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Daily Devotional

Discussion in 'Traditional Adventists' started by EastCoastRemnant, May 27, 2011.

  1. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    “Come Unto Me”

    Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew

    Many who hear this invitation, while sighing for rest, yet press on the rugged path, hugging
    their burdens close to their heart. Jesus loves them, and longs to bear their burdens and
    themselves also in His strong arms. He would remove the fears and uncertainties that rob them
    of peace and rest; but they must first come to Him, and tell Him the secret woes of their heart....

    Sometimes we pour our troubles into human ears, and tell our afflictions to those who cannot
    help us, and neglect to confide all to Jesus, who is able to change the sorrowful way to paths of
    joy and peace....

    He proposes to be our friend, to walk with us through all the rough pathways of life. He
    says to us, I am the Lord thy God; walk with me, and I will fill thy path with light. Jesus, the
    Majesty of Heaven, proposes to elevate to companionship with Himself those who come to Him
    with their burdens, their weaknesses, and their cares....

    His invitation to us is a call to a pure, holy, and happy life—a life of peace and rest, of liberty
    and love—and to a rich inheritance in the future, immortal life.... It is our privilege to have daily
    a calm, close, happy walk with Jesus.

    Rest is found when all self-justification, all reasoning from a selfish standpoint, is put away.
    Entire self-surrender, an acceptance of His ways, is the secret of perfect rest in His love....
    Do just what He has told you to do, and be assured that God will do all that He has said He
    would do.... Have you come to Him, renouncing all your makeshifts, all your unbelief, all your​
    self-righteousness? Come just as you are, weak, helpless, and ready to die.

    What is the “rest” promised?—It is the consciousness that God is true, that He never
    disappoints the one who comes to Him. His pardon is full and free, and His acceptance means​
    rest to the soul, rest in His love.
  2. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    Time For Meditation

    But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
    Psalm 1:2.

    Your last thought at night, your first thought in the morning, should be of Him in whom is
    centered your hope of eternal life.

    Many seem to begrudge moments spent in meditation, and the searching of the Scriptures,
    and prayer, as though the time thus occupied was lost. I wish you could all view these things
    in the light God would have you; for you would then make the kingdom of heaven of the first
    importance.... As exercise increases the appetite, and gives strength and healthy vigor to the
    body, so will devotional exercises bring an increase of grace and spiritual vigor.

    The affections should center upon God. Contemplate His greatness, His mercy and
    excellences. Let His goodness and love and perfection of character captivate your heart.
    Converse upon His divine charms, and the heavenly mansions He is preparing for the faithful.
    He whose conversation is in heaven, is the most profitable Christian to all around him. His words
    are useful and refreshing. They have a transforming power upon those who hear them.

    There is constant need of private communion with God. We must take in the spirit of Christ
    if we would impart it to others. We cannot meet satanic and human agencies combined unless
    we spend much time in intercourse with the Source of all strength. There are times when we
    should get away from the sounds of earthly toil and human voices, and in retired places listen
    to the voice of Jesus. Thus we may taste of His love and imbibe His spirit. Thus we shall learn
    to crucify self. This course of action may seem impossible to the human mind. “I have not
    time,” you may say. But when you consider the matter as it really is, you lose no time; for when
    you secure the power and grace that come alone from God, ​
    you do not accomplish the work. It
    is Jesus who is the real worker. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” John 15:5....

    Reflection and earnest prayer will inspire to holy endeavor.
  3. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    Seeking GodWith All The Heart

    Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will
    render double unto thee. Zechariah 9:12.

    We need to educate the soul to lay hold, and hold fast the rich promises of Christ. The Lord
    Jesus knows that it is not possible for us to resist the many temptations of Satan, only as we shall
    have divine power given us from God. He well knows that in our own human strength we should
    surely fail. Therefore every provision has been made, that in every emergency and trial we shall
    flee to the Stronghold.... We have the word of promise from lips that will not lie.... We must
    individually cherish the faith that we receive of Him the things He hath promised.

