Devotionals - Archives

Going Counterculture by James Rafferty

Going Counterculture

February 27, 2017 | James Rafferty

My 19-year-old daughter recently shared for our family worship some insights from a book she is reading for her university Bible class. When she finished, my mind went to the following scripture:

“As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time” (Daniel 7:12).

This verse describes both the military dominion and cultural influence of four great kingdoms: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome (Daniel 7:17, 23). The prophecy indicates that while each kingdom’s dominion and military control was lost to each succeeding power, the lives of these conquered nations were prolonged.

Defeated but living?

The life of a nation is found in its culture—the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively. These four cultures, though they differ in expression, are characterized by exonerating man and displaying his achievements. This is the culture of “I”, expressed today in things like the iPhone and social media, which enable our self-centered way of living.

Jesus turned the culture of “I” upside down. “Not I …
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James Rafferty

Light Bearers

What the War's About by Ty Gibson

What the War’s About

January 30, 2017 | Ty Gibson

“War broke out in heaven…” (Revelation 12:7).

Satan launched his revolt against God not with bullets and bombs but with subtly spun lies. The Greek word for “war” in the above text is polemos, from which we get words like polemic and politics. Polemos is the idea of arguing against an opponent or saying something about a person that has the effect of turning others against him.

In other words, Satan is a politician. God’s character is the focus of his attack. The devil specializes in formulating theological ideas that are calculated to portray God as self-centered, self-exalting, self-serving. Jesus came to our world for the specific purpose of giving a true revelation of God’s character. In His incarnation, life, and death, we encounter the truth about God.

Ellen White gets to the core of the issue like this:

“Unselfishness, the principle of God’s kingdom, is the principle that Satan hates; its very existence he denies. From the beginning of the great controversy he has endeavored to prove God’s principles …
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Ty Gibson

Light Bearers

Draft Away by David Asscherick

Draft Away, Part 1

January 2, 2017 | David Asscherick

Have you ever heard of drafting? Sure you have, but perhaps not the kind of drafting I’m thinking of. Drafting can refer to:

Refining several preliminary versions of a piece of writing. Governmental enlistment of young men for mandatory military service. A brilliant aerodynamic technique that significantly improves one’s athletic performance.

The drafting I want to bring to your attention is the third type. It takes place in cycling (and other forms of racing). Drafting means to get right behind another rider, so close that your front wheel is almost touching the rear wheel of the cyclist in front of you. I’m talking about a matter of inches (or cm). You do this while you’re clipping along at 20-30 mph (30-50 km/h).

Does this sound like a bad idea? When you first try it, it certainly feels like an awful idea. There is simply no chance of stopping if the person in front of you suddenly hits the brakes. The distance is far too small and the speed way too …
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David Asscherick

Light Bearers

Job’s Marriage by James Rafferty

Job’s Marriage

November 28, 2016 | James Rafferty

Job’s wife usually gets a bad rap. As we read through the story of suffering, we’re tempted to view her as an evil character, undermining the faith of her husband. Augustine even named her “the devil’s accomplice.”

I wonder if this is a misunderstanding that begins with Job himself. Perhaps we’ve misinterpreted the communication between the couple. The picture presented is that Job coldly rebukes his silly wife for spilling out the natural emotions of a heart broken by the loss of all her children. I think the Bible gives us a different picture; one of a loving relationship that God believed could withstand the severity of the enemy’s attacks. Here are the reasons:

God called Job a perfect man. I’m sorry, but I just don’t see that happening if he had a bad relationship with his wife (Ephesians 5:25-33). God knew they could be severely tested (Job 1:8). Job loved his children. One of the best ways to love your wife is to love her children (Ephesians 6:4). Job …
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James Rafferty

Light Bearers

Sink or Swim by James Rafferty

Sink or Swim

October 31, 2016 | James Rafferty

The first crisis I can remember experiencing came when I was four years old and fell backward into a swimming pool. I couldn’t swim and my mom was in another country… it seemed. I was going down for sure, but after a heroic effort and what seemed like an eternity (but was really just a few brief seconds) I grabbed the rail and was safe again. After that I learned to swim.

The first crisis I don’t remember came when I was three years old and buried Grandma’s false teeth somewhere in the back garden. We never found them again, but Grandma always seemed to enjoy telling the story.

As a young man, Joseph faced a much greater crisis than mine when he was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery, and then wrongly accused by Potiphar’s wife. Joseph learned to swim by trusting in God.

Daniel was also young when he faced his crisis—he was separated from his family, taken to another country, and forced to embrace its culture. …
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James Rafferty

Light Bearers

Love Because... by Fred Bischoff

Love Because… (Part 2)

October 1, 2016 | Fred Bischoff

God loves because He is love. Unselfish love describes the essence of His character and the relational joy of His existence. He asks us to love because He has designed us to enter into this joy.

Even after sin’s removal of love within us, we are still enabled to love as He asks, because He continues to love us. In fact, that continued love—loving the unlovely—is what the Bible means by His gold being tried in the fire (Revelation 3:18). In ourselves, especially because of the selfishness (fear, insecurity, self-focus) sin brought, we have no ability to love, except for the fact that He still loves us. If we love at all, it is “because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19)—it is “as I have loved you” (John 13:34).

God’s gold in the fire means loving sinners before they can respond, and even if they do not respond in love. Since sin, this is the essence of faithful love. Calvary revealed this love to us (1 John 3:16). This …
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Fred Bischoff

Adventist Pioneer Library
Light Bearers

With the Flip of a Switch by Anneliese Wahlman

With the Flip of a Switch

September 8, 2016 | Anneliese Wahlman

As a kid, I suffered from the quintessential childhood fear: I was scared of the dark. I could be in a room that I knew like the back of my hand, and if the lights turned off, my fear turned on. It didn’t help that my older brother would come into my room at night and tell me—in a voice that sounded like he’d swallowed about four dirty dishrags—all about the monsters that would come to get me if I took one shuddering step out of bed. And it probably didn’t help when my older sister told me that the long, cobweb-filled crawlspace in my closet was the gateway to hell. But what are older siblings for, right?

Darkness is scary because of one self-evident fact: you can’t see. Once the lights are on, everything turns back to normal. The horror film soundtrack that was blasting in your ears just moments before turns off. You put down the baseball bat you were going to use to take out the axe …
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Anneliese Wahlman

Editorial Intern
Light Bearers