The Pathfinder Investiture service will be held on 17th December 2016. All the Master Guides please come prepared with your uniforms. Thank you!
Jacob was running away from his brother, Esau1. He tricked his father, cheated on his brother and seized the birth right blessing. Jacob got all he wanted, but that neither brought him joy nor contentment. He had to leave all he owned, all he had ever known and loved in order to save his life. He was out all alone, guilty, afraid and lonely. The ladders he had erected only emptied him instead of bringing satisfaction. The plans he made back-fired. Though he knew that God had assured them that the birth right blessing was his, yet he still went ahead and worked it out his own way.Contemplating on the words of our New Testament professor, a challenge arose that questioned the reason of our calling. As we read the epistles to Timothy, our professor brought to our focus the challenges we would face as young pastors. It was then my thoughts were directed to ‘the ladder’ and its significance in our lives.
That is when self-made ladders pop up! We all erect many ladders each day. But unfortunately there is an end to our self-made ladders. We needn’t be afraid though, for at the end of our ladders we find God’s stairway. The stairway in Jacob’s dream represents Jesus Christ. Christ bridged the gulf that sin had created, with His own body.
This dream was a beam of hope to Jacob. Through this dream the gospel was preached to him. Even so, to this day, Christ is the only resort to the hopeless, the homeless and the wandering. He does not only become the ladder, but sends His angels and the Holy Spirit to minister to us on our way up.
We see a ladder of progression in the life of Jacob. He learnt to obey God’s leading and God prospered Him. People recognized the presence of God in his life. He lived in harmony with God’s word which was reflected in his relationship with others. Jacob not only made peace with himself, but also with his brother, Esau. At the end, when his time had come, he was able to cling on to God’s promises in faith as he blessed his children, even though he sojourned and died in a foreign land.2
Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:5 portrays the ladder of a Christian’s progress. Every step represents advancement in the knowledge of God. Faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity are the upward rounds of the ladder. These virtues grow together and fully reveal the character of Christ. We are saved by climbing step after step until we reach the height of Christ’s ideal for us.3
As I sat in that class that day, I was convinced that everyone needed to know of this “Ladder.” Man has tirelessly put all his efforts to achieve the impossible only to find himself weary at the end of the day, only to find himself longing for more. If only these longing souls knew of Christ, the only Ladder we could count on, this world would be different. You and I are called to lead these souls to this “Ladder.” Let’s stop convincing God to be part of our ladders, but let’s accept His stairway and start living it.
1. Genesis 27:1-30 (NIV)
2. Nichol Francis D., “The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary (Vol. 7)”. (Hagerstown, MD: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1980), 475.
3. White Ellen G., “Peter’s counsel to parents”. (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1981), 56.
Most of us have sung the chorus “As the deer panteth for the water, so soul longeth after thee.” This song is based on Ps 42 and 43. The psalm depicts a deer emerging from the safety of trees and approaching the stream cautiously. The image is of the animal trying to stretch its neck towards the water from as far as possible. It is a gently picture, but charged with suspense. We can almost feel the thirst of a dry mouth either from a hot run, or a slow drying from lack of sufficient water. We may ask why the deer does not just rush to stream and quench its thirst. It is because of fear of enemies. It cannot drink without caution.
We are to understand that the deer is the psalmist, and the water is the Lord. The psalmist thirsty for the Lord but in the psalm he does not get water but only his tears. This is because he is separated from God, and his enemies taunt him saying “Where is your God?” (42:3) He also recalls his visits to the temple saying “I used to go.” (42:4)
What keeps a person from going to church? Some Israelites were exiled in Babylon and couldn’t worship at their temple. Perhaps the psalmist had drifted away from God. Perhaps something had upset him and in his anger he stayed away from the assembling of God’s people. But there remained in his heart a deep longing for God. Sometimes in our travels we are unable to locate a church and miss a service. Sometimes sickness keeps us away.
The psalmist addresses himself as though he was two people. He said “”Why are you cast down?” (42:5,11; 43:5) When you are discouraged, ask “why?” Searching out the cause for sorrow is often the best step to healing. Not knowing why we are depressed magnifies the problem. A clearer view makes the monsters smaller. Knowing the cause we might realize that it is not enough to get me down so much.
. Various things depress us: misunderstandings with friends or family, approaching deadlines, poor performance in school or work.
In his depression the psalmist said “Deep calls to Deep.” (42:7) The waves and billows are probably the pressure of and emotions of his situation. He was drowning in despair. One wave followed another. It does not have to be many waves. One or two big waves is enough.
The foothills of Mt Herman are where the Jordan begins. Jordan, the name is derived from the word “to descend.” It flows to the lowest spot on earth, the Dead Sea. Deep calling to deep is probably the sound of crashing waterfalls cascading down Herman connecting the deep above to the deep below. The psalmist is overwhelmed by his helplessness as he hears the waterfall. He imagines that deeps have joined hands against him.
