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The God of Physics and Beauty

Whenever someone asks me about my job, I respond, ?I teach physics.? I often receive, in response, a puzzled look, as in, ?How can you like that subject, so full of boring laws and regulations?? But now I ask you, have you ever considered that without these laws, we would not be here on planet Earth? We?d simply fly around without touching the ground, since the law of gravity would not exist. However, God created this law during the Creation week (Genesis 1), along with all the others needed for order and structure with the sole purpose of ruling our existence. Not even one tiny essential detail was left out of this process.

Amazingly, our God of laws (as studied in physics) is also our God who loves array and aesthetics. Simply put, He also created?and loves?beauty. He took time to form the first woman, Eve, and made her exceedingly beautiful, designing every inch of her body. God?s love of beauty was evident throughout sacred history in the high priest?s breastplate (Exodus 28:17?20) and in Solomon?s temple, so full of beauty and splendor. And our ultimate place to worship Him for eternity will also be in the midst of gold, gemstones and geometry, brilliance, and beauty!

I?m looking forward to heaven, where we?ll worship God in the midst of precious stones. I?ll learn new laws of physics while basking in the beauty of the New Jerusalem. I try to imagine the twelve gemstones of the Holy City?s foundation, each one of a different color.

And physics will explain the perfection that we are seeing and enjoying with Him, our God of beauty, order, symmetry, and loving laws.

Will you not join me in worshiping Him? For only He is worthy to receive glory, honor, praise, blessings, wisdom, strength, and power! Amen! See you there!

LEARN MORE: https://adventistbookcenter.com/love-you-more-2017-women-s-devotional.html


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Focus

I stood in one corner of a university gym, watching an instructor teaching a class of enthusiastic, wiggly ten-year-olds how to do a half turn while jumping on the trampoline.

?See the exit sign on that wall straight ahead?? the instructor asked.

?Yes!? the kids eagerly responded, eager for the fun to begin.

?Now look all the way behind you,? the teacher continued. ?See the poster up there on that wall??

?Yes!? they all chorused, swiveling their heads to look around behind them to the opposite wall.

?Good!? said the teacher. ?Now, when it?s your turn, I want you to start jumping and, when you?re ready to turn around, first look at the exit sign right in front of you, then turn your head and look at the poster all the way behind you.?

One by one, each student tried the new maneuver.

Even though they had never done it before, when they followed the simple instructions to look straight ahead at the exit sign, then turn to look straight behind them at the poster, their bodies made the turn smoothly and easily.

Simply changing the focus of their gaze allowed them to effortlessly turn their whole body in the opposite direction.

In that experience, I saw again a lesson the Holy Spirit is patiently teaching me in ever deeper ways:

We move in the direction that we?re looking.

When we look at past failures, we move toward self-condemnation. When we      look at present difficult circumstances, we move toward discouragement.

But when we?re looking at Jesus, we?re moving toward joy. Toward a future and a hope. Toward safety and comfort and victory.

Dear God, may I take every step, pray every prayer, and live every moment looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. Amen.

LEARN MORE: https://adventistbookcenter.com/love-you-more-2017-women-s-devotional.html


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Creation P1

Genesis offers a simple and eloquent description of Creation?s closing day: ?And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done? (Genesis 2:2). Many creationists emphasize God?s work during the six days of Creation but neglect to recognize that God?s work did not end on the sixth day. It was the Sabbath day that ended His work of Creation. This is why He declared, ?The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath? (Mark 2:27). Jesus made this authoritative statement because He created the Sabbath as the eternal sign and seal of God?s covenant with His people. The Sabbath was not only for the Hebrew people but for all humanity. The Sabbath is unique. Unlike other measurements of time that were ordained by the relationship of the movements of created celestial bodies governing the year, the month, and the day, and seasons, the seven-day cycle of the week has no foundation in nature. It is based on God?s Creation week and its place and significance is founded solely on His Word and example.