    God will be to us everything we will let Him be. Our languid, half-hearted prayers will not
    bring us returns from heaven. Oh, we need to press our petitions! Ask in faith, wait in faith,
    receive in faith, rejoice in hope, for everyone that seeketh findeth. Be in earnest in the matter.
    Seek God with all the heart. People put soul and earnestness into everything they undertake
    in temporal things, until their efforts are crowned with success. With intense earnestness learn
    the trade of seeking the rich blessings that God has promised, and with persevering, determined
    effort you shall have His light and His truth and His rich grace.

    In sincerity, in soul hunger, cry after God. Wrestle with the heavenly agencies until you have
    the victory. Put your whole being into the Lord’s hands, soul, body, and spirit, and resolve to
    be His loving, consecrated agency, moved by His will, controlled by His mind, infused by His

    Tell Jesus your wants in the sincerity of your soul. You are not required to hold a long
    controversy with, or preach a sermon to, God, but with a heart of sorrow for your sins, say, “Save
    me, Lord, or I perish.” There is hope for such souls. They will seek, they will ask, they will
    knock, and they will find. When Jesus has taken away the burden of sin that is crushing the soul,​
    you will experience the blessedness of the peace of Christ.
  4. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    Humble, Persevering Prayer

    Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. James 5:17, 18.

    Important lessons are presented to us in the experience of Elijah. When upon Mount Carmel

    he offered the prayer for rain, his faith was tested, but he persevered in making known his request
    unto God.

    The servant watched while Elijah prayed. Six times he returned from the watch, saying,

    There is nothing, no cloud, no sign of rain. But the prophet did not give up in discouragement.
    He kept reviewing his life, to see where he had failed to honor God.... As he searched his heart,
    he seemed to be less and less, both in his own estimation and in the sight of God. It seemed
    to him that he was nothing, and that God was everything; and when he reached the point of
    renouncing self, while he clung to the Saviour as his only strength and righteousness, the answer
    came. The servant appeared, and said, “Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a
    man’s hand.” 1 Kings 18:34.

    We have a God whose ear is not closed to our petitions; and if we prove His word, He will

    honor our faith. He wants us to have all our interests interwoven with His interests, and then He
    can safely bless us; for we shall not then take glory to self when the blessing is ours, but shall
    render all the praise to God. God does not always answer our prayers the first time we call upon
    Him; for should He do this, we might take it for granted that we had a right to all the blessings and
    favors He bestowed upon us. Instead of searching our hearts to see if any evil was entertained by
    us, any sin indulged, we should become careless, and fail to realize our dependence upon Him....

    Elijah humbled himself until he was in a condition where he would not take the glory to

    himself. This is the condition upon which the Lord hears prayer, for then we shall give the praise
    to Him.... God alone is worthy to be glorified.
  5. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    TheWork Of Heart-Keeping

    Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23.

    Diligent heart-keeping is essential to a healthy growth in grace. The heart in its natural state
    is a habitation for unholy thoughts and sinful passions. When brought into subjection to Christ,
    it must be cleansed by the Spirit from all defilement. This can not be done without the consent
    of the individual.

    When the soul has been cleansed, it is the duty of the Christian to keep it undefiled. Many
    seem to think that the religion of Christ does not call for the abandonment of daily sins, the
    breaking loose from habits which have held the soul in bondage. They renounce some things
    condemned by the conscience, but they fail to represent Christ in the daily life. They do not
    bring Christlikeness into the home. They do not show a thoughtful care in their choice of words.
    Too often, fretful, impatient words are spoken, words which stir the worst passions of the human
    heart. Such ones need the abiding presence of Christ in the soul. Only in His strength can they
    keep guard over the words and actions.

    In the work of heart-keeping we must be instant in prayer, unwearied in petitioning the throne
    of grace for assistance. Those who take the name of Christian should come to God in earnestness
    and humility, pleading for help.... The Christian cannot always be in the position of prayer, but
    his thoughts and desires can always be upward.

