We Can’t Humble Ourselves

“Now thanks be unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the fragrance of His knowledge by us in every place.” ~ 2 Corinthians 2:14 ~

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Yesterday I went with my host family to the Bordoville Seventh Day Adventist Church at Enosburg Falls. It was their 151st anniversary, and their pastor was being ordained in the afternoon. The Bordoville Church is one of the oldest Seventh Day Adventist Church built by Adventists in North America. I enjoyed the day very much, especially the preaching by Professor Philip Samaan from Southern Adventist University in TN. I want to share part of it with you, for it spoke to me, and I pray it will speak to you too.

“He must increase, but I must decrease” ~ John 3:30 ~

How many times have we thought that we must be humble, that we need to humble ourselves so that Christ can live and grow in us? But can we truly humble ourselves? Is this what the verse says – I must decrease so that Christ can increase? No the verse shows us that Jesus must FIRST increase in us, and He will cause self to decrease in us. What is increasing in my life, in your life? Is it Jesus? We want to be good, to be like Him, but the truth is we can’t be good on our own. We can’t be humble in our own strength. And the wonderful thing is that Jesus doesn’t need to, nor want to wait for us to be good before He can be increased in our lives. He wants to be increased in us now, and He will take care of all our faults and shortcomings. He wants to be a sweet fragrance in us that attracts others to a knowledge of Him.

I want Jesus to be increased in me.

There is a story told of a little boy. He was a good little boy who enjoyed going to Sabbath School, saying his prayers, and memorizing his memory verses. When he prayed, he had been taught to ask Jesus to come and live inside of him. As he contemplated this he began to wonder how the great big Jesus could fit inside his small, young body. So he asked his father how big Jesus was. Father said that Jesus was bigger than he was. Thinking about this, the little boy replied saying, “If Jesus is living inside of me, because He is so big, He must always be sticking out of me.

I want Jesus to stick out of me, what about you?

Here’s some other pictures from that wonderful Sabbath

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When God says, “Go!”

I was very blessed by Tim’s sermon yesterday. Here are three thoughts that I wish to share from it.

What is God Thinking When He Asks You to, “Go!”?

1. Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD,       thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
When God asks you to, “Go!”  He is thinking of what is good for you and your future

2. Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
When God asks you to, “Go!” He is thinking about what is good for His kingdom. What makes this more amazing is that God is thinking that YOU can, by His power, do something good for His Kingdom.

3. Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.”
When God asks you to, “Go!” He is thinking about what is good for Him. And in His mind, You are good for Him – What Love!

For some extra deep thoughts, think about the great stories in the Bible… Noah, Abraham, Moses – and many more, and imagine what this world would be like today if they had said, “No!” When God asked them to, “Go!”

“Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” ~ Isaiah 6:8 ~

A Blessed Week

I’m very grateful for this Sabbath. It has been a very busy week. Last Monday, Ely came down with an extremely high fever, and was out of action for the rest of the week. We believe she had dengue fever. So Emily, Caleb and I covered her classes for her, and I took care of her at home here at the dorm – thank God for papaya leaf juice…. it’s as unappealing as it sounds, but helped Ely a lot. Ely is doing a lot better now, and attended church this morning.

Tim and Wendy are still in Australia, we miss them and at times really wish they were back here already, but God has been with us still, and is blessing Caleb and Shannon as they take charge here. I think it has been a faith-growing experience for all of us.

We were blessed in that Thursday was a holiday. We’d been planning a special event with our girls, but have had to postpone that until some other time. Thursday night, three new student volunteers from America (who previously had been serving in China) arrived. We thank God that He has sent us more teachers to help share the workload. Two of the girls will stay until the end of the year, and the third girl will stay until March, and I’m sure that God will then supply us with our next lot of teachers… (anyone interested in a life-changing experience???)