Genesis 2:2, 3 goes on to indicate three things Jesus did after He created the Sabbath day. First, He ?rested,? setting a divine example of His desire to rest with us. Second, He ?blessed? the seventh day. It was not the principle of rest that God blessed but a specific day that He blessed. In the Creation narrative, animals are blessed (Genesis 1:22), and Adam and Eve are blessed (verse 28), but out of the days of Creation only the seventh day is blessed.

Third, God ?sanctified? it (Genesis 2:3) or ?made it holy? (verse 3, ESV) The implication is that He set it apart as a designated holy day for communion with His creation. As the Creator, this was His prerogative, not ours. No other day in the Bible receives these designations, only the seventh-day Sabbath.

LEARN MORE: https://adventistbookcenter.com/how-to-interpret-scripture-2q20-bible-bookshelf.html


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Creation: Genesis as Foundation P1

When God spake his law with an audible voice from Sinai, he introduced the Sabbath by saying, ?Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.? He then declares definitely what shall be done on the six days, and what shall not be done on the seventh. He then, in giving the reason for thus observing the week, points them back to his example on the first seven days of time. ?For in six days the Lordmade heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.? This reason appears beautiful and forcible when we understand the record of creation to mean literal days. The first six days of each week are given to man in which to labor, because God employed the same period of the first week in the work of creation. The seventh day God has reserved as a day of rest, in commemoration of his rest during the same period of time after he had performed the work of creation in six days.?Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, p. 90.

?The importance of the Sabbath as the memorial of creation is that it keeps ever present the true reason why worship is due to God??because He is the Creator, and we are His creatures. ?The Sabbath therefore lies at the very foundation of divine worship, for it teaches this great truth in the most impressive manner, and no other institution does this. The true ground of divine worship, not of that on the seventh day merely, but of all worship, is found in the distinction between the Creator and His creatures. This great fact can never become obsolete, and must never be forgotten.??J. N. Andrews, History of the Sabbath, chapter 27. It was to keep this truth ever before the minds of men, that God instituted the Sabbath in Eden; and so long as the fact that He is our Creator continues to be a reason why we should worship Him, so long the Sabbath will continue as its sign and memorial.?The Great Controversy, p. 437.

LEARN MORE: https://adventistbookcenter.com/how-to-interpret-scripture-ellen-g-white-notes-2q20.html


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God's Covenant Completed

Covenant? By using the old-fashioned word covenant, this book has shown that one way to stay ready for the Messiah?s second coming is to think about our relationship with God as a covenant. Like the covenant of marriage, which is an example used many times in Scripture to show God?s relationship to His people, our covenant with God needs ongoing attention and commitment.

God wants us to believe what is hard for us to believe. God?s love for us is beyond our comprehension (John 3:16). He wants to spend eternity with us in a loving relationship, in a perfect, beautiful environment. That is the intended result of the everlasting covenant (Revelation 21:1?27; 22:1?21). God?s remnant are those who enter into His covenant and who will experience the completion of that covenant. Today and for eternity, anyone can experience the results of God?s everlasting covenant.

Do you want to experience the completion of God?s covenant in your life? You can start that process right now by asking Jesus, the Jewish Messiah who is the heart of God?s everlasting covenant, to come into your heart. Tell Him you want to accept His atoning sacrifice for your sins and that you want to accept His covenant and have an eternal loving relationship with Him.

LEARN MORE: https://adventistbookcenter.com/the-power-of-a-promise.html


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Flying Gracefully

The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork. Job 39:13.

Wow! We?re still hiking through Job 39:13. Today we see another big bird?it?s the stork. Some kinds of storks can stand more than five feet tall. That?s a big bird. From today?s verse we see that the stork, unlike the ostrich, can fly. It flies so gracefully with its neck stretched out in front and its feet trailing behind it.

Flying gracefully. It?s like living gracefully. Do you know what living gracefully means? It means giving of yourself. Jesus has given us His grace, His gift of salvation. He came to this earth. He healed people. He helped them, and He taught them about His Father in heaven.

God wants us to give to others, too. He wants us to give of our time, our money, and ourselves to help those around us make it gracefully through each day. Most of all, God wants us to give Him to those around us. By the life we live and the words we say, He wants us to tell our friends and family about Him. He wants us to tell them so that one day we can all be winging our way gracefully through the sky and on our way to a heavenly home.

