Devotionals - Archives

The Foolishness of the Cross

April 3, 2018 | Fred Bischoff

Jesus’ words, “The flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63), explain the mess the world is in. Except for the human Jesus, we each are born “of the will of the flesh” (John 1:13). This is human nature left to its sinful condition. It gives to us only a life “under the law”—on the law’s bad side, out of touch with God’s love. From that inheritance we have nothing but “guilt and the sentence of death” (Ellen White, Letter 68, 1899, par. 15).

But good does exist, and in the midst of the mess we find grace, even in those who don’t officially know God. How can this be, except that God’s Son was “made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law” (Galatians 4:4-5)? “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us… full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He was one of us, but He connected in Himself God and the sinful race (John 1:51). “And the grace of our Lord was …
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Fred Bischoff

Adventist Pioneer Library
Light Bearers

Rescued in Christ

February 26, 2018 | James Rafferty

“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

Paul tells us that when the appointed time came, God arrived!

God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law. When Christ united Himself with us, what we are, He became. By doing that, He was qualified to be our Savior.

Jesus became human, taking on Himself fallen human nature. He came under the law and therefore was subject to the consequences of the law. Yet Jesus lived a perfect life with no sin. Still, He was condemned to death. He shouldered the condemnation of the fallen human race.

All the consequences we deserved, Jesus…took on Himself.

All the consequences we deserved, Jesus, the second Adam (1 Corinthians 15:47), took on Himself. They should have come to the first Adam. They would have annihilated not only him but …
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James Rafferty

Co-Director
Light Bearers

Unbelievably Diabolical

January 29, 2018 | Ty Gibson

It’s no secret that Christianity is dying in Western countries. There are a number of factors contributing to this trend, but maybe the biggest is the fact that mainstream Christianity is asking the world to believe two doctrines that together compose the most diabolical picture of God imaginable—predestination and eternal torment.

Think this through. Predestination, as generally taught, says God decides each person’s eternal destiny—saved or lost. Then, “lost” is defined as spending eternity in the flames of hell. The logical conclusion? God creates some people for the purpose of torturing them forever. They have no choice, because God chose their fate. “It’s all part of His sovereign plan, for His inscrutable glory,” we’re told. “Who are you to question God?”

Many rational people simply cannot believe in a God like this. Nor can I. Yet I do believe in God. To unbelievers, I’d say something like this: You know that God you don’t believe in? Well, I don’t believe in him either.

“I can never join Calvin in addressing …
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Ty Gibson

Co-Director
Light Bearers

When Jesus Makes Everything New

January 1, 2018 | Elise Harboldt

Cracker crumbs stuck to his tie and broccoli to his teeth as Dr. Taylor told me his story.

“She grew up in Texas, so she’d never seen snow.” He grinned. “The first time she saw it, she started twirling and dancing and laughing like a little girl.”

They met in college in the ’60s. She was an outgoing freshman. He was a nerdy senior. The freshmen had to wear hats the first two weeks of school. She decorated hers like a skunk.

“Sounds like she lit up the room,” I said.

“Oh yes,” he replied. “She was so spontaneous, so…effervescent!”

He continued sharing between bites of fellowship lunch. They got married and had kids.

Now he was alone.

He told me of the diagnosis and decline. From chemo to carrot juice, they did everything. But she didn’t make it.

“She was so spontaneous, so…effervescent!”

“Toward the end, she couldn’t talk, but she could listen,” he said. “I told her she was the wind beneath my wings. She couldn’t say anything, …
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Elise Harboldt

Writer/Producer
Beautiful Minds Medical

Infinite Empathy

December 4, 2017 | Ty Gibson

Emotions are a mysterious phenomenon. Think about it. A person’s smile has the power to make you feel something pleasant inside. A person’s tears can throw you into tears with them even before you know why they’re crying. The mere fact that another human being is happy or sad somehow impacts your own state of being. Emotions are invisible links of identification with the experiences of others.

How strange.

Or maybe not.

Actually, the fact that we are emotional beings tells us something astonishing and wonderful. We can reason it through like this: If God is love, and if love is the capacity to empathize with others, well then, we are most like God when we feel the feelings of others. It is also true, then, that we are least like God when we are insensitive to what others are experiencing.