    To keep your heart in heaven will give vigor to all your graces and put life into all your duties.
    To discipline the mind to dwell upon heavenly things will put life and earnestness into all our
    endeavors. Our efforts are languid, and we run the Christian race slowly, and manifest indolence
    and sloth, because we so little value the heavenly prize. We are dwarfs in spiritual attainments.
    It is the privilege and duty of the Christian to be increasing in the knowledge of the Son of God,​
    “unto a perfect man.”
  6. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    The Court Of Holy Life

    But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;
    that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his
    marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9.

    The church of Christ on earth is amid the moral darkness of a disloyal world, which is
    trampling upon the law of Jehovah. But their Redeemer, who has purchased their ransom with the
    price of His own precious blood, has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed
    body, illumined with Light of the world, possessing the glory of Emmanuel. The bright beams
    of the Sun of Righteousness, shining through His church, will gather into His fold every lost,
    straying sheep who will come unto Him and find refuge in Him. They will find peace and light
    and joy in Him who is peace and righteousness forever.

    The members of the church should individually keep the light of God’s love burning brightly
    in their own souls, that it may also shine forth to others. We have too much at stake to allow
    spiritual lethargy to creep over us. Let us beware of indulging a disrelish for religious services and religious duties. Let us
    resolutely battle against that sluggishness of soul which is so fatal to the growth and even the
    life of the Christian. That church will be healthy and prosperous whose members are putting
    forth active, personal effort to do good to others, to save souls. This will be a constant incentive
    to every good work. Such Christians will labor with greater earnestness to secure their own
    salvation. The dormant energies will be aroused, the whole soul inspired with an unconquerable
    determination to win the Saviour’s plaudit of “Well done,” and to wear the victor’s crown.

    Christ makes His church a beautiful temple for God. “Where two or three are gathered
    together in my name,” He declared, “there am I in the midst of them,” Matthew 18:20. His church
    is the court of holy life, filled with varied gifts, and endowed with the Holy Spirit. Appropriate
    duties are assigned by Heaven to each member of the church on earth, and all are to find their
    happiness in the happiness of those whom they help and bless.
  7. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    The Smiles Of God

    The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. Proverbs

    Nothing can do us real good without the blessing of God. What God blesses is blessed.
    Therefore “a little that a righteous man hath is better that the riches of many wicked.” Psalm
    37:16. The little with the blessing of God is more efficient, and it will extend farther. The grace
    of God will make a little go a great ways. When we devote ourselves to the affairs of the kingdom
    of God, He will mind our affairs.”

    The Lord has given us precious blessings in the simple flowers of the field, in the fragrance
    so grateful to our senses. He has tinted every flower with beauty; for He is the great Master
    Artist. He who has created the beautiful things in nature will do far greater things for the soul.
    God is a lover of the beautiful, and He would adorn our characters with His own rich graces. He
    would have our words as fragrant as the flowers of the field. He has given us blessings in daily
    provision for our physical needs. The very bread we are has upon it the image and superscription
    of the cross.

    They only are truly blessed whose chief concern is to secure those blessings which will
    nourish the soul and endure forever. Our Saviour says to us, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God,
    and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33. God has a
    care for us, even to bestow His temporal blessings upon us. Our earthly good is not
    beneath the notice of our heavenly Father. He knoweth that we have need of these things.... When
    God smiles upon our efforts it is worth more than any earthly income.

    “How sweet our daily comforts prove
    When they are seasoned with His love.”

    Every deliverance, every blessing, that God in the past has granted to His people, should be
    kept fresh in memory’s hall as a sure pledge of further and richer, increasing blessings that He
    will bestow.​

    There is no limit to the blessings that it is our privilege to receive.
  8. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    With Eyes Of Faith

    The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope
    of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Ephesians

    The highest qualification of the mind will not, cannot, supply the place of true simplicity, of
    genuine piety. The Bible may be studied as a branch of human science would be; but its beauty,
    the evidence of its power to save the soul that believes, is a lesson that is never thus learned. If the
    practice of theWord is not brought into the life, then the sword of the Spirit has not wounded the
    natural heart. It has been shielded in poetic fancy. Sentimentalism has so wrapped it about that
    the heart has not sufficiently felt the keenness of its edge, piercing and cutting away the sinful
    shrines where self is worshipped....

