What a privilege we have to live in the era after the cross. We have instant access to God through Jesus Christ. We don’t need to follow rigid religious rites before coming to Him in prayer. We just pray to Him wherever and whenever. With such privileges and more–do we take the time to draw near to God? James 4:8 assures us, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
Once again I invite you to come to our Vespers (Friday night) program were we spend time in prayer and communing with God. Filipino Service on Sabbath morning at 8:30am will feature our former GFAC pastor, Albert Regoso speak about the “Three Evil Spirits.” Find out what these are. Come early to church.
I have attached our church bulletin and Sabbath School lesson outline.
God bless you as you prepare to meet God in worship this Sabbath. Blessings of peace and joy to you in the Lord.
Devotional: DISCIPLINE OF SIMPLICITY
To describe simplicity only as an inner reality is to say something false. The inner reality is not a reality until there is an outward expression. The liberating spirit of simplicity will affect how we live.
Richard J. Foster in “Celebration of Discipline” suggests ten principles for the outward expression of simplicity:
First, buy things for their usefulness rather than their status. Cars should be bought for their utility, not their prestige. When considering an apartment, a condominium, or a house, thought should be given to livability rather than now much it will impress others. Don’t have more living space than is reasonable. After all, who needs seven rooms for two people? Consider your clothes. Most people have no need for more clothes. They buy more not because they need clothes, but because they want to keep up with the fashions.
Second, reject anything that is producing an addiction in you. Eliminate or cut down on the use of addictive, non nutritional drinks: alcohol, coffee, tea, Coca-Cola, and so on. If you have become addicted to your flat screen TV, by all means sell your set or give it away! Any of the media that you find you cannot do without, get rid of: radios, stereos, magazines, videos, newspapers, books. Remember, an addiction, by its very nature, is something that is beyond your control.
Third, develop a habit of giving things away. If you find that you are becoming attached to some possession, consider giving it to someone who needs it. De-accumulate! Masses of things that are not needed complicate life. Most of us could get rid of half our possessions without any serious sacrifice.
Fourth, refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry. Beware of the promise, “It will pay for itself in six months.” Most gadgets are built to break down and wear out and so complicate our lives rather than enhance them. This problem is a plague in the toy industry. Children don’t need to be entertained by dolls that cry, eat, wet, sweat, and spit. An old rag doll can be more enjoyable and more lasting. Often children find more joy in playing with old pots and pans than with the latest space set. Look for toys that are educational and durable. Make some yourself.
Fifth, learn to enjoy things without owning them. Owning things is an obsession in our culture. If we own it, we feel we can control it; and if we can control it, we feel it will give us more pleasure. The idea is an illusion. Enjoy the beach without feeling you have to buy a piece of it. Enjoy public parks and libraries.
Sixth, develop a deeper appreciation for the creation. Get close to earth. Walk whenever you can. Listen to the birds. Enjoy the texture of the grass and leaves. Smell the flowers. Simplicity means to discover once again that “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1).
Seventh, look with a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes. They are a trap and only deepen your bondage.
Eighth, obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech. “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil” (Matthew 5:37). Avoid flattery and half-truths. Reject jargon and abstract speculation whose purpose is to obscure and impress rather than to illuminate and inform.
Ninth, reject anything that breeds the oppression of others. Often our oppression is tinged with racism, sexism, and nationalism. The color of the skin still affects one’s position in the company. The sex of job applicant still affects the salary. The national origin of a person still affects the way he or she is perceived. How many of us do seriously consider the thought that “at the foot of the cross the ground is level”?
Tenth, shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God. It is so easy to lose focus in the pursuit of legitimate, even good things. Job, position, status, family, friends, security–these and many more can all too quickly become the center of attention. May God give you–and me–the courage, the wisdom, the strength always to hold the kingdom of God as the number one priority of our lives. To do so is to live in simplicity.