AM Epiphany July 8, 2008

Spend less time concerning yourself with who is causing strife and more time pondering who is promising eternal life… John 3:16…

crying need

“The world today is in crying need of a revelation of Christ Jesus in the person of His saints. God desires that His people shall stand before the world a holy people. Why? – because there is a world to be saved by the light of gospel truth; and as the message of truth that is to call men out of darkness into God’s marvelous light is given by the church, the lives of its members, sanctified by the Spirit of truth, are to bear witness to the verity of the messages proclaimed.” -Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers pg. 458


I have been working on writing my personal testimony – how God has moved in my life – how I got to where I am today.  My repugnance grows as I look back on past seasons of my selfish life.  I am utterly  disgusted with who I used to be.  I do not want to glorify my past.

Photographs tend to glorify whatever it is they are of.  I want so badly to erase the photographs taken during those dark years of my life.  But as I look at the images and ponder the action of deleting them, I realize that they are a witness of where God has rescued me from.  If I erase those images then I am silencing the witness.

By the power and grace of God, my life is a living testimony of Ezekiel 11:19,20; 36:24-27

Behold the Lamb of God!

“It is not sufficient that the human race behold Jesus as the Man of men, the Superman.  He is not only the Man of God; He is also the Lamb of God.  As Emmanuel, the God-man, Jesus Christ is the great Sin Bearer.  Jesus is man’s outstanding example, ‘the realized ideal of humanity;’ but He is more than that:  He is the Saviour and Redeemer of all who accept His grace and surrender to His sovereign will.  As the Son of man and the Son of God, Christ saves from sin and all its terrible consequences.  The repentant sinner need only fix his eyes upon the Lamb of God to be so completely transformed that his fear is turned to joy and his doubts to hope.  The stony heart is broken under the compelling power of grace, and a tide of love sweeps over the soul.  Beholding Jesus as the great atonement for sin is the secret of the transformation of character into the divine image.

“Jesus said: ‘This is My Father’s will, that everyone who fixes his gaze on the Son of God and believes in Him should have the Life of the Ages, and I will raise him to life on the last day.’  John 6:40, Weymouth.  The power of a fixed gaze to reproduce what is looked upon is beautifully illustrated by the camera.  In order to reproduce the likeness of a landscape or a person, the camera must be fixed in an immovable position till the image is formed on the delicate film.  The eyes or lens must be focused on the object to be photographed, and the gaze must remain fixed until the light completes the impression.  The film must then be taken to the darkroom and be submitted to a chemical bath in order to bring to view all the beautiful details of the reproduction.

“Someone has said that ‘Christ is sitting for His portrait in every disciple.’  He is posing for the reproduction of His image in us, and [our] gaze must remain fixed till His character is fully reproduced.  As in the photograph, the darkroom experience and the acid test of fiery trials are necessary in order to develop and to make visible what has been impressed upon the mind and heart by beholding Jesus.  These were the experiences that developed into visibility the marvelous perfections of Christ’s matchless character.  The darkroom of obscurity and trial developed the character of Joseph in Egypt, of Moses in the wilderness, of David in exile from the wrath of Saul, of Daniel in Babylonian captivity, and of Paul during the severe persecutions that ended in his martyrdom…

“‘All who long to bear the likeness of the character of God shall be satisfied.  The Holy Spirit never leaves unassisted the soul who is looking unto Jesus…  If the eye is kept fixed on Christ, the work of the Spirit ceases not until the soul is conformed to His image.  The pure element of love will expand the soul, giving it a capacity for higher attainments, for increased knowledge of heavenly things, so that it will not rest short of the fullness.’ — The Desire of Ages, E.G. White, p302.

“Beholding the Man of God transfixes the gaze and produces admiration.  Beholding the Lamb of God reaches the heart and effects a transformation.”

{quoted from Behold the Man, Taylor G. Bunch, p13-15.

old journal, old woman

This morning, while flipping through an old journal, I was unexpectedly reunited with the Janie of ten years ago. I had forgotten who she was. On the dusty pages, I was met with a dark and dying soul – one who was at a loss for meaning in life – one who valued the trees more than the soul of another human being. She was an angry Janie, pissed off at the polluted world in which she found herself living – overwhelmed by the poisonous elements and the destructive power of humanity.

As I read her words, tears filled my eyes. I fell to my knees with shock and remorse for the woman I once was. With the sarcasm and contempt contained in those pages, it is hard for me to believe the same hand that types this now wrote those words a decade ago. My heart breaks for who she was, but rejoices for who she is now.

Why the change? You may ask. What happened to that woman of old? The answer: She met the Savior of the world one fine spring morning on the coast of California and she has never been the same since. Her heart was hijacked by a Love that has no bounds. She let go of what she knew wasn’t satisfying and stepped out in Faith – determined to follow through, even though she couldn’t see the Path in front of her.

It has been four years since I took that step into the arms of Jesus Christ. I knew that Faith would be an adventure, but I sometimes forget that I will have to revisit my old paths from new perspectives as God reveals them.  Often this revisiting process can be very painful.  Yet, I rejoice because I know that this is the process of sanctification.  It is this process that brings me closer in relationship with God.

I am humbled by His revelation of my former self this morning. I praise God for His Mercy and for reminding me of where I came from; allowing me to see with renewed clarity the Path set out before me.

When we stop to look at where we have come from, and compare that to where we currently are, then the direction in which we have been going becomes evident.

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