I know that you like
play with animals and watch them too. Have
you ever held really still while a wild animal gets really close to you?
Then when you move slightly or make some sort of noise, what do they do?
They suddenly come to attention and are “all ears” right?
Their ears prick up, twitch, their nose wrinkles and they listen intently
for the slightest sound. They know
that their very lives may depend on how well they listen.
know you have seen animals do this. And
it is an excellent example of what Jesus does when we talk to Him. David said in Psalms 66:19, “But certainly God has heard.
He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.”
Well, God’s ears don’t actually prick up or twitch like an animals
but the Hebrew words that David used to say “given heed” actually means
“to prick up the ears like an alert animal; to pay attention”.
Jesus listens just that intently when you talk to Him Brandon. He listens slowly and carefully to everything you have to
of Grandpa King’s favorite bible texts is about Jesus listening like this:
“Then those who
feared the Lord spoke often to one another, and the Lord gave attention
and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those
who reverence the Lord and who value His name.” Malachi 3:16
Jesus really listens and when you talk to Him you can be
sure that He listens to you as if you were the only one on earth
I think it is just as important that you listen carefully and intently to
Him too when He talks to you through the bible and your mommy and daddy and
others. Jesus says, “He who has
ears to hear, let him hear what I say.” Matthew
eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears are open
to their cry…the righteous cry and the Lord hears and delivers
them out of their troubles.” Psalm
A while back I went
over to the coast to see aunt Coni and cousin Stanley and I went to Cannon
Beach. You remember Cannon Beach,
where we always went and stayed at the beach.
I was looking at the waves crashing in on the beach and the great big
Haystack rock and I started remembering all the fun things I have done at the
you remember building sand castles with lots of walls and moats around them?
And then building roads inside with feathers for flags?
Then the tide started coming in and we would try to keep it from washing
them away. We would frantically
build them back up between waves and try desperately to make them hold out
against the incoming water. Were we
ever successful? Ever?
Eventually the water
overpowered our castle and washed it away.
remember doing that many times and sometimes with you.
But Haystack rock is different. You
know Haystack rock…we have looked for hermit crabs and starfish and touched
sea anemone there a lot of times. It
is a huge rock and thousands and thousands of waves crash upon it every hour.
But it stands strong! For
years it has stood against millions of stormy waves!
Anyway, a lot!!!
like an excellent place for the wise man to build his house. We know from experience that only a foolish man would build
it where we try to build our castles on the sand.
where are you going to build your life Brandon?
Many all around us are trying to build their forts on the sand.
Well, you and I saw what happened to our cool sand castles.
The same thing happens to us if we build on anything but Jesus.
So build your life on
a Rock…like Haystack rock…strong and firm.
Build your fortress on Jesus.
There is a lot of
swimming in the bible. Water can
have different effects on people depending on the circumstances.
Can you think of a man who got really wet but who definitely didn’t
have a good time? Its one thing to be swimming for your life in
the middle of a stormy ocean. That
is scary enough! But to be eaten by
a huge sea monster?!!? Yikes!!
Wouldn’t you be scared if you were swimming in the sea
and suddenly you saw a massive fin and a monstrous tail cutting through the
waster toward you?!!? Yikes again!!
And then a big eye and mouth!!
And just as he is swallowing you and you are trying to stay away from his
teeth, you think, “I’m a gonner! I’m
dead!!” Maybe God’s
scary words in Job 41 would hit you, “Around his teeth there is terror!”
Face it! You would be
so was Jonah!! No
doubt! Scales and fins and teeth!
He was definitely not having a good day and most definitely
not excited about being in the water!
remember Brandon, Peter was excited to choose Jesus and jumped into the water in
his excitement to get to Him. Captain
Naaman wasn’t excited to jump in the water but chose Jesus anyway, testing the
water tentatively with his big toe. How
about Jonah? Did he choose Jesus?
No. He didn’t. He
chose not to do what was right and was thrown into the water to
the most terrifying experience of his life.
But even when Jonah
didn’t choose Jesus and chose to do the wrong thing, did Jesus leave him to
die? He gave him another
even when you don’t feel like it and sometimes when you don’t choose Jesus,
He still wont let you go but He will come again to give you another choice.
But, the water might get pretty scary in the mean time!!!!
So, I want you to think about Jonah’s terrifying swim once in a while,
Today the sun is
making me feel great! It almost
feels like spring. Pretty soon we
will be growing plants in our gardens again.
Do you like to grow plants?
