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Showing posts from June 8, 2017

Sanctuary 2

“Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. Selah”Psalms 24:3-6 ESV
Following the near extinguishing of the light during the dark ages the reformation dawned and with it a reawakening to God's goodness throughout the earth. First the revelation that we are saved by grace through faith stirred the hearts of men. Then a return to the Bible as the only authoritative source of truth laid a foundation. These fundamental principles enlightened multitudes and paved the way for a broadening understanding of who God is and what righteousness looks like.
With each successive generation God has ever been seeking to further dispel the darkness. Great men such as Martin Lut…

Light Is Still Shining

“But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.”Proverbs 4:18 ESV

A full and adequate understanding of history is crucial to the genuine progress of any people. God has seen fit to give us a wide angle view of history from the beginning to the end. From this lens we discern that we are part of a final phase of discovery which is to take place before Jesus returns to take us home. 
God's work on man's behalf in conjunction with the work of redemption has been the work of revelation. A true knowledge of God was lost when man broke the covenant of trust which enabled perfect communion between God and man. God has been educating fallen humanity to the true nature of his character. This along with accomplishing our salvation was the work Jesus embarked upon in the flesh while upon the earth. 
Whether through Enoch, Noah, Moses, or Paul, God has been working to reveal the truth about his love down through the ages. Prophecy r…

Eternal Life

“And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,”Revelation 20:7-9 ESV
Ultimately there are only two theories of how one might obtain eternal life. Either it is a gift enjoyed through unbroken communion with God, or it is a state achievable by men without divine help. The day is coming when a most pronounced demonstration of the essence of life will be displayed. 
Outside of a trusting relationship with God, there is no way to appreciate the gift of heaven. Outside such a relationship eternity remains a prize to be won or a state to be achieved. When on that final day the wicked surround the New Jerusalem, they are intent on taking…

David's Faith

“The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord accepts my prayer.”Psalms 6:9 ESV
King David was an extraordinary man of faith because of his determination to believe that God listened to him when he prayed. David understood God's heart toward sinful men like few others in his time. His knowledge of God's love allowed him to scale the walls of depression, anxiety, and fear. The dawn always broke for David because he believed his cries never fell on deaf ears. Our cries never fall on deaf ears either. If we like David are determined to hang on and allow our loving God to guide us, we will not be disappointed. 
Still Seeking His Face,Pastor Andrew

Christ Our Righteousness

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”James 5:16 KJV
          We are told that the prayer of the righteous avails much and many worry they do not meet this requirement. This promise comes in the context of confession and forgiveness. Righteousness is ours in a moment if we by faith confess our sins and believe Jesus forgives us and cleanses us of them. There is no need for anyone to continue their day without Christ's robe of righteousness covering them. You may go from this place knowing that your prayers can avail much because you are able to come to God in the perfect merits of His Son.
Still Seeking His Face,Pastor Andrew

Supreme Priviledge

“A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."”Isaiah 40:3-5 ESV
          This prophecy will be fulfilled in a most pronounced way twice in earth's history. Before Christ's first advent John the Baptist had the supreme privilege to prepare men to receive Jesus. This privilege is being extended one final time to all those who are coming into an intimate knowledge of the Father's heart. John's preparation involved a life dedicated to discernment and trust. It's not too late to turn our hearts toward home and experience a preparation of heart and mind that God alone can accomplish.
Still Seeking His Face,Pastor Andrew 

The Great Exchange 3

“"No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”Matthew 6:24 ESV
          What are we reaching for? What are we most bent on accomplishing or striving to achieve? What is the prize we consciously or unconsciously keep before us that motivates us to action? The world is motivated by success and gain in this life, yet God would have us motivated by success and gain in the life to come. 
          Consciously and intentionally investing in eternity by faith allows God to rewire the affections of our heart. God know's that our greatest joy will be found in getting to know him and then sharing what we discover with others. This is where God would have us focus our mind's eye, our resources, and our hearts. When we do this our families do not suffer neglect while we graspafter earthly treasure and our churches do not languish for a want of means. When we al…

