Friday, February 26, 2010

David versus Macbeth

David versus Macbeth

In the Shakespeare play, Macbeth, three witches prophecy to Macbeth
that he would be King.  The man in his excitement ran to tell his
wife.  His wife in turn convinced him of a macabre plan to murder the
King, and take the throne.  Macbeth did as his wife asked him only to
end up crazy.  The witches never told him how he'd be crowned king,
but taking matters in his own hands did not work out in the end.

The story reminds me of King David.  David is a god example of
meekness.  As a young man he had been anointed to be the next king of
Israel. King Saul became insanely jealous and for years pursued David
and his men with the intent to kill him. On two occasions David had an
opportunity to kill Saul (1 Sam. 24:3-7, 26:7-12).   Twice David's
servant encourage David to kill.  We see this in 1 Samuel 24:4

1 Samuel 24:4  And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of
which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into
thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto
thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily.

Also, in 1 Samuel 26:8,

1 Samuel 26:8 "Then said Abishai to David, God hath delivered thine
enemy into thine hand this day: now therefore let me smite him, I pray
thee, with the spear even to the earth at once, and I will not smite
him the second time."

Could it be that God allowed things to happen in this manner so David
would take care of it in that fashion?  Twice David rebuked his
servants.  The first time in 1 Samuel 24:5 it says that "his heart was
smote," so in verse 6 and 7,

1 Samuel 24:6 And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should
do this thing unto my master, the LORD's anointed, to stretch forth
mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.
1 Samuel 24:7 So David stayed his servants with these words, and
suffered them not to rise against Saul…

The second time is in 1 Samuel 26: 9-11,

 1 Samuel 26: 9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who
can stretch forth his hand against the LORD's anointed, and be
1 Samuel 26: 10 David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD
shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend
into battle, and perish.
1 Samuel 26: 11The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand
against the LORD's anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear
that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go.

Why is it so easy for us to use a spiritual excuse for doing something
that is in our own interest? Had David had not been meek, he could
have rationalized that he was within his right to kill Saul.  Saul was
seeking to kill David; David could have said it was self defense, and
besides he had been anointed King already.

Our lesson says that Meekness is the absolute ceasing to fight for our
agenda and believing that God will fight on our behalf for His.
Meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. It
stems from trust in God's goodness and control over the situation. The
meek person is not occupied with self an attitude that's key to the
promise of finding rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28). In the truest
sense, then, a meek person is one who has learned to die to self, and
that takes faith, courage, and perseverance, not necessarily traits
the world would associate with meekness.

Let's look at Jesus.  All along He said He did only His Father's will.
We read in Luke 22:42 that even in the garden of Ghestemani He cried
out to His Father, "if thou be willing, remove this cup from me:
nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done."  This is the kind of
meekness He desires for us to have and wishes to give us in Matthew
Raul Diaz

Friday, February 19, 2010

The delay

The delay


A group of friends were driving down an expressway to another friend's home.  They were actually enjoying themselves as they were talking and joking as the drove.  So much they were enjoying themselves that they got distracted and missed their exit.  By, the time they realized it, they were 15 miles away and the next exit would not be until 15 miles more.  This delayed them about 45 minutes.  So, a moment of distraction ended up costing them almost an hour of time.  What was interesting was that they all reacted and responded differently.  It was as if this delay helped display their characters. 


In the book of Numbers, God told the children of Israel to go and conquer the Promised Land.  They allowed their unbelief to distract them from God's Word, and refused to conquer it then.  God then ordered them to wander in the wilderness 40 years.  For what they could have done in a matter of months now they had to wait 40 years.  It was interesting to see how this delay displayed the character of the people.  Some were humble and followed God's instructions.  A great number continued to rebel against Moses and God.


