Photo Credit Flickr/ernestkoe

Photo Credit Flickr/ernestkoe

Biblical Numerology: NUMBER THREE – Part XXIX

Rest, Peace, and Health: Wish List for 2016

A Happy New Year to all.  If we have a true understanding of God’s law, we will not compare our character and spiritual growth by the character of others.  We will judge our own lives by the standard of God’s law which is “holy, just, and good.”Rom. 7: 12.

Twelve months have passed on to eternity never more to return. Have we increased correspondingly in faith,hope, and charity (1 Cor. 13: 13)? “Faith,” says E.G. White, “is not a happy flight of feeling; it is simply taking God at His word and believing because God said He would do this.”  A.T. Jones wrote: “Faith is the expecting the word of God to do what it says, and depending upon that word to do what it says.” (Lessons on Faith, p. 16). 

To grow these three grand and greatest of virtues should be part of our yearly resolutions that we may experience continual advancement in the work of perfecting a Christ-like character—that we no longer be “like children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine . . . .but speaking the truth in love, may grow up unto Him in all things, who is the head, even Christ.” Eph. 4: 13, 14.

During the cold morning hours of the day after Christmas, which fell on a Saturday where we should have obtained the divine Sabbath rest and refreshing instead of being stressed out by the traditional Christmas rush, I experienced an epiphany. While raking the dead leaves fallen from the wintering tree in our front lawn, suddenly came this whispered thought: “What you specifically need this New Year is rest, peace, and health.” After pondering this thought throughout that day, the conclusion was decisive and compelling: when I have all three—divine rest, God’s peace, and health of body and mind—I will be the happiest and most prosperous person in the world! And everyone can have it, too! As to those unsightly dead leaves I was raking and dumping into the green trash bin? They represent all the unchristlike traits of character I have yet to fully “overcome even as Christ overcame.” (Rev. 3: 21). They all must go with 2015 and never come back again, by God’s enabling grace!

Rest for a restless, weary world and aching hearts. Jesus is still extending the invitation: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matt. 11: 28-30, N.K.J.V. Our yoke is difficult, His is easy; our burden is heavy, His is light.  Then why do we choose ours? Strange indeed, isn’t it? Moreover, we are called to be burden-bearers, not sin bearers! “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Gal. 6: 2. But many have been foolishly bearing burdens–real, imaginary, or self-created which should have all been cast upon Christ the Burden Bearer and Sin Bearer a long time ago! Failing to follow His instructions for lack of “faith that works by love” (Gal. 5:6) and purifies the soul, we made our lives wretched and miserable. “It is not our privilege to measure the action of others or to criticize their failings. God has not made us the bearers of others’ sinsIt is with our own selves we have to do. The more thorough the work of repentance and reform in our own lives, the less we shall see to criticize in others.”(E.G. White, Sons & Daughters, p. 331)

Peace for a strife-torn, war-weary world and anxious hearts. God’s unfailing promise to the obedient is: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever; for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Isa. 26: 3. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid.”John 14: 27.

It is His peace, not the world’s most vaunted concepts of peace. History and the present time abundantly show that the more they talk and aim for universal peace, the more wars there areafter declaring truce upon truce, which no one really keeps because they secretly still harbor the illusion that they can wage “the war to end all wars.” How can one have peace when mutual trust is non-existent? Allies shaking hands publicly but spying on one another secretly—until someone blows the whistle. Nor it is the peace of the world’s religions.

They are in turmoil and in a state of confusion.  Even those of the same religion are destroying one another. “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or housed divided against itself will not stand.” Matt. 12: 25. But the everlasting peace that “the Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Prince” (Isa. 9: 6) is still offering to all, is first and foremost, perfect; second, it “passeth understanding.” I’d much rather enjoy the blessings and benefits of thispeace than strain my brain in vain, trying to define it better than anyone, and lose my peace if not my brains as well.