    The eyes of the understanding must be enlightened, and the heart and mind brought into
    harmony with God, who is truth. He who beholds Jesus with the eye of faith sees no glory in
    himself, for the glory of the Redeemer is reflected into the mind and heart. The atonement of His
    blood is realized, and the taking away of sin stirs the heart with gratitude.

    Being justified by Christ, the receiver of truth is constrained to make an entire surrender to
    God, and is admitted into the school of Christ, that he may learn of Him who is meek and lowly
    of heart. A knowledge of the love of God is shed abroad in his heart. He exclaims, Oh, what
    love! What condescension! Grasping the rich promises by faith, he becomes a partaker of the
    divine nature. His heart being emptied of self, the waters of life flow in; the glory of the Lord
    shines forth. Perpetually looking unto Jesus, the human is assimilated by the divine. The believer
    is changed into His likeness.... The human character is changed into the divine.

    Christ looks upon His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of all His sufferings,
    His humiliation, and His love, and the supplement of His glory—Christ the great center, from whom radiates all glory.​
  9. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    How To Grow In Grace

    But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him
    be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18.

    How is it possible that we may grow in grace? It is possible to us only as we empty our
    hearts of self, and present them to Heaven, to be molded after the Divine Pattern. We may have
    a connection with the living channel of light; we may be refreshed with the heavenly dew, and
    have the showers of heaven descend upon us. As we appropriate the blessing of God, we shall
    be able to receive greater measures of His grace.

    As little children we are to sit at the feet of Christ, learning of Him.... We should not allow
    a day to pass without gaining an increase of knowledge in temporal and spiritual things. We are
    to plant no stakes that we are not willing to take up and plant further on, nearer the heights we
    hope to ascend. The highest education is to be found in training the mind to advance day by day.

    The close of each day should find us a day’s march nearer the overcomer’s reward. Day by day
    our understanding is to ripen. Day by day we are to work out conclusions that will bring a rich
    reward in this life and in the life to come. Looking daily to Jesus, instead of to what we ourselves
    have done, we shall make decided advancement in temporal as well as spiritual knowledge.
    The end of all things is at hand. What we have done must not be allowed to place the period
    to our work. The Captain of our salvation says, “Advance. The night cometh, in which no man
    can work.” Constantly we are to increase in usefulness. Our lives are always to be under the
    power of Christ. Our lamps are to be kept burning brightly.... He who places himself where God
    can enlighten him, advances, as it were, from the partial obscurity of dawn to the full radiance of

    We must put to the stretch every spiritual nerve and muscle.... God ... does not desire you to
    remain novices. He wants you to reach the very highest round of the ladder, and then step from​
    it into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  10. EastCoastRemnant

    EastCoastRemnant I Must Decrease That He May Increase Supporter

    Great In God’s Sight

    He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in
    the least is unjust also in much. Luke 16:10.

    Life is not made up of great things alone; it is the little things that make the sum of life’s
    happiness or miseries. It is the little things in life that reveal a person’s real character. Oh, if
    all youth and those of mature age could see as I have seen the mirror of person’s lives presented
    before them, they would look more gravely upon even the little duties of life. Every mistake,
    every error, unimportant though it may be regarded, leaves a scar in this life and a blot on the
    heavenly records.

    Life is full of duties that are not agreeable, but all these unpleasant duties will be made
    agreeable by a cheerful performance of them because it is right. Taking an interest in the duties
    which someone must do, and striving to do them with the heart, will make the most disagreeable
    duties pleasant.

