Friday, February 3, 2012

Ascensions & Farewells

Today's reading--chapter 87--was a bit of a bittersweet read for me. Oh, it was just as good as the other chapters, but it's a bit sad that today is the very last day of the readathon. :(

I don't know about you, but I have just been blessed beyond measure by reading through Desire of Ages over the past--wow, can you believe it--three months. Back in 2010 when I read the entire Conflict of the Ages series through in a year, I had singled Desire of Ages out as my favorite book. It's hard to explain if you haven't experienced it, but...there just a pull to it. You don't want to put it down! Mrs. White brings out so many wonderful points about the life of Christ, and I feel like I have learned so many new things this second time around. So with thus said, it is a bit bittersweet that this readathon ends!

Today's reading--chapter 87--is very good as usual. The focus is on Jesus' accession, and how He encouraged and edified His disciples before He took off. He repeated His teachings, and reminded them of His promises. When Jesus did ascend into heaven, and the disciples came back into Jerusalem, people expected them to be downcast and sad. But no! They were excited and hopeful. They had received a promise that Jesus would come again, and He had left them with a job to do. So they went up into the upper room, following Jesus' directions.

Are you ready for Jesus to come back? He promised that He would, and He always keeps His promises. You aren't ready? Then get ready! Surrender your life to God, and ask Him to come into your heart and be the Lord of your life. He will help you know how to get ready, so you can go home with Him someday very soon!

As I mentioned before, this is the last day of the readathon. We won't be reading any more books together, and gathering on this blog and Facebook to share our thoughts. (but on that note, PLEASE let me know via this blog or FB what you thought of this readthon! I'd love to know!) But one day soon, we can be together again soon. I'm talking about when Jesus comes back to take His children home! And then we won't just be reading or discussing about Jesus. We can talk with Him face to face, and learn even more wonderful things about our Savior!

I want to be there. How about you? Will you promise to meet me there at the feet of Jesus someday very soon?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spreading the Good News

Wow--I don't know about you, but many times throughout this Readathon I have been amazed at how well Mrs. White writes. At the hidden gems of truth that she brings out, that I would've never known. Today's chapter--#86--is one of those chapters! It's entitled "Go teach all nations", and centers around Jesus meeting a bunch of His followers in Galilee, post-resurrection.

To all who were gathered there (about five hundred people!!) Jesus gave what we now know as the Great Commission:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:18-20

Everyone, Mrs. White said, has a "nitch" in this commission. Some people are called overseas, to labor far away from home. Others are called to minister closer afield, to their family, friends, and communities. Some people are called to be pastors, others to friendship evangelism. Some are called to Internet ministry, others to going door to door. That's certainly not an exhaustive list of how to serve God, but that's not my point. My point is that there are many different ways that we can serve God and witness for Him--not just by being pastors, although they are needed too.

""The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come." Rev. 22:17. Everyone who hears is to repeat the invitation. Whatever one's calling in life, his first interest should be to win souls for Christ. He may not be able to speak to congregations, but he can work for individuals. To them he can communicate the instruction received from his Lord. Ministry does not consist alone in preaching. Those minister who relieve the sick and suffering, helping the needy, speaking words of comfort to the desponding and those of little faith. Nigh and afar off are souls weighed down by a sense of guilt. It is not hardship, toil, or poverty that degrades humanity. It is guilt, wrongdoing. This brings unrest and dissatisfaction. Christ would have His servants minister to sin-sick souls." (page 822)

Everyone has their own unique way to share God with others. In what way do you accomplish this task? If you haven't started doing this yet, well, get started! Think of your talents and abilities, and then prayerfully consider ways that you can spread the Good News of God. I promise that you won't regret it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

By the Sea Once More


1 Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee.[a] It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus[b]), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
 5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
   “No,” they answered.
 6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.[c] 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them,“Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. 14 This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead.
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter,“Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
   Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
 16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
   He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”
   Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”
 17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
   Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
   
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

~John 21:1-19


Even if (when) we mess up, Jesus still loves us. Do you love & follow Jesus?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Choosing to Believe

Today's reading is Chapter 84--entitled, "Peace be Unto You". As you might suspect, the chapter tells about how Jesus comes to the disciples, which are very much afraid. Before Jesus says anything else, He says "Peace be Unto You". Wow!

This chapter continues chronicling the reports about Jesus' resurrection that keep coming in. The disciples pretty much stay in the upper room, with a barred door, fearing that the fate of their Master will be theirs soon. The two disciples from Emmaus enter and tell their story, and all of the disciples share the reports that they have heard. And then, a form appears in front of them...

"Peace be Unto You..."