Actually, Ely was supposed to preach this Sabbath. On Wednesday I remembered and knew there was no way possible that she would be up to it. I mentioned it to Emily and then set out to find a replacement speaker. I had no idea who to ask, and forgot about it, until my Grade 10 Bible class, when as my students began walking in the door I remembered and started asking them one by one if they would like to preach this Sabbath. I honestly wasn’t expecting them to say yes, and true to form, each replied with an emphatic, “NO!”

Part way through the song service one of the students, Nak, said that he didn’t want to take the sermon, but he might have a topic… but it was such short notice and he was very afraid. He spent the rest of the singing time looking at his topic, but decided that he couldn’t do it. I thanked him anyway for even considering and went on with the class. Then, just as I asked them to stand for the closing prayer, Khin, one of the quiet studious boys who comes from the surrounding villages, asked me if I needed to find someone to preach. I replied that I did and jokingly asked him if he wanted to preach. “Baht (yes)” he replied quietly. It was so unexpected I had to ask him again to check that what I’d heard was in fact what he’d said. Well it was so. He preached today, and he did a wonderful job. I pray that his willingness and the message touched the hearts of the other students. I hadn’t expected to find a speaker from among my students, but I’m so glad that Khin let God use him in this way.

Khin does not come from an Adventist or even Christian family. His family is all Buddhist, and he and his younger brother have faced opposition from them to their wanting to be Christian and changing their lifestyle. Khin has, in his own quiet way continued to let God lead him and teach him and give him the courage to stand for what he believes in. As far as I am aware, his family is more accepting of his beliefs today.

Khin (back row far right) with his classmates and Teacher Ely last school year

Khin (back row far right) with his classmates and Teacher Ely last school year

This Sabbath I would like to praise God for being God whom we can always trust; for being so high above us; for knowing and seeing all. For giving us the strength to serve Him; for allowing only to happen to us that which will grow us up into Christ.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” ~ Isaiah 55:8-9 ~

 

Satan Told Me Not To Read The Bible

A Testimony
~ by Andrew Michell ~
http://www.hewantsfruit.com

Motivating youth to read the Bible

Motivating youth to read the Bible

When I was in jail the first thing Satan said to me was

Do not read the Bible.

Well it was too late. I had just been arrested for kidnapping and armed robbery and was alone in a cell in solitary confinement. There was nothing to read except for the obscenities and gang symbols which former prisoners had written or scratched on the walls of my cell.

After a few days another prisoner walked by my cell and gave me a book to read. It was the Bible. I had to read the Bible. What else could I do? I was in solitary confinement with only that one book. So I read the Bible.

That’s when I heard Satan say to me

Well if you are going to read the Bible, do not believe any of it.

Fine, I will not believe it. But you should read some of fantastic stories that the Bible contains! They were so amazing I swear that I was lost in this book and no longer in solitary confinement. Daniel saved out of the lions’ den, the walls of Jericho crumbling, and Jesus resurrected from death.

Then I learned that Matthew, John, and Peter were very real historical figures who really lived and knew Jesus. They were not writing fiction but their own eyewitness testimonies of Jesus’ sufferings, death, and resurrection. They believed so much in what they saw and heard that they were willing to be tortured, imprisoned, and killed rather than be quiet. These eyewitness testimonies were so compelling I began to believe them also!

Satan said “Ok so you believe the Bible, just do not pray.

Well by now my life was a complete wreck. I was 16 years old in jail for seven kidnappings and armed robberies. This was a time of intense misery and despair as I realized my life was over and there was no hope. I was a high-school-dropout-drug-addict felon. The only future for me was prison and death.

As I read stories in the Bible of God answering prayer and changing peoples’ lives, I found hope. I knelt on the floor of that cell and prayed to God to change my life. He did. He gave me a new heart and new desires. I found peace and freedom as I prayed.

Satan would visit me often in that cell. He persisted, “You are reading the Bible and praying even though I told you not to. I do not think you should do that but I will not stop you. That is okay, just have your own experience with God and do not ever go to church.”