    There are many who undervalue the small events of life, the little deeds that are to be
    performed day by day; but these are not to be estimated as small, as every action tells either
    for the blessing or the injuring of someone. Every action tells its own story, it bears its own
    history to the throne of God. It is known whether it is on the side of right or on the side of wrong.

    It is only by acting in accordance with the principles of God’s Word in the small transactions of
    life, that we place ourselves on the right side. We are tried and tested by these small occurrences,
    and our character will be estimated according as our work shall be.
    It is the conscientious attention to what the world calls little things that makes the great beauty
    and success of life.

    Little deeds of charity, Little words of kindness, Little acts of self-denial, A wise

    improvement of opportunities, A diligent cultivation of little talents, Make great
    men in God’s sight.
  11. Castaway57

    Castaway57 Born Twice

    A Woman’s Faith

    (Taken from a very old book, published in early 1800’s called “The Beautiful Tree Of Life.” Pg 120-121)

    In one of the towns in England, there is a beautiful little chapel, and a very touching story is told in connection with it. It was built by an infidel. He had a praying wife, but he would not listen to her, would not allow her pastor to even take dinner with them; would not look at the Bible; would not allow religion to even be talked of.

    She made up her mind , seeing she could not influence him by her voice, that everyday at 12 o’clock, she would pray to God for his salvation. She said nothing to him; but everyday at that hour, she told the Lord about her husband. At the end of 12 months there was no change in him. But she did not give it up. Six months more went past. Her faith began to waver; and she said: “Will I have to give him up at last?” “Perhaps when I am dead He will answer my prayers?”

    When she had gotten to that point, it seemed just as if God had got her where He had wanted her. The man came home to dinner one day. His wife was in the dining room, waiting for him; but he didn’t come in. She waited for quite some time, and finally looked for him all through the house. At last, she thought of going into that little room, where she had prayed for him so often. And there he was, praying at the same bed with agony, right where she had prayed for so many months; asking forgiveness for his sins. And this is a lesson for everyone today. The Lord saw that woman’s faith; and answered her prayer.
  12. Castaway57

    Castaway57 Born Twice

    Chap. 1 - Good News of the Kingdom

    "He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for their's is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:2, 3). As something strange and new, these words fall upon the ears of the wondering multitude. Such teaching is contrary to all they have ever heard from priest or rabbi. They see in it nothing to flatter their pride or to feed their ambitious hopes. But there is about this new Teacher a power that holds them spellbound. The sweetness of divine love flows from His very presence as the fragrance from a flower. . . . {AG 9.2}

    In the throng that surrounded Jesus there were some who had a sense of their spiritual poverty. . . . There were souls who, in the presence of His purity, felt that they were "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:17); and they longed for "the grace of God that bringeth salvation" (Titus 2:11). . . . {AG 9.3}

    Of the poor in spirit Jesus says, "Their's is the kingdom of heaven." This kingdom is not, as Christ's hearers had hoped, a temporal and earthly dominion. Christ was opening to them the spiritual kingdom of His love, His grace, His righteousness. ... His subjects are the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted for righteousness' sake. The kingdom of heaven is theirs. Though not yet fully accomplished, the work is begun in them which will make them "meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" (Colossians 1:12). {AG 9.4}

    All who have a sense of their deep soul poverty, who feel that they have nothing good in themselves, may find righteousness and strength by looking unto Jesus. . . . He bids you exchange your poverty for the riches of His grace. We are not worthy of God's love, but Christ, our surety, is worthy, and is abundantly able to save all who shall come unto Him. Whatever may have been your past experience, however discouraging your present circumstances, if you will come to Jesus just as you are, weak, helpless, and despairing, our compassionate Saviour will meet you a great way off, and will throw about you His arms of love and His robe of righteousness. {AG 9.5}
  13. Castaway57

