Sunday, February 07, 2016

DJD207 - Two Offerings

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Scripture: 

Exodus 24:3-7

Starting Question:

What is your best memory of worshiping God?

Two Offerings

The experience of receiving the Ten Commandments from God was an exceptional event for the people of Israel. It was a worship service to be remembered.

Moses returned from the mountain the day before the epic worship service. He was so excited, he gave the people a quick once through of God’s Law. The people listened and then responded: “We will do everything the Lord has commanded!”

Moses then returned to his tent and wrote everything God had told him on the mountain. 

The next day was all about worship. Moses prepared for the event by building an altar for sacrifices and 12 stone pillars around it as silent witnesses symbolically representing the commitment of the 12 tribes to the sacrifices made. Then he chose young men to make the sacrifices for the day’s festivities - first born sons from each tribe, as there was not yet a defined priesthood.

There were two types of offerings made on that day of worship.

First, they made burnt offerings. These were for the forgiveness of sin. The animals  represented the people of Israel. The sins of the people were placed on the beasts and then they were slaughtered, skinned and burnt. Every bit of flesh was consumed by the flames on the altar. The day started with forgiveness - nothing remained between God and His people. All forgiven.

Second, they made fellowship offerings. These animals were slaughtered, skinned and roasted - to be eaten by every worshiper. Moses took the blood from this offering and sprinkled half of it on the altar. The other half he poured into the basins. The people knew this was a time of togetherness - Man and God - forgiving, feasting and celebrating being one people with one God - in unity. 

Once the sacrifices were consumed, Moses began to read - all that he had written from his time with God. The people listened to the story and the commands with careful attention. 

When he finished reading, the people said, “We will do and obey everything the Lord has commanded.” Having heard the written Word of the Lord the people stepped up their commitment. The night before, when they heard a rough retelling, they had said they would “do” it. The next day, after feasting with the Lord and hearing His Word read aloud, they said “we will do and obey.”

Doing is an ‘action’ word. Obeying is ‘being’ word. Doing happens where everyone can see it. Obeying happens in the heart, where only God sees. While most of the commandments are ‘doing’ requirements there are some - particularly the last - that is a ‘being’ word. Covetousness happens quietly inside the heart. But, so does honour, reverence, respect and love. These are the foundational ‘being’ words underneath the ‘doing’ actions of God’s Law.

Having consumed and celebrating God’s goodness in body and spirit the people gave their all to God - mind, body and soul. This is worship.

Reflection Question:
We are human beings, not human doings. What does this mean about how you will choose to worship God today?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
Manuscript Releases 1:114, 115

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Saturday, February 06, 2016

DJD206 - Love Like Jesus

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Scripture: 

2 Peter 1:10

Starting Question:

What do you think makes Jesus happy?

Love Like Jesus

Peter walked down the road at a steady pace trying to stay as close to Jesus as he could. Jesus was chewing on one of his finger nails as he walked. Peter knew, that meant Jesus was thinking about something important. He wanted to be close when Jesus spoke.

Under his breath, with a fingertip still in his mouth, Jesus mumbled. “Who do people say that I am?” The question had been quiet and directed to no-one in particular. 

Peter was surprised at the number of answers that came rushing back. Evidently he wasn’t to only person staying as close as possible. 

“John the Baptist,” one walker said.

“Elijah,” said two disciples behind Jesus, at the exact same time.

“Or at least one of the prophets,” one of them added.

“Yeah,” said a few others. “People say you’re a prophet. One of the good ones!”

“But you,” Jesus said placing his hands on his hips in the way a tired walker does, “Who do you say that I am?”

Peter couldn’t help himself, “You are the Messiah!” He knew this to be true. And he knew it was the answer Jesus wanted.

Jesus nodded and kept walking, “Keep that to yourselves.” And then under his breath again, “The Son of Man will suffer many things.”

*** Flash forward a decade or so ***

Peter sits with his scribe, fine-tuning a letter to a number of refugee communities. Having spent so much time with Jesus - and got things both right and wrong, so many times - Peter knows there will be all kinds in these troubled churches. 

