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It has been awhile

January 10, 2011

It has been a LONG time since I posted …. I have been busy starting a new job.  It is rewarding to say the least.  I teach inner city girls in an all girls school.

It is the middle of the night and I am rereading things early in my journey out of Adventism.  It is quite amazing for me to “revisit” those early thoughts.  I remember the tentative steps and ALL the fears ….

It really is hard for people to understand such a journey unless they have traveled it with you.

The gospel – which is, Jesus died for my sins and came to earth for the SOLE purpose of being my Redeemer/Kinsman – still amazes me and draws me to tears.

I really should get to bed, but I just felt impressed to write after rereading some of my early dialogue in this story of Christ’s  pursuit.

If God is Good … Losses …

August 23, 2010

JESUS WEPT (John 11:35)

We’ve all heard the “shortest verse of the Bible”.  I just reread it and the verses around it …  Before this famous phrase are these words, “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”  Jesus then asked, “Where have you laid him?” – referring to Lazarus … they told Him … and then He wept.

We aren’t told what Jesus’ tears meant … except that He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled as He saw the Jews and Mary weeping.

Another time that Jesus was deeply moved is found in Luke 19:41-44. Jesus was overlooking Jerusalem and weeping … He said, “If you, only you had known what would bring you peace ….”  and then He prophesied Jerusalem’s destruction …

I know my thoughts seem  a little random here … but follow me to the cross where Jesus, again, is deeply moved … His words, “My God, My God! Why have you forsaken me!” (Matthew 27:46) …

LOSSES … Christ understands loss at the deepest possible level … How? … At the cross His 100% human nature understood total separation from God.   Literally, God was rent at the cross – His humanness experienced the loss that is ours rightfully to endure – total separation from God.  We are born  dead to God and the things of God.  Romans 3 says – No one seeks God.  Yet, Christ experienced our loss – so that we might not be eternally separated from God.

To never be separated from God eternally we must receive Christ into our hearts (1John 5:11-13) – confessing our utter helplessness, our sinfulness, our pride …

Losses … I have not met anyone who hasn’t experienced loss … loss of finances, loss of family, loss of friends, loss of health, loss of spouse, loss of children, loss of job … What is your loss?

Yesterday, I watched, “Letters to God” and was reminded of loss … yet, loss can be turned into gain – just like it was at the cross … loss can be a way of glorifying the Lord … At the cross, the greatest loss was experienced … And at the cross Jesus was glorified.

Losses … sometimes we keep them hidden – because in darkness we think we won’t experience them as painfully as we might in the light … yet, losses brought out of the dark and into the light are redeemed, purified, and glorified.

If you are like me … losses feel much better hidden and pushed into darkness … and then I am reminded … “Jesus wept”.

Telling the Truth in Love

August 10, 2010

I have decided that “telling the truth in love” does not mean that the person you are telling will see truth or feel loved.  Ultimately, it is a heart issue – the one doing the telling and the one receiving.

I had never seen this in scripture before … it is very interesting …

14Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”  (Eph. 4; NIV)

This whole chapter is quite amazing to me …

I have felt saddened that my speaking the truth in love about Adventism has been seen as either untruthful or unloving.  May I share a visual example …

A small child, deeply loved by his mother begins to run out into the street to fetch a wayward ball.  The mother who has the gift of “eyes behind her head” sees an oncoming car and cries out, “A car!”  She has spoken in love and her tone has been urgent.  The urgent tone comes from her heart of love.   What will happen if the child continues to run out into the street disregarding the “truth in love”?  The child could be hurt or even killed.  What of the mother? … What happens to her after she speaks the truth in love?  And what if the child is hurt? … How will the mother feel?  She did what was right – yet, she, too, will suffer the consequences of the child’s disregard for truth in love.

