commandments; from among them God rose up the Redeemer of the world. Yet, at times they allowed these privileges to go to their heads. They often disobeyed their loving God, and brought reproach upon His name, and judgments upon themselves. Their story of tragedy and triumph is set in the eternal Word of God for our learning. We learn about the equal mercy and justice of God. We learn about His sovereignty. We learn about ourselves, how we should never become self-confident. We learn that if we think that we stand strong in our own abilities, we should take heed, lest we fall. Thankfully, we learn that our God is able to keep us from falling and present us before the Father with unutterable joy.

Temptations are an inevitable part of every person’s experience here on earth. The devil stops at nothing to sidetrack and discourage us. He knows that he cannot force us to do wrong, so he litters our pathways with ample opportunities to see some forbidden experience as more enjoyable or desirable than God’s ideal for us. And his manifold means of doing this really just boils down to this: No matter to what vice he lures our minds, if we consent, he has accomplished his purpose–to place a wedge between us and our God.

Let me say at the outset, that temptation is not sin. The Bible shows us how this works: “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am tempted from God; for God is incapable of being tempted by [what is] evil and He Himself tempts no one. But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death” (James 1:13–15, AMP).

So, temptation is not the issue here. The issue is how we handle that which can possibly mature into sin. Whenever there is some desire that arises in us that goes against God’s will, if we rush to Him in prayer and faith, we do not have to succumb and sin. “For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently. Therefore, my dearly beloved, shun (keep clear away from, avoid by flight if need be) any sort of idolatry (of loving or venerating anything more than God)” (1 Corinthians 10:13–14, AMP).

I must underscore that temptation in and of itself is not sin, and the Most High is able to keep us from falling. With every temptation that comes, He has already provided a door through which we can escape and remain faithful to Him. The key here is that He is faithful, He has provided the victory, and He has made a way of escape. We must simply remain surrendered to Him and we are safe.

Click here to access the online devotional archives: http://goo.gl/mmQk9h




Which Way to Paradise?

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, March 1, 2015
Based Upon Romans 3

Don’t all roads lead to paradise? This is the question that many people of all walks of life have been asking for thousands of years. It’s mostly rhetorical. Most of those who believe that there is an afterlife figure that no matter how we choose to relate to the “higher power” or the “universe,” it’s all good. While we will not be tackling the nuanced theology of this point, we will simplify and answer the basic root of the question: “What is the foundation of eternal life?”

In Romans 1 Paul said that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He further noted that this gospel is the power of God unto salvation. That is to say, the divinely ordained method of delivering people from wretched lives of sin into blessed lives of salvation is through the sacrifice of Christ. The immutable Law of God and the perfect example of Jesus’ life stand as stark revealers of the fact that all have sinned and fall desperately short of the glory of God. And therefore, they reveal our need of deliverance from the penalty for sin, which is eternal death.

In Romans 1 and 2 Paul highlighted the fact that God has a multiplicity of ways to reveal His eternal nature and the path of righteousness to us. He makes His eternal nature and Godhead known through nature. Nature is not God, but the laws of nature, in the grandeur of all their constituent parts, reveals her Creator. As the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 19, there is no place where her voice is not heard. Likewise, our great God speaks through the Holy Spirit through our conscience. God covenanted to write His Law in our hearts so we could know Him. Thus it is that people who may not actually have access to the written Law of God can basically know the difference between right and wrong. God judges us all based upon our individual submission (or lack thereof) to the revelation He has given.

If this is the case, what is the big deal about Jesus? Well, finally, I am so glad you asked. This is the key to Romans 3. As Paul stated, let me reiterate, the power of God to save us is in the life, death, burial, resurrection, and heavenly ministry of Jesus. There is no way for any person to be saved, except through Christ. His ministry purchased the right for all who live according to the fulness of the revelation God gave them concerning Himself, to be saved. Whether we understand all that God is or not, it is through Christ that we are saved. Whether we know to call Jesus our Lord and Savior or not, it is through His sacrifice that we are saved. The key here is that we must live honestly, and live up to all that God has revealed of Himself to us, individually.

Fact: All who are experiencing this devotional have access to the highest revelation of God, Jesus Christ. Therefore, for you, the basic revelation of God through nature is not enough. A baseline experience with God through conscience is not enough. To you, the fulness of the Godhead, Jesus Christ is revealed. And thus, if you (or I) may be justified before God, it will be only through direct submission to Him, by faith in Jesus Christ. Ignorance of Christ and His Word has long since passed for those of us with these lovely smartphones, tablets, Internet, and TVs. To us has been revealed the fulness of the power of God unto salvation. So, really, the only question that remains for us is: “Will we embrace the blessing of salvation through living faith in Christ?”




Abide

 

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, January 23, 2015

Based Upon John 15

Abide! While this little word only has five letters, when combined with the blessed phrase, “in Christ,” it mysteriously becomes a huge, eternal principle full of rich rewards.

It is very interesting how many of us find it difficult to stick to a plan. With the New Year’s resolution honeymoon bliss steadily wearing off, so many of us have all but forgotten the promises we made to ourselves. Instead of exercising more, some of us have slid into eating more. Instead of getting up earlier to devote ourselves to our God, many of us are staying up later, devoting ourselves to mindless activities making it impossible to rise early. Instead of being more attentive to our spouses, some of us have fallen back into being their roommates, and passing them like ships in the night.

Our loving heavenly Father has just the thing we need in order to help us keep worthy commitments—abide in Christ. You see, as long as we are living in humble submission to Christ, there is nothing [good] that is impossible for us. When we abide in Him as a healthy branch abides in the vine, we can ask anything according to His will, and He will grant it. But, the key is for us to seek His will and abide in Him at all costs.

