Friday, November 28, 2008

Emotional Overdraft

Emotional Overdraft

Steven Covey, author of the Book “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, used the analogy of a bank account to explain why some people feel emotionally depleted and react in very negative ways. Bank accounts have a certain amount of money. When you put money in that is called a deposit. When you take money out that is called a withdrawal. You withdraw too much money and you end up with very little money or none at all. In fact, sometimes you withdraw so much you take more than what you have. When this happens you have over drafted your bank account. Banks typically charge fees when this happen, so you end up owing more than what you took.

Covey says our emotions work similarly. Covey says that when you do something good to someone it is akin to a deposit, but when you do something wrong is akin to a withdrawal. If you do enough wrong things you can end with an emotional over-draft.

Rejecting a gift can be considered the wrong thing to do. This is a withdrawal to the giver’s emotional bank account. Depending on the gift and what it means to the giver, you could end up with an emotional overdraft. As banks, you may end up with higher “fees”, so you have to deposit a lot of the right things, to cover what you did wrong and the fees attached to it.

When we reject God’s gift, we not only make a withdrawal, we also create an overdraft situation that can never be repaid. What is God’s gift to us? In Ephesians 2:8 it refers to our salvation,

Ephesians 2: 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

In Romans 6:23 it refers to the eternal life we receive in and through Christ,

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

In Romans 5:15 – 18 it refers to Christ and all that we are given in and through Him: grace, justification, righteousness, and eternal life,

Romans 5:15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Romans 5:16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
Romans 5: 17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

In John 4:10 Jesus tells the woman at the Well in Samaria that it is Living water,

John 4: 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

What is living water? The answer to that is in John 7: 38 -39

John 7: 38He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
John 7: 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

The apostle Peter is very direct in calling the Holy Spirit a gift,

Acts 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with
Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Reject any of these and you reject them all. It is a packaged deal. You cannot choose one of them. Rejecting them grieves God. He gave them to you because He loves you. Rejecting the gift of God is so great an emotional withdrawal to Him it creates an overdraft situation in His emotional bank account. You are precious to Him and so is His gift to you. Will you appreciate His gift? Will you accept it? Will you take it?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Overshadowed By God

Overshadowed By God

A shadow is a region of darkness where light is blocked. It occupies all of the space behind an opaque object with light in front of it. What shape and size the shadow will have depends on the angle between the source of light, the object creating the shadow and the surface where the shadow is projected. Also, the wider the light source, the more blurred the shadow. The opposite is also true. Lastly, the brighter the light the darker is the shadow.

One of the most famous references of a shadow is found in Psalm 23:4.

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Allegedly it is a literal place where many shepherd and sheep died. The place was probably considered cursed or forsaken of God. David was saying that walking in this place with God is safer than the top of the mountain alone. Not only was it safer, David felt safer also. This was so, because, even in the darkest times, God’s presence was comforting to David. Not all that happens in darkness is bad; babies are conceived in a dark cavern of the female’s body. In this cavern they develop until they are ready to leave.

The verb to Overshadow means, to cast a shadow over; darken or obscure. It may be that in your darkest moment the Spirit is overshadowing you. Someone said that when it seems to be the darkest for you, it is not that God has left you, but that He is the closest to you, blessing you. Because, His light can consume you in such proximity, He covers Himself from you; which is why it seems very dark to you. When the Lord overshadows you miracles happen. In the case of Mary, Christ was conceived. We read this in Luke 1:34-35,

Luke1:34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
Luke1:35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

You may not conceive a baby when God overshadows you. However, a new you in Jesus may be born (John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17). If the darkness is from God, the clue is to stay still and to trust God to do His work. We tend to run from the darkness because fear kicks in. But, there is no fear in Faith. When in our darkest times of tribulation and trials we learn to trust and depend totally on God. God will miraculously carry us through the trial, and we glorify His name. We may not understand how He did what He did. But, that’s just the point, it is not to understand and prove what God has done, it to trust and believe that it was God who did it, does it and will do it. And, we just stand in awe, with nothing more that a thankful and praiseful heart. We are not to understand God’s purpose, but to trust it.

Just like it is not for us to understand the incarnation or the Cross, but to believe and trust that it did happen and it impacts our lives now and forever. After all, as Sister White says, “God’s wonderful purpose of grace, the mystery of redeeming love, is the theme into which ‘angels desire to look,’ and it will be their study throughout endless ages. Both the redeemed and the unfallen beings will find in the cross of Christ their science and their song.” The Desire of Ages, pp. 19, 20. Only those who trust God's purpose until the end will have the privilege to study it through out eternity.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Meaning of the Cross

In the late 1990’s Nina was asked to cat and house sit in a Chicago suburban home. Nina enjoyed her stay their. She said it was a lovely home. However, nothing is perfect; there was a disturbing fixture in their living room that she could not figure out. It was a bronze cross with an incomplete bronze figure of a man. Years later she found out that the bronze on the cross was to cover a wooden cross. The man was added by the artist who had covered the cross with bronze to make the cross into a sculpture. The man depicted on the cross was African American.