    Castaway57 Born Twice

    Chap. 2 - For Sinners Only

    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Titus 2:11. {AG 10.1}

    By disobeying the commands of God, man fell under the condemnation of His law. This fall called for the grace of God to appear in behalf of sinners. We should never have learned the meaning of this word "grace" had we not fallen. God loves the sinless angels, who do His service, and are obedient to all His commands; but He does not give them grace. These heavenly beings know naught of grace; they have never needed it; for they have never sinned. Grace is an attribute of God shown to undeserving human beings. We did not seek after it, but it was sent in search of us. God rejoices to bestow this grace upon every one who hungers for it. To every one He presents terms of mercy, not because we are worthy, but because we are so utterly unworthy. Our need is the qualification which gives us the assurance that we shall receive this gift. {AG 10.2}

    But God does not use His grace to make His law of none effect, or to take the place of His law. . . . God's grace and the law of His kingdom are in perfect harmony; they walk hand in hand. His grace makes it possible for us to draw nigh to Him by faith. By receiving it, and letting it work in our lives, we testify to the validity of the law; we exalt the law and make it honorable by carrying out its living principles through the power of the grace of Christ; and by rendering pure, whole-hearted obedience to God's law, we witness before the universe of heaven, and before an apostate world that is making void the law of God, to the power of redemption. {AG 10.3}

    Not because we first loved Him, does God love us; but "while we were yet sinners" (Romans 5:8) Christ died for us, making full and abundant provision for our redemption. Although by our disobedience we have merited God's displeasure and condemnation, He has not forsaken us; He has not left us to grapple with the power of the enemy in our own finite strength. Heavenly angels fight our battles for us; and co-operating with them, we may be victorious over the powers of evil. Trusting in Christ as our personal Saviour, we may be "more than conquerors through him that loved us" (Romans 8:37). {AG 10.4}
  14. Castaway57

    Castaway57 Born Twice

    Chap. 3 - At God's Appointed Time

    When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, . . . to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Galatians 4:4, 5. {AG 11.1}

    In heaven's council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined. When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. . . . Providence had directed the movements of nations, and the tide of human impulse and influence, until the world was ripe for the coming of the Deliverer. . . . {AG 11.2}

    The deception of sin had reached its height. All the agencies for depraving the souls of men had been put in operation. The Son of God, looking upon the world, beheld suffering and misery. With pity He saw how men had become victims of satanic cruelty. He looked with compassion upon those who were being corrupted, murdered, and lost. . . . It was demonstrated before the universe that, apart from God, humanity could not be uplifted. A new element of life and power must be imparted by Him who made the world. {AG 11.3}

    With intense interest the unfallen worlds had watched to see Jehovah arise, and sweep away the inhabitants of the earth. . . . But instead of destroying the world, God sent His Son to save it. . . . At the very crisis, when Satan seemed about to triumph, the Son of God came with the embassage of divine grace. Through every age, through every hour, the love of God had been exercised toward the fallen race. Notwithstanding the perversity of men, the signals of mercy had been continually exhibited. And when the fullness of the time had come, the Deity was glorified by pouring upon the world a flood of healing grace that was never to be obstructed or withdrawn till the plan of salvation should be fulfilled. {AG 11.4}

    Satan was exulting that he had succeeded in debasing the image of God in humanity. Then Jesus came to restore in man the image of his Maker. None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. He came to expel the demons that had controlled the will. He came to lift us up from the dust, to reshape the marred character after the pattern of His divine character, and to make it beautiful with His own glory. {AG 11.5}
  15. Castaway57

    Castaway57 Born Twice

    Chap. 4 - The Message of the First Advent

    As Jesus traveled through Galilee, teaching and healing, multitudes flocked to Him from the cities and villages. Many came even from Judea and the adjoining provinces. Often He was obliged to hide Himself from the people. The enthusiasm ran so high that it was necessary to take precautions lest the Roman authorities should be aroused to fear an insurrection.