Ellen White said in her day that Christ could have come by then if the people had done the work God entrusted them to do.  The editors of Evangelism quote what she said about what would have happened if the work might have been done,


Had the purpose of God been carried out by His people in giving to the world the message of mercy, Christ would, ere this, have come to the earth, and the saints would have received their welcome into the city of God.-- Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 450. (1900)  (Evangelism 694). 


I know that if the people of God had preserved a living connection with Him, if they had obeyed His Word, they would today be in the heavenly Canaan. --General Conference Bulletin, March 30, 1903.  (Evangelism 694).


So it is evident from her writings that there is a delay in Christ returning.  The author of the lesson suggests why.  He submits "a possible diminished emphasis on the Second Coming, if for no other reason than that we expected it to have happened by now."  The author adds a few lines below that,


"Things have not happened as soon as we expected, but we take comfort from the promise in Galatians 6:9, "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart" (NKJV).  The issue that confronts God's people in the twenty- first century is not "Will God be faithful?" We should know by now that He is faithful to all that He has promised. The crucial issue is, "Will I be faithful until the end?""


This seems to be the issue in the parables listed in our lesson, in the parable of Matthew 24:44-50. Notice how the evil servant changes his lifestyle when he becomes convinced that his master is not coming back as soon as he had expected. What is the message to us who feel there has been a delay in the coming of Jesus? 


IN the parable of Matthew 25:1-13, notice that everyone who was waiting for the bridegroom went to sleep. When the bridegroom finally arrived and all awakened, it was too late for five of them. In what ways could we, in the twenty-first century, be in danger of doing the same thing? 


We could say that the evil servant corresponds to the "foolish virgins."  They were not ready for a delay.  The way they reacted to the delay then displayed their character.  It was not a Christ like character.  It showed they lacked the source of the Christ like character – the oil which represents the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the source of the faith that would help endure until the end.  Lacking the Holy Spirit, they also lacked this faith.  This will apparently be a problem in the end time.  This is why Christ asked in Luke18:8, "… Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"  Our character displays how we are reacting to this delay. 


A Godly messenger wrote about this that as sons in God's house we are to exercise the same faithfulness that Christ did, and this we can do because He gives us His own faith. "The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God" (Gal. 2: 20).  Christ dwelling in the heart by faith exercises His own faith in us, by which He kept the Father's commandments, and abode in His love; so that it can be said: "Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (Rev. 14: 12). This faith alone overcomes the world and helps us to endure until the end. 


The faith of Christ must bring the righteousness of God, because the possession of that faith is the possession of the Lord himself.  This faith is dealt to every man, even as Christ gave himself to every man. Do you ask what then can prevent every man from being saved? The answer is, "nothing," except the fact that all men will not keep the faith. If all would keep all that God gives them, all would be saved. 


So, the real question is not, "Will I be faithful until the end?", but "Will I allow Him to be faithful in me until the end?" 