Young disciples, with all the answers. 
Old disciples, with suffering to show for it. 
Happy disciples, remembering salvation like it was yesterday.
Sad disciples, feeling useless and unfruitful.
Faithful disciples, pouring love on all they meet.
Forgetful disciples, judging those who fail to measure up.

Peter scratches his chin and says, “Write, hold on to your faith in Jesus - remember the way you were when He saved You! Stay close to Him on the road! Grow from there! On that faith, build goodness. Upon that goodness, build knowledge. On that knowledge, build self-control. Then endurance. Keep walking! That builds Godliness! And Godliness builds brotherly affection. Then comes Love.”

Peter puts his hand up, and pauses. “Do you think they will see it? Love is the goal - and it’s all built on Jesus. So many Christians are looking at themselves instead of Jesus. Like wagons caught in the wrong ruts, they follow along but don’t realise they have circled the wagons and aren’t going anywhere!”

“Tell them to remember,” Peter finished, “remember they were called by Jesus - to serve Him. There’s no way to fail if they remember their calling, their election! They will never stumble. The eternal Kingdom will be theirs if our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is their only focus!” 

Reflection Question:
How will you show Jesus' love to people today?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
Christian Education, 117, 118
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Friday, February 05, 2016

DJD205 - Two Trees

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Scripture: 

1 John 3:24

Starting Question:

What is the most perfect thing you have ever seen?

Two Trees

You won’t find perfection by looking in the mirror. And you won’t find it honestly by picking your way through the Bible looking for key texts to prove your point. But, you will find it when you take the entirety of the Biblical narrative - from Creation to Recreation - as one all encompassing story of human nature - from perfection to perfection. 

You need to start at the end, look back at the beginning, consider the middle and ponder your place today.

The end of the Bible is a book called Revelation. It paints an epic prophecy-laden picture of God returning this Earth to a state of perfection - after going through the death of sin, suffering, tears and sorrow. At the end, God’s Kingdom is on Earth and He remains with us from one Sabbath to the next - into eternity.

The beginning of the human story in the Bible started in a garden. There was a tree that offered knowledge of both good and evil - and a choice. Once the wrong choice was made, that tree defined reality. Then, just as the garden was fading from view, another tree was introduced. The Tree of Life - so powerful that if humanity were to eat from it, they would live eternally. It was locked away and guarded by angels.

The middle - a redefining moment in time, an exclamation point in the shape of a cross - is magic. The only kind of magic we should dabble with. And dabble we must! For the cross brings to light the full meaning of both trees in the garden. 

Death. The wages of sin is death - sin is choosing to be our own god, defining for ourselves right and wrong, good and evil. The cross is that death - for all of us. He who eats of this tree will surely die. Done. Jesus died. On the cross - once and for all.

Life. The gift of God is eternal life - righteousness (the opposite of sin) is choosing God as our moral compass. Right and wrong, good and evil are described and defined by Him. Life comes through knowing only Him through His Son - Jesus. As Jesus lives - resurrected from Sin’s death - so we may live. 

Two trees. Both available to humanity, again. 
The tree of knowing good and evil is me shaped and leads to death. 
The tree of knowing God is cross shaped and leads to eternal Life.
The choice is ours, once again. 
Choose to know God and live. 
Or choose a needless death. 

Living a perfect life is only possible if you choose, every day, to eat from the cross-shaped Tree of Life in the middle of the Biblical timeline. So, in reality, any goodness you demonstrate is Jesus living within you. He alone is perfect. We alone are dead. 

Taste and see that He is good!

Reflection Question:
The choice between life and death seems easy. Why do so many people choose not to follow God?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
The Signs of the Times, April 24, 1893

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

DJD204 - Better Than Sacrifice

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Scripture: 

1 Samuel 15:22

Starting Question:

What is the best thing you've done this week?

Better Than Sacrifice

Some of the most challenging stories in the Bible are times when it seems the people of God are expected to be perfect. And being perfect isn’t easy! But look closer and you’ll see, God only expects us to listen and obey.