I think it is fun to get the earth soft and plant the little seeds in
rows! As you water, weed and
protect them, they pop out of the ground and grow and grow and grow. After a little while you are eating lettuce, cucumbers,
tomatoes :0(, and
corn. I think it really is an
exciting miracle to eat what you helped to grow.
words in the bible are just like the seeds you plant in your garden.
Jesus says so in Luke 8:11. So
you can ask Jesus for anything He has promised you in the bible and your prayers
will grow up and be answered as surely as little seeds grow into watermelons!
do you get anxious to eat what you planted and it seems like it takes forever
for it to grow? It can feel the
same way with the things we ask God for. Sometimes
it just doesn’t look like God is keeping His promise or that our prayer garden
is even growing. And it is tempting
to think that maybe our fruit isn’t even going to grow.
But remember, it takes a while after you plant the seed before you can
eat the corn, right? And some plants, like lettuce, grow fast but others, like
corn or watermelon, grow slow.
if you keep on watching your prayer garden carefully so that it
doesn’t freeze or get eaten by bugs and if you weed and water it by continuing
to ask Jesus to answer you like He promised and don’t give up on your seeds,
then the promise will grow up into a big, fat watermelon for you to eat because
you will see your prayers answered.
be patient, believe in Jesus’ promises and wait for Him to grow
your garden up. And you will always
see the promise happen just like you see the corn ripen in the summer and fall.
you hold the seeds in your hands when you put them in the ground and carefully
watch over them as they grow, then you can expect, without a doubt, to
hold the fruit in your hands too. A
big watermelon is in every little watermelon seed.
It just hasn’t grown yet. In
the same way you can expect God to keep His promises even though they haven’t
grown up or matured yet.
Him for that big, fat watermelon right now while you are planting the seeds.
“His promises will
be fulfilled. They have never failed. They
never can fail.” Steps to Christ
in Jesus will not be disappointed.” Romans
give up on your garden (God’s promises) to soon. Keep praying and believe in the harvest.
The promises are sure. Believe
you receive the things you ask for and you shall have them. (Mark 11:24)”
Early Writings p73
Hmmm…..let me see…..I think we will talk about language. Remember when God spoke the 10 commandments from Mount Sinai? Do you remember what the 3rd commandment says?
20 “You shall not
take the name of the Lord in vain, for the Lord will
not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”
“In vain” in the Hebrew language means “to rush over” or “to destroy”. In other words we don’t want to say God’s name in a hurried, meaningless way. Or say it in a way that would destroy the reverence that is belongs to it. God is big and good beyond our understanding. He made everything including the infinite sacrifice so we could live. So we want to honor and respect His name.
if you remember, had a problem with his mouth.
When he was upset he sometimes said very bad things.
It all came out the worst when he denied Jesus at his trial in Matthew
26:74. “He began to curse and to
swear” so he could convince them that he was not a disciple.
After all, a disciple of Jesus would never use such filthy language or
take God’s name in vain, right? Then
the cock crowed….and Peter felt terrible and went out and cried.
He remembered that Jesus said it would happen and he must have remember
His rebuke to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34-37
brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good.
the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.
good man out of
his good treasure brings forth what is good and the
man out of his evil treasure brings forth that which is evil.
And I say
you that every careless word
that men shall speak, they shall render
for it in the judgment. For
by your words you shall be justified
by your words you shall be condemned.”
Peter had to let Jesus change his heart and make it good before his mouth would always say good things. And so do we.
James said in James 3:2-8 that the tongue is like the bit in a horses mouth that controls the whole horse. It is like the little rudder on a ship that controls the whole ship. It is like the forest fire that is set ablaze by a little match. So the tongue controls the body and boasts great things even though it is very small. The problem is that “No one can control the tongue…” James 3:8 Not you, not me, not anyone.
Only Jesus can if we let Him fill our hearts with His good treasures.
says “Let no unwholesome word
come from your mouth.” (Ephesians
4:29), “Put aside
abusive speech from your mouth.” (Colossians
3:8), and “Keep your tongue from
evil and your lips from speaking lies.” (Psalms 34:13) Jesus
commands us to do this and if He commands us to do something, He gives us the
power to do it. How?
By putting His goodness inside us if we ask Him every day.
The wisest man that ever live was Solomon. And I couldn’t finish without writing down a few of his Proverbs.
15:4 “A soothing tongue is a tree
of life but perversion in it
crushes the spirit”
18:21 “Death and life are in the
power of the tongue…”
15:28 “The heart of the righteous
ponders how to answer but
the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.”
