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Carry a Load

Since humans were made as independent creatures, much of what you do in life, you do alone. You feel pain, think thoughts, and store memories in a unique, individual way. You might struggle with cancer, but even when you share your experience with another person with cancer, your own story stands independent of theirs. It?s strange to say this, but in one sense it?s true: you will live your life on your own.

In Galatians 6:2, Paul directs believers to the high calling of community and to ?carry each other?s burdens,? and yet later in the passage, he adds: ?If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load? (Galatians 6:3?5; emphasis added). Whatever you do to cultivate a sense of community, you still have to act as one person.

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His Comparison

Sometimes forgiveness seems out of reach, especially when tragedy strikes. That?s why a little word in the Lord?s Prayer gives us trouble. Both in the original language and in English, the word has only two letters, yet it makes all the difference in the world. ?Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors? (Matthew 6:12).

If we are not willing to forgive our neighbor from our hearts, Jesus says that His Father will not forgive us either (see Matthew 18:35). Forgiveness does not mean to stay in harmful situations; it does not remove the accountability of the debtor nor does it necessarily restore a relationship. Forgiveness is to release in our hearts the other person?s moral debt to us, and it is often a process. Jesus died for us, and He died for them. ?We are not forgiven because we forgive, but as we forgive. The ground of all forgiveness is found in the unmerited love of God, but by our attitude toward others we show whether we have made that love our own.?? So how can we possibly extend this forgiveness to others? Those who have been forgiven by grace, are given the grace to forgive.

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The Cost of Rest

Those who take Christ at His word, and surrender their souls to His keeping, their lives to His ordering, will find peace and quietude. Nothing of the world can make them sad when Jesus makes them glad by His presence. In perfect acquiescence there is perfect rest. The Lord says, ?Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.? Isaiah 26:3. Our lives may seem a tangle; but as we commit ourselves to the wise Master Worker, He will bring out the pattern of life and character that will be to His own glory. And that character which expresses the glory?character?of Christ will be received into the Paradise of God. A renovated race shall walk with Him in white, for they are worthy. ?The Desire of Ages, p. 331.

No man can impart that which he himself has not received. In the work of God, humanity can originate nothing. No man can by his own effort make himself a light bearer for God. . . . It is the love of God continually transferred to man that enables him to impart light. Into the hearts of all who are united to God by faith the golden oil of love flows freely, to shine out again in good works, in real, heartfelt service for God. ?Christ?s Object Lessons, pp. 418, 419.

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The Cost of Rest

Sin is costly and causes disruption. It also generates restlessness deep down in our hearts. We intuitively know that we need something more. The biblical narrative connecting Eden to the new earth is full of stories that illustrate the destructive force of sin while, at the same time, highlighting God?s abundant grace and His commitment to save His fallen creation. Right in the middle of all this, we find the law. The law is not something disconnected from God. The formal giving of the law on Mount Sinai was closely associated with God?s self-revelation. God?s law is intimately connected to His character, for it makes explicit the values and principles of the Lawgiver that have existed from eternity.

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The Sabbatarian Adventist theological package

From 1848 to 1850, [early Sabbatarian Adventist pioneers] held several dozen Bible conferences. The nature of these conferences caused Adventist historian C. Mervyn Maxwell to dub them the ?Sabbath and Sanctuary Conferences.? In reality, at these meetings, the five pillar doctrines of Sabbatarian Adventism coalesced into an integrated theological package:

  1. The second coming of Christ
  2. The seventh- day Sabbath
  3. The nonimmortality of the soul
  4. The priestly ministry of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary
  5. The end- time bestowal of the gift of prophecy

Together these five pillar doctrines would become the theological core of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Today, we refer to them as the five S doctrines because each of them begins with the letter S: Second Coming, Sabbath, state of the dead, sanctuary, and spirit of prophecy. Sabbatarian Adventism continued to refine and develop the Adventist theological package, but it never moved away from these five pillar doctrines.

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Stolen Eggs

Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay is the man who gains riches by unjust means. When his life is half gone, they will desert him, and in the end he will prove to be a fool. Jeremiah 17:11. Do you hear it?that low whistle? Wait a minute. I know who that is?it?s Mr. Quail. A quail is a bird that is often called a partridge, and by the sounds of today?s verse he?s got a mean streak. It seems Mr. Quail Partridge is a bit of a thief. He?s stolen eggs that another bird laid. But today?s verse also says that things don?t turn out too well for Mr. Partridge. The eggs he stole from another bird will hatch. The children he thought he had will leave him. He?ll be a lonely Mr. Partridge after all.

Our Bible says that being a thief just isn?t worth it. Some people steal because they think they just have to have more things. But those things will leave them. Most people who steal get caught; they lose others? respect; they end up without friends and very lonely. Always be honest. Don?t take what belongs to someone else. God will give you all the blessings you need.