In the book of Acts a story is told about a married couple in the early church named Ananias and Sapphira. This lovely couple sells a block of land and decides to give some of the money from the sale to the new growing group of Christians. 

In the book of 1 Samuel a story is told about King Saul leading the army of the Lord against the enemy and coming home victorious. Saul saves a number of the lambs and cattle from the enemy’s fields and even brings the enemy king home in chains.

In both stories, things go horribly wrong. Our verse for today comes from the second story. 
“To obey is better than sacrifice. To listen is better than impressive offerings.” 

From the outside, both sacrifices are truly amazing. Selling property and giving a big portion of it to God. Wow! Generous! Defeating a sworn enemy and bringing back live offerings. Amazing! These sound like good things until you hear the rest of the story.

Ananias and Sapphira told the church they were giving God the entire amount they had been paid for the land. But they kept some for themselves. Peter said, “It was your money to do what you wanted with! Why lie? God knows and now we know - you lied to God!”

King Saul came to Samuel bubbling about his victory and how great it was that he kept animals and the king alive to bring as living sacrifices to God. Samuel had to interrupt the blubbering king, “”STOP! Let me tell you what God says!” King Saul wasn’t used to being interrupted, but he invited Samuel to continue. “God told you to bring nothing back. Destroy everything. Now you’ve kept things to make yourself look good! WHY?”

“To obey is better than sacrifice. To listen is better than impressive offerings.” 

God’s requests are fairly simple and extremely obvious.
He doesn’t ask us for showy sacrifices or big gifts.
He just wants us to be true to our word and His.

Reflection Question:
What simple thing has God asked you to do? 

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
The Signs of the Times, January 9, 1896
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Wednesday, February 03, 2016

DJD203 - Redemption's Promise

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Scripture: 

Genesis 3:15

Starting Question:

What is the best promise anyone has made to you?

The Promise of Redemption


Perhaps you noticed, in yesterday’s study, we skipped over the verse usually focused on when reading the story of the fall in Eden. This was done to help you see the story with new eyes. 

Today, let’s look at that verse - Genesis 3:15 - which opens the main theme of the Bible: God’s plan for redemption. 

The curse says snakes will crawl on their bellies and eat dust and wraps up by saying humans will always fear snakes and snakes will fear humans. A thousand stories could be told to prove this is true! 

But, it goes much deeper than being a simple story to explain why people are afraid of snakes. The snake’s curse ends with a promise - to both the snake and mankind. God’s people have a redeemer waiting in the wings - redemption is coming - and it will be through one of the future children of the woman from the Garden.

“He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Built upon this statement, and the other two curses, is a promise for  a return to God’s perfect Creation - a return to walking with God in the Garden and eating from the tree of Life.

And the promise looks like this: “He” is coming. 

This word translated “He” is - in the original Hebrew - focusing on one man, emphatically. “He” will crush the serpents head.  It’s the first presentation of the Good News - the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! 

The promise doesn’t stop there. The other two curses open windows into how “He” will emerge from this broken planet and how, even in brokenness - the planet reminds humanity of the promise of new life.

Women will give birth. Yes it will be painful. But the birth of every child will bring hope - by reminding that one day “He” will be born - “He” will bring God’s Kingdom to Earth - the way things were in Eden. 

Men will work the ground. Yes there will be thorns. But, every season, from broken dusty ground, new life will sprout in reminder and expectation that God’s Kingdom will sprout from dusty ground. New Life is possible and the promise draws near! As near as spring.

Since the moment humanity chose to go against God’s will, God provided the promise of a future return to Eden. Redemption is coming. And He sent reminders every day with the budding flower, ripening fruit, planted seeds, full harvests. And hope was provided with the birth of every child - perhaps this one is the Messiah! 

Reflection Question:

How do you think it helped God's people to have this promise as they waited for Jesus to come?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
Education, 26, 27


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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

DJD202 - Reviewing Eden

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Scripture: 

Genesis 3:5

Starting Question:

What happened in the Garden of Eden?

Reviewing Eden

Let’s explore the the story today's verse is taken from. This is an accurate but abbreviated telling of the story as it is told in the Bible (Genesis 2:15-3:24). I have featured the unique bits often overlooked, so get out your Bible! 