21:23 “He who guards his mouth
and his tongue, guards his
soul from troubles.”
So Dustin, I pray that the words of Psalms 19:14 will be what you want for your tongue:
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy
sight O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”
I know that one of
your favorite stories is the story of Moses and the deliverance of Isreal from
the Egyptians. Remember Moses, at
the Red Sea, said, “Stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord….”
It is so important for us to stand firm for God’s all important cause. There is no other thing in life that is as important.
your heart thrill to see the 3 boys standing
alone before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image when everyone else fell.
And be amazed to see the Spirit of the Lord upon Samson when he killed
1000 Philistines with the jawbone of an ass.
He was only one left standing!
I just found the most incredible story in 1 Chronicles 11:12-14.
David, with an army, fought against the Philistines at Pasdammim.
As the battle continued David’s army fled before the Philistines. But David and one of his mighty men, Eleazar, stood back to
back in a barley field and struck down the hoards of Philistines that came at
them. And the Lord saved them with a great victory against all odds. Can
you see David and his friend, back to back, fighting furiously with their
flashing swords while the bodies of thousands of Philistines piled up around
were invincible! Why?
Because they stood firm for God’s almighty cause and, risking
everything, fought His battles. So it must be with you and me.
After everyone else runs or falls, we must still be there,
standing…fighting for God.
is interesting that David and his friend took their stand in a field of barley.
Do you know what grain is a symbol of in the bible?
The Word of God is our
bread from heaven right? And they
clung to their swords which were also
symbols for God’s Word—which is sharper than a two-edged sword
(Hebrews 4:12). And because they
clung to the Word, God fought for them and they were victorious.
will do the same for you Dustin if you put on His armor and fight His battles.
“Therefore put on
the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of
the devil...and to resist in the evil day and having done everything, to stand
firm.” Ephesians 6:11 & 13
As I was
reading in the books of Moses about Isreal, the sanctuary and the priests, I
came across a something very interesting. You
remember when Nadab and Abihu burned strange fire and died before the Lord?
Well, immediately after Moses told Aaron, “Do not tear your clothes or
you will die.” It was a
natural thing that people did then when very sad things happened like your
children dying. But Aaron
couldn’t do it because for him it was sin.
Why is God so pleased in 2 Chronicles 34:27-28 that He pours out His
blessing when Josiah the king tears his robes and yet warn Aaron of death for
doing the same thing?
The answer is
that Aaron was a priest and priests had special privileges.
In Old Testament times, only priests could go into the tabernacle’s
Holy Place, and once a year the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, into the
very presence of Jehovah.
Only the high priest knew what it was to stand in God’s Presence and
But what does
this have to do with his responsibility not to tear his robes?
Remember that tearing
robes was a cultural way of expressing extreme despair over a disaster.
I think God’s lesson is clear: Someone
who can come into the immediate presence of God never has reason to regard
anything as a disaster. In
other words, when a person is aware of God’s presence in his or her life,
nothing that happens can bring on a sense of despair or cause them to lose all
hope. If a priest were to tear his
robes for personal grief, he would be clearly saying to all that there
are problems in life that God doesn’t have solutions for.
And that is never true!!
The God who is
love, the God of eternity, the Infinite, personal God who lives in the hearts of
His people and sovereignly directs the flow of history is big enough to easily
take care of every situation!
Nothing takes Him by surprise. No
problem is beyond His power to solve. There
is no possible event in life that God can’t take care of.
People who can approach this God directly must not despair.
To do so is to say that God is
powerless to work for eternal good in our set of circumstances.
Now here is the
mind blower Dustin! One of the most
remarkable truths in the New Testament is that every member of God’s family is
a priest! Read it in
1 Peter 2:5! We are warmly
encouraged to come boldly to the throne of God, to approach Him believing that
He understands our problems, cares about our struggles and will work everything
out in our life for good.
Because you and
I, being saved children of God, enjoy the privileged position of priests, we
must never tear our clothes. Such
action is unworthy and unbecoming for a priest of the Almighty Shepherd.
In His presence, there is never cause for despair!
There may be pain or hurt or sadness, but never despair.
No situation is so desperate that God can’t take care of it for us.
We must fully realize that our determination to live for God and to do
what He says will always result in something good.
Father’s presence encircled Christ, and nothing happened to Him except what
His Father permitted for the blessing of the world.
This was Jesus’ source of comfort, and it is ours too.
When Christ’s spirit lives in us, then we abide in Him and whatever
good or evil comes to us comes from Him. We
have no need to resist evil for Jesus is our defense.