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The Rich Man and the Beggar

There are today close beside us many who are hungry, naked, and homeless. A neglect to impart of our means to these needy, suffering ones places upon us a burden of guilt which we shall one day fear to meet. All covetousness is condemned as idolatry. All selfish indulgence is an offense in God?s sight.  

The parable of the rich man and Lazarus shows how the two classes represented by these men are estimated in the unseen world. There is no sin in being rich if riches are not acquired by injustice. A rich man is not condemned for having riches, but condemnation rests upon him if the means entrusted to him is spent in selfishness. Far better might he lay up his money beside the throne of God, by using it to do good. Death cannot make any man poor who thus devotes himself to seeking eternal riches. But the man who hoards his treasure for self can not take any of it to heaven. He has proved himself to be an unfaithful steward. During his lifetime he had his good things, but he was forgetful of his obligation to God. He failed of securing the heavenly treasure.

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Generosity Toward All

God has His people in areas and in "flocks" that we know nothing of, and with the humility of Jesus we should be reaching out to other Christians and encouraging them in their spiritual journey, all the while, refraining from statements and actions that offend other Christians who claim to be followers of Jesus, yet do not live their relationship with Christ exactly as we do. These gospel stories invite us to generosity toward all who claim to be followers of Jesus.

Christ's high priestly prayer in John 17 is a reminder that He is still concerned about Christian unity today. His focus is not on organiational or structural unity, but on unity in faith, truth, and love. His prayer should be ours as we seek to solidify our faith in His sanctifying Word. Surely, love for one another should characterize our relationship with fellow Christians, however diverse our understanding of the gospel may be.

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Light, Peace, Serenity

Have a place for secret prayer. Jesus had select places for communion with God, and so should we. We need often to retire to some spot, however humble, where we can be alone with God.

The soul that turns to God for its help, its support, its power, by daily, earnest prayer, will have noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth and duty, lofty purposes of action, and a continual hungering and thirsting after righteousness. By maintaining a connection with God, we shall be enabled to diffuse to others, through our association with them, the light, the peace, the serenity, that rule in our hearts. The strength acquired in prayer to God, united with persevering effort in training the mind in thoughtfulness and care-taking, prepares one for daily duties and keeps the spirit in peace under all circumstances.

Religion must begin with emptying and purifying the heart, and must be nurtured by daily prayer.

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The Roots of Restlessness

How often our service to Christ, our communion with one another, is marred by the secret desire to exalt self! How ready the thought of self-gratulation, and the longing for human approval! It is the love of self, the desire for an easier way than God has appointed that leads to the substitution of human theories and traditions for the divine precepts. To His own disciples the warning words of Christ are spoken, ?Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees.?

The religion of Christ is sincerity itself. Zeal for God?s glory is the motive implanted by the Holy Spirit; and only the effectual working of the Spirit can implant this motive. Only the power of God can banish self-seeking and hypocrisy. This change is the sign of His working. When the faith we accept destroys selfishness and pretense, when it leads us to seek God?s glory and not our own, we may know that it is of the right order. ?Father, glorify Thy name? (John 12:28), was the keynote of Christ?s life, and if we follow Him, this will be the keynote of our life. ?The Desire of Ages, p. 409.

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The Root of Restlessness

Restlessness often functions as ?the tip of the iceberg? in our lives, but we may not always recognize the underlying problem causing this restlessness. We mostly see what is apparent. When we look more carefully, we may see slightly beyond the apparent. Perfect vision, however, is twenty-twenty vision, with no blind spots or cataracts. Gaining this vision in our spiritual lives requires outside help.

God?s Word offers some encouraging insights, and we would do well to remember these affirmations?even when we try to make sense of the world and our place in it.

For you created my inmost being;

you knit me together in my mother?s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful,

I know that full well (Psalm 139:13, 14).

We are wanted and we are created?that is the starting point of our journey with God. We are not accidents or mishaps. God made us, and He made us wonderfully. In spite of our rebellious DNA, He is still invested heavily in us. He knows us and loves us in spite of what we have done.

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Our Only Safety

Whatever the position we are called to fill, our only safety is in walking humbly with God. The man who glories in his supposed capabilities, in his property, in his position of power, in his wisdom, or in anything else than Christ, will be taken into Satan's net. Not a ray of glory is to be diverted to any human agent. . . .

No man is so high in power and authority but that Satan will assail him with temptation. And the more responsible the position a man occupies, the fiercer and more determined are the assaults of the enemy. Let God's servants in every place study His Word, looking constantly to Jesus, that they may be changed into His image. The inexhaustible fullness and the all-sufficiency of Christ are at our command if we walk before God in humility and contrition.

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