    Never before had there been such a period as this for the world. Heaven was brought down to men. Hungering and thirsting souls that had waited long for the redemption of Israel now feasted upon the grace of a merciful Saviour. . . . {AG 12.2}

    The gospel message, as given by the Saviour Himself, was based on the prophecies. The "time" which He declared to be fulfilled was the period made known by the angel Gabriel to Daniel. . . . "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks" (Daniel 9:25), sixty-nine weeks, or four hundred and eighty-three years. The commandment to restore and build Jerusalem, as completed by the decree of Artaxerxes Longimanus (see Ezra 6:14; 7:1, 9, margin), went into effect in the autumn of 457 B.C. From this time four hundred and eighty-three years extend to the autumn of A.D. 27. According to the prophecy, this period was to reach to the Messiah, the Anointed One. In A.D. 27, Jesus at His baptism received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and soon afterward began His ministry. Then the message was proclaimed, "The time is fulfilled." . . . {AG 12.3}

    The time of Christ's coming, His anointing by the Holy Spirit, His death, and the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles, were definitely pointed out. . . . "The Spirit of Christ which was in them" "testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow" (1 Peter 1:11). . . . As the message of Christ's first advent announced the kingdom of His grace, so the message of His second advent announces the kingdom of His glory. {AG 12.4}
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    Chap. 5 - A Spiritual Kingdom

    The kingdom of God comes not with outward show. The gospel of the grace of God, with its spirit of self-abnegation, can never be in harmony with the spirit of the world. The two principles are antagonistic. . . . {AG 13.2}

    But today in the religious world there are multitudes who, as they believe, are working for the establishment of the kingdom of Christ as an earthly and temporal dominion. They desire to make our Lord the ruler of the kingdoms of this world, the ruler in its courts and camps, its legislative halls, its palaces and market places. They expect Him to rule through legal enactments, enforced by human authority. Since Christ is not now here in person, they themselves will undertake to act in His stead, to execute the laws of His kingdom. The establishment of such a kingdom is what the Jews desired in the days of Christ. They would have received Jesus, had He been willing to establish a temporal dominion, to enforce what they regarded as the laws of God, and to make them the expositors of His will and the agents of His authority. But He said, "My kingdom is not of this world." He would not accept the earthly throne. . . . {AG 13.3}

    Not by the decisions of courts or councils or legislative assemblies, not by the patronage of worldly great men, is the kingdom of Christ established, but by the implanting of Christ's nature in humanity through the work of the Holy Spirit. . . . Here is the only power that can work the uplifting of mankind. And the human agency for the accomplishment of this work is the teaching and practicing of the Word of God. . . . {AG 13.4}

    Now, as in Christ's day, the work of God's kingdom lies not with those who are clamoring for recognition and support by earthly rulers and human laws, but with those who are declaring to the people in His name those spiritual truths that will work in the receivers the experience of Paul: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20). {AG 13.5}


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    Chap. 6 - Unlike Earthly Kingdoms

    Christ found the kingdoms of the world corrupt. After Satan was expelled from heaven, he erected his standard of rebellion on this earth, and sought by every means to win men to his standard. . . . His purpose was to establish a kingdom which would be governed by his own laws, and carried on with his own resources, independent of God; and so well did he succeed, that when Christ came to the world to establish a kingdom, He looked upon the governments of men, and said, "Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God?" Nothing in civil society afforded Him a comparison. . . . {AG 14.2}

    In striking contrast to the wrong and oppression so universally practised were the mission and work of Christ. . . . He planned a government which would use no force; His subjects would know no oppression. . . . Not as a fierce tyrant did He come, but as the Son of man; not to conquer the nations by His iron power, but "to preach good tidings unto the meek;" "to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;" "to comfort all that mourn" (Isaiah 61:1, 2). He came as the divine Restorer, bringing to oppressed and downtrodden humanity the rich and abundant grace of Heaven, that by the power of His righteousness, man, fallen and degraded though he was, might be a partaker of divinity. . . . {AG 14.3}