I deeply care for Seventh-day Adventists.  I have spoken the truth in love from His WORD regarding the differences between Adventism and the Bible.  Shall I say, I have a mother’s heart for those still caught in unBiblical teaching … my heart grieves, because I care that deeply …

Yet, what I say is often taken from Adventists as “Why are you picking on us!”  We are Christians, too.  And so once again I share the gospel in hopes that eyes will be open and see the oncoming car … To trust in Adventism, or the Sabbath, or one’s actions for salvation is to deny Christ.  The scriptures are clear – salvation is placing one’s trust in Christ and Him alone (1 John 5:11-13; John 5:24; Rom. 10:9).

The car is coming will the child “hear” and “obey” … or will both mother and child be grieved?

In Grief, God comforts

July 22, 2010

In the midst of grief, God is amazing.  Let me share.

A few weeks ago I entitled a post “Hard Decision”.  I didn’t share what that hard decision was.  Today, the hard decision came to fruition.

I have had Annie for 13 and 1/2 years and got her as a 12 week old puppy.  She is a Jack Russel Terrier, but a very non-JRT.  Vets have said, “She doesn’t act like a Jack Russell.”  She has always been quiet and timid  … and not a barker.

When going on walks she always made sure she greeted each person personally, hoping for a pat on the head.

Annie was excellent with children and the smaller the better!  At a potluck when I wasn’t paying real close attention, I turned around to find  a 1 1/2 year old yanking on Annie’s ear.  Annie didn’t budge, growl or bite.  She just looked hopefully up at me to make it stop.

Annie loves warm things and she hated to have her nose cold.  Often she would be on my lap with her nose tucked into the crook of my elbow or arm to keep her long nose warm.

Here is another example of her desire for warmth.  I had done laundry one day and put some nice newly washed and dried laundry on my bed to fold.  Somehow I was distracted and left the room.  Annie managed to climb onto the bed and into the basket of freshly dried warm clothes.  The basket must have tipped over, but that didn’t stop her from snuggling into the warm softness and catching a siesta.

Contentment

Another cute shot:

If only I could have a nap like this all the time.There are more stories and I hope you don’t mind if I share them in the coming weeks.  It will help ease the pain.

This last spring, Annie had a “running/jumping” accident.  We were on a walk.  Being the inquisitive dog she is she climbed up a snow mound and went exploring.  Then she tried jumping back down, but misjudged and landed on her back.  The next day her hind legs would crumple underneath her.   I took her to the vet and she had a slipped disk and was given muscle relaxant, etc.  She got a little better, but her hind legs always bothered her.  Then Annie began bumping into things — I took her back to the vet and she was diagnosed as “going blind”.  It has been down hill ever since.

She had gotten to the point where she was falling down, sometimes unable to stand and eat, and I carried her wherever she needed to be.  She was also “leaking” even with a pill to help with incontinence.

God’s graciousness … The last two days God created some wonderful “cuddle” time with Annie.  This morning Annie awoke very relaxed and contented.  We had our “morning time” together with the Lord.  Annie on my lap, snuggling her nose under my arm to keep warm – as usual … Then a friend came to pick us up and take Annie to the vet.  The friend had had to put her dog to sleep the week before.  Unfortunately, my friend didn’t have much time to grieve, then, because she had company coming.  God gave her “grieving” time with me.

Annie, quietly snuggled into my arms on the way … I didn’t know what I’d do – the decision to put her to sleep hadn’t been fully made – I wanted an option out, but I wanted to find out exactly what was wrong.  The doctor checked her out, she had a bulging disk with nerve endings close to her bladder … therefore, her leakage.  She wasn’t going to get any better and was in a lot of pain though Annie never complained.  Annie was completely docile, content and it was time to let her go … for her sake.

The vet gave me a huge hug when it was done.  Another friend’s husband had already dug a grave, even thoughtfully putting a shovel nearby.  Those little things mean so much when you can’t think and your heart is aching.

I have had doubts about having done it and went to the internet and found a letter posted from a Father wanting to comfort his children and wife about the loss of their dog.  Guess what the dog’s name was:  Annie.  An article of comfort just for me from another dog named, Annie.  Here is the article:  http://www.thepetcenter.com/article.aspx?id=3377

… God has been gracious to make Annie’s last moments peaceful ones, provision of friends, encouragement, etc.  And even navigating me to an online encouragement from a Father to his children in the death of their dog named, Annie.