The story goes like this: God creates Adam and places him in the Garden of Eden. He tells Adam to eat from any tree in the Garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because “on the day you eat from it, you will die.” 

Then, from the ground, God creates all the animals and birds and Adam names them. From all the creatures, no helper is found for Adam. So, God puts Adam to sleep, opens him up, takes a rib out of Adam and turns it into a woman. 

The man wakes up and recites an impromptu poem about his new wife. Like the animals, he names her kind, too: Woman - taken from Man. The creation of woman from man and the poem are presented as the reason for marriage. Naked, they feel no shame. 

A serpent is introduced as the "most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made.” No location for the following conversation or name for the serpent is given. The serpent misquotes God, “Did God really say, ‘You can’t eat from any tree in the garden?’” Remember, the woman was created well after God gave this command. 

And yet she knows about the tree and the rule. Did God tell her or did Adam? Wherever she got her information, she also misquotes God’s command, “… God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.’” Perhaps Adam told her not to touch it to protect her. Or perhaps she changed God’s command herself. The reason is not given except to quote her misquoting God.

The serpent says they wont die but will be like gods knowing both good and evil. The woman sees the tree is delightful to look at. She sees it is good for food and “desirable for obtaining wisdom.” She picks some fruit, eats it and gives “some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Then, just like God and the serpent said, they both see good and evil. They are embarrassed because they are naked and make clothes out of leaves.

The man and woman hear God walking in the garden. They hide in the trees. God calls them. When found by God, the blame game starts. Man blames woman. Woman blames serpent. Serpent doesn’t speak. God curses all three. Serpent will eat dust. Woman will have labour pain. Man will work cursed ground. Dust to Dust - death is explained. 

Adam names his wife Eve - mother of all the living. 

God makes them clothes from skins and dressed them Himself.

God says mankind must leave the Garden “since they have become like one of Us” and must not be allowed to reach another special tree (unmentioned so far), "the tree of life" from which they could "eat and live forever.” The garden entrance is protected by angels and a “flaming, whirling sword.” 

Reflection Questions:
What was the most surprising part of the story for you?
Is anything added or taken away from the way you've heard the story?
What do the new things you discovered today teach you?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
Education, 25, 26


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Monday, February 01, 2016

DJD201 - An Open Book

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Scripture: 

1 John 5:3

Starting Question:

Name five things you did yesterday that you will also do today.

An Open Book

Imagine someone you have never met before walks up to you as you are about to do something and says, “I know what you are going to do, you are like an open book to me.” Now imagine your best friend walks in through another door and says the same thing as the stranger. 

Intrigued, you ask them both to write down what you are about to do on a piece of paper and place it upside down on the table. Once you have both pages written and placed upside down, you do the thing you were going to do. 

After you are done with your task, you go back to the table and turn over the two pieces of paper. They have different things written on them. One is right, one is wrong. Which one do you think was written by your friend and which one by the stranger?

Many people struggle with the meaning of today’s Bible verse. It clearly says that people who love God will keep His commandments. If you read the verses around this verse (which is always a good idea when reading the Bible) you will see that it is a lot like the activity above. It says: God knows what His friends will do because they are an open book to Him. 

This is what it says on the piece of paper - the one that God wrote and laid on the table in front of you: “One thing I know about you: You believe Jesus is the Messiah. This means you are my child! And since you love me as your Father, you will treat me and my other children with Love. You can conquer the world - and it’s easy for you - because you have faith in Jesus!” 

Someone who knows, loves and talks to God everyday will find His way of life simple and natural. Not because they are better at being good but because they are in love with Him. His commandments are not a problem because they are exactly the way His children want to live. 

This is why, your friend Jesus was right when He walked into the room and said, “I know what you are going to do, you are like an open book to me.” 

Reflection Question:
Jesus can read us like an open book. How does this make you feel?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
The Signs of the Times, April 17, 1893

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

DJD131 - Now and Not Yet

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Scripture: 

John 7:14-17

Starting Question:

Have you ever explained a new idea to someone else? 
How did you do it?