As I continued to read the Bible I found that I was becoming a better person. The Bible was changing me and giving me a desire to give, learn, and help others. I no longer wanted to steal, use drugs, and commit crime. This was so wonderful! I wanted to find others who were also reading the Bible and praying. I wanted to join them. I wanted to benefit from interacting with a community of Bible readers.

Satan was ready of course, “Well fine, it is okay for you to join a church. There are over 33,000 denominations for you to choose from. Choose from any that you like, just do not go to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

In summary, when I learned the truth about the Sabbath Day and the truth about what happens when people die, I decided to become a Seventh-day Adventist. Why? Here is the easiest and simplest answer: Because 10 equals 10 and the dead are dead. Everybody always says “10 commandments” but they only really mean 9. Everybody always says that Mr. SoAndSo is dead but what they actually mean is that Mr. SoAndSo is alive somewhere else. However the Bible says that the dead are dead and that the 10 commandments are 10 commandments.

You-know-who came to me again and sought to persuade me “Hey, you did not need to join a church, especially the SDA church. Anyways just enjoy your faith by yourself and do not share it with anyone.

Actually it is not that hard to be quiet about your faith. I think I could have succeeded if I only stopped reading the Bible and praying. If I stopped reading the Bible I would have lost perspective on the value of a human soul. Other people would have then become less important and I would not value them as God values them. But God does want all people in every nation to know what great love He has for them.

Listening to Satan this time was impossible. For many years now I had been consistently reading the Bible and praying every day. This interaction with God’s Word had so dramatically changed my life that people who knew me previously were asking me how my life had changed. When I shared how God had helped me so much other people wanted the same thing. How could I withhold something that been such a benefit to my life, my family and community?

Now Satan really started to plead with me, he really urged me “Ok you are sharing your faith with people at home. That’s good and you should just do only that. But do not ever, I repeat, do not ever go to an area of the world where is Christ is not known and share what you know about Jesus. Do not show any interest whatsoever in foreign missions.

In the Bible is an interesting story about the disciples of Jesus asking the question about the end of the world.  Jesus then tells them specifically in Matthew 24:14 “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” Jesus then commands his followers in Matthew 28:18-20 to go into all the world and share the good news and teach others about Jesus.

How amazing! It is God’s will that everybody has access to the gospel to learn about God’s love for all of humanity. All people everywhere should have opportunity to learn about Jesus. It is the express will of God. When I learned here that 2.9 billion people are still without access to the gospel I became motivated to be involved. This is what God wants. How could I live any other way?

Satan said “Ok Andrew you are involved with foreign missions, but don’t encourage anyone else to be involved.”

This time I thought about what Satan said. Why should I not tell anyone else about foreign missions? Because when every nation and every people group has access to the gospel then Jesus will return with power and great glory. When Jesus returns all sickness, war, rape, crime, evil, corruption, pain, and suffering will come to an end. Satan will remain in power as long as foreign missions are ignored. Suffering, war, and evil continue because missions do not.

Organized religion is the greatest blessing to humanity.
 God has organized the believers of the Bible into an organized church to take the gospel in a very organized way to unreached people groups. That is the overall plan and purpose for the church. God brought the church together to do this work well so that nobody in this generation anywhere in the world need be ignorant of Jesus.

The results of sharing? Just recently I met a man in SE Asia who said to me “Because of your example I have brought my family here to share Jesus with the unreached.”

And Satan? Well I just heard him say the other day “Ok you did not listen to me and you have motivated people at home to be involved in missions…but whatever you do, please do not publish any of this.”

 

Andrew Michell, who has worked for many years as a full-time Missionary in Thailand. A book has been written about his incredible life story and amazing transformation. It can be found at the Adventist Book Center and is titled, “Convicted!“. Andrew has visited the Jesus For Asia studio before, has been on MissionTV (Episode March 31, 2014) and has spoken at Southern Adventist University.
Sabbath Blessings to you all

A Mountain

We recently welcomed two new volunteers to our ranks – husband and wife team, Dustin and Caitlin. They are lovely and now that we are getting more volunteers, we are excited to see the new ways in which we can begin to reach out to the villages around us. There are two more volunteers coming in the next few weeks, and we are looking forward to meeting them too.