Raul Diaz

Friday, February 12, 2010

Commentary: Sin Clogs the flow of Goodness

Sin Clogs the flow of Goodness
Anyone that owns or rents a home in a place where you do not have to go to a well to get water has probably experienced a drop in water pressure due to a clogged pipe.  A clog in your "water pipe" probably means sediment is plugging it.  This is especially true of old galvanized iron water lines.  As galvanized iron water lines age the interior of the pipe gets clogged with mineral deposits. Hot water temperatures seem to accelerate the growth of these deposits. The mineral buildup does not affect the water quality, but it indeed has an impact on the quantity of water the pipes can deliver.  A plumber said that he had removed one half inch diameter galvanized water lines that run horizontally across basement ceilings only to discover an opening not much bigger than a cocktail straw - perhaps 1/8 inch diameter. (Vertical galvanized iron water lines that run between different floors of a home do not accumulate sediment as quickly as water lines that lay flat.)   Water pipes will become clogged by the accumulation of minerals found in most water. Given sufficient time, this mineral deposit will reduce the flow of water to such a degree as to impair the efficiency of the entire plumbing system.  Galvanized steel pipe is especially vulnerable to this condition because the rough interior of the pipe provides a surface to which the minerals cling.  Brass pipe is less affected by these minerals, due to its smooth interior.
You have a similar strory with your blood vessels.  Let us start with the basics.  Your heart and blood vessels make up your circulatory system. Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood through your body carrying oxygen to large blood vessels, called arteries, and small blood vessels, called capillaries.  Other blood vessels, called veins, carry blood back to the heart.  Your blood vessels can get clogged.  Several things, including having diabetes, can make your blood cholesterol level too high. Cholesterol is a substance that is made by the body and used for many important functions. Cholesterol is also found in animal foods and food derived from animals.  When cholesterol is too high, the insides of large blood vessels become narrowed or clogged. This problem is called atherosclerosis.  Narrowed and clogged blood vessels make it harder for enough blood to get to all parts of your body. This condition can cause serious health problems. 
What kind of health problems can happen when blood vessels are clogged?  When blood vessels become narrowed and clogged, you can have:
  • Chest pain, also called angina. When you have angina, you feel pain in your chest, arms, shoulders, or back. You may feel the pain more when your heart beats faster, such as when you exercise. The pain may go away when you rest. You also may sweat a lot and feel very weak.

  • Heart attack. A heart attack happens when a blood vessel in or near your heart becomes blocked. Then your heart muscle can't get enough blood. When an area of your heart muscle stops working, your heart becomes weaker.

  • Stroke. A stroke can happen when the blood supply to your brain is blocked. Then your brain can be damaged.

A Vessel is typically defined as A ship of considerable size for deep-water navigation.  It is also defined as a hollow utensil, such as a cup, vase, or pitcher, used as a container, especially for liquids.  In Anatomy a vessel is a duct, canal, or other tube that contains or conveys a body fluid, hence: a blood vessel.  It is also used to describe cetain kinds of people, such as: A person seen as the agent or embodiment, as of a quality: a vessel of mercy.
We can be vessels of goodness, if we abide in Christ and Christ in us as branches that abide in the Vine (John 15: 4 - 5).  If this is the case God's goodness will flow through us.  Goodness is not only what we do, it is also who we become in Christ.  As human beings we are sinners; we have violated God's law(Romans 3: 10 - 18); we all need a Savior.  If we accept the promised Saviour than we also accept the given promises in the Bible that if we surrender to Jesus, if we choose to live in the Spirit and not in the flesh, we can overcome and live a life that reflects the goodness of God. We can live in what Paul calls the "newness of life"(Rom. 6:4), because just as we have been by faith "buried with" Christ "by baptism into death" (Rom. 6:4), we can "likewise reckon" ourselves "to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:11).  We can be "good" in the biblical sense of the word, not "good" as if we deserve salvation but "good" in the sense that our hearts, our motives, our deeds reveal to the world the reality of the God whom we profess to serve.  It will take dying to self, it will take a willingness to serve God in His way, it will take a daily struggle with the flesh, and it will take a humble heart of contrition and repentance when we fail.  It will take walking with God in God's way. 
Sin would block the flow of God's goodness through us.  Sin clogs the aperture in us as "goodness pipes, ducts, tubes, or canals", thus preventing its readily flow from God to others.  As said above the only solution for this is a daily surrender to Christ or dying to self.  In this light, Sin is understood as more than actions.  sin is more than what we do or not do, Sin is what motivates us to do evil or not do good.  Sin is in our nature.  We are bent to do evil from conception (Psalms 51: 5).  Just as the days of Noah, every thought and imagination we have is evil (Genesis 6:5).  Out of this our heart speaks and does evil (Luke 6:45).  It is living for self, reasserting it.  When Christ comes to dwell in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, He woos us to submit to Him.  He says, "do it my way, not yours."  When we submit to His Spirit's promptings He purges and blots Sin out of us, thus unclogging us, so through and out of us flows goodness as a "fountain of living water.(Luke 7:37-39)"

Raul Diaz