Now and Not Yet

Each of the four Gospels have a core message that is the same - to tell the story of Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. And each of them have something unique - a style or approach that makes them stand alone. Mark wants his hearers to see that Jesus was the one the prophets were talking about. Matthew shows that Jesus is the answer to Israel’s search for a Messiah. Luke has done detailed research and shows who Jesus is goes all the way back to Adam. But John stands alone. 

John doesn’t just suggest that Jesus is the answer to the prophets predictions, Israel's hopes or Adam’s fall - to John, Jesus is God in the flesh. John starts with a cosmic picture of Jesus as the Word. The Word that was at the beginning with God and was God - Jesus is the Creator Himself. And John finishes his Gospel by commenting about the innumerable deeds of Jesus, because He has been around forever.

But, Jesus didn’t go around patting himself on the back and telling everyone He was God. He walked a finely timed journey from the Jordon to Jerusalem. Because sometimes Jesus divine time line clashed with the wishes of mankind. And it is those times in His ministry that often make us uncomfortable. John is bold in bringing them out and showing them for what they were - odd and confusing - for Jesus’ family and friends.

When Jesus’ divine schedule clashed with human requests He would say things like: “My time has not yet fully come.” And then, He would do the exact thing He was requested to do. 

His mother asks him to turn water to wine. “Woman! My hour has not yet come.” That’s his mother! For any human son to address his mother as “woman” would be rude. And yet, in effect, Jesus says “Human! Not yet!” showing His divine distinction. Then he does what she asks - humbling divinity to serve humanity.

In the story before today’s passage, Jesus’ brothers tell Him to go to Jerusalem and show off. “Do some miracles so people know you’re real!” He tells them He’s not going to the festival… yet. So, they go without Him. A few days later, He pops up at the festival and starts teaching in the temple with such Biblical knowledge that the scholars are stumped: “We know this guy didn’t study with a Rabbi, where did He learn all this stuff?” 

Let the reader understand! Where do you think Jesus - the Word - learned the Word of God? These poor leaders didn’t have a clue. So Jesus explained to them that He got His understanding from the one who sent Him - God. 

You can imagine how that went over. The crowds thought Jesus had a demon.

John wants you to believe in Jesus - not as “good man Jesus” but as “God-Man Jesus” - because John saw people slipping into less-than views of Jesus. And so, he started at the beginning - Jesus is God. He made it all. He understands it all. He is all!

Reflection Questions:
How was Jesus a good man? How was Jesus a God-Man?
Which is more important? Why?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
The Review and Herald, February 7, 1888
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

DJD130 - Ultimate Translator

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Scripture: 

Romans 8:26, 27

Starting Question:

Do you ever find it hard to understand people's words? 

Ultimate Translator

The verse for today is weird. Read it again. 

We don’t know what we should really be praying for. But God’s Holy Spirit does. And the Holy Spirit knows both God’s heart and our heart. So, the Holy Spirit translates our needs into a heart language God understands.

This makes more sense to me now that I have teenagers. If there is anything parents of teenagers learn - it’s the language of grunts and groans. How was school? UHAUH. Are you hungry? MMMHMM. Are you wearing clean socks? GRFFT!  What’s her name? IUHNO. Have you mowed the lawn? YAHUH. Am I supposed to be able to understand you? YAH!

Then there are the times when these sub-vocalisations are not enough. Like when I’m doing to shopping. I walk from room to room building a list. I’m going food shopping, do you need anything? Grunts will not answer this question. And yet they try. Their language leaves me truly confused and, if I’m being honest, a bit frustrated! I’m going shopping for these people and they can’t speak my language for a couple brief sentences. So, I demand a clear answer. And, translated for your edification, they say, “I don’t know what I want. Just get something I like.”

Um. What? If you like something, tell me what you like! UHNA. 

So, I find their mother. Like the Holy Spirit, she has this uncanny ability to know exactly what they like and want and is able to explain it in my overly verbose language of full words and complete sentences! Mikey loves fruit, get him some apples and bananas. Rachael loves smoothies. Get her some frozen berries, almond milk and more bananas. Cyrus will eat whatever we get. But he loves Mac-n-Cheese. How’s that?