Yesterday most of my co-volunteers and I took an Sabbath afternoon trip to a nearby mountain hill. It’s quite steep, but not very high. There were, according to Laura, 610 steps. We enjoyed beautiful views, mountain fruit with chili, and a small look at the fallen down temple. We closed Sabbath at the top before heading down as the sky began to darken.

For worship, we discussed how important prayer was for Jesus when He was here on earth. He was sinless, and perfect, yet He deeply felt a need for time with God the Father to be able to surrender His will to that of His Father’s. And if He, perfect as He was, placed this importance on prayer, how much more should we, who are weak and sinful follow His example.

The temples are a little bit fascinating for me. Not because of how grand they were. Not because of their architecture. Not even because they are historical wonders. No. Every time I see one of these fallen down, ruined, jungle-reclaimed temples, I am brought to remember that the castles and grand things we build on this earth or in our own lives that is for ourselves, or our glory, will one day fall down, and be replaced or forgotten. Great and powerful nations have arisen and fallen; styles come and go. There is only One who is eternal and that is God. The only things that will stand the test of time is that which we do for the glory of God alone. One day this sin-filled world will be destroyed and remade. What will remain will be the characters that we have allowed God to develop in us, and the precious people whom were won to Christ by our witness for Him.

May God use me to help build His eternal kingdom!

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Sabbath Afternoon

It has been my desire this year to teach my girls more about Sabbath and the keeping thereof. At the beginning of the school year I had been convicted that the way I was spending my Sabbaths was not in complete harmony with how Jesus would have me spend my time on His holy day. And then, after school began again, I was convicted that the girls needed an example of what the Sabbath is all about and how to keep it holy. Sabbath is God’s day, and should be used to glorify Him. After some thought and prayer I was impressed that we should do something for the children outside of Wat Preah Yesu. Of course, I had no idea what I could do – maybe some kind of children’s program….? I talked it over with Tim and he was very encouraging. He said he was happy for us to be doing village outreach and gave me plenty of ideas.

So I continued thinking and planning and praying about it, and then school began and I was rather busy. Then rainy season began and it was rather wet. And I still wasn’t sure how to put it all together or how the girls would respond to it.

Well last week, Paul Marlow and his friends arrived. They will be here for six weeks helping out before going on to Thailand for another six weeks to help out there. Beth, one of the women who came with Paul, was discussing children’s programs with me and when she heard of what I’d wanted to do, she greatly encouraged and motivated me to get it all organized. So this past Sabbath (7th Dec) we held our first children’s program in the village at the home of one of our church members.

My girls did everything! The program consisted of songs, a story (Creation), a memory verse, balloons and a colouring-in picture. They had a lot of fun and are keen to do it again this coming Sabbath. I was so proud of them. They were nervous, but they did their best. 26 out of my 28 girls were there, and most of them had something to do, the rest helped show the village children what to do. We had at least 45 village children along with some of their parents attend, which was way more than I expected for our first time. We had actually made a flyer up which we had gone and handed out in the village on Friday afternoon. We hadn’t met very many children while out and many of those we did meet ran away at the sight of so many people coming towards them. Some of the children who attended also attend CAS-K school here, but many who came do not.

I am very thankful to Beth, Judy, Katherine, Jive, and Laura for helping and joining us. I’m thankful that my girls enjoyed it so much. I’m thankful that the children who came enjoyed it, and I’m thankful that we have the opportunity to do it again. Please keep us and all the children in your prayers. I pray that my girls will be blessed as they serve and come to know Jesus more and that the village children will be introduced to the loving Savior, Jesus.

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