Nothing can touch us except by our Lord’s permission and
‘all things’ that are permitted ‘work together for good to them
that love God.’ Romans 8:28”
Ellen White from Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing
The bible has some pretty powerful things to say about work. The wisest man that ever lived said:
hand findeth to do, do it with thy
might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in
the grave, whither thou goest.
is important to give everything you do your best shot.
Why? Because we are not just
working for men but for Jesus.
And whatsoever you do, do your work heartily, as to the Lord rather that for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. For it is the Lord that you serve.
the parable of the talents? At the
end of the story the master says: “He
that is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.
But he who is unfaithful in a very little thing is unfaithful also in
much.” Luke 16:10
is looking for boys and girls and men and women that are trustworthy and
responsible so He can use them for His purposes.
the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself
strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.
you really are is what you are
when nobody is looking. You can
fool men but God is watching and you can’t fool Him. Joseph did his work like
he was doing it for God and look how God used him.
you can’t do it perfect but you can always do your best. So
strive for excellence in everything
you do. Even if no one is looking.
God who sees in secret will reward you openly.
I am at it again.
Because I think wisdom in this world is important.
Not my wisdom, mind you. Gods. Listen carefully to what He says:
“Now Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go up, eat and drink for there is the
sound of the roar
of a heavy
rain.’” 1 Kings 18:41
Did you hear that? Rain!! How could
Elijah hear rain? The sun was
still hot and scorching in the sky and dust swirled in the air. He still had to pray 7 times before it would
come. But he hears rain!
Can you explain that
Dustin? As I think about it, I
think that it is consistent with many other stories of God’s men in the bible.
I think Elijah knew God so well that he could hear His voice.
God speaks in many ways…through His promises, our thoughts, a friend or
a dream, just to name a few. So
Elijah was so sure of God’s voice that he was really saying,
“I hear the sound of God’s voice!
He says it is going to rain. It
may not look or sound like a storm now but I hear it coming.”
That reminds me of
another man who heard rain coming 120 years before it arrived!!
Do you believe
God like that? That solidly?!
Even when it looks impossible?
Jesus speak too. Face to face,
dressed as the Captain of the host of the Lord.
Jesus told him the same thing he told Elijah and Noah.
“See, I have already given Jericho into your hand, with
its king and the
valiant warriors.” Joshua 6:1
But Jericho didn’t look any different.
As a manner of fact, there was no change whatsoever.
Joshua still had to march around Jericho 7 times before it
would fall. Already conquered?!
God says this
to us often, Dustin. And He wants
us to believe Him even when everything looks the same. I have good news for you!
When God states He has done something, from then on, as far as He
is concerned, it is a done deal—He has done it!
So what does
God want from you? He
wants the same thing as He did from Elijah, Noah and Joshua.
First, talk to God and listen to His voice. Then believe
Him, take Him at His word…possess it…lay hold of it.
the good fight of the faith. Lay hold of the eternal life
to which you were summoned and for which you confessed the good confession of faith before many people.” 1 Timothy 6:12
am I saying?
We walk by faith and
not by sight. 2 Corinthians 4:18
and 5:7 Remember that
“faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not
seen”. God wants you and
me to believe Him so absolutely that we are willing to stake our lives
on what He says will happen.
was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly
it might not rain; and it did not
rain on the earth for three
and six months. And he prayed
again, and the sky poured
and the earth produced it fruit.” James
because Elijah was a man of large faith that God could use him in this grave
crisis in the history of Isreal. As
he prayed, his faith reached out and grasped the promises of Heaven, and he
persevered in prayer until his petitions were answered.
He did not wait for the full evidence that God had heard him, but was
willing to venture all on the slightest token of
divine favor. And yet what he
was enabled to do under God, all may do in their sphere of
activity in God’s service. (That
is you and me Coni!) Faith such as
this in needed in the world today—faith that will lay
hold on the promises of God’s word and refuse to let go until
Ellen White’s comments in Prophets and Kings
you know why God created you? Ellen
White answers that question when she says, “We were brought into existence
because we were needed.” God
needs you. Out of the billions of people that have been created you are
unique. There is no other like you
and there is a place in God’s heart that is Dustin shaped.
doesn’t just long for you to understand what He means to you but also what you
mean to Him.
all the Bible heroes that made God happy? Enoch
walked with God and made him happy. Read about it in Hebrews 11:5.
Abraham is called the friend of God in James 2:23 and in Isaiah 41:8 God
Himself says, “My friend Abraham”. And
what about Moses? “The Lord spoke
to Moses face to face as a man speaks to his friend.”