Israelites hated the sea. Many psalms contain the phrase “Sing O coastlands!” Israelites rejoiced to get ashore again. Several psalms describe deliverance from the ocean billows, struggling to recover when pushed down by another wave. Fatigue takes over and the struggling one has no other hope than God and a miracle.
The psalms depict God as a rock—that is the opposite image of water. They describe God as lifting one out of the pit, the mud and the slime, Setting the feet on a rock, and giving him a firm place to stand (Ps 40:2) Ps 61:1 asks God to Lead me to the Rock that is higher.” Psalm 62:2 describes God as the Rock of salvation. Interestingly in the wilderness God produced water of out a rock twice. The Rock can provide water to slake your thirst.
On the cross Jesus cried out “I thirst.” It may not have been only for water, but due to separation from the Father. Could our bodies be thirsting more than we suspect? Are we drinking enough Water of Life? Those who know tell us that we usually do not drink enough water. We need to drink more than we feel like in order to prevent thirst. Discouragement is symptom of separation from God. When we feel depressed or discouraged we need to turn to God. However, unlike the deer, there is no need for caution or fear, for God nothing can harm us in God’s presence.
Nancy Mattison Mack
“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near; Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6,7.
A while ago my husband surprised me with 4 cocoons. We put them into a container to watch and see when they would become butterflies. The next day I went to check on them. One had come out of its cocoon, but something was not right – he was not able to open up, he was deformed, unable to fly and soon the butterfly died. I was so very sad. “why?”, was the question running through my mind. The next day one more cocoon opened up and what a delight this one was. The butterfly was perfect and was able to fly. We took it outside and watch it fly up into the heavens.
This made me think of about how sometimes we as people do not grow in the right way in our spiritual life. We are not able to fly toward God because we become crippled in the love of the sin of this world. We choose to live in the world and take part in evil ways. So we become like the deformed butterfly.
Would it not be better if we let God into our lives, where we would have Him shelter us in this sinful world, where we could fly like the butterfly in our spiritual walk? When the time comes we will be able to live in happiness for eternity.
Soon you and I will be gathered up into the clouds to see our Father in the land of pure delight. It is time to completely trust Jesus to see us through. As we lean on Him, the rough patches along the way will seem less fearful. When days seem not to be treating us well, let us “Hold on”! It won’t be long now when we will fly like the butterfly, our sins covered by Jesus, looking towards heaven and seeing that our Lord has come.
The “PURE DELIGHT” of seeing our Lord
How would it be to get a bat’s eye view of the world? May be we should hang upside down to check it out for ourselves? Well, not really – at least not in my case – because I had got most things upside down anyway. From Sunday to Sabbath, from church to workplace, I’d got them all upside down. Here’s a few of them.
I was a zealous Sabbath-keeper – which means, I could easily switch on the Sabbath modeevery Friday evening and switch it off the next evening. Our whole family would be upset if things were not ready before sunset.There was tension every Friday evening – and Sabbath was supposed to be a delight! I didn’t realize that Sabbath was fast becoming a burden instead of being a blessing. At college, once I even told a lie to get a Sabbath off. (Some even pay bribes to keep certain events away from falling on the Sabbath.) Upside down! Is this what God wants? Keeping the Sabbath is good but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the other nine commandments or the other things God wants us to do.
I don’t know how this thought got into my head that I must ‘set an example’ to others. So I started to follow all health principles and became a vegan. It didn’t last long though. Why? I’d got it upside down. It was not God making the changes because I accepted Him, but it was I who was making changes so He would accept me.God is calling us to go to Him just as we are so He can change us the way He wants us to be. God wants us to ‘be’ and not ‘do’ or ‘show’.
When people asked me about my faith, I told them about the Sabbath, the prophecies, the Sunday law, the Second Coming – but I never shared with them Jesus. You see you can only share what you have and obviously I didn’t have Jesus. Some of us witness out of a sense of obligation and some of us for earning some stars on our crowns. Upside down! What is witnessing then? According to Morris Venden, “If something has happened to me in relationship with my Lord, I can’t keep silent – this spontaneous desire to tell others is true biblical witnessing.” Just as the woman at the well did.
4. 4. Studying the Word:
I diligently studied the scriptures especially the doctrines and prophecies sans Christ. I got to know about the dragon, the beast, the little horn, but who I didn’t know, was the most important of all – Jesus. Inside out – again! Of what use is the knowledge of the antichrist when you don’t know Christ and of what use is the understanding of the Sunday law when the Sabbath is grossly misunderstood and neglected? If you can’t find Jesus in the prophecies, then it’s not worth studying. May be you’ve been doing the same – doing the right thing with the wrong motives and got yourself upside down. So how do you get yourself right-side up? If you try it on your own you might get into a tangle again. So the safest option is to ask God to fix it – to change your motives, your priorities, and to change you – from the inside out.