Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Titus 2:14.
That which more especially distinguishes God’s people from the popular religious bodies is not their profession alone, but their exemplary character and their principles of unselfish love. The powerful and purifying influence of the Spirit of God upon the heart, carried out in words and works, separates them from the world, and designates them as God’s peculiar people. The character and disposition of Christ’s followers will be like the Master. He is the pattern, the holy and perfect example given for Christians to imitate. . . .
The self-denial, humility, and temperance required of the righteous … are … in contrast with the extravagant, health-destroying habits of the people who live in this degenerate age. God has shown that health reform is as closely connected with the third angel’s message as the hand is united to the body. And there is nowhere to be found so great a cause of physical and moral degeneracy as a neglect of this important subject. . . . Whoever violates moral obligations in the matter of eating and dressing prepares the way to violate the claims of God in regard to eternal interests. Our bodies are not our own. God has claims upon us to take care of the habitation He has given us, that we may present our bodies to Him a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable. Our bodies belong to Him who made them, and we are in duty bound to become intelligent in regard to the best means of preserving from decay the habitation He has given us. If we enfeeble the body by self-gratification, by indulging the appetite, and by dressing in accordance with health-destroying fashions, in order to be in harmony with the world, we become enemies of God. . . .
God requires of us according to the grace He has bestowed upon us. . . . In order for us to meet our responsibilities we must stand on that elevated ground that the order and advancement of holy, sacred truth has prepared for us.
That I May Know Him p. 317
—–Some of you know that my mom suffered a stroke this past Friday. She is recovering at home. We can see some significant progress. Good news–she was at work when it happened so the physicians there at Uchee Pines were able to begin treating her within minutes of onset. This has been, obviously, very stressful for her but she’s handling it with her characteristic grace. We value your prayers. Ann
—–David could use some prayers. Lee
A few years ago as I looked through my inbox, I happened to find an email written when my best friend Darlene was in the final stages of the cancer that had raged within her for five and a half years long years. This morning, I found it again. This e-mail is such a testimony of faith, that I wanted to share it with all of you this morning even though I’ve shared it before. Here it is:
“Dear Friends & Family, Wanted to let you know if you had not heard that last week I turn for the worse on my health. My liver became enlarge and caused me such great pain and I became very emotional because of what was happening to my body and mind. I feel the Lord is showing me that I am going into the final stages of this cancer. But I want you to know I believe the Lord has been carrying me in his arms through these times and the wonderful love and support I have from my son, Brian and hiswife, Beth. Yes they now are living with me and helping to take care of me through these times. The blessing is my sons orders were canceled right before all this hit me. Isn’t God good how he takes care of us. I am thankful for the healing my son and I have had and the closeness we have with each other now. When I woke up with such terrible pain from a swollen liver, I walk to the kitchen where my son was fixing to leave for work and I could hardly walk. He was going to help me get a cell phone that same day. I told him don’t bother because I felt I would be gone in a few weeks and walked back to my bed crying. He came into my room and held me in his dear arms and said mom don’t give up, don’t give up. It was a hug from God to me and my dear son and it made me feel so loved. When I am in pain it is hard to think and I am very emotional from it. But God still reaches down with his arms and holds me through those bad times. I have been doing better the last few days and don’t have the pain so bad now. But this is all in the Lords hands and I know He will be with me no matter what happens. I just want to serve the Lord and help others to have hope in the Lord even up to my last breath of life. Its only through the Lord any of us can make it through our trials. Just know even through these times I am in pain and can not think right I know the Lord loves me and is with me. Just know just like the Lord has been there for me he will be there for you also if you trust him with your all. He gave everything to come and save us from sin and took our place and died the second death for us so we could have life through him if we but give our lives to him. His Word gives us much hope in its promises. It is bread of life to our souls from Jesus. Just know you are valued by Him. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. II Corinthians 5:21 God bless you all and thank you for those that have uplifted me in your prayers and love. Love, Darlene”
How easy it is when overwhelmed with pain and sorrow, to turn our eyes away from Jesus and feel very sorry for ourself. How easy to murmur and complain about the circumstances in which we find ourself. When we do so, we are murmuring against our Loving Lord. Darlene, like Job of old, “sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Job 1:22 She held to God’s promises, indeed, she clung to her Saviour for strength and comfort throughout her ordeal. James exclaims, “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12
May we, in every trial that we must pass through, have strong faith in our Lord Jesus Christ as did Darlene. May our focus be upon our Lord and Saviour, remembering “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:3-9.