You Will See Greater Things Than These

“Jesus answered him, "Because I said to you, 'I saw you under the fig tree,' do you believe? You will see greater things than these."”John 1:50 ESV
When Jesus looked Nathanael in the eyes and revealed an intimate knowledge of the young man something precious transpired. Nathanael discovered one who knew him altogether. More than this, Nathanael discovered one who saw the very best in him. When Jesus declared that Nathanael was an Israelite in whom there was no guile he was not declaring him perfect, but he was speaking to the good he saw in him. This is how God works. He awakens us to his love for us and his focus upon our best qualities. Jesus wanted Nathanael to know he believed in him by highlighting the good he perceived in his character.
Our Buford family has been encountering this aspect of God's nature. We are beginning to understand that our Heavenly Father is in our corner and that he believes in us. Faith inspires faith, as we behold his love for, and con…

The Great Exchange 2

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”Matthew 6:21 ESV
    How can we tell when our Christian experience is moving beyond culture and into a life dominating commitment? Are you ready to honestly ask some tough questions? How are we investing our time and money? For those brave enough to ask, what do we do if these honest indicators reveal that God is an afterthought and not a priority?
    One of the greatest deliverances God will bring his children through before the end, is the deliverance from worldly prosperity. God invites us into the Great Exchange, the exchanging of earthly treasure for heavenly gain, not for his sake, but ours. God's intended way to break the hold our prosperity has upon us is to invest it in eternity. 
    For some the love of what this life has to offer is the main wedge between their heart and the Father's. Giving alone, however, is not enough. The rich young ruler was not only asked to exchange his treasure, Jesus invited him int…

Temptation

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
What is the one situation which consistently seems to cause your resolve to crumble? We all have walls which we run into time and time again which seem nearly impossible to overcome. Can we really do all things through Christ who strengthens us? There is only one way to find out. When temptation to despair or give in to self pity is at its greatest, we have a most precious opportunity to grow. Jesus is more than able if we will but believe it.
Contrary to how we may feel, intense temptation is not sin. The thought strikes us at times that we must have stepped off the path somewhere when we encounter battles with unholy desires. The power to resist evil when we think we heave already unconsciously yielded is nearly impossible. While som…

Spiritual Gifts 12

“But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.”I Corinthians 12:31 NKJV
Which are the gifts God entrusts to his children which are most important? Is it the gift of healing, prophecy, or perhaps evangelism? We tend to hold particular gifts in greater esteem and as a result we place different value upon different gifts as well as those who exercise them.
At the end of 1 Corinthians 12 which almost appears to be a list of gifts in order of importance, Paul makes a statement hinting to something even more important than the most influential of the spiritual gifts. The following chapter opens with some of the most famous language in all of scripture. “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And t…

Humble Honest Bravery

“...we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,”Ephesians 4:15b ESV
          We all have to fight the influence culture and tradition has upon the way we see things. Apart from God's Word we have no other unbiased source of truth. To allow God's perspective to shape us and how we think requires honesty and humility. If we are to follow our Father's voice which is always calling us up higher then we must always be willing to re-evaluate our opinions.
          This is exactly what people who become Adventist have to do. It takes honesty and bravery to look into God's word for oneself and realize that Saturday is the Sabbath or that God does not torture individuals forever in hell. The entirety of these doctrines are full of God's love and ultimately strengthen our ability to understand and trust our creator but accepting a new paradigm can be extremely difficult. Before the beauty of a new doctrinal understanding can impact us considerable b…