Easy! Now that you've translated for me! Is there anything I can get for you, my love?

You know me. Just get something I like. 

And she’s right. Because we speak the same language. Often!

Now think back about today’s verse. The Holy Spirit knows us deeply and completely. And the Holy Spirit knows God from the inside out. Praying is powerful because we have the ultimate translator speaking our words, thoughts and even needs we do not know we have - directly to God, in a language that He fully understands.

That’s amazing! 

Reflection Question:
What has God done for you that you needed but didn't ask for?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
Manuscript Releases 8:195, 196
Manuscript Releases 8:197
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Friday, January 29, 2016

DJD129 - Tearing Down Walls

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Scripture: 

Ephesians 4:13

Starting Question:

Is there a person you really enjoy being with? Who? Why them?

Tearing Down Walls

At the moment Jesus died on the cross, the curtain in God’s Temple in Jerusalem tore from top to bottom. According to the Mishnah, this curtain was 60 feet long, 30 feet wide, and as thick as a man’s hand. It’s purpose - like all walls - was to keep what was on the one side from what was on the other side.

God has always wanted to be with His people. He designed Adam and Eve to walk and talk with Him. But sin created a chasm between us and God - His fearsome radiance would kill sinful people. So, God came up with ways to get close to us without killing us. He built walls around Himself.

When God was present in the Israelite camp, He appeared in a room He designed especially to confine His radiance. The people built the Tabernacle (and later the Temple) according to special plans God gave them - to protect them while letting God get as close as He could. God’s room in this structure was called the Most Holy Place and was the heart of the Temple. One day a year, the High Priest was allowed to enter this room. If the massive curtain had not been present the priests, who worked in the first room - called the Holy Place - every day, would have died. The curtain protected God’s people from God. 

When Jesus died, it was time for the afternoon sacrifice in the Temple - 3pm. Priests stood in the Holy Place. People watched from the courtyard. All would have been terrified as the curtain, being ripped in two from above, revealed the Most Holy Place. They all expected to die. But no one did. Because everything had changed.

At the birth of God’s Son, a tiny point of light poked through the heavens leading wisemen to a stable. At Jesus’ baptism, those present said the heavens were torn a little wider when God’s voice boomed His affirmation for His Son. But at the death of His Son, the ground shook as God Himself emerged on Earth. He grabbed the top of the wall between Himself and mankind and tore it to shreds. God was free! The final and perfect day of At-one-ment was here. God could finally be with His people. The ultimate sacrifice made, the divine death for sin complete, the wall between God and man fell under the shadow of the cross.

Jesus’ death brought God’s Kingdom back to life on Earth. Now, God’s people - each and every one of us - are God’s Temple and His priests! Our High Priest, unlike any before Him, has made it possible for us to freely and boldly walk into the Most Holy Place and speak directly to God.

Jesus’ death removed the walls between Heaven and Earth. 

Now, like Jesus, God calls us to change the world by living with the fearsome radiance of God shining through unveiled faces for all the world to see.

Reflection Question:
As one of God's priests, how does it make you feel to have some of His fearsome radiance shining on your face?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
The Review and Herald, May 30, 1882
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

DJD128 - Fearsome Radiance

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Scripture: 

2 Corinthians 3:18

Starting Question:

Why do people build walls and fences?

Fearsome Radiance

From the time of Moses, God has been as close as He can get without killing people. In the Old Testament, it was made very clear that looking directly at God would destroy a person because God’s glory is so great and our sinfulness so horrible that the two things could not exist in the same place. But God wanted to be with His people. So, He protected them.

When Moses was up on the mountain with God, he asked to see God. He thought, after spending so many days listening to God’s voice, he was holy enough to see God’s face. God told Moses to stand in a small cave and He protected Moses by covering the cave with His hand as He walked past. When God was gone, He lifted His hand and Moses saw what was left - the residual glory of God - like the ripples in a pond after the stone is resting on the bottom. God said that was as much of His glory as Moses could handle.