Thank you for listening … The eyes and heart hurt, the nose is red, but God is still on His throne providing comfort for His children.

Abortion – Where do you stand?

July 10, 2010

Recently, I had a conversation with a “never-been” SDA and the topic of abortion came up. I shared with her that Seventh-day Adventists do not have an official stance or understanding of abortion.  Also, I spoke about SDA doctors who perform abortions.  It is known that a prominent wealthy SDA owns several abortion clinics.

If anyone is reading this who has had an abortion or encouraged someone to have an abortion – I would like to say … There is forgiveness, healing, and love for you.  As we repent of our sin (and abortion is a sin) – God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sin and to purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Seventh-day Adventists love to claim that they are people of scripture.  How is it then that they miss the following scriptures concerning the “unborn”?

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jer. 1:5; NIV)

God is talking to Jeremiah the prophet … He tells Jeremiah that before he was even in His mother’s womb He knew Jeremiah … that before Jeremiah was “birthed” God had set him apart for a special work.

23 The LORD said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.” (Gen. 25:23; NIV)

Here The LORD is telling Rebekah about the sons in her womb and what will happen AFTER their birth.  Indeed, God knows the embryo and life that is developing in a woman’s womb for it is He who gives life.

Look how scripture declares that the Lord “closed” up the womb … meaning He did not give life …

18 for the LORD had closed up every womb in Abimelech’s household because of Abraham’s wife Sarah. (Gen. 20:18; NIV)

15 Did not he who made me in the womb make them?
Did not the same one form us both within our mothers? (Job 31:15; NIV)

God is the one that gives life and scripture declares that that life begins in the womb.

Please don’t misunderstand me … I am not trying to be trite or uncaring or insensitive to the plight of women that are raped … or find themselves as teenagers pregnant with ultimatums of being kicked out of their homes … or any number of difficult situations.

Yet, I can’t deny scripture either … God gives life, He forms us in the womb, He “knows” us before we are even an embryo, and He choose us before the foundation of the world.

Let me share a personal experience … Many years ago a woman came to me with the story of aborting a baby.  She was pregnant out of wedlock … she felt incredibly guilty … At that time I was an SDA and really didn’t know how to help her in her guilt.  I talked about God’s love and that God would not want her to be wallowing in guilt.  I left her home – knowing and seeing in her eyes that even though we had prayed together and talked – she still felt guilty.

I wonder if her eyes might have looked differently when I left if I had encouraged her to repent of the sin of abortion … that if I had identified it correctly and we had prayed together; confessing it as sin, asking for forgiveness, and talking about God’s forgiveneness … if this woman’s eyes might have looked differently – that maybe they would have reflected a peace of being forgiven, because she would have declared what she had done as sin.

I, have had to repent of my former understanding of abortion … it was never an issue for me … I figured women had the right to do with their bodies what they wanted.  And in my mind life began at birth when I was an SDA.  I was wrong as an Adventist … not taking God at His Word … that it is He who gives life to the womb.

Storms …

July 5, 2010

Approaching Storm

Have you experienced a storm lately?  I have … a series of them.  One storm, a week or so ago, knocked out power to several communities.  I was at someone’s home when it hit.  The electricity went dim, bright, dim … the trees nearly bent in half.  The rain pelting the windows literally felt more like a bucket of water had been turned upside down.  After the storm I drove home through country roads and saw limbs, leaves and damage everywhere.  I came down one road and a fire truck was stopped men removed a huge, huge limb from the middle of the road.  The firemen warned me that a wire lay across the road, but it wasn’t live.  Arriving at home I found many trees had lost their limbs …

The next day a friend called her electricity had been knocked out and she was on call.  She wondered if she could come over to my home and charge her cell phone.  I invited her to not only come over and charge her cell phone, but stay overnight and use whatever she needed.  For her the storm was an adventure … a reminder of her time in a third world country as a missionary doctor – without electricity, … etc.  She almost seemed excited about the whole thing – because it reminded her of the special time she had had in a country without much.