LEARN MORE:https://adventistbookcenter.com/hiking-with-jesus-2020-primary-devotional.html


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God's Love is Natural

God loves you.

Whether you love God, hate Him, or ignore Him doesn?t change the fact: God loves you!

Do those three words?God loves you?seem to you to be a pathetic, worn-out, crusty cliché or an overwhelming, transforming, vital truth? Instead of considering the statement only from your experience so far, look beyond yourself to the wider world around you. Evidence abounds. Life and wisdom and joy all come from God. If you?re looking for proof, try nature and the Bible.

In the world of nature, life produces life. Biologists aren?t the only ones wowed by this fact. Beauty, adaptation, survival, simplicity, reproduction, and consistency demonstrate God?s existence and His love for the world He created. Artists try to capture on canvas an image of the original. But what was the source of the original? And what sparks the artist to continue to create?

Consider the diversity and complexity in nature throughout the world. It seems that the more we human beings study, the more there is to discover. We don?t know it all?and never will. Books explaining nature must be revised, and new theories replace inadequate ones. How accurately can we even predict the weather? Clearly, something bigger than even our greatest achievements exists.


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Mother

I enjoy writing and designing the cards I give to my loved ones. I keep interesting magazine pictures, paper with different textures and colors, paper scraps, anything to use for different occasions: Mother?s Day, Father?s Day, birthdays, births, baptisms, Valentine?s Day, graduations, quinceañera celebrations (special celebration on a girl?s fifteenth birthday), engagements, weddings, and anniversaries.

I remember a time when I had so many commitments that I could not stop to reflect and write calmly as I like to do. After all, each message on each card is unique, special, and personalized. Also, I noticed that everybody at home was already up. I needed to finish my card. I read, reread, and finished the card just in time to share the special moments that day.

I also recall one Mother?s Day when my mother was greatly moved by the words that I wrote on her card! For all the mothers reading this devotional today, I want to share the message I gave to my mother on that long ago day. Here is what I wrote for her.

?The word mother has always been synonymous with love and giving. For nine months, a mother donates her body as a temporary nest with warmth, affection, and food for the growing child?and without charging rent. Then there is an intense and painful delivery of the baby from her womb into the world. She has to protect, feed, teach, and love that child. Her love cannot forget her child even for a minute. Her love does not miss opportunities to show affection, listen to, and advise her child. She has a love that impels her to pray and to nurture the object of her affection. Her love patiently waits to see what the future will bring for her children. And while she waits, she does everything she can to make good use of the time that she still has with them.?

Whether you are a biological mother, a spiritual mother, or both, I pray that today will be a day full of God?s love and special meaning for you, your children, and your family.


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Shishak

King Solomon was the most famous king in Palestine?s history, but within five years of his death his son, Rehoboam, was already losing face in the international community. Shishak, who was pharaoh of Egypt at the time, was one of the first to take advantage of the situation. He came up to Jerusalem and made Rehoboam pay tribute to avoid war. This was a direct fulfillment of prophecy against King Solomon for all the temples and shrines he had built to satisfy his wives in their worship of pagan idols. Jeroboam, one of Solomon?s government officers, had been in political exile in Egypt and, while there, had probably told Shishak about all the treasures in Jerusalem. The Bible says when Pharaoh showed up, he took everything of value: five hundred golden shields on the walls of the king?s armory and palace; all the gold and silver in the royal treasury; and many of the sacred treasures in Solomon?s magnificent temple. Probably the only thing left behind was the ark of God?s covenant. That must have been hard for the people in Jerusalem! They had followed Solomon?s example in worshiping pagan idols, and now God?s protecting hand had been removed.

But what if Shishak had arrived in Jerusalem to find Rehoboam and his court praying for help in this time of crisis? In that case God might have allowed Shishak to take the shields of gold but perhaps asked him to spare the temple treasures. Or maybe Shishak would have taken nothing at all. But it?s all a moot point. Shishak found no one calling on God, and as he marched out of Jerusalem it was clear the glory days of David and Solomon were in the rearview mirror.