At this time of year, we are thinking about the most astounding thing that has ever happened in all of universal history: God “became flesh, and dwelt among us” …
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Ty Gibson

Co-Director
Light Bearers

The Secret of Success by James Rafferty

The Secret of Success

November 3, 2017 | James Rafferty

I was a baby Christian, just a few weeks old, when asked why I still listened to rock ‘n’ roll music. My response was quick and defensive. I’ve given my heart to Jesus, I go to church instead of bars, so it really doesn’t matter what music I listen to. End of conversation.

And it was true. My life was consumed with Jesus. I went to church three times a week. I read the Bible constantly. I was, without really understanding the concept, abiding in Jesus.

Sometime later I came home and noticed dust had gathered on my drum set. Dusting them off, I grabbed some music. It was Van Halen and one song read, “Runnin’ with the Devil.” Then it hit me.

“Wait a minute,” I thought. “I’m not running with the devil.”

I proceeded to haul my rock collection out to the garbage can. Not because I had to. Not because someone told me to. My experience is described in this chorus:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look …
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James Rafferty

Co-Director
Light Bearers

Surprise Victory by Fred Bischoff

Surprise Victory

September 26, 2017 | Fred Bischoff

Do you like winning? And do you like surprises?

Have you heard that the only way you can win in life’s ultimate contest is through the unselfish giving of genuine love? The meek and lowly win, and the braggarts and proud lose! Surprise!

The opposite principles of good and evil are not only the issues in conflict, but are also the weapons. Satan began the battle by speaking the lie, promoting selfishness, taking, even life, eventually even the life of Jesus. Jesus fought using the truth, unselfish giving, even giving Himself.

Righteousness describes the image of God in which man was created, but lost when the lie came. In other words, mankind abandoned faith and love. God restores sinful humans—He wins in the battle of no faith and love—by simply treating us sinners with faith and love. If we receive these gifts and return them to Him and pass them on to others, we wear the “breastplate” in the battle.

God’s restoration of His image in man is motivated by …
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Fred Bischoff

Adventist Pioneer Library
Light Bearers

The Continuing Reformation by Ty Gibson

The Continuing Reformation

September 1, 2017 | Ty Gibson

“The Protestant Reformation was the 16th-century religious, political, intellectual and cultural upheaval that splintered Catholic Europe.”

That’s how the History Channel website defines the Protestant Reformation—as an historical event that “was,” something that happened a long time ago. What I’d like to suggest is that the Reformation is still under way, right now, and that you and I can be part of helping to move it forward to completion.

First, according to Scripture, God is in the process of bringing about the “restoration of all things” (Acts 3:21). So think of history in general as a restoration project that God is guiding forward until everything is back the way it’s supposed to be, back to the place where evil is banished from existence and all relationships are defined by faithful love.

Secondly, the Protestant Reformation is only one part of this restoration process, beginning in the fourteenth century with the bold move of John Wycliffe to openly suggest that (1) each individual has direct access to God and should obey …
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Ty Gibson

Co-Director
Light Bearers

Why We Do What We Do

July 31, 2017 | James Rafferty

When it comes to spiritual things, do you know why we do what we do?

The reason is this:

“The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17).

We do what we do because the flesh lusts or wars against the Spirit. We know it’s true. Deep down in our hearts, we know how sinful and selfish we are. When we look in the mirror we recognize our greatest enemy, sitting on our own shoulders. We are naturally destitute of the virtues of heaven.

Pause.

But the verse also indicates that the Spirit lusts against the flesh.

Alleluia Holy Spirit!

“I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, NKJV).

Get out!

Did you just read what I read?

I think we need to read that again:

“This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye …
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James Rafferty

Co-Director
Light Bearers

The Road Less Traveled by Jeffrey Rosario

The Road Less Traveled

June 30, 2017 | Jeffrey Rosario

So don’t delay, for the road less traveled is where I’ll stay and I will go, wherever you lead me Lord I know you’re not safe, but at least I’m free.

The songwriter who penned these lyrics captured a reality about the Christian journey. Walking with God often leads us to the road less traveled—unexpected circumstances, unfamiliar territory, and challenges for which we feel unqualified.

The unknown is something we naturally recoil from, but it’s what the God of Abraham specializes in. “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out… And he went out, not knowing where he was going” (Hebrews 11:8). Ordinary people pushing against the boundaries of possibility and venturing onto uncharted territory—this is what drives the Old Testament narrative forward.

But in what sense can the songwriter say that the Lord is “not safe”? At least in the sense that our own agenda, comfort, and selfish pride are not safe in the glorious presence of God. “I know you’re not safe, but at least …
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Jeffrey Rosario

Speaker
Light Bearers