Health for a physically and spiritually ailing world. The beloved apostle wrote: “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2, N.K.J.V. This embraces the whole person—heart, soul, and mind (Matt. 22:37), with all the abilities and talents, both inherited and cultivated.  “Sickness of minds prevails everywhere. Nine-tenths of the diseases from which men suffer have their foundation here.” (E. G. White, Counsels on Health, p. 324). “You cannot stand still; you must either advance or retrograde . . . Where there is spiritual health there is growth. The child of God grows up to the full stature of a man or woman in Christ [Eph. 4: 13]. There is no limit to his improvement.” (Ibid, Sons & Daughters, p. 334).

Yahoo News 12/21/2015 ran this AFP news headlined, “Sick of Scandals, Pope Prescribes Cure for Vatican Ills. “Pope Francis vowed Monday to power ahead with the reform of the Curia, the church’s ‘diseased’ governing body, throwing down the gauntlet to those fostering a climate of intrigue, greed and double-crossing at the Vatican. . . .  “Three people accused of stealing and leaking secret papers [whistle-blowers] are currently on trial at the Vatican, along with two journalists accused of publishing the documents, which depict irregularities and extravagance in the Holy See’s spending. The year has also been marked by allegations of clerical sex abuse, stories of wild Vatican parties, accusations of charity money being spent on a cardinal’s apartment and rumor’s appearing to originate within the Church of the pope’s ill health.”

God has a Prescribed Cure for what ails the Remnant Church. The commandment-preserving remnant church of prophecy (Rev. 19: 10; 14: 12) is still in a spiritually lukewarm condition. Rev. 3: 14-22. It is yet militant (i.e., still “wrestling, not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,” Eph. 6: 12, NKJV), thus not the church triumphant. God’s divine cure for her is clearly written out in Rev .3: 18-21.

Do we humbly accept what He alone who is omnipotent, omniscient, and sinless thus incapable of making a misdiagnosis, solemnly reveals that our collective state is “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”? Have we been willing and compliant patients in following the Physician’s orders, restrictions, and prescription? Using the very medicine the Doctor calls for—strong words of counsel, reproof, admonition, and warning, God’s servant says:

    “Let the church arise, and repent of her backslidings before God. Let the watchmen awake, and give the trumpet a certain sound. It is a definite warning that we have to proclaim. God commands His servants, ‘Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgressions, and the house of Jacob their sins’ (Isa. 58:1). The attention of the people must be gained; unless this can be done, all effort is useless; though an angel from heaven should come down and speak to them, his words would do no more good than if here speaking into the cold ear of death.

     “The church must arouse to action. The Spirit of God can never come in until she prepares the way. There should be earnest searching of heartThere should be united, persevering prayer, and through faith, a claiming of the promises of God. There should be, not a clothing of the body with sackcloth, as in ancient times, but a deep humiliation of soul. We have not the first reason of self-congratulation and self-exaltation. We should humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God. He will appear to comfort the true seekers.

     “The work is before us; will we engage in it? We must work fast, we must go steadily forward. We must be preparing for the great day of the Lord. We have no time to lose, no time to be engaged in selfish purposes. The world is to be warned. What are we doing as individuals to bring the light before others? God has left to every man his work; everyone has a part to act, and we cannot neglect this work except at the peril of our souls. “O my brethren, will you grieve the Holy Spirit, and cause it to depart? Will you shut out the blessed Savior, because you are unprepared for His presence? Will you leave souls to perish without the knowledge of the truth, because you love your ease too well to bear the burden that Jesus bore for you? Let us awake out of sleep [Rom. 13: 11-14] ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.’ (1 Peter 5: 8).” – E G. White, The Review & Herald, March 22, 1887.

     “God calls for a spiritual revival and a spiritual reformation. Unless this takes place, those who arelukewarm will continue to grow more abhorrent to the Lord, until He will refuse to acknowledge as His children. A revival and reformation must take place, under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of the mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruits of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work, they must blend.” – Ibid, Feb. 25, 1902.

     “The end of all things is at hand. What we have done [this past year] must not be allowed to place the period to our work. The Captain of our salvation says, ‘Advance. The night cometh, in which no man can work. . . Prayer is a heaven-ordained means of success. Appeals, petitions, entreaties, between man and man, move men, and act as a part in controlling the affairs of nationsBut prayer moves heaven.”- Ibid, Sons & Daughters, p. 335. (Series resumes next week)