Sunday, May 27, 2012

Defeated by Song

Song is a forceful weapon with the ability to either defeat the enemy or dishonor our Creator. Unfortunately most of the world experiences the negative connotation and only a few the positive. Nearly all are blinded to its massive influence on our lives.

We can have so much more power than we now possess, just through song…

Temptation would hold no sway. Trials would be turned to triumph. Victory would be assured.

The secret?

Christ knew it well and employed it often. In becoming part of humanity He subjected Himself to every temptation to which we are subjected today. And He was frequently tempted. Yet He never succumbed to the enticement of the enemy.

“When in His youth His associates would try to lead Him to do wrong, He [Christ] would begin to sing some sweet melody, and the first thing they knew they were uniting with Him in singing the song. They caught His spirit, and the enemy was defeated.”*

He drove back the enemy, meeting the temptation with a song.
And not only did His companions cease their invitations to evil, they joined with Him in song…

Throughout His life, Christ employed this simple yet effective weapon against temptation. Picture His clear, melodious voice rising above the din of the crowds, in the midst of scoffers, in situations of peril, gloom or fear. I wish I could have been there. Heard it. Seen it. Experienced it.

Yet that same tool can be ours today, with the same results…

“God wants us to use every facility which Heaven has provided for resisting the enemy.”**

By God's grace, I’m determined to more intentionally utilize this weapon against temptations.
To sing until the enemy is defeated…

Will you join me?

* Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 235
** Evangelism, 498

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Learning to Love…

I have a keen dislike for filth, disease and chaos. And most everyone else I know feels the same. Yet recently I have been impelled to reexamine my attitude toward these very things.

This world is steeped in the results of sin. There is no doubt about that. Everywhere I turn I see hurting exemplifications of humanity. And what I see doesn’t even scratch the surface…

It pains my heart.

Kirsten Dysinger

I wonder why
Why was I allowed the privilege of a happy, normal home while the majority of the world exist with dysfunctional homes, destructive addictions, unfathomable poverty, gruesome wars, mistreatment, persecution, and other things I shudder to mention?

Glesni Mason

Then I pause and reconsider my own life… and I realize that I am just as impoverished and despicable as the most degraded of today’s society. Maybe more…

How can God love such an utterly miserable, disfigured person as myself? What motivated Him to risk all, to relinquish incomprehensible glory and power so that he might stoop to my debased level and save me? How could He discern the potential for beauty beneath my grime and wretchedness? 

Yet if He sees beauty in my ugliness, shouldn’t I learn to see beauty in ugliness too? I’m not talking about cherishing the condition. I mean seeing the capacity for beauty beneath the condition, unconditionally loving despite any unsightly externals.

Hasn’t He entrusted me with the responsibility to love the unlovable, the disfigured, the calloused, the abnormal, the dirty, the uncouth? Haven’t I been instructed to view every individual through the eyes of God, as a precious treasure?

Glesni Mason
Glesni Mason 
Oh, let me love as Christ loves.
Open my eyes to see the treasure beneath layers of filth, deformity, guilt and pain…

And let me remember that every life matters…

Glesni Mason
Glesni Mason
Glesni Mason
How can you not love these faces?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stamped with the Cross

 “All the blessings of this life and of the life to come are delivered to us stamped with the cross of Calvary.” {Christ’s Object Lessons, 362}

Not a blessing does God give without an inscription of the cross, concealed or visible. And He often proves adversity to be my greatest blessing.

Hardship and suffering are not situations I particularly desire.
In fact, my human flesh naturally recoils at the thought of sorrow or pain.

I was not originally created to ever experience these consequences of sin. Yet since the fall, these are Christ’s chosen instruments to purge my character from the traces of evil.

I stop and desperately attempt to consider sin with an eternal mindset…

In the light of Calvary, is there anything in my life worth holding onto?
Is there anything too dear for me to relinquish?

I can think of nothing…

Then why do I shrink from the approaching sound of adversity's footsteps? Why do I not embrace the pain, the heartache, the sorrow with unconditional gratitude? They are but a gift of love from my Father, a blessing stamped with the cross…

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Staked for Fulfillment

Glory. Honor. Heaven. All at risk of being nullified. And by what? A promise of faithfulness… And to whom? Unworthy, sinful beings who call this blighted earth home.

Just as Christ risked all Heaven when He stooped to uplift fallen humanity, He yet again puts the whole of eternity on the line.

“The honor of His throne is staked for the fulfillment of His word unto us.” {Christ’s Object Lessons, 148}

Everything is staked on the fruition of a promise. If His word fails, even once, the entire plan of salvation will be obliterated forever. Yet Christ will jeopardize the honor of His throne merely to offer us the choice of eternal life.

This sacrifice cannot be taken lightly. He has pledged the entirety of heaven’s resources to secure our deliverance. Will we not risk every earthly loss for heavenly gain?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Gift Called Grace

Grace: an attribute of God shown to undeserving human beings.*

There are but few attributes of God’s character shown to fallen man alone. Included in this special handful is grace. The only qualification for reception is unworthiness. The only prerequisite, sin.

Sin necessitates grace. We do not pursue grace, instead grace is sent in search of us. And it is when grace comes knocking at our doors that we are expected to respond.

God’s highest joy is to bestow the gift of grace on undeserving mortals. Yet there must be a mutual transaction. When God freely gives, we must reciprocate by graciously accepting.

"We are debtors to the world for the grace given us of God…"**

Will others see glimpses of grace in you? 

* Heavenly Places, 34 
** Christian Service, 10