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Language, Text, and Context

Words have power. They can rouse people from disobedience to faithful allegiance. At a pivotal point in Israel?s history, Joshua urged God?s people to action: ?Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord? (Joshua 24:15). These powerful words shaped the course of a nation and kept Israel in the center of God?s plan. However, words can also wreak havoc when used to deceive and destroy. Centuries earlier in the Garden of Eden, Satan lured Eve with the deceptive line, ?Has God indeed said, ?You shall not eat of every tree of the garden??? (Genesis 3:1).

After Adam and Eve fell to Satan?s temptation, God continued to communicate with humankind. Prophets and writers recorded the history and theology of Creation, the Fall, the plan of redemption, and the promise of restoration. Writing in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, they used languages unfamiliar to most modern readers. For this reason, it is essential to understand how translation affects our understanding today. Biblical words are packed with significance and often have a range of meaning based on their context. A sentence, a chapter, a book of the Bible, or possibly the whole of Scripture can influence the specific meaning of a text. Understanding these nuances in the original languages clarifies and enriches the message of the Bible. By way of example, the following study of Scripture?s remnant concept will demonstrate how meaning can be derived from the broader context of the Bible.


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Understanding the Scriptures

In the Word of God is contained everything essential to the perfecting of the man of God. It is like a treasure house, full of valuable and precious stores, but we do not appreciate its riches nor realize the necessity of equipping ourselves with the treasures of truth. We do not realize the great necessity of searching the Scriptures for ourselves. Many neglect the study of the Word of God in order to pursue some worldly interest or to indulge in some trifling pleasure. . . . Oh, we might better put off anything of an earthly character than the investigation of the Word of God, which is able to make us wise unto life eternal. ?Given by inspiration of God,? . . . the Book of books has the highest claims to our reverent attention. . . .

The understanding takes the level of the things with which it becomes familiar. If all would make the Bible their study, we would see a people who were better developed, who were capable of thinking more deeply, who would manifest greater intelligence than those who have earnestly studied apart from the Bible the sciences and histories of the world. The Bible gives the true seeker for truth an advanced mental discipline, and he comes from contemplation of divine things with his faculties enriched; self is humbled, while God and His revealed truth are exalted.?In Heavenly Places, p. 133.


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The Priesthood of Christ in Luther and Adventism

One of the most meaningful themes of Scripture is the sanctuary and its services. This theme flows from the early patriarchal altars through the Mosaic tabernacle and the temple of Jerusalem. It reaches its climax at Christ?s sacrifice on the cross and His priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. The sanctuary is the abiding place of God (Exodus 25:8; Isaiah 6:1; Revelation 11:19), the depository of His law (Exodus 25:16; 31:18; Revelation 11:19), and the place where salvation is available to all (Hebrews 4:14?16; 1 John 2:1, 2).81 Luther confessed, ?Nothing in Scripture is more comforting than what is said about the priestly office of our dear Christ.?82 And Ellen White added, ?The correct understanding of the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary is the foundation of our faith.?83

According to Luther, Christ offered Himself as a single, self-sufficient, and unrepeatable atoning sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. At the right hand of God, Christ now ?make[s] atonement for us [Heb. 9:12],?84 and He ?continues to present His sacrifice to the Father, to plead for us without ceasing, until the end of the world.?85 Luther claimed that the Catholic papacy and priesthood attempted to overthrow Christ?s sacrifice on the cross and His heavenly priesthood.

Adventists resonate with Luther?s view of the atoning nature of both Christ?s sacrifice on the cross and His priesthood in heaven. Luther limited the heavenly priesthood exclusively to the biblical image of God?s throne. Adventists see Christ?s priesthood as taking place within a real heavenly sanctuary or temple, which is comprised of two compartments?a Holy Place and a Most Holy Place?or at least of two distinct phases. In 1844, at the end of the 2,300 symbolic evenings and mornings of Daniel 8:14, Christ began a special work of pre-Advent investigative judgment (Daniel 7:9?14; Revelation 11:19; 14:6, 7).


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