Unfortunately, the disciple Thomas wasn't present at this meeting, and lost this chance to see the risen Jesus. When the others told him about what they had seen, he refused to believe. It was about a week later when Jesus appeared again, and Thomas was present. Thomas did believe, but only after his conditions of believing (touching his hand to where the nails and spear scarred Jesus' body) were met. At that time, Jesus gave Thomas a gentle rebuke and said that


"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." ~John 20:29


That's my challenge for you today. There's plenty of evidence that Jesus is alive, gone to heaven, and is coming back to take us home soon. But will you believe it?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Inviting Him Home

Today's reading--Chapter 83--is really special to me. Why? Because it covers one of my favorite stories!

Here's the setup. Two of Jesus' disciples had come to Jerusalem for Passover. They had seen all the things that had happened to Jesus, and were terribly heartbroken. One of them was named Cleopas. Neither one of them were prominent disciples, but earnest believers nonetheless. It was three days after Jesus' crucifixion, and sadly these two men turned their steps towards home, in a small town named Emmaus about eight miles away from Jerusalem.

As they are walking along, this Stranger comes up from behind them and asks why they are downcast and sad. They explain, and this Stranger seems like He is from outside of Jerusalem, and doesn't know anything of what has happened over the course of the past few days. So Cleopas and his friend tell this Stranger what has happened, and with quivering lips add how they hoped this Man was the nation's long-looked for Messiah. Jesus, who is this Stranger walking with them, (but they don't know it) starts explaining the prophecies concerning Himself all the way from Moses on down. What a sermon that would've been! The hearts of Cleopas and his friend burned, but they still didn't realize that it was Jesus.

Eventually the trio reached the exit for Emmaus, and Jesus made it seem like He was going on further. The friends still didn't know Who it was, but they had enjoyed this Man's teaching so much that they invited Him home for supper. As Jesus blessed the meal, the friends' eyes were opened--they had seen the risen Savior! But right at that moment, Jesus disappearred from their sight.

But supper was long forgotten now. They had seen the risen Savior! The sun had set by now, but they eagerly raced for the road to Jerusalem, daring to run as fast as they could over the rocky way. Behind them unseen, Jesus kept them safe. In Jerusalem the two men eagerly told the Twelve of the experience they had just had. I just love this quote from page 801:

"The night is dark, but the Sun of Righteousness is shining upon them. Their hearts leap for joy. They seem to be in a new world. Christ is a living Saviour. They no longer mourn over Him as dead. Christ is risen--over and over again they repeat it. This is the message they are carrying to the sorrowing ones. They must tell them the wonderful story of the walk to Emmaus. They must tell who joined them by the way. They carry the greatest message ever given to the world, a message of glad tidings upon which the hopes of the human family for time and for eternity depend." 

And they realized Who that Stranger was all because they invited Him home. Have you invited Jesus to the home of your heart? You'll learn wonderful things from doing that which you'll never learn by just walking the road with Him!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"Why Weepest Thou?"

Today's reading is Chapter 82, entitled "Why Weepest Thou?" It covers the reactions of several people learning that Jesus is risen from the dead.

First of all, there's the women who come to the tomb early Sunday morning, to anoint their Lord with special spices. But they can't! Two angels are at the tomb to meet them, telling them the glad news. Immediately, they scamper away to tell the disciples, who aren't too sure. Is this just another fabricated story? Could this be too good to be true?

And then there's Mary Magdalene, who stays by the tomb weeping in sorrow. Through tear-stained eyes she sees a Man, but does not realize Who it is. She asks Him where people have taken Jesus' body. But then--

"Mary!"

And then she realizes--Jesus IS alive, that was Him talking to her! Speeding along her way, she hurries to tell the disciples the latest.

But the disciples are still leery to believe these stories, and that's the lesson that I felt that I got out of this chapter. Sure, Jesus is alive and risen from the dead! That's wonderful! But did the disciples believe it? Would you have believed it? Will you believe what Jesus says, today?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

JESUS IS ALIVE!!!!!!!!!


JESUS IS ALIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK, so maybe I'm going a little crazy, but after all those sad chapters about Jesus being crucified, the Good News (chapter 81) couldn't have come at a better time! Just think about it for a minute. Jesus is NOT in the tomb anymore! He's ALIVE!!!!!!! 

Above is a video of the resurrection scene in an Easter pageant I have been able to attend for the past several years. The guy who shot this did an excellent job, but it's nothing like being there in real life! (Which gets me thinking...nothing will be like being with Jesus in real life!!!!!) I still get tears in my eyes when I watch this (months after attending)--as you watch it, think about how amazing the real resurrection was, and how wonderful it is that Jesus really IS alive!! Why don't you say a prayer of gratitude right now?