Scripture states:

1 Peter 1:3-9 (NIV)  3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Storms leave an aftermath ...

Rejoice …. I never fully understood rejoicing during storms or their aftermaths as an Adventist.  I knew I was supposed to … but I couldn’t quite fully wrap my mind around it.  And then … I became born-again … and I began to understand at a deeper level …

1 Peter states that we rejoice in trials and aftermaths  … and our “joy” is that we are saved and can fully know it.  I didn’t know if I was saved as a Seventh-day Adventist, because for one thing we were we were never to say we were saved (according to E.G. White – “a continuing authoritative source of truth”).  Based on 1 John 5:11-13 we are told we CAN “know” we are saved, because salvation is given, maintained, and sealed by God Himself.  If salvation had anything to do with us – none of us would be saved.  So I know I am saved, because I have repented of my pride and arrogance of thinking I had anything to do with my salvation and received Jesus VERY free gift.  Salvation is based on Jesus – not on me – that is how I can know I’m saved.  This isn’t a boast in pride, but a gratefulness of grace.

Storms … aftermaths … they will come …. I’ve had my share this year … how about you?  Do you have that joy that is deeper than your circumstances?  Do you have that peace that supersedes your trials?  If not … ask the one who rides the storms with us to enter your boat … repent and receive the Lord Jesus Christ into your life and make Him the master of your yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows.  It IS worth it.

Hard Decisions

June 22, 2010

I am in the midst of making a hard decision.  It sneaks into my mind often … I will be glad when the decision is made and action is taken on it …

Ever had a difficult decision to make?  How do you make them?  What is it like when difficult ramifications will follow no matter which way you decide.

In the midst of things like “hard decisions” I’m glad to know God’s Sovereignty.  I’m glad that I can lean on the fact that He is the Ancient of Days, the Alpha and Omega, the …

Let me digress for just a moment …

The decision to leave Adventism is the hardest decision I have ever made.  I remember telling a friend at the beginning of my Biblical quest that I was going through a hard time and it would take months – possibly years … The friend was SDA and did not know what I was referring to, because that is all I said.

At the beginning of this journey out of Adventism the stress was extreme … I would stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning reading scripture, cross-referencing, praying, agonizing … I begged God for truth … Infact, the stress was so high my body reacted by getting a medical condition that I have to this day … a skin condition that won’t go away … I read a book where high stress will do that …

So when well-meaning friends who just can’t understand that my decision to leave Adventism was extremely hard … say things like … “Oh, she was ‘wronged’ and that is why she left” or “she was deeply hurt by someone in Adventism and that is why she left” or “she didn’t get the job she wanted in Adventism and so left” or my favorite, “She just wanted to wear jewlry and didn’t like the rule-keeping of the Sabbath” (yes, I went through such high stress so I could wear jewlry – give me a break!!!)

I often want to respond with volume … “It isn’t about being hurt, nor …. etc. … I spent MONTHS studying, researching, agonizing, praying, and found that the doctrines of the Adventist Church are based on ‘proof-texts’ taken out of Biblical context and twisted, and SDA doctrines are intrinsically influenced by Ellen White, Adventism’s prophetess, who has Biblical authority in their doctrinal statements – ie. SDA Doctrinal Statement:  “She is a continuing source of truth, etc ….. ” Or the fact that Adventism teaches the atonement wasn’t fully completed at the cross (Investigative Judgment) or that the bottom line in Adventism is that salvation is ‘Jesus plus works’ … because you can “lose” your salvation by what you do.  Ellen White says you should never say you are “saved”.  Or the seal of God in Adventism is the Sabbath when scripture clearly teaches it is the Holy Spirit …

Hard decisions … but that hard decision to leave Adventism and seek a more Biblically based community was the best “hard decision” I have made.  Why?  Because God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are totally different for me and I know with assurance my salvation is secure in Jesus Christ … my life is difficult at times, but the Holy Spirit that is living in me continues to comfort me and point me back to God’s Sovereignty and one day … I will join those in the faith chapter – who when going through difficulty looked forward to a city – who’s foundation was/is God.

What is your foundation for “hard decisions”?