Exodus 33:11 God loves to talk with us about His plans just like He did
with Abraham about Sodom and with Moses about wayward Israel.
God formed you to be His friend because He needed a friend.
You cannot take the place of Enoch or Abraham or Moses nor can they take
your place. God has a place in His
infinite heart that only you can fill. For
this reason He made you. For this
reason He died for you. For this
reason He has gone to prepare a home for you.
No matter how much He loves Moses, remember that He values you as if you
were the only one in the world. “The
relation between go and each soul is as distinct and full as if there were not
another soul upon the earth.” Steps
to Christ 100
can God need you when He has billions of other friends?
Imagine that when you and Brandon grow up that Brandon is good and
respectful of mommy and me but you are a rascal and don’t respect mommy and I
and rebelliously break the laws of God and man.
When Brandon came to visit we would be so happy in his friendship but
then a tear would trickle down our faces as we thought of you somewhere out in
the world and longed for your companionship and love.
There is a place in our hearts that only you can fill.
It is the same with God. The
love of millions of others cannot take the place of your love, your friendship
and your fellowship.
is why we need to spend our days thinking of God and talking with Him and being
“Every man is a
warrior inside, but the choice to fight is his own.”
back over the lives of the heroes you have read about:
These men had a
battle to fight, a great mission in life that they were willing to follow even
unto death. (Remember what Jesus
said in Mark 8:35, “but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will
save it”.) They had a
transcendent cause, in other words: a
purpose beyond their personal needs and wants.
carefully, Dustin, because you do too. That is why God created you---to stand by His
side and join Him in the Great Battle along with all the truly great men of all
time. You have a specific place in
the line, a mission God made you for.
is that your place here is really insignificant (unimportant, small) and that
you aren’t really armed for it anyway. You
would like to lead the charge with a big sword in your hand but he makes you
feel like the guy in the back with a hoe.
But in your
life, you are the hero! Who
else could you be? There is no
other boy or man who can replace you in your life, in the place God has called
you to. If you leave that place, it
will remain empty. No one else can
be what you are meant to be. You are
the hero in your own story.
That is why,
like I told you last week, you must choose to fight.
If you don’t, the enemy will destroy you.
Don’t kill the true man within you by turning away from your deep
desires for battle and God and purity and adventure and beauty.
Instead, step into your place in the line.
Shoot the traitor! How? Choose against him every time you see him raise
his ugly head and walk straight towards God and never passively
Then you will
discover your strength in the daily details of your life.
This strength is wild and fierce and may make you feel uneasy at first.
But as you begin to taste God’s true strength, you will want more.
And, once it
arrives, nothing will ever be the same.
So take up your Sword and lead the charge!
you ever wondered how Joseph was able to stand so firm, upright and wise?
I have. Look at how many
others in the bible failed.
reason is simple. In his early years he was careful to do the duties that
presented themselves to him and not just whatever he wanted to do.
Communion with God through nature and study of the way God dealt with
other faithful men elevated and stimulated his spiritual nature and broadened
and strengthened his mind like no other study could have done.
A pure and simple life gave him vigorous and strong physical and
is doing the same for you Dustin. Ellen
few realize the influence of the little things of life upon the development of
their character. Nothing with which
we have to do is really small. Every
little circumstance that we meet day by day is designed to test our faithfulness
and to qualify us for greater things. By
standing firm for the right in the things of ordinary life each day, the mind
becomes accustomed to holding the claims of duty above those of pleasure and
whatever you might want to do at the moment.
Minds disciplined like this will not waver between right and wrong, like
a blade of grass in the wind; but they will be loyal to duty because little by
little each day they have trained themselves to do so.
By faithfulness in that which is least, they gain strength to be faithful
Patriarchs and Prophets 222
good character worth more than priceless gold and without it no one can rise to
honorable reputation. But you
don’t inherit character from your mom or dad.
You can’t buy it with money and it is not formed by accident.
The shaping of a noble character is the work of a lifetime and must be
the result of effort that constantly stays on course.
is why it says “STAY” on your coat of arms at the bottom.
You must always stay faithful in little and big
things. Each day God gives you
opportunities to do this and your success depends upon the use
that you make of those opportunities.
little seedling can grow up to be a massive cedar, straight and tall.
But if it is bent wrong in just a little way when it is small, it will
grow crooked and be ruined. That
little seedling is you. And the
little things put you and Joseph on an even plane.
You can stand firm, with integrity and wisdom too.