Just how do we abide in Christ? The first thing we need to do is submit our wills fully to Him. Whenever He says that He desires a thing for us, whether we initially desire or not, we must step aside, knowing He is sovereign and has our best interest at heart.

Second, we must ask Him to make us willing to do His will. So many times people are confused about what is right or wrong, simply because they are not willing to do whatever God says. Thus, there is confusion. Being willing to do God’s will, even when it is difficult, sets us in prime position to understand His every word as He reveals it.

Last, we need to embrace the principles of thanksgiving and praise. The Bible says that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. The more we praise Him from a sincere heart, is the more of His presence we will experience. In this, we are abiding in Him. We thank Him for what He has done. We praise Him for who He is. He has done great things, and He is so good, we can scarcely articulate it. He is faithful and willing to bestow the richest blessings upon those who abide in Him.

At this point it is not hard to believe that our watchword for today is, “Abide.”




Who is Jesus to You?

 

 

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Monday, November 17, 2014
Based Upon Matthew 16

Who is Jesus to you? There are few people anywhere in the world who have not at least heard of Jesus. Most, whether they have respect for Him or not, do have an opinion. Some consider Him a public figure that religious people talk a lot about. Others say He was one thought leader among many in history. Still others refer to Him as a prophet or a good man. Who is Jesus to you?

I know it is difficult sometimes to grasp the idea of Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus is God [the Son], who divested Himself of the comforts of His eternal throne, to become clothed with human form, so as a representative of humankind, while retaining His divinity, He could die in our place so those who believe in Him could have eternal life. This is a basic tenant of the Christian faith.

While all I have said is true, somehow I sense the need for more. Not that the expression of the gospel is lacking, but Jesus wants to be more in our lives. Even as I type this, I yearn for a deeper connection to the One who loved me so much that nothing in the universe could hinder Him from doing His level best to save me. As you read, all of heaven is astir, because God [the Father] has commissioned holy angels to guide and protect you; God [the Holy Spirit] to lead you into all truth and empower you to have victory over self and sin; and the Son’s agreement with His Father’s love that makes this all possible.

Gone are the days, if ever there were such days, when we should be satisfied with merely knowing that Jesus died 2,000 years ago, is written about in history books, or is the Head of the Christian church.

 

Gone are the days, if ever there were such days, when we could be satisfied with surface reading about Bible facts and figures.

It is our privilege today, no matter at what station in life we are, to prayerfully meditate upon the Scriptures, fixing each principle in our minds. It is our privilege to have close encounters with God as we are directed by the Spirit. If we search the Scriptures as those seeking hidden treasure, we will be amazed by our connection to the living Christ depicted there. As we receive this blessing, our lives with become closely aligned with His, and we will welcome others to experience the same.

Who is Jesus to you? Hopefully, though He is high and holy, He is your new found Friend.




Hands-on Jesus

touch of God

Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Sunday, November 9, 2014
Based Upon Matthew 8

Jesus Needs No Hazmat Suit


Jesus never had a problem being hands-on! Were I ignorant of the power of God, I might have said that Jesus had no problem getting His hands dirty as He healed the brokenhearted and diseased. But, there is a crucial truth we must all consider when thinking of Jesus’ ministry to our deepest woes: Though He loves to come close and apply His healing touch, He ever remains clean and undefiled. We are the ones who change in the process, not Him. Jesus never had a problem being hands-on.

As you may have read before, lepers were among the greatest outcast in Jewish society. Not only were they a heinous sight to behold, they were also very contagious. As they moved from place-to-place, on their way to quarantine, the had to announce themselves by saying, “Unclean! Unclean!” They remained in quarantine with others so infected until they died. It was sort of like presenting at an airport with a fever of 105 degrees, arriving from a country purported to be experiencing an Ebola epidemic.

Nobody in their right minds would come near to a leper. But Jesus touched lepers with His bare hands and without a hazmat suit. He did not have to pass through a decontamination unit or destroy His clothing after coming into contact with these suffering ones. No! When He touched them, they were changed, not Him. When He commanded that they be healed, they were healed. When He spoke life into them, death had to flee. And to validate their absolute healing, the former lepers would present themselves to the same priests who declared them unclean.

What does that have to do with me—with you, today? Well, the Bible equates leprosy and disease with sin. All are deadly. Jesus has a habit and proven track record of delivering people from our infirmities. He has opened many blind eyes. He has delivered many from bondage to devils. He has relieved all sorts of suffering. And, He is still in the business of deliverance today. More than these maladies of the body and mind, Jesus heals our sin sicknesses. When we come into faith contact with Jesus, He tenderly looks into our lives and speaks healing. When He touches us, we are changed, not Him.

Do you feel unclean at times, dear friend? Do you feel unclean as you right now? Is there some habit that drives a wedge between you and eternal life? This is your day of blessing! Call on the Lord. Ask Him to have mercy upon you and give you the repentance of which you are so in need. Believe that you receive it, and it shall be done unto you. Amen.

I would like to give you a free 12-step Bible study based upon my early experiences with the book, Steps to Christ, by Ellen G. White. This simple study booklet will guide you through 12 basic spiritual principles that will change your life forever. Here is the link (it is free only until November 12, 2014): http://ow.ly/E1n8B —L. David Harris

Today’s Reading in Divers Tongues:
1.) Hindi – http://www.bible.is/HNDWTC/Matt/8/D
2.) Arabic – http://www.bible.is/SHUABT/Matt/8/D