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Change: Is it ever easy?

June 3, 2010

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. 3Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, 4youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.” (Dan. 1:1-4; ESV)

Change

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced so much change in such a short amount of time.  I’ll explain a little later in this post.  I’ve been absent on this blog since I’ve been moving to a new place and waiting for internet.  I will try to be more consistent with my posts from now on – hopefully posting at the beginning of the week (Monday or Tuesday) and toward the end of the week (Thurs.-Sat.).

Reason for quote above: The Bible quote above is about deep change in the life of some youths from Israel.  Daniel, one of those youths from Judah, was probably 14 or 15 when he was taken to the courts of Babylon and taught the culture, language, and religion.

What I thought was incredible was that “the Lord gave” Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan king, the people of Judah.  God was in the midst of this difficult change and had even orchestrated it (“the Lord gave”).  Nothing takes the Lord by surprise.

This past week and a half I’ve moved once again.  This is twice in 7 months.  My things were loaded up from storage and moved to the country.  Everything is in disarray.  Yet, God is Sovereign in change.

Olympian Squirrel

I’ve been sleeping on the hide-a-bed downstairs, because it is cooler.  The first night, in the new place, I heard the pitter-patter of feet running on the ceiling above me.  It sounded like an olympic track meet was going on.  As listened to the antics above me, a large “rodent” ran into the fluorescent light fixture straight above me. I saw clearly it’s large feet and nose.  The olympian rodent looked down at me through the smoked plastic of the fixture and then ran off to see which flying squirrel had won the gold for poll vaulting.  I was not impressed.

My landlady called a “wild-critter” (don’t know the politically correct term) catcher to set up traps in the  ceiling and attic.  The “catcher”told me he saw tell-tale signs of bats having been in the attic, as well.  I think he was smiling when he told me they, too, might return this winter.  Ugh!

An exterminator also placed mice poisoning in the ceiling this past week – yes, there are signs of them, too.

God is Sovereign in change.  Despite the wild life living with me, I am blessed.  I have a Christian landlady that invited me to stay in her home (which is right next door to me) until the critters are caught.  God is Sovereign in change.  I told her jokingly that if she’d like she could pop some popcorn and come listen to the olympiad taking place above me.  I told her it was quite entertaining.

God is Sovereign in change – even if the change is difficult.

I never fully understood God’s sovereignty as an Adventist.  As an Adventist, I understood my role on earth was to keep the law and vindicate God before watching worlds.  Now, I realize my life is to glorify God. He is to be glorified in changes that are both good and bad.  And sometimes He will “give” me change that is difficult.  How do I handle things when God, Who is Sovereign, gives me difficult change?

Do you see God as Sovereign in the midst of difficult change?  What does it mean that God is Sovereign?  The answers to those questions have changed for me as I’ve transitioned out of Adventism.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. RCM permalink
    June 4, 2010 3:36 pm

    You have served for many years teaching and preaching in the Adventist faith using the scriptures as the basis for your belief in their teaching. Since then you began to have doubts, and are finding fault with the Adventist way of life and their handling of scripture. At the time this all started did you think about discussing your concerns with any of the professors at the seminary where you were studing for your doctorate? It would seem that you would be curious about their response to your concerns.

    • June 5, 2010 12:26 am

      6) We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7) No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8) None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9) However, as it is written:
      “No eye has seen,
      no ear has heard,
      no mind has conceived
      what God has prepared for those who love him”
      — 10 but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.
      The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11) For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12) We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13) This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 14)
      The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned
      . 15The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:
      16″For who has known the mind of the Lord
      that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:6-16; NIV)

      “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6; NIV)

      12) “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13) But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14) He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” (John 16:12-14; NIV)

      The underlying theme of your comment seems to be I couldn’t possibly know what I’m talking about unless I speak with professors at the SDA seminary. Only educated scholars can tell us what the Bible says …