The Great Exchange 1

“Then everyone came whose heart was stirred, and everyone whose spirit was willing, and they brought the LORD’s offering for the work of the tabernacle of meeting, for all its service, and for the holy garments.”Exodus 35:21 NKJV
Are we fully invested in the process of the great exchange, the exchanging of our earthly resources for Heavenly gain? God gives us the ability and opportunity to make money. God desires our financial resources to be a great blessing to us. In order for this to take place, however, our resources must primarily be a source for blessing others, yet we do not engage this great exchange for others only. Ultimately our own soul's salvation depends upon how we invest or fail to invest in eternity. No one can buy heaven, but many are selling their souls for earthly treasure. 
The best protection from the love of money is to continually increase our investment in eternity. But the joy of giving does not come from giving for our own sake, it comes from realizing our…

Sanctuary 1

“And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.”” Daniel 8:14 NKJV
As earth's history draws to a close and God's great work of redemption is about to be consummated, the light which is shining upon the gospel will only grow more brilliant. God's last day people are a people who will grasp the truth of his love and the beauty of the atonement like no other generation ever has. So how does the message of the sanctuary provide a foundation for such a full understanding of the Father's heart and the work of redemption?
All of humanity has the DNA of sin courses through its veins. A twisted picture of God accounts for the fall of men and angels. Satan suggested God was not all loving but rather primarily interested in maintaining power and control over his subjects. This artfully communicated conception of God plunged unnumbered beings into darkness. Redemption requires not only a payment for sin that men might be restored to th…

An Uplifted Savior

“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.””John 12:32 NIV
There are two mainstream pictures of God which are fundamentally flawed. Each of these concepts render genuine worship from the heart impossible. The most ancient is the idea that God is harsh, controlling, and exacting. The equally damaging but not quite as ancient picture of God, is the highly mystical all-accepting being which emanates warm fuzziness yet without any clear moral standard.
As men and women awaken spiritually, the eternally torturing deity which has been portrayed by mainstream Christianity for centuries is being abandoned. Desiring something more tangible and life impacting than what they received from "religion," multitudes are flocking to experience based movements. The authority and relevance of the Bible is being tossed with the bath water of failed religious experience.The world is starving for the genuine article. We have an unprecedented opportunity to lift up t…

Man's First Encounter With Grace

“You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.”Deuteronomy 5:15 ESV
Before we fell into sin Sabbath was a beautiful reminder of our reason for existence, fellowship with God. God communicated to Adam and Eve through that day of rest that he was a God of grace, a God who bestows gifts not based on the merit of his subjects but out of his great love for them. After man fell into sin Sabbath became an even more meaningful symbol.
Only after humanity's rebellion was God's nature most clearly displayed. God not only loved man enough to create him and bless him with a beautiful world and the fellowship of his presence, God's love compelled him to fight for us after we rebelled against him. God wanted Israel to keep this reality before them and so he infused Sabbath with further significance. He commanded th…

Memorial of Protection

“It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'"”Exodus 31:17 ESV
Does it matter how God made us? Is the language of the creation account in Genesis literal or figurative? Did God really personally form us from the dust of the ground and breathe his own breathe into our nostrils to give us life? Did God actually create the world in six literal 24 hour periods, and does it even matter?
Multiple times scripture reminds us to keep the Sabbath holy because in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and the springs of water, and then rested on the Sabbath day from all he had created. The scripture further communicates the idea that each of those six days were literal by stressing the language of evening and morning repeatedly throughout the creation account.
It turns out that the way in which God has made us is extremely significant. God intended to commun…

Sabbath's Revelation

“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”Genesis 2:1-3 ESV
    What is Sabbath? What makes it the best 24 out of 7? What statement was the creator of the universe making when he stopped creating the material world to dedicate a space in time and set it apart as holy? 
    Sabbath reminds us of the most fundamental reality that makes our existence count. God's purpose for creating you is revealed in the Sabbath. Why did Omnipotence stop speaking the world into being to form us with his hands? Our Father didn't leave us to guess. God's crowning act of the creation week was the revelation of relationship. This is why we exist, this is Sabbath. Time to remember that we were made to find our pleasur…