The cross was originally used by the KKK, a white supremacist group in the USA, as a way of intimidation. They had planted the cross in the grounds of a mostly African American university and burnt it. The KKK said that the burning cross represents Christ as light. The same symbol had different meanings. We will see that it is the same in the Bible.

The sanctuary, its furnishing and the sacrifices all point to Christ and how He would die for us.. The Cross was the instrument used to kill Christ. But, to all groups the cross does not mean the same thing. To the Romans it was an instrument of death and torture for common criminals, run away slaves or seditionists. To the Jews it was a tree, and the crucified hung from the tree; which meant they were accursed of God according to Deuteronomy 21:22-23,

22"If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree,

23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance. “

So, to the Jews the crucified Jesus hung from a tree accursed of God. As is says in Acts5:30,

Acts 5: 30" The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross”

Christ was accursed of God, but not for the reasons the Jews gave, but to fulfill Galatians 3: 13.

Galatians 3:13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us--for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE"—

This changes the meaning of the cross: from an instrument of torture and death to an instrument of atonement and redemption. What does the cross say in turn of God? God would rather die for us than to live with out us. This is how much God loves us. How much does He love us?

Let us read the answer in John 3:16

John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

How far did God go? Romans 5: 6-8

Romans 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

Romans 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

Romans 5:8 But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

To which group do you belong? 1 Corinthians 1:18 summarizes the two groups well. It says, For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” The question still is, to which group do your belong?

Friday, November 07, 2008


Anyone familiar with sporting events is familiar with the verb, to intercept. The word means: "To stop, deflect, or interrupt the progress or intended course of…" Another definition is, "To block the progress of and force to change direction: cut off, head off; to obstruct (someone or something) so as to prevent them from continuing to a destination." When used in sports it means to stop the player with the ball from going toward the goal or stopping the ball itself from going toward the goal. The word is also used in telecommunications with the following definition, "The acquisition of a transmitted signal with the intent of delaying or eliminating receipt of that signal by the intended destination user; to interrupt."

The verb, used in the latter context, is a key term in the following quote from Sister White,

"Since the announcement to the serpent in Eden, 'I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed' (Gen. 3:15), Satan had known that he did not hold absolute sway over the world. . . . With intense interest he watched the sacrifices offered by Adam and his sons. In these ceremonies he discerned a symbol of communion between earth and heaven. He set himself to intercept this communion. He misrepresented God, and misinterpreted the rites that pointed to the Saviour. Men were led to fear God as one who delighted in their destruction. The sacrifices that should have revealed His love were offered only to appease His wrath."—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 115.

The author of the lesson says that according to this Ellen White quote above, Satan perverted the meaning of the sacrifice. The author then asks, "In what ways could we be in danger of perverting the meaning of Christ's sacrifice? What views of the Cross distort its meaning?"

Any view that is not the truth distorts our view of the cross. Among many points, two things come to mind, one is that Christ death was a corporate death. In Romans 5:12 – 21 the apostle Paul contrasts Adam with Jesus and the effects of their works on humanity. Romans 5:12 says because Adam's fall all men sinned therefore all must die.

Rom5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

But, because we are in Christ, with his death and resurrection we all die and live eternally.

Rom5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Rom5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Rom5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Rom5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

1Cor15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
1Cor15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

The second thing is that Christ death was eternal. The book of Revelation talks about a second death,

Rev2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
Rev21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Christ talks of the ruler's daughter death as sleep (Matthew 9:24) and says the same of Lazarus (John 11:11). Christ did not die the sleep death. The death He died was the second death – God's wrath poured without mercy. This second death is goodbye to life forever. This is the death that pays the wages of Sin. This is the death we all die in Christ.

Any view that is not in agreement with these two points perverts the meaning of Christ sacrifice and distorts the meaning of the Cross. Anything that leads to believe anything different than these things also distorts or perverts them meaning of Christ sacrifice and the cross; for example, the doctrine of immortality of the soul.

When we let the devil intercept God's communication with us, we allow him to distort the meaning of the Cross. This leads to unbelief – choosing not to, rejecting even, God's gift of mercy and grace to and for us – Salvation. This means that we also reject the Holy Spirit. Rejecting one is rejecting the other. The question is: do we see God as loving and merciful or as a tyrant wanting appeasement? The answer to that question determines your destiny.
Raul Diaz>