      By the texts above … it is not the “educated” who understand the scriptures, but those who are born-again with the Spirit of God living in them. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. I don’t recall reading in the scriptures that only SDA scholars can interpret spiritual things? And what I have found is that scholars can differ on texts … therefore, in my search to know truth – which has taken a very long time, before I made my decision to leave Adventism … I searched the scriptures without commentaries, and without Ellen G. White. But even before that I submitted to the realization that salvation is of Christ alone. It is a gift – not a reward for “good behavior”. I contribute nothing to the gift of salvation. And sense it is based on Christ alone, I can not lose my salvation by behavior. Often SDA’s will then accuse me of antinomianism (lawlessness). They often say to me – then you think you can just go out and kill someone! That is the stupidestcomment I have ever heard. No, the Spirit convicts me of things much deeper than the 10 commandments. The Holy Spirit living in me convicts me of my motivations, my pride, my arrogance, my … I am much more in tune with what the Lord requires of me – because now – His Spirit is residing in me. The Holy Spirit who lives in the believer guides them into the “depths” of God and into the truth of the written word.

      Secondly, how could I have taught Adventist teachings for so long using scripture … this is a question you seem to imply. I was indoctrinated from birth up until 46 years of age. I did not understand much outside of Adventism. Yes, I taught Adventist doctrines. And I have repented of that. Also, I was not born-again by the Spirit of God (John 3). And one must be born again by the Spirit of God to understand the things of God. I used the scriptures as I had been indoctrinated to use them … without fully understanding what I was doing. Now, I have repented of my pride and arrogance of believing that only Adventists have the “full” or “real” truth and accepted that salvation is of Christ alone. (1 John 5:11-13; John 5:24).

      Lastly, I would invite you to submit to the drawing of the Holy Spirit to realize that salvation is a gift in which we contribute nothing. Once we become a child of God we don’t lose it, because we are sealed by the Holy Spirit until the day Christ returns (Eph. 1:13-14). The seal of God is not a day, but God Himself, in the person of the Holy Spirit. John 14-17 is some of the most beautiful writing in all of scripture … for Christ desires to be in us and us to be in Him … And it is Him, Who leads us to all truth.

      P.S. I challenge anyone to read only scripture for the next 3 months. No commentaries, No E.G.White. And before taking this challenge ask God to reveal truth to you … find for yourself that salvation is a gift – read the book of Galatians. And then read Ephesians.

  2. Dana Kendall permalink
    June 7, 2010 4:32 pm

    RCM, are you implying that it takes a seminary theologian to help a person understand how to be saved? As long as Keri believes in Christ, why does she need a seminary theologian to help make sure that she isn’t led astray? Either belief in Jesus and His sacrifice/resurrection is sufficient for salvation or it is not.

    In my journey out of SDA, I did talk to SDA theologians, and they failed to convince me. They didn’t provide enough Biblical evidence to bolster their viewpoints. They removed Scriptures from their contexts and made several leaps of logic to defend EGW as a prophet. Some of them admitted outright that Jesus’ sacrifice is not sufficient for salvation, arguing that it’s Jesus + the Sabbath = salvation. I’ve heard some express frustration that certain passages that contradict SDA health and Sabbath doctrines (Romans 14; Colossians 2) were written–as if they’re admitting Paul didn’t know what he was talking about. I heard one SDA theologian say that he’d like to have a talk w/ Paul when we all get to heaven to ask him why he wrote such confusing things that make it difficult for SDAs to defend their unique doctrines to other Christians.

    In the end, these conversations were deeply hurtful to both sides and, overall, were an exercise in futility. All each of us can do is gather the evidence at hand, pray about it, and decide whether there is a strong enough case to conclude that the SDA doctrine is unbiblical. Many, many people have been led to this point and had to make the difficult decision to leave. Some former SDAs I know talked to many SDA theologians in their exit process, some formers didn’t talk to any. However, they all came to the same conclusion when all was said and done. They had to choose the truth of the Bible and to trust in Jesus alone for salvation.

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