After spending 40 days on the mountain of God, Moses made his way back to the valley of the people. In his hands, he had a new copy of the ten commandments. He was excited to tell the people about God and His laws but when he walked off the mountain the leaders of the people wouldn’t come near him. They stood back a long ways and Moses didn’t understand why. Then they told him, “You are glowing with a fearsome radiance!”

Moses hadn’t realised how much being with God had changed him. 40 days and 40 nights - wading in the waves of God’s glory - left him glowing like the sun. From that moment forward, the glowing returned every time Moses talked to God. So, he began wearing a veil over his face after talking to God so he could tell the people what God had said to them.

Changes in our appearance and our character happen slowly. And often we do no even know they have happened. But other people do. Moses had no idea he was glowing. He had been thinking so much about God, he hadn’t even wondered what impact the experience was having on him.

Likewise, as we spend time with Jesus in prayer, reading the Bible and sharing the stories of what God is doing in our life with our friends and family - we are being changed into His likeness - from our faded and shameful glory to His perfect shining glory.

Reflection Question:
What have you seen change in you because you love Jesus?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
Patriarchs and Prophets, 329, 330
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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

DJD127 - All Your Strength

Read More Daily Jesus
Scripture: 

James 4:7,8

Starting Question:

When something is really hard, what do you do?

All Your Strength

Eight year old Benjamin loved spending time in his tree house. He and his Dad had built it together during the last school holiday. He had been using Mum’s footstool to get from the ground to the first rung of the ladder nailed to the tree but Mum wanted the footstool back inside the house. 

There was round piece of tree stump just a few meters away from the tree and Ben thought it would make a great first step. He tried to move the stump, but it was too heavy. He told Dad about the stump during lunch and Dad said, “Great idea! You should be able to move it, if you use all your strength!” 

Ben got the hint. His Dad didn’t want to help. Or maybe he just wanted Ben to do it on his own. Whatever the reason, he would need to find a way to move the stump. After lunch, he tried to lift the stump onto its edge to roll it to the tree. It wouldn’t budge. 

He headed into the shed and got Dad’s crowbar. Maybe he could lever it onto its edge. Back at the stump he wedged the crowbar underneath and lifted. The tip of the crowbar sunk into the ground. Ben looked up at the kitchen window and saw his Dad watching. Dad smiled, made a fist and flexed his arm muscle. Then he pointed at his head and tapped it a couple times.

“Yeah, I know use all my strength… Oh, use all of my smarts!” Ben looked at the stump and scratched his head.

He went back to the shed and got two blocks of wood. He stacked them on top of each other next to the stump and wedged the crowbar between them. Then he pulled down with all his might and the stump lifted off the ground! He stood on the end of the crowbar and with a long stick pushed the stump the rest of the way up onto its edge. 

“Yeah! I did it!” he said, looking over at the kitchen. His Dad, still standing at the window, gave him a big thumbs up.

Ben got behind the stump and pushed. It didn’t move. Ben leaned his back against the stump and pushed. Nothing. It was too heavy. 

He looked over at the kitchen again. Dad was standing in the doorway now, leaning against the open door.

“Dad, it’s too heavy,” Ben said. “I’ve used every bit of my strength and my smarts!”

“You haven’t used all of your strength,” Dad said.

Ben sat on the stump. “YES I HAVE! IT’S TOO HEAVY!” Ben threw his hands in the air, “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST HELP ME?”

“Ah,” Dad said as he walked out of the house and over to Ben, “Now you’re using all your strength!”

Dad and Ben stood together and pushed the stump all the way to the tree.

“Thanks Dad,” Ben said. 

“You are very welcome, young man!” Dad wiped the dirt off his hands. “You know, Ben,” Dad said, “we have never used all of our strength until we have asked our Heavenly Father to help! Just like I was standing watching you struggle, God is always watching us. And He promises that the moment we ask, He will be there help!”

Reflection Question:
What will you ask God help you with, today?

Prayer time:
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?

Further Reading:
Testimonies for the Church 5:293, 294
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GET ONE OF DAVE'S BOOKS, FREE!
Support this project by clicking here and pledging a small monthly amount.