    Christ taught that His church is a spiritual kingdom. He Himself, "the Prince of peace," is the head of His church. In His person humanity, inhabited by divinity, was represented to the world. The great end of His mission was to be a sin-offering for the world, that by the shedding of blood an atonement might be made for the whole race of men. With a heart ever touched with the feelings of our infirmities, an ear ever open to the cry of suffering humanity, a hand ever ready to save the discouraged and despairing, Jesus, our Saviour, "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38). . . . {AG 14.4}

    And all who are members of the kingdom of Christ will represent Him in character and disposition. {AG 14.5}


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    Chap. 7 - The Ensign of Christ's Kingdom

    To Daniel was given a vision of fierce beasts, representing the powers of the earth. But the ensign of the Messiah's kingdom is a lamb. While earthly kingdoms rule by the ascendancy of physical power, Christ is to banish every carnal weapon, every instrument of coercion. His kingdom was to be established to uplift and ennoble fallen humanity. {AG 15.2}

    To Adam, the offering of the first sacrifice was a most painful ceremony. His hand must be raised to take life, which only God could give. . . . As he slew the innocent victim, he trembled at the thought that his sin must shed the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. This scene gave him a deeper and more vivid sense of the greatness of his transgression, which nothing but the death of God's dear Son could expiate. And he marveled at the infinite goodness that would give such a ransom to save the guilty. {AG 15.3}

    The types and shadows of the sacrificial service, with the prophecies, gave the Israelites a veiled, indistinct view of the mercy and grace to be brought to the world by the revelation of Christ. . . . Only through Christ can man keep the moral law. By transgression of this law man brought sin into the world, and with sin came death. Christ became the propitiation for man's sin. He proffered His perfection of character in the place of man's sinfulness. He took upon Himself the curse of disobedience. The sacrifices and offerings pointed forward to the sacrifice He was to make. The slain lamb typified the Lamb that was to take away the sin of the world. . . . {AG 15.4}

    The law and the gospel are in perfect harmony. Each upholds the other. In all its majesty the law confronts the conscience, causing the sinner to feel his need of Christ as the propitiation for sin. The gospel recognizes the power and immutability of the law. "I had not known sin, but by the law" (Romans 7:7), Paul declares. The sense of sin, urged home by the law, drives the sinner to the Saviour. In his need man may present the mighty arguments furnished by the cross of Calvary. He may claim the righteousness of Christ; for it is imparted to every repentant sinner. {AG 15.5}


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    Chap. 8 - God's Kingdom in the Heart

    The government under which Jesus lived was corrupt and oppressive; on every hand were crying abuses--extortion, intolerance, and grinding cruelty. Yet the Saviour attempted no civil reforms. He attacked no national abuses, nor condemned the national enemies. He did not interfere with the authority or administration of those in power. He who was our example kept aloof from earthly governments. Not because He was indifferent to the woes of men, but because the remedy did not lie in merely human and external measures. To be efficient, the cure must reach men individually, and must regenerate the heart. {AG 16.2}

    Some of the Pharisees had come to Jesus demanding "when the kingdom of God should come" (Luke 17:20). More than three years had passed since John the Baptist gave the message that like a trumpet call had sounded through the land, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 3:2). And as yet these Pharisees saw no indication of the establishment of the kingdom. . . . {AG 16.3}

    Jesus answered, "The kingdom of God cometh not with outward show [margin]: neither shall they say, Lo here! or lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." The kingdom of God begins at the heart. Look not here or there for manifestations of earthly power to mark its coming. {AG 16.4}

    The works of Christ not only declared Him to be the Messiah, but showed in what manner His kingdom was to be established. . . . It comes through the gentleness of the inspiration of His word, through the inward working of His Spirit, the fellowship of the soul with Him who is its life. The greatest manifestation of its power is seen in human nature brought to the perfection of the character of Christ. . . . {AG 16.5}

    When God gave His Son to our world, He endowed human beings with imperishable riches--riches compared with which the treasured wealth of men since the world began is nothingness. Christ came to the earth and stood before the children of men with the hoarded love of eternity, and this is the treasure that, through our connection with Him, we are to receive, to reveal, and